French FathersMichel [Mah-SHEL] Brouillette, born 1774 in Vincennes, followed his father's footsteps. Both men were Indian traders along the Wabash. His father, Michel Brouillette, was born in Chambly, Quebec in 1740. But Michel had a talent his father lacked, he could read and write.
Because of this talent, Michel worked as a trading clerk for Antoine Laselle as a young man. Reading and writing skills were needed to check company records and debts at trading posts. Part of young Michel's duties would be checking on Hyacinth Laselle's trading post at the Wabash and Vermillion Rivers, north of Terre Haute.
In that area it's believed Michel Brouillette was captured by Indians as a young man. George Winter states in Tahquakeah's 1867 obituary his father was a captive as a young man. Michel himself stated in a deposition he had lived "away from Vincennes" for a few years in his 20s.
Michel Brouillette never stated he'd been captured in public records. It appears Michel married a Miami woman in the area of Old Fort Harrison about 1795, before his capture. Further, his trading license issued in 1801 to trade with the Kickapoo at Renaud suggest it was the Kickapoo who had captured him. Apparently Michel's release was secured and thereafter he developed a good trading relationship with the Kickapoo.
About 1806, Michel Brouillette married Marie Louise Drouet de Richardville in a civil ceremony in Vincennes. He also built a small home there about the same time. That home, now known as the French House has been preserved, and is a rare example in Indiana of French post-on-sills construction.
Marie Louise Drouet [DREW-eh] de Richardville was a daughter of the frontier. Her grandfather, Joseph-Antoine Drouet de Richardville, had been commandant of Vincennes, appointed by Louis St. Ange in 1764. Michel and Marie Louise Brouillette had eleven children.
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