Originally published in the Ypsilanti Press, June 30, 1936
French Claim No. 690 was deeded to Gabriel Godfroy by the U. S. Government, July 3, 1812, and as described, contained 562 acres. Claim No. 680 was deeded to the children of Gabriel Godfroy, and contained 566.95 acres.
It might be interesting to learn something of the Godfroy family, who they were and where they came from.
James Godfroy de Mauboeuf, the progenitor of the family in America, was born in the parish of St. Martin de Cantilan, a suburb of Rouen, diocese of Rouen, France, in 1653, a son of John and Collette (Danlerville) Godfroy. He came to Three Rivers, Canada, where, about 1714, he married Mary St. Onge dit Chene. In partnership with Paul Chevalier and Joseph Senecat in 1710, he began trading with Detroit and in 1719–20, moved his family there. Gabriel James Godfroy, grandson of the above and son of James Godfroy and Louisa Clotilda Chapotan, was born in Detroit, November 10, 1758. He was buried at Detroit Sept. 2, 1833. This man was the operator of “Godfroy's Trading Post” at Ypsilanti. It is doubtful if he actually lived here, as all his children, the last of whom was born in 1812, were born at Detroit.
Gabriel Godfroy was married three times; first to Mary Catherine Contoure, Jan. 8, 1781, second to Mary Tresa Bondy, Feb. 14, 1795, and third to Monica Campan, Jan. 14, 1817. He had fifteen children, five by his first wife and ten by his second.
Inasmuch as possibly thirteen of his fifteen children might have been those meant as “the children of Gabriel Godfroy” and known as the owners of French Claim No. 680, their names and dates of birth might be interesting. In order of birth they were: Gabriel, born July 3, 1783 married Elizabeth May and died in 1848; Archange, born March 14 1786, married Joseph Bondy and was buried May 1, 1823; Catherine, born March 12, 1789, married Joseph Boyer, Aug. 29, 1810, and was buried Nov. 30, 1811; John Baptist, born March 29, 1792, married first, Teresa Bondy, July 25, 1820, and second Genevava Cosme, and was buried Jan 5, 1828; Susanne, born Nov. 12, 1795, married James McCoskey Sept 11, 1815; Peter, born June 15, 1797, married Mary Ann Godet dit Marentitte Nov. 20, 1822 and died May 23, 1848; Ann, born Sept. 8, 1800, married John Visger May 25, 1819; James, born June 29, 1802 married Victoria Navarre, Sept. 20, 1823; Mary Joseph born Dec. 13, 1803, married John Smythe at Lexington, Kentucky; Sophia, born May 15, 1806, married James Whipple, Jan 8, 1828, and died in 1841; Richard Bertrand, born June 25, 1808, married Ann Lewis, Aug. 20, 1832; Teresa Zoe, born Feb. 28, 1810, married Ephraim B. P. Abbott in 1832 and died in 1851; Alexander, born Oct. 31, 1812 and buried Sept. 10 1832.
The other two children, Angelica, born 1781, died 1808, and Francis, born 1793 and died 1800, had passed on before the date of the deed to Claim No 680 which was in 1811.
Many of these names appear in abstracts for property in both these claims. They are spelled many different ways. The writer would like to list the different names appearing in abstracts as a check on the above list and will appreciate advice from present owners, not only in French Claims Nos. 680 and 690 but in Nos. 681 and 691 as well.
In Connection with the subject of the original land owners and early settlers in general, it might be noted that there has been a woeful lack of perpetuating their names. In these days of new subdivisions, modernized county roads and super-highways, there is a wonderful opportunity to honor the memories of the men who came in by ox cart, Indian trails or river rafts, cleared the land for us and made our tasks so simple.
Louis S. White (1887–1963) was Ypsilanti's first City Historian.
If you have an abstract for your property and don't know what to do with it, give it to the Ypsilanti Historical Archives, 220 N. Washington.