Learning About Ezekiel Solomon’s Home in Fort Michilimackinac: Creating a Timeline

26 Responses

  1. Pat Skene says:

    Very interesting Jessica, and lots of work. It’s a surprising part of our heritage you have uncovered. Nicely done.

    • Thanks so much. This is fascinating work. I’m also looking forward to exploring William Solomon’s story and some of the others. Every time I start working on them I get led back to Ezekiel. So I will stick with him until I feel I’ve got a comprehensive portrait.

  2. Alice says:

    Hello, I am a direct descendent of Chief Pontiac. I know that we have relatives that have the last name of Solomon. I was wondering if we have Jewish blood in us too?

    • Hi Alice! I haven’t done enough research to be able to answer your question with certainty. Sorry! But lots of people visit the site each week so check back. Maybe a visitor will have an answer to your questions.

    • Allan says:

      Hi I am a Solomon descendant. As I understand the Solomon’s that are Native come from Ezekiel.

  3. Margo Parmenter Zieske says:

    Your timeline of Ezekiel Solomon shows an enormous amount of work and was presented in a clear manner, as well as good documentation. I found your information while researching my ancestor Ezekiel Solomon. My line flow through his daughter Sophie, who married Isidore Peltier. The Peltiers ended up in the early settlement of Monroe, Michigan called Frenchtown. I learned a great deal from your research and I plan to add some of it to my genealogy with the attribution going to you. Thanks for your hard work! A cousin, Margo Parmenter Zieske

  4. Andrea Blaustein says:

    Hi Jessica….I guess that we are distant cousins!! I am the great great great great granddaughter of Levy Solomons. I would be happy to chat more with you if you are interested.

  5. Paul King says:

    Comment to Jessica Outram on ES Time-Line

    You have 1750 as the earliest “mention” of ES in North America. Is this a documented “mention”? My earliest piece of material for Ezekiel Solomon is 1755, an announcement in the newspaper, the New York Mercury, for the 6 July, that a letter is awaiting him at the post office.

    I read Hilchin’s book, Excavations at Fort Michilimackinac 1983-1985, and while it has valuable biographical information about Ezekiel Solomon, especially his living quarters in House C at Mackinac, Hilchin’s thesis, based on deductions and suppositions from archaeological findings at the site of House C, is terribly flawed. Using the historical sources available to her at the time (1985) she combined them with an interpretation of archaeological findings which led her totally astray. Because Hilchin lacked access to the Voyageur Data Base, she claims that Ezekiel reached a low in fur trade embarkations “until his name disappears altogether in 1781 (or even 1780)”. In fact, Solomon’s most prosperous fur trading period was from the late 1770s to approximately 1783, as the Voyageur data base and the hysterical diatribes of the Hudsons Bay Company’s chief clerk now reveal.

    When Hilchin comes to her forte, the archaeological findings at House C and their interpretations, she claims that the “depositional records . . . parallel events known through historical documents.” (69)

    Hilchin’s ignorance of the historical record reaches major heights in the claim that his wife was either Protestant or Catholic (true, she married in a Protestant ceremony, but…). Hilchin states that there is no documentary evidence that Elizabeth DuBois, ES’s wife, was at the mainland Mackinac house, but she should have been sensitive to the religious artifact findings. Admittedly, they were a miniscule percentage of all the artifacts excavated (1.09%), but most of these were rosary beads. (See 138) It would be most unusual for the Jewish Ezekiel Solomon to have these items; either DuBois did visit on occasion – we know she acted as a bourgeois for at least one Montreal shipment – or there were, as Hilchin suggested as a possibility, other people who lived in the house at a later date. Hilchin gives the total House C residential time period for fur traders as 1765-1780. (160) She concludes that the archaeological records “reflect the effects of social and cultural values” including “commercial trade” which she maintains was declining in the late 1770s and petered out by the early 1780s. (183) She does concede that Solomon may have been wintering in the Nipigon area in this last period.

    • Thanks for the clarification. There are a number of conflicting sources out there and I appreciate the time and care you take in ensuring our accuracy. It’s important to get right and each year there is more clarity. My thinking is that Elizabeth DuBois was likely in the Mackinac area often–otherwise why would all the descendants stay in the area and not establish themselves in Montreal? She’s also listed on church documents as witnessing many baptisms in the Mackinac area…

      • Brendan O'Gorman says:

        Paul, it is entirely possible that Ezekiel had a good supply of complete rosaries well as beads/crucifixes to repair them. You might be surprised at how worn out they can get; many voyageurs facing danger every day would be apt to use them regularly. Hefty mark up on them, too. My Dad was in the religious goods business in the 1950’s to the early 1960’s. Then came Vatican II…

  6. Brendan O'Gorman says:

    I came across information that stated Ezekiel and his then business partner William Grant each provided £50 for the maintenance of Roman Catholic clergy at St. Anne’s church on Mackinac Island, probably as an act of good will to the voyageurs and local FN and Metis community, but also, no doubt, to keep Loiuse happy. As you mention, Louise’s name frequently appears as a baptismal witness in St. Anne’s records, records which also document the FN/ Metis heritage of those of us descended from William and Agibicocona through their daughter Sophie, born in 1796 and baptized the following year, as the priest was itinerant from 1765 (the year of the British suppression of the Jesuits in North America) until a permanent priest took up duties in 1830. Paul, it is not at all unlikely that from very early on Ezekiel was supplying religious goods such as rosaries or beads/crucifixes to repair them. The Jesuits had won many FN converts in the area since the late 1600’s, and we know from the records that the church was central to the lives of many if not most voyageurs, whether FN, Metis, or Quebecois . Life was often harsh and dangerous, and therefore seeking spiritual succor by saying the rosary regularly was probably very much a part of daily life for these communities, especially given the fact that the lack of a permanent priest made the receiving of sacrements infrequent.

  7. Joanne Biln says:

    What a great web site Jessica! You’ve obviously invested a great deal of time and effort into this obsession… An obsession that seems to run in the family, LOL.

    I descend from William and Marguarite’s daughter, Rosette Solomon. My branch of the family remained in Penetangueshene until my grandmother Agnes Amelia Cosgrove, daughter of Amelia Bellerose, left home to reside in the Toronto area in the late 20’s-early 30’s. I’m in the midst of reading the “Report on the Origins and Evolution of the Penetanguishene Area Métis Community.” Thanks for including this, and so many other links on your site too.

    Searching and sharing what we find is how we keep the memory of our ancestors alive, and I thank you for all that you do and share!

  8. james sweet says:

    Hi Jessica
    what a great story of my grandfather
    you did an excellent job, i am my family’s geneologist
    this is my line
    Ezekiel had a son William had a son,Louis had a daughter,Felicity,had a daughter Elizabeth had a daughter,Phyllis had a son ,James

    We must be cousins drop me a line let me know where you live
    i am in Bradford Ontario

  9. Joseph Landau says:

    Hi,

    I was trying to find out info on your grandfather. I have as Hebrew prayer-book that belonged to him its signed 1786 Michllimack.

    If your interested in having a copy drop me an email

    • Paul King says:

      Joseph Landau. I certainly am interested in this Hebrew prayer book. This would be a remarkable find and, as far as I know, has not been mentioned in any Ezekiel Solomon research to date. What is its provenance? That is, where was it found – what is its origin? Is there a publication date and place? For which Jewish observances – the Sabbath only? Jewish festivals? ,etc.

    • Wow! Incredible. How did you come across this?

  10. Allan says:

    Hi I thought Ezekiel married a native woman from the area, Her name was not English but something like Agibicona or something

    • Paul King says:

      Joseph Landau. I certainly am interested in this Hebrew prayer book. This would be a remarkable find and, as far as I know, has not been mentioned in any Ezekiel Solomon research to date. What is its provenance? That is, where was it found – what is its origin? Is there a publication date and place? For which Jewish observances – the Sabbath only? Jewish festivals? ,etc.

  11. David Mancini says:

    Hello my name isDavid Mancini my grandmother was Clara Ann Moreau born in midland Ontario in 1890. Her father was David Moreau. By the way my name come from him. We are descendants of Ezekiel Solomon. My grandmother married Giacomo from Calabrito Italy. She lived in Italy for 13 years. She hated Italy because of her mother in law and the First World War. I would like to belong to your groups thank you.

  12. David Mancini says:

    Hello I just found this.In December 1768, under the new British rule, twelve families from New York moved to Montreal. Berlin-born army purveyor and later fur trader, Ezekiel Solomon, along with Hart, founded Canada’s first synagogue, Shearith Israel Congregation, known as the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue. It followed the same Sephardic tradition as the synagogue the settlers had attended in New York, although all the founding members were Ashkenazi Jews of Dutch, British, and German origin. The first synagogue building was built in 1777, and Jacob Raphael Cohen of London became its first rabbi in 1778. It was not until 1846 that Montreal’s second congregation and the first Ashkenazic synagogue in British North America was established. The Synagogue of English, German, and Polish Jews was finally able to construct a synagogue in 1858 and was renamed Shaar Hashamayim.

    Ezekiel Hart
    During the America Revolution from 1775 to 1781, the majority of Jews living in Quebec took the side of the British in the conflict, despite family connections in the colonies. In 1807, Ezekiel Hart, the son of Aaron Hart, was elected to the legislature of Lower Canada, but was unable to assume office as he refused to be sworn in “on the true faith of a Christian.” It was not until 1831, upon request of the Jewish population of Montreal, which numbered 107, that the Jewish community received legal recognition from the Legislative Assembly of Quebec. Under the act, the Jewish communities of Montreal, Quebec, and Trois Rivieres were allowed to own land slated for the construction of a synagogue and cemetery. On June 5, 1832, Canadian Jews gained full rights as British subjects, including the right to sit in Parliament and hold public office.

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