Ezekiel Solomon: Introducing My Jewish-Canadian Grandfather

Born in Berlin. Child of the Enlightenment Era.

Ezekiel Solomon was born in Berlin, Germany in 1735. Solomon shares his birth year with John Adams (second American President) and Paul Revere (American Patriot). In 1735, Alexander Pope was writing poetry and George Frederic Handel composed operas. King George II was on the British throne.

In 1740 Frederick the Great came into power in Germany and would soon declare himself the leader of the Age of Enlightenment. Ezekiel Solomon was a child of the Enlightenment. He grew up during a time when ideas about science and faith and humanity were changing. Was Solomon an educated man?

To be Jewish in Berlin in the 1700s

Jews were among the wealthiest people of Berlin during this time. Since Solomon could afford to emigrate to Canada I think it would be a fair assumption that he came from a family of money. When Solomon arrived he would become a successful fur trader so I imagine his father was also a merchant.

Ezekiel Solomon grew up in a time when Jews in Berlin were encouraged to integrate into a secular society. Moses Mendelssohn wrote about the “blending of cultures.” Was Solomon’s family influenced by Mendelssohn?

A Young, Ambitious Fur Trader in North America

According to one site, in 1755, during the Seven Years War, Solomon entered a partnership with Chapman Abraham, Benjamin Lyon, Gershom Levy, and Lucius Levy Solomons to provide supplies for the British army in North America. When did Solomon arrive in North America? Why did he come? Who was with him? Are Levy and Ezekiel brothers? Where was Solomon’s first step on North American soil?

One site hypothesizes that Solomon arrived in Montreal in about 1759. Solomon helped raise funds for the Shearith Israel Congregation in Montreal. It opened in 1760. It was the first Jewish congregation in Canada. I read a number of sources that suggest Solomon was noted in the synagogue’s records a number of times through his life.

Ezekiel Solomon is the first known Jewish man to live in the state of Michigan. Ever. “In 1761 Solomon went to Fort Michilimackinac, today’s Mackinaw City in Michigan.” Solomon was with Alexander Henry, an English trader who disguised himself as a Frenchman to enter the area. Henry was the first known English-speaking trader to travel in and around the area that is now Sault Ste. Marie. This was a time of great conflict between the French and the English, the First Nations and the English. Which languages did Solomon speak? Where did Solomon and Henry meet?

Alexander Henry wrote Travels and Adventures in Canada and the Indian Territories between the Years 1760 and 1776. I have downloaded this text and look forward to reading it. This should include more details about Solomon’s life as a trader.

Survived Capture by Pontiac During Massacre

Solomon was captured by Pontiac’s men during the 1763 massacre, but gained his freedom by being ransomed.

  • I Ezekiel Solomon, Resident in the Fort of Michilimackinac at the time it was surprized by the savages declare that on the second day of June, 1763, a Frenchman, Monsieur Cote, entered my house several times and carried from thence several parcels of Goods, my property. * * The Deposition of Garrit, Roseboom, Tunis, Fischer, Cummin, Shields and Wm. Bruce, Merch’s from LaBay, as taken upon Oath before a Court of Enquiry at the Detroit the 4th day of July 1764.In: Historical Collections, Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society, Vol. 27, 1897, pp. 631-670.

After his release Ezekiel Solomon opened up a general store in Montreal according to From the Jewish Heartland: Two Centuries of Midwest Foodways.

Husband and Father

On July 23, 1769 he married Marie Elizabeth Louise Dubois, also called Okimabinesikwe. Marie was Roman Catholic. They married in Montreal at Christ Anglican Church. Thanks to some help from Bonnie, this morning I looked at a microfilm of an original document from “Cathedral Actes 1766-1795” showing Solomon’s marriage. I have included the image in this post. Notes made about 250 years ago, on the day of his marriage, on my screen! Who was Louise DuBois? How did she meet Solomon? Did she accompany him on business travels?

Contributions to the Economic Life of Early Canada

Ezekiel Solomon went on to help develop commercial trade along the St. Lawrence, the Great Lakes, and up through Northwestern Ontario. Solomon was responsible for trade in the territory of the Michilimackinac and continued to work in the interior of Canada despite the tension with First Nations people. Solomon was one of the few successful traders who competed with the Hudson’s Bay monopoly.

Solomon was wealthy and successful. He must have been brilliant and strong. To survive North America in the mid-1700s was a challenge. Susanna Moodie’s classic CanLit novel Roughing it in the Bush still surprises readers today with the challenges of living in early Canada–and it was written nearly 100 years AFTER Solomon arrived in North America. Not only did Solomon survive–he thrived! Was Solomon more than a merchant? Was Solomon a peacebuilder? What motivated Solomon to accomplish so much?

Ezekiel Solomon died in Mackinac between 1805 and 1808.

Click here for a timeline of Ezekiel Solomon’s life that I’m working on…


  • Anne Nault

    I am descended from Ezekiel Solomon also. Have some information and am always willing to share whatever I have. The line is myself, Anne, Adelaide, Irene, Margaret,Honore (Henry 2), Henry SR and then William and then Ezekiel.

    • Kera

      I believe to be Ezekiel Solomon’s Great Great Great Great Great Great Granddaughter. I am on ancestry.com trying to figure out out family heritage. It has been completely destroyed from on my mothers, and grandmother’s side. I would love any information from anyone that is willing to help. I believe William Solomon is my 5th great grandfather and his daughter marie is believed to be my 4th great grandmother then her son Amable Amyotte (not sure if spelling is correct) is my 3rd great grandfather. From him is my 2nd great grandfather Ewdward Amyotte, then my great grandmother Eileen (Amyotte) Hanskett from my grandmother Ella (Hanskett) Erickson, my mother Bernadine (Messer) Jacob’s and me, Kera Messer.. I really hope someone has anything for information. Anything helps~


  • Montez Petronelli (Horne)

    What a great job researching! I am also a descendant of Ezekial – my grandfather (7?)x – Ezekial Solomon Sr. -> Ezekial Solomon Jr. -> Levi Solomon -> Owen Asa Solomon -> Clyde Solomon -> Richard Solomon (my grandfather) -> Nancy Solomon (my mother). Just starting to dig in to research – only have the old family stories. Would LOVE to get more history & info. Thank you so much!

      • Bridgette Mcintyre

        Ezekiel was my grandmother’s great grandfather, her maiden name was Lamoureux. Do you have that name in your timeline. She told me the story of her great grandfather running from Germany with his sister and a gun with two bullets in cases they didn’t make it out, needless to say they did. Is this story familiar in anyway.
        Would appreciate any info and thanks for your time

  • Ruth Wright MacAfee

    I too am a 5 or 4x grand daughter if Ezekiel Solomon and loved your blog. Is there a complete family tree somewhere? Would love to get more info and for sure will find the synagogue he helped found next time I am in Montreal.

    • Jessica Outram

      Hi Ruth! Thanks for introducing yourself. I’d love to go to Montreal one day and visit places. There is something listed in Canadian Archives about Ezekiel, some records, that are stored in Montreal. It looked really interesting. Business papers. I’ll have to look in my notes for the reference. So nice to meet you!

  • A Dembinski

    The Rev. David Bacon, from Connecticut, attempted to start the first Protestant mission to the Indians on Mackinac Island starting in approximately the summer of 1802. His efforts did not succeed. The main reasons his efforts failed was that Rev. Bacon and his wife failed to learn the Indian language despite living several years on Mackinac Island. They had to rely on interpreters, who for some odd reason, insisted on being paid. Decades later his son wrote a short history of the attempt. I believe the memoir clearly mentions Ezekiel Solomon, his wife Louise, and one of their sons in this account of Rev. Bacon canceling a planned trip from Mackinac Island to L’Arbrecroche in NW lower Michigan in 1802: “The want of access to the Indians was still more discouraging. Without a competent interpreter, there would be no hope of gaining anything from a visit to Arbrecroche. The interpreter with whom he had corresponded through a friend, and whom he had so often hoped to obtain, had again disappointed him. Finding another man who could speak both Indian and English, he had attempted to obtain his help in the expedition; but that man’s father and mother—the one a Jew and the other a Papist — were unwilling that he should fulfil his engagement” Bacon, Rev. Leonard D.D. A Sketch of the Life of Rev. David Bacon. 1876. Reprint. Boston, Massachusetts: Congregational Publishing Society, Alfred Mudge & Son, n.d.. Digital images. http://books.google.com/books?id=R5UNAQAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false : .

  • Cynthia Pearce

    I am also a great granddaughter 5x of Eziekel Solomon, through his son Williams lineage. I find this all very facinating and if anyone can help me with this lineage I would appreciate it. They travelled far and survived most. I have enjoyed reading the stories about the Solomons here. My grandmother always said we have a jewish background when we were growing up. Interesting!

  • Rene Hackstetter

    Hi Jessica,
    I am an amateur local historian in Midland Ontario. I am also Vice Chairman of our local Museum.
    Interestingly, Volume 3 of the OHS Papers and Records has an article on ” The Migration of the Voyageurs …” It mentions one of the Solomons. If you send me your email, I will send an image of Louis Solomon.
    It also mentions that he owned all the land that is now called Waubaushene!
    Kindest regards,

      • Rene Hackstetter

        Hi Jessica….I was going to send the Louis Solomon pictures, but cannot recall if you sent me your email?
        Kindest regards,

    • Darcy Solomon

      My name is Darcy Solomon also a descendant of Ezekiel Solomon.
      My father was Eugene, his father was John Solomon and I believe his father was William.
      My father had tracked our history back to Ezekiel and I’ just going on my own memory right now, but do have the history on file that my father completed.
      He did get information from Midland.
      He was a Band Member of the Sagamok First Nation as I was until 1994, when I transferred to Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve.
      I presently reside in Wikwemikong and would appreciate any information you may have with regards to my family tree on my fathers side.

      Thank You
      Darcy Daniel Solomon

    • Stan Gauthier

      Rene, Isn’t this interesting. My eldest daughter is named Renee; our family historian live in Midland (Leona Leclair, nee Lalonde); I’ve been through Waubaushene and I am probably related somehow .
      Ezekeil is my great x7 grandfather through Willie , Mackanac and Penetange .
      Will forward tree after computer repairs.

      • Darlann Passfield

        I am also descended from William & Ezekiel.
        I met Leona Leclair at a reunion at the Penetanguishene reunion approx 10 years ago. We are related. I have been trying to find her and contact her to exchange information. Can you be of assistance? thank you in advance for any help.

    • Kathleen Moore

      Hi Rene,
      My entire family on my mother’s side is from Waubaushene. Moreau and Thiffault. I have found a connection to the Solomons through my Great, Great Grandfather. Would love any information about this.

  • Angela Hamilton

    Ezekiel Solomon is my 6th great grandfather from my mothers side, Her name is Kathleen Rose Cartwright. would love to have more info. i only have what my mother has been able to give me which is to much and what ive been able to pull up on line.

    • brenda rice

      Hello there, i am a descendant as well ,of ezekiel solomon, but i dont know the names. My grandfather was ed solomon and he lived in desbarats ont. and also Echo Bay, Ontario.His father’s nicname was CAP. I think he was a captin of some ship, but apparently he had something tio do with fur trading as well. I just wish I could find out the names from Exekiel to me and how exactly how I am related.

      • Jessica Outram

        Nice to meet you! I did a lot of my early searching through ancestry.ca One day I hope to post more of my findings here. Maybe some of that info will be helpful to you. Cheers!

  • Cheryl Blau

    To all of the descendents of Ezekial Solomon, I am honored to know of you! I am currently writing a new curriculum for the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan about how Jews first came to Michigan and Detroit including Jewish life here from that time up to now. These lessons will be taught to students in grades 5-7 at many of the Jewish congregations in the suburbs of Detroit beginning this fall (2014). Your ancestor, Ezekial Solomon, was the first Jew to come to Michigan, so he is the beginning of our story of all of the Jewish communities here. For this reason, he will be the first person our students learn about in their exploration of the Jewish history of Michigan and Detroit. I thought you might enjoy so many young people here will be learning about your ancestor!
    Cheryl Blau, Ph.D.

    • Jessica Outram

      Wow!! That is amazing! Is there a way I can access the lessons. I will be a Principal in September in a K-8 school. It would be cool to share some of my heritage with the students in that way…I will email you. Thanks for sharing this info.

    • Cheryl Puddicombe-Penney

      Being in education myself, it’s pretty exciting that the history of my 6x great-grandfather is going to be included as an important part of your curriculum! I’d really like to know more about his life before leaving Germany but can’t seem to find any information. If you come across it, that would be great to know. When a cousin of mine did research on this part of our family tree, I found it surprising that we had family that lived in this area for this long (William Solomon came to live in Penetanguishene after leaving Drummond Island in 1829, and most of us still live in this town & surrounding areas). Not sure if you came across this, but Solomon was originally Solomons. Not sure why the last ‘s’ was dropped-? Anyway, just wanted to say that I was surprised at how interesting this family history really is.

        • Cheryl

          Yes, my grandmother (Elvine) was a Gauthier before marrying my grandfather (Frederick). Her sister married into the Lalonde family. Most of us still live in this area. Small world!

  • Pamela Grech

    I am also a descendant of Ezekiel Solomon he is my 4x Great Grandfather. Up until 2 years ago I had no idea of my Jewish ancestry, or Metis or voyageurs, being a history nerd I had a huge sense of pride. I’ve been researching the Solomon line for a while, the highs and lows of researching your family tree two hundred years after the fact is incredible. The synagogue in Montreal is the Spanish Portuguese is stunning and has a wonderful website. There is documentation of Ezekiel going to the Synagogue in NYC for High Holy Days as well. Hopefully I get there soon to carry on researching. I’ve made the trip to Midland and Penetanguishene. My first 2 trips to Penetang I had a few names only one being Solomon and I thought that was a typo. The archive in Penetang is amazing the information is extensive and the staff are wonderful.
    My Mother had a box of papers and photos from my Nana’s house some of which were my Great Grandmother from that line. Too bad there aren’t any names or dates written on the back. I would love to share information on this incredible man and those who came after him.

  • Jessica Outram

    Nice to meet you, Pamela! I love how this post keeps bringing together distant cousins. Ezekiel Solomon truly has a remarkable story. Feel free to email any info you have and we can exchange our research. Cheers!

  • Cheryl Puddicombe-Penney

    I’m also a direct descendant’s of Ezekiel Solomon, and have tried to find information about his parents/roots in Germany but have not had any luck. Do you know of anyone who would know more about his life before arriving in Canada?

    • Jessica Outram

      Unfortunately, I don’t have any more information about his life in Germany. I had initially looked at that–then I gave up and focused on his North American life. I figured that if anyone knew anything about that it would come up in his stuff here…There may be records of his visits to New York on Ancestry.com. I think he came to North America with brothers/cousins. I’ll have a look for my notes. Great to meet you! Cheers!

  • Walter

    I just met a descendant of Ezekiel Solomon from northern Manitoba who told me that he married several First Nations women during his fur trading days. I also heard that his remains were transferred from a Jewish? cemetary to a Catholic Church because his descendants were Catholic. Can anyone confirm these details?

    • Pamela Grech

      Hi Walter, I’ve been trying to trace Ezekiels burial. I’ve been in contact with the Jewish cemeteries in Montreal. At one point in my research I found that he his body was brought back to Montreal for a proper burial. I’ll now branch out my search to local churches.

  • Greg Brown

    I myself am a great descendant of Ezekiel on my grandmothers side. I come from the Killarney side of Solomon and have been told stories of Ezekiel from my great grandfather who married an aboriginal lady. A interesting fact is he came from my grandmothers side of the family. She married an aboriginal man. Well on my Grandfathers side of the Family leads right down the line to Chief Pontiac. This is interesting.

  • Barry Rapoport

    I am not a descendent of Ezekial Solomon. I became aware of him because of the historical marker placed by the Michigan Historical Society. I am interested in the South Haven, MI Jewish Resort Era. And any descendants of Ezekial Solomon that May have knowledge or relatives from that time.

  • Dave Boissineau

    I too am a decendant of Ezekiel. If you google or check the internet for information on Leo Boissineau/Ezekiel Solomon you will find information on a plaque dedication to Ezekiel in 1964 in Mackinaw Michigan. My great Uncle Leo Boissineau is in the picture listed as a decendant. Thanks!

  • Karen

    I am not a decendant. I do volunteer at Colonial Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City. We get questions all the time about Ezekial as there is a plaque as mentioned previously as well as an exhibit of the Solomon – Levy home/trading post. Some of our historical interpretive staff have studied about him to better answer questions. Just today I talked with a family from Israel and that’s what inspired me to read some more this evening when I found your site. If you are in our area, I think you would find a visit to your relative ‘ s home here very interesting

    • Jessica Outram

      Thanks for your note, Karen! I have been there before and it was well worth the trip. Very cool to see his house and to read about him. I even picked up a book there with details of the archaeological dig that was done there years ago. It’s such a fascinating story and so deeply connected to North American history!

  • Cheryl Blau

    Dear Jessica and other Ezekiel Solomon descendants,

    I have almost completed the final version of the four-lesson “Traveling Trunk” Curriculum on the Jewish History of Michigan and Detroit in which your great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Ezekiel Solomon, figures prominently! As soon as it is completed, I will gladly send you the Student Journal I have created for the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan to accompany these lessons. You may be happy to know that I have included your sunshineinajar.com email address in our curriculum so that students and teachers can contact you to find out more about Ezekiel Solomon by reading the information and emails from other Ezekiel Solomon descendants that are posted there.

    I do have three questions that I have been unable to answer in the research I have done. Do you by any chance have the answer to any of them?

    (1) Did Ezekiel Solomon, Chapman Abraham, Gershon Levi, Benjamin Lyons, and Levi Solomons travel together on their canoe journeys from Montreal to Michigan and back, or were they business partners who traveled separately and possibly even along different routes?

    (2) Do we know if they typically traveled from Montreal up the Ottawa River, into the Mattawa River, across Lake Nippising, down the French River into Georgian Bay and into Lake Huron, or did they typically travel from Montreal down the St. Lawrence River, through Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, through Niagara and Detroit into Lake Huron?

    (3) Did they travel and trade BETWEEN Mackinac and Detroit, or did they travel Montreal-Detroit-Montreal and/or Montreal-Mackinac-Montreal?

    I will reread the information on your website to see if I can find any of the answers there.

    By the way, I did read that Ezekiel Solomon and Levi Solomons were cousins. It was interesting to read in your notes on this blog that for some reason, Ezekiel dropped the “s” at the end of his last name!

    Shana Tovah to you and all the descendants of Ezekiel Solomon!


    Cheryl 🙂

    • Jessica Outram

      Hi Cheryl,
      What an exciting project to part of!! Thank you so much for including me. In response to your questions…I’ll answer each of the questions in a separate comment field in response to this comment.

      I’ve received an email from another researcher with this information.


      “I am a descendant of a man named Levy Hart, a Jewish merchant that came to New York with his cousin Jonas Solomon in 1755, with the intent to become sutlers to the British Army during the French and Indian War.

      Levy Hart and Jonas Solomon settled in Monmouth County, New Jersey by 1756, where my 5th Great Grandfather ended up running a tavern instead of supplying the army.

      As you may be aware, Ezekiel Solomon was a member of a five man consortium that included Levi Solomon, Chapman Abrahams, Benjamin Lyon, and Gershon Levy.

      Levi Solomon and Ezekiel Solomon were said to have been cousins. I have reason to believe that Jonas Solomon was the brother of one of them. Levi Solomon and Chapman Abrahams were naturalized in New York City in 1755.

      After years of research, it appears that all of these men were all related to each other. Levi Hart and Jonas Solomon took over Levi Solomons business in Northern New Jersey when he went to Albany and then Montreal with the consortium.

      Alexander Henry was from New Brunswick, New Jersey, not far from where Levy Hart’s tavern was.

      Although the lives of the consortium members including Ezekiel are well documented after 1755, where they were and what they were doing before that year has not been tracked down.

      That is the quest I am on.”


      “Thanks for your note. I have continued my research, and as a result, have uncovered an absolutely ridiculous number of coincidences tying the consortium members I mentioned in my original email, to my Levy Hart and Jonas Solomon in Middlesex and Monmouth Counties in New Jersey. There are many coincidences but no “smoking gun”. I am still looking for a definitive record that ties Levi Solomon, Ezekiel Solomon or any of the consortium members to being in New Jersey before they went to Albany and then Montreal in the 1750’s.

      Genealogy by coincidence…

      Here are just some examples….

      One of Levy Hart’s grandsons obituaries states Levy was connected to a Levi Solomon when he first came to America.

      Levy Hart and Jonas Solomon were on the same short list of people requesting naturalization in NYC as Benjamin Lyon and Gershom Levy of the consortium in February, 1756.

      Abraham I Abrahams a Jewish merchant in NYC was the NYC agent of the consortium when they were in Albany. His son in law Alexander Zuntz advertised Levy Hart’s Tavern in Monmouth County NJ for sale in the NY papers in 1787.

      Chapman Abrahams was one of the five consortium members.

      Both Levy Hart and Jonas Solomon married sisters named Applegate. John Applegate, their third cousin, was in business with a Jacob Abrahams in NYC in 1770. Almost certainly a relation of Abraham I. Abrahams.

      That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are a ot more of ’em.

      But it’s all I have to go on.

      I keep looking for that smoking gun…”

      • Wing Mayer

        Hi Jessica, I stumbled onto your site and read with interest your info on The Solomons, in particular your posting on Sep 2 2015 at 6:27 AM regarding Jonas Solomon in Monmouth County NJ, and his wife Hannah Applegate, my direct ancestors. Unfortunately you did not identify the gentleman from whom this info was gleaned and I would love to know the connection if any between Jonas and Ezekiel, or at least who Jonas’ parents might have been. Any way to reconnect with this person, or others who might have info on Jonas? Thanks for all the great info on your site. Much appreciated.

    • Jessica Outram

      In terms of where they travelled–certainly I’ve seen evidence that they travelled and traded between Mackinac and Montreal. I don’t remember seeing any references to Detroit, but it wasn’t on my radar. I have some books I can check on the weekend.

      The route you list in question #2 through the French River is the routed listed in our Canadian history books that was typical for traders–but I think if I remember correctly Ezekiel used more than one route. He was a big player in those days in the fur trade. I’ll try to put together a post soon about his role in the fur trade.

    • Brendan O'Gorman

      Hi, Paul. You might try the York University archives used by the Godfreys. I’m not sure how old they are or if they are still alive, but you could try reaching them personally through YU. I once saw an original document on line, a petition signed by Ezekiel and others soon after the Conquest requesting the colonial governor to not impose civil disabilities upon “His Majesty’s Jewish-Protestant subjects”. I can’t recall if it was hand written or press printed, but I do remember reading that some legal scholars consider that petition to be the opening shot in the struggle for human rights in post -Conquest Canada. Unfortunately that was a couple of computers ago, and I lost the link. When I searched for it again I couldn’t find it. Good luck!

      • Paul King

        Brendan. Thanks. I have a copy of the Godfreys’ book, Search Out the Land, and Ezekiel’s involvement in the fight for civil liberties in Quebec is well documented.
        The fur trade consortium to which he belonged also petitioned Government officials for losses suffered in the Pontiac uprising of 1763.

    • Brendan O'Gorman

      Hello, Cheryl. Don’t know if you’ll see this, but I’ll post my thoughts anyway. Between 1761and the mid 1780’s Ezekiel and his colleagues would most definitely have canoed the Ottawa to French River route. Though it contained many portages, it was the fastest route, and the voyageurs had travel by cargo canoe down to a science. I learned this last summer at the interpretive centre at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park, located on the Mattawa River about 14km west of the town of Mattawa, Ontario. Most importantly, this route provided more opportunities for finding shelter in bad weather and places to repair the canoes, if necessary, as was often the case, than by travelling on the open lakes. Repairs were made with birch bark, twine or vines, and hot pitch made from a variety of ingredients, but primarily pine tar and bear fat, the proportions varying according to the time of year that they were travelling, as higher viscosity was needed in warmer weather. With the end of the US War of Independence in 1783, the Americans began to assert their sovereignty, and US customs cutters would often seize and search British vessels on the lower lakes (history has tended to focus on the Royal Navy’s guilt in doing such things on the high seas). As the Ottawa-French route afforded greater protection from such encroachments, being as it was well within the crown’s boundaries, it continued to be used. However, by this time there were many sailing vessels plying Lakes Ontario and Erie, and before the decade was out the Northwest Company’s schooner Nancy was regularly sailing from Niagara to Detroit to Mackinac and the Sault. I would speculate that as Ezekiel got older, this would become his favoured means of transport, for his person if not for his cargo. It would still entail a lengthy portage along the Niagara river, as the Welland Canal had yet to be built, but larger bulk items that could not be transported by canoe, such as live stock, could now sail from Ft. Erie to Detroit and Windsor, then on to Mackinac and Sault Ste. Marie. This service continued until the Nancy was destroyed in an action in the the summer of 1814 on the Nottawasaga River, where it was hiding from US vessels in the hope that it could break out and resupply Mackinac.

      • Jessica Outram

        Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us! You posted a number of fascinating comments in the last couple of days and I’m so thankful for the information. I’m sure our readers will enjoy reading!

  • sheila sellick

    I have done an extensive history on the Labatte’s and traced the history back to Ezekiel. I was in touch with the University in Pennsylvania and they sent me a lot of info. Ezekiel was selected to sit on an inquiry set up by King George to look into the slave trade. What I am looking for is info as to why they selected him and more copies of the transcript for the inquiry. Do you have this info? I am willing to share what info I have with you.
    Thanks and good hunting for more info.

    • Paul King

      I suspect that this may be Ezekiel Salomon, son of Chaym Salomon, with no connection to our fur trader Ezekiel. Please give exact sources.

      • Paul King

        On 13 October 2013, Sheila Sellick wrote that “Ezekiel was selected to sit on an inquiry set up by King George to look into the slave trade.” I replied on 21 January 2016 that this was probably not our Ezekiel Solomon. I now must “eat crow” and retract my statement. Sheila Sellick was right. Through contact with the Library at the Katz Center for Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania I received information and two documents confirming that in the summer of 1803 Ezekiel Solomons sat on a Commission at Michilmakinac to examine specific issues pertaining to the disposition of properties including those entailed in the slave trade. The full circumstances surrounding the case are not clear and the number of depositions presented to the Commission in these particular matters is not known. The signing of the depositions was witnessed by three members of the Commission: David Mitchell, Ezekiel Solomons, and Joseph Laframboise.

        The depositions were apparently written in French and translated into English. They were published in Lande’s Canadian Historical Documents and Manuscripts (Montreal, 1977-82), as entry no.B844. I wish to thank Dr. Bruce Nielsen, Librarian at the Katz Center, University of Pennsylvania, for making the material available.
        The public task assigned to Ezekiel makes it clear that he understood the French language with sufficient competence to follow the legal proceedings. Document no. 2 is signed twice by Solomons. These signatures do not appear in the records I received.

        Of uncanny interest, however, is the fact that the wives of the three Commissioners were independently active in the fur trade. Ezekiel’s wife, Louise Dubois, is recorded at least once as the “Merchant Company” who engaged voyageur Alexandre Petis on 26 March 1783 to carry merchandise, victuals and skins on the route from Montreal to Michilimackinac and return. The fur trader role of Elizabeth Mitchell is mentioned in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography (on-line) and in Van Kirk’s book, Many Tender Ties. Insight into Magdelaine Laframboise’s fur trade activity may be found under her name in Wikipedia as well as an on-line 2009 MA Thesis by Janet Timmerman. Independent female responsibility and direct engagement in the fur trade as bourgeois entrepreneurs is a rare phenomenon.

        • Brendan O'Gorman

          I’d like to suggest the idea that Louise probably ran the business a good part of the time whenever Ezekiel was away or ill. She would likely have taken an active role in the business from early on in the marriage, would have been thoroughly familiar with both European and FN traders who did business at Michillimackinac, and, I’m willing to bet, she would have known of their approach long before they got there, perhaps giving her an edge over the competition.

  • cimberleigh

    I too am a descendant of Ezekiel. I once read there are around 20,000+ descendants due to the sizes of families that each of Ezekiels’ children had including second marriages and illegitimate children. And that the ties to Solomon’s bloodline run from Montreal to Louisiana.

    My bloodline runs as such:

    Ezekiel – William – Ezekiel – Lucy Solomon, who married into the Thibault Metis from Wikwemikong and settled along the Algoma shores from Thessalon to the Sault. We all reside in the area to this day should anyone want any information.

  • Cyrus johnson

    Hello, i am in high school at the moment and we are doing an ancestry project in social studies. my grand mother told me a little bit about ezekiel and that we are related to him, and her brother attended the reunion on mackinac island in 2001, please email me any info you have found (cyrusjohnson4321@gmail.com) and you post has helped me alot, thanks.

  • Paul King

    I, too, have acquired an intensive interest in Ezekiel Solomon following a late summer canoe trip on the Upper Pickerel and French Rivers. Within the space of 4 days I met:
    a) a descendant of the fur trader and merchant Aaron Hart;
    b) a descendant of Olivier Tardif, ship captain and translator for Samuel de Champlain;
    c) a descendant of Ezekiel Solomon, a social activist living on the Henvey Inlet First Nation Reserve.

    Ezekiel Solomon’s sister married Aaron Hart’s brother.

    If I succeed (technically) in entering Jessica’s blog, I believe I can make several small contributions to the Ezekiel Solomon saga.

    • Jessica Outram

      Hi Paul! Thanks so much for sharing this information. We all appreciate any contributions to our collection of information. I’m overwhelmed by the comments on this post–it’s such an amazing collection of people who are connected to Ezekiel Solomon from all over North America.

      • Paul King

        Thank you Jessica for admitting me into the circle of individuals with an interest in the life and times of Ezekiel Solomon. Marvelous and solid work on Ezekiel Solomon has already appeared in your blog. Some contributions are less firm, in many cases because knowledge about the elusive Ezekiel Solomon lacks confirming documentation. I wish to begin my reflections on a very common question: how do we interpret the appearance of two spellings (at least) for Ezekiel’s surname? Why do we sometimes find ‘Solomon’ and sometimes ‘Solomons’? There are several answers we can give to this question.
        In the pre- social security era exactitude in the spelling of names carried little legal and administrative weight. The same legal document could bear the name ‘Solomon’, ‘Solomons’, ‘Salomon’ (and other variants), all referring to the same individual. Even when a fur trade contract, for example, contained surname spelling consistency, the next contract by the same fur trader might have a different, or even a garbled spelling. Such was the case with Gershom Levy, one of the consortium along with Ezekiel who accompanied the British forces as purveyors in the capture of Quebec in 1759. The clerk was not familiar with the Hebrew name which appears as Garcon, Garson, Garchou, Garston, Garsonne, and Gracon. The spelling variations did not matter and were not contested on orthographical (correct spelling) grounds. In the voyageur shipping records contracted in Montreal, we find Ezechiel Solomon and Ezechiel Salomon.
        Another explanation for the frequent appearance of Solomon and Solomons may derive from Solomon as a surname and Solomons as a patronymic. A patronymic is the name derived from a father. This was a customary way of identifying a person before the official acquisition of surnames. Thus ‘Solomons’ may well have been, in German, Solomonsohn, that is, son of Solomon.

        Another way of explaining the ‘s’ in Solomons was suggested to me in a recent reply to my question about Ezekiel’s last name by the renowned expert in Jewish names, Dr. Alexander Beider. Beider writes that the ‘s’ in Solomons may be a possessive suffix; that is, Ezekiel Solomons means Ezekiel ‘of Solomon’. This is essentially the patronymic argument dressed in linguistic language. Thus, ‘Ezekiel Solomons’ allows us to understand that Ezekiel was the given name which his parents, Solomon and wife, bestowed on this son. We can cite many examples of this possessive preposition: e.g., Franks, Jones, Abrahams, Myers, Jacobs, Harris (son of Harry).

        This insight might well provide access to Ezekiel’s lineage. I wish to address this issue in my next posting.

        Paul King

          • Paul King

            Trying to Trace Ezekiel Solomon’s origins

            The initial reaction to seeking Ezekiel’s origins may seem unnecessary to those familiar with the patches of information we have about him. The single reported source comes from an autobiographical account by his grandson, Lewis Solomon, who states clearly and briefly: “My father’s name was William Solomon, Government interpreter. His father, Ezekiel Solomon, was born in the city of Berlin, Germany, came to Montreal and went up to the ‘Sault’.” (In A. C. Osborne, Ontario Historical Society Papers and Records, vol. 3, Toronto, 1901. On-line, page 6: http://my.tbaytel.net/bmartin/Drummond.htm) This would certainly appear to be a reliable source. The question for the historian is whether this assertion can be verified through any available birth records from the period.

            At one point, the competent and thorough historian of early Canadian Jewry, Sheldon Godfrey, believed that Ezekiel Solomon might have come from Prague. He thought that Ezekiel may have been banished from that city in the mass expulsion of the Jews initiated by Empress Maria Theresa in 1744. Subsequently, Godfrey embraced the now widespread acceptance of Berlin as Ezekiel’s birth place.
            There are data bases for the Jewish community in Berlin in the period relevant for our search. A classic work is Jacob Jacobson’s Juedische Trauungen in Berlin 1723-1759 [Jewish Marriages in Berlin]. This book, published in 1938, has two sections. The first section gives in chronological order the marriages of men and their brides; the second section provides the family heads in chronological order, their wives and the names of their children. Relying on the assumption of my first posting that Ezekiel Solomons means Ezekiel, the son of Solomon, I searched for male marriages which bore the given name Solomon in the period 1735-1742; in addition, I checked the second part for children with the name Ezekiel. The lists yield almost no children with the name Ezekiel, and certainly none which fit into the time frame for the birth of our Ezekiel Solomon. While there are some family heads with the name of Solomon in part I, they do not cite children in the time period with any name which resembles Ezekiel.

            This raises some questions, one of which is the reliability of Lewis Solomon’s claim that his grandfather was born in Berlin. Perhaps Ezekiel Solomon lived in Berlin for a short time after he was born and thus was not enumerated. Dr. Beider, the expert on Jewish names, points out that Ezekiel (or Ezechiel, which is both French and German) is an Anglicization. Even so, his Hebrew name would have been Yechezkel, and one finds no difficulty in making the transition to Ezekiel. But Beider also suggests that Ezekiel was simply chosen because it sounded English: “But nothing excludes the possibility that the actual given name of this person was unrelated to the Biblical Ezekiel, but, for example, Ayzik or Israel, or Isaac etc. and Ezekiel was taken just because it sounded ‘English’. Same for Solomon. The Yiddish form of this biblical name is Shlaume / Shloyme, also Yiddish Zalman. Still the actual name of this person could be unrelated to this biblical name but, for example, Zelikman or Sholem etc. and Solomon was chosen just because it sounds ‘English’. [Private communication with the author, 24 November 2015] This is certainly jarring information which makes the trace nigh impossible.

            The Berlin archival search for Jewish births is not exhausted by the Jacobsen book. Another key work is Rürup and Jersch-Wenzel’s inventory of Judaica in the Prussian State Archive. But the information I received concerning this source on Jewish births and deaths in Berlin confines them to 1743-1752 which would be narrowly outside our time frame.

            Another way to pursue this is to try and turn up information about Ezekiel’s presumed cousin, Levy (Levi) Solomon (Solomons, Salomon). However, the claims of his native origin vary. Apparently, Levy Solomon passed himself off as an Englishman but he was unmasked. The circumstances are disclosed by Godfrey and Godfrey in their 1991 article “The King vs. Moses Gomez et al: Opening the Prosecutor’s File, Over 200 Years Later,” American Jewish Historical Quarterly 80, 1991:397-407. In 1755, Hays convinced government authorities that two Jews engaged in Albany’s fur trade were foreigners, and not born in Plymouth, England as they claimed. Consequently, they had no right to set up their retail businesses. The two were named as Ephraim Chapman and Levi; the Godfreys assert that they were likely Chapman Abrahams and Levy Solomons (399). Hays claimed that they were native-born Hollanders. Hays, himself, was from a family of Dutch Jews and would have easily identified them, at the very least by their accents. Moreover, Albany was a Dutch stronghold strengthening the probability that Levy Solomons chose this town because it would enhance and facilitate his business prospects. Of course, Levy Solomons may have been born elsewhere in Europe and spent some time in Holland before arriving in the North American colonies. At any rate, we cannot conclude from the above that Ezekiel Solomons was born in Holland but neither can we exclude that possibility.

            There is no documentary affirmation of a family relationship between Ezekiel and Levy Solomons, although the close trading relationships point to such a connection. A 1768 document contains signatures of both of them, written ‘Solomons’. (See Denis Vaugeois, The First Jews in North America, Montreal: Baraka Books, 2012: 43)

            Well, the elusive Ezekiel Solomon remains so. But the last-mentioned document raises the subject of my next posting: was Ezekiel Solomon illiterate?

            • Paul King

              In my above account of Ezekiel Solomon’s possible Berlin origins I overlooked the fact that Ezekiel had at least one sister, Esther, who arrived in Quebec at an unknown date (probably mid 1760s) and married Moses Hart, the brother of Aaron Hart. I returned to the Berlin Marriages book to see whether there was any family which had children by the names of Esther and Ezekiel, or even Isaac, in 1749 There are 3 families with children named Esther, none of which have a sibling named Ezekiel or Isaac.

              The findings were: Isaac Solomon with son Moses (age 15) and daughter Esther (age 12) on. p. 95, no. 25; Meyer Solomon with son Jacob aged 2 1/2, daughter Lea age 4 1/2, and daughter Esther, 3/4 yr on p. 108, no. 195; and Elias Solomon with son Salomon age 14, daughter Esther age 6, and daughter Malche age 2 1/2 on p. 114, no. 305.

              Thus, we are not closer to affirming the claim of Ezekiel’s grandson that he was born in Berlin.

              • Brendan O'Gorman

                Perhaps the name Ezekiel was adopted to reduce confusion that may have ensued from giving the boy the same given and surname? Maybe “Ezekiel”had been the name of a beloved male relative?

                • Paul King

                  This is a supplement in the search for Ezekiel Solomon’s birth place. As noted, Sheldon Godfrey had once claimed that Ezekiel may have been expelled from Prague in 1744 , along with his family, but he subsequently accepted the Berlin origins. Recently, a list of some of the 2,000- 3,000 Jews expelled from Prague by Queen Maria Theresa was published in “Fase Prazyskych Zidovskych Rodin z Let 1748-1749” [Entries for Prague Jews in 1748-1749], Lucie B. Petrusova, ed. with an introduction by Alexandr Putik, Prague: The Jewish Museum, 2012. Putik notes that “a few Jews left the country”, but most settled in the environs of Prague. It is very unlikely that 1744 Prague exiles who went abroad can be traced. I found only one Solomon in the very incomplete returnees list, Elias Solomon, a shoemaker, wife Musketl, and son Mordche [Mordechai]. My personal guess is that Ezekiel did not come from a Prague, that is, Bohemian, family.

  • Paul King

    Addressing the [Il]literacy of Ezekiel Solomon

    In 1780, a Hudson Bay clerk reporting on fur trade activity in the area north of Lake Superior, referred by name to “the illiterate Jew”, Ezekiel Solomon. The epithet can easily be construed as an anti-semitic slur. The Hudson Bay Company seemed to have an unwritten policy of not employing Jews. It is not the only recorded designation of the religious identity of Ezekiel. Daniel Claus, in charge of Indian Affairs for the Quebec area referred to a visitor he received in the evening of the 16th of September 1770 as “Solomon the Jew from Michilimackinac”. (Corey, ed., William Johnson papers, vol. VIII, 948) Claus may simply have been clarifying which Solomon he was hosting that evening, assuming that there were other non-Jews from Michilimackinac who bore the name Solomon. Certainly, it was a common first name among both Indians and French voyageurs and coureurs du bois. Regardless of Claus’s intent, the HBC official’s remark has an antagonistic intonation, but the full context in which “the illiterate Jew” is embedded may illuminate the scope of this remark

    “the trade here in the little north as they call it is Entirely carried by an Illiterate Jew, one Ezekiel Solomon a kind of peddling merchant at mountreal.” (See Godfrey & Godfrey, Search Out the Land”, 115, with quote source)

    The Bay was quite concerned with Montreal bourgeois, that is, fur trade entrepreneurs intercepting Indians with their canoe loads of furs heading for the HBC posts along Hudson Bay. These so-called peddlers were bringing an assortment of goods to exchange with the Indians in return for their furs. The reach out and wintering among the Indians of the Montreal traders was choking Indian/HBC commerce. Thus the “illiterate Jew” epithet was not only a racial slight but expressed disdain for the petty trade (peddling) which ranked far below the business and bulk form of exchange between the forts along the Bay and the ports of England.

    Our focus, however, is the choice of the word “illiterate” and its intended meaning, or use. While it may certainly describe a person who cannot read or write, it may also carry the sense of an uneducated or uncultured person. The two meanings are often not separated but the particular skills of not being able to read or write in a particular language do not preclude speaking skills, genteel manners, proficiency in accounting and trade, and so forth. The accusation of being “an illiterate” is often used as a term of reproach, denunciation and dismissal. Thus, we encounter the assertion by Sir William Johnson, Superintendent for Indian Affairs, describing the renowned Robert Rogers in 1767 as “a very illiterate man” just two years after Rogers published two well-received books in England. (See Stacey, Robert Rogers, DCB) In this context, the literal meaning of “illiterate” gives way to its use as a smear and effort to disgrace. This is further brought out by the HBC official’s continuation that ES “has got an old serjent in partnership”, thereby suggesting the weakness of the Jew’s venture into Nipigon territory. But twelve months later, another HBC detail emerges declaring that Solomon was “master of all the Trading Houses in this part of the Country.” (see Godfrey and Godfrey, op. cit., 115.)

    To be continued.

  • Paul King

    Could Ezekiel Solomon been illiterate? Certainly, most of the coureurs du bois were illiterate and probably a good percentage of the voyageurs who led the freight canoes along the routes from Montreal to the major outposts. Could Ezekiel have managed to enter into so many Indian trade contracts, be a major partner in a general store at Michilimackinac, and have some of his children educated at schools in Montreal, and be unable to read and write?


    There is at least one published document which contains Ezekiel’s signature. It appears, along with the signatures of five other fur traders, in a petition to Governor Guy Carleton asking for compensation for losses sustained in the French-Indian War and Pontiac’s Uprising. (see Vaugeois, The First Jews in North America, 43) Each signature is written differently, verifying that the hand that wrote the name is the hand that owns the name. Thus, Ezekiel’s signature may serve as a litmus test for comparing and authenticating any other material claimed to have been written by him. The signature alone is not sufficient to affirm his literacy.

    But Ezekiel apparently had some acquaintance with reading Hebrew. He received the synagogue honour of being hatan Torah, that is, the person who is called upon at the Sabbath and holiday services to recite the prayers before and after the reading of the Bible passages appropriate for that particular Sabbath or holy day. This does not mean that he read and spoke Hebrew on other occasions, or even that he could converse and read in the language of the Hebrew scriptures. We do not know whether he knew Yiddish, a vernacular language which derived from Hebrew and German, since his Berlin birth, as I previously pointed out, has not been solidly verified. If he was of Hispanic origin he may well have known Ladino, a mixture of Hebrew and Spanish rather than Yiddish.

    Joseph Simon

    Joseph Simon (1712-1804) arrived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania between the middle and the end of the1830s. He soon became a leading merchant and Indian trader throughout the colony, a major land-holder, and supplied the Continental army with war material. Like Ezekiel, Joseph Simon was the founder of a synagogue. He ran a store and undertook 12 partnerships during his lifetime, several simultaneously. Joseph Simon was also illiterate. All his correspondence he dictated to others. He could sign his name. (See Brener, The Jews of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1979), whose lengthy biography of Simon devotes two paragraphs to his illiteracy, bringing to bear diverse evidence that he could neither read nor write English. (http://images.shulcloud.com/183/uploads/JewsofLancaster.pdf , p. 9)
    The case of the analphabet Joseph Simon reinforces the conjecture that Ezekiel Solomon, even if handicapped by an inability to read and write English, could have successfully supervised his fur trade company, managed a general store in Michilimackinac, and taken an active role in communal religious life.

    Should documents written in Ezekiel Solomon’s hand come to light, the above excursus will be rendered superfluous.

  • Kris Erichsen

    My name is Kris Erichsen and I’m a direct descendant of Ezekiel. My grandmother did a great deal of research and made a complete family tree for us. She wanted us to know about our heritage. She’s not related to him, but my grandfather, James Solomon is.
    My grandfather’s name, as well as the name Daniel, my uncle, appear many times along the generations. If you find those names, chances are, that’s my line. If you’re interested, I can try to send some info from the book she made.

  • claudette

    Hi all. I am also a descendant of Ezekiel Solomon. I am his 5x great grand daughter. I would love any and all infor I can get. It on my mothers side. and I also know that my 4x great grandmother was a indian princess in sault st marie area. I love all the infor that is shared here. Thank you all for sharing. Please feel free to email me.

  • Alice Cloud

    Hello, I have direct blood line to Pontiac. I see on my family tree some people with the last name if Solomon. I am trying to figure out if we have Jewish ties because of Agibcona? I want to say that we are because of her blood line. But I am not sure of this. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    • Paul King


      Who is Agibcona? And does anyone know when, where or why Ezekiel’s wife, Louise Dubois, received the name Okimabinesikwe? Are there Indian meanings attached to these names?

      Paul King

      • Jessica Outram

        William Solomon (1777-1857, Ezekiel’s son) had a number of children with Agibicona (1775-1800) before he married Marguerite Johnston (1793-1840). Unfortunately, I don’t know the meanings of either name.

      • Karen Bell

        Ezekiel’s son, William, had children with a Indigineous woman named Agibicocona. The children that I am aware of are Henri, Marie Louise, and Sophie. I am a descendant of Sophie and I am trying to find out more about her husband. Sometimes I find his name as being Amable and sometimes Benjamin. I think it might be Amable Benjamin Dusang but if anyone can provide some information on this, I would greatly appreciate it. William later married two other women and had more children.

  • Deborah Crawford

    Many have tried to discover why (or even if) Elizabeth Dubois has been assigned a First Nations name; it may just be because descendants wanted to associate such with her, it may be because she was highly thought of in the FN community on Mackinac Island and therefore granted a FN name. We’ll probably never know. To this day, to my knowledge, neither her or Ezekiel’s parents have been definitively identified. For now, the mischievous couple are keeping that from us. I do believe, however, that evidence uncovered by very thorough and trustworthy researchers indicate that Ezekiel was NOT born in Berlin. In the early days of the British rule in Canada & then later in the U.S. during the early days after their 1776 revolution, many people of French background would be reported as being born in France. We know this was false, many of them being two or three generations away from anyone with a birthplace in France – but it was what was recorded. I think the association of a birthplace of Berlin for Ezekiel Solomon was simply because he was of a European origin and people recognized that placename, whereas they may not have recognized Bohemia or Austria. Again, that’s not yet been determined for sure and may never be. Ezekiel Solomon & Elizabeth Dubois were also my six times great grandparents – at the reunion in Mackinaw City in 2003 I met several of the people who have posted above, and have met many more since. We are quite a large group! I have since returned to the region many times, visited with Ezekiel at his trading post in Colonial Fort Michilimackinac and wandered around in their footsteps. One of my favourite spots on this earth.

      • Deborah Crawford

        Yes, there were a couple of articles in the local (i.e. St. Ignace and Mackinac Island papers) and even in one Jewish newspaper.

    • Brendan O'Gorman

      My research has brought me to the conclusion that she was half French and half Anishnaabe. The Bird clan are the spiritual leaders of the people. Hate to bring up the cruder aspects of eighteenth century imperialism, but marriage into influential indigenous families by traders was by then a time honoured recipe for good business. You also need to understand that during this time Mackinac was no backwater; it was the commercial hub of the fur trade in central North America. Pre-1760 it was the middle of New France, linking the Mississippi with the Great Lakes, the Prairies, and the St. Lawrence. To marry a woman with family ties in both Quebec and among indigenous peoples in the heart of the continent would have been of incalculable value to Ezekiel, and he most certainly would have known it. His documented success in the fur trade is proof of it; so too, unfortunately, was the destruction of indigenous culture at that time. However, it is extremely important to also note that Ezekiel and Louise are among the fathers and mothers of the Metis nation in North America, and whether or not we choose to take the political action of self-identifying as Metis, one of the three indigenous peoples of Canada, if we are their descendants, we are Metis.  

        • Brendan O'Gorman

          Happy Canada Day to you, too, Jessica, and happy first day of summer vacation! I enjoyed reading your post on the Secret Garden, and passed it on to my wife who conducts K-8 tours at a farm in Milton. I will find my file on how I discovered my Solomon roots and post it, and in the coming weeks I’ll post more of what I learned back in 09-10. We went to Colonial Michilimackinac and visited the Solomon-Parent house. I hope to soon make the trip to Mackinac Island. As a boy, long before I ever heard of Ezekiel, I was fascinated by this period of history. I remember reading a book titled “The Row Boat War” by a man named Swazye, a YA novel about the 1812-15 conflict in the Mackinac area (from an English Canadian perspective) published in 1965. Little did I know that I had such a deep personal connection to this place and time. My interest had always been stimulated by the fact that I spent every summer of my life (up to the age of 50) at my Great- Aunt Katie Moreau’s cottage at Moreaus Bay, near Go Home Bay ON (check it on Google Earth), quite unwittingly being immersed in my Metis heritage by learning to hunt, fish, canoe, pick berries and other edibles, learn how to deal with rattlers and black bears, and best of all, enjoy my Aunt Kate’s, and my Gramma’s, legendary cooking. I once ate 12 catfish in one sitting when I was 13. It was the end of the summer and she wanted to empty the freezer. I was more than willing to help! She was truly remarkable, and anyone who met her would never forget her (especially if you worked for her; every silver lining has its leaden exterior, and she was one tough task mistress; catch hell from her and you weren’t likely to forget it). She knew every shoal from Penetang to Pointe au Baril, could look at a tree and tell you how many board feet of lumber were in it, out-fish anybody, and before her eyesight began to fail in her early 70’s, was a crack shot with anything from a .22 to a 12 gauge shotgun. In her younger years she would stay the winter at GHB, employing men that she would drag out of the Brule Tavern in Penetang (at $1.00/day) to cut ice on the lake that would be sold to summer cottagers for their ice boxes, storing the ice, covered in sawdust, in a pit in the “ice house”, which did double duty as a tool shed until Ontario Hydro electrified the Georgian Bay shore in the mid 1950’s. Those men worked hard, but had a warm place to sleep, never ate better in their lives, and had far more money in their pocket when the ice-cutting season ended than they ever had because she wouldn’t tolerate any drinking while they worked for her. It was Canada Day weekend when we (myself, siblings and 8 cousins) would go “up the lakes” to stay they summer with Aunt Katie and Gramma, So today I’m thinking of them.

    • Brendan O'Gorman

      Perhaps the genetic testing of a Solomon descendant with no other known FN lineage could determine if Louise had FN blood? This would exclude William’s descendants by Agibicocona and Maguerite Johnston, but what about those of Josephine Legris? or of ES and LD’s daughter Sophie, who married and lived in Detroit?

      • Deborah Crawford

        William and Josephine Legris had no children – she had at least one when she married him, but that was from her first marriage. As for the DNA testing to determine Elizabeth Dubois’ ethnic origins, I believe that she is too far back from all of us for DNA to be able to show much more than a slim percentage, if it shows up at all. She’s my six times great grandmother and for most people on this site, or of this generation, she would be at least five or six times back. From what I understand about DNA studies and results, the further back you go, the less chance you have of finding anything on one specific ancestor.

        • GENDREAU-HETU, Pierre


          Please let me first thank the people who have been commenting on this very interesting topic. I was following the thread, looking for information about a STRICTLY FEMALE lineage descended from Élisabeth DUBOIS. Contrary to the previous statement, one specific set of DNA data would 100% shed the light on DUBOIS’ origin — it is called mitochondrial DNA, transmitted along the female line only. If someone, male or female, can trace their lineage to DUBOIS through mothers, we would get the answer by having the descendant’s DNA tested. I have been doing this for years with my Quebec mtDNA Project and a few times for specifically Native lineages (my wife’s and children’s to begin with!). I wrote a paper on such a research in Histoire Quebec. Now I want to get in touch with a person whose line of mothers reaches Elisabeth DUBOIS. Maybe this blog already is aware of such a person. If so, the Quebec mtDNA Project (a non profit initiative) would be happy to set up a collaborative Elisabeth DUBOIS project. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to use this blog. Best regards, Pierre

    • Paul King

      Patricia Jealous (April 23, 2016) asks if there is any information about Benjamin Lyons from who she believes she is descended. Patricia, if you could provide a genealogical line of descent, that might help others to confirm your linkages to Benjamin Lyon. In the meantime, you might try the on-line genealogy programme GENI and you can also post to JewishGen (there is no cost to register) where there are at least two databases of value: Family Tree of the Jewish People (FTJP) and the JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF).

      David Rome wrote 2 1/2 pages on Benjamin Lyon in the Canadian Jewish Archives, vol. 21, 1981: pp 118-120, entitled “The Partners: Benjamin Lyon(s)”
      Benjamin Lyons was partnered for a brief period with the well-known fur-trader, John Askin. By coincidence, only yesterday I came across information on this relationship in the on-line State Historical Society of Wisconsin, vol. XIX, Reuben Thwaites, ed. Madison, 1910. For example, image 294-5 has Asking writing to Alexander Henry: “Lyons wintered with us here.” In 1780, there was a partnership of Askin, Lyons and Bostwick, and Lyons was at Mackinac as early as 1776 according to a footnote. A very intriguing entry here is the following: “Both de Peyster and Sinclair used him [Lyons] in aid of the government.”

      Askin gives a brief but penetrating picture of Lyons’ personality. A shipment of defective Strouds had arrived at Mackinac for Askin, Lyons and perhaps others, which angered Askin. Askins notes that this has “hurt his {Lyon’s] tradeI know and as he would be perhaps delicate about complaining, I thought proper to mention to you.[Alexander Henry]”

      Askin at this time shared many shipments 50/50 with Lyons. More Lyon information appears at image 297, 302.

      Recall that Lyon was part of the Consortium which included Ezekiel Solomon in the late 1750s. An advertisement appears in Albany for Levy, Solomons and Company; and Lyon, Levy and Company at their stores in Albany for “fine hard soap, dipt and Mould tallow, and Spermacetae Candles”. Information courtesy of Doug Hart.

      More information on Benjamin Lyon may be found in Denis Vaugeois, The First Jews in North America: The Extraordinary Story of the Hart Family 1760-1860, pp. 41, 43, 45, 43, 256. Also Sheldon & Judith Godfrey, Search Out the Land, 88-9, 91, 97, 113, 278n34, 281n62.


      • Patricia Jealouse

        Thank you Paul King for your response and information regarding Benjamin Lyon. My great x3 grandfather was a Robert Lyons who was married to a native woman. Could be that Benjamin was his father? There is no record that Robert worked for the Hudson Bay in the fur trade industry but possibly worked with his father Benjamin. Robert’s child John Lyons did work for the Hudson Bay and was married to Margaret Kipling. The next line was Thomas Lyons married to Charlotte Pruden also worked for the Hudson Bay. One of their 10 or so children, my Great Grandfather was Miles Lyons who married Victoria Taylor. Then my dad, John Lyons. That is the lineage. Thanks for any more info. Patricia Jealouse (Lyons)

        • Patricia Jealouse

          It was noted in my notes that Robert Lyons was living in St. Clements, Manitoba in 1870… don’t know what age he was.

          • Paul King


            Nothing is known about Benjamin Lyon’s family life, or even if he had a family. The only reference I could find was in Godfey’s “Search Out the Land” which surmises that Barnet Lyons is “possible son of Benjamin.” There is no evidence that Robert, John or Thomas Lyons were descendants or related in any way to Benjamin Lyon, and an association of the former with the Hudson’s Bay Company considerably diminishes this likelihood.

            • Patricia Jealouse

              Thank you for your response. If you seek out Red River Ancestry.ca and look at John Lyons 1786-1785 you will see that there is strong suggestion that he was a descendant of an early independent Jewish free-trader out of Montreal. No degree of certainty for sure but also says “A very likely candidate as Robert Lyons father as the Benjamin Lyon mentioned in the quote from Rabbi Arthur Chiel’s research. It also suggests that Robert worked for Ezekiel Solomons and probably operated one or more of his trading posts in the Albany River Region above Osnaburgh (Red Lake) and that John would therefore have spent at least part of his youth with his father there and/or in the Michilimackinac area. He would become acquainted with the Kipling family from Gloucester House downriver from Ezekiel’s domain.” As a youngster myself, we were told that my dad was jewish/cree. John began his HBC Service in the Albany River District in 1797 it would seem as a young boy and most likely left there by his father. Thank you so much for your post and interest.

      • Paul King

        Errata. I erred (badly) in attributing only 2 1/2 pages on Benjamin Lyon to David Rome’s article on him in the Canadian Jewish Archives 21, 1983. In fact, there were 7 pages: 118-124. At he conclusion of his article, Rome mentions three persons with the surname Lyons: Hyman I. Lyons in the Quebec Gazette, 1809; Nathanial Lyons who was issued a trading license for the Upper Country on Sept 1, 1809; and George Lyons who was issued a trading license for the Upper Country in 1782. None of three are mentioned as elated to Benjamin Lyons or to anyone else. If other Lyons such as Robert or John were connected to Benjamin, Rome would surely have mentioned them. I would side with the professional historian, David Rome, rather than the amateur historian, Rabbi Chiel. But even Rabbi Chiel expressed doubts about any relationship to Benjamin Lyon.

    • Nola Lyons

      Hi Patricia… we are cousins!! I am also descended through Thomas and Charlotte – their son James is my Great Grandfather – your Great Grandfather Miles’ brother! I came across this page while researching Benjamin, since there has always been that lingering question… is he Robert’s father?? I have read this thread with great interest… and I see that once again there are many theories and opinions as to the validity of Benjamin being Robert’s father. Because much of this is conjecture I feel it is acceptable to continue to research Benjamin from the point of view that he may, in fact, be Robert’s father… until someone can definitvely prove otherwise… this is, after all, largely what most genealogical research is for and about, so let’s continue to chase this down!

      One interesting thing I will bring to this discussion… I have had my DNA tested and most everything I expected to discover, based on family trees, history, and available genealogical evidence was confirmed… with a few things thrown in that I hadn’t expected, making for a fun surprise… 🙂 My Indigenous ancestry was evident, as well as what showed up as a tiny percentage of Jewish ancestry… it should be noted that Benjamin Lyons and his possible connection as Robert’s father is the only place, out of all the over 10 years of personal research I have done where there has ever been either any mention of or information regarding any other Jewish ancestry in my tree… so without this link that DNA makes no sense, as it has no foundation anywhere else for me.

      And what keeps me convinced that I should continue to further explore this, when some would question the accuracy of DNA data? The fact that I have several times DNA matched to someone whom, once I clicked on the link to exlore our match, was discovered to have nothing but 100% Jewish ancestry… so the plot thickens, because I’m not sure how else to explain this connection, if not through the only direct ancestor ever to have the word “Jewish” associated with them.

      Am I 100% convinced? I don’t think I can say that anymore than anyone else can claim to be 100% certain that Benjamin is NOT my direct ancestor through Robert (none of us was there at the time!)… just because someone has written something in a book about Benjamin, and Robert is not mentioned… or because someone chooses to prefer or discredit either written or oral history… I think it is presumptuous to assume that no connection of any kind can be made… not everyone is mentioned everywhere, we’ve all found holes in research, especially going so far back… and because part of the attraction and addiction in Genealogical research is tracking down that elusive clue… I’m going to keep enjoying my pursuit!! I hope you continue to enjoy yours also!!

  • Michael E. Solomon

    I am also a descendant of Ezekiel Solomon and have the entire family tree on my side and would be willing to share it with you if you would like some more information. I am glad to see that the story is exactly the same as to what I have documented in the works provided to me.

  • Brendan O'Gorman

    Thank you for your efforts here, Jessica. If you send me an email address I will send you a copy of how I discovered my Solomon roots. Quite the tale. I too am a teacher, though tomorrow I am retiring from teaching after 30 years in both publicly funded systems. I teach English at Chinguacousy Secondary School in Brampton. Incidentally, Chief Chinguacousy was Metis and fought for the Crown during the War of 1812-15. My great-grandfather was Joseph Moreau from Lafontaine, north-west of Pentanguishene, the eldest of the thirteen children of Ferdinand Moreau of Batiscan QC and Sophia Dusang. She was the daughter of Amable Dusang, a sergeant in the Mississippi Volunteers Regiment, a Canadian militia regiment raised on Mackinac in the spring of 1814 to attack and capture Prairie du Chien, then called Fort Shelby, on the Wisconsin side of the upper Mississippi, and Sophie Solomon, b.1796, daughter of William (Guiaumme) Solomon and Agibicocona. Sophie ‘s original baptismal certificate from St. Mary’s church is on file in the Cheboyan County MI records office. I learned this from Brother Thom Smith, the organizer of the first gathering of ES descendants in 2003, with whom I corresponded by email in 2009-10. Because of family and professional commitments I have had little time to pursue this since then, but now that I’m retiring I intend to devote more time to it. I would like to know if Paul King is one of the Roi’s from Go Home Bay. If so, I’m a great-nephew of Katie Moreau. Her sister Alice was my gramma.

    • Rick Henderson

      Hi Brendan. My wife was also of the Ferdinand Moreau/Sophia Dusang line. Her Grandfather was Georges, a brother to Joseph.

  • Cyrus Johnson

    Hello, i am a decendent of Ezekiel through my grandmother, i foud out late last year when i told my grandma that i was doing an ancestry project for social studies 10. I ended up doing my project on Ezekiel, his son William, and grandson Lewis.( i got 100% on the project) i could email you my project ( a power point that i made) but it would only be of use to you if you could read french.

    I found out on some website that Ezekiel had a sister, Ester Solomon, who married a man named Moses Hart who had a lot of business men in his family, like Moses’s brother, Aaron Philip Hart. Aaron lived in Trois Riviers Quebec and even had visits from queen victoria’s father, and one of the first canadian jewish. Aaron was a father of 4, one of witch was Ezekiel Hart, a politician, Ezekiel Hart has a short video online (heritage minutes) showing how he was not able to be part of the legislative assembly of lower canada because he was jewish.

    More on Ezekiel Solomon
    through my research, i found that Ezekiel contracted men from montreal to aid him, and in the late 1770’s, traders recorded finding solomons employess at:

    -Lake Minnitaki
    -Pashkokogan lake
    -lake escabithewan
    -lac seul
    -shikag lake
    and sturgeon lake
    The rendez vous point was at Pays Plat ( which is french, Pays-country, Plat-flat) and travel routes where through lake nipigon at wabinosh bay.

    I have a lot more info, if you want more, or want to see my power point, email me and i will be happy to share more, just sent me an email


    • Paul King

      Well done, Cyrus. There is much work to be done both on the fur-trading activities of the Hart family, and on Ezekiel Solomon’s merchant and fur-trading experiences. One writer claimed that Ezekiel Solomon had about 17 posts in the Nipigon area. It would be interesting to identify all of them. But do you know where Lake Escabitchewan is? I can’t find it. Perhaps it has another name.

      Paul King

  • David Babcock

    It’s amazing to see the diversity and sheer size of people who are part of this lineage. Amazing.
    I too am a descendant and would like to know if anyone has information on a part of the line that seems a little murky. My great grandmother was Felicite(sic) Solomon who ended up marrying a Labatte. Her father was Samuel Solomon who was married to a Therese Laviston or King. No one seems to know who she was or where she came from. Any info on her or this line would be appreciated.

    • Brendan O'Gorman

      Hello, David. You didn’t say where you family is located, but I hope what I have to say is helpful. The name “King” may be the anglicized version of the French name “Roi”. I believe the Lewis Solomon document lists this family as among the Drummond Island Voyageurs who relocated to the Penetanguishene area in 1828. A family whose members used both language forms of the name resided in the Midland-Penetang and Go Home Bay areas. I remember as a boy in the 1960’s and early 70’s the family patriarch Antoine Roi and his wife (can’t recall her name) coming to my Aunt Katie Moreau’s cottage when my uncle, a Catholic priest (Rev. C.J. Prance), was up. He would hear their confessions and say mass. I believe their son Leonard is still alive and living in the M-P area.

  • Jodi Hayami (Gendron)

    Hi Jessica I love visiting your website! I just found out this summer that I too am a descendant of Ezekiel Solomon as well through William Solomon and Marguerite Johnston – long confirming family rumours that we have First Nations ancestry. I have also grown up on the Bay at the family cottage near Beausoileil island, so can completely relate to all the experiences you describe! I am fascinated by Marguerite Johnston and would love to find out more more about her and her parents. I would love to learn their story and why she is listed in some sources and not others as being a daughter of John Johnston. if you have any information to share I would love to discuss! Thank you!

    • Jessica Outram

      Hi Jodi–Yes Marguerite Johnston’s story is fascinating. I wonder why she had a government funeral–did she play a part in treaties?? Oh so much more to learn! Keep in touch. As I find information I try to add it to the site.

      • Brendan O'Gorman

        Did Josephine Legris also have a government funeral? If so, then this was likely a perk given to William for his service to the Crown. If not, then Marguerite may well have received recognition for earning it in her own right.

  • K. O'Brien

    First time reader of your blog. I too attended the Solomon reunion in Mackinac in 2003. Bro. Thom Smith hosted the event and invited the couple ‘Godfrey & Godfrey’ who wrote the book “Search Out the Land”. Interestingly, they were the only Jewish people there. At that time they told us they were researching a second book, because they now thought that Ezekiel Solomon could have been from Austria and not Germany. At that period of time, there was unrest in Austria so it was likely that the Solomon family simply travelled to Germany as their point of departure. I’ve also read that the dropped ‘s’ at the end of Solomon, simply meant ‘son of’. Like the O’ of the Irish means ‘of the clan’.

    • Jessica Outram

      Thank-you so much for sharing that information. I have read varying reports about Ezekiel Solomon’s origins. I have hope that as technology becomes more advanced we will find more connections. It’s amazing how much more information is available since I started this research back in 2006.

  • Wendy Smith

    Hello Jessica, One of our cousins lead me to this posting – I had read some of your others, but not this one; this one is equally enjoyable – thank you for taking the time to compose and post it! I wish I had known about my lineage such that I could have been at the 2003 reunion, or the war of 1812 special events at Mackinaw. But, my mother, for reasons unknown, chose not to share her lineage with me – she was long lived, passing away at 98 in 2013. It was only through DNA testing on Ancestry.com that I learned of my Solomon+Native American lineage. I notice that several others have posted comments relative to DNA testing. With each generation, DNA is diluted 2^n, where n=generation. But, Y-DNA and Mitrochondrial DNA are special and are passed down nearly intact generation to generation. To some degree, Y-DNA testing on a direct paternal descendant of Ezekiel would provide a good anchor point, as my understanding is, Y-DNA is passed father-to-son-to-son, and so on. And, that Y-DNA will have been from Ezekiel’s dad which would then be traceable within migration patterns in Europe. Similarly, a direct maternal descendant of a daughter of Ezekiel+ Marie-Louise, would provide Louise’s MitrochondrialDNA marker. I’m descended through Ezekiel+Marie-Louise’ son, William (DOB 28May1777) + William’s wife Marguerite – they are my 3rd great-grandparents. So my MTdna reflects Marguerite’s Native American mothers’ heritage. In reading your articles and other material, there is the debate of whether Marguerite is one and the same as William’s other wife Agibicona. By comparing the MitrochondriaDNA results of both a maternal descendant of William+Agibicona and a maternal descendant of William+Marguerite, we would know for certain. I know of at least two other maternal descendants of William+Marguerite, but I do not know of any for William+Agibicona … perhaps one of your many readers will know of one.

    • GENDREAU-HETU, Pierre

      This comment is right: ‘Similarly, a direct maternal descendant of a daughter of Ezekiel+ Marie-Louise, would provide Louise’s MitrochondrialDNA marker.’ Can I ask here for a special attention to such a lineage? If anybody can help, please do: locating a female-line descendant of Elisabeth DUBOIS’ would most probably lay to rest the questions we have about her origins. Simple mtFullSequence testing from Family Tree DNA would do the trick. Thank you. Pierre

  • Paul King

    Ezekiel Solomon’s Appearances in ‘Northwest Passage’ – Facts and Fictions

    In Kenneth Roberts’ best selling historical novel, Northwest Passage (published in 1937), the character of Ezekiel Solomon appears five times in direct dialogue with other contemporary historical personalities. The settings are the Falls of St. Anthony [present day Minneapolis} in the company of other fur traders and at the fur trade entrepot of Michilimackinac. In these passages Ezekiel engages the two central figures in the novel, Langdon Towne, the fictitious narrator of this epic work, and the renowned, and to some, infamous Ranger Robert Rogers. The author’s dramatic account was in its time only surpassed in sales by Gone with the Wind. How accurate was the portrayal of Ezekiel Solomon? Given the extremely sparse biographical information available, Roberts could take liberties as well as appeal to literary invention as part of this genre’s craft. But he also kept close to an authentic historical script.

    Roberts himself regarded his novels as “a showup of the historians” and one reviewer considered Northwest Passage as “good history but a poor novel.” There is always an unclear braid between fact and fiction in historical novels, a factor which gives them greater public appeal than unadulterated history.
    Solomon’s physiognomy is drawn in less than enhancing terms: “a slender little man in clothes too big for him” (523), “beady little eyes” (586), “his scrawny neck protruding . . . like that of a plucked chicken” (589). Since no sketch, painting or physical description of Ezekiel has been bequeathed to posterity, Roberts’ skimpy portrait is solely the author’s invention.

    A genealogical note is struck when Solomon quotes a piece of advice he had received from his ‘grandfadder’: “A rabbi he was – a big rabbi.”(588) The difficulty here is that no traces of Solomon’s family, except his sister, have been found, nor is there any indication that either of his grandfathers was a rabbi.

    In two passages, historical geographic accuracy is attained. Solomon is located at the Falls of St. Anthony (586, 673). His immediately previous venture was “winter[ing] on Lake Superior close to Michilimackinac.” Rogers arrived as commandant at the Fort on 10 August 1766 and was removed from his post under ignominious circumstances on 6 December 1767. [see below] He was shipped to Montreal where he was tried for treason, among other charges, and found not guilty. Roberts gained access to the transcripts of Roger’s trial as he was completing his novel. He would have read Ezekiel’s testimony which referred to his “wintering at the Falls of St. Antonis”.

    In terms of moral character, fur trader Solomon shows loyalty, discretion and fastidiousness to his profession. Loyalty and discretion are exhibited towards Major Rogers, the Michilimackinac commandant. “I should be one to say anything against the Major!” (588) The context is the persistent questioning by Langdon about Rogers’ situation. It is historically accurate that innuendos of wrong-doing attributed to Rogers by the highest British authorities stationed in British North America were circulating at the Fort. Ezekiel would bear witness on Rogers’ behalf at the latter’s trial in Montreal (1768).
    Considerable text is devoted to Ezekiel as carrier of a letter from Ann Potter to Langdon Towne. Solomon expresses relief that he was able to bring the letter to the addressee “otherwise I spend weeks writing letters to [her]” (587) about your circumstances. But the author is unaware that Solomon was illiterate. And indeed, no letters have yet surfaced.

    Solomon’s earnest commitment to the fur trade is expressed in the first words he addressed to Major Rogers: “I come here from Montreal first thing in the spring, so to go early to trade with Assiniboins ‒‒‒‒” . To Langdon, he observes of Ann Potter: “She’d be useful in trading business, on account her persistence.” (586) And in observing the consequences of his not meeting Langdon – the need of “spend[ing] weeks writing letters to Miss Potter . . . . How much time that leave me for trading and Indian society . . .? (587) And “he returned to the fort at the earliest possible moment, and with the business energy of his race, had set off at once for the Mississippi.” (586) In dodging pointed questioning by Langdon about possible trouble at Michilimackinac, Solomon “muttered something about unloading.” (588) Certainly, this workaholic orientation was a creative invention but it may not have in fact been far from the truth for Solomon and many other fur traders.
    There is also a reference to Solomon being cured of the spotted fever by a person called Pelletier. There is no contemporary evidence for this. However, The Dictionary of Canadian Biography refers to a Didace Pelletier who administered a “miraculous cure” to patients, but this Pelletier died in the 1720s. (See vol III, “Jordain Lajus”) Apparently Roberts employed literary license with a nod to history, fully aware of the biographical anachronism.

    Finally, the author employs Ezekiel Solomon as a literary vehicle for the projection of historical fate. In a passage in which Ezekiel is pressed by Langdon who suspects that something is amiss concerning Major Rogers at Mackinac, the former prophetically avows, drawing upon his grandfather’s assertion, that “a statesman or a soldier what takes strong steps independent of everyone, wont never gain nothing by it so long as he lives, only hatred.” The soldier and statesman, of course, is Major Rogers, and his administrative appointment at Mackinac was gained behind the backs of the two top British governors in the American colonies, General Gage and Indian Superintendant Johnson, thereby bringing down upon him their enmity. Rogers will be incarcerated for over a year in Mackinac and tried in Montreal for treason and insubordination. When Langdon states that Major Rogers is an exceptional man who would not be subject to grandfather Solomon’s precept, Ezekiel turns his hand palm upwards, as if to say that the fate of Major Rogers is in God’s hands.

    Thus, we may conclude that the figure of Ezekiel Solomon in Northwest Passage serves as an example of a character whose utterances and exploits exhibit the full spectrum of fact to fiction in Roberts’ historical novel.

    • Jessica Outram

      Thank so much for your contributions! Such an excellent summary! I wonder about Solomon’s language–he must have been very good at languages and had a grasp of a few in order to build such strong alliances withs so many people. Was he a leader? Or just a guy who was connected to other visionaries?

  • David Mancini

    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.

  • Cindy Ballard

    Hello Jessica,

    My husband is a direct descendant of Ezekiel Solomon (6th g.grandfather) and in doing our research we came across the name Joseph Laframboise. My husband replied that he worked with a fellow who had that same last name.
    Well, decades later these two families are again working together. But now it is for a small manufacturing firm in Michigan!

  • Paul King


    Among the many questions regarding Ezekiel Solomon’s skills and accomplishments is his language proficiency. Although he has been labeled illiterate – seemingly on the basis that he left us no written records with the possible exception of ES signatures on several documents – this designation does not mean he was incapable of speech communication and reading. The question, of course, is which languages.
    Since we cannot definitively verify where he was born and grew up as a child and very young lad, his mother tongue is a matter of speculation. His adherence to the Jewish faith as witnessed by his membership in Montreal’s Shea’rit Israel [Remnant of Israel] synagogue and visits to New York’s She’arit Israel synagogue at the very least in his last years, as well as the assigned role of officiating in the synagogue during the High Holidays and Succot as Parnas and Hatan Torah, indicate that he had a grasp of Hebrew which he undoubtedly learned in his childhood years at a Jewish school (cheder). But Hebrew was not a spoken tongue and only enabled one to read from the Scriptures, the Talmud, and commentary of the Sages. That he knew and spoke some form of Yiddish, a spoken language which was a mixture of Hebrew and the local native tongue (German and Hebrew in the Ashkenazi lands, Spanish and Hebrew (Ladino) in the Spanish and Portuguese lands) is likely but cannot be conclusive. For those who are willing to accept the written claim of Ezekiel’s grandson that he came from Berlin, then Ezekiel likely spoke German. However, my efforts to find a Solomon family in Berlin during the period 1735 – 1750 have turned up a blank. The genealogical archives for Berlin Jews provides an appealing entry: Elias Solomon with three children: Salomon, Esther, and Malke. There is no Ezekiel and while Esther is eye-catching – the name of Ezekiel’s younger sister in North America – it is a weak reed on which to build a case.

    Another tack is tracing the marriage certificate of Levy Solomons, wedded to Lizette Loubiere (d. 1772) and Rebecca franks (m. 1776) [In Godfrey,108] . There are claims that Levy Solomons was a cousin of Ezekiel but no evidence has been provided. These marriage certificates often contain the name of the parents of the bride and groom. Unfortunately, I do not know where such records might be kept – McCord Museum in Montreal? Ezekiel’s marriage certificate, according to a correspondent, does not contain the name of either his parents nor of Louise DuBois’s parents and, according to this correspondent, may suggest that both were married previously. This phenomenon of the omission of parents in cases of a second marriage should be checked. However, this genealogical search will probably not provide a link to Ezekiel.
    Ezekiel probably knew French and communicated in that language with his wife. Louise was either French, that is with two French parents, or more likely Metis with a French father and a Metis or Indian mother. There were at least two other Du Bois stationed at Michilimackinac but there is no indication that they were related to Louise Dubois. I don’t think they appear as witnesses in the baptisms to which Louise was present at Michilimackinac.

    Ezekiel also could probably communicate in English. As a member of the Jewish fur trade consortium in the early 1660s, they has contacts through New York, and possibly through Quebec area, with supply merchants in England. He seemsd to have had links with Aaron Hart (not only a founder of Shearith Israel, but according to Vaugeois a supplier of voyageurs for Ezekiel). Moreover, he was appointed to a Commission overseeing a case of slave ownership which, although involving French documents, also had English material.
    I am sure, like most fur trade entrepreneurs, he knew a smattering of Algonquin, Ojibway, and other Indian languages. I also don’t rule out that he may have spoken some Dutch from his period in Albany.

    As to your description of Ezekiel as a “leader” and “visionary”, I have some reservations. He was by and large a loner, except for the period of the consortium. The fur trade was a rough and tumble undertaking and partnerships were undertaken on the basis of opportunities. By the 1780s, cut-throat competition had eliminated a good percentage of the traders and by the mid-1780s the beginnings of the North-West Company whittled down the number even more. Ezekiel was not invited to join the McTavish/Frobisher partnership which evolved into the North-West Company, although Alexander Henry hung in there. But even Peter Pond couldn’t find a niche. On the other hand, Ezekiel exhibited superb organizing skills and ran a line of posts north of Superior which drove the Hudson’s Bay Company frantic. How much Louise helped him is concealed from us, in part because we don’t have the Montreal shipping records for most of the years. [The Voyageur Data Base] That she shows up once as a bourgeois in charge of shipping goods and outfitting a voyageur makes it very tempting to speculate that this was not a one-time operation. This is reinforced by her aggressive missionary activity in the area of baptisms at Michilimackinac – she was a strong-willed woman. Ezekiel almost disappears from the records after 1784 when his activity north of Pays Plat collapses. He seems to have had links in Detroit but the agreements following the American Revolution eventually cut off that area of trade in the south-west. I maintain that Ezekiel’s north-of-Superior undertakings had a major impact regarding the HBC’s organization of the fur trade which had previously been based on Indians coming to the Bay forts. His personal acquaintances at Michilimackinac were with the social and economic elite of this neighbourhood and he also dabbled in a tiny bit of local real estate.
    Trying to uncover the life of Ezekiel is a trying endeavour and the temptations to merge speculation with fact are great, especially when one is exhausted and feels that the exhaustive research won’t yield anything more. However, there are stronger and weaker speculations and a picture emerges through those with whom he met and recorded their woodland experiences. Among them are Alexander Henry, Alexander Mackenzie some three decades later, and as I ever-so-briefly want to show in a Jessica Outram ES page, the mapmaker, Dietrich Brehm who arrived at Mackinac in September 1761 with a military contingent just in time to save the scalps of Solomon and his comrades.

    • Jessica Outram

      Another interesting and insightful post, Paul! Thanks so much for sharing your research. There are certainly a number of mysteries about Ezekiel still to be solved. I’d love to learn more about Louise. My searches have always led to the baptisms too. However, her work with shipping goods is news to me. I’ll have to look for that. It didn’t occur to me to search for her name in The Voyageur Data Base. I’d also love to learn more about Dietrich Brehm.

  • Cynthia Solomon

    I heard abour Ezekiel. I am the great great ganddaughter of Louis and John Solomon. I do have some of this information from my fathet who died in March 2006. My grandfather John wad from Sagamok First Nations..my father Eugene a child of residential schooling.
    I would like to read and learn all I can about my family’s history.

    • Lyle Wilson

      Greetings friends and extended family. I am Mr. Solomon’s 5th great grandson. My mother is from Killarney, I was born in Michigan and we are still in touch with cousins. I’d welcome new cousin contact and appreciate the discussions here. This process of discovery is so very, very humbling.

      Lyle Wilson

      • Jessica Outram

        Hi Lyle,

        Welcome! So nice to meet you. As you can see we have a number of cousins who have found there way here. I agree with you–the process has been very humbling for me too. His story is incredible.


  • Paul King

    Seeking Ezekiel Name in Ensuing Solomon Generations

    Heritage traces are not restricted to family artefacts. Naming children and grandchildren after both living and departed parents was a common occurrence in the Metis population. How many Ezekiels can we trace in the progeny stemming from Ezekiel Solomon? In order not to duplicate responses, I cite below the Ezekiels whom I have found. Are you able to add to this list?

    1. Ezekiel 1775 – c. 1840 in Green Bay. Third child of Ezekiel Solomon and Marie Elizabeth Louise Dubois.
    2. Vilates Ezekiel (1821 – ????), born in Illinois, second of two known children of third child of Ezekiel Solomon and Louise Dubois, m. to Lucy Beaudoine.
    3. Ezekiel (1849 – ????), third child and first son of Vilates Ezekiel and Lucy nee Beaudoine.
    4. Ezekiel (1799 at Mackinac Island)- d. Monroe, Mich.), son of Sophie Solomon (c. 1778 – 1815), last child of Ezekiel Solomon and Louise Dubois, and Isadore Pelletiere.
    5. I have an Ezekial Solomon III from the on-line genealogy of the late Betty Kienetz listed as the 15 th child of William Solomon (son of Ezekiel and Louise Dubopis). There is much confusion regarding the number of marriages (partnerships) of William (two or three) and certain historical sources have been sharply contested. Kienetz has him married to Louise Link.

    A published Solomon family genealogy may be found at Eldon P. Gundry, The Zacheus Patterson descendants, Flint Michigan, Artcraft Press, 1959, 221 -233 with a chart.

    A similar “name heritage” descent can be constructed for Marie Elizabeth Louise Dubois. The difficulty of identifying intentional memorialization of the stem mother is complicated by the common appellations “Marie”, “Elizabeth” and “Louise”, which may have been chosen for other reasons.
    Finally, a real challenge is tracing Ezekiel and Louise Dubois backwards to their parents or grandparents. I have attempted this with Ezekiel in the mid-18th c Berlin Jewish records without success. A Louise Dubois search may be more promising, especially in light of the strong possibility that she was married before and thus might be found under Marie Louise Elizabeth.

    I welcome corrections, additions and comments.

    Paul King

  • Justin

    Ezekiel would be my 5X great grandpa. Then William was my 4th. James 3rd, Alexander 2nd, Edward great, Lois was my grandma and that’s when the last name changed to Jones.

  • Paul King

    It would be of interest to know the geographic/communal (ethnic) distribution of your DNA results. For example, does the trace to Ezekiel lead to a particular region in Europe? Do the results for a Louise Dubois connection show a stronger tie to French,, Metis or Indian origins?

    • Jessica Outram

      Based on my distribution it’s too hard to tell. I have other Métis ancestors and other French ancestors. It would be tough to know what is attributed to whom. The way the map works in Ancestry DNA it also includes information that’s been entered into the family tree so it isn’t just based on DNA in terms of geographic locations (or what people with DNA links have entered in their trees too). I’m sure over time there will be more accuracy with this.

  • Taylor Norris


    I believe I am also a descendant of William Soloman and his daughter Sophia Morriseau, who was my great great grandmother four generations back. I had no idea that William and his exploits resulted in such a wide network of people! Super excited to learn more!

  • Ashley Rowlinson

    Do you have an image of the marriage from the “Cathedral Actes 1766-1795” that you can share? I looked on your page but can’t seem to see it. Thank you.

  • peter Corson

    My grandmother was Marie Solomon my son and spouse have traced her roots to Ezekiel Solomon i also have ancestors recently discovered in grave yard at Killarney ONT. My father whom never spoke of it was found to have attended residential school in Spanish Ont. My grandfather was William Corson. Any information regarding there history would be greatly appreciated.

    • Jessica Outram

      Thanks so much for connecting and sharing this. I will continue to post information on this site as it comes. I also find lots of people share helpful information in the comments too.

  • Suzanne Prosser

    Hello Jessica

    I too I’m related to Ezekiel Solomon. I believe he is my 11th GGrandfather. I would love to share information but you may have more than I do.

    Love forward to hearing from you.

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