Magdelaine Laframboise: The First Lady of Mackinac Island Vignette
Mackinac History, A Continuing Series of Illustrated Vignettes
Vol IV / Leaflet #1
From the book: “The illustrated vignette chronicles the life of Magdelaine Laframboise, a women of Odawa and French-Canadian descent, who played a leading role in the affairs of Mackinac Island during the first half of the 19th century. She earned wealth in the fur trade, provided leadership in the Roman Catholic Church, supported education for the youth of Mackinac, and cared for the poor. After the War of 1812, American settlers established their institution at Mackinac, initiating great change throughout the northwestern Great Lakes region. Laframboise successfully adapted to the ways of the newly arriving American businessmen, government agents, military and missionaries as she helped bring about the transformation of her society.
Magdelaine Marcot was born in 1780 … Magdelaine’s mother, the daughter of the Odawa chief Kewinaquot, raised her in the Odawa village along the Grand River at Grand Haven … On August 1, 1786, Father Louis Payet baptized Magdelaine in Ste Anne’s church on Mackinac Island. …
Sometime in 1794 or 1795, Madgelaine Marcot married the French-Canadian fur trader Joseph Laframboise. … The Laframboises traded for furs among the Odawa living along the Grand River. Generally, Joseph and Magdelaine followed the annual cycle of the fur trade. …
In the fall of 1806, Joseph and Magdelane … left Mackinac to carry on their usual commerce at their winter post. This time, however, disaster struck them. While encamped on the beach only a day away from Grand Haven, Joseph kneeled to say his nightly prayers when a disgruntled Indian shot him dead. … Although widowhood descended upon Magdelaine quickly and without warning, she carried on with composure and resolution. … and operated the family business on her own.
For the next two decades, Lafraboise lived through great changes occurring in the northwestern Great Lakes region …”