Jean Baptiste Reaume and John Askin

Jean Baptiste Reaume was born on July 9th, 1741 in Detroit, Michigan Territory. He died on April 18th, 1807 in St Antoine Parish, River Raisin, MI, US. Reaume married Agatha Lootman dit Barois December 20th, 1763. Together, they moved to Sandwich in 1774 and lived there until they settled at Raison River in 1792. Askin notes Jean Baptiste Reaume was “engaged in the Indian trade”, this is proved through the various documents in the Askin Papers. Furthermore, Jean’s son Joseph Reaume born on February 15th, 1772 was granted land, on a small island, called Presqu’isle, in the Maumee River, in 1780 by the Ottawa Indian Chiefs due to Jean’s influence with the local native population.

Jean Baptiste Reaume’s connection to John Askin:

The major connections between Askin and the Reaumes, began as a result of the failure of the Miamis Company. In 1789, Askin was given the power of attorney in order to collect debts owed to the Miamis Company from a long list of locals, including both Jean Baptiste Reaume and his younger brother Charles Reaume. Later, Askin purchased Joseph Reaume’s title to Presqu’Isle in December 1796. Unfortunately for Askin, this land grant was denied by the Board of Land Commissioners at Detroit on December 11th, 1809. In addition, Askin acquired Jean Baptiste Reaume’s title for Celeron Isle, which remains in the University of Windsor’s Askin Papers collection. Similar to the Presqu’Isle title, the Celeron Isle land claim was denied by the commissioners of the United States Land Office for the district of Detroit and Territory of Michigan. 

 The congressional decision on the validity of John Askin's claim to Celeron Island, based on the original claim by Jean Baptiste Reaume:

 The legal heirs and representatives of John Askin, esquire, deceased, renew the entry made by the said John Askin with the former commissioners on the 28th day of October, 1805, recorded in volume 2, page 271, in the words following, to wit:

            Take notice that I enter a tract of land called Isle Celeron, below Grosse Isle, being a small sandy island, containing, perhaps, two hundred acres, more or less, by purchase from Bpt. Reaume, in seventeen hundred and ninety-six. The deed of sale I now send you for the purpose of being recoded and to furnish you with further information respecting its situation, boundaries, and extent.

            Said deed from said Reaume for said tract of land is recorded in volume 2, page 292, of the records of the former commissioners.

Testimony adduced before the former commissioners, recorded in volume 3, page 171, in the words following, to wit:

            John Bpt. Reaume, being duly sworn, deposeth and saith that the sandy island mentioned in claimant’s notice, and known by the name of Isle Celeron, was purchased of the Indians by deponent in the year seventeen hundred and ninety; for many years previous to which period, and from that time until the present time, it has been cultivated. There are on this island two cabins, formerly built by the Indians. Deponent, for a valuable consideration, some years ago transferred the said island to the said John Askin. Deponent estimates the superficial contents of the said island at 100 arpents. A writing, purporting to be a grant of said island to said Reaume by the Pottawatomie Indians, in the year seventeen hundred and ninety-six, was also filed and recorded in volume 3, page 172, of the records of the former commissioners.

            The commissioners are of opinion that the evidence of claim shown by the heirs of William Macomb, deceased, is entitled to a preference for this island, and have confirmed to the said heirs. This claim is therefore rejected.


John Askin Papers Vol 1, p 170
John Askin Papers Vol 1, p 173
John Askin Papers Vol 1. p 325-334

“The legal heirs and representatives of John Askin” in American State Papers: Document, legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, vol. 32, pages 192-193.

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