Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac

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Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac

Birthplace: Saint-Nicolas-de-La-Grave, Midi-Pyrénées, France
Death: October 16, 1722 (64)
Castelsarrasin, Midi-Pyrénées, France
Immediate Family:

Son of Jean Laumet and Jeanne Laumet
Husband of Marie-Thérèse Laumet
Father of Judith Laumet; Magdeleine Laumet; Joseph Laumet; Jacques Laumet; Pierre-Denis Laumet and 6 others

Occupation: Governor of French territory of Louisiana, Founder of Detroit!
Managed by: Joel Scott Cognevich
Last Updated:

About Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac

CADILLAC, Antoine Laumet, dit Antoine de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, governor. Born, Laumets, Gascony, France, March 5, 1658; son of Jean Laumet, a minor magistrate. Went to Acadia; June 25, 1687, married Marie-Thérèse Guyon, claiming in marriage certificate to be son of Jean de la Mothe, seigneur de Cadillac, de Lassaye and de Semontel, and Jeanne de Malentauz. Lived in Acadia until 1691. Went to Quebec, was commissioned in the troops of the marine by Governor-general Louis de Buade, comte de Frontenac. Named governor of Michilimackinac, 1694; founded Detroit, 1701. At odds with Jesuits and Governor Philippe de Rigaud, marquis de Vaudreuil; recalled to France, 1710. Named governor of Louisiana, May 5, 1710. Convinced Antoine Crozat (q.v.), wealthy financier, to accept proprietary control of the colony. February 6, 1713, sailed for Louisiana aboard the Baron de la Fauche with his wife and family, Commissaire-ordonnateur Jean-Baptiste du Bois Duclos (q.v.), and twelve marriageable girls. Quarrelled with Duclos on board, and feuded with him throughout their tenure. Unimpressed with Louisiana, declared the colony "not worth a straw." Appalled at the colony's flouting of civil and religious authority, tried in vain to curb colonial "immorality." Faced bitter opposition of Ordonnateur Duclos and former governor Jean-Baptiste LeMoyne de Bienville (q.v.) who criticized Cadillac's handling of Indian affairs. On order of the minister, investigated Bienville, accused of embezzlement, no conclusive results. Sent Louis Juchereau de St.-Denis (q.v.) to trade with Mexico. Explored Upper Louisiana (Illinois country) in search of mines and found a copper mine: wrote enthusiastic reports of potential mineral wealth. Recalled to France, March 3, 1716. Opposed John Law's mendacious propaganda and was consequently sent to the Bastille on September 27, 1717. Freed February 8, 1718, subsequently received back pay. Purchased governorship of Castel-Sarrasin (Tarn-et-Garonne). Died there, October 16, 1722. M.A.

Featured on a U.S. postage stamp in 1951.

Sources: Bibliothèque Nationale, Fond fr., N.A. 9274/9279, 9299; B.N., Mss. Clairambault, 849,882; Marcel Giraud, Histoire de la Louisiane française, vol. II, Années de transition (1715-1717) (1958); Yves F. Zoltvany, "New France and the West, 1701-1713," Canadian Historical Review, XLVI (1965); "Antoine Laumet, Sieur de Cadillac," Dictionary of Canadian Biography, II (1969); Articles by Jean Delanglez, S. J., in Mid-America: "Cadillac's Early Years in America," XXVI (1944); "Antoine Laumet alias Cadillac," XXVII (1945); "The Genesis and Building of Detroit," XXX (1948); "Cadillac at Detroit," XXX (1948); "Cadillac, Proprietor of Detroit," XXXII (1950); "Cadillac's Last Years," XXXIII (1951).

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