- ANTOINE LABATTE'S NARRATIVE.
I was born on Drummond Island, 16th September, 1824. We left the Island in 1827. My father's name was Louis George Labatte, a soldier in the British Army, and a blacksmith by trade. He was at the capture of Mackinaw, and fought in the war of 1812. He was born in Lower Canada, and went up with the North-West Company, and after three years in the British service at Mackinaw, returned to Drummond Island with the soldiers and stayed there eleven years. He then moved to Holland Landing, stayed there two years, then to Penetanguishene, and lastly to Thunder Bay (Tiny), where he died in 1872.
My mother died in 1863, and both are buried at Lafontaine. Her maiden name was Julia Frances Grouette, a half-breed. I am three-quarters French and one-quarter Indian blood. We left Drummond Island in August, in a bateau, towed by the schooner Alice, Captain Hackett commander. The vessel was subsequently wrecked on Horse Island. We came by the outer channel, past Tobermory, and landed at Cedar Point in Tiny the same month.
Eighteen persons came in the bateau, besides provisions and household effects. There were six of the Labatte family, four of the Grouette family, Antoine Recollet and child, Francois Recollet and child, Jessie Solomon, and an Indian named Jacobe.
Captain Hackett had suffered shipwreck on the sea. His vessel was burned and he saved his life by clinging to a small piece of the burning wreck till he was rescued. Captain Hackett was badly burned on one side of his face and neck, so that the cords were drawn down, causing a peculiar twitching of the muscles and a continual turning of his face to one side. We camped at Cedar Point one night and left next morning for Nottawasaga. We went up the Nottawasaga to Pine River, within nine miles of Barrie, and portaged over to Lake Simcoe, and down to Holland Landing. We stayed there two years, then went to White's Corners in Oro and stayed there about one year, then came to Penetanguishene in 1831.
We first lived on the lot on the corner next Shannahan's blacksmith shop, Penetanguishene, now owned by Mrs. Mundy, then on the lot now owned by Charles McGibbon. The little steamer Penetanquishene was built, I think, about 1832, by Mitchell & Thompson, on the spot where McGibbon's Mill now stands, on Water Street.
We left Penetanguishene in 1834, to go to Meaford to take up land received for Government service. We were in a bateau with our goods and provisions, being towed by the steamer Penetanguishene, on board of which were Captain Workman and family and Mr. Rattray and family, with their household furniture, also going to Meaford, accompanied by a Mr. Vail; Stephen Jeffrey in his sail-boat was also being towed. A heavy storm arose before we reached Christian Island. Our bateau smashed the back windows of the cabin of the little steamer, and one of the lines broke by which we were being towed.
We were driven on Christian Island, near where the lighthouse stands. After a little time the captain thought be would try again, and my father refused to go. We were obliged to unload the bateau, as it belonged to the steamer. We unloaded our goods and blacksmith's tools into a birch canoe, while they started the second time for the Blue Mountains, but were obliged to return. We camped there about a week. There were no Indians there then. When the storm ceased, Captain Beman came along with his sloop and took Captain Workman and his party to Meaford, but left Mr. Vail. My father found him one day without any food, and brought him to our camp.
Antoine Lacourse, a fisherman from Penetanguishene, and some friends, came to take us back to Penetanguishene. We started, but the ice was so thick it took three men with sticks in the front of the bateau to break it. We got as far as Thunder Bay (Tiny), and landed at a fisherman's cabin, but twelve feet square, where we stayed
Name: Antoine Labatte Death Date: 1 Nov 1904 Death Location: Simcoe Gender: Male Estimated Birth Year: abt 1824 Birth Location: USA Roll: MS935_118. (lot 16 con 19 on death record)
Ontario French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967 Lafontaine 1857-1921 page 113 (page 62 of 89 ancestry.ca)