Jean François Hamtramck
Jean-François Hamtramck (sometimes called John Francis Hamtramck) (1756–1803) was a French-Canadian from Quebec who joined the Continental Army and became a decorated officer in the American Revolutionary War.
In Autumn of 1790, Major Hamtramck was ordered to move against Indian villages on the Wabash, Vermilion, and Eel rivers to create a distraction from the campaign led by General Josiah Harmar. The Hamtramck expedition consisted of his own garrison, with militia from the local French residents and Kentucky. They found only one empty village, and lacked the supplies to reach more villages with the full force. Hamtramck returned to Vincennes, learning later that a force of 600 warriors from the Wabash Confederacy had assembled to fight—nearly double his own force. Hamtramck considered the Wabash force evidence that his primary mission had been accomplished.
In 1793, Hamtramck was named lieutenant colonel in the Legion of the United States led by General Anthony Wayne to secure the Northwest Territory. Hamtramck was cited for bravery at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. Hamtramck, now a full colonel, was appointed the first commandant of Fort Wayne, where he co-owned a large farm with his friend, William Wells. In 1796, he led the garrison to secure Fort Maumee. He was then transferred to Fort Lernoult (later renamed Fort Shelby) and the settlement of Detroit for the United States on July 11, 1796.
He remained commandant of Detroit until his death on 11 April 1803, living in a house on land that is now Gabriel Richard Park near the present bridge to Belle Isle. He was buried at Ste. Anne de Detroit Catholic Church. The officers under his command placed a stone to mark his grave, as a "grateful tribute to his merit and his worth." His body was moved in 1817 to the new Saint Anne's, then, in 1866, to Mount Elliott Cemetery.
- Barnhart, pp 287-288
- Poinsatte, 36
- The First Regiment of Infantry compiled in the office of the Military Service Institution. Website accessed 9 April 2009.
- City of Hamtramck, Michigan
- Barnhart, John D. and Riker, Dorothy L. (1971). Indiana to 1816. The Colonial Period. Indiana Historical Society. ISBN 0-87195-109-6.
- Poinsatte, Charles (1976). Outpost in the Wilderness: Fort Wayne, 1706–1828. Allen County, Fort Wayne Historical Society.