François Baby (politician)

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François Baby (December 16, 1768 – August 27, 1852) was a soldier, political figure and businessman in Upper Canada.

He was born in Detroit in 1768, the son of Jacques Baby and nephew of François Baby. Although Roman Catholic and French Canadian, he belonged to one of the richest and most powerful families in the Western District of Upper Canada at that time. In 1792, he was elected to represent Kent County in the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada.

He joined the British forces during the War of 1812 and was captured by the Americans in 1814. Also during the war, Baby's newly constructed house at Sandwich (Windsor) was taken over by invading American troops. On his return, he discovered that his home had been plundered and damaged; he did not feel that he was adequately compensated.

In 1820, he was elected to the legislative assembly representing Essex. Although connected with the elite, he supported moderate reformers. Baby also was an early proponent of bilingualism, requesting that the acts of the legislature be translated into French. He opposed the union of Upper and Lower Canada.

During the 1840s, he operated a ferry service between Windsor and Detroit.

He died in Windsor in 1852.

The François Baby House now serves as Windsor's Community Museum.


  • 1768 - December 16. Born in the British town of Detroit, a son of Jacques Du Perron Baby and Suzanne Reaume.
  • 1786 - Completed his education at Quebec.
  • 1792–1796 - Still a resident of Detroit, represented Kent County, Upper Canada, in the Legislative Assembly following the province's first election. Detroit was British-occupied American territory at the time.
  • 1794 - July. Appointed captain of a company of French-Canadian militia.
  • 1795 - September 5. Married Frances Abbott of Detroit, in Assumption Church on the Canadian side of the river.
  • 1807 - October. Appointed Lieutenant of the County of Essex.
  • 1812–1813 - Appointed assistant quartermaster general of militia for the Western District. Served throughout the Detroit River campaign and was recommended by Sir Gordon Drummond for decoration for valuable services.
  • 1813 - December 30. Participated in a British attack on Black Rock, Niagara Frontier.
  • 1814 - January 31. Captured by Americans at Delaware, Upper Canada.
  • 1820–1830 - Member for Essex County in the Upper Canada Legislative Assembly.
  • c.1832 - Subdivided the frontage of his farm. The first Urban Development in what was to become Windsor.
  • 1842 - Had ferryboat "Alliance" built.
  • 1849 - Gave land for present day Ferry Street to the public, replacing an earlier lane which had served as access to a ferry landing.
  • 1852 - Died age 84. Buried in Assumption Churchyard.

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