"Louis Menaige, a Canadian, served in the War of 1812. He was a resident of Portage and was living there in 1832. He married Margaret, daughter of Perrish Grignon and his wife, Es-chah-wan-kah, a sister of the Old Decorah. Their children were Peter, Josette, and two others. [Jane and Charles]" - Norton William Jipson, Story of the Winnebagoes (Chicago: The Chicago Historical Society, 1923 [unpublished]), 260-261.
A census taken on 21 Sep 1857 shows Louis working as a baker on the Blue Earth reservation, where he is listed alongside his daughter, Josette's children, the Landroches. Josette died about 1854. His age is given as 78 years, making his date of birth 1779, listed as having been in Canada.
In his son's biography (Blue Earth County, Page 61 pre-1898), it was stated that Louis Manaige served in the Revolutionary War. It was actually the War of 1812 (see the record of his service attached to this profile) and the Black Hawk War of 1831-32 (see the references attached to this profile).
In Nov. 1831, under the name "Louis Fromm," he pledged to contribute 50¢ towards the construction of a Catholic church in Green Bay. (Documents, 176)
In 1832, Louis Managre (Manaigre) worked for John H. Kinzie, the sub-agent for the HoChungara at Ft. Winnebago. His wife was the famous Juliette Kinzie who wrote Wau Bun. This memoir of the frontier contains a number of anecdotes about Louis. During the time when a new house was being built for the Kinzies, "Monsieur Isidore Morrin was a bachelor, and quite satisfied to continue boarding with his friend Louis Frum, dit Manaigre." (Kinzie, 262; cf. de la Ronde, 350) Louis went to work under the supervision of Monsieur Plante. The crew, including "Manaigre, whom the waggish Plante persisted in calling "mon negre," whenever he felt himself out of the reach of the other's arm, all went vigorously to work." (Kinzie, 263) When the Blackhawk War broke out in 1832, Louis was among a handful of people who remained with the Kinzies when the area was under threat of attack. (Kinzie, 320) During the war, when the Kinzies had to leave the fort for a period, they returned to find, "Everything was radiant with neatness and good order. With the efficient aid of our good Manaigre and his wife the house had been white-washed from the roof to the door sill — a thorough scrubbing and cleansing effected — the carpets unpacked and spread upon the floors, the furniture arranged, and though last not least, a noble supper smoked upon the board by the time we had made, once more, a civilized toilette." (Kinzie, 352)
Louis served in the War of 1812 under Lieut. Col. Dodge's Command, Missouri Militia.
Louis Manaigre was one of the pioneers of the Portage, and apparently a good shot, as it is recorded that back in 1814, when he was a private with "the Michigans," he was the only one of his unit that hit the target in 15 shots. (Anderson, 241) It's recorded that Louis had an account at David Whitney's Shot Tower store at the Portage from 1831-33. (Libby, 340)
Louis served in the Black Hawk War 1831-32 in Captain William Moore's Company. "Of the Odd Battalion of Mounted Volunteers of Illinois, commanded by Major Nathanial Buckmaster, employed in the service of the United States, by order of the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Militia of Illinois, from June 2, 1831 to July 2, 1831, the day of its disbandment and discharge at Rock Island, 300 miles distance from company rendezvous." Residence is listed as Belleville [Illinois].
Louis was a good father and tried hard to have his children properly educated, which was difficult on the frontier. In 1832, the Manaigres were living at Fort Winnebago, and Jane and Josette were being schooled briefly by Juliette Kinzie. It appears that the children spoke only French, but an attempt was made by Mrs. Kinzie to set up an informal school at the fort which they attended, as it says in her book:
The Cadle Mission school was opened in 1830 and in 1831 had 129 students. The school closed in 1839 with 36 students. Since the Manaige girls were in school at Fort Winnebago in 1832-33, they could have been at Cadle Mission School between 1833 and 1839.
In an affidavit in 1839, Louis named the following as his children:
Your Petitioner avers that the Mother of the aford children was a half Breed Winnebago Woman being the daughter of Chau wau cau a Winnebago Squaw and that the mother of the said children has died four years ago. That your Petitioner has his aford children now living with & supported by him and that he is a discreet and prudent Parent. Your Petitioner avers the performance of valuable & important services being rendered by his dead wife & children to the Winnebago Nation of Indians." (Waggoner, 44b)
"[Peter Manaige's] father, Louis Manaige, a native of Canada, ... died at LeRay, Minnesota, in 1870, at the age of ninety-nine years." (Neill-Bryant, 601) His grave stone gives his birth date as 1775, based on the mortality schedule given in the 1870 census. However, it is a well known fact that men on the frontier exaggerated their ages, as great age was very prestigious. In the 1857 Minnesota census (p. 71), he himself gave his age as a more modest 78 (b. 1779), which would make him 91 years old at his death. Nevertheless, in the 1860 census, he gave his age as 60, making his year of birth 1800. All the other censuses (1830, 1840) of his younger days are consistent with his having been born in either 1800 or 1801, which would make him 70 years old at his death. However, he served in the War of 1812, which would make him between 12 and 14 years old at that time. A birth date of 1779 would make him 33-35 years old, which is far more plausible.
He is buried at Immaculate Conception Catholic Cemetery, Saint Clair, Blue Earth County, Minnesota, USA. (Find a Grave)
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