"St. Cyr was a Canadian half-breed, born about 1806; had always lived on the frontier and among the Indians, and could speak English quite well, though he was entirely illiterate. He was a man of ordinary size, about one hundred and fifty pounds weight; with a thin visage, dark complexlon, black hair and eyes, a quick step, and a ready, active man generally, in both body and mind. He was amiable, and kind to all, and scorned a dishonest man or a liar." (Draper, 389)
“Michael St. Cyr, who being duly sworn [on Sept. 24, 1838], doth depose and say. that he is about twenty eight years old, is the son of H. St. Cyr, and Keenokou who was a full blood Winnebago woman, who was the daughter of 'The Spaniard,' who was one of the first chiefs of the Winnebago Nation. That he was married about six years ago and has two Children, the oldest aged about 3 years, named Michael and the other named Augustus aged about one year. That both said boys are smart active children and residing with deponent. That he the said deponent has at all times rendered every service in his power to the Indians, compatible with his duty to the United States’ which he considers paramount to all others. That during the late Black Hawk war he went express on several occasions and acted as Interpreter for the officers of the United States. That towards the Indians he has always extended the hand of hospitality and friendship — 'That they have slept at his fire and eat at his board' That his home is their home when they visit this place …” (Waggoner, Neither, 39a) Here Michel claims to have been born in 1810, but in the 1850 Minnesota Territorial census, he gave his age as 38 (b. 1812). Also, he had not been married to his present wife for six years, but only since April of that very year (1838), as marriage records show. However, six years prior, in 1832, he may well have been married to a woman called "Melamie St. Cyr," who lived with two children, Julie (b. 1834) and Abner (b. 1835), as recorded by the 1850 Federal census. However, this Melamie is more likely his sister.
Allison (17) says, "Reportedly St. Cyr, a carpenter as well as trader and hosteler, helped to build the first post office in Madison, a log edifice located on the Capitol Square."
When he had turned 18 in 1830, he was living alone in Iowa County, in what was then Michigan Territory. (1830 census)
The precise location (43.109060, -89.476514) of the St. Cyr trading post is marked by the Trading Post Tree in Middleton, Wisconsin on Lake Mendota, where in 1832 Col. Dodge addressed the assembled Hočąk Nation to dissuade them from joining Black Hawk.
"In the summer of 1836, ... a French half-breed trader, Michel St. Cyr, lived on the bank of Lake Mendota at what are to-day known as Livesey's Springs, three-fourths of a mile north of Pheasant Branch." (Thwaites, 4) This is probably located at 43.108223, -89.468728 just off St. Cyr Road in Middleton, Wisconsin.
On 1 September 1850, the territorial census for Minnesota records that his family, with no mention of his wife, is living on the Winnebago Reservation at Long Prairie, Minnesota. Oddly enough, he shows up a fortnight later (15 September 1850) for the Federal census (Family #160) where he joins a household that includes Melami St. Cyr (b. 1801), Abner St. Cyr (b. 1835), and Julie St. Cyr (b. 1834). For a resolution of this conundrum, see "Melamie St. Cyr,"
The 1860 Federal census shows that he was living in Mankato, Blue Earth County, Minnesota.
The 1850 Minnesota Territorial census taken at Long Prairie records Michel St. Cyr's children as:
The 1860 Federal census adds 5 more children:
The 1880 census adds:
Schoolcraft (3:377-378), in an attempt at a scientific discussion of hair types among different races, gleaned some information from the Indian Agent Fletcher:
Allison (17) also claimed, "He eventually moved on to Minnesota where he died in 1859." This date proves to be false. He died on 27 Feb. 1896 (age 84), and his funeral at the Catholic church in St. Clair, Minnesota "was very largely attended." (Waggoner, Red Wing, 13)
Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.
Michel is 22 degrees from Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh Mountbatten, 25 degrees from Grace de Monaco, 25 degrees from Henrik af Danmark, 40 degrees from Sālote Tupou, 25 degrees from Liliʻuokalani Kapaakea, 28 degrees from Te Atairangikaahu Paki, 31 degrees from Bhumibol Adulyadej, 24 degrees from Claus van Amsberg, 20 degrees from Jan Sobieski and 34 degrees from Fionnuala O'Connor on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.