Michigan Transportation History

Godefroi Family

Template Public Genealogy

See also
Godefroi Family-Sources

This article is not intended to be a complete history or genealogy of the Godefroi family in either New France or Michigan, but mostly serves to provide the familial background for Gabriel Godfroy. The sources provide good information (if sometimes conflicting, e.g., the métis son of Jacques Godefroi) about the Godefroi families in Michigan.


The Godfroys of Detroit Detroit come from the Godefrois of Trois Rivieres, Quebec. This branch was started by Jean Godefroy de Lintot, an officer from a noble family of Pays de Caux Normandie, who settled with his family there in 1634. Other Godefrois also settled, including Jean Paul Godefroi, Compte D'Estrades1 in 1646, who was an admiral of the French fleet, and Thomas Godefroi de Normanville, who rose to become member of the governing council and Ambassador to New England (whereupon during his return trip was killed by Indians). Subsequent Godefrois were officers and fur traders, many of whom "achieved distinction in the Indian wars" probably at the cost of their lives. Louis XIV recognized the family's contributions to New France by granting them lettres de noblesse and a right to heraldic arms, which led to further immigration of other members of the family. There appears to have been numerous Godefrois from Rouen, Normandie, and Paris that settled in Quebec.2

"Among the families who settled at Detroit between 1701 and 1710 were Chevalier Jean Baptiste Godefroi de Vieux Pont, Pierre de Roquetaillade, and Jacques [Godefroi] de Mauboeuf. ... But the descendants of Jacques Godefroi de Mauboeuf were the only ones who were granted lands at Detroit and settled there permanently." Jacques Godefroi de Mauboeuf arrived in Detroit sometime before 1710. He was a voyaguer and Indian trader, and as a such, traveled around a lot. He was in Detroit with Cadillac in 1710. He married Marie Chesne de St. Onge, a sister of the Sieur Charles Chesne, at Quebec in 1712. He was back in Detroit in 1716, but his first child was born in Montreal in 1719.3 Godefroi's children were Catherine (b. at Montreal, 1719), Marie Angelique (b. Detroit, 1720), and Sieur Jacques Godfroi (b. 1722). Catherine married the Sieur Alexis Trotier des Ruisseaux, a prominent citizen of Detroit and of St. Anne's. Jacques died in Detroit in 1730 (age 46). Catherine died at Detroit in 1777.4 The children of Marie Angelique established the farm in Detroit that became known as the Godfroy Farm when it was later reacquired by Marie Angelique's paternal family. The farm bordered Godfroy Street which was later renamed 14th street.5

Jacques Godefroi

The younger Jacques Godefroi fought with the French and Indians during the 1752-1760 war and was present at Braddock's Defeat, the siege of Fort Niagara, and other battles.6 During the French and Indian War, in 1758, Jacques married Marie Louise Clothilde Chapoton, who was the youngest daughter of Major Jean Baptiste Chapoton, the French army surgeon at Detroit.

Jacques seems to have been influential during the 1763 Indian War. On the one hand, Godefroi and Major Chapaton appear to have engaged in some diplomacy with Pontiac during the 1763 Indian War. A later negotiation between Pontiac and British Captain Thomas Morris was successful because of Jacques.7 And on the other, General Bradstreet accused Jacques and some other Frenchmen at Detroit of treason in fall of Fort Miamis to Pontiac (see below). While it is most likely that Jacques was acquitted of the crime (or the charges were dropped), he did suffer at about the same time, the loss of his wife and his wealth. He spent the remainder of his days trying to rebuild his fortune while caring for the young Gabriel.8

Sources conflict about the role of "Jacques Godefroi" in the fall of Fort Miamis (at the fork of the Maumee River in present-day Indiana). Hall claims that Jacques Godefroi had a métis son (also conveniently called "Jacques," but see below) who was involved in the conspiracy to overthrow the fort.9 David Dixon does not make this assumption and identified Jacques Godefroi as one of the conspirators.10 It was probably Godefroi's involvement in this event that led to Bradstreet's charges, but in Hall's effort to prove Jacques innocent of the charge of treason, he confused greatly his genealogical research.

Jacques and Marie Louise had three children.11 The daughters Catherine and Louise died in infancy. The son was Jacques Gabriel Godefroi who they had named after an uncle, Gabriel Le Grand Chevalier de Sintre.12 Marie Louise died in 1764.

Hall's attribution that the treachery of "Jacques Godefroi" at Fort Miamis was because of a métis son is not unbelievable as Jacques Godefroi does appear to have had métis sons. However, they appear to have been born after the death of Marie Louise. In the 1780s, Jacques entered a relationship with the daughter of an Miami chief. Diane Wolford Sheppard noted that two boys were born (her research did not discover the name of the woman): Louis and François, born in 1785 and 1788.13 But, obviously, neither son could have participated in any event during Pontiac's War.


1. Admiral Jean Paul Godefroi is quite illusive. Internet searches routinely land on "Compte D'Estrades" who was not this Admiral, and "Jean Paul Godefroi" yeilds few other hits.

2. Hall, p. 25.

3. Note that Beauregard lists that Jacques and Marie Chesne had five and not three children - a detail that is not corroborated in other sources. However, it might be interesting to note that the St. Anne's death record (or obituary) of Catherine Godefroi noted her parents were "her parents in lawful matrimony" which may imply that one of her parents may have had "unlawlful matrimony" (See Hall, p. 28). But Hall also firmly contradicts Beauregard in noting that the "only son" of du Mauboeuf and Marie Chesne was Jacques.

4. Hall, pp. 27-28; also Vide, vol. 2, St Anne's Records, p. 417. Hall notes that Mauboeuf "located" at Detroit in 1716, but Burton places him at Detroit in 1710. Clarence M. Burton, "Cadillac's Village" (Detroit: 1895), 27.

5. Hall, p. 29.

6. David Dixon, Never Come to Peace Again, p. 230-1. See also Captain Morris's journal in Thomas Morris, "Journal [of a tour on the Maumee], Detroit, September 25, 1764," in Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., Early Western Travels, 1748-1846 vol. 1 (Cleveland: A. H. Clark, 1907), 301.

7. Hall, p. 30; see also Morris's "Journal."

8. Hamlin, p. 301.

9. Hall, p. 30

10. David Dixon, Never Come to Peace Again, p. 230-1.

11. Note that Beauregard lists a prior marriage for Jacques in 1747 to Thuillier dit Desvignet (about which no further information is provided). This information may resolve the confusion around Gabriel Godfroy's birth year. Hall claims 1750, other sources claim 1758. But since Beauregard is the only source to claim that Jacques married in 1747, I'll assume that the 1758 birth year for Gabriel is correct.

12. Hall, p. 30;Hamlin, p. 302. Note that Hall claims that Gabriel Le Grand was a Sieur and Hamlin a Chevalier, but the difference between a French Chevalier and Sieur is but a ceremony.

13. Diane Wolford Sheppard, "Detroit River Region métis Families – Godefroy to Gouin Families," French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan, 2018; Christian Denissen, Genealogy of the French Families of the Detroit River Region, 1701-1936 (Detroit: Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, revised edition, 1987), vol. I, p. 534.


See also
Godefroi Family-Sources

Beauregard, Denis, comp. Généalogie des Français d'Amérique du Nord, "Famille de Jacques Godefroy dit Mauboeuf & Marie Chesne." FrancoGene, 2018.

FrancoGene is a Franco-American and French-Canadian genealogy website. This links to the Mauboeuf branch of the Godefroy family. Navigation through the family tree is necessary to see all the connections.

Burton, Clarence. "Cadillac's Village," or "Detroit Under Cadillac": With List of Property Owners, and a History of the Settlement 1701 to 1710. Reprinted in Burton, City of Detroit, p. 1323.

Denissen, Christian. Genealogy of the French Families of the Detroit River Region, 1701-1936. Detroit: Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, revised edition, 1987.

Destiche, Denise E. "Guest-Boyd-Rowe-Poe Family:Information about Jacques Godfroy de Mauboeuf." Genealogy, September 2007.

Includes a detailed bibliography but is very unorganized.

Hall, Theodore Parsons, coll. Family Records of Theodore Parsons Hall and Alexandrine Louise Godfroy, of "Tonnancour," Grosse Pointe, Near Detroit, Michigan, including brief accounts of the St. Auburn, Scott-Gordon, Irvine-Orr, and Navarre-Macomb Families. Detroit: Wm. C. Heath Printing Company, 1892.

Chapter III: "The Godfroys of Detroit, Michigan"

Hamlin, Marie Caroline Watson. Legends of le Détroit. Detroit: Thorndike Nourse, 1884.

The Godefrois are discussed starting on p. 299.

Sheppard, Diane Wolford. "Detroit River Region métis Families – Godefroy to Gouin Families." French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan, 2018.


Citation: When referencing this page please use the following citation:

R. D. Jones, "Godefroi Family," Michigan Transportation History (Ypsilanti, MI: 2020), www.michtranshist.info/.

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Page last modified on March 07, 2021, at 01:24 PM EST

Page last modified on March 07, 2021, at 01:24 PM EST