Term: Brisbois, Michael [Michel] 1760 - 1837
fur trader, b. Maska, Canada. Michel was born and baptized 16 October 1760 at Yamaska, Quebec, the son of Joseph Brisbois and Catherine Renoux. He attended school in Quebec. Soon turning to the fur trade, he worked out of Mackinac (1778), and in 1781 he moved his operations to Prairie du Chien where, with other French Canadian traders, he founded the first permanent white settlement. Although sympathizing with the British in the struggle for control of the Northwest, he accepted a commission in the Illinois Territorial Militia (1809). During the War of 1812, he furnished supplies to both the American and British forces but maintained a pro-British attitude. Arrested for treason at the close of the war, he was sent to St. Louis for trial but was acquitted. He was appointed associate justice for Crawford County by Governor Cass of Michigan Territory (1819), and thereafter held various local offices in the Prairie du Chien area. His son, BERNARD WALTER BRISBOIS, b. Prairie du Chien, also began his career in the fur trade, working as agent for the American Fur Company. Later he engaged in the mercantile business in Prairie du Chien until 1873 when he was appointed consul at Verviers, Belgium. He returned to Prairie du Chien in 1874 and lived there until his death. P. L. Scanlan, Prairie du Chien ([Menasha, Wis.] 1937); Colls. State Hist. Soc. Wis., 9 (1882); F. L. Holmes, et al., eds., Wis. (5 vols., Chicago, 1946); Prairie du Chien Union, June 18, 1885; WPA MS.
View primary sources from Bernard Brisbois at Wisconsin Historical Collections.
[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]