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People > Scots of Windsor's Past > Lt. George McDougall

People: Scots of Windsor's Past

Lt. George McDougall (c1749-1780):

Little is known about this soldier's background other than that he was from Scotland and had arrived in Detroit as a garrison officer by 1761. Pontiac, the Ottawa chief who led a rebellion against the British occupation of the Great Lakes region following the British victory in the French and Indian War, struck Detroit in the spring of 1763. On May 10, McDougall went unarmed with senior officer Captain Donald Campbell to arrange a settlement between the Indians and the English, becoming "a sacrifice to save Detroit and its people." 1

Pontiac detained McDougall and Campbell, and had French emissaries take their terms of leave to Detroit. In early July, Campbell was murdered, prompting McDougall to escape. He sought refuge in Fort Detroit, and defended it in the Battle of Bloody Run. After Pontiac lifted the siege and withdrew to Illinois in October, unable to capture the Fort, McDougall celebrated the end of the fighting with a wedding. His wife was Marie-Francoise Navarre, daughter of French nobleman Robert Navarre. McDougall then purchased Hog Island in the Detroit River from the Chippewa and Ottawa chiefs for £194 worth of rum, tobacco, and vermillion in 1768. The island, now known as Belle Isle, remained in the possession of the McDougall family until 1879, when it was finally sold to the city of Detroit.

When the American Revolution broke out, McDougall remained loyal to the Crown, serving as the captain of the 84th Regiment. However, his health began to deteriorate around 1779, and he sold his commission in 1780 to Lieutenant Patrick Sinclair in order to have some money to leave to his wife and two children. (McDougall, incidentally, died on the same day the exchange was made.)

George McDougall, Jr.
George McDougall, Jr.

His son George (1766-1840) became a lawyer and was Adjutant General of Michigan from 1806 until 1818. His first son, John Robert (1764-1846), married a Frenchwoman named Archange Campeau and had thirteen children. One of these children, James McDougall, who was born in 1793, married Catherine Godet in Sandwich's Assumption Parish in 1821, and is the great-great-great-grandfather of United States Secretary of State and ex-Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton. James and Catherine's daughter, Mary Anne Francis McDougall, born 1823, married Antoine Martin in 1841. They had a daughter named Delia, who married Daniel Murray in 1882, and that couple moved from Michigan to Illinois between 1888 and 1891. Delia and Daniel's daughter, Della, born 1902, married Edwin John Howell in 1918, and gave birth to Dorothy Emma Howell later that year. In 1947 Dorothy and her husband, Hugh Ellsworth Rodham, became the parents of Hilary Rodham.

It's a small wonder Clinton has Scotch blood in her, given the Scots' penchant for breaking down barriers. As the first female presidential nominee in American history, she was simply following the precedents set by Scotswomen north of the border.

  1. Burton, C. M., "Biography of George McDougall," Michigan Historical Collections, V.36, Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society: Lansing, 1908. 287-290
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