Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Hamtramck, Colonel John

American military leader Jean Francois Hamtramck was born on August 16, 1757 in Quebec. Hamtramck joined the U.S. Army in 1775 and changed his name to the Americanized John Francis. He fought with George Washington during the American Revolution, as well as with Anthony Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. Made commander of Fort Vincennes in present-day Indiana, Hamtramck was active in the negotiations of a peace treaty with the area’s Native Americans.

In 1793, Hamtramck was named Lieutenant Colonel in the Legion of the United States led by General Anthony Wayne to secure the Northwest Territory. After being cited for bravery, Hamtramck was appointed full Colonel and was made first commandant of Fort Wayne in Indiana. In 1796, Hamtramck led the garrison to secure Fort Miami in Ohio. Hamtramck was then transferred to Fort Lernoult in Detroit, when the Americans assumed control of the city on July 11, 1796.

Living in a house in what is now Gabriel Richard Park, at the bridge to Belle Isle, Hamtramck remained commandant of Fort Lernoult until his death on April 11, 1803. Buried in Ste. Anne’s graveyard, Hamtramck is possibly Detroit’s most reburied Detroiter. In 1805, his body was moved to a new graveyard after fire destroyed the city. In 1866, Hamtramck’s body was moved for a third time to a plot in Mt. Elliott Cemetery and moved for his fourth and final burial in 1962 to Hamtramck, the city named for him.



"Detroit Under the American Flag" Diorama - 2012.047.186

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