People of Detroit:
Pierre Alphonse de Tonty
Pierre Alphonse de Tonty was born in 1659 to Laurent and Angelique (de Liette) de Tonty. He had an older brother, Henri, who was part of La Salle's expedition to the Mississippi. Henri was known to the Native Americans as "the man with the iron hand" due to an artificial hand.
Some time after 1689 and before 1701, Tonty married Marianne la Marque, daughter of Francois la Marque. This was Marianne's third marriage. On May 3, 1669, Marianne's first husband, J.B. Nolan, died. Her second husband was Antoine de Fresnel (Fruel?) de Pipadiere.
Tonty was the Captain of Cadillac's party which founded Fort Ponchratrain du Detroit in 1701. He was a loyal, trusted officer.
In 1703, Tonty admitted to a plot with the Jesuits of Michilimackinac to establish a new post in St. Joseph on Lake Michigan. He was pardoned by Cadillac.
In 1704, Cadillac while was in Quebec, Tonty acted (unofficially) as Commandant. At thie time, Tonty was caught embezzling company goods, along with a company commissioner, for illegal fur trade. He was removed from Fort Ponchartrain, but was later pardoned by Cadillac and returned. Tonty continued to plot against his former friend with some Native Americans.
In July 1717, Tonty was named commandant of Fort Ponchartrain. Tonty was personally responsible for all expenses at the fort, including salaries for a missionary, surgeon, soldiers and interpreters, presents for Native Americans, and clothing. He was to use the profits from trade to pay these expenses. He was neither good with finances, nor business, however, and before long, he found himself with a debt he couldn't pay off. His solution was to farm out the trade business to two men: Francois la Marque (his father-in-law?) and Louis Gastineau. The men took on three partners of their own: Thierry, Nolan, and Gouin. The fee they paid Tonty covered fort expenses.
The new trade "bosses" weren't much better than Tonty and while he was commandant, annual trade "fairs" which offered twenty or more stores in Cadillac's day, never grew above two stores -- and those were owned by the same person. The trade business declined enough that community and tribal leaders filed complaints to Quebec. Tonty was called to Quebec to answer the complaints in the winter of 1721-22. Sieur de Belestre maintained the fort in his absence.
Tonty's mistakes didn't end there. It seems that Cadillac had given certain rights to Francois La Marque, one of the men to whom Tonty sold the trading business. For unknown reasons, Tonty didn't honor these rights, and thus La Marque filed a compplaint with officials at Quebec. In 1724, Tonty was called to Quebec to answer to these new charges.
In 1727, Tonty went to Qeubec to welcome the new Governor of New France, Marquis de Beauharnois. He also asked the new governor for help in improvements to Fort Ponchartrain. The governor was not pleased with Tonty. His attitude worsened when Hurons settled near the fort threatened to leave if Tonty wasn't replaced. Tonty was relived of duty effective spring 1728. He died before that date (November 10, 1727).