Bluff Top Tombs

CollagesOne of the more interesting stories about Prairie du Chien is about  Michael Brisbois, a fur trader,  whose tomb is located high atop  a bluff north of the city. According to the story,  he wanted to be buried on top of the bluff so he could look down eternally on his rival, Joseph Rolette, also a fur trader, who is buried in the Old French Cemetery.

in those days, nothing prevented one from being laid to rest on private property in rural areas. Today, the tomb  is only accessible through private land. The tomb is marked by a weather beaten cross which can be seen from the valley below.

These are the names of those who are with Michel Brisbois on the bluff:
Brisbois, Michael died Apr;1,1837,age 77 years,6 months
B. W. Oct;4,1808---June 15,1885
Therese Apr; 27,1815---July 23,1849,wife of B. W.

Tilmont, J. A. May 25,1816---Feb;26,1872,born in Brussels

Bernard (B. W) was Michael Brisbois son.  Therese was Michael Brisbois Wife. Joseph A. (J. A. ) Tilmont was a druggist. He was not related to the Brisbois family and it is unknown why he is buried on the bluff.

Michel [aka Michael] was born in Val-Maska, Quebec, Canada, in 1759. He attended school in Quebec. Soon turning to the fur trade, he worked out of DSC_0045Mackinac (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 Territory, 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. In 1785 Michel married a Winnebago woman (reputedly the illegitimate daughter of Charles Gautier de Verville) and had three Metis children: Angellic, Michel and Antoine. She lived with her Winnebago relatives. Michel's second marriage on August 8, 1796, was in Mackinaw City, Michigan, to Domitelle (Madelaine) Gautier de Verville, legitimate daughter of Charles Gautier de Verville. To Michel and his second wife, a son Bernard Walter Brisbois was born in Prairie du Chien in 1808. Michel died in Prairie du Chien in June, 1837. (1)