Reynolds Marriages, “More Than Mere Love”

 

 

(Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles by historian/genealogist Debra Honor regarding the Belle Vue house and its history. Honor is a member of the Belle Vue Conservancy.)

 

By Debra Honor UE PLCGS

 

Robert Reynolds’ father, Thomas, brought the family to the Detroit area around 1777 to pursue his occupation as the Assistant Deputy Commissary Officer at Fort Lernoult. Thomas and his wife, Jean Goodfellow, had five children who lived to adulthood including Margaret, Thomas Augustus, Ebenezer, Robert and Catherine. The first two were born in Scotland and the other three were born in Detroit. Margaret and Catherine never married but in later years became known for their artistic skills. Thomas Augustus joined the Royal Navy and moved to England. Ebenezer and Robert stayed in the Essex County area to build their careers.

Robert Reynolds, as an older man

Robert Reynolds, as an older man

Thomas was well connected with the British army and was one of the wealthiest families in Amherstburg. Although his sons, Ebenezer age 21 and Robert age 19 began their careers as shopkeepers on First Street (Dalhousie) in 1799, their family’s social status demanded good marriages. In October of 1803, Ebenezer married Rose Bouchette. A month later, Robert married her sister, Thérèse. Their father was Jean Baptiste Bouchette of the Provincial Marine who later gained prominence as the Commodore of the navy on Lake Ontario.

Robert’s marriage to Thérèse was even more strategic. Thérèse was the widow of the step-son of James McGill of the North-West Fur Trading Company of Montreal. Amherstburg was an important post for the company, trading furs out of the Ohio region.

James McGill had married Charlotte Guillimin Trottier dit Desrivières, the widow of his business partner, who had two sons whom he raised as his own. The youngest, Thomas Hippolyte, married Thérèse Bouchette and together they had one son, James McGill Trottier dit Desrivières. McGill had bought Thomas Hippolyte a commission in the army but in 1801, he was killed in “a foolish duel” in the West Indies.

Therese Bouchette Reynolds

Therese Bouchette Reynolds

Robert Reynolds marriage to Therese provided him a marriage alliance with one of the most powerful and wealthy families in the Canadas. Through this family connection and his own fortunes, Robert Reynolds could demonstrate his position by building his grand country house, Belle Vue.

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