Welcome to the official site for information about Timothy Demonbreun. He was the patriarch of Nashville, TN, a lieutenant governor of the Illinois Territory, Revolutionary War veteran, and beloved ancestor to thousands of descendants all across the United States. We hope you find this site helpful in your research about him, and most of all, we hope in these web pages you find your heritage includes this brave and heroic figure from the early pages of our nation's history.
Demonbreun ( de-MUN-brun) - French for "of the brown mountain."
The descendants of Pierre Boucher sieur de Grosbois were allowed to use titles of nobility after the King of France, Louis XIV, awarded this privelege to Pierre Boucher in 1661. Sons of Pierre chose family names including de Boucherville, de Gran-Pre, de Grosbois, de Niverville, and de Montbrun.
Timothy's Grandfather, Rene Jean Boucher, chose the name de Montbrun as did his son, Jean Etienne. Sometime during Timothy's life, he stopped using the "Boucher sieur" and signed his name simply Timothe Demonbreun. Records show all of Timothy's siblings died young except two sisters, who became nuns, so any Demonbreuns alive today can trace their family tree to this one common ancestor.
As time passed and Timothy's children and grandchildren had large families, the spelling of this very French name also changed. In the 19th century, words were often spelled phonetically, and it seems that each branch of the Demonbreun family had their own way to spell their name. These days, there are Demontbruns, Demunbruns, and Demumbruns - all descendants of an 18th century frontiersman, Timothy Demonbreun.
Timeline of the Life of Timothy Demonbreun
1747 Born March 23 to Jean Etienne Boucher sieur de Montbrun and Delle Marie Racicot in Boucherville, Quebec
1766 Married Therese Archange Gibault in Boucherville on November 16.
1768 Moved to Kaskaskia, IL where his Uncle Pierre Boucher de la Soudraye was Captain of the militia
First child, daughter, Therese (called Agnes) born at Fort River, St Joseph, IL on the way to Kaskaskia.
1770 Elected Escuyer (Justice of Peace) for Kaskaskia
1772 Wife, Therese, drops out of Kaskaskia records for 8 years. Accounts say she was captured by Indians.
1774 Trading furs at New Orleans annually. Had 8 boats and 17 employees by some accounts.
1778 Took Oath of Alligence to newly formed United States at Ft Sack, Vincennes, IL administered by his
wife's cousin, Father Pierre Gibault, at the orders of Colonel George Rogers Clark, who took Kaskaskia. In October, he was captured with the other members of the French militia and small American force stationed at Vincennes by British General Henry Hamilton.
1779 After Colonel Clark retook Vincennes, Timothy aided Americans in capturing British supply boats.
1780 Wife Therese reappears in Kaskaskia records.
Timothy greeted James Robertson and company as they crossed the frozen Cumberland River on Christmas Eve to start a settlement there.
1783 Made Lieutenant Governor of Illinois Territory.
1785 Court records show he was fined at Nashville for retailing liquor without a license. He operated tavern there.
When 2 Spanish refugees are seized illegally from Kaskaskia, Demonbreun wrote a letter to Spanish Governor Cruzat, possibly averting military action between the US and Spain
1786 Demonbreun resigned as Governor of Illinois Territory.
1787 In January, Elizabeth Bennett, Timothy's mistress, accused of having a bastard child in Nashville court.
Demonbreun received his 1st Land Grant from US for his services in Revolutionary War.
1790 Last time Therese appears in any record; it records birth of their last child, Marie Louise.
1791 According to stories, baby Marie Louise killed at Nashville during Indian raid.
Demonbreun later said about this time he was in a duel in Illinois in which his antagonist was killed, forcing him to leave Kaskaskia permanently.
1792 On September 30, Buchanan's Station attacked by Indians and Elizabeth Bennet was there helping make bullets. Demonbreun carried news of the raid to Governor Blount in Knoxville then on to General Knox at Philadelphia.
1793 On March 12, Elizabeth Bennett married Timothy's friend, Joseph Durrard, an Indian scout who is half French, half Indian.
1797 Demonbreun sold Elizabeth and Joseph Durrard land.
1798 Demonbreun entertained the future King of France, the Duke of Orleans, during his stay in Nashville.
1800 Nashville paper carried ad for Demonbreun's store advertising he carries window glass and buffalo tongues.
1806 Nashville court paid Demonbreun $50 for keeping courthouse clean and in good repair.
1821 Demonbreun donated land to build the first Catholic church in Nashville, however the land was not used. The first Catholic mass in Tennessee was said by Rev Abell and Bishop Flaget at Demonbreun's home.
1825 At a dinner in honor of General Lafayette who was visiting Nashville, Demonbreun was toasted as "grand old man of Tennessee and first white man to settle the Cumberland country."
1826 On October 30, Demonbreun died at his home in Nashville, TN. There is no record of where he is buried.