GODEFROY DE LINCTOT, DANIEL-MAURICE, officer in the colonial regular troops, merchant, and Indian agent; baptized 5 May 1739 at Montreal, son of Louis-René Godefroy de Linctot and Catherine-Apolline Blondeau; d. before 30 April 1783 in the Illinois country.
Daniel-Maurice Godefroy de Linctot belonged to the fifth generation of Godefroys to serve in the military forces in New France. His brothers Hyacinthe and Maurice-Régis were also officers in the colonial regulars and there is some confusion about the three careers prior to 1760. By the early 1750s Daniel-Maurice was a cadet, and he and a brother participated in Jean-Daniel Dumas’s defeat of Edward Braddock near Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh, Pa) in July 1755. He became an ensign in 1759. After the fall of New France he and most of his family went to France, arriving on 1 Jan. 1762. In 1764 several members of the family were given permission and funds to return to Canada to settle their affairs, and it may have been at this time that Daniel-Maurice left France. Two Linctot brothers, probably Hyacinthe and Daniel-Maurice, were reported to be living at Verchères in 1767, but by 1770 they had apparently moved west. Daniel-Maurice became a successful trader at Prairie du Chien (Wis.) and Cahokia (East St Louis, Ill.) and was considered a leader among the French of the Illinois country.
With the coming of the American revolution Linctot faced the problem of allegiance once again. As late as June 1778, Charles Gautier de Verville, a leading British advocate in the Upper Lakes region, spoke favourably of the Linctot brothers, and on 4 June Daniel-Maurice was reported to be visiting with Charles-Michel Mouet de Langlade, the most effective British partisan on the frontier. When the revolution reached the Illinois country with George Rogers Clark’s forces in July, Linctot changed his stance. Perhaps influenced by community leaders such as Linctot, Jacque s-Timothée Boucher de Montbrun, Father Pierre Gibault*, and the merchant Jean-Gabriel Cerré*, the French inhabitants of the Illinois country generally welcomed the rebels. Linctot was elected militia captain by the residents of Cahokia, and during the next few months he made expeditions with a troop of horse soldiers against La Pée (also called Peouarea; now Peoria, III.), Vincennes (Ind.), and Ouiatanon (near Lafayette, Ind.). Pleased with his work, Clark named him Indian agent for most of the Illinois country in the spring of 1779. The appointment, carrying the rank of major in the Virginia troops, was later confirmed by Thomas Jefferson, governor of the state.
Linctot spent most of the winter of 1779–80 in Virginia, and while there conferred with the French admiral, Louis-Philippe de Rigaud de Vaudreuil, Marquis de Vaudreuil, who encouraged him to attract more frontier French to the rebel cause. By mid 1780 Linctot was at Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh) with the assignment of engaging the Shawnees, Delawares, and other Ohio valley tribes to fight the British. That Linctot, who knew several Indian lanugages, was an effective irritant can be seen in a letter to the Ohio valley Indians from Arent Schuyler De Peyster, the British commandant at Detroit: “Send me that little babbling Frenchman named Monsieur Linctot, he who poisons your ears.” Clark later referred to Linctot’s “singular service” as an Indian agent.
Travelling was common for Linctot in these years. He was in St Louis (Mo.) from July to September 1781 and conferred there with Francisco Cruzat, the Spanish lieutenant governor of Upper Louisiana. Late in September he was back in Cahokia, involved in a minor land case. After this date nothing is known of him. He had died by 30 April 1783, as a letter from Clark to Jefferson makes clear.
AN, Col., D2C, 48, 58, 59; F3, 12. ANQ-M, État civil, Catholiques, Notre-Dame de Montréal, 5 mai 1739. Cahokia records, 1778–1790, ed. C. W. Alvord (Springfield, Ill., 1907). Frontier retreat on the upper Ohio, 1779–1781, ed. L. P. Kellogg (Madison, Wis., 1917). George Rogers Clark papers . . . [1771–84], ed. J. A. James (2v., Springfield, Ill., 1912–26). Kaskaskia records, 1778–1790, ed. C. W. Alvord (Springfield, Ill., 1909). The papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. J. P. Boyd et al. (19v. to date, Princeton, N.J., 1950- ). Wis., State Hist. Soc., Coll., XI (1888), 100–11. Dictionnaire national des Canadiens français (1608–1760) (2v., Montréal, 1958). Tanguay, Dictionnaire. Va., Calendar of Virginia state papers . . . (11v., Richmond, Va., 1875–93), III. F. L. Billon, Annals of St Louis in its early days under the French and Spanish dominations (St Louis, Mo., 1886; repr. [New York], 1971). G. A. Brennan, “De Linctot, guardian of the frontier,” Ill. State Hist. Soc., Journal (Springfield), X (1917–18), 323–66.