GROSTON (Grotton) DE SAINT-ANGE, ROBERT, officer in the colonial regular troops in the Illinois country; b. at Châtillon-sur-Seine, diocese of Langres, province of Champagne, son of Jean Groston and Marie Rebourceau; d. before June 1740.
The date of Robert Groston’s arrival in Canada is unknown, but in 1736 Le Moyne* de Bienville said that he had been in the king’s service for over 50 years. In 1692 he married Marguerite Crevier, by whom he had six sons and two daughters. Marguerite was buried at Montreal, 7 June 1707. On 24 March 1718 he married Élisabeth, daughter of François Chorel de Saint-Romain, dit d’Orvilliers, and Marie-Anne Aubuchon. According to Charlevoix*, Saint-Ange was his escort on the voyage down the Mississippi in 1721. Soon after that, Saint-Ange was serving in the Illinois country, where he had brought his second wife, their only child, Élisabeth, and two sons by his first marriage: Pierre (bap. 17 Nov. 1693) and Louis*, Sieur de Bellerive.
On 30 May 1722 Saint-Ange was commissioned ensign on half pay and in 1723 was sent up the Missouri with Véniard de Bourgmond to build Fort d’Orléans. He was in the first party dispatched towards the Padouca (Comanche) country (western Kansas) in 1724, but when Bourgmond led a second expedition there later that year, Saint-Ange (half-pay lieutenant since December 1722) remained in command at Fort d’Orléans. In 1725 he was again in command while Bourgmond was escorting his party of Missouri Indians to France.
Some time later Saint-Ange returned to serve again in the eastern Illinois country. He bought a house near Fort de Chartres in 1729 and in 1730 succeeded to the command of that post, from which he led a successful campaign against the Fox Indians. About 1734 he was superseded by Pierre d’Artaguiette and on 16 Dec. 1738, in recognition of services, was commissioned half-pay captain, though news of his promotion apparently had not reached him by the time of his death, reported to Versailles by Bienville in June 1740.
His son Pierre, commissioned half-pay ensign 19 Dec. 1722, died a lieutenant in the Chickasaw disaster in 1736 [see François-Marie Bissot de Vinsenne]. In 1738 Robert Groston de Saint-Ange was mentioned in the “Registre des donations” at Fort de Chartres as guardian of Pierre’s daughter Marie-Rose and son Pierre, both minors. Robert Groston’s daughter Élisabeth married François Coulon* de Villiers in 1740 and died at Fort de Chartres 6 March 1755. Saint-Ange’s widow was buried at Fort de Chartres 23 Feb. 1762, said to be 79 years old, although Tanguay gives the date of her baptism as 1 April 1691.
The name is sometimes written Groston de Saint-Ange, sometimes Grotton, dit Saint-Ange; the de has no noble significance. Archives of Illinois State Hist. Library (Springfield), Registre des donations, Fort de Chartres. Archives of the Missouri Hist. Soc. (St Louis), Fort de Chartres, records of the church of Sainte-Anne. AN, Col., B, 43, f.124; 66, f.365; C13A, 21, f.181; 25, f.94. Découvertes et établissements des Français (Margry), VI. Wis. State Hist. Soc. Coll., XVIII.
Tanguay, Dictionnaire, I, 285; III, 69, 199; IV, 382. N. M. Belting, Kaskaskia under the French régime (University of Illinois studies in the social sciences, XXIX, no.3, Urbana, 1948). Marc de Villiers Du Terrage, La découverte du Missouri et l’histoire du fort d’Orléans (1673–1728) (Paris, 1925). W. B. Douglas, “The Sieurs de St. Ange,” Ill. State Hist. Soc. Trans., 1909 (Ill. State Hist. Lib. pub., XIV, Springfield, 1910), 135–46.