JAMET, JOHN, army officer; d. 2 June 1763 at Michilimackinac. His origins, like most of the rest of his life, are shrouded in obscurity.
Following Edward Braddock’s defeat near Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh, Pa.) in 1755, a new regiment, the Royal Americans, was raised to serve on the frontier. Since most recruits were Pennsylvania Dutch and could not speak English, it was necessary to appoint officers who could command them in their own language. John Jamet was one of these new officers.
He received a commission as ensign on 30 March 1758, and doubtless soon saw service at a frontier fort. He apparently served with some distinction with the regimental artillery. In the summer of 1761, when he was promoted lieutenant, he was the only experienced artillery officer in the Île Perrot (Montreal) garrison.
In the summer of 1762 Jamet arrived at Detroit with a detachment under Major Henry Gladwin*, the post’s new commandant. On 3 September he was a member of a three-man court of inquiry appointed to determine whether any dereliction of duty was involved in Lieutenant Charles Robertson’s failure to locate a route for deep-draft vessels over the sand bars in Lake St Clair. When Captain George Etherington was dispatched to assume command of Michilimackinac a day or so later, Jamet and a small party of soldiers went along to take charge of the sub-post at Sault Ste Marie.
On 21 December a disastrous fire destroyed the soldiers’ lodgings at the Sault, and Jamet, badly burned, barely escaped with his life. His little garrison retired to Fort Michilimackinac for the winter, Jamet being transported overland on an Indian sledge because he was too seriously injured to make the trip by boat.
Inspired by Pontiac’s siege of Detroit, some Ojibwas and Sauks distracted the guard detail at Michilimackinac with a game of lacrosse on 2 June 1763 and staged a surprise attack on the fort. Captain Etherington and another officer were seized at the outset. Jamet, by some accounts the only officer to offer any resistance, drew his sword and fought off several of the attackers before being struck down himself. The Indians then cut off his head and dispatched several other soldiers who had already surrendered. Father Pierre Du Jaunay*, the Jesuit priest at Michilimackinac, intervened to stop the slaughter, and it seems likely that he also had Jamet and the other fallen British soldiers buried in the graveyard at the post.
BM, Add, mss, 21661, f.178, Haldimand to Amherst, 21 Sept. 1761. DPL, Burton hist. coll., Porteous papers, John Porteous to his father, 20 Nov. 1763. Mackinac Island State Park Commission (Lansing, Mich.), Journals of the travels of Jonathan Carver in the year 1766 and 1767 (typescript copy), p.4. PRO, WO 34/49, return of the detachment of the Royal American Regiment, 23 Nov. 1762. Army list, 1758, 110; 1761, 117. “Bouquet papers,” Michigan Pioneer Coll., XIX (1891), 161–62, 177, 182–83. Jonathan Carver, Three years travels through the interior parts of North America . . . (Glasgow, 1805), 32–33. Diary of the siege of Detroit . . . , ed. F. B. Hough (Albany, 1860), 30–31. Great Britain, Statutes, 29 George II, c.5. [James Gorrell], “Lieut. James Gorrell’s journal,” Wis. State Hist. Soc. Coll., I (), 24–48. Alexander Henry, Travels and adventures in Canada and the Indian territories between the years 1760 and 1776, ed. James Bain (Boston, 1901; repr. Edmonton, 1969), 78–79. JR (Thwaites), LXX, 250–54. “Memoir of Charles Langlade,” Wis. State Hist. Soc. Coll., VII (1876), 156. R. W. Hale, The Royal Americans (William L. Clements Library Bull., XLI, Ann Arbor, Mich., 1944). Francis Parkman, The conspiracy of Pontiac and the Indian war after the conquest of Canada (10th ed., 2v., Boston, 1886; repr. New York, 1962). Peckham, Pontiac.
Cite This Article
Harry Kelsey, “JAMET, JOHN,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 24, 2014, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/jamet_john_3E.html.
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|Author of Article:||Harry Kelsey|
|Title of Article:||JAMET, JOHN|
|Publication Name:||Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3|
|Publisher:||University of Toronto/Université Laval|
|Year of publication:||1974|
|Year of revision:||1974|
|Access Date:||April 24, 2014|