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Gabriel Richard

Father Gabriel Richard was undoubtedly the most revered man in the city, and one year after his arrival, the obstreperous Augustus Woodward was the most despised. Oddly enough, the two men got along famously and proceeded to make Detroit “arise from the ashes”. Woodward’s proposed plan of the new city can still be seen in the streets of Detroit today. In spring of 1807, Woodward visited many French citizens including Jacques Allard. His report to President Jefferson on these bizarre and enigmatic French habitants is classic and found in chapter 19 of the book. Read More 
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Rebuilding Detroit

Soon after the Detroit fire of 1805, four men arrived in Detroit Harbor. As they had left Washington before news of the disaster, they were shocked at what they found. All sent by President Jefferson, William Hull was to be Governor of the new Michigan Territory, Stanley Griswold, Secretary of the Territory, Fredrick Bates, Supreme Court Justice, and Augustus Woodward Chief Justice. Of the four disappointed men, Woodward would have by far the greatest effect on Cadillac’s old village. Read More 
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Detroit Burns

Two years from their departure, Jacques and the three boys return to Detroit only to find it in ruins. They soon land and learn that one year ago a barn fire spread through the city leaving only one warehouse building standing within the city proper. Gabriel Richard, the French priest and spiritual leader of the city had been considering his return to France the night of the fire, but in the morning, examining the devastation, he deemed it a sign from God that he remain. Exploring the ashes, he remembered a verse he was obligated to memorized in the seminary, “Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus.” We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes.” This phrase is now the motto of Detroit found on the city seal. Read More 
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