La Demoiselle Biography

La Demoiselle

Miami Indian chief
Born: ?
Birthplace: Unknown

Although little is known of his life, La Demoiselle (as he was known to the French) is now remembered for his role in the conflict between the French and the British in North America at the outset of the French and Indian War. A chief of the Piankeshaw branch of the Miami Indians, La Demoiselle led his people in 1747 to a spot on the Great Miami River, near the present-day town of Piqua, Ohio. These Indians were known from then on as the Tweightewee. Along with a group of British colonial traders, they established the town of Pickawillany, which rapidly became the most important English trading post in the Old Northwest.

This expansion of British influence did not sit well with the French, who sent a force of 250 men into the area to reinforce French claims. They reached Pickawillany in Sept. 1749, and the commander, Céleron de Blainville (or de Bienville, or Céloron), spent a week trying to persuade La Demoiselle to switch his allegiance to the French. The Indians, however, were well disposed toward the British and remained where they were.

Eventually, the French sent a group of Ottawa and Ojibwa warriors under Chief Pontiac and led by French commanders to destroy the Pickawillany settlement. The surprise attack occurred on June 21, 1752. The attackers killed and ate La Demoiselle for his devotion to the British.

La Demoiselle was also known as “Old Britain” by the British.

Died: 6/21/1752