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YAX Family Genealogy
A Brief Family History

How we all got here...

Michel Johannes "Jacks" Yax
 
Michel Johannes Jacks was born in Germany in 1709 and died July 8, 1793 in Detroit Mi.  In Germany he met Catherine Herbinnes who was born in 1726 in Germany, and died January 1789 in Detroit Mi.  The story told is that Michel and Catherine's relationship was frowned upon by their families due to the fact that one was from a upper class family and the other was from a lower class family.  So they left Germany and sailed to the United States some where between 1740 and Setember 1741, on the ship Lydia where it docked in Philadelphia PA.  Michel changed his last name to Yax, upon entering the United States.  They were married about April 1745 in Philadelphia PA.  Michel attempted to walk from PA. to the Mississippi at the place called Pointe Coupee on the Louisiana coast to establish a small colony of Germans.  He lost his way and after many privations and trails he was captured by the Ottawa's who stole from him and sold his wife to Commandant de Longueuil.  In 1751 they received a French land grant which is now know as Private Claims #586 and #344 Grosse Pointe, and supplies. (The following is a list of the supplies that he received from the King's store).  1 plow, 1 axe, 1 hoe, 1 sickle, 1 scythe, 2 augers, 7 chickens, 1 sow, 8lbs of lead, 4lbs powder, 2lbs rice, 6lbs flour, 1 pot of wine, 80 nails. 

Statue of Liberty

His wife, Catherine Herbinne, deserves to be rescued from oblivion. She had evidently been brought up as a Lutheran, and had remained such despite her marriage to Michel Yax.  Some years after her arrival in Detroit she was reveived into the Church, and thus became in all likelihood, the first convert from Protestamtism in Michigan.  To the little French Catholic community, and to Father Bocquet, that was an event of a lifetime, and he recorded it in quite the longest entry devoted to an idividual in the pages of St. Anne's register.  "It was on Passion Sunday, March 16, 1755 at the end of Vespers, in the presence of M. Dumay, captain of the troops of his Majesty, Knight of the Military order of St. Louis and commanding officer for the King in this fort and its dependencies, and of a great number of other persons of whom the leading ones signed. The said atherine Herbinne declared she could neither read nor write."   From this time down to 1830 there is scarcely any trace to indicate the presence of German Catholics in Detroit.  Michel was the first German Settler at the Detroit River Region