Joseph Campeau.JPG

Joseph Baptiste CampeauAge: 94 years17691863

Joseph Baptiste Campeau
Given names
Joseph Baptiste
Birth February 25, 1769 33 29
Death of a paternal grandfatherJean Louis Campeau
March 13, 1774 (Age 5 years)
Death of a paternal grandmotherMarie Louise Robert
April 1, 1776 (Age 7 years)
Death of a motherMarie Catherine Ménard dit LaFontaine
1782 (Age 12 years)
Death of a fatherJacques Campeau
February 16, 1789 (Age 19 years)
Death of a sisterMarie-Cecellia Cecilia Campeau
June 24, 1805 (Age 36 years)
MarriageAdelaide DequindreView this family
May 18, 1808 (Age 39 years)

Death of a brotherLouis Campeau
May 13, 1834 (Age 65 years)
Death of a brotherJacques Campeau
October 5, 1838 (Age 69 years)

Death of a wifeAdelaide Dequindre
June 2, 1862 (Age 93 years)
Death July 23, 1863 (Age 94 years)
Family with parents - View this family
elder sister
17 months
elder brother
18 months
elder brother
19 months
Family with Adelaide Dequindre - View this family
Marriage: May 18, 1808


Born in Detroit on February 20, 1769, Campau was considered a successful business man, although it has been cited that he was in actuality, a “slum lord.” Campau was the grandson of original settler, Jacques Campau, who came from Montreal to Detroit in 1708. Educated in Montreal, Campau returned to Detroit to open a general store on Rue Ste. Anne in the 1790s. Simultaneously, Campau was a fur trader and land speculator while serving as a trustee of Detroit among other political posts. Learning several Native American dialects, Campau was known as Chemokamun (Big Shot). Campau was married to Adelaide Dequindre and the two had twelve children. Campau died on July 23, 1863, and at the time of his death he owned over $10 million worth of real estate, making him the largest landowner in Michigan and one of Detroit’s wealthiest citizens. Campau is buried in Elmwood Cemetery. Written by Stacy Newman - Detroit Historical Society


Joseph Campau was born in Detroit on February 20, 1769 and was an extremely successful business man, although at least one contemporary publication labelled him a “slum lord.”

Mr. Campau is buried in Detroit’s Elmwood Cemetery, and therein lies an interesting story. Campau could not be buried in the Catholic Mount Elliott Cemetery, along with his wife, Adelaide Dequindre, and some of their children, as he had been excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 1817.

He had many heated disagreements with Father Gabriel Richard, Detroit’s famous pastor of St. Anne’s Church over the years – and not only because he joined the Masons, but he also sold whiskey to the local Native American tribes. Others claimed he overcharged interest to his delinquent tenants who had fallen behind.

By the time of his death on July 23, 1863, he owned over 10 million dollars worth of real estate, making him the largest landowner in Michigan, and certainly, one of Detroit’s wealthiest citizens.

As with many early Detroiters, today Joseph Campau is remembered as the name of the primary thoroughfare in the city of Hamtramck. His obituary said of him, “To the honest and industrious, he was always lenient. (

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