Jean Baptiste Charette (1804-1894) was born on the prairies near Pembina, North Dakota, to Jean Baptiste Charette Sr., a French Canadian voyageur from Quebec, and Charlotte Sansregret, an Indigenous woman (of Pembina Band Ojibwe ancestry) who was born in Manitoba.
He was first enumerated in the census in 1838 at Red River Settlement. Shortly thereafter he married Angelique Petit, daughter of Thomas Petit Thomas and Marguerite Daunais, circa 1839 at Red River Settlement. They were counted on the 1840 Census of the Settlement. By 1850, Jean Baptiste and Angelique were living in the vicinity of Pembina. They were counted on the 1850 census for Pembina County, Minnesota Territory.
Jean Baptiste had a rather large hunting range, going as far west as Wood Mountain and Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan, where he spent several years as a hivernant (over-winterer), living as a hunter and trapper with his growing family and the hunting brigades of these areas who were mostly Pembina Ojibwe/Metis who also had ties to the Turtle Mountains and St. Joseph (Walhalla) and would occasionally return there for birth and baptisms (when possible).
During the Lake Superior Ojibwe Treaty of 1854 at Lake Superior, Jean Baptiste was issued scrip as a Pembina Band member. J.B. Bottineau testified that: “I think he is the same as John Bte. Charet (sic), who has and is now residing at Saint Joseph, Pembina County, Dakota; a mixed-blood of Pembina band, I think, and over 50 years of age.” During the 1863 Treaty at the Old Crossing between the Red Lake and Pembina Bands, Jean Baptiste was again issued scrip as a Pembina Band member, issued as Scrip Number 49, February 12, 1873, for 160 acres.
Following the death of his wife Angelique, he married Josephte Monet dit Belhumeur, daughter of Michel Monet dit Belhumeur and Josephte Sauteuse, on 13 Jan 1868 at St.Joseph, North Dakota. Josephte was reputed to be the granddaughter of the first Chief Little Shell, father of the signer of the 1863 Treaty. He later received Treaty annuities in 1871 at Turtle Mountain, under the Little Shell III band members list.
He applied for Canadian scrip as a Metis under the North West Half-Breed Commission. In his testimony, he stated his claim as follows: “I lived with my parents at Qu’Appelle River, Fort Ellice, Red River, and at Six Hills for 30 years. I then was married and became a plains buffalo hunter, living on the plains. On the 15th of July, 1870, I was living at Wood Mountain and continued as a resident of the territories until some 3 or 4 years ago where I was living on Plum River about three miles across the line.”
During the 1880 census, he and Josephte were enumerated as living at Pembina, and by 1886 they were living at Turtle Mountain Reservation and were counted on Indian Census rolls for the Band, including the 1892 McCumber half-breed rolls.
He died on 12 Oct 1894 at Belcourt, North Dakota, and is buried in the old cemetery behind St. Ann’s Catholic Church.
His children included the following individuals:
Alexandre Charette (1841–1930)
Jean Baptiste Charette (1842–1892)
Marguerite Charette (1845–1880)
Marie Anne Charette (1848–1878)
Joseph Charette (1850–????)
William Charette (1852–????)
Adelaide Charette (1852–1932)
Mathias “John” Charette (1855–1937)
Francois Xavier Charette (1857–1958)
Xavier Charette (1859–1860)
Moise Charette (1862–1930)
Eliza Charette (1863–1937)
His descendants today can be found among the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, Little Shell Band of Chippewa, and in Metis communities in Manitoba, North Dakota, and Montana.
Notes: Drawing of J.B. Charette comes from Cinq mois chez les Français d'Amérique: voyage au Canada et à la rivière Rouge (Five months among French Americans: trip to Canada and to the Northern Red River) by Henri Félix de Lamothe. Hachette et al. , 1880 - Canada.
Genealogical information by Gail Morin (https://www.amazon.com/Gail-Morin/e/B001K80U1U)