MacLEOD, NORMAND, army officer, Indian department official, and fur-trader; b. on Skye, Scotland; m. Cécile Robert, probably the daughter of Antoine Robert of Detroit (Mich.); d. 1796 at Montreal (Que.).
Normand MacLeod first saw military service in 1747 in the Netherlands. He came to America in 1756 as an ensign in the 42nd Foot, and during the Seven Years’ War he transferred to Thomas Gage’s 80th Foot. He attained the rank of captain-lieutenant and in the early 1760s was stationed at Fort Niagara (near Youngstown, N.Y.). At that time he also became acquainted with the Detroit region. After the war he was placed on half pay, and in the mid 1760s he lived in New York City. He was a friend of Sir William Johnson and others of his circle and Johnson became his patron. MacLeod visited Johnson Hall (Johnstown), performed personal commissions for Johnson in New York, and was a brother Mason.
In the summer of 1766 MacLeod was appointed commissary for Indian affairs at Fort Ontario (Oswego, N.Y.). That year he entertained Pontiac* and his party when they came to the post for a meeting with Johnson. MacLeod became commissary at Niagara in 1767 but lost the position in the spring of 1769 during a general retrenchment by the British government. He went to New York City in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain patronage from General Gage. By the summer of 1770, however, he was established on a farm at Caughnawaga (Fonda, N.Y.) in the Mohawk valley under Johnson’s patronage.
Named commandant at Fort Ontario in the fall of 1773, MacLeod requested permission to delay taking up his post until the following summer. Johnson died in July 1774, and it was likely then that MacLeod moved west to establish himself as a trader at Detroit in partnership with Gregor McGregor and William Forsyth. In October 1774 he bought property there in partnership with McGregor. In the fall of 1778, as a captain in the Detroit militia, MacLeod went on Henry Hamilton ’s expedition against Vincennes (Ind.), whose inhabitants had declared for the rebels. He returned to Detroit early in 1779 before Hamilton’s garrison was captured. Hamilton had attempted to make MacLeod town major at Detroit, but the appointment was not confirmed since no such position had been provided for the upper posts.
By 1779 MacLeod had a new partner – John Macnamara, who was a prominent merchant at Michilimackinac (Mackinaw City, Mich.) – but at the end of the revolution he became associated with John Gregory* of Montreal in the firm of Gregory, MacLeod and Company. This firm provided the main opposition to the North West Company; one of its wintering partners was Alexander Mackenzie*. MacLeod moved to Montreal at this time, and when in 1787 the North West Company absorbed his firm he received one of the 20 shares in the reorganized company. In 1790 he sold his share and retired. He died six years later.
Throughout his life MacLeod was well thought of by those who knew him and employed him. Sir William Johnson commented that he had “great Esteem for Capt MacLeod who is a Worthy Man and one I am always disposed to Serve.” Frederick Haldimand referred to him as “a Gentleman for whom I have a particular regard.”
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