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Antoine Laumet

Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac

Antoine de la Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac


This gentleman seems to have an interesting history. I guess it depends on which story you believe.


Cadillac History

Detroit Free Press:

Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the city's founder, claimed to come from a noble family in southern France. According to Cadillac's marriage certificate, his father was a member of the Toulouse Parliament and his mother was descended from the aristocratic Malenfant family.

But Cadillac apparently forged his family origins. The Detroit Free Press recently exposed Cadillac's heritage hoax: As it turns out, Cadillac—né Antoine Laumet—was actually a commoner. So was his mom. His dad was a local judge, not a member of parliament. Cadillac fabricated the coat of arms that the Cadillac car company later adopted.

Most historians agree that Cadillac was an arrogant, greedy (albeit well-educated) con artist. So how has he managed to dupe Detroiters for 300 years? A great city wants a hero, not a scoundrel. As historian Yves Zoltvany told the Free Press, "It was expected that civic-minded Detroiters with a taste of history would make him into a great man.

Cadillac described himself on the marriage certificate as a 26-year-old esquire, his father a titled councillor at the celebrated Parliament of Toulouse, his mother from the high-born family named Malenfant. There was one problem. It was all a lie. Cadillac was closer to 30, and a commoner. His father had been a lowly local judge. His mother also was of common birth. His coat of arms? The one with the legless duck-like creatures? The one that the Cadillac car company adopted in 1905 because it symbolized the "courageous origins of a noble family," "wisdom" and "valiant conduct during the crusades?" It's a fake, too. Cadillac made up the coat of arms. He stole elements of it from noble families in his native southern France; commoners don't have family crests. Could this be the same Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac who founded Detroit on July 24, 1701, 299 years ago today?


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