Chapman Abraham / Jewish Soldiers in the Civil War
During the French and Indian War (1754 - 1763), the British took Canada from France and with it possession of the French forts in the western Great Lakes region, including Detroit. The post remained an important center of the trade between the British and Native Americans. British trader Chapman Abraham (c. 1723 - 1783) arrived in Detroit around 1762. Abraham helped to supply British soldiers during the war as a partner of Fort Michilimackinac commissaries Levi Solomons, Ezekiel Solomon, Gershon Levi, and Benjamin Lyon. In 1763, he was captured and then released by the Indians at Detroit. By 1767 Abraham was a merchant engaged in the fur trade who owned property within the fortified town of Detroit. He is considered Detroit's first Jewish resident.
Jewish Soldiers in the Civil War
Jewish settlement in Michigan began with Ezekiel Solomon’s arrival at Fort Michilimackinac in 1761. The following year Chapman Abraham arrived in Detroit. During the mid-nineteenth century, Jewish immigration began to rise, particularly in Detroit. Some 150 Jewish families lived in Michigan by the time the Civil War began in 1861. The small population, made up mostly of recent immigrants, contributed an unusually high number of men to the Union army. One hundred eighty-one Michigan Jews served; thirty-eight perished. By risking their lives, Jews put down roots in their adopted country and laid the foundation for the larger wave of Jewish immigration that would follow in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.