His tombstone is on the north slope of the Old Fort’s Interior
The early stories of Detroit Governer and Judges records, p 182; Farmer's History of Detroit and Michigan, Detroit Tribune, 20 Aug 1905,Gateway, March 1910, p 36), say that Peter Audrain was born in France in 1725 and came to Pennsylvania during the American Revolution. His family desired him to be a priest, and he became a regent in the Episcopal college at Bressuire in Poitou. At the end of 1775, he abandoned the idea of becoming a priest and went to Paris, earning his living expenses by translating and teaching, and then he became secretary to the philologist, Count de Gebelin. Shortly afterward he was introduced to the Baron Steuben, who was in need of a secretary familiar with the English language to accompany him on his approaching journey to America. He was immediately hired for the job, and they embarked from Marsailles, landing at Portsmouth, N. H. 1 Dec. 1777. He served with Baron Steuben for two years, until ill health forced him to retire to Philadelphia.
The journal of his trip to Detroit with General Anthony Wayne began in Pittsburgh in June 1796 and continued until their preparation to board keel boats for the cross to Detroit from Fort Miami. He was named notary of Wayne County by Anthony Wayne, and served as Judge of Probate in Detroit 1796 - 1809. His other offices there were City Registrar, Clerk of Courts, Secretary to the Land Board, Secretary to the Territorial and Judges, etc.
In Detroit, he was shown as a member of St. Anne Catholic Church. His Tomb stone was in the cemetery of that congregation. There is a letter from Peter Audrain to J. B. C. Lucas, written from Detroit 12 Apr 1803, in which he congratulates Lucas on his 1802 election to Congress. Carrying the letter was Paymaster Lieutenant Pinkney. At the time he was writing letters to Lucas from Detroit, Peter Audrain was receiver of public moneys. Later he served as clerk of the commissioners on Land claims, and as a member of the board. These letters are written almost entirely in English. (Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine Vol 21, p 255)
On 8 May 1812 he subscribed 8 shillings, acting with other Detroit residents to buy powder "in case of emergency". The emergency occurred, and Detroit was recaptured by the British. Peter Audrain’s house was "plundered of everything valuable and he and his family moved to the McCarty farm a mile below the city until the war’s close." He was a prisoner of war, but permitted to be at home mostly, on parole. In 1813 he is named as one among the group of Americans who went to save prisoners of River Raisin Battle. (Catlin, Story of Detroit, p 160)
He became well versed in the English language, but was better educated in French. He wrote a beautiful hand and was one of the best pen-men of the age - and nearly all of the profuse old records are in his beautiful handwriting, so perfect as to sometimes be taken for print. He distinguished himself by his assiduous accuracy and punctuality. In that critical period residing right at the frontier of intolerant and arrogant Britishers, he was a fearless patriot, always on the alert to bring any disloyal subjects and to notify officials of suspicious conduct of would-be American citizens. He was only removed from these offices when he became too old to perform the duties required of him in 1819.
He was 94 years old at this time, if the dates given for him in these records are correct. The 1820 Detroit census lists one male over 45 years, 1 female over 45, 2 males 26/45, 1 male 16/26 (over 18 years old), and 1 male under 10. He died 6 Oct 1820. The "finely sculptured stone covering the grave of Audrain" is mentioned among the "ashes and tombs of generations of the French race, including some reinterred from Ste Anne, north of Jefferson Avenue 200 feet west of Griswold." (Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society, Vol XXVI, p 271)
NOTE: We do not know how and when his tombstone was brought to Historic Fort Wayne, probably during the Detroit Historical Museum era after 1949. (J. Conway, March, 2011)