sent an important cultural element that
reaches back across five or six centuries in
spirit, purpose, and religious devotion as
a link with similar manifestations in
Spain from the Middle Ages onward. The
pastorelas which enjoyed great popularity
up to forty or fifty years ago still persist in
many areas and are being rediscovered or
revived in other localities. The tradition
is ancient whether the actual plays are or
not, and many lines or even scenes go
back to the Spanish Golden Age or
Wallace Woolsey is a professor emeritus at Texas
Woman's University in Denton, Texas.
Jean Laffite, Buccaneer and Double Agent
they returned to the United States under
assumed names to operate their various
Again according to the diaries, on June
7, 1832, Jean married Emma Mortimore
of Charleston, South Carolina, and lived
in Baltimore for three years. They then
moved to Cincinnati in 1835 and on to
Carondelet (now St. Louis) in 1836. Two
sons were born to them: Jules Jean and
Glenn Henry. Jean and Emma adored
each other and lived very happily until
Jean's death at seventy years of age. He
was buried in Afton, Illinois.
Pierre died in 1844 and was buried in
Weslyn Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.
He was sixty-four years old at the time of
his death. Alexandre (alias Dominique
You) is buried in Saint Louis Cemetery in
New Orleans, Louisiana.
Said to have been written several years
before his death, the following words are
penned in Laffite's journal:
The passing years have not harmed me because
I have never abandoned my ideals based
on the sentiment of liberty. I have never had
worries or fears; I have never allowed doubt
or despair to bow my head by asking time to
march backward. I have never compromised,
nor will I ever sell my soul to the devil.
I possess a good disposition, vigorous emotions,
a courage stronger than timidity and
the implacable determination to restrain the
childish appetites of the members of the royal
families of Europe that do not care for the
masses of people.
In this autobiography, Laffite often de
dared his allegiance to the United States
and stated his goal to rid the earth of the
shackles of Spanish and English bondage.
Although he padded his pocketbook well
from spy activities for Spain, he bore a
Austin, Texas 78704
Movers for the Texas Historical Foundation
lasting hatred for the country. He, more
than any other individual, can be credited
with driving Spain from the Gulf.
His esteem for America was evident in
his loyalty during the Battle of New
Orleans (according to General Andrew
Jackson, the United States would have
lost had it not been for General Laffite
and his men) and in his standing orders,
which forbade his men to attack U.S.
Laffite was influential in Mexico's shedding
of Spanish tyranny. The filibusters,
with which he was involved, were a factor
in Mexico's decision to allow Anglo
American colonization in Texas. No
doubt he was instrumental in stoking the
fires of rebellion in Texas against Mexico.
Writings confirm that this illusive figure
was respected by many notable people,
including Andrew Jackson, Mirabeau
Lamar, and Jane Long. Whatever else is
said about this brilliant, devious buccaneer,
it must be acknowledged that the
colorful Jean Laffite left a momentous
historical imprint upon the munificent
shores of Texas.
Evelyn Gill Hilton, born in Baytown, Texas,
holds a master of education in art and history and
currently teaches in the Alpine School District.
Providing careful, courteous
and skillful service
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 4, Number 3, Winter 1986. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45440/. Accessed February 12, 2016.