The WPA Dallas Guide and History Page: 286
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LA REUNION: ADVENTURE
Conditions in Europe growing out of the French revolution, the ascendancy of
Napoleon, and the consequent general economic debacle brought about the emi-
gration to America eighty-five years ago of the men and women of La Reunion, a
Franco-Belgian colony adjacent to what then was the village of Dallas. From these
peace-seeking projectors of a novel social and economic philosophy the modern
city drew much of its cultural development.
On June 16, 1855, the youthful settlement on the Trinity declared a holiday and
turned out en masse to greet the expected but nonetheless strange little band of
folk. They entered Dallas in foreign garb, the clatter of their wooden sabots on the
boardwalks followed by slowly moving ox-carts laden with implements and house-
hold goods. It was journey's end after 26 days of travel overland from Houston for
200 weary men, women, and children who had come to America from Belgium,
France, and Switzerland, actuated by a vision of utopia. Elation of the villagers and
the immigrants was mutual. Culmination of the rendezvous with the advance
agents of the colony who had come a year earlier and other smaller parties of immi-
grants who had preceded the main body during the spring of 1855 gave good rea-
son for the name "La Reunion" for the settlement. These immigrants were disciples
of Charles Francois Fourier, whose theory of socialism they had come to Texas to
put into practice.
Victor Considerant, young Fourierist enthusiast, was exiled from France in 1851
and came from Belgium to America in 1852. In New York he met Albert Brisbane,
Horace Greeley, James Russell Lowell, Charles A. Dana, and others who had been
influenced by Fourier. Through Brisbane, Considerant met Major Merrill of the
United States Army, who was stationed at Fort Worth, and on April 30, 1853, left
the East to journey with the army officer to Texas.
During this trip Considerant sojourned briefly with a fellow countryman by the
name of Couhenans, who, he records, was the leader of the advance guard of the
Icarians, another sect of utopian socialists who had come to Texas in 1848 for
the purpose of establishing a colony about thirty miles north of Dallas under an ill-
advised arrangement made by Etienne Cabet with the Peters Colony promoters.
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Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the City of Dallas. The WPA Dallas Guide and History, book, 1992; Dallas, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28336/m1/310/: accessed September 24, 2023), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.