The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998 Page: 342
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
colonial settlement on the northeast side of the region also served as an
entry point-the French post Saint-Jean-Baptiste des Natchitoches on the
Red River at present-day Natchitoches, Louisiana.3
A study of the people-Spanish, French, and Indian-who moved
between the two fringe settlements reveals relationships that produced
a remarkable interaction across the land that became the state of Texas.
The links forged between these groups, sometimes cemented by kin-
ship, had both economic and political implications that endured
through much of the eighteenth century. During that time, French
traders from Natchitoches influenced or controlled commercial activity
along the Red River. Significantly, traces of the same French influence
eventually spread across much of Texas through trade and Indian rela-
tions. These French actions often were associated with frontier trade
cartels that were predominantly familial in nature. Established by
Frenchmen, the cartels grew through alliances and kinship to include
Indian and Spanish members.
One of the most influential French colonial traders was Louis
Juchereau de St. Denis. His interaction with Frenchmen, Spaniards, and
Indians in Louisiana, the Spanish province of Texas, and the interior of
Mexico illustrates how the complex relationships of one such frontier
cartel formed. The cartel St. Denis established strongly influenced the
political and military setting throughout the Province of Texas during
much of the eighteenth century.
St. Denis arrived on the Louisiana Gulf Coast in 1700 with his
nephew-in-law Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville, a French Canadian
who had established the Louisiana colony the previous year.4 St. Denis
himself was a third generation French Canadian, said to have been edu-
cated formally at Le College Royale in Paris.5
'Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, brother of Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville, was
among the Natchez Indians in June 1716 when he learned that a Spanish entrada commanded
by Domingo Ram6n was approaching the French colony. Upon reaching the Red River later that
month, Ram6n found a French garrison which, under Bienville's command, had fortified the
outpost only ten days prior. The exact date in June that Post Saint-Jean-Baptiste des Natchitoches
was established is uncertain. Possibly it was June 24, the Feast Day of Saint-Jean- Baptiste, patron
saint of Canada. Dunbar Rowland and Albert Godfrey Sanders (eds.), Mississippi Provincial
Archives 1701-1729 French Dominion (3 vols.; Jackson: Press of the Mississippi Department of
Archives and History, 1929), III, 515 (cited hereafter as MPA).
* In 1696 Pierre Le Moyne married Marie Pollet, the daughter of Louis Juchereau de St. Denis's
older sister, Marie Anne, and Francois Pollet de la Combe Pocatibre, a French army captain.
Marie Anne's second husband was Francois Madeleine Fortune Ruette d'Auteuil, Procureur
General of the Sovereign Council of Nouvelle France or present-day Canada. Genealogical infor-
mation from author's personal files.
5 St. Denis's ancestors, Jean Juchereau, Sieur de St. Maur, and Robert Giffard, Sieur de Beauport,
were among the early colonists of New France. In 1687, the lieutenant governor of New France
recommended the Sieur de St. Maur to Louis XIV and requested a patent of nobility for him to
reward his faithful services to the crown.Juchereau did not live to receive the patent. He died in
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998, periodical, 1998; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117155/m1/411/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.