Francois Valle and His World: Upper Louisiana Before Lewis and Clark

Francois Valle and His World: Upper Louisiana Before Lewis and Clark

by Carl. J. Ekberg
     
 

ISBN-10: 0826214185

ISBN-13: 9780826214188

Pub. Date: 11/28/2002

Publisher: University of Missouri Press

In François Vallé and His World, Carl Ekberg provides a fascinating biography of François Vallé (1716–1783), placing him within the context of his place and time. Vallé, who was born in Beauport, Canada, immigrated to Upper Louisiana (the Illinois Country) as a penniless common laborer sometime during the early 1740s.

Overview

In François Vallé and His World, Carl Ekberg provides a fascinating biography of François Vallé (1716–1783), placing him within the context of his place and time. Vallé, who was born in Beauport, Canada, immigrated to Upper Louisiana (the Illinois Country) as a penniless common laborer sometime during the early 1740s. Engaged in agriculture, lead mining, and the Indian trade, he ultimately became the wealthiest and most powerful individual in Upper Louisiana, although he never learned to read or write.

Ekberg focuses on Upper Louisiana in colonial times, long before Lewis and Clark arrived in the Mississippi River valley and before American sovereignty had reached the eastern bank of the Mississippi. He vividly captures the ambience of life in the eighteenth-century frontier agricultural society that Vallé inhabited, shedding new light on the French and Spanish colonial regimes in Louisiana and on the Mississippi River frontier before the Americans arrived.

Based entirely on primary source documents—wills and testaments, parish registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials, and Spanish administrative correspondence—found in archives ranging from St. Louis and Ste. Genevieve to New Orleans and Seville, François Vallé and His World traces not only the life of François Vallé and the lives of his immediate family members, but also the lives of his slaves. In doing so, it provides a portrait of Missouri’s very first black families, something that has never before been attempted. Ekberg also analyzes how the illiterate Vallé became the richest person in all of Upper Louisiana, and how he rose in the sociopolitical hierarchy to become an important servant of the Spanish monarchy.

François Vallé and His World provides a useful corrective to the fallacious notion that Missouri’s history began with the arrival of Lewis and Clark at the turn of the nineteenth century. Anyone with an interest in colonial history or the history of the Mississippi River valley will find this book of great value.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826214188
Publisher:
University of Missouri Press
Publication date:
11/28/2002
Series:
Missouri Biography Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Illustrationsx
Maps and Plans, Tables, and Genealogical Chartsxi
Prefacexiii
Introduction1
1.Beginnings20
2.The Old Town of Ste. Genevieve44
3.Ascent to Power93
4.The Valle Household117
5.Missouri's Original Black Families158
6.Pillar of the Spanish Regime203
7.Wealth, Death, and Eternity240
Conclusion283
Appendix297
Index301
Illustrations
Valle coat of arms
Title page of Spanish census, 176649
Eighteenth-century parish church85
Governor Alejandro O'Reilly103
Officers in Ste. Genevieve militia, 1780106
Francois Valle's official titles107
Slave baptismal record176
Slave marriage record189
Receipt for Spanish payroll207
A Spanish piece-of-eight208
Lieutenant Governor Francisco Cruzat210
Governor Bernardo de Galvez235
Signatures on 1776 Valle will252
Black walnut armoire265
Valle sterling silver candlesticks270
Eighteenth-century household implements272
Maps and Plans
Eastern North America, circa 177038
Philip Pittman's Plan of Kaskaskia, 176659
Center of Old Town of Ste. Genevieve, 178062
Tables
1.1766 Spanish Census of Ste. Genevieve50
2.1772 Spanish Census of Ste. Genevieve54
3.1779 Spanish Census of Ste. Genevieve55
4.Origins of the Men in Ste. Genevieve's Militia57
5.Occupations of the Men in Ste. Genevieve's Militia58
6.Parish Fees in the Illinois Country86
Genealogical Charts
1.Partial Valle Genealogy122
2.Valle Slave Couples and Their Children169

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