Biographies and memoirs of French-speaking men and women in the Southwest – California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and beyond – on the Santa Fe Trail and other emigrant and trader trails, and in northern Mexico

Scroll down to the end for biographical compilations

The links below bring you to Amazon most of the times. This is for convenience, and I encourage you to also look for books from various sources. For older books, this often leads to original editions instead of reprints, and to free downloads of the originals. I have also included free dowloads to public-domain books. I do not receive any commission if you buy one of these books, it’s all for the love of history!

Please send me suggestions for more titles.

Abreu, Jesus Gil
(On the Santa Fe Trail and in New Mexico)
Daves, Doyle. Jesus Gil Abreu, Santa Fe Trail Traveler and Man of Affairs in Territorial New Mexico. Las Vegas Citizens’ Committee for Historic Preservation, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 2013.

Alarid family
(In New Mexico)
Alarid, Waldo. Santa Fe shadows whisper: A history of the Alarid and Moya Families. El Escritorio, 1997.

Aubry, François-Xavier (Francis)
(Mostly in New Mexico)
Chaput, Donald. François X. Aubry: Trader, Trailmaker and Voyageur in the Southwest, 1846-1854. Glendale, California: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1975.

Wyman, Walker D. “F.X. Aubry: Santa Fe Freighter, Pathfinder and Explorer.” In New Mexico Historical Review, Vol. VII, No. 1 (January 1932).

Autobees, Charles
(In New Mexico)
Lecompte, Janet and Autobee, George (ed.). The Life and Times of Charles Autobees, 1812-1882. My Friend the Printer, Inc., 2014.

Berlandier, Jean-Louis
(In Texas and northern Mexico)
Lawson, Russell M. Frontier Naturalist, Jean Louis Berlandier and the Exploration of Northern Mexico and Texas. University of New Mexico Press, 2012.

Bonneville, Benjamin
(Across America including the Southwest and New Mexico)
Irving, Washington. The Adventures of Captain Bonneville in the Rocky Mountains and the Far West. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1961.

Walker Henry P. (ed.), “Colonel Bonneville’s Report, The Department of New Mexico in 1859.” In Arizona and the West, Vol. 22, No. 4 (Winter, 1980), 343-362.

Casad family
(In New Mexico)
Hendricks, Rick. The Casads, A Pioneer Family of the Mesilla Valley. Rio Grande Books, 2012.

Chouteau family
(Multiple locations)
Hoig, Stan. The Chouteaus: First Family of the Fur Trade. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2008.

Clamorgan family
(Saint Louis, Santa Fe Trail, and New Mexico)
Winch, Julie. The Clamorgans: One Family’s History of Race in America. New York: Hill and Wang, 2011.

De Croix, Teodoro
(Mostly in Mexico and New Mexico)
Thomas, Alfred Barnaby. Teodoro de Croix and the Northern Frontier of New Spain, 1776-1783. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1941.

D’Eglise, Jacques
(In New Mexico)
Bloom, Lansing B. “The Death of Jacques d’Eglise,” New Mexico Historical Review 2, no. 4, October 1927. —. “Who Discovered New Mexico?” In New Mexico Historical Review 15, no. 2, April 1940.

De Niza, Marcos (Marc de Nice)
(Mexico, Arizona, and New Mexico)
Bandelier, Adolph F., Rodack, Madeleine T., ed. and trans. The Discovery of New Mexico by the Franciscan Monk, Friar Marcos de Niza, in 1539. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1981.

Nallino, Michel. Fray Marcos de Niza: In Pursuit of Franciscan Utopia in the Americas. Paper presented at the conference “Contemporary Vantage on the Coronado Expedition through Documents and Artifacts.” Las Vegas, New Mexico, 2000.

—. Frère Marc de Nice: A la poursuite de l’Utopie Franciscaine aux Indes Occidentales ( Fray Marcos de Niza: In Pursuit of Franciscan Utopia in the Americas). Creative Commons, Vol. I (2010) and Vol. II (2011).

Wagner, Henry R. “Fr. Marcos de Niza.” In New Mexico Historical Review (IX, 1934):184-227.

Hallenbeck, Cleve. The Journey of Fray Marcos de Niza. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1973. Hammond, George P. Coronado’s Seven Cities. Albuquerque: United States Coronado exposition commission, 1940.

Baldwin, Percy M. “Fray Marcos de Niza and His Discovery of the Seven Cities of Cibola.” In New Mexico Historical Review, Reprint Volume 1, 1926.

Des Montaignes, François
(Multiple locations including New Mexico)
Alpert Nower, Nancy Alpert (ed.), and Russell, Don (ed.). The Plains, No Less Than a Collection of Veracious Memoranda Taken During the Expedition of Exploration in the year 1845, From the western settlements of Missouri to the Mexican Border, and from Bent’s Fort on the Arkansas to Fort Gibson, via South Fork of Canadian, North Mexico and Northwestern Texas. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1972.

Docher, Anton
(Mostly in New Mexico)
Keleher, Julia and Chant, Elsie Ruth. The Padre of Isleta, the Story of Father Anton Docher. Facsimile edition. Santa Fe: Sunstone Press, 2009.

Dubois, Daniel
(In California, New Mexico, and the Southwest)
Taylor, John Lewis. Looking for Dan: The Puzzling Life of a Frontiers Character – Daniel DuBois. Dog-ear Publishing, 2014.

Hodge, Frederick Webb. “Old Dan Dubois.” Los Angeles Westerners Handbook, 1950.

Francolon, Jean-Baptiste
(In New Mexico and Colorado)
Higgins, Rachel, and Yager, Peggie. Memoirs of Miramont Castle. Manitou Springs Historical Society, 2012.

Frémont, John Charles
(Across America including the Southwest and New Mexico)
Chaffin, Tom. Pathfinder: John Charles Frémont and the Course of American Empire. New York: Hill & Wang, 2002.

Johnson, Anthony
(In New Mexico)
Johnson, Anthony Gabriel and L. Aleta Johnson. Legacy of a Santa Fe Trail Teamster. Private printing, Colorado Springs, 1992. Available at the History Colorado Online Collection.

Goussard de Mayolle, Jeanne
(New Mexico and Colorado)
Une Française chez les Sauvages. Tours, France: Alfred Mame et Fils Editeurs, 1897. This book has not been translated into English. See also LeClerc.

Grange, Jean
(New Mexico)
Miller, Frankie. Monsignor Jean Grange, San Albino, Mesilla 1886-1929. Las Cruces, New Mexico: Doña Ana County Historical Society, Volume XVI, January 2009.

Julien, Denis
(Colorado River and more)
Knipmeyer, James H. The Life and Times of Denis Julien: Fur Trader. Aventine Press, 2018.

(In New Mexico)
McNerney Winkler, Rosemary. “The LaDriere Story.” Albuquerque Genealogical Society Quarterly (November 2018):68-69.

Lambert, Henri and Fred
(In New Mexico)
McDevitt, Kevin. History of the St. James Hotel Cimarron, New Mexico. Cimarron press, 2019.

Lambert, Fred. Bygone Days of the Old West. Western Heritage Press, 1970.

Cleaveland, Agnes Morley. Satan’s Paradise: From Lucien Maxwell to Fred Lambert. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1952.

Hornung, Chuck. Fullerton’s Rangers: A History of the New Mexico Territorial Mounted Police. McFarland, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, 2005.

Lamy, Jean-Baptiste
(Mostly in New Mexico)
Horgan, Paul. Lamy of Santa Fe. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 1975.

Warner, Louis H. Archbishop Lamy: An Epoch Maker. Santa Fe: New Mexican Publishing Corporation, 1936.

Steele, Thomas J. Archbishop Lamy: In His Own Words. LPD Press, Albuquerque, 2000.

Chavez, Andelico, and Thomas E. Chavez. Wake For A Fat Vicar. LPD Press, 2004.
[This is not a biography of Bishop Lamy, but a must-read to balance other biographies]

Larpenteur, Charles
(Mostly in the Upper Missouri)
Larpenteur, Charles. Forty Years a Fur Trader on the Upper Missouri: The Personal Narrative of Charles Larpenteur, 1833-1872. New York: Elliot Coues ed., 1898.

La Salle (René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle)
(Texas, Canada, etc.)
Foster, William C. The La Salle Expedition to Texas, The Journal of Henri Joutel, 1684-1687. Austin, Texas: The Texas Historical Association, 1998.

Le Clerc, Frédéric
(Mostly in Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado)
Leclerc, Frédéric. Texas and Its Revolution. Translated from the original French by James L. Sheperd, III. Houston: The Anson Jones Press, 1950. A rare book. See also Goussard de Mayolle.

LeFebre / Lefèvre
LeFebre, Derek Joseph. Pursuit of Prosperity Below the Ocate Mesa. Unpublished Master of Arts thesis. Denver: University of Northern Colorado, August 2015.

Leroux, Antoine
(Across America including the Southwest and New Mexico)
Parkhill, Forbes. The Blazed Trail of Antoine Leroux. Los Angeles, California: Westernlore Press, 1965.

Machebeuf, Joseph
(Mostly in New Mexico and Colorado)
Bridgers, Lynn. Death’s Deceiver, The Life of Joseph P. Machebeuf. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1997.

Howlett, W.J. Life of the Right Reverend Joseph P. Machebeuf. Pueblo, Colorado: The Franklin Press Company, 1908.

Marcos de Niza / Marc de Nice
(Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico)
Baldwin, Percy M. “Fray Marcos de Niza and His Discovery of the Seven Cities of Cibola.” In New Mexico Historical Review, Reprint Volume 1, 1926.

Marcou, Jules
(Across America)
Moreau, Richard. Jules Marcou, Précurseur Français de la Géologie Nord-Américaine. Paris, France: Editions l’Harmattan, 2002.

DeFord, Ronald K. Marcou in East-Central New Mexico. Kelley, V.C.; Trauger, F.D., eds., New Mexico Geological Society 23rd Annual Fall Field Conference Guidebook. Austin: The University of Texas at Austin, 1972.

Maxwell, Lucien Bonaparte
(In New Mexico)
Freiberger, Harriet. Lucien Maxwell: Villain or Visionary. Eagle Trail Press, 2016.

Serna, Louis F. Tessie of the Maxwell Land Grant Family. Self-published, 1979.

Meline, James Florant
(In Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and New Mexico)
Meline, James Florant. Two thousand miles on horseback, Santa Fe and back: A Summer Tour Through Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and New Mexico, in the Year 1866. New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1868.

Navarro, José
(Mostly in Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico)
McDonald, David R. José Antonio Navarro: In Search of the American Dream in Nineteenth-Century Texas. Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 2010.

Reséndez, Andrés. A Texas Patriot on Trial in Mexico: Jose Antonio Navarro and the Texan Santa Fe Expedition. Dallas: William P. Clements Center for Southwestern Studies, 2005.

Provost, Etienne
(Mostly in New Mexico and Utah)
Tykal, Jack B. Etienne Provost: Man of the Mountains. Liberty, Utah: Eagle’s View Publishing Company, 1989.

Robidoux family
(Across America including the Southwest and New Mexico)
Reyher, Ken. Antoine Robidoux and Fort Uncompahgre. Lake City, Colorado: Western Reflections Publishing Co, 1998.

Willoughby, Robert J. The Brothers Robidoux and the Opening of the American West. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 2012.

Lewis, Hugh M. Robidoux Chronicles: Ethnohistory of the French-American Fur Trade. Bloomington, Indiana: Trafford Publishing, 2004.

—. The Unsolved Case of Charles Robidoux. Ririe, Idaho: Lewis Micro Publishing, 2005.

Salpointe, Jean-Baptiste
(In New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado)
Salpointe, Rev. Jean-Baptiste. Soldiers of the Cross. Notes on the Ecclesiastical History of New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. Banning, California: St. Boniface’s Industrial School, 1898. There are free downloads on the Internet.

St. Vrain, Ceran
(In New Mexico)
Wetherington, Ronald K. Ceran St. Vrain, American Frontier Entrepreneur. Sunstone Press, 2012.

(Mostly in New Mexico)
Tixier, Victor, Mcdermott, John Francis (ed.), translated from the French by Albert J. Salvan. Tixier’s Travels On The Osage Prairies. St. Louis,1940. Originally published in Clermont Ferrand, 1844.

Valle (alias Pigeon), Alexandre
(In New Mexico)
Spude, Robert L. Pigeon’s Ranch Historic Structure Report. Pecos, New MexicoIntermountain Cultural Resource Management Professional Paper No. 74, National Park Service, 2008.

Vial, Pierre
(Across America including the Southwest and New Mexico)
Nasatir, Abraham P. and Loomis Noel M. Pedro Vial and the Roads to Santa Fe. University of Oklahoma Press, 1976.

Wootton, Dick
(Mostly in New Mexico)
Wootton McQuitty, Janelle. No Time to Quit: Pioneer America, Seen through the Life of Rocky Mountain Man Uncle Dick Wootton. Janelle Wootton McQuitty LLC, New Mexico, 2018.

Conard, Howard Louis. Uncle Dick Wooton – The Pioneer Frontiersman of the Rocky Mountain Region. The Lakeside Classics, 1957.

Biographical compilations 

Hanks, Nancy. Lamy’s Legion. Santa Fe: HRM Books, 2000.

Morley Cleaveland, Agnes. Satan’s Paradise – From Lucien Maxwell to Fred Lambert. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1952.

Pugach, Noel. Four Alsatian Jewish Families. Albuquerque: New Mexico Jewish Historical Society, 2015.

Hafen, Leroy R. French Fur Traders & Voyageurs in the American West. Edited by LeRoy R. Hafen. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1982.
(Hundreds of French trappers and traders in New Mexico)

Clarke, Charles G. The Men of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Glendale, California: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1970.
(Many Frenchmen on the team, interaction with Pedro Vial)

Laforest, Thomas J. Our French-Canadian Ancestors. Palm Beach, Florida: The LISI Press, 1997. Lambert, Fred. Bygone Days of the Old West. Kansas City, Missouri: Burton Publishing Company, 1948.

More coming soon …