THE FRENCH IN MEXICO
Given the close connections between New Mexico and Mexico throughout history, and the extensive traveling across the American West and Southwest by pioneers, explorers, traders and soldiers, I have included below a preliminary list of the French in Mexico (French residents and French with business and other interests in Mexico). Most of the names of residents became Hispanicized. The French are the second largest European immigrant group after Spaniards.
This list is based on multiple sources.
In response to viewers’ demand, I am progressively adding notes under the names. Contributions to these notes would be greatly appreciated.
Alvimar (Octavien Souchet d’),
Bandet, Juan Nepomuceno
Barreda, Francisco de la,
Barrere, Juan Bautista
Basserot, José Ignacio
Baume, Juan José
Beaufils, José Maria
Benoit, Marie Madeleine
Jean-Louis Berlandier (ca. 1805–1851) was an early naturalist, born before 1805 between Fort de l’Ecluse, France, and Geneva, Switzerland. He studied botany at the academy in Geneva. He came to Mexico in 1826 to make botanical collections. He then joined, as botanist, the Mexican Boundary Commission, which left Mexico City on November 10, 1827. Berlandier made botanical collections around Laredo, Texas, in February 1828 and around San Antonio, Gonzales, and San Felipe in March, April, and May 1828. He settled at Matamoros, where he married and became a physician. He made further botanical and animal collecting trips in Mexico and Texas. During the Mexican War, he was in charge of the hospitals in Matamoros and served as an interpreter. He drowned in the San Fernando River near Matamoros in 1851.
Berrogaray, Juan Miguel
Binolas, Pedro Mata
Biurra, Juan, Basque
Blanc, Juan Bautista
Blancpain, Joseph (?–1756)
Joseph Blancpain was a French trader of Natchitoches, Louisiana, whose activities in Texas heightened bad feeling between France and Spain in the middle of the eighteenth century. In 1754 Blancpain, Elias George, Antonio de la Fara (Antonio Dessars), and two black men from Louisiana were caught by Lt. Marcos Ruiz trading among the Orcoquiza Indians in Spanish territory. The Frenchmen’s stock of goods was confiscated and divided among their captors; their huts were given to Chief Calzones Colorados; and they were taken to Mexico City and imprisoned. Blancpain testified that he lived on a plantation near New Orleans and that he had been licensed by Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, governor of Louisiana, to trade for horses among the Attacapa Indians. A list of his goods showed him to be furnishing the Indians with firearms, and his diary caused the Spanish to believe him to be an agent for the French government. On February 6, 1756, Blancpain died in prison in Mexico City.
Bochat d’Oritz, Angel
Boinet, Juan Bautista
Bouchard de Bercourt, Luis
Bourdaiseau (Gabriel de)
Brachet, Jean Baptiste
Brouard (Brother Arsène)
Christian Brother was a prominent botanist. When in the early 1900s the French government banned the church from teaching in schools, he was sent to Mexico where he spent eight years, to continue teaching science, French, and mathematics in the Brothers’ schools. There he assembled a collection of 12,000 lichens, mosses, ferns, and flowering plants. Early in the Mexican revolution, the Christian Brothers were forced to leave the country, and Arsène traveled to the United States via Cuba (where he discovered several new species of lichens) and taught for a few years in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Louisiana. He finally went to New Mexico in 1926, in search better health, and remained there the rest of his life.
Brugada, Juan Bautista
Buente, Jean Baptiste
Calas, Juan José
Caire, Adolphe Arthur
Campos, Juan Isidore
Canel de Charnassé Nicolas Urbain Charles
Carricaburu, dit Castillo, Pedro
Casanova, Juan Bautista
Chaffau, ou Choffard, Luis
Chier de la Miller
Choquet de Isla, Diego
Comberg, Juan Francisco
Courbiere, André Benito
Descendants have researched extensively. Contact me for info.
Coursier, Esteban (ca. 1776-1843)
Resident of Chihuahua City, Coursier was mining in Southwestern New Mexico in 1825 and subleasing the El Chino Santa Rita copper mine near Silver City.
Croex (Agustin de)
Crouzet, Juan Bautista
Dampierre (Salvador de
Darcourt (d’Harcourt), Alexandre
de Croix, Charles-François (Carlos Francisco), 45th Viceroy, 1776.
See H.H. Bancroft, The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, 39 volumes (San Francisco: A.I. Bancroft & Company, Publishers), 1883-1890, vol. XL, History of Mexico, Vol. III, 368-369.
Defoix, Juan Antonio
De La Baume, Joseph
DesGeorges (many family members)
Despallier, Bernardo Martin (originally Martin, then Des Pallières)
A family history is at http://www.dahlqvist.be/ including link to a recently published book.
Domenech, Abbé Emmanuel (1825 – 1903)
Dubois, Juan Leonardo
Duchesne, Jean Vincent
Duflot de Mofras (1810-1884)
In 1839, Eugène Duflot de Mofras (1810-1884) was dispatched from his French legation post in Mexico City to explore the Pacific Coast of North America from 1840?1842, to access the Mexican Alta California and American Oregon Territory regions for French business interests. His report (Exploration du territoire de l’Ore?gon, des Californies et de la mer Vermeille, exe?cute?e pendant les anne?es 1840, 1841 et 1842, Arthus Bertrand editeur, Paris, 1844) was significant at the time, includes an atlas and plates, and remains a detailed description of aspects of the northern Pacific Coast before American dominance.
Duforest, Jean Valentin
French engineer employed to rebuild a fortress near Vera Cruz in the 1700s. The French engineers were, at different times, Louis Bouchard de Bercourt, Gaspar de Courcel, and Charles Duparquet.
Eglise, Jacques d’
Eismitt, Joseph Clément
Elmi (Pierre d’)
Encelins, Luis Esteban
Esain, Félix Joaquim d’
Estrada, Luis (Luis de Cordova)
Eu (Ex), Monsieur d’
Fare (or Junet), Juan
Fez, Pedro de
Louis (Lewis) Flotte owned the Corralitos Mines in Mexico, possibly acquired thanks to a wealthy marriage. He had an interest in the Stephenson mine near Las Cruces in New Mexico. In 1855, his knee was bruised on a freight train near San Marcial, it got infected, leading to amputation and death. He died in Las Cruces.
Forcade, Juan Bautista
Forey, Élie Frédéric (1804 –1872)
Commanding general of the French expeditionary corps to Mexico in 1862. Forey and his troops landed in September 1862 in Veracruz. In May 1863, his forces captured Puebla and then Mexico City.
In 1786, Texas Governor Domingo Cabello y Robles recruited Pedro Vial to explore a route between San Antonio and Santa Fe. He left San Antonio on October 4, accompanied by Cristóbal de los Santos, a native of San Antonio, and possibly by Honorat Fortier, a Frenchman. Vial’s diary, combined with subsequent research by historians, provides details of his journey. See Loomis and Nasatir, Pedro Vial and the Roads to Santa Fe, 110. Honorat Fortier is mentioned in Jacques Houdaille, “Les Français au Mexique et leur influence politique et sociale (1760-1800),” in Revue française d’histoire d’outre-mer 48, no. 171 (1961): 143-233.
Jean (Juan) Fouilloux was a Frenchman from Lyons, and a prominent citizen in San Luis Potosi in the 1890s, co-owner of the brewery the “Gran Cerveceria de San Luis.” There are many Fouilloux descendants in Mexico. Source: El Estandarte(newspaper) – Thurs 10 July 1890.
Joseph-Louis Francois was with the French intervention in Mexico (the Maximilian Affair) in the 1860s. He also might have been very close to Queen Marie Antoinette before her execution. He most likely moved to New Mexico and Colorado after the war, as his son Mauricio Francois was born in Starkville, CO, 1875, a few miles from the New Mexico border, and he is buried there along with most of his seven sons.
See: A correspondência de Augustin-Louis Frélaut durante a intervenção francesa no México (1862-1867). Temporalidades da circulação e olhares sobre o comportamento das populações indígenas em face do conflito. By Gabriela Pellegrino Soares, Departamento de História – Universidade de São Paulo
Gaban, Pedro Nicolas
George ou Georgeon, Elias
Auguste Génin (1862-1931) was a Franco-Mexican writer, poet, photographer, ethnologist. He was a resident of Mexico and director of the Mexican National Company of Dynamite and Explosives
Ghis, Pedro Victor
Gof, Pablo, alias Busel
Gouvert (Goven), Juan, alias Pétillau
Gouyon (Gouyouen), Bartolomé
Grafuilliere, Juan Bautista
Graner, Juan Bautista
Grofel, Juan Antonio
Guerandain, Juan (Françis
Guillard (Villar), Juan
Guitart, Geronimo (alias José Moret,)
Heroul, Felipe d’
Heroul, Julio d’
Né à Narbonne, cuisinier du Vice-roi Cruillas.
Juan de la Expectacion
Judice, Pedro Nicolas
Junet Duval, Jacinto
Laborda y Miramon, Marco
Laborde, Bernardo, alias Luis Roberts
Lacasa, Juan Bautista
Laclotte, Juan Jacinto
Jean-Baptiste LaCoste was an entrepreneur instrumental in the development of the Santa Rita mine in New Mexico, as well as of other businesses in Texas. Born in Gascony, France, in 1823, he immigrated to the United States in 1848, landing first at New Orleans and then moving to San Antonio, where he founded the first ice plant in Texas. He was part of a group of Texas merchants of El Paso and San Antonio, who supplied the military posts and settlements in West Texas and New Mexico. The firm Sweet & LaCoste worked with many of the prominent businessmen of the times. In the spring of 1862, the Santa Rita mine was shipping copper via Mexico to the mouth of the Rio Grande, where La Coste had become a broker of Confederate cotton and other goods bound for Britain. Being a Confederate sympathizer, he was protected by the Confederates during their retreat in 1862. He moved to Matamoros (a Mexican port city across the Texas border) around 1863 to serve Emperor Ferdinand Maximilian of Mexico, an adventure we recounted in a previous chapter. LaCoste’s activities in Mexico are beyond the scope of our story, but it is likely that he mingled with the French officers who had taken their quarters at the “Hotel de Richelieu” after their landing on October 9th, 1864. During the remainder of the war, LaCoste lived in Matamoros and shipped Confederate cotton via Mexican ports. He ended his days as a revered pioneer San Antonio businessman, dying in 1887. LaCoste, a city in Medina County, Texas, was named in his honor in 1898. [Sources: In “How Cortinas Gave In to the French, How the French Carry Sail in Matamoros,” New Orleans Times, November 21, LaCoste, jeanbatiste-1864. Handbook of Texas Online, S. W. Pease, “Lacoste, Jean Batiste,” (sic) accessed July 06, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fla10. Spude, Robert L. “The Santa Rita del Cobre, New Mexico, The Early American Period, 1846-1886,” 1999 Mining History Journal. Letter from Adjt. Thomas C. Howard to Capt. W.H. Cleaver, dated May 11, 1862, quoted in John P. Wilson, When the Texans Came, University of New Mexico Press Albuquerque, 2002, 296. Jean Baptiste LaCoste Papers, University of Texas Archives, Austin. Castro Colonies Heritage Association, The History of Medina County, Texas (Dallas: National Share Graphics, 1983). François Lagarde, editor, The French in Texas, Texas State Historical Association, The University of Texas Press, 2003, 167.]
LaFarge, Father Pierre
Father Pierre LaFarge is said to have been an excommunicated French priest who had served a prison term for killing a nun in France. According to a tale yet to be substantiated, he was released from jail, then sailed to New Orleans where he met a group of twelve Frenchmen who became his accomplices. They proceeded to Matamoros in Mexico, stole a gold treasure from Mexicans and fled to New Mexico in 1804, ending-up in Taos.
Lafargue, Juan Maria
Lafitas y Miramon, Juan
Lafuente, Juan de
Laine, Pedro, alias de la Torre
Lalande, Juan Bautista
Landa, José Maria
Larreategui, José Maria
La Tour d’Auvergne
Persecuted in 1795, see Bancroft, vol. XI, p. 488.
Leca, Juan Bautista
One of the wealthiest Frenchmen in southern New Mexico, having probably come from Mexico. He was by 1857 one of the trustees of the town of La Mesa and had significant real estate holdings in Dona Ana County (New Mexico).
Limantour, Joseph Yves (1812, Ploemeur, France – 1885, Mexico City)
was a French merchant who engaged in the California sea trade during the years preceding American occupation of that Mexican province in 1846. He was also known in California as José Limantour. Limantour, was a Breton trader and sea captain who traded all along the Pacific coast. He arrived in Veracruz in 1831, and was based after 1836 in Mexico City. He was married to Adele Marquet, and their son, José Yves Limantour, was Secretary of Finance of Mexico from 1893-1911. Joseph Y. Limatour died in Mexico City in 1885.
Limantour y Marquet José Yves (26 December 1854, Mexico City – 26 August 1935) was the son of Joseph Yves Limantour, a ship captain from Brittany, France, and Adèle Marquet, who came from Bordeaux. He became a Mexican financier who served as Secretary of the Finance of Mexico from 1893 until the fall of the Porphyrio Díaz regime in 1911. Limantour established the gold standard in Mexico, suspending free coinage of silver and mandating only government coins be used. He secured the national debt in 1899 with a consortium of foreign banks, and at the time of the outbreak of the Revolution, Mexico was on strong financial basis. Before the Mexican Revolution he was widely seen, along General Bernardo Reyes, as one of the stronger candidates to succeed President Díaz.
Mallet (Mallet brothers)
Mani, Juan Bautista
Manrique, Marie Thérèse
Martin, André alias Dupan
Martinez, Salazar y Pacheco (Pedro Lambeyre Permartin)
Mauleon (son of Fernnado)
Maureta de la Barreda, Santiago
Mayni, Juan Bautista
Maza, Juan Bautista
Mazure, Dr. Philippe Auguste
Mengein, Juan Pedro
Mézières, Athanase de
Morel, Etienne/Esteban, medical doctor, persecuted in 1795, committed suicide, see Bancroft, vol. XI, p. 488.
Morel, José, Canadien
Moret, Jean- Jacques
Mosset, Juan Jaime
Mota, Pedro de la
Mugnie, Henri Joseph
Murgier, Juan Maria
Nayans, Juan Claudio
O, Guillermo de
Paillette, Juan Santiago
Gabriel-René Paul (1813 – 1886)
Gabriel-René Paul (1813 – 1886), a Civil War hero. His father René Paul was a French Colonel under Napoléon, wounded while serving on the French flagship at Trafalgar. René Paul immigrated to Philadelphia, and then moved to St. Louis, where he married Eulalie Chouteau, daughter of Auguste Chouteau and Marie-Thérèse Cerré. Gabriel-René was their first child, out of nine (three died in childhood). A West Point graduate, he was a career officer in the United States Army. He had fought in the Seminole Wars in Florida, in the Mexican War, where he was wounded at Cerro Gordo but still led the party that captured the Mexican flag flying over Chapultepec. He also served on the Texas-Mexico border and in Utah. At age 48, Gabriel-René was posted at Fort Union in New Mexico in 1861 and 1862, during the Confederate invasion. There, he was appointed commander at the request of his men, as they saw in him a man “of considerable influence and energy.” He then became acting inspector general of the volunteers charged with superintending the instruction and discipline of the recruits. At Fort Union in January 1862, he reorganized the militia, drilling the men day and night. He squelched a soldiers’ mutiny (they had not been paid), put the men in the company at hard labor until night, discharged company commanders, demoted non-commissioned officers and assigned all enlisted men to other companies. The next month, still at Fort Union, he was in command of the 4th New Mexico Mounted Infantry and the Eastern District. After the Battle of Glorieta in March, he replaced General Slough (on April 9, 1862) as commander of Federal forces at Fort Union. He moved south, participated in the Battle of Albuquerque (April), was promoted Brigadier General, and replaced Colonel Kit Carson at Fort Craig before returning to Fort Union. He left New Mexico in December, 1862, going east to command New York and New Jersey regiments. On the first day at the Battle of Gettysburg, a rifle bullet entered his right temple and passed through his left eye, totally blinding him and impairing his senses of smell and hearing. Disabled, he held honorary positions and died 23 years later in Washington, D.C. He rests in the Arlington cemetery. He had six children, three daughters and a son from his first marriage (in 1835, with Mary Ann Whistler, daughter of Colonel William Whistler), and two daughters from his second marriage (in 1858, with Louise Rodgers). Sources: Jerry D.Thomson, A Civil-War History of the New Mexico Volunteers and Militia, 4, 17, 43, 47, 63, 73, 82, 89, 93, 98, 127, 139, 142, 151-152, 166-168, 174, 185, 188, 191, 413-414, and 906n132, and various internet resources.
Perin, Juan Bautista
Perlin, soldier in Tehuantepec, 1762 (Inquisiciô, vol. 1048).
Pierron, en mission de Saint Domingue àVeracruz, 1803.
Poitvin de Pons, Julien
Preci, Claude Luillier de
Puy, Bernardo del
Ramirez, Pedro Guillermo
Raufat, Juan, cook in Veracruz
Remontel, pastry chef at the origin of the Pastry War
René (Roneig), Juan Bautista
Revier, Claudio Antonio
Reynier, Pedro Ramon
Reynete, Juan de
Richart, Juan Bautista
Roche, Isabelle de
Rochi (Roche, Arroche, Laroche), José Maria
Travel writer, wrote about his trip in Chihuahua in the 1850s. See two chapters “Voyage Dans l’Etat de Chihuahua” (p 129-160) from the book “Le Tour du Monde.”
Rousseau, Pedro, alias Osorio
Ruisenor, Juan Bautista
Saint Denis, Louis Juchereau de
Saint Maxent, Françis Maximilien
Saint Maxent, Célestin
Salducho, Simon Pedro
Saloyard, Pedro Martin
Secout, Luis José
Semeria, Juan Bautista
Sobrecasas, Juan de
Tecier, José and Pedro
Teulet, Juan Pedro
Trampillon (Trampier), Santiago
Uget, Francisco, alias Uxe
Valle, Francisco (Grégoire Béaud)
Vechan, Rosa Francisca
Velli (Telly), Eduardo
Verdier, Juan (alias Verdiguiek
Villot, José capitaine au réiment d’Infanterie, 1766.
Adrian Woll (1795–1875) was born in Saint Germain en Laye, near Paris, on December 2, 1795. In 1814, at age 19, he served as a private in the French Army’s in the defense of Paris against the enemies of Napoleon, and was promoted to Captain . He emigrated to the United States, enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was appointed as Field Adjutant to General Winfield Scott. In 1829, after Spain had invaded Mexico, he was called into active service by the Mexican government for the duration of the war against Spain. There, he had a prestigious career, serving under General Antonio López de Santa Anna, and was promoted to the rank of General in 1836. In 1865, Woll was sent to France on a special commission by Emperor Maximilian, and retired in France, never returning to Mexico. He stayed in Montauban, France, where he died in 1875, at the age of 80. For more details, see Gen. Miguel A. Sanchez Lamego, The Second Mexican-Texas War 1841-1843, Hill Junior College Monograph 7, Texian Press, Waco, TX, 1972, reprinted in Wallace L.
McKeehan, Sons of Dewitt Colony, Texas, 1997.
Extracted from Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Mexicans
- Luis G. Abbadie, writer
- León Aillaud, governor of Veracruz
- Miirrha Alhambra, French-born Mexican pianist
- Pita Amor, poet, of French descent
- Ramón Arnaud, Mexican Army and the last Mexican governor of Clipperton Island; of French descent
- Aracely Arámbula, Mexican actress, model, and singer; of French and Basque descent
- Alberto Baillères, third-richest man in Mexico
- Angelique Boyer, Mexican, French-born telenovela actress
- Linda Christian, movie actress, of French descent
- Manuel Clouthier, businessman and politician
- Tatiana Clouthier, politician, writer, and entrepreneur
- Edgar de Evia, Mexican-born American photographer
- Eugenio Derbez, actor, comedian, and film director; of French descent on his mother’s side
- Yolanda Vargas Dulché, writer, mother of French origin
- Roberto Heinze Flamand, sprint canoeist, of French descent
- Eugène Goupil, French-born Mexican philanthropist and collector
- Francisco Romano Guillemin, artist, of French descent
- Ralph Heinze, sprint canoeist, of French descent
- Claude Heller, ambassador, of German and French descent
- Saturnino Herrán, painter
- Lourdes Grobet, photographer
- José de la Borda, French-born Mexican philanthropist
- Gustavo Huet, Mexican-born American athlete, of French descent
- Emilio Azcárraga Jean, businessman, of French descent
- Frédéric-Yves Jeannet, French-born Mexican writer and professor
- Elizabeth Katz, actress and former model, of French descent
- Michelito Lagravere, child bullfighter, to French father
- Alberto Ruz Lhuillier, French-born Mexican archaeologist
- Ángel Navarro, French-born leading Spanish settler in New Spain
- Montserrat Olivier, actress, television presenter, and former fashion model
- Roberto Palazuelos, actor, mother of French origin
- Elena Poniatowska, French-born Mexican journalist and author; French and Mexican noble descent
- Antonio Enríquez Savignac, politician
- Laurette Séjourné, Italian-born Mexican archaeologist and ethnologist, of French descent
- Eugenio Toussaint, composer, arranger, and jazz musician
- Eduardo Troconis, race-car driver
- Adrián Woll, 19th-century Mexican general, born and died in France