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Athanase Christophe Fortunat Mauguet de Mézières

Male 1719 - 1779  (60 years)

Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Athanase Christophe Fortunat Mauguet de Mézières 
    Born 25 Mar 1719  Paris, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Christened 26 Mar 1719  Paris, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 02 Nov 1779  San Antonio, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried 03 Nov 1779  San Antonio, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Person ID I1561  Stewart
    Last Modified 20 Feb 2016 

    Father Louis Christophe de Mézières 
    Relationship Birth 
    Mother Marie Antoinette Clugny 
    Relationship Birth 
    Married 17 Feb 1716  San Juan Bautista de Rio Norte, Coahuila, Mexico Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F1026  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Elizabeth Juchereau de Saint Denis,   b. 1729,   d. 1 Feb 1748  (Age 19 years) 
    Married 18 Apr 1746  Natchitoches, Louisiana Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
     1. Elizabeth Marie Félicité de Mézières,   b. 03 Sep 1746, Natchitoches, Louisiana Find all individuals with events at this location  [Birth]
    Last Modified 20 Feb 2016 
    Family ID F507  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Pélagie Fazende,   b. 1729,   d. 10 Dec 1777, Natchitoches, Louisiana Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 48 years) 
    Married 26 Nov 1754  St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, Louisiana Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4
    • 8 children
    Last Modified 19 Apr 2007 
    Family ID F506  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 25 Mar 1719 - Paris, France Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsChristened - 26 Mar 1719 - Paris, France Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 18 Apr 1746 - Natchitoches, Louisiana Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 26 Nov 1754 - St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, Louisiana Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 02 Nov 1779 - San Antonio, Texas Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 03 Nov 1779 - San Antonio, Texas Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Notes 
    • Banished to Louisiana by royal order, November 28,1733, at the request of his mother ,who preferred to keep his inheritance for herself. Edict was reversed Louis XV, October 29, 1742, but questionable whether the exile was apprised of revocation.
      Athanase de Mézières y Clugny, the son of Louis Christophe de Mézières and Marie Antoinette Clugny, was born to nobility in Paris and was baptized on March 26, 1719. His career as an infantryman in Louisiana began in the early 1730s. Over the next thirty years he served as ensign, lieutenant, and captain. In the 1740s he was assigned to the French outpost at Natchitoches, where in 1746 he married Marie Petronille Feliciane de St. Denis, the daughter of Louis Juchereau and Manuela Sánchez Navarro de St. Denis. This brief marriage ended when Marie died in childbirth in 1747, and Mézières later married Pelagie Fazende. On September 15, 1763, shortly after Louisiana had passed from French to Spanish control, he was discharged from the infantry. Like many Frenchmen in Louisiana, he offered his services to Spain, and in late 1769 Alejandro O'Reilly appointed him as lieutenant governor of Natchitoches. Mézières, skilled in Latin, French, and Spanish as well as in several Indian languages, embarked on an extraordinary career as Spanish agent to the Indians of northern Texas. In 1770 he carried out the first of several expeditions to the Red River, and in the following year he successfully negotiated treaties with the Kichais, Tawakonis, and Taovayas, and by their proxy, with the Tonkawas. In 1778 Bernardo de Gálvez, governor of Louisiana, released Mézières for additional services in Texas, where he was to forge an alliance among the Spanish, Comanches, and Norteños against the Apaches. To this end Mézières traveled extensively over the course of a year-to the new town of Bucareli, to the Red River, and even to New Orleans. En route between Los Adaesqv and Nacogdoches, he suffered a serious head injury when thrown from his horse. After convalescence, he continued on to San Antonio, where he arrived in September 1779. In the capital he learned of his appointment as governor of Texas. But Mézières, some sixty years of age, remained gravely ill and did not assume office. He had one child by his first wife and eight by his second. He died at San Antonio on November 2, 1779, having never fully recovered from being unhorsed, and the proposed general alliance with the Comanches and Norteños was never realized.
      (Source: who in turn retrieved it from Texas Online History)
    • One of the significant policies of the Spanish regime in Louisiana was its decision to retain many French officers in Spanish service. One of these was Athanase de Mezieres, who was lieutenant-governor stationed at Natchitoches during the decade 1769-1779.

      Athanase Christophe Fortunat Mauguet de Mezieres was born in St. Sulpice Parish in Paris March 26, 1719, the son of Louis Christophe de Mezieres and Marie Antoinette Clugny. His family was well connected. Two of his sisters married noblemen and one of his uncles was a general in the French army and another was a minister of state.

      He came to Louisiana, probably before 1740, as a Marine cadet and was stationed at Natchitoches where he soon became friends with the St. Denis family. In 1746 he was married to one of St. Denis? daughters: Manuela Marie Petronelle Felicite Juchereau de St. Denis, and began a long and close association with his in-laws, gaining prestige and honor as well as financial gain, through the association.

      He was promoted to lieutenant in 1746 and to captain in 1754. Following the example of his father-in-law he made himself well schooled in the lore of the frontier and cultivated close relations with the native tribes of the north and west. He himself engaged in the Indian trade with his in-laws. He even obtained a land grant and turned his hand at agriculture.

      When his brother-in-law, Cesar de Blanc de Nieville, died in 1763, de Mezieres was named commandant in his place.

      When Gen. Alejandron O?Reilly established Spanish rule in the colony, he recognized the strategic importance of Natchitoches as a buffer against the Indian tribes of the north and west who, during the French regime, had been hostile to Spain.

      Deciding to take advantage of the French familiarity with the natives, O?Reilly mustered de Mezieres into Spanish service and appointed him commandant at Natchitoches and lieutenant governor of the frontier, to take advantage of the commercial and diplomatic alliances with these tribes.
      His chief service to Spain, and to Louisiana, was to turn the hostility of the "Nations of the North" from hostility to friendship toward the Spanish. His first task was to visit the Cadodacho, Petit Cado and Yatansi tribes, give medals to their chiefs and receive their promises to help make peace with the Nations of the North.

      In 1770 he visited the villages of the Cadodachos again on the Red River to arrange peace talks. Accompanied by chiefs of the Adaes, Yatasi and Petit Cado, he met with chiefs of the Taovayas,. Tawakoni, Yscani and Kichai, all of whom had been friendly with the French but hostile to the Spanish. By dint of much persuasion and the assistance of friendly chiefs, he was able to persuade emissaries of these tribes to travel to San Antonio de Bexar and sign a treaty of peace. In 1771, therefore these tribes agreed to terms of peace with the Spanish in a large pow wow held in San Antonio.

      In 1772 de Mezieres was ordered to make another embassy into Texas to ratify the peace treatises. He left Natchitoches in the fall of 1772 with a large retinue and crossed the Sabine, Angelia and Neches Rivers to visit a village of the Kichai on the Trinity. He visited the Tonkawas and then the Tawakoni near the present site of Waco. Then going south he arrived at San Antonio 87 days after he had departed Natchitoches, bringing with him a group of 70 chiefs and leaders of the tribes he visited.

      With this expedition Spanish officials believed that their first real Indian problem had been solved. With this assured de Mezieres felt able to travel to France and spend a year in Europe. While he was abroad he learned that the King of Spain had promoted him to the rank of lieutenant colonel of infantry, and made him a Knight of the Order of St. Louis.

      In 1777 the depredations of the Apaches in West Texas called for action, and Texas officials decided to form a military alliance with the Nations of the North to fight the Apaches. Therefore, they called to Governor Bernardo de Galvez of Louisiana to send de Mezieres to them to assist in the campaign. The King of Spain opposed the plan and it was dropped.

      Instead de Mezieres was sent once more to the upper Red River to cement relations with the Nations of the North. This time he penetrated to the Red River near the Cross Timbers and reached the Taovayas near present day Ringgold, negotiating treaties of friendship throughout the journey.

      In 1779 Texas officials asked de Galvez to allow de Mezieres to transfer to Texas permanently to negotiate treaties with the Comanches. Because of heavy spring rains de Mezieres was not able to leave Natchitoches until May. When crossing the Trinity River his horse fell and he suffered a severe injury that sent him back to Natchitoches on a stretcher.

      Late in August he started out again for San Antonio. During the journey he received dispatches that informed him of his appointment as Governor of Texas and promotion to the rank of colonel. It was not to be, however, for his old injuries had never really healed and he fell ill in San Antonio. He died at noon on November 2, 1779, and was buried with full military honors after the funeral Mass.

      His loss was severely felt by Spanish officials. As the Baron de Ripperda, governor of Texas for whom de Mezieres carried out his missions, said: "He had such a knowledge of the provinces of Texas and Louisiana as possessed by no one else, and likewise of the tribes that surround them."

      Source: Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society

    • Summary of his career. Athanase de Meziérès was a native of Paris, St. Sulpice Parish. His father was M. Louis Christophe de Meziérès and his mother Madam Marie Antoinette Clugny. His family had high connections, which can best be stated in his own words. Writing in March, 1779, to Governor Bernardo de Galvez, he said:

      One of my sisters, the Baroness D'Andelot, bears a name known throughout France; the other, the Marchioness de Montessons, married Monseigneur the Duke of Orleans ; my uncles, Minard de Clugny, are generals in the army; my cousin of the same name was Minister of State; my nephew, the Marquis de Genlis, is inspector of infantry ; my niece is lady in waiting to Madame the Duchess of Chartres.

      De Mezieres came to Louisiana apparently about 1733. Just when he went to Natchitoches, where he spent the greater portion of his career in America, has not been ascertained, but it is known that he was there as early as September 27, 1743, for on that day he witnessed the baptism of Frangois Rondin at the parish church. His principal vocation was that of soldier at the post in the company of infantry. A summary of his services under the French government is given in a memoire in the Archives du Ministere des Colonies at Paris, written in 1769 and transcribed in 1908 for the present writer. It says:

      The Sieur de Mezieres served in La Louisiane continuously for thirty years, up to the cession of the colony, in the capacities of ensign, lieutenant, and captain, under the orders of Messrs. de Bienville, Vaudreuil, and Kerlerec. For the zeal which he showed in the campaigns in which he was employed against the Indians and in other negotiations and missions he merited successively the promotions above-mentioned. He now requests the Cross of St. Louis, due for his long services, as well as the payment of his pension, as capitaine reforme, from the month of September, 1769, and reimbursement for his passage, which his Majesty granted free to all his comrades.
      (Note: There was in the Louisiana service after 1738 a Manguet de Mezieres, son of Madame de la Haye. He was sent over by royal order of November 28 of that year, at the request of his family, to be disciplined, or reformed. In 1742 (October 29) the king, "sincerely hoping that he may be able to return to France," revoked the order. But by 1746 De Mezieres had not returned, for on June 28 a ministerial despatch was written to the governor, Vaudreuil, stating that, although the king had revoked the original order, it was his intent that Vaudreuil should withhold permission for De Mezieres to return, and suggesting that, since such favorable reports had been given of De Mezieres, he should be promoted to the grade of cadet a I'aiguilette. On March 16, following, Vaudreuil replied that as he had had occasion for nothing but satisfaction with De Mezieres, he would have been ready to allow him to return before, and that he had provided for the promotion suggested [Archives du Ministere des Colonies, ministerial despatch of Nov. 28, 1738, with two royal orders, B. 66, p. 9; royal order, October 29, 1742, ibid., Bj 74; ministerial despatch, June 28, 1746, ibid., B. 83, p. 31; "copie de la lettre de M. de Vaudreuil du 16 Mars, «747." ,bid., 013, 31, p. 24].
      Father du Poisson, missionary to the Akensas, in a letter dated at Aukensas, Oct. 3, 1727, tells of stopping in June of that year, on his way up the Mississippi, just below Poinre Coupee, "at the grant of Monsieur Mesieres; this has the appearance of a habitation that has only beginning. We found there cabins, negroes, and an honest rustic who did us neither good nor harm" [Thwaites, Jesuit Relations, vol. lxvii, 303]. What De Mézières is meant, I have not ascertained.)

    • (Athanase Christophe Fortunat Mauguet de Mézières)

  • Sources 
    1. [S161] Natchitoches 1729-1803, Elizabeth Shown Mills, (Heritage Books, 2007), LA 929.376 MIL., 173, No. 1500.
      December 18, 1786, recording by Fr. Juan Delvaux, under orders of Commandant Pierre Rousseau, of an "Extract from the Registers of the Parish of St. Antoine de Bexar."

      "I certify that . . . the following was recorded in Folio 94: 'In the parish chruch of the town of Sn. Fernand, Presidio de Sn. Antonio de Bexar, on the third day of the month of November, in the year 1779, I buried Dn. Athanazio de Mezieres, Chevalier of the Order of St. Louis and commandant of the post of Natchitoches, province of Louisiana, widower in second nuptials of Da. Pelagia Fazende, with last rites.' signed/ A. Bx Pedro Fuenta."

    2. [S161] Natchitoches 1729-1803, Elizabeth Shown Mills, (Heritage Books, 2007), LA 929.376 MIL., 44, No. 347.
      April 18, 1746, after one ban, marriage of Athanase Christophe Fortuna de Mezieres (signed), native of Paris, parish of St. Sulpice, legitimage son of deceased Monsieur Louis Christophe Claude de Mezieres and of Dame Marie Joseph Menard . . . and . . . Marie Petronilla Feliciane Juzaud [Juchereau] de St. Denis (signed), native of this parish, legitimate daughter of deceased Mons. Juzaud de St. Denis and Dame Manuel Sanchez.
      Witnesses: De Blanc (signed), Ducodere (signed), Boisseau (signed), LeCourt (signed), Marie de St. Denis (signed), Pain, "Juzaud," and Fr. Eustache. Fr. Ildephonous Joseph de Marmolejo, officiating.

    3. [S3] Archdiocese of N.O. Sacr. Rec. v02 (1751-1771), Earl C. Woods, (New Orleans, La. : Archdiocese of New Orleans, 1987), F379 .N553 W66 1987 REF V.2., 121 (Reliability: 3).
      [*] ([*], councilor of the Superior Council of this province, and [*] DE MORIERE),
      married Athanase Christo[*] Fortunat MAUGET DE MEZIERES [@DE MEZIERES]
      Nov. 26, 1754
      (SLC, M2, 42)
      [*] = page tattered, illegible

    4. [S3] Archdiocese of N.O. Sacr. Rec. v02 (1751-1771), Earl C. Woods, (New Orleans, La. : Archdiocese of New Orleans, 1987), F379 .N553 W66 1987 REF V.2., 200 (Reliability: 3).
      Athanase Christo[*] Fortunat (Louis Chr[*] Claud and [*]), native of Paris, Lieutenant Colonel, commandant of the post of Natchitoches,
      married [*] DE FAZENDE, Nov 26, 1754,
      witnesses: Charles Jean Baptiste FLEURIEAU, Pierre Henry DERNEVILLE, Jean Jacque DELFAU DE PONTALBA
      (SLC, M2, 42)
      * = page tattered, illegible

    5. [S163] Athanase de Meziérès, Herbert Eugene Bolton, Ph.D., N.A. ETH. B 639 a., pp80-81.


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