French Colonists and Exiles in the United States


Author: Rosengarten, J. G.
Publication Date: 1907
Reprint Date: 2003
Pages: 234 pp.


The focus of this volume, published originally in 1907, is not on French colonization of North America (which is indeed surveyed in the first chapter); rather, it is an attempt to gather together accounts of the various French pioneers and settlements established in the United States during the latter part of the 18th and early 19th centuries. The chapter on French Louisiana, for example, recounts the arrival in 1785 of a number of French Acadians whose transit was subsidized by the King of France. Following is a list of royalists and others who escaped the French Revolution for the safety of America. By the same token, the reader will encounter in 1794 Francois Vannier, who fled the insurrection of Toussaint L’Ouverture in Santo Domingo, taking up land in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. After the Louisiana Purchase, French expatriates served on Zebulon Pike’s expedition, organized land companies in Ohio and elsewhere, established communities along the Mississippi, and served in the U.S. Army under Andrew Jackson. Still others, like Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, would write traveler’s accounts of American life and culture. One even designed the plan for the new capital of the nation.

This comprehensive work includes entire chapters on French soldier-settlers; the Huguenots; French travelers and their memoirs; the Bonapartes and other famous exiles; French settlements in Kentucky, Indiana, and Iowa; illustrious French members of the American Philosophical Society; and the French colony in Gallipolis, Ohio, and the ill-fated one in Asylum, Pennsylvania. Appended to the text, which places hundreds if not thousands of French émigrés in the United States at a particular moment in time, are an annotated bibliography, a list of French place names in America, and an index to names and subjects. Rosengarten’s classic treatise on Franco-Americana following the War for Independence is the starting point on its subject and a good bet for any researcher with 18th- or 19th-century French ancestry.

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