Louisiana Colonials

Soldiers and Vagabonds


Author: De Ville, Winston
Publication Date: 1963
Reprint Date: 2001
Pages: 81 pp.


For this companion volume to Gulf Coast Colonials, Mr. De Ville has transcribed seven ships’ passenger lists for vessels that embarked from ports in France for French Louisiana in the years 1719 and 1720. The subtitle of the work refers to the fact that the settlement of Louisiana, including the ranks of the army itself, was augmented by the importation of criminals, smugglers, debtors, and vagabonds. Thus, while any number of Louisiana soldiers and vagabonds eventually took brides and became farmers, lifting themselves into the ranks of respectable and propertied, their beginnings were invariably much humbler.

The compiler has transcribed the names on each list in precisely the same order as they appear in the original, adding an index of personal names for the researcher’s ease of use. Typically, the lists are careful to differentiate between members of the crew and soldiers on the one hand and the various prisoners, deserters, smugglers, and vagabonds on the other. Regardless of the passenger’s status, he is typically identified by name, age, height, color of hair, occupation, and city of origin. All told, this work provides the names of more than 500 18th-century immigrants to Louisiana, whose origins in France are further clarified by the index to places at the end of the book.

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