Natchitoches Colonials: A Source Book

Censuses, Military Rolls & Tax Lists, 1722-1803


Author: Mills, Elizabeth Shown, Ellie Lennon
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 234 pp.
ISBN: 9780806320656


The frontier outpost of Natchitoches was the oldest settlement in all the 828,000 square miles of the Louisiana Purchase. Natchitoches was built by France along the Texas border as a buffer against Spanish and Indian aggression. For the next century and a half, it would be the hub for colonial trade with the Southwestern tribes and then the gateway to the west for hordes of Américains seeking new land after the Revolution.

Censuses, tax lists, and muster rolls for citizen soldiers and regular troops are prized “people finders.” Natchitoches Colonials brings together an astounding number of them for colonial years–gleaned from archives in France, Spain, Cuba, and Mexico, as well the United States. Within these pages, researchers will find the following:

Censuses: 1722, 1726, 1766, 1774, 1787, and 1795–of which the 1787 census provides names and ages of every free man, woman, and child.

Marine troop lists: 1745, 1752, 1755-1759, and 1788–including monthly musters and dates of new arrivals across years in which no known ship rolls track immigration into the colony.

Militia musters: 1772, 1779, 1780, 1782, 1783, 1785, 1787, 1789, 1791, and 1793–documenting the citizen soldiers who defended the frontier and fought in the Bernardo Gàlvez campaigns of the American Revolution.

Tax rolls: 1774, 1790, 1793, 1794, 1795, and 1796–tallying land and enslaved people, debtors, and defaulters, by neighborhoods.

In all, Natchitoches Colonials contains 104 documents–including over 60 never-before published primary sources–making it a greatly expanded version of its 1981 predecessor.

(Researchers with connections to this region of Louisiana will be interested to learn that Natchitoches Colonials is the fifth book in Mrs. Mills’ six-volume Cane River Creole series. Volumes One through Four and Volume Six are available in Kindle editions from

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