The Favre Family in Early Hancock County, MS

[The following is offered as a work still in progress, maintaining right of authors to publish later.]
Marco J. Giardino
NASA, Stennis Space Center
Russell B. Guerin
Hancock County Historic Society
Numerous publications identify Simon Favre as the first non-Native American inhabitant of Hancock County. In fact, his father, Jean Claude Favre of Mobile, was the first land owner in this portion of southwest Mississippi. Jean Claude received his first land grant in Hancock County in 1767 for his service to the British government of West Florida. Favre was probably responsible for attracting several other prominent Mobilians to the East Pearl River soon after the Spanish conquered West Florida from the British in 1782.
Jean Claude’s son, Simon Favre, was a prominent citizen of Mobile and Hancock County. Like his father and grandfather, Simon was an able translator and interpreter of Muskhogean language and played a significant role during the transition of the area from Spanish control to the dominion of the United States. He was Commandant of the Pearl River under the Spanish and was appointed Justice of the Peace for the U.S. Government in 1811. In that capacity he approved numerous land grants along the East Pearl the records of which shed light on local geography and toponymy.   
The portrait that emerges from the study of primary references related to Simon Favre and his ancestors facilitates the understanding of the important and complicated history of Hancock County during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Favres’ significant role in the political and social affairs of the northern Gulf Coast of Mexico provides a useful point of reference for tracing the land transactions of the region through four different national administrations, shedding new light on the history and archaeology of the region.



The East branch of the Pearl River separates modern Louisiana from Mississippi. The land that would become Hancock County was owned by several European powers prior to becoming part of the United States including France (1699-1763), England (1763-1781) and Spain (1781-1819). For a brief period in 1810, the area was part of the independent Republic of West Florida before finally being annexed by the United States (1819-present)[1].
Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, Southwest Mississippi was the home of several Naïve American tribes, mostly related to the Muskhogean linguistic group. The French encountered the Acolapissa, Bayougoula, Pascagoula and Mobile Indians during their first explorations along the Northwest Gulf of Mexico. They also met the Biloxi Indians who unlike their neighbors spoke a language related to Siouan (Swanton 1922; McWilliams 1953; Higginbotham 1969; Du Ru 1700).
The French explorers visiting the Gulf Coast would land cabin boys on newly discovered coasts to test the friendliness and to learn the language of Native Americans along the Gulf Coast (Penicaut, Fleur de Lys:68 fn 15). Local Choctaw tradition recounts that Iberville placed young Jean Baptiste Favre on shore near Biloxi when he first arrived in 1699 (Tanguis, personal communication 2003; Heitzmann 1989:1). Apparently, the young Favre survived his first encounter and went on to become a noted interpreter of the Muskhogean language. He was documented in the 1721 census of Fort St. Louis de la Mobile living among the Apalachee. On April 16 of same year his son, Jean Claude Favre, was born in Mobile. Jean Claude was the first documented landowner in Hancock County, Mississippi. His son Simon Favre became one of the most notable historic personages of that County.
French Settlement in Hancock County
Documentation of the early 18th century French settlements in Hancock County is scarce, due, at least in part, to the burning of the Gainesville courthouse on March 31, 1853. One surviving Spanish land deed dating from 1788, however, contains a comment to the effect that a M. Diron was the original owner of this land, located along the East Pearl River[2]. The land, according to the comment, was granted by Bienville on November 7, 1733 while serving his third and last term as Governor of Louisiana. It is likely that M. Diron mentioned in the Spanish deed refers to Pierre D’Artaguette Diron,the lieutenant that was killed at the battle of Ackia in 1736. Also mentioned in this 1788 Spanish deed are two prominent French citizens living in Mobile: Charles Marie de La Lande and Joseph Barbant de Boisdore. Both men were neighbors of Jean Claude Favre in Mobile and eventually owned land near Favre along the East Pearl River.
Jean Claude was born in Mobile on April 16, 1721 during the French dominion over the territory. He married Marguerite Wiltz, also of Mobile (b 1740, d 7/28/1805[3]) on June 7, 1759. She was the daughter of Marie Anne Colon, whose sister, Marguerite Colon, married Joseph Barbeau dit Boisdore, a Canadian on October 13, 1747. Another sister of Marie Anne Colon married Jean Baptiste Allein dit Rouceve. Together with the Favres, members of the Rouceve, Colon and Boisdore families would be among the earliest non-Native settlers of the East Pearl River region of Hancock County. Jean Claude appears in mid-18th century official documents as an Indian interpreter, a skill surely acquired during his father’s stay among the Apalachee.  
English settlement
The British and their ally Prussia emerged victorious from the “Great War for the Empire” (1754-1763), known in North America as the French and Indian War (1756-1763). The Treaty of Paris formally ended the war and in signing it, France ceded Canada to England, as well as the city of Mobile, and that part of Louisiana located on the left bank of the Mississippi River, with the exception of New Orleans and the Isle d’Orleans. These last two territories, and the lands west of the East Pearl River, known as the Province of Florida, were relinquished by France to Spain in consideration for latter’s support during the war. Spain immediately traded to Britain the Province of Florida and all the country to the east and south-east of the Mississippi in order to recover Havana which the British and American colonial forces had captured in 1762. In this way, Spain regained the city that formed the core of Spanish colonial power in North America and Britain began its dominion over West Florida, including the East Pearl River.
On October 7, 1763, the western boundary of British West Florida was set along the East Pearl River separating it from Spanish Louisiana[4]. Thus began the role of the East Pearl as an international boundary between colonial powers (cf. Ware and Rhea 1982: xvi).
Jean Claude would be valuable to both France and Britain especially during the transferal of land stipulated in the Treaty of Paris signed on February 10, 1763 ending the French and Indian War[5]
Throughout the occupation of the Louisiana Territory, the French had managed to maintain positive relations with the local Indian tribes. When these territories were transferred to the British, the question of European-Indian relations was a major concern. As they were preparing to relinquish their colonial territories, French diplomats were concerned about the Indians for two reasons. First, should the Choctaws, their long term allies, rise up against the British, the latter would blame the French. On the other hand, if the Choctaws attacked the French, they would need to partner with the British to be safe against the Indian’s attack.
Jacques-Blaise D’Abbadie, the last French Governor in Louisiana, was the Director General of Louisiana in 1763-1764 and acted as the principal French agent during the negotiations that followed the Treaty of Paris. Among his major tasks was interacting with the Choctaw nation who were both apprehensive and confused by the transition from French to British sovereignty. D’Abbadie had been charged with the obligation to devote “the greatest attention to maintain good relations with the [Indian] tribes and to avoid the problems which a change of domination could occasion.” (D’Abbadie’s Journal :87). Unlike their relationship with the French, the Choctaws had a more contentious and aggressive attitude toward the English.
 The local Indians were still a considerable military and political power and merited logistical respect. To this end the French diplomats explained in great detail to the British their limited ability to control the Choctaws and Alibamas who did not understand what being “transferred” to another “emperor” meant in terms of behavior.
On November 14, 1763 the British Governor of Mobile, Robert Farmar, and D’Abbadie met at Mobile and agreed to organize a series of assemblies with Native Americans for the purpose of communicating to them the terms of the Treaty of Paris. It was Jean Claude[6] who translated at the gatherings attended by Choctaws as well as other Muskhogean speakers such as the Alabamas, particularly the Kawitas, Abihkas, Chiachas, Kasihtas, and the Talapoosas. Sieur Favre is described in the record of those meetings as the “interpreter maintained by his very Christian majesty, according to his certificate below, to the Indians of the Choctaw nation assembled for that purpose in the presence of the two governors of New Orleans and of Mobile and of the respective officers of the two crowns….”
After consolidating power over the new territories in West Florida, the British made the exploration, mapping and settlement of the region a military priority. The first British governor of West Florida, George Johnstone (1763-1767), granted free tracts of land in West Florida to military officers and soldiers, as a reward for their service. The British land grants along the Pearl River were very large. British officers received 5,000 acres, captains 3,000 acres and soldiers 300 acres[7]. Among the very first persons granted lands along the Pearl River was Jean Claude Favre of Mobile, then 46 years old. Records show that, on December 18, 1767, the British Government in West Florida granted to John Claudius Favre <sic> 500 acres “on the East bank of the Pearle <sic> River, on the Bouc houmma bayou River”.  The location of the Favre claim included the site of the future town of Napoleon.
It may not be coincidental that Jean Claude Favre, clearly conversant with Choctaw language and customs, was granted land in southwest Mississippi in 1767, the same year that “marauding” Choctaws were killing cattle of the settlers along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Choctaws apparently attacked from Pascagoula to Pearl River, driving families from the Bay of St. Louis to Cat Island in search of safety [8]. Perhaps the British Government sent Jean Claude Favre to this area in an effort to resolve the crisis and possibly to prevent future ones.
According to 18th century British documents, Favre was the only inhabitant living along the East Pearl River during the early surveys. Mapping the newly acquired British territories was a priority for the British Government. This task was assigned primarily to George Gauld, the Surveyor for the British Government in West Florida[9]. When Gauld began his survey work along the Pearl River in 1768, there was only one known grant of land, the “Le Favres Plantation.” belonging to Jean Claude Favre of Mobile. Impressed by the land that bordered the East Pearl River, Gauld petitioned Governor Chester and was granted 2,000 acres on December 12, 1776 located “on the Northeast side of the East Branch of the Pearl River about seven leagues above the Mouth”[10] (Ware and Rea 1982; Lowrie and Franklin 1834), the site where Gainesville would be located 75 years later. Three weeks prior to granting land to Gauld, Peter Chester, Captain General and Governor in Chief at Pensacola, received [from himself?] 1,000 acres near Favre and observed “The Land here is not extraordinarily high but seemingly fertile upon the Banks and back it is Pine Barren, the Trees of which are large and fit for Turpentine.”(reference).
It appears from contemporary documents and maps that the many grants awarded to British veterans in 1776 along the Pearl River were not improved or permanently inhabited. However, an early plat of Jean Claude Favre’s place, measuring 1200 acres, shows six huts, fields and yards located on his land. It is possible, therefore that Favre was living, at least part- time, along the Pearl River. In contrast, the plat of Gauld’s land only illustrates natural features. Analysis of land holdings, shown in more detail below, forces the conclusion that this parcel was actually on the Louisiana side of the Pearl, in what is now St. Tammany Parish. As this map was signed by the Spanish surveyor Pintado, it might well have been a Spanish grant in the year 1767, at which time St. Tammany was in West Florida, whereas lands east of the Pearl have become British since 1763.
Further documentary evidence that Favre may have been a resident along the Pearl River is found in the journals of William Bartram, the famous American naturalist. In 1776, during the period when most British land grants were just being awarded along the Pearl River, William Bartram explored the mouth of the Pearl River by boat from Mobile. He wrote that “an aged Frenchman bound for his Pearl River Plantation” accompanied him on part of his journey. This Frenchman was most likely Jean Claude Favre, who would have been about 56 years old at this time. Contemporaneous documents indicate that no other European settlers were present along the East Pearl River at this time.
Before Bartram could explore the river itself, he became ill and was forced to recover at the home of an Englishman named Rumsey, who lived on Pearl Island, a six mile stretch of sandy plain and salt marshes at the Lake Borgne end of the Rigolettes (This was most likely Prevost Island – Francis Harper) (Weddle 1995:59-60). It is unfortunate that we do not benefit from a possible description of Favre and his Pearl River settlement, a sad fact for local historians, given the detailed records the Bartram left of the Pearl Island stay.
At the time of the land grant along the East Pearl, Simon Favre, eldest son of Jean Claude and Marie Marguerite Wiltz was 7 years old. It is Simon, however, who is widely but erroneously reputed to have been the first European settler in the area. He was said to have built the first house and store along the Pearl River, in what eventually became the back of the Napoleon Baptist Church near two large live oaks and one large cedar tree. (WPA Record, Hancock County Library.)This site lies on the east side of the Pearl, in Hancock County.

Spanish settlements

The British dominion over West Florida lasted for only 20 years. Unable to manage these possessions and pressured by Spanish military force, Great Britain formally ceded both East and West Florida to Spain on September 3, 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles[11]. The treaty, however, did not specify definite boundaries, allowing Spain to claim all the territory it had been ceded by France in 1763. The uncertainties concerning the boundaries of West Florida persisted well into the 19th century and were not finally formalized until the signing of the Adam-Onis treaty of 1819.
Even prior to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, Spanish authorities began an aggressive effort to settle the western portion of Mississippi. Previous British land claims along the East Pearl River, including those granted to George Gauld and Peter Chester were generally ignored or dismissed. Jean Claude Favre’s land claim however was confirmed, even though Jean Claude had died in 1782, just at the time of transition between British and Spanish authority. His son, Simon, at that time 22 years old, inherited his father’s land in southwest Mississippi, although he continued to reside, at least part-time, in Mobile near his mother.
It is interesting to learn that in the same year of Jean Claude’s death, a series of Spanish land grants were awarded in southwest Mississippi to mostly French families who were either related, acquainted or neighbors of the Favres in Mobile.  These included the Colon’s, Jean Claude’s in-laws, and the Boisdores. The Colon and Boisdore[12] names appear among the early Spanish land deeds granted along the East Pearl River. Marguerite Wiltz Favre was still living in Mobile in 1770[13].  Marguerite Colon, along with her brothers Claudius and Valentine Collon owned land in Hancock County, specifically along the River Mosquito[14].
The Favres, Colons and Boisdore, along with Rouchons, Wiltzs and others, were early settlers of Mobile and among the most prominent citizens of the area. Even after receiving Spanish land grants along the East Pearl River, these families continued to reside in Mobile. They frequently interacted and intermarried. As prominent citizens of Spanish West Florida, their names appear frequently in the official Spanish documents from that period. Their relations were not always cordial. For example, the Favres and Boisdores were antagonists in a lawsuit brought in 1776 by Luis Boisdore against Jean Favre over a slave named “Luison.” This case continued until 1783, after Jean Claude’s death, when Widow Favre settled with Boisdore[15] .
It is likely that the Favres, along with their prominent neighbors, were permanent residents of Mobile and only visited their East Pearl River properties occasionally. They might have used the land as investment property. The Spanish census of Mobile for 1786 lists Ma. Favre, widow, 50; free mulatto Charlotte, six black male slaves ,one black female slave, 350 corn barrels, two white children.[16].
The Favre property holdings in Mobile probably date to the earliest French settlement of the area. Due to the service rendered by Jean Claude to the British and the French, his land grants were reconfirmed during each change in government. For example, the widow of Jean Claude, Marie (?) Marguerite Favre, in July 1799 claimed that “a lot belongs to me by virtue of a grant by his Excellency Joseph de Esplebeta in favor of my husband after the conquest of this place [Mobile] for his service as Indian interpreter.”
One final interesting connection between these prominent French residents of Mobile and the settlements along the East Pearl River involves Marie Therese Colon who was born in 1715 from the marriage of J.B. Colon and M. Marguerite Praux. She married Jean Baptiste Allain dit Rouceve (called Little Alain), another famous Indian interpreter who would also be granted land along the East Pearl River by the Spanish authorities, in the locality which would eventually become Logtown[17].
In sum, when the Spanish began to grant land along the East Pearl River, they favored many of the Mobile neighbors of Jean Favre. Simon Favre inherited his father’s original land grant along Pearl River in 1782 and in that same year, the Spanish government deeded land to Rousseve, Boisdore and Colon (later Challon?). Eugene Chastang, Simon Favre’s brother-in-law and a neighbor of Favre’s in Mobile, is listed among the landowners of Hancock County during the early 1800s.
In 1782 a Spanish cedula was issued, which for a period of ten years permitted commerce between New Orleans and Pensacola and the French ports where the Spanish consuls resided. The East Pearl settlements were strategically located on the first high ground to be found east of New Orleans. Under the rules of the cedula, trade was subject to a six percent import and export tax but Negro slaves were allowed to enter duty free.
Beginning in the 1780s and increasingly after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, when the U.S. Government prohibited importing of slaves into Louisiana, the region east of the East Pearl River, still officially under Spanish control, was not covered by such a restriction. It may not be a coincidence that during the first few years of the 19th century that several large plantation houses were erected along the Pearl River and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast to the Bay of St. Louis. These included the Cowand Plantation on the Bay of St. Louis, the Pirate House at present day Waveland, and the Saucier House near Pearl River. The Pirate House has some historical connections to Jean Lafitte, known to have traded in contraband slaves. The Saucier place later became the home of John Claiborne, who dealt in slaves in his early career.
In Spanish documents dating from 1780 to 1811, there are numerous records of capturing “cimarrons,” a Spanish word for runaway slaves along the Gulf Coast. References are not sufficiently explicit to conclude that they were escaped from slave dealers. One example of an account that details the number of contraband slaves and the name of the ship is found in an exchange between Juan Bautista Pellerin of Pass Christian and Vicente Folch dated December 14, 1806. In that letter, 21 blacks including men and women are reported to have been taken as contraband on the Chucpopulu coast by the schooner Carmen, captained by Benito Garcia. He is said to have in his possession an authorization from the Intendant Juan Ventura Morales. 

Simon Favre (1760-1813)

Marguerite Wiltz’s marriage to Jean Claude Favre in 1759 resulted in the birth of five children: Simon Favre; Louis Favre, b. 1763; Marie Rose b. 1769; Baptiste and Clara. We know little about Simon’s early life. He was born May 31, 1760 in Mobile and was baptized on the next day. As he grew older, Simon continued to live and work in Mobile. British authorities were aware of Simon and were at times less than pleased with the young Favre’s activities. During the administration of Governor Peter Chester (1770-1781), rum was said to “pour down upon our [British West Florida] nation…particularly from the House of Simon Favre”[18].
At the time of the original Favre land grant along the East Pearl River, Simon Favre was seven years old. As stated above, Simon is widely reputed to have been the first European settler in the area[19]. Clearly, it was his father Jean Claude, who was the first land owner along the East Pearl River, and who likely established at least a semi-permanent residence there, based on 19th century reproductions of his original land deed.
Although we do not know how much time and effort Jean Claude invested in his Pearl River plantations, it is clear that his son, Simon Favre became a resident there, and he would become one of the preeminent settlers of Hancock County during the Spanish and American periods.
Simon is reputed to have had children with women of African, Native American and European origins. Like his father and grandfather, Simon was conversant in Muskhogean and may have been related through marriage to the Medal Chief Pushmataha. In addition to being conversant in the Muskhogean language, Simon must have been multilingual, speaking also English, French and Spanish.
Before turning 30 years old, Simon was already a noted interpreter of Native American languages in the service of the Spanish government. Clearly, the young Favre was very knowledgeable of the Indian culture and language, and was in contact with the highest Spanish officials who greatly respected and appreciated his service. The letters that follow show clearly how intimately Favre was involved in the politics of the early Spanish period in West Florida, while still a very young man. For example, Favre, then 23 years old, wrote to Tugean of the Choctaw Nation at Mobile on November 25, 1783:
I have the honor of writing to you to inform you that the savages do not want to go to Galveston. They had rather do without the gifts. This is why I have decided to go immediately with four chiefs of the great medal to Bay St. Louis to see Mr. Maxent, [who later became Commandant at Mobile]. I hope to go by sea to Mobile upon my return from New Orleans. I assure you that I am quite tired of the Choctaws.[20]
From Simon Favre’s correspondence we derive very valuable information concerning Choctaw personages and the delicate politics that obtained at that time between Europeans and Native Americans. Favre wrote from the Choctaw to Bouligny[i] on November 8, 1785:
I learned from Taskaopa in the presence of Nanoulimastabe’ that Monsieur Jorge, a trader in the village of Ousapalchito for Monsieur Maxent, had told him that he has heard from Naquisabe’, chief with a small English medal, that Mr. Fraisiere, trader at Yazoo, in the Large Part, had assured him and the English chief Frantimastabe’ that the stores established in Mobile belonged to Sieur Tourneboul. He also said that all the English, who had formerly been in the different villages of the nation, were going to come back and chase out the French and Spaniards who were there. Mr. Fraisiere stated that he was a good Englishman who did not want to do as the French and Spanish traders and steal their horses. He said that he would take their pelts for two, three or four times as much, that this boat was sent ahead, and that the chiefs and party were following. He also asserted that the Spaniards did not know how to do anything and they were not men, I affirm that I have written exactly what I heard from the Indians.” [21]
In addition, in 1787 Simon reported to Vicente Folch, Governor of Spanish Florida, on a series of assemblies held by Choctaws, Chickasaws and Talapuches about approving the establishment in their territories of whites and the desire of Chief Franchimastabé to visit them[22]. Later in the same year, Favre wrote to Folch about the same Indian trader Turnbull who was apparently then working for the Americans against Spanish interests among the Indians[23]. In addition, Favre confirmed for the Spanish government the list of Choctaw villages located in the region and the names of the associated American and Euroepan traders[24]. Also in 1787, Joseph Favrot, acting Commander at Mobile, sent Simon to interdict letters written by the Americans to the Choctaw encouraging the Tribe’s participation in an attack on the Tallapoosas[25]. During the same year, Simon, acting as the Indian interpreter, confirmed for Spain that the Americans and the French were planning to establish stores and a fort two days journey from the Chickasaw[26].
Early in his career, Simon Favre was attached to the Spanish garrison at Fort Consideration (Confederation)[27] located on the Tombigbee until it was evacuated in 1796-97. Simon subsequently moved to Fort Stephen (located in modern Kemper County, Mississippi, north of Meridian and close to Philadelphia) and then on to New Orleans (Lowrie 1834 From American State Papers 1789-1809; Public Land 1, Class VIII:777). 
Simon Favre also worked at Tombecbee, an important center for managing relations with the Choctaws and other Native tribes. During his stay at Tombigbee, he participated in a wide variety of issues important to the Spanish government as is illustrated in the following letters. During his stay at Tombigbee and later at Bougfouca, many letters were exchanged between Favre and Juan Delavillesbeuvre, an important figure in the Spanish administration of West Florida. He was fairly successful in his dealings with the Choctaws, and for this reason, or perhaps because of it, he lived for a while in their midst. Indeed, he signed a letter dated September 10, 1792 “Bukfouca…At the home of Monsieur Favre, where I am staying….” Other correspondence shows that he was still there in 1794, and that Favre had a separate house built for him. In 1780, Delavillesbeuvre made a voyage to the Choctaws and recorded his observations in a journal.
As a subordinate of Governor Carondelet, Delavillesbeuvre reported from assignments stretching from Atakapas to Natchez and Boukfouca. As early as 1777, he wrote from Fort St. Gabriel at Manchac. Twenty years later, he was at Mobile. 
 The Choctaws were divided into various subgroups: Northwestern, Northeastern and Southern[ii]. The southern group, including those families that lived in southwest Mississippi, was known as the Pela or Small Part. It was among them that Simon Favre lived and worked during the last years of the 18th century, as evident in a letter from M. Delavillebeuvre to Carondelet [DATE]:
Excerpts from some of the correspondence involving Favre follow:
After making my first speech there [Yasou, Franchimastabe’ village] I went to the Small Part where I am going to reside with Favre, who is employed by the king and who will serve me as interpreter. He is the best one of the province, with a great influence over the minds of the Indians, and he knows how to lead them firmly whenever necessary. When he found out that I was coming as commissioner to this nation, he had a comfortable hut built for me. I shall live there if you will allow me because I find that life there will be simpler. Since it is only four leagues away from Franchimastabe’ village, I shall therefore be able to know what is going on in both parts with equal facility.[28]
From the same letter [check this in original] we gain insight into the deteriorating conditions of the local Indian nation:
If you could possibly forbid the introduction of liquor into this nation, you would be doing a great good, because it is coming from everywhere and is making the Indians nasty and insolent. Those that are obliged to live among them suffer from this fact…There is a considerable mortality of horses in the nation. The traders have lost theirs and there is not one left to carry their furs to Mobile. The Indians are in the same fix, and besides they are going to die of hunger because the drought has caused their corn crop to fail. Page 77.
Simon Favre’s information went to the highest officers in the Government. On June 29th, 1792, Favre wrote from the Choctaws to Louisiana Governor Carondelet:
My Lord: Allow me to take the liberty of having the honor of writing you this letter to send you the enclosed copies which were brought to the Choctaw nation by two Americans the 25th of June of this month. They went back the same day. These messages were translated by a trader for that nation named Jean Pitchlyn. This is one of several similar activities of this man, who does nothing but give bad advice to the savages. That is why I hope, my Lord, that you will be so kind as to give me your orders about this matter.
They brought two large medals and two complete suits. They have given one to Franchimastabe’ and the other to a respected chief of this nation called Tloupouye Nantla’, but all this was of no use. They have been unable to take either of them along with them There is nothing else of enough importance to inform you. My Lord, begging you to excuse me for the liberty which I dare to take, I have the honor of being, with respect and submission, my Lord,
Your most humble and most obedient servant
Simon Favre. [29]
Delavillebeuvre wrote to Don Manuel Gallozo de Lemos from Boukfouca, on September 10, 1792 “At the house of Monsieur Favre where I am staying”:
…but as Franchimastabe’ had left for Mobile upon the demand of the commandant, as I had the honor of telling you in my previous letter, he [Jean Pchiline <sic> the interpreter living near the Chickasaw road] did not see him, of course, and stayed with Mr. Favre and myself until Franchimastabe’ s return so that he may confer with him and afterwards with all the chiefs of the nation. [30]
Simon Favre was present at Fort Nogales, near the mouth of the Yazoo River in Choctaw territory, for the signing of the Treaty of Nogales on October 28, 1793.[iii] This treaty was signed between the King of Spain and Emperor of the Indies and the Chickasaw, Creek, Talapoosa, Alibamon, Cherokee and Choctaw nations. The Spaniards were represented by Don Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, colonel of the royal armies, military and political governor of the post and district of Natchez, commissioned for this purpose by the Baron de Carondelet, governor of the province of Louisiana and West Florida. Representing the Choctaws was Franchimastabe’, principal chief, and Pushimataha, who apparently was closely tied to Simon Favre, possibly through marriage.
The text of the treaty detailed where the different tribes were to pick up their gifts to maintain the terms of all treaties since 1784. The Choctaw were to pick up their yearly gifts at old Tombecbe’, “which it has recently ceded to His Catholic Majesty”[31]. The treaty was signed for the Choctaw by Franchi Mastabe’, Mingo Puscus, and Mistichico. Simon Favre was one of the witnesses[32].
Insight into Simon’s intentions and his situation is found in a letter he wrote to Don Manuel Lanzos, commander at Natchez from Tombecbe’ on 28th January 1794:
SIR: I have delayed writing to you until now because there was no opportunity to let you know that the late Degrange has left at his death a mulatto woman, about forty-five years old, two geldings, two mares and a few small effects, which are in the hands of Mr. Smith. The dead owed a few things to several people in the nation, and as Mr. Delavillebeuvre is slow about it, I beg you to send me your orders on this matter.
Some Chactaws <sic>, returning from the hunt, report that the Americans have beaten a large party of Cherokees on the Mississippi and that there is a great rumor in this nation to the effect that they are coming to destroy them.
There is nothing else to let you know for the time being. Allow me, Sir, to take the liberty of asking you for some news of Mr. Delavillebeuvre. He was to be back here sometime this month. I have received no letter from him. When I was at Nogales I received permission from Mr. Delavillebeuvre to spend the winter at Tombecbe’ and to settle there. Since the government has agreed with the Chactaws <sic> to send them their presents there, I am working with the constant fear of wasting my labors. That is why I take the liberty of asking you to let me know if I may continue working. You will oblige the one who has the honor of being, with respect and submission, Sir, Your must humble and obedient servant, Simon Favre. [33]
 Delavillebeuvre said that the Choctaws were in a most wretched condition, and that not one grain of corn could be sent to Mobile[34]:
 However, Ogoulayacabe’s harangue to the Choctaws at the assembly called by Favre at Boukloucoulou, in connection with the letter which the commissioner sent to that nation in the care of Mad Dog [Talapoosa chief], has had a very bad effect, as I believe he told you before my arrival…As the Choctaws had stolen some horses from the Talapoosas when they came back from Nogales, the latter came to Tombecbe’ to steal three belonging to Favre. As I presumed this might very well have been done at the instigation of the American commissioner…
The letter which I wrote to Sieur Favre, in accordance with your orders, dated December 6, ’93, and which I had given to Sieur Parant, so that he might have a savage take it to the nation, arrived only day before yesterday. The delay occurred because the savage who was carrying it kept it all this time while he went hunting so that Favre, not having received it, has not made the census which you ordered me to have him take. At the present time it is too late. Nor had he built any barracks to house the troops and shelter their effects. However, after he received the letter which I wrote to him when I arrived at Mobile, he built a shed, where the five men who came up with me are living and where the others may stay when they come
Delavillebeuvre to Gayoso de Lemos May 8, 1794:
(copy) Volume IV, :284-285
 “I arrived at the Choctaw nation several days ago after a 24-day trip on the Tombigbee River where I met very strong currents.…I was not at all satisfied with what Ogoulayacabe said at an assembly called in the Choctaw nation by Favre during my absence in connection with a letter which you had sent him to induce him and his warriors to go to the Ecors a’ Margot against the French. He said that he was surprised that you should ask them to take up arms against white people, because the Spanish chiefs had always said that they did not want to shed the blood of the red men, nor allow them to mix in the wars of the white men, where they should merely be spectators. Franchimastabe, who is a very peaceable man, spoke after him and approved his policy very much. So you can see there is quite a bad example given by two chiefs who have been loaded with favors by the Spaniards. This sort of thing happens every day with them…The Talapoosas are up to their usual tricks now that spring is here, and have just stolen at Tombibecbe’ three horses belonging to the interpreter, Simon Favre. I sent a courier bearing a message to the commissioner who relieved Don Pedro Olivier. He is called the Chevalier de Villiers, captain of the militia. I asked him to have the horses given back and to speak to the chiefs of that nation to prevent them from coming near the Choctaws, who are already quite dissatisfied, because it might have dangerous consequences. I have also written to Red Shoe. At present the savages do not want to go alone to carry letters for fear of accidents. They go in twos….” (From Boukfouca, 8th of May, 1794, Volume IV, pages ?-318)
Delavillebeuvre from Fort Confederation, July 7, 1794 to Monsieur the Baron de Carondelet:
Seditious speeches are beginning to die down among the Choctaw nation, although the warriers <sic> are still very impertinent. But this is caused by drink and it is not very feasible to deprive them of it. However, a rather timely threat made by one of our great medal; chiefs named Totehouman, to kill all the animals of the traders living in that nation if Favre’s animals at Tombecbe’ were killed, has been sufficient to restrain them. The others are not saying anything and besides, I hope the food which we give them will cause them to think. I do not know where we are going to put the armourer. I suppose he ought to be lodged in the fort as is the surgeon [Broutin]. The fort is so small and the buildings so much one on top of the others that there is not much leeway for such lodgings. The oven touches the storehouse and without a chimney is likely to set fire to it whenever sparks fly from it. The storekeeper also asks for a lodging and requested me to speak to you about it.
I have also told you in one of my previous letters how necessary it was to have a shed for the Indians. The interpreter requested an apartment at the far end of it. (:317).
Volume IV pages 340-341.
Delavillebeuvre to Carondelet September 14, 1794:
I think that the Talapoosas and the Alibamons are going to start their usual trouble because they have already stolen two horses belonging to Favre and I believe one of mine which cost me fifty piastres. I cannot locate it anywhere, so here I am without a horse. I shall be very much put out when I have to go into the nation”. (:340).
Volume IV, page 56-57
Favre in Mobile
Following his details at the various forts and his turbulent stay at Tombigbee, Simon lived on his property located in Mobile which included a house on Loyal St. While there, he associated often with other Indian interpreters, specifically J.B. Roussere and Simon Andry. In a document prepared on April 13, 1798 as part of a land exchange between Favre and Andry, Simon describes himself as: “I Simon Favre Interpreter of the Choctaw Nation, now of the town of Mobile….”[35]  Simon Andry, Favre’s neighbor when he lived on the west side of Tombigbee, was also described as an “interpreter of the Choctaw language.”[36]  Jean Baptiste Roussere (known in some documents as Rousseve) was a famed interpreter of the Muskhogean language and a neighbor of Favre’s along the East Pearl River.
Significance of the Pearl River
The east bank of the East Pearl River, the westernmost limit of Spanish West Florida, acquired increasing strategic relevance as the US entered the regional geopolitical scene, culminating with the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. By that time, numerous land grants had been issued by the Spanish to mostly French inhabitants of Mobile. Many of Simon Favre’s neighbors and relatives were among the new land owners of the area, beginning as early as 1782.
When Thomas Jefferson led the United States into the Louisiana Purchase, the eastern boundary of the newly acquired territory was set at the East Pearl River. Consequently, the area that would become Hancock County assumed an increased strategic role. Thomas Jefferson, upon receipt of the Declaration of Independence from the Commonwealth of West Florida, claimed the whole district for the United States and directed Governor Claiborne to take possession of the area and include it in the Orleans Territory[37].
It is during his stay on his plantation along the East Pearl River that Simon Favre acquired increased fame and status. He already owned a large tract of land inherited from his father Jean Claude, it being the original 1767 British grant to his father. In addition, Simon acquired other adjoining parcels. Given that the East Pearl River had been the international boundary between British West Florida and Spanish Louisiana late in the 18th century, and that it continued to be an important geographical feature throughout the first decades of the 19th century, Simon’s land holdings in the region contributed not only to his political importance but also to his wealth.
           The 1827 accounting also mentions as parcel number two, 640 acres on the east branch of the Pearl. Would this not be Mary Favre’s 639 acres?
            The original Jean Claude Favre land grant is referenced also in 1804 when the US government began reviewing previous land grants in the area to confirm and validate ownership. At that time, the British land grant to John Claudius Favre was shown as belonging to his son Don Simon Favre. It measured 1200 acres or 1418 arpents and was located on the East Pearl River, 6 leagues from its mouth (solicited October 3, 1804; surveyed the 19th of the same month. (From Archives 154, Land Claims East of the Pearl)
             Simon Favre’s Family
Simon Favre married Celeste Rochon, (b. 1777) daughter of Augustine Rochon, native of Mobile and widower of Marie Jeanne LaPointe and Louise Fievre, on March 25 1801 in Mobile.
The marriage is recorded in documents furnished to the Chancery Court of Lawrence County Ms in 1847. This is a copy of the Spanish certificate, furnished by the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. Simon and Celeste are identified as the legitimate children of Juan Favre and Margarita Wiltz, and Augustin Rochon and Luisa Fievre, respectively. Both are said to be of Mobile; Simon is called an Interpreter to the Indians. The original was signed by Antonia de Sedella, better known historically as “Pere Antoine.”[38]
Judging from the birth of their children, they moved to the East Pearl river between 1804 and 1806, just after the Louisiana Purchase, when that river formed the international boundary between the US and Spain. He fathered six children[39] with Celeste: Jean (b. in Mobile 1802, d.1888), Augustus (b. in Mobile 1804), Onezan (b. in Pearlington 1806, d. 1875), Louisa Eucharist (b. in Pearlington 1809, d. 1881), Marguerite (b. in Pearlington 1812, d. 1906), and Carlota(b. 1813 in Pearlington). It isevident that Simon and his family moved to Hancock County between the 1804 birth in Mobile of son Augustus, and that of Onezan in 1806.
An explanation is in order here to reflect that his will acknowledged only five children by Celeste. That document is dated May 18, 1812, and records show that the sixth child, Carlota, was born after her father’s will was made. (Heitzmann p. 34)
            Published references[40] mention that Simon Favre had three (?) additional “wives,” including Rebecca Austin (spelled Auston in his will, and Ostein elsewhere), with whom he sired Simon Favre around 1800 and whom he acknowledged in his will. [41]
 The other two were Mary Ann and Pistikiokonory. Only the first of these other women is mentioned in the Will and Testament of Simon Favre. There is a land grant to Mary Favre located just north of Simon Favre’s Napoleon grant. It is unclear from current research if Mary (or Marie) was Simon’s “wife.” Pistikiokonory was reputed to be the daughter of Medal Chief Pushmataha who reportedly was a personal friend of Simon. With his Indian wife he apparently had four more children: Mary, Louis, Edward and Celeste (Heitzman:16).
Relevance after Louisiana Purchase
After moving to the Pearl River at the turn of the 19th century, Simon Favre was clearly a significant figure in both Spanish Florida and in the newly established U.S. government west of the East Pearl River. From his home along the river, Favre could control inland communication between the two governments. His long service to Spanish authorities made him a focal point for information when, during the first decade of the 19th century, Spanish control over their West Florida territory was seriously compromised by rebels, American traders and marauding pirates.
              Favre’s value to the various governments initially centered on his continued knowledge and influence with the local Native American tribes. As these groups continued to decline in power, Favre’s role shifted more toward supporting the European and American authorities during the very turbulent times surrounding the end of Spanish rule in West Florida.
French Minister Laussat[iv] recounts the escapades of someone named William Augustus Bowles, who was captured and brought to Spanish Governor Salcedo by five Indians. Bowles was eventually sent to Cuba and died in prison. Laussat, the highest ranking French diplomat just prior to the Louisiana Purchase wrote:
          The Indians who had brought him [Bowles] wished to see me and were introduced   to me on Monday, June 13, 1803, by Fabre, the Spanish interpreter, and M. Devilliers.
        Chief Tastiki of the Topalca, a man about fifty-five years old, was an "esteemed     one”; another  “esteemed one” who spoke Choctaw acted as intermediary for the chief and our interpreter Fabre; a third 'esteemed one' was a half-breed Englishman.
The editor of the Laussat journal states: "The word interprete marked out in the manuscript version and substituted with truchman, which means go-between. Fabre, therefore, acted not as a simple interpreter, but as an intermediary."
Very early in the history of the Louisiana Territory, Governor W.C.C. Claiborne sought to establish communications between the American interests at Fort Stoddard and the newly established posts in Louisiana. Claiborne wrote to Casa Calvo[v] in late February of 1805 seeking permission to cross Spanish territory with Postal route from Washington to Fort Stoddard, through the mouth of Pearl River and on to New Orleans. That east-west route very likely would have to cross through Spanish West Florida.
The strategic location of the Favre property along the East Pearl River is evident in a letter dated June 17, 1805 to the Postmaster General of the United States, in which Governor Claiborne made reference to the Lafon Map[42], stating, "transportation [from New Orleans] must be by water …either up one of the Branches of the Pearl River to the residence of Mr. Favre, or along another one to a place marked on the map Boisdore,…" (Reference :xviii). The Federal road was authorized in 1806. It ran along the 31st parallel, but at Ford’s fort on the Pearl, a fork ran south to north shore of Lake Pontchartrain[43]. This was probably the route along southwest Hancock County.
Problems for Spain
Spanish authorities in West Florida were rapidly losing their grip on the region. One constant source of trouble for the Spanish authorities was piracy. So too was the encroachment of the Americans who considered West Florida theirs in consequence to the Louisiana Purchase.
Correspondence by Joseph Collins, Spanish subject, assistant surveyor for Vicente Pintado and Captain of the Militia Dragoons, illustrates the many troubles experienced by Spain in West Florida and provides a stage for understanding Simon Favre’s importance to Spain and eventually to the United States.
In a letter dated May 16, 1806, Joseph Collins[44], reported to Vicente Folch, Governor of Pensacola:
Since my takeing <sic> the command of this place,[? Which place, Pascagoula?] I find it has been a custom of the people on this coast. to ship cattle, for beef, to orleans<sic>.
They are in the habit of cutting <sic>, & carrying off, to the same place, the best of the ship timber: from Valuxi <sic> to the bay of Mobill <sic>, & in Bonsecure; and some, even without passport <sic>. A few days previous to my taking the command, an American guard was sent from fort Stoder t<sic>, who war e<sic> permited <sic> to Sarch <sic> for, & take away, 2 men whom they Said ware deserters. without producing proof… Upwards of 30 cannon, was heared <sic> 2 days past, outside of Ship Island.
…Also Taffia is sold here, which continually Keeps a gang of drunken Indians, Negroes. & some whites in disorder, & neglecting their business.”
In a letter dated October 17, 1806 Joseph Collins advised Francisco, Maximiliano de St. Maxent of the shipment of 40 shots of 4-pounder by don Francisco Collantes, commander of the balau [Caribbean schooner] Vivora which was unloaded into the house of Francisco Krebs[45] When going to New Orleans people are “exposed to the frequent invasion of Boats and Launches of the enemy corsairs that sail for these passages.” He further warned the inhabitants that when going to Horn, Round or any other island, not to take a passport.” [vi]
The Spanish government attempted to hold on to its territory by commissioning several prominent settlers to work for the government, among them. Simon Favre, Philip Saucier and Jean Baptiste Pellerin who was appointed Civil and Military Commander of Bay St. Louis and its Coast and representative of the Governor of Pensacola. Pellerin then appointed Favre as his representative on the Pearl River (Carter 1937). In this capacity, Favre was instrumental in the assignment and confirmation of land deeds, which the Spanish granted at an increasing rate, possibly to offset US encroachment into their territory. Writing on May 25, 1809, from Pass Christian, John Pellerin stated: “In virtue of the authority I have from his Excellency, the Governor of Pensacola, I appoint a person in him I have confidence, on Pearl river for the purpose of representing me in whatever concerns the Royal service and having found these qualities in you, I appoint you for the purposes before mentioned. God preserve you many years, John Baptiste Pellerin, to Senor Don Simon Favre”. (author’s translation of the original Spanish document).
On June 8th, 1810, Francisco Hemeterio de Hevia, who replaced Collins as the commandant at Pascagoula, wrote to Francisco Maximiliano de St. Maxent:
 Maturen Babin, master of the Spanish Schooner the Eugenia has informed me that the 6th of the present month, there was a french Corsair, on the outside of the Ship Island tacking back and fore according to information supplied by the inhabitants of Biloxi that forced to put into that Place the Master Laeost, and yesterday the 7th at 12 in the day they anchored outside of Horn Island a Large Schooner of two Topsails which allows it to remain in that Passage until the night, not having seen it today at sunrise, which leads me to believe it sailed in the Night.
During the same month as the Hevia letter, Maturin Babin sought and received land along the Pearl River. Simon Favre and Ambrose Gaines were called to witness the claim[46] . One month earlier, Ambrose Gaines received 500 arpents by the Spanish Government located on “river aux perles” on a bluff called English Bluff, the future location of Gainesville. Joseph Collins was the surveyor.[47]
After his appointment, Favre served Pellerin and the Spanish Government in West Florida by providing military intelligence and maps on the increasing activities of Americans and “rebels” operating along the Pearl River and adjacent coast. In a letter dated June 29, 1809, Pellerin forwarded to Vicente Folch an official communication from Simon Favre (Fabre in this letter) detailing how every day Americans were arriving at the Pearl River with the purpose of settling the area and with that pretext, they robbed the inhabitants[vii].
On September 23rd, 1810, Pellerin forwarded to Folch a map drawn by the Englishman Benjamin Howard and sent to Simon Favre, identified as “commandant of the Pearl River.” The message from Favre also contained news on the insurrection at Baton Rouge as described in Favre’s conversation with American Colonel William Spillers 2nd Regiment of Militia and a member of the group known as “the Convention.” This was comprised of citizens of West Florida who had assembled in advance of the West Florida revolution “as guardians both of the publick interests, and of the rights of the individual members of the community.” It was this body which prepared the Declaration of Independence of the West Florida Republic.[48]
Simon Favre provided intelligence to the Spanish government as rebel troops from the West began to increase their pressure on the Spanish outposts. In one particular letter Cayetano Perez, the Commandant at Mobile wrote to Vicente Folch, on October 20, 1810:
This morning at 9:30 Perez received a letter from the commandant at Pascagoula, Hevia, which transcribed a letter of the commandant at Pass Christian, Pellerin. At this instance which is 20:00 I have received a letter from the commandant at Pass Christian. In this moment I have received word from Favre that 300 men of the rebels have arrived on the Pearl River and are marching against the settlement. No inhabitants have joined for the defense, Pellerin retired to Cat Island. Tomorrow he was going to Horn Island as it was impossible to stop the rebels. [Summary translation] (number 168).
Favre continued to provide intelligence to the Spanish authorities through maps and communiqués. On November 1, 1810, Pellerin at Pass Christian forwarded to Folch another map, this one apparently drawn by Favre, from information provided by a Mr. Brown, jailed at Baton Rouge. Favre’s letter from “ribera de las Perlas” on October 28th stated to Pellerin that a force of 100 men were planning an expedition against Mobile.
In addition to providing military intelligence to Spanish authorities concerning the growing problems with pro-American forces from the west, Simon Favre played in important role in the granting and confirming land deeds along the Pearl River. During this period he is referred to as "Commander of the district of Bay St. Louis for all that may concern the government."
It is understandable that property owners would be uneasy about their claims at the time of the West Florida revolt. It would appear that a number whose land was on Pearl River appealed to Simon Favre to insure their ownership. No less than twenty claims, listed as Spanish permits, are shown in the American State Papers as having been issued by him. They are all dated 1809-10, but reflect in at least several cases, prior claims. Favre acted in a capacity normally served by such Spanish officials as Pellerin, Morales, St. Maxent, and Carondelet.
From a series of these land transaction from 1810 we derive important information on the European settlements and American Indian toponymy along the East Pearl River.
For example, Simon Favre confirmed the claim of Joseph Cooper in August to establish a Vacherie on a piece of land, 20 x 40 arpents, above a neck called sounp-kug[49].Similarly, on 25 March 1810 Favre gave permission to Nathan Smith to settle on Pearl River, at a place called Oussac Cinarous, the claim measuring15 by 40 arpents.
Continuing, Favre confirmed a grant to William Deen on June 12th for the place of Oucaya, 15 x 40 arpents, on right side of the river and 5 arpents on the left. On the same day grants were made to Hugh McCall, for a place named “Hill of Belle Fountain” (la cuesta de la bella fuente), 5 x 40 on the left side of the river and to Thomas Holmes, for a place called Abulequito 15 arpents front, on right bank of the river and 5 on the left. The place called Koutcha on Orico was settled by Jeremiah Henley with permission by Simon Favre (Deed Book A). In that permit, dated March 25, 1810, Favre said of himself that he was “representing the Commander of the District of Bay St. Louis for all that mayconcern the government.”
The next day, 13 June 1810, Joseph Baker was granted 200 arpents on one of the head branches of Mulatto Bayo [sic], 3 miles east of the Pearl, inhabited and cultivated since 1809, the place being called Quetin-amac in pine woods. A few weeks later, on July 3, 1810, Favre was involved in granting to Elijah Baites and Hilaire Baites (Bets) 10 arpents front to creeks, x 40 arpents on Mulatto creek (bayou des Mulatre) nearly four miles from the Pearl, to continue to cultivate, the land having been inhabited and cultivated since April 1808.[50]
Other claims that were awarded by the Spanish through Simon Favre and later reviewed by the US Government included the Absalom Johnson for 600 arpents immediately below Cypress Bluff by Spanish Permit, purchased from him 20 August 1810 by John Culpepper; Johnson settled at Belle Tarline, about 1.5 miles below Mr. Ford, on 15 by 40 arpents. On 4 October 1810, Charles Taylor settled on east bank of Pearl at a place called Chounouc Boue bayou also measuring 15 by 40. Favre granted the permit. Daniel McCall was given a place called Escosesey measuring 5 x 40 arpents on the left bank of the East Pearl River.
The meaning of most of these place names is still unknown. Discovering their significance through further research will provide significant insight into the geography of early 19th century Pearl River, including probably some original Muskhogean place designations. What is clear is that Simon Favre until his death in 1813 was the prominent figure in the political and social life of the US-Spanish boundary in South Mississippi.
It is also interesting to note that most of the grantees involved in these episodes had Anglo surnames, although none figures among the members of the Convention that was challenging Spanish dominion in West Florida.
Simon Favre’s role and influence grew as he assumed a primary role for the United States’ communication lines across Spanish territory. On April 4, 1808 the U.S. Postmaster, writing to the Secretary of the Treasury, mentioned that Mr. Favre, still a Spanish subject, served as Agent for the Post Office, forwarding mail between Fort Stoddard to New Orleans through Spanish territory (Carter 1937:624).
Although Spain did not officially cede to the United States land claims to West Florida until the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819, it is evident that settlers might as well act as though they were citizens of the United States with good reason. Indeed, on November 20, 1810, Spanish governor Folch, under a pledge of secrecy, informed Mississippi governor Holmes by letter that he had communicated with a higher official in Havana regarding “the delivery of the Floridas in trust, until the occasion of a treaty….” He ended his communication with an appeal to Holmes to prevent any more “robberies and depredations” and added that in his opinion the inhabitants “are on the eve of becoming American citizens.”
American officials took an active and aggressive role in managing the lands east of the East Pearl River. On December 7, 1810, an Orleans Territory Ordinance set up the area containing the project site as Feliciana County. A subsequent ordinance, dated April 25, 1811, set up Biloxi Parish in Feliciana County between the Pearl River and the river running into Biloxi Bay (Beers 1989:198). After Louisiana was admitted as a state in 1812, land east of the Pearl River, west of the Perdido River, and south of the 31st parallel was annexed by Act of Congress on May 14, 1812, to the Territory of Mississippi. On May 14, 1812 the newly annexed Mobile District was organized into Hancock and Harrison counties[51]. Occupation was effected when Federal troops entered Mobile Bay in April 1813 formalizing the transition of West Florida.
Simon Favre, like his father, had little trouble switching allegiance and maintaining his prominent position in the region. Consequently, when on January 5th, 1811, Governor William Claiborne dispatched Dr. William Flood to the region east of the Pearl River in an effort to extend the administrative control over what would soon become the Parish of Biloxi, Simon Favre received Claiborne’s commission for Justice of the Peace [viii]. Twenty days later, Dr. Flood reported on his assignment[52] stating that:
In compliance with your instructions to me dated New Orleans Jan: 5. 1811 I embarked on board the Fellucca Alligator and proceeded to Simeon <sic> Favre's on the Eastern bank of Pearl River and delivered him his commission as Justice of the Peace in and for the Parish of Viloxy, a copy of the Civil Code of the Territory and the Laws and different Acts of the Legislature.[ix]
John Claiborne’s version of the same letter expands on Favre, whom Claiborne clearly admired:
Governor: In compliance with your instructions I embarked on the Alligator[53], on the 5th and proceeded to Mr. Simon Favre’s on the eastern bank of Pearl river [sic]. He is a planter, owns a large stock, and is educated and very agreeable man. He accepted the commission with pleasure, and will make an energetic officer, and seems greatly to value the respect you have manifested for him. I hoisted the flag of the United States at Bay St. Louis on the 8th, and handed a commission to Philip Saucier, a venerable gentleman of prepossessing manners and with patriarchal influence….
Spain’s control over West Florida continued to deteriorate during the first decade of the 19th century. Among their constant worries were pirates, American encroachment and the Native Choctaw tribes The Spanish were having difficulty with the Choctaws observing the boundary between the Spanish lands and Mississippi Territory. Having felt betrayed by France in the sale of Louisiana, Spain increased patrolling its remaining borders. In the process, direct conflict with the Choctaws was the result. Not having clear concepts of land ownership or territorial restrictions, the Indians often crossed the 31st parallel, and some were arrested by Spain. According to De Rosier, “the United States acted wisely toward their transgressions. It protected the Indians against the Spaniards, and the result was a greater Choctaw dependence on, and respect for, the federal government.”[x]
The Choctaws were generally friendly to the early settlers, but a number of letters of William Claiborne written between 1801 and 1812 repeatedly state that the Choctaws committed “depredations” against the white people of the Pearl and other areas. Details of their transgressions, however, indicate that their offenses were principally involving cattle and hogs, and in one case four barrels of flour and “a deal of meat.”[xi]
A few years prior to the Battle of New Orleans, Favre’s abilities and experience were utilized to ascertain to what degree the loyalties of the Choctaws were split between the British and the Americans. From New Orleans, Governor Claiborne worried about Spanish and British activities in Spanish West Florida, especially at Mobile and Pensacola. To mitigate this situation, Governor Claiborne commissioned Simon Favre on August 4, 1812[xii] to present a “Talk” to the Chiefs and Mingoes of the Muskhogean tribes in West Florida. It is evident that Governor Claiborne trusted Simon, as he allowed that in explaining the Governor’s address to the Chiefs, Favre should add “such observations of you own, as you may think best calculated to incline them to Peace and friendship” (Reference)
Favre, according to Claiborne’s instructions, should find out whether the Creeks and the Choctaws had been furnished with military weapons and what numbers of those towns and Chiefs (or Mingos) were loyal to the Spanish or the British. He was also asked to inform Claiborne of the names of the chiefs and whether Tecumseh or the Prophet had been in his area. [xiii]
Anticipating some trouble, Claiborne wrote to Favre: “Should you meet with Mr. Silas Dinsmour the agent of the U.S., for the Choctaws, or with Mr. Pitchylyn or any other person in the nation in the employ of the U.S., you will explain to them the object of you visit, & request their Co-operation.”
Favre did indeed run into Silas Dinsmore who had him arrested shortly after Simon delivered the Governor’s “Talk” to the Choctaw chiefs. The text of the “Talk” is quoted in its entirety as a paragon for illustrating the diplomatic language of the times relative to the Muskhogean Tribes, spoken by a man intimately conversant with their language and entirely knowledgeable of the their Native American culture:
A TALK from
WILLIAM C. C. CLAIBORNE, Governor of the State of Louisiana & Commander in Chief of the Militia thereof, to the Chief Head Men & Warriors of the Chactaw Nation.
I salute you in friendship, & beg you to open your Ears, that you may hear my words,- Many of you remember me, when I was a Chief at Natchez, & know that I never deceived you. My friendly disposition towards you remains unaltered, & since I have been a Chief at New Orleans, I have always been just to the red men.-
Brothers! When I have a journey to make, I take the nearest path, turning neither to the right nor to the left, but keeping straight on So it is when I send out a talk my manner is to speak plain, & to ease my heart at once, of what I have to say.-
Brothers! The English who live beyond the big Water have done the Americans much harm;- they have robbed us of our property- compelled many of our people to serve on board of their Ships of War, & spilt American blood.- The President of the U: States, & his head Men have determined upon satisfaction; the Tomahawk is raised & our hearts are cross.- This a quarrel Brothers between white people, & does not concern the red Men; We know well the English, & have no fear of them.- More than thirty years ago -they made War against the U: States. We were then a young people, & the enemy thought to crush us;- But they found Men & Warriors to combat them,, & returning to their Ships, they left our Country to ourselves, & made peace upon our own terms.
Brothers! We have now grown up to manhood, & can the better fight our own battles.– I say again this quarrel does not concern the red Men.- Let them therefore remain quiet & join neither side. Your squaws & little Children will rest undisturbed in their Cabbins <sic> Your old Men will discourse & smoke without fear, under the shade of the Trees, & your Warriors may hunt & dance & be merry until they have an enemy of their own to strike.
Brothers! During the last War between the Americans & the English, the Cherokees, & the Creeks & the Northern Indians joined with our Enemies.- And what followed?- The Indian Country was often visited by the big knife Men; Towns were burnt & fields of Corn destroyed; the women & little Children had to sleep in the mountains & many a brave warrior was laid low– And what Brothers was the recompense for all these sufferings? Some trifling presents! A few shirt Blankets – some kegs of Rum & two or three dozen Medals made of bad Mettle <sic?>.
Brothers! I have heard some bad news from Pascagoula & Pearl Rivers.- It is said the Chactaws <sic> have committed many robberies & that blood has been spilt. What does this mean? Do the English want the poor Indians to fight their battles & are you such fools as to sell your lives for a few goods? Has the proffet <sic>sent bad talks among you? or has his Brother Ticumsey made you believe that the Northern Indians are strong enough to drive the Americans into the Sea?
Brothers! The proffet says that he is the Son of the great Spirit, & can prevent powder from burning, & deprive a Ball from a riflle <sic> of its force. Some of the followers of this pretended "Son of the great Spirit" believed him & made an attack some moons past on the American Army. But as formerly the powder hurt & the Balls penetrated, the Indians were defeated.- Many were killed & the proffet turned out to a liar.- Ticumsey is a Warrior; But he is a Mad Man & knows not what he says, or what he does. Beware of him, or he will bring you into trouble.-
Brothers! Your father the President of the U: S: loves his red Children & wishes him to live in peace,-He loves also his white Children, & will suffer no Nation to strike them with impunity. He possesses the power to punish his enemies, & the will to do it.- The Chactaws are a small people, & when compared to the Americans are but a handful.- You may make War; But you will soon sue for peace.
Brothers! I am told that a Council fire is now burning & that white Beads & Wampum are passing between you & the Creeks.- Let this talk be read at the Council, & tell the Creeks to hold it fast. Say to them in my name, to keep their bad Men at home or evil will fall upon their nation.-
Brothers! I am told you go often to Pensacola & Mobile. Listen not to any bad talks you may hear there; But sell your skins & return in peace to your Cabbins or to your hunting ground. The Spanish Chiefs if they are your friends will give you the same advice; But there are wicked people every where, & if you find such at Pensacola or Mobile, turn your backs upon them- But Brothers I must conclude- Many words are soon forgotten. Take Simon Favre by the hand, & whatever he tells you in my name, believe him, for he is a good Man, & will neither betray me, nor deceive you.
I have nothing more to say Brothers- but to express a wish, that the Tomahawk between the Americans & the Chactaws may long remain buried.–
Signed/ W. C. C. Claiborne New Orleans Augt. 1812 .[xiv]
After his arrest, Governor Claiborne interceded on behalf of Favre. He spoke of Favre in very complimentary terms. In a letter to David Holmes, governor of the Mississippi Territory in 1812, Claiborne explained that “…a Number of the Inhabitants on pearl River, expressive of their great apprehensions, & entreating me, to send into the Choctaw Nation Simon Favre, whose influence with the Indians, the Petitioners believed to be such, as to insure a continuance of Peace.” Unfortunately, while acting as “special messenger” to deliver this letter to the Mississippi governor, Favre informed Claiborne September 29, 1812 that he had been arrested by Mr. Dinsmoor [sic], the resident Indian agent of the United States. Claiborne’s letter went on to request Governor Holmes to intercede on Favre’s behalf, “…& to recommend him as an honest Man & a worthy Citizen.”[xv]
Six weeks later, Claiborne apologized in a letter addressed to Favre at Pearl River, Parish of Biloxi. “Your conduct in the course of the mission confided to you is approved, & to an expression of regret for the injury done you, …permit me to add the assurance of my sincere disposition to be just & friendly towards you.- I have long thought, that the appointment of an Indian Agent for Indian affairs to reside on Pearl River,… & I know of no one more worthy of the public Confidence than yourself.- If therefore you will consent to act in that Character, I will entreat the President of the United States to confer on you, such an Agency.”[xvi]
Claiborne later wrote to Secretary of War General Armstrong, telling of the arrest and stating that he made no charge against Dinsmore. He further recommended that an additional agent would be in order, and that he should be Colonel Simon Favre, “who resides on Pearl River, not very far from the Choctaw boundary. Colonel Simon Favre was agent for the Choctaws under the Spanish Government, and has more influence with these Indians than any man in existence.”[xvii]
May 14, 1812, the newly annexed Mobile District was organized into Harrison and Hancock Counties. In 1813 [check these dates so they agree], Hancock County became part of the Mississippi Territory. It was in that year that General Ferdinand Claiborne, concerned about the Creek War, secured the cooperation and neutrality of the Choctaws by enlisting the help of General George Nixon, George Gaines, John Pitchlyn,[xviii] and Simon Favre, of Hancock County. This was to be the last official act carried out by Simon Favre as he died that year, ending an extraordinary career and leaving a lasting legacy in the region.
Favre’s Land Holdings
Records including his will indicate that Simon Favre had two plantations that he inherited from his father, Jean Favre, one containing 800 arpents and the other 1200 arpents. One is located on the left of the Little Pearl River and the other on the right of the Large Pearl River.  One plantation was “about six leagues up the Pearl River from where it empties into the Rigolets” (Spanish West Florida Records, Louisiana State Museum, Book a, no. 3: 173-4).
One of Simon’s grants along the Pearl River was located at the site later known as the town of Napoleon, named for the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte.[xix] Simon is believed to have built the first house and store in Hancock County at Napoleon,[xx] the store eventually becoming the back of the Napoleon Baptist church. According to the WPA, it was near two large oaks and one large cedar tree.[xxi]
Six miles south of Napoleon is the site of another Simon Favre claim, which eventually became the town of Pearlington.[xxii] Simon Favre received a grant of another parcel from the Spanish government. It was first settled it in 1798. This was a smaller community compared to Gainesville and Logtown, and like the latter, it is survived by a lovely cemetery and contains the remains of the daughter of Simon Favre. When still a town, its people also engaged in the timber industry, and practiced agriculture and stock raising as well. Benjamin Wailes, not one to bestow idle compliments, considered the town “handsome.” He wrote in his journal that it was first called Pearltown.[xxiii] The first printing press in Hancock County was located here. (Source: Stennis Space Center Historical Office)
Simon Favre eventually owned several sections of land along the east bank of the Pearl River, as well as one on West Pearl.
            Lands listed in Will
            In wills of this time period, the most valuable assets are often listed first. For landowners, this would usually be expected to be an inventory of slaves. As they were more value than land, it is strange that Favre’s will does not include slaves. It must be assumed that as of the date of the writing of that will, he owned none.
             Lands listed are as follows (notes in parentheses are editor’s explanations):
  1. English grant – 1200 arpents on Small Pearl River – from father (This parcel has to be what is shown in American State Papers A-No.2, original claimant J.C. Favre, a British patent dated 10 April 1771, in St. Tammany Parish, LA. It was surveyed in 1775 by E. Dernford, later signed by Pintado.) [54]
  2. 800 arpents on large Pearl – from father
  3. 1200 arpents on large Pearl – from English government
  4.  800 arpents from Spanish government, “and likewise that I cultivate on the Island” (2nd copy of will says “also one” instead of “likewise.” It seems this is the only one identified as being from Spanish, and is probably the parcel described in AMP Report No. 4 as 1200 acres east of Pearl River, claimed on March 5, 1804.
  5. 800 arpents at the place called Oncaya (2nd Inventory identifies this as “the Island between the two Pearl Rivers.)
  6. one likewise at Mobile of 400 arpents that I purchased from Simon Endy
  7. 400 arpents on the upper part of the river at la Boutille (spelled Bouticelle in 2nd will, and Boutille in French will) from my father, English grant (I have checked to see if there is such a French word, but found none)
  8.  Also the lands given to me by the Indians on river Tombechbe
            In his will, he mentioned land on the river, “given” to him by the Indians.[xxiv][xxv] (Location of land shown on “Pintado” plat may be plantation on Louisiana side of the Pearl River). [Look on V.3 for old deeds owned by Favre; Book C14 and C page 16.]
Of the eight pieces of land listed, clearly, three were in Mobile. Two were called “islands,” possibly what we now term “Honey Island,” land between the two Pearl Rivers. Another was said to be on the “little” of “small” Pearl, evidently meaning West Pearl.
This leaves two parcels, one of 1200 acres and the other of 800. It is believed that the latter is the site at Napoleon. This is reinforced by a decree of 1827 which lists one tract of 958 acres – an odd amount, as “Favre’s Old Place.” Mistakes involving arpents and acres are evident, and if the factor (.84625) were applied here the product becomes 810 acres, an acceptably close approximation.
On a contrary note, a deed dated 26 November 1845 describes 1000 arpents from a Spanish grant, “now laid out as Napoleon.” Again, using the factor, thenumber ofacres becomes 846.26, which is as shown on maps of Napoleon.
The two calculations are not necessarily contradictory, in that measurements were made at different times and for different transfers.
Further complicating the land parcels lies in the estate inventory of 1814. This document, as contained in the Lawrence County archives, lists a ninth piece.  (Cf. below, and also article titled “Lawrence County Archives – Simon Favre,” elsewhere on this web site.) It is also in the amount of 800 arpents, and described as being “at the place known by the name of [illegible] with the improvements thereon. The value is given at $500, considerably higher than others.
This of course begs the question, is this the plantation of which great detail is told in a separate inventory? This is treated in more detail in a separate section toward end of this article, but for the moment we may suppose that it is the land listed in ASP No. 322 called “Hickory Camp Creek,” for which the original claimant was said to be John Bte. Favre, eldest son of Simon. The date of settlement was April 1812, within one month of Favre’s writing of his will.[55]
 Later, in the 1829 Tax Rolls of Hancock County, Jean Baptiste Favre is still carried as owner, referring to a parcel of 640 acres as “Hickory Camp.” This is possible the 640 acre tract shown in later maps as being owned by Reps. of Simon Favre. It is located just south (down river) from Napoleon.
There is one confirmation of a legal description of part of the Favre land in Napoleon. It is contained in an 1869 advertising of a sale by the Sheriff of ½ of S. Favre claim, Sec. 31, T 8, R 16, containing 320 acres. Named in the judgment for $460 are O. Favre Sr. and W. J. Poitevent.
            A preliminary study of the will shows major clarifications of land owned by Simon Favre. A reading from the Lawrence County papers, including the estate inventory, seems to make clear that Favre was cultivating “the Island,” and that it lay between the West and East Pearl (“on the island between the two Pearl Rivers”).
            By process of elimination, we know that 6, 7 and 8, above,  were in Mobile area. Number 4 and 5 were an island (part of Honey Island?); number 2, according to reasoning below, was Napoleon; number 1 was on West Pearl, in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana.
          That leaves only the 1200 acres of number 3 to be identified. Of possible connection is a land inventory in a decree of 1827, showing a property of 600 acres and  one at Walkia Bluff of 640 acres.
Land inventory in decree of 1827 (Simon Favre estate):
1.     One tract of 600 arpents on West Pearl in the state of Louisiana
2.     One tract of 640 acres on the most Eastern branch of Pearl River at a place called “the waist (?) house”
3.     One tract of 958 acres on the eastern branch of the Pearl River at place called “Favre’s old place.”
4.     One tract of 640 acres at Walkaya Bluff
Numbers 2, 3 and 4 were bid off to Isaac Graves, total price $1140
           Lawrence County Archives
9th Parcel
    One of the most notable facts of the Lawrence County archives is that the so-called 9th parcel does not show up until later, in the document called the “Second Inventory,” of 1814.
           The 9th parcel is listed as 800 arpents “at the place known by the name Store—- purchased with the improvements thereon.” The name shows up again, as part of Exposition, part A, sale of Plantation Store Pen (?) and was sold for $1000. It had been valued at $500. (The WPA report mention of Favre having had a store could possibly be a clue as to the illegible name of the plantation.)
            The cattle, horses and slaves were sold at the same time, seeming to indicate that this plantation was in Hancock, more specifically at Napoleon.
            One map shows that site as 846.26 acres, almost exactly at what would be obtained calculating arpents to acres (@.84625) from 1000 arpents. This cannot be coincidence, and probably was the number 3 site on the 1827 accounting, listed as Favre’s old place, measuring 958 acres. (Again, a possible confusion of acres and arpents. Difference might be explained by odd shape of 40 acres taken off sec. 29 and 20 from sec. 20.)
             This seems to be confirmed by a deed, dated 26 Nov 1845, showing 1000 arpents from Spanish “now laid out as Napoleon.”
             What we know about Favre’s last years and of his death are found in the new documents. On balance, it would appear that Simon Favre and his family moved their residence to Hancock County between 1804 and 1806. Those born after 1804 are recorded as having been born in Pearlington. Nonetheless, it is believed that the Favre farm was at Napoleon, Pearlington being a more established town and referred to as a location in general terms. (It is to be considered that the town of Napoleon was not named until after the death of Simon Favre. The legend of the name is based on an attempt to rescue Napoleon from one of his exiles, which did not occur until 1814 and 1815.)
Certainly among the most important documents in the Lawrence County collection are the wills of Simon Favre, both in French and in two English translations. While a copy of the will was known before, these documents appear in some ways to be more precise.
Noteworthy about the will is the absence of a list and valuation of the decedent’s slaves. Inclusion is customary for wills of the period for reasons of their value normally exceeding other assets. For this reason, they often are listed first, before land, cattle, and other values. As his estate listed 56 slaves and refers to others already sold and valued at $14,695, none are mentioned in the will.
Nor is the plantation. Favre’s will details eight pieces of land. The estate inventory adds a 9th, that being the plantation. A name is given twice in these documents, but unfortunately, it is illegible. It appears to be close to “Storepern” or “Storepen.”
The location of the plantation referred to in the estate inventory as the 9th parcel has not been established with certainty, but as discussed above, it might have been at Hickory Camp Creek, just down river from Napoleon.  It would appear that it was purchased just before the date of Favre’s will (May 18, 1812), and conceivably transfer had not been finalized. When he died there may still have been no completed deed, and perhaps that is why his son is listed from the beginning.
Other important dates relative to Favre’s death and estate, as observed in Lawrence County papers, include the following:
Date of will: May 18, 1812
             Likely date of purchase of Hickory Camp: April 1812
 Date of death: July 3, 1813 (Mary Favre said it was July 21)
 Date of Inventory of personal property: June 14, 1814 (Contains list of 56 slaves, cows, horses, boat, 400 empty barrels.)
 Second Inventory: October 5, 1814 (This contains list of properties, including 9th.)
              Document signed by Celeste Graves stating that estate was not yet settled: February 28, 1823
  The Index of Obituaries in the New Orleans Public Library carries the date of death as July 3, 1813, giving his age correctly at 53. Another source, according to Heitzmann, has Mary Favre stating that her father died on July 21, but the year is illegible.  
The library index is as follows:
Favre, Simon
Death date: 1813-07-03
Age: 53
Sex: M
Notes: Mobile, Alabama
Obituary citation(s):
              Friend of the Law/ L’Ami des Lois, 1813-07-20, Pg. 2 col. 1 – shows date of death as July 3. 1813.
The obituary, on damaged microfilm, is very difficult to read and is in French. An inexact translation follows:
Colonel of police, interpreter to the Indians.
Died in Mobile at age 53.
Excellent man.
This excellent man is quickly regretted by all those who had known him.
He was a man very advantageous for the gendarmerie for his knowledge of the language, of the mores, of the customs of the Indians among whom he had passed long years and of whom he had the confidence.
Tar and Turpentive
The business of the plantation was probably related to the production of turpentine. This is suggested by inclusion in the inventory of 400 empty barrels. The absence of any full barrels is conspicuous, probably indicating that production had not yet commenced after the purchase.
As stated above, Peter Chester’s land, near Favre’s, was said to be good for turpentine. It is probable that Simon’s father also made tar, as it is stated in Johnson’s British West Florida 1763-1783 that “one Favre, near mouth of the Pearl, …made a good quantity of tar and sold it in New Orleans.” This would have been in the period November1770 to April 1771.
If turpentine was intended to be the main pursuit of the plantation, cattle raising was already well established. This is indicated partly by the inclusion in the assets of several hundred head of cattle and many horses. Also, the one slave with the highest valuation was listed as “cow hunter.”
The part of the inventory called “Exposition” lists substantial debts. This also is at variance with the will, which appears to treat debts lightly, referring to them simply as, “I have some debts which I enjoin my testamentary Executor to pay….”
In contrast, the Exposition is more explicit, listing nine for a total of $32,885.99¼.   The payee in each case is not identified, but it may be suggested that some were in connection with the purchase of the plantation. The largest was $15,932, perhaps for slaves.
“Exposition” included “appraisement” of $20,575, and sales in the amount of $26,956. There does not seem to be reason to add them together. The largest sale was of slaves, amounting to $21,870.
It may be in relation to the last number that the court filings show interesting but contrasting views of the mores of the day. Through her attorney, shown elsewhere to be Rutilius Pray, the widow Favre showed a concern to get her just debts out of the way quickly: “She would desire to avoid the lawsuits and costs if possible as they always put a family in distress…to satisfy divers creditors that might present themselves against her after the time prescribed by law if she chose not [to] take some measure to satisfy them which notes or accounts …she has a perfect knowledge amounting in total to the sum of eight thousand seven hundred and sixty-five dollars…May it please your honour to order a sale of the following….a schooner with the negroes Ben and Michale Challenelle’s family of seven head Honore family of nine head Louis Quentin, Osman Pierre Congo, also one hundred and sixty cows and thirty mares and young horses.?
The above $8,765 figure could be the difference between the total sale and the amount needed to pay all debts, assuming that court agreed and sale took place.
Note that in the above, several slaves are mentioned that were sold by estate: two families of Honore and Ben plus four for total of 20. It would appear that she did not sell all that she asked to sell. Ben, age 50, was sold for $405, separately from his family.
Rutilius Pray, in 1826, made a detailed accounting showing “apprisements” to include the following:
56 slaves – $14,695
225 head cattle 1550
 50 head of horse 1025
Schooner 1505
Lands 1800
Total: 20,575
[NB: Lands valued at only $1800!]
This was followed by actual sales, including $21,870 for slaves.
Total sales: $26,956.
Dr. Hall’s list of sales for 1814 produces only $15,685 for 35 slaves. We have no record of sales for rest of slaves. It does seem that the estate paid the $32,885, but it is not clear how the necessary shortfall was found.
Estate Solvent
On balance, the estate appears to have been solvent. The total amount of the debt, $32,885, is shown to have been disbursed in an 1826 filing with the court. This is still confusing, because the Exposition does not show receipts and pay-out in balance.
What seems to be missing is the sale of slaves other than the 35 for which we have Dr. Hall’s record. A guess might involve Isaac Graves. He had no slaves in 1820 census, but 41 in 1830 and 1840.
Pray charged fee of 8% on inventory, equal to $1646; inventory being equal to “apprisement ” of 20,575.
           These papers confirm Arman Duplantier[56] as co-executor with Celeste.  The will also shows that Armand’s son Fergus was to be tutor of the children. Why Joseph Chalon shows as executor and not Duplantier, who was married to Constance Rochon, sister of Celeste Favre, in a suit in New Orleans is still not understood.[57] Moreover, in later documents, Chalon appears giving bond with Celeste as administrators.
            Many important people of the time signed various papers: Chalon, Mathurin Babin, Noel Jourdan, Isaac Graves, John b. Toulme, Pray, Edwin Russ, Ripley, A.B. Roman, and Celeste Graves (as husband of Isaac). Also found is Judge Pitot, first mayor of incorporated New Orleans.
Certificate of marriage was witnessed by Antonio Sedella, who was the beloved priest of the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, known affectionately in history as Pere Antoine.
            One document, listed as page 8 in margin, says that the estate was never fully settled. It is dated 1823.
The WPA report states that Favre lived just behind the Napoleon Baptist Church, and that he also had a store there. That location of the church structure has been established with the help of county maps, one in particular showing the exact location. It happens that on the edge of the Pearl behind the site of the church is a beautiful bluff, 26 feet above the river below. It goes without saying that this would have been a desirable place for a man who had a choice of locations.
All told, Simon Favre was an exceptional person, and certainly the most important of the early pioneers of Hancock County. His many descendants appear in numerous historic and modern records related to Hancock County, and one in particular went on to become a prominent quarterback in the National Football League.
More will be written about the Favres, by these writers and others, as more evidence unfolds. Meanwhile, it is hoped that this article will be a welcome addition to what is known of their lives and their contributions to Hancock County.


[1] We could include here the various dates associated with US dominion (Version 917, pages 57-8)


[2] Report of Commissioners. East of Pearl River, Mississippi and Alabama 143-A, page 5.


[3] LHQ October 1928, vol. II, no. 4: 668; St. Louis Cathedral Record of Interments (1793-1803) page 115 Act 1019) (11).


[4] West Florida was bounded on the east by [the Apalachicola River], on the south by Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas and the Iberville River, on the west by the Mississippi, and in due course, by a northern parallel drawn from the confluence of the Mississippi and the Yazoo rivers


[5]From Transcriptions, British, French and Spanish Records, Mobile AL 1715-1812, Volume 1, 1937. In Mobile Library, Historical Collection


[6] Minutes of Council with Choctaw, MPA V: Document 81, November 14, 1763 [Connaway in a footnote erroneously identifies the Favre who translated as Simon, not Jean Claude. Simon would have three years old in 1763.]


[7] Abstracts of British Land Grants in West Florida 1766-1767, volume 15.


[8] Sullivan, Mississippi Gulf Coast: Portrait of a People, p. 23. Sullivan gives the year as 1767.See also Ware and Rhea 1982; Hutchins, Thomas, op. cit., p.63.


[9] Ware and Rhea, 1982.


[10] 16 June 1774, Jerome Matulick on river Mobile, conveyed and released to Peter Chester land west of Bay St. Louis, track was to run east and west containing 1 league in length or about, bounded on one side by a Bayou forming an island, land granted to Mr. Frances Henry du Planty by Messers de Vaudreuil and Le Normand, gov. and ordinat. 1747 to him du Planty sold to Matulick 11 April 1762, 4,659 acres. Item 335, Record of Evidence Filed with the Board of Land Commissioners, 1813-14, volume 202-204.
On May 25, 1779, Peter Chester conferred to Alexander McIntosh all that land on seacoast   eight leagues west of Deer Island, eight miles NNW of Cat Island, from Bear Point to Bay St. Louis. Peter Chester, Esq., was Captain General and Governor in Chief at Pensacola. Elias Durnford was the surveyor.


[11] The Treaty of Versailles was one of three treaties signed that day: one between England and France, one between England and Spain. On the same day, September 3, 1783, the British signed the Treaty of Paris with the United States, ending the American Revolutionary War. All three treaties are often referred together as the Peace of Paris. [check this again: according to Wilkepedia article, the Versailles treaty ended the American revolution; the other countries signed the Treaty of Paris]


[12] There are a few mentions of Luis Boisdore in early records. He apparently served in the Fourth Company of Fusiliers of the New Orleans militia and lived in the “rear of the city” in 1770 (Robichaux 1973:39).Luis may have been a descendant of Joseph Boisdore who in 1778 is shown as living with his wife on the left side of St. Ursulle St. in New Orleans. At that time Joseph Boisdore and his wife were both over 49 years old, had 5 slaves, and no occupation listed..


[13] From Transcriptions, British, French and Spanish Records, Mobile AL 1715-1812, Volume 1, 1937. In Mobile Library, Historical Collection.


[14] Probably Mulatto Bayou?


[15] (cf. LHQ October 1928, vol. II, no. 4: 668; St. Louis Cathedral Record of Interments (1793-1803) page 115 Act 1019) (11).


[16] "Noticia, y Nombres de los Habitantes en General, de la Plaza y Jurisdiccion de la Mobila; en 1º de Enero de 1786"


[17] "Little Allain" worked as interpreter with Lusser in 1730 (MPA: FD I, 85). He would have been the son of the settler Pierre Rousseau dit Allain who settled in Mobile as a master edge tool maker as early as 1708 and who appears on the 1726 census with a wife and three children (AC, G1, 464 n.p.) Thus he is Jean Baptiste Allain who appears in the Mobile Baptismal records of October 10, 1732, as "interpreter for the King". From then he appears most often as Jean Baptiste Rousseve or Rouceve (vol. IV Doc. 59, no. 16).


[18] George Osborn “Relations with the Indians in west Florida during the Administration of Peter Chester, 1770-1781, page 249).


[19] See for example Roland Weston interview, WPA, 1937; Thigpen 1965; 1969


[20] Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Volume III page 154-155.


[21] Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Volume III


[22] AGI, PC, leg 52.


[23] AGI, PC, leg 200.


[24] AGI, PC, leg 200.


[25] Favrot Family Papers, edited by Guillermo N. Falcon, Tulane University 1988, volume II 56, 1783-1796; see also Works Progress Administration 1941)


[26]Favrot papers volume II, page 65, Pierre-Joseph Favrot to Miro


[27] Fort Tombecbee–  1736 Erected by French against intrusions of British traders arousing Choctaws and Chickasaws.   1763 Renamed Fort York by British who soon abandoned the post. 1783 Renamed Fort Confederation by Spanish and occupied until ceded in 1795.   1802 Here Choctaws ceded large areas to United States, and the post was continued as Indian trading post.


[28] Letter for Jn. Delavillebeuvre to Baron de Carondelet, September 5, 1792, from the Choctaws. .Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Volume IV, page 76.
18 Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Volume IV, page 80-83


[29] Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Volume IV, page 56-57




[31] Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Volume IV, page 226.


[32] Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Volume IV, pages 223-227.


[33] Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Volume IV, pages 249-250)


[34] Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Volume IV, pages 280


[35] (From Transcriptions, British, French and Spanish Records, Mobile AL 1715-1812, Volume 1, 1937. In Mobile Library, Historical Collection.).


[36] (Volume 1, Public Lands:718).


[37] Claiborne, Mississippi A province, Territory and State: 304-305.


[38] Cf. document no. 539, St. Louis Cathedral archives.


[39] Favre in his will mentions only five children with Celeste, leaving Carolota out. Carolota is mentioned on the Favre genealogy, on line document.


[40] The Favre Family by Nap Cassibry, II, printed by the Mississippi Coast Historical and Genealogical Society


[41] Baptismal records of St. Louis Cathedral archives No. 708, dated February 18, 1818 describes a “small boy, who was born on the fifth of the present month. While this gives the birthplace of the father, Simon Favre, as being “of this city,” the mother, Rosalia Ostein [sic], is said to have been born in Mobile. It states that the names of the mother’s parents are unknown. Father Antonio Sedella officiated at the christening.


[42] Lafon 1806: Charting Louisiana p.112, shows Favre’s property at latitude 30°19’25” and longitude 92°7’.


[43] Sullivan (39)


[44] Joseph Collins surveyed Mobile, Pascagoula claims and served as the representative of Simon Favre’s claims.


[45] The Krebs family were early and important settlers in the Pascagoula area. Their first house dates from 1718 and is known as “Fort Krebs.” In 1772, Bernard Romans, a British cartographer, expressed interest in the ability of the Krebs plantation’s ability to process cotton with the aid of an early gin. Sullivan, The Mississippi Gulf Coast: Portrait of a People, p. 22.


[46] (Lowrie 1834:202). June 18, 1810 Maturin Babin; 202: Land Claims East of Pearl, GLA Evidence book A[46]


[47] 7 May 1810 500 arpens Order of Survey by the Spanish government, Joseph Collins, deputy surveyor, surveys land on river aux perles, on bluff called English bluff. Signed by Pintado. Plat begins at red bay tree, then N15d to the E141 11 L to a stake, the south 51d to E141 11L then south 15d to the west of the river bank, then up the river to the POB. William Baites, inhabited and cultivated since 1802. No acres, no arpens.202: Land Claims East of Pearl, GLA Evidence book A.[Russell’s note: clarify]


[48] Juan Bautista Pellerin, Pass Christian, to Vicente Folch, Number 27, September 23, 1810. 


[49] 202: Land Claims East of Pearl, GLA Evidence book A


[50] 202: Land Claims East of Pearl, GLA Evidence book A


[51] Beers 1989:198


[52] Two versions of Flood’s reply, one contained in the papers of WCC Claiborne (reference), the other provided by his famous nephew and inhabitant of Hancock County, John F. H. Claiborne. It may be argued that the former is the more reliable, but the second could have value simply from the viewpoint of showing the regard JFH Claiborne had for Simon Favre and the people of Pearl River, assuming that the discrepancies were a result of his editorializing.


[53] [U.S. sloop commanded by Captain George Farragut]


[54] Confirmed by list of claims west of Pearl River, A-No. 2. Cf Marco’s attachment, email of 7/20/09.


[55] Record of Public Lands, No. 322. See Marco email of 7-20-09 or my desktop.


[56] Armand Duplantier was an important personage in the Louisiana of the time. The builder of Magnolia Mound in Baton Rouge, he was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and a close friend of the Marquis de Lafayette. He also commanded troops against the Kemper revolt of 1804.


[57] Suit in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, dated July 31, 1815, a petition by Joseph Chalon and Widow of Simon Fabre [sic] against Auguste Peytavin regarding promissory note having to do with purchase of a slave with a disability from Favre estate. Court list Chalon and Widow Favre as “testamentary executors,” as though so appointed by will.



[i] From Freiberg: Francisco Bouligny was an officer-messenger for Governor O’Reilly in 1769; in 1773 he is identified as a Spanish Officer who in 1769 came to New Orleans to announce the arrival of O’Reilly at the Balize”; in 1776 he is a Colonel of Regulars of Louisiana; in 1799 Colonel, Infantry Company of Louisiana Regulars; a person with a similar name identified as Sergeant Major in 1784 might have been a descendant of the Colonel.


[ii] Arthur H. DeRosen, Jr. ‘’The Removal of the Choctaw Indians” University of Tennessee Press, 1970:7.


[iii] Angie Debo, Fall of the Choctaw Republic, p.   . The fort was located near the mouth of the Yazoo River, on a piece of land secured by the Spanish form the Choctaws and the Chickasaws.


[iv] Pierre Clement de Laussat came to take possession for France, in 1803; December 20, 1803 Laussat gives the colony over to William C. C. Claiborne and General James Wilkinson, for US.


[v] From Freiberg: Casa Calvo was the official representative of the Governor General of Cuba, the Floridas, and Louisiana to act with Governor Salcedo in the transfer of the province to France. In 1799, the Marques de Casa Calvo served as military governor in interim with Nicoles Maria Vidal as civilian head until arrival of Salcedo.


[vi] Juan Bautista Pellerin, Pass Christian to Vincente Folch Number 15, December 10, 1808.
Letter narrates that two corsairs anchored at Mariana Pass. Three days later two officers “being known for their letters as Americans with the idea of passing to the lake, which I denied, saying there was none, however, via sounding they found the pass, and at present in the Pass Christian, armed each with two 18-pounders, to 12-pound howitzers, various ‘pedreros’ and thirty or fourty <sic> men as crew…” They requested a “pratico” [medical assistant].


[vii] Juan Bautista Pellerin, Pass Christian, to Vicente Folch. Number 10, June 29, 1809.


[viii] Territorial Ordinance, April 25, 1811, established parish boundaries, set up Biloxi Parish between the Pearl River and the river running into Biloxi Bay.(Historical Records Survey, Louisiana, County Parish Boundaries)


[ix] Official Letter Books of WCC Claiborne, 1801-1816, Vol. V, pp. 132-34.


[x] De Rosier, Arthur, The Removal of the Choctaw Indians p. 32.,


[xi] Official Letter Books of WCC Claiborne, v. I, p. 60.


[xii] In the version of the Governor’s directions published by JFH Claiborne, the date of the letter to Favre is June 4th, 1812. It is evident that the latter version was edited to remove the more stilted style of official government correspondence.
New Orleans, August 4, 1812
Having received information that the Chactaws of the lower Towns are committing depredations in the settlements of Pearl, Leaf and Checkasaw-hey e Rivers, & had discovered a hostile disposition towards the United States, I have addressed to them a “Talk,” Herein enclosed, & which I commit to your care. – I request you therefore to proceed without delay to the Nation, and after assembling the Chiefs and Head men, you will deliver and explain my address,-and to which you will add such observations of you own, as you may think best calculated to incline them to Peace and friendship.-Should you meet with Mr. Silas Dinsmour the agent of the U.S., for the Choctaws, or with Mr. Pitchylynnm or any other person in the nation in the employ of the U.S., you will explain to them the object of you visit, & request their Co-operation.-
 During your stay you will make inquiries and transmit me on your return, information on the following points: 1st. Whether the Creeks and Choctaws have been furnished with Military supplies At Pensacola and Mobile- & if so, by whom – to what amount and with what views.
You will be pleased to keep an account of your expenses, which together with such reasonable Compensation for your services, as the Legislature of Louisiana shall think proper to prescribe, shall be allowed you.-.[xii]
New Orleans, June 4, 1812
Having received information that the Choctaws of the lower towns are committing depredations in the settlements of Pearl, Leaf and Chica awha rivers, and are disclosing a hostile disposition towards the United States, I have addressed to them a “Talk,” which I herewith commit to your care. I request you to proceed without delay to the Nation, and after assembling the Chiefs and Head men, you will deliver and explain my address, adding such observations and urging such means as your judgment and experience may suggest. During your stay you will make inquiries on the following points: 1st. Whether the Creeks and Choctaws have been furnished with military supplies? 2nd. The number of warriors in the Choctaw Nation, and what portion of them are supposed to be under Spanish of British influence? 3rd. The name of the towns where the Spanish or British have the most partisans, and the names of the Chiefs and Mingoes of said towns. 4th. Whether Tecumseh or the Prophet have been in the nation or sent their talks.
I confide greatly in your tact and experience.


[xiii] J.F. H. Claiborne, Historical Account of Hancock County and the Sea Board of Mississippi, and address given to the people of Bay. St. Louis, July 4, 1876, copy in Public Library, Bay St. Louis, MS.


[xiv] Official Letter Books of WCC Claiborne, 1801-1916, Vol.VI, pp. 153-155.


[xv] Official Letter Book of WCC Claiborne, 1801-1816, Letter dated September 29, 1812,Vol. VI, p. 182-3. Editor Rowland mentions that Dinsmore was “arbitrary in his official acts.”


[xvi] Ibid, letter dated November 16, 1812, p. 200-201.


[xvii] Ibid, letter dated April 14, 1813, p. 233-35.


[xviii] John Pitchylyn was an interpreter for the Choctaws near Natchez in 1802. He is identified as “a son of an English officer who died in the Choctaw nation. He was adopted by the tribe, married among them, and was very influential.” Letter Books of W.C.C.Claiborne, footntote, Vol. I, p. 162.


[xix] One year later (?), one Bates and others sold to N. L. Mitchell the Pearl Town tract for $1,000, property obtained by deed from heirs of Simon Favre, consisting of 1,000 arpens “which is now laid out in the town of Napoleon…being an old Spanish grant to Simon Favre.”


[xx] Book C, p. 14, Hancock County Deed Records. October 19, 1845 Bates et al to N. L. Mitchell. In this instrument, Joseph Bates and his wife Mariah, James Mitchell and wife Sarah, and Willis B. Harvey and wife Martha Ann, are said to have “obtained by Deed Of Conveyance, and executed by heirs of Simon Favre,” the Pearl Town tract, which they sold for $1,000. The former property of Simon Favre consisted of 1,000 arpens which was laid out in Town of Napoleon. (R16WT8Sect 31, on-the land office maps being an old Spanish grant to Simon Favre.)


[xxi] WPA report, Hancock County Library, Bay St. Louis, MS.


[xxii] Book C, p. 16: November 27, 1844. In this related document, John and James Graves, heirs of Isaac Graves, claimed to have become possessed of certain tract on Pearl River known as Pearl Town tract of 1000 acres. It was said to have been “derived in this wise … belonged to estate of Simon Favre and sold at auction to pay debts of estate and our said father was highest bidder which was knocked off to him at $800 and for some time after the heirs of said Favre took possession and have ever since kept it from the claimants.” Nonetheless, John and James Graves agreed to sell their interest to N.L. Mitchell, the same as the purchaser in the previous deed, for $500. (It would appear that Mitchell made transactions with both parties in order to be assured of title.)[xxii] Hancock County, Deed Book A.


[xxiii] Like the town of Pearlington, Pearltown undoubtedly was named because of the presence of a large clam that could be found in the river and which sometimes contained pearls. Penicaut, in Fleur de Lys and Calumet, wrote of the river called by the Indians “Taleatcha,” “…which in French is Riviere-aux-Pierres; in it we found some of those shells, or cockles, about which I have already spoken, with which the savages scrape their boats after they have been burned. In these cockles, pearls are found. We gave two dozen of them to M. de Bienville, who was with us.” (McWilliams edition, p. 16) In his History of Louisiana, Le Page du Pratz adds to the description, thereby distinguishing this size of the shell from the ubiquitous rangia clam; he wrote, “There are likewise excellent mussels upon the northern shore of the lake St. Louis, especially in the river of Pearls; they may be about six or seven inches long, and sometimes contain very pretty pearls, but of no great value. (Bicentennial Edition, edited by Joseph G. Tregle, Jr.) (Marco: I know that we have some document in which the early settlers were told to search for pearls as part of their mission; do you remember where?)


[xxiv] See appendix for will.


[xxv] From Pearlington: Church and Community. (Jenkins (1991:4). Noted as translator at Mobile for Indians in Major A. LaCarriere Latour’s Historical Memoir. Plat of Pearl River tract in Heitzman ms is found in Spanish West Florida Records, Louisiana State Museum, Book a, no. 3: 173-4. These records state that Simon Favre had “two plantations that he inherited from his father, Jean Favre, each one containing 1200 arpents; one is located on the left of the Little Pearl River and the other on the right of the Large Pearl River”. The plantation was “about six leagues up the Pearl River from where it empties into the Rigolets”