Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Leflore Family of Mississippi, Part 1

During the next few weeks, I will be posting several accounts of the Leflore family in Mississippi, beginning with Jean Baptiste Leflau, the family's French-born patriarch who settled near Mobile, Alabama.

On June 19, 1735, Jean Baptiste Leflau married Jeanne Boissinot, a native of Mobile, Alabama. Church records of this marriage show that Jean was the son of Jacques Leflau and Magdeliene Vichet of Versailles, Saint Croisse Parish. The exact date that Jean Baptiste Leflau arrived in Mobile is unknown, but he was already there on January 9, 1735, when his godson, born to Jacques Claude Dupont and his Paris-born wife, was baptized.

On June 29, 1762, also in Mobile, Jean Baptiste Leflau and his second wife, Marie Jeanne Girard, daughter of Jean Girard and Marie Ann Daniau, became parents of a son named Louis. By all accounts, several other children were born to Jean and Marie Leflau, including a son, Michael, who was baptized on November 19, 1767. Later, as the result of The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, Michael would become the owner of two sections of land that would become the site of the community of Bowling Green, in Holmes County, Mississippi.

Operating out of Natchez, Louis began trading with the Choctaw Nation around 1780. About 1790, he married Nancy and Rebecca Cravat, the wards of Chief Pushmataha of the Choctaw Nation, a group that allowed plural marriages at the time. Nancy and Rebecca were the daughters of John Cravat and a woman of the Chocchuma tribe. Cravat had given the two girls to Pushmataha, their uncle, before returning to trade among the Chickasaw.

After his marriage, Louis Leflore moved up the Pearl River, establishing a trading post at LeFleurs Bluff. His son, Greenwood Leflore, who would later become the last Chief of the Choctaw Nation, was born there on June 2, 1800.

Louis Leflore's legacy includes the founding of the settlement known as LeFleur's Bluff that would later be known as Jackson, Mississippi, the town of French Camp on the Natchez Trace, and the community of Rankin in Holmes County. Also, Louis Leflore is credited, along with Durant, Mississippi's namesake, Louis Durant, with introducing cattle raising to Attala and Holmes Counties.

Tomorrow: Greenwood Leflore, the last great Chief of the Choctaw Nation


Cushman, Horatio Bardwell, History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez Indians, Headlight Printing House, 1899, Oiginal copy from Harvard University Library, digitized August 15, 2006. Accessed on April 18, 2009.

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