Life of the Abbe Adrien Roquette, "Chahta-Ima."

Life of the Abbe Adrien Roquette, "Chahta-Ima."

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J* THE QUETTE POET-MISSIONARY OF LOUISIANA -' THE LIBRARY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOSANGELES LIFE OF THE ABBE ADRIEN ROQUETTE "CHAHTA-IMA" Compiled and Edited by MRS S. B. ELDER from material furnished by friends. o c Published under auspices of Bienville Assembly, Knights of Columbus, on the centenary of his birth. NEW ORLEANS, 1913 The L. U-abun Co., Lcc'., 43" Cornnon St., O..N. L&. RG»8£3 Copyright, 1913, BY MRS. SUSAN B. ELDER. All rights reserved. INTRODUCTION. Probably one of the most striking and picturesque figures in the later history of the lower Mississippi Val- ley is that of the Abbe Rouquette, who lived his life in and about New Orleans. Students of American His- tory are well aware of La Salle, Bienville, Audubon and of the many others who have had a part in our early Louisiana development. The Abbe Rouquette seems al- most to have been the last of that long series of pioneers who instinctively and progressively worked from within for the betterment and welfare of his people. Himself a distinguished scholar, he yet was imbued with a desire to help forward the lowly—his life's greatest duty was, in his opinion, the mission work he felt drawn towards among the Choctaw Indians, whose last villages, east of the Mississippi, were near Bayou Lacombe, just north of New Orleans. The Choctaw Indians in Colonial days were an exten- sive tribe, occupying the territory, now Alabama and Mis- sissippi, as far as the Lake Pontchartrian north coast.

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J* THE
QUETTE
POET-MISSIONARY OF LOUISIANA-'
THE LIBRARY
OF
THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA
LOSANGELESLIFE OF THE
ABBE ADRIEN ROQUETTE
"CHAHTA-IMA"
Compiled and Edited by
MRS S. B. ELDER
from material furnished
by friends.
o c
Published under auspices of
Bienville Assembly, Knights of Columbus,
on the centenary of his birth.
NEW ORLEANS,
1913
The L. U-abun Co., Lcc'., 43" Cornnon St., O..N. L&.RG»8£3
Copyright, 1913,
BY
MRS. SUSAN B. ELDER.
All rights reserved.INTRODUCTION.
Probably one of the most striking and picturesque
figures in the later history of the lower Mississippi Val-
ley is that of the Abbe Rouquette, who lived his life in
and about New Orleans. Students of American His-
tory are well aware of La Salle, Bienville, Audubon and
of the many others who have had a part in our early
Louisiana development. The Abbe Rouquette seems al-
most to have been the last of that long series of pioneers
who instinctively and progressively worked from within
for the betterment and welfare of his people.
Himself a distinguished scholar, he yet was imbued
with a desire to help forward the lowly—his life's greatest
duty was, in his opinion, the mission work he felt drawn
towards among the Choctaw Indians, whose last villages,
east of the Mississippi, were near Bayou Lacombe, just
north of New Orleans.
The Choctaw Indians in Colonial days were an exten-
sive tribe, occupying the territory, now Alabama and Mis-
sissippi, as far as the Lake Pontchartrian north coast.
The tribe have interested the Ethnologist because of
superior qualities and traditions that seemd to indicate
that they had wandered northward from old Mexico and
were probably of Aztec origin. Their location between the
English plantations of the lower Atlantic coast and the
settlementsFrench of Louisiana, made them of consider-
able political interest.
England laid claim to Carolina with an extent as far
West as the Mississippi River. This was set forth by Coxe
4615166 INTRODUCTION.
in 1740. Some years later traders from Charleston came
faras through the Choctaw country as the Mississippi.
Tomahawks and firearms were traded to these people, and
the English tried to get them, with the Chickasaws and
Natchez to surprise and exterminate the Louisiana pion-
eers. The Choctaws were friendly, however, and but little
progress was made in setting them against their French
neighbors.
Captain Bernard Romans is the first Englishman to
write intimately of these people, an exceedingly rare book
to-day, was published by him in 1775, after he had spent
many years in their country. This book is a famous source
book and seems a faithful account of this fine Indian peo-
ple, who were then quite numerous, according to Romans,
having some seventy villages.
I mention Romans, the first white man to reside with
these red men, to draw a contrast with Pere Rouquette,
who was the last Caucasian to take up a home with these
people prior to their transmigration to the Indian Ter-
ritory, where they are to-day.
Romans was among them of his own volition as a
student originally—but he later developed designs favor-
ing an alliance with the British in their effort to push
their possessions westward. He was called away by the
Revolution against England, the Choctaws remained neu-
tral in the war that followed, and continued, as before,
on good terms with the French trading posts—frequently
visiting New Orleans, capital of the Province of Louis-
iana.
One of their very interesting villages was near Bayou