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Etienne de Boré de Mauleon

Source: US Geneweb Archives

In June, 1884, when the presentation of M. de Borés portrait was made to the Sugar Exchange of New Orleans, Prof. Alcee Fortier wrote a biographical notice of the great pioneer planter, for the secretary of the Exchange, D. D. Colcock, which was published in the "Picayune" of June 26 that year.

This contribution to the literature of Louisiana, owing to its style and subject, is very valuable. M. de Boré's connection with the successful beginnings of the sugar industry in this state links his name with the history of the cane and its manufacture so closely that the sketch is made a part of this chapter.

Jean Etienne do Boré, also a creole, was born at Kaskaskia, in the Illinois territory of Louisiana, on December 27, 1741. His father, Louis de Boré, was of an old Norman family. His mother was Therese Celeste Carriere do Mont Brun. His grandfather, Robert de Boré, had been one of the counselors of Louis XIV., director-general of the postoffice department and one of the stewards of the king's household.

As was the custom in the colony, Jean Etienne do Borés parents sent him to France to be educated. He received the training of a military school, a circumstance which may account for the self-reliance and firmness of character which were to render his name forever memorable in the history of Louisiana. On leaving college, Mr. de Boré entered the celebrated corps of the Mousquetairies, or Guardsmen. As says Mr. Gayarré, no one could be a Mousquetaire who was not of well-established nobility. A private in the Moasquetaries had the rank of captain, and a captain of the Guardsmen held the rank of lieutenant-general. Mr. de Boré was a Mousquetaire up to l768, when he came to Louisiana on a leave of absence to see about his property in the colony.

He must have found Louisiana in a dreadful condition. It was the very year that Laferniere and his patriotic friends had tried to establish a republic in America, and failing in this, had been cruelly put to death by General O'Reilly. Mr. de Boré, finding no inducement to stay in the colony, which was no longer French, but Spanish, returned to France in 1769. He then received from Louis XV. his commission as captain of the second company of cavalry of the "Mousquetaires Noirs."

He married in 1771, the daughter of Mr. Destre'han, ox-treasurer of Louisiana, and his wife having some property in the colony, he resigned his commission as captain of cavarly and returned to Louisiana, which at that time was very prosperous under the mild rule of the Spanish governors who had succeeded O'Reilly.

Mr. de Boré settled in the parish of St. Charles, on a plantation which belongs now to Mr. Norbert Louque. He exchanged it with Mr. Piseros for a plantation situated in what was then the territory of Orleans. It became afterward a part of the parish of Jefferson, and forms now that part of the city of New Orleans which extends from the inferior limit of the City park, or Exposition ground to the upper limit of Rickerville. Mr. de Borés plantation comprised the land where are now Burtheville, Bloomingdale and Hurstville.

It is necessary to enter into these details in order to know exactly in what part of Louisiana sugar was made for the first time.

In 1794 Mr. de Boré, as all the planters in the colony, had lost a great deal of money by the failure of the indigo crop. He therefore resolved to undertake the cultivation of the sugar cane, being confident that sugar could be made in Louisiana. He bought all the cane of Messrs. Mendez and Solis and planted them on his plantation, notwithstanding the opposition of his friends, of his relatives, and especially of his wife. Mr. Morime, from the Antilles, who was then in New Orleans, found Mr. Boré in his field planting his cane, and told him that: he had come to tell him that he could not succeed in manufacturing sugar in Louisiana, because the climate being so cold the cane would never be ripe enough to produce a sufficient quantity Of saccharine matter. Mr. de Boré listened to him attentively and made the following characteristic reply: "I am very much obliged to you, sir, for your kindness in trying to induce me to abandon an undertaking which you believe to be rash and injudicious, but, as you see, my sugar-house is being built, my canes are almost all planted; I have incurred two-thirds of the expenses necessary for this year's crop; therefore I would lose much more by abandoning my cane than by attempting to grind them. Besides, I am convinced that I am right and that I shall succeed."

Mr. Morime seeing that Mr. de Borés decision was irrevocable, asked him to take him as his sugar maker. The offer was accepted. In 1793 Mr. de Boré ground his cane, and after a moment of anxious suspense the sugar maker, says Mr. Gayarre', cried out: "It granulates." Those two words rang throughout Louisiana, and in a abort time fields green with the cane, and sugar houses in full operation were to be seen in Louisiana.

Mr. de Boré made with his first crop 100 hogshead of sugar. He sold his sugar at 12-1/2 cents a pound and his molasses at 50 cents a gallon, and made a profit of $12,000. Etienne de Boré lived twenty-four years after his great success. He died on his plantation, leaving $100,000 to each one of his children.

He had born to him three daughters, who had married B. F. Le Breton, Pierre Foucher and Mr. Gayarre', the father of our great historian, Charles Gayarre'. Mr. de Boré was appointed mayor of New Orleans by Laussat, when Napoleon took back Louisiana from Spain. He resigned, however, when the colony became a territory of the United States.

Biographical and Historical Memoires of Louisiana, (vol. 2), pp. 476-477.
Published by the Goodspeed Publishing Company, Chicago, 1892.

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