Grollet, Jacques (ca. 1660–unknown)

By: Robert S. Weddle

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: September 1, 1995

Jacques Grollet, early explorer, was born in Bayonne, France, and sailed to Texas with the La Salle expedition in 1685 as an illiterate sailor on the storeship Aimable. After the ship wrecked on a shoal while trying to enter Matagorda Bay, he chose to remain with the French colony rather than return to France with the warship Joly. When, in 1686, René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, left his settlement on an eastward march to seek the Mississippi River, Grollet was in his company. He deserted among the Caddoan tribes of northeastern Texas, to rejoin La Salle's survivors following the leader's murder in March 1687. Yet he chose to remain among the Hasinai Indians when seven others, led by Henri Joutel, departed for La Salle's Illinois post to proceed thence to France. Grollet then formed a liaison with Jean L'Archevêque, from his hometown of Bayonne, who had been involved in La Salle's death plot. About a month after the Fort St. Louis massacre (late 1688 or early 1689), the two men returned to the post and buried fourteen of the victims. Weary of life among the Indians and longing to return to civilization, Grollet and his companion made contact with Alonso De León in May 1689 and told him their story through an interpreter. De León took them to Mexico, where they were interrogated further. They were then sent to Spain on the ship of Capt. Andrés de Pez y Malzárraga. They arrived in Madrid about January 1690, presumably to give testimony at court concerning the La Salle expedition. In the royal jail more than two years, they petitioned the crown to be returned to America to serve the king of Spain or to be given their freedom outright. Probably in July 1692 they were sent to Cádiz and sailed thence for New Spain with Pez. Grollet, like L'Archevêque and Pierre Meunier, was permitted to become a settler in New Mexico. All three were in Santa Fe by 1696. Grollet settled at Bernalillo, New Mexico, and married Elena Galuegas in 1699. They evidently have many descendants, for the hispanicized form of the name, Gurules, is common in nearby Albuquerque today.

Adolph F. Bandelier, The Gilded Man (El Dorado) and Other Pictures of the Spanish Occupancy of America (New York: Appleton, 1893; reprod., Chicago: Rio Grande Press, 1962). Walter J. O'Donnell, trans., La Salle's Occupation of Texas (Preliminary Studies of the Texas Catholic Historical Society 3.2 [(April 1936]). Robert S. Weddle, Wilderness Manhunt: The Spanish Search for La Salle (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1973).
  • Exploration
  • Explorers (French)
  • Peoples
  • French

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Robert S. Weddle, “Grollet, Jacques,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 1, 1995