Maxime Guillot, early Dallas settler and interpreter for the French colonists at nearby La Réunion, was born in Angers, France, on December 10, 1824, and trained as a wagon and carriage builder. He left France in 1847 to seek his fortune in New Orleans. He worked at his trade in that city for three years, but the seasonal outbreaks of yellow fever persuaded him to look for a healthier location. He traveled first to Shreveport but soon moved to Fort Worth, where he met Maj. Ripley A. Arnold, who hired him as wagonmaker for the military post. When the outpost was abandoned in 1852 Guillot moved to Dallas and opened a carriage shop, thought to be the first manufacturing plant in Dallas. Later he established the city's first bakery. Guillot's wagonmaking reputation attracted customers throughout the Southwest. He went back to France in 1853 to marry a Mlle. Drouard, then returned to Dallas the following year with his new wife and several experienced wagon builders to help him in his expanding business.
With the establishment of La Réunion across the Trinity River in 1855, the bilingual Guillot assumed the role of middleman and interpreter between the French colonists and Dallas citizens. In fact, he spent so much time at La Réunion that he has been mistakenly listed as an official resident. When the colony collapsed in 1858 he helped many former colonists find jobs and start new lives in Dallas.
Guillot's first wife died in 1856 after the birth of their son. In 1859 Guillot married Mary Mullen; they had two sons and a daughter. During the Civil War Guillot served the Confederate Army as superintendent of a wagon factory in Lancaster, Texas. He returned to Dallas after the war and resumed his business. He died on October 23, 1889.
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Sam Hanna Acheson, Dallas Yesterday, ed. Lee Milazzo (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1977). Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). George H. Santerre, White Cliffs of Dallas: The Story of La Reunion (Dallas: Book Craft, 1955).
Ranching and Cowboys
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Christopher E. Guthrie,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 17, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
January 1, 1995
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: