L'archevêque, Jean (1672–1720)

By: Robert Bruce Blake

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: August 7, 2020

Jean L'Archevêque, explorer, soldier, and trader, was born on September 30, 1672, at Bayonne, France, the son of Claude and Marie (d'Armagnac) L'Archevêque. In 1684, at the age of twelve, he joined the expedition of René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, and accompanied him on his expedition to reach the Mississippi. They landed instead at Matagorda Bay on the Texas coast on February 20, 1685. A member of the group that assassinated La Salle, L'Archevêque was one of six members of the expedition that stayed with the Hasinai Indians. In 1689 he and Jacques Grollet were the only two who agreed to meet and be rescued by Alonso De León. Taken first to Mexico City and then to Spain, they were imprisoned for thirty months and then allowed to return to America upon swearing to serve the Spanish King. On June 22, 1694, L'Archevêque arrived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with a group of colonists from Mexico City. In 1697 he married a widow, Antonia Gutiérrez, and they had one son and a daughter, María. Antonia died, probably in 1701. In 1701 L'Archevêque purchased a landed estate in Santa Fe, but continued as a soldier. He was a scout with Juan de Ulibarri in 1704 and in 1714 a member of a junta. On August 16, 1719, the governor attended the wedding of "Captain Juan de Archibeque" to Doña Manuela Roybal, the daughter of alcalde Ignacio de Roybal. L'Archevêque had retired from the military and become a successful trader, with operations as far south as Sonora; his business required occasional trips to Mexico City. He was assisted by Miguel (his son with Antonia), and Agustín (an illegitimate son). A third son was born in 1719 to a servant girl before his marriage. On June 17, 1720, L'Archevêque joined the military force of Don Pedro de Villasur on an expedition against the Pawnees led by Don Antonio Valverde de Cosio. The Pawnees reportedly were led by a Frenchman, and L'Archevêque was to act as an envoy with the Pawnees by interpreting letters from the Frenchman. On August 20, 1720, the Pawnees suddenly attacked, catching the Spanish unprepared; most were killed, including L'Archevêque. He was left unburied on the banks of an unknown river. His estate was valued at 6,118 pesos.

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). R. C. Clark, "The Beginnings of Texas," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 5 (January 1902). William Edward Dunn, "The Spanish Search for La Salle's Colony on the Bay of Espíritu Santo, 1685–1689," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 19 (April 1916). José M. Espinosa, Crusaders of the Rio Grande: The Story of Don Diego de Vargas and the Reconquest and Refounding of New Mexico (Chicago: Institute of Jesuit History, 1942). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Robert S. Weddle, "La Salle's Survivors," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 75 (April 1972). Clarence R. Wharton, L'Archeveque (Houston: Anson Jones Press, 1941).

  • Exploration
  • Explorers (French)
  • Peoples
  • French
  • Business
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Military
  • Soldiers
  • Native American

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

Robert Bruce Blake, “L'archevêque, Jean,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 29, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/larcheveque-jean.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 7, 2020