Pierre (Peter) J. Menard, Indian trader and merchant, was born about 1808 in Canada to Hypolite Menard, a brother of the lieutenant governor of Illinois, Pierre Menard. He joined his cousin, Michel B. Menard, as an employee of their uncle's fur-trading firm, Menard and Vallé, in Kaskaskia, Illinois, in the 1820s. He married Rosine LeClerc on January 20, 1834, and moved to the Trinity River near the Liberty-Polk county line, where he operated a grist and saw mill with his cousin.
Menard was a member of the Committee of Safety at Liberty and was a delegate to the Consultation. After a short term on the General Council, that body named him receiver of public funds at Nacogdoches. Although he was made a captain in the artillery in November 1835, he did not serve in the army until May 1836 because he received permission to take his family to Missouri, thus missing the major battles.
In 1837 Menard, his brother Medard, and their brother-in-law, Isidore LeClerc, opened the first store on the north side of the Strand in Galveston. P. J. Menard built a house nearby. He served as city treasurer and alderman in 1839 and 1840. Like his cousin, Michel, Menard speculated in land while P. J. Menard and Company struggled to succeed, but the 1850 census listed him as a mariner, and by 1860 he was commissioner of pilots for the port of Galveston. He died in Galveston on September 28, 1861.