Talk:Étienne de Boré

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Sources, problems[edit]

I rewrote the little sketch based mainly on Kendall, with sidewise glances at the New Orleans Public Library page and at Grace King. I mention it because some text I lifted verbatim from Kendall: 1922 and in the public domain, so no need for the zealous to undo it as a copyvio.

These New Orleans Public Library biographical sketches by the way are loaded with all kinds of mistakes; not only many typos but other,more serious errors. For example, the Boré bio has him born in 1740, and becoming mayor in 1803 when he was in his fiftieth year. (He is then stated to have died in 1820 when he was "eight" years old; someone's Y key didn't work, I guess.)

The birthdate/age at assuming the mayoralty problem I haven't yet managed to solve. Kendall is the source of the "fiftieth year", but gives no birthdate. Find-A‑Grave gives Dec. 27, 1841, as do other websites: the ultimate source seems to be Biographical and Historical Memoires of Louisiana (vol. 2), pp476‑477, Goodspeed Publishing Company, Chicago, 1892, a poorly scanned text of which, amalgamated with commentary in such a way unfortunately that they can't be untangled, can be found here. Bill 13:22, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for your work. Cheers, -- Infrogmation 14:51, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

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BetacommandBot 04:50, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Duplicate article[edit]

There was a duplicate article to this at Jean-Étienne de Boré. That one appears somewhat more comprehensive but this one has better sources (in that it actually has a couple of sources), is better formatted and isn't an orphan, so I'm turning that one into a redirect to this one and leaving the text of that article here for anyone who wants to do the work of merging them. Binabik80 (talk) 00:04, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

Jean-Étienne de Boré (27 December 1742—2 February 1820) was the French planter who developed a process of granulation that made sugarcane a profitable cash crop in Louisiana.

He was born in Kaskaskia, French Illinois, the son of Louis de Boré and Celestine Therese Carriere. When he was four years old, he returned with his family to France. After he reached maturity he became a musketeer in the King’s Household Guards in 1768, and in 1770 he was promoted to captain of the Second Company of Cavalry of the Mousquetoires Noires. On November 5, 1771, he married Jeanne Marguerite Marie Destrehan des Tours, a member of a prominent and wealthy Louisiana family. With new responsibilities, he and his bride emigrated to Louisiana in 1776 and settled in St. Charles Parish to live the life of a country gentleman and his lady.

In 1781 Boré was granted extensive property above New Orleans which included the present-day Audubon Park. He embarked upon an agricultural career with the planting of indigo, which the Council of the Indies had introduced in 1723. At first all went well, and indigo became one of Louisiana’s agricultural staples, along with tobacco. By the 1790s the colony’s indigo was bringing in $180,000 annually.

But several years of drought damaged crops, and in 1793 and 1794 insects attacked the plants and the indigo fields were left with bare stalks. Boré and other planters were on the verge of bankruptcy. He decided to gamble on sugarcane, against the counsel of his in-laws and friends. The Jesuits had first introduced sugar cane into Louisiana to make molasses, around 1700, but it never developed into a commercial crop, as all efforts to crystallize the syrup into granules failed.

Boré nevertheless obtained cane from two Spanish growers named Mendez and Soliz and planted a crop. He raised a good stand of cane, and by combining a vacuum pan process with the Spanish method of making molasses, he was able to crystallize the syrup into sugar granules in 1795. He sold his 1796 crop for twelve thousand dollars, and a new industry was born in Louisiana.

The discovery made Boré famous, and his plantation often hosted important guests. In 1796, the French general Victor Collot was arrested there on a charge of spying upon Spanish fortifications in the province; the governor of Spanish Louisiana, barón de Carondelet, considered also arresting Boré but settled for scolding him. In 1798, his plantation was visited by three French princes of the blood: the duc d'Orleans, who after the July Revolution in 1830 would ascend to the French throne, and his brothers the duc de Montpensier and comte de Beaujolais.

When Napoleon snatched Louisiana back from Spain and sent Pierre Clément de Laussat as colonial prefect to receive control of the colony from Spain, Laussat immediately set up a municipal government for New Orleans in place of the Spanish cabildo, naming Boré the city's first mayor. His term lasted only three weeks, however, before the United States took possession.

Boré died on February 2, 1820. He was given a funeral befitting a dignitary and was buried in St. Louis Cemetery. Louisiana became the center of the sugar industry in the United States thanks to his discovery. So important was sugar to the state's economy that many planters described Boré as the "savior of Louisiana."

His daughter Jeanne Marguerite Marie Isabelle, born in 1773, married Barthemmy Francois Le Breton; and another daughter, Francoise Elizabeth, born in 1777, married Charles Gayarre, a relative of the Louisiana historian.