Tejano History

Cavelier, Jean

Tejanos |

       CAVELIER, JEAN (?–?). Jean Cavelier, priest and adventurer, was born in Rouen, France, in St. Herbland parish. He was the older brother of René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, and accompanied him on the French expedition that landed at Matagorda Bay, Texas, in February 1685. The parents had one other son, Nicolas, and a daughter who married Nicolas Crevel. The father, also named Jean, and his brother, Henri, were wealthy merchants at Rouen, “living more like nobles than burghers.”

       The younger Jean Cavelier became a Sulpician priest. He migrated to Canada in 1665 and served as curate at Montreal. A year later he influenced his younger brother Robert to join him there, thus opening the door to La Salle's career as an explorer. Abbé Cavelier handled some of La Salle's business affairs and advanced him capital to engage in the fur trade. In 1679 the abbé went to court to collect what his brother owed him, which amounted to more than the value of all the peltries La Salle had shipped to Montreal. Cavelier also resorted to intercepting La Salle's mail. “In his double character of priest and elder brother,” says Francis Parkman, “he seems to have constituted himself the counselor, monitor, and guide of a man who, though many years his junior, was in all respects incomparably superior to him.”


Full article on the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas Online

   Courtesy of the Texas State Historical Association.