The Utopian colony of La Reunion as social mirror of frontier Texas and icon of modern Dallas.
The relationship between America and European socialism that emerged after the French Revolution (post-1789) was one in which participants often misunderstood each others' conceptual foundations and specific motivations. While attempting to establish themselves in a country that either tacitly allowed or openly encouraged chattel slavery, Europe's radical immigrants, many of them followers of Charles Fourier (1772-1837) (4) and Robert Owens (1813-1858), (5) looked upon America's "peculiar institution" as simply another form of class domination. (6) For its part, much of antebellum America viewed socialists as part of a much broader immigration problem. Fearful of losing the foundational ideals of their country due to the spread of socialist and communist concepts that accompanied the flood of European newcomers in the 1840s and 1850s, many U.S. citizens agreed with the nativist stance espoused by the Know Nothing Party, which viewed uncontrolled immigration as a clear danger to American democracy. (7)
Despite the starkly different intellectual positions between socialist immigrants and the inhabitants of their new homeland, the lure of free land and the need for its rapid settlement overrode such concerns and inexorably pushed forward the occupation of immense frontier areas in the Republic (and later state) of Texas. Taking advantage of the region's liberal land policies, Europeans of all political stripes established themselves within the large land grants distributed under the Texas empresario system. (8)
As France lurched into yet another revolution in 1848, (9) a small stream of socialist immigrants entered the broad swath of grassland between the Red River and the frontier settlement of Dallas. The first of these settlers were adherents of the revolutionary activist, Etienne Cabet (1788-1856). A native of Dijon, Cabet had earned a law degree but did not practice. Instead, he turned to politics, winning a seat in the French legislature, the Chambre de Deputes, after the 1830 Revolution. Because of his obstreperous opposition to the government of King Louis Philippe (1830-1848), Cabot was exiled to England but returned to France in time to become an integral participant in the Revolution of 1848. Even before the revolutionary government had turned against the lower classes during the infamous "June Days," Cabet was planning an escape to the New World, sending his adherents to establish a settlement they hopefully called Icarie (after the political agitator's literary utopia) situated on land north of Dallas in the summer of 1848. (10) This colonial experiment quickly fell victim to the region's unpredictable weather and crucial changes in Texas's land policies. (l1) Despite this failure of Texas to live up to its reputation as a "terrestrial paradise," the temptation of establishing new lives in the Lone Star State would attract even more radicals to the lands watered by the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. (12)
The most successful socialist venture of the period that sought to use north Texas as a base was intimately connected with one man: Victor Prosper Considerant (1803-1893). As Fourier's most forceful and intelligent disciple, Considerant had tried to establish a small colony based on socialist and communal principles (called a phalanx by Fourier) outside of Paris in 1852, only to have all such ventures outlawed by France's last emperor, Napoleon III (1852-1870). Exiled for his bitter criticism of Napoleon III's government, Considerant spent time in Belgium, but soon turned to the United States to fulfill his professional and personal aims. (13) After a six-month sojourn that took him from New York across several western states into north Texas, he chose a site for his new phalanx on the limestone bluffs across the Trinity River from Dallas. (14) Upon his return to Europe, Considerant formed the European and American Colonization Society of Texas, which would serve as an administrative body for his proposed colony and oversee the expenditure of funds raised for its operation. (15) To publicize the venture, the socialist leader became a skilled promoter in an American sense with the publication of Au Texas (To Texas). This melding of political tract and travel book, which was soon translated into English and German, invited Europeans oppressed by the Continent's stifling class system to find a new life in Texas, which Considerant described as "one of the most favored regions of the globe," where they could happily sow the "seeds of liberty, knowledge, and love." (16)
The popularity of Au Texas soon attracted a number of northern Europeans to Considerant's colonial undertaking. This group was marked by the great differences among its individual members. Some were socialist "true-believers." Others, weary of revolution and recession in their homelands, wanted to make a new start in America. Still others were "bored to death" and hoped to find a new purpose in their lives through "the revitalizing power of nature." (17) They were skilled in a number of urban professions ranging from business to geology. Unfortunately, few possessed any practical skills in agriculture. (18)
Though many of the colonists initially "believed everything that Considerant said," (19) their faith in him started to wane once they experienced the harsh realities of frontier life. Finding nonexistent the easy river access promised in Au Texas, small parties were forced to walk the 200-mile distance between the upper Gulf Coast and La Reunion. Europeans trudging across the prairies behind the wagons that hauled their goods brought out "crowds of natives" to take in the alien sight. (20) After as much as two months of walking, the French, Swiss, German, and Alsatian immigrants reached La Reunion to find nothing there other than the name of the projected settlement. (21) The finished structures and "alimentary supplies" promised by Considerant in print were nowhere to be found. (22) It then dawned on these representatives of European urban culture that pre-packaged dreams did not exist on the Texas frontier.
Despite the hardships and disappointments that they endured in reaching the Texas promised land, the colonists, numbering some 400 by the end of 1856, began to build a two-story central structure, a commissary, and a separate kitchen. (23) They took fewer pains with their own living quarters, which consisted of a number of rough-hewn log cabins that were largely left exposed to the weather. (24) After months of hard work and having to endure the vicissitudes of Texas weather, the colony seemed to prosper. Working and eating together, the colonists (who spoke several European languages, but not English) relied on each other for entertainment, holding weekly concerts, voice recitals, and dances. (25) Yet despite this facade of perfect socialist harmony, La Reunon, like all other American phalanxes, soon fell victim to two fatal problems: class strife and financial insolvency. (26)
The colonists blamed the rapid collapse of La Reunion in 1856-1857 on the character and administration of Considerant himself, but it also sprang from the structural weakness of Fourier's ideas. Though the phalanx was supposed to be based on the "law of love," it was not democratic, relying instead on the stern rule of the president and its directors. (27) When the colonists' initial trust began to disappear, Considerant, as president, became increasingly autocratic. Embittered at his loss of authority, which was largely his own fault, he became "a sullen man ... [who was] unable to communicate and became profoundly depressed." (28) To get through these terrible bouts of despondency and self-doubt, Considerant consoled himself with whiskey and morphine. (29) As Considerant relinquished his hold on the colony and eventually spent longer periods away, bitter disputes over the governance of La Reunion erupted between artisans and professional men among the colony's membership. (30)
A deepening pall of despair, worsened by the colony's penury and fiscal dependence on the community of Dallas, soon fell over La Reunion and effectively set the stage for the individual most responsible for its collapse. (31) The real catalyst for these events was an unruly French army doctor, Augustin Savardan, who arrived at La Reunion in 1855 and immediately began to question Considerant's authority over the colony. Considerant tried to dismiss the newcomer's complaints by characterizing Savardan as "conceited [and] touchy ... [with] a certain narrowness of spirit." (32) Undaunted by such comments, Savardan claimed that the president was in the process of either "eat[ing] up the capital or exploit[ing] the workmen," and accused Considerant and his supporters of malfeasance, maladministration, and favoritism. (33) Insisting that it was time for "each man to become his own justice," Savardan emerged as the leader of a disloyal opposition. The colony was now divided into two parties, "each of which were increasingly embittered and accused each other of all the evil things they had suffered." (34) The result of this revolt against the colony president was a triumph for neither side, but rather a nervous gridlock. In this "silence of death," La Reunion, unable to weather "the impetus of individualism," collapsed, and its members either returned to Europe or settled in the environs of the growing city of Dallas. (35)
Despite La Reunion's rapid demise, its brief existence had a marked effect on Texas and, more especially, on the community of Dallas. Considerant's striking personality brought rapid responses, both negative and positive, from his adopted homeland. Because of the widely favorable accounts of the Fourerist venture that appeared in the New York Tribune thanks to its left-leaning owner and editor, Horace Greeley, (36) Considerant's initial actions were lionized in Dallas and Galveston newspapers with the hope that the socialist colony might bring a "higher degree of civilization" to frontier America. (37) Thanks to the rosy picture of his colony tirelessly projected by Considerant, the Texas Know Nothing Party and its principal news organ, the Texas State Gazette, became aware of La Reunion and unleashed a series of negative articles against the French socialist settlers. Portraying the newcomers as revolutionaries, political quacks, abolitionists, or, worse yet, Catholics, the editor of the Austin-based paper decried the colony as a dangerous element that wished to enfeeble the vitality of Texas's democratic society. (38) Specifically, the paper characterized Considerant and settlers of the colony as "an armed band of seditious, lawless, foreign abolitionists ... who were seeking to sap the foundations of society," whose plans could not be "carried out without creating bitter and unrelenting prejudices and animosities among our native citizens." (39) The Texas State Gazette further branded Considerant's followers as "a mischievous element of the population [whose] wild theories would not long last the test of experience." (40) The editor of this nativist news sheet later exclaimed that he would rather see Texas become "[a] howling desert [rather] than witness a wave of socialism spread itself over [the state's] Christian Churches and ... Slave Institution." (41)
The stark change in attitude toward his political activities discernable throughout 1855 forced Considerant to take the propagandistic offensive when he returned from Europe to Dallas. After answering the Know Nothings' charges point-by-point in a pamphlet titled European Colonization in Texas, (42) Considerant attempted to establish his enterprise on firm economic and political footing by petitioning the Texas state legislature for a land grant as compensation for all the money his company had spent on settling so many colonists at the Dallas site. (43) When the Democratic majority in the state house and the governor rejected this request, Considerant tried to salvage something from his foray into the primitive arena of Texas politics by having the European and American Colonization Society of Texas incorporated in its new home state. (44) This, too, failed. Meanwhile, the attacks against the Dallas socialists printed in Texas newspapers reached fever pitch. (45) Lacking the will to stand up to his opponents, Considerant was forced to admit that all of his hard work had been for nothing. It was not in his character to accept blame for the La Reunion failure, however. Instead, he rehashed the history of his colonial enterprise in a pamphlet titled Du Texas (From Texas) in such a way that blamed xenophobic Texans and the selfish and lazy colonists for the Dallas debacle. Considerant never saw his own autocratic and indecisive brand of leadership as the reason for the collapse of his plans. (46) This did not discourage the old campaigner from attempting to establish yet another phalanx this time in Uvalde in West Texas--before returning to France where he would remain a socialist icon of sorts until his death in 1893. (47)
While some segments of the Dallas community viewed the socialist venture developing on the far bank of the Trinity River as a dangerous experiment in atheism, free love, and abolitionism, (48) the vast majority of Dallasites looked upon the establishment of the "Old French Colony" as an economic boom that effectively doubled the population base of their settlement. The simple fact that most of the newcomers had little experience in agriculture cemented their dependence on the original Dallasites who routinely outproduced them and sold their commodities at much lower rates. (49) As a consequence, La Reunion was never really solvent and, because of its trade imbalance with merchants across the Trinity River, it soon ran up a large deficit. Despite this galling dependence on American capitalism to survive, des ouviers de l'aviner ("workers of the world"), as they called themselves in their anthem, Les Emigrants ("The Immigrants"), started a butcher shop, saw mill, and community store within months of their arrival. (50) Some colonists even practiced viticulture with the wild muscadine grapes that grew on the limestone uplands on which the colony was located. (51) The rapid building method of filling wooden boxes with crushed stones, stacking those containers like cinder blocks, and then stuccoing the resulting rough-hewn wall formed by this method was much admired by Dallasites and was used in the construction of houses throughout the city during the late-nineteenth century. (52)
Even with Dallas's growing appreciation of the varied skills the foreign craftsmen and professionals brought with them into the region, La Reunion's corporate organization would eventually mire the colony in legal difficulties that lasted nearly a decade after its dissolution in 1858. Arranged as a company funded from the sale of stock, the European and American Colonization Society of Texas was managed by a board of directors headed by Considerant. (53) With an ocean separating the board and its executive director, the colony soon ran through the money allocated for its first year of operation. Due to droughts, freak cold spells, and disastrous crop failures during this period, the settlers of La Reunion could not even pay off the interest from the debts they had incurred. (54) With no ready cash to defray such essential expenses, Considerant and Francois Cantagrel, the first director of the European and American Colonization Society of Teaxs and the agent who purchased the colony land, found themselves named in several lawsuits aired in a Dallas courtroom during October and November 1855 undertaken by unpaid contractors and carters who had sold the colony goods or had transported its members and their property from Houston to Dallas. Ironically, some of these litigants were, themselves, members of the colony. The plaintiffs in these actions submitted itemized bills in excess of $1,400. Colony representatives insisted that such bills had to be submitted to the company's board of directors in Belgium. The plaintiffs angrily and correctly responded that no such organization existed at the time under Texas law, and demanded payment in cash on the spot.
Despite their "expenses incurred in traveling, sickness, and sacrifices of property and time," the plaintiffs were ultimately disappointed with their day in court, eventually accepting the colony's promise to settle its debts on an installment plan. (55) It is highly unlikely that this payment schedule was honored even after the sale of the colony site was completed near the end of the American Civil War since investors in the enterprise were never fully compensated for their losses and several of the colonists were involved in litigation concerning the division of La Reunion's lands until 1890. (56) Despite these judicial complications, the colonists of La Reunion who remained in Dallas after 1858 were well-liked, many of them excelling in business and the professions. Friendship and inter-marriage further linked the two communities which routinely held large celebrations on such national holidays as the Fourth of July and Bastille Day. (57) Even after the colony had been dissolved, the favorable impression it had made on Dallas did not disappear. As one newspaper editor put it, La Reunion, though fallen into disrepair and largely deserted, "had been a benefit to the country, ... [furnishing] excellent workers in useful employments." (58) Dallas's friendly tone toward the colonists often extended to those who had returned to Europe. Though Considerant could hardly claim such popularity at the site of his greatest failure, (59) Cantagrel became so popular in Dallas that when he returned to France and won election to its national assembly in 1876, his former hometown celebrated this stunning political success by naming a street for him. (60)
Following the election of Abraham Lincoln as U.S. president in 1860, which Texans viewed as a disastrous blow to their "beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery," the state rapidly moved toward secession, forcing, in the process, unpleasant choices on all of its foreign-born residents. (61) Though Considerant denied charges leveled by the Texas Know Nothing Party that he was an abolitionist who viewed slavery as one of the "great evils" that the modern world had produced, (62) most of La Reunion's residents maintained amicable relations with the region's African-American population, both slave and free, who profited from being the principal suppliers to the colony of fish and fresh game. (63) The decision to support the Confederacy against the Federal government they had sworn to defend would prove an exceedingly difficult choice for 'les emigrants' who remained in Dallas after 1858. (64) A number of the younger colonists volunteered to fight with Texas units. Emil Remond, one of La Reunion's cadre of scientists, willingly abandoned his research to join the Nineteenth Texas Cavalry before transferring to an artillery detachment. He served with distinction in numerous campaigns, always seeking out "the place where the fighting was going on and joining the fray." (65) Other colonists who fought for the Confederacy included Ashiel Frichot, Henry Boll, William and Joseph Knapfly, and John Louckx. (66) Other sons of Dallas's socialist venture like Maxime Guillot put their mechanical skills to use for the Confederacy by aiding in the repair and dispersal of weapons from facilities across Texas. (67)
Despite such support for the Confederate cause by some of La Reunion's former members, the colony suffered in the first months of the war from enlistment-, weapons-, and supply-gathering patrols mounted by southern forces stationed at Dallas. The older French colonists; still barely functional in English, underwent intermittent "threat and assault" from passing Confederate troops, but suffered little bloodshed. The most dangerous confrontation of this type occurred during 1861 when a Confederate recruiting party attempted to enlist a group of Frenchmen led by Alexander La Notte. La Notte outwitted the Confederates by gathering all the colonists he could in La Reunion's deserted storehouse and then directing each one to train two or three guns on the invader out of the stone structure's windows. Through this ruse, the Confederates, thinking that they were facing a much larger force, withdrew. By 1862, however, southern commanders operating in north Texas had become desperate for weapons and confiscated every useable gun at La Reunion. (68) Even before a general military exemption was granted in late 1861 to all foreign aliens in the Confederacy, the community of Dallas had rallied to keep its French neighbors out of harm's way by convincing southern officers and administrators that the colonists posed no danger to the Confederacy, but were, instead, "peace-loving and tired of war." (69)
Following the defeat of the Confederacy in 1865, La Reunion, now little more than a ghost town except for the scattered farms of its former residents, became a cherished and often-commemorated part of Dallas's past. The stone archway, the director's house, and the community store that had been erected so quickly in 1855 under the skillful supervision of J.E Barbier and Ferdinand Michel still stood, as they would for almost a century until consumed by the Lone Star Cement Company. (70) Despite their socialist past, most of the former colonists became prosperous citizens of Dallas in a number of fields. Within only a few years of La Reunion's break-up, the European immigrants who had entered Dallas life from the colony possessed property assessed by county tax agents at nearly $37,000. (71) A number of their fellow immigrants, however, who had remained on the land rather than entering the enriching stream of Dallas commerce, had some trouble retaining middle class status. A good example of these agriculturalists, who, "though not in want, ... [were] far removed from comfortable circumstances," was Frances Boulay, who died in 1875, leaving his wife all but destitute. Penury was not to be her lot, though, since, while cleaning her scantily furnished house, she found under the floor boards a sizeable fortune of almost $2,000. Distrusting banks, like many of the poorer members of La Reunion, Boulay had sequestered this nest egg, but had neglected to tell his wife of its existence. (72)
Even with the different financial standings of the colonists, this apparently disparate group was held together by their Belgian, French, and Swiss nationalities they had grown to adulthood in and by their formative experience at La Reunion. They advanced their standing in the larger Dallas society by joining fraternal organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, Freemasons, and Odd Fellows. From these invaluable connections, they formed a solid political base that would allow one of their own to advance in a Dallas political environment that was about to undergo a sea change. Ben Long (formerly Lang), a native of Switzerland, had grown wealthy as a ferry operator on the Trinity River, and as a land speculator who had transported Swiss immigrants to the region. (73) With the formal arrival of Radical Reconstruction in Texas following the passage of the Reconstruction Act of 1867, (74) Democrats, the dominant party during the war, were barred from holding office because the vast majority of them had been slave owners. To form civil governments in the military district under their authority, the two governors assigned to the region, Generals Philip Sheridan and Winfield Scott Hancock, filled the slates of municipal offices with 'loyal' anti-slavery appointees. (75) This propelled to the center of Dallas politics the sons of La Reunion, none of whom had ever held slaves. In 1867, A.J. Gouffre served as city treasurer. The following year, Long was appointed mayor and a number of his colleagues from the "Old French Colony" were selected to fill various principal municipal offices, including service on the board of aldermen. (76) After serving as mayor of Dallas for two years, Long returned to Switzerland for a short visit and then finished his term. He was elected mayor twice thereafter, in 1872 and 1874, because of his "personal popularity among foreigners as well as native citizens.'' (77) While trying to bring law and order to Dallas, which one of La Reunion's younger colonists, George Cretien, described as a place filled with "saloons, gamblers, and dance halls, wild men and wilder women,'' (78) Long was fatally shot following an argument with an Austin deadbeat in a saloon owned by one of his Swiss countrymen. His murderer was tracked down and killed the next day. (79) Despite this stunning abrupt end to his public career, Long demonstrated how far former residents of La Reunion had advanced in their adopted hometown.
La Reunion's influence within its host community was surely due to the talented and educated people who had exchanged utopia for life in the burgeoning settlement on the opposite side of the Trinity River. Despite its small population, the colony included a number of remarkable professional and amateur scientists. Jacob Boll, a Swiss citizen, was an accomplished naturalist before he joined his family at La Reunion in 1858. Establishing a warm relationship with Louis Agassiz, one of America's foremost scientists at the time, Boll collected insects, mammals, and invertebrate fossils across Texas for Harvard University. He was also an accomplished mineralogist and geologist who even engaged in the infant science of paleontology with the excavation of dinosaur remains. (80) Julien Reverchon enjoyed an equally impressive career as a scientist. Coming to La Reunion after its failure in 1858, the young Frenchman settled with his father at a farm near Dallas and continued the botanical collecting he had begun in his homeland. As a result of his intense and incessant observations, Reverchon became the undisputed expert on the flora of the American Southwest, gaining such a reputation in his new home that its city fathers named a park for him. (81)
Boll and Reverchon, who each gained professional acceptance and employment in several fields of study, sprang from a group of non-professional scientists who originally called La Reunion their home. A number of them, like Pere Frichot and Francois Santerre, put their interest in geology and agronomy to practical ends in brick making and agriculture. (82) Among this group of amateur scientists, Emil Remond emerged as the most successful. Arriving at the "Old French Colony" in 1856, he soon began to study the region's soil that was so unproductive for agricultural purposes. He put his observations to practical use by identifying zones of clay around the colony that were ideal for the production of bricks and concrete. (83)
In addition to these shining stars of science and technology, La Reunion sent a body of well-educated and skilled men into the Dallas community of the mid-nineteenth century. They brought with them professions unheard of in the frontier town, and, in so doing, helped to engender its sense of difference from Fort Worth and other neighboring settlements. The group that settled in Dallas in 1858 included an agronomist, architect, brewer, brickmaker, builder, cooper, ice maker, jeweler, linguist, lithograph, mason, milliner, and restauranteur. (84) This illustrious group helped to transform Dallas by their drive to attain personal success. They were responsible for a number of innovations in the agricultural and commercial life of their new home, including the first cultivation of almonds, bananas, cotton, grapes, and a number of other fruits and flowers. They also provided the first examples of beer and wine making, established the first jewelry store, and constructed the first skyscraper. (85) Their cultural attainments were equally impressive. During their first decades as Dallas residents, the former La Reunion colonists were responsible for founding the city's first dance school, its first benevolent society for the advancement of the arts, developing its public park system, and for bringing into the community its first piano and assembling its largest collection of books, public or private, until the opening of the Dallas Public Library in 1899. (86)
The poet and novelist Robert Penn Warren has referred to the American Civil War as "felt history.'' (87) In some senses, this phrase could describe Dallas's relationship with its neighboring utopian colony that dissolved in 1858. Though most of the colonists left Dallas to set up homes in other parts of the United States or to return to Europe, those that remained began the active commemoration of La Reunion's existence and its influence on the Dallas community. They celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of La Reunion's founding in 1906 and its hundredth anniversary in 1956. (88) More permanent remembrances occurred with the placing of historical markers on the colony site in 1924 and on the French cemetery in 1974. (89) As Texas celebrated its own centennial in 1936, the descendants of Dallas's socialist community were honored with the retelling of La Reunion's story in public lectures sponsored by the city's business community. (90) Between 1936 and 1967, the history of the colony was carefully studied by two members of the Santerre family and became the subject of a novel by Benjamin Capps. (91) The commemoration of La Reunion continued in 2005 with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of its founding. (92) While such celebratory efforts led Jon Carsey, an architect, to propose the creation of meticulous scale-models of the colony's surviving structures in 1934, few seemed to think of saving the colony edifices themselves. (93) As one Dallas resident lamented, the colony's surviving structures were "crumbling from year to year into further dilapidation under the battling assault of wind and weather.'' (94)
Because of their service to the rapidly changing community that Dallas was and remains, the city's principle newspapers, the Dallas Morning News and Dallas Times Herald, seemed to take as a civic responsibility the commemoration of the "Old French Colony.'' (95) Both papers chronicled the life of La Reunion by announcing the birthdays, marriages, and deaths of its members. (96) The most significant of these obituaries was that of Cesarine Santerre Remond, whose death in 1923 marked the passing of the colony's last adult member, and the death of Ms. Eugenie Roessler, the last of the children born in La Reunion, in 1951. (97) Because the memories of those who had experienced the communal life of Considerant's colonial enterprise seemed to vary wildly in their later years with regard to "facts, activities, plans, locations, leaders, and characters of leaders,'' (98) staff writers, such as W.A. Adair, Frank M. Cockrell, Paul Crume, and Louella Styles Vincent, took it upon themselves to recall the general story of La Reunion and collect the reminiscences of its principal members. (99) The Dallas Morning News also fulfilled this duty, in part, by regularly including episodes highlighting colonial life at La Reunion in its historical cartoon series, Texas Lore. (100)
Aside from revisiting its historical significance every few years in newsprint, La Reunion was meaningful for Dallas as both a commercial symbol and municipal reality. By the early 1970s, the colony's name was associated with a huge office complex known as One Reunion Place, a site that included Reunion Arena, the home of Dallas's professional basketball and hockey teams, and the iconic Reunion Tower. Mirroring the fate of its namesake, the arena fell victim to the intense pressure of the city's commercial life that made every square inch of real estate inordinately valuable. After three decades of service that included hosting the NCAA Men's Final Four Basketball Tournament and a number of other major sporting events, the arena was closed on July 1, 2008, and demolished a little over a year later. (101)
The same type of lifecycle applied to the property on which La Reunion had existed, if only briefly. Even before the colony's structures had been devoured by Lone Star Cement's limestone-consuming kilns, external forces had begun to target the colony lands for new construction. In 1943, the war effort dictated that 1,000 temporary houses be built across La Reunion's grounds to accommodate demands for housing workers in the region's defense plants. (102) Following V-J Day two years later, the hastily built structures were abandoned, leaving a blight on the neighborhood until they were torn down and the land sold in 1954. (103) By 1962, Dallas's post-war "building boom" had reached the colony lands, which now resembled an industrial wasteland. Sensing profit even among the ruins, Herman Loupot, a descendant of colonist Jean Loupot, constructed 175 brick homes where the wartime structures had stood. (104) A little over a decade later, a neighborhood elementary school and a bulk mail center were built in the vicinity of this housing development. (105)
Even in the decade that preceded all of this new construction, the colony site had been so overwhelmed by new structures that only one acre of the land purchased for Considerant by Cantagrel in 1855 was left in its pristine state. (106) The passing years, filled with illegal immigration and high crime rates, have not been kind to the neighborhood of La Reunion, which has increasingly been covered with derelict housing and mounds of garbage. Growing away from the early site that in some ways had defined it, Dallas, now a burgeoning metropolis, seemed to have little use for the site of the "Old French Colony." After formally promising in 1973 and again in 1987 to maintain its burying ground (the Fish Trap Cemetery named after the colonists' method of fishing in the Trinity River with willow traps), a string of city administrations, beginning in the 1990s, allowed the site, the final resting place of Julien Riverchon and many other colonists, to become thoroughly overgrown and clogged with refuse. (107) In the summer of 2010, municipal officials were called to task for their failure to preserve La Reunion's physical remains. Consequently, volunteers from the trans-Trinity River community and the former town of Oak Cliff have made the upkeep of the French cemetery a project that defines their community identity. (108)
Whereas all Fourierist phalanxes established in antebellum America vanished "at the touch of experience,'' (109) La Reunion adapted itself to a much larger myth, that of the great city that grew up around it. Like the Reunion Tower that overlooks the limestone bluffs where the colony once stood and John Neeley Bryan's cabin that constituted the core of early Dallas, the life and after-life of the "Old French Colony" has cast its light in a random fashion over its adopted hometown for the last century-and-a-half.
(1) Marcus Lee Hansen, The Atlantic Migration, 1607-1860 (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1960), 3.
(2) The most significant of these religious settlements were New Lebanon (Pennsylvania), Oneida (New York), Salt Lake City (Utah), and Zoar (Ohio). The principle secular communities of a communal nature were Brook Farm (Massachusetts), Nauvoo (Illinois), New Harmony (Indiana), and the North American Phalanx (New Jersey). See Brian J.L. Berry, America's Utopian Experiments: Communal Havens from Long-Wave Crises (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1992), 50-52, 57-83, 90-91; Robert Bruce Flanders, Nauvoo: Kingdom on the Mississippi (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975); Octavius Brooks Frothingham, Transcendentalism in New England: A History (New York: G.F. Putnam's Sons, 1876; repr., Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1972), 157-69; Charles Nordoff, The Communistic Societies of the United States from Personal Observations (New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1875; repr., New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1966), 333-39; Ronald G. Walters, American Reformers, 1815-1860 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1978), 50-60.
(3) Berry, America's Utopian Experiments, 83-92.
(4) Fourier's ideas led to the formation of phalanx colonies between 1841 and 1858 in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. None of these ventures lasted longer than a decade; the majority disbanded in less than three years. See Frank E. Manuel and Fritzie P. Manuel, Utopian Thought in the Western World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979), 641-75; Frederick Engels, Socialism Utopian and Scientific, trans, by Edward Aveling (New York: International Publishers, 1935), 39; Carl J. Guarneri, The Utopian Alternative: Fourierism in Nineteenth-Century America (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991), 15-20; Berry, America's Utopian Experiments, 85-86; Walters, American Reformers, 1815-1860, 67-75.
(5) Robert Owen, a British factory magnate, established his first communal enterprise in 1800 for the workers of his factory in New Lanark, Scotland. He replicated the experiment in 1825 at New Harmony, Indiana. Between 1826 and 1845, his followers set up similar settlements in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. They all failed within two years. See Manuel and Manuel, Utopian Thought in the Western World, 676-93; Arthur Bestor, Backwoods Utopia: The Sectarian Origins and the Owenite Phase of Communitarian Socialista in America, 1663-1829 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1959), 60-93. Frank Podmore, Robert Owen: A Biography, 2 vols. (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1906; repr., New York: Haskell House Publishers, Ltd., 1971); Berry, America's Utopian Experiments, 56-57; Walters, American Reformers, 1815-1860, 61-67, 72-75.
(6) George Ripley, "White Slavery," Harbinger 5 (August 14, 1847): 160; Albert Brisbane, Social Destiny of Man or Association and Reorganization of Industry (Philadelphia: C.E Stollmeyer, 1840; repr., New York: Burt Franklin, 1969), 97-101.
(7) Ray Allen Billington, The Protestant Crusade, 1800-1860: A Study of the Origins of American Nativism (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1964), 380-430; John R. Mulkern, The Know-Nothing Party in Massachusetts: The Rise and Fall of a People's Movement (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1990), 61-86. See also Michael E Holt, "The Politics of Impatience: The Origins of Know Nothingism," Journal of American History 60, no. 2 (September 1973):309-31; Tyler Anbinder, Nativism & Slavery: The Northern Know Nothings & the Politics of the 1850s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 3-161.
(8) The empresario system, which began under Mexican rule, relied on the salesmanship of land agents such as Henri Castro, Charles Mercer, and W.J. Peters. These empresarios were given tracts of Texas territory of up to 20,000 acres for settlement and then appealed to settlers to populate the land. For every ten sections of land settled, the agent claimed one section for his own use. See Walter Struve, Germans & Texans: Commerce, Migration, and Culture in the Days of the Lone Star Republic (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1996), 42, 46-50; E.C. Barker, "Notes on the Colonization of Texas," Mississippi Valley Historical Review 10, no. 2 (September 1923): 141-52; Mary Virginia Henderson, "Minor Empresario Contracts for the Colonization of Texas, 1825-1834," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 31, no. 4 (April 1928):245-324; Archie P. McDonald, "Anglo-American Arrival in Texas," in The Texas Heritage, eds. Ben Procter and Archie P. McDonald (Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson, 1998), 16-17, 24-27; Seymour V. Connor, The Peters Company of Texas (Austin, TX: Texas State Historical Society, 1959), 2-21; Seymour V. Connor, "A Statistical Review of the Settlement of the Peters Company (1841-1848)," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 57, no. 1 (July 1953):38-64.
(9) H.A.C. Collingham, The July Monarchy." A Political History of France, 1830-1848 (London: Longman, 1988), 406-10; Priscilla Robertson, Revolutions of 1848: A Short History (Princeton, N J: Princeton University Press, 1952: repr., New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1960).
(10) Jules Prudhommeaux, Icarie et son Jondateur, Etienne Cabet [Icarie and Its Founder, Etienne Cabet](Paris: E. Cornely, 1907; repr., Philadelphia: Porcupine Press, 1972), 223-28, 232-34; Albert Shaw, Icaria: A Chapter in the History of Communism (New York: G.P. Putnam & Sons, 1884), 20-23, 33-42.
(11) By the time the Icarians had reached Texas in 1848, the large empresario contract system of land development was quickly becoming a thing of the past. Though some additional contracts had been issued to W.S. Peters during the 1840s, the Republic's Congress attempted to outlaw all land settlement by empresarios in 1844. The disputes this caused were finally settled in 1848 after a long legal battle that favored the congressional position. This change in settlement rules took effect shortly before Cabet's "soldiers" came to Texas. Reuben McKitrick, The Public Land System of Texas, 1823-1910 (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1918), 46-47; Christopher H. Johnson, Utopian Communities in France: Cabet and the Icarians, 1839-1851 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1974), 282-83; Christopher H. Johnson, "Communism and the Working Class Before Marx: The Icarian Experience," American Historical Review 76, no. 3 (June 1971):281-82; Henry Wade, "Les Communistes in East Texas," East Texas Historical Association 24, no. 1 (April 1986):16-17, 19-25.
(12) Shaw, Icaria, 20; Wade, "Les Communistes in East Texas," 16-17; Robin W. Doughty, At Home in Texas: Early Views of the Land (College Station, TX: Texas A & M Press, 1987), 116.
(13) [Anonymous,] "Au Texas: Apercus biographiques sur quelques members de la colonie de Reunion" [To Texas: Biographical Glimpses of Some Members of the Colony of Reunion], Cahiers Charles Fourier [Notebooks of Charles Fourier] 4 (1993):109-10; Eusibia Lutz, "Almost Utopia," Southern Review 14 (Spring 1929):322; Maurice Dommanget, Victor Considerant: Son Vie et Oeuvre [Victor Considerant: His Life and Work] (Paris: Editions Socials Internationals, 1929), 3-4; Hubert Bourgin, Victor Considerant, Son Oeuvre [Victor Considerant, His Work] (Lyon: Imprimeries Reunies, 1909), 99-101; Rondel Von Davidson, Did We Think Victory Great--The Life and Times of Victor Considerant (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1988), 33-106; Jonathan Beecher, Victor Considerant and the Rise and Fall of French Romantic Socialism (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2001), 391-93.
(14) Lutz, "Almost Utopia," 323; Russell M. Jones, "Victor Considerant's American Experience (1852-1869)," French-American Review 1, no. 3 (Fall 1976):83-85; George H. Santerre, White Cliffs of Dallas: The Story of La Reunion, The Old French Colony (Dallas, TX: Book Craft, 1955), 29-30; J.B. Andre Godin, "Documents pour un biografie complete" [Documents for a Complete Biography], Le Devoir [The Duty] 24 (1900): 194-95. For details on the early settlement of Dallas, see John William Rogers, The Lusty Texans of Dallas (Dallas, TX: Cokesbury Books Store, 1965), 25-76.
(15) William J. Hammond and Margaret F. Hammond, La Reunion: A French Settlement in Texas (Dallas, TX: Royal Publishing Company, 1958), 52; Victor Considerant, European Colonization in Texas: An Address to the American People (New York: Barker, Godwin, 1855), 58-60; James Pratt "Jeudi, 22 Decembre 1854: Les premiers fourieristes foulent le sol du Texas," [Thursday, December 22, 1854: The First Fourierists Tread the Soil of Texas], Cahiers Charles Fourier [Notebooks of Charles Fourier] 4 (1993):28-39; Godin, "Documents pour un biografie complete" [Documents for a Complete Biography], Le Devoir [The Duty] 25 (1901): 11-18; Santerre, White Cliffs of Dallas, 32; Lutz, "Almost Utopia," 324; Beecher, Victor Considerant and the Rise and Fall of French Romatic Socialism, 320-21.
(16) Victor Considerant, The Great West: A New Social and Industrial Life in its Fertile Regions (New York: Deweitt & Davenport, 1854), 19, 22-24, 31-37, 44; Victor Considerant, Au Texas [To Texas] (Paris: Libarie Phalansterience, 1855; repr., Philadelphia: Porcupine Press, 1975), 324; Santerre, White Cliffs of Dallas, 77-79, 85.
(17) [Anonymous,] Twelve Years Afterwards, Paris, June, 1858, trans, by James Philipps (Dallas, TX: DeGoyler Foundation Library, 1963), 3; Jean Journet, Documents Apostoliques et Propheties [Apostolic and Prophetic Documents] (Paris: F. Moreau, 1858), 154-74; Lutz, "Almost Utopia," 326.
(18) Velma Irene Sandell, "The Effect of the Assimilation of the La Reunion Colonists on the Development of Dallas and Dallas County" (MA Thesis, University of North Texas, 1986), 29-43; Santerre, White Cliffs of Dallas, 36-37; Lutz, "Almost Utopia," 32-35; Guarneri, Utopian Alternative, 172. Franqois Cantagrel, the agent who had purchased the colony land, was said to have exclaimed when he saw the new arrivals from Europe: "Mon Dieu, I am sent here to direct an agricultural colony and have no agriculture to direct." Quoted in "Old French Colony," Dallas Morning News, January 25, 1891, pt. 3, 1 [N.B. Unless otherwise indicated, all citations to the Dallas Morning News between 1885 and 1977 are drawn from the Historical Archive on the Dallas Morning News website (http://www.dallasnews.com). This electronic newspaper file exactly reproduces the newspapers and indicates the page reference for each article cited from this source.].
(19) Twelve Years Afterwards, Paris 1858, 3.
(20) "Old French Colony," Dallas Morning News, January 25, 1891, pt. 3, 1; Lutz, "Almost Utopia," 326; Santerre, White Cliffs of Dallas, 44-46.
(21) Lutz, "Almost Utopia," 326; "Au Texas" [To Texas], 188. The trip of Jean and Francois Loupot to the colony was typical. Leaving Anvers in November 1855, they arrived at New Orleans on December 12 and Galveston shortly afterwards. Jean reached the colony on February 24, 1856; his uncle, who was taken sick in Palestine, Texas, did not reach La Reunion until the end of the year. For the origin of the colony's name, see Santerre, White Cliffs of Dallas, 81.
(22) Considerant, Great West, 44.
(23) The schedule that the colonists soon fell into was as follows: breakfast (4:00-4:20 a.m.); work (4:30-10:30 a.m.); lunch and rest (11:00 a.m.-2:30p.m.); work and afternoon break (2:30-7:00 p.m.); and, dinner (7:30 p.m.). Godin, "Documents pour un biographie complete" [Documents for a Complete Biography], Le Devoir [The Duty] 25 (1901):452.
(24) "Old French Colony," Dallas Morning News, January 25, 1891, pt. 3, 1; Santerre, White Cliffs of Dallas, 47-51; Hammond and Hammond, La Reunion, 103-05; Rogers, The Lusty Texans of Dallas, 82-83.
(25) "Old French Colony," Dallas Morning News, January 25, 1891, pt. 3, 1; Santerre, White Cliffs of Dallas, 45, 53-55, 300; Godin, "Documents pour un biographie complete" [Documents for a Complete Biography], Le Devoir [The Duty] 25 (1901):457-58. Considerant was the only member of La Reunion who spoke English well. The changes in weather that the colonists encountered were drastic, ranging from drought in late 1856 to a late winter, complete with snow, in the spring of 1857. For a description of north Texas weather in late 1850s, see Considerant, Great West, 12-18.
(26) Guarneri, Utopian Alternative, 124-30, 170; Mark Holloway, Heavens on Earth: Utopian Communities in America, 1680-1880 (New York: Literary Publishers, 1951; repr., New York, Dover Publications, Inc., 1966), 144.
(27) Joyce Oramel Hertzler, The History of Utopian Thought (New York: MacMillan Company, 1926), 200-01; Rondel Von Davidson, "Victor Considerant and the Failure of La Reunion," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 76, no. 3 (January 1973):292-93; Hammond and Hammond, La Reunion, 107-08; Santerre, White Cliffs of Dallas, 65-66; "Au Texas" [To Texas], 104-08. Considerant was the only president of the colony. Francois Cantagrel, the colony's first director, lost his job in July 1856. Allyre Bureau, Cantagrel's successor, oversaw the dissolution of the colony in 1858.
(28) Victor Considerant, Du Texas: Premier rapport a mes amis [In Texas: First Report to My Friends] (Paris: Librarie Societaire: 1857), 7-8; Jonathan Beecher, "Une utopie manque Au Texas: Victor Considerant et Reunion" [A Failed Utopia in Texas: Victor Considerant and Reunion], Cahiers Charles Fourier [Notebooks of Charles Fourier] 4 (1993):68-69, 73; Beecher, Victor Considerant and the Rise and Fall of French Romantic Socialism, 340-41; Hammond and Hammond, La Reunion, 109.
(29) Considerant, Du Texas [In Texas], 10; Augustin Savardin, Un Naufrage au Texas. Observations et impressions recueillies pendant duex ans et demi au Texas et a travers les Etats-Unis [A Shipwreck in Texas: Observations and Impressions of Two-and-a-half Years in Texas and Across the United States] (Paris: Garnier Freres, 1858), 182-86; Gabrielle Rey, Le Fourieriste Allyre Bureau (1810-1859)[The Fourierist, Allyre Bureau, 1810-1859] (Aix en Provence: La Pensee Universitaire, 1969), 470-710; Beecher, "Une utopie manque Au Texas" [A Failed Utopia in Texas], 73-74.
(30) Beecher, Victor Considerant and the Rise and Fall of French Romantic Socialism, 33-34; Twelve Years Afterwards, Paris 1858, 11-12.
(31) Godin, "'Documents pour un biographie complete" [Documents for a Complete Biography], Le Devoir [The Duty] 25 (1901):65-69.
(32) Beecher, "Une utopie manque Au Texas" [A Failed Utopia in Texas], 64-65; Beecher, Victor Considerant and the Rise and Fall of French Romantic Socialism, 342-43; Violet M. Baird, "Auguste Savardan and the 'Great Society' on the Trinity," Texana 5, no. 1 (Winter 1967):53-57.
(33) Twelve Years Afterwards, Paris, 1858, 10; Hammond and Hammond, La Reunion, 109-10.
(34) Beecher, "Un utopie manque Au Texas" [A Failed Utopia in Texas], 75; Twelve Years Afterwards, Paris, 1858, 7-8; Lutz, "Almost Utopia," 328-29.
(35) Twelve Years Afterwards, Paris, 1858, 7, 12; "Old French Colony," Dallas Morning News, January 25, 1891, pt. 3, 1. The short-lived spin-off settlements from La Reunion were Moon's Lake and Mantuelle.
(36) Hammond and Hammond, La Reunion, 75-76; Richard B. Morris, ed., Encyclopedia of American History (New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1953), 668.
(37) In February 1855, the Dallas Herald hailed the establishment of La Reunion as an event that would strengthen the north Texas community, both economically and culturally. The Galveston News predicted that La Reunion, if successful, would usher in for mankind "a high degree of civilization," but feared that "discord ... [could] cause it to riot in infamy." Both newspapers are quoted in Hammond and Hammond, La Reunion, 74-75.
(38) Victor Considerant, A Petition to the Honorable, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Texas (Austin, TX: [n.p.], 1855), 5; W. Darrell Overdike, The Know-Nothing Party in the South (Baton Rogue, LA: Louisiana University Press, 1950); Sister Paul of the Cross McGrath, Political Nativism in Texas, 1825-1860 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University Press of America, 1930); Hammond and Hammond, La Reunion, 64-65, 69-73; Lutz, "Almost Utopia," 327; Von Davidson, Did We Think Victory Great, 261-62; Litha Crews, "The Know Nothing Party in Texas" (MA Thesis, University of Texas, 1925), 56-57, 61-62.
(39) Texas State Gazette, February 17, 1855, quoted in Crews, "The Know Nothing Party in Texas," 56-57. See also Von Davidson, Did We Think Victory Great, 261-62; Hammond and Hammond, La Reunion, 67-69.
(40) Texas State Gazette, June 2, 1855, quoted in Crews, "The Know Nothing Party in Texas," 61.
(41) Texas State Gazette, August 11, 1855, quoted in Crews, "The Know Nothing Party in Texas," 61-62.
(42) Considerant, European Colonization in Texas, 6, 27.
(43) Considerant, A Petition to the Honorable, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Texas, 9-11; McKitrick, Public Land System of Texas, 1823-1910, 47-49. This system consisted of the waiving of competition for land between settlers if one of them put up a down payment for the land (usually pennies per acre) and then settled it.
(44) Rupert N. Richardson, Texas: The Lone Star State (Englewood Cliffs, N J: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1964), 130-31; Michael L. Collins, "Statehood, 1845-1860," in Texas Heritage, eds. Proctor and McDonald, 58-59.
(45) Considerant, European Colonization in Texas, 7-8, 31, 37; Crews, "The Know Nothing Party in Texas," 63-64; Hammond and Hammond, La Reunion, 76; "The Dallas Herald and M. Considerant," Texas State Times, October 6, 1855, [no page], typed copy in the Homer DeGolyer Collection [herafter HDGC], Box C, File C-13, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.
(46) Considerant, Du Texas [In Texas], 2, 7; Savardan, Un Naufrage au Texas [A Shipwreck in Texas], 157, 473-74.
(47) Beecher, Victor Considerant and the Rise and Fall of French Romantic Socialism, 349-61, 424-45.
(48) For details on the Fourierist doctrine of free love, see Guarneri, Utopian Alternative, 353-63.
(49) "O1d French Colony," Dallas Morning News, January 25, 1891, pt. 3, 1.
(50) Beecher, Victor Considerant and the Rise and Fall of French Romantic Socialism, 337-38; "Old French Colony," Dallas Morning News, January 25, 1891, pt. 3, 1. For the full text of the anthem, sung to the tune of La Marseilles, see Santerre, White Cliffs of Dallas, 54-56; Godin, "Documents pour un biographie complete" [Documents for a Complete Biography] Le Devoir [The Duty] 25 (1901):395-97.
(51) Rogers, The Lusty Texans of Dallas, 80; "Old French Colony," Dallas Morning News, January 25, 1891, pt. 3, 1. One of the first such vintners in Dallas county was a Frenchmen involved with the Icaria venture named Gounant who sold his home brew for a dollar a bottle. The most important of the socialist winemakers was Jean Loupot.
(52) "French Colonists in Dallas," Dallas Morning News, April 26, 1903, 14, in HDGC, Box C, File C-62.
(53) Considerant, Au Texas, 245-69; Louise Estelle Bryan, "Considerant and His Texas Utopia" (MA Thesis, Southern Methodist University, 1924), 37-38; [no title,] Dallas Herald, August 16, 1856, 2, in HDGC, Box C, File C-22.
(54) "French Colonists in Dallas," Dallas Morning News, April 26, 1903, 14, in HDGC, Box C, File C-62.
(55) District Court Minutes, Dallas County, Case No. 308: Ross v. Considerant, State of Texas, 9th District Court, October 26, 1855; Case No. 309: Come v. Considerant, State of Texas, 9'h District Court, November 1, 1855; Case 310: Priot v. Considerant, State of Texas, 9th District Court, November 5, 1855; Case 311: Bowie v. Considerant, State of Texas, 9th District Court, November 10, 1855; Case No. 312: Despard v. Considerant, State of Texas, 9th District Court, November 10, 1855; Twelve Years Afterwards, Paris, 1858, 7-11; Hammond and Hammond, La Reunion, 112-13.
(56) "Citation: The State of Texas," Dallas Daily Times Herald, October 7, 1890, 6, in "La Reunion Articles, Dallas County, Texas," Jim Wheat's Dallas County Texas Archives, http://freepages.history.rootsweb. ancestry.com/~wheat/reunionart.html (accessed July 10, 2010); Rogers, The Lusty Texans of Dallas, 84; Bryan, "Considerant and His Texas Utopia," 49; Sandell, "The Effect of the Assimilation of the La Reunion Colonists on the Development of Dallas and Dallas County," 55-56.
(57) Twelve Years Afterwards, Paris, 1858, 9; "Old French Colony," Dallas Morning News, January 25, 1891, pt. 3, 1; "French Colonists in Dallas," Dallas Morning News, April 26, 1903, 14, in HDGC, Box C, File C-62.
(58) "Cedar Mountain," Clarksville Northern Standard, July 3, 1858, pts. 2-3, 4, in HDGC, Box C, C-31.
(59) "The Dallas Herald and M. Considerant," Texas State Times, October 6, 1855, [no page], in HDGC, Box C, C-13.
(60) "Dallas in the French Parliament," Dallas Herald, May 6, 1876, [no page], in HDGC, Box C, File C-56; "Street Name," Dallas Morning News, February 22, 1886, 8, in HDGC, Box C, File C-60; "Old French Colony," Dallas Morning News, January 30, 1891, pt. 3, 1. Cantagrel was so well thought of that an official photograph taken in conjunction with his election was on display in the Dallas courthouse for years after his service had ended. The honor of street naming was tarnished by the misspelling of Cantagrel's name, a faux pas repeated by the city of Dallas when naming a street for colonist Jean Loupot. Dallas streets were also named for colonists J.F. Barbier and Emil Remond.
(61) For details on Texas during the secession crisis, see Richardson, Texas, 183-85; Alwyn Barr, "Change and Continuity in Texas during the Civil War and Reconstruction," in Texas Heritage, eds. Proctor and McDonald, 67-68; Anne Irene Sandbo, "Beginnings of the Secession Movement in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 18, no. 1 (April 1914):41-73; Anne Irene Sandbo, "The First Session of the Secession Convention of Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 18, no. 2 (June 1914):162-94.
(62) Considerant, European Colonization in Texas, 37.
(63) "O1d French Colony," Dallas Morning News, January 25, 1891, pt. 3, 1. For the steady increase of the slave population in Texas in the decades before the American Civil War, see Texas House of Representatives, A Report and Treatise on Slavery and the Slavery Agitation (Austin, TX: State of Texas, 1857), 12; Richardson, Texas, 162. The slave population in Texas was 5,000 in 1836; 58,000 in 1850; 125,240 in 1857; and, 150,000 in 1860.
(64) For Franco-American attitudes toward secession, see Ella Lonn, Foreigners in the Confederacy (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1940; repr., Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1965), 53.
(65) "Life of Prof. Remond," Dallas Morning News, May 27, 1906, 14, in HDGC, Box C, File C-64.
(66) Sandell, "The Effect of the Assimilation of the La Reunion Colonists on the Development of Dallas and Dallas County," 79.
(67) "Life of Prof. Remond," Dallas Morning News, June 10, 1906, 14.
(68) "French Colonists in Dallas," Dallas Morning News, April 26, 1903, 14; "Life of Prof. Remond," Dallas Morning News, May 27, 1906, 14, in HDGC, Box C, File C-64; Sandell, "The Effect of the Assimilation of the La Reunion Colonists and the Development of Dallas and Dallas County," 76-77; Bryan, "Considerant and His Texas Utopia," 48-49.
(69) Sandell, "The Effect of the Assimilation of the La Reunion Colonists on the Development of Dallas and Dallas County," 77-78.
(70) "Old French Colony," Dallas Morning News, January 25, 1891, pt. 3, 1; "French Colonists in Dallas," Dallas Morning News, April 26, 1903, 14, in HDGC, Box C, File C-62. For Lone Star Cement Company and community, Cement City, which developed on lands north of La Reunion, see Texas/Dallas History: Dallas Public Library, "Cement City Collection," http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/ dalpub/00409/dpub-00409.html#scapegoat (accessed July 8, 2010).
(71) "Dallas Conty Tax Rolls 1860," in HDGC, Box C, File C-40.
(72) "Treasure-Trove," Dallas Herald, July 24, 1875, [no page], in HDGC, Box C, File C-54.
(73) Sandell, "The Effect of the Assimilation of the La Reunion Colonists on the Development of Dallas and Dallas County," 37.
(74) For the influence of Reconstruction on Texas politics, see Alwyn Barr, Reconstruction to Reform: Texas Politics, 1876-1906 (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1971; repr., Dallas, TX: Southern Methodist University Press, 2000); Carl H. Moneyhan, Texas after the
Civil War: The Struggle of Reconstruction (College Station, TX: Texas A & M Press, 2004); Charles W. Ramsdell, Reconstruction in Texas (New York: Columbia University Press, 1910; repr., Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1964); Patrick G. Williams, Beyond Redemption: Texas Democrats After Reconstruction (College Station, TX: Texas A & M Press, 2007). For the text of the Reconstruction Act of 1867, see "First Congressional Reconstruction Act," in Documents in Texas History, eds. Ernest Wallace, David M. Vigress, and George B. Ward (Austin, TX: Texas State Historical Association, 2002), 204-05.
(75) For the impact of Reconstruction on Southern party politics, see Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877 (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1988), 346-79.
(76) Sandell, "The Effect of the Assimilation of the La Reunion Colonists on the Development of Dallas and Dallas County," 81-82. The 1868 slate included John Barbier (marshall), Alexis Barbier (assistant marshall), A.J. Gouffre (treasurer), and Henry Boll and Jean Loupot (aldermen).
(77) "Election of Ben Long," Dallas Herald, November 23, 1872, [no page], in HDGC, Box C, File C-51. During Long's first term as mayor, ex-colonists Henry Boll served as municipal treasurer and both Charles Capy and M. Thevenel as aldermen.
(78) W.S. Adair, "Reunion Was Settled in May, 1856, Close to Cement City," Dallas Morning News, September 12, 1926, sec. 3, 14.
(79) Rogers, The Lusty Texans of Dallas, 140-41.
(80) Samuel W. Geiser, Naturalists of the Frontier, 2nd ed. (Dallas, TX: Southern Methodist University Press, 1948); Clinton E Hartman, "Jacob Boll (1828-1880)," Handbook of Texas Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/ online/articles/BB/fbo7.html (accessed June 22, 2010).
(81) John Jenkins Perez, "Julien Riverchon (1837-1905)," Handbook of Texas Online, http://wwwtshaonline.org/handbook/ online/articles/Bb/fbo7.html (accessed July 10, 2010).
(82) Sandell, "The Effect of the Assimilation of the La Reunion Colonists on the Development of Dallas and Dallas County," 33-34; Paul Crume, "Early Settler Revisits French Colony Ruins," Dallas Morning News, July 24, 1938, sec. 2, 1.
(83) "Life of Prof. Remond," Dallas Morning News, May 27, 1906, 14, in HDGC, Box C, File C-64; "The French and the Cement Industry," Dallas Morning News, January 22, 1968, 2.
(84) Sandell, "The Effect of the Assimilation of the La Reunion Colonists on the Development of Dallas and Dallas County," 28-41; Godin, "Documents pour un biographie complete" [Documents for a Complete Biography], Le Devoir [The Duty] 25 (1901):70.
(85) Sandell, "The Effect of the Assimilation of the La Reunion Colonists on the Development of Dallas and Dallas County," 36, 69; [no title,] Dallas Herald, June 2, 1866, in "La Reunion Articles, Dallas County, Texas," Jim Wheat's Dallas County Texas Archives, http://freepages.history. rootsweb.ancestry.com/jwheat/reunionart.html (accessed July 10, 2010). A good example of La Reunion's horticultural influence was a giant lily brought from France asa bulb and then transplanted by the colonists several times. A century later, the plant still prospered, producing several generations of descendants. "Giant Lily Traced To French Colony," Dallas Morning News, August 2, 1953, 9.
(86) "Dallas Public Library," Dallas Morning News, September 20, 1899, 10; Sandell, "The Effect of the Assimilation of the La Reunion Colonists on the Development of Dallas and Dallas County," 96-104.
(87) Quoted in David W. Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001), 1.
(88) "Life of Prof. Remond," Dallas Morning News, May 27, 1906, 14, in HDGC, Box C, File C-62; "Survivors of Colony," Dallas Morning News, May 31, 1906, 9; George Santerre, "La Reunion Daughter Recalls," Dallas Morning News, July 11, 1956, 2.
(89) "Marker to be Placed at Site of Early French Colony," Dallas Morning News, May 4, 1924, 1; "Granite Marker on the Site of Old Colony Unveiled," Dallas Morning News, May 7, 1924, 13; "La Reunion Shrine Endorsed By Local Historical Society," Dallas Morning News, March 28, 1936, 2; Texas Historical Markers, s.v., "La Reunion-Dallas, Dallas County, Texas"; "La Reunion Cemetery-Dallas, Dallas County, Texas," www.9key.com/marker detail.asp?atlas number (accessed July 10, 2010).
(90) "History of La Reunion Related to Credit Men," Dallas Morning News, May 1, 1936, 3; "La Reunion is Test Center for Good Neighbor Theories," Dallas Morning News, January 15, 1944, 3; "La Reunion Descendants Hear Stories of Colony," Dallas Morning News, January 17, 1955, 3.
(91) Eloise Santerre, Reunion: A Translation of Dr. Savardan's "Un naufrage au Texas" (Dallas, TX: [n.p.], 1936); George Santerre, White Cliffs of Dallas; Benjamin Capps, The Brothers of Uterica (New York: Meredith Press, 1967); "Reunion Recalled in Book," Dallas Morning News, September 11, 1955, 2; "A Texas Utopia: Capps' New Novel," Dallas Morning News, December 24, 1967, 8.
(92) Steve Blow, "Dallas Gets Its Start With Socialist, French Settlers," Dallas Morning News, June 12, 2005, Story Archives, http://www.dallasnews.com (accessed July 10, 2010); "La Reunion 150th Anniversary Celebration Draws Descendants," The Inkwell (Fall 2005):1, 3.
(93) "Architect to Make La Reunion Building Replicas," Dallas Morning News, December 7, 1934, 1.
(94) "Reminder of the Past," Dallas Morning News, September 10, 1933, 14.
(95) Most of the evidence for this process comes from the Dallas Morning News's historical archive. Unfortunately, with the closing of the Dallas Times Herald in 1991, such documentation from that paper is not readily available to the researcher.
(96) "John Loupot Dead," Dallas Morning News, October 8, 1904, 5; "E. Remond Critically Ill," Dallas Morning News, May 21, 1906, 5; "Old French Colonist Dies in Dallas Home," Dallas Morning News, April 6, 1912, 11; "Aged Dallas Resident Dies at Oak Cliff Home," Dallas Morning News, August 26, 1923, 3; "Mrs. Capy of Old French Colony Dies," Dallas Morning News, January 10, 1929, 13; "Emile Cretien, Native of Reunion, Dies," Dallas Morning News, April 15, 1931, 7; "Early French Settler's Granddaughter to Wed," Dallas Morning News, January 21, 1934, 3; "First Person Born at La Reunion Dies," Dallas Morning News, July 18, 1936, 12; "Old French Colonist Dies. Rites Monday," Dallas Morning News, December 18, 1936, 6; "Death Claims Another Member of Santerre Clan. Woman Born on Site of Records Building," Dallas Morning News, May 16, 1939, 7; "Emile Voirin, 75, Dies At His Home," Dallas Morning News, October 22, 1943, 3; "Mrs. Santerre Succumbs At Home of Son," Dallas Morning News, May 1, 1948, 4; "Jacob Boll Dies At Home. Rites Today," Dallas Morning News, December 6, 1952, 4; "Lifetime Dallas Resident, Miss Minnie Louckx, Dies," Dallas Morning News, April 30, 1953, 14; "Max Loupot, La Reunion Native, Dies," Dallas Morning News, December 24, 1953, 7; "La Reunion Native To Reach 92," Dallas Morning News, October 29, 1966.
(97) Louella Styles Vincent, "Death of Last Survivor of Old French Colony Revives Memories of Its Interesting Projectors," Dallas Daily Times Herald, August 12, 1923, sec. 4, 2, in "La Reunion Articles, Dallas County, Texas," Jim Wheat's Dallas County State Archives, http://freepages.history.rootsweb. ancestry.com/~jwheat/reunionart.html (accessed July 10, 2010); "Ms Roessler Who Was Born in La Reunion Colony Dies," Dallas Morning News, November 24, 1951, 11.
(98) Louella Styles Vincent, "Death of Last Survivor of Old French Colony Revives Memories of Its Interesting Projectors," Dallas Daily Times Herald, August 12, 1923, sec. 4, 2, in "La Reunion Articles, Dallas County, Texas," Jim Wheat's Dallas County State Archives, http://freepages.history.rootsweb. ancestry.com/~jwheat/reunionart.html (accessed July 10, 2010).
(99) The general historical accounts of La Reunion were published in the following editions of the Dallas Morning News: "Old French Colony," Dallas Morning News, January 25, 1891, pt. 3, 1; "French Colonists in Dallas," Dallas Morning News, Apri1 26, 1903, 14, in HDGC, Box C, File C-62; "Names of Colonists," Dallas Morning News, June 3, 1906, 14: "Some of the Oldest Citizens of This Place Give Reminiscences of Days When Dallas Was Only a Struggling Little Town," Dallas Morning News, October 1, 1910, 14; "The Story of the Old Frenchtown," Dallas Morning News, November 23, 1919, 6; "The Story of the Old French Colony," Dallas Morning News, June 15, 1924, 11; "Establishment of Old French Colony, Romantic Episode," Dallas Morning News, October 4, 1925, 3; W.S. Adair, "Old French Settlement Near Dallas Had Many Splendid Citizens," Dallas Morning News, March 22, 1926 [Magazine Section]; "When Dallas Folk Wore Wooden Shoes," Dallas Morning News, December 18, 1927, 1; "Haunted Into A Century of Silence," Dallas Morning News, November 8, 1931, 4; "Utopian Dream of French End in La Reunion," Dallas Morning News, August 21, 1932, 5; "More Families in Dallas Tied to the French Colony," Dallas Morning News, August 28, 1932, 5; "Crumbling Stone House Remains Monument to Utopian Vision," Dallas Morning News, October 8, 1933, 2; "Old French Colony Ruins," Dallas Morning News, June 7, 1936, 2; Kenneth Foree, "Backyard Burials, Not Murder Cases," Dallas Morning News, February 27, 1948, 2; "Picture of La Reunion," Dallas Morning News, May 30, 1963, 2; "Utopia Lies Off Singleton," Dallas Morning News, July 15, 1964, 5; "Dr. Savardan Served in La Reunion," Dallas Morning News, July 1, 1968, 2; "Considerant Founded French Colony," Dallas Morning News, March 13, 1972, 2. Individual reminiscences were published in the following editions of the Dallas Herald and Dallas Morning News: [no title,] Dallas Herald, January 25, 1860, 2; "Treasure-Trove," Dallas Herald, July 24, 1875, [no page], in HDGC, Box C, File C-54; "Life of Prof. Remond," Dallas Morning News, May 27, 1906, 14, in HDGC, Box C, File C-64; "Tales of Early Days," Dallas Morning News, June 10, 1906, 3; "Parents Settled in Old French Colony," Dallas Morning News, May 6, 1924, 4; "Communist Colony Failed Here," Dallas Morning News, June 20, 1926, sec. 4, 10; W.S. Adair, "Saw Herds of Stock Driven Through City," Dallas Morning News, September 12, 1926, sec. 3, 14; Paul Crume, "Early Settler Revisits French Colony Ruins," Dallas Morning News, July 24, 1938, sec. 2, 1: "Texas Pioneer Who Spoke French Before English Observes Birthday in Dallas," Dallas Morning News, August 12, 1939, 7; George Santerre, "'La Reunion Daughter Recalls," Dallas Morning News, July 1l, 1956, 2.
(100) Patrick M. Reynolds, "La Reunion," (Texas Lore), Dallas Morning News, January 17, 1999, 44A; "La Reunion Failed," (Texas Lore), Dallas Morning News, January 24, 1999, 46A.
(101) "Council Closes Reunion Arena in Dallas After 29-Year Run," Dallas Morning News, July 26, 2008, Story Archive, http://www.dallasnews.com (accessed July 10, 2010); "Demolition of Reunion Arena Will Take Longer Than Planned," Dallas Morning News, August 11, 2009, Story Archive, http://www.dallasnews.com (accessed July 10, 2010); "Demolition Crews Collapse Roof of Dallas' Reunion Arena," Dallas Morning News, November 19, 2009, Story Archive, http://www.dallasnews.com (accessed July 10, 2010).
(102) "200 Acres Added for War Housing," Dallas Morning News, September 10, 1943, 1; "Contract Will Be Let Monday for Building 1000 War Houses," Dallas Morning News, September 19, 1943, 1; "Work Starts Wednesday on Houses at La Reunion," Dallas Morning News, September 21, 1943, 1; "First Families Move to Reunion Homes," Dallas Morning News, December 3, 1943, 1; "La Reunion Opens 884 New Units," Dallas Morning News, March 18, 1944, 3.
(103) "U.S. Will Close Housing Units," Dallas Morning News, May 26, 1953, 1; "Tenants Get Notices To Vacate Units," Dallas Morning News, July 3, 1953, 17; "1273 Families Moved Out of Temporary Housing Units," Dallas Morning News, October 9, 1953, 15; "U.S. To Get $67,693 By Sale of La Reunion," Dallas Morning News, April 21, 1954, 5; "Crews Start Wrecking Houses at La Reunion," Dallas Morning News, May 7, 1954, 1.
(104) "Builder Defends Plans To Raze Homes Area," Dallas Morning News, July 10, 1951, 1; "Old Reunion Site Acquires Modern Look," Dallas Morning News, March 4, 1962, 3.
(105) "La Reunion Mothers To Give Puppet Show," Dallas Morning News, April 14, 1949, 13; "Reunion Site Sought For School," Dallas Morning News, February 14, 1952, 1; "Bulk Mail Operation Surprises Its Critics," Dallas Morning News, November 5, 1975, 20; "Dallas Bulk Mail Center," Dallas Morning News, November 25, 1976, 5.
(106) "Lone Acre Left to La Reunion," Dallas Morning News, August 9, 1961, 2; Beecher, Victor Considerant and the Rise and Fall of French Romantic Socialism, 331.
(107) "City to Care for La Reunion," Dallas Morning News, May 11, 1973, 1; "La Reunion Cemetry's Upkeep An Eternal Problem," Dallas Morning News, June 14, 2010, Story Archive, http://www.dallasnews.com (accessed July 10, 2010). At one time, the cemetery held the remains of the 1930s-era outlaw, Bonnie Parker.
(108) "Oak Cliff Civic Leagues Seek To Restore La Reunion Park," Dallas Morning News, January 18, 1948, 9; Roy Appleton, "Dallas-Area Students Turn Trash Into Flash In Found--Object Art Project," Dallas Morning News, May 7, 2010, Story Archive, http://www.dallasnews.com (accessed July 10, 2010). During the last two decades, Oak Cliff has occasionally threatened a vote on independence from Dallas.
(109) Guarneri, Utopian Alternative, 181.
DONALD J. KAGAY is a Professor of History at Albany State University in Albany, Georgia.
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|Author:||Kagay, Donald J.|
|Publication:||International Social Science Review|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2010|
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