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Birding on Dauphin Island

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Town of Dauphin Island-Municipal Government

Dauphin Island, AL
Archive of Historical Data, Books, Maps
And Other Materials

Excerpt from the book
"Dauphin Island AL:
French Possession 1699-1763"

by Jo Myrtle Kennedy

"Infantry Arrives - 1718"

The vast territory of Louisiana was next leased to John Law and his India Company, which consisted of a large number of stockholders of many nationalities. Law as a smooth talking gambler, outlaw, Minister of the Bank of France, flamboyant promoter of schemes and friend of the notorious regent, Duke of Orleans. His charter would be effective for twenty-five years, from January 1718 to December 31, 1742, to develop agriculture and commerce.
On February 9, 1718, the ships 'Dauphine', 'Vigilant' and 'Neptune' arrived in Dauphin Island with three companies of infantry, 68 colonists and new officers for the colony, where they were met by the new governor Bienville.

Bienville had become an inspiration for others, since he had served in Louisiana since first coming to search for a site for the new colony in 1698 at the age of eighteen.

In the spring of 1718, a vessel arrived at Dauphin Island with sixty more settlers, headed for the grant belonging to M. Duvernet. The India Company had intiated a program whereby private land grants were awarded to wealthy men who wished to start individual colonies, for the purpose of promoting agriculture.

In August that year, three more ships arrived at Dauphin Island bringing more distinguished passengers: Richebourg, Chevalier of the Order of St. Louis; Grandval, the new mayor of Mobile; Lieutenants Noyan and Meleque; and Daniel, mayor of New Orleans; forty commissioners; and seventy persons for the private grant of Houssays and sixty for that of La Harpe.

The India Company had extravagantly advertised Louisiana as a paradise waiting for the taking. John Law's skillful talking and persuasive powers stirred wild speculation and dreams of great reward for investment in land and trade to be gained on the golden shores of the gulf. The Mississippi Company's seal was a picture of an old river god leaning on a cornucopia, from which poured golden coins. Stories of Louisiana's fertile soil and rich mineral deposits were circulated all over Europe to entice settlers to move there.

Mobile Bay was the center of trade for the entire region. It was imperative that a good harbor be maintained for ships of trade. According to the charter granted to John Law, no vessels except those owned by the India Company could use Louisiana ports. The company also held tight control on all trade, fixing prices on goods and requiring that all buying and selling be done through company stores at Mobile, Dauphin Island and Pensacola. Added to the price of goods was a delivery fee of 5% for goods to New Orleans; 10% to Natchez; 13% to the Yazoos; 50% to the Illinois country and up the Missouri River.

Lured by the exaggerated advertisements, colonists from Europe continued to stream into Dauphin Island destined for scattered settlements along the rivers of Louisiana.

In March, the warship 'Comte de Toulouse' arrived with 100 passengers. In April, two more ships under the command of Bienville's brother Serigny arrived with more settlers, soldiers and workmen, as well as 250 slaves, which was the first large importation of slaves into the Louisiana territory.

Fort Gaines Sand Island Light House Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island Dauphin Island History Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium

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