by Carol Middleton

The French had a diplomatic policy of sending young boys to live in the Indian villages to laern the native languages and customs. One such child was Louis de Lantagnac, a 13-year old ensign, stationed at Fort Toulouse, in the Wilderness upriver from Mobile. Louis was a kinsman iof Vaudrieul, a former governor of the colony. At Fort Toulouse he would have know the various Creek tribes that traded regularly and who lived nearby. In the fall of 1745 Louis wandered away from the fort and was captured by a band of Chickasaws.

The Chickasaws took the boy to Charleston, where he gained the confidence and support of the British Governor Glen. Louis spent 3 years in Charleston and the Governor set him up for trade with the Cherokees where Lantangnac spent 6 years. He lived with a woman in Great Tellico Town and they had a son.

While visiting a Lower Creek town in December 1754, he was approached by some Frenchmen who persuaded him to return with them to Fort Toulouse and to try obtain a pardon (for it was thought he had deserted). This he was able to do, because, in part for his kinship to Vaudrieul, and also because of his valuable knowledge of the Cherokees. He tried to make arrangemenst to have his Indian family brought to him, but the Cherokees refused.

Louis began a vigorous campaign to turn the Overhill Cherokees against the English. In October 1756 he brought Mankiller of Tellico and other Cherokee leaders to Fort Toulouse, then on to New Orleans where they signed a treaty. When the English heard of his deeds they were furious and offered a bounty for his scalp.

Louis Lantagnac continued to work for the French until the fort was abandoned.