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