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By Donald J. Blakeslee

Publication through Blakeslee, Donald J.

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Page 23 2. THE CHARACTERS Frenchmen Alarie, Jean-Baptiste: a member of the expedition of 1739. There was an Alary family in Canada by 1678 (Alvord 1907: 631 n. 89), and an Illinois branch (that spelled the name Alarie) shows up in the Cahokia census of 1787 (Alvord 1907: 631). Thus, it is likely that Alarie, like all but one of the other men in the expedition, was a French Canadian. Alarie chose to stay in Santa Fe, where he married Maria Francisca Fernández de la Pedrera, a widow, on March 24, 1741 (Chávez 1954: 122).

After he reached the forks of the Platte and Loup, his command was Page 15 attacked, the majority wiped out by a combined Pawnee and Oto force. A single page of the official expedition journal survives. Given by an Indian to the French commander at Fort des Chartres a few months later (Villiers 1923), it tells of the last days leading up to the battle and of how the Spanish force traveled up an Indian trail, across the Loup, and down the north bank of that stream before retreating the day prior to the massacre.

In 1744, Charlevoix said of them: They love to breathe a free air, they are early accustomed to a wandering life; it has charms for them, which make them forget past dangers and fatigues, and they place their glory in encountering them often. I know not whether I ought to reckon amongst the defects of our Canadians the good opinion they entertain of themselves. It is at least certain that it inspires them with a confidence, which leads them to undertake and execute what would appear impossible to many others (cited in Eccles 1987: 58).

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