Jacques Gaignard, Avoyellean of 1780

JACQUES BERNARD GAIGNARD (1745-1805) First Commandant of Avoyelles Post and forefather of the Gagnard family of Avoyelles.
Birth: ABT 1745 in Nantes, France
Death: 11 JAN 1805 Recorded in Opelousas, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana
Burial: 11 JAN 1805 Recorded at Opelousas Catholic Church, St Landry Parish
Event: Military Served with Galvez at Pensacola during American Revolution

Jacques GAGNARD(GAIGNARD) was born in Nantes, France, in about 1745. Jacques holds a prominent place in the history and genealogy of Avoyelles because he was appointed by the Spanish Governor as the first commandant of the Avoyelles Post.

He was appointed by the Spanish Government to explore lands and tribes in Texas and left an account of his journey and Native American Tribes of Texas in his "Journal of an Expedition up the Red River, 1773-1774", by J. Gaignard

Jacques was a second-lieutenant in the militia, served with Galvez at Pensacola during the American Revolution. Jacques' name appears a a member of the Opelousas Post militia in a "Review" of April 15, 1776.

He may have been named Commander of the Settlement of Avoyelles as early as January 2, 1775, but did it seems he did not arrive until about 1780.

Jacques married Ursule Juneau, daughter of Claude Juneau and Francoise Lemoine, in about 1780. Records show issue of five children from this marriage. The place of birt of the first child born is recorded as being Avoyelles. Jacques was buried on January 11, 1805, at the Opelousas Catholic Church at the age of 60 years.

The high and dry land of the area of Avoyelles attracted others, and soon there was a thriving settlement, with the nucleus between what is now Mansura and Marksville. By 1780 the settlement had grown to such proportions that GALVEZ, Governor of Louisiana, realized it was encroaching on the rights of the Native Americans, taking their land from them. Accordingly, he sent Jacques Gaignard, assisted by Noel Soileau, to look after the welfare of the Indians, and to administer justice to the new settlers. The oldest record in the courthouse is dated 1783, and signed by Jacques GAIGNARD, civil and military commander of Avoyelles Post.

Marriage 1 URSULE JUNEAU b: 2 MAY 1762 in Pointe Coupee Post, Louisiana c: 10 OCT 1762 in ,Pointe Coupee, Louisiana
Married: ABT 1780 marriage recorded in Pointe Coupee, Louisiana

Emelie Therese GAGNARD b: 30 SEP 1782 baptism registered at Opelousas Post, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana c: 18 FEB 1785
Bernard GAGNARD I b: 15 AUG 1784 in Avoyelles Post, Louisiana baptism registered 18 FEB 1785
Joseph Jacques GAGNARD b: 30 JUL 1786 in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana
Modeste GAGNARD b: 21 AUG 1788 in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana
Constance GAGNARD b: 1796 in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana

For a list of past recipients of the Avoyellean of the Year award visit: Avoyelleans of the Year