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Eyewitness to History The Amazing Story of the Talon Children in Texas


The children are tattooed with tribal markings on their hands, face, and arms. These tattoos remain with the Talons for the rest of their lives. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Eyewitness to History The Amazing Story of the Talon Children in Texas

Eyewitness to History The Amazing Story of the
Talon Children in Texas
  • A unique insight into three cultures on the
    Spanish/French Frontier in Texas

Journal of Henri Joutel Documenting the Last
Voyage of Sieur de La Salle to The Gulf of
  • Henri Joutel was the trusted lieutenant of La
  • He kept a detailed journal from the beginning of
    the Voyage in France until after the death of La
  • His journal is the only complete account of the
    La Salle expedition.
  • It is in his journal that we begin the story of
    the Talon Family.

The Talons
  • A true tale of the Texas frontier
  • The following is the timeline of the Talon
    siblings from the point they left Quebec, Canada
    as children, until their return to the New World
    as adults.
  • Information about the Talons has been pieced
    together from various journals and documents.
  • Their lives are divided into four distinct time

The Talon Family
  • Lucien Talon- father Isabelle Talon-
  • Children
  • Marie-Elizabeth
  • Marie-Madeleine
  • Pierre
  • Jean-Baptiste
  • Lucien
  • Robert

Four Periods
  • 1684-1688
  • Voyage and Fort of St. Louis
  • 1689-1691
  • Adoption by Native Americans
  • 1691-1698
  • Life in Spanish Mexico
  • 1700-1715
  • Guides and Interpreters for the Louisiana

1684-1688 Voyage and Fort St. Louis
  • Talon family sailed from native Quebec to France
    in 1684
  • Joined the La Salle expedition as colonists bound
    for the Mississippi.
  • La Salle overshot the mouth of the Mississippi
    and landed in Matagorda Bay.
  • La Salle moves upriver and establishes Fort St.
    Louis on Garcitas Creek.
  • Lucien and Isabelle Talons family grew to
    include 2 girls and 4 boys while on the

  • Settlement struggles to survive, while La Salle
    attempts multiple expeditions to locate the
    Mississippi. Each time La Salle returns with
    fewer men.
  • Lucien Talon (father) is lost during one of these
    expeditions, and the oldest daughter
    (Marie-Elizabeth) dies of disease.
  • Eldest son, Pierre, goes with La Salle on his
    last expedition to find the Mississippi. La
    Salle is killed by his own men, Pierre is adopted
    by the Caddo Indians.
  • Karankawa Indians learn of La Salles death and
    choose to attack the fort before the colony
    learns of La Salles fate.
  • All colonists, including Isabelle Talon, are
    massacred except the remaining Talon children and
    another boy. These children are adopted by the

1689-1691 Adoption and Life with Local Native
  • Jean Baptiste, his sister and brothers live among
    different camps of the Karankawa. Pierre lives
    among the Caddo
  • The children are tattooed with tribal markings on
    their hands, face, and arms. These tattoos remain
    with the Talons for the rest of their lives.
  • The children were taught to run, shoot arrows and
    hunt like fellow tribesmen.
  • Talons tell that the Indians always treated them
    with kindness and often sided with them in
    disputes with native children of the camp.

  • Jean Baptiste tells of a war against the Caddo.
    Pierre confirms that there was once war with a
    local native group.
  • Talons witness medical practices among the
    Natives, and varied techniques with herbs.
  • The Spanish have heard stories of a French
    settlement along the coast. DeLeon begins
    looking for it. DeLeon finds Pierre Talon among
    the Caddo.
  • Pierre tells DeLeon of his brothers and a sister
    living among the Karankawa.
  • The children are found and ransomed for tobacco
    and horses.

1691-1698 Life in Spanish Mexico
  • Talons travel by land until they reach Mexico
    City. The Spanish decide the children should
    remain in Mexico. The Talons knew so much about
    the territory, the Spanish do not want the French
    to have so much information.
  • The Talons are taken in by the Viceroy. They are
    regarded as household servants and naturalized
    citizens. Talons are able to make observations
    about Native and Mexican Relations in Mexico.
  • The Viceroy retires and returns to Spain with
    Robert and Marie-Madeleine. The three older
    brothers are placed in the Spanish Navy.

  • The Spanish Military ship is captured by a
    French Warship.
  • The Talon brothers are discovered on board and
    repatriated to France.
  • After repatriation to France, the two eldest boys
    are placed in the French Service, the youngest
    Lucien is placed as a servant in Oleron, France.
  • The Talons are interrogated in February of 1698
    at the request of the French Minister of Marine.
  • The Talons are then kept in France as
  • Talons again sail from LaRochelle,France in 1699
    and arrive in Biloxi in February of 1700.

1700-1715 Guides and Interpreters

in the Louisiana Territory
  • It is believed the Talons may have accompanied
    Saint Denis and his explorations around the Red
  • The brothers are imprisoned in Portugal. No
    record of their crime has been located.
  • For ten years there are no records of the Talons.
  • 1713 The French begin a journey in search of
    Spanish missions, the expedition includes 25
    Caddo Natives and Pierre and Robert Talon. Due to
    their tattoos and knowledge of language, they
    serve as interpreters among the natives on the
  • The expedition reaches San Juan Bautista in 1714.

  • The Talons were recognized by Captain Martinez
    who had accompanied DeLeon on the rescue mission
    to Texas. The Talons are also able to serve as
    Spanish Interpreters for the expedition at this
  • Other French members of the expedition are sent
    to Mexico City for further questioning by the
    Spanish.The Talons slip away and return to Mobile
    with letters and a possible map for the Sieur de
    Cadillac of present day Louisiana.
  • Sieur de Cadillac made reports to the Council of
    Marine in 1716 based on recent information from
    the Talons.

Talon Family Comes Full Circle
Pierre Talon
  • Pierre may have returned to France, but there
    is some indication he may have settled in Mobile
    and died at an early age.

Jean-Baptiste Talon
  • Jean-Baptiste may have remained in Louisiana
    and settled at New Orleans.

Lucien Talon
  • Nothing more is known of Lucien after he was
    sent to Oleron.

Robert Talon
  • Robert is listed on the roster of the Mobile
    Parish register in 1721, married with two
    children and a carpenter by trade.

Marie-Madeleine Talon
  • Marie-Madeleine married Pierre Simon of Paris
    in 1698. She had a son named Pierre in 1699.
    She is believed to have returned to Canada where
    the son was married in 1719, and then later lived
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