The first-known French nationals to settle in New Mexico were Jean L’Archiveque, Jacques Grolet, and Pierre Meusnier, who would later be known as Juan Archibeque, Santiago Gurule, and Pedro Meusnier, the first two becoming the paternal heads of large New Mexico families. The three joined the Velasco-Farfan colonists prior to the muster taken at Lan Laguna near Zacatecas on 23 November 1693. They had all been members of the ill-fated LaSalle expedition of 1684. Santiago Gurule endured captivity with the Indians, later interrogations in Mexico City, the trip back to Spain where he was imprisoned, along with L’Archiveque.
1663 – Jacques Grolet in La Rochelle, France and baptized at the Church of St. Jean – son of Yvon Grolet and Marie Odion.
1671 – Jean L’Archiveque born in Bayonne, France – son of Claude L’Archiveque and Marie d’Armagnac.
1682 – LaSalle descends the Mississippi River to its mouth. He then proposes that he be permitted to found a colony that could serve as an avenue for conquering the Spanish mines in Mexico. A French base in that area would also provide support for ships that could prey on Spanish treasure ships. The King approves his plan but splits leadership.
24 July 1684 – LaSalle departs from La Rochelle, France with four ships and 200 men, arms and munitions to set up a colony on the Mississippi. Among the complement are Jacques Grolet (age 20, sailor), Jean L’Archiveque (age 13) and Pierre Meusnier (age 14).
August 1684 – LaSalle arrives in Santo Domingo only to find that the ship La Francois carrying all the supplies was lost to the Spanish Buccaneers.
December 1684 – Land on Matagorda Island where a temporary fort was built.
March 1685 – Colony disseminated by disease, infighting and attacks by the Indians is down to 180.
1686 – Jacques Grolet deserts the expedition with another deserter named Ruter and begins his life with the Tejas Indians.
January 1687 – LaSalle divides the colony – sends 16 men to Canada for help. Leaves 20 –25 men behind. Infighting accelerates – three of the party murdered. Concerned by the delay in their return – LaSalle goes to investigate.
January 1687 – LaSalle murdered after being lured into an ambush by L’Archiveque. Party further divides – seven continued to Illinois and 6 remained with the Hasinai Indians (including Jean L’Archiveque and Pierre Meusnier). Grolet returns to the Colony after LaSalle’s murder but decides to stay with the Hasinai Indians as well. Infighting still continues and 2 more Frenchmen kill each other.
1689 – Captain Alonso de Leon, with 30 soldiers, commands the search for Grolet and L'Archiveque after hearing rumors of French activities in area considered to be Spanish territory.
Henri Joutel, LaSalle’s trusted lieutenant, told of hearing about Grolet:
"This Care which kept me from Sleeping sound, was the Occasion, that one Night I heard some Body moving near my Bed, and opening my Eyes, by the Light of the Fire, which never goes out in those Cottages, perceiv’d a Man stark naked, with a Bow and two Arrows in his Hand, who came and sat down by me, without saying any thing I view’d him for some Time, I spoke to him, he made me no answer, and not knowing what to think of it, I laid hold of my two Pistols and my Firelock, which the man perceiving he went and sat by the Fire. I follow’d, and looked steadfastly on him, he knew and spoke to me, throwing his Arms about and embracing me, and then made himself known to me to be one of the French Men I had sent for.
We fell into Discourse, I ask’d him for his Comrade, he told me he durst not come, for Fear of Monsieur de LaSalle. They were both sailors, this Man who was of Brittany, was call’d Ruter; the other of Rochelle, Grollet. They had, in the short Space of Time, so perfectly enujr’d themselves to the Customs of the Natives, that they were become meer savages. They were naked, their Faces and Bodies with Figures wrought on them, like the rest. They had taken several Wives, been at the Wars and kill’d their Enemies with their Firelocks, which had gain’d them Reputation; but having no more Powder nor Ballo, their arms were grown useless, and they had been forced to learn to shoot with Bows and Arrows. As for Religion, they were not troubled with much of it, and that Libertine Life they led, was pleasing to them."
6 Apr 1689 – Grolet and Ruter arrived, both in Indian dress, that is barefoot, with only a clout and some turkey feathers at their shoulders, on their heads. Joutel then states:
"Grollet had not consented to have his face mark’d like the other (Ruter) nor to cut his Hair after the Indian Manner; for those People cut off all theirs, except a small lick on the Crown of the Head, like the Turks, only some of them have small Tresses on the Temples."
Grolet stayed with the Indians, and was unheard of for two years until he took part with L’Archiveque in writing a letter to the Spaniards. In the interim, their life with the natives was not pleasant, as they knew of the murders of their fellow colonists, and feared for their own lives. The letter was on a piece of parchment which had a drawing depicting a ship, possibly one of LaSalle’s. The drawing is presumed to have been the work of L’Archiveque, and he signed his name to the message in poetic form. Grolet had also written on the same parchment, but it is barely legible, and only a few words remaining. It read:
I do not know what sort of people you are
We are French we are a-
Mong the savages we would like much to be
Among the Christians such as we are
We know well that you are Spaniards
We do not know whether you will attack us
…we are sorely grieved to be a-
mong the beasts like these who believe neither in God
nor in anything gentlemen if you are willing to take us away
only to send a message as we have but
little or nothing to do as soon as we see
the note we will deliver ourselves up to you
Your very humble
And very obedient
25 April 1689 – L’Archiveque responds and states that the duo would come out to their rescuers in two days, as they were tired of being among the barbarians.
1 May 1689 – Captain Leon describes his first impressions of Grolet and L‘Archiveque:
"Sunday, May 1st, about evening prayer, the governor arrived with his companions, bringing two Frenchmen, streaked with paint after the Indian fashion. He had found them twenty-five leagues and more from where we had set out with the main body. One of them, the one who had written the letter, was named Juan (L’Archebeque); the other, a native of Rochelle, was named Jacome. They gave an account of the death of their people, the first saying that an epidemic of smallpox had killed more than a hundred persons; that the rest had been on friendly terms with the Indians of all that region, and had no suspicion of them; that a little more than a month before five Indians had come to their settlement under pretext of telling them something and had stopped at the most remote house in the settlement; that the Frenchmen, having no suspicions, all went to the house unarmed to see them; that after they were inside other Indians kept coming and embracing them; that another party of the Indians came in from the creek at the same time, and killed them all, including two religious and a priest, with daggers and sticks, and sacked all the houses; that they were not there at the time, having gone to the Texas, but that when they heard the news of this occurrence, [the] four of them came, and finding their companions dead, they buried the fourteen they found; that they exploded nearly a hundred barrels of powder, so that the Indians could not carry it off; and that the settlement had been well provided with all sorts of firearms, swords, broadswords, three chalices, and a large collection of books, with vary rare bindings. The two Frenchmen were streaked with paint after the fashion of the Indians, and covered with antelope and buffalo hides. We found them in a rancheria of the Chief of the Texas, who were giving them sustenance and keeping them with great care . . . The governor made a separate report of all that was expedient or important in the declarations of the two Frenchmen, to sent to His Excellency."
May 1689 – Grolet and L’Archiveque arrived in Coahilla, and then they were sent to Mexico City for interrogation. At this time, L’Archiveque states he is 28 and Grolet claims he is 29. During the interrogation, Grolet admits to having taken an Indian wife, as had Ruter.
Summer 1689 – The two Frenchmen sent on to Spain where they were imprisoned for the next 2½ years.
May 1690 – Pierre Meusnier, age 20 and Pierre Talon 11 rescued from the Indians.
16 June 1690 – Three more Talon children rescued from the Indians. Talon children sent to live with the viceroy in Mexico City. Meusnier sent to help the friars in constructing a glossary of Indian words to help the missionaries.
May 1692 – L’Archiveque and Grolet petition the King of Spain for their freedom or to be returned to the Indies, indicating to the King that they had committed no crime.
July 1692 – L’Archiveque and Grolet were given their freedom and permitted to join the Flota with Captain Andres Pez y Malzarraga .
16 November 1693 – Grolet, Meusnier, and L’Archiveque join the Velasco-Farfan colonists in Zacatecas where they are listed as convicts on the muster roll.
3 April 1696 – Juan de Archiveque petitioned to marry Antonia Gutierrez, the widow of Tomas de Hita (or Sanchez).
1 May 1697 – Santiago Gurule took part in the distribution of cattle to various colonists at Santa Fe.
10 December 1699 – A pre-nuptial investigation takes place between Santiago Gurulé and Elena Gallegos, daughter of Antonio Gallegos and Catalina Baca. Both were listed as residents of Bernalillo, New Mexico.
28 December 1699 – Pedro Meusnier marries Luisa Madrid, daughter of Pedro Madrid and Yumar Varela at Guadalupe El Paso.
1701 – L’Archiveque purchased a house in Sante Fe.
2 April 1703 – Antonio Gurule, son of Santiago Gurule and Elena Gallegos baptized.
1703 – Antonia Gutierrez, wife of Juan de Archiveque dies.
1706 – L’Archiveque sent in the expedition to return the Picuris who had fled New Mexico.
1711 – Santiago Gurulé dies intestate at Bernalillo.
1712 – Elena Gallegos "Gurulé" acquired the tract of land known as the Jésus Maria Grant.
1715 – Juan de Archiveque takes part in campaign with Paez Hurtado against the Apaches and then retires from the military.
1719 – Archiveque widower marries Manuela Roybal, age 22, daughter of Ignacio Roybal and Francisca Gomez Robledo, while his son marries her sister Maria.
1720 – Juan de Archiveque is sent on the ill-fated Villaseur Expedition where the Indians murder him.
1721 – Antonio, son of Santiago Gurulé and Elena Gallegos, marries Antonia Quintana, daughter of Jose de Quintana and Antonia Lujan Dominguez.
18 April 1761 – Antonio Gurule makes last will where he states that he and Antonia were married 40 years and that marriage produced nine children, and all were named in the will.
For specific source for this chronology, please consult José A Esquibel and John B. Colligan, The Spanish Recolonization of New Mexico: An Account of the Families Recruited at Mexico City in 1693 (Albuquerque: Hispanic Genealogical Research Center, 1999).