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The Tenacious Talon Family (CEC)

Lucien Talon, a carpenter, from Beauvais, Normandy immigrated to Quebec where in 1671 he met and married Isabelle Planteau, a transplant from the St. Méry District of Paris. Six children eventually came from this union. The eldest, Marie-Elizabeth, arrived on September 10, 1672, followed by sister Marie-Madeleine on November 3, 1673. The boys came next, with Pierre born on March 20, 1676, Jean Baptiste, May 26, 1679, and finally Lucien, in 1681. The growing family headed back to France soon after, intending to join the expedition of René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle as colonists in the sunnier climes of the Mississippi Valley. The Talons welcomed a fourth son, Robert, 1684, aboard Aimable en route to La Louisiane.

The large and growing family then shared the tragic fate of the ill-starred expedition. Lucien, the father of this sizable brood, disappeared on a scouting expedition in October 1685, just short of his fortieth birthday. The widowed Isabelle grieved alone when her oldest daughter died the following year from one of the various disease outbreaks that stalked the colony during its steady decline. The oldest boy, Pierre, headed into the heart of East Texas in 1687 along with La Salle’s mission looking to make contact with the French settlements on the Mississippi.
Back at Fort Saint Louis, the remnant of the Talon clan struggled to eke out an existence among the other twenty-five survivors.

Around Christmas, 1688, the Karankawas attacked and annihilated what was left of the colony. Isabelle fell beneath their blows as her horrified children looked on. Taken captive, the four Talon children disappeared into the heart of the wilderness. Two years later Spanish troops removed fourteen-year-old Pierre from the Hasinai, and recovered the tattooed and hardened seventeen-year-old Marie-Madeleine, nine-year-old Lucien, and six-year-old Robert from the Karankawas. Spanish troops brought twelve-year-old Jean-Baptiste out of wilderness the following spring.

Reunited in Mexico City, the tempest tossed children served as servants to the Viceroy. The three oldest boys eventually went to Vera Cruz as Spanish soldiers aboard the Spanish warship Santo Cristo de Maracaibo. Meanwhile Marie-Madeleine and young Robert sailed for Spain as part of the outgoing Viceroy’s household.

The other Talon boys, too, would be heading back to Europe—as prisoners. A French warship, Le Bon, captured the Santo Cristo de Maracaibo off the coast of Venezuela in 1697. Repatriated to their home country under these bizarre circumstances, Lucien remained as a servant at the fortified Island of Oléron near Rochefort on the west coast of France. His fate beyond that remains a mystery. His older brothers, with their knowledge of New Spain as well as Indian languages, proved to be valuable assets as the French plotted the expansion of La Louisiane.

Marie-Madeleine and Robert also headed back to France by 1699, but apparently not before Pierre and Jean-Baptiste had joined a company commanded by Louis Juchereau de Saint-Denis, part of an expedition under Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville heading for La Louisiane. While the older boys returned to the wilderness, twenty-four-year-old Marie-Madeleine married Parisian Pierre Simon and started a family of her own.

Pierre and Jean-Baptiste returned to France in 1702 and the surviving siblings appear to have been reunited for the next several years. In 1714, thirty-eight-year-old Pierre took his youngest brother, thirty-year-old Robert, to La Louisiane and fell in with with Saint-Denis. After various adventures in Tejas, Pierre disappears into history. Robert, though, became a settler in Mobile, married, and fathered seven children before dying at age 62.