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The Historical Timeline of the Laffites
This Timeline has been prepared to assist in answering questions about the privateer's activities in a succinct, consistent manner. The material offered here represents prominent thinking of some members of the Laffite Society. Not all members agree on certain items offered here and no item should be considered the final word--just the state of our knowledge at this time. As data are gathered changes and additions will be made--so check back occasionally. We have provided few references documenting our statements as the "Timeline" is intended as a quick-easy reference. A bibliography on Laffite related materials is provided elsewhere on this website for those who want to verify and gain a deeper knowledge of the Laffite brothers. A Question and Answer document is also available on this website for those who wish more detail on some of the items covered here.

This Timeline has been drawn from the contributions of many members of the Laffite Society, but primarily from material submitted by Pam Keyes, Robert Vogel and Dale Olson. It has been reviewed also by Jean L. Epperson, Jeff Modzelewski and Don C. Marler. Not every member agrees with all that is presented here and the absolute accuracy of none of the material is guaranteed.

Suggestions for corrections, deletions or additions should be sent to: The Laffite Society ,

Year Month/Day Event
1772 April 12 Birth of Pierre Laffite in Bordeaux, France.
1774 May 6 Birth of Alexandre Laffite in Bordeaux, France. Alexandre is believed by some members of the Laffite Society to have been aka Dominique You. This would have made Dominique a brother to Pierre and Jean.
1782 August 15 Birth of Jean Laffite in Bordeaux, France. The information contained in the three above items are not proof that these are the brothers Laffite. The Laffite surname is was a common one in the area and the records may relate to relate to like-named individuals.
The arrival date of the Laffite brothers in New Orleans, is uncertain. Both Jean and Pierre may have been in New Orleans when the Louisiana Territory was transferred to the Americans in late 1803 at the Cabildo. Pierre bought a property in New Orleans at the corner of Royal and Dumaine (most likely a mercantile shop).
Pierre Laffite made a deposition to Pedro Pedesclaux in which he said he was a merchant from the Plaza Panzacola (Pensacola).
Jean Laffite was invited to lead the privateer smuggling establishment at Barataria Bay. The Baratarian Association was formed shortly afterward with Dominique You, Renato Beluche, Chigazola "Nez Coupe" and Vincent Gambie. They obtained privateering commissions from Cartagena to prey on Spanish shipping
Pierre Laffite suffered a stroke. Captain Andrew H. Holmes and 40 dragoons went to Barataria for a raid but missed the smugglers. They returned in November, one officer was killed.

November 16 Jean and Pierre Laffite were both arrested by Captain Holmes and jailed at the Cabildo.
1813 April John Randolph Grymes, US District Attorney, ordered Jean Laffite to forfeit the goods taken in the November raid. Neither Laffite appeared, having posted bail.

June The British ship Sophie tried unsuccessfully to capture two of Laffite's privateers near the Isle au Chat

October Revenue agents under the command of Walker Gilbert, the government surveyor, seized a sailboat from Laffite's men near the auction site at the Temple, but the smugglers took it back.

November 24 Gov. William C.C. Claiborne proclaimed a reward of $500 for the person who could bring in "John Lafitte" on a charge of smuggling. Jean Laffite responded with a parody proclamation in which he offered $5,000 to anyone who delivered Gov. Claiborne to him at Isle au Chat.
1814 January Jean Laffite advertised a mammoth slave auction at the Temple along with a lot of merchandise from Europe. J.B. Stout and other revenue officers went to prevent the sale, but Stout was killed, two men wounded. The sale went on as scheduled.

April Following a bank crisis in New Orleans caused by a lack of specie (due to the capture of Spanish ships by the Baratarians), The Baratarian Association became the New Orleans Association. A group of influential New Orleans merchants and leaders joined with the Baratarian privateers under the leadership of mastermind Edward Livingston to form the new association. This organization hatched many unsuccessful plots to take over the Floridas and to seize Texas from Spain.

July 8 A federal grand jury led by Paul Lanusse in New Orleans denounced the Baratarians for smuggling and piracy and indicted Pierre Laffite, who was arrested by Pierre Duplessis and jailed at the Cabildo.

September 2-4 The British ship, HMS Sophie, arrived at Grande Terre. Captain Lockyer and two officers disembarked to confer with Jean and try to convince him to help with their invasion of New Orleans. The Baratarians kept them overnight in a jail, releasing them in the morning. Jean sent the British letters to his friend, Jean Blanque, with a request that he show them to Gov. Claiborne.

September 6 Adventurer Juan Pablo Anaya, Col. Ellis Bean and Dominique You arrived at Barataria to set in place a plot to overthrow Tampico and Texas only to be thwarted by Patterson's attack on Barataria a few days later, after Anaya and Bean went to New Orleans.

September 7 A $1,000 reward was posted for the return of Pierre Laffite who broke out of jail along with some slaves.

September 10 Patterson met with Gov. Claiborne and other leaders to discuss the British letters. Patterson urged an attack on Grande Terre, which was approved.

September 14 Jean and Pierre Laffite learned of Patterson's plans and left for the German coast home of Alexandre Labranche. Dominique You remained in charge at Grande Terre.

September 16 Patterson and Ross attacked Barataria, seizing ships and goods and taking several prisoners, including Dominique You and Barthalemy Lafon.

September 21 General Andrew Jackson issued a proclamation denouncing the Baratarians as hellish banditti.

November 30 Gen. Jackson arrived at New Orleans to prepare a defense against the British threat.

December 17 Gov. Claiborne issued a general order of amnesty suspending proceedings against the Laffites and Baratarians, and invited them to join in the defense of the city. A few days later, Jean Laffite met with General Jackson to offer his service and that of his men. They met at 109 Royal Street, the General's headquarters.

December 22 Jean Laffite went to the Temple to assist Major Michael Reynolds with defense preparations. Jean also apparently went to Donaldsonville to arrange transfer of flints and powder from the warehouse there to Chalmette. Pierre Laffite remained near General Jackson.

December 23 In a night battle against the British, Pierre guided Gen. Coffee and his men to the rear of de la Ronde's plantation to turn the British flank. Later, Pierre is entrusted by Edward Livingston to get his wife and child to safety away from the city. Sometime after this battle, the Laffites delivered needed flints and powder to Jackson's forces from their storage place at Donaldsonville. General Jackson's ship, the Carolina, opened fire on a surprised British camp. This was the first engagement of fire power in the Battle of New Orleans.
1815 January 8 The Battle of New Orleans ended.

Late January John Grymes quit his US District Attorney post to represent the Laffites along with Edward Livingston and Pierre Morel. John Dick took Grymes' post, and the legal battle for the goods seized in the Patterson-Ross raid of Barataria continued.

February 6 President James Madison signed a full pardon for all the Baratarians who assisted in the defense of New Orleans. Baratarian Privateers obtain commission from the Mexican Congress.

February 28 Pierre Laffite placed a bankruptcy notice in the L'Ami des Lois.

July Jean Laffite gave a statement in a claim by Jean Gourjon against Vincent Gambie regarding a runaway slave. Pierre Laffite assigned power of attorney to Jean Laffite to represent him in Washington, D.C.

August Jean Laffite traveled to Washington and Philadelphia, to present his claim for reimbursement to President Madison. Arsene Lacarriere Latour went with him.

December Jean Laffite presented his petition for reimbursement of his Baratarian losses to President Madison. While Jean was in Washington Pierre, working through the corrupt priest, Father Antonio de Sedella, committed himself and Jean to become secret agents of Spain.
1816 April Jean Laffite and Latour returned to New Orleans.

May Jean Laffite and Latour left on a mapping survey ostensibly for the Spanish for several months on the Red, Sabine, Trinidad (Trinity), Arkansas and Colorado rivers.

September Louis-Michel Aury occupies Galveston.

Late November Jean Laffite and Latour returned to New Orleans.
W.C.C. Claiborne died. His widow then married John R. Grymes.

March Jean Laffite went to Galveston and spent two weeks there talking with Louis Aury and Mina, gathering information for the Spanish and the New Orleans Association.

April Xavier Mina undertakes an expedition to Soto la Marina.

April 8-18 Jean Laffite took control of Galveston through a coup in Aury's absence, then returned briefly to New Orleans.
1818 January A group of French settlers arrived with Charles Lallemand at Galveston as a port of entry to establish their Champ d'Asile settlement on the Trinity River. Laffite reported their plans to the Spanish authorities, who sent troops to that area. The settlers fled to Galveston, before the Spanish troops, only to endure the hurricane that Fall.

August George Graham visited Laffite at Galveston to give him a dispossess notice he said was from US authorities.

September Champ d'Asile refugees return to Galveston.

September 12 A strong hurricane hit Galveston, severely damaging ships and homes. Laffite's resources are strained as he is called upon to deal with the storm and assist the Champ d'Asile refugees.

Late October Pierre Laffite showed up at George Graham's DC office with a Sept. 26, 1818, letter from Jean. The purpose of his urgent visit to Graham remains unknown.
Laffite met with James Long who wanted support for an invasion of Texas. Laffite received a commission from Long, wherein he was acknowledged Governor of Galveston.

September 13 Laffite's newly-purchased ship, Le Brave, captured the Spanish ship Filomena, only to be caught in turn by US revenue cutters Louisiane and Alabama. Le Brave captain Jean Desfarges and his crew put up a fight. Edward Livingston and Grymes represented them in court. Taken with the Le Brave were Laffite's instructions and a document outlining how spoils would be split. The documents were signed by Laffite at Galveston 11 days before the seizure of the Filomena.

September Some of Laffite's men under the leadership of George William Brown raided the plantation home of John Lyons.

November 5-10 The USS Lynx went to Galveston to pursue the gang responsible for the Lyons raid incident. Jean Laffite organized a court, found the leader Brown guilty and hanged him, then allowed the Lynx to take prisoners others who had participated in the raid.

November 12 A grand jury at New Orleans ordered Desfarges and crew of the Le Brave to stand trial.

November 22 A trial jury finds Desfarges and 17 crewmen guilty as charged and sentenced them to death. One crewman, Trickhart, is pardoned by President Madison. There is great public turmoil in town over the crew's imprisonment and sentences.
1820 February 27 The U.S.S. Enterprise under the command of Lt. Lawrence Kearny arrived at Galveston to ensure that Jean Laffite and his men were going to abandon the settlement.

May 7 Galveston was abandoned by Laffite.

May 25 The crew of the Le Brave is executed.

July 30 Battle of The Three Trees occurs.
Jean Laffite's former privateers return sporadically to the Galveston area.

September Pierre Laffite was on the Isla Mujeres with some other privateers.

November 9 Pierre Laffite was reported to have died of wounds received on the island of Cancun, and was buried at Dzilam.
1822 January Jean Laffite's fleet working off the coast of Cuba was destroyed by an English brig, and Jean Laffite was jailed in Puerto Principe for several weeks.

February 13 Laffite faked an illness and escaped from a hospital.

March The Governor of Puerto Principe reported that Jean Laffite was anchored off Rincon Grande, around the north central coast of Cuba.

April Captain Stockton of the USS Alligator reported that Laffite had taken an American ship, Jay, off the north coast of Cuba.

August Jean Laffite received a commission in the Colombian Navy at Cartagena, Colombia, and command of the General Santander in the service of Simon Bolivar.

November The Schooner Columbus Ross from Jamaica reported that during the end of this month the Colombian private armed schooner General Santander with Captain John Lafitte (sic) treated them politely and convoyed their ship for two days until they were free from danger of pirate attacks. Laffite also gave them gun shot and other supplies.
Jean Laffite is reported to have died of a sickness at Silan, near Merida or on Isla Mujeres.
The first edition of Joseph H. Ingraham's romantic novel, Lafitte, the Pirate of the Gulf was published.
The first edition of William G. Spears, The Memoirs of Lafite or The Barritarian (sic) Pirate. A Narrative Founded on Fact, was published.
1830 November 14 Dominique You died and was buried in St Louis Cemetery, II in New Orleans.
A fictionalized biography, "Life and Times of Jean Laffite" was published in DeBow's Review.
Charles E. Gayarre published "Historical Sketch of Pierre and Jean Lafitte" in The Magazine of American History.
The first edition of Lyle Saxon's Lafitte the Pirate is published.
Cecil B. DeMille's film "The Buccaneer," starring Frederic March as Jean Laffite is released.
There is a remake of DeMille's "The Buccaneer", starring Yule Brenner as Jean Laffite. John Mateka--aka John Laflin, aka John Nafsinger aka John Andrechyne Laffite published The Journal of Jean Laffite: The Privateer-Patriot's Own Story.
The Laffite Study Group is established.
The Laffite Study Group is disbanded.

The Laffite Society is established at Galveston, Texas.