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Collection Title: Fourchy (Alexander) and Nixon (John) Papers

Collection Number: M9

Dates: 1837

Volume: 18 items

Provenance: Mrs. Ray M. Thompson, October 5, 1973.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

No irrefutable biographical information has been found on Messrs. Alexander Fourchy and John Nixon or the six individuals who formed the special society to purchase Mississippi land. An A.F. Fourchy and a John Nixon are listed as residents of Orleans Parish, Louisiana, in 1830. But by 1840, only Alexander Fourchy is listed in the census.

Documents in the case file, specifically letters from Ray M. Thompson, writer of the newspaper column "Know Your Coast," and George Denegre, lawyer and discoverer of these papers, point to names of streets that are the same as Fourchy and Nixon. Also, a name on the list of six people, Maunsel White, was recognized as being the same as that given to a tract of land in the area, the Maunsel White Survey.

An Alexandre Francois Fourchy, said to be a resident of New Orleans, published in that city in 1848-50 a pamphlet describing a utopian world. He was identified in the National Union Catalog as a French officer who commanded a cavalry regiment under the first Napoleon. That he was the same person who participated in the plan described by these documents has not been proven.

Scope and Content:

The collection of seventeen documents and a typescript copy consists primarily of English and French texts of two documents establishing a society, the object of the society, and the legal framework of the society. There is a French text receipt, a rough sea map of Biloxi, and a list of the names and addresses of the six members of the society.

Document "A" was to be signed in New Orleans on January 21, 1837. It is an agreement of partnership with the object of the society to establish a historic monument in the form of a villa on the site of the old fort at Biloxi as a remembrance of the origins of Louisiana. The maximum capital to be raised was $60,000 with the first purchase of shares being $5,000 more. The money was to be used by Nixon and Fourchy acting as representatives of the society to purchase 40 arpents of land on the sea front which included the old fort at Biloxi and additional arpents to include Camp Estrauche. The document also made provisions to allow Nixon and Fourchy to become members and provisions in the case of death of a member.

Document "B" is a reworking of Document "A" and was dated January 25, 1837, New Orleans. It seems to be a more formal agreement of Document "A" and includes a provision as to when the division of land and publication of the sale should begin.

There are three copies of Document "A" in English, and two copies in French which seem to be rough drafts. Document "B" has four copies in English and three in French with two of the copies in English having the signature section torn off. A copy of each document in a severe state of deterioration is also in the collection.


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Revised: November 4, 2004