Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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MENARD, Michel Branamour, pioneer, born in Laprairie, Lower Canada, 5 December, 1805; died in Galveston, Texas, in 1856. He was of French parentage, and at the age of sixteen was engaged in the northwest fur-trade in the employ of a company at Detroit. Two years afterward he went to Missouri at the request of his uncle, Bierra Menard, then lieutenant-governor and an extensive Indian trader, and for several years bargained for him among the Indians. Becoming attached to the Indian mode of life, he determined to remain among them, and was elected chief by the Shawnees. He held this place for several years, and not only during that period but afterward had great influence over that tribe and others among whom he was known. It is said that at one time he negotiated with the United States government for the removal of all the tribes of the northwestern Indians to Utah and California. Regarding this abortive scheme, Me-nard subsequently said that he almost succeeded in uniting all the Indian tribes into one great nation and being their king. He went to Texas about 1833, settled at Nacogdoehes, and engaged in trading with the Mexicans and Indians. At the beginning of the revolution in Texas, the Mexicans endeavored to induce the Indians on the northeast frontier to overrun and desolate the country, which they doubtless would have attempted to do but for the exertions of Menard, who prevailed upon them to remain neutral. He was a member of the convention that declared the independence of Texas, of the congress of that republic in 1839, and was the author and promoter of its system of finance by the issue of exchequer bills. The first congress of Texas, in December, 1836, conveyed to Menard, for $50,000, a league of land, including most of the site of Galveston. At that time it was unoccupied by a single dwelling. Menard was practically the founder of the city, and closely identified with its progress till his death. A few days before that event, a brother of Tecumseh, with several other Shawnees, visited him at Galveston, and begged him to return and be their chief. The Indians long cherished his name, and in speaking of him said" "Michelee never deceived us."
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