John Garnier

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John Garnier
Born About 1766
France
Died September 16, 1847
Pensacola
Spouse (first, about 1796-1810) Name unknown (About 1777-1810)
(second, about 1813-1847) Ann (unknown) (About 1790-1857)
Children Charles Louis Garnier (About 1796-1838)
Clara Louise Garnier (About 1800-1867)
Rosa Garnier (About 1804-1842)
John West Garnier (About 1813-?)
Adeline Garnier (About 1830-?)

John Garnier was an entrepreneur. His daughter Clara was born in France about 1800, so his immigration must have been there after. He was in Wilmington, NC by 1805 when he advertised to sell a horse. By 1807 he was a member of the night guard, an agent for DuPont selling gunpowder, and a merchant selling liquors. In 1808 he and a partner borrowed money from the State of North Carolina to "erect vats and other works to carry on the making of salt by evaporation near Wilmington". Their company continued through at least 1815 when a storm greatly damaged their salt works. Resumption of reliable shipping after the War of 1812 lowered the price and profitability of salt which likely had some impact on his decision to move west.

In 1817 he joined a petition by group of merchants in New Orleans to protect shipping in the Gulf of Mexico and may have met his future son-in-law, George W. Barkley, there. By 1819 he was operating a "private boarding house" and later a hotel in Natchez, Ms, which is likely where he met Christopher Rankin and David Holmes.

1821 was an eventful year. In February, the Adams-Onis treaty of 1819, by which Spain ceded Florida to the US, became effective. Christopher Rankin (Representative from Mississippi 1819-1826) recommended to James Monroe (President 1817-1825) and David Holmes (Governor of Mississippi 1817-1820, Senator from Mississippi 1819-1825) recommended to Andrew Jackson (First Governor of Florida 1821, later President) that John be appointed to a post in Florida. Subsequently, Jackson commissioned several people, including "John Garnier, auctioneer", for public offices in Pensacola. Coincidentally, John’s business partner Stockley Donelson Hutchings was a relative of Jackson’s. That source does not show his specific commission, but other sources indicate he was a Justice of the Peace in Escambia County. Newspaper advertisements show John was an auction and commission merchant in Pensacola.

In 1823 he took his Son-in-Law George W. Barkley as a partner in his auction business. In 1825 a sample of Sea Island cotton grown on John’s plantation near present-day Fort Walton Beach was praised for its excellent quality. Nearby Garnier’s bayou remains to show his presence. In 1828 he was an elected Alderman of Pensacola. In 1829 he was operating a hotel and received cargo from New Orleans. In 1833 he was operating a lumberyard near Pensacola. In 1834 he bought 160 acres of land near present-day Fort Walton Beach. In 1835 he offered for sale live oak from the area. His death was believed to be suicide.

On a genealogical note, the connection to his male children is conjectural, although Charles did marry into the same Vienne family as two of George Barkley’s daughters and was named in the 1835 advertisements.

Sources[edit]

  • Wilmington Gazette (Wilmington, NC), 1805-1816
  • Abstract of Vital Records from Raleigh, NC newspapers, compiled by Lois Smithers Neal
  • Lower Cape Fear Historical Society, Inc., Wilmington, NC, Bulletin Volume XV, No. 3, May 1972
  • Mississippi Republican (Natchez, Mississippi), 23 March 1819
  • 1820 federal census of Mississippi, Adams County, Natchez
  • Mississippi State Gazette (Natchez, Mississippi), 2 December 1820
  • Comprehensive Catalog of the Correspondence and Papers of James Monroe
  • The Papers of Andrew Jackson 1821-1824
  • Pensacola Gazette (Pensacola, Fl), 1821-1847
  • New Orleans Commercial Bulletin (New Orleans, La), 1835-1836
  • 1830, 1840, and 1850 federal censuses of Florida, Escambia County
  • Barkley House Vignettes by George Willis Tate