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Jacques Phillippe Villeré (April 28, 1761 - 7 March, 1830) was the second Governor of Louisianamarker after it became a state. He was the first Creole and the first native of Louisiana to attain that office.

Early life

He was born near present day Kenner, Louisianamarker on the concession La Providence on the German Coast somewhere in St. John the Baptist Parish in 1761. His father was Joseph Roi de Villeré, Naval Secretary of Louisiana under Frenchmarker King Louis XV and one of the victims of Spain Governor Alejandro O'Reilly who was sent by the Spanish King to put down a revolt in Louisiana. Villeré's paternal grandfather, Etienne Roi de Villeré had accompanied Iberville on the voyage to the colony. His mother was Louise Marguerite de la Chaise, granddaughter of the Chevalier d’Arensbourg.

Military service

Villeré joined the French army and was educated in France at the Crown's expense due to his father's death at the hands of O'Reilly. In 1776, he was assigned by the French army to Saint Dominguemarker as a first lieutenant of the artillery. On leave in Louisiana, Villeré was detained by the Spanish authorities.

Political career and Later Life

In 1784, Villeré married Jeanne Henriette de Fazende, the daughter of Gabriel de Fazende, who owned a plantation seven miles (11 km) downriver from New Orleans in Saint Bernard Parish. In 1803, he secured a seat on the municipal council (the Cabildo) of New Orleans during the short French rule. The next year, Villeré was appointed a Major General in the territorial militia, a Police Juror in Orleans Parish and a Justice of the Peace for St. Bernard Parish.

Villeré was a member of the convention which drafted Louisiana's first state constitution. He ran for governor in 1812, but was defeated in the election by William C. C. Claiborne when the creole vote was split between Villeré and Jean N. Destréhan.

He participated in the Battle of New Orleansmarker in 1815, commanding the First Division of the Louisiana Militia. His men stood fast, assigned to the area near Lake Borgnemarker and Bayou Dupre, as the British Army approached New Orleans. The Villeré Plantation, Conseil, located downriver from the city, was overrun by the British Army. His home was destroyed and he lost 52 slaves, whom the British took aboard their ships and freed later.

Villeré was elected Governor in 1815, narrowly defeating Joshua Lewis . He took office the following year and serving through 1820, a period of prosperity and growth for the new state. He retired to his plantation in St. Bernard Parish after his term. In 1824, Villeré was brought out of retirement to run again for Governor, but he and Bernard de Marigny split the creole vote and Henry Johnson was elected Governor.

He died March 7, 1830 on his plantation Conseil after a long illness.


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