In 1855, my ancestors came from Belgium and Paris, France, to Dallas, Texas, to begin a new life as part of the La Reunion colony. The colony was a group devoted to utopian principles, and my family in particular was escaping a country in turmoil. They came to create a better, freer future for themselves and their descendants. The colony failed and disbanded after three years, but the people lived on, helping create the Dallas we know today.
I’m still learning about these brave people – what they were escaping, what motivated them, what they hoped for, what they experienced, and the legacy they left behind. If you have any information about La Reunion or are a descendant yourself, I would love to hear from you.
And so on this Bastille Day 2012 (almost…it’s just past midnight), I decided to begin this site. I’ll be sharing what I find here. Please join the discussion!
“A people which takes no pride in the noble achievements of remote ancestors – will never achieve anything worthy to be remembered with pride by remote descendants.” -Macauley
Here is a quote from my grandmother’s copy of “The White Cliffs of Dallas,” published in 1955 for the hundredth anniversary of the colony founding, which I find very inspiring as I remember my grandmother, and her grandmother:
“Many books of reference refer to this colony as a failure, yet who can truthfully say that the lives and hopes of these rugged pioneers were lived in vain…The fabulous dreams of these inspired people, freedom, prosperity, and plenty, grew dimmer and sadder as the years went on. These few who had traveled far to a primitive land in order to have this freedom, and who sought to carve out a modern Utopia to bestow upon their descendants that they might have the knowledge and wisdom of a new world, and who themselves had abandoned homes of culture and security, slowly realized the futility of their efforts. Yet few turned back, and so it is that we today live in a nation rich with understanding and firm in the belief, not of tyranny, but of free Democracy.
And so on the pages of history, as a tribute to their memory, we shall write SUCCESS instead of failure as we too re-echo the closing words of Victor Considerant’s book: ‘Terra Promise – Terre Sacre – Terre de Realisation.’
‘Oh Sacred Promised Land – Our Land of Realization.'”