Don José Vidal

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Don José Vidal
Jose vidal1.jpg
BornMarch 12, 1763
DiedAugust 22, 1823

Don José Vidal (March 12, 1763, in A Coruña, Spain – August 22, 1823, in New Orleans, Louisiana) was a Spanish grandee who served in many different roles during the last decade of Louisiana's colonial period.


Cottage garden, ca. 1790, Natchez, by Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1938. Home of the Foster family. At one time owned by Jose Vidal, acting Gov. of Natchez Territory

Early life[edit]

Don José Vidal was born on March 12, 1765, in A Coruña, Spain.


He was secretary to Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, the Spanish Governor of the Natchez District from 1792-1797.[1]

He preferred to remain on Spanish territory, and petitioned the Spanish Governor-General Manuel Gayoso de Lemos for a land grant across the Mississippi River from Natchez. Gayoso granted the petition, with the stipulation that Vidal erect a “strong house” (fort) on the property. In 1798 Don Jose moved his family from Natchez across the river and became the Commandant of the new Post of Concordia.[2][3] Don Vidal also worked to develop a town at the fort, building the first steam-powered sawmill. He also owned a cotton gin and blacksmith shop – facilities to support the town. Concordia Parish later derived its name from the fort, and the town was called Concord by 1801. The Orleans Territorial legislature in 1811 changed the name of the city to Vidalia after its founder. Vidal had donated land along the river to the city, where its civic buildings were later constructed. He also donated land for the first school in Concordia Parish.

He lived most of his later years in Vidalia, although he went to New Orleans on business.

Personal life[edit]

He was married and had children.


He died August 22, 1823, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was buried in the Natchez City Cemetery.[4]


  1. ^ "The Concordia Parish Courthouse" (PDF). LOUISIANA OFFICE OF CULTURE RECREATION AND TOURISM. p. 5. Retrieved 2008-02-06. Settlement along the Mississippi in the area which would become Vidalia first occurred in the late 1700s when Don Jose Vidal received a large land grant from the Spanish government, which then controlled Louisiana. Part of Vidal's agreement with the colonial governor was that he would establish a military post and town at the site, which was located directly across the river from Natchez, Mississippi. Vidal named his town New Concordia. The post was first known as the Post of Natchez but by 1801 was called the Post of Concord. The Spaniards named Vidal military and civil commander of the post, a position he held until 1803 when the United States purchased Louisiana from France. It was Vidal who donated the strip of land next to the river where the community's civic buildings were eventually constructed. He also erected the first steam saw mill, owned a cotton gin and a blacksmith shop, and gave land for Concordia Parish's first school. The Louisiana Legislature renamed the town Vidalia in 1811.[dead link]
  2. ^ Saldívar, Ramón (2006). "Life in the Borderlands". The Borderlands of Culture: Américo Paredes and the Transnational Imaginary. Duke University Press. pp. 525. ISBN 0-8223-3789-4.
  3. ^ Gayarré, Charles (1854). "INTENDANT MORALES AND HIS MEASURES". History of Louisiana. Louisiana: Redfield. pp. 649. ...the Spanish Commandant, Don Jose Vidal, gave the name of "Concordia" to the fort which was erected on the west side of the river, in front of Fort Panmure on the east side, and the present parish of Concordia derives its appellation from this circumstance. The village of Vidalia, now existing opposite Natchez, is so called from the old Spanish Commandant, Don Jose Maria Vidal.
  4. ^ The Natchez Democrat. "Natchez City Cemetery". Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-06. In this old part of the city cemetery were buried many notable people in the history of this city and state. And some from Louisiana and other states. Also the grave and monument of the Royal Governor when this state was part of Louisiana, namely: Don Jose Vidal, Born in the City Coruna, Spain, March 12, 1763, died at New Orleans, 22 of August 1823, Enjoyed the confidence of his sovereigns. He filled many offices of rank and trust in the Royal Government of the Province of Louisiana. Captain of Dragoons in the Spanish time; commandant of the Post of Concordia, consul of Spain at New Orleans.