Dictionary of Louisiana Biography – U

Dictionary U

ULLOA Y DE LA TORRE GUIRAL, Antonio de, administrator, governor, naval officer, scientist. Born, Seville, Spain, January 12, 1716; son of Bernardo de Ulloa, an economist of reputation, and Josefa de la Torre-Guiral. Early education in church school in Seville. Enrolled as cadet in Naval Academy in Cadiz, 1733. Appointed, 1735, member of important French scientific expedition to Ecuador to measure an arc of the meridian. After return to Europe sent by the crown, 1750, on mission to northern Europe to report on naval installations. Founder of Museum of Natural History of Madrid. Discoverer of platinum. Governor of Huancavelica in Peru from 1758-1764 with orders to improve output of mercury mine essential for silver production. Appointed, 1765, first Spanish governor of Louisiana. In 1768 an uprising of the French colonists forced his departure for Havana. Married by proxy, 1767, to Francisca Ramírez de Laredo, of Lima, Peru. Children: Josefa, Buenaventura, Antonio María, Francisco Xavier, Martín Josef, Josef María, María del Carmen. Naval commander of last important convoy from Cadiz to Mexico, 1776. Commander of Spanish squadron against English raiders in American War of Independence, 1780. Retirement to Cadiz as admiral of the fleet. Author: (with Jorge Juan), Relacion historica del viaje a la America meridional (1748); Relación histórica del viaje a la America Meridional (with Jorge Juan), Noticias secretas de America ; Noticias Americanas (1772); Conversaciones de Ulloa con sus tres hijos en servicio de la marina (1795). Member of the Royal Society of London, Royal Academies of Stockholm and Berlin; corresponding member of the Royal Academy of Science of Paris. Died, Isla de Leon (Cadiz), July 5, 1795; interred Cadiz. J.P.M.* Sources: Charles Gayarré, History of Louisiana, 5th ed., 4 vols. (1965); Julio Guillán, Los tenientes de Navio (1936); J. Preston Moore, Revolt in Louisiana: The Spanish Occupation, 1766-1770 (1976); Vicente Rodriguez Casado, Primeros años de dominación española en la Luisiana (1942); Arthur P. Whitaker, “Antonio de Ulloa,” Hispanic American Historical Review, XV (1935); Eric Beerman, “Antonio de Ulloa, First Spanish Governor of Louisiana,” New Orleans Genesis, XVII, No. 66 (March, 1978).

UNZAGA Y AMEZAGA, Luís, governor. Born, Málaga, Spain, 1721. Education, unknown. Career prior to Louisiana: cadet to lieutenant, Regiment of Portugal, 1734-1740, including service in the Italian campaign of 1735. Captain to brigadier general (Mariscal de Campo), Regiment of Havana, 1740-1772; helped organize a battalion of the regiment, 1740; served as lieutenant governor of Puerto Príncipe, Cuba, and later of Santiago de Cuba; distinguished service in taking reinforcements to try to break the English siege of Havana, 1762. Remained officer of the Regiment of Havana during Louisiana service. Louisiana service: At request of Alexandro O’Reilly (q.v.), Unzaga accompanied him to Louisiana to organize the Regiment of Louisiana, 1769. Governor from December 1, 1769, to January 1, 1777. Promoted to rank of colonel, 1770, and brigadier general, June 1772. Married Marie Elizabeth de St. Maxent, ca. 1770, second daughter of Gilbert Antoine de St. Maxent (q.v.). No children known. Governorship notable for tolerance of English trade, good relations with Creoles, jealous guarding of prerogatives of his office, fortification of New Orleans and the Mississippi, beginnings of Spanish assistance to rebels of English thirteen colonies, 1776, through Oliver Pollock (q.v.) and others. Service after Louisiana: governor and captain-general of Venezuela from June 17, 1777, to December 10, 1782, during difficult period of transition from rule of the Caracas Company to renewed royal rule. Interim governor and captain-general of Cuba from December 30, 1782, to February 4, 1785, when replaced by Bernardo de Gálvez (q.v.). Term as interim governor noted for expulsion of U. S. merchants, including Oliver Pollock, first U. S. consul, August 1783. Residencia as governor of Louisiana taken by Esteban Miró, 1785. Commandant-general of Tuy, and lieutenant governor of Galicia, 178?-178?. Retired to Málaga. Died, July 21, 1793. P.E.H. Sources: Jacobo de la Pezuela y Lobo, Diccionario geográfico, estadístico, histórico de la isla de Cuba, 4 vols. (1863-1866), IV; Jack D. L. Holmes, Honor and Fidelity (1965); Luís A. Sucre, Governadores y capitanes general de Venezuela (1928); Brian Coutts, “Martín Navarro, Treasurer, Contador, Intendant, 1766-1788” (Ph. D. dissertation, 1981).

URQUHART, Thomas, businessman, politician, and civic leader. Born on father’s plantation near St. Francisville, La., June 25, 1773; son of George and Angelica Monsanto Urquhart. After the death of father in 1779, mother married Robert Dow, a prominent New Orleans physician, and removed the family to New Orleans. Married Caroline Trudeau, daughter of Charles Laveau Trudeau (q.v.). Children: Caroline (b. 1806), Celestine (b. 1808), Angelica (b. 1810), George Dow (b. 1814), and Charles (b. 1816). By 1804 with younger brother David engaged in mercantile business in New Orleans. Thomas held a captain’s license and on occasions took ships to Europe to handle transactions for his firm. By 1806 Thomas elected to the board of directors of the Bank of Louisiana, the New Orleans Insurance Company, and the New Orleans Navigation Company. Later became president of both the Bank of Louisiana and the New Orleans Insurance Company. With establishment of territorial government, became active in politics, always the supporter of Gov. William C. C. Claiborne (q.v.). A member of the house of representatives, serving as the speaker of the house, 1807-1810. On April 18, 1810, relinquished speaker’s position to take a seat on the Legislative Council, an appointment made by Governor Claiborne. In November 1811, appointed as a member of the convention which met in New Orleans to draft the Louisiana application for statehood. As a member of this committee, voted not to include the West Florida region in the boundary of the state in its application. In 1828 presidential election, served as president of a Louisiana group called the Friends of the Administration, a group organized in Baton Rouge to support the re-election bid of John Quincy Adams in his unsuccessful race against Andrew Jackson (q.v.). A warden of the port for the Territory of Orleans and a member of the Seventh Company of Infantry, Second Regiment, Territory of Louisiana. Active in public and civic affairs, served one term as president of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, a term as Grand Master of Parfait Union #21, one of the French-speaking Masonic Lodges in New Orleans; a member of the board of directors and a pewholder in Christ Episcopal Church; member of a committee organized in 1836 to raise money to help businesses in New York City defray expenses from losses following a major fire in that city. Died, New Orleans, April 6, 1841. G.I. Sources: Urquhart Family Papers; Clarence E. Carter, ed., The Territorial Papers of the United States, vol. IX, Orleans Territory (1940).