Michael Portier


Michel Portier was born in Montbrison, France, in 1795. Entering the priesthood, he came to the United States in 1817, and in 1826 was made first Vicar Apostolic of the newly created vicariate of Alabama and the Floridas, in which there were but three parishes: Mobile, Pensacola and St. Augustine. It was Bishop Portier who in 1830 established Spring Hill College at Mobile, the influence of which on education in the South has been felt for more than a century. This account of his journey across Florida was written in French and published in Annales de la Propagation de la Foi (XIX Jan. 1830). It was translated by John E. Cahalan and published in Historical Records and Studies of The United States Catholic Historical Society (II, no. 2 Aug. 1901,) to whom grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to reprint the translation. The rarity of such a narrative of the Florida of that period and its interest more than warrant its republication.