Since its original printing in 1952, the publication of the Handbook of Texas has been made possible through the support of its users. As an independent nonprofit, TSHA relies on your contributions to close the funding gap for the online Handbook and keep it a freely accessible resource for users worldwide. Please make a donation today to preserve the most comprehensive encyclopedic resource on Texas history. Donate Today »


Jack D. L. Holmes

GAYOSO DE LEMOS, MANUEL (1747–1799). Manuel Gayoso de Lemos Amorín y Magallanes was born in Oporto, Portugal, on May 30, 1747, the son of Spanish consul Manuel Luis Gayoso de Lemos y Sarmiento and Theresa Angélica de Amorín y Magallanes. He was educated in England and joined the Spanish Lisbon Regiment as a cadet on July 7, 1771. He was commissioned sublieutenant on July 20, 1772, and was promoted through the years, reaching the rank of brigadier on September 4, 1795.

On November 3, 1787, he was named governor of the fort and district of Natchez. He served at that post from 1789 until August 1797, during which time he encouraged American settlers, established posts as far north as Missouri, and organized militia, naval units, and defenses of the frontier to guard against possible attacks from Indians, American frontiersmen, or Jacobins. His valuable services in persuading the southern Indians to sign treaties in 1792, 1793, and 1795 secured a buffer zone between the American settlements and Spanish Louisiana. His close contacts with Gen. James Wilkinson during the so-called "Spanish Conspiracy" introduced him to Philip Nolan, with whom he was tempted to form a business partnership in 1797 involving the importation of Texas horses into Louisiana and the trading of goods with Texas and Mexico.

Gayoso was appointed governor general of Louisiana and West Florida on October 28, 1796. He took office on August 5, 1797, and died in New Orleans of yellow fever on July 18, 1799, as Americans moved into the Natchez District. He was married three times: to Theresa Margarita Hopman y Pereira of Lisbon, to whom two children were born; to Elizabeth Watts of Philadelphia; and to Margaret Cyrilla Watts of Louisiana, to whom one son was born. Gayoso's correspondence with governors of Texas and the viceroy of New Spain during 1797–99 concerned the activities of Philip Nolan, whom Gayoso considered a dangerous enemy of Spain, and the preservation of Louisiana as a barrier to American expansion into Texas and New Spain.

Dictionary of American Biography. Jack D. L. Holmes, Gallant Emissary: The Political Career of Manuel Gayoso de Lemos in the Mississippi Valley, 1789–1799 (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1959). Jack D. L. Holmes, "Gallegos notables en la Luisiana," Cuadernos de Estudios Gallegos 19 (1964). Jack D. L. Holmes, Gayoso: The Life of a Spanish Governor in the Mississippi Valley, 1789–1799 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1965). Jack D. L. Holmes, "La Última barrera: la Luisiana y la Nueva España," Historia Mexicana 10 (Abril-Junio 1961). Irving A. Leonard, "A Frontier Library, 1799," Hispanic American Historical Review 23 (February 1943).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Jack D. L. Holmes, "GAYOSO DE LEMOS, MANUEL," accessed September 21, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...