While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Robert S. Weddle

LIOTOT (?–?). Liotot was a surgeon with the La Salle expedition. Most of what has been written of him is based on the assumption that he was the only member of the company to serve in that capacity. Both Henri Joutel and Pierre Talon, however, suggest otherwise. Since accounts of the expedition frequently mention "the surgeon" without naming him, it is difficult to distinguish Liotot's deeds. It is not known with certainty, for example, that Liotot delivered the Barbier infant, the first white child of record to be born in Texas; or whether he treated Crevel de Moranget (whom he later murdered) when Moranget was seriously wounded by a Karankawa arrow. It probably was Liotot who amputated the gangrenous leg of Sieur le Gros, victim of a rattlesnake bite. This first known surgical amputation of a limb in Texas did not rescue the patient, who later died, and the surgeon's name does not appear.

Liotot's medical-surgical services, in any case, are overshadowed by other deeds attributed to him by Joutel: he was the axe murderer of three of La Salle's men and a participant in the plot by which the leader himself was assassinated. He waited in ambush with La Salle's slayer, Pierre Duhaut, then mocked the leader as he lay lifeless on the ground, derisively calling him grand basha. Some weeks later, while the Frenchmen were still among the Hasinai, Liotot himself was slain. This second round of bloodletting began with a falling-out between Duhaut and Hiems, or James, whom Joutel describes at one point as La Salle's surgeon. While Hiems fatally shot Duhaut, his companion, Rutre (or Ruter), shot Liotot, apparently to prevent him from interfering. Pierre Talon, who was eleven years old at the time, attributes to "an Englishman named James [Hiems]" the part in La Salle's murder that Joutel assigns to Liotot. His confusion of identities probably resulted from both Hiems and Liotot serving as surgeons. Although agreeing that James killed Duhaut, Talon further confuses events by stating that James was killed a few days later by Rutre, and that Rutre was subsequently slain by "a surgeon." The surgeon, fearing the same fate, went to live among the Toho tribe, taking Pierre Talon with him. Talon claims to have witnessed this surgeon's death during the Tohos' battle with an enemy tribe. This account notwithstanding, it appears certain that Liotot died by Rutre's gun, as Joutel says he did.

Henri Joutel, Joutel's Journal of La Salle's Last Voyage (London: Lintot, 1719; rpt., New York: Franklin, 1968). Pierre Margry, ed., Découvertes et établissements des Français dans l'ouest et dans le sud de l'Amérique septentrionale, 1614–1754 (6 vols., Paris: Jouast, 1876–86). Robert S. Weddle et al., eds., La Salle, the Mississippi, and the Gulf: Three Primary Documents (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1987).

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: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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, Robert S. Weddle, "LIOTOT," accessed August 14, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fli13.

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...