TENNESSEE, USA — Did you know one of East Tennessee's pioneers was a Spanish merchant sailor?
Meet Jorge Antonio Farragut-Mesquida, also known as George Farragut.
Spanish Version: Mes de la Herencia Hispana: George Farragut
He was born on the Spanish island of Menorca in September 1755 and had a career as a merchant sailor. Farragut was promoted to command a small Spanish boat that traded between Havana, Veracruz and New Orleans, according to the National Portrait Gallery.
Farragut immigrated to South Carolina in 1776 and joined the state's continental navy as a first lieutenant to fight the British in the American Revolution, according to the National Park Service.
He fought in Savannah and was captured in Charleston in 1780, according to the National Portrait Gallery. He then fought at the battles of Cowpens and Wilmington after being released in a prisoner exchange. Farragut was a major in the cavalry by the end of the war.
He met his wife, a Scotch-Irish American woman named Elizabeth Shine, in 1795. They would have five children including the famed Admiral David Farragut who was born in 1801.
As a friend of William Blount, Tennessee's first territorial governor, the Farraguts lived in Campbells Station, Tenn. until roughly 1807 when George was recruited by the President Thomas Jefferson's administration to move to New Orleans to work for the government after the Louisiana purchase, according to Knoxville historian Jack Neely. He operated a ferry in the Concord area during this time.
His wife, Elizabeth, died in 1808 of yellow fever, according to Neely.
Farragut died in 1817 around Pascagoula, Mississippi.
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