Galveston Historical Foundation

Jean Laffite Revealed Lecture and Book Signing

Following their sold-out Galveston Historical Foundation presentation in May, researchers Dr. Ashley Oliphant and Beth Yarbrough are returning to reveal their latest archival findings related to the life of pirate Jean Laffite. They will discuss their groundbreaking new book, “Jean Laffite Revealed: Unraveling One of America’s Longest Running Mysteries,” released in March by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press.

The Jean Lafitte Revealed Lecture and Book Signing will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 13 at the 1859 Ashton Villa, 2328 Broadway. Tickets are $15 per person or free for Galveston Historical Foundation members as part of the GalvestonHistory+ program.


Their work provides evidence from primary documents and artifacts to establish that Laffite faked his death in the 1820s, hid for a time in Cuba, and then re-entered the United States using the alias “Lorenzo Ferrer,” settling first in Mississippi and then in North Carolina. They also found his sword – with his hand-etched signature – in the Freemason Lodge he helped to found in 1852. Participants will have the opportunity to hear about the very latest developments in their research, including results from laboratory testing on recently unearthed Laffite documents. As well, the team will discuss extraordinary new leads indicating that a man who many believed was Laffite’s son with his mistress Louisa in Lincolnton, NC, has finally been found after decades of attempts to locate where he went after he left North Carolina in the mid-1800s. Oliphant and Yarbrough are still actively on the hunt for new information, and their presentation will take the audience on an exhilarating ride through history, adding new historical perspectives and a lot of fun along the way. Join this mother-daughter research duo for a fresh and innovative look at the pirate who once called Galveston home.

Ashley OliphantAbout Ashley Oliphant | Dr. Ashley Oliphant, author of five books, is a recognized expert in subjects ranging from Ernest Hemingway to legendary pirates. A Hemingway scholar, Oliphant has written two books on the subject of Hemingway’s life and work. As well, she has authored a novel about Key West and a best-selling book on shark tooth hunting that has sold more than 10,000 copies. Her latest work, “Jean Lafitte Revealed”, is co-authored with Beth Yarbrough. As a mother-daughter research team, Oliphant and Yarbrough uncover new evidence that sheds fascinating light on the true fate and secret later life of the legendary pirate. Oliphant is a retired English professor with twenty years of teaching experience in the college classroom that has included courses in freshman composition and American literature. Based in North Carolina, she and her family divide their time between various coastal destinations, spending as many hours as possible by the water’s edge.

Beth YarbroughAbout Beth Yarbrough | Beth Yarbrough is a seasoned and successful veteran of the gift and home decor industry, having designed products and licensed her original artwork to the trade for more than 30 years. Expanding that reach in 2013, she launched two online brands, Southern Voice and Alcott Farm, both of which enjoy a large base of enthusiastic fans across all platforms on social media. With a focus on historic structures throughout the South, Beth photographs and chronicles the architectural history and stories of the great houses of the South from Texas to Virginia and all points in between. In addition to these daily doses of wit, wisdom, and beauty online, she continues to oversee an expanding licensing and design business that includes print publishing, home decor, and fine art photography.


GHF was formed as the Galveston Historical Society in 1871 and merged with a new organization formed in 1954 as a non-profit entity devoted to historic preservation and history in Galveston County. Over the last sixty years, GHF has expanded its mission to encompass community redevelopment, historic preservation advocacy, maritime preservation, coastal resiliency, and stewardship of historic properties. GHF embraces a broader vision of history and architecture that encompasses advancements in environmental and natural sciences and their intersection with historic buildings and coastal life and conceives of history as an engaging story of individual lives and experiences on Galveston Island from the 19th century to the present day.

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Georgia Barbin
Georgia Barbin
3 years ago

Okay, one of the mysteries seems to be how to spell his last name! This article spells it both “Laffite” and “Lafitte”. From doing a little genealogy on my own family, I know that names can get changed through the years, misspelled on census reports and other public records, but I think in Galveston, it’s usually spelled “Lafitte”, right?

John Merritt
John Merritt
Reply to  Galveston History
2 years ago

The Laffite Society of Galveston is basing their spelling on documents that Jean Laffite signed that are still in existence. But yes, lots of misspellings around, even the historucal marker on Stewart Road.

Newsletter Signup

Sign up below for foundation updates, upcoming events, and more!