About Jean Louis Gibert
Jean Louis Gibert was born 29 June 1722, died August 1773; emigrated from Lunes, Languedoc, France, to Charleston, S.C., in April 1764; minister; Gilbert led 200 Huguenot followers to South Carolina to escape religious persecution in France; founded the village of New Bordeaux near present-day Abbeville, S.C.; married to Isabeau Boutiton; children were Joseph, Jeanne and Louise Guy. They came through this area in 1750 but only stayed a year or two and then migrated to Charleston, S.C. Since Abbeville, S.C. is so close to Habersham County, Ga. http://genconnect.rootsweb.com/gc/surnames/g/i/GILBERT/queiries/54
The Dordogne River Valley, Guyenne and Languedoc regions in Southwest France had large populations of Huguenots - French followers of the Calvinistic Protestant religion. Forbidden to worship openly, followers met in secret. Circuit rider preachers - "Pastors of the Desert" - traveled from forest to cave to other secret locations. In the 1750's, Rev. John Loius Gibert, his brother Rev. Etienne Gibert, and their good friend Rev. Pierre Boutiton were just such "Pastors of the Desert."
About 1760, Rev. Jean Louis Gibert began dreaming of new homeland for his persecuted flock. He sailed for London in 1761 and met with the Archbishop of Canterbury who provided introductions to the Lords of the Treasury. Rev. Gibert made several trips to London over the next two years to negotiation a new colony in America. Back home in France, between 200 and 300 followers were interested in this project. Rev. Gibert had hoped to receive land along the Ohio River. He wanted to grow grapes and mulberry trees, and start a silk industry. He was told that only South Carolina would be considered. There were already five Huguenot colonies in South Carolina, but the English saw value in putting this colonly "up-country," to serve as a buffer between the prosperous coastal region and the Indians.
On July 6, 1763, Rev Jean Louis Gibert's petition for a new colony was heard and ultimately granted. He received a grant of what amounts to 30 square miles on which to live and "to cultivate grapes and mulberries, as well as other agricultural crops suited to the land." And so, the foundation was laid for New Bordeaux.
The Founding of New Bordeaux
"In 1761, The Bounty Act was a direct result of the French and Indian War (1756-1759 in the colonies) and the Cherokee War (1760) in South Carolina. This Act provided cash money to anyone who brought settlers to the "upcountry" area of South Carolina - again, to serve as a deterrent against future Indian attacks on the colony. Three new "townships" were established as a result of the Bounty Act of 1761, much like the earlier townships of 1730."
"... Within the newly-created Hillsborough Township that was formed with 28,000 acres, New Bordeaux was located within the township on Long Cane Creek near where it enters Little River, within 0.6 miles from the Savannah River and approximately ninety miles above Augusta, Georgia. The town was laid out in mostly half acre lots with adjacent four-acre "vineyards" (grapes and cocoons for silk are certain, possibly olive trees). The larger land grants of 100-300 acres were nearby with roads laid out before the land was granted."
"The originator and leader of the immigrants was Rev. Jean Louis Gibert (not Gilbert). He stayed in Charles Town. The original minister at New Bordeaux was his son-in-law, Pierre Boutiton..."
"Then came the American Revolution. In South Carolina, the war was marked by Indian-style raiding and ambushes and was particularly murderous, matching Tory families and neighbors against Patriot friends and cousins. New Bordeaux, whose residents were ardent Patriots and raised a militia company to fight in the Continental Army, was repeatedly hit by Tories. It also lost two key leaders, first the Rev. Gibert, who died in New Bordeaux in 1773 after eating poisonous mushrooms, then St. Pierre, killed in battle during an expedition against the Cherokee in 1776. Without the Rev. Gibert's influence in Charles Town on the town's behalf, its economic fortunes flagged and its twin industries, wine and silk, faltered. With the war's end came the first footsteps of King Cotton and its demands for larger plantations and slave labor. By the 1790s, New Bordeaux was a ghost town. The Huguenots moved into the surrounding countryside, intermarried with the Scots-Irish and adopted the new agricultural demands of cotton. Only the surnames survive, some of them serving as street names for the Monticello community, Mr. Edmonds said, and stone markers for the place of worship and Moragn's grave."
Rev. M. Gibert's Headstone Inscription
Born near Alais in Languedoc. (On one side of marker is written) Jean Louis Gibert, The Devoted Hugonots not like other adventurers constrained by poverty to seek their fortunes on a distant shore but in the true spirt of humble and heroic martyrdom they plunged into the depths of an untrodden wilderness to secure that liberty of conscience which they could not enjoy in their own beautiful land. Legare (on another side of marker is written), HSE Johnannes Ludovicus (the rest of this side is written in Latin: another side of marker is written in French).
Rev. Jean Louis Gibert's Timeline
June 29, 1722
September 14, 1767
New Bordeaux, McCormick County, South Carolina, United States