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Huguenots of Colonial New England

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  • Michael Dunnell (b. - 1717)
    Michael, perhaps a French Huguenot refugee, came to Topsfield, Mass. before revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Michael m. Mary (Reed?). He was a large landowner. Around 1660 he settled on the f...
  • Peter (Pierre) Shumway, Sr. (c.1635 - 1695)
    from www.shumway.org, The Shumway Root Cellar According to family tradition, Peter I "the soldier" came from France. He was probably a Huguenot. In the period leading up to the Revocation of the Edic...
  • Gabriel Bernon (1644 - 1736)
    From: Find A Grave Memorial # 19231732; Birth:  Apr. 6, 1644, France Death:  Feb. 1, 1736 in Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, USA Parents: Andre Bernon Suzanne G...
  • Baptist Smedley (1609 - 1675)
    Indentured servant to Rev Peter Bulkey 1636 England to New England. Huguenot descent. Shattuck's Concord reports the following about the Smeadly family: "Two brothers came to Concord before 1639. B...
  • George Bunker, of Topsfield (1621 - 1658)
    From Who Are the Parents of George Bunker? by Michelle Boyd: It was once believed that George Bunker of Topsfield was the son of Guillaume Boncoeur (born 1600), son of Guillaume Boncoeur (born 1580...

Most of the Huguenot congregations (or individuals) in North America eventually affiliated with other Protestant denominations with more numerous members. The Huguenots adapted quickly and often began to marry outside their immediate French communities fairly rapidly, which led to their assimilation. Their descendants in many families continued to use French first names and surnames for their children well into the nineteenth century, as they tried to keep some connection to their heritage. Assimilated, the French made numerous contributions to United States economic life, especially as merchants and artisans in the late Colonial and early Federal periods. For example, E.I. du Pont, a former student of Lavoisier, established the Eleutherian gunpowder mills, which produced material for the American Revolutionary War.

Paul Revere was descended from Huguenot refugees ... Jack Jouett, who made the ride from Cuckoo Tavern to warn Thomas Jefferson and others that Tarleton and his men were on their way to arrest him for crimes against the king; Francis Marion, and a number of other leaders of the American Revolution and later statesmen.

Rhode Island

In the autumn of the year 1686, a body of French Protestants, comprising forty or fifty families, arrived in New England, and established themselves in the territory now covered by the State of Rhode Island. The settlement was a promising one. Of all the bands of Huguenot emigrants that came to our shores at this period, the Narragansett colony was perhaps the most compact and homogeneous. Its history, notwithstanding, is a brief and melancholy one. Within five years from the time of its foundation, the colony was broken up, and nearly every family had sought a home elsewhere.

Most of them have already been mentioned in connection with the Huguenot emigration from the seaboard provinces of western France. Ten of the forty-eight families named in the " plot" or plan of the settlement, were from Saintonge; ten were from La Rochelle and its vicinity; several were from Poitou, a few were from Normandy, and a few from Guyenne. Ezdchiel Carré, the minister of the colony, was a native of the isle of Re, and had studied philosophy and theology in the Academy founded by Calvin at Geneva. He was now between thirty-five and forty years of age, and had already been pastor of two congregations in France, those of Mirambeau in Saintonge and La Roche Chalais in Guyenne. Carry's associate in the leadership of the band of refugees, was Pierre Berthon de Marigny,—Peter Berton, as the English called him,—the representative of a prominent family of Chatellerault, in Poitou. Another important member of the colony was its physician, Pierre Ayrault, of Angers, in the province of Anjou ; a man of determined character, now advanced in years, 1686. wno alone stood his ground, as we shall see further on, when the other settlers abandoned the enterprise. Ayrault was accompanied by his wife Francoise, his son Daniel, and his nephew Nicholas.

Associated with these conductors of the colony, were a number of refugees, whom we shall only mention here, reserving a fuller account of them for another place. The roll of the Narragansett settlers, headed by Carre, Berthon, and Ayrault, embraces the following names:—Jean Julien, Jean Coudret, Elie Rambert, Daniel Lambert, Andre Armaud, Daniel Large, veuve Galay, Abram Tourtellot, Pierre Le Moine, Ezechiel Bouniot, Pierre Traverrier, Etienne La Vigne, Moise Le Brun, Jean Beauchamps, Jean David, Jacob Ratier, Jean Galay, Menardeau, Pierre Bretin dit Laronde, Daniel Le Gendre, Daniel Renaud, Daniel Jouet, Milard, Belhair, Jean Lafon, Amian, Ezechiel Grazilier, Paul Bussereau, Etienne Jamain, Louis Allaire, Theophile Foretier, Jean Chadene, Josue David senior, Josue David junior, Jacques Magni, Jean Magni, Etienne Robineau, Francois Legare, Rene" Grignon, Pierre Tougere, Dechamps, Jean Germon, Paul Collin, and Guillaume Barbut.

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