Charlotte Seely

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Charlotte Seely (Bouniot)

Also Known As: "Papineau"
Birthdate: (64)
Birthplace: Frenchtown, Rhode Island
Death: Died in Orange County, New York
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Pierre Bouniot and Elizabeth de Faucquemberque
Wife of Jean Papineau, IV and Samuel Seely
Mother of John Papineau; Pierre Popino; Rev. Charles Seeley; Susannah Sayre; Mary Prudence Seeley and 4 others

Managed by: Private User
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About Charlotte Seely

Charlotte Bouniot: Rhode Island/New York

Charlotte had two children by Papineau: John (Jean--date of birth unknown; perhaps 1704-5); and Peter (Pierre), baptized in 1706. Her maiden name was written as Bounos when Pierre was christened. [1] In her second marriage, to Samuel Seely in Stamford, Connecticut, May 13, 1709, she is listed as Charlotte Popino.[2] Between 1710 and 1724 she had eight more children by Seely.[3]

The name Bounos exists in Greece but has not been found in North America during the colonial period, leading me to conclude that the actual name was different. So I began a search for her possible real name.

Frenchtown, the French settlement at Narragansett (East Greenwich, RI) was earlier and larger than New Oxford, involving forty or fifty families. Unfortunately, they bought land with a bad title and, in 1691, were forced to abandon it by the court and the adjacent English settlers whose claim was upheld. Twenty-one of the families went to New York, seven went to Boston, and René Grignon went to New Oxford.

One of the leaders in Frenchtown was Pierre Bouniot--variously spelled Bonniot, Bonyot, and Boigniot.[4] Bouniot with a silent "t" sounds a lot like Bounos. Bouniot was an educated and pious man who served as elder and secretary of the church, and frequently read the scripture to the congregation. In 1688 he asked permission to set up a private bench for his family in the church--the first to do so--for which he paid 3 shillings a year. This suggests that he had a family consisting of more than infants, who would have need for a bench. In 1689, his wife Elizabeth de Faucquembergue gave birth to a son Ezechiel. Two other children, Marthe and Jean, were also born to them at Narragansett, but both died. When Jean was born in 1690, Abraham and Charlotte Faucquembergue presented him for baptism. Since these names do not appear as landholders, they were presumably part of Bouniot's family, probably his wife’s parents.

Our Charlotte is not mentioned. We might assume that she was named after her grandmother and was born before 1686 when the Narragansett records begin (but not too much before since Samuel Seely was born in 1687 and would be unlikely to marry a much older woman.) After the community broke up, we next find the name Bonyot and Boigniot in the records of the French Church in New York (where Pierre Papineau was baptized), showing various children of Ezechiel and his wife Ester being baptized between 1716 and 1721. How might Charlotte Bouniot have met Jean Papineau? Both families appear to have had a connection with Niort in France and may have belonged to the same church there. The New Oxford and Narragansett communities were connected with each other and with Boston. The three American churches maintained a close communion. The route from Frenchtown passed through Providence and then split to New Oxford and to Boston. During one period, the minister was in Boston but returned to Frenchtown once every two months for services. Remember that René Grignon, Papineau's partner in New Oxford, had lived in Frenchtown before moving to New Oxford. where Bernon set them both up in business (perhaps providing a return on Papineau’s father’s £460). Jean Papineau could have met Charlotte Bouniot in New Oxford or Boston or New York and could have married her around 1703 in New Oxford when he was 25 and she would be 18 or slightly older. Jean's move to New York in 1704 would be not only a matter of following Jacques Laborie, his minister, but also of rejoining Charlotte's family. The other possibility is that Jean married Charlotte in New York after leaving New Oxford in 1704, and that Jean Jr. was born in 1705, and Pierre in 1706. In those days people usually had a first child shortly after marriage and Charlotte was obviously a highly fertile woman. Note that her first child bore the name of her husband; her second child that of her presumed father.

In 1709, Charlotte married Samuel Seely in Stamford, Connecticut, about 40 miles to the east.



[1] Alfred V Wittmayer, Registers of the French Church of New York, reprint GPC, 1968. I have looked at a photocopy of the original register at the New York Historical Society and it clearly says Bounos to me. Bear in mind, however, that in those days there were no established spellings and a scribe would merely write down what the name sounded like to him.

[2] Rev. R. E. Huntington, Stamford Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths, Stamford, CT 1874, photocopy 1995 NEHGS

[3] Descendants of Robert Seeley, Vol 1, Seeley Genealogical Society, 1977, p 19.

[4] See Records of the French Church at Naragansett, 1686-1691, in NY Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol 70, 1939, pp 236-241 and Vol 71, pp 51-61. See also Elisha R Potter, Memoir concerning the French Settlers in the Colony of Rhode Island, 1879, reprinted by GPC 1968. In Thierry Du Pasquier, Généalogies Huguenotes, Paris, Editions Christian, 1985 (in the Huguenot Society Library, NYC) the Bonniots are discussed as an important Huguenot family in France (judges, lawyers, merchants and big landholders) with a long connection to Niort—one was mayor in 1373—but the Rhode Island family is listed as unlinked (p 240). I have no documentary proof that Charlotte Bounos was Charlotte Bouniot, but the evidence gives this a high probability.

five1fan2001added this on 18 Jun 2012
JaneJHonseoriginally submitted this to An Extended Wagner Family Tree on 29 May 2008 



This is the story of a young religious refugee from France who arrived in Massachusetts at the end of the 17th Century and of the lives of some of his descendants who followed the expanding frontier throughout the next 150 years in New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Kentucky and the Northwest Territory. In tracing their passage through time, I have tried to learn not just who they were but what it was like to be where they were and do what they did. My most exciting breakthroughs have come from visiting the places where they lived, looking at the original records as well as manuscripts in historical societies and local libraries; studying their neighbors and their neighborhoods; and trying to do right brain as well as left brain thinking about them. Two examples:

When I began, all that was known about our immigrant ancestor, Jean Papineau, was that he had been partner in a chamoiserie (a wash leather factory) in New Oxford, Massachusetts (reported in several 19th century books but with no sources given); and that his son, Pierre, was baptized at the French Church of New York in 1706.  Believing that Gabriel Bernon, founder of New Oxford, might be the key, I went to the Rhode Island Historic Society to examine Bernon's collected papers. Sifting through boxes in their vault I discovered not only the original source for the chamoiserie information but also a never-before-published record of Papineau’s place of origin, Niort, in France.  More recently others have been able to research the records in Niort and have found Jean Papineau's parentage and baptism.

Papineau’s wife was a greater enigma because her family name in that baptismal record (Bounos) was a name that existed nowhere else in North America at that time.  But by reading everything I could find about the Huguenots in America I eventually came across the records of a 17th century church in Rhode Island which provided the clues that enabled me to establish her probable parentage.

The search continues and perhaps will never end. As new facts (or fictions) are discovered, this essay will continue to evolve. Meanwhile, read on.  If you want to cut to the chase, you can go directly to The Papineaus.

five1fan2001added this on 18 Jun 2012
JaneJHonseoriginally submitted this to An Extended Wagner Family Tree on 29 May 2008
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Charlotte Seely's Timeline

Frenchtown, Rhode Island
Age 13
New York
July 28, 1706
Age 15
New York City, NY
April 4, 1710
Age 19
Stamford, CT, USA
March 23, 1712
Age 21
Fairfield, Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
June 14, 1714
Age 23
Stamford, CT
July 1716
Age 25
Orange County, Province of New York, (Present USA)
Age 25
Minisink, Orange, NY, USA
Age 29
Deer Park, Suffolk County, New York, United States