Dr. Rene de la Force

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Rene la Force, I

Also Known As: "Rene"
Birthplace: Castelnau-sur-Gupie, Province de Guyenne, France
Death: September 27, 1728 (67-68)
Manakin Town, Goochland County, Province of Virginia
Place of Burial: Non-Cemetery Burial, Non-Cemetery Burial
Immediate Family:

Husband of Sarah la Force
Father of Sarah Harding; Rene LaForce, II; Rachel La Force; Judith Paul and Renald LaForce, II

Occupation: Huguenot, Doctor
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Dr. Rene de la Force

This particular family starts off in France as de Caumont. They were already rich French Huguenot land-owners/title-holders. But after losing 2 family members to the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre...a surviving ancestor helped King Henry IV tremendously as he was a fellow Huguenot. Then they were given the land de la Force & were given the title duc de la Force...as well as Marshall & Peer of France. You basically can't get any better than this...unless you're the King himself. They had at least 3 castles that I know of.

After the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes...we gave everything up & fled France. Two of the old castles are still standing. One is now a medieval war museum. The other was taken over by Josephine Baker & her rainbow tribe & is now a museum about them.

I believe our ancestors fled to England. And I believe England was full by the time they got there. I believe people in England offered them land here in America & ancestor Renald Rene LaForce I obviously accepted. He was in charge of about 200 French Huguenots that came here. And right off the bat, they were ripped off. They were sold land which was unsuitable for them...so they had to buy more (near Manakintowne, Va.) after they got here. Our ancestor made the payments to Gov. William Byrd II on behalf of his people. He's mentioned in Byrd's no longer secret diary.

Notes for Dr. Rene La Force:Rene:

La Force was reportedly a French Huguenot who fled France because of the persecution of the Protestants there.

The name "La Force" varies from Le Force, Leforce, Laforce, Lefors, Lafoon (?), La Forie, La Fore, to La Foree, etc.

Jacques Nompar de Caumont, Duc de la Force, was born about 1539 ,and died 1634, age 95, at Chateau de la Force at Perigord. His father, Francois de Caumont, and one brother were murdered in 1572. Jacques Nompar fell under the other two and was assumed dead, but survived the massacre. He was disguised and led away to safety by friends. He later became Marshall of France (from BIOGRAPHIE UNIVERSELLE, ANCIENNE ET MODERNE, Vol. 14, pp. 384-385, Paris, 1856, by Michaud).

Some La Force descendants settled in New York and later in Canada. Two La Forces went with LaSalle on an exploration of the Mississippi river and never returned. Other members of the family removed directly from France to Louisiana. In Canada, the La Forces are descended from a line called Pepin dit La Force, "dit" meaning called or known as. The progenitor of the Pepin dit La Force line landed in Canada ca 1634. There Pierre, son of Guillaume, became known as Pierre dit La Force, and one of his brothers was known as dit Descardonnet (per Paul Truax).

In Virginia, there is mention of a Peter La Force as early as 1688, when he is listed as one of 10 persons transported by Thomas Tyas (in Foley, EARLY VIRGINIA FAMILIES, Vol. III, p. 670). Also, one Sarah La Force married Booth Napier ca 1700. Sarah and/or Peter may possible be related to Rene La Force, the subject of this genealogy.

"The de la Force family is of Guyenne origin, belonging to the de Castelnau branch of the noble house of Caumont. Rene LaForce, the emigrant, came from France about 1700 and settled first a few miles from Danville, Virginia; he is reputed to have been a doctor of medicine. Shortly after his arrival in this country, he joined the Huguenot Colony in Henrico County and settled 900 acres of land, adjoining the lands of Chastain and Dutoi. The Rent Rolls of 1704 show him possessed of 1341 acres of land. In 1728, when two new counties were taken from Henrico, he was appointed Justice of Goochland County. He had three children, Rene, who married Agnes Mosby; Sarah, the wife of William Harding of Goochland; and Rachel." (from article by Mrs. Hale Houts, a descendant of William Harding and Sarah LaForce, published in THE HUGUENOT, No. 7).

The date of arrival of Dr. Rene La Force to the American colonies has not been determined. He did not arrive on the two ships bringing the Huguenots to Manakin Town, but may have arrived earlier at some other Huguenot settlements such as those in New York, South Carolina, Georgia or North Carolina. He may have lived in England, Holland or Germany before coming to America, as many of the French Huguenot families were forced to flee to safety wherever they could find a safe haven . Genealogist Charles Hamlin, however, believed that he is the "Rene Massoneau" listed as arriving on the Mary & Ann in August 1700 (see THE HUGUENOT 6, 1933, pp. 82-86). Hamlin also gives the name as "Rene Massoneau LaForie," which he said was a misreading of La Force. Hamlin also stated that he (Rene La Force) was on a list of naturalizations in VA 5-12-1705 as "Rene Massoneau La Forie (see Charles Hamlin, VIRGINIA ANCESTORS & ADVENTURERS, Vol. 3, pp. 58-59).

Dr. Rene La Force borrowed money from William Byrd and is mentioned in Byrd's secret diaries. La Force visited Byrd's house on several occasions ca 1705 (William Byrd, THE SECRET DIARY OF WILLIAM BYRD OF WESTOVER (1709-1712), PP. 227, 274, 351, 354, 392).

In a deed recorded in Henrico Co., Virginia on April 1, 1707, Abraham Michaux of King William Parish, Henrico Co. sold "Rane" LaForce land lying on the south side of the James River on botrh side of Lower Manakin Town Creek.He attained some measure of wealth and was an educated man. His name is found as a witness to several wills and inventories in Virginia in the early 1700s. He was appointed one of the first justices-of-the-peace when Goochland County was formed from Henrico in 1728. He died shortly thereafter. His will is recorded in Goochland County, Virginia, as is that of his widow, Sarah. Her maiden name is unknown, but she is more than likely of French Huguenot origin also. In HUTCHINS/HUTCHENS by Rita H. Townsend there is a copy of a court settlement involving a dispute over the land of Sicely Hutchins Sherman, wife of Henry Sherman, and widow of Isaac Hutchens, and various other Hutchens descendants. One of the parties involved was Ann Hutchens, daughter of Sicely Sherman, and widow of John Crowley, then the present wife of Christopher Branch. The date of this court suit is unknown but it was sometime between 1688-1728, (possibly in 1694, per Louise Robeson). Rene La Force name was mentioned: "We find five shillings damages Rene LaForce." Was he a purchaser of the land in question (this was not stated in the proceedings), or was his name attached in his legal duty as justice-of-the- peace?

One of the tracts of land that Rene bought from Abraham Michaux (574 acres), was later sold to Peter Chastain. Chastain then willed it to his daughter Magdalene, wife of William Salle. Will dated Oct 3, 1728 and proved Nov. 29, 1728 in Goochland Co. Court. Subsequently as seen in Book I:151, Magdalene Chastain and husband William Salle of St. Anne Parish, Albemarle Co., sold 155 acres of the tract to David LeSueur for 20 pounds sterling. This tract pas originally patented to Abraham Michaux on Nov. 2, 1705, and lay in Dale and King William Parishes in Chesterfield and Cumberland County, on both sides of Michaux Branch.

In a list of Virginia land grants, Rene La Force is listed as having 1,000 acres on the North side of the James River in 1723 (Patent Book 11 in "Abstracts of Land Patents of Henrico County and Goochland Co., 1624-1732, in Foley, EARLY VIRGINIA FAMILIES, Vol, p. 60). That land adjoined Thomas Wadkins, Mr. Thomas Farrar and his own land.

The name "Rene" in its various forms--Renny, Raney, etc.--has been carried down through the generations in the La Force, Harding, and other families who have family ties to the original ancestor, Dr. Rene La Force (also referred to as Renald Rene La Force).

From Henrico County, Virginia, the La Force family spread to Russell County, into Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, and Texas, and many other states.

Some References:Deed books of Henrico and Goochland County, Virginia. See also Cumberland Co., Virginia Deeds.

Will Books, Goochland County, Virginia (will of Rene La Force, Book 1, p. 37; will of Sarah La Force, Book 7, p. 143)

A grant of 1,000 acres in Henrico County on the north side of the James River was received by Rene La Force on February 20, 1723.


  • W. Mac Jones, editor, THE DOUGLAS REGISTER, originally published 1928, rpt. Baltimore: Genealogical Publ. Co., 1996.
  • Francis Burton Harrison, Burton Chronicles of Colonial Virginia. Privately printed, 1933, reprinted by McDowell Publications, 1979.
  • According to the Burton Chronicles, "...Rene Laforce of Bedford county, a scion of one of the Huguenot families which had settled in Manikin Town on the James river in 1701. He [Rene LaForce] was mentioned in an investigation by the House of Burgesses into an unpleasant incident in Virignia history--the charges against a Burgess, Prosser by name, for irregular transactions in lands. Prosser was expelled from the House. One of his land "deals" had involved Rene Laforce, apparently as a dummy, but the latter vigorously protested his innocence."

More About Dr. Rene La Force:

  • elected office: 1728, Justice-of-the-peace, Goochland Co., Virginia, USA.
  • Occupation: doctor, farmer
  • Place of burial: Goochland Co., Virginia, USA


Guyenne : http://www.tourisme.fr/carte/carte-departement-lot-et-garonne.htm

Dr. Renald Rene de Castlenau de La Force was born about 1660 in Guyenne, Fr. He was reportedly a veterinarian in France but regarded as a people Dr. in America. No one has discovered how or when he arrived in America, but is was before 1700. He was in Henrico Co Va on the James River, was in the Huguenots colony near Danville Va but maybe near by in NC. At any rate. He settled in Botetourt Co, Virginia / Goochland area. He was named as one of the first magistrates by Gov. William Gooch on 23 April 1728 and died soon thereafter on 27 Sep 1728. He owned a tract of 1000 acres and another of 900 acres. His will states that he owned a plantation and slaves. His wife was Sarah b. about 1702 and they had 3 children with a fourth being born after his death.

  • 1. Renald Rene Jr
  • 2. Sarah b. 1725 m. William Harding
  • 3. Rachael b. 1727, died 1754/5 unmarried
  • 4. Judith b. 1728/9 m. Robert Burton d. 1820

Dr. Rene was born about 1660 in Guyenne France. He was born in a castle called Castlenau which was a de Caumont property so we believe he was a de Caumont de la Force. However, we have been unable to figure out when he was born, who his parents were, where he was educated to become a doctor, when he left, where he stopped along the way or when/where he landed in America.

It's rumored he may have had other wives & children in other countries. If you have any documentation please bring them forward to the La Force & Family Community (link on my profile).

We only know he ended up in Manakin Town Virginia & once there married a woman named Sarah. We assume they were married at Manakin Town but have been unable to find record of it & also don't know who her parents were. Rene was named one of the first Justices of the Peace of Goochland County by Gov. William Gooch on 4/23/1728. There was at least one land grant & they both left wills. His is short a child because he died before the child was born. Hers includes the child. Otherwise his name was on several papers showing he not only existed but he was an important man within the community.


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Dr. Rene de la Force's Timeline

Castelnau-sur-Gupie, Province de Guyenne, France
Manakintown, Henrico County, Province of Virginia
Henrico County, Virginia, USA
Henrico County, Virginia, United States
Goochland, Virginia
September 27, 1728
Age 68
Manakin Town, Goochland County, Province of Virginia
Goochland, Goochland County, Virginia, United States
October 7, 1961
Age 68
October 28, 1961
Age 68
January 21, 1989
Age 68