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Henri Cabaniss

Birthplace: Gard, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Death: before August 9, 1720
Westover,Prince George,Virginia,USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Pierre Cabanis, Sr. and Anne Cabaniss
Husband of Mary Magadalene Cabaniss; Marie Cabanis; Magadaline Cabanis and Sarah Blair
Father of George Cabaniss, I; Henry Cavinis, Jr.; Matthew Cabaniss, Sr. and Magdalene Cabaniss
Brother of Jean Cabaniss; Marie Cabanis; Pierre Cabanis; Suzanne Cabanis and Issac Cabanis

Managed by: Private User
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About Henri Cabaniss

First Generation of the Cabaniss Family in America Henry Cabaniss left London, England, in  aboard the good ship Mary and Ann bound for the mouth of the James River in Virginia in a party of  persons, men, women and children, in search of religious freedom and political sanctuary in the new world. He had with him at that time his wife and one child of tender years named Henry. The Marquess de La Muce, Sir Oliver of Nantes, France, was in charge of the party assisted by Monsieur Charles de Sailly. The party arrived at the mouth of the James River on July , , after a thirteen weeks passage. Attempts have been made to locate a description of the ship which brought the group to Virginia but as yet all attempts have been unsuccessful. Considering the size of the party and having in mind the fact that only one-fourth of the ship was reserved for passengers, it would be safe to assume that the ship was a large one probably three or four masts.

The Cabaniss family originated in France. Shortly after the revocation of the edict of Nantes in , the family was forced to flee to Switzerland, where a large canton of french refugees collected in what is commonly known as a french canton of Switzerland. Henry shortly thereafter made his way to Rotterdam, Holland, in company with seventy-four other refugees. There the Marquess de La Muce paid his passage and expenses from Switzerland to Rotterdam and from there to London, England. The following extract is taken from a report that Governor Francis Nicholson of Virginia made to the British Lords of Trade on August , . It is set out herein as the facts are fascinating:

“The th of the last month, I had the good fortune of receiving his Ma’y’s Royal Commands of March ye th, , sent me by your Lord’p, concerning the  Marquis de la Muce, Mons’r de Sailly, and other French Protestant Refugees; and I beg to leave to assure yo’r Lord’p, that as I have, so I will endeavor to obey them (they were on board the ship Mary and Ann, of London, George Hawes, Commander, who had about  weeks passage, and the d of the last month arrived at the mouth of this river), and upon receipt of them, I immediately went down to Kickotan, to give directions in order to their coming hither, some of wh. came on Sunday in the evening, the rest the next day. I wrote to Colo. Byrd and Colo. Harrison to meet them here, w’ch they did, and we concluded that there was no settling them in Norfolk nor thereabouts, because esteemed an unhealthful place, and no vacant land, except some that is in dispute now betwixt us and No. Carolina; So we thought it would be best for them to go to a place twenty miles above the falls of James River, commonly called the Manikin Town. There is a great deal of good land and unpatented, where they may at present be all together, w’ch we thought would be best for his Ma’ty’s Service and Interests, and that they would quickly make a settlement, not only for themselves, but to receive others when his majesty shall be graciously pleased to send them. They may be prejudicial to his Ma’ty’s interest and Service, vist., by living long together, and using their own language and customs, and by going upon such manufacturers, and handicraft Trades as we are furnished with from England; but according to duty, I shall endeavor to regulate they affairs, and when, please God, the Council meets, I shall lay before them the matters relating to these Refugees. On Tuesday I mustered them, and No.  is a copy of the list of them. Colo. Byrd went before them in order to meet them at the Falls of this river, where he formerly lived, to dispose of them thereabouts, till they can gett housses or sheds in the place for their Reception, and he promised to go along with the Marquis & Mons’r de Sailly to show them the Land. The people at present seem to be well effected towards them, and to commiserate their condition, and some who have seen them have given them money, viz: Colo. Harrison, £; Mr. Commissary Blair, the like sum. The Reverend Mr. Stephen Touaie, thereabouts; Mr. Benjamin Harrison, £; Mr. Attorney General Fowler, something as likewise; Mr. William Edwards, Merchant of this place. I am apt to think that Several Gentlemen and others will be charitable to them. They went from hence yesterday. “If his majesty be graciously pleased to send over more, I humbly propose that Mr. Micajah Perry, merchant of London, may be spoken with about their passage hither and that they may have their passage on board the Ships which come to the upper parts of James River, w’ch is the nighest place to their settlement, and that there may not above  or  come in any one ship; so they may be better accommodated in all respects, for I have observed that when the ships that come into these parts are crowded with people, ’tis very prejudicial to their health; some getting sicknesses, w’ch not seldom prove catching, some dy on board, and others soon after they come on shore.” F. Frs. Nicholson (Endorsement). “The Gov’r of Virginia  Aug.,  R  Octob. Accounts of proceedings there, etc.” The refugees were transported to the site of the deserted village of the Monacan Indians. This tribe of Indians was the same to which the family of Pocahontas belonged. The earliest reports state that the first ship (of which Henry Cabaniss was a member) were settled between the Monacan and Powick Creeks which ran into the James River above the falls. The settlers arrived too late to make any crops for their winter provisions. As a consequence their conditions were very poor. A large percentage of them died during that first fall and winter and the remainder suffered for lack of bed clothing and food. Many complaints were made by the leaders of the James River settlement to his Majesty the King outlining in detail the abominable conditions under which they suffered. An attempt was made at first to congregate the refugees in one place, forbidding them to leave without the permission of the local authorities. A local government was established under the leadership of Monsieur de Sailly. Complaints were registered against de Sailly because of the hardness of his heart in carrying out the political organization of the group. For one thing he refused corn and provisions to the refugees landing in the second ship unless they took an oath of allegiance to the Justices of the Peace which he had appointed.

Evidently Henry Cabaniss took advantage of a relaxation made by the Council whereby the refugees were permitted to leave the settlement and live on adjoining plantations in order to earn their livelihood. This conclusion is reached because of the records of the colony containing no reference to Henry Cabaniss after his arrival. He evidently went to the plantation of the Epes family as they grew to be great friends. The next record that we find is in  when he received a grant of  acres in Henrico County, Virginia. We do not know how long he retained titlte to the land. No mention is made in his will of it and the items listed in his inventory at his death are devoid of any reference to farm implements to indicate that he lived a farmer’s life. On the contrary the best conjecture is that he made his living as a goldsmith. He loved to play the violin and he had one in his possession at his death.

Henry is variously reported as having married a woman by the name of Marie. This would be the one who accompanied him to America. It is variously reported that she died sometime shortly after the arrival in this country. It is considered that he married Mary Harrison about . She was of the family of the Harrison’s of James River. Credence is given to this family legend in that his son, George Cabaniss, was the Captain of the Sloop Betty, owned by Colonel Benjamin Harrison. At the time George was only in his early twenties.

Henry (a) had three children: Henry Cabaniss (aa), Matthew Cabaniss (ab), and George Cabaniss (ac). The descendants of Henry Cabaniss who lived in Rutherford County, North Carolina, are the descendants of this third son named George (ac). Henry Cabaniss died about . His undated will was probated in Prince George County, Virginia, on August , .

Henry Cabaniss (a) was a very religious man. He gave up his fortune and friends in France because of his religious convictions. The depth of his convictions are exemplified in the beauty of his will which is set out as follows:

“In the Name of God, Amen. I, Henry Cabanis of Westover Parish in Prince George County being sick and weak in body but by the blessing of God in perfect sence mind and memory, but calling to mind the uncertainty of this mortal life, and desirous to settle the small estate it hath pleased the Almighty God to bless me with in this world, do make constitute and Ordain this my Last Will and Testament, revoking and making void all other Will or wills heretofore by me made, first and principally I commend my Soul into the hands of Almighty God, who gave it, begging pardon for my sins, through Jesus Christ our Lord, and my body to be buried according to the discretion of my Executor or executors hereinafter named, and as for my Worldly goods I give and bequeath in manner and form following as Viz: Imp. I give and bequeath unto my son, Henry Cabanis, my Silver Shoe Buckles and Old Sword. Item: I give and bequeath unto my son, Mathew Cabanis, my largest Gold ring, and my Silver hilted Sword. Item: I give unto my Son, George Cabanis, a Gold ring. Item: I give and bequeath the remaining part of my Estate after my just debts is paid, to be equally divided between my loveing wife and children. Item: I do constitute and appoint my loveing wife, Mary Cabanis, and Francis Epes my whole and sole executrix and executor of this my Last Will and Testament. Signed, sealed, and acknowledged to be the Last Will and Testament Henry Cabanis sealed with red wax” (as it is contained on the other side) of Henry Cabanis in presence of us. Drury Bolling John Fitzgerrald Ira Epes, Junr.” It is true that some of the early wills followed this general form of Henry’s will. But this is not any reason to lessen the conclusion that Henry was a person of deep religious conviction.

The Marquis de la Muce was a member of the Reformed Church in France. It is quite logical that Henry was also a member of that belief. These early French refugees to this country are generally referred to by the name of French Huguenots. Authorities Brock, R. A., Documents, Chiefly Unpublished, Relating to the Huguenot Emigration to Virginia and to the Settlement at Manakin-Town. Garrett, Grady, “Cabaniss”, The Huguenot, Volume XI, –, pages – Miscellaneous unpublished family data Prince George County, Virginia, Will of Henry Cabanis, recorded in Deeds, etc., – (Part ), page  Virginia Historical Society, Miscellaneous Papers Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Volume Virkus, Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy Volume I, page   ____________________________________________

Henri came to England from France in 1687 aboard the Mary and Ann. He came to Va from England in about 1699. He was a Huguenot. The will of Henri Cabanis, proven in a court held at Merchants Hope for Prince George Co, VA on 9 Aug 1720 names his three sons and second wife, Mary Magdalene. Henry arrived at Manakin Town, VA in the summer of 1700 with his first wife, Marie and his son Henry. Marie died shortly after their settlement in VA. See 'Henry Cavanis: The Immigrant Infant and Some of His Descendants' by Alloa Caviness Anderson and 'Cabaniss Through Four Generations: Some Descendants of Matthew and George' by Allen Cabaniss, and 'Henry Cabaniss and HIs Descendants' by John Plath Green. Henri is listed in 'The Compendium of American Genealogy, Vol VII, Immigrant Ancestors' p. 838.

According to Michael Caviness, Henri appears in a "list of ye french refuges that are settled att ye Mannachin ye first shipp" prepared on Nov 10, 1701 by Colonel William Byrd. The Council of Colonial Virginia soon began to order the naturalization of the persons who had emigrated to its borders: on April 27, 1704, the Justices of Henrico County were ordered to naturalize the persons living in King William Parish and adjacent areas; More orders issued in 1705 relating to the naturalization of the refugees living in King and Queen County. That list included the name "Henry Cabany" as one of the 148 persons. Of those so listed, there were 38 who were also in the 1701-2 Manakintown census list made by William Byrd. Henri's name appears first on the ship of the Mary and Ann of London as "Henri Cabanis, sa femme et un enfant," among 205 refugees led by Oliver, Marquis de la Muce, and Charles de Sailly, saling from Gravesend England harbor. Captain George Hawes acknowledged the receipt of payment for transportation of those 207 persons on April 19, 1700. Also on that list were "Isaac Chabanas, son fils, et Catherine Bomard" and it is presumed that Isaac was an oder brother of our Henri. After 13 weeks at sea the ship arrived at the mouth of the James River below Richmond, VA on July 23, 1700. they were settled with the other passengers of the Mary and Ann and of the Peter and Anthony. The royal governor, Colonel Francis Nicholson, reported on Aug 12 that the refigees had been located at a place "about twenty miles above the Falls of the James River, commonly called Manikin Town", a deserted village of the Monacan Indians.

In 1708 Henri traveled to Henrico County and applied for his due of land. This application is found in the Henrico county Orders for 1707-1709, p. 35: "Upon the petition of Henri Cabiness, these are to be certified that there is due unto him two hundred acres of land for the importation of himself and Mary his first wife, with Magdalene his second wife and Magdalane her daughter into this colony, the same being legally proved in open court. Dated 1 May 1708."

Henri's will and the Inventory of his estate indicate a man who was a goldsmith and sometime banker, literate, convivial and well-liked in the community: "In the Name of God Amen, I Henry Cabanis of Westover Parrish in Prince George County being sick and weak in body but by the blessing of God in perfect sence mind and memory, but calling to mind the uncertainty of this mortal life, am desirous to settle the small estate it hath pleased the Almighty God to bless me with in this world, do make constitute and ordain this my last will and testament, revoking and making void all other will or wills heretofore by me made, first and principally, commend my soul into the hands of the Almighty God, who gave it, beggin pardon for my sins, through Jesus Christ our Lord, and my body to be vuried according to the discretion of my Executor or executors hereafter named, and as for my worldly good I give and bequesth in manner and form following as viz-- Item I give and bequeath unto my son Henry Cabanis my silver shoe buckles and old sword. Item: I give and bequeath unto my son Mathew Cabanis my largest gold ring and my silver belted sword. Item: I give unto my son george Cabanis a gold ring. Item: I give and bequeath the remaining part of y estate after my just debts is paid,to be equally divided between my loveing wife and children. Item: I do constitute and appoint my loveing wife Mary Cabanis and Francis Epes my whole and sole executrix and executor of this my last will and testament. Henry Cabaniss seald with red wax. (Witnesses: Drury Bolling, John Fitzgerrald, Fra Epes Jun.) Fra Epes Junior was a burgess, tobacco agent, and Justice of the peace in Prince George county.

An inventory and appraisal of the estate were made by William Epes, John Fitzgerald and John Paterson Jr. It included 2 old horses, two feather beds with and one without furnishings, a rug, a pair of sheets, bedstead, blanket, pewter tankard and porringer, ten pewter spoons, a brass skillet and chafing dish gridiron, pair of bellows, a brass kettle and pot, a gun, two iron pots, a pair of weights and scales, tin funnel, old pottle pot, a jug, seven old barrels, an old saddle and bridle, an old violin, periwig, and sword, three butter pots, a dozen bottles, two old sifters, and a brass spice mortar, parcel of crucibles, a great coat, old frock coat, old broadcloth suit with waistcoat and two other old coats, a fine hat, 21 old books, two gold rings, one pair of silver shoe buckles, a pair of money scales, a mirror and dram glass, iron and heaters in a box, two chests, a trunk, talbe cloth and napkins, half dozen knives and forks, a side saddle with furnighings, two barrels of corn, five old chairs and a table, spinning wheel, old frying pan, a parcel of goldsmith's tool and handsaw, a peil, piggin, and grindstone, and three head of cattle. The total was appriawed at 45 pounds, 7 shillings, and 7 pence. No mention was made of the 200 acres of Henrico county land.

Michael Cabiness concludes that Henri's first wife Mary (Marie) who came to America with him died and that he married (2) a French widow, Magdalene. Michael Caviness belileves that Henri married (3) Mary after 1708 and that this third wife Mary was the mother of Matthew (b. 1712) and George (b 1714). ____________________________________________


Henry left France and took refuge in England. His first child, Henry Jr. was probably born in England in 1699. Henry and his first wife Marie and their young son Henry arrived on the "Mary and Ann" on the James river at Richmond, Va. July 23, 1700. They were settled at the deserted Indian settlement of Manakintown. They arrived there July 31,1700 and remained there through the 1701-2 census. (Henry Cavinis, "The Immigrant Infant and some of his Descendants" by Alloa Caviness Anderson.

Marie died sometime after settling in America. Henry married Mary Harrison around 1710 and had more children. His will was proven in the court in Prince George Co. on August 9, 1720. His three sons and his second wife are named in this will. ____________________________________

Henri the Huguenot, Founder of the Cabaniss Line in America

In 1598, the French King Henry IV signed the Edict of Nantes which gave French Protestants, mostly Huguenots, certain rights and protections. The edict also ended the French Wars of Religion that were tearing France apart. The revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 by King Louis XIV, King Henry's grandson, stripped the Huguenots of their protections and exposed them to persecution. Huguenot families fled en-masse to the Protestant-controlled areas of Switzerland, the British Isles, northern Europe, and the Americas. Many of them were industrious businessmen and skilled craftsmen. France soon lost hundreds of thousands of valuable and otherwise loyal citizens.

Just over 300 years ago, there were many Huguenots in the French Department of Gard, 100 miles northwest of Marseille, who were worried about their future and the safety of their families.  One of them was Henri Cabaniss, a goldsmith by trade and a Huguenot by conscience, who fled with his wife Marie to Switzerland and then Virginia.  The English were offering groups of these refugees opportunity and land in Virginia.  A Huguenot nobleman was paying their passage.
Late in July of the year 1700, the English ship 'Mary and Ann,' under Captain George Hawes, slipped between Cape Henry and Cape Charles to enter Chesapeake Bay with 207 Huguenot refugees.  On board were Henri, Marie, and baby Henry ('un enfant'), ready to make a new start in colonial Virginia.  According to Cabaniss researchers, Henri became the founder of most of the extensive Cabaniss family branches in North America.


Henri Cabanis, French Protestant immigrant to colonial Virginia and the ancestor of most Cabaniss and Caviness families in America, appears with his family on the ship's list of the 'Mary and Ann' of London as "Henri Cabanis, sa femme et un enfant," among 207 refugees led by Olivier, Marquis de la Muce, and Charles de Sailly. The 'Mary and Ann,' Captain George Hawes, master, sailed from Gravesend, England, near the mouth of the River Thames in late April 1700. Captain Hawes acknowledged receipt of payment from the wealthy Protestant nobleman, le Marquis de la Muce, for the transportation of these religious refugees to America on 19 April 1700. When Huguenots lost their rights and protections after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, their future in France was one of terror and uncertainty. William and Mary, the sympathetic King and Queen of England, were offering land grants in Virginia. After thirteen weeks at sea, the ship slipped through the Virginia capes into Chesapeake Bay and arrived at the mouth of the James River on 23 July 1700. On 12 August, Colonel Francis Nicholson, the royal governor, reported to London that the refugees had been located at a place "about twenty miles above the Falls of James River, commonly called Manikin Town." Manikin or Manakin was a deserted Monacan Indian village 12 miles west of modern Richmond on the colonial frontier. Henri Cabanis appears on "a list of ye French refuges that are settled att ye Mannachin Town.…In ye first Shipp," written on 10 November 1701 by Colonel William Byrd, as "Cabarnis and his wife 2." [Powhatan Native American Village at Jamestown Settlement Park, Virginia; Flickr photo by bill barber, not for commercial use; Creative Commons License Attribution-Noncommercial-2.0 Generic.] Henri, Marie, and toddler Henry stayed for more than a year in the huts of Manakin Town. This could possibly have contributed to Marie's early death, despite the donations of local citizens to the refugees' welfare. While the Monacans lived in villages like this, they were not as friendly toward the English as the Powhatans. When the Monacans left for the interior, Manakin Town was the only place available to temporarily house the hundreds of Huguenots who were arriving in several ships during the first decade of the 18th Century. The Manakin Town settlers quickly assimilated into colonial society and many of their descendants became prominent in US history, with names like Morrell, Chastain, Corbet, Langlade, Gowry, and Girardeau. -LP


Early Immigrants to Virginia from the 1500s and 1600s about Henri

General Text: CABANISS, HENRI, a Huguenot, came from France in the “Mary & Ann” in 1687. Settled in Nottaway Co. Married (1) Marie___(2) Magdalene___. CABANISS

Source Information:

Kinard, June. comp.. Early Immigrants to Virginia from the 1500s and 1600s [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000. Original data: Published by The Researchers, PO box 39063, Indianapolis IN. 46239-0063.

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Henri Cabaniss's Timeline

December 13, 1655
Gard, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
May 11, 1696
Age 40
June 6, 1712
Age 56
Prince George, Virginia
Age 58
Prince George County, Virginia, United States
August 9, 1720
Age 64
Westover,Prince George,Virginia,USA
Age 64
Amelia, Virginia, USA