Jean Brevard, Huguenot Emigre

Is your surname Brevard?

Research the Brevard family

Jean Brevard, Huguenot Emigre's Geni Profile

Records for Jean "John" Brevard

32,373 Records

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Jean "John" Paul Brevard, I

Birthdate: (58)
Birthplace: Lot-et-Garonne, Aquitaine, France
Death: circa 1733 (50-66)
Elk River, Cecil County, Maryland
Immediate Family:

Husband of Jane Brevard and Katherine Brevard
Father of John or Adam Brevard; John Brevard II; Benjamin Brevard; Robert Brevard; Isabella Brevard and 3 others

Managed by: Pam Wilson
Last Updated:

About Jean Brevard, Huguenot Emigre

Biographical text for Jean Brevard, from "Brevards, McKnitts, Alexanders, Research work of Kathryn Carter, 1994, San Antonio, Texas." Acquired by Pam Wilson from John Alan McCullough <74101.2030@CompuServe.COM> in May of 1997:

"Jean Brevard (c1675-c1735) was the first of the Brevard family in America. According to his grandson, Alexander Brevard, Jean Brevard was a French Huguenot who, a young orphan boy, left France to escape persecution after the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685. In the Edict of Nantes Henry IV had granted equal rights to his Protestant and Catholic subjects, and for about three quarters of a century the Huguenots, or French Calvinists, had enjoyed comparative safety; but Henry's successor, Louis XIV, renewed the persecution of his Protestant subjects, imposing disabilities and fines upon them; and when he revoked the Edict of Nantes, endeavoring to suppress all forms of worship except the Catholic, he drove from his dominions more than half a million of his most useful and industrious subjects."

"Nothing is known of Jean Brevard's life in France; but the name Brevard is probably from a French word breveter meaning to annotate,suggesting that his family may have been people of some education. The name appears variously as Bavaird, Bravard, and Brevard in subsequent records."

"When he left France, Jean Brevard went first to Ireland, where he may have joined other members of his famly who had previously migrated. The Heathmoney Rolls of County Donegal in the Ulster province of northern Ireland in 1665 contained the names of Robert Bavaird, as well as the Alexanders, McKnitts, Dales, Polks, and Wallaces with whom Jean Brevard was later associated in America."

"Tradition says that Jean Brevard came to America with the William Wallace family and that he may have married a member of that family about the time he left Ireland. There is no documentation of this marriage nor any record of issue from such a marriage. It is not known exactly when he reached America, but the will of William Wallace which was proved in Somerset Co MD on 15 Jun 1698 mentions him, thus establishing him as an American resident in or before 1698. "

"In Somerset Co Jean Brevard and the William Wallace family became a part of what was the first Presbyterian community in America. It was located at Manokin and included other members of the Wallace family and members of the McKnitt and Alexander families. Some of these families lived as neighbors in Somerset Co and later in Cecil Co MD; intermarried extensively; and finally migrated together to western NC. Their continued close association suggests that they were probably relatives in Ireland or perhaps even earlier in Scotland. Some of them had reached America as early as 1648, well ahead of the great influx of Scotch-Irish in the 1700's. They were probably political dissenters and seem to have been at least moderately prosperous, judging by the land holding they accumulated in America."

"About 1700 Jean Brevard went with John McKnitt, Matthew Wallace, and some of the Alexander family to Cecil Co MD. There he married a daughter of John McKnitt about 1711 or 1712 and settled with her near her father's home in the Elk River neighborhood of Cecil Co. There is no documentation of this marriage, but Cecil Co court records clearly establish Jean Brevard as John McKnitts' son-in-law. His wife may been Katherine McKnitt, who was born in Manokin, Somerset Co. MD in 1686; or the wife may have been Katherine McKnitt's younger sister Mary McKnitt, who was born in Somerset Co in 1691."

"By the time of this marriage Jean Brevard was about 35 years old and was well established in the Elk River community. His plantation, Charles Camp, was first surveyed 2 Apr 1685. Jean Brevard acquired it before 1724, probably much earlier than that. It was located in the northeast corner of Cecil Co, 2.5 miles from the present city of Elkton MD and half a mile northwest of the village of Chesapeake City, on what is now the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. It was near the western terminus of the canal and across the canal from the Broad Creek Presbyterian Church. It was adjoined by John McKnitt's plantations Glasgow and High Spaniola and by three plantations owned by Samuel Alexander - Sligo, Alexandria, and Bullens Range."

"Jean Brevard was active in Presbyterian affairs, not only in his local church, but also in the meetings of the New Castle Presbytery and the General Synod. On 13 Jun 1712 Samuel Alexander and Peter Bouchelle leased an acre of land for 21 years for "an annual rent of an ear of Indian corn to be paid upon demand" for the use of the Presbyterian Congregation at the head of Broad Creek, near Bethel. With Samuel Alexander and Peter Bouchelle, Jean Brevard served as one of the first elders in this church; and Presbyterian church records reflect his attendance at Presbytery and General Synod meetings between 1726 and 1729."

"Jean Brevard and Katherine (or Mary) McKnitt were married about 25 years and had at least seven children, the youngest born about nine years before Jean died when he was about 60 years old."


John Brevard, a French Huguenot, came to Maryland from Northern Ireland with the McKnitt family and settled on the Elk River. He married one of the McKnitt daughters. Their eldest son moved to North Carolina about 1740-1750. [Brøderbund WFT Vol. 1, Ed. 1, Tree #0015, Date of Import: May 4, 1997]

Will of William Wallace, Somerset County, Maryland 1698 names his "cousin" John Brourd. [Brøderbund WFT Vol. 6, Ed. 1, Tree #2198, Date of Import: May 4, 1997]

North Carolina Inventories, Vol. 8 #2 1677-1784 (Archives at Raleigh)

File SS944, pg 21 - John Bevar - 1735

There is some confusion in various family trees about when Jean/John Brevard died, and where. In fact, there may be a merging of two French-born immigrant Jean Brevards, a father and son--most trees give his date of birth at c. 1665 (which makes him a very old parent), but one tree adds a generation, with Jean Brevard the elder born c 1660 and Jean Brevard the younger (who married Katherine McKnitt) c 1685. There are also two sets of death dates: c. 1709 and 1730-35 and two sets of death locations--Somerset Co, MD and NC.

In 1661, Louis XIV, Catholic monarch of France, began a series of measures designed to undermine and neutralize the Edict of Nantes and promote the Catholic cause in France. The Edict of Nantes, issued in 1598 by Henry IV, had granted certain freedom of worship and civil rights to French Huguenots (Protestants). By 1681, the infamous "dragonnades" started in France. Troops were quartered on Huguenot households with the freedom and encouragement to commit any outrage short of murder. Although the Edict of Nantes was not revoked until 1685, the major Huguenot exodus began in 1681. Among those fleeing France was Jean Brevard, probably as a teenage boy. The name BREVARD derived from some other name. Possible sources are suggested by the place names Breillard, Bouvant, Bouvard. In America, the name would commonly be spelled BREVARD or BRAVARD by descendants in Maryland and North Carolina. In the 1790 census, some Brevards were living in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Maryland but most were living in North Carolina. Brevard County, Florida and Brevard, North Carolina are named for the family. Brevard, the county seat of Transylvania County, North Carolina, was named to honor Ephraim Brevard, a colonel and surgeon in the Revolutionary Army and grandson of Jean Brevard.

Jean Brevard, a Huguenot born around 1665 in France, left that country for Northern Ireland between 1681 and 1685 where he formed an acquaintance with a family of McKnitts, in company with whom he sailed for America. They settled on the waters of Elk River, Cecil County, in the northeastern corner of Maryland, bordering on Pennsylvania. It is believed the young Brevard married around 1685, shortly after his arrival in America. His first wife was a girl from the Wallace family. She died, probably in Cecil County, Maryland before 1711 without leaving any surviving children.

Jean then married Katherine McKnitt, around 1711. She was the oldest daughter of John McKnitt, Sr. and Jane Alexander McKnitt. The Brevard family were active in Presbyterian affairs in Cecil County. Jean was an elder in the Broad Creek Presbyterian Church in 1723, and attended a meeting of the General Synod at Philadelphia on September 21, 1726.

The earliest land held by Jean Brevard was not recorded, but was acquired before 1724. He owned a plantation known as "Charles Camp" and part of a tract called "Sligo". The first reference to John Brevard in the Cecil County records so far discovered is dated 16 March 1715/16 when he witnessed the inventory of the estate of John McKnitt, Sr., who was his father-in-law. All subsequent ones deal with real estate matters. He left no recorded Will, nor was there any administration on he estate noted in the Cecil County records. His son, John Brevard, Jr., "blacksmith", in 1739 and 1741 purchased from William Foster and the latter's heirs two properties on "Long Creek being a small creek running to Bohemia Back creek", adjacent to the lands of Henry Ward's heirs and of Andrew Alexander, as well as the tract called Charles Camp.

John Brevard was active in Presbyterian affairs, not only in his local church but also in the meetings of the New Castle Presbytery and the General Synod. It has already been noted that he was an elder of the Broad Creek Presbyterian Church in 1723. David Alexander and he were present as elders when the Presbytery met 9 August 1726 at Upper Elk Church. On 31 October 1727 James Alexander, Robert Linton, and he attended Presbytery at Octorara. Andrew Wallace, Andrew Steel, and he were present at Presbytery 26 March 1728 when it met at the Head of Elk. John Steel and he served similarly at Christiana Creek 10 June 1729. John Brevard had likewise attended a meeting of the General Synod at Philadelphia 21 September 1726.

No reference to John Brevard, Sr. has been found subsequent to 10 June 1729. It is concluded that soon thereafter he died. If he was 20 years of age when he fled to Northern Ireland in 1685, then his dates could be said to be approximately about 1665 to about 1730.

Unknown who wrote this at this time...

view all 13

Jean Brevard, Huguenot Emigre's Timeline

Lot-et-Garonne, Aquitaine, France
Age 38
Elk River, Cecil County, Province of Maryland
Age 40
Elk River, Cecil County, Maryland
Age 42
Elk River, Cecil Co, MD
January 10, 1718
Age 43
Elk River, Cecil County, MD
Age 47
Cecil County, Maryland
March 29, 1724
Age 49
Elk River, Cecil County, MD
Age 49
Somerset County, Maryland
Age 58
Elk River, Cecil County, Maryland