Louis Manierre, I

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Louis Manierre

Birthplace: Normandy, France
Death: March 23, 1794 (37)
New London, New London, CT, United States
Place of Burial: New London, New London, CT, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Pierre Manierre and Marie Manierre
Husband of Rebecca Manierre
Father of Louis Manierre, II; John Manierre; Lydia Manierre I; Joseph Manierre; Rebecca Manierre and 3 others

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About Louis Manierre, I

Louis Manierre has been said to have served under French General Lafayette (1757-1833, aka Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette) in the American Revolution. Lafayette was among the French leaders to most strongly oppose oppression of Huguenots. Of all of the Founding Fathers — the heroes and leaders of the Revolutionary War — only Lafayette commanded the unanimous acclaim and veneration of Americans. The period and actions during which Louis served under Lafayette have yet to be identified.

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Louis Manierre was born in 1757.

[MRD: I have yet to identify his parents. They were citizens of France if Louis emigrated from there. Alternatively, Louis’s parents may have descended from Frenchmen who came with Champlain in the 17th century.]

Some sources say Louis emigrated from Normandy, France. He married Rebecca Miner December 27, 1779, having settled in New London, CT, by then. As a Huguenot (French Protestant), he would have endured religious persecution in pre-revolutionary France. Marriages were not legal among them. Their wills had no force of law. Their children were considered bastards. Their religious leaders could be hanged. Such intolerance had been the rule during the century since Louis XIV had revoked the Edict of Nantes a doctrine that had established religious intolerance. Its revocation sent two hundred thousand French Protestants fleeing to Holland and Russia.

Mary Jane Manierre Foote said she learned that Louis was a sailmaker. Stephen Delahunt has a theory that arose from his, “reading [of] a book called Champlain's Dream by David Fischer [published 2008]. It is the story of Samuel [de] Champlain [French, 1575-1635], the first European to explore, settle, and develop the northeast areas. He had the backing of the French royalty. At times he was under pressure to allow only French Catholics to inhabit the new French colonies. He found this very difficult to abide because the Huguenots dominated the maritime industry - the seamen, boat builders and outfitters. Without their co-operation, he would not have been able to proceed. He essentially made access to the new colonies open equally to the two groups. Mary Jane's mentioning that Louis was a sailmaker is certainly consistent with this finding. Champlain made some 27 crossings of the Atlantic. He always left France from the port city of Honfleur in Normandy. Wonder if just maybe Louis was in the vicinity of Honfleur, many years later of course.”

If Louis 's grandparents or great-grandparents came over in 1680, that would put their passage just 45 years after Samuel de Champlain's death in 1635. French persecution of Huguenots continued to and beyond that period. Louis XIV famously drove a lot of Huguenots out of France during his reign from 1654-1715.

Wikipedia says, that in October 1685, Louis XIV issued the Edict of Fontainebleau. This Edict decreed that "liberty is granted to the said persons of the Pretended Reformed Religion Protestantism ... on condition of not engaging in the exercise of the said religion, or of meeting under pretext of prayers or religious services." Thus, it precluded individuals from publicly practicing or exercising the religion, but not from merely believing in it. It banished from the realm any Protestant minister who refused to convert to Roman Catholicism. Protestant schools and institutions were banned. Children born into Protestant families were to be forcibly baptized by Roman Catholic priests, and Protestant places of worship were demolished. Although the Edict formally denied Huguenots permission to leave France, about 200,000 of them left in any case, taking with them their skills in commerce and trade. The Edict proved economically damaging to France, though not ruinous.

The records of Julie Manierre Mann (see sources below) assert that Louis served under Lafayette (1757-1833) in the American Revolution. Lafayette and Louis were both born in 1757, and Lafayette was among the French leaders to most strongly oppose oppression of Huguenots. Lafayette was born Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette, the eldest son in one of the most wealthy and powerful aristocratic families of France. Of all of the Founding Fathers — the heroes and leaders of the Revolutionary War — only Lafayette commanded the unanimous acclaim and veneration of Americans. An intimate and friend of world leaders over seventy years of earth-shaking social, political, and economic change, Lafayette led three revolutions that changed the course of world history and became the world’s foremost champion of individual liberty, abolition, religious tolerance, gender equality, universal suffrage, and free trade. [MRD: One of the factors drawing Lafayette to the revolutionary movement in America was his involvement with Freemasonry. Historians also say Freemasonry inspired the fervor of Washington, Franklin, and others in America. One means by which to investigate Louis Manierre’s activities might be to find record of Louis’s involvement in this fraternity supporting Enlightenment principles, if there were any.]

Lafayette’s first period of fighting in the American Revolution came in the campaigns of 1777 and 1778.

Although Lafayette was stationed with George Washington at Valley Forge during parts of 1777 and 78, Louis Manierre does not appear on the muster rolls for troops at Valley Forge. This does not prove that Louis was not there, however, because the Valley Forge web site [http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/served/index.html] displaying these rolls advises that, “records kept during the American Revolution were not always complete or detailed. Some were lost during the war and others were destroyed when Washington D.C. was burned during the War of 1812. Due to this fact, some individuals may have been overlooked or missed.”

Lafayette returned to France in January of 1779 in order to obtain a greater level of French involvement in the American Revolution. Lafayette returned to America in December of 1779, and led fighting in Virginia in 1781, contributing greatly to English general Cornwallis’s defeat at Yorktown, in October of that year. Although Julie Manierre Mann said Louis emigrated from France about 1780, perhaps he came earlier, and fought with Lafayette before Lafayette’s 1779 trip to France. Louis married Rebecca Miner on December 26, 1779. He was 22 years old. She was 13.

That's remarkable. A man would be arrested if he married a 13-year-old in America today. What's the story? Did such a marriage conform to the prevailing customs, the social norms of the culture in 1770s Connecticut? Data might show that it conformed to the cultural norms of this time and place. The circumstances creating such norms: the shorter life spans of the time, the need to take advantage of childbearing years, the ongoing war, and the passions of youth.

The previous winter (1778-79) General George Washington's army had wintered at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. As difficult as conditions had been at Valley Forge, they were worse in the winter of 1779-80. The cold was so severe that New York harbor froze over — it rarely did that.

The main army under Washington was quartered near Morristown, New Jersey. Buildings were not available to protect the men from the cold. Food, clothing and blankets were in poor supply. The soldiers’ morale was low. Some mutinied, many got sick or suffered frostbite, and some died.

A lesser force was camped at Danbury, Connecticut, for the winter, a hundred miles to the west of New London. They were to protect the area from sea borne ground forces as had previously landed at New Haven and other coastal towns.

This is the moment when Louis wed Rebecca — in the middle of an especially cold New England winter, in the middle of a war in which the patriots had suffered more losses than victories. This was also the moment Lafayette chose to return to Washington’s army. Perhaps news of that rendezvous was an impetus for Louis and Rebecca’s December wedding, if Louis was eager to fight under Lafayette. There is certainly precedence for young men going off to war to marry their sweethearts just before heading off to battle.

Louis was involved in events in New London, CT in August and September of 1781. Unless he was briefly away from his home to fight with Lafayette, it seems unlikely that Louis Manierre could be involved in the British attack on New London and have served under Lafayette in the Battle of Yorktown.

During the Revolutionary War, New London harbor on the Thames River was home port for many privateers — privately owned armed ships sailing under letters of Marque — licenses granted by the State of Connecticut according to the rules established by the Continental Congress — that preyed upon British supply vessels and merchant ships. Each year they increased in number and captured more British shipping. Their exploits peaked when the privateer Minerva captured the Hannah, an English merchant ship from London bound for New York. Its rich cargo included personal supplies for British officers stationed in New York City.


See the image (here) of a page from the Receipt Book of Prize Ship Hannah. It shows Louis Manierre’s signature for his receipt of one hundred pounds of cheese from the cargo of the Hannah – his share for helping to outfit and sail the Minerva – on August 15, 1781.

(The Receipt Book of Prize Ship Hannah, page 9e, is in the Jacob Gurley Collection, Connecticut State Library.)

New London's bulging warehouses brought great wealth to adventurous ship owners and merchants, but they were potential targets for enemy reprisals. The capture of the Hannah was tremendously aggravating to the British, but the British generals were also eager to distract Washington who was then marching south from. They decided to create a diversion by attacking an important northern supply center, New London, and, with the same stroke, destroy the colonial privateer fleet, which the British called the "Rebel pirate ships." The command of the expedition fell to Benedict Arnold who had deserted the American cause the year before, and who, being a native of nearby Norwich, knew the harbor area well. At sunrise on September 6 th, 1781, the people of the town were awakened with the news that a large force of British Regulars had landed on both sides of the river's mouth and were coming upon them fast. They could do nothing but flee. A number of rigged ships in the harbor caught a favorable breeze and escaped upstream, but the rest were trapped. The 800 men led by Arnold into New London met only scattered resistance as they set upon the task of destroying the "immense" stockpile of goods and naval stores kept there. Buildings, wharfs and ships were soon in flames. One hundred and forty-three buildings, nearly all in town, were consumed. Louis Manierre and his family managed to escape.

Perhaps Louis left New London to fight under Lafayette after the British burned the town in September of 1781.

Once the British had accepted America’s independence in 1783, and Lafayette had returned to his life in France, he continued to perform many services for his American friends. Among his successful efforts was one to permit Americans to sell their whale oil to the French. Nantucket whalers were so elated they resolved that each would contribute the milk from one of his cows for twenty-four hours, pool the total, and make a five-hundred-pound cheese to be “transmitted to the Marquis de Lafayette as a feeble, but not less sincere, testimonial of the affection and gratitude of the inhabitants of Nantucket” (Nantucket Gazette, September 19, 1786). Was this some sort of echo of Louis Manierre’s windfall of 1781?

Louis died March 23, 1794, at 37 years. His wife Rebecca was 28. She and their twelve-year-old son John survived him. They remained in New London, CT.


MRD: Sometime in the 1920s-50s, Julia Manierre Mann donated six boxes of materials concerning Manierre family history to a fine private library on Chicago’s near north side, the Newberry Library.

The Newberry’s description of these holdings:

REID and MANIERRE FAMILY Papers, 1700's-1900's

Six Boxes

Abstract: Contains a thirteen-folder study entitled "Ancestral Trails." First few folders are more of a family scrapbook than genealogical research. The first twelve untitled folders were complied by Julie Manierre Mann and include notes, pedigree charts, family groups sheets, certificates, news clippings, photographs, letters, music production programs, postcards, and telegrams. The last folder is "The Memoirs of Honorable George Manierre."

The Newberry Library,

60 West Walton, Chicago, IL 60610-3305

Phone (312) 255-3506

Library hours: Tues.-Th. 10-6, Fri.-Sat. 9-5.

  • Fax: (312) 255-3513 — ATTN: Reference Section.
  • Email the Newberry Library Reference Department (reference@newberry.org)


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Vital Records 1646 - 1854 New London, New London Co., CT,


Louis, m. Rebecca MINER, Dec. 26, 1779. Children of Louis and Rebecca:

Lydia, dau Louis & Rebecca, b. May 11, 1784

Lydia, dau Louis & Rebecca, b. July 30, 1792

Louis, son Louis & Rebecca, b. Oct. 30, 1780

John, son Louis & Rebecca, b. Sept. 25, 1782

Joseph, son Louis & Rebecca, b. Mar. 11, 1786

Rebecca, dau Louis & Rebecca, b. Feb. 13, 1787

Benjamin, son Louis & Rebecca, b. May 10, 1790

John, m. Nancy LEE, dau Edgecome Lee of Montville, Sept. 6, 1807. Children of John & Nancy:

John Thompson, son John & Nancy, b. Aug. 25, 1808

Edward, son John & Nancy, b. June 22, 1812

Emeline, dau John & Nancy, b. Apr. 28, 1814

Nancy, wife John, died Sept. 2, 1815

John, m. Jennette LEE, May 18, 1816, by Elder Reuben Palmer of Montville. Child of John & Jennette:

George, son John & Jennette, b. July 15, 1817

Ellen, of New London, m. Amasa JOHNSON of Mancester, Ct., May 3, 1848, by John Grace, J.P.

Mary, m. James LEWIS, b of New London, July 23, 1848, by Rev. M.P. Alderman

Rebecca, m. Jacob PREST, b of New London, Aug. 18, 1851, by Rev. Jabez S. Swan

Downloaded Feb. 28, 2012 from http://dunhamwilcox.net/barbour/newlond_barbour_m.htm

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Harold M. Manierre wrote, Feb. 27, 2012, and April 2, 2012, in email correspondence with Michael R. Delahunt, that he knows the following about his descent from Louis Manierre (1757 – 1794):

Louis Manierre, I, 1757 – 1794 (37) (Harold M. Manierre's 4X great-grandfather)

Louis Manierre, II, 1780 – 1841 (61) (3X great-grandfather)

Louis B. Manierre [aka Louis Manierre, III], 1811 – 1878 (67) (2X great-grandfather), who married Anna Frisbie. Their children: William P. Manierre, 1844 – 1929 (85) (great-grandfather) from New London, CT, buried Manchester, CT; Mary Manierre, born New London, CT, died 1902 [source: obit in Hartford Courant], and two more sons, each born New London, CT.

William P. Manierre, 1844 – 1929 (85) (great-grandfather) from New London, CT, married Ella Keeney on November 1, 1870, Glastonbury, CT, buried Manchester, CT. William had at least three siblings: Mary Manierre, and two boys. William P. had ten children, including: Arthur B. (who had sons Raymond, William, and Howard), Leon R. (who had children Gertrude and Leon), Ernest W. (who had sons Ernest B. and Stanley), Harold K. [see below], Bessie (who married Mr. Lyman, and had a daughter Dorothy), Daisy, and Ruth Arlene. One of William P. Manierre's daughters [which one?] became Mrs. James Mooney, and had daughters Helen and Gladys.

Harold K. Manierre, 1888 – 1918 (30) (grandfather)

Palmer Manierre, 1915 – 1991 (72) (father) born Hartford Ct

Harold M. Manierre, born 1954

Vincent J. Manierre, born 1985 (my oldest son)

Harold M. Manierre's email address: hmconn@cox.net

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view all 12

Louis Manierre, I's Timeline

Normandy, France
October 30, 1780
Age 23
September 25, 1782
Age 25
New London, CT, United States
May 11, 1784
Age 27
New London, Ct
March 11, 1786
Age 29
New London, CT
February 7, 1787
Age 30
New London, CT.
May 10, 1790
Age 33
New London, CT.
July 30, 1792
Age 35
New London, CT
March 23, 1794
Age 37
New London, New London, CT, United States
June 3, 1798
Age 37