This is my 50th post of 52 to complete this challenge to write about family ancestors, at least once a week for a whole year! Great thanks are given to Amy Johnson Crow of the “No Story Too Small” blog on WordPress for issuing and maintaining this callenge! I started participating in the challenge last January, and will soon be finished! It is so hard to believe! I have been wondering for awhile what might be a good way to wrap up this wonderful adventure, and after much thought, decided that it might be fun to end this series (not that I won’t do other genealogical posts) with stories about some of our beginnings–the first of our ancestors in America! To that end, I have decided to write about our Huguenot Ancestors, our Jamestown Ancestors, and our Mayflower/Plymouth ancestors! It is so amazing to me to know that we have members of our family from all of these groups! It also explains why I am kin to almost everyone! When your family is present in the beginning, there are fewer families, and at that time they tended to have huge families of ten and more children. All those children married others from their church and/or farming community generally, so it didn’t take long for everyone to be cousins!
You might wonder why I would even think to write about the Huguenots. As it turns out, I grew up only a few miles from the original Huguenot settlement in Manakintown, Virginia! I went to Huguenot High School and drove over the Huguenot Bridge almost every day. My own families were Methodists, not Huguenots, but as I began my genealogical research, I was pleased and surprised to find I had Huguenot ancestors and so did my husband!
From the National Huguenot Society we learn this history about the Huguenots:
“The Huguenots were French Protestants most of whom eventually came to follow the teachings of John Calvin, and who, due to religious persecution, were forced to flee France to other countries in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Some remained, practicing their Faith in secret.
The Protestant Reformation began by Martin Luther in Germany about 1517, spread rapidly in France, especially among those having grievances against the established order of government. As Protestantism grew and developed in France it generally abandoned the Lutheran form, and took the shape of Calvinism. The new “Reformed religion” practiced by many members of the French nobility and social middle-class, based on a belief in salvation through individual faith without the need for the intercession of a church hierarchy and on the belief in an individual’s right to interpret scriptures for themselves, placed these French Protestants in direct theological conflict with both the Catholic Church and the King of France in the theocratic system which prevailed at that time. Followers of this new Protestantism were soon accused of heresy against the Catholic government and the established religion of France, and a General Edict urging extermination of these heretics (Huguenots) was issued in 1536. Nevertheless, Protestantism continued to spread and grow, and about 1555 the first Huguenot church was founded in a home in Paris based upon the teachings of John Calvin. The number and influence of the French Reformers (Huguenots) continued to increase after this event, leading to an escalation in hostility and conflict between the Catholic Church/State and the Huguenots. Finally, in 1562, some 1200 Huguenots were slain at Vassey, France, thus igniting the French Wars of Religion which would devastate France for the next thirty-five years.
The Edict of Nantes, signed by Henry IV in April, 1598, ended the Wars of Religion, and allowed the Huguenots some religious freedoms, including free exercise of their religion in 20 specified towns of France.
The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV in October, 1685, began anew persecution of the Huguenots, and hundreds of thousands of Huguenots fled France to other countries. The Promulgation of the Edict of Toleration in November, 1787, partially restored the civil and religious rights of Huguenots in France.
Since the Huguenots of France were in large part artisans, craftsmen, and professional people, they were usually well-received in the countries to which they fled for refuge when religious discrimination or overt persecution caused them to leave France. Most of them went initially to Germany, the Netherlands, and England, although some found their way eventually to places as remote as South Africa. Considerable numbers of Huguenots migrated to British North America, especially to the Carolinas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. Their character and talents in the arts, sciences, and industry were such that they are generally felt to have been a substantial loss to the French society from which they had been forced to withdraw, and a corresponding gain to the communities and nations into which they settled.”
“Huguenot”, according to Frank Puaux, at one time President of the Socitie Francaise de l’Historie du Protestantisme Francais and author of the article about the Huguenots in the eleventh edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica:
“is the name given from about the middle of the sixteenth century to the Protestants of France. It was formerly explained as coming from the German Eldgenosen, the designation of the people of Geneva at the time when they were admitted to the Swiss Confederation. This explanation is now abandoned. The words Huguenot,Huguenots, are old French words, common in fourteenth and fifteenth-century charters. As the Protestants called the Catholics papistes, so the Catholics called the protestants Huguenots. The Protestants at Tours used to assemble by night near the gate of King Hugo, whom the people regarded as a spirit. A monk, therefore, in a sermon declared that the Lutherans ought to be called Huguenots, as kinsmen of King Hugo, inasmuch as they would only go out at night as he did. This nickname became popular from 1560 onwards, and for a long time the French Protestants were always known by it.”
There is a National Huguenot Society as mentioned above. Apparently there is also The Huguenot Society of the Founders of Manakin in the Colony of Virginia. From them we learn some specific history of the Huguenots in Virginia.
“Huguenots began coming to Virginia as early as 1620. In 1700-1701, five ships arrived at the mouth of the James River, then the York and the Rappahannock rivers, east of present-day Richmond, Virginia. French Huguenots, having fled religious persecution, had lived in England and Ireland and done military services for King William. They were granted lands in the New World for a permanent home where they had the freedom to worship as they pleased. West of Richmond, many founded a colony on the site of a village deserted by the Monacan Indians. This is a society of the descendants of that colony and French Protestants who came to Virginia before 1786 [see history of the society]. The society headquarters and library are located beside the Manakin Episcopal Church on the original King William Parish glebe land in Manakintown. The society convenes for a National Assembly annually (usually in June). For information on membership and branches, contact us by e-mail at manakintown @yahoo.com.
The next General Assembly of the society will be held June 18-20, 2015 in Richmond, VA.”
Perhaps this explains why I have found at least three different lists of registered lineages or ancestors from the Colonial Huguenots in America. If you are interested in joining one of these societies, be sure that you check all of the different requirements for the one you are interested in joining.
By far, my most famous Huguenot ancestor is Nicholas Martiau, my/our ninth great-grandfather and his children,,of whom Mary Martiau Scarsbrook is my/our 8th great-grandmother. The Martiaus are ancestors of George Washington, making us cousins. There is a book written called Nicholas Martiau: The Adventurous Huguenot by John Baer Stoudt. You can read the blog post I wrote about Nicholas earlier at this link. Nicholas was a French engineer who helped build the palisades around Jamestown Fort and the Fort at Yorktown. He served as a Burgess from Jamestown and other places in Virginia. A bust of him, and a plaque to him can be seen in Yorktown , Virginia, today, honoring the gift of his land where the city of Yorktown stands today!
Another direct ancestor who was a Huguenot settler in the Colony of Virginia was my/our 7th great-grandfather, John Battaile-b.1658, his son Lawrence-b.1698 and his daughter Elizabeth Battaile-b. 1731 . My/our 5th great grandmother. Elizabeth married George Muse, b. 1722, another Huguenot, and my /our 5th great-grandfather as well! George Muse fought with George Washington in the Revolutionary War.
Dewalt Bieber is listed as an approved Huguenot ancestor under The Huguenot Society of America whose list you can find at the underlined link. He is my husband’s 6th great-grandfather, and my children’s 7th. This is a bit of interesting history about the Bieber/Beaver family in America.
“The original family name for Bever/Bieber/Beaver was de Beauvoir. The name was taken by the family in the 10th century from the name of the little city in France where they lived near Rouen in northeastern Normandy called Beauvais. This town was known during the time of Caesar as Caesaromagnus.
Little did I know growing up that I was the descendant of at least three direct Huguenot ancestors, now my husband of at least one! That means my children could easily qualify for membership in a Huguenot Society I would think. It’s an amazing history!
Since I am feeling very French today, I will leave you with this:
Relationship Chart for James T. Fuller to Nicholas Martiau, Jamestown, Va, Burgess, Huguenot, French Engineer
9th Great-Grandfather of James T. Fuller
Birth 1650 in Newport, Isle of Wight, Virginia, United States
Death 24 Jun 1723 in Isle Of Wright, Virginia, United States
7th Great Grandfather of James T. Fuller
Birth 1703 in Newport, Isle of Wight, Virginia, United States
Death 1 Feb 1777 in Granville, North Carolina, United States
6th Great -Grandfather of James T. Fuller
5th Great Grandfather of James T. Fuller
4th Great Grandfather of James T. Fuller
George William Fuller
Birth 1813 in York County, South Carolina, USA
Death 1901 in Easonville, St Clair, Alabama, USA
3rd Great-Grandfather of James T. Fuller
James Dejarnette Fuller
Birth Aug 1851 in Alabama
Death Nov 1925 in Hartselle, Morgan, Alabama, USA
2nd Great-Grandfather of James T. Fuller
Great- Grandfather of James T. Fuller
Grandfather of James Thurmond Fuller
Father of James Thurmond Fuller