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History of Virginia Huguenot settlers

Early Huguenots in Virginia


Huguenots came to Virginia as early as 1620 when Elias La Guard, James Bonnall and David Poole settled in Elizabeth City in the 1630s Nicolas Jamew, John Broche, William Savary, Nicolas Martiau, Giles Tavernor, John Vallet, and John Galliott settled in what is now York County. Also at that time, many French names appear in the upper County of New Norfolk. More French settlers came over the next three decades, settling in Lower Norfolk, Princess Ann and Isle of Wight Counties. [from Huguenot Lineage Research, Melford S. Dickerson]

The 1700 Huguenot Emigration

In 1700, four ships arrived within a few months of each other, coming from London: The Mary and Ann, the Peter and Anthony, the Nassau, and a fourth whose name and passenger list do not exist today. Though many of these settlers went to Manakintowne, several went to Williamsburg (Contess, Marot, LaPrades, for example) and others settled on the Rappahannock River (Parson Latané and others). This site is primarily devoted to those who settled at Manakintowne.

The Huguenots on the Mattaponi River

Passengers on the fourth ship settled on the Mattaponi River. Here is an excerpt from an article by Cameron Allen taken from Genealogical Research by the American Society of Genealogists (1971, 2 volumes).

"The Mattapony group settled in what was then King William County, perhaps attracted by the fact that a Huguenot clergyman, James Boisseau had settled there a decade or so earlier. Later the Mattapony area was cut off as Caroline County. Here we know that another Huguenot clergyman, the Rev. Francis Fontaine, served in St. Margaret's parish, Caroline County,1721-1722. Unfortunately the county records of both King William and Caroline (save the Order Books of the latter) have been destroyed, as have the Church of England Parish Records. Among the Huguenots residents in this settlement were the families of Seay, Peay, Derieux, Desmaizeau, Dismukes (originally DesMeaux, it is said), Jeter, Mallin, LaFoe, Chenault, DeJarnette, Micou, Flippo, Duval, Vigon, Micalle Debusie, and DeShazo (DeChazeau). The Mattapony settlement seems never to have been as strong as Manakintown, and there was some tendency to gravitate from the first to the latter....Contact between the two must certainly have been maintained for decades. Families from both participated and were closely associated in the development of Amelia County." (II, 283)

Huguenots in History
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