The Bryants–French Huguenots

The Bryant Line—French Huguenots

History of the Huguenots

The town of La Rochelle, France, had a city wall around it. King Huguenot, who lived in the 14th century, had the city gate covered by an arch commemorating his life and deeds. The Presbyterians held their revival meetings under his gate, and the Catholics would not bother them, since they thought that old King Huguenot’s spirit walked on this gate at night. For this reason, Catholics called all French Protestants Huguenots. The political and economic conditions under which the Huguenots settled in Virginia:

Because of ongoing persecutions at the hands of Catholics, many Huguenots fled to Virginia as early as 1660, leading to an Act of Assembly granting them citizenship in Virginia Colony. Many settled on the banks of the Rappahannock River. By May of 1681, a Huguenot Relief Committee was created in London. One of its records includes “an account of the Monies received toward the Relief of Poore Protestants Lately come over from the kingdom of France” and two years later the Committee records paying seventy pounds sterling “for five french Protestants to come to Virginia.” As a result of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, immediately half a million people, a significant proportion of the population, became refugees. Most fled to countries where their predecessors had fled–Holland, the German States, and England. Although many remained in these havens, especially those who had skills in craft and manufacture, there were too many to be absorbed. Virginia was a natural for them because of previous immigration, and being underpopulated and in need of settlement. In addition, it was known to be generous both in naturalization of foreigners, and in absolute religious toleration for most Protestant sects. Quakers were, however, not encouraged to settle there (Bielenstein, Gabrielle Maupin,”How Huguenots Fared in Virginia,” Huguenot Refugees in the Settling of Colonial America. New York, The Huguenot Society of America, 1985, pp. 89-98).

By 1690, so many Huguenots had settled on the south side of James River in Henrico county (which was then on both sides of the river) that the Assembly passed an act giving them a large tract of land along the river as their possession, exempting them from all county and State taxes for seven years, and then extending the privilege indefinitely. They were required to support their own minister in their own way. Dividing the grant into farms running down to the river in narrow slips, a portion of the most valuable was set apart for the minister, and continued for a long time to be in possession and use of the minister, while one was resident in the parish, and after that to be rented out, and the proceeds paid for such occasional services as were rendered by neighboring ministers. Finally, as it could not be seized and alienated by the act for selling the glebes, it got into private hands, and has been thus held for many years. “As service is now regularly held in the old church in Manakintown settlement, it is believed that the glebe originally consecrated to the support of a minister will be restored to its first design and long use. The service of the Episcopal Church was used, and sermons preached for some time in both French and English, as some of both nations attended the church at Manakintown.” In 1714 a list of men, women, and children in the little Colony was sent to England and they numbered nearly three hundred. The minister was the Rev. Jean Caison.

The next branch of the Moore side of my Dad’s family were apparently all French Huguenots fleeing the massacres committed by Catholics against them, and many of them arrived in VA from 1700 to 1714. The first is the Bryant family. The name was originally Briand or Brienne. These Briands are thought to be descended from Jean de Brienne (John of brienne) who lived 1148-1237 and was King of Jerusalem during the Crusades. The 1st verifiable members of the family are 10.Isaac Bryant who married 10a.Marie Benoist at Broxton, Cheshire, England (my 10th great grandparents). They were refugees. Their son was 9. Stephen (Etienne) Bryant (Briand), born about 1650 in La Milliere, France and died in England in 1720 at age 70. His son 8.James (Jacques) Bryant I was born in 1675 in La Milliere, Bouches-du-Rhone, Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, France, married 8a.Sarah Snell by about 1700 in Holland (where they sought refuge in 1686) or England and they had Charles Bryant (1701-?) and 7.James (Jacques) Bryant (Sr) (1710-1783).

Charles, James and his family arrived at Jamestown, Virginia on 23 July 1700 on board the Peter E Anthony sailing from Gravesend, England in the spring. and settled in 1703 in Manakintown, Powhatan County (1st called James City County, then Goochland Co, now Powhatan), VA—a French Huguenot settlement. The fact that James’ father Stephen died in England and that then James and his family came to America from France suggests that the family was fleeing the butchery of Huguenots by the Catholics in the early 18th century. Sarah died in 1750 and James died in 1755, both in Manakintown. Unfortunately, many original records of Manakintown were burned but we do know that James was Secretary of the King William Parish in 1744.

James’ and Sarah’s son 7.James (Jacques) Bryant (Sr) was born 1 Jan 1710 in Albemarle County, VA and he married 7a.Elizabeth LaFever (LaFevre) who was born in 1712 in Manakintown, King Williams Co, VA, the daughter of 8a.Isaac LaFevre and 8.Magdalaine Parenteau. They had 8 children and in 1745, at the age of 31, Elizabeth died in Manakintown. Their children were:

  1. Charles Bryant—1730-1785

  2. James Bryant, Jr.–1735-1807.

  3. Mary Bryant—1735-1749

  4. Elizabeth Bryant—1737-1807

  5. Isaac Bryant—1739-1800

  6. Judith Bryant—1740-1769

  7. Martha Bryant—1741-1755

  8. Fanny Bryant—1743-1757

After the death of Elizabeth in 1745, James Bryant married Clara Clark (1707-1757) or Clara Vermeil Trabue (1715-1786) .

“Alias: [7.]James [Bryant is] Listed as Head right on a patent of John Pleasants in 1715 which means he arrived [a] year earlier. 1783 James Bryant Will Book No.1,1777-1795 (Reel 15 ) p.88-89. Will pro. 16 Oct. 1783 p. 90. Inv. rec. 18 Dec. 1783 Virginia wills and Administrations.”

6.James Bryant, Jr. was born 1 Jan 1735 in Manakintown, King Williams Co, VA, and died 16 December 1807 in Manakintown, Powhatan Co, VA. He married 6a.Madalene Jane Forsi Guerrant on 11 June 1758 in St James Northampton Parish, Goochland, VA. She was born in 1742 in King William Parish, Goochland, VA and died 8 Nov 1772 in William Parish, Cumberland, VA, the daughter of 7.Major Pierre (Peter) Guerrant (1697-1750) and 7a.Magdalene Trabue (1715-1787). Major Pierre Guerrant was born 1697 in St Nazarre, LaSaintonge, France and died 25 June 1750 in King William Parish, Cumberland, VA. He was the son of 8. Daniel Guerin (1663-1730) and 8a. Marie L’Orange (1663-1730). Daniel and Marie arrived in VA in 1714 and died in 1730 in Manakintown, King William (Powhatan), VA.

He was the son of 9. Henri Guerin (abt 1643-). 8a.Marie L’Orange was born 2 February 1663 in Rennes, Ile-et-Vilaine, Bretagne, France. She was the daughter of 9.Jean Velas L’Orange (b. abt 1650 in St Sauveur, LaRochelle, France, d.23 June 1712 in Manakintown, VA, and 9a. Francoise Rouviere (1650-1725).

7a. Magdalene Trabue was born 31 Aug 1715 in King William Parish, Manakintown, Henrico, VA and died May 1787 in Manakintown, Powhatan, VA. She and husband 7. Major Pierre Guerrant had these children in VA:

  1. John Guerrant (1733-1812)
  2. Esther Guerrant (1735-1760)
  3. Antoine Martain Guerrant (1737-)
  4. Peter Guerrant (1737-1817)
  5. Mary Magdalene Guerrant (1740-1820)
  6. Madalene Jane Forsi Guerrant (1742-1772)
  7. Judith Guerrant (1745-1801)
  8. Daniel Guerrant (1747-1823)
  9. Betsey Guerrant (1747-1808)
  10. Elizabeth Guerrant (1752-1811)

On 15 Oct 1756, Magdalene married Thomas Smith (1719-1786) but had no offspring. 7a. Magdalene Trabue was the daughter of 8. Sir Antoine Trabue, born 21 Sept 1667 in Montauban, Guyenne, France; died 29 Jan 1724 in Manakintown, VA, and 8a.Magdalene Verrueil, born 28 Jan 1685 in Reusel de Mierden, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands; died 1 May 1731 in Manakintown, VA. Sir Antoine and Magdalene had these children, all born in Manakintown, VA:

  1. John James Trabue (1705-1803)
  2. Anthony Trabue (1708-1787)
  3. Moses Trabue (1711-1716)
  4. Judith Trabue (1711-1716)
  5. Magdalene Trabue (1715-1787)
  6. Judith Trabue (1717-1809)
  7. son Trabue (1720-)
  8. Olympia Dupuy Trabue (1729-1822)

Sir Antoine Trabue was the son of 9.Pierre Antoine Trabue (Strabo), who was born 10 Feb 1620 in Montauban, Ille-et-Vilaine, Bretagne, France, died 14 Jan 1646 in Montauban, Guyenne, France; and

9a.Bernarde Chibailhe, born 1 Feb 1629 in Montauban, Ille-et-Vilaine, Bretagne, France, and died 29 Jan 1724 in Henrico Co, VA. Pierre and Bernarde had seven children, all born in Montauban:

  1. David Trabue (1646-1647)
  2. Jean Trabue (1649-1650)
  3. Marie Trabue (1652-1657)
  4. Andre Trabue (1654-1655)
  5. Anne Trabue (1658-1669)
  6. Martha Trabue (1661-)
  7. Sir Antoine Trabue (1667-1724). Since their youngest, my 8th great grandfather, was the only one of their children to survive to adulthood, it makes sense that the Trabues would escape to the Americas.

9. Pierre Antoine Trabue was the son of 10. David Trabue (Strabo) born 31 Dec 1590 and died 19 July 1615 both in Montauban and 10a. Galharde L’Andrailh born 20 Nov 1597 in Moreaux, Eure-et-Loire, France and died 1632 in France. Galharde was the daughter of 11.Arnaud L’Andrailh born in 1575 in Montauban, Guyenne, France and died in 1600, and 11a. Lizette DeGascon born in 1570 and died in 1615 in France.

8a. Magdalene Verrueil (1685-1731) was the daughter of 9. Moise Verrueil born 24 Sept 1651 in Rouen, Seine-Martime, Haute-Normandie, France and died 1701 in Manakintown, VA; and 9a.Magdalene Prodhomme born 55 Jan 1663 in Hague, Netherlands, and died 1703 in Manakintown, VA.

6.James Bryant, Jr (1735-1807) and 6a. Madalene Jane Forsi Guerrant (1742-1772) had six children, all born Powhatan County (formerly King William and Henrico Counties), VA:

  1. Sarah Bryant (1754-1781)

  2. James Bryant (1758-1833)

  3. John Bryant (1760-1833)

  4. Mary Bryant (1764-1831)

  5. William Guerrant Bryant (1765-1840)

  6. Jane Guerrant Bryant (1769-1847)

5.William Guerrant Bryant was born 30 Dec 1765 in King William Parish, Goochland (Cumberland), VA and died 7 Nov 1840 in Nashville, Davidson, TN. He married 5a. Mary Harris who was born in 1765 in VA and died in 1797. She was once married to Jonas Friend (1759-). William G Bryant and Mary Harris had one child: 4. Mary “Polly” Harris Bryant, born 14 Jul 1790 in Augusta, VA and died 22 Sept 1865 in Chestnut Twp, Knox Co, IL. She married 4a. Elias Bragg (1784-1861), discussed in other articles in this family history. From the Braggs, we then connect to the Moore family, my Dad’s mother’s people.



One thought on “The Bryants–French Huguenots

  1. Dr. Linda,
    I have been reading the history of the Huguenots and your family with interest. It seems like a history book read but so much more real, because knowing you, I feel I know them, though they are historical figures. It would have been so much easier for me to learn the Protestant reformation, if I had had first hand information such as this at hand. Great work !

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