Dad’s Maternal Huguenot Connections

The French (Huguenot) Connection–Details on the French Huguenot & Manakintown connection for the Labin family

This line traces from Dad’s maternal grandparents (Guinns and Moores) through many branches and unbelievable complications. I have just uncovered new and exciting information about some of our ancestors who actually helped found the earliest and largest French Protestant settlement in America at Manakintown, VA. The clearest connection is through the Bragg and Bryant lines, and my research has uncovered some fascinating facts and stories. First, a bit of history:

The Protestant Reformation begun by Martin Luther in 1519 established the revolutionary idea that salvation was achievable by individuals through faith alone, without the intercession of church hierarchy (especially in light of the widespread abuses of the church—selling indulgences, having mistresses and illegitimate children, theft, chicanery, fraud, etc.). John Calvin went a bit further in acknowledging an individual’s right to read and interpret the scriptures rather than being indoctrinated by priests.

The term Huguenot seems to be a combination of Flemish (language of Belgium) and German. Protestants meeting in secret to read the Bible were called “Huis Genooten,” meaning “house fellows,” who met in houses rather than a church. They were also called “Eid Genossen,” or “oath fellows.” The Encyclopedia Britannica offers two explanations:

  1. “Huguenot,” according to Frank Puaux, former President of the Societe Francaise de l’Historie du Protestantisme Francais, “is the name given from about the middle of the sixteenth century to the Protestants of France. Huguenot/Huguenots are old French words, common in 14th and 15th 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 on.”

  2. “The origin of the name is uncertain, but it appears to have come from the word aignos, derived from the German Eldgenosen (confederates bound together by oath), which used to describe, between 1520 and 1524, the patriots of Geneva hostile to the Duke of Savoy. The spelling Huguenot may have been influenced by the personal name ‘Hugues,’ ‘Hugh,’ a leader of the Geneva movement was Besancon Hugues (d. 1532).”

french provincesNo other country called their Protestants Huguenots, and in the New World, the Huguenots would eventually merge with the Episcopal Church (the American equivalent of England’s Anglican Church). The Protestant movement attracted many followers and the French king established an edict which urged the extermination of these “heretics.” Lutherans, Calvinists, Huguenots, and any others who rejected the Catholic church and the “divine right of kings” were declared guilty of heresy. The French King tried frantically to force middle- and upper-class people to subsume their spiritual beliefs to his archaic demands. In 1562, at Vassey, France, about 1200 Huguenots were massacred for their beliefs, setting off “religious” wars that devastated the country for over 35 years. In 1572 the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre killed tens of thousands. 

Huguenot Fugitives

Huguenot Fugitives

In 1598, King Henry IV of France (Henry of Navarre) issued the Edict of Nantes, allowing the free exercise of their religion (only in 20 specified towns). Eighty-seven years later Louis XIV revoked the edict, renewing persecution of Protestants. The Huguenots began fleeing France as they were hunted down, tortured, and murdered by Catholic mobs. To escape these horrors, many fled to the Netherlands or Great Britain, and some of those went even further—to the new world which promised what had been stolen from these good people—their freedom. The Edict of Toleration was not issued until 1787, far too late for the nearly half a million Huguenots who had fled France.

The Huguenots were not peasants but artisans, craftsmen, professional, intellectual people and were thus warmly received by other countries. When they made plans to emigrate to America, many religious and civic groups collected money and supplies to help them as they established their new settlement in Manakintown, Henrico County, VA. More on Manakintown in a later article. These pioneers brought art, craftsmanship, and religious freedom to the frontier and became a major force in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and other historic events in American history. 

Manakintown Land Grant

Manakintown Land Grant

The “French Connection” in my family comes from my 3rd great grandparents on my Dad’s maternal side: Elizabeth Bragg and John J Moore. I’ve been able to trace some of the ancestral lines back to my 12th great grandparents, and here I include collateral lines pertinent to this family. We begin with the meaning of Couillard and uncover (no pun intended) the humorous side to ancestor hunting. The surname COUILLARD is from Old French coille ‘testicle,’ hence a nickname for a man with large testicles, and later (16th century) for a lusty or vigorous man.

My 12th great grandfather, 12.BAPTISTE COUILLARD was born in 1545 in Rouen, France. He married 12a. JEHANNE NEPVEU about 1578 in his hometown. They had three children during their marriage. He died on April 5, 1625, in Rouen, France, having lived 80 years. Their daughter 11.ANNE COUILLARD was born in 1579 in Rouen, France, when her father, BAPTISTE, was 34 and her mother, JEHANNE, was 29. She married 11a.PIERRE VERRUEIL on May 4, 1603, in her hometown. They had one child (10.Jean). She died on March 15, 1649, in Rouen, France, at the age of 70. 12a.JEAN PIERRE VERRUEIL was born in 1535 in Rouen, France. He married 12.MADELEINE DuFAY in his hometown. They had one child (11a.Pierre) during their marriage. He died in 1623 in his hometown, having lived 88 years.

10.JEAN VERRUEIL was born on February 20, 1607, in Rouen, France, the child of PIERRE and ANNE. He married 10a.MADELEINE DUBOIS on February 2, 1633, in Rouen. MADELEINE DUBOIS was born in 1612 in France. She died in 1688 in Rouen, France, at the age of 76 years. They had two children (Judith Verel and 9. Moise Verrueil) during their marriage. Jean died in 1691 in S-Gravenhage, Netherlands, having lived 84 years. Since the Verrueil and other families have been identified as being French Huguenots, Jean’s death in the Netherlands is significant. Many Huguenots fled France for Holland or England during the 17th century when savage mobs of Catholics burned the homes of Protestants and tortured and murdered the occupants. That Madeleine died in Rouen in 1688 and Jean died 3 years later in Holland shows that the family left France after 1688 but before 1691.

9. MOISE VERRUEIL was born on September 24, 1651, in Rouen, France, when his father, 10.JEAN, was 44 and his mother, 10a.MADELEINE, was 39. He married 9a.MAGDALENE PRODHOMME on December 9, 1677, in S-Gravenhage, Netherlands. They had eight children during their marriage. He died in 1701 in Powhatan County, Virginia, at the age of 50. 9a. Magdalene‘s father was 10.NICHOLAS LOUIS PRUDHOMME, born in 1620 in Rouen, France. He married 10a.MAGDALAINE TEVENIN on September 18, 1653, in S-Gravenhage, Netherlands. They had five children. He died on July 16, 1662, in S-Gravenhage, Netherlands, at the age of 42. When 10a.MAGDALAINE TEVENIN was born in 1633 in Rouen, France, her father, 11.JEAN, was 41 and her mother, 11a.JUDITH, was 33. She married 10.NICHOLAS LOUIS PRUDHOMME and they had three sons and four daughters together. She then married David Morin on July 16, 1662, in S-Gravenhage, Netherlands. She died on May 14, 1721, in the Netherlands, having lived a long life of 88 years.

Possible meaning of the surname PRUDHOMME–French (Prud’homme) and English (of Norman origin): nickname from Old French prud’homme ‘wise’, ‘sensible man’, a cliché term of approbation from the chivalric romances. It is a compound of Old French proz, prod ‘good’, with the vowel influenced by crossing with prudent ‘wise’ + homme ‘man’.

10a.MAGDALAINE TEVININ’s father was 11.JEAN TEVENIN, who was born in 1592 in Rouen, France, the child of 12.FLORENTIN TEVINING. 11.Jean married 11a.JUDITH VERSON in 1625 in his hometown. They had four children during their marriage. He died on March 8, 1675, in Rouen, France, having lived 83 years. 12.FLORENTIN TEVENING was born in 1557 in Haute-Normandie, France. He had one son with 12a.RENEE NEPVEU in 1592. He died on October 18, 1632, in Le Port, France, having lived a long life of 75 years. She died in 1634 in her hometown, at the age of 40. 11a. Judith Verson’s father, 12.PIERRE VERSON, was born in 1548 in Verson, France. He married 12a.MARIE DUCHESNE in 1598 in Rouen, France. They had one child (11a. Judith) during their marriage. He died on October 7, 1623, in Roales, Spain, at age 75 years. 12a.MARIE DUCHESNE was born in 1565 and died on October 18, 1623, in Rouen, France, at the age of 58.

Back to my 9th great grandparents, MOISE VERRUEIL and MAGDELEINE PRUDHOMME. When MAGDALENE PRODHOMME (PRUDHOMME) was born on January 5, 1663, in the Netherlands, her mother, MAGDALAINE, was 30. She married MOISE VERRUEIL and they had five sons and three daughters together between 1681 and 1718. She then married Jacob Flournoy in 1701 in Virginia. She died in 1703 in Henrico County, Virginia, at the age of 40. The Verrueils and other Huguenots sailed to America in 1700 aboard the Peter and Anthony. So, while Dad’s paternal family only arrived in America in the 1880s, his maternal family has been here since at least 1700 (and some other lines of heritage arrived with the Jamestown, VA exploration of 1607 or soon after). roadmarker

The records for the Verrueils’ immigration misspell his name:

Moyre Verrueil Arrival Year: 1700 Arrival Place: Virginia Family Members: Wife & 5 children. Primary Immigrant: Verrueil, Moyre. Contents include passenger list of 170 refugees on the Peter and Anthony, which came to Jamestown in September 1700; Records Relating to the Huguenot Emigration to Virginia in 1700; List of All Ye Passingers from London to James River; Liste des Personnes du Second Convoy que Serent Toute l’Annee a Manicanton; A List of the Refugees Who Are to Receive of Ye Miller of Falling Creek1700; Rolle des Francois, Suisses, Genevois, Alemans, et Flamans; A List of Ye French Refugees that are Settled att ye Mannachin Town; and Lists Generalle de Tous les Francois Protestant Refugies.” The reprint carries, in addition, a Communication from Governor Francis Nicholson Concerning the Huguenot Settlement, with List of ye Refugees, 1700. Source: BROCK, ROBERT ALONZO. Documents, Chiefly Unpublished, Relating to the Huguenot Emigration to Virginia and to the Settlement at Manakin-Town, with an Appendix of Genealogies, Presenting Data of the Fontaine, Maury, Dupuy, Trabue, Marye, Chastain, Cocke, and Other Families. (Collections of the Virginia Historical Society, n.s., vol. 5; Richmond, VA: Virginia Historical Society, 1886. 247p. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1962. 255p. Repr. 1979).

When 8a.MAGDALENE (LaFlournoy) VERRUEIL was born on January 28, 1685, in Holland, her father, MOISE, was 33 and her mother, MAGDALENE, was 22. She married ANTOINE (Sir, Anthony) TRABUE (Strabo, Straboo) and they had four sons, six daughters, and one other child together between 1705 and 1745. She then married Pierre Chastain on May 19, 1724, in Goochland County, Virginia. She died on May 1, 1731, in Henrico County, Virginia, at the age of 46. Henrico County became Goochland County and then Powhatan County over the years, explaining the seeming discrepancy of location.

When 8.ANTOINE (Sir Anthony) TRABUE (Strabo, Straboo) was born on September 21, 1667, in Montauban, France, his mother, 9a.BERNARDE, was 38. He married Katherine Unknown in 1698 in Netherlands. He then married 8a.MAGDALENE (LaFlournoy) VERRUEIL and they had 11 children together between 1705 and 1745. He then apparently had four children from another relationship between 1705 and 1722. ANTOINE died on January 29, 1724, in Henrico County, Virginia, at the age of 56.

8. Sir Antoine (Anthony) Trabue’s parents were 9. Pierre Antoine Trabue (Strabo) and Bernarde Chibailhe. When 9.PIERRE ANTOINE TRABUE (STRABO) was born on February 10, 1629, in Montauban, France, his mother, 10a.GALHARDE, was 31. He married 9a.BERNARDE CHIBAILHE on January 14, 1646, in his hometown. They had seven children and he died after 1667 in Montauban, France. 9a.BERNARDE CHIBAILHE was born on February 1, 1629, in Montauban, France. She died on January 29, 1724, in Henrico County, Virginia, at the impressive age of 94. She was the daughter of 10.JEAN CHIBAILHE, born on August 8, 1593, in Montauban, France, and 10a.MARIE MARIETTE on June 25, 1617, in his hometown. He died in 1628 at the age of 35. MARIE MARIETTE was born in 1600 in Nègrepelisse, France. She died in 1629 in Petit-Thier, Belgium, at the age of 28. This suggests that the family had moved to Belgium or the Netherlands in small groups.

9. PIERRE ANTOINE TRABUE was the son of 10.DAVID TRABUE (STRABO), born December 31, 1590, in Montauban, France and 10a.GALHARDE L’ANDRAILH on August 23, 1615, in his hometown. They had three children during their marriage. He died on July 19, 1615, in Montauban, France, at the age of 24. 10a.GALHARDE L’ANDRAILH was born on November 20, 1597, in Moreaux, France, the child of 11.ARNAUD L’ANDRAILH and 11a.LIZETTE DeGASCON. She died in 1632 in Montauban, France, at the age of 35. 11.ARNAUD L’ANDRAILH was born in 1575 in Montauban, France. He married 11a.LIZETTE DeGASCON in 1594 in France. They had one child during their marriage. He died in 1600 in France, at the age of 25. 11a.LIZETTE DeGASCON was born in 1570 in Montauban, France. She died in 1615 in France, at the age of 45.

When 7.MAGDALENE (MAGDELAINE) TRABUE was born on August 31, 1715, in Henrico County, Virginia, her father, ANTOINE, was 47 and her mother, MAGDALENE, was 30. She married 7a.PIERRE (MAJOR PETER) GUERRANT in 1732 in Powhatan County, Virginia (or 15 Oct 1736) and they had four sons and six daughters together. She then married Thomas Smith on October 15, 1756, in Virginia. She died in May 1787 in Powhatan County, Virginia, at the age of 71.

7a.PIERRE (MAJOR PETER) GUERRANT was born in 1697 in St Nazarre, La Saintonge, France, the child of DANIEL and MARIE. He married 7.MAGDALENE (MAGDELAINE) TRABUE. He died on June 25, 1750, in Cumberland County, Virginia, at the age of 53.

Possible meaning of the surname GUERRANT–French: nickname for a belligerent person or alternatively for a valiant soldier, from guerrer ‘to fight’.French (Guérin): from the Germanic personal name Warin, a short form of various compound names beginning with war(in) ‘guard’. This is found as a Huguenot name, and was established even in Ireland (County Limerick).

Major Pierre Guerrant was the son of 8.DANIEL GUERIN born on January 5, 1663, in France, the child of 9.Henri. He married 8a.MARIE L’ORANGE in 1697 in France. They had one child during their marriage. He died in 1730 in Powhatan County, Virginia, at the age of 67. 9.Henri GUERIN was born about 1643 in France. He had one son on January 5, 1663. He died in 1663 in France, at the age of 20. When 8a.MARIE L’ORANGE was born on February 2, 1663, in La Rochelle, France, her father, 9.JEAN L’ORANGE, was 13 and her mother, 9A.FRANCOISE, was also just 13! She married DANIEL GUERIN in 1697 in France. They had one child during their marriage. She and her husband Daniel died in 1730 in Manakintown, Goochland County, Virginia, at the age of 67.

6a. Madalene Jane Forsi Guerrant was born in 1742 in King William Parish, Goochland, VA, daughter of 7.Major Pierre Guerrant and 7a.Magdalene Trabue. On 11 June 1758, at age 16, she married 6. James Bryant, Jr. in St James, Northampton Parish, Goochland, VA and they had 6 children. She died 8 November 1772 in King William Parish at the age of 30 and James died 16 December 1807 in Manakintown, Powhatan, VA. In the 1st census of the US, James Bryant, Jr. is listed as having 9 whites, probably him and his wife, and 7(?) children (or other relative?), and 18 blacks in his residence. The blacks are not identified as slaves, but given the time period, it is safe to assume that they were, unfortunately.

James and Madalene’s son 5.William Guerrant Bryant was born 30 December 1765 in King William Parish, VA and died 7 November 1840 in Nashville, Davidson Co, TN at the age of 74. He married 5a. Mary Harris on 26 May 1780 when they were both 15 and had one daughter, 4. Mary (“Polly”) Harris Bryant. 5a. Mary Harris died in 1797 (when 4.Mary Bryant was just 7 years old). 5. William G Bryant then married Mary Flournoy (1770-1834) on 26 February 1811 in Putnam Co, GA (?). He also apparently married Elizabeth Harris on 9 Oct 1804 in Charlotte, VA. 5a. Mary Harris had been married previously to Jonas Friend (1759-?) but they had no children and he must have died before 1780. Many sources incorrectly identify Mary “Polly” Harris Bryant as Mary “Polly” Friend, but she had no connection to the Friend family at all. They have mistaken Mary Polly Bryant for her mother Mary Harris Bryant.

4. Mary “Polly” Harris Bryant was born 14 July 1790 in Augusta, VA and died 22 September 1865 in Chestnut Twp, Knox Co, IL. In July 1807, she married 4a.Elias Bragg (1784-1861) and they had 13 children! As explained in other family history stories here, Elias was a Sergeant in Captain John Field’s Company of Light Infantry, 8th Reg, 4th Brig, VA Militia during the War of 1812 (commanded by Brig Gen John H Cocke) and, for his service, he was given bounty land in Chestnut Township, Illinois. He moved there, with family members who chose to accompany him and his wife, between 1830 and 1840 and he died at the age of 76. His will (with all of its errors):

The last Will and Testament of Elias Bragg: In the name of God Amen. I Elias Bragg being in Common health and perfect mind make this my last will and Testament—-after my legal debts are paid and my wife should survive me I wish her to be decently provided for at her own option during her natural life or widowhood after that is done I wish the balance of my property of every kind to be equally divided amongst a part of our Children (that is to say) there is three that I am not willing to give to either of them any thing more than will prevent there becoming Equil distributees with those —- —-. I wish hereby to disinherit and namely Elizabeth H, James A and John H and I do hereby declare they nor neither of them shall inherit my property given under my hand this fifth day of May AD one thousand eight hundred and fifty three. Elias Bragg (his seal)

I Elias Bragg do hereby Certify that I have wrote my last will and Testament and dated it the fifith day of May one thousand eight hundred and fifty three and deposited in my pofsifsion to remain unopened during my life and then to acted on agreeable to the last will and Testament of Elias Bragg prroceding is to prevent the will from being know while I live. This acknoledged in the presents of : G.W. Burndirgh. I am Elias Bragg (seal).

As discussed elsewhere, Elias Bragg, my 4th great grandfather, deliberately disinherited three of his children: Elizabeth H, James A, and John H. Elizabeth H (or K or R?) Bragg was my 3rd great grandmother and she was disinherited, I suspect, because she stayed in VA. On 11 March 1833, at the age of 21, she married 3. John J Moore (1808-1870) and they had 12 children. Since she was having children every year or two during the 1830s and 1840s, who can blame her for not wanting to travel to the wilds of Illinois? He was a farmer from the age of 17 until his 50s, when he became an auctioneer during the Civil War. By 1870, he is listed as a laborer and he died that year of consumption.

More on these folks and on the Huguenots and their settlement in Manakintown, VA to come.

©2015 Linda L Labin, PhD


6 thoughts on “Dad’s Maternal Huguenot Connections

      • I have a part of a novel and notes tucked away that very loosely follows my mother’s family, the women, through the generations from right after the Revolutionary War to the 21st Century. In each generation, the woman falls in love with the wrong man, according to her family … the DNA in the woodpile, so to speak. I got sidetracked and wrote other books, helped other writers, edited and wrote for other people. Thank you for reminding me. It’s one I need to dust off and pursue.

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