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Bats in My Belfry

Bats in My Belfry

After a particularly hairy break-up with my very own, personal, live-in toxic narcissist, I moved 45 minutes away to a tiny 2 BR walk-up just across the river from the college where I was teaching. Moving is one of the most exhausting and debilitating exercises, and it does not get better because you’ve done it a lot. Ending a 10-year-plus relationship with a “soul-mate” who had informed me that he had “never loved me,” and restarting my life was like ripping out my own entrails through my red, runny nose. Moving meant pushing the gooey mess left of my colon into tons of heavy boxes and dragging each and all up Mount Everest.

My friends had pitched in with the moving, hauled my bed frame and mattress up to the 2nd floor apartment and even set it up. We found sheets and pillowcases so I’d at least have a place to sleep once I calmed down from the hyperactivity of moving. So, after dealing with my new landlord, arranging for utilities and satellite TV and so on, trying to find the barest necessities (like coffee, cups, towels, coffee maker, etc.) hidden in the over-heated, taped treasure boxes covering every inch of horizontal space, I felt like an old wash rag, rung out and hung out to dry.

My friends left to deal with their own lives and I ordered pizza.

I set up the TV and the floor lamp and found paper plates and grabbed a beer from the tiny fridge. I love new pizza joints, but always try their pepperoni and extra cheese first. If they can’t do the king of pizzas, I assume that their culinary ineptitude will simply escalate with more exotic concoctions. As I awaited the pizza, I washed up and tried to find something to watch on TV—on the VCR or DVD player, really, since the SAT wasn’t set up. Luckily, I found a murder mystery I hadn’t seen—or it might have been a vampire flick…

The pizza arrived, I paid and tipped the delivery “boy,” who was closer to middle-age than boyhood, and he welcomed me to the neighborhood. Sitting on my nearly-new sofa, watching a movie with lots of dark, steamy alleys, moody music and an occasional shriek, I tasted the excellent pizza, washing it down with a Bud Light (or two). It was an old-fashioned, home-made pizza with hand-rolled dough, real Mozzarella and Provolone cheese, and large slices of pepperoni. Just smelling the thing made me put on 20 pounds! Ah, sweet relief…

As I returned from the kitchen with a second helping of beer and pizza, a dark body swooped down at my head. “Shriek! What was that?” I asked no one. Maybe I had heat stroke or something; it was a dreadfully hot day and I had no air conditioning in the upstairs apartment cobbled together from an old general-store storage room. The 5×3 foot bathroom opened onto the living room, and one bedroom was on the other side of the living room (down two steps). My very long but narrow kitchen was the largest room, with tons of light from nearly wall-to-wall windows. At the opposite end of the kitchen lay the other bedroom, used for storage. After 9 pm, the only light pouring through the windows came from the corner streetlight and the color-changing stoplights.

I looked from wall to ceiling to floor. Nothing. I checked the bathroom, bedrooms, kitchen. Nada. Was I just wiped out mentally from the brutal emotional battery my ex had treated me to during my last week in hell? I sat down, grabbed my pizza, and once again a dark body swooped at my head—or the pizza—and I was now officially terrified. What the devil was that? Again, I did a thorough survey of the apartment, finding nothing. Absolutely nothing. Nada. Nada y pues nada… as Hemingway would put it. The nada, the nothingness of my life opened like the abyss. If I gazed too deeply, I knew it would swallow me up, just as Nietzsche had warned.

I turned on every light and searched high and low, under furniture, in drawers and closets and cupboards, even the empty cupboard under the built-in bookcase in the living room. Nothing. By now, I was sweating profusely, from the exertions of the day but also my recent repeated runs through the rooms and the fear that began to scream at me (in my head). Outside, it was pitch dark. Inside, the apartment was so quiet I could hear my clock radio ticking in the other room. What in hell had I got myself into? Maybe I should find a funny show to watch…

Should I call the police? Without knowing what was going on, and beginning to fear for my sanity, after escaping a man who had been systematically gas-lighting me for the past few years, I had no idea where to turn. I was certainly NOT going to call HIM. My friends had done yeoman’s service for me that day so I wasn’t going to disturb them again. If I sat still, the thing would fly and swoop just as it did if I stood up to move around the apartment. It could be a bird, I thought, but this thing moved much faster than any featherweight I had ever seen. And a bird would cry out, wouldn’t it?

The ordeal continued, for I knew that I would not sleep that night unless (until) I discovered what was going on. Desperate, I called my new landlord and asked for help. Twenty minutes later, he and his wife arrived, he with a broom and she carrying a tennis racket! I wasn’t sure now if I was in a Marx Brothers film or in the Twilight Zone. Or, maybe I truly had lost my mind and this was all a hallucination! Maybe Edward had finally succeeded in driving me bonkers. I wanted my Dad, but he was 1000s of miles away in Florida. I didn’t want my Mom that night, since she would have given me the “I-told-you-so” speech for the zillionth time.

My life now relied upon “the kindness of strangers.” I sat on the couch in a funk as my new landlords searched the “empty” apartment. They found nothing, and then I noticed the odd looks they were exchanging and the guarded glances turned toward me. The questioning began anew: “What happened? When? Who or what was it? Are you sure? How much beer have you had? Etc. ad nauseum.” They must have thought I had had a breakdown or something. I began to suspect the same thing. What could any of us think?

The wife sat in a chair, talking to me in a soothing voice as he wandered the apartment again, with only a tennis racket for protection. She left the room to see what he was doing in the spare room. That’s when I began to smell the odor of meat cooking. Frying, really. I called for the landlord, frightened that the noises were coming from a fire within the walls perhaps. I hoped frantically that they too would smell the burning flesh. If not, I might have to resign myself to living in a padded room.

They noticed the smell but no flying, swooping monster appeared to verify my claims. They asked if I had left the stove on, when it was obvious that I had just ordered a pizza, and hadn’t unpacked any cookware, for crying out loud! I was now officially annoyed, a feeling that was beginning to overwhelm the feelings of fear. Time passed, punctuated by my ticking clock radio. They did one more quick look everywhere before leaving.

As we stood at the door, my incredulous landlord asked me to turn off the floor lamp. He then reached inside the glass shade which was open at the top and screwed to the pole part of the lamp, revealing the source of my fright. A baby bat! With all of the uproar of moving and opening and closing doors and cupboards and cabinets, it must have been awakened in some dark hidey-hole and got disoriented, perhaps. My landlord speculated that it must have landed on the floor lamp bulb for warmth and was disturbed by my movements in and out of the living room.

Case solved! Unfortunately, the “cooking” smell turned out to be the poor little creature being burned to death by my floor lamp! So, I really did have “bats in the belfry” after all, but this one was real, and I wasn’t crazy! At least, not that night. What I had heard and experienced was real, and I was relieved that I had not simply imagined it all. What a story! I couldn’t wait to share it with Edward…oh, wait. He was no longer in my life. We had nothing to share any more. That was a good thing, right? Right?

© 2015 Linda L Labin, PhD

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I’m Back!

alice in a holeI’m back! In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been away, yet I haven’t left. I’ve been fighting the knee and back demons and they tend to knock the knickers off what talent I may have. Sorry for missing your marvelous posts; happy to be among the survivors.

While  recuperating from knee injections, I saw things I never want to see again–The tapes of planned Parenthood doctors dickering for big money for harvested organs taken from human fetuses butchered in the womb are horrifying. The claim that they need these for research is a lie, as computer models are more effective. Selling human body parts is illegal! Two images come to mind– Nazi concentration camps experimenting on people they viewed as not fully human, as progressives view human fetuses (apparently), and Charlton Heston screaming Soylent Green is people! Wake up America.

 

At least Café got a nice haircut, and I’m still passing open windows. I wonder what voracious reader will recognize that reference…

© 2015 Linda L Labin, PhD

Part 2 of Worst Date Ever

I had never been to a political rally, although I had seen TV news snippets of such productions. Even then, I had little interest in being immersed in large crowds of enthusiastic and sometimes angry people. Life is not a spectator sport. Still, after Jerry begged me to at least hear what the man had to say, promising that we ‘would not stay long,’ I politely but silently assented. I was raised to believe in the best in people, expecting (and usually finding) that most people are good and kind and decent. But I had also seen the dark side of the human condition and personality, so I agreed to listen with an open mind (while being on guard instinctively).

The speaker was gifted, not by intellectual expertise or a repertoire of success and valuable ideas for America’s future, but rather by (an apparent) adherence to populist ideas that elicited a visceral response from the audience. He was the first politician to offer tax breaks and other perks to big businesses if they would move their facilities to his state, a rather successful effort to bribe companies to offer employment to locals and one that is still used today. He also wanted to increase Social Security and Medicare benefits to the elderly while ending foreign aid and getting out of the Vietnam quagmire.

Many of this man’s ideas were reasonable and quite in line with the Democratic Party of the day. In the 1968 election, however, this staunch Democrat chose to run in the American Independent Party, thus splintering the Democratic votes irreparably, allowing Nixon to become President. I still wonder how different things might have been had a Democrat won. The 1968 campaign was probably the most chaotic election season ever in the most chaotic year ever (arguably).

One would think that a man who suggested populist ideas that appealed to the average working American would be perfect, but, alas, this Southern Democrat had sold his soul to the devil in his hot pursuit of political fame and fortune. When President John F Kennedy had ordered the desegregation of all schools, the Governor of Alabama blocked the school house doors, vowing this law would never be enforced in HIS schools. Early in his career he had discovered that he could only beat his opponents, who were supported heavily by the Ku Klux Klan, if he were to ‘join them.’ He became the horrible icon of racism and race hatred.

That was why the Democratic Party eventually dropped him and that is why I had no interest in attending a rally for him. As a Christian, I was raised to believe that we are all God’s children, regardless of race or creed, and in my family, this man’s name was spat out when he was spoken about at all. He was the worst of bigots, for he had political and legal power over his victims and he used invective, stereotyping, and fear to excite the mob of poor white men seeking a scapegoat for their problems. His rallies often attracted loud protestors and violence (another reason NOT to see him).

I remember the separate restrooms and drinking fountains, one for whites and the other for blacks, which were ubiquitous in the 50s and 60s, even in Akron and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (my hometown). It was a shameful time in our country, when people of color were treated as less than human. The town I grew up in had been named by a national magazine as “One of the 24 Nice Places to Live,” and it was. I only learned the true meaning of that idea in high school when I discovered that realtors and those with rental properties had an unwritten law not to sell or rent to blacks. Imagine that, in the 20th century!

To add gasoline to these confrontations, other tragedies that year electrified the very air with fear and hatred. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that my entire world view changed with the assassination of John F Kennedy in 1963. How different the world, and America, would be if not for the nut job Lee Harvey Oswald, who killed the hope of many of us that day in November. Just 5 years later, and still in shock over that tragedy, we faced new ones—Dr Martin Luther King, Jr was shot down in the Spring, and in June of that year, Democratic candidate Robert F Kennedy was likewise assassinated!

What a loss to our country. How sad and shameful and depressing. How can one go on believing in the American dream when the best and brightest of us, who offered hope to all, were slaughtered like the American buffalo? The death of the buffalo was a deliberate effort by the government to commit genocide on Native Americans. The death of men like John and Robert Kennedy and Dr King came close to destroying all Americans. These senseless murders put us in the hands of men like Nixon who hated the people he was meant to serve, who played politics with boys’ lives in ‘Nam, who encouraged the wholesale slaughter of unarmed college students whose crime was objecting to an unconstitutional war.

So, that night in 1968 was, for me, filled with fear and confusion. I was in danger; America itself was in danger. The people who claimed to know what was right, who wanted to lead us to a better tomorrow, ostensibly, could not agree on even the simplest of principles. How, then, could we find the right path, surrounded by lots of rhetoric, hyperbole, and invective? Even knowing what is right does not guarantee that one will do right. Sometimes, knowing what is absolutely the wrong thing can spur us to head in the opposite direction. Sometimes, a bad example is more effective. That’s what I heard that dark night in Akron—the worst example ever offered to the American people.

I had reason to be concerned. I did not want to listen to this hateful man spewing his hate-filled threats, his twisted view of America. I also did not want to witness what I knew would follow his words. The Armory seemed to bulge at its seams, as countless numbers of mostly white working-class men filled the auditorium to hear their new-found spokesman. Lots of talk, laughter, then whispers, followed by loud, angry cries when a small group of black men in suits entered the room, attempting to listen to the speech. Suddenly, small Confederate flags appeared, waving rapidly, as the crowd, emboldened by the polite silence of the ‘intruders,’ began flinging insults and threats of physical violence.

What I feared most of all began to emerge—a lynch-mob mentality, as armed security guards surrounded the young black men and attempted to remove them. Terrible words were exchanged by the speaker and these visitors. The crowd of mostly men, all white, began stamping their feet and yelling for blood. If not for the speaker’s next words, I think these regular guys would have shed blood that night. Horrified, I begged Jerry to take me out of there. I was more afraid for the black men down below, the only men in suits that night (except for the speaker), but I was also afraid for my own safety.

I have never seen a speaker so charismatic that he could actually convince the angry mob to calm down and allow the visitors to leave unmolested. They hung on his words like bees clinging to flower blooms. I couldn’t believe it; it was as if they had all been hypnotized by this man (or mesmerized, as the 19th century folks would have called it). With a few sentences, he commanded everyone to be calm, to be quiet, and to let those people go IN PEACE. I was astounded; the crowd, over-awed, performed like hungry seals, sitting down, ceasing the horrific racist rants and threats, calming, and waiting for this enigmatic ‘leader’ to tell them what to believe, how to behave.

It was the spookiest episode of my young life, watching this short, pudgy, badly dressed race bully calmly instruct his armed guards to escort the young black men out of the auditorium, at the same time convincing the angry crowd NOT to be angry, NOT to act with violence. We didn’t stay to hear his prepared speech, for I had witnessed a mind-boggling performance and wanted no more of it. I grabbed Jerry’s forearm with a strength born of fear and anguish and told him to ‘get me out of here, NOW!’ or face my father’s wrath when I told him about this date from hell.

I had learned too much about my so-called boyfriend that night, and also, perhaps, too much about the desperation of working men who had no clue about right and wrong, good and evil. They hated the scapegoat created by smug politicians intent on their own power and willingly gave up any claim to humanity that night. I was relieved that the speaker had stopped the potential violence that night, but I had no illusions about the reason he did that.

That was my last date with Jerry.

[The Democrat turned Independent running for president in 1968, the man who enthralled the crowd in the same creepy way that Hitler used to do in Nazi Germany, was George Wallace. He lost the election. Four years later, he was paralyzed after being shot by another nut job. He later recanted his racist views, claiming to have been ‘born again,’ and apologizing to the black people of America for what he had said and had done against them.]

© 2015 Linda L Labin, PhD

Worst Date Ever

Worst Date Ever

When I was young and optimistic foolish, I dated a bit. Not as much, probably, as my contemporaries, since I had work and school obligations, but in hindsight perhaps too much for me. I was too trusting and too naive, really, so I now marvel at my survival of those crazy times. Many people were drinking too much and doing drugs, having sex with strangers, throwing their youth if not their lives away for a short-term thrill. Not so for me. I remember the 60s because I didn’t do those things. After a few close calls, I realized that even moderate drinking could put me in danger from seemingly innocuous friends, and I stayed away from drugs because they were illegal and I had no interest in being out of control. Those choices made it easier for me to avoid casual sex, as I’ve always believed you have to be in love to engage in sexual activity. I realize how prosaic and old-fashioned that sounds, but they were different times and I was raised that way.

As happens, though, despite my best efforts, and no matter how ‘nice’ my dates seemed, occasionally I found myself in precarious circumstances. I was dating a young man who had been in the army who was pursuing a college degree; his brother was married to my cousin, who encouraged this ‘match.’ We had a number of dates, most of which were to varying degrees disastrous, but he was a sweet boy who just didn’t have a clue. I learned during this time how immature, how undisciplined he was, and it was not long before I discovered he had more serious faults.

One Friday night, I had obtained tickets to a ‘Poe Fest’ at the Kent State University movie theater, which had a mandatory time frame—if you were late, you didn’t get in. Their reasoning for this arbitrary rule escapes me, but it was engraved in granite. Naturally, as with every other date we had, Jerry (I think this was his name, but my cerebral cobwebs hang rather heavily in this part of my memory bank) arrived late, with no explanation but numerous excuses. It was winter and I was wearing my white go-go boots (!) and my new fluffy-white winter coat, a necessity in his older, clunky car. I soon found that, despite its mechanical schizophrenia, Jerry loved that car more than anything. As we sped the 10 miles to Kent, we talked of nothing and nonsense, until Jerry heard a noise undetectable by humans.

He stopped the car, got out to look at the road from whence we had come, mumbling something. I sat in wonderment, as he began speaking of a (purely imaginary) problem with his car. We pulled into a service station. In those days, gas stations had attendants who pumped your gas for you, checked your oil and other things under your hood, washed your windshields, all for the price of your gas!– minimum wage was about $1 or $1.25 an hour and you could fill your tank for about $3.00. He asked the attendant to put the car up on the rack to check ‘something.’ So, here we were, me in my white go-go boots and fluffy-white coat and he in his casual slacks and grimy hands, as he tinkered with an exhaust pipe with more holes than Baby Swiss cheese and hanging by gossamer. He and the obliging service guy used wires and (I think) bubblegum to affix the pipe to the car in hopes we could continue with this amazing date and, at least, get home safely.

That ‘essential’ mission completed, and suddenly realizing that we were really late now (as if we hadn’t been late before he began his exhaustive tinkering), Jerry attempted racing through downtown Kent. On a Friday night, downtown Kent was comatose, except for the clubs where kids could dance to loud music and drink 3.2 beer, so we had little traffic with which to contend. Despite this, Jerry managed to time his efforts in perfect sync with the 5 or 6 trains zooming through the country town at that moment. Perfect in the sense that we hit every flashing light and crossing bar! At one point, he thought to jam the accelerator to beat an oncoming train (going around the crossing bar) and we became caught on the tracks on the wrong side of the bar. Cars up ahead and behind had stopped dutifully at their signals, blocking us in, at the mercy of an oncoming train. Screaming!

At the last minute (in movie-thrill fashion), the cars behind us backed up the street so that we were able to back onto the right side of the barrier, escaping the imminent squashing. It was at this point I remember thinking, this date is not going as planned. Nevertheless, ever hopeful, we arrived on campus, parked the car of Jerry’s dreams and my nightmares, and, running through the snow and ice, we arrived just in time—to have the door slammed in our faces! We were, perhaps, 30 seconds too late, but the attendants refused to admit us, refused to hear Jerry’s lame (-brained) excuses. And yet, that was not the worst date ever.

Youth is forgiving, youth is trusting, youth is dangerous. My last date with Jerry was even more exciting than the movie thrill ride, and that is why it was my last date with Jerry.

As in previous attempts, our date began with his late arrival. We were to go bowling at North Lanes and grab a pizza at Leone’s, and I was looking forward to a ‘normal’ date, since the bowling alley didn’t have mandatory arrival times and Leone’s was open to the wee hours. Before my back problems, I loved bowling; now I bowl on my phone. Leone’s had the best pizza in Cuyahoga Falls, maybe in the world, with home-made provolone and mozzarella so thick you practically needed a machete to cut it and pepperoni from Mama Leone’s special recipe, too. (It was never the same after the kitchen fire destroyed Mama Leone’s aged, grease-soaked oven).

I noticed immediately, however, that we were heading south on State Route 8 instead of north, so I suggested that Jerry was turned around. Oddly, men and boys hate it when you point out their mistakes, even more than they hate it when you beat them at games (I was a bit of a pool shark)! He wasn’t angry, though, he just chuckled a bit and told me to relax because he was taking me ‘somewhere special’ instead of bowling. I’m a simple girl with simple tastes, so I would have been happy with our original date idea. Finally, driving through the dark streets of Akron, we arrived at the Armory where we would, he assured me, attend a special speech. It was 1968 and a man Jerry admired and who was running for president was meeting with constituents and speaking of his plans for America.

We had seats in the over-crowded balcony; there were more attendees here than I had seen at a rock concert. Lots of men, a few women, lots of talking, gesticulating, flag-waving. Later, when he spoke to the massive crowd, the speaker enthralled the audience. They hung on his every word, cheering loudly and jumping up to clap repeatedly. I have never seen anyone control a crowd in that way. I never want to see anyone control a crowd that way. It was the most frightening thing I had ever seen. The stage and the speaker were surrounded by large, well-armed security guards and the erstwhile ushers were likewise armed and threatening by their very presence.

Why was this man so afraid of a public spectacle he had planned? Why were rumors flying about uninvited guests and trouble brewing for this eloquent speaker? What had my ‘boyfriend’ gotten me into? Why did the oxygen seem to go out of the over-crowded auditorium, now smelling of sweat, anger, and despair?

————–to be continued———————-

© 2015 Linda L Labin, PhD

The Plantagenet-De La Pole-Mullenax Royal Connection

The Plantagenet-De La Pole-Mullenax Royal Connection

The Plantagenet and De La Pole lines, which eventually connect with our Mullenax Irish branch, has a lengthy pedigree, and includes Welsh, French, English, and Irish lineages:

Note about Welsh names: “Ap” is used to identify a man as “son of” the surname, so Caradog was the son of Lles. Likewise, Caradog’s son Gwrydr is called Gwrydr Ap Caradog. For women, the term used for daughter is “Verch” or “Ferch,” so Gwrydr’s wife Morfydd is the daughter of Owain Ynyr.

Note on Ddu or Dhu: This is a nickname meaning ‘black’ or ‘dark’ and referred to someone either with dark hair or complexion.

Note on dates: For centuries, people of Europe paid particular attention to the date of death while being unconcerned about details of birth (except to verify legitimacy in the case of nobles and royals). The reason for this is simple: to Christians, the day a person dies and goes home to God is far more important than when s/he was born. The focus was on one’s spiritual journey, not the vagaries of birth. We begin with my 31st great-grandfather:

 31. CARADOG Ap LLES was born about 874, in Montgomeryshire, Wales, son of 32. LLES LLAWDDEOG Ap CEIDO, brother of Gwynnog Farfsych Ap Lles. He married Unknown in Wales. They had one child during their marriage. He died in 1000 in Picardie, France, at the impressive age of 100. This is our oldest ancestor in this line and he and his family are shrouded in myth and mystery. Caradog’s son was:

30. KING GWRYDR Ap CARADOG, born about 920-5 in Gwent, Glamorgan, Powys, Montgomeryshire, Wales and died 1038 in Crickpowell, Wales. He married 30a. MORFYDD (Ddu) Verch (OWAIN) YNYR about 933, in Wales. She was the daughter of 31. Ynyr ‘Fychan’ Ap Meurig of Gwent and 31a. Joyce De Baladon. She died 9 Jan 1019 in Wales. They had three children during their marriage: Neiniad Ap Gwaethfoed (another form of Gwrydr) died 1027, Cydrych Ap Gwaithfoed born 1019, and

29.Gwaithfoed Ap Gwynnan (Gwrydr), Lord of Powys born 933-940 in Llangynyw, Montgomeryshire, Wales, died 1038 Wales. He married 29a. Morfydd Verch Ynyr (born 925 in Gwent, Glamorgan, Wales; died 9 Jan 1019 in Powys Castle, Montgomeryshire, Wales. They also had 3 sons, 2 named for his brothers and one for himself: Neiniad Gwaethfoed (1000-1057), Cydrych Ap Gwaithfoed (1019-1076), and

28.Gwerystan Ap Gwaithfoed, Lord of Cibwyr in Gwent born about 954-8 in Powys, Wales and died in 1005 in Wales. When GWERYSTAN Ap GWAITHFOED was born, his father, GWAITHFOED, was 25 and his mother, MORFYDD, was 33. He married 28a. NEST Verch CADELL and they had six children together between 976 and 1005.  Nest Verch Cadell was born in 960 in Powys and died after 1005, leaving children: Nest Verch Gwerystan (976-1005), Elinor Verch Gwerystan (987-1002), Letitia Nest Ferch Gwerystan (1005-1041), Annesta Verch Gwerystan (1004-1063), and

27. Cynfyn Ap Gwerystan, (Interim) King of Powys born 978 in Powys and died 1023 in Powys. He married 27a. Angharad Verch Maredydd (born 982 in Deheubarth, Wales, died 1058 in Rhuddlan, Wales) and they had 5 children: Angharad Verch Cynfyn (1000-1094), Caradoc Ap Cynfyn (1018-), Iwerydd Verch Cynfyn (1024-1048), Gwenwyn Verch Cynfyn (1025-), and

26. Bleddyn Ap Cynfyn, King of Gwynedd, born 1025 in Montgomeryshire, Wales, died 1075 in Powys Castle, Welshpool, Montgomeryshire, Wales. He married 26a. Haer Verch Cynyllyn born in 1025 in Gest, Dolbenmaen, Caernarvonshire, Wales, and died 1050 in Caernarvonshire. She was the daughter of 27. Cynyllyn Ap Blaidd, Lord of Gestyn. They had 8 children: Cadwgan Nannau Ap Bleddyn (1050-1112), Rhirid Ap Bleddyn (1052-1088), Gwladys Cynfyn (1054-), Gwenllian Verch Bleddyn (1056-), Efa Verch Bleddyn (1058-), Hunydd Verch Bleddyn (1067-), Mael Ap Bleddyn (1067-), and

25. Maredudd Ap Bleddyn, Prince of Powys born 1047 in Montgomeryshire and died 9 Feb 1132 in Powys. He married Cristin Verch Bledrus (1062-) and had Cadwgon Ap Maredudd (1081-1163) and Madoc Madog (1091-1160). He then married 25a. Hunydd Verch Einudd (born 1063 in Dyffryn Clwyd, Denbighshire, Wales, died 1132), daughter of 26. Einudd Ap Morien, Lord of Duffryn & 26a. Efa (Eva) Verch Llywelyn and they had 3 children: Iorwerth Ap Maredudd (1080-1109), Madog Ap Maredudd (1091-1160), and

24. Gruffudd (Griffyd, Gruffydd) Ap Maredudd born 1093 and died 1128, both in Montgomeryshire. He married 24a. Gwerful Verch Gwrgeneu born 1097 in Radnorshire, Wales, daughter of 25. Gwrgeneu Ap Hywel (1082-1125) & 25a. Margred Verch Rhys (1075-1130). She died 7 March 1137 at Powys Castle. and they had 3 children: Margred Verch Gruffudd (1119-), Rhird Ap Gruffudd (1120-), and

[Somewhere in these next generations, the family surname became Atte Pool or De La Pole, for reasons yet to surface. Still looking! It is striking that the new surname appears at about the same time that this family begins marrying women from England. I suspect that the Welsh family began to settle on one surname rather than the confusing “ap” or “verch” someone, following the British custom of identification.]

23. Owain Ap Gruffudd (Griffyd) born 1117 in Montgomeryshire, Wales, died 1197 in Stratta Marcella, Montgomeryshire. He married 23a. Gwenllian Verch Owain born 1130, died 1197, and they had 15 children, of whom the family connection is 22. Gwenwynwyn Ap Owain, born 1151 in Montgomeryshire, Wales and died 1216. He married 22a. Margred Corbet (born 1170 in Cause, Shropshire, England, died in Wales) and they had Rhys Gryg Gwenwynwyn (?-1253), Madog Ap Gwenwynwyn (1183-1270), Jane Verch Gwenwynwyn (1210-1255), and

  1. Gruffudd Ap Gwenwynwyn (De La Pole) born 1200 in Montgomeryshire, Wales and died 21 Feb 1286. He married Margaret Verch Howel but had no children. He married 21a. Hawise Le Strange who was born 1234 in Cheswardine, Shropshire, England and died 1310 in Montgomeryshire. They had 8 children, of whom our ancestor was 20. Owain Ap Griffith De La Pole (atte Pool), Prince of Upper Powys, born 1257 in Montgomeryshire and died 15 Oct 1293 in Powys Castle, Montgomeryshire, Wales. He married 20a. Joan or Johanna, Lady De Corbet who was born about 1274 in Castle Moreton Corbet, Wern, Shropshire, England and died 29 Sept 1348 in Castle Harley, Shropshire. Their children: Lewis De La Pole (?-1294), Hawyse Gadarn (1290-1349), Griffin Ap Owen De La Pole (1293-1309), unknown De La Pole (1295-?) and

  1. William Ap Gruffyd De La Pole (Atte Pool) born 1275 in Ravenser Odd, Yorkshire, England and died 13 Dec 1328 in Hull, Yorkshire. The Welsh family, now using the surname De La Pole, has left Wales and now resides in Yorkshire, England. In 1300 William married 19a. Elena Rotenhering (Rotenheryng) who was born in 1280 in Hull and died 20 Apr 1338 in Hull. Their children are John De La Pole (1298-1318), Richard De La Pole (1300-1345), Catherine De La Pole (1314-1366), Joan De La Pole (1322-), and

King Edward III

King Edward III

18. Sir William De La Pole (Atte Pool), Baron of the Exchequer, Mayor of Hull who was born 21 June 1302 in Ravenser Odd, Yorkshire and who died 21 June 1366 in Hull. According to tudorplace.com, he is buried at the Carthusian Priory in Hull. He is listed in The Complete Peerage XII p. 1, 434-7. He was a wool merchant from Hull who became a key figure during the reign of Edward III after the collapse of the Bardi and Peruzzi families, when he emerged as Edward’s chief financier. He married 18a. Margaret (Catherine) De Norwich, daughter of 19. Walter De Norwich and 19a. Catherine De Hadersete, born 1306 in Stoke, Norfolk, England and died 28 Jan 1382 in Hull, Yorkshire. They had 10 children, of whom our ancestor is

17. Michael De La Pole (Atte Pool), 1st Baron De La Pole and 1st Earl of Suffolk, born 1331 in Hull Castle, Kingston-upon-Hull, East Riding, Yorkshire and died 5 Sept 1389 in Paris, Seine-et-Marne, Ile-de-France, France. Burial in the Carthusian Priory, Kingston upon Hull, East Riding, Yorkshire, England (findagrave.com). He was an English financier and Lord Chancellor of England. He was the oldest son of Sir William De La Pole of Hull and Catherine Norwich, daughter of Sir Walter Norwich. His younger brother was Edmund de la Pole (Captain of Calais). Michael enjoyed even greater popularity at court than his father, becoming one of the most trusted and intimate friends of Edward’s successor, Richard II. He was appointed Chancellor in 1383, and created Earl of Suffolk in 1385, the first of his family to hold any such title. However, in the late 1380s his fortunes radically altered, in step with those of the king.

King Richard II

King Richard II

During the Wonderful Parliament of 1386 he was impeached on charges of embezzlement and negligence, a victim of increasing tensions between Parliament and Richard II. Even after this disgrace, he remained in royal favor, although soon fell foul of the Lords Appellant. He was one of a number of Richard’s associates accused of treason by the Appellants in November 1387. After the Appellants’ victory at Radcott Bridge (December 1387) and before the Merciless Parliament met in February 1388, De La Pole shrewdly fled to Paris, thus escaping the fate of Sir Nicholas Brembre and Chief Justice Robert Tresilian. He remained in France for the remainder of his life. Sentenced in his absence, his title was stripped from him. Jean Froissart’s references to De La Pole in the Chroniques (II.173) portray a devious and ineffectual counsellor, who dissuaded Richard from pursuing a certain victory against French and Scottish forces in Cumberland, and fomented undue suspicion of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (who is the ancestor of the York and Lancastrian families who fought for the crown in the War of the Roses until Henry Tudor usurped the throne of Richard III and established the Tudor Dynasty, whose most notable descendants were Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth). De la Pole’s descendants by Catherine Wingfield were key players in the political life of the next two centuries at Wingfield Castle in Suffolk:

His son Michael de la Pole, 2nd Earl of Suffolk (my 16th great grandfather) was a supporter of Henry IV and opponent of Richard. He regained his father’s title on Henry’s

King Henry IV

King Henry IV

accession in 1399, and died at the Siege of Harfleur. His eldest grandson Michael de la Pole, 3rd Earl of Suffolk died at the Battle of Agincourt. His younger grandson William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk was appointed Lord Chamberlain under Henry VI, before being murdered in exile. His great-great grandson was Edmund de la Pole, 3rd Duke of Suffolk, who led a botched rebellion against Henry VII (the Henry Tudor who usurped the throne) in 1501.

He married 17a. Katherine Wingfield, who was born 1349 in Wingfield, Suffolk, England and died 10 Oct 1386 and is buried in the Church of Carthusians, Kingston upon Hull, England. They had about 18 children! The family ancestor is 16. Sir Michael De La Pole, 2nd Earl of Suffolk, born 1361 in Wingfield, Suffolk and died 14-17 Sept 1415 in Harfleur, Seine-Maritime, Haute-Normandie, France at the Siege of Harfleur.  He was an English nobleman who supported Henry IV against Richard II.  For over a decade, Michael made vigorous attempts to recover the lands confiscated from his father, and obtained most of them piecemeal between 1389 and 1392, following his father’s death. However, his close association with the Lords Appellant, particularly the Earl of Warwick and the Duke of Gloucester, prejudiced Richard II against him. He finally obtained the restoration of the earldom in January 1398.

Michael married Katharine de Stafford, daughter of Hugh de Stafford, 2nd Earl of Stafford. They were parents to at least eight children:

Michael de la Pole, 3rd Earl of Suffolk (1394–1415)

William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk (1396–1450)

Alexander de la Pole (d. 1429), killed at the Battle of Jargeau

Sir John de la Pole (d. 1429), died a prisoner in France

Thomas de la Pole (d. 1433), a clerk, died in France while a hostage for his brother William

Katherine de la Pole, abbess at Barking Abbey

Isabel de la Pole (d. 1466), married Thomas 5th Lord Morley.

Elizabeth de la Pole, married first Edward Burnell, son of Hugh 2nd Lord Burnell, second Sir Thomas Kerdeston.

While Michael De La Pole obeyed the summons of the Duke of York to defend the kingdom against Henry Bolingbroke in July 1399, he did not object to the disbandment of York’s army and consented to the deposition of Richard II. While the first Parliament of Henry IV technically upheld the forfeitures of the Merciless Parliament, Michael’s estates and title were immediately restored by Henry IV for his support. However, he would spend the remainder of his life trying to obtain possession of the estates which had not been restored.

He played a relatively small role in national politics, although he regularly attended Parliament. He took part in the campaign in Scotland in 1400, naval operations around 1405, and was the senior English diplomat at the Council of Pisa. Suffolk (Michael De La Pole) was also a lieutenant of the Duke of Clarence during his campaign of 1412–1413. However, most of his energies were spent on re-establishing De La Pole influence in East Anglia. He was a justice of the peace in Norfolk and Suffolk from 1399, and assembled a considerable following among the local gentry. He completed his father’s building plans at Wingfield, Suffolk and enlarged the local church. Suffolk brought 40 men-at-arms and 120 archers with him on the 1415 campaign of Henry V. He died of dysentery before Harfleur, and was succeeded by his eldest son Michael, who was also present there. (Sources: Walker, Simon (2004). “Pole, Michael de la, second earl of Suffolk (1367/8–1415);” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press; wikipedia).

On 23 Nov 1391, he married 16a. Lady Catharine Stafford (born 1376 in Staffordshire, England and died 8 April 1419 in Wingfield, Suffolk, England). She was the daughter of 17.Hugo 2nd Earl Stafford and 17a.Philippa Beauchamp. They had 12-13 children, of whom the following is our ancestor:

  1. Sir Richard Pole (De La Pole) born 1400 in Southampton, Cheshire, England and died 2 May 1450 in Dover, Kent, England. Sources show him marrying a Catharine Stafford, but there must be some mistake, unless she’s a cousin or something to his mother (Catharine Stafford!). In any case, he had Isabel De La Pole (1395-1467) and his heir, 14. Sir Geoffrey De La Pole (Pole) who was born 1431 in Worrell, Cheshire, England and who died 1474 in the Monastery at Bisham Priory, Berkshire, England. He is said to have married Bona Danvers (1440-?) but had no offspring. In 1461, he married 14a. Edith St John, daughter of 15. Oliver St John (1400-1440) and 15a.Margaret Beauchamp (1410-1482). They had Eleanor Pole (1463-1481), Michael De La Pole (1466-1487), Suffolk (1470-1541) and

  1. Sir Richard De La Pole born 1462 in Isleworth, Middlesex, England and died 18 Dec 1501 in London, Middlesex, England. Sir Richard was a Welsh supporter of Henry Tudor (Henry VII) who created him Knight of the Garter and gave him Margaret Plantagenet, 8th Countess of Salisbury, as a wife to reinforce the Tudor/Plantagenet alliance. On 22 Sept 1494 he married 13a. Margaret Plantagenet, daughter of 14. George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, and 14a. Isabel Neville. As a Member of the Garter, Richard’s title was the King’s Butler, as he and others helped take care of the King’s rooms, clothing, etc. Margaret Plantagenet, 8th Countess Salisbury, is my 13th great-grandmother and was caught up in the machinations at the court of Henry VIII during his many marriages, losing most of her sons and finally her own life to the cruel tyrant who feared that the White Rose of the Plantagenets could rally the people against the Tudor usurpers. Margaret was born 14 Aug 1473 in Farleigh Hungerford Castle, Bath, Somerset, England and died 28 May 1541, executed for treason at the Tower of London. She had been threatened and alternately praised or vilified, depending upon the King’s whim. Finally, after two years in the tower, she was to be beheaded. However, she refused to be still as other prisoners had done; instead, the headsman had to strike her about 11 times before she died. She is buried at St Peter ad Vincula within the Tower. (more on this in a separate article).

To be continued…

© 2015 Dr Linda L Labin

Who Were the Huguenots?

The Huguenots were French Protestants who followed the teachings of John Calvin, and who, due to religious persecution, were forced to flee France to other countries in the 16th and 17th centuries. Some remained, practicing their faith in secret. The Protestant Reformation, begun 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 abandoned the Lutheran form and embraced Calvinism.

The new “Reformed religion” practiced by many members of the French nobility and middle-class was based on a belief in salvation through individual faith without the need for the intercession of a church hierarchy (the Lutheran view) and on the belief in an individual’s right to interpret scriptures for themselves (the Calvinist addition). Protestants believed that Christ was the only intercessor, the only priest, necessary for salvation. This belief placed 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. No other country called their Protestants Huguenots. They preferred the Presbyterian form of church governance, but in the New World, the Huguenots would eventually merge with the Episcopal Church (the American equivalent of England’s Anglican Church).

Because of their rejection of the Pope and the Catholic belief in transubstantiation, as well as opposition to the corrupt hierarchy of the papists and the absurd notion of the “divine right of kings,” Protestants were soon accused of heresy (viewed also as treason against the Catholic government) against the established religion of France (Catholicism), and a General Edict urging extermination of these heretics (Huguenots) was issued in 1536. Nevertheless, Protestantism continued to spread and grow, and around 1555 the first Huguenot church was founded in a home in Paris. 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.

Huguenot numbers peaked near two million by 1562, concentrated mainly in the southern and central parts of France, about one-eighth the number of French Catholics. In that year, some 1200 Huguenots were slain at Vassey, France, thus igniting the French Wars of Religion which would devastate France for the next 35 years. The Edict of Nantes, signed by King Henry IV (Henry of Navarre) in April, 1598, ended the Wars of Religion, and allowed the Huguenots some religious freedom, including the free exercise of their religion in 20 specified towns of France. Francis II and his wife Mary Queen of Scots, both virulent Catholics, began abusing Huguenots with torture and burning. After Francis’ death, Mary returned to Scotland (and would later be executed for treason against Elizabeth I of England). The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by King Louis XIV in October 1685 renewed persecution of the Huguenots, and hundreds of thousands of Huguenots fled France to other countries, despite laws prohibiting emigration. The Edict of Toleration in November 1787 partially restored the civil and religious rights of Huguenots in France, too late to help the diaspora. Voltaire declared that this disgraceful abuse by Louis XIV was “one of the greatest calamities to befall France.”

Since the French Huguenots were artisans, craftsmen, physicians, and professional people, they were well-received in the countries to which they fled. Most went initially to Germany, the Netherlands, and England, although some found their way to places as remote as South Africa (which has a Huguenot Museum in Franschhoek–French Hook). 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 were a substantial loss to the French society from which they had been forced to withdraw, and a corresponding gain to the communities and nations in which they settled.

The exact origin of the word Huguenot is unknown, but many consider it to be a combination of Flemish and German. Protestants who met to study the Bible in secret were called Huis Genooten, meaning “house fellows.” They were also referred to as Eid Genossen, or “oath fellows” meaning persons bound by an oath. Two possible but different derivations incorporating this concept can be found in the Encyclopedia Britannica:

1. Huguenot, according to Frank Puaux, one-time President of the Société Française de l’Histoire du Protestantisme Français and author of the article about Huguenots in the 11th 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. Huguenot(s) is old French common in 14th to 15th-century charters. As the Protestants called the Catholics papistes (papists), 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’s 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.”

  1. The Encyclopedia Britannica offers a different explanation: “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 one Bésançon Hugues (d. 1532).”

220px-Huguenot_cross.svgThe Languedoc version of the Huguenot Cross, discovered by the Reverend Andrew Maihlet in the Province of Languedoc reveals insignia of the Society, consisting of an open four-petal Lily of France (fleur-de-lis)–reminiscent of the Mother Country–in which each petal radiates outward in the shape of a “V” to form a Maltese Cross. The four petals signify the Four Gospels. Each petal, or arm, has at its outside periphery two rounded points at the corners. These rounded points are regarded as signifying the Eight Beatitudes. The four petals are joined together by four fleur-de-lis, also reminiscent of the Mother Country of France. Each fleur-de-lis has three petals. The twelve petals of the four fleur-de-lis signify the Twelve Apostles. An open space in the shape of a heart is formed between each fleur-de-lis and the arms of the two petals with which it is joined. This shape–a symbol of loyalty–suggests the seal of the great French Reformer, John Calvin. A descending dove pendant representing the Saint Esprit or “Sainted Spirit”– the guide and counselor of the Church–is suspended from a ring of gold attached to the lower central petal. In times of Persecution, a tear-drop (usually made of pearl) supplanted the Dove.

Important Dates in Huguenot History

1533 John Calvin flees Paris

29 Jan 1536 General Edict urges extermination of heretics (Huguenots)

1536 John Calvin becomes pastor in Geneva, Switzerland

1550s Calvinism comes to France with thousands of converts

25 May 1559 First Synod of the French Reformed Church held in Paris, followed by persecutions and issuance of Edict prohibiting “heretical” worship

1559 Attempt to replace Catholic Guises with Huguenot Conde as regent

1560 Huguenots petition the King and threaten revolt if persecution persists

1 March 1562 Massacre at Vassay begins French religious wars; Conde assassinated

1562 Huguenots sign manifesto saying they were forced to take arms

1 May 1562 Arrival at St. John’s River, Florida, of the 1st pilgrimage by Huguenots to America

1564 Death of John Calvin

1565 Huguenot colony massacred at St. John, FL by Spaniards

24 August 1572 St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre–10s of 1000s of Huguenots are killed

1585 Huguenots/Protestants are expelled from France

13 April 1598 Edict of Nantes by Henry of Navarre grants limited religious and civil liberties to the Huguenots

18 October 1685 Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV results in persecution of the Huguenots; 400,000 flee France to other countries

28 November 1787 Edict of Toleration (100 years after the diaspora)

Virginia/Huguenot Origins in France

french provincesThe following places of origin (in the modern French regions) of many of our Huguenot ancestors have been cited in Baird’s Huguenot Emigration to America and The Huguenot, vol. 25. (The Huguenot Society). Bold indicates the region and names follow. Those in red are my family’s ancestors.

Basse-Normandie

Jean Le Vilain

Tessy sur Vire

Magdalene Lefevre

Avaranches

Abraham Saye /Sées

Haute-Normandie

Marie Erssen

Moise Verrüeil

James Marye

Picardie

Pierre le Grand

Bohain [? may be Holland]

Ile-de-France

Thomas, Jean, & Louis duPré

Champagne-Ardenne

Barthélemy Dupuy

Susanne Rochette

Abraham Soblett

Abraham Michaux (the Michaux family is prominent in Manakintown, VA records)

Sedan

Jean Jacques Flournoy

Bretagne

Daniel Guerin

Saint Nazaire

Pays de la Loire

Olivier de la Muce

Paul Micou

Daniel DuVal

Mathieu Agee

Centre

Gabriel Maupin

Orléans

Pierre Chastain

Poitou-Charentes

Jacob Ammonet

Loudun

Paul Bernard

Abraham Sallé (a prominent member of VA)

Nicolas Martiau (another prominent member of Manakintown, VA)

Island of Ré

Jean L’Orange

Pierre David

Daniel Foure

La Rochelle

Pierre Guerri

Sepvret

Jean La Chaumette (Shumate)

Rochechouart

Jacques Bilbaud

Port-des-Barques

Jerome Dumas

St. Fort de Conac

Jacques Fontaine

Royan-Aquitaine

Charles Perrault

Richard Beauford

Thomas Lanier

Louis Latané

Bordeaux

Mathieu Maury

Midi-Pyrenees

James LeCaze

Stephen Renno

Nare

Antoine Trabue

Stephen Mallet

Montauban

Jean Cairon

Rhone-Alpes

Pierre Massot

Vallon en Vivarais

Benjam De Joux

Languedoc-Roussillon

Jean-Pierre Bondurant

Genolhac

Jean Martin

St. Martin de Courconas

Adam LaVigne

Castagnol-en-Cevennes

Jean Imbert

Estienne Chenault

Provence-Alpes

Anthony Gévaudan

Gévaudan, near Digne

Suisse

Pierre Dutoit

Moudon

Jean-Jacques Flournoy

If this information is helpful to you, please let me know. Sources around the web include The Huguenot Society, wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica, huguenot-manakin.org, europeanhistoryonline.com, and others.

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