O, weep for Moncontour! O, weep for the slain

Posted by Sappho on July 6th, 2013 filed in Genealogy


“Some things have to be believed to be seen.”
? Madeleine L’Engle

Some 33 families established the community of la Nouvelle-Rochelle in 1688. One of them, I’ve recently learned, was mine. Alice Leonard Moore, the great-grandmother that I earlier learned was mostly Pennsylvania German on her father’s side, turns out to be partly Huguenot on her mother’s side.

All the poems I found about Huguenots, like the one from which I took the title of this post, read as melodramatic, for much Huguenot blood was shed. But, centuries later, it’s hard for me to weep for Moncontour, so I must balance that tragic line with one closer to my day, from Madeleine L’Engle, my favorite author of Huguenot descent.

But on to my own family. When I last left you, I knew little of the parents of my great-great-great-great-grandmother on a direct maternal line, Aurilla Angeline. I had no name for her mother, and thought that her father might be Amon Angeline, who appears in an 1800 census of Pitsford, Rutland, Vermont, the one Angeline household in Rutland County that had an age composition that allowed for a two year old daughter, who would be Aurilla. Amon Angeline, though, appeared only in that one census, and then disappeared from all records. It turns out that there’s a good reason for that.

Aurilla’s father is, not Amon Angeline, but Aaron Angevine, Aaron Burr Angevine, to be more exact. According to an Angevine family history compiled by Clyde V. Angevine of Endwell, New York, the Angevines were Huguenots, or French Protestants.

It is thought that about 18 of the Angevine family fled to Holland in the spring of 1686, where they stayed a couple of years before departing for America in December 1688.

Two small shiploads of approximately 150 Huguenots landed in New York City on February 22, 1688/89, but they decided not to settle there. Somehow they learned of an area on Long Island Sound, which was almost unoccupied. The present day city of New Rochelle, Westchester County, N. Y. is the location where these people established their own French Huguenot community. Their town and church records were kept in French for the first forty years or more.

A Huguenot monument stands in New Rochelle, New York, containing the names of the first settlers there; one of those names is Angevin.

The Angevines were glassmakers in La Rochelle, France. (I guess this made them typical Huguenots, since the Huguenots in general were artisans.) They came first to New York City, and then settled in New Rochelle, a city that at first was very French; French was spoken there, records were kept in French, and the culture was French. And for the first few generations, the Angevines seem to have intermarried with other Huguenots; the names I have (not all of them yet backed up by documents) include Chalons, Naudin, Levesque, and Mallet. But Aurilla’s grandfather, Anthony Angevine, married Esther (or Hester) Burr, and this is how Aurilla’s father comes by the name Aaron Burr Angevine.

Esther Burr, you see, was the daughter of Stephen Burr and Elizabeth Hull, and Stephen Burr was the son of Daniel Burr and Elizabeth Pinckney. This Daniel Burr, in turn, was, according to Wikipedia, a wealthy landowner and the father of The Reverend Aaron Burr, Sr., Presbyterian minister, son-in-law to the famous preacher Jonathan Edwards, co-founder and second president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), and father to the more famous Aaron Burr who was the third Vice President of the United States. Our ancestor, Aaron Burr Angevine, appears to have been named, not for Aaron Burr the Vice President (that Aaron Burr was not yet grown when our Aaron Burr was born), but for his father, our Aaron Burr Angevine’s uncle. This also means that we get the rest of Aaron Burr’s genealogy, which goes back to Jehu Burr, who arrived on the Winthrop Fleet, the largest fleet ever assembled to carry English settlers overseas to a new homeland. This fleet set out in 1630 with 700 immigrants in 11 ships; of these, 200 died in transit, 100 returned to England, and 400 stayed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

So, my great-grandmother Alice Leonard Moore’s ancestry is made up of:

  1. Moore/Moose, Bachman, Weaver, Fogel, etc.: A collection of mostly Pennsylvania German families who came over in the Palatinate immigration, who make up Alice Leonard Moore’s father’s side of the family.
  2. Merchants: Joseph Merchant, Alice Leonard Moore’s maternal grandfather, came from New York to New Haven, Connecticut with his two brothers, Horace and Harvey. The family may have been another Huguenot family (Merchant is sometimes an English version of Marchand), or could have been an English or Scottish family that came over to New England in the Great Migration and then moved to upstate New York.
  3. Statia/Stacy/Stacey: This family moved to Rutland County, Vermont, according to a town history of Benton, Vermont, from Salem, Massachusetts. Alternatively, they might have come from Ipswich, Massachusetts, a town near enough to Salem that it was also involved in the witchcraft trials, or from New Salem. The surname is said to be of Irish origin (perhaps Alice Leonard Moore, so determined not to be mistaken for the new potato famine immigrants, may have to live with Irish ancestry after all), but if they’re Irish, it would have to be by way of England, since the Salem Stacy family seems to have arrived with all the other English immigrants during the Great Migration of 1620-1640. There was a Hugh Stacy on the Mayflower who may be the same as the Hugh Stacy who later settled in Salem, but probably not.
  4. Angevine, Baudin, Mallet, Levesque, Chalons: Huguenot refugees.
  5. Burr, Hull, Pinckney, Sanford, Ward, Cable, Jones, Mitchell: More English immigrants who came to New England in the Great Migration.

Somewhere in there, multiple ancestors managed to fight in the Revolutionary War. But at least one of the Huguenot families was divided, and some Loyalists went to Canada, which may explain how I come to have a cluster of French-Canadian DNA cousins on 23andme. Perhaps, two centuries after Moncontour, and in a land where religious persecution was no longer an issue, some of my Huguenot cousins found language and culture a stronger tie than faith, and intermarried with the French Catholics already there. If so, I hope the slain understand.


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