Introduction to following article:
The following article gives a complete history and genealogy of Pastor Peiret and his family in France and the early generations of his descendants in America. The myth that Peiret and his spouse were from Foix, located in the province of Languedoc, is demonstrated to be a hoax. The article is presented in two sections, with the history first, followed by the genealogy. Although the pagination is continuous, each section is separately footnoted at the end of the document. Some footnote references in the genealogy, however, cite analysis or materials found in the historical text without repeating all the details.
The genealogical style employed follows current practice by leading journals.
I appreciate the support of many readers who have been interested in the history of the Latourrette family of Osse and now the history and genealogy of Pastor Peiret, his family and descendants in America. In particular, I wish to thank Mr. Harry Macy, former editor of the Record, the journal of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society, who provided excellent guidance and research assistance to write this article. As is usually the case with genealogical research, there appear to be some information and sources yet to be discovered about the Peiret family.
Pastor Pierre Peiret (Peyret) and Family, Pontacq and Osse-en-Aspe, France, and New York City, and The Myth that Peiret was from Foix (Languedoc)
John E. La Tourette (Ph.D.), President Emeritus, Northern Illinois University
Pastor Pierre Peiret (Peyret) 1 fled from Osse, Béarn (now Osse-en-Aspe, France) with his spouse Marguerite Latour and two young children in September of 1685 to avoid being sentenced to death for openly defying Louis XIV by continuing to preach while under house arrest, as well as in forbidden places. Accompanying him and risking the same fate to see the Peiret family to safety and establish a new ministry was Jean Latourrette (Latourette) from the leading Protestant family of the village. 2 As refugees from religious persecution, they made their way to Frankfurt, Rotterdam, London, eventually arriving in New York City in October 1687. There, they joined the three to four hundred French emigrants who reached Colonial New York as a result of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes which finalized the decades of persecution of Protestants (Huguenots) in France by declaring the religion no longer exits. With the help of several French merchants, Peiret founded the French Church of New York, now Église Française du Saint-Esprit on East 60th Street. A wooden church structure was built for the exclusive use of the Huguenots and the first entries were recorded in the church’s registers on Sunday, 4 November 1688. 3
This article documents that Pastor Peiret was from Pontacq, Béarn and was the Protestant minister at Osse, Béarn from 1677 to 1685. It corrects the myth about Peiret created by Napoleon Peyrat in 1878. 4 The myth, repeated by several American historians down to today from Charles W. Baird’s 1885 account, absent his usual careful scholarly attribution as to sources, asserted that Peiret and his spouse Marguerite Latour, given a name suggesting royalty, were from Foix (the land of the counts of Foix). 5 Until 1589, Foix was a small independent state in what is now southern France.
Pierre Peiret was born in Pontacq, Béarn about 1644. 6 His extended family in the 17th century consisted of Protestant leaders who included medical doctors, another minister, a notaire (lawyer) and a jurat (magistrate/alderman). 7 They were very strong adherents of Protestantism, but many of their brethren had perished when Pontacq was put to the sword and fire between 3 and 9 December 1592 by Catholic troops led by the Marquis de Villars. 8
The most prominent member of the family was Jean Peiret, a medical doctor. 9 It appears that Pierre Peiret was likely a nephew of the medical doctor and a cousin of his son Isaac. 10 Isaac, born about 1630, was the first to be a minister at Castillon in 1659 and later at Arthez from 1663 to 1673, before leaving the ministry and following his father as a medical doctor. 11
Isaac abjured in a profound way on 13 July 1673 by appearing at the Church of Saint- Martin in Pau and delivering himself into the hands of the Bishop of Oloron before the King’s Intendant (the King’s representative for Béarn) and a number of nobles. 12 The Registers of the Catholic Church at Pau at the time of his death on 9 June 1714 demonstrate that Isaac had totally rejected the Protestant faith. 13
It was with this background Peiret was accepted into the ministry at the synod held in Pontacq on 16 September 1676. His relatives attempted to have him assigned as a second pastor at Pontacq, pledging a sum of 100 livres for support. The church, however, indicated it could not financially support him on a permanent basis and he was assigned to the parish at Garlin. 14 Based on an entry in the church register, a year later on 1 August 1677 he entered into an agreement, including reciprocal commitments, as minister of the parish of Osse. The contract was written and signed by David Latourrette, ancien (elder), notaire (lawyer), abbé laïque d’Osse (secular abbot of Osse) and Jean Latourrette’s father, as the representative of the church. A second contract with Peiret was signed by David Latourrette on 29 August 1679. 15
The church’s register into which Peiret entered the minutes of meetings with elders and deacons, along with the research of Alfred Cadier and Philippe Chareyre of the history of Osse Protestantism, yield a picture of the man and his turbulent tenure at Osse. 16 To fully understand Peiret’s ministry one must include the roles, not permitted by Louis XIV to be recorded in the register, played by David Latourrette and others to resist the accelerating assault against the Protestants of Osse. (See footnote 15 about Louis XIV’s restrictions on register entries.)
Osse became an enclave of Protestantism after 1569 when Huguenot forces loyal to Queen Jeanne d’Albret drove the armies of the King of France from Béarn. 17 Given its isolated location in the Aspe Valley of the Pyrénées and the strength of the long ministries of the founding pastor Gassiot Latourrette (1563-1595) and his cousin Jean Codures (1596- 1613), 18 Osse developed a strong self-governing Protestant community. The remote location, severe climate and rugged, independent mountain culture of its people, both Protestant and Catholic, created greater tolerance and harmony than what was experienced in the piedmont area to the north after Béarn was forcibly joined to France in 1620. 19 The persistent persecution of Huguenots in Béarn, however, was broadened and accelerated and even reached into the remote mountain valleys after King Louis XIV assumed the throne in 1661 and indicated he would eradiate the Protestant Religion. It was the fate of Pierre Peiret to be the last minister at Osse to face the King’s onslaught leading up to the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes on 22 October 1685.
Before Peiret’s ministry began in 1677, there were a series of restrictions on the exercise of the Protestant religion which severely reduced the ability of parishioners to practice their faith. One of the most repressive measures in Béarn was the Edict of 1668 which reduced the number of churches from 123 to 20. 20 It limited the number of ministers and denied access to their faith by the 30,000 Protestants in Béarn, many of whom were living in small, widely scattered villages where the number of parishioners numbered less than 150. Osse was one of the 20 to remain as “perpetual and irrevocable” because of its relative size. 21 This action was repeated across France, accompanied by eliminating the ability of Protestants to ply their profession, craft or means of earning a living. This extended from members of the court, judiciary, military officers, surgeons and apothecaries to authors, printers, booksellers and even to midwives, with the design of forcing abjuration as well as destroying their ability to support their churches. 22
By 1665 Osse was no longer exclusively Protestant and appears to have been about half Huguenot with 75 families and a total parish membership of 365 to 400 people. 23 There were two conflicts between the local Catholic priest, with the support of the King’s court in Pau, and the Osse church in which David Latourrette was a key figure. The first involved the free selection of the four jurats 24 or municipal officers who governed the village. A suit brought by the priest in 1665 against Latourrette and the existing jurats resulted in a ruling by the King’s court in Pau that there had to be a majority of Catholics among the jurats. This resulted in a tax being imposed on the Protestants by the premier Catholic jurat to support the Catholic Church. The meetings of the Protestant church on December 14 and 18, 1672 attempted to block the levy and seize the monies which had been paid. This resulted in litigation with heavy expenses, but the case was lost. 25
The second issue evolved around David Latourrette’s role as abbé laïque d’Osse, with ancient rights which were purchased in 1605 without status of royalty. 26 One of the rights was to collect from the villagers a tax that was known as the dime for support of the Catholic bishopric. In the Aspe Valley, Latourrette’s role as a secular abbot was an exception because the secular abbots in other villages had only to support the local Catholic Churches. Historically, there had been an accommodation in Osse between the two religions and the local religious tax called the prémice, 27 also collected by David, was used to financially support both religions. The amount of the prémice to be distributed to the Protestant church in 1675 was 102 francs and David Latourrette advanced that sum to the deaconry. 28 However, the local priest had obtained a court order in 1675 that forbade the Protestants from receiving their share of the prémice and Latourrette was unable to have these funds, for which he was responsible, returned to him. This led to litigation that stretched out to 1701 with his son Jacob Latourrette acting as a suppléant (substitute) after his father’s death to secure these funds. 29
By 1672, it was clear that financial support for the Protestant church was severely reduced and thereafter the minutes of the church’s registers are filled with discussions about parishioners not making their pledges and the consistory being unable to meet its financial obligations, including contractual payments to pastors. Minutes of the meetings between May 26, 1670 and May 31, 1672 indicate some elders and deacons did not attend meetings, or were identified as not making their pledges or fulfilling their assignments to secure payments from households. There are frequent references to pignoration, 30 a process of seizing property from households who did not pay their pledges or debts to the consistory.
The heads of households assembled on 17 April 1672 to address a lack of funds to pay Pastor Josué Médalon who had joined the church on 12 April 1671 with a “precise” agreement with the elders prepared by David Latourrette. At the meeting Médalon indicated that, without payment, he could not survive. This situation was not fully resolved and at a meeting of 20 May 1673, he asked to be sent back to Pau. When he eventually left in 1677 the church still owed him 717 francs, according to register entry of 1 August 1677.
When Pastor Médalon left, the consistory faced the prospect of being without a minister because Louis XIV had declared that he would be the last pastor at Osse. However, the synod at Morlass employed a subterfuge whereby it freed Médalon from his charge and entrusted it to Pierre Peiret as if the ministry itself, rather than the person, was continuous. 31 The new contract with Peiret approved at a meeting of the heads of family on 1 August 1677 reflected the reduced financial state of the consistory with a salary of 300 francs annually compared to the 400 that had been promised Pastor Médalon. The 29 April 1679 contract raised the rate to 360 francs, an amount Peiret requested in order to subsist.
Over the period 1677 to 1684, the minutes of the meetings with Pastor Peiret are filled with concerns about collecting pledges and paying debts. An example is the meeting of 30 July 1679 when there was a discussion of the 12 francs pledged by Mister de Tourret (diminutive for Jean de Latourrette, likely Jean Latourrette’s great uncle), deceased about 1674. It was determined that only 5 francs remained to be paid which the son Pierre agreed to pay by 8 September with his signature at the end of the entry followed by certat es, meaning in Béarnais “certified to guarantee what is written.”
Although greatly burdened by debt and pressure from creditors, Peiret was able to maintain a board of elders and enlist the services of deacons who were charged with collecting pledges. This is demonstrated by the last meeting of the consistory on 5 September 1684 when Peiret and eight elders dealt with a long list of pledges which had not been paid. Concurrently, although some parishioners had drifted away, his active ministry was a constant reminder to the King’s representatives and the Catholic authorities that it would be difficult to convert Peiret or his most devoted parishioners. This is confirmed by the story that, prior to the arrival of the King’s dragoons in September of 1685, the elders united with the heads of families in solemn oath, swearing not to abandon their country or faith and then, as in past crises, fled into the high mountains and impenetrable forests of the Pyrénées in which they tended their livestock during the summer months. 32
Single when he arrived in Osse, Peiret married Marguerite Latour in 1680, based on the action taken by the Synod of 25 June 1681 in Garlin. He was suspended from the ministry for a year for “consummating his marriage before the ceremony.” 33 Marguerite was a young woman, likely about 18 years of age, from Béarn, perhaps from Osse or the neighboring village of Bedous as described by Alfred Cadier, the French Relief Committee of London, Tapie’s list and entries in the Registers of Peiret’s church in New York. 34 She was not the Marguerite de Grenier la Tour of the Verriers de Gabre of the Peyrat myth that she and Peiret were from Foix.
The elders met on 7 December 1681, and 1, 5 and 13 January 1682 without the suspended Peiret and the minutes reflect continuing financial problems. It is noted that the church owes Peiret 70 francs, but later Peiret himself crossed out this note. An entry in the register indicates Peiret was reinstated on 28 June 1682 upon a recommendation of the consistory of Oloron and acceptance by the Osse consistory. 35
The final financial blow to the Osse consistory came with the declaration of 15 January 1683 from Louis XIV which required Peiret to prepare a list of legacies left to the church by parishioners between June 1662 and the end of 1682. 36 The impact of this act was to expropriate the bequests to the church and for support of the poor in the amount of slightly over 2423 francs and transfer them for the use of Catholic hospitals. 37
Having not entirely broken the will of the Protestants in Béarn, the next onslaught came in March of 1684 when L’Intendant Nicholas Foucault was sent by Louis XIV with troops to force religious conversions by all means possible, including the infamous dragooning. 38 The assault by Foucault placed Peiret in a very perilous position. Peiret was arrested in November of 1684 for violating the orders of Louis XIV “for preaching in private homes and in places where the practice was not allowed” and was placed under house arrest for trial. 39
On 26 February 1685, the King’s court, called the Parliament of Navarre, recorded an edict proclaimed by L’Intendant Foucault which reduced the number of Protestant churches to five from the 20 that were suppose to exist by the “perpetual and irrevocable” edict of 1668. Among the five was Osse, but Foucault had an underlying sinister purpose. Foucault is quoted, “I decided, he said, to allow only the temples, precisely five of them, where the ministers had been hit by an (earlier) decree which condemned their temples to be demolished, of which knowledge was sent back to parliament, so that, by this means, there could be no temple left in Béarn.” 40
All of the five churches were closed by April of 1685. Peiret continued to serve his parishioners but, recognizing the severe financial plight of his parishioners, absolved the church of any further responsibility for or obligation to him in his last entry into the church’s register on 16 April 1685:
“I undersigned, declare having been paid all wages, hay and wood for the whole time I have served the Church of Osse and therefore acquit the said Church fully and entirely promising to never make further request or demand- Written in Osse, the sixteenth of April one thousand six hundred eighty five. Peiret minister.”
In the spring 47 companies of dragoons were employed to terrorize Protestants into conversion. After the forced conversion of some key ministers, like Pastor Pierre Goulard at Oloron on 17 June 1685, 41 Foucault announced to the King at the end of July officially there were no more Reformed (Protestants) in Béarn. 42 However, it was obvious that Peiret and some of his parishioners in the remote mountain village of Osse were openly defiant. It was reported that “Osse lived in a big rebellion; the minister preached in private houses and in places where the practice was not allowed.” 43
Jean de Tapie, procureur de Roy au Parsan d’Aspe, was ordered by His Highness Dalon, president of the Parliament of Navarre, to register all the “indomitable” Protestants in the Aspe Valley who refused to convert. Tapie’s register of 2 September 1685 listed only 22 Protestants, all from Osse, although he noted that a greater number of people had recanted, officially, but did not go to church or take part in the Mass, and cursed Roman Catholicism. The list included Peiret’s spouse Marguerite Latour and their two children and reads:
“Marguerite de Latour, wife to Pierre de Peyret, minister and two of their children aged 5 for one and one and half for the other.” 44
With a public reading of the Tapie list in the village by the local priest, it was obvious that the dragoons would soon come to Osse. Peiret, his spouse Marguerite Latour, their two children Magdeleine and Pierre fled with Jean Latourrette and several other villagers. However, only Jean Latourrette stayed with the Peirets to reach New York in October of 1687. 45
When the dragoons came to Osse Peiret had already fled and an arrest warrant was issued for him on 25 September 1685. 46 Osse legends have the Protestants slipping away from the dragoons’ excesses before the troops reached the village as they had done in 1569 when the King’s army came to Béarn. The whole population took refuge in remote mountain barns and the impenetrable forests until the dragoons left. 47
The Peiret party made its way to Frankfurt and then Rotterdam by early 1686 by what has been called the Swiss route (across southern France to Basel and down the Rhine River). 48 Cadier suggests Peiret, along with other ministers who fled from Béarn, attended a 24 April 1686 Synod of Walloon Churches in Rotterdam. 49
Once in Holland and safe from Louis XIV’s persecution, it was obvious there was little opportunity for Peiret to secure a ministry and earn a living there. The 39 French Protestant congregations organized by Holland’s old Walloon church could not provide livings for the 350 exiled Huguenot ministers. 50 Concurrently, it was clear that the French Relief Committee in London was providing living assistance to French refugees and regarded ministers as people of “high quality” eligible for a maximum amount of relief.
The audited records of the French Relief Committee in London yield information about when Latourrette and Peiret reached England and how long they stayed. One of the entries indicates that Jean Latourrette traveled from Holland to London to determine the feasibility of moving the Peiret family to England and received a travel grant to report back to Peiret: 51
“Jean de la Tourette in order to go to Holland 1 pound 10 shillings plus he still has 30 more shillings in order to go to Denmark.”
Based on Latourrette’s report about England and the support for ministers, we find that the Peiret family traveled to London by 6 December 1686 after which date we have the following entries about relief provided by the committee: 52
“Pierre Peiret, minister, his wife and two children established December 6, 1686 the amount of 20 pounds 5 shillings for habitation for 6 months. And for another 6 months 14 pounds 10 shillings. Plus 50 pounds for his wife, two children and two men to go to New Jersey.”
Under another account we have
“To Pierre Peiret, Minister, his wife, two children and two men to go to New Jersey... 50 pounds.” 53
From Latourrette’s grant, it appears with the move from Holland there was a strategy to locate a permanent home for Peiret to be a minister, including considering both England and Denmark. But why consider Denmark? The minister of Nay, Jean Laplacette, born like Peiret in Pontacq a few years earlier in 1639, had slipped away from L’Intendant Foucault in March of 1685 and, after a time in Germany, became the minister in 1686 to Charlotte Amelia, the Queen of Denmark, a Huguenot, in Copenhagen. 54 However, it is likely they received additional information in London that Denmark, a Lutheran state, was not receptive to Calvinists, except with the intercession of the Queen. 55
In terms of securing a ministry for Peiret in England, the prospects were no more encouraging than Holland or Denmark. There was a surplus of French ministers in the country even before the emigration associated with the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Archbishop Sancroft had issued a circular letter on 15 July 1685 giving the bishops the choice of either having destitute Huguenot ministers come to live with them or sending him funds for their support. 56 The situation only deteriorated after the revocation in October. 57
There is no record of Latourrette seeking assistance from the Relief Committee beyond covering travel expenses to scout for Peiret. When he left Osse he was a master carpenter and an accomplished iron worker, skills that were displayed in New York City which allowed him to become well-established as a craftsman and property owner. Therefore, it appears he could have supported himself in England, but chose to continue to assist Peiret in seeking a ministry. 58
The decision of Peiret and Latourrette to move to America was based on at least four major considerations. As already suggested, there was a large surplus of refugee ministers in England. Although most of the religious refugees who had fled from France were old there were a number in London who were relatively young, experienced international merchants and already naturalized. This latter group formed the core of support for Peiret to establish a ministry in New York. The London Relief Committee was receptive to providing relatively generous assistance for ministers to go to America. Peiret received more than 8 pounds per person whereas common laborers received less than a pound per person. 59 Before the Glorious Revolution of 1688, which firmly established Protestantism in England, King James II, self-designated as the “Most Catholic King,” displayed an open hostility to French Protestants. As a consequence, groups of French refugees left England for America in 1686 and 1687.
The grant given to Peiret on or shortly after 3 August 1687 by the Relief Committee provided the funds to sail within a few days to America on the English ship Robert. Sailing records indicate the ship left London by August 18. English sailing manifests of the time did not list “free people,” and limited their entries to the name of the ship, the captain and merchants shipping goods. Therefore, the record for this voyage is shown as “4-18 August 1687: Shippers by the Robert, Mr. Richard Burt, bound from London to New York (followed by the name of six shippers).” 60 Other sources, however, suggest there were a number of French refugees on the Robert.
The voyage was approximately two months with an arrival in New York in October. Baird references the arrival of Elie Nezereau: “He (Nezereau) was naturalized in England, March 20, 1686, and came over in the ship Robert, with Pasteur Peiret.” 61 Another documented passenger was Pierre Reverdy. 62
We also have the record of the New York Council of a meeting on 10 November which shows, by a petition from Samuel Burt, brother of the deceased captain, Pierre Peyre (Peiret), Peter Reverey (Pierre Reverdy) and Michael Peck (Paré?) testified as to Richard Burt’s death by drowning. 63
In his history of the French Church, Rev. Alfred Wittmeyer says there was a ready-made congregation for Peiret with the refugees arriving from London at the time. 64 It is likely Peiret had already met some of them in London and knew that he could provide for their religious needs. Others, like Jean Barberie, arrived at an opportune time when Peiret was soliciting support to establish a church.
The history of St. Esprit is available in books by Alfred Wittmeyer, John A. F. Maynard and Jon Butler. 65 Each describes aspects of Peiret’s successful ministry in New York City from 1688 to his death on 1 September 1704, as well as the historical context of New York of the time. In keeping with examining Peiret’s personal life, the focus here is his relationship with key founders and supporters of Saint-Esprit.
Among the international merchants who supported the development of Peiret’s church, three stand out not only for their financial and spiritual commitment and strong representation of Huguenot interests in New York, but also their close personal ties to the minister: Jean Barberie, Elie Boudinot, and Gabriel Le Boyteulx (Le Boyteaux).
Barberie, a native of Bordeaux, is described as an “enterprising merchant,” the chief lay founder of the church, and a leading political figure as a member of the prestigious New York Council, the governing body of the province, from 1705 to his death in 1728. He arrived in New York 24 April 1688 as a widower with two sons and married Françoise Brinqueman (Brinkman) on 10 April 1694. 66
Gabriel Le Boyteulx was from La Rochelle. He arrived in New York in 1687, naturalized 5 January 1688, and was made a freeman of the city 3 August 1688. His ship La Belle Marquise was named after his wife Marquise Fleuriau, from Chatellerault, Poitou, whom he married 7 April 1689, the first marriage blessed by Peiret in America. 67
Elie Boudinot, a successful merchant from Marennes, Saintonge, is described as a “prosperous merchant and an earnest adherent of the Protestant faith. The family to which he belonged had been identified for several generations with the Huguenot cause.” Boudinot was a widower when he fled to London with his son Elie Jr. In London, on 9 November 1686, he married Suzanne Papin, the widow of Benjamin d’Harriette of La Rochelle. Her son, also Benjamin d’Harriette, accompanied them from London to New York, after a short stay in Charleston, South Carolina. 68
Peiret and Marguerite arrived in New York in October 1687 with the two children born in Osse : Magdeleine now about 7 and Pierre about 3. The years of their births (1650 and 1684) may be determined by historical records other than birth or baptism entries. By orders of the King’s authorities in April 1686 the Protestants of Osse were forced to destroy the civil records of the temple and the temple itself down to its foundation, and tear up the graves and markers and abandon the use of the cemetery. 69 The records would have had the dates of birth and/or baptism of Magdeleine and Pierre (junior), but their years of birth can be determined from Jean de Tapie’s list of 2 September 1685 of the people of Osse who refused to abjure, 70 and the role that Magdeleine played as a godmother in a baptism recorded by Pastor Peiret on 14 February 1694 at Saint-Esprit. 71
Tapie’s list identifies the two children only by age, not sex, as being at the time five years and 18 months, respectively. By Calvin’s rules Magdeleine would have had to be 14 to become a godmother in 1694. 72 By English custom she would have been considered an adult at 13. 73 Hence, by either standard Magdeleine is the older of the two children, being born in 1680. Pierre’s is the younger, born in early 1684.
The Peirets were to have four more children in New York City. The first three were named after Barberie, Boudinot and Le Boyteaulx or their wives. Suzanne Peiret was baptized 28 November 1690 with Suzanne Papin, the spouse of Elie Boudinot, acting as godmother. Jean Barberie was the godfather. Gabriel Le Boyteulx acted as the godfather for Gabriel Peiret, baptized 14 February 1693/4. Peiret’s daughter Magdeleine was the godmother, likely because Le Boyteulx’s spouse Marquise Fleriau had died a few months earlier on 11 October 1693. 74 The third child was Françoise, named after Françoise Barberie (Brinqueman). She was baptized 8 March 1695/6 with Françoise Brinqueman and Elie Boudinot acting as godparents. The fourth child was Elizabeth, baptized 29 December 1700 with the children born in Osse, Pierre and Magdeleine,acting as godparents. 75
The 1703 Census of the City of New York shows Peiret living in the West Ward on farmland west of Broadway owned by Trinity Church. The family is intact except for Magdeleine, now about age 23, who had married Bartholomew Feurt in 1702. 76 The genealogy of the family is the subject of the second section of this article.
Pierre Peiret died on September 1, 1704. 77 Rev. Wittmeyer indicates he died poor and, because of his distinguished service and religious leadership in the city, 78 his widow Marguerite received financial support from three sources. From the church she was paid his salary for a year, plus house rent. 79 On petition by the widow on 5 April 1705, the New York Council granted her an extra year of the salary supplement it had provided Peiret for a number of years. 80 Also, in 1705 the Relief Committee in London made an extraordinary allocation on 29 October of 12 pounds to her, identified as Marguerite Peyret of Béarn in New York with two children. 81
Peiret’s tomb in the graveyard of Trinty Church in Manhattan summarizes his life in French and Latin. 82 In English it reads:
“Here lies the Reverend Mr. Pierre Peiret, minister of St-Esprit, who, chased from France for religion, preached the word of God in the French Church of this town for about 17 years, with general approval, and who, after having lived as he had preached, until the age of 60, returned with deep humility his soul into the hands of God, on September 1st, 1704.”
Peiret’s commitment to French Protestantism (Calvinism) is demonstrated by his flight from Osse and the establishment of a ministry in New York City to serve his fellow French refugees. 83
Although he encouraged ecumenical cooperation in New York, 84 he steadfastly opposed leading his Saint-Esprit parishioners to Anglican conformity (the rules and discipline of the Church of England). In contrast his contemporary Huguenot ministerial colleagues Daniel Bondet and David de Bonrepos in New York not only accepted the salary supplements offered by the New York Council, but also led their parishioners toward Anglican conformity. 85
Pierre Peiret was born in Pontacq, Béarn about 1644, accepted into the Protestant ministry in 1676 and was the last pastor at Osse, Béarn, 1677-1685, before the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Forced to flee in September of 1685 for continuing to preach while under house arrest and in forbidden places, the pastor was accompanied by his spouse Marquerite Latour, children Magdeleine, age 5, and Pierre, age 18 months, and several village men, the most prominent being Jean Latourrette. Of the villagers only Latourrette, from the leading Protestant family of the village which established the church in 1563, reached New York City with the Peiret family. In New York Peiret’s ministry provided a religious and cultural home for the French refugees arriving there in the last years of the 17th century. It was a successful ministry which ended with Peiret’s death at age 60 on 1 September 1704.
This article finally corrects the myth created by Napoleon Peyrat in 1878 and repeated by Charles W. Baird in 1885 and later American historians, that Peiret and his wife, given the fictitious name of Marguerite de Grenier la Tour of the Verriers de Gabre, were from Foix. Instead Peiret was from Pontacq and his wife Marquerite Latour was also from Béarn, likely from Osse or Bedous. This information allows descendants to correct the origins of their ancestors in France and learn how they came to America.
The church founded in New York City by Peiret, Église Française du Saint-Esprit, floundered after his death and barely survived until 1803 when it accepted the denominational authority of the new Protestant Episcopal Church, after American independence had caused a substantial change in the Anglican establishment long opposed by Peiret. Looking back on the first hundred years or so of the church, one can say that Peiret’s ministry marked the high point of the religious and cultural home provided for the French refugees who came to New York. His resistance to Anglican conformity in New York City matched his courageous defiance of Louis IV in Osse. The church he established in New York City in 1688 still exists. So too does the one he left in Osse where the parishioners practised their faith underground for over 100 years and emerged in the 1800s with about the same number of members as in 1665.
1 The letters i and y, as well as s and z, were used interchangeably in the French language of the 17th Century. This resulted in an interesting custom by Pastor Peiret in his entries in the Registre des Actes in Osse, Béarn and in the Registers of Saint-Esprit in New York, cited below. With very few exceptions, Peiret wrote his name as Peyret in the entries, but signed them as Peiret.
2 Although the primary focus here is Pastor Peiret, it is noted that Jean Latourrette was a descendant of Pastor Gassiot Latourrette, the founder of the Osse church in 1563, the year the first Protestant churches were established in Béarn. See Philippe Chareyre, “Nouvelles Recherches sur Le Protestantisme à Osse-en- Aspe,” Bulletin no 38 of the Centre d’Etude du Protestantisme Béarnais, Dec. 2005, 2 and “Les Pasteurs d’Osse-en-Aspe de 1563 à 2005,” Bulletin no 38, 21.
3 It is highly likely that Jean Latourrette played a major role in building the first church on Petticoat Lane (later Marketfield St.). Because the earliest written record of Saint-Esprit begins only in 1689, with the church already completed, his role cannot be documented. For the 17th century Jean was well educated, but as a cadet (a younger son not eligible for an inheritance) he choose to become a carpenter and iron worker, skills that stood him well in New York to earn a living and to become the only French carpenter on the city tax rolls from 1695 to 1699. The assumption of having a major role in the construction of the first church is supported by later work at the church which is documented in the detailed “Accounts of Collections and expenditures March 1693 -- April 1699” kept by Gabriel Le Boyteulx, one of the key elders. In that record, it is noted on 7 April 1693 he received seven shillings and three pence for “having done the floor of the temple and provided the iron work.” On 26 Jun 1693 he is paid twelve pounds, thirteen shillings and six pence to build a gallery to accommodate the added membership of the Huguenot group that had been meeting at the Fort with Rev. Pierre Daillé. In the fall of 1695 he was commissioned to install two windows “carefully selected” in the church. Information presented here is from a personal inspection of the photostatic copy of Boyteulx’s records at the New-York Historical Society.
4 Napoleon Peyrat (1809-1881), a 19th Century French fabulist and Protestant minister from a small village in Foix, created epic romantic and heroic tales. His most famous fable is the Church of the Holy Grail. The motivation for the myth that Peiret and his spouse, given the fictitious royal title of Marguerite de Grenier la Tour of the Verriers de Gabre, were from Foix was likely self- aggrandizement. To Napoleon Peyrat, Peiret’s heroic defiance of Louis XIV, documented in this article, was another epic tale like the 1625 Catholic siege of Mas d’Azil in Foix, repelled by the Protestants led in the tale by a fictitious Captain Pierre Peyrat. Napoleon Peyrat suggested that Peiret was a variant of Peyrat or Peirat, “a true roman name.” There is no evidence that Peiret or Peyret, the surname forms used hundreds of times by Pastor Peiret, is related to Peirat or Peyrat. Peyrat’s myth about Peiret and his spouse is found in “Le Mas d’Azil,” Bulletin de la Société du l’ Historie du Protestantisme Français (Paris: Agence Centrale de La Société, 1878), 344. A more detailed discussion of the Peyrat myth can be found on the author’s page http://www.latourrette.net/peiret_jean_article.html.
5 Charles W. Baird, History of the Huguenot Emigration to America, (New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1885), 2:146-7. In addition to the absence of an appropriate citation as to the source of the myth, it is ironic that, after Baird states Peiret was from Foix, he notes that Latourrette was “another refugee from Béarn” never connecting the two in their flight from Osse. For more recent statements about Peiret’s origin in Foix or Languedoc, which historically encompassed Foix, see the history of Église Française du Saint-Esprit by John A. F. Maynard, The Huguenot Church of New York, A History of the French Church of Saint Esprit, (New York: The French Church of Saint-Esprit, 1938), 95 and Jon Butler, The Huguenots in America: A Refugee People in New World Society, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1983), 147.
6 The date of Peiret’s death of 1 September 1704 is recorded in Saint-Esprit’s Registers. His age of 60 at the time of death is from the inscription on his tomb, cited below, which would make his birth about 1644. For his death, see Rev. Alfred V. Wittmeyer, editor, Registers of the Births, Marriages, and Deaths of the Eglise Françoise à la Nouvelle York, from 1688 to 1804, (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1968), 101, reprinted from Collections of the Huguenot Society of America, Vol. 1, New York, 1886. The birth in Pontacq is documented by Albert Sarrabère, Dictionnaire des Pasteurs Basques et Béarnais, XVI –XVII siècles, Centre d’Etude du Protestantisme Béarnais, Pau, France, 2001, 210-11.
7 The information about the Peiret family in the 17th century comes from a hand search of the notaire files of Pontacq by Professor Philippe Chareyre, Président of the Centre d’Etude du Protestantisme Béarnais (Center for the Study of Béarnais Protestantism) and Professor at l’Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour in Pau. The files and the years associated with the folders searched are E 2037, 1637-1639; E 2092, 1605-1639; E 2093, 1640-1658; E 2094, 1659-1668; E 2095, 1669-1673; E 2096, 1677-1712 and E 2097, 1713- 1730. Notaire files of that period included financial transactions, marriage contracts, dowry arrangements and the sale of a house to Jean Peiret, medical doctor. The archives of the Pyrénées Atlantiques in Pau, France are searchable at http://earchives.cg64.fr/. However, in many cases, only samples of what are found in many files of 300 to 500 handwritten documents are given, thus requiring a personal search on site for details.
8 The history of attacks against the Huguenots at Pontacq, including the one of 1592, are summarized at http://patrimoine-en-ribere-ousse.fr/category/histoire/inauguration-de-loie/
Also, here Pastor Peiret is on a list of celebrated Protestant ministers from Pontacq. http://patrimoine-en-ribere-ousse.fr/category/les-hommes-celebres/pontacq/
9 Jean Peiret (Peyret) is identified several times as a medical doctor in the notaire files cited above in footnote 7 and in Sarrabère’s dictionary of pastors as being the father of Isaac Peiret, the pastor. Sarrabère, 210-11. Sarrabère mistakenly lists Isaac’s father as Isaac Peiret, medical doctor, where it is clear from several notary documents the father is Jean Peiret (Peyret). This is confirmed by the search conducted by Professor Chareyre.
10 The search of the notaire files of Pontacq did not identify the parents of Pierre Peiret, leading one to believe that the traditional marriage contract used in Béarn was likely executed at another town. However, it appears from documents presented below, especially his acceptance into the ministry in 1676, this is the likely relationship.
11 Sarrabère, 210-11. Isaac’s birth about 1630 is calculated from the entry of his death in 1714 at age 84, cited below.
12 Sarrabère, 211.
13 Canton de Pontacq, 1670-1747, demonstrates his total rejection of the Protestant faith. From http://earchives.cg64.fr/img-viewer/FRAD064003_IR0002/PONTACQ/5MI453-1/viewer.htm pp. 299-300 of entry in the Registres of the Catholic Church of Pau at the time of his death on 9 June 1714. From Registres 729 of the Catholic Church of Pau, we have translated into English:
“On June 9th, died Mr. Isaac de Peyret, doctor of medicine in this city and former minister converted, requested and received all the traditional sacraments of penance, Eucharist and extreme anointment during his last illness, having associated himself to the Brotherhood of the Perpetual Adoration of the Holy Sacrament which was established in this parish and in which association he has always shown striking proof of his great faith for this mystery. He died at the age of eighty four and was buried in the nave of the church.”
14 The actions of the Synod of 1676 are recorded in Articles 42 and 48 found as images in the files of Professor Chareyre’s Center for the Study of Béarnais Protestantism in Pau. (Original document: MANUSCRITS DE LA BIBLIOTHÈQUE DE LA SOCIÉTÉ DE L'HISTOIRE DU PROTESTANTISME FRANÇAIS A PARIS, Ms 332: Actes des colloques d'Orthez (1654-1667) et du Synode de Béarn de 1676, 103 feuillets, citation online at http://www.calames.abes.fr/pub/#details?id=SAV060359 )
Article 42, réception Peyret (reception of Peyret), indicates his acceptance into the ministry. The interpretation of the meaning of the request in Article 48, (barré) sur la demande du ministre de Peyret pour Pontacq (crossed out- on the demand of the ministry of Peyret for Pontacq), to appoint Pastor Peiret to Pontacq and the action taken, was provided by Professor Chareyre, given the difficulty in reading the Old French. One of the issues faced in determining that Pastor Peiret was likely a nephew of Jean Peiret and a cousin to Isaac Peiret revolves around the French word parent used on the 12th line of Article 48. In French parent can mean either a biological parent or just a relative, with only the context determining the exact relationship. Here, as in some other references, it has been determined that the meaning in the case of Pastor Peiret is one of relative.
15 Citations to the church register at Osse by date of entry are taken from the Registre des Actes du Consistorie de L’Eglise d’Osse, 1665-1684. A disc of the photographic record of the register was provided to the author by Professor Philippe Chareyre. References throughout this article to actions by the church are by date of entry into the register.
It is emphasized the church register presents no information on the persecution of the villagers, as the French ministers were forbidden by Louis XIV to record “the successive acts of injustice, oppression, or breach of faith exercised against them.” Wentworth Webster, “Osse (The History of a French Protestant Church),” The Christian Treasury, 37:135-39.
16 The original history of the church at Osse is found in Alfred Cadier, Le Béarn Protestant, (Oloron- St.Maire, France: Monhélios, 2003), reprinted from the author’s “Osse: historie de l’église réformée de vallée d’Aspe,” Paris, 1892 Original book is on-line at http://books.google.com/books/about/Osse.html?id=7ydBAAAAYAAJ. On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of rebuilding the church in Osse, Philippe Chareyre added additional information about its history in “Le Protestantisme à Osse-en-Aspe,” Bulletin no 38 (note 2, above), Dec 2005, 1-16.
17 The life of the Protestant Queen of Béarn and Navarre, the mother of the Huguenot King Henri IV, is covered in English in an excellent book by David M. Bryson, Queen Jeanne and The Promised Land: Dynasty, Homeland, Religion and Violence in Sixteenth-Century France, (Boston: Brill, 1999). Bryson explains (pp. 228-39) how the Catholic armies of the King of France were driven from Béarn and Navarre between June and November of 1569. As noted in the Osse church’s “Dates mémorables de l’Eglise Chrétienne Reformée d’Osse” for year 1569 (information sheet available in the church) during this period the village was briefly occupied by the Catholic army and Miramonde de Loustau, spouse of Pierre d’Apoey, was martyred for her faith. After that the entire village became Protestant and occupied the Catholic church L’Eglise St. Etienne and conducted their religious practice there and in the Maison Forte (strong house) of Gayrosse, which later came into the hands of David Latourrette as abbé laïque d’Osse (Antoinette Doerr, “Famille Latourrette d’Osse-en-Aspe,” unpublished paper by a member of the Conseil, Center for the Study of Béarnais Protestantism, apparently based on private papers held in Osse).
18 Chareyre, “Le Protestantisme,” 1-5. Also there are brief biographical statements about all the ministers at Osse from 1563 to 2005 in Chareyre’s “Les Pasteurs d’Osse-en-Aspe de 1563 a 2005,” Bulletin no 38, 21-4. (Both references to note 2, above.)
19 However, as a result of the forced merger of Béarn into France, the Protestants of Osse were required to return St. Etienne to the Catholic authorities and they constructed the church, usually referred to as Temple Bethel, which they used until 1686 when it was destroyed by orders of King Louis XIV. “Dates mémorables” for 1620 of the Osse Church.
20 “Les Eglises Réformées du Béarn de 1664 à 1685,” Bulletin du Protestantisme Français, tome XXX (Paris: Publiée avec concours du Ministère de la Culture, 1852), 102 (Article XVI of the Edict of April 1668), and 64 (Osse identified as one of the 20).
21 Cadier, 134.
22 These restrictions, part of more than 300 decrees, edicts and orders issued against the Protestants between 1661 and 1705, including the cancellation of titles and the seizure of children for religious conversion, are detailed in M. Charles Weiss, History of the French Protestant Refugees from the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes to Our Days, (Translated into English, New York: Stringer & Townsend, 1854), 1:86-7. English version available on Google e-books.
23 Cadier, 140-1.
24 Jurat - Latin jus, juris law, law. A jurat is the one who enforces the law. In Béarn, the jurats (magistrates/aldermen) were elected by a meeting of heads of families of the village community. They formed a council and the premier Jurat acted as a mayor.
Until the French Revolution, one finds frequently in Béarn the use of official terms derived from Latin. During this period the Béarnais language was also used for official purposes, along with French, sometimes mixed in the same document. About 85 percent of modern French originated north of an east-west line through Bordeaux. The use of French by the Béarnais Protestants of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries was encouraged because the Bible was available only in French, although Béarnais was spoken on a daily basis. This is the case even today in Osse.
25 Church register. The case is summarized by Cadier, 175-6.
26 “Without royalty” is emphasized because a hoax, as blatant as the one created by Napoleon Peyrat about Pastor Peiret, has circulated in America that Jean Latourrette or a fictitious father of his named Henri was a count. The original version, published in 1843, involved substituting the Latourette surname for two men in France who had titles: Marquis de la Tourette for the real Baron Jean Charles François de Ladoucette and Comte Eugene de la Tourette for the real Comte Eugene Dominique de Ladoucette. Several versions of the hoax, too detailed to be cited here, have evolved over time to perpetuate the story. The hoax is exposed on the author’s webpage www.latourrette.net in the first three entries under the heading “Tales, Fables and Hoaxes” accessed as http://www.latourrette.net/fables.html : A Critique of Fay’s Count Hoax, The Post-Lyman Latourrette Count Hoax: Part I and The Post-Lyman Latourrette (Count) Hoax: part II.
The purchase of the title abbé laïque d’Osse, without royalty, and inherited by David Latourrette about 1664 is explained in http://www.latourrette.net/gassiot_chronology.html in the chronology about Gassiot Latourrette under the year 1605.
Citation of the purchase: Archives of the Pyrénées Atlantiques in Pau (note 7, above) E 1805 f 807 and f 897 vo. Also found in "Notice genealogique sur la maison d' Abbadie de Maslacq," Proceedings and Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, vol. 1, Meetings of May 1895, p. 78.
27 The prémice was an ecclesiastical tax collected by the secular abbot for the operation of the local church and had its origins with the offering of crops to the gods in primitive religions. With Christianity in Béarn the offering became a religious tax. In the case of the Protestants the prémice was used to pay the school master, maintain the temple, support widows, orphans and other charitable work. Education to about age 13-14 for children was very important as it was expected that they could read and understand texts, especially the Bible, sign their names and do calculations. Because of their emphasis on education, they were substantially more literate than their Catholic counterparts in the Aspe Valley in which Osse is located. The shortage of educated people accounts for why, as Protestants, David Latourrette continued to act as a notaire and his son Jacob, Jean’s older brother, as an avocat (attorney to argue cases before the King’s court in Pau) after 1685 even though technically they were banned from practicing any profession.
28 There was a ruling by the King’s court in 1669 which prohibited the Protestants from raising funds to support their school and religion. Cadier, 135. It is obvious that Latourrette had continued to allocate funds to support Protestant activities, in spite of this ruling.
29 The attempt to recover the prémice funds of 102 francs advanced by David Latourrette in 1675 extended past his estimated death in 1697. He claimed he had a right to the 102 francs and other funds he had advanced over the years to the Protestant church of Osse and as the premier creditor he should be paid out of the legacy of the church which was seized by Louis XIV in early 1683. (See below) This case was still being presented by his son Jacob Latourrette in a lengthy brief of over 40 of his handwritten pages 16 Sept 1701 in which he sought payment by a ruling of the King’s court (the Parliament of Navarre) in Pau.
30 Pignoration is from the Latin pignorare: pledge. In Béarn, it was a practice both civil and religious to seize property when payment was not made on taxes or pledges.
31 From Cadier “The synod, held June 23, 1677 in Morlaas, released Sieur Médalon of his office and entrusted it to Sieur Pierre Peyret, Pontacq, (Médalon) who, according to the views of Louis-le-Grand, was the last Minister of the reformed church of Osse, but God and the faithful Protestants decided otherwise.” Cadier, 148-9.
32 Cadier, 197-8.
33 Cited by Sarrabère, 211 and Chareyre, “Les Pasteurs,” 22. Tapie’s list of 2 Sept 1685 indicates there was a child born to the Peirets in 1680, determined to be Magdeleine Peiret by the analysis presented below and in the family genealogy. Action by the 25 Jun 1681 Garlin Synod to suspend Peiret is in acts 9 and 22, based on the birth of Magdeleine in 1680 about six months after the marriage ceremony. (Original document of the Garlin Synod is in MANUSCRITS DE LA BIBLIOTHÈQUE DE LA SOCIÉTÉ DE L'HISTOIRE DU PROTESTANTISME FRANÇAIS A PARIS, Ms 4331: Lettres originales et pièces diverses (mss. et impr.) concernant de protestantisme en Béarn, de 1632 à 1769, 115 feuillets, citation online at HTTP://WWW.CALAMES.ABES.FR/PUB/#DETAILS?ID=SAV060469)
Although recognizing Peiret was from Pontacq, both Sarrabère and Chareyre repeat the myth that Marguerite Latour was Marguerite de Grenier la Tour of the Verriers de Gabre from Mas d’Azil (Foix).
34 Cadier, 203. Tapie’s list and records in London and New York, all identified below, confirm she was Marquerite Latour.
35 Cadier, 149, explains that minister Goulard and elder Sarthou from Oloron reinstalled Peiret in the functions of minister of Osse.
36 The entry in the Osse church “Dates Mémorables” is “1683: The consistory of the church of Osse is stripped of the legacy with which they were endowed for the poor and the expense of worship.” Cadier, 170-1 & 180-3, explains this action in great detail, noting that David Latourrette, notaire, certified the list of endowments by name of the donor and amount, which was signed by Peiret. The audit by the King’s representative in 1701 is found in the church register where discussions about bequests are crossed out and certified as to payment, indicating the King’s authorities pursued the collection of every franc that parishioners had pledged, including the five francs owed from the pledge by Jean Tourret, identified at the meeting of 30 July 1679.
The report written in the hand of David Latourrette and signed by Pastor Peiret, responds to this mandate and lists 52 bequests. It is interesting to note that Latourrette identifies himself in some of the entries on the list as notaire even though he is prohibited from acting as such by Louis XIV. Moreover, one of the Catholic jurats who sign above Pastor Peiret’s signature to accept the document “shouts out” that he cannot write his name and that is recorded.
37 At the time, 2423 francs was a substantial sum for the Protestant Church of Osse. At prevailing rates of interest the legacy would have generated about 190 francs annually which can be compared to the 102 francs that were being allocated to support the church from the prémice discussed above.
38 Weiss, 1:94-7, describes the horrible acts associated with dragooning in Béarn.
39 Cadier, 186.
40 Cadier, 186.
41 Sarrabère, 134. Cadier, 192, describes the abjuration by Goulard forced by Foucault as being in the presence of an estimated 8000 people.
42 Weiss, 1:96.
43 Cadier, 185.
44 "Etat des protestants irréductibles à Osse en Aspe" établie(“State of the indomitable Protestants at Osse en Aspe established”), 2 September 1685 par Jean de Tapie, appelé aussi: Liste de Tapie, cote aux Archives départementales des Pyrénées atlantiques: 1 J 72, 1685-1687.
Tapie’s list also included Magdeleine Latourrette, described as living out of wedlock with David Latourrette, cited as the abbé laïque d’Osse. In this context, it is obvious the charge against Magdeleine by the local priest, who drew up the list for Tapie, is based on a marriage by a Protestant pastor rather than a Catholic priest. This was the spurious way the priest could attack David after 20 years of conflict about the selection of jurats and the use of the funds collected by David to support religious practice in the village. By this time, David was under the protection of the most powerful Catholic dynasty in the valley, the Laclede family of Bedous, with whom he had arranged the marriage of his daughter Marie to Jean Laclede just a few months earlier on 5 March 1685 at the Catholic Church in Osse (entry by the local priest). It is interesting to note that the grandson from the marriage of Marie and Jean Laclede was Pierre Laclede (baptized 22 Nov 1729 and died on the Mississippi River May or June 1778), the founder of St. Louis in America.
45 The flight from Osse of Pastor Peiret and Jean Latourrette is documented in several sources. Pastor Marc Forissier indicates several parishioners accompanied Peiret with Latourrette as the “most well-known.” Les Eglises réformées du Béarn, (Tarbes, Editions d’Albret, 1963), 167. However, the only parishioner to reach New York with Peiret in October of 1687 was Jean Latourrette. None of the names mentioned in village legends as men leaving at the same time are found in the records of New York after 1687.
46 French National Archives G7-113.
47 Cadier, 197-8.
48 “One finds Jean de Latourrette, carpenter of Osse, at Frankfurt the 18th of November 1685.” Quoted from Antoinette Doerr, “Famille Latourrette d’Osse-en-Aspe,” unpublished paper by a member of the Conseil, Center for the Study of Béarnais Protestantism. Source appears to be from private papers held in Osse. Bertrand Van Ruymbeke tracked a number of the French refugees to South Carolina and concluded “Huguenots who resided in southern and eastern France usually took the Swiss route and followed the Rhine River (through Frankfurt) to the Netherlands.” See New Babylon to Eden: The Huguenots and Their Migration to Colonial South Carolina, (Charleston; University of South Carolina Press, 2006), 60-5 and map on 61.
49 Cadier, 202.
50 Butler, 25-6.
51 This entry is found in the alphabetical lists of grants between 4 June 1686 and 28 Aug 1687. Source: Schedule A: the First Brief of James II, 1686, Aa Committee Registers MS 1, 12 in Raymond Smith, Records of the Royal Bounty and Connected Funds, the Burns Donation, and the Savory Church in the Huguenot Library, University College, London:, A Handlist, Huguenot Society of London, Quarto Series, LI, 1974. The entry indicates that Latourrette used the grant to travel to Holland but never drew the funds to travel to Denmark.
52 Smith, MS 1 for the period 4 June 1686- 28 Aug 1687.
53 Under Ac: Accounts for Grants, MS 2, Part 5, Account 12, there is a list of committee actions dated 3 Aug to 12 Nov 1687, examined and signed 18 Nov 1687. The heading is “To Several Intended to the West Indies” which Smith explains (p.13, ft 6) meant Virginia and New Jersey as according to the usage of the time the West Indies referred to the entire American Continent.
54 Weiss, 2: 246-7. Sarrabère, 162-3.
55 Weiss, 2: 243-64.
56 Roy A Sundstrom, Aid and Assimilation: A Study of the Economic Support Given French Protestants in England, 1680-1727, (Ph.D. Dissertation: Kent State University, 1972), 65 ft 32 and 168.
57 The surplus is documented by 345 clergymen, wives and children receiving relief aid for the period Nov 1689 to July 1693(Sundstrom, 50). As late as 1703 there were still 280 people on relief (Sundstrom, 68).
58 Latourrette is the single French carpenter listed on the New York tax rolls for 1695. There were 25 Dutch and 4 English carpenters on the rolls at the time (Joyce D. Goodfriend, Before the Melting Pot: Society and Culture in Colonial New York (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1992), Table 4-2, 650. In 1695 he owned a house in the South Ward and by 1697 one in the West Ward. He is shown on the tax rolls continuously for 8 times between Dec. 1695 and 15 July 1699, after which he moved with his family to Staten Island. See New York (City) Assessors, Tax lists of the City of New York, December 1695–July 15th 1699, vols. 43-44 of Collections of The New-York Historical Society, 1910–1911, 43:25, 41, 160, 190 and 44: 236. 287. On 12 April 1698 he joined with four other French Huguenots as trustees to secure land for the erection of a French Church at Fresh Kills on Staten Island. The transaction is repeated in full in Richard M. Bayles (editor), History of Richmond County (Staten Island) New York, From its Discovery to the Present Time (New York: L. E. Preston & Co., 1887), 92-93. At the same time he purchased 75 acres at Fresh Kills from Francis Lee, who in 1680 had obtained a patent to it from Governor Edmund Andros. This established the Latourrette homestead which later became part of what is now Latourette Park on Staten Island.
59 To illustrate this point Butler uses a comparison of the 50 pounds received by Peiret to take 6 people to America to the 3 pounds received by a ploughman to transport 4 people (Butler, 52). These payments are found on the Relief committee’s list cited above as Ms 2, Part 5, Account 12, granting 50 pounds to Peiret.
60 The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607-1776, CD of the Family Archive, entry E190/147/1 of the London maritime records.
61 Baird, 1:290 ft 7.
62 Baird, 2:56 ft 4.
63 The Calendar of the New York (Colony) Council Minutes, 1668-1783 (Reprinted in 1987 from the New York State Library, Bulletin 58, 1902), 56. There is also the account of the death of Captain Burt in Oct. 1687 in Peter R. Christoph, ed., The Dongan Papers 1683-1688 Part 2 (Syracuse University Press, 1996), 128-29 to which Pierre Peyret, Peter Reverdy and Michael Pack signed an affidavit. This account assumes the three men were “seamen”, but at least two (Peyret and Reverdy, as already noted) and perhaps the third (Pack, Peck or Paré) were passengers. Elias Nezrow (Nezereau), already identified above as a French passenger, is described in this account as having dinner on the quarter deck with the captain before his drowning.
64 Alfred Wittmeyer, “Introduction”/Historical Sketch of the Church, Collections of the Huguenot Society of America (note 6, above), vol. 1 (1886), xxi.
65 See Wittmeyer, “Introduction”; Maynard, 67-119; and Butler, 144-198.
66 Baird 2:139-40 and Registers, 35, 181.
67 Baird, 290, ft 1; Butler, 145, 153, 157; and Registers, 3.
68 Baird, 288 ft 6, 298-9 ft 1, Butler, 155, 157,183, 195.
69 Pastor Marc Forissier, Les Eglises Réformées du Béarn (Tarbes, France: Editions d’Albret, 1963), 168. Also, Gilberte Gaubil, “Les Protestants d’Osse-en-Aspe,” Bicentenaire de la Reconstruction du Temple d’Osse-en-Aspe (2005), 6. The purpose of the destruction of the civil records was to eliminate the very existence of Protestantism and to place all civil records in the hands of the Catholic priests for marriage and baptism. Information from Madame Gaubil, a member of the council of the surviving church in Osse, indicates that only the Registre des Actes du Consistorie de L’Eglise d’Osse, 1665–1684, which included parishioners’ pledges, survived because it was the record which was required to audit the legacy of the church and its collection by the King’s auditor.
70 Tapie’s list, read in Osse, indicates that the Peirets at the time had two children described as “aged 5 for one and one and half for the other” (“Etat des protestants irréductibles à Osse en Aspe” [“Condition of the indomitable (unyielding) protestants at Osse en Aspe”], établie 2 Sept. 1685 par Jean de Tapie, appelé aussi: Liste de Tapie, cote aux Archives départementales des Pyrénées atlantiques: 1 J 72, 1685–1687).
71 Alfred V. Wittmeyer, The Registers of the Births, Marriages, and Deaths of the ‘Eglise Françoise à Nouvelle York,’ from 1688 to 1804,” in Collections of the Huguenot Society of America, vol. 1 (note 9, above), reprinted Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1968), 34. Referred to herein as Registers.
72 The first national synod of the Protestant (reformed) religion was held in Paris 25–29 May 1559 and in addition to establishing the Confession of Faith it developed a list of precepts to be applied in what is called “The Ecclesiastical Discipline of the Reformed Church.” These are elements to follow the Confession of Faith for the operation of local churches and the personal behavior of the faithful. The elements for baptism appear in Chapter 11, Article 10. The article indicates that godparents must be at least 14 years of age and have participated in the Supper. This participation is proof that they have had a religious education and they are part of the Protestant community. See La Discipline Ecclesiastique des Eglises Reformées de France (Amsterdam: Chez Jacques Desbordes, MDCCX ), 258. E-book: http://books.google.com/books?id=7uw8AAAAcAAJ&q=Baptism#v=snippet&q=bapt%C3%AAme&f=false
73 Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765-1769, Book 1, Chapter 15, Of Husband and Wife.
74 Registers, 32.
75 The four Peiret baptisms are recorded in the Registers, 12, 34, 46, and 77-8.
76 Census of the City of New York (about the year 1703) in Edmund Bailey O’Callagham, Documentary History of the State of New-York, vol. 1 (1849), 619. Apparently many historians have passed over this listing because Pastor Peiret is recorded as Peter Pieret. But the listing of the family with two males aged 16 to 60 (the pastor and Pierre jr.), two females (Marguerite and daughter Suzanne), one male child (Gabriel) and two female children (Françoise and Elizabeth) matches the minister’s family at the time with Magdeleine married and not living at home. This interpretation and location on the farmland of the West Ward is confirmed by the research of Irvine Thelma Wills Foote, Black and White Manhattan: The History of Racial Formation in Colonial New York City, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 83. Foote’s analysis of the census of Peiret’s household is faulty in two respects. The census records two daughters (Françoise and Elizabeth), rather than one, and there were 14 slaves associated with the household, rather than four. The slaves consisted of 11 males, a female, a male child and a female child. Although Foote notes the Anglican vestry allowed Protestant ministers to use the church’s farmland to supplement their salaries, she appears not to recognize that the church owned slaves who labored on the farms. Given that Peiret died “poor,” as described below, it is likely the census assigned the slaves arbitrarily to the Peiret household. If the fourteen slaves had been owned by Peiret, his spouse would have been a very wealthy widow at his death about a year later in 1704, as a male slave around 1700 was valued at about £ 40. She would have stood out among the widow slave owners listed in the 1703 census and would not have been eligible for the three forms of relief granted to her after his death, described in this article.
77 Registers, 101.
78 Wittmeyer, “Introduction”, xxxiv. In his chapter 5 (pp. 144-198) about the Huguenot experience in New York, Butler, pp. 161-62, says Peiret created “an unusually strong refugee congregation.” The rest of the chapter includes an analysis of how it floundered after Peiret’s death.
79 Maynard, 115.
80 Action for Marguerite, NY Council Minutes, 203. Pieret had received supplements since at least 8 June 1698. NY Council Minutes, 131.
81 Cited by Baird, 2:147. Original documents (see note 51): Grant MS 28/2 38 08 C, dated 10/29/1705. Audited MS 28/3 24 13C, dated 12/21/1709.
82 Trinity Church Plot:Section N5, Northside (Flat tome marker about 6.5 x 2.5 feet)
83 From Sarrabère’s biographical sketches of the 25 Protestant ministers in Béarn who were still preaching to their parishioners in late 1684 and 1685, 12 fled from the country, 10 abjured and received annual pensions of 400 livres, one was arrested and imprisoned for many years, one retired given his advanced age, and one received permission to leave. Peiret was the only one who fled and reached America. Many of the others who fled found life difficult in England, Germany, Ireland and Holland.
84 Butler, 169-170.
85 Butler, 171-72 and 191-92. Butler emphasizes this point about the two ministers in his remarks about de Bonrepros (p. 191) : “The collapse of Staten Island’s French Church again reflected the influence of a Huguenot clergyman partial to the Church of England” Daniel Bondet was attracted to the French Church of New Rochelle in 1695 from Boston by Caleb Heathcote (lord of Scarsdale Manor) with a promise of his earning a living in a new parish as part of a larger Anglican community north of New York City. That failed, but about the time of Peiret’s death, the Saint-Esprit elders forced a reversal of an attempt by Bondet and Heathcote to have New Rochelle accept the Church of England. Encouraged by Jacques Laborie who had replaced Peiret at Saint-Esprit in 1704 and then dismissed in 1706 because of his Anglican sympathies and troublesome nature, Bondet, Heathcote and Peiret’s former friend the famous French refugee Elie Neau launched a major effort to have the New Rochelle French Church “conform” in 1709 and raise funds to build a new church.
The founder of the French Church of New York (now Église Française du Saint-Esprit) Pierre Peiret (Peyret) and his spouse Marguerite Latour were from Béarn in southwestern France. For over 100 years now, American historians have cited a myth created by Napoleon Peyrat in 1878 they were from Foix or Languedoc, resulting in an absence of any understanding of Peiret’s ministry and family background in Osse, Béarn. This article details the persecution he and his villagers suffered as Protestants under the regime of Louis XIV and explains how the pastor, his family and Jean Latourrette fled from Osse in September 1685 and arrived in New York City in October 1687.
As part of the family’s history in Osse, his marriage (1680) to Marguerite Latour and the birth of their two children, Magdeleine (1680) and Pierre (1684) were determined. Here, we also examine the lives of the four children born in New York City. As noted by Rev. Alfred V. Wittmeyer in 1886, “Of the four children born to him here, Suzanne, Gabriel, Françoise, and Elizabeth, one seems to have died in infancy; the others soon disappear from view.” 1
The reader will find in the following genealogy considerable information about Magdeleine and Pierre and their families. Some details are presented about the four children born in New York City to address the point raised by Wittmeyer as to why they “soon disappear from view.” First, Françoise (born 1696) is the child who dies about age 7-8 between the time of the (about) 1703 New York City Census and Marguerite Peiret’s relief application to London in 1705, stating she had two children to support. The two children’s names were not mentioned but would have been Gabriel (about age 10-11) and Elizabeth (about age 4). Suzanne, born in 1690, likely would have been considered by age 13 no longer a child. An alternative explanation for Suzanne not being a third child requiring support is the story, stated below as unconfirmed, that one child went to live with Pastor Pierre Daillé in Boston. Suzanne, Gabriel and Elizabeth are all alive after 1705, but we have only one item each of documentation for Gabriel (1713) and Elizabeth (1721). There is some limited information about Suzanne who married in Boston at age 36. There is no evidence of any grandchildren of Pastor Peiret and Marguerite Latour, except the issue of their two children born in France, Magdeleine and Pierre.
1. Pierre 1 Peiret/Peyret was born in Pontacq, Béarn (now Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France) 1644, accepted into the French Protestant (Calvinist) ministry in 1676, and was the last pastor at Osse, Béarn 1677-1685 before the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 22 October 1685. After defying Louis XIV and facing trial and possible death, he fled from Osse with his family and Jean Latourrette, eventually reaching New York City in October 1687. There, a year later, with the assistance of French refugees, especially several leading Huguenot merchants who had arrived in the city at the time, he established the French Church of New York, which now exists as Église Française du Saint-Esprit on East 60th Street. He served as the religious and cultural leader of the French community in the city until his death 1 September 1704.
Pastor Peiret married in 1680 Marguerite LaTour who was born in Béarn (likely in Osse or the adjoining village Bedous) about 1662 and died after 29 October 1705. Like her spouse, she was not from Foix, nor was she Marguerite de Grenier la Tour of the Verriers de Gabre, as described in the myth created by Napoleon Peyrat. There is no information about Marguerite Latour after 1705 when she was still living in New York City.
(See further details and sources above in text.)
Known children of Pierre Peiret and Marguerite Latour:
i. Magdeleine 2 Peiret, born in Osse, Béarn, 1680 (age 5 on 2 September 1685) 2, died probably after 1729, in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, married first by a license dated 26 January 1702, Bartholomew Feurt/LeFeurt 3, baptized in Brugge (Bruges), Belgium, 13 February 1673, son of Paulo DeFoert and Joanna Cueninck 4, active as a merchant as late as 28 May 1713 5, died in New York City in September of 1713 before the 23rd. 6 Magdeleine married second in Elizabethtown, likely after 1715, Thomas Hickels 7, born about 1661, died after 25 July 1721/before 5 December 1729. 8
Bartholomew Fuert or Fewert was granted denization (limited naturalization) 17 June 1698 9, and was made a freeman of the City of New York 27 June 1699, described as a mariner. 10 In 1703 he purchased land in New Jersey and was referred to as a merchant. 11 He was listed as a voter and freeman in the East Ward of New York City, 29 September and 1 November 1701, and was elected Assessor in the Dock Ward 29 September 1704. 12 In 1708 he purchased land in New Rochelle, New York. 13 However, he remained a resident of the City where he made his will 28 November 1712 naming his wife and children. The will was not executed until September 1713 when “being weak” he added a codicil and signed the document before witnesses. When the will was initiated in November, he stated he was in “perfect health,” but it appears his health had deteriorated since then. The will was proved 23 September 1713. 14
After the death of Bartholomew in 1713, Magdeleine appears to have remained unmarried in New York City until after at least 17 April 1715 when she signed a baptism record as Magdelene Feurt, acting as godmother to Marianne Faneuil, the daughter of a leading merchant, Benjamin Faneuil. 15 From citations on a number of Ancestry.com family trees it appears she married a second time to a Thomas Hickels (named as Hickells in a number of records), a merchant from Elizabethtown, New Jersey. The date given for the marriage varies from September 1713, which would be unreasonable given the 17 April 1715 record noted above, to 1718. Evidence to support the date of the marriage has not been identified. However, original court records show that Thomas Hickells and wife Magdalena both signed a document on 13 August 1719. 16 That Hickels’ wife Magdalena was living in 1729 is confirmed by a court decision cited in the genealogy of the Aspinwall family. A jury decision after 5 December 1729 in favor of Joseph Aspinwall, a mariner, indicates that one “Magdalen Hickells” of Elizabethtown had sought an attachment against his estate for £600. Assuming this was Magdeleine (Peiret) Feurt, it would confirm her second marriage, and it suggests that Thomas Hickels was deceased at the time and that the claim was likely to be related to his business as a merchant. 17
Known children of Bartholomew Feurt/LeFeurt and Magdeleine Peiret:
a. Marguerite 3 Feurt, born in New York City 12 November 1702, baptized 25 November 1702 at St. Esprit, 18 died after father’s will of 28 November 1712 was finalized in September of 1713.
b. Pierre (Peter) 3 Feurt, born in New York City 27 November 1703, baptized 19 December 1703 at St. Esprit, 19 died August 1737 in Boston, Massachusetts, 20 married 23 April 1728 Susannah Gray in Boston, 21 no children recorded in Boston. He is noted as a Huguenot silversmith of the 18th century first working in New York City (circa 1723-1727) and after 1727 in Boston. Four samples of his work today are museum pieces. 22
c. Bartholomew 3 Feurt, born probably in New York City, baptized at St. Esprit 18 February 1704/5, 23 died after father’s will of 28 November 1712 was finalized in September of 1713, not traced further.
d. François (Francis) 3 Feurt, born in New York City 6 March 1706/7, baptized at St. Esprit 4 June 1707, 24 died 27 February 1777 at Ten Mile Run, Somerset County, New Jersey, 25 married a Mary (surname unknown) before 1730 and had 13 children. 26 There appear to be many descendants, a few of whom with the surname Fort.
e. Magdalena (Magdeleine) 3 Feurt, born probably in New York City, baptized there in the Dutch Reformed Church 8 February 1709/10, 27 died after 21 October 1734 when she married Abraham Belknap in Boston. 28
ii. Pierre 2 Peiret, born in Osse, Béarn, about March 1684 (age 18 months on 2 September 1685), 29 died before 7 March 1714/5 in Milford, Connecticut, 30 married about 1706 (first child baptized 23 September 1707) Mary Bryan, born 1685 in Milford, died there 1 January 1752 in the 67th year of her age, 31 daughter of Captain Samuel and Martha (Whiting) Bryan of Milford. 32
Based on his marriage to Mary Bryan of Milford, Connecticut about 1706, Pierre Peiret left New York City within a year or so of his father’s death on 1 September 1704, as a young man about age 21. In 1705, his mother Marguerite, with two children ages 4 (Elizabeth) and 10-11 (Gabriel), had the support of the annual salary of the pastor and rent from the church, the salary supplement from the New York Council and pending refugee relief from London. Also, some support may have been available from daughter Magdeleine, as it is apparent her husband Bartholomew was having success as a mariner and merchant. Therefore, Pierre was free to relocate and he chose Milford an attractive small seaport town to which, at the time, a number of French refugees, whose names became “widely known and honored,” were moving. 33 Little is known about Pierre (called Peter in Milford) because he died young at about age 30, but he had served in 1709 and 1710 as a clerk to Colonel William Whiting, his wife’s uncle, in expeditions to Canada. 34 His son Peter, age 8 at his father’s death, established a very prominent Connecticut family, later of Norwich, with the surname anglicized to Perit. 35 It appears the Perit surname died out because of an absence of male children in the late nineteenth century. 36 The memory of the Perit family, however, remains at Yale University where Horchow Hall is the former mansion of Pelatiah Perit built in 1859. 37 A graduate of the university in 1802, he established the Pelatiah Perit Professorship of Political and Social Science at Yale which is still occupied. 38
Known children of Pierre Peiret and Mary Bryan:
a. Peter 3 Peiret (later Perit), born 1707, baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church of New York 23 September 1707, 39 died in Milford, Connecticut, 8 April 1791 in the 84th year of his age, 40 married 31 October 1734 in Milford Abigail Shepherd, born 22 October 1713, died 26 or 27 September 1794, daughter of John and Abigail (Allen) Shepherd. 41 This third Pierre (Peter) was described by the 1730s as a wealthy Huguenot, lived to 1791, owned the “Town Wharf” in Milford, and engaged in trade with France. 42 A ship of his returning from Bordeaux with wine was wrecked on Fisher’s Island Sound, allegedly the only record of a vessel being lost by a Milford merchant. 43 As noted above, his Perit descendants later became a prominent family of Norwich, Connecticut.
b. Margaret 3 Peiret, born in Milford about 1709, 44 baptized 8 July 1711 in First Church of Milford, 45 died after 1711, married a Hays. 46
c. (possibly) Mary 3 Peiret, not mentioned in father’s probate record of 4 April 1715. 47
d. (possibly) Abigail 3 Peiret, not mentioned in father’s probate record of 4 April 1715. 48
iii. Suzanne 2 Peiret, born in New York City 18 November 1690, baptized at St. Esprit 28 November 1690, 49 died after 10 September 1741, 50 married at age 36 in Boston after intention dated 10 March 1726/7 Sam’ll (Samuell or Sam) Grainger. 51 No further record found.
iv. Gabriel 2 Peiret, born in New York City 30 January 1693/4, baptized at St. Esprit 14 February 1693/4. 52 At age 19, he was a witness at the will of his brother-in-law Bartholomew Feurt in September 1713, proved on the 23rd of the month. 53 No further record found.
v. Françoise 2 Peiret, born New York City 1 March 1695/6, baptized at St. Esprit 8 March 1695/6. 54 Wittmeyer indicates one of the four Peiret children born in America died in infancy. That child must be the daughter Françoise, who appears to have died between the (about) 1703 New York City Census and Marguerite Latour’s application to London for relief in 1705. 55
vi. Elizabeth 2 Peiret, born 22 December 1700, baptized at St. Esprit 29 December 1700, 56 died after 21 July 1721. 57 No marriage record found.
1 Wittmeyer, “Introduction,” xxxiv.
2 Birth date of 1680 in Osse, Béarn, explained in text.
3 “New York Marriage Licenses,” Record 3 (1872): 194. The entry reads "Bartholomew LeFeurt & Magdalen Peirott.”
Acquiring a license meant they wished to have a religious marriage without waiting for the reading of the banns. But, why was the marriage not administered by Magdeleine’s father, perhaps at Trinity Church, whose records have been lost? The answer may be Bartholomew’s role as a privateer which, in some cases, crossed over to piracy, seizing for profit ships and cargos of other flag countries or even friendly vessels. He is listed among over 30 New York City mariners as a privateer, several of whom attended Pastor Peiret’s church, including Gabriel Minvielle, one time mayor of the city. For New York City, it is noted privateering could result in piracy countenanced by the highest authorities who shared in the spoils. See David T. Valentine (supposed author William I. Paulding), History of the City of New York (New York: G. P. Putman& Co., 1853), p. 220. Probably fresh in the minds of Magdeleine’s parents was the recent experience of Captain Kidd who was first treated as a legitimate privateer, then as a pirate, captured in Boston and tried, convicted and hung in London 23 January 1701. After 1702 privateering reached a peak of activity during the conflict with France and Spain, referred to in the colonies as Queen Anne’s War, when thousands of vessels were captured or destroyed by privateers. There is no evidence that Bartholomew engaged in piracy, but it appears he may have been a victim of such an act from an unconfirmed report that one of his ships with cargo was captured in 1701 by a Spanish vessel. Moreover, there appears to have been reconciliation by the baptism of Marguerite 10 months after the marriage with Pastor Peiret and Marguerite Latour acting as godparents. See note 18 below.
4 Baptism as a child of Paulo DeFoert and Joanna Cueninck with twin Antonia from a copy of the baptism record on Ancestry.com. See: http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/225481/person/-2107137727/photox/27108c50-ed5a-4ee9-8bc8-0f0be06fdf96?src=search.
5 New York Council minutes, under “Indian Affairs,” note that a patent was granted to “Barth’w Feurt” on 28 May 1713 (Calendar of Council Minutes, 11:251).
6 See below for discussion of Feurt’s will.
7 See below for evidence of second husband and date of marriage.
8 Thomas Hickells completed a duly authorized land survey between 18 July and 25 July 1721, recorded on the latter date in Proprietors Eastern Division of New Jersey, Liber II, Part 2, Folio 215, New Jersey’s Early Land Records, 1650-1801(New Jersey State Archives Searchable Data Base) and last mentioned before 5 Dec. 1729, as cited in the description of the life of Magdeleine.
9 Kenneth Scott and Kenn Stryker-Rodda, Denizations, Naturalizations, and Oaths of Allegiance in Colonial New York (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1975), 3. New York Patents, vol. 7, p. 186 (p. 214 of original records) indicates “Letters of Denization granted unto Bartholomew Fewert & the Oaths Test and Association Administered before his Excellency Richard Earl of Bellomont Captain General & Governour in Cheife (sic) of this Province this 17th of June 1698.”
10 Burghers of New Amsterdam and the Freemen of New York, 1675-1866, Collections of the New York Historical Society for the Year 1885 (New York: NYHS, 1886), 74. Published or posted stories suggest that Feurt may have come to New York City at a young age so that by age 26 when he was made a freeman he was already well established in the city to be a mariner and merchant, allegedly owning a warehouse on Queens Street (now Pearl) and probably having a wharf extending into the East River. See Thomas L. Hooker, In Search of Footprints: Ancestors of Mildred Faye Gorsuch…. (Palmyra, Va.: Faye Gorsuch….(Palmyra, Va.: 5–88. For a summary, see http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/38432121/person/19288241672/storyx/ba487202-23f2-4219-83b5-b91bb82f8f9e?src=search
11 On 6 Jan. 1703 Feurt purchased property in the Borough of Rutherford, Bergen Co., N.J. as documented in William Nelson, ed., Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey, vol. 21 (Paterson: State of New Jersey, 1899), East Jersey Deeds, etc., Liber C (1670-1703), 154–55. Its sale by Feurt and his spouse several years later is described in Frances Augusta Johnson Westervelt, History of Bergen County, New Jersey, 1630–1923 (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1923), 2:650. It is noted that one of the leading elders of Saint-Esprit, Elias Boudinot, purchased concurrently an adjoining parcel in 1703 from the same party as Feurt.
12 Minutes of the Common Council of the City of New York, 1675-1776 (New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1905), 2:173, 176, 271.
13 Morgan H. Seacord Biographical Sketches and Index of the Huguenot Settlers of New Rochelle, 1687–1776 (New Rochelle, N.Y.: Huguenot and Historical Association of New Rochelle, 1941), 24. Also found as database on-line at Ancestry.com (Biographical sketches and index of the Huguenot settlers of New Rochelle, 1687–1776 [Provo, Utah: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005], 29).
14 Abstract of Wills on File in the Surrogate's Office, City of New York, 2:113, Collections of the New York Historical Society for the Year 1893, abstracting Liber 8:238 as “In the name of God, Amen. I, Bartholomew Feurt, of New York, being in perfect health. I leave to my children Peter, Bartholomew, Francis, Margareta and Magdalena, each £10. I leave all estate, real and personal, to my wife Magdalena, to sell and dispose of for her and her children’s maintenance, and I make her executor.” Dated 28 Nov. 1712, witnesses Lawrence Cornelisen, David Riche, Guysbert Peterse. Proved 23 Sept. 1713. The abstract, however, contains two errors. Fuert’s will is found in New York Probate Records, New York County, Wills 1710-1716, vol. 8, pp. 238-39 (online at FamilySearch.org as image 393 of 545), which indicates he did not finalize his last testament until Sept. of 1713 (date of the month left blank) when he added a codicil and signed the document before witnesses. In addition, the original record has Gabriel Pieret, the son of Pastor Peiret, as the third witness, rather than Guysbert Peterse. A correction appears in the Abstract (Year 1907), vol.16, p. 68 with the witnesses to read Lawrence Cornefleau, Dennis Riche and Gabriel Pierot (Correction in Abstract, for Pieret again is incorrect).
15 Registers, 134.
16 Case # 17551 of Trespass and Ejectment before the August 1719 Court in Essex County, New Jersey Court Case Files, 1704-1844, New Jersey State Archives Searchable Data Base).
17 Algernon A. Aspinwall, The Aspinwall Genealogy (Washington, D.C.: Tuttle Co., 1901), 33.
18 Registers, 91. Baptism was administered by Pastor Daniel Bondet from “La Rochelle” (New Rochelle, N.Y.), with Pastor Peiret and wife Marguerite Latour acting as godparents. Obviously, the granddaughter was named after Marguerite Latour. This author was not able to track the life or death of Marguerite after Bartholomew’s will was proved 23 Sept. 1713.
19 Registers, 98. Baptism was administered by Pastor Peiret with Pierre Peiret (jr.) acting as godfather and Susanne Lambert as godmother. The child Pierre (Peter) carried the names of both the grandfather and uncle. Signatures by both are found at the end of the entry. A detailed description of Fuert’s life and silversmith work is found in Patricia E. Kane (Editor), Colonial Massachusetts Silversmiths and Jewelers (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), 478-80, confirming the information presented herein. Also online is some of the basic information about his life and work: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~silversmiths/makers/silversmiths/25220.htm
20 His death in 1737 in Boston is noted in an article about 18th century Huguenot silversmiths by Thomas Hamilton Ormsbee, “Flashback: The Huguenot Silversmiths, 18th Century Refugees,”American Collector, July 1939, online at: http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/the-huguenot-silversmiths-18th-century-refugees/. A more complete description of Peter’s life from which the Oremsbee’s remarks may have been based is Stephen Guernsey Cook Ensko, American Silvermiths and Their Marks IV, revised edition by Dorothea Ensko Wyle (Boston: David R. Godine, 1989). On page 74 it says “Peter Feurt 1703-1737. Boston, Mass. and New York. Goldsmith from New York, granted liberty by Selectmen of Boston 1727 to open a shop and exercise his calling, having given to the satisfaction for the indemnitie (sic), the Town £10s. Married Susannah Gray, April 23, 1728. Died insolvent. Known by three pieces: two-handled covered cup, Yale University Art Gallery; a cann; a serving spoon. His mark = P F" (Note: The mark has a crown above P F. There are two serving spoons rather than one and a “cann” is an old English mug.) Additional information is found on line at “American Silversmiths, Peter Feurt, born 27 Nov 1703, chr. 19 Dec 1703, died Aug 1737,”http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/the-huguenot-silversmiths-18th-century-refugees/.
21 Jay and Delene Holbrook, Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Vital and Town Records, 1620-1988 (Provo, Utah: Holbrook Research Institute). Accessed on line by use of Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2495, with entry into search mechanism of Susannah Gray’s marriage with Peter Feurt, yields date of marriage of 23 April 1728 of Susannah Gray and Peter Feurt in Boston with Timothy Cutler, officiating. This image is on a list of F for the surname of males at 172A of 3131 images of “Massachusetts Vital and Town Records, 1620-1988 for Peter Feurt.” Other searches yield a date of 6 April 1728, a date cited on some family trees, which is the date of the declaration of intent to marry. Susannah Gray, daughter of Samuel Gray and Susanna Langdon, was born in Boston 8 Jul 1703 and died there before 1737, suggesting there may have been no children from the marriage.
22 Kane (pp. 479-80) provides a description of the four pieces. From the online posting, cited in ft. 19, we have an assessment of his work: “a two-handled covered cup at Yale, a cann (old English mug) and two spoons, but the quality of his hollowware shows he was well trained and aware of the latest London styles.”
23 Registers, 104. After Pastor Peiret’s death, baptisms were administered by Pastor Jacques Laborie. Breaking with Pastor Peiret’s custom of entering both the dates of birth and baptism, Laborie frequently did not enter the date of birth, as in this case for Bartholomew (written as “Barthelemy”). This is also a baptism in which Suzanne Peiret (b. 1690) acted as the godmother.
24 Registers, 113. Baptism administered by Pastor David de Bonrepos, minister following Laborie, with date of birth entered. Here the mother Magdeleine signed as Magdelene Feurt and the father as Barthe Feurt.
25 Edmund West, comp., Family Data Collection-Individual Records, database online (Provo, Utah: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2000). Record listed under Francis Fort.
26 Hooker, In Search of Footprints, 135-38. From a family bible record, Hooker indicates wife Mary was born about 1707 in New York and died 20 Nov. 1772 near Griggstown in Somerset County, New Jersey. He confirms Francis’ death 27 Feb 1777 in same location. In the Dutch custom of the time, the family bible lists their 13 children with dates of birth and, except for one, the hours of birth. The genealogy of the 12th child Joseph (b.1751) is also tracked by Hooker, 139-146.
27 Baptisms from 1639 to 1730 in the Reformed Dutch Church, New York, vol. 2 of Collections of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 1901, p. 343 (Magdalena of Bartholomeus Le Furt and Magdalena Parett, witnesses Bartl Lefurt, Susanna Parett). Suzanne Peiret acted as godmother (getuige or witness in the Dutch church record) as she did for Bartholomew in 1705. The first witness was the father, as he is recorded as Bartl Lefurt, Selve, meaning “himself.”
28 West, Family Data Collection-Individual Records (note 54), listed under Magdalene Fort. West’s original source A Register of Publishments and Marriages in Boston, 1696 to 1799, 11:121–22. Jay and Delene Holbrook, Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Vital and Town Records, 1620-1988 (Provo, Utah: Holbrook Research Institute). Accessed on line by use of Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2495, with entry into search mechanism of Magdeleine Feurt’s marriage with Abraham Belknap, yields date of marriage of 21 October 1734 of Magdalen Feurt with Abraham Belknap in Boston, with the Rev. Andrew Le Mercier officiating (André le Mercier, successor to Pierre Daillé as pastor of the French Church of Boston). The image is found on page 157 of 304 in “Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 for Magdalen Feurt.”
29 From the text, Pierre was the younger of the two children born to Pastor Peiret and Marguerite Latour in France. Identified 2 Sept. 1684 as being aged 18 months, he would have been born about March 1684 in Osse, Béarn.
30 On 4 April 1715 in the New Haven Probate Court Mary Pierott, widow, was granted administration of the Estate of Peter Pierott, late of Milford, and custody of their children Peter, age 8, and Margaret, age 6. An inventory of the estate was taken on 7 March 1714/5 which, given the customs of the time, suggests Peiret’s death was likely not long before this date. The estate was a modest £ 131:13:8, with the most significant asset being a “house and home lot” valued at £ 40, to cover a debt of £ 102:0:6. The estate (now referred to as Pierot) was settled in Probate Court 2 June 1718 with adjustments in the inventory and debt so that the clear estate was only £ 25:5:0, divided 1/3 to the widow £ 8:8:4, Peter £ 11:4:51/3 and Margaret £ 5:12:22/3. New Haven (Conn) probate records, 1647-1719 (microform 1949:FHL 5295) New Haven District, Connecticut Probate Court, Reel (3), vol. 3-4. 1703-1719, entries are in vol. 4, pp. 338-39 (4 April 1715) and p. 526 (2 June 1718).
The genealogy presented here updates and corrects the Peiret genealogy found in Mary E. Perkins, Old Houses of the Ancient Town of Norwich, 1660-1800, original 1895 reprinted (Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 2000) in two vols. (See 1:320-23 and 2:549-50) Perkins indicates the name was anglicized to Perit by the generations following Pierre Peiret (determined here b. 1684) and presents an incomplete genealogy which ranges from this Pierre (Peter) to Pelatiah Perit (1785–1865) when it appears the Perit surname disappeared. This record also corrects Baird (2:331).
31 Perkins, 2:549. For death 1 January 1752, see Nathan G. Pond, Inscriptions on Tombstones in Milford Conn. Erected prior to 1800, New Haven Historical Society., 1889, 46 (Inscription # 318). Age on inscription indicates she would have turned 67 in 1752; hence, she was born in 1685. It is noted the marker describes her as Mary Perit, so this version of Peiret was established at least by 1752. URL: http://dunhamwilcox.net/ct/milford_inscrip2.htm.
32 Perkins, 2:549.
33 Baird, 2: 330-31.
34 At a meeting of the Governor and Council at New Haven, 21 June 1709, it was agreed “That Peter Perrit be imployed (sic) and improved as a clerk to assist Col. William Whiting in keeping a journal and drawing orders, letters and writings in the expedition to Canada.” (Charles J. Hoadly, The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, appendix section titled “An Appendix Containing Some Council Proceedings, 1663-1710” [Hartford: Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, 1890], 553, available on Google Books:https://books.google.com/books?id=MLw-AAAAYAAJ. James Savage, A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, 4 vols. (Boston, 1860–62), 4:518–23, states that John2 Whiting (William1) married Sybil Collins and had (among others) William born 1659 and Martha born 1662. Martha married Samuel Bryan of Milford and William was “col. of the troops in the old (or Queen Ann’s) French war.”
35 Baird, 2: 330-31 and Perkins, 1:320-21. Perkins also notes that a John Perit (b. abt. 1738) moved to Norwich after the French and Indian War, 1756-1763.
36 Pelatiah Perit appears to be the last prominent male member of this family to carry the Huguenot name. He was a leading member of the New York City business community and served as the president of the New York City Chamber of Commerce, 1853–1863.
37 Horchow’s Hall and its construction in 1859 by Pelatiah Perit is described in http://www.buildings.yale.edu/property.aspx?id=19
38 The establishment of the Pelatiah Perit Professorship is described by Anson Phelps Stokes in Yale Endowments (New Haven: Yale University, 1917), 36. Stephen Skowronek, Pelatiah Perit Professor of Political & Social Science, is the current occupant. See http://politicalscience.yale.edu/people/stephen-skowronek
39 Baptisms from 1639 to 1730 in the Reformed Dutch Church, New York, 325, “Pieter son of Pieter Paret and Maria Bryan, witnesses Bartholomeu Leford, Magdalena Paret s. h. vrou [his wife].” Baptismal records of the Dutch Reformed Church do not indicate date or location of births, but children were normally baptized soon after birth, thus confirming Peter’s birth in 1707; the record also confirms the mother’s maiden name of Mary Bryan. Given François (Francis) Feurt’s baptism just a few months earlier on 4 June 1707 in Saint-Esprit, the decision to baptize Peter at the Dutch church may have been related to Pastor David de Bonrepos not being available at Saint-Esprit as he continued to live on Staten Island during his tenure, or possibly there was an interruption of services associated with the move of Saint- Esprit to the new church on Pine Street with the first service recorded there on 5 Oct. 1707 (Registers, 113). The lack of additional information leaves the location of Peter’s birth (Milford or New York?) uncertain and doesn’t give us any more evidence about the life of Marguerite Latour, the widow of Pastor Peiret, after 1705.
40 Perkins, 2:549. For death 8 April 1791 in Peter Perit’s 84 year, see Pond, 47 (Inscription # 319). Age on inscription confirms birth in 1707. Mistakenly, Pond annotated that Peter Perit was born in France.
41 Perkins, 2:549, and Donald Lines Jacobus, Families of Ancient New Haven 6:1419–20, which also lists their children and grandchildren.
42 The Milford Tercentenary Committee, Inc., History of Milford Connecticut, 1639–1939 (Bridgeport, Conn.: Braunworth & Co., 1939), 39.
43 History of Milford Connecticut, 39.
44 The New Haven probate records, cited above, dated 4 April 1715 indicate at the time son Peter was 8 and Margaret 6. This is consistent with the baptism record for Peter cited above with a date of 23 Sept. 1707, which would have son Peter 8 years old in 1715.
Based on the age of 6 cited for Margaret she would have been born about 1709. Perkins, 2: 549, however, cites 1711 as the birth date for Margaret, mistaking the date of baptism of 8 July 1711 at the First Church of Milford as the year of her birth. This is corrected here and by Susan Woodruff Abbott, Families of Early Milford, Connecticut (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1979), 2:546.
45 “Margaret the daughter of Mrs. Mary Peirrett and of Mr. Peter Peirrett” baptized 8 July 1711, [Milford] First Congregational Church Records, 1639-1926, 5 vols., Baptisms 1640-1837, included in vol. 1, 39, Family History Library, Salt Lake City (FHL), microfilm #1012263 of original records at Connecticut State Library, Hartford. On the same day (vol. 1, p. 24), “Mrs. Mary Peirrett the wife of Mr. Peter Peirrett admitted to full communion.” The delay in the baptism of Margaret was likely due to her birth while her father was serving as clerk of expeditions in 1709 and 1710 to Canada, and her mother’s acceptance into full communion.
46 Perkins, 2:549, no date of death given, shows a marriage with a Hays, but no other information about him.
47 Perkins, 2:549 lists a possible child by this name, but notes she is not mentioned in the Peiret probate records of 1715.
48 Perkins, 2:549 lists a possible child by this name, but notes she is not mentioned in the Peiret probate records of 1715.
49 Registers, 12. Baptism administered by Pastor Peiret. From the baptism entry it appears that Suzanne was named after Suzanne Papin, spouse of church elder Elie Boudinot, who acted as the godmother. Suzanne was the first of the four Peiret children born in America. Wittmeyer, “Introduction,” xxxiv, indicates one of the four died in infancy and the other three “soon disappear from view.” It is clear that Suzanne lived past infancy, being almost age 20 when she was a godmother for the daughter of Bartholomew Feurt and Magdeleine Peiret on 8 Feb. 1710. There is mention of her at age 30 in the will of Jean Cottin, dated 5 July 1721 in New York City. Cottin was a successful Huguenot merchant who left three endowments to Saint-Esprit. His will is discussed by Baird, 2:92-93, in considerable detail but no mention is made of the small monetary sums left to Suzanne (as Susanah Peiret) and her sister Elizabeth Peiret.
50 The final mention of Susanna Grainger (Suzanne Peiret) is on Orange Street in Boston 10 Sept. 1741 when she appears on a list of people authorized to sell “strong drink” as Innkeepers or Retailers (A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, Containing the Records of the Boston Selectmen 1736 to 1742 [Boston, Mass.: Rockwell and Churchill, City Printers, 1886], Seventh Book of the Selectmen's Minutes, 10 Sept. 1741, p. 138. Online at http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=CommBostonSelect1736-42&rank=1&new=1&MSAV=0&msT=1&gss=angs-d&gsfn=Susanna+&gsln=Grainger&msydy=1741&msypn__ftp=Boston%2c+Suffolk%2c+Massachusetts%2c+USA&msypn=4668&msypn_PInfo=8-|0|1652393|0|2|3242|24|0|2812|4668|0|&gskw=strong+drink&uidh=me2&ct=3409, results 3409–3418 with Susanna Grainger listed as 3409.
51 Suzanne’s later presence in Boston may have led Jon Butler, 209, as noted in the text, to assume she was the Peiret child allegedly cared for there by Pastor Pierre Daillé after her father’s death in 1704. However, he provides no documentation and it is clear that she was in New York City in 1710 and, perhaps even in 1721, when named in the Cottin will. The record of her marriage as Susannah Peiret on 20 March 1726/7 to Sam’ll Grainger is found in Edward W. McGlenen, Boston Marriages from 1700 to 1809, Vol. 1, 1700–1751 (Boston: City Document 150, Marriage Intentions 1721–1730, 1898), 163, on Family History Library, Salt Lake City, microfilm #0818093–0818095 or Jay and Delene Holbrook, Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Vital and Town Records, 1620-1988 (Provo, Utah: Holbrook Research Institute). Accessed on line by use of Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2495, with entry into search mechanism of Susannah Peiret’s marriage with Samll. Grainger, yields date of intended marriage of 20 March 1726/7 of Susannah Peiret with Samll. Grainger in Boston. Entry found in City Document No. 150, Marriage Intentions, 1721- 30, p. 163 in original document. On search mechanism it is image 87 of 240. The principal Granger family in New England is covered in Launcelot Granger a Genealogical History (1893), which shows that Launcelot had several grandsons of the right age named Samuel, but all their marriages are accounted for. No Peiret is mentioned.
52 Registers, 34. Baptism administered by Pastor Peiret. Gabriel was named after elder Gabriel Le Boyteulx who acted as godfather. The godmother was Magdeleine Peiret whose participation in the baptism determined she was born in 1680 since a godmother had to be at least fourteen years of age (see also note 58).
53 See footnote 14.
54 Registers, 46. Baptism administered by Pastor Peiret. Françoise was named after Françoise Brinkman, spouse of elder Jean Barberie, who acted as godmother.
55 Except for Magdeleine, who was married in 1702, the Peiret family was intact at the time of the census, with Suzanne (born in 1690) considered by English custom as a female with her mother, and one male child (Gabriel, born 1694) and two female children (Françoise, born 1696 and Elizabeth, born 1700). By 1705 when Marguerite sought relief from London after Peiret’s death, there are only two children alive. Both Gabriel and Elizabeth are alive after 1705, so Françoise is the female child who died in infancy about age 7 or 8.
56 Registers, 77–78. Baptism administered by Pastor Peiret. Godparents were her older brother (Pierre) and oldest sister (Magdeleine). This is an example of Calvin’s rule about allowing participation in baptism by males at age 16 and females at age 14. Since Pierre was born in early 1684 he would have been 16 by the time of Elizabeth’s baptism in Dec. 1700 and therefore would be eligible to act as a godfather. At this time Magdeleine was already about 20 years old having been born in 1680, as demonstrated above.
57 As noted above, Elizabeth is last mentioned with her sister Suzanne in the will of Jean Cottin of New York City, dated 5 July 1721.