Dr. Renald Rene La Force I

We believe Dr. Rene was born in Guyenne France @ Château de Castelnaud. This Château was a de Caumont de la Force property. For a few generations de Caumont de la Force’s were Dukes of la Force & Marshals & Peers of France. We believe he was an extended family member (cousin) as he was not in the direct line & so did not get the title.

Acc’d to at least one or two cousins:

In 1721 in London in the Hospital Providence, which was founded for Huguenot emigrants, was a Francois Rene Caumont from this very area. He would have been of the age to have been our Rene’s father.

Also, there is a connection of Rene to Sarah La Force who married Booth Napier in Henrico County, VA (same county as Rene and county where our Rene, Jr and Sarah were born). The county lines changed when Goochland was formed–so they lived in the same geographic area, just was new county. They had a son Rene Napier so it makes sense to me that she was his sister.

Also, the wife of Daniel Perrot (captain of one of the ships that brought the Huguenot settlers to Manakintowne), was Mary La Force (info from an estate settlement in Holland). This was another sister and was probably her hubby’s ship that brought Rene and his group of 200 Huguenots to VA. He came prior to the settlement so is not listed on ship logs but is listed by the Huguenot Society as a Founding member of the Colony.

I do not think he met Sarah on ship over–I think she came as a daughter of one of the Charter settlers and he met her there. I have a deed that indicated they were married prior to 1720 but not her maiden name. Pastor Finney of Manakintowne was appointed Power of Attorney for her which indicated she was a member of the Colony and may not have spoken any English–or could not read and write.

The reason Judith is not mentioned in Rene’s will: he died in Sept 1728 and she was born between that Sept and March–which is when the 1st of the year started at that time, so was after his death.

The reason Sarah did not include Rachael in her will was that Rachael died before Sarah.

Some more confusion to the story: Rene was also referred to as of the Castlenau branch of the Caumont de La Force family. If I remember correctly this would have been because land they held came through the female line—but not necessarily Rene’s mother.

Dr. Renald Rene La Force came to Virginia prior to 1694 as the leader of a group of about 200 French Huguenots who were fleeing because of persecution. They bought land near what is Danville, Va (on the “word” of a representive of the government of the Commonwealth of VA). When they arrived to take possession of the land, they discovered it was still occupied by Indians and totally unsuited for raising Catawaba grapes and raising cattle. Evidently, the government (William Byrd, governor) did not see fit to reimburse them for the land because they had to go into debt to him to purchase new land near the area where Manakintowne was settled around 1699-1701. Rene collected the monies from his group and took them to Byrd to make payments. Byrd invited him to “sup” with him but Rene refused. This is a characteristic of my branch of La Forces. They are stubborn and would not dine socially with someone they felt had wronged them or those they were responsible for. (from William Byrd’s Secret Diary)

Rene also kept a Diary. Judith’s daughter Mary Burton m. to Dr. William Patton Fearne was the last to have possession of it. Dr. Fearne,Jr had it published in 1898 but we have NOT been able to find a copy of it. What a treasure that would be.

I do not have a copy of the part of William Byrd’s Diary that tells about Rene and his group. This info was given me by one of Sarah’s descendants. He tells about them buying the land elsewhere and having to buy new land but I don’t think he admits that one of their land agents ripped them off, but he wrote it like he was insulted that Rene refused his invitation. You know he was one of the most influential men in Colonial VA. But we La Forces have a sense of Justice and aren’t easily swayed by “influential men”. William Byrd’s Secret Diary is found in most of the major libraries, especially where they have a good history section. I don’t know if it can be gotten by interlibrary loan–probably not as it would be a reference book

I think they came directly to the Commonwealth of Va since this was where the land they first purchased was located. It is my opinion that they bought new land as soon as they discovered the first land was not suitable to their needs. What I wonder is: what became of this land? I have searched the old records of NC and have not found any transactions there. Have not had the opportunity to search Pittsylvania Co, VA for records. However, this is where Judith lived (at least for awhile with husband Capt Robert Burton. He was older than her and she is married to Samuel Paul and living in Caswell then Orange Co, NC ca 1780 so Burton must have died either in Pitt. Co, Va or Orange Co, NC.

Some of Sarah and William Harding’s son’s went to what is now Yadkin Co, NC. Hardings still live there.

I don’t think Rene, Jr and Agnes ever lived in NC. I think the person that did the interviews got that wrong. They met Daniel Boone’s group in Moccasin Gap and continued on with them so everyone may have assumed the entire group was from NC. Agnes just says after they left the “great Commonwealth” that could have been either state–but we know that they bought that land in Botetourt in Aug of 1780 and sold it in Sept 1780. I think they intended to settle there but changed their minds because of the political climate or because they saw an opportunity for a new start in Kentucky Co, VA.

Dr. Renald Rene La Force I
Sarah Unknown
Renald Rene La Force II
Judith La Force
Sarah La Force
Rachel La Force

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