In 1685 King Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes & when he did all hell broke loose in France. Rather then face the possibility of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre happening again, French Huguenots left behind their lands & titles & castles & fled for various parts of the world like England, Holland, Germany, etc. That was a lot of people to pack up & move off…& the cream of the crop too. It almost completely destroyed France’s economy & they’ve never really recovered. It also put a severe strain on the economies of the countries these folks fled to…which was when people decided to ship ’em to America.
Jamestown was only 3 years old when French Huguenots started arriving in America.
In 1621, 60 families under Jesse de Forest (could be a relative of ours?) asked leave to come to Va, but were diverted by the Dutch to their colony of Manhattan & founded New York. Other then these folks…I think the people that meant to go to Va actually went to Va.
It basically flip flops between small boats carrying small families & individuals to big boats carrying many people. In 1630 Baron de Sance seated a colony on the lower James. In 1687 some came. In the 1700’s the largest group yet came over here. There was 4 ships, the Mary & Ann, the Peter & Anthony, a 3rd ship they know little about, & a 4th ship called the Nassau.
(Click on the links & read the passenger lists)
(8/1700) Mary & Ann – Pastor Claude Phillip de Richbourg & led by Marquis de la Muce.
(9/20/1700) Peter & Anthony – Pastor & led by Benjamin de Joux of Lyons.
Nassau – Louis Latane
Our ancestor Renald Rene La Force I wasn’t on any of these ships…not as himself anyway. A genealogist Charles Hamlin thought he might be Rene Massoneau who showed up on the Mary & Ann. He was also found as Rene Massoneau LaForie…thought to be a mispelling of La Force.
He could’ve went to England, Holland or Germany first? He could’ve went to French Huguenot settlements in NY, SC, Georgia or NC first? But eventually he ended up in Manakin Town, VA as Dr. Renald Rene La Force I. I’ve read he was a Vet in France but a human doctor here.
According to Ms. Louise Roberson our ancestor came here as the leader of a group of French Huguenots. They bought land sight unseen from Governor William Byrd or one of his reps near modern day Danville, VA. They were a group of farmers, horse breeders, and owners of vineyards – Catawba grapes. When they got here they found this new land unsuitable yet couldn’t get their money back & also couldn’t get Byrd to swap it out for better land. So they basically had to take out a loan to buy the land near Manakin Town & our ancestor was in charge of making their payments therefore is mentioned in William Byrd’s secret diary. Our ancestor refused to hang out or eat with Byrd (probably because he saw him as a thief).
He must’ve gotten married before he got here because his wife Sarah’s last name is unknown. They had 4 kids but only 3 are named in his will because the 4th was born after he died. Their names were Renald Rene La Force II, Sarah (Harding), Rachel who died @ 27 with no husband or kids, & Judith. He was made Justice of Goochland County, VA which came from Henrico County, VA & he died shortly afterward.