FRENCH HUGUENOTS

...how some made their way to Beaufort.
This etching shows how French Huguenots fled from Brittany and Normandyin small boats across the English Channel to England. Image from www.betheafamily.org

When Louis XIV began a policy of une foi, un loi, un roi - one faith, one law, one king - and revoked the Edict of Nantes on 22 October 1685, the large scale persecution of the Huguenots resumed. At least 250,000 French Huguenots fled to countries such as Switzerland, Germany, England, America, the Netherlands, Poland and South Africa, where they could enjoy religious freedom. Between 1618 and 1725, some 5000 to 7000 Huguenots reached the shores of America.

Besides those who settled in Florida in 1564 and South Carolina in 1679, about 1705 small colonies settled on the Pamlico River and on the Trent where Baron DeGraffenried’s colony found them in 1710 when he founded New Bern. 


In 1708, the region, known today as Carteret County, began to attract settlers. A few families moved into the area about North River, known then as the “the Core Sound” settlement.


It is believed that Pivers and Shackelfords were among those first settlers. In later years these frontiersmen were followed by families with names of Paquinet, Noe, Manney, Delamar, Midyette and Geoffroy—all descendants of French Huguenots:


Shackelford: Roger Shackelford the immigrant (1629-1704) fled England about 1658, on a boat with Edward Palmer and his siblings, who had received a land grant in Virginia. The Palmers were French Huguenots. Roger married Mary Palmer about 1660.

Roger's sons John (1688–1734) and Francis patented a "plantation" on the west side of North River in 1708. John Shackelford served in the local militia from 1712 to 1743. In 1713 he and Enoch Ward purchased 7000 acres referred to as the “Sea Banks.” Shackelford’s western part later became known as Shackelford Banks. It is believed the Shackelford ancestors lived in a small town near London, England, known until 1620 as “Shackelford Village.”


Piver: Though not documented, Peter Piver circa 1690-1758 may have been the first Piver to come to the Core Sound area. Over the generations, he, son Peter and grandson Peter acquired various plots of land including acreage west of what is now Moore Street. Peter Piver, Jr. (1717-1795) served under the command of Colonel Thomas Lovick during the 1747 Spanish attacks. Peter III was born about 1740. In 1795, Carteret County court minutes note that Peter Piver and wife Lydia sold half of Piver’s Island (seven acres) to Elijah Bell. Peter Piver and his descendants built many houses in Beaufort.


Paquinet: The 1790 US Census shows Ann, James, Isaiah and John Paquinet in Carteret County. The 1772 Will of Michael Paquinet left his sons James, John and Isaiah his plantation, 100 acres on Cane Creek and 200 acres on Broad Creek. Third generation names were Belcher Fuller and Mary Severn—both Huguenot descendants through Michael Paquinet, born in Paris in 1690. The Paquinet House circa 1769 is on Front Street.
Rebecca Paquinet married John Mades, 16 Jun 1803. Betsey Paquinet married Francis Dennis, 18 Jan 1804. Elizabeth Paquinet married Jesse Piver, 19 June 1817.

Noe: In early 1800s there were two Noe families - James Noes and Peter Noes. James Noe, Jr. married Mary Polly Paquinet in 1829. In 1862 Thomas Noe married Frances Ann Mades, daughter of Rebecca and John Mades. The James Noe House circa 1828 is on Moore Street.


Manney: Jean Magny left France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. He first settled in Rhode Island in 1686. About 1691 most of the Huguenots were forced to leave. Jean Magny settled briefly in Oxford, Mass, but soon moved to New York City.
Magny, Manee, and Maney evolved to Manney. James Manney came to Beaufort from Poughkeepsie, NY. The Dr. James Manney House circa 1812 is at the corner of Craven and Ann Streets. In 1848, Dr. Manney's son, Dr. James Lente Manney, married William Fulford's daughter, Julia Ann.


Delamar: 1668 Francis De Lamar, or De la Mar, born in Boucre, Calais, France, died in 1713 in Pacquotank County, NC. Some of his descendants came to Beaufort from New Bern before 1850. The Gibble-Delamar House circa 1866 is on the corner of Turner and Broad Streets.


Midyett: Midyett families, originally from Normandy, France, were early inhabitants of Bodie Island and the Outer Banks in the late 1600s. "Many Midyett girls married sailors off Black Beard's three ships. The name was spelled different ways: Midyett, Midyette, Midgett, Midgette, but no matter how you spell it, they all came from Matthew Midyett who landed at Bodie Island, NC around 1600. He was a ship captain and was shipwrecked off the coast of the outer banks."--Donald Midyett. Midyetts helped start the US Coast Guard by establishing life-saving stations on the Outer Banks. Some of the family found their way to Beaufort by 1850.


Geffroy: Malachi R. Geffroy, husband of Nannie Pasteur Davis, had roots back to France then Canada. The M.R. Geffroy House circa 1885 is in the third block of Ann Street.


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Beaufort resident David DuBuisson is an indirect descendant of brothers Henry Martyn Baird and Charles Washington Baird - both Huguenot historians. In 1885 Charles W. Baird, D.D. (1828-1887), Presbyterian minister and historian, wrote the History of the Huguenot Emigration to America. The Baird brothers contributed perhaps two-thirds of the Huguenot scholarship in English that exist today. Their mother was Fermine Amaryllis Opheia DuBuisson Baird. Fermine was David DuBuisson's great-great aunt, the older sister of his great-great grandfather, George Washington DuBuisson.

David DuBuisson wrote: The Huguenots in the U.S. quickly dispersed and assimilated. Many of them had already assimilated in English or Dutch or German societies before crossing the Atlantic. As a religious denomination, the Huguenot church essentially disappeared under the relentless persecution of Rome. So, with a few exceptions, by the time they reached America Huguenots were generally affiliated with the Dutch Reformed (NY), Presbyterian or Anglican (VA, SC) churches. As they spread out through the colonies, they did not do so as a coherent group, but rather as individual families colonizing mainly with the English. This would explain why there would be no recognizable “Huguenot colonies” in, say, North Carolina, though there would be individual families.

Beaufort resident Jimmy Piver and his children are descendants of Peter Piver through his son Peter Piver, Jr.