Was Jean the First Latourrette in America?

by John E. La Tourette

There is a suggestion in Lyman Latourette's "Latourette Annals in America" (p. 6) that perhaps Jean, who left Osse, Bearn in 1685 and came to New York in 1687, was not the first Latourrette in America. Lyman cites Teunis G. Bergen, "Early Settlers of Kings County, Long Island, New York" (p. 354), as the source, as he states:

"The first record the writer has found of a LaTourette appears in Bergen---where it is stated that on October 14, 1681, John Tennissee married Susanne LaTourette and they had several children whose names and dates of birth are given."

Note the given name of the author cited, Teunis (apparently a variation of a Dutch given name found in his book-Teunisse, Tenissen, Tonissen, Thyssen, etc), to provide a context for what follows.

Lyman's statement completely misrepresents the entry by Teunis which he cites. With reference to Teunis Bergen's book, it is clear from the organization of the records presented that he first lists in bold print the surname and then follows that by listing all the people with that surname by their given names in italicized print. So on the previous page (p. 353) to the one cited by Lyman, we find Van Pelt listed in bold print. Then on the next page (p. 354) cited by Lyman we find the entry Anthony Teunisse in italics. The complete entry is reproduce here:

"VAN PELT (bold print)

Anthony Teunisse (italicized), emigrated from Liege in 1663 with his father and settled in N.U.; m. Magdalena or Helena Joosten; d. Feb. 2, 1720-21. On ass. rolls of N.U., of 1675, '76, and '83; Dongan's patent of 1696; cen. Of 1698; took the oath of allegiance there in 1687; and assessed in 1706 for 98 A. In Nov.1674 he petitioned the Gov. for a grant of land on S.I. Issue: -Joost of S. I.; Teunis of S. I., m. Maria Degreau; John of N.U. and S. I., m. Susanna La Tourette; Maria, bp. Oct. 14, 1681, in Fld, m. Ary Schouten; Adriaentje, bp. May 25, 1690, in Brn, m. _____ Taylor; Helena, bp. May 29, 1695, in Brn, m. Teunis Stoutenburg; Grietje, m. ______ Bond; and Saartje, m. Corn Doriant. Made his mark to documents."

Reading the entry, we can see that beginning on line 7, following "Issue", we have a listing of the children of Anthony Teunisse (Van Pelt) and Magdalena (Helena) Joosten, with some facts about each and that each child's entry is set off separately by semi-colons. So we read that the third child on lines 8 and 9 was a John (in Dutch Jan) of New Utrecht and Staten Island who married Susanne La Tourette. The fourth child listed on line 9 was a Maria who was baptized on October 14, 1681. So the date October 14, 1681 is the date of the baptism of Maria, not the date of the marriage of John (Jan) Van Pelt and Susanne La Tourette.

Actually, the Susanne referenced by Lyman is the daughter of Jean Latourrette and Marie Mercereau, born about 1704 and who, as noted by Lyman himself ("Annals", p. 24 ), married a Jan Van Pelt. The marriage is noted by Mrs. Jacob (1965 "Compilation") as occurring in 1728.

So another mystery about the Latourrettes in America is explained. This error likely resulted from Lyman Latourette spending a life-time gathering material before he published the "Annals" in 1954. Perhaps, he did not understand the method by which Teunis G. Bergen first listed surnames in bold print and, then following that, given names in italics. In that case, Anthony Teunisse Van Pelt's middle name would be assumed to be the surname. Perhaps, he copied the entry, cited above, incorrectly or ultimately misinterpreted its meaning. Because he cites Tennissee (actually Teunisse) as a surname, it appears the error occurred from the time he first came across Bergen's book.

Barring some other discovery, Jean Latourrette from Osse, Bearn was the first Latourrette to come to America. Some other Latourrettes, as mentioned in Madame Marie Candau's letters to Mrs. Jacob in the 1950s, come from Osse in the 19th century, but that subject must be reserved for future study.