THE TALE OF TWO LATOURRETTE BROTHERS COMING TO AMERICA/DID OTHER PARISHIONERS ACCOMPANY PASTOR PEIRET AND JEAN LATOURRETTE FROM OSSE TO NEW YORK?
by John E. La Tourette
As the result of a lifetime of research, Lyman Latourette came to the conclusion that Jean Latourrette was not accompanied by a brother when he left Osse, Bearn in 1685. By the time he wrote the Latourette Annals in America (1954), he focused only on one male, Jean Latourrette. But, it appears in the early years of his quest for family roots, he seriously considered the possibility that there were two brothers who came from Osse (now Osse-en-Aspe).
Why, at one time, did Lyman considered this possibility and why does the tale of two brothers persist in some circles today? The answer to this question is the primary subject of this paper. In dealing with this subject, however, the question is raised as to whether other parishioners from Osse accompanied Pastor Pierre Peiret and Jean Latourrette all the way to New York.
A lack of knowledge about Jean's roots in Osse and his voyage to New York on the ship Robert with Pastor Pierre Peiret in 1687 has resulted in American descendants creating many fables about his background and tales about why and how he came to America. The author has addressed several of these fables on this forum to develop a more accurate picture of his life.
Protestants in Osse have known as a result of Reverend Alfred Cadier's 1892 book Osse: histoire de l'eglise reformee de vallee d'Aspe (see reprint Le Bearn Protestant, 2003, p. 202, ft. 3, where Cadier cites Baird) and the 1886 French translation of Charles W. Baird, Huguenot Emigration to America (Vol. II, pp. 20 and 147. French translation is Histoire des refugees Huguenots en Amerique, Toulouse), that Jean was in New York with Pastor Peiret after leaving Osse in 1685. During the author's visit to Osse in September 2003, Mr. Francis Beigbeder, a descendant of Cadier, church officer and caretaker, pulled a copy of the Baird translation, used by Pastor Cadier, from the church bookshelf to cite the references to Jean Latourrette and Pastor Peiret.
Although it has been common knowledge in Osse that Pastor Peiret and Jean Latourrette left together in 1685 and were later in New York, villagers did not know how they actually reached America. The author's research now has shown that they went to Frankfurt, Rotterdam and London, before coming to New York.
It is also known that many of the ministers who fled from Bearn were accompanied by groups of parishioners. This is true in the case of Peiret, but the only parishioner mentioned among those fleeing with Peiret is Jean Latourrette. See, for example, Marc Forisser, Les Eglises Reformeee du Bearn, 1963, p. 167. Also, some (all) of the other parishioners may have stopped at some point on their long voyage from Osse to New York.
French scholars, studying the fate of Protestant ministers at the time of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, have also drawn on the translation of Baird's book, and other sources such as Registers of the French Church of New York, to track the villagers who may have accompanied the fleeing Huguenot pastors, like Peiret. (See Rev. Alfred V. Wittmeyer, Collections of the Huguenot Society of America, Volume 1, 1886. The Registers of the Births, Marriages, and Deaths of the Eglise Francoise a la Nouvelle York, from 1688 to 1804, reprinted separately on several occasions, are included in this volume.)
Genealogical research in the Apse Valley, in which Osse-en-Aspe is located, documents that Jean had an older brother named Jacob, born about a year earlier in 1650. Jacob was the only other son of David Latourrette. This information comes from well-documented genealogies developed by Mr. Jean-Luc Bilhou-Nabera of Paris and Osse-en-Aspe, France; Mr. Yves Lafournere of Chateauneuf de Gadagne, France; and Mr. Bernard Cazenave-Latourrette of Pau, France. These genealogies represent years of painstaking research by these three gentlemen, who have substantial ties to the Latourrette lineage from Osse. They are still works in progress and are subject to further study and correction. The author and all American descendants of Jean Latourrette are indebted to them for the contribution their work will eventually make to an understanding of the history of the Latourrette family of Osse. Since some of this information is privileged, the author is citing only what is relevant from these genealogies for the purposes of this paper.
Jacob did not flee from Osse and had a distinguished career as a notaire and representative to the parliament in Pau after 1685. (See, for example, Philippe Chareyre, "Nouvelles Recherches sur Le Protestantisme a Osse-en-Aspe," Bulletin No 38, Centre d'Etude du Protestantisme Bearnais, December 2005, pp. 5-6 and Gilberte Gaubil, "Les Protestants d'Osse-en-Aspe," Bicentenaire de la Reconstruction du Temple d'Osse-en-Aspe, 2005, overleaf and p. 6.)
The several historical accounts of Osse at the time of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 clearly indicate that Jean did not flee Osse with a brother, but they not explain the existence of the tale of two Latourrette brothers coming to America.
The tale of the two Latourrette brothers may be traced through the correspondence of J. F. Keve with Lyman Latourette in the early years of the 20th century. Lyman included in his Annals some of the material from the writings of J. F. Keve in Chapter X, "Susannah and Peter Cole," based on a marriage between a Cole and a Latourrette. (Annals, pp. 33-35)
Keve privately published a short pamphlet in Arlington, Iowa, which includes approximately two pages of rambling, disconnected comments about the Latourrettes. This appeared as the History of the Keve Family: Also Short Histories of the Following Families: the Coles, the Fullwoods, the Latourettes, the Floreys, the Whippples, and the Longs. One would assume that the date of publication is around 1913 because the concluding one-page chapter is dated in October of that year. (See p. 72)
Keve is rather confused about the origins of Jean Latourrette, described as one of his ancestors, because he cites one of the traditions of the Keve family as follows:
"During the persecution of the Huguenots in France, a certain French nobleman by the name of Latourette, who was a captain of a man-of-war vessel, ran his ship into port, resigned his commission and finally settled in New Jersey or Staten Island. He eventually married a Holland or Dutch lady." (p. 6)
On the next page (7), he reveals the marriage of the first Latourrette (Jean) in America was not to a lady from Holland but instead to a "noble French woman." By the following page (8) he is citing the marriage record of Jean Latourrette and Marie Mercereau from the church records as printed in the Registers of the Collections of the Huguenot Society, Vol. I. documented above. He also indicates none of the Latourrette ancestors with whom he has corresponded has ever heard of the tradition that the first Latourrette (in America) was a sea captain. Although the Keve family tale, quoted above, explicitly mentions Staten Island and running a ship to port, rather than being cast shore, it appears this fable of how Jean Latourrette came to America lost out to the more romantic, but completely erroneous, one about a Count Latourette feeing with his countess to America.
In this rambling discourse, Keve mentions that after searching for more information about Jean Latourrette, he was placed in touch with Lyman Latourette. From Lyman and other sources, he says he learned that "Two La Tourette brothers fled from France during the terrible massacres that were prevalent when the Huguenots were hunted like wild animals." He goes on to mention Martha Lamb's story in the History of New York City of a Count Latourette fleeing France and the prospect of the recovery by descendants of property left behind.
This is in 1913, during the early years of Lyman's interest in searching his roots. By the time Lyman publishes the Annals in 1954, it is clear he has determined that there was only one Latourrette from Bearn.
The likely source of the tale of two brothers is the confusion resulting from the several marriages between the Latourrettes and the Mercereaus, as described by Baird and the fact that he missed in the records of the French Church of New York the birth and baptism of the second son (Pierre)of Jean Latourrette and Marie Mercereau. The author's ancestry is traced back to Pierre (Peter), the son of Jean and Marie, born November 22, 1697, and baptized by Pastor Pierre Peiret in the French Church of New York (St. Esprit), November 28, 1697. (Alfred V. Wittmeyer, "Registers." p. 56)
Apparently Pastor Peiret was (appropriately?) confused when he entered into the record that Pierre was the son of Pierre Latourrette and Marie Mercereau, because the signature of the father is clearly Jean Latourrette. This entry by the Pastor was possibly the result of the close tie between Jean and Peiret from Osse. Jean Latourrette may have used the given name Pierre to honor the Pastor, particularly due to the fact that it isn't until the third son that the given name David is used to honor the presumed grandfather (David Latourrette, ca 1625-1697).
It appears the way in which Pastor Peiret entered the birth and baptism of Pierre likely caused Baird (Vol. II, p.147, ft. 2) to miss this baptismal entry in the church records, because he notes that Jean and Marie had only three children, Marie, Jean and David, baptized in the church. In the same footnote he speculates that Pierre, whom he identified from other sources, married Marie Mercereau and perhaps is the brother of Jean. Unfortunately, Baird is confused because in 1725, Pierre married Marianne, the daughter of Daniel Mercereau and Susanne Marie Doucinet. Marianne's birth and baptism are recorded as October 31 and November 5, 1699 with the aforementioned parents. (See Registers, pp. 67-8) It is not Pierre, but his brother Jean, born two years earlier, who married in the same year Marie Mercereau, the daughter of Joshue (Josue) Mercereau and Marie Chadeayne. (Marie's birth and baptism are May 16 and May 19, 1695. See Registers, p. 41) Baird was correct that David married ca. 1730 Catherine Poillon, the daughter of Jacques Poillon and Catherine LeCounte. (Lyman Latourrette has the marriages correctly stated. See his Annals, pp. 26-8)
As already noted, somehow Baird missed the baptism of Pierre in the French Church of New York. Then Baird says "Pierre Latourette, perhaps a brother of Jean, married Marie Mercereau." (Vol. II, p. 147, ft. 2) Baird isn't careful to distinguish between Jean the father (born ca 1651) and Jean the son (born 1695), the latter being the brother of Pierre.
This is likely the source of the notion that Jean came to America with a brother, as described in Keve's notes about his correspondence with Lyman Latourette. Certainly the many marriages in these early years in America between the Latourrettes and Mercereaus could have easily led to confusion and incorrect assumptions. The way in which Baird described the brother relationship appears to have compounded the confusion and, likely, early in his research Lyman didn't realize that Baird was referring to a relationship between two of the sons (Jean and Pierre) of Jean Latourrette and Marie Mercereau, rather than the father Jean.
Unfortunately, the story about two Latourrette brothers coming from Osse with Peiret is still found on the internet. On the second page of an internet posting about Huguenots who left France with Protestant ministers at the time of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, one finds an entry for America as follows:
"L'AMÉRIQUE Fondateur de l'église française de New-York en 1687, le pasteur Pierre PEYRET d'Osse dont les descendants seront négociants en grain à Chicago sous le nom anglicisé de PEYRIT. Parmi les premiers paroissiens on retrouve des noms de Osse: Sallenave, Minvielle, Cazalé et les frères Latourette."
Which reads in English: Founder of the French Church of New York in 1687, the pastor Pierre Peyret (usually signed in France and New York as Peiret) of Osse whose ancestors will be grain traders in Chicago under the anglicized name of Peyrit. Among the parishioners one finds names of Osse: Sallenave, Minvielle, Cazale and the brothers Latourette. Source, page 2 of
At the end of these Webpage entries, one finds a listing of sources, one of which is A. Sarrabere (Albert Sarrabere, author of Dictionnaire Des Pasteurs Basques et Bearnais, XVIe-XVIIe Siecles, Center for the Study of Bearn Protestantism, 2001). Sarrabere studied the lives of approximately 350 protestant ministers in Bearn and found that frequently those ministers who fled at the time of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, like Pastor Pierre Peiret of Osse, were accompanied by several parishioners.
From a communication with Mr. Jean-Luc Bilhou-Nabera, dated August 10, 2004, the author was informed by Mr. Bilhou-Nabera that Sarrabere was not able to document that the three parishioners, cited above (Sallenave, Minvielle, and Cazale), were actually from Osse. It appears that Sarrabere found these Bearnese sounding surnames in New York, associated with Peiret and Latourette. To reach this conclusion Sarrabere may have reviewed the Registers of the French Church of New York during the time of Peiret's ministry and found these Bearnese names in entries from 1688 to 1704, the latter being the year of Peiret's death. (Note: The entries in the Registers are in French.)
Also, it is obvious that Sarrabere is familiar with Charles W. Baird's Huguenot Emigration to America (likely through the French translation cited above) and, like Lyman 100 years ago, was misled into believing that there were two Latourrette brothers who fled Osse.
As noted above, Pastor Marc Forisser, Les Eglises Reformeee du Bearn, suggested that several parishioners accompanied Peiret with "the most famous being Jean Latourrette." It also is noted by Forisser that Latourrette was found in New York with Peiret after they left Osse. There is no mention of a brother accompanying Jean in Forissier's review of the history of the church at Osse.
No conclusive evidence has been found as yet to match the surnames, cited above by Sarrabere, to Osse before 1685 and then New York after 1687.
The author's earlier papers indicate it is likely a group of French Protestant refugees accompanied Peiret and Jean latourrette from London to New York on the ship Robert in the fall of 1687. From two sources we know the names of three of the other French Protestants on the Robert: Peter Reverdy and Michael Pare (Wittmeyer, historical introduction to the Registers p. xxi of the 1886 edition) and Elie Nezereau (Baird, Vol. I. p. 290, ft. 7). We also know that two males accompanied Peiret, sponsored by the French Relief Committee in London. Given the evidence available about them in London, the author has determined that one of these two males was Jean Latourrette. Was the other male also from Osse? Were there others from Osse that continued beyond London to America with Peiret? Relative to these questions, we have only a few clues that require additional research and analysis.
On the New York side, we have the research of Rev. John A. F. Maynard who tried to track the people, listed in the Registers of the French Church of New York, to their origins in France. See his Chapter V, "Their Home Towns," in The Huguenot Church of New York: A History of the French Church of Saint Esprit, (1938) pp.97-113. Many of Maynard's citations are from Charles Baird's research, published in Huguenot Emigration to America. On the Bearn side, we have the surnames (patronymes) by community being researched by over a dozen people in the villages close to Osse, including Jean-Luc Bilhou-Nabera and Yves Lafournere, cited above.
Relative to name of Minvielle:
The name is found among the patronymes of Osse. It also is a name very well known in the region. Mr. Pierre Mirassou-Minvielle, recently deceased, was a very revered member of the Protestant community who owned property in Osse associated with the Latourrette family and traced a Latourrette ancestry from his mother's side. So Sarrabere's assumption about the association of the Minvielle name with Osse suggests a possible connection.
However, we do not find corroborating evidence from Baird or Maynard. The senior Minvielle found in New York is Gabriel Minvielle who signs his name in the church Registers in 1694 as G.C. Minvielle. Baird and others say he is from Bordeaux and that he was in NYC earlier than Jean Latourrette and Pastor Peiret. He was in NYC by 1673, served as mayor in 1684, and was a member of the council of New York under four governors. (See Baird, Vol. II, p.140, ft. 1 and Maynard, p. 107) The documentation on Gabriel Minvielle is so substantial that clearly he did not come to New York with Peiret and Jean Latourrette.
There is a David Minvielle, tracked to being born in Montauban, who is described as a nephew of Gabriel. He came to NYC later, after the death of Gabriel, and was naturalized there in 1705. (See Baird, Vol. II, p. 143)
A third Minvielle, Jean Jacques, appears several times in the church records. Baird identifies him from Gabriel's will as the son of Gabriel's deceased brother, Pierre. (Baird, Vol. II, p.140, ft. 1)
Therefore, although the name of Minvielle is associated historically with Osse, there is no evidence that the Minvielle families found in the records of the French Church of New York were from Osse.
Relative to Cazale:
One finds today telephone listings for Cazale, Cazalz and Cazals in what was the Bearn region of France. All but a few of the listings are as Cazale, the surname suggested by Sarabere. It is therefore likely that the name has a Bearnais origin, but it doesn't appear among the patronymes being researched in the Aspe Valley, in which Osse is located. Today, moreover, the name is not found in the area of Osse. However, the name is found in the form of Cazalz and Cazals in New York in the early 1700s, associated with the French Church.
In the church Registers there is a record of a Jean and a Judith Cazalz. Judith signs her name as Cazalz as a witness at a baptism on Oct 17, 1703.(Registers, p.97) Jean's name appears in the index of the Registers only two times --- at the burial of Pastor Peiret September 2, 1704 and the appointment of a new minister a few days later.(Registers, pp. 101-102). Including Cazalz, there are 38 signatures on the first date and 37 on the second and the signatures represent the church's leadership, so it is likely this is the role that brings Cazalz to these services. Maynard cites Jean Cazals as being on a special church committee in 1706 which consists of the leading French refugees in New York. (p. 119) Missed in the index is his witness at a baptism January 13, 1734 of the son of the minister Louis Rou. (Registers, p. 197) The appearance and signature of Jean Cazalz at this baptism is cited by Maynard, in the context of an ongoing dispute within the church leadership. (p. 133). Also missed in the index is a baptism April 29, 1711 (Registers, p. 122), where Jean Cazals and "sa femme" are witnesses, but signatures are not recorded. The baptism ceremony is for one of the twins of the family of Cazalet. It is interesting that the baptism of the other twin is sponsored by the father and mother, Noe (Noah) and Elizabeth (Ony), rather than some other godfather and godmother. Baird found that Noe came to New York in the early 1700s and was made a freeman on August 22, 1709 and became a constable in 1710. Baird also notes that Noe who, at first pretended to convert to Catholicism after 1685, stayed for awhile in Languedoc, France, before going to London and then New York. (See Vol. II, pp 121-2) So, if the baptism ceremony suggests any earlier relationship with Cazalet in France, it is not associated with Osse or Bearn. (The name of Cazalet is important here because in another communication with Mr. Bilhou-Nabera, shared with the author, Sarrabere mentions Cazalet rather than Cazale as a person accompanying Peiret. This suggests one should treat Sarrabere's list with even more skepticism. Clearly Noe Cazalet was not from Osse, as noted above.)
It should be noted that Maynard cites Cazals in 1706 and Cazalz in 1734, but the signature in the records is always Cazalz. In Maynard's index the name is given as Cazal (-ls). In the Registers it is given as Cazalz. One frequently finds the "z" written as an "s" in these records as in the case of Moise, Saintonge, written by Peiret in the marriage record of Jean Latourrette, is actually Moeze in French.
Given the documented dates of the association of Jean and Judith Cazalz with the French Church from 1703 to 1734, it appears that they likely came to New York after Pastor Peiret and Jean Latourrette arrived in 1687. Moreover, neither Baird nor Maynard trace their origin back to France. Finally, there is yet to be established any connection of the surname with Osse or the Aspe Valley in which it is located.
It should be noted that given Peiret's burial on September 2, 1704, the day after he died, one would not expect to see Jean Latourrette's name recorded among the men attending the service. He had moved to Staten Island by 1698 and was associated with the church near his home. Moreover, given the communications of day, it is highly likely that word of the pastor's death and burial would not have reached him until after September 2.
Relative to the name of Sallenave (Salenave/Salnave?):
The name is not found among the patronymes of Osse currently being researched. Furthermore, the name is not found today in Osse or the Aspe Valley, but one finds 3 Salenave and 82 Sallenave telephone listings in the area historically associated with Bearn. Moreover, the surname can be traced to the area around Pau and Oloron-St. Marie, where there is some on-going research on the surname, but not south into the Aspe valley where Osse is located. So Sarrabere is correct that the name is associated with Bearn (it is Bearnese), but it may not be associated with Osse.
In the Registers of the French Church of New York one finds a Jean Pierre de Salnave being married January 29, 1701 and later the baptism of a son by the same name is recorded in 1702. (See Registers, pp. 79 and 89) In contrast to the many other people of Peiret's church who have been tracked to their origin in France, one does not find the name of Salnave, Salenave, or Sallenave in Maynard's chapter. In Baird, it is noted that Jean Pierre de Salnave married Madelaine Geneuil, who fled with her father, Louis, mother and sister, Marie, from Moise (Moeze), Saintonge in 1681 to England. (See Baird, Vol. II, p.20, ft. 1)
In examining the Registers of the French Church, one finds that the entries by Pastor Peiret and signatures of Jean Pierre vary from Salenaue (marriage in 1701, p.79)to Salnaue and Sal(l)enaue (baptism of son in 1702, p.89), the latter form being the way in which the Registers show Jean Pierre signing the record. (Note that frequently one finds in the published records that u is used interchangeably with v, as is found, for example, with some of the entries for Minvielle. Also, the author has pointed out that Jean Latourrette always signed with a double "r", although Peiret entered the name with a single "r" and the published records show it with a single "r".) So, there is a possible match with one of the names cited by Sarrabere as a parishioner who left Osse with Peiret and Jean Latourrette.
A John Peter Salnave, the son of Jean Pierre Salnave and Madelaine Geneuil, baptized in 1702, marries a Sarah Hatfield, b. 1701 - d. 1764, of Elizabethtown, NJ in February 1723/24 (old/new calendar). To date, the author has been able to trace this family lineage, recorded as Salnave, in America for only a few generations to determine if a family genealogist may have found the father's origin in France. It appears that the surname has continued as Salnave in America, because currently one finds as many as 44 telephone listings as Salnave and only one as Sallenave. (No other form of the name is found in telephone listings and the author's letter to the one Sallenave address listed in the telephone directory was returned without being forwarded.)Entries on www.ancestry.com suggest the father came to New York from the West Indies and there are now some Salnave descendants in America from Haiti. A Sylvain Salnave (1826-1870) was a "president" of Haiti from the period 1867-70, and was executed in the latter year. No connection with the Jean Pierre Salnave, married in 1701, has been established with the Haitian lineage. It is possible that Jean Pierre Salnave could have come from Haiti because French Huguenot settlements were made there as early as 1659 and what is now the country of Haiti became a French possession in 1697. So, this line of inquiry has not as yet revealed any connection back to Osse.
Although it appears that no one is currently researching the name of Salenave or Sallenave in Osse, the name is found in a 1385 census of houses in Osse as "L'ostau de Berdot de Salenave", the house of Salenave. (Paul Raymond, "Denombrement general des maisons de la vicomte de Bearn en 1385,'" Pau, 1873)
During the period leading up to 1685, a marriage in Osse is found between the Salenaves and the Latourrettes in the genealogies cited above, developed by Jean-Luc Bilhou-Nabera, Bernard Cazenave-Latourrette and Yves Lafournere.
Finding this connection with of name Salenave or Sallenave does not prove that the Jean Pierre Salenave, found in the New York church records in 1701-2, left Osse with Peiret and Jean Latourrette. On the other hand, given the fact that Osse was increasingly an isolated island of Protestantism in the Aspe Valley and there were very strong pressures to marry within the Protestant group, the Salenave family found in Osse in 1385 could have still been residing there or in an adjoining village, accounting for the marriage between the two families.
Yet, if Jean Pierre Salenave was from Osse, why didn't Peiret note his place of origin in France at the time of his marriage in 1701, particularly if Salenave came to New York as the second male with Peiret, funded by the French Relief Committee of London? In examining the entries in the Registers by Peiret, it is clear that he made a point in 1693 of identifying Jean Latourrette's origin as being Osse, Bearn. But that was several years earlier and perhaps the point did not come to mind at the time of Jean Pierre Salenave's marriage. So Salenave remains as a possibility in terms of a parishioner accompanying Peiret and Jean Latourrette from Osse to New York.
From the evidence in Osse and New York, we know that only one Latourrette came with Peiret to New York in 1687. Although it is likely that other parishioners left Osse with Peiret, we do not know as yet if any came with them all the way to New York. The names of parishioners, Minvielle and Cazale, suggested by Sarabere as being in New York with Peiret from Osse are not supported by the French Church records. The one name to be investigated is Jean Pierre de Salenave (Salnave or Sallenave), because of the possible connection of the surname with Osse and the Latourrettes. Is he the second male, unnamed, who accompanied Peiret on the ship Robert? Or, did he or his ancestors come from some other area of Bearn at another time, perhaps first to Haiti?