On Tuesday, 14 August 1750, Francis “Frank” Fontaine (1721-1785) witnessed the will of Elias Dupee in Newbern, North Carolina. Frank would have been 28 years old. He appeared in the Craven County Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions almost four years later, on Thursday, 14 February 1754, testifying that he had witnessed Elias sign his will. The attached photo is of his original signature on the 1750 will, found in the North Carolina Department of Archives and History. An exciting find of a document handled by an ancestor and that contains an original signature!
The Society’s annual meeting will take place on Friday-Sunday, October 19-21, 2018, in Yorktown, Virginia. The theme will focus on descendants from several of the five Fontaine siblings who settled in Virginia from Ireland, as well as the family’s role in the Revolutionary War and in Yorktown. Our events will include participation in the annual Yorktown Day festivities on October 19, which includes a parade, fifes and drums performances and special programs that commemorate the 236th anniversary of America’s Revolutionary War victory over the British at Yorktown.
All five of the Fontaine siblings who came to America landed in the area of our meeting, with a number of family members specifically being at Yorktown. James Fontaine (1686-1745) and his wife Lucretia Desjarrie and their daughter Elizabeth landed in Yorktown in October 1717 where James’ brother John Fontaine (1693-1767) met them and took them home to the family plantation John had established. Their brother Francis Fontaine (1697-1749) and his wife Mary Glenisson followed, arriving in Virginia in May 1719. Francis became the Rector of York-Hampton Parish two years later, in 1723, and remained in this role until his death in 1749. He preached in Grace Church in Yorktown and is believed to be buried in the churchyard.
A number of family members were in Yorktown on that fateful day of October 19, 1781, when the British surrendered to the Army of General George Washington. Lt. Col. William Fontaine (1753-1810), grandson of another of the five siblings, the Reverend Peter Fontaine (1691-1810), was with Washington and wrote about the surrender. William’s brother, John Fontaine (1750-1792), was there as well with his Henry County, Virginia (VA), militia unit, as well as their uncle Aaron Fontaine (1753-1823) who was there as part of his Louisa County VA militia unit. Aaron’s future son-in-law, Edmund Bullock (1763-1852), was there with his Hanover County VA militia unit; the two men knew each other even though Edmond did not marry Aaron’s daughter until they were all living in Kentucky.
Our weekend will be at the Fort Magruder Hotel, located at 6945 Pocahontas Trail, in Williamsburg VA 23185. The hotel has offered the Society a special group rate of $109.00 per night; a state tax and a $2.00 occupancy tax will be added. The hotel rate is applicable for two nights prior to our weekend and two nights after, for those who may want to spend more time in the area. Breakfast is not included but we are working on a special rate to have breakfast in our group room each morning for those who wish to do so. The hotel is convenient to many sites, being only one mile from the College of William & Mary, seven miles from Jamestown, and nine miles from the Yorktown Battlefield Visitors Center. The hotel is 40 miles from the airports at Richmond and at Norfolk, and only 2.5 miles from the Amtrak train station. To make your hotel reservation, call the hotel at 757-220-2250; remember to ask for the Fontaine Maury Society group rate!
Our annual meeting at the hotel on Friday night will include a short presentation about the family’s role in the British surrender at Yorktown. We are still finalizing a full day tour on Saturday that will include Grace Church. Our annual dinner on Saturday night will be at the hotel. Our keynote speaker will be Jay Gaidmore, Director of Special Collections at the College of William & Mary. He will discuss the university’s extraordinary Fontaine and Maury holdings in their Special Collections. His talk will include a presentation showing images from the collection and the university’s on-going digitation program.
We will have more details, including the registration form, in the summer newsletter and on our web page!
As we approach April 15, 2018, please be reminded the Society became a non-profit public charity under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c)(3) as of 17 February 2015. This means that your donations to the Society, including your membership dues and any expenses to travel to and attend the annual meeting, are tax deductible under IRC Section 170. Should you have any questions about how to do this, we recommend that you contact your accountant or local IRS office. This is a great opportunity to remind people to pay their dues for 2018 so you can deduct them in 2019!
The Society has received a query for any information on a former slave, Ruben Nelson, who, based on a 26 September 1867 application in the Freedman’s Bank Records, was owned by James Fontaine (1799-1872) of Hanover County, Virginia. Reuben was born around 1842 in Louisa County, as was his wife Mary Ann. After the Civil War they lived in Richmond where Ruben worked in a hotel. They had six known children: Robert; Louisa; Ruben W.; James E.; Bertina; and William J. Nelson. In the 1870 census Ruben is identified as mulatto.
James Fontaine had 38 slaves in 1850, one of whom was about the age of Ruben, and 51 slaves in 1860, with two about the age of Ruben, per the census slave schedules generated in those years. In 1860 eight of the 51 were house slaves.
James’ wife, Juliet Morris, daughter of Richard Morris, was from Louisa County, where Ruben and his wife Mary Ann were born. Could Reuben have been owned by the Morris family? Richard Morris had 41 slaves in 1850 and 90 in 1860.
If you have any information on Ruben or Mary Ann or their family, please contact the Society’s librarian at BHNilsson@aol.com. We are also looking for any photographs of James Fontaine, if any exist. Thank you!
The Society’s 2018 annual meeting will take place on Friday-Sunday, October 19-21, 2018, in Yorktown, Virginia. The theme will focus on descendants from several of the five Fontaine siblings who settled in Virginia from Ireland, as well as the family’s role in the Revolutionary War and in Yorktown. Our events will include participation in the annual Yorktown Day festivities on October 19, which includes a parade, fifes and drums performances, and special programs that commemorate the 236th anniversary of America’s Revolutionary War victory over the British at Yorktown.
James Fontaine (1686-1745) and his wife Lucretia Desjarrie and their daughter Elizabeth landed in Yorktown in October 1717 where James’ brother John Fontaine (1693-1767) met them and took them home to the family plantation John had established. Their brother Francis Fontaine (1697-1749) and his wife Mary Glanisson followed, arriving in Virginia in May 1721. Francis became the Rector of York-Hampton Parish two years later, in 1723, and remained in this role until his death in 1749. He preached in Grace Church in Yorktown and is believed to be buried in the churchyard.
A number of family members were in Yorktown on that fateful day of October 19, 1781, when the British surrendered to General George Washington. Lt. Col. William Fontaine (1753-1810), grandson of another of the five siblings, the Reverend Peter Fontaine (1691-1757), was with Washington and wrote about the surrender. William’s brother, John Fontaine (1750-1792), was there as well with his Henry County, Virginia (VA), militia unit, as was their uncle Aaron Fontaine (1753-1823) who was there as part of his Louisa County VA militia unit. Aaron’s future son-in-law, Edmund Bullock (1763-1852), was there with his Hanover County VA militia unit; the two men knew each other even though Edmund did not marry Aaron’s daughter Elizabeth until they were all living in Kentucky.
Please check back for more details as we have them. For now, please mark your calendars!
The lead article in the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society’s 2017 annual magazine focuses on a little known aspect of Matthew Fontaine Maury’s life when he conducted a detailed survey-based physical assessment of Virginia. Based on an idea generated and then commissioned by the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), Maury returned to the United States in 1868 to take up the position of Professor of Meteorology at VMI. His job description included the production of this physical survey, with the thought that such a project would help the state’s rebuilding efforts. Author and researcher Richard Nicholas brings this little-known aspect of Maury’s life into focus in his 29-page article, “Matthew Fontaine Maury and the Physical Survey of Virginia and Albemarle County,” is complete with photographs, including of the full chapter on Albemarle County, citations, and a brief summary of Maury’s Fontaine ancestry and his legacy. The magazine (Volume 75; 2017) is available for purchase from the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society’s Store.
Have you ever wished you had an index or table of contents for all the Society’s newsletters to find an article or information that you remember reading but now cannot find? We have solved that problem by creating a comprehensive Table of Contents for all our newsletters! The Society began issuing newsletters intermittently in 1972 and then on a regular basis beginning in 1984. The Table of Contents is included in the hardcopy and CD versions available from the library and will be kept current.
Thanks to Russell Hooper’s effort our annual meeting in Franklin, Tennessee, was a great success with over 70 attendees, many who arrived early to visit the Tennessee State Capital Building in Nashville. The tour included visits to the Senate and House of Representatives chambers, the Supreme Court Chambers and the Governor’s Reception Room, as well as the State Library. Hall ways and rooms were lit by enormous ornate chandeliers hanging from the ceilings. We viewed busts and portraits of historic Americans such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and three other past United States Presidents, well known literary figures, and early American heroes such as Davy Crockett and Daniel Morgan. There was even a bronze bust of Cherokee Chief Sequoyah who created a written alphabet for native Americans. Numerous ceiling portraits done in 1859 include one of Matthew Fontaine Maury, the Pathfinder of the Seas. We also visited the adjacent Tennessee State Museum where we viewed a bust in storage of Matthew Fontaine Maury.
On Saturday we visited the farm where Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873) grew up and a small cemetery where several of his siblings are buried, followed by a visit to the Abram Maury Family Cemetery in a more urban area. Franklin’s founding father, Abram Maury (1766-1825), is buried there, as well as many other Maurys. Matthew Fontaine Maury is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. We had lunch at the historic Franklin Masonic Hall where we had presentations by Tina Jones and Rick Warwick about recent Maury research and efforts to document the families of freed slaves. Masonic brothers gave us private tours and explained several masonic traditions. Several of Abram Maury’s sons were prominent Masons.
Saturday evening we had dinner and a program at St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Keynote Address on the life of Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury was given by Howard Cohen, Deputy Chief of the Maritime Safety Office of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Friday, October 20, 2017:
Optional Trip to Tennessee State Capitol:
12:30pm: Bus arrives at hotel to pick us up. Registered attendees are asked to please arrive by 12-12:15 so we can load up as quickly as possible when the bus arrives. Note: Please try to grab a bite to eat before the trip.
1:30: Arrive at State Capitol for private tour with the Tennessee State Museum Curator. We will be viewing Commander Matthew F. Maury’s portrait painted on the Capitol ceiling and also his bust in the State Museum.
4:30-5:30: Arrive back at Hotel. Our precise return time will depend on how much time we spend at the Capitol and State Museum. The Curator will spend as much time with us we would like.
4-6pm at the Hotel:
There will be a Registration table setup outside the hotel meeting room. It will be to the left when you enter the hotel. There will be people available all evening for registration.
7-9pm: Business Meeting:
Saturday, October 21:
9am: Buses arrive at Hotel to pick up.
Again, please try to start gathering in the lobby between 8:30-8:45 so we can load as quickly as possible.
10am: Arrive at Old Maury Farm off Blazer Rd. This is the farm where Commander Matthew F. Maury grew up. We will visit a small Fontaine-Maury Cemetery by the side of the road where several of Cmdr. Maury’s siblings are buried. The County Historian has had an historical marker honoring Cmdr. Maury placed by the cemetery.
10:45am: Depart Blazer Rd.
11:00am: Arrive Abram Maury Family Cemetery in Founders Pointe Subdivision:
Franklin’s Founding Father, Abram Maury, is buried here along with many other Fontaine Maurys.
11:45-12: Depart Abram Maury Cemetery
12-12:15: Arrive Historic Franklin Masonic Hall:
We will have lunch at the Hall. Several of Abram Maury’s sons were prominent Masons at the Hall and we will see some of their signatures in the Ledger. Daniel Worsham Maury, for example, was at the laying of the Hall’s Cornerstone. Daniel was the First of the Maury clan born in Tennessee soil (1799).
Two local historians will be with us and one will give a fascinating talk about some of her Maury research.
Several Brothers at the Hall will be giving private tours.
2:30: Depart Hall
2:45-3pm: Arrive at Hotel
5pm: Buses will Arrive to pick up.
6pm: Arrive at St. Paul’s Episcopal:
The Church is hosting a cocktail gathering for us before the Dinner.
During dinner, Howard Cohen, Deputy Chief of the Maritime Safety Office of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, will deliver his Keynote Address on Commander Matthew F. Maury and his extraordinary legacy in our Nation’s history. Howard will be sharing several short videos. One, I believe, is from a Pentagon Ceremony honoring Cmdr. Maury that few have ever seen.
9:30-9:45: Bus will Depart for Hotel
10pm: Buses arrive at hotel.
Sunday, October 22:
Open Day for Society Members to explore Franklin.
Please understand these times will be somewhat fluid.