All posts by Brian Nilsson

September 19 Approaching, Remember to Sign Up for the Annual Meeting!

Our annual meeting is October 19-21, 2018, in Yorktown, Virginia.

Please make your hotel reservation at Fort Magruder Hotel in Williamsburg, Virginia, by September 19 and remember to ask for the Fontaine Maury Society (FMS) special rate!

Please also mail your registration form directly to our Society’s treasurer by September 19 so we can finalize all our plans with an appropriate head-count.

Details are here on our announcement page!  See you in Yorktown!

Details and Registration Form for Annual Meeting in Yorktown, Virginia

Please plan to join us for this year’s annual meeting the weekend of October 19-21, 2018.  Our weekend will be based at the Fort Magruder Hotel and Conference Center, 6945 Pocahontas Trail, in Williamsburg VA  23185.  The hotel has offered the Society a special group rate of $109.00 per night.  With the 12 percent state tax and a $2.00 occupancy tax, the total will be $122.08 per night.  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.  A complimentary continental breakfast will be included because the hotel is under renovations; if renovations are complete by the time of our visit, there will be a charge for breakfast.  For your convenience a list of local places for breakfast will be included in your welcome packets when you arrive for the weekend.

All rooms include complimentary parking, Wi-Fi, mini-refrigerator, coffee-maker with teas and coffees, hair dryer, and iron with ironing board.  The hotel also has an ATM, business center, dry cleaning service, 24-hour access fitness center, heated indoor pool, and guest laundry facility.

Please make your hotel reservation directly with the hotel by September 19, 2018, at 757-220-2250, Info@fortmagruderhotel.com, or via the hotel’s webpage.  Please remember to ask for the Fontaine Maury Society group rate!

Our first event will be our business meeting on Friday night, October 19, at 7:00 pm in the Petersburg conference room in our hotel, after dinner on your own.  That day will be a busy one in Yorktown as it will be the annual Yorktown Day celebration, commemorating the British surrender at Yorktown.  You may want to come early for our weekend to enjoy those festivities that include a number of activities that morning.  A separate posting follows with the list of activities that day, October 19.

We have a special treat for Friday afternoon for those of you who arrive early!  The Swem Library, the Special Collections at the College of William & Mary, will host an Open House for us from 2-4 pm where they will have a number of original Fontaine and Maury family documents on display as well as original letters from Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, John Marshall, John Tyler, and George Washington, and Marquis de Lafayette.

The Special Collections Library is on the first floor of the Swem Library located at 400 Landrum Drive in Williamsburg, 23185.  When you arrive at the library, press the buzzer to gain entrance and tell them that you are there for the Special Collections Open House.  The library is about 2.5 miles from our hotel; parking is limited to a small number of metered parking spaces behind the library and in front of the nearby Muscarelle Museum of Art whose address is 603 Jamestown Road.  There are a few handicapped parking spaces behind the library with entrance at Loading Dock #1.  There are downloadable maps at the bottom of the William & Mary webpage.  Uber, Lift and taxi services are available.

We will have an all-day tour on Saturday, October 20, from 9 am to 4:30 pm.  We will first go to the Yorktown Visitors Center for a 15 minute film, a visit to the museum, and part of the battlefield grounds.  From there we will go to Grace Church where the Reverend Francis Fontaine was rector from 1722 until his death in 1749.  He is believed to be buried in the graveyard there.  A docent will give us a short talk followed by a tour, then we will have a boxed lunch there.

After lunch we will tour part of the Yorktown battlefield – Moore House where the 1781 surrender terms were discussed, the surrender field itself, and the French artillery battery.  We will also witness a special reenactment of a British unit firing artillery.  From there we will go to the Custom House in downtown Yorktown.  Built around l720, it was the clearing house for processing immigrants arriving in Yorktown.  James Fontaine, his wife, and daughter landed in Yorktown in October 1717.  The house is owned and operated by the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  They will provide us a talk on the immigrant experience in those early days which would be applicable to all five Fontaine siblings and their families who arrived at various ports in the area.  We will be divided into groups in order to tour the house.

We will return to the hotel by 4:30 pm and reconvene at 6:30 pm in the Petersburg conference room in the hotel for our annual dinner.  Our keynote speaker will be the director of the Special Collections at the College of William & Mary who 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.

A registration form is included; please print and send your completed form, with a check or money order made payable to “The Fontaine Maury Society” to the address listed by September 19, 2018.  Please come for what will be a very interesting weekend!

2018 FMS Registration form FINAL

Details on Separate October 19 Yorktown Day Events!

Details on Separate October 19 Yorktown Day Events!

Our annual meeting weekend of October 19-21, 2017, in Yorktown, Virginia, coincides with the annual Yorktown Day which commemorates the October 19, 1781, British surrender to the Americans effectively ending the American Revolution. Please consider coming early for our weekend so you can participate in these festivities which are separate from our Society’s planned events.

8:45 am Wreath-laying Ceremony at the French Cemetery at the Yorktown
Battlefield.

9:00 am Wreath-laying at the Grave of Virginia Governor Thomas Nelson Jr. at Grace
Episcopal Church.

9:15 am Wreath-Laying and Commemorative Ceremony at the French Memorial

10:00 am Yorktown Day Parade on Main Street

11:00 am – 4:00 pm Custom House open

11:15 am Patriotic Exercises and Memorial Wreath-Laying Ceremony at Monument to
Alliance and Victory

11:30 am Brunswick Stew Lunch at Grace Episcopal Church

In addition to visiting the Swem Library in the afternoon to view papers relevant to our family, you may wish to visit the Town of York, the Nelson House, the Watermen’s Museum, the Gallery at York Hall, the York County Historical Museum, and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. You may also wish to visit Riverwalk Landing along the Yorktown waterfront, where the schooners Alliance and Serenity are docked.

For up-to-date details on Yorktown Day events, periodically check the Yorktown Day webpage.

Yorktown Day Schedule

Call for Nominations or Volunteers for Society Leadership Positions!

At our annual business meeting each year, we do a call for nominations for elected positions and volunteers for positions on the Executive Committee consistent with our By-Laws. Those positions held by elected officials are the President and Vice President, for two year terms, and three Directors each for three year terms. Our permanent positions based on volunteers are the secretary, treasurer, librarian, newsletter editor, membership secretary, and webmaster.

Our upcoming election at the annual business meeting on October 19, 2018, in Yorktown, Virginia, will be for the positions of President and Vice President as our current officers are both ending their second two-year terms. One of the three director positions will also be open. Directors typically help on different projects on behalf of the Executive Committee. We are also seeking a volunteer for the position of secretary. We currently have someone who has kindly served in this position in an acting capacity until a permanent secretary can be found. We need an active Executive Committee to help us continue the Society’s activities; we also want to help bring in more young people to encourage the next generation to carry on all the good work done by our current and prior membership.

If you would like to submit a nomination or volunteer, please contact the Society’s librarian BHNilsson (at) aol.com who will put you in touch with the Executive Committee leadership subcommittee.

Original Francis Fontaine (1721-1785) Signature!

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!

Francis Fontaine signature
Francis Fontaine signature

New Details on Society Annual Meeting October 19-21, in Yorktown, Virginia

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!

Reminder Your Membership is Tax Deductible!

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!

http://www.fontainemaurysociety.com/membership.html

 

Seeking Information on Ruben Nelson, Former Slave of James Fontaine in Hanover Co., Virginia

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.

1867-09-26 Reuben Nelson Freedman Application

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!

2018 Society Annual Meeting Will Be October 19-21 in Yorktown, Virginia

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!