All posts by Brian Nilsson

It’s Not Too Late to Sign Up for Our Annual Meeting; Some Details for Attendees

There is still some availability to sign up to attend our annual meeting weekend in San Antonio, Texas, the weekend of October 18, 2019! The hotel is still honoring our Society special rate; to make your hotel reservations and to submit your registration form to the Society, follow the instructions on our form.

2019 FMS Registration form FINAL

For those who are already registered to attend and will be flying to San Antonio, the hotel provides a free shuttle service between the airport and hotel. When arriving, simply call the hotel at 210-340-6060 and ask for a pick-up at the airport. The hotel will tell you where to wait and how soon the shuttle will be there.

Once at the hotel and checked in, come find the Society’s registration table in Hallway Texas D&E to let us know you’ve arrived and pick up your welcome package. The registration table will be open from 10 am to 12 pm and from 3:00 to 6:00 pm on Friday, October 18.

We look forward to seeing many of you in San Antonio!

Reminder! Register for Annual Meeting by September 18!

A reminder to make your hotel reservations directly with the hotel and send in your registration form to our Society’s treasurer by September 18! This will ensure you receive a special Society rate at the hotel and we can finalize all the plans for our San Antonio weekend of October 18-20.

The contact information for the hotel is included in the attached registration form.

We hope to see you all in Texas!

2019 FMS Registration form FINAL

Register Today for the Society’s Annual Meeting Oct. 18-20, 2019, in San Antonio!

The Society’s Executive Committee has finalized the arrangements for our annual meeting weekend!   We will meet in San Antonio, Texas, the weekend of October 18-20, 2019.

Please use the information on the attached form to make your hotel reservations directly with the hotel, then complete the form and mail it to the address listed, together with your registration check, no later than September 18, 2019!

We have a fun, full, and interesting weekend planned and we hope to have a terrific turnout!

2019 FMS Registration form FINAL

New Maury Book Available! The Tale of a Black Sheep: Stephen Price Maury

This new Maury book is by historian Richard Nicholas, the first publication of Stephen Price Maury’s (1850-1941) memoirs.  A native of Charlottesville, Virginia, Price was an adventurer, a world traveler, served in the British Navy, and a civil engineer.  He spent much time in San Antonio where he met and married his wife and where two of his sisters – Jane Lewis Maury (1858-1954) and Ellen McGregor Maury (1860-1926) – settled and who will be the predominant focus of this year’s Society annual meeting weekend (October 18-20, 2019).

This 156 page paperback book contains Price’s memoirs, annotated by Mr. Nicholas with further details on Price and the events in the memoirs.  The book includes photographs, maps, and a family tree.

The book is $25 and available directly from the publisher, Blackwell Press, or from  Please note that the book is not  available through the Society.

This book is an excellent new addition to our Fontaine and Maury family histories.  Its timely publication will be a great read for those attending our annual meeting in San Antonio in October 2019!

Tale of a Black Sheep: Stephen Price Maury
Tale of a Black Sheep: Stephen Price Maury
Stephen Price Maury 1850-1941
Stephen Price Maury 1850-1941

Newly Available Library Item! Fontaine Maury Society Annual Meeting Albums and Fontaine Pictorial Family History 1977 to 2013 by Dr. John May

The Society is excited to announce the availability of a tremendous new resource from our library that provides a pictorial history of our Society and of our family history.

Our late former President, Dr. John May, compiled a photo album of each annual meeting weekend beginning in 1977 and covering most years through 2013 – 36 years of our Society in pictures!  Each of the seven volumes is a blend of photos, maps, and other handouts from our annual weekends together.

Dr. May donated the albums to the library several years ago which our librarian has brought to annual meetings for attendees to enjoy.  After our October 2018 annual meeting, the Executive Committee approved having the albums digitized to make them available for everyone to enjoy.  We had each item in the albums photographed and compiled in folders for each of the seven volumes.

The library is now making this single CD available for purchase for $8.00.  Each of Dr. May’s albums are in their own folder on the CD, with the total number of images over 600.  Six of the albums cover most years from 1977 to 2013; the seventh volume contains a Fontaine Pictorial Family History.

It is a fitting tribute to Dr. May who passed away in May 2019 that more of his labor of love for our family history is now available for all to enjoy.

For the order address and payment information, visit the Society’s library page.

Make Your San Antonio Reservations for the October 18-20, 2019, Annual Meeting!

As previously announced, our 2019 annual meeting will be in San Antonio, Texas!  Our plans are well developed and full details will be coming out soon in tandem with our summer newsletter.

We will start our weekend with a special event in the afternoon of Friday, October 18, our annual business meeting that night at the hotel, and then a full day tour and our annual dinner at the hotel on Saturday, October 19.  There will be no organized events on Sunday, October 20.  Please plan to come in time to attend the Friday afternoon event!

We will be based at the Hilton San Antonio Airport Hotel which is located at 611 N.W. Loop 410, San Antonio, TX 78216.

The hotel is giving us a special rate of $109.00 per night plus applicable state and local taxes, bringing the total per night to $128.62.  This special rate includes breakfast for two per room, free parking, and free shuttle within two miles of the hotel.

Our rate is confirmed for up to three days before and three days after our event (arriving as early as Tuesday, October 15, and departing as late as Wednesday, October 23).

Please make your hotel reservation directly with the hotel by September 18, 2019, in order to get our special rate and to ensure you can get a room.  To make your reservation, please use this link which is already set up just for our Society that will ensure you receive the Society’s group rate, or call the hotel directly at 210-340-6060, or fax to 210-377-4695.  Remember to tell them that you are with the “Fontaine Maury Society” (group code FMS) to get our group rate!

Come to Texas!

Virginia Funds Further Preservation at Revolutionary War & Civil War Battlefields Key to Fontaine Family History

Some belated but good news from 2018.  The Virginia Department of Historic Resources provided a grant of $1.15 million to the American Battlefield Trust (that preserves Revolutionary War and Civil War battlefields to preserve them for history) to acquire 562 acres.  The funds will acquire property at the Revolutionary War battlefield at Yorktown where five known Fontaine family members served, at the Civil War battlefield at North Anna where a Fontaine home was damaged and Jaques Fontaine’s 1720s manuscript was partially damaged, and six other battlefield locations in Virginia.  The Society partnered with the Trust when it saved the North Anna battlefield.

2019 Society Annual Meeting Location: San Antonio, Texas!

The Executive Committee is pleased to announce that the Society’s 2019 annual meeting will take place in October 2019 in San Antonio, Texas.

The theme will focus predominantly on two Maury sisters who “went west” from Virginia to settle in San Antonio – Jane Lewis Maury (1858-1954) and Ellen McGregor Maury (1860-1926), descendants of Mary Ann Fontaine and Matthew Maury. The sisters were born in Charlottesville where Jane married in 1877 with Albert “Allie” Maverick and Ellen in 1883 with James Luther Slayden.

Allie Maverick was a native of San Antonio and went to Charlottesville to attend the University of Virginia; his father was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and the source of the term of when someone is a “maverick.” Allie was a gregarious man and well-loved in San Antonio where he and Jane lived on the Sunshine Ranch for over 40 years, the site of many famous and large Sunday night suppers. Jane and Allie had a number of children, including Maury Maverick Sr., who was a U.S. congressman who coined the word “gobbledygook” who was later the San Antonio mayor. Another son George Madison Maverick purchased the Jaques Fontaine 1720s manuscript from the Minor estate and placed it in the Alderman Library at the University of Virginia for its preservation.

1877 Jane & Albert Maverick Honeymoon Picture

Ellen Maury’s husband James Slayton was elected to represent San Antonio in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1896 and he continued in that position for 22 years.  They had no children.

Slayden Photos

Both sisters were published writers.  Jane Maury Maverick wrote several books, Mission San Jose and A True Romance of the Alamo. Her husband Allie wrote A Maverick Abroad: Foot Travels in England and France. Their son James Slayden Maverick wrote Maverick Ancestors of the Maverick Family of Texas and their great-granddaughter Ellen Maury Davis Cassidy compiled the book, The Mavericks of Sunshine Ranch: Writings of Jane and Albert Maverick and their Granddaughter Mary Maverick McGarraugh.  Ellen Maury Slayton wrote a journal that was published posthumously as Washington Wife: From the Journal of Ellen Maury Slayden from 1897 to 1919 about her life in Washington, D.C.

Among the places we may visit during our weekend include land that was part of the Sunshine Ranch, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, the Albert Maverick Building, Mayor Maury Maverick Plaza, and the cemeteries where the two sisters and their husbands are buried.

There are other Fontaine and Maury ties to San Antonio including several family members from different branches who went to San Antonio which was the assembly point for troops for the 1848 Mexican War.

Please check back for more details as we have them. For now, please mark your calendars for an October 2019 visit to San Antonio!

Report on the 2018 Annual Meeting in Yorktown, Virginia

The Society had our largest crowd ever at our annual meeting weekend with over 80 attendees! Our weekend formally began on the evening of Friday, October 19, 2018, but many of our attendees arrived early to attend the annual Yorktown Day celebrations and to attend a special exhibition for our Society at the College of William & Mary. Yorktown Day commemorates the October 19, 1781, British surrender in the American Revolution with a parade and a number of wreath-laying ceremonies. On Friday afternoon we had a special treat as the Special Collections Library at the College of William & Mary hosted an Open House for us at the Swem Library where they had 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. Over 50 Society members attended this special exhibition.

Our business meeting was held that evening at the Fort Magruder Hotel and Conference Center in Williamsburg, where we were based for the weekend. The hotel’s name has an ironic connection to the Fontaine family. Major General John Bankhead Magruder was a Civil War military leader who was involved in the defense of Galveston in 1863 where he met Sidney Thurston Fontaine, grandson of Aaron Fontaine and great-grandson of the Reverend Peter Fontaine. In Mexico City after the end of the war he met Matthew Fontaine Maury as the two men were staying in the same hotel. When Magruder died in Galveston in 1871, he left little resources so he was buried in a plot owned by Sidney Fontaine.

The Society’s officers provided their reports at the business meeting and elections were held for vacant Executive Committee positions and for those for which the terms were expiring. Members made suggestions for future locations for our annual meeting, including suggestions for sites in Florida, Georgia, and Texas. See the separate article with the Executive Committee’s decision for our 2019 meeting location!

On Saturday we had a full day that began with a visit by the Marquis de Lafayette himself! The re-enactor gave us an excellent overview of Lafayette’s life, what led him to come to America to support the Revolution, and summarized that fateful day when the British surrendered, witnessed by at least four members of the Fontaine family. From there we visited 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 immigrant experience passing through the Custom House in those early days was representative of the experiences of all five Fontaine siblings and their families who arrived at various ports in the area in the late 1710s and early 1720s.

From there we went 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.  We had lunch in the parish hall, after which a docent gave us a short talk in the church. She reported finding a 1724 report written by the Reverend Francis that was prepared for the Bishop of London.  We plan to publish this report in a future Society newsletter.  In the afternoon we visited the Yorktown Visitors Center for a brief film and a visit to the museum, followed by a special reenactment of a live firing of a British artillery unit.  We then toured part of the Yorktown battlefield – Moore House where the 1781 surrender terms were discussed, the surrender field itself, and the French artillery battery.

That evening we had our annual dinner at the Fort Magruder Hotel.  Our keynote speaker was Jay Gaidmore, Director of the Special Collections Library at the College of William & Mary who discussed the college’s extraordinary Fontaine and Maury holdings. His talk included a presentation showing images from the collection and the university’s on-going digitation program.

Fontaine Maury Society attendees at Annual Dinner on Saturday night
Fontaine Maury Society attendees at Annual Dinner on Saturday night

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!