All posts by Brian Nilsson

Itinerary for 2017 Annual Meeting!

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

Saturday Evening:

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.

New Details, Registration Form for Annual Meeting 2017

The Fontaine Maury Society meeting for 2017 will be held this year in Franklin, Tennessee, on October 20-22. The meeting will focus on Franklin’s founder, Abram Maury (1766-1825), grandson of Mary Anne Fontaine and Matthew Maury, and Abram’s young cousin, Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873).

Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury, the grandson of Reverend James Maury (1717-1769), was born in Virginia in 1806, but moved to Franklin with his branch of the family in 1811 to join up with cousin Abram Maury who founded Franklin in 1799. Coincidentally, October 20 is the 301st Wedding Anniversary of Matthew Maury and his wife Mary Anne Fontaine, October 20, 1716.

We have already reserved a block of room for us in the Holiday Inn Franklin-Cool Springs at a rate of $109 per room. It is located at 1738 Carothers Parkway, Brentwood, Tennessee 37027, 615-277-8700. Please be sure to tell them that you are with the Fontaine Maury Society to get the group rate.

Unfortunately John Grady, author of Matthew Fontaine Maury, Father of Oceanography, A Biography 1806-1873 (published in 2015 in Jefferson, N.C., by McFarland & Co., Inc., and available from and former longtime Editor of the Navy Times, is no longer able to attend to speak about his comprehensive biography about the Commander but rest assured that we will have a keynote speaker who will enthrall us with details of the local family.

The historic Franklin Masonic Hall, the oldest public building in Franklin (1823) and one of only three Masonic Halls in the Nation listed as National Historic Landmarks, will serve as a base of operations throughout the weekend. Several Fontaine-Maurys were members of the Hall and we can view their names in the original ledger. Society member and organizer of our weekend, Russell Hooper, will also try to display some of his private collection of Fontaine-Maury papers, the largest such collection in private hands, at the Hall.

We are including an optional visit to the Tennessee State Museum in downtown Nashville to view Commander Maury’s bust. The museum is a 20 minute trip from Franklin. Another point of interest for us is the State Capitol in Nashville where a portrait of Maury is painted on the ceiling. We will be also visiting the Abram Maury Cemetery in Franklin where Abram Maury and other prominent Tennessee Fontaine-Maurys are buried.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Franklin, the Mother Church of the Diocese of Tennessee, is planning to host a cocktail event for the Society the evening of the 21st in Otey Hall. Commander Matthew Maury’s lifelong friend and teacher at the Harpath Academy in Franklin in the early 1800s, Bishop James H. Otey, founded St. Paul’s and established the Episcopal Diocese in Tennessee.

An option for Sunday for those who might have time would be a visit to Maury County, twenty minutes to the south where several prominent Maurys are buried at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Commander Maury’s mentor, Bishop James H. Otey, is also buried at St. John’s. Maury County was named in honor of Abram Maury in 1807.

Please complete the registration form below and mail it to the address provided!

2017 FMS Registration form

Transcription of the Will of Aaron Fontaine (1753-1823) by Claudia Edwards

Aaron Fontaine, son of the Reverend Peter Fontaine, was one of the founders of Louisville, Kentucky, where he and his family arrived by around December 1797. Found in the Jefferson County, Kentucky, Will Book 2, Society member Claudia Edwards photographed Aaron’s will from that book and has transcribed it. She has graciously agreed to let us publish both the original and her transcription for all to see. Thanks Claudia!

Will of Aaron Fontaine from Jefferson County Will Book 2

Transcript of Will of Aaron Fontaine


Seeking manuscript entitled “Tales of a Black Sheep” by Stephen Maury

The Society has received a query from a gentleman writing an article about Matthew Fontaine Maury and the Maurys of Charlottesville who is looking for a narrative written by Stephen Price Maury (1850-1941) of his life there, last told it was in the possession of his granddaughter Judith Maury Gravely. Does anyone know where the manuscript is now or have a copy of it?  Please contact the Society’s librarian ( FontaineMauryLibrary at ) with any information.

Society T-Shirts Now Available, Great Christmas Gifts!

The T-shirts are in!   At the annual meeting in Hanover County, Virginia, we debuted new Fontaine Maury Society T-shirts!  Dark blue in color, they have the Huguenot cross on them, with the Society’s name.  We have four sizes — Medium, Large, X-Large, and X-X-Large.  Sorry, we do not have Smalls or children’s sizes.  Prices are $15.  To order, please send a check or money order made payable to “The Fontaine Maury Society” to the Society’s librarian at:  969-B South Rolfe Street; Arlington, VA  22204-4538.  Sorry, we are unable to process debit or credit cards.  For questions, please contact

FMS Tshirt Logo FMS Tshirt

New Booklet Available from the Society: Biographies of the Fontaine Family in Beaverdam Cemetery in Hanover County, Virginia

The Society has a new item available for sale from the library that debuted at the October 2016 annual meeting in Hanover County, Virginia.  Entitled Biographies of the Fontaine Family in Beaverdam Cemetery in Hanover County, Virginia, this  41 page booklet includes a brief biography for each person buried in the Fontaine family cemetery on the grounds of Beaverdam Plantation.   It also includes a photo of each gravestone, photographs of persons or of portraits if available, and some documents pertaining to these people.  It includes biographies on 28 people, 5 of whom served in or provided leadership in the Civil War.

Hardcopies are $10; in PDF on CD is $8.  For ordering information, please visit the library page for mailing address and payment.

Photo of Beaverdam Biographies Cover

Successful Weekend in Hanover County, Virginia

We had over 70 attendees at this year’s annual meeting weekend.   We stayed in Ashland, Virginia, a short distance to a number of important sites in the family of Peter Fontaine Jr.  We visited the original land that Peter Jr. bought in 1759 with the house Rock Castle and received a lecture on 14 years of excavations of that house.  We toured Rock Castle II, better known today as the Fontaine Farm, at the house built by Peter’s grandson James Fontaine around 1835.  It was this house that was ransacked by Union troops who threw the possessions onto a bonfire, including Jaques Fontaine’s 1720s manuscript that was saved by a Union officer.  We also visited Fork Church where Peter’s grandchildren’s generation and later generations attended church.  We also visited Beaverdam Plantation, bought by Peter Jr.’s son William and where the Fontaine Family Cemetery is located.  We will add more details of our weekend soon!  The photos below are descendants of Mary Anne Fontaine Maury (1690-1755), the Reverend Peter Fontaine (1691-1757), and the Reverend Francis Fontaine (1697-1749).

2016-10-16 Mary Anne Fontaine Maury 1690-1755 Descendants Descendants of the Rev. Peter Fontaine Descendants of the Rev. Francis Fontaine

Author Seeks Information about Dr. Marion Sims and the Maury Family

Author J.C. Hallman is researching Dr. J. Marion Sims (the “Father of Gynecology”) and Sims’s first patient, a slave named Anarcha Westcott (the “Mother of Gynecology”), for an article for Harper’s Magazine and for a book.  Hallman has found evidence that Anarcha later belonged to William L. Maury, so he is looking for any and all resources about the lives of William Lewis Maury (b. 1813 in Virginia – d. 1878 in New York) and his wife Anne (“Nan”) Fontaine Maury (1832-1890).

In an additional clue, he has found that Dr. Richard Brooke Maury, Jr. (b. 1834 in D.C. – d. 1919 in Memphis, Tennessee) was a doctor including a gynecologist at the same time as Sims and served on medical boards with him.  Richard donated to the campaign to commission a statue of Sims when he died.

William and Richard were 2nd cousins, as their grandfathers Fontaine Maury (1761-1824) and the Reverend Walker Maury (1762-1788), respectively, were brothers.  These facts suggest ties between Sims and the Maury family.

If you have any knowledge of materials that might not be widely known (i.e., not the collections at the University of Virginia, William & Mary College, or the Virginia Historical Society), please contact Mr. Hallman at

Details on our October 2016 Annual Meeting!

Come Join Us!  Our meeting weekend will be at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites at 107 South Carter Road in Ashland, Virginia 23005. The rooms include free Wi-Fi, complimentary hot breakfast, 24-hour coffee, indoor swimming pool and hot tub, fitness center and business center. Make your reservations now by calling 804-752-7889.  King suites will be $109.00 plus tax; doubles (two double beds) will be $119.00 plus tax. Remember to tell the hotel that you are with the Fontaine Maury Society to obtain these discounted rates. To obtain these rates, make your reservations by September 15, 2016.

While we will be staying in Ashland, the locations that we will be visiting and learning about are located throughout Hanover County, Virginia. Our focus this year is on the Civil War and how it impacted our Fontaine family who lived there during that era.  Hanover County was the home of Peter Fontaine Jr. (1724-1773) and his wife, Elizabeth Winston, who in 1759 settled on land near the forks of the Pamunkey River.  This year we have hired several smaller buses to transport us on Saturday so that narrow roads and driveways common in rural Virginia will not be a problem for us!

We will visit the land where Peter and Elizabeth  lived, see the ruins of their first home, Rock Castle, and tour a second home on the same property also known as Rock Castle that was later called Fontaine Farm. The Society helped the Civil War Trust purchase the Fontaine Farm in 2014 to preserve the location of the Battle of the North Anna River.

We will also visit a second family property, Beaverdam Plantation (known in the family as Beaverdam Farm), where the Fontaine Cemetery is located, Fork Church, where many of our Fontaine ancestors worshipped, and Scotchtown, the home of Patrick Henry (orator, statesman and father-in-law of Peter Fontaine’s son, John Fontaine).

Saturday night we have a very special treat planned for you.  It is a surprise but we know you are going to love it!  After our catered buffet dinner at the hotel, we will have a few short announcements, followed by photos by ancestor group, some door prizes again, and then our program.

New this year will be a research trip offering on Friday afternoon.  A short bus ride away is Richmond, Virginia, where the Virginia Historical Society (which has many Fontaine and Maury holdings) and the Library of Virginia (the state’s archives) are located.

We have planned a half-day research trip to the Virginia Historical Society on Friday afternoon, October 14, from 12:30 until 5:00 PM.  We have hired a bus to allow you to relax and leave the driving to someone else!  Bus seats will be limited to the first 24 that register (and pay).  Their website is invaluable for doing offline research and preparing for your upcoming research trip.

Friday dinner will be on your own in Ashland.  Afterwards we will have our annual business meeting, elections, door prize drawings AND a special speaker from the Hanover Historical Society who will help paint the picture for what we are going to see on Saturday.  You don’t want to miss this part!

Many thanks go to Mary Borjon and her team (Suzanne Lea, Marian Fletcher, Brian Nilsson and Tom Fletcher) who continue to work tirelessly to make this a gathering that you will not soon forget!  We have a new email address,, if you have questions or suggestions about our weekend!

We are asking each registered attendee to bring an item that can be given away as a door prize.  We already have a couple of bottles of Virginia wine, some books, and some t-shirts from the Virginia Historical Society…  Our hope/plan is that there will be enough prizes for everyone to have something to take home with them!

Do you have any family photos that you are willing to share?  Especially of the ancestors that are buried in the Beaverdam Cemetery?  If you can scan and email them to by September 15, we will very much appreciate it!

The registration deadline is September 15, 2016, to guarantee transportation availability. Registrations received after September 15 will be handled on a space available basis.

Schedule of events:  We will be using smaller buses for our transportation this year to enable us easier access to the events.  They will also be easier to get into and out of!  Note that the schedule may change slightly.

  • Friday, October 14:
    • 12:00 – 2:00 and 4:00 – 6:00 PM: Check-in
    • 12:30 PM: Bus leaves for Virginia Historical Society
    • 4:30 PM: Bus leaves the Virginia Historical Society to return to Hotel
    • 5:00 – 7:00 PM: Dinner on your own in Ashland
    • 7:00 PM: Business meeting and program
    • 9:00 PM: Door Prizes and Adjourn
  • Saturday, October 15:
    • 8:15 – 8:45 AM: Saturday check-in if needed
    • 8:50 AM: Load Buses for 9:00 departure
    • 9:00 AM: Depart for Beaverdam Farm and Cemetery
    • 9:30 AM: Arrive Beaverdam Farm
    • 10:00 AM: Depart Beaverdam Cemetery for Fork Church
    • 10:15 AM: Arrive Fork Church
    • 11:15 AM: Depart Fork Church for Scotchtown (we will lunch there and tour the house and grounds)
    • 1:30 PM: Leave Scotchtown for Fontaine Farm
    • 2:00 PM: Arrive Fontaine Farm – tour of house and grounds
    • 4:00 PM: Leave Fontaine Farm for Hotel
    • 4:30 PM: Arrive at Hotel for free time until dinner gathering at 6:30 PM
    • 5:00 – 6:00 PM: FMS Board Meeting – location TBD but at Hotel
    • 6:30 PM: Gather for dinner
    • 6:45 PM: Buffet dinner followed by a special program designed just for our group!!!!!
    • 7:45 PM: Group Pictures by ancestor immediately before program begins.
    • 9:00 PM: Door Prizes and Adjourn
  • Sunday, October 16:
    • No formal activities are planned at this time

We are pleased to announce that we have three options for how you can register and pay:  (1) mail the enclosed form with a check or money order made payable to “The Fontaine Maury Society”; (2) mail the enclosed form for us to process your credit card payment using the Square Reader, which is encrypted and secure for these payments.  A convenience fee of $5.00 (to cover our fees) will be added to your card if you choose the credit card payment option; or (3) complete your registration and add your credit card payment information on-line at our secure/encrypted site.  You will receive a confirmation of registration once the form and payment has been processed (check or credit card).  We will make every effort to do this within 24 hours of the time it is received.  You will be able to make your membership dues payment and purchase Library items at the annual meeting using our new credit card payment method.Registration Form