Join or Renew Your Society Membership for 2016!

All membership renewals or new memberships paid at or after our annual meeting in October 2015 will be for 2016! For members who are renewing, please remember to contact the Society`s Membership Secretary with any address changes, death notices, or other changes in membership status. You can use the form on our Membership page and send to:

Membership Secretary

The Fontaine Maury Society

P.O. Box 307

Tehachapi, CA 93581-0307

The Society would also like to create an e-list for our members. Please be sure to provide your e-mail address when you join!

Digitalized Version of Jaques Fontaine’s Memoirs Now Available!

In collaboration with the Special Collections of the University of Virginia, the Fontaine Maury Society sponsored the digitization of Jaques Fontaine’s (1658-1728) handwritten copy of his memoirs made for his children living in Virginia. In November 2015 the University added photos of each page of the digitized memoirs to its on-line library catalog. Please take a look at the 229 photos of the document.

Jaques made two handwritten copies, the other for his children living in Britain which is believed to be lost. It is believed that this copy was in the possession of Jaques’ son, the Reverend Peter Fontaine (1691-1759), Rector of Westover Parish in Virginia, who passed it to his descendants. Generations later, it was in the possession of descendant James Fontaine who lived at “Rock Castle” in Hanover County, Virginia, at the time of the American Civil War. Fontaine and his family were driven from their home by Union troops, returning to find everything scattered and destroyed. However, a Union officer saved the manuscript and provided it to the Fontaines’ neighbor, Mr. Quarle, for safe-keeping and for return to James Fontaine.

The document is badly damaged, with 69 pages missing (a sword having gone through it). It was translated into English by Jaques’ descendant, Ann Maury, who published the first English edition in 1838. The document descended from James Fontaine to James Fontaine Minor; it was from his library that the document was placed in the University of Virginia’s collection for preservation by Mr. and Mrs. George Madison Maverick.

The document is available for review in the Special Collections, University of Virginia, Minor Family Papers, call numbers MSS 6769, 6769-a.

Society member Dianne W. Ressinger prepared an edited and annotated version, Memoirs of the Reverend Jaques Fontaine 1658-1728, that was published in 1992 by the Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland, in New Series No. 2. The Huguenot Society has copies available on CD for purchase.

Announcing The Society’s Annual Meeting Locations for Next Two Years!

During the October 2015 annual meeting, the Society’s Executive Committee selected the sites for the Society’s annual meetings in both 2016 and 2017.

In 2016 the annual meeting will focus on Hanover County, Virginia, with a theme being considered for how the Civil War impacted the Fontaines and the Maurys. The Fontaine Farm, recently purchased by the Civil War Trust with Society assistance, was the primary location of the Battle of the North Anna River as Grant moved south in an attempt to outflank Lee’s Army as he tried to take Richmond. It was in the aftermath of that battle that the only surviving copy of the Memoirs was rescued from a bonfire by a Union Officer at a Fontaine property. Beaverdam and the Fontaine Cemetery are also in the area. Stay tuned for more details.

The 2017 annual meeting will be held in Franklin, Tennessee, an area founded by early Maury family members, was the home of politician Abram Poindexter Maury (1801-1848), and later home of Matthew Fontaine Maury, Pathfinder of the Seas. There are many Maury sites to visit in the area including the Abram Maury Cemetery.

Report on The Fontaine Maury Society’s 2015 Annual Meeting October 30-November 1, 2015, in Oxford, Mississippi

The Society’s 2015 annual meeting was held in Oxford, Mississippi, the weekend of October 30, 2015. This was the first time that the Society meets in Mississippi. Northern Mississippi is rich in Fontaine history with descendants of three children of Jaques Fontaine – Francis, Peter, and Mary Ann – settling in the area. Our weekend was organized by Society member, Dr. Hubert McAlexander, a renowned author and lecturer on Southern literature who is retired from the University of Georgia.

The weekend began with a business meeting on Friday night, October 30, that included reports from the Society’s officers and election of a new director. Judge Toby Winston, a direct descendant of Patrick Henry Fontaine, presented a fascinating history of the Fontaines of Mississippi, beginning with Patrick Henry Fontaine, the first grandchild of the Patriot Patrick Henry. Patrick Henry Fontaine studied law under the tutelage of his famous grandfather. He was sent to Pontotoc, Mississippi, in 1835 to open the Federal Land Office and administer the transfer of Chickisaw land, which amounted to millions of acres.

On Saturday morning, October 31, Society members visited the City Cemetery in Pontotoc that has an entire section filled with Fontaines including Patrick Henry Fontaine. Next Judge Toby Winston graciously hosted a visit to his home that included viewing paintings of early Fontaine family members. The last stop of our tour was at Lochinvar, a large old plantation house once owned by Fontaines. It is the only plantation house in the area to survive the Civil War. Research has shown that the owner of Lochinvar during the Civil War was Colonel James Gordon of the Confederate Cavalry. He had been in charge of transporting 1,100 Union prisoners to Confederate headquarters in Tennessee. He treated them with kindness and consideration and saw to it that they had adequate provisions. Union General Coburn, senior officer among the prisoners, presented his sword to Colonel Gordon along with a note of thanks. Gordon sent the sword and note to his wife, Virginia, at Lochinvar. Six weeks later when Union troops approached Lochinvar to raid and burn it, Virginia saw the Union troops approaching and rushed outside to show them the sword and note from General Coburn. Consequently Lochinvar was spared, the only Confederate plantation house not raided and burned in the area. We were shown the sword and the note that saved Lochinvar. In 2001 a tornado nearly leveled Lochinvar but it was renovated and today has been restored to its original glory. A steel beam in the spiral staircase in the center of the building, the only access to the upper levels, is credited with preventing the complete destruction of Lochinvar by the tornado.

Our final activity was a talk by Dr. Hubert McAlexander Saturday evening following dinner at the Ole Miss Inn about the Maurys of Mississippi.

Russell Hooper, editor of The Pathfinder Papers, has arranged a Sunday tour of theUSNS Maury, named for Matthew Fontaine Maury, an oceanographic survey ship under final construction. This tour has been on the website, and Hooper will be present at registration.

November 1, 2015, Visit to the USNS Maury in Pascagoula, Mississippi – A Side Trip from the 2015 Annual Meeting

On November 1, 2015, after the Society’s October 30-31 annual meeting in Oxford, Society members were hosted by the U.S Navy and VT Halter Marine, Inc., to go on-board and tour the USNS Maury, an oceanographic survey ship under construction in Pascagoula, Mississippi. TheMaury is the latest ship named for Matthew Fontaine Maury, the Pathfinder of the Sea. The tour provided a unique opportunity to visit the ship and share history of the family with the staff and crew. A first edition of Ann Maury’s 1855 edition of Memoirs of a Huguenot Family by the Reverend Jaques Fontaine was donated as a thank you gift for the visit; the ship’s captain confirmed that it will be kept on the ship and sail with it.

Winston Genealogical Chart Available on CD!

The library has most of its books available in PDF on CDs and some available via e-mail at the fraction of the cost of a hardcopy. We now have Marie Rauschenberg Rice’s large Winston circular genealogical chart available on CD! This family tree, 25×25, is suitable for framing, simply take it to a printers to print on the paper of your choice. The earliest known Winston is at the center of the chart, with subsequent generations identified in the concentric circles. The chart includes the family of Mary Ann Fontaine (1718-1780s), daughter of the Reverend Peter Fontaine (1691-1759) who married Isaac Winston (1715-1766), and other allied families to the Fontaines and Maurys, including the Armistead and Dabney families. For more information about ordering, visit the library page!

Biography of Matthew Fontaine Maury by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Did you know that that National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency published a tribute biography about Matthew Fontaine Maury? This 74 page book was written by Howard J. Cohen of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (now renamed National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency), a U.S. Department of Defense agency responsible for managing and providing imagery and geospatial information for diverse military, civil, and international needs. The book includes a summary of tributes to Maury, including photographs of Maury, buildings, ships, and places that carry Maury’s name, and provides a brief bibliography. A first edition was published in 2003, this more comprehensive version was published in 2006 by the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, then in Bethesda, Maryland.

As stated in the introduction of the booklet,

“He pioneered methodology and analysis in a broad spectrum of areas nearly 100 years before we coined “tradecraft.” Today, NGA and its partners throughout the National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) are the stewards of the tradecraft borne out of his legacy and provide the nation with a critical capability—geospatial intelligence (GEOINT). Analysts continue to build on his methods and practices by discovering and exploiting new sources of information, leveraging deep intellectual capital and integrating innovative practices and technology. The result is quality GEOINT that precisely describes, assesses, and visually depicts spatial information, physical features, and geographically-referenced activities on the Earth. Analytical tradecraft is the cornerstone of GEOINT’s substantial contributions to the nation. NGA and NSG analysts currently support America’s decision makers in national security policy, international obligations, intelligence activities, and military operations. In the tradition of Maury and his fellow pathfinders, the dedicated analytical workforce continues to strive for high standards and constant innovation, pushing the limits of the tools and technology available to discover, exploit, and analyze source information. In all of our mapping and charting work, we take inspiration from the excellence of Matthew Fontaine Maury as we strive to ‘Know the Earth – Show the Way.’”

The booklet is dedicated to the late Captain James Maury Werth, U.S. Navy (retired), great-grandson of Matthew Fontaine Maury and, following in Maury’s footsteps, Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Observatory from 1968 to 1972. Captain Werth was a long-time member of our Society.

Maury DNA Study

The results are in for both our two participants in the Morey Maury DNA study! The participants are male descendants of the Reverend James Maury (1718-1769) and of Abram Fontaine (1731-1784), the two sons of Mary Ann Fontaine and Matthew Maury. The Y-DNA results list a unique number assigned to each of 37 strands of DNA that are uniquely passed from father to son to grandson and so forth, such that our test participants would have the same Y-DNA as ancestor Matthew Maury. The results for our participants are identified in the Paternal Ancestor Name column labeled “Matthew Maury (1686 France – 1755 Virginia)” and “Abram Maury.” The other results in the chart are for Morey descendants. The more strands that match between test participants, the more likely they share a common ancestor. Our participants have no close matches so thus far, there are no other study participants who descend from our Maury family.

At both the 2011 and 2012 annual meetings, the Society’s agreed pursuing the creation a Maury DNA study. In February 2015 we joined with a group of Morey researchers to form the Morey Maury DNA study.

Why did we want descendants from both sons to take the test? There is a 5 percent probability of a non-paternity issue; this probability is removed by testing descendants from two different sons of an early ancestor. As a reminder, we already participate in the Fountain/Fontaine study.

Documenting the Maury Y-DNA that passes through the direct male line largely unchanged would be a tremendous aid to other Maury family researchers who do not know as much about their origins. If they match or do not match our Maury family’s DNA, this would help researchers tailor their research.

The Fontaine Maury Society Grand Reunion in France – June 18-25, 2015

The Reformed Church Saintonge Océan in southwest France invited the Society to attend a dedication ceremony on June 20, 2015, in Saint-Palais-sur-Mer for the parish house renamed for the Reverend Jaques Fontaine (1603-1666). The area is rich in Fontaine history; the church has put together an excellent a week-long schedule of events to visit locations of importance to the Fontaine family, including a tour of the reformed churches part of the Saintonge Océan parish, family sites in Jaffe and Royan, la Tremblade from which the younger Jaques Fontaine sailed for England, La Rue du Roy the birthplace of Marie Chaillou, Jaques Fontaine`s wife and James Fontaine`s mother, and La Rochelle the safe haven for Huguenots.

The day of the dedication ceremony of the “Jacques Fontaine Protestant Center” in St. Palais-sur-Mer was a beautiful sunny day on the southwest coast of France when 40 members and friends of our Society joined with the parishioners, residents and political leaders in the extended Royan community to participate in the dedication ceremony to rename the parish house for the Reverend Jacques Fontaine (1603-1666).

The ceremony was led by Monique Chauvreau, the president of the Reformed Church-Saintonge Océan, who was joined by other speakers, including Dominique Bussereau, president of the County Council, Didier Quentin, Deputy Mayor of Royan, Claude Baudin, Mayor of Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, Marie-Pierre Quentin and Fabienne Aucouturier, departmental councilors, and Pastor Wolfram Steuernagel, one of our hosts for the full week of events. Two Society members presented our remarks to thank them for inviting our Society to join them in this dedication ceremony that honored our ancestor who was pastor of the United Church of Vaux and Royan from 1627 to 1666.

They explained that our Society bases its origins on the wishes expressed in the memoirs of Jacques Fontaine`s son, Jaques (1658-1728), who left this place 330 years earlier. Jaques wrote that he wished that all members of the family remain close through the ages. Our Society was founded on these wishes, with membership representing descendants of three of his four children, grandchildren of the Reverend Jacques Fontaine honored, who went to live in colonial Virginia – the Reverend Peter Fontaine, the Reverend Francis Fontaine, and Mary Ann Maury. They noted that our Society was represented at the ceremony by descendants of all three of these siblings.

They then read the benediction read at each Society annual meeting written by the Reverend Peter Fontaine and then closed with another quote from Jaques` memoirs:

“The examples of those from who we descend may encourage you to dedicate yourselves to the service of God, whom they worshiped at the risk of their lives. I hope you will continue to cling to the reformed religion for which they suffered so many hardships and trials of faith.”

After their prepared remarks, the speakers together lifted the veil covering the plaque with the new name of the parish house. The ceremony was followed by a reception and then followed by a luncheon hosted by the church.

See the Society`s Facebook page for literally thousands of photographs from the trip!

The week-long visit was filled with activities. Thirty-five members of our Society were welcomed by a reception hosted by the parish of Saintonge Océan on the first night of our arrival in Vaux-sur-Mer, France. The parishioners served us an incredible meal, the first of several during the course of our week-long visit. We sang “Amazing Grace” in French and English to bless our food, which was surely heard by and pleased both Jacques and his son Jaques Fontaine. Marie-Claire André Delhaye who had the vision for the dedication and invited Society members to join in the celebration, organized a tour for us and gifted each of us with her book, Vaux-sur-Mer: Vingt Siècles d`Histoire [20 Centuries of History]. In gratitude, the Society presented her a bowl from the White House which left her speechless, and presented framed photographs for our colonial Virginia churches served by Fontaine ministers. Several of the parishioners joined us on our tours.

Several of the locations we visited are mentioned in the memoirs. These included: Mus de Loup, the spot on the Seudre River where the Fontaine family embarked for England – the wood of Jaffe/Chatelard/Jenouille where Jaques purchased land and raised his family with the help of his second wife Marie Chaillou – La Rue au Roy, Marie`s birthplace, the citadel on Ile d‘Oleron where Jaques` brother Pierre was probably held as a prisoner in 1682– the house at 6 Rue du Port in La Rochelle where the family may have lived – Saumur and its Protestant Academy where Jaques was enrolled – two sites near Le Mans, Chahaignes and Sévilly where members of the family may have lived in the 16th century- the Cathedral of Le Mans which was pillaged in 1562 by Protestants, that included Jean de la Fontaine. The group toured the Protestant museum in La Rochelle where they learned about the siege of La Rochelle in 1627-28 ordered by Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu.

The group learned about the hardships that followed the Revocation of the Edict of Nante a period known as “The Desert” during which Protestants secretly endured. If one was caught attending worship, owning a Bible, or singing Psalms, men were sent to the galleys, women to a convent or a prison, or even killed. Ministers caught preaching were hanged. Our group visited a cemetery where a leading pastor, Pierre Dugas, is buried, and a meeting place in the woods where Protestants are recorded to have met in large numbers to worship despite the danger. In 1789 religious freedom was restored by the Declaration of the Rights of Man. French Protestant churches today are known as Temples.

The Society group had a number of wonderful meals and was amazed at the number of local dignitaries who met with us and support the Protestant community. The way the state and church work together in the west of France was heartening to see. Thanks to all the many pastors and the dear people of Charente-Maritime who made us feel at home.

Society members and their hosts at the Jacques Fontaine Protestant Center

Photographs courtesy of Susan Proffitt

See the Society`s Facebook page for literally thousands of photographs from the trip!

Foundation of Jaques Fontaine`s Home in County Cork, Ireland, Found!

Following the visit to France, a small group of Society members traveled to Ireland to visit family sites there. With the help of local historian Connie Murphy and his wife, they located the remains of Jaques Fontaine`s home near Castletownbere. The site, known locally as Fontaine`s Fort, is described in detail in the memoirs. Jaques had set up a fishing operation there but was attacked twice by French privateers, being taken prisoner and held as a hostage the second time. The present land owner excavated the site to uncover the foundation and some of the walls of the structure, an exciting discovery both for our family and for the local community. The Society will have a longer article for the Fall Newsletter following the meeting in Oxford. Visit the Society`s Facebook page to see many photographs taken in France and Ireland.