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In 1759 Peter Fontaine, Jr. (1724-1773) settled his young family on land he purchased near the forks of the Pamunky River in Hanover County, Virginia, to be closer to the family of his wife, Elizabeth Winston. Among their children who grew up there was William Fontaine (1754-1810), who fought in the American Revolution and witnessed the British Army surrender at Yorktown on 19 October 1781. Almost 81 years later, the house and farm were in the midst of war as military operations rolled through the area between 1862 and 1864. The house, owned by William’s son James Fontaine (1799-1872), was ransacked in May 1864 and the historic memoirs of Jaques Fontaine (1658-1728) thrown onto a bonfire, but were saved by a Union officer (see related article below, “Society Sponsors Digital Version of Jaques Fontaine’s Memoirs”).
Some 255 years after Peter and Elizabeth Fontaine built their home there, the Fontaine Farm and the North Anna Civil War Battlefield on which it stands were at risk to developers. The Civil War Trust, the nation’s largest non-profit land trust dedicated to preserving Civil War battlefields, undertook its largest ever fundraising effort to purchase the 654-acre Fontaine Farm but it needs our help. The Society provided assistance with a history of the land, a donation to the Trust’s fundraising effort, and donations by Society members. The Trust successfully closed on the property on October 20, 2014.
This is a good news story in which the Society lent support to the Trust that resulted in saving a piece of American history and of our family history on this 150 year anniversary of the battle. Learn more about the battle, see a map of the battle, and the Trust’s announcement of the acquisition.
A group of Fountain family researchers has initiated the Fountain / Fontaine DNA study to determine if various Fountain and Fontaine families share a common ancestor. The study included descendants of Solomon and Israel Fountain, who both lived in the late 1700s in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.
There has long been conjecture that these Fountain families descend from the Fontaine and Maury families` common ancestor, Jaques Fontaine (1658-1728), but there is no definitive evidence to prove this. This DNA study could provide the physical evidence not yet located in documentation.
At the Society`s annual meeting in October 2006, it was agreed that the Society would recruit an eligible family member to participate in the DNA test. Since most Society members are documented descendants of the Jaques Fontaine family, a Society member`s participation in the DNA study should help other Fontaine and Fountain researchers in determining if they are part of this extended French Huguenot family.
We are pleased to report that in the first half of 2007, we had two members of our Society take the 37 marker test. The men match each other, but their results do NOT match anyone else currently in the study, so this means that his DNA does not match that of the descendants of Solomon and Israel Fountain. These results mean that Solomon and Israel Fountain do not descend from Jaques Fontaine as long believed.
As in all DNA studies, there is a 5 percent error rate. For optimal study design, we had two male descendants of two different sons of Jaques Fontaine to take the test. One of our Society members who took the test is a descendant of Jaques` son, the Reverend Peter Fontaine. The other member who took the test is a descendant of Jaques` son, John Fontaine.
We would welcome a male descendant of one of Jaques` two other sons – James Fontaine and the Reverend Francis Fontaine – to take the test, to further verify the current results. At the August 2011 annual meeting in Charlottesville, the Executive Committee agreed that the Society would underwrite another test participant. If you are interested in learning more about the study and possibly participating to assist you in your research, please contact the study administrator listed on the DNA study`s webpage. If you are a descendant of James Fontaine or the Reverend Francis Fontaine and are interested in taking the test on behalf of the Society, please contact the Society`s librarian.
Jaques Fontaine and his wife, Anne Elizabeth Boursiquot, had eight children – of these, six lived to adulthood and had descendants. Of these, we have descendants of four who are current members of our Society. We are seeking any descendants of the remaining two, James Fontaine and his sister Elizabeth Fontaine Torin.
James Fontaine was the eldest child, born 10 October 1686, in Barnstaple, England. He married twice, first in 1711 with Lucretia Desjarrie in the Diocese of Cork and Ross, Ireland, and second ca. 1737-1738 with Elizabeth Harcum in Virginia.
Elizabeth Fontaine was the youngest child, born 3 August 1701, in Bearhaven, Ireland. She married on 31 October 1729, with Daniel Torin in London. She died around 1764.
If you are a descendant of James or Elizabeth or have information on their families, please contact our Society!
Should you have suggestions or requests for postings on our Society`s Announcements page, please contact the Society`s Librarian.