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These notes are a companion page to the 1790 Will of Jean Alexandre MENURET . They will be added to as time permits.
Sharon Oddie Brown, February 14, 2007
Updated February 15, 2007
February 25, 2007 - added notes on THOME & OLLIVER.
February 28 - added WILKES notes

Jean Alexander MENURET – Notes relating to his will of 1790


Jean Alexander MENURET. He was from Nantes and his will was signed October 10, 1790. He died some time before September 15th, 1794 and asked to be buried in a Protestant cemetery in Nantes. He was an only child of John Alexander and Elizabeth MENURET and seemingly has no spouse nor children. He makes two friends his Executors: George Conrad [Withoff?] and Peter Frederick Dobrée. Both men are resident in Nantes and both are merchants. These men were also close friends of his mother.


Elizabeth MENURET. Judging by the content of her son’s will, she was born in France had only recently died in the city of Nantes. Her husband, John Alexander MENURET had predeceased her. Her uncle was Josias De PONTHIEU, the father of Elizabeth WILKES. Her Grandmother was Elizabeth BEAUFILS.


Elizabeth BEAUFILS. Grandmother of Elizabeth MENURET


George Conrad [WITHOFF?] I know nothing about him and it is also possibly that his name may be mistranscribed – the script is a challenge).


Peter Frederick DOBRÉE. He was a merchant in Nantes and was a member of a well-known mercantile family in Guernsey. He was implicated as a possible spy when his father was accused of owning British privateers at Guernsey. The matter was dropped, and Dobrée’s reputation survived unimpaired. He later shows up as a partner in the mercantile firm of Schweighauser & Dobrée. He and his mother- in-law carried on the firm after Schweighauser’s death in 1781. He served as United States consul in Nantes (1794-99). Born in Guernsey. Son of Thomas Dobrée. Married in July, 1777 to Marie-Rose Schweighauser, the eldest daughter of Jean- Daniel Schweighauser, American agent at Nantes. He was in correspondence with Benjamin Franklin.

·        SOURCE: http://franklinpapers.org/franklin/framedNames.jsp?ssn=001-29-1938

·        It seems possible that it was either his father or brother Thomas Dobrée who was involved in the slave trade while based in Nantes. SOURCE: The Profitability of the Nantes Slave Trade, 1783-1792 Robert Stein The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 35, No. 4 (Dec., 1975), pp. 779-793 SOURCE: SOURCE: http://www.guernsey-society.org.uk/archive/RGS%20Olaudah%20Equiano.pdf   Equiano’s visit to Guernsey certainly confirms that the island was not free of slaves, but it also highlights the fact that slave-trading in Guernsey ships was being carried out in proximity to some of the most influential Guernsey families of the mideighteenth century. The Industrious Bee, a snow with a crew of around 10, was built in New England. According to Admiralty records, however, its owners were based in Guernsey [PRO ADM 7/87]. Equiano mentions that the ship was partly owned by ‘a merchant, one Nicholas Doberry’, almost certainly the younger Nicholas Dobrée (1732-1800), who had inherited a substantial trading business from his father.


Elizabeth WILKES. She lives in New York at the time of the will and was a first cousin to Elizabeth MENURET and wife to Mr. Israel WILKES (born in London in 1722 and died in 1805) of New York. She was a “bosom friend” of Elizabeth MENURET who also knew her daughter since infancy. She has a daughter Frances WILKES. She was the daughter of Josias De PONTHIEU who was an uncle of Elizabeth MENURET. I now know from Stirk-London Families that Elizabeth WILKES née de PONTHIEUE was b.1727 and died January 1802. She had two sons: John DePonthieu WILKES (1755-1818) who married Mary SETON (1767-1801) and Charles WILKES who married Janet DEY (her first name inferred from baptismal records for her son William McAdam WILKES) . See also:
Biographical History of North Carolina from Colonial Times to the Present, vol. 5, edited by Samuel A. Ashe: John Wilkes- notes Israel arrived in New York about 1773
The Hidden Coasts: a biography of Admiral Charles Wilkes by Daniel Henderson, c1953 (Emory University) appendix: The Wilkes Family History gives dates as 1722-1805

Trinity Church, St. Paul's Chapel, New Yorksearch the Parish Registers for birth, baptism, marriage, burial - notes burial of Israel WILKES 11/27/1805, age 85


Frances WILKES. On October 23rd, 1793, Jean Alexander MENURET added a codicil changing his Executors to Louis SIMOND (see beneath), who was now her husband. The Parish records of Trinity Church, St. Pauls New York show that Frances WILKS married Lewis SIMOND on July 30, 1791. Rev Benjamin MOORE officiated at the marriage. Also SEE: Autobiography of Rear Admiral Charles Wilkes, U.S. Navy 1798-1877, edited by William James Morgan (Kennesaw State University)- notes of Lyons, France pg 2. In 1792 there is a record of a Francis (sic?) SIMOND as a godparent (sponsor) to Susannah August DELANCEY of New York and in 1793 to Henry John WILKS (note the "e" is dropped), son of John WILKS and Mary SETON.


Israel WILKES. I do not yet have a precise fix on him and it would be helpful to have him identified more clearly. There are records of correspondence between him and Benjamin FRANKLIN as well as Alexander HAMILTON (see footnotes in the will). In the Wilkes Family Papers (held at the J. Murray Atkins Library at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte), there is an intriguing mention of a drawing: “John Wilkes (Mayor of London), Mary Wilkes (Mrs. Haley), Sarah Wilkes, and Ann Wilkes (the picture is a drawing) (ca. middle 18th century) [John Wilkes was the brother of Israel Wilkes who was Charles' grandfather.” as well as a painting: “Mary Seton Wilkes (the picture is a painting) (ca. middle 18th century) [Charles Wilkes' mother, wife of John DoPenthieu (?) Wilkes].

  • The John WILKES who is supposedly a brother of Isaiah WILKES was a son of Isaiah WILKES, a malt distiller. He was a larger than life character. A book by Peter D.G. Thomas, John Wilkes: A Friend to Liberty may shed some further light on the family. Also, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=45053 has an etching & some history of John WILKES political biography & escapades.
  • Through the site: http://1f0533208b4bb848746f138c0fe86e66.zh.wikivx.biz/en/1768 we learn that John WILKES, the London mayor and brother of Isaiah was the second son of 6 children of Isaiah WILKES a wealthy distiller.


James DELACORTE senior - merchant in Spittle Square of London & mentioned in will of Elizabeth BEAUFILS.


James MOSSMAN senior - merchant in Spittle Square of London & mentioned in will of Elizabeth BEAUFILS.


[Harry?] De PONTHIEU. He was living number 29 Great Maddox St Hanover Square at London. He was a brother of Mrs. Elizabeth WILKES and son of Mr. Josias De PONTHIEU. He was also a first cousin of Elizabeth MENURET


Dr. Jean Jacques MENURET de Chambaud. A physician at Paris, he is one of our most famous relations (at least – so far!). He was the second most prolific contributor to French Encyclopaedia of 1765. He wrote on all sorts of medical topics: the effects of music on the nervous system, nutrition, masturbation as well as the effects of climate, water, topography and air on the health of the residents of Hamburg, Germany. He also took care of Elizabeth MENURET.


Jacques Alexandre MENURET (April 2, 1734- September 2, 1792) He was born in Montélimar, Drome, France and was a priest there for some years. He was martyred during the first "Reign of Terror" of the French Revolution in the "September Massacres" or otherwise known as the "Martyrs of Paris". In 1926, Pope Pious XI beatified all of the 191 members of the clergy who were executed that day in Paris. At the time, MENURET was Abbot and had been at least been living in Paris at least from the time of the will. Menuret’s Saint day is September 3. SEE the full history by Susan Jella at: http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~menary/saint.htm


Sister MENURET. A sister of Jacques Alexandre MENURET and a nun at St Ursule, likely at Montélimar, Drome, France. It is interesting that there are two MENURETs who are Catholic at a time when many other would have been Huguenots – certainly the author of this will desired to be buried in a Protestant cemetery.


Madame SOLONION or SOLOMON, née MENURET. Sister of the Abbot MENURET and Sister MENURET. She lived at Grignon in Provence.


Louisa BECKINGHAM. Cousin of Jean Alexandre MENURET. She was a witness to a will in 1791 that had Dublin connections. She lived at Oswald, near Canterbury. She was a ward of Elizabeth MENURET and the daughter of Mr. Daniel MOSSMAN (although the transcription of this name is dubious – it could be many things ending in “man”). Her mother was already dead by the time of the will and Elizabeth MENURET had a mourning ring of hers that had the image of a cypress tree on it. Louisa was married and financially secure. She had embroidered a muslin robe for Elizabeth MENURET. Her uncle was Charles MOSSMAN (if the name is transcribed correctly)


Daniel and Charles MOSSMAN. See Louisa BECKINGHAM


James DALBIAT & Madam DALBIAT. Residents of London, friends of Elizabeth MENURET.


Francis THOME sr. & jr. & Dame Jane THOME. It seems that the junior Francis is a cousin in Dublin of Elizabeth MENURET. The name may be mistranscribed and may be “THOM”. I have recently found baptism records in Dauphine for the family name: THOME. Francoise THOME was a god mother in 1599; Suzanne THOME was a godmother in 1599 & 1601; Guionne THOME was a godmother in 1600 and then in 1601 was the wife of Pierre EUSTACE and had a child Estienne EUSTACE b. June 1, 1601. SEE: Protestant baptisms with Beaurepaire: 1599 - 1628


Anna BROWNSWARD formerly CASTLEWAYT. Lived in England. A mother-in-law of John PAGE the husband of her daughter Charlotte PAGE née BROWNSWARD who resides at Oakley near Abington, Berkshire. She was a close friend of Elizabeth MENURET.


Miss DeGANLAY. (I am unsure of the transcription) Of Vienna. When she lived in Dauphiny, she was a close friend of Elizabeth MENURET.


Chevalier SHERATON. A friend of Elizabeth MENURET who was of great help during the illness she suffered before her death.


Christopher SCHAUB and Victor RIEL. Friends of Jean Alexandre MENURET. The first a brother of someone who may be named “Gerhart” and the other a clerk to “SAGONY?”. RIEL had given Jean Alexandre MENURET a gold watch. He also was of assistance to Elizabeth MENURET during her illness.


Mr. [Taure BIGNET?] a friend and a merchant at Lyons residing in the Street Carreaux at the house of Mr. CHARMITTON at Lyons.He was the eldest son of Mr. [?TARE] old Lieutenant at Crest in Dauphin. [NOTE: I found a record of a David OLLIVER also of Lyons who married a Francoise RAISON. The first names of David & Frances are common in the line of OLIVERs that I am pursuing. There was also a Jacques OLIVIER who married in 1632 in Lyons. This is of interest because of the relationships of religion, geography and much later of marriage of the MENARY & OLIVER families of Northern Ireland. SEE: The protestants of Lyon in the XVIIth century. Also, the name OLIVER turns up in Dublin in the names of the early Huguenots.]


Mr. [GILBERT?] of [?chester]. He was taken care of before his death at Nantes by Elizabeth MENURET.


Louis SIMOND. He was a merchant and owner of L. Simond & Co. located at No. 65 Greenwich Street, New York. The company engaged in West India trade. In 1814 the business seemed to have dissolved, and Mr. Simond lived at 57 Broadway. It is likely that the business failed as did many businesses in 1813 that were extensively committed to foreign trade. He was a godparent to Wlliam McAdam WILKES, a son of CHarles WILKES, his brother-in-law.



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