Chastain, Pierre

Chastain, Pierre

 

Pierre's ancestors seem to have been in Bourges, in central France, at the time of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day on 24 August 1572. [Pierre Chastain and his descendants Vol I] It is known that the house of one Chastain was pillaged and the family evidently fled to Charost, where Pierre Chastain, a physician, is first located. On further persecution at Charost he fled across the Jura Mountains, to Yverdon, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland. [Chastain Kith and Kin, Avilla Farnsworth-Milligan] Pierre is found in 1692 in the "Baillage de Vevey" where he is enumerated alone. Yet in 1696 he is listed with a wife and five children. Dr. Eugene Olivier explains that he was "rejoined by his family." [Medecine et Sante dans le Pays de Vaud au xviii Siecle, 1675-1798, v. 2, Dr. Eugene Olivier, Lausanne, Switzerland, 1939] It is assumed Pierre Chastain left his naïve land by escaping to Switzerland to avoid religious persecution. He sent for his family to join him in Switzerland as soon as he could. They could have arrived any time from a few months to four years later. It is only known they were with him in 1696. Proof of Pierre's first wife comes from register of Vevey in cantonal archives in Lausanne, Switzerland. ["Pierre Chastain Revisited" the American Genealogist, Vol. 64 No. 3, Cameron Allen F.A.S.G.] This proof also corrects other Chastain researchers who have wrongly assigned Magdalaine De La Rochefaucald as Pierre's first wife. He married (1) Susanne Renaud from Issoudun, daughter of Pierre Renaud.

The route taken by Pierre and his family from Switzerland was northward to Holland, where other Huguenots assured them protection and assistance. [Chastain Kith and Kin, Avilla Farnsworth-Milligan] His daughter Susanna Chastain was baptized on 10 Sep 1699 at Wallone, Leiden, South Holland. From there, Pierre moved his young family to London, England, where they remained for a short while. They were among 207 French and Swiss passengers who embarked from Gravesend, England 10 April 1700 on the Mary and Ann of London, which arrived at the mouth of the James River 23 July 1700, after a passage of 13 weeks. [Virginia Historical Society, collections, Vol. 6] They settled at Manakin, Virginia about 20 miles up the James River on the south side, west of present day Richmond (which did not exist at that time).