Huguenot Society of SC, No.1, p.7-11 - Steven J. Coker
Subject: Huguenot Society of SC, No.1, p.7-11
From: Steven J. Coker
Date: August 28, 1998

No. 1., p. 7-11
Published by Order of the Society., Charleston, S.C.
Walker Evans & Gogswell Co., Printers, 
3 and 5 Broad and 117 East Bay Streets.

    (Charleston News and Courier, February, 1885.)


    All descendants (male and female) of the Huguenots of this State are invited
to meet at the French Protestant Church, in Charleston, on Thursday, 19th inst.,
at 5 o'clock P. M., to consider a communication from the Huguenot Society of
America in reference to the commemoration of the 22nd day of October next, being
the 200th anniversary of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
                                       WILMOT G. DESAUSSURE.
                                             DANIEL RAVENEL.

   (Charleston News and Courier, 20th March, 1885.)



    In response to a call published in the News and Courier, there was a large
gathering of the descendants of the Huguenots at the Huguenot Church, yesterday
afternoon. The edifice was pretty well filled with ladies and gentlemen, among
whom were the following families: The Manigaults, the Legarés of Camden, the
Lesesnes, DeSaussures, DuBoses, Gaillards, Ravenels, Stevens, Guerards, Mazycks,
Bacots, Stoneys, Porchers, Horrys, Hugers, Prioleaus, Gourdins, Meynardies,
McCradys, Rutledges, Willises, Cuttinos, Enslows, DeVeauxs, Thomases and others.
The chancel was occupied by the Rev. C. S. Vedder, D. D., who opened the meeting
with prayer, and the Rev. Dr. Guerrant, the distinguished divine, who is
conducting the services at Westminster Church.

    On motion of Gen. Wilmot G. DeSaussure, the Hon. Robt. N. Gourdin was called
to the chair, and Messrs. W. Huger Fitzsimons and Wm. H. Prioleau were appointed

    Mr. Gourdin, on taking the Chair spoke as follows:

    We have assembled this afternoon, my friends, Christians of all
denominations, but descendants from a common ancestry, to initiate measures for
the discharge of a pious duty. To appreciate the solemnity and the obligation
before us, we must carry our thoughts far back into the past. We must recall
with gratitude the righteous edict of Henry IV, of France, in 1598, which
secured to his Protestant subjects the full and equal rights of Frenchmen, among
these rights the sacred right of conscience; and then we must remember the
wicked decree of Louis XIV, in 1685, which revoked this edict, subjecting the
adherents of the Reformed Church to persecutions unparalled in history for their
intolerance, their fierceness and their atrocities ; atrocities which drove
these Protestants into exile, forcing them to fly, like felon criminals, from
their abundant and peaceful homes, in poverty and in sorrow, scattering them
abroad among the nations of Europe, even among the scarcely established colonies
of Great Britain on this Atlantic coast.

    We are here my friends, to make preparation to commemorate fitly those
Huguenots of heroic faith and piety who took refuge in this western wilderness
towards the close of the seventeenth century, especially those who made the
province of Carolina their asylum and their home - from whom you and I, and all
here are descended - many of whose names are now illustrious in the history of
our State and of our country. I have said, "we have assembled here," but, my
friends, where are we met together? What is this place? Look around you for a
moment, and the memorials which adorn these hallowed walls will answer the
question. Turn to but one of these tablets; to this on my left. It commemorates
Elias Prioleau, the persecuted, the fugitive pastor in 1686, of the Reformed
Church, at Pons, in France - the refugee, and the first pastor of this Church.
We are assembled in the church planted above two centuries ago by our ancestors,
in veneration of whom we are here. Their house of God was burned by fire, but
the foundations laid by their own hands support this in which we are. It is the
place in which to do reverence and honor to our Huguenot fathers.

    But before we proceed further let us invoke Divine direction in what we
shall do.

    The Rev. Dr. Vedder, in response to the invitation from the chairman,
offered a fervent prayer.

    Gen. DeSaussure then read the circular of the Huguenot Society of America,
which led to the calling of the meeting, and delivered a brief address upon the
Huguenot settlements in Carolina, pointing out with pardonable pride, the
prominent part taken in public affairs by the descendants of the original
settlers, and the influence exercised by the old Huguenots on the history of the
world. He offered the following resolutions, which were adopted:

    Whereas, the Huguenot Society of America, mindful, of the Two Hundredth
Anniversary of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, is desirous that such
anniversary, to wit, 22nd October, 1885, be commemorated by the descendants of
Huguenots in America, and for that purpose has invited the co-operation of the
descendants of Huguenots in all sections of the United States by the appointment
of committees from each original Huguenot settlement, who, with the Committee of
that Society, shall form a general committee to make proper arrangements for an
appropriate commemoration; and, whereas, in South Carolina, there were three
original Huguenot settlements, to wit, that at Charleston, 1680-1690, that at
Purysburg, 1730, and that at New Bordeaux, Abbeville, 1764, now, to carry out
the invitation extended by the Huguenot Society of America,

    Resolved, That the descendants of the Huguenots in South Carolina, gladly
receive and accept the invitation, and will cordially, unite in such

    Resolved, That in order to carry out the proposed plans, a committee of two
be appointed from each of the original Huguenot settlements in South Carolina,
to wit, two from the Charleston settlement, two from the Purysburg settlement,
and two from the New Bordeaux settlement.

    Resolved, That in order to assure action by such committees from South
Carolina, there be appointed two alternates from each of such settlements, which
alternates, in the events that the committees designated by this meeting should
be unable to serve, may act in the place of such committees.

    Resolved, That a copy of this, together with a list of the committee and
their alternates, be forwarded by the chairman of this meeting to the Secretary
of the Huguenot Society of America.

    Under these resolutions the following delegations were appointed by the

    Charleston - Delegates: The Hon. R. N. Gourdin and Daniel Ravenel;
alternates, the Right Rev. P. F. Stevens, and the Rev. E. J. Meynardie.

    Purysburg - Gen. W. G. DeSaussure.

    Abbeville - J. Albert Gibert, and the Rev. Benjamin Allston.

    The chairman of the meeting was authorized to appoint the remaining delegate
From Purysburg and the alternates from Purysburg and Abbeville, and to fill any
vacancies that may occur in the appointments.

    Gen. DeSaussure then introduced the following preamble and resolutions which
were adopted after some discussion:

    Whereas, on 29th May, 1883, the Huguenot Society of America was organized in
the City of New York, and one of its declared purposes is stated in Clause 7,
Article 2, of its Constitution and By-Laws, to be "to establish branches of this
Society in other American cities, and to encourage the foundation of similar
societies in other countries where Huguenots have taken refuge, in order to
arrive, with their aid, at a correct estimate of the combined influences of the
Huguenots upon the history of the world at large;" and, whereas, the descendants
of the Huguenots who settled in South Carolina, mindful of their lineage, are
desirous of cooperating in the laudable purpose proposed by establishing in
Charleston, a society which may be auxiliary to the Huguenot Society of America.

    Resolved, That in the opinion of this meeting it is desirable that a
society, to be known as the Huguenot Society of South Carolina, be established
and organized.

    Resolved, That it be referred to a committee of five to draft a Constitution
and By-laws for the government of said Society, and to propose a plan for the
collection of such material as will preserve and perpetuate the memories and
influence of our Huguenot ancestry.

    Resolved, That when this meeting adjourn, it stand adjourned until such date
as may be fixed by the chairman of this meeting, at which time, it will
re-assemble to receive the report of the committee and to organize.

    The Meeting then adjourned after benediction by the Rev. Dr. Guerrant.

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