French Refugees

Artist Francois Dubois depicts the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre of 1572

Surprise! I found a few ancestors who weren't poor, farming Quakers from England... Introducing the French Huguenot Refugees. 

Their Story

The French Huguenots were part of the Reformed Church Movement of the 16th Century. They believed that the church didn't provide salvation - rather, it was the individual's faith alone that provided salvation. You may have heard of Martin Luther (German) and Jean Calvin (French) - both of these men were leaders in the Reformed Church Movement. 

Unfortunately, the Catholic church and leaders of France didn't like this idea so they started killing the Huguenots and their families.  In 1562, there were 800,000 Huguenots in France. By 1700, approximately 550,00 of them had recanted their faith to stay alive."During the next twenty years, it is estimated that about a quarter of a million Protestants left France." 1

Fun fact (as sasha would say): The English word "refugee" was invented during this time period in England, where as many as 50,000 Huguenots took (what they thought would be) temporary "refuge" until the politcial situation changed in France. 


The French Refugees in Virginia

Our ancestors, Andre Cochet and his wife, Eleanor, were among those who fled to North America. Their ship, The Mary & Ann, sailed into Jamestown, Virginia in 1700.  "It arrived at Hampton on 23 July 1700 with 118 men, 59 wives and girls and 38 children after a 13 week voyage." 2

"Where other nations often sent their poorest classes as emigrants, France had driven away her best to enrich the life of another and freer land." 3

"The Huguenot refugees who left France were generally merchants, artisans, craftsmen, weavers or were skilled in specific trades. Many were well-educated, and some were able to establish new roles as entrepreneurs or professionals where they settled. They were generally well-received where they located and became industrious members of their new communities. Many of the French Protestant refugees had to learn new skills to support themselves and their families, becoming planters and traders, learning new languages and customs, and gradually becoming part of their new communities, while retaining their strong faith. These immigrants and their descendants played significant roles in the history of their adopted countries." 4

French refugees at prayer

The Tree

Andre Cochet had a son named John.

John Cochet/Cashatt had a son named John.

John Cashatt had a daughter named Eleanor. 

Eleanor married a Ratcliff and had a daughter named Margaret.

Margaret married a Hinshaw and had a daughter named Eleanor.

Eleanor married a Holloway and had Timothy.

Timothy had a daughter named Nancy.

Nancy marred Stephen Speed and had Emaline Tamer.

Emaline Tamer married Otis Raleigh Nelson and had Hazel Nelson.

Additional Research


1 huguenot society

2 huguenot society


4 huguenot society