There are many reasons why I named my blog “A Daughter of the Reformation.” My family are Protestants as far back as we can research. My mother’s family are Scots-Irish Presbyterians. They came to the U.S. before the Revolutionary War, and they helped build many churches across the southern states over the years. I also have some French Huguenot ancestors, and that is what I want to tell you about today.
In the late 1600s, French King Louis XIV began to persecute the Protestant Christians, or Huguenots. Before King Louis XIV, the Huguenots had been allowed to live and worship with considerable freedom. Louis XIV, however, hated the Huguenots and revoked the Edict of Nantes that had protected their religious freedom. Many Huguenot families began to leave France, but it wasn’t always easy to do so as Louis XIV tried to prevent the mass exodus.
The Rochette family had succeeded in getting two of their older daughters safely to Amsterdam. The Reformed church in Holland helped many families escaping from France. Once the older Rochette daughters were safe in Amsterdam, they wrote back to their father, Moses Rochette, and asked that he send them the “Little Night Cap” they had left behind. The “Little Night Cap” was their little sister, Susannah. To get Susannah out of France, Moses put her in a hogshead barrel and placed on a merchant ship headed for Amsterdam. Susannah made it to her sisters in Holland.
Years later, when Susannah was grown, she married another Huguenot refugee, Abraham Micheaux. When King William of England offered to send Huguenot refugees to colonize Virginia, Abraham, Susannah, and their six children came to America. They helped to settle Virginia. Their daughter Anne Micheaux married Richard Woodson. Anne’s daughter, Elizabeth Woodson, married Nathaniel Venable, who is known for his service during the Revolutionary War. These are my ancestors.
When I think of the trials and dangers that my Protestant ancestors faced in order that they might worship freely, I hope I never take lightly the privileges and religious freedom I have today. I also hope that I can stand, as they did, for the truth in the face of adversity.