Why I Am A “Daughter of the Reformation”

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.

8 thoughts on “Why I Am A “Daughter of the Reformation”

  1. reformedsinger says:

    Thank you for sharing this history, Rachel. You have a wonderful heritage. And may we all who name the name of Christ “never take lightly the privileges and religious freedom” we “have today,” as well as have courage to stand “for the truth in the face of adversity.” Very well put.


  2. sedgegrass says:

    These stories are so important to pass down to our children and grandchildren. It was so easy to leave ‘history’ behind when immigrants came to America. Often a new start meant an escape from persecution and people were ready to leave behind either their ethnic, social or economic past for a different future. Because of that, many families have lost a sense of history, what their ancestors accomplished and their place in that ongoing story. Thanks for sharing this.


  3. Philip Hanna says:

    My ancestry also traces to Susanne Rochette and Abraham Micheaux, While I don’t have the details near me,the lineage goes through the Woodson / Venable / Morton / Hanna name changes. I live in south central Kentucky and have some pictures of the Micheaux Bible at Union Theological Seminary Library in Richmond, VA.


  4. Philip Hanna says:

    In my father’s notes in my family history material, he stated that Anne Woodson was considered to by the mother of Presbyterianism in Virginia. I’ve not seen that anywhere else. Had you heard that description?


  5. Dana L Brumbelow says:

    We’re cousins. Suzanne Rochette also had a daughter, Elizabeth, who was born here in Virginia. She married William Tucker. Amazing story. Thanks for writing it.


    • Margaret Mills says:

      I read this French Huguenot story in a high school religious world history course, and it made a lasting impression about religious suppression and freedom to worship. Decades later, in family genealogy research, I learned I’m directly descended from Susanna Rochet and Abraham Michaux – and recalled the story! Another of their daughters, Olive Michaux, married Anthony Morgan. I’m 8 generations descended from them with: Morgan / Minter / Womack / Scott / Mills, now in Texas. Thanks for bringing this story into a beautiful format and to keep it alive!


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