Maria de la MONTAGNE: Birth: 25 JAN 1637 in off the coast of Madeira, Portuguese island in the Atlantic Ocean. Death: 25 AUG 1711 in Kip's Bay, New York City
Title: Revised History of Harlem (City of New York). Its Origins and Early Annals
Page: pages 784-785.
Author: James Riker. Revised by Henry P. Toler and Sterling Potter.
Publication: Name: New York: Privately printed, 1904. Facsimilie reprint Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 2001.;
Title: Book of Marriages of the Pieterskerk, Leiden, Holland
Page: Intentions: 27 November 1626
Publication: Name: Original record books in the Leiden Archives;
Title: Records of the Walloon Church, Leiden, Holland
Page: Marriage Book for 28 November 1626 (Intentions). Date for marriage itself written in the margin on 12 December 1626.
Publication: Name: Original record books in the Leiden Archives;
Note: Who was he, this man from whom we descend?
Johannes Monerius Montanus "Xanto", Dutch university student? Jehan Mousnier de la Montagne, Walloon explorer? Jean de La Montagne, French Huguenot minister of the Gospel? Johannes La Montagne, physician of New Amsterdam? J. LaMontagne, signer of treaties with Indian tribes? Dr. Johannes Mousnier de la Montagne, founder of an American family?
Jean Mousnier de la Montagne was a Protestant from France. He was born about 1595 and he lived most of his life in exile from France. That much is certain. No one knows where he was born nor where he was living before 1619. No one knows who his parents were nor what the double-barreled name denotes. Does it imply an aristocratic origin? It may literally have meant "the miller from the mountain."
He may have been a native of Saintonge in west-central France, as Riker believed, or he may have come from another mountainous area of France. No records have been found in Saintonge to support Riker's belief, and all of our ancestor's associations in Holland were with Walloons, French Huguenots from northern France. There is a village named Santes near Lille, which has been suggested as a more likely place of his origin than Saintes in Saintonge.
He first appears on record in the Netherlands on 19 November 1619 when he registered as a student of medicine at the University of Leyden, signing his name in Latin as Johannes Monerius Montanus, a native of "Xanto". He was twenty-four years old and was boarding with the family of Robert Botack, a shoemaker on the Voldersgraft10. He next appears as a signer of the round-robin petition of the Huguenot heads of family in Leyden, addressed in July 1621 to the British Ambassador at the Hague, asking for permission to establish a Huguenot colony in Virginia. Permission was not granted to the Huguenots for that colony and so Jehan Mousnier de la Montagne accompanied Jesse DeForest to the Amazon River and the coast of Guiana in 1623, one of a party of eleven Huguenot men on board the Pigeon looking for a site to establish a Huguenot colony. He returned to Leyden on the Black Eagle late in 1625, bringing with him the news of the death of Jesse DeForest, the so-called Journal of Jesse DeForest, and the maps of the exploration party.
He is named as a boarder in the home of the widow of Jesse DeForest in 1626 and again that same year as a medical student at the University of Leyden. On 12 December 1626, he married Rachel, daughter of Jesse DeForest and his wife Marie Du Cloux, in the Walloon Church in Leyden. He was then thirty-one years old; she about seventeen. There is no baptismal record for Rachel DeForest, but her parents were living at Moncornet in Thierarche, in the French province of Picardy, between 1607 and 1615. They returned to Sedan to baptize Elizabeth in 1607 and David in 1608, but there is a break in the records of the Huguenot Church of Sedan between 1609 and 1617. For that reason, it is assumed that Rachel was also born at Moncornet and baptized at Sedan, probably in 1609, but the record has since been lost.
On 26 July 1629, Jean Mousnier de la Montagne left with his young bride on the Fortuyn for the island of Tobago, a Dutch possession in the Windward Islands, northeast of Guiana. His wife returned to Leyden in 1631, supposedly enfeebled by the climate of this Caribbean Island. Her husband probably returned in 1633 and appears on the register of University of Leyden a third time in 1636.
In Haag's Dictionnaire des familles protestantes de France, there is an entry for Jean de La Montagne, minister of the Gospel, who translated into French from English six religious tracts, published in France between 1633 and 1655. The fifth tract, " Pensées chrestiennes sur nostre devoir envers Dieu, envers nos prochains et envers nous-mesmes," includes some information about the translator. In the introduction, he states that he was born in 1590 but he doesn't say where. However, the first of these tracts was published in Sedan, which suggests that Jean de La Montagne might have originated from that area. Is this "our" Jean Mousnier de la Montagne? Perhaps. We know that our Dr. Johannes was gifted in languages, writing letters and reports in Latin, French, Dutch, and English, and evidently speaking some Indian languages. As a Protestant, he was interested in church doctrine, and as a university student, he would have studied theology.
On 25 September 1636, Dr. J. de la Montagne sailed for America a third time, this time with his wife and three children, Jesse (aged 7), Jean Jr. (aged 4), and Rachel (aged 2), on the ship Rensselaerswyck, owned jointly by the patroon Kiliaen Van Rensselaer and by his wife's uncle, Gerard DeForest. The DeForest group on the ship consisted of the DE LA MONTAGNE family, as well as Rachel's brothers Henry and Isaac DeForest. Another child, Marie, was born to Rachel DeForest at sea, before the ship reached New Amsterdam on 5 March 1637.
In the New Netherlands, Jean Mousnier de la Montagne was generally referred to as Jan or Johannes LA MONTAGNE. His excellent education and high natural abilities enabled him to take an important place in the community in New Amsterdam. On Manhattan Island, he immediately set up business as a physician and a chandler. Henry DeForest died soon after arrival in the New World, and Dr. La Montagne was forced to take charge of the establishment of the DeForest tobacco plantation in mid-Manhattan. Eventually La Montagne assumed the proprietorship of the property, living on it with his family and producing a profitable crop of tobacco. The farm, called Vredendahl, included much of the upper half of what is now Central Park. He was driven off the land by the Indians and lived thereafter near the fort at New Amsterdam. He was the official surgeon of New Amsterdam, First Councillor for both Directors Kieft and Stuyvesant (1638-1656), commander of the troops on Manhattan Island (1640-1656), and a member of several peace commissions with the Indians.
Another child, Willem, was born in 1641 but in 1643 Rachel died. Four years later Johannes de la Montagne wedded Agniete Gillis Ten Waert on 18 August 1647 at New Amsterdam. The marriage record showed that both of them had been previously widowed. Agniete, daughter of Gillis or Jellis Jochems Ten Waert and his wife Beicken Schuts, was baptized in Amsterdam on 1 December 1611. She had married Elias Provoost at Amsterdam on 17 May 1633. Elias died in July 1636 and Agniete then married Arendt Corssens Stam in Amsterdam on 26 January 1638. Agniete and her son, Johannes Provoost, came to the New Netherlands with her second husband. After Arendt Corssens Stam drowned at sea, Agniete married for a third time. Agniete had children by all three husbands, but only Johannes Provoost, born in Amsterdam in 1636, lived past infancy.
Johannes de la Montagne was appointed Vice-Director of the entire colony in 1656, with special responsibility for Fort Orange (Albany) and the settlement of Beverwyck. At Albany, Dr. La Montagne was the chief administrator for a large area, including all the Dutch and Huguenot settlements along the Hudson Valley, from 1656 to 1664. His stepson, Johannes Provoost, acted as his clerk at Fort Orange. With the English take-over of the colony in 1664, Dr. La Montagne drops out of official records. As an official of the Dutch West Indies Company, he had to relinquish his position as Vice-Director. He did sign a loyalty oath to the new British government and Riker believed that he accompanied Peter Stuyvesant back to Holland in 1665 to defend the surrender of the colony. However, there is no mention of Dr. La Montagne in Dutch records, although Stuyvesant and his defense occupy many pages of official reports. Dr. La Montagne is, on the other hand, mentioned at least twice in 1665 in Albany. His stepson, Johannes Provoost, continued to live in Albany, and it seems likely that Dr. La Montagne and Agnietje continued to stay close to her only living son.
When Willem de La Montagne took over the care of his sister's orphaned children in 1673, the Wiltwyck Court records refer to Dr. La Montagne as being deceased. It is believed that he died in 1670 since his son Jean/Jan dropped the use of Jr. that year. It is not known where Dr. La Montagne is buried nor either of his wives, although it is probable that Dr. La Montagne and Agnietje were buried in the churchyard of the first Reformed Dutch Church in Albany, a location at the intersection of State and Market Streets, long since buried under landfills and modern construction.
Construction sites in the late 19th century at the location of the burial grounds of the original Beverwyck RDC are known to have turned up human bones. Some remains were later moved to Washington Park but never identified. With new interest in preserving the Dutch heritage at Albany, perhaps our Montagne Surname DNA project will one day be useful in contributing to the identification of the bones of Dr. Johannes de la Montagne.
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