Jean Pierre Bondurant
– first Bondurant in America –
(1677 – 1723)
Relationship to Fawn: 7th great grandfather
In The Bondurants – Keeping a Family Together I introduced the generation of Bondurants that included my mother. This piece outlines where the Bondurants came from and when they got to this country. The Bondurant Family Association has done a wonderful job of compiling and preserving Bondurant History. All material presented below in quotation marks is from the history page of their website, which represent early Bondurant history summarized from The Bondurants of Genolhac, France by Mary Bondurant Warren.
Bondurants in Languedoc Region of France
“Our earliest documented Bondurant ancestors came from the Rouergue region of Languedoc in Southern France. This region was influenced by Provence, Italy, and Muslim Spain more than the French court in Paris. It spoke a different language called Occitan or Oc. The Cevennes mountains was a hotbed of Cathar and later Huguenot religion. This area was the scene of repeated religious persecution starting in the 1200’s and continuing through the French revolution in the late 1700’s.”
Genolhac and the Regordane Road
“The Bondurant Family lived in the region of Rouergue and the Cevennes mountains of the Central Massif. Historically, commerce travelled from the North of France to the ports on the Mediterranean Sea over an old Roman road called the Regordane Road. Our Bondurant ancestors moved to towns along this road such as Vielvic, Genolhac, and Malhieres. The Bondurants ran inns on the road. The road passed down la Grand Rue in Genolhac and bisected Belle-Polle where a restored Bondurant inn resides today.
Jean Pierre Bondurant, our ancestor, lived in Genolhac in a house on the la Grand Rue prior to escape to America.” The house is still a private residence today.
Escape to Switzerland
“Jean Pierre was born on 18 September, 1677 to parents, Jean Pierre Bondurant & Gabrielle Barjon. He was baptized as a Huguenot in the Genolhac temple and later baptized as a Catholic following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. His parents died in 1694 and 1695. He inherited extensive land holdings including the house in Genolhac and two mills.” Orphaned, he was left in the guardianship of his cousin, Andre Bondurant, who was an apothecary and also the mayor of Génolhac. HIs apprenticeship with his uncle by which he became known as an apothecary allowed him to practice medicine later in Virginia. “In [September] 1697, he sold the two mills and fled the kingdom of France to join his uncle, Pastor Guillaume Barjon in Aarau, Switzerland where he recanted his Catholic faith.”
Immigration to America
“In 1700, Jean Pierre Bondurant found his way to London, England and boarded the ship Peter and Anthony bound for America.” This was the second transport of Hugenot from London. “On 20 September, 1700, the ship arrived at Jamestown, Virginia,” and the immigrants were taken up the James River in smaller boats as far as the shoals (present day Richmond.) They went overland to Manakin Town, where they joined the “first transport” settlers who had occupied a deserted Monacan Indian village called Manakin Town near Fine Creek the previous year. Jean stayed with the colony until 1701 and then went elsewhere looking for more opportunity. He practiced medicine in Henrico County (part of which later became Goochland County) for many years. the new arrivals were taken up the James River to the shoals (present day Richmond, VA).
“Jean Pierre Bondurant practiced medicine in Henrico County, VA for many years. During this period, he bought and sold a 200 acre plantation near Matoaca. In 1725, he purchased 400 acres located on the South side of the James River in King Williams Parish from the King of England. Jean Pierre married Ann . . . and they had five children: Joseph, John, Ann, Frances, and Peter.
Jean Pierre attended the church in Manakin Town in the restored church shown above. It is located on the same site as The Huguenot Society Founders of Manakin Virginia and the Manakin Epsicopal Church The address of this Bondurant Family historical site is 985 Huguenot Trail, Midlothian, VA 23113-9274.”
“Jean Pierre died in 1734 and is buried in a graveyard on Birdsong Lane (Road No. 1217) near Powhatan, in Powhatan County, VA. His property was divided among his sons in his will filed in 1734.” The will can be viewed by clicking on the images below. “The Bondurant Family Association erected a fence and placed a commemorative plaque at the gravesite.”