Jesse de Forest (1570 - 1626)
Having such deep Southern roots I was definitely interested to find an ancestor who is considered one of the founding father’s of New York, so much so there is a monument to him in Battery Park, New York City.
Jesse de Forest was born around 1576 in
Avesnes, France to Jean de Forest
and Anne Maillard. He married Marie du
Cloux on 23 September 1601.
As was popular with many European Protestants at the time trying to escape persecution, Jesse wound up in
Jesse did pretty well for himself. He
was a very skilled dyer of fabric and as family history has it, especially
black dye. Evidently, dying fabric so
that it actually stayed black after washing was a pretty specialized skill back
in the day. He served as lieutenant and
Captain under Prince Maurice of Holland Nassau who lead
the Dutch rebellion against . Jesse was also thrown into the mix with many
Pilgrim Fathers Spain
(future passengers on the Mayflower).
Jesse wanted to bring a group of Walloon Huguenot families to the New World so he petitioned the English Ambassador at
The Hague to establish
a colony in . The ambassador said, sure but wouldn’t allow
Jesse’s group of Walloon families to settle together. Virginia
Not happy with that deal, Jesse petitioned and received permission from the Dutch East India Company to immigrate to the
Drawing of Jesse de Forest
"our said Captain died, much regretted by the Christians and Indians who had taken a great liking to him."
The group of settlers Jesse had organized back in
arrived in New Amsterdam in 1624. Jesse never made it to New
Amsterdam himself but his daughter, Rachel, ended up marrying his
old friend, Johannes de la Montague.
Rachel and Johannes, who arrived back in the new world on the ship
called The Rennselaerswyck
in 1637, settled in New Amsterdam taking over her
brother, Henry’s tobacco plantation, Vrendal (what is known today as the upper
half of Central Park in New York City).
While Jesse de Forest may have never set foot in
his efforts to grow the colony
there grant him the Founding Father status. New York