Abraham Le Maistre

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The founder of a Lemaster dynasty in the United States, Abraham Le Maistre, has been variously described as a farmer, born in St Mary, Jersey, and a Huguenot refugee carpenter, born in Nantes, France, in the late 1630s.

Huguenot refugees

Although Le Maistres may well have left France in either or both of the 16th and 17th exoduses of Huguenots, the family was well established in Jersey some time before. St Mary baptism records do not go back far enough to provide confirmation of the birth of an Abraham in the parish in the 1630s. If, as suggested by one researcher (see below) Abraham was a refugee from France in the 1660s, that does not tie in with the second mass exodus of Huguenots, which happened in 1785.

Whatever his origins, Abraham is know to have arrived in Maryland in the United States in 1662, where he became known as Lemaister and Lemaster. He lived in part of St Mary's County until 1695 when that portion of St Mary's County (lying between Zekiah Swamp and the current St. Mary's County line, including access to the Patuxent River between Swanson's Creek and Indian Creek) which included Charles County.

Abraham arrived in St Mary's County, Maryland prior to 21 September 1662. In a deposition of 7 June 1720:

" Abraham Lemaister the son of John and Sarah Lemaistre, aged 81 years or thereabouts, does deposeth upopn the Holy Evangel of Almighty God that he was born in the old Jerseys in the Parish of St Maries and further this despondent saith not. Sworn before us this Twenty Seventh Day of June anno domini 1720." [Note: this deposition suggests a birth date of 1639, not 1637.]

Alternative origin

Edward Woodyard of Armonk, New York contributed a paper on Abraham Lemaster. He wrote:

" The Immigrant was Abraham LeMaitre, a Hugenot born 1637 in the Parish of Derval, Diocese of Nantes, France. Before the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685 by King Louis XIII, the Hugeuenots of France had enjoyed a good deal of religious, political and social freedom, having formed a Protestant republic within the Roman Catholic kingdom. However, persecutions against the Hugenots became more intense even before Cardinal Richelieu brought about the revocation of the edict after he had conquered the Huguenot cities. At about this time, 21 year-old Abraham Lemaitre emigrated from France to England where he anglicized his surname to Lemaster, and then two years later, in 1660 emigrated with his wife Elizabeth to southern Maryland, eventually settling in the western part of St Mary's County that later became Charles County. A carpenter, Abraham Lemaster appeared before the St Mary's Court on 16 November 1668 and confirmed his assignment of a 50-acre grant awarded him on the completion of his indenture to Roger Snell who had himself been indentured to William Boreman, one of Lord Calvert's feudal barons".

Farming activities

According to the Maryland State Archives: "Came Abraham Le Master and desired that his Eare marke of his cattle might be recorded Flower de luce in the Right eare, cropt and hol'd in the left."

Ann Lemaster-Applegate suggests that Abraham may have been indentured to John Smith. In 1696. The section of St Mary's County, Maryland that Abraham lived in was made part of Charles County, Maryland. Abraham completed his indenture in 1668 and was thereby entitled to 50 acres of land under Lord Baltimore's amended Conditions of Plantation. However, Abraham did not claim his earned 50 acres of land. Instead, it was assigned to Roger Snell previously mentioned..

According to the Archives of Maryland:

"At a Councill meeting held on the 17th day of May Anno: Domini 1697, Ab Lemasters Pet & Order of Reference. A petition of Abram Lemaster of Charles County about a Bull was Ordr Referred".

Tenancy

"Abraham Lemaster became a tenant on a plantation called Betty's Delight, which bordered on a low marshy area called Zekiah Swamp and was near the main commercial town of Port Tobacco. A tenant to the owner Edward Evans, Abraham Lemaster bought the 200 acre plantation from Evans in November 1685 and died there on 6 December 1722 and was survived by his wife. His will was written on 20 September 1722 and inventory was dated in Charles County on 21 March 1723."

Having given his eldest son Richard, then five years old, a 50-acre tract in Charles County in 1675 called Toombett, Abraham Lemaster omitted this son's name from his will. His other children were bequeathed as follows: his son John received Betty's Delight, his daughters Sarah Tennison and Mary Barron each received equal shares of a plantation called Berry's, his daughter Anne Noe was allowed to lived at Betty's Delight, during her husband's absence, and his wife Elizabeth was allowed to live on Betty's Delight for the remainder of her life. There she died in 1727.

Abraham was a planter by occupation. Of Abraham's children, Abraham, Issac, John and Joseph are all mentioned at various times in the Port Tobacco hundred resident at Betty's Delight and His Lordship's Favor. Abraham's son Richard is mentioned as resident in the Newport hundred resident at Longley, and Noe's Desart.

In a transcription found in Charles County Maryland, it is stated:

"At the request of John LeMaster of Charles County, planter, the two following depositions were recorded this 9th day of March anno domini 1720 - viz John Noe aged 21 or thereabouts deposeth on the Holy Evangel of Almighty God that he heard Justinian Tennison say that he was born in Weymouth in the Kingdom of England and further this Despondent saith not. Sworn this the ___ June 1720 before us.

Will

Abraham's will is found in Charles County Maryland Probate Records. It states: 11th December 1722, To son John, ex, and hrs, dwelling plantation. To son Isaac and hrs, tract where he now lives. To daus Sarah Teneson and Mary Barron and their hrs, Berry equally. Wife to have use of dwell plan during life. Dau Anne to dwell on some pt of land during her husband's absence. Test: Richard Edelen, James Ludwell, Thomas Reibird.

Abraham Lemaster born 1636 on the Isle of Jersey (Channel Islands, France) and died December 6, 1722 at Betty's Delight in Charles County, Maryland. He was the son of John Lemaster/LeMatre and Sarah(?) He married Alice Cooksey in 1658.

The children of Abraham Lemaster and Alice Cooksey were: Sarah Lemaster born in 1660 married John Tennyson; Mary Lemaster b 1663 married Richard Barron; Richard Lemaster born 1670 in Charles County, Maryland, married Martha Dennis.


Other Le Maistre settlers

Another Le Maistre among the early settlers in America was Claude Le Maistre who went to Holland then came to America in 1652. He settled at Flat Bush, Long Island. His wife was Hester Du Bois and they had 6 children: John born 1653; Abraham, born 1656; Isaac, born 1658; Susanna born 1660; Hester born 1662; James born 1665. In Memorials of the Huguenots, under the list of the French Nobility, families of Patrician Rank from Nobility of Normandy is listed Le Maistre immigrants as coming to America in 1688. Under the general list is John William Le Maistre, born 1690, and came to America in 1748. A second group of Le Maistres was Abraham Le Maistre born about 1637 in Ste. Marie's Parish, the Isle of Jersey in the Channel Islands to John and Sarah Le Maistre. He came to Maryland before 1669, and settled in Charles County in 1700. He patented Le Master's Delight, Betty's Delight, and a number of other tracts. Between 1740-1752, three Lemaster brothers came from Nancy France. However, their names are not known. They had plantations in Virginia and later on the Ohio River near the Ohio and Indiana border. One of this group, Frank Le Master, moved to Johnson County, Kentucky. He had brothers John R Le Master; Jessie Le Master; and Eli Le Master (1770-1775).

A third group came to Pennsylvania before 1750. The name of the father is not known, but he came to Philadelphia County from Germany. He was a blacksmith and carried on his trade near the city. He had two sons, of whom Andrew Lemaster was the younger. Andrew was born in Philadelphia County on 26 February 1750. After his father died, Andrew followed the blacksmith trade while his elder brother took the farm. With his share of the estate, Andrew bought a few acres of ground near Philadelphia and built a house and blacksmith shop. Later he moved to Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and married Barbara Heck and had eight children. Their son, Jacob Lemaster, was born 8 July 1775. Jacob bought land where the village of Lemaster, Pennsylvania, is now located. The village was started in 1876 by Samuel Plumb, who purchased 11 acres of land from Jacob Lemasters (Lehmasters), and built a work shop. The village of Lemaster, still exists. A fourth group of Lemasters are descended from a Lemaster who is said to have married an Indian Princess. This was probably a son of one of the early groups.

A fifth group seems to be settled in Virginia. It is known that Lemasters were in Virginia as early as 1700, when a John Lemaster came to Virginia. Wills, deeds, land grants, etc., may be found in Virginia in the early 1700's. We do not know who the first Lemaster was who settled there. The sixth group of Lemasters settled in South Carolina. Some Lemasters living there now say they are descendants of Lemasters, came as a body guard for La Fayette; other say their families came to South Carolina from Virginia. The Lemasters in Virginia seem to have moved to Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. From these states on into Missouri and Arjkansas. From this movement Lemasters can be found today in practically every state in the USA. The names appears in many historical transactions, including the list of voters in the first presidential election; Knights of the Golden Horseshoe; on the Battle Monument of Point Pleasant, West Virginia (first battle of the American Revolution); land grants signed by King George III; in the Blue Book of New York City; many are listed as taking the Oath of Allegiance before and during the Revolution; Nicholas LeMaster was a seaman in Coligny's 2nd expedition to Canada in St. John's River Colony, sailed April 22, 1564 (the entire colony massacred by Indians); Le Maistre family of Orleans, France is listed as French Huguenots; some served at Valley Forge under George Washington; and a coat of arms was issued to the family. There are also many LeMasters listed as soldiers in the Revolutionary war.

Thomas, George, Richard, Benjamin, John, James, Abraham, Hugh, Isaac, Jacob are all listed as serving from Virginia, Abraham, Hugh, Isaac, and Richard are listed from Maryland. John and Frank are listed from South Carolina. http://gbrook.tripod.com/Abraham2Lemaster.html

Family of Abraham Le Maistre

[Note: Given that Abraham is supposed to have arrived in Maryland in 1662 and taken over the tenancy of Betty’s Delight in 1668,, the dates (or absence of them) given below for the birth of his first three children are surprising] Father: Francis Le Maistre (1618- )

Marriage: Elizabeth Alice Cooksey, born in England, in St Marys County, Maryland Children, all born in Betty’s Delight

  • Abraham
  • Alice
  • Sarah (1660- )
  • Mary (1663- )
  • Richard (1670- )
  • Isaac (1677- )
  • Ann (1681- )
  • John (1682- )
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