Note added by William H. McNitt: Slightly different versions of this history have appeared in various published and unpublished genealogies of the Grillot family. Although the history is not dated, internal evidence makes it likely that it was written around 1960 (over a century after the arrival of the Grillots in Ohio). It appears to be based for the most part on oral traditions passed down in her family, although she does mention a few letters that were in her possession. In the years since the writing of the history, genealogists have discovered French records which add much information to what was known by the author. I have added bracketed notes beginning with my initials - WHM - to correct and/or add to the author's story.
In this feeble attempt of mine to write an account of our family and our French ancestors, I am indebted for the information collected for me most generously by our relatives in Ohio, to my brother, George Warin, and others.
Much valuable material on the ancestors of the Grillot family was sent to me by John Grillot, son of mother's brother, George Grillot, who lives in Huston, Ohio; by William Grillot, son of mother's brother, John Grillot, of Versailles, Ohio; and from an article written by Ben Grillot, great-grand nephew of Henry Grillot, our great-grandfather. His article was written on the occasion of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the first Catholic parish in Darke county, Ohio, at St. Valbert's, May 29, 1939.
To John Gasson of Versailles, Ohio, son of Frank Gasson, my Father's step-father, I am indebted for the facts relative to the Gasson family. On the Warin ancestors I have been most fortunate of possessing nine letters belonging to my father, which he gave me many years ago. These letters were written in French and kindly translated for me by Sister Marie Clement Cusack, C.H.M. Three of them were written to my father by his first cousin Joseph Warin, then residing at Labeuville, France, a few years after his return from the Franco-Prussian War in 1871; three were written to him by his uncle and god-father, Francois Pichon, his mother's brother; three written by his childhood friend, Abbe Parmentier, a priest in the diocese of Verdun, who lived at Labeuville at the same time Father did.
The account of the first three years while our parents lived at Versailles, Ohio and their early pioneer days in Iowa, were furnished me by my brother, George Warin, of Maloy, written down and sent to me by his daughter, Anna Warin. I am indebted to my dear Mother for many of the little incidents of her childhood days in Ohio, and the first few years spent in Southern Iowa, and for a few to my esteemed godmother, Mrs. Michael Hart. To her daughter, Mrs. Julia Hart Noland, sister to Luke Hart, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus; also from a letter to me by Luke, I owe the information I related of the early history of the Catholic parish at Maloy, Iowa.
Special thanks go to Sister Mary Carolyn Mullin, C.H.M., grand-niece of my brother George, for retyping my account.
Sister Mary Eulalia Warin, C.H.M.
The ancestors of the Warin and the Grillot families came to America during a most critical period of not only France but all of Europe. "Certain basic principles in society and in politics were proclaimed by the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Era served to communicate them to Europe. The ensuing period was marked by a bitter struggle for the general acceptance or for their wholesale rejection." Note 1
To the Frenchmen the political and social benefits which had been so dearly obtained during the French Revolution, meant definite facts and rights which they were unwilling to relinquish. The Congress of Vienna of 1815, convoked for the purpose of reorganization of the political and social order in Europe after the overthrow of Napoleon Bonepart, contained principles opposed to their political ideas of "liberty, equality and fraternity."
Especially repugnant to them was the general principle of "legitimacy" which constituted the general underlying principle of the Vienna Congress. The most important provision of this principle was the restoration of the former rulers of the monarchical governments: the restoration of the Bourbons in France and Spain; the house of Orange in Holland, etc. In France this meant the restoration of the Bourbon Kings of this period, viz., Louis XVIII (1815-1824); Charles X (1824-1830); and Louis Philippe (1830-1848).
The French people were unwilling to submit without a struggle for their political rights and revolts occurred during the reigns of these three kings, in 1820, 1830 and 1848. France became a storm center of revolutions. Metternich of Austria, the reactionary genius of this period who attempted to maintain the status quo of the Old Regime, remarked that "When France sneezes all Europe has a cold."
Many French citizens left France and emigrated to America during and after the uprising of 1820 and settled in Ohio and in Louisiana. A much larger emigration occurred after the Civil War of 1830. A newspaper clipping from the New York Herald and Tribune of November 1947, has this to say about these sturdy and liberty loving emigrants who settled in Versailles, and in Darke County, Ohio:
"Louis Philippe's occupancy of the French throne and the political storms that followed in the 1830's were directly responsible for a little town in western Ohio, called Versailles. It is near the Indiana border, in Darke County, northeast of the county seat, historic Greenville .... The inhabitants of the town pronounce it `Versales.' It is queer that they do, for a great many of the 1600 citizens are French, descendants of those men and women from Lorrain, who could not tolerate the return of the Bourbon kings and what looked like a repudiation of the democracy so clearly won in the French Revolution. Indeed, some of those first settlers had served under Napoleon himself ...."The article gives a list of the family names of the 1830's present day inhabitants. Among those of special interest to the Frank Warin family are these two "... Alexander family, whose members spelled it Alexandres; and there are the Grilliots and Grillots, the latter claiming that the extra "i" is an Ohioism. Both sound the final "t" and most names are Americanized now, in violation to all French rules...." [WHM: The newspaper article is incorrect about the final "t". The families in Ohio do not pronounce it.]
The Who's Who of 1839 contains the names of thirty-four families who ancestors settled in western Ohio. The great majority of them came in the 1830's -- a few in the 1820's. The first French Catholic to settle in Wayne county, Ohio was Francis Foy, originally spelled Foix, in 1823. Note2 [WHM: Is this supposed to be Wayne Township of Darke County? Francis lived in Stark County, Ohio and then bought land in Wayne Township, Darke County on March 5, 1834.] Among the names listed in the Who's Who of 1839, the original spellings are followed by the present-day spelling in parentheses. Note3 French settlements were established in Shelby, Darke, Mercer, Auglaize and Allen counties. Those in Darke and adjoining counties are now located at Versailles (Jacksonville), Frenchtown (Champaigne), Russia (St. Remy), Newport and St. Valbert (St. Valbert). Only a cemetery now exists at the latter place.
Archbishop Purcell learning of those scattered French settlements and desirous to provide them with native priests from France to attend to their spiritual needs, went to France in 1839, secured six young priests from the Clermont diocese who volunteered to come to assist him in his diocese.
Bishop Purcell returned early in 1839 to Cincinnati, Ohio, bringing with him three of the young priests. This very interesting information concerning them is taken from an account of the centennial celebration of St. Remy's Parish of Russia, Ohio, published in the Catholic Telegraph Register (Dayton-Miami Valley Edition) August 17, 1952:
"The three were John Baptist Lamy, who became the first Bishop and Archbishop of Santa Fe (and who was the chief figure of Willa Cather's novel "Death Comes for the Archbishop"); Joseph Machebeuf, who became the first Bishop of Denver; and (Joseph) Louis Navarron, who became the missionary to Catholic emigrants in Darke county, Ohio ...."
Father Joseph Navarron was the young missionary appointed by the zealous Archbishop to minister to the spiritual life of Darke and adjoining counties. He chose a piece of land about two and a half miles from Versailles, because of its being centrally located for his vast missionary field, consisting of five counties. During the summer of 1839, he and some of the French settlers built a log church and called it St. Valbert, the present site is now the cemetery of St. Denis parish of Versailles, Ohio. The old church was removed many years ago. Note 4 St. Valbert, the first church built in Darke county, Ohio, became the mother church of five other settlements: Frenchtown (Champaigne) in 1846; Russia (St. Remy) in 1852; Newport in 1862; Versailles in 1864; North Star in 1892; and Osgood in 1908. Note 5
Excerpts taken from the Annals of St. Michael's Congregation by Reverend William Digot, a personal friend of Father Navarron, shows how dear to the heart of the holy missionary, St. Valbert was. In describing one of his missionary trips he adds "...After that I went to Lima where I spent several days, then returned by way of Berlin (Fort Loramie) to my beloved St. Valbert's." Again shortly before his death, he inquired of his old friend Father Digot about St. Valbert: "Together they chatted about affairs in the missionary's old mission field, the main point of interest being St. Valberts, whether it still existed or how much of it...." He died at St. Mary's Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1862, where he had retired on account of feeble health and old age. Note 6
Another source of information concerning these original French emigrants in western Ohio, was published in The Catholic Telegraph Register at the time of the centennial celebration of Russia (St. Remy) parish, August 17, 1952:
"...The well-authenticated story of the origin of this village's name goes to the French immigration, largely from Alsace-Lorraine, which began in the late 1820's. Among the immigrants were many who had taken part in Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign. When they viewed the flat swampy country, they were struck by its resemblance to the Russian terrain over which they had marched, and "Russia" they name it, though even today they pronounce it "Roosie." [WHM: This name is actually pronounced as "Rooshie."]The ancestors of the Grillot family came from Lorraine and were among the thirty-four families listed in the 1839 "Who's Who." Henry Grillot, the grandfather of my Mother, Mrs. Frank Warin, nee Mary Justine Grillot, was born in 1782, near Verdun. He had a sister who lived in Metz. Little is known of his early life in France. He probably was a farmer, although it has been related to me that he was an overseer of the forest near Metz. [WHM: Henry Grillot was born April 15, 1783, at Pareid, Meuse, France. Pareid is less than 25 kilometers east of Verdun. He had nine sisters, but I do not know where all of them lived as adults -- one may have lived at Metz. Records of Pintheville, Meuse, France, where his children were born and several were married, consistently refer to Henry as a weaver (his father and grandfather were also weavers), but Henry's uncle (also named Henry) was a national forest guard.] He had two uncles, George and Andrew, who served under Lafayette when he was in command of the fortress at Metz. Like him the gallant struggle of the American colonists for their independence aroused their sympathy to such an extent that they volunteered their service. Note 7 [WHM: See the author's note -- she was unsure about one of the uncles being named Andrew. Records of Pareid, Meuse, France, do not show any uncles of Henry Grillot named George or Andrew, only Henry, Remy, Claude, and Louis. Claude died young, but it is possible that some of the others could have served in the military.]
"...The French character of the early settlements is indicated in the name of the church 'St. Remy,' the French form of St. Remigius, apostle to the Franks, who converted and baptized the Frankish chieftain, Colvic..."
Louis Grillot, brother of Henry Grillot, and great-grandfather of Ben Grillot of Houston, Ohio, came with him to America in a sailboat, landing at New Orleans some time in 1836, after a 60-day journey across the Atlantic [WHM: None of these Grillots left France in 1836. Henry, his son George, and his brother Louis were all present at the marriage of Henry's daughter Francoise to Pierre Paul Henry in Pintheville on November 7, 1837. Louis Grillot and his family emigrated to the United States in 1838, arriving in the port of New Orleans on July 7 on the ship "Oglethorpe." Henry Grillot left for America on 25 March 1839 and arrived in New Orleans on May 29, 1839, on the ship "Charles." With Henry's family were members of the Begin, Fligny, Grillot, Henry, Parmentier, Pierron, Simon, and Thiebaux families from Hennemont, Meuse, France and surrounding areas.] Remy Grillot, a brother of theirs, remained in France, took part in the Napoleonic wars and has been honored by having his name engraved on the Arc de Triomphe, Paris, as being one of Napoleon Bonepart's generals. [WHM: Henry and Louis Grillot did not have a brother named Remy, but did have an uncle named Remy -- born May 4, 1765 in Pareid, Meuse, France.] The following brief account of him is to be found in the Congressional Library, Washington, D.C.:
"Grillot (Remy) general, born at Navilly (Saone-et-Loire) March 11, 1766, died at Leipzig from an amputation of the leg, May 19, 1813. Became a soldier...May 31, 1785; corporal, February 1, 1788; ...captain, March 15, 1793; ...colonel, October 5, 1803; ...commander of the 2nd brigade of the 9th Infantry Division under Girard...in the Grande Armee, March 1, 1813; his leg was shattered by a shell at Lutzen. Was the son of a farmer. The name of General Grillot is inscribed on the north side of the Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile." Note 8 [WHM: As noted above, the Remy Grillot who was related to Henry and Louis Grillot was born on a completely different date in a different area of France and his father was a weaver, not a farmer. There is no evidence of any connection between General Grillot and the Grillots of Ohio, although the story persists among various branches of their descendants.]
No records exist of the name of their parents or other members of the immediate family, nor from which village in Lorraine they lived in France. [WHM: French vital records discovered in recent years show that Henry and Louis Grillot were sons of Jean Charles Grillot and Jeanne Barbe Curely. Both sons were born at Pareid, Meuse, France, although Henry's children were born at the neighboring village of Pintheville and Louis' children at Hennemont.] From a letter written to Father by his childhood friend, Abbe Parmentier, dated Jan. 11, 1888 is obtained the following information:
"You mentioned that your wife comes from La Meuse -- From what parish? I should like to know, for you know that La Meuse is our native department and Verdun the Cathedral city of the diocese." [WHM: The Meuse is one of the three French departments into which the old region of Lorraine was divided following the Revolution.]
Henry Grillot, like the majority of French citizens, was soon convinced that Louis Philippe was an enemy of the principles of democracy, although he attempted to camoflage his hatred of these principles, by assuming the name of "Louis Philippe" instead of Philip IV. To escape living under such a ruler and especially the military training required by the government, great-grandfather Henry Grillot sent his two teen-aged sons to America in 1834. Grandfather Grillot was only seventeen years old at the time. Henry Grillot followed his sons two years later, bringing with him the remaining members of his family -- his two daughters Margaret and Mary and Mary Parmentier, his future daughter-in-law, wife of his son George, and our grandmother. Note 9 His wife had died before he left France. [WHM: Pintheville records show all of the Grillot sons in France after 1834, although it is possible that they could have gone to America and then returned. In 1834, George was 21, not 17. Henry Grillot came to the U.S. in 1839, with his son George (age 26) and his daughter Marguerite (age 17). The author's reference to a daughter named Mary must mean Anne Marie Francoise (age 29), who was also on the same ship with her husband Pierre-Paul Henry and several children. Her name appears as Anne on the ship's passenger list. Some of Henry's children, including his oldest son Nicolas, did remain in France.]
At the time Great-grandfather Henry Grillot, his brother, and his sons arrived in America, the government here had begun the construction of a system of canals connecting the Great Lakes with the Ohio River. Their first work in their adopted country was to assist in a section of this project -- the Wabash & Erie via Toledo-Cincinnati. Note 10
A little later they both purchased land near Frenchtown. Many more French emigrant families settled there. Ten years after Henry's and Louis' arrival in America a parish was established; a church erected which was dedicated by Bishop Purcell, October 15, 1846, and placed under the patronage of the Holy Family. [WHM: This is Holy Family parish (originally known as Sainte Famille) in Frenchtown, Darke County.]
Henry Grillot and his daughters lived on a farm one mile west of Frenchtown. He did not live long to enjoy the freedom of his adopted country. His death occurred October 31, 1839, at the age of 57, just three years after his arrival here. [WHM: He was actually only 56 and may have arrived in Darke County only a few months before -- see previous notes] He was buried at St. Valbert's cemetery, the first church located at that site in Darke County, Ohio -- the Frenchtown parish did not exist there at that time. He was the first person to be buried in this cemetery; the second person to be buried there in less than two months later was another French emigrant, Joseph Parmentier, December 26, 1839. Note 11 No building now exists at this old historic place. It is now the cemetery of St. Denis's church at Versailles -- two miles S. W. of the original old log church built in 1839 and where Grandfather and Grandmother George Grillot were married. Note12
Records reveal the names of other members of the Grillot family who came to America in 1839's. Louis Grillot, Great-grandfather Henry Grillot's brother, grand-daughter, Mary Henrietta Grillot (sister to Ben Grillot's father) married Joseph Guillozet (Name listed in "Who's Who" in 1839) June 28, 1842, four months after the marriage of our grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. George Grillot. She had a daughter who entered the Precious Blood order, and known as Sister Virginia. Her name was mentioned to me several times by Mother. [WHM: Mary Henrietta Grillot was Louis' daughter, not his granddaughter. I have found no mention that she had a daughter, only two sons. Her sister Mary Catherine Grillot Frossard did have a daughter who joined the Society of the Precious Blood and may be the one the author is thinking of, but her name was not Sister Virginia.]
GEORGE GRILLOT AND FAMILY
George Grillot, our grandfather, and his brother Charles, landed at New Orleans some time in 1834, after a long and difficult journey of over two months in a sail boat. A number of passengers had contracted the Yellow Fever, some had died during the journey, buried at sea and those who survived were left at New Orleans to recover. His brother Charles Note 13 was one of those unfortunate ones. [WHM: It is unlikely they came as early as 1834 unless they later returned to France. George attended his sister's wedding in France in 1837 and was on the passenger list for the arrival of the "Charles" in New Orleans in 1839. Charles was in Verdun, France, on May 21, 1843, when his marriage banns were published and recorded in the Pintheville records.] The rest of the emigrants continued their journey north up the Mississippi River on another ship, then east on the Ohio River until they reached the state of Ohio. There they landed and travelled on to Darke county in western Ohio where a French settlement had been established. Here our grandfather found work awaiting him to earn his livelihood. He first assisted in the building of a system of canals across the state connecting the Ohio River with Lake Erie, and later on was employed in the construction of the Big Four Railroad which passes through Versailles, Ohio and Russia. Two of his sons, George and Frank Grillot, Mother's brothers, rode on the first train to travel on this new railroad.
Some time afterwards, probably at the time of his marriage to Mary Parmentier, at the age of 25, he went to live on the farm one mile west of Frenchtown, once owned by his father, Henry Grillot. Their marriage ceremony took place at St. Valbert -- the mother church of all Catholic parishes in Darke county, Ohio, built by Father Navarron -- on February 28, 1842. It occurred four years before Holy Family church was dedicated by Bishop Purcell, October 15, 1846. [WHM: The author keeps referring to George and Mary's marriage in 1842 at St. Valbert's, but does not seem to be aware that they were married previously in a civil ceremony by a Justice of the Peace on February 29, 1840. George was 29 when first married, 31 at the time of the church ceremony.]
Six children were born to them -- four sons and two daughters: Frank, George, John, Mary Justine (our Mother), Catherine, and Joseph. The two oldest sons, Frank and George, became farmers like their father and lived in Darke county; John became a carpenter and later on a contractor and lived in Versailles, Ohio. Catherine (Aunt Cass) married Pete Subler, and lived in Versailles. Joseph, the youngest son, never married. He first farmed the old homestead for Grandfather, when he went to live with Aunt Cass.
Uncle Joe, as he was known to us, was forced to give up farming on account of poor health (he had cancer in his stomach). A short time after our parents returned to Iowa in 1875, he came to live with them hoping to obtain some relief from his sufferings. That was before I was born and they were living in the little one-room cottage. Failing to obtain any relief, he returned to Ohio and finally succumbed to the malignant disease.
A few facts related to me by Mother concerning her parents and her childhood days, will give a more intimate knowledge of both her parents and herself.
Grandfather George Grillot had received an excellent religious training in France from his own parents and apparently from their parish priest or from another religious teachers. He was able to answer the Mass prayers, say his prayers in Latin, sing the vespers, etc.; and was well instructed in Christian doctrine. When the Holy Family church was erected in 1846, the parish priest had several out-missions to serve in addition to the parish at Frenchtown. He appointed Grandfather as sexton of the church and to assist him in the religious instruction of the children of the parish and to lead the vespers on Sunday afternoons and on feast days when he was unable to be present. Mother was able to sing the vespers, say the Our Father and the Hail Mary in Latin, besides her ability of saying the all her prayers in both the English and French language. She or father would always lead the family rosary in French.
Grandfather was very skilled in woodwork, and made wooden shoes for the members of his family, also to sell. The wood for them he obtained from the timber located on his property. Mother had a pair he made for her. Note 14
Not long after Grandmother's death in 1881, Grandfather Grillot went to live with his youngest daughter Catherine -- known to us as Aunt Cass -- who had married Pete Subler, descendant of one of the French families named in the 1839 "Who's Who." He was the owner of a general store in Versailles. Grandfather was living with her when I went with Mother to visit him in 1884. I remember he had a room of his own on the first floor and that he was quite lame at the time. He had a running sore on one of his legs, which never healed. His death occurred August 6, 1902, twenty years after the death of his wife, and he was buried in the cemetery at Frenchtown beside her. He was 88 years old at the time of his death. [WHM: According to his gravestone, George Grillot died in 1901.]
Nothing is known concerning the parentage and early life of Grandmother, nee Mary Parmenter. All of the family's early records have been lost. She was born in 1815 in Lorraine, France; came to America in the same sailboat as her future father-in-law, Henry Grillot, in 1836, and also lived somewhere in Darke county, where she became acquainted with Grandfather George Grillot. Her death occurred also in August -- August 7, 1881 in her 66th year. [WHM: Mary - baptised as Marie Barbe Parmentier - was born on January 31, 1815, in Hennemont, Meuse, France and was the daughter of Joseph Parmentier and Barbe Warin. The Parmentier family came to America on the same ship as the Henry Grillot family in 1839.]
A few facts have been gleaned concerning the early life of Grandmother Grillot in France. It has been related she was a personal maid for a wealthy and aristocratic lady in France, who gave her a number of silk dresses and many pieces of jewelry which she brought with her when she came to America in 1836. Mother kept pieces of these silk dresses and had a box containing many pieces of jewelry belonging to her mother (the jewelry was divided between her and Aunt Cass). I have often seen these relics of her mother's. The earrings, breastpins and rings she later exchanged for pieces of modern jewelry. The beautiful gold cross she kept and is still in the possession of the family.
Grandmother Grillot, like our mother, became quite fleshy when she reached middle age. However, mother did not resemble her in her physical weakness of fainting at the sight of blood. Mother was also given the beautiful name of "Mary" and was dedicated at the time of baptism to the Blessed Virgin -- an old French custom of dedicating their oldest daughter to the Mother of God.
Mother's childhood days were happy ones, nurtured as she was in such a religious atmosphere and living so close to nature. She and her brothers then roaming in the timber land surrounding their home, found many evidences of the original owners of the soil -- Indian flints, used by Indians as arrow-heads, etc. Many Indian battles were fought in the vicinity where they lived. One mile north of Piqua, a short distance from Frenchtown, is a large boulder marking the last battle fought with the Indians before they were driven out of the Ohio territory.
When Mother was a little child she wandered away from home and was lost. A searching party found her many hours later asleep in a field of grain. She said that they raised peacocks and sold their tail feathers. After they were despoiled of their feathers, she said they would hide away in the woods and would not appear until their feathers grew in again, hence the origin, no doubt, of the expression "As proud as a peacock."
OUR OHIO RELATIVES
There has always existed a close tie -- a warm friendship between our family and the members of the Grillot and Gasson families. During the early days visits were few and made by train between the families. Uncle John Warin, father's brother, and Uncle Joe Grillot, mother's brother, made an extended visit to them while they were still living in their one-room-attic cottage. Both Father and Mother returned to Ohio three times to visit their surviving parents before they died. George and Mary visited in Ohio before they married; Jennie made an extended visit about the same time.
With the invention of the auto and paved highways, our first cousins -- the Grillots and Gassons -- have paid us several visits, nearly all coming to Ottumwa Heights while our beautiful home was still standing, to pay me a visit. They were practically strangers to me -- I knew them only by hear-say. Leo Grillot and wife, however, came to see me when I was stationed at Marshalltown, and on the very day we donned our new habit, June 11, 1934. Those who honored me with a visit before our home was destroyed were: John Gasson, the grandson of Father's half brother, Frank Gasson, and his devoted wife, nee Ellen Poly, who has so kindly kept me informed of the happenings of my Ohio relatives by letters and newspaper clippings; Albert and John Grillot, paid me two visits; Eugene Grillot and his two soldier sons of World War II; Clarence Horning, son of my first cousin, Mary Subler, and his wife Clara. (Their father and mother, Charles and Mary Horning, visited us before I came to the convent, either in 1893 or 1894).
It was Pete Grillot who was the architect and builder of our home in Maloy. A few years later William Grillot came to see his "Aunt Mary" as our Ohio cousins spoke of Mother. George and his two sons -- Roger and Emmitt -- made a trip to Ohio by car a few years ago. Note 15
All these exchanges of visits have tended to cement the friendship between the second generations of the original families. It has been a joy to me to have become personally acquainted with them. In all, I have noted evidences of the characteristic traits of our common ancestors -- stability and strength of character; strong faith in God; and a devotion to the country who welcomed their grandparents and great-grandparents in the 1830's. They have been successful businessmen or farmers -- social leaders in their own vicinity. God grant that their descendants will transmit those beautiful traits of our ancestors. Note 16
1. Practical and Social History in Modern Europe, Vol. II p.1 by Hayes. Return to main text.
2. John Grilliot's wife's maiden name was Mary Foy, a descendant of the French family who were among the earliest French emigrants in Ohio. He was mother's brother and lived in Versailles. His wife was known to us as "Aunt Mary". [WHM: John Nicholas Grillot (1843-1902) was the son of George Grillot and Mary Parmentier. He married Mary Anna Foy (1849-1918) in 1869. She was the daughter of Nicholas Foy and Anne Tuallion, and the granddaughter of Francis Foy.] Return to main text.
3. Who's Who in 1839 contains the names of thirty-four French emigrant families who settled in western Ohio near the Indiana border. (Only the names of special interest to our family -- ancestors -- those who intermarried into the family are given. The original spelling is followed by the present day spelling.) Foix (Foy), Marechal, Marchal, Marashal (Marshall), Monnier (Monner), Pequignot, Goffene (Goffe), Reboulet, Meneres, Sabourin (Subler), Grilliot, Grillio (Grillot), Guillozet, Goubeaux, Henry, Parmenter. Return to main text.
4. The plot of land upon which this church was built was a donation of John Marshall one of the original French emigrants. The first services held there was the baptism of Margaret Reboulet, October 17, 1839, daughter of Francis Petitjean and Margaret Adams -- both daughters of the French emigrant families listed in the 1839 "Who's Who". (Information obtained from an article written by Ben Grillot, great-grand nephew of our great-grandfather Henry Grillot, entitled St. Valberts. His address is Huston, Ohio, R.R. No. 1, (May 28, 1939, date of publication.
A description of the log church erected there in 1839 is given in the Sidney Daily News, Sidney, Ohio, November 27, 1940 under the title "Early Priest Braves Hundreds of Dangers to Mission Flock":
"Father Navarron spent ten years (1838-1848) in this locality in the following counties: Shelby, Darke, Auglaize, and Allen ... His first accomplishment was the building a small block church with a lrage wooden cross nearby St. Walbert .... It consisted of two parts, the chapel and a living room. After this he began his apostolic visitation ...."
Formerly St. Valbert's was spelt St. Walberts. This variation is due to the fact that there exists in reality no "w" in the French language. The "w" is really a "double v" or double "vay". Our own family name should be "Varin" instead of "Warin". Return to main text.
5. A History of the First Catholic Church in Darke Co., Ohio, by Ben Grillot, Huston, Ohio, published in 1939. Return to main text.
6. "Early Prists Braves Hundred of Dangers to Minister to Flock", Sidney Daily News, Sidney, Ohio, 1940. Return to main text.
7. This information was given me by Mother, nee Mary Justine Grillot. I heard her tell it on several occasions. She was not sure of Great-grandfather Grillot's uncles's name. She was positive that one's name was George for her father was named after him. A member of this family has always borne the name ever since -- her own brother, a son, and a grandson, etc. She thought that the other Revolutionary hero's name was Andrew. [WHM: Records at Pareid, Meuse, France show that none of Henry Grillot's uncles were named George or Andrew. If this story has any basis in fact, the names must have been different. Henry Grillot did have a brother named George, however, and it is likely that Henry named his son after this brother who had died while serving in Napoleon's army in Spain almost exactly four years before the younger George was born.]
Just when these two French heroes came with Lafayette, she did not know except they came with him to American on one of his trips to aid the colonists in their struggle for liberty during the Revolutionary War. From history is learned, that Lafayette left secretly with Baron de Kalb and twelve other officers in 1777 and that Lafayette was wounded in the battle of Brandywine. When France recognized the independence of the American colonies, an army and a fleet were sent over to assist the colonists in 1778. These two uncles of Henry Grillot were never heard of again, and are supposed to have given up their lives for the cause of liberty of the American colonies. No record so far has been found regarding them. Return to main text.
8. According to Gaston Duchesne's work entitled La Place le de l'Etoille et l'Arc de Trompe (Paris, H. Daragon, 1908) p. 31 the name Grillot appears among the names of 652 generals of Napoleon Bonepart inscribed on the Arc de Trompe. The following biographical information concerning General Grillot has been translated from George Six's Dictonnnaire Biographique des Generaux & Amiraux de la Revolution et de l'Empire (1792-1814), Paris, Georges Saffroy, 1934, Vol. 1, p. 528.
The above information was obtained by Hon. William M. McCollock of Ohio, January 19, 1949, at the request of Ben L, Grillot, Huston R.R. 1, Ohio, who is the great-grand nephew of Henry Grillot.
A picture of the name of Remy Grillot as inscribed on the inner wall of the Arc de Trompe, was kindly taken by Mother Mary Magdalen Wilmes for me during a short stay in Paris on the occasion of her pilgrimage to Rome in 1950. Several pictures, duplicates of the original, were sent to the members of our family and to our relatives in Ohio of the Grillot family. Return to main text.
9. His daughter, Margaret, married Henry Pieron. She died in 1903; was the mother of nine children -- three sons and six daughters. Mary, his other daughter, married August Henry. (Descendent of one of the French emigrant families listed in the 1839 "Who's Who). She had six children -- three sons and three daughters. She died in 1905. They were Grandfather Grillot's sister, therefore, our Mother's aunts. [WHM: Margaret - baptised Anne Marguerite Grillot - married Nicholas Joseph Pierron (who came to America on the same ship as the Grillots) on May 17, 1842, in Darke County. She died in 1902. My records show ten children -- four sons and six daughters. Mary - baptised Anne Marie Francoise Grillot - married Pierre-Paul Henry on November 7, 1837 at Pintheville, Meuse, France. She died in 1888.] Return to main text.
10. In a letter to me, dated November 5, 1951, John Grillot, a son of Uncle George Grillot, wrote that this canal passes just a half of mile from one of his farms. Return to main text.
11. Just what was the relation between him and our Grandmother Grillot, nee Mary Parmenter? Was he her father? brother? or some other near relative? None of our Ohio relatives of whom I have inquired knows. Unfortunately, the family records have been lost. Undoubtedly he came on the same ship as great-grandfather Henry Grillot in 1836. This fact would indicate that he was Mary Parmenter's father. His death also occurred three years after his arrival in Ohio -- was the second person to be buried in the cemetery at St. Valbert. [WHM: On the ship "Charles" which arrived in New Orleans from France on May 29, 1839, were a dozen French families on their way to Ohio. In addition to the family of Henry Grillot, the passenger list shows the family of Joseph Parmentier (he was traveling with his wife Barbe, sons Joseph, Nicolas, Pierre, and Francois, and daughter Marie). The Parmentiers were from Hennemont, Meuse, France, the village where Henry Grillot's brother Louis had lived before emigrating. Like Henry Grillot, Joseph Parmentier died just a few months after reaching Ohio.] Return to main text.
12. Albert Grillot (Uncle George's son) and William Grillot (Uncle John's son) collected money from his descendents to erect a new monument. The original one was broken. William kindly sent me a picture of both of them. Return to main text.
13. One of our sisters, Sister Madalene Marie, when on a trip in New Orleans, looked up the telephone directory in New Orleans, at my request, to see if there were living in that city any residents by the name of "Grillot". She found eight different families bearing that name. Presumably, they are the descendants of Charles Grillot, Grandfather George Grillot's brother. [WHM: Charles was in France when he married in 1843. Unless he emigrated to America at a later time, it is unlikely that the Grillots of New Orleans are his descendants.] Return to main text.
14. After Mother's death, Jennie and I were given one of the shoes made by Grandfather Grillot for Mother. She gave hers to Emmitt Warin, and I gave mine to Roger Warin. Return to main text.
15. In a letter dated February 2, 1959, William Grillot, sent me a very interesting newspaper clipping from the December 29, 1958 issue of a Dayton paper concerning Ben Grillot, great-grandson of Louis Grillot, who came to America in 1836. [WHM: Ben Grillot was actually a grandson of Louis, not a great grandson. Louis moved his family to America in 1838, not 1836.] It is of special interest to us referring as it does, to the first French families who settled near Versailles, Frenchtown, the homes of our parents. Ben Grillot is shown riding a bicycle and below the picture is the following descriptive comment:
"Russia's B. L. Grillot Takes Daily Bicycle Rides
-Oldest Bike Rider in County Once Waged Fight to Change the Name of Village" ... and
"NO COMMUNIST, Shelby Man Quits Fight to Change the Name of Russia, the Village's Name"
The articles then proceeds to give an account of Ben and his grievance. The name was given to it by the first French settlers because it reminded them of the battlefields that many of them had fought in Russia during the disastrous campaign of Napoleon Bonepart in 1812.
Grillot said that when the old-time settlers named that, "It was all right then -- in 1836. There were no Communists." His long fight was fruitless, owing to the fact that the change of names would necessitate changes in deeds, church records, etc.
He is "amazingly active considering his age and the stroke he suffered two years ago." He is now 84 years old and bought a bicycle when his doctor told him after the stroke to stop driving a car. Although Ben has abandoned the fight to change the name, his wife is not reconciled to the name in the light of the present international situation. Return to main text.
16. On the occasion of my home visit to see my brother George and his family, June 1959, he informed me that when Father and Mother spent a few years in the 1870's at Frenchtown, Ohio that he served Mass for Bishop Purcell. They were living on Grandfather's farm just a mile from the church at Frenchtown where his parents were married. He was nine years old at the time. Return to main text.
Attachments to the history reproduced above included a chart headed "GENEALOGY OF GRILLOT FAMILY" which shows much on the descendants of Henry Grillot through his son George, but only sketchy information on Henry's other children and his brother Louis Grillot's family. Another chart was headed "Warin Family" and shows a couple of generations of descendants of the author's parents (Francis Joseph Warin and Mary Justine Grillot).
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