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Rene' and Elizabeth Sheffield Piatt

Rene Piatt aka Reni, Regnier, Reyneer, aka Thomas Fleurison, aka Renatus Fleurisson aka Renipiat aka Thomas La Fleur was born c1652 in France (probably near Dauphine in the Rhone Region). Rene married December 13, 1677, in Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey, Elizabeth Sheffield born c1654 of Flushing, New York.

The known children of Rene and Elizabeth

Rene and Elizabeth Sheffield are believed to have had two other children, names unknown, between Samuel and the last child, Jane (Joan). There are records showing that Rene had a son Rene (as noted above). However, in all the Pyatt research, one cannot find another Rene besides the immigrant father. But, in some instances a son Thomas is noted as Rene. Could Thomas and Rene have been the same child? Or, did Rene die young or otherwise leave no records to mark his passing?

The earliest known record of Rene Piatt is the following deed in Woodbridge, New Jersey:
30 Nov 1677 - Deed, Claude Vallot of Woodbridge to Rene Piatt alias Lafleur, of same place, planter, for 60 acres, joyning Hugh Dunn. Entered in the book by James Bollen, clerk, on 3 January. [East Jerey Deeds, Vol 1:97]

In 1680, Rene bought 55 acres from Jabez Hendricks at Piscataway, New Jersey.

In 1688 Rene was granted a Letter Patent of Denization (naturalization) issued from England.

In 1694, he purchased 250 acres along Cheesequake Creek from Miles Forster.

Rene' died in October of 1705 in Piscataway, Middlesex County, New Jersey. His wife, Elizabeth, was granted administation of his estate by Lord Cornbury at Perth Amboy:
"Perth Amboy October ye 16th 1705 - There appeared before me Edward Viscount Cornbury Captaine Generall & Governor in Chief in and over her majestys provinces of New Jersey New Yorke etc Elizabeth Peatt widdow of Reyneer Peatt commonly known by the name of LeFlure late of the Towne of Piscattaway Deceased and praying for administration of the Goods Chattles and Creditts of the Said Deceased itt was Granted Accordingly She being duly Sworne upon the holy Evangelists of Almighty God faithfully to administer the Said estate and to returne an inventory thereof Accordingly." This document was signed "Cornbury".

This is a transcript of the inventory of Rene Piatt estate at the time of his death:

The Transcribed Inventory of the Moveable Estate of Leflure is given in its entirety:
(Unrecorded Wills, Vol. 10, page 229)
A true and Perfect Inventory of all the Moveable Estate of Leflure Deceased late of the town of Piscataway in the province of New Jersey as falows Vizt:
Imps To his pursl Apparill and Armer 18-13-06
To 4 Axes 4 hows Carpenters tools 01-10-03
To plow Irons Chains Cart and Yoak 02-10-00
To 4 hoops 4 Iron Potts 1 Skillett 02-00-00
To Pewter 4 old chests 1 Trunck 01-15-00
To 1 Smoothing Iron frying pan churn & pails 00-12-00
To bedding 1 sadle bridle 3 chears 1 Table 02-05-03
To 1 Indian Man 1 Woman 1 Negro 2 Children 70-00-00
To 15 Cattle and Two horses 5 Swine 46-05-00
To Wheat and Indian Corn 10-00-00
To 2 ?.....nell? 00-10-00
Appraised before me whose names are under written the 18th day of Octobr 1705, /s/Thomas Grub
Perth Amboy the 19th 8br - 1705
Personally Appeared before me Edward Viscount Cornbury Capt. Generall and Governor in Chief in and Over the province of New Jersey & etc, Elizabeth Peat and Made Oath that the Above Written is a true Innventory of the Estate of her Deceased Husband Reynier Peatt Als Le Fluere. Jurat Coran me Cornbury

From FIRST SETTLERS OF PISCATAWAY AND WOODBRIDGE; (p.225) by Monnette; the following paragraph is copied:
"The PYATTS or PIATTS or PIATS (the name is variously spelled) are probably of French origin. In "A Catalogue of ye names of ye Inhabitants of ye Towne of Piscataway," in the old 'Town Book', entered there about 1690, is found that of 'La Fflower, alias Reni Piat'. And in a list of the Freeholders, of about the same date, 'Laflore alias renipate'; and in another list, of a little later date, 'La Flower alias Rene Piat'. It would seem that he first resided in Woodbridge, where in 1677 he was granted a license to marry Elizabeth Sheffield of Flushing, Long Island, NY. Immediately after their marriage, they moved to nearby Piscataway; joined the Baptist Church; and there their children, Jacob, Thomas, James and Joan, were born (Piscataway Town Records).

The children of Thomas usually used the spelling "Pyatt". Those of Jacob used both "Pyatt" and "Piatt". The last known child, Jane/Joan may have been born on the property purchased from Miles Forster.

From Volume 10 of the Piatt Family Newsletter, 1990, I would like to quote Larry L Piatt, a well-respected genealogist of Utah, writing on the possible origins of Rene' Piatt.

"Orra Eugene Monnette in his MONNET FAMILY GENEALOGY, published in 1911 identified RENATUS FLEURISSON of the London denization lists as the same man as RENE PIATT alias LAFLEUR (etc) of Woodbridge-Piscataway NJ. On the surface this identification appears both plausible and likely.

"Denization was meted out to individials by letters-patent from the King (or his representative) or by private acts of Parliament. In the first process the procedure began with the Kings' Letter addressed to the Attorney-General or to the Solicitor-General containing the name (or names) of the person(s) in whose favor the Grant of Denization was to be drawn out. The Grant was then recorded on a Patent-Roll in the Latin language.

"It is clear that the lists of those naturalized by royal letters-patent included both those French Protestants residing in England and those residing "within her dominions," including America. Several thousand Franch Protestant exiles were accepted by England in the time period just before and after Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Lists of the French refugees exist in the form of Letters of Denization.

"Although Piat is a name of high frequency in some area of France, no Piat or equivalent names appear on the lists. However, FLEURY and FLEURISSON appear on lists under the dates:

  • 08 Mar 1862 - Louis Fleurisson; Daniel Fleury; Daniel Fleury and sons; Daniel and James Jeanne
  • 15 Apr 1678 - Louis Fleury (clerk) and wife, Esther; son, Philip-Amaury; daughters, Esther and Mary
  • 05 Jan 1678/8 - Renatus Fleury; Peter Fleurisson
  • 21 Mar 1687/8 - Renatus Fleurisson
  • 10 Oct 1688 - Daniel Fleurisson and wife, Jane

    "The two occurrences of the name Renatus Fleury or Fleurisson raise the question of whether they refer to two individuals, or if his name inadvertently appeared twice.

    "Louis Fleurrison of the 1682 list may be the man of that name, age 26 in 1681, a surgeon from Roian en Santonge.

    "Daniel Fleurisson and wife Jane of the 1688 list appear to be the Daniel and Jane (Bernard) Flury who appear as parents of the following children on the LDS International Genealogical Index for Great Britain: Jeanne Fleury, chr 30 Apr 1676 Walloon or Strangers Church, Canterbury, Kent; Jacob Fleury, chr 25 Aug 1678, same church as above; Abraham Fleury, chr 16 Apr 1682, Threadneedle Street French Huguenot Church, London Judit(h) Fleury, chr 27 May 1683, Threadneedle St etc; Jane Judith Fleury, chr 24 Jun 1686, Threadneedle St etc; (For the last 2 children the mother is listed as Marie Bernard.)"

    And of course, all of the given names used above, except Esther and Judith, were used by early generations of Piatts in the colonies.

    According to one researcher [but, highly contested 'facts' included], "The Piatts were Huguenots and with their friends, the Pauls, engaged in the making of silk and the operation of vineyards. Certain it is that they were people of substance, members of the nobility who prospered under the beneficial rule of Henri IV, King of France and Navarre. It was this monarch who issued the famous Edict of Nantes in 1598, giving to the French Protestants equal political rights with the Catholic majority as well as freedom of worship. Also, the were people of principle. For when Louis XIV, who regretably shared neither the wisdom not the tolerance of the last Henry, revoked the Edict in 1685, with the swiftness and cruelty of a whip's lash, the Piatts did not hesitate. The revocation came at the time of great financial stress, the inevitable result of the extravagant and selfish policies of a monarch who ruled solely to gratify his own luxurious tastes. The common people and the lesser nobles were reduced to a condition of want unknown before even to the Europe of that day. At such times, a wealthy minority can expect little generosity from a hard-pressed majority from whom all restraint of law and decency has been removed. The Huguenot Piatts were forced to choose one of three courses of action: They could renounce their faith and by becoming Catholics, retain their wealth and position; they could submit to intolerable persecution and pillage; they could flee to a more tolerant land. To a people of principal and spirit, only the third course was possible. We know that the party of fleeing Huguenots included one or more members of the Paul family. The fugitive went first to Holland, and from the Netherlands to America by way of England."

    While Rene was probably from France as stated above, since he was in New Jersey as early as 1677, it seems unlikely that he fled from the 1785 Edict of Nantes. I welcome any other variations or information which can shed light on the truth of Rene's immigration to the United States.


    Much of this information is compliments of Laura Glass and some is from a Pyeatt family manuscript written by Randolph Pyeatt of Memphis, TN in 1907.

    Updated Aug 2004

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