Early Settlers of Union
Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Where Did Union
County Chastains Originate?
The federal census of 1834 for Union County
reveals that John B., Edward and Abner Chastain had established
the county early in the county's history.
Where did these Chastains
is significant about their ancestry?
Tracing these Chastain settlers
back to Pierre Chastain (about 1659 - 1728), known to subsequent
Dr. Pierre Chastain, the Immigrant, we find that this first of the line
1700 because of religious persecution in France. Pierre was a son of Estienne Chastain
Jeanne Laurant Chastain. They were members of what became known as the
Huguenots. They were adherents of the French Reformed Church (also
Calvinists because of their leader, Jean Cauvin, English name John
With other Huguenot immigrants,
Chastain and his first wife, Susanne Renaud, settled on land at
occupations. First and foremost, he was a physician (surgeon). It has
noted that he was a perruquier (the French term for barber and wig
was a planter and plantation owner.
After the death of his first
by whom he had eight children, he married Anne Soblet, whose family had
under Huguenot persecution. Dr. Pierre Chastain and his wife Anne had
children, making a total for The Immigrant Chastain of sixteen. Three
children with Susanne died young, for in February, 1700, he was listed
five children and no wife in the Manakin area census. Dr. Pierre
third marriage was to Mary Magdalene Trabue, widow of Antoine Trabue.
Pierre Chastain was active in
Town Episcopal Church where present-day visitors are told of the
third from the front on the left side of the church. Descendants of The
Immigrant also take pride in visiting the home of Dr. Chastain, a
white frame house in Manakin
The gravesite of Dr.
Chastain and his three wives and some of his children has been
marked. The Pierre Chastain Family Association, organized in 1975, has
aim the development and preservation of Chastain family records and
information. Many places dear to The Immigrant and his descendants have
marked and identified as they spread out from Manakin Town, Virginia
to surrounding areas and moved to other pioneer regions of the country
The book of genealogy, Pierre Chastain and His Descendants, Volume I: First Five
Generations in America
was published by the Association in 1995 and has become a much-sought
volume for history on the Huguenot settlers in Virginia and their dispersion
In more recent years, the
website posts additional genealogical and historical information, and The Chestnut Tree, the
Association's quarterly newsletter, keeps interest in the Chastain
As I studied and read the
history book, I was interested in how names were passed down through
generations. There were many with the name Pierre, to honor The Immigrant. But
subsequent generations, Pierre
became anglicized to Peter. Jean became John.
As mentioned in last week's
article, one of
the Johns was John Chastain (1743-1805) the famous John "Ten Shilling
Bell" Chastain, noted Baptist minister and church planter. This John
son of Pierre Chastain, Jr. (1707- after 1775), third child of Pierre and his
second wife Anne Soblet. The
records on the second Pierre
are somewhat fuzzy as courthouse fires in Buckingham County, Virginia
where the family lived took major records.
Pierre, Jr.'s son John's first
Mary O'Bryan (1765-1797), born in Ireland and died in Pendleton District, South Carolina. Following his first
wife's death, he
married second, Mary Robinson, a widow, whose maiden name is unknown.
through this John Chastain that many of the North Georgia Chastains
For those who can trace their lines back to John "Ten Shilling Bell"
Chastain, they can claim a Revolutionary War patriot, for he signed the
allegiance in Powhatan County,
A brief listing of John
by his first wife, Mary O'Bryan show Abner (1764-1846) who died in Pickens County, SC. John,
Jr. (1766-1844) who died in Pickens
County, SC. Martha (1768- 1794) who married John
and died in South Carolina. Edward Brigand (1769- about 1834) who lived
in Union County, GA, died in what is now Fannin County.
Mary (1771-?) married John O'Dell. Elijah
(1776-1853) died in what is now Gilmer County, GA,
married Hannah Adams, Anna Middleton and Catherine Carson.
(1777-after 1850) married Samuel Denton, Jr.
Cleo (or Chloe) (1799 - ?) married John Denton. Benjamin
(1780-1845) was in Union
County, died in
now Fannin, married Rebekah Denton.
Nancy Chastain (1783-?) married John Robinson.
Joseph Chastain (1783-after 1850) married
Nancy Young, went to Missouri.
John Chastain's children by his
wife, widow Mary (maiden name unknown) Robinson were Violet (1798- ?)
William Akins. William (1801-after 1860 and before 1875) married
Dobbs, died in Habersham
County, GA. Mary Lavina (1803 - 1845) died in Franklin
County, Tn. She married three times.
the Immigrant to the generations cited here, the Chastains migrated to
sections of our country and became involved citizens in the life and
Jones; published June
11, 2009 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA.
permission. All rights reserved.
Jones is a retired educator, freelance wirter,
poet, and historian. She may be reached
at email firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708
Road, Milledgeville, GA 31061-2411
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