Mersereau article from Cutters  


The surname Mersereau was originally spelled Mercereau, and is of ancient French origin. After the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 and the persecustion of the Huguenots folling, there was a general exodus of the French Protestants. Secretly and by night, often n strange disguises, fraught with great suffering and beset by dangers on every side, they fled in great numbers to Switzerland, Germany and England, and not a few made their way to America. Among the latter was the widow of Captain John Mersereau, who with her three sons, Joshua, Paul and Daniel, and two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, fled to England in 1685. Of these children, Paul remained in England, the other four with their mother continued their flight to this country. Their father, a man of great force of character and energy, a son of General Joshua Mersereau, had died many years before. They intended to settle at Philadelphia, but were driven by stress of weather to New York and found a home on Staten Island. There the mother died, and was buried in the old French churchyard. Elizabeth married Pierre M?; Mary married John La Tourette, and was at Schenectady, New York, at the time of the massacre of 1690; her husband and children were slain and she was scalped and left for dead, but recovered and spent the rest of her life in the home of her elder Joshua, on Staten Island, wearing a cap to conceal the nakedness of her skull.

(II) Joshua, son of Captain John Mersereau, married July 16, 1693, Marie Chedaine. He resided on Staton Island and died there, May 23, 1756, aged ninety-three years. Children: Marie, Paul, Joshua, mentioned below; David.

(III) Joshua(2), son of Joshua(1) Mersereau, was born in New York City, May 18, 1696; married October 2?, 1727, Mary, daughter of Colonel Jacob Corsen, of Staten Island, born October 21, 1704, died July 28, 1763. Children (born at Staten Island): Joshua, mentioned below; Jacob, April 25, 1730; John, March 2, 1732; David, November 10, 1735; Cornelius, July 27, 1739; Paul, February 23, 1741; Elizabeth, November 26, 1743; Rachel, February 27, 1746.

(IV) Joshua, (3), son of Johsua (2) Mersereau, was born on Staten Island, New York, September 26, 1738, and died in Union, New York, June 10, 1804. He was educated at Kings College (now Columbia), and practiced law in New York City. He and his brother John ran the first line of stage coaches between New York and Philadelphia. John introduced the first postcoach into the country from England. When the revolution broke out the stages belonging to the brothers were stopped and the horses turned over to the American service for the army. Joshua assisted in raising a company for the Quebec expedition in the autumn of 1775. An edict issued from the british headquarters proclaimed John Mersereau a "Rebel," and set a price of five hundred guineas on his head, dead or alive. He was a member of theprovincial assembly of New York state which met at Kinston and Poughkeepsie during 1777-86, representing Richmond county. He was also deputy commissary of prisoners, General Boudinot being his superior officer, with headquarters at Rutland, Massachusetts, and afterward at Elizabethtown, New Jersey. His service was continuous in various capacities throughout the war. His name appears in the Staten Island records of transfers of land from 1762 to 178?, and then with other soldiers he received a grant of land for his service in the western part of the state. After the war he removed with his family to Tioga county, New York, where he was one of the earliest judges. He married (first) Sophia La Grange, of French-Huguenot ancestry; (second) Ann Roome, of New York City, of Dutch descent; (third) Esther, widow of Richard Christopher. Children by first wife: Joshua, born 1758; John, 1760; Sophie. By second wife: Captain Lawrence, January 4, 1773, died January 24, 1873, married Hannah Christopher; Mary, mentioned below; Cornelius, born July 12, 1777.

(V) Mary, daughter of Joshua (3) Mersereau, was born on Staten Island, May 23, 1775, and died at Union, New York, May 1, 1855. She married (first) William Van Name, born January 15, 1763, died November 15, 1825, and removed to Union. She married (second) George Harper. Children by first husband (Van Name): Joshua, Cornelius, William, John, Mary, Hester, Ann, mentioned below; Hannah Pamelia, Catherine, Rachel and Elizabeth.

(VI) Ann, daughter of William and Mary (Mersereau) Van Name, was born September 6, 1795; married, December 25, 1815, Arthur Gray, Jr. (see Gray).

          Entry done by Terri Sprague on Jan 22, 1999.