Monday, November 29, 2010

A Loyalist in the Family: Pierre Nicolas Côme Damien Millot dit Champagne and his son, Joseph Marie Millot who married the daughter of the English Loyalist, Abner Wilcott

Just when you think you know about the family, there comes an unexpected oddity.  For example, Arthur Homer Mylott and his brothers Milo Mylott and Edgar Mylott are direct descendent's of Nicolas Millot dit Champagne (full name is Pierre-Nicolas-Côme-Damien Millot dit Champagne), who was briefly discussed in an earlier post. Nicolas was a soldier who came to French North America from Villiers-le-Sec, Champagne, France to fight in the Regiment Guyenne in the French and Indian War.  Fighting in North America ended in 1760 but it officially ended with the signing of the treaty of Paris on February 10th, 1763.  Nicolas survived the war and remained in Quebec marrying Marie Josephe Guyon on April 8th 1766, six years after the English conquest.  Their written marriage record is below, left page. Click on the image to enlarge and read and remember it is in French!

Nicolas Millot probably arrived in Québec in the last year or two of the conflict. He was in Québec in 1759, the year of the decisive English victory at the Plains of Abraham in Québec and it is probable that he saw action there with his fellow soldiers in the regiment Guyenne. It was a brutal defeat for the French troops.  Despite his wartime experiences, he and Marie Josephe Guyon went on to have more than fourteen children, several dying in childhood. On the church record for his funeral in March 1812, Nicolas  was noted to be the "mâitre de l'école".

One son of Nicolas was Joseph Marie Millot (Marie was also used as a male name in Québec as odd as it seems to our 21th century notions).   Joseph Marie was born 31 January 1779 and married Catherine Wilcott, on October 28th , 1798.  Catherine was the daughter of Abner Wilcott and Catherine Griffin. You may wonder, who was Abner Wilcott with this very English sounding name and what was he and his family doing in Québec at this time? Why was an English speaking daughter marrying a Québec son?  In 1798, this was still rather unusual.  The French Catholic church records transcribe Catherine's family name as "Villest" instead of Wilcott. 
Abner Wilcott, the son of an early New England family whose ancestor immigrated from England in 1634,  is believed to have remained steadfast to the crown of England during the rise of the patriot cause in the thirteen colonies. Abner's father in law, Charles Griffin was also a Loyalist or Tory. It is estimated that one fourth of the colonists were Loyalists.  Some information suggests Abner fought for the crown at the Battle of Saratoga, was captured and escaped, fleeing to English held Canada. His wife later joined him there. He was fortunate. 

Recall, some Loyalists or Tories were tarred and feathered and/or executed for their sentiments.  Such was the fate of  David Redding, another Loyalist who fought at the Battle of Saratoga.  He was captured and executed by the patriots in Bennington Vermont... Perhaps Abner heard of Redding's fate and realized he would fare better in Québec.

In an incident more like a lynching than a legal procedure, New Yorker David Redding was the first person to be tried and hanged in the state of Vermont. Redding had been a Loyalist with Burgoyne's army at Saratoga, stolen horses, shot and powder in New York, and eluded arrest there by riding into Vermont, where he was caught and tried in Bennington for theft and treason and convicted. When it appeared that Redding would go free because of an improperly empaneled jury, Ethan Allen, back in Vermont only a few days after nearly three years as a British prisoner, arranged with Governor Thomas Chittenden to serve as prosecutor in a new trial on June 6, 1778. Allen ignored the threshold issue of jurisdiction, which the Bennington court lacked for crimes committed in New York. Moreover, as Vermont was independent of the thirteen states, the United States' cause against Redding was also not in the court's jurisdiction. Nonetheless, Allen's impassioned anti-Loyalist rhetoric swung the jury away from the legal question to the patriotic requirement of hanging a loyalist, and Redding was hanged in the afternoon of the trial before a large crowd on Bennington green. -- The Vermont Encyclopedia, John J. Duffy, et. al.

For more details about David Redding see Sipsey Street Irregulars

Others were lynched..

Here are more details about Abner, whose daughter Catherine Wilcott married Joseph Marie Millot

Abner (Ebenezer) Wilcott (Wolcott) and Catherine Griffin  were married on Jan. 8, 1772, in Oxford, Conn.  He was in New Haven VT during the American Revolution.   Abner was taken prisoner in Oct. 1777, after the Battle at Saratoga, for he was with the British. He later escaped to Canada where his wife eventually joined him.


Abner Wolcott, b. 1749 New Haven CT, d. 1833 Keeseville NY at home of son. He purchased 150 acres of land at New Haven VT in 1775, was a Loyalist, hauled provisions for the British, was taken prisoner in 1777 and his property declared forfeited.

In Canada, he was given compensation for his losses by the British government.  He settled at St. Sulpice and on an island in  the St Lawrence River, Bouchard Isle.

Anber Wilcott married (1) Catherine Griffen 1772 Oxford, CT, married (2) Mrs. Dorothy Redman in 1821.

 NOTE: Members of this family usually spelled their name Wilcott in Canada.

Acknowledgement to The Wolcott Family Homepage

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