Latourrette family: One Hoax Finally Blown Away/One to Go
The Pastor Pierre Peiret/Peyret Hoax has finally been corrected at L’Eglise Française du St. Esprit and the Huguenot Society of America in New York City to read he was from Béarn.
The Latourrette Count Hoax is next.
Those of you who have followed my postings on this site and my webpage about the history of the Latourrette family in France know that Pastor Pierre Peiret/Peyret, his spouse and two young children fled from Osse, Bearn in September of 1685. Accompanying them was Jean Latourrette, a second son of David Latourrette, who saw them safely out of France. Two years later they arrived in New York City from London on the English ship “Robert” in October of 1687.
Once in NYC, Peiret, with the help of several leading, refugee Huguenot merchants, established the French Church of New York, now know as L’Eglise Française du St. Esprit located on East 60th Street. As a master carpenter and iron worker Jean played a major role in 1688 in the construction of the first church in NYC for the exclusive use of the French Protestant refugees. He made major renovations in the Spring of 1693 and added a balcony.
We would have never known the true origins of Pastor Peiret and Jean Latourrette and their joint flight from Osse to New York, given the two hoaxes about them that have been perpetuated in America. In one case, the Latourrette count hoax written in 1843 has been embellished and distorted by descendants for 170 years to where now its expression is in a barely literate form with gross distortion of facts and the fabrication of many others.
The Peiret hoax written by Napoleon Peyrat in 1878 first appeared in America in Charles W. Baird, History of the Huguenot Emigration to America, (New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1885), 2:146-7. It is strange that, given Baird’s reputation as a very serious and competent scholar, he reepeated Napoleon Peyrat’s hoax without a citation of source. Napoleon Peyrat’s 1877 hoax said that both Pastor Peiret and his spouse were from Foix a small medieval county, later part of the traditional province of Languedoc in southwest France. Peiret’s spouse, Marguerite Latour, was given a fictitious name by Napoleon, Marguerite de Grenier la Tour of the Verriers de Gabre, implying nobility. Napoleon’s motive in writing this hoax is obvious. He implies that the pastor’s true name is not Peiret or Peyret, but actually the same as his surname Peyrat so he could imply a close relationship to the minister who openly defied Louis XIV. It appears no American historian has ever questioned this hoax and it has been repeated over and over again, down to today. Perhaps, if Baird had cited Napoleon Peyrat as a source, the hoax would have been blown away long ago, because Napoleon Peyrat was the first author and advocate of the myth of the Holy Grail.
Actually, Pastor Peiret was from Pontacq, Bearn, His wife, Marguerite Latour, also was from Bearn, not Foix or Languedoc. Peiret was the minister at Osse from 1677 to 1685 when he fled with his family and Jean Latourrette. Contrary to the initial 1843 Latourrette hoax, they didn’t flee in 1685 from La Vendee, which didn’t exist as a department until after the French Revolution more than 100 years later. Also, contrary to the hoax, they didn’t flee after the Revocation of the Edit of Nantes on October 22, 1685, but in mid-September. Finally, there has never been a castle in Osse from which they could have fled.
In conducting my research about the Latourrette family in Osse, including frequent e-mail correspondence with members of the Protestant community, the church leaders became aware of the fact that the Napoleon Peyrat hoax had never been corrected in America at the Huguenot Society and was still cited on St. Esprit’s webpage. Peiret was still listed as being from Languedoc.
What made the lack of any recognition in America that this was a hoax particularly egregious to the church leaders was that Rev. Alfred Cadier had read the French translation of Baird’s 1885 book. He explicitly included a detailed refutation of Peyrat’s hoax in his history of Osse Protestantism in 1892 only seven years after it appeared in Baird’s Huguenot Emigration to America. (See the 2003 edition of Cadier, Le Bearn Protestant, pp. 202-3.) It now has taken 121 years to correct the Peyrat hoax at St. Esprit.
After a letter from the Osse church leaders indicating Peyrat’s story was a “blatant lie” was received, the origin of Peiret was corrected on the St. Esprit webpage.
Now we have to deal with even a greater hoax and fraud in the case of Jean Latourrette’s origins.
My webpage is www.latourrette.net and contains full details with citations as to the above information.
Also available by request to me is the original Peyrat hoax in French, an English translation of it, and my comments on this fabrication.