The Latourette Shield (Coat of Arms) in St. Esprit
The Latourette Shield (Coat of Arms)in St. Esprit is based on a Hoax
It is amazing what people will do to perpetuate a hoax. The one that Jean Latourrette or a fictitious Henri, allegedly his father, was a count has been around since 1843. Even before Lyman Latourette’s death in 1963 it appears a new variant was constructed to keep the hoax alive.
If the people so anxious to keep this hoax alive would spend a little time finding out about their actual ancestors they would discover some real heroes and champions.Those would include Gassiot Latourrette who became the first minister of the Aspe Valley in 1563. David Latourrette who fought against Louis XIV’s reign of terror for 20 years and made a dramatic pact to protect the Protestants of Osse. Last, but not the least is Jean Latourrette who risked everything including his life to see Pastor Pierre Peiret safely to a new ministry in New York. If their descendants did, there would be no need to perpetuate a hoax of a nonexistent royalty.
Peut-être que ceux qui croient aisément aux contes de fées se laissent également séduire par l'idée d'un comte pour un ancêtre.
In his excellent analysis of the origin and evolution over time of the Latourette Count Hoax, Mr. Robert Hoadley speculates about the extent to which Lyman E. Latourette in his 1954 monograph “Latourette Annals in America” knew it was a hoax, but wished to perpetuate its existence by selectively citing earlier versions.
See especially: http://genforum.genealogy.com/latourette/messages/401.htmlhttp://genforum.genealogy.com/latourette/messages/401.html
but also http://genforum.genealogy.com/latourette/messages/402.htmlhttp://genforum.genealogy.com/latourette/messages/402.html
Mr. Hoadley’s conclusion stated in 401 is as follows:
“Lyman (Latourette) had to be aware of the other versions (of the hoax) that would show the progression from Henry to Comte Eugene to simply Count. If he was aware of all the versions then Lyman would then purposely promote a hoax.”
Another piece of evidence about the effort to keep the count hoax alive before Lyman’s death in 1963 comes from a memorandum sent by the Huguenot Society of America, dated March 6, 1978, to members of the society relative to “L’Eglise du Saint Esprit-Shields Project.” The memo reminds society members that the “arms” of early Huguenot families associated with the church are mounted as “shields” on the ceiling and walls in St. Esprit at 109 East 60th St in New York City. This is followed by a list of 20 family shields already mounted in the church.
Then, it is noted in the 1978 memorandum: “There remain 7 shields, however, which were completed over 20 years ago (my emphasis) but never mounted, dedicated or paid for:” This statement is followed by a listing of the names of the ancestors representing these 7 early Huguenot families. Jean La Tourette is listed as one of the 7 and the names of several descendants of Jean who were then members of the society are noted, some who apparently knew Lyman Latourette very well.
The memorandum closes with an appeal to have these shields paid for, mounted and dedicated on December 9, 1978 prior to the annual luncheon of the society which would celebrate the 350 anniversary of the first Huguenot Holy Communion service held in New Amsterdam in 1628.
It is obvious that some descendants of Jean Latourette responded to this request for there is a Latourette shield mounted in St. Esprit and a picture of the dedication ceremony for this particular shield was taken.
The problem with the shield (coat of arms) mounted in St. Esprit is that it represents a Latourette family that has no relation to Jean Latourrette or any of his family or ancestors in Osse, Bearn (Osse-en-Aspe, France).
See:“The Post-Lyman Latourette Count Hoax: Part I”
which explains how this hoax ends up by the installation of an inappropriate coat of arms or family shield for the Latourrette family of Osse in the French Church of New York (L’Eglise Française du St. Esprit) on East 6Oth. The shield is from a Catholic family 400 miles away which has always been Catholic.
The rest of the Post-Lyman hoax is exposed in
“The Post-Lyman Latourette Count Hoax: Part II”
The twists of fact, logic and the creation of “facts” in the Post-Lyman hoax goes as far as ignoring one fact that Lyman had correct, although it is obvious he didn’t recognize it as such. As explained in
“The Blason (Coat of Arms) of Jacob de la Tourrette”
the Latourrette family of Osse did not have a coat of arms or a family shield. But, after 1696, as a result of King Louis XIV’s attempt to raise monies to continue his wars, Jacob Latourrette, Jean Latourrette’s older brother, paid a levy to have a shield made so that he could carry firearms. Although Lyman didn’t recognize it for what it was, this was the shield he presented on page 32 of his 1954 “Annals” and tried to explain on the following page. The shield assigned to Jacob has nothing to do with royalty and, as explained in the “The Blason” article (cited here), was in design exactly like 30 other shields made up by Charles Rene d’Hozier, the King’s representative, for people in Bearn, including many priests, who did not have family shields or coats of arms, but wanted to be authorized to carry firearms. The only difference in the 31 shields, including Jacob’s, was a variation of the colors placed on the same design.
NOTE THE SHIELDS PRESENTED IN THE “BLASON ARTICLE”
It appears the shield of the Catholic Family of Vernoux-en-Vivarais was installed in St Esprit to represent the Latourrette family of Osse to justify the post-Lyman count hoax. Like the hoax, it does not represent or describe the history of the Latourrette family of Osse.
Even in the 21st century, the post-Lyman hoax is promoted by a barely literate tale that contains gross distortions of facts and manufactured information that has no basis in reality. (See Post-Lyman Hoax articles cited above.) Circulated with the tale are copies of the shield and pictures of a castle in ruins in Vernoux-en-Vivarais, which have no relationship to Jean Latourrette’s family or ancestry in Osse.
It would have been far better to have had the shield assigned to his brother Jacob, and included in Lyman’s “Annals” (pp. 32-33), installed in St. Esprit to represent Jean Latourrette and his Huguenot heritage from Osse. But, then, the count hoax started in 1843 would have to be recognized as false.
Et maintenant, après 170 ans de tromperie, un descendant pourrait peut-être écrire un nouveau conte de fée qui ferait disparaître ce comte fictif...et faire apparaître le vrai Jean Latourrette.
If anyone wishes to see the March 6, 1978 memorandum which resulted in the installation of the fake shield, please write the author at