Ridgley and Leforce Family:Information about Rene La Force
Home Page |Surname List |Index of Individuals | |Sources
Dr. Rene La Force (b. Abt. 1660, d. September 27, 1728)Rene La Force was born Abt. 1660 in Guyenne, France, and died September 27, 1728 in Goochland Co., VA.He married Sarah Unknown on Bef. 1720 in Virgina.
Notes for Rene La Force:
Rene La Force was reportedly a French Huguenot who fled France because of the persecution of the Protestants there.
The name "La Force" varies from Le Force, Leforce, Laforce, Lefors, Lafoon (?), La Forie, La Fore, to La Foree, etc.
Jacques Nompar de Caumont, Duc de la Force, was born about 1539 ,and died 1634, age 95, at Chateau de la Force at Perigord. His father, Francois de Caumont, and one brother were murdered in 1572. Jacques Nompar fell under the other two and was assumed dead, but survived the massacre. He was disguised and led away to safety by friends. He later became Marshall of France (from BIOGRAPHIE UNIVERSELLE, ANCIENNE ET MODERNE, Vol. 14, pp. 384-385, Paris, 1856, by Michaud).
Some La Force descendants settled in New York and later in Canada. Two La Forces went with LaSalle on an exploration of the Mississippi river and never returned. Other members of the family removed directly from France to Louisiana. In Canada, the La Forces are descended from a line called Pepin dit La Force, "dit" meaning called or known as. The progenitor of the Pepin dit La Force line landed in Canada ca 1634. There Pierre, son of Guillaume, became known as Pierre dit La Force, and one of his brothers was known as dit Descardonnet (per Paul Truax).
In Virginia, there is mention of a Peter La Force as early as 1688, when he is listed as one of 10 persons transported by Thomas Tyas (in Foley, EARLY VIRGINIA FAMILIES, Vol. III, p. 670). Also, one Sarah La Force married Booth Napier ca 1700. Sarah and/or Peter may possible be related to Rene La Force, the subject of this genealogy.
"The de la Force family is of Guyenne origin, belonging to the de Castelnau branch of the noble house of Caumont. Rene LaForce, the emigrant, came from France about 1700 and settled first a few miles from Danville, Virginia; he is reputed to have been a doctor of medicine. Shortly after his arrival in this country, he joined the Huguenot Colony in Henrico County and settled 900 acres of land, adjoining the lands of Chastain and Dutoi. The Rent Rolls of 1704 show him possessed of 1341 acres of land. In 1728, when two new counties were taken from Henrico, he was appointed Justice of Goochland County. He had three children, Rene, who married Agnes Mosby; Sarah, the wife of William Harding of Goochland; and Rachel." (from article by Mrs. Hale Houts, a descendant of William Harding and Sarah LaForce, published in THE HUGUENOT, No. 7).
The date of arrival of Dr. Rene La Force to the American colonies has not been determined. He did not arrive on the two ships bringing the Huguenots to Manakin Town, but may have arrived earlier at some other Huguenot settlements such as those in New York, South Carolina, Georgia or North Carolina. He may have lived in England, Holland or Germany before coming to America, as many of the French Huguenot families were forced to flee to safety wherever they could find a safe haven . Genealogist Charles Hamlin, however, believed that he is the "Rene Massoneau" listed as arriving on the Mary & Ann in August 1700 (see THE HUGUENOT 6, 1933, pp. 82-86). Hamlin also gives the name as "Rene Massoneau LaForie," which he said was a misreading of La Force. Hamlin also stated (in a letter to me dated January 1, 1893) that he (Rene La Force) was on a list of naturalizations in VA 5-12-1705 as "Rene Massoneau La Forie (see Charles Hamlin, VIRGINIA ANCESTORS & ADVENTURERS, Vol. 3, pp. 58-59).
Dr. Rene La Force borrowed money from William Byrd and is mentioned in Byrd's secret diaries. La Force visited Byrd's house on several occasions ca 1705 (William Byrd, THE SECRET DIARY OF WILLIAM BYRD OF WESTOVER (1709-1712), PP. 227, 274, 351, 354, 392).
In a deed recorded in Henrico Co., VA. on April 1, 1707, Anbraham Michaux of King William Parish, Henrico Co. sold "Rane" LaForce land lying on the south side of the James River on botrh side of Lower Manakin Town Creek.
He attained some measure of wealth and was an educated man. His name is found as a witness to several wills and inventories in Virginia in the early 1700s. He was appointed one of the first justices-of-the-peace when Goochland County was formed from Henrico in 1728. He died shortly thereafter. His will is recorded in Goochland County, Va., as is that of his widow, Sarah. Her maiden name is unknown, but she is more than likely of French Huguenot origin also.
In HUTCHINS/HUTCHENS by Rita H. Townsend there is a copy of a court settlement involving a dispute over the land of Sicely Hutchins Sherman, wife of Henry Sherman, and widow of Isaac Hutchens, and various other Hutchens descendants. One of the parties involved was Ann Hutchens, daughter of Sicely Sherman, and widow of John Crowley, then the present wife of Christopher Branch. The date of this court suit is unknown but it was sometime between 1688-1728, (possibly in 1694, per Louise Robeson). Rene La Force name was mentioned: "We find five shillings damages Rene LaForce." Was he a purchaser of the land in question (this was not stated in the proceedings), or was his name attached in his legal duty as justice-of-the- peace?
One of the tracts of land that Rene bought fro Abraham Michaux (574 acres), was later sold to Peter Chastain. Chastain then willed it to his daughter Magdalene, wife of William Salle. Will dated Oct 3, 1728 and proved Nov. 29, 1728 in Goochland Co. Court. Subsequently as seen in Book I:151, Magdalene Chastain and husband William Salle of St. Anne Parish, Albemarle Co., sold 155 acres of the tract to David LeSueur for 20 pounds sterling. This tract pas originally patented to Abraham Michaux on Nov. 2, 1705, and lay in Dale and King William Parishes in Chesterfield and Cumberland County, on both sides of Michaux Branch.
In a list of Virginia land grants, Rene La Force is listed as having 1,000 acres on the North side of the James River in 1723 (Patent Book 11 in "Abstracts of Land Patents of Henrico County and Goochland Co., 1624-1732, in Foley, EARLY VIRGINIA FAMILIES, Vol, p. 60). That land adjoined Thomas Wadkins, Mr. Thomas Farrar and his own land.
The name "Rene" in its various forms--Renny, Raney, etc.--has been carried down through the generations in the La Force, Harding, and other families who have family ties to the original ancestor, Dr. Rene La Force (also referred to as Renald Rene La Force).
From Henrico County, Virginia, the La Force family spread to Russell County, into Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, and Texas, and many other states.
Deed books of Henrico and Goochland County, VA. See also Cumberland Co., VA Deeds.
Will Books, Goochland County, VA (will of Rene La Force, Book 1, p. 37; will of Sarah La Force, Book 7, p. 143)
A grant of 1,000 acres in Henrico County on the north side of the James River was received by Rene La Force on February 20, 1723.
W. Mac Jones, editor, THE DOUGLAS REGISTER, originally published 1928, rpt. Baltimore: Genealogical Publ. Co., 1996.
Francis Burton Harrison, Burton Chronicles of Colonial Virginia. Privately printed, 1933, reprinted by McDowell Publications, 1979.
According to the Burton Chronicles, "...Rene Laforce of Bedford county, a scion of one of the Huguenot families which had settled in Manikin Town on the James river in 1701. He [Rene LaForce] was mentioned in an investigation by the House of Burgesses into an unpleasant incident in Virignia history--the charges against a Burgess, Prosser by name, for irregular transactions in lands. Prosser was expelled from the House. One of his land "deals" had involved Rene Laforce, apparently as a dummy, but the latter vigorously protested his innocence."
Suggestions for corrections/revisions should be sent to my e-mail address is: fcasstev@YadTel.net.
Frances H. Casstevens, March 20, 2000
More About Rene La Force:
Burial: Unknown, Goochland Co., VA.
Elected: 1728, Justice of the Peace, Goochland Co., VA.
Occupation 1: Doctor.
Occupation 2: Farmer.
More About Rene La Force and Sarah Unknown:
Marriage: Bef. 1720, Virgina.
Children of Rene La Force and Sarah Unknown are:
- +Renald Rene La Force, Jr., b. Abt. 1720, Henrico Co., VA, d. April 1781, Botetourt Co., VA or Canada.
- Sarah La Force, b. Abt. 1725, Henrico Co., VA, d. Abt. 1797, Goochland Co., VA.
- Rachel La Force, b. Abt. 1726, Goochland Co., VA, d. February 17, 1754, Goochland Co., VA.
- Judith La Force, b. Abt. 1728, Goochland Co., VA, d. 1820, Effingham Co., GAor Danville, VA.