Simon LeFevre

Simon LeFevre and Elizabeth Deyo

Simon says "Go to America!"

When exactly Simon LeFevre came into the world is not known. He was probably born around 1640, and may have come from a family of burghers in Calais, Artois, France.

In his book The trail of the Huguenots..., G. Elmore Reaman states that Simon was a descendant of Mengen LeFevre, who was born in 1510. This line of reasoning is supported by another book called The Pennsylvania LeFevres, which traces the descendants of a man named Isaac LeFevre who is thought by many to have been a nephew of Simon. In reality though, the origins of our LeFevre ancestor remain murky. The name itself is little help as it is common in France; it means "The Blacksmith." The Huguenot Historical Society in New Paltz is of the belief that Simon was from Calais, or some other town nearby, but I do not know what evidence they may have on this point.

Simon may have been born a Huguenot, or he may have converted from Catholicism later in life. It seems more likely that he was born one, as when he fled to Mannheim, Germany around 1650 or 1655 (presumably to escape religious persecution), he was only about ten years old. When Simon fled, he was accompaniedby his brother Andre (also called Andrew or Andries), who was also quite young. The two would stay together for the rest of their lives; Andre, who never married, lived with Simon and may have helped care for his children after Simon died.

Given the brother's youth, it seems likely that they would have been accompanied on their journey by another, older, realative; a father or uncle perhaps. The records of the Huguenot church in Mannheim mention many LeFevres, but it cannot yet be said for certain that any were related to our LeFevre brothers.

In about 1660-64, The LeFevre brothers took a barge down the Rhine River to Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. From there, they took ship for the New World. As with their previous journey, the reasons for their immigration are unknown. Like many of their coreligionists they probably sought a place where they could be safe from the Catholic King of France forever. Simon and Andre arrived in America through present-day New York City, then known as New Amsterdam and they then journeyed up the Hudson River to the area in which they were to live.

In April of 1665, the brothers joined the church in Kingston, Ulster County, New York. Simon and Andre made their home at Hurley, the "new village," which was nearby.


Elizabeth Deyo is thought to have been born around 1650, in Mutterstadt, Germany, the daughter of Huguenots who had fled there to escape religious persecution persecution. On February 27, 1670, the following entry appears in the records of the Huguenot Church in Mannheim, near Mutterstadt.

"Andre Canon, Bourgeois of this city, and Jeanne Pluquet, have had baptized their son Abraham, the 27 of February, born the 23rd of the said month 1670, who has had for godfather Abraham Gambier and for godmother Elisabeth Doyau."

This is the first known mention of Elizabeth in any records and it may be assumed that she was an adult or near to it by that time.

Elizabeth immigrated with her parents to America in 1675, arriving at Esopus in July and later settling in Hurley.

She apparently had little or no education as a child, for in the only known instance of her signing something (in 1689) she made a mark- "ED."


The date of the marriage of Simon LeFevre and Elizabeth Deyo is not known for certain, but it is estimated to have been about 1676, when Elizabeth was referred to in her father's will as married. It seems likely they would have been married in Kingston, however, no record of the marriage appears there, despite the very good records that were kept by the church in that town. They may have actually been married at Hurley, where both lived and where there was a church.

On may 26, 1677, Simon, Andre and 10 other Huguenots joined together to buy a large plot of land from the Esopus Indians. On September 29, they recieved a royal patent for this land from governor Edmund Andros. This massive patent included, by one survey, about 40,000 acres of land, from the Shawangunk Mountains down to the Hudson River. That fall, or the following spring, Simon and Andre moved to the land grant, and with the other Huguenots founded the town of New Paltz, named for their previous home in the Palatinate of Germany. They began by building rude wooden houses- and setting aside a place for a church- and later built the stone houses that are still to be seen in New Paltz today. Simon probably never built a stone house, as he died not too long after the founding of the settlement. There was a home in the village known as the "LeFevre house" which was probably built by one of Simon's sons and was demolished in the 1800's to make room for the still extant Dutch Reformed Church. A plaque now marks the sight where it is reasonable to assume that Simon may have built his first home. This site is not to be confused with the LeFevre/Elting/1799 house down the street which serves as a LeFevre family museum.

In 1678, Simon, acting for his father in-law (Christian Deyo), transferred a house and lot in Kingston to Cornelius Wolvertson.

The name of "Simon Lafare" appears on a "lest of tropers at Kingston" bearing the date of "1686 or 1687." Despite the spelling, this was certainly a reference to our Simon.

On September 1, 1687, Simon took the Oath of Allegiance to the King of England at Kingston.

On October 24, 1687, Simon and some of the other patentees reached an agreement on the estate of their relative Christain Deyo.

"The twenty-fourth October 1687 we the undersigned have agreed that which follows, that is, that to terminate the difference which we might have for the inheritance of of our father [in-law] me abraham assebroucg will receive thirty pieces of eight from Mr. Bekman upon that which he owes to our father christian doyeau and me abraham dubois will recieve also from said bekman twenty-eight pieces of eight and from my brother-in-law pierre doyeau fifty-five bushels of good winter whea tbecause of what comes to me of my part of the negro [sic] of our father from the said pierre doyau and me jean assebroucg should recieve from abraham assebroucg ten bushels and from abrahm dubois eleven bushels and we Pierre doyau Jean assebroucg and Simon le fevre will recieve from said bekman the surplus of said thirty pieces of eight and of said twentypieces of eight which are due ["word obliterated"] the abraham assebrouc and habraham dubois the surplus say I which the said bekman owes to our father christian doyau we the under-named pierre doyau ian assebrouc and Simon le febvre will share it equally as also the twenty-five pieces of eight which vallerum dumont owes to our father christian doyau and that which is due for the rest by the other debtors of our said father except that the said abraham assebrouc and abraham dubois should be be able to claim nothing in the said debts and it is agreed that if there are any complaints from any of those interested in the inheritance of our father because of what things have been done or what could be done each of us five heirs will pay our part of it and if the said repayments arise from the complaint of any one of us that one alone shall pay the said penalty.
pierre doyo
Abraham hasbrouk
mark of Simon lefebvre
Abraham duboi
Jean assebrouc"

The original document, written in archaic French, has been giving translators fits for decades. The version given above is the one that appears in Ralph LeFevre's History of New Paltz and Its Old Families. Another version appears in Earliest Records of the Hasbrouck Family in America, but based on 5 years of French classes and my own review of a copy of the original document, I do not consider this to be as complete or as accurate as the version given above, which was also made at an earlier date when the original paper may have been more legible.

On August 1, 1689, Elizabeth was one of those who signed a deed giving a house and lot to Jean Cottin, the schoolmaster in New Paltz.

On October 13, 1689, Elizabeth presented a child for baptism at New Paltz. Both of these records indicate to me that Simon had passed away sometime after that 1687 agreement. If he had still be living it would have been he and not his wife who signed the deed to Jean Cottin and he surely would have been named in the baptismal record of his own child! Since he must have still been around about nine months before October, 1689, my guess is that Simon died sometime between February and August of that year. There was a yellow fever epidemic at that time, which could easily explain his early demise and there was also a war on which might also explain it (remember, he was in the militia). However, the Huguenot Historical Society has accepted 1690 as the date for Simon's death. As with their ruling on his place of birth, I do not know what evidence they have for this date of Simon's demise.

By May 23, 1693, Elizabeth had married Moses Cantine, a Huguenot whose wife had died on the passage to America. On that date, the couple presented a child for baptism. They moved to Ponckhockie, New York around 1700, and after this Elizabeth dissapears. Moses married Maritje DuBois, widow of Boudewyn De Witt on September 2, 1703 and died in Marbletown, Ulster County New York, on September 9, 1744.

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