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Benjamin Marion Sr. (abt. 1665 - 1735)

Benjamin Marion Sr.
Born about in Chaunay, Vienne, Poitou-Charentes, Francemap
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married about 1687 (to about 1708) in Chaunay, Vienne, Poitou, Francemap
Descendants descendants
Died at about age 70 in St. James, Goose Creek, Berkeley County, Province of South Carolinamap
Profile last modified | Created 14 Dec 2008
This page has been accessed 3,388 times.


Benjamin Marion Sr. was a Huguenot emigrant (1540-1790).

Benjamin Marion was a French Huguenot (Calvinist Protestant) from Chaunay, in the Poitou-Charentes region of western France. [1] Benjamin Marion left France for the English colony of South Carolina before 1690. This followed the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, guaranteeing French Huguenots a measure of toleration, by French King Louis XIV, in 1685. Benjamin Marion was the son of Jean Marion and his wife, Perinne Boutignon, of Poitou. Like many Huguenots, the family was of upper-middle-class origins and Benjamin was educated and literate.

His family have preserved the letter he received from a local Roman Catholic priest, apparently in 1688 or 1689, when he was already a young married man, ordering him to flee abroad on pain of death. A translation states (emphasis added):[2]

Your damnable heresy well deserves more in this life than purgation by fire which awfully awaits you in the next - But in consideration of your youth and worthy connections, our mercy has condescended to commute your punishment to perpetual exile. You will, therefore, instantly prepare to quit your country forever, for if after 10 days from the date hereof, should you be found in any part of the Kingdom, your miserable body shall be consumed by fire, and your impious ashes scattered on the winds of Heaven.
(Signed) "Pere, [la] Rochelle"

Whether or not the text is 100% accurate, it reveals the spirit of the times and that Benjamin's "worthy connections" (i.e., his family's social status) led the local authorities to permit him and his wife to flee, no small feat as it was a crime to allow Huguenots to leave France. His village was called "Chaumé in Poitou," today it is spelled "Chaunay" in the Vienne departement. The area was known to favor the "Reformed Christian Religion" and its proximity to the port of La Rochelle allowed many Huguenots to escape by boat, first to England, and then on to English colonies in North America.

Benjamin and wife, Judith (Baluet) Marion, are said to have taken a ship at the "Ile de Ré," just off the coast at La Rochelle, most-likely in 1688 or 1689. Several months later, in 1690, they arrived at Charleston, South Carolina. They bought a plantation on Goose Creek in nearby Berkeley County, already home to several other Huguenot refugee families.[3]

Benjamin and Judith (Baluet) Marion had 3 children who reached maturity.[4]

  1. Gabriel Marion, b: 1691, Goose Creek, Berkeley, South Carolina; m. Esther Cordes; had 5 sons, 2 daughters; d: 1750 in St. John's Parish, Berkeley, South Carolina
  2. Esther Marion, b: 1693, Goose Creek, Berkeley, S.C.; m. Henry (de) Gignilliat of Switzerland; had 2 daughters
  3. Benjamin Marion II, b: 1695, Goose Creek, Berkeley, S.C.; m. Elizabeth Cater; had 6 sons, 3 daughters; d: February 1778

Judith (Baluet) Marion passed away around 1708 at the family plantation by Goose Creek, Berkeley County, South Carolina. Benjamin Marion survived her death and remarried to a woman named Marie ("Mary"), whose surname remains Unknown. They had 8 children together:

  1. John Marion, b: ?; d: 1739; will names 1 son, 3 daughters
  2. Paul Marion, b: ?; d: Dec. 1738; will names 2 sons
  3. Peter Marion, b: ?; died 1795, a widower, without issue
  4. James Marion, b: ?; youngest son, no dates; had 3 sons
  5. Judith Marion, b: ca. 1710; m. Mr. Grier
  6. Mary Marion
  7. Ann Marion
  8. Elizabeth Marion

French Huguenot emigrant Benjamin Marion was the paternal grandfather of American Revolutionary War patriot, General Francis Marion via his first-born son, Gabriel Marion.

Benjamin Marion wrote and signed his will on 13 January 1734 and it was proven on 2 May 1735. He died in the spring of 1735 at his plantation at the head of Goose Creek, Berkeley County, English Province of South Carolina. He is mentioned in the obituary for his great-granddaughter: Frances Porter Singleton. When his 2nd wife, Mary (Unknown) Marion died is not known.


  1. Different secondary sources state that the Marion family's native village was called "Chaumé," "Le Chaume" or "Chauné," always with "in Poitou". "Chaunay" and "Chauné" are pronounced the same in French. There is also a district called "Le Chaume," just south of La Rochelle along the coast; it may have been a separate village in the 18th Century. "Chaume" in French means "thatch" as in a "thatched roof" so it is a common word. A 3rd candidate for the Marion family's home village is "la Chaume de Poitou," a medieval castle with small hamlet, now disappeared, in the Doussay (Doussais) Parish near Châtellerault, Vienne, Poitou, France. See:Royal Acts 1400s in Poitou, Note 2 In French. Chet Snow.
  2. Genealogy Report: Descendants of Benjamin Marion on
  3. My Cope Family Tree on RootsWeb: Francis Marion Cites Mason Weems, The Life of General Francis Marion, 1809; it contains errors but likely correct about where they left France as it was a known fugitive escape route.
  4. "The Marion Family," article by Charles J. Colcock, in Transaction of the Huguenot Society of South Carolina, 1909, pp. 37 ff.

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Categories: Huguenot Emigrants