of Plymouth, Massachusetts
We now present an account from a grandson of Francis (1), Dr. Lemuel Le Baron (2) written on his eighty-third birthday—Sept. 12 1830,—and giving the tradition as he had received it. He held the opinion that his ancestor was a member of the Roman Church.
It may be some gratification to families which bear the name of LeBaron to know something about their descent.
The first of the name known in this country was Francis LeBaron who was the surgeon of a French privateer in the was which existed in the reign of William and Mary, of England, and Louis XIV, of France, which terminated in the peace of Ryswick, 1698, after having raged eight years. The privateer, through stress of weather or some other cause, fell into Buzzard’s Bay and was shipwrecked on a ledge of rocks near the western shore of the town of Sandwich; the ship was lost, the crew saved. This took place about the year 1606.
The event alarmed the adjacent towns. “The French are landing” was the cry. The militia and a mixed multitude, armed and unarmed ran to the spot; they saw the French drawn up on the shore, completely armed, who made signs of surrender, but were not understood until a clergyman appeared, who pinned a whit handkerchief to his can and, lifting it up, marched toward the armed host. He was soon met by a flag; a good treatment was promised, a surrender took place, and the captives were marched off to Plymouth, and soon, by the Governor’s orders, were escorted to Boston and sent in a cartel to their own country.
The doctor was left at Plymouth, sick with a slow fever. The clergyman took compassion on the disconsolate captive and stranger, and treated him with much kindness and hospitality. Francis recovered and through the kindness of the minister and his success in some cases considered almost desperate, he acquired the reputation of a skillful physician and his practice become very extensive. He married Hannah Wilder, of Hingham. He embraced the Protestant faith but was fond of his crucifix, which he wore suspended in his bosom to the day of his death, which was very sudden and took place about the year 1704, when he was aged thirty-six years.
It appears by the Inventory of his estate that his land in Plymouth and Middleboro exceeded a thousand aces and appraised 515 pounds.
Some of the arguments at the end of this article claim he was a Huguenot. Could easily be as the Gold Cross could be an emblem of his family or given to his family as a sign of nobility. It still is a good story.
There was a C. L. LeBaron who wrecked on the coast of Florida in the latter part of the 18th century and his descendant lived in Mobile, Alabama and vicinity. Also found in 1634-5, a young man named LeBaron with a party of Jesuit Fathers, who were establishing missions among the Hurons. There is, however, nothing to show that he remained in America or married here.
(From the files of Mary Jean Caldwell.)