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Chapter 1: From France to Italy (1314 – 1766) Duchy of Savoy (present day France), 1314


resent day descendants of the FRANÇOIS/RICHARD family are fortunate in that their family’s history can be traced to the 14th century. As was the case with this family, written records going back this far in time mainly referenced people in positions of power and

wealth. Many generations of the FRANÇOIS family, especially during the first several hundred years of their recorded history, were fortunate to live in such circumstances since everyday life for the less wellto-do during the 14th through 19th centuries was challenging, to say the least. Starting at least in 1314 and continuing for several centuries, the FRANÇOIS family was

known for the faithful administrative and judicial services they performed for the ducal court of the House of Savoy. The House of Savoy was formed in the early eleventh century in the historical Savoy region in the southeastern part of what is now the Lorraine region of France. This strategic land between Lyon, France and Geneva, Switzerland was often fought over, and often exchanged hands among various military powers. One such dispute was settled by the 1314 Treaty of Villar-Benoit. Count Amadeus V of Savoy designated Pierre FRANÇOIS as his negotiator to see to the treaty details that delineated the border between Savoy and France.1 This is oldest known reference to the FRANÇOIS family.

Figure 1. The Château des Allymes

The Château des Allymes is a military fortress located in Upper Savoy (Haute Savoie), just outside the town of Ambérieu-en-Bugey. It was built by the French, le Dauphin de Vienne, in order to protect the local inhabitants from the incursions of the Savoyards. Construction started in the 13th century. By the 14th century, the fortress was in the hands and lands of the Savoy. Due in part to his family’s history of service to the Counts of Savoy and in part because he could afford to pay the asking price of 2000 florins, in July 1354 the Count of Savoy, Amadeus VI, awarded a fiefdom to Nicod FRANÇOIS. Nicod was, most likely, the son or grandson of Pierre, the treaty negotiator of 1314. Nicod held the position of either Treasurer of the Count of Savoy or General Treasurer of Savoy. French

Chapter 1: From France to Italy historian Bernard DUCRETET has done extensive research on the very specific subject as to which title Nicod possessed. He leans toward General Treasurer.2 When Nicod FRANÇOIS took possession of Allymes Castle, he became the first Lord of Allymes. Following this, Nicod “acceded to the important duties of bailiff of Bugey and Novalaise (1366-1370), then of Faucigny (1370-1377). He also held the title of “châtelain de Saint-Germaind’Ambérieu.”3 As they were often carrying out their important duties for the Count of Savoy, the FRANÇOIS family probably spent little time at Allymes.4 The FRANÇOIS family had possession of the castle from 1354 until 1477 when Claudine FRANÇOIS, Nicod’s great great granddaughter and last heir, married Humbert de LUCINGE, Savoy’s ambassador to France. On September 16, 1477 the newlyweds were invested with the lordship of Allymes, and ownership of the castle passed to the de LUCINGE family. At this time, the crests of the FRANÇOIS and de LUCINGE families were combined to create a new crest for this branch of the de LUCINGE family. The new crest used the three horizontal, green bars of the FRANÇOIS and the three

Photo Courtesy of Amis du Château des Allymes et de René de Lucinge

diagonal red bars of the de LUCINGE.

Figure 2. François/de Lucinge Coat of Arms 5

Humbert and Claudine’s son Bertrand de LUCINGE was adviser to the Duke of Savoy, and their grandson was Charles de LUCINGE. Charles was interesting character. His wife had more than one affair. When he found out, or when he couldn’t stand it any longer, Charles made one of his servants take his sword, and kill his wife’s lovers. The servant, either by his own volition or on Charles’ orders, then killed himself. Charles was also charged by the French dominated Senate of Chambery with constantly harassing and pillaging the local inhabitants. However, since most of his victims were French loyalists, Charles’ actions were probably politically driven. He was loyal to the House of Savoy at a 2

Chapter 1: From France to Italy time when his region was occupied by the French. He was found guilty - his belongings were to be confiscated, the castle demolished, and Charles was sentenced to death. Lucky for him, in 1559 Savoy regained control of the region and the sentence was not carried out.6 Charles married his second wife, Anne de LYOBARD, and their son would become the most famous member of the de LUCINGE family, the influential writer and politician, René de LUCINGE.7 While it is clear that both the Italian FRANÇOIS and American RICHARD branches of this family descend from Antoine FRANÇOIS, a descendant of Nicod FRANÇOIS, it is not known from which brother – Pierre or Louis – Antoine descends from.


Figure 3 Descendants of Nicod Francois8

Descendants of Nicod FRANÇOIS Haute Savoie [Present Day Rhône-Alpes], France

Chapter 1: From France to Italy


Chapter 1: From France to Italy

Nancy, Duchy of Lorraine - 1600s In the early 1600s one branch of … the FRANÇOIS family settled at Nancy, the capital of the Duchy of Lorraine, an ancient province in France… At the end of the War of Polish Succession (1733-1738), Lorraine was ceded to Stanislaus Leszinski, former King of Poland and father-in-law of Louis XV of France. In exchange, the House of Habsburg-Lorraine received the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, which would soon become the adoptive home for one branch of the FRANÇOIS family. The House of FRANÇOIS, composed of men “devoted to the service of their sovereigns, the Dukes of Lorraine," had always been noted for its fidelity and dedication to the ducal court. Many descendants of the family's founder, Count Nicod, were inducted into royal orders of chivalry and received important official assignments. That spirit of service to the court remained unaltered over an extraordinary span. It had assumed the character of a family trait by the 18th century, when a branch of the clan, headed by Antoine FRANÇOIS, received an imperial command to go to Tuscany where, in keeping with that tradition, he performed valuable services for the House of Habsburg-Lorraine…9 Antoine FRANÇOIS married Marguerite Rose HARMANT in 1715.10 They had at least six children: Jean, Marie Anne, Rose Jeanne, Louis FRANÇOIS d’HARMANT, Louis Joseph Antoine, and Anne. The eldest son, Jean, would become the patriarch of the Italian and American branches of the FRANÇOIS family, known by the surname RICHARD in the Americas. Antoine later married Louise PELLIER, in 1735.11

Figure 4. Signatures from Marriage Entry of Antoine François & Marguerite Harmant 1715. Nancy, France


Chapter 1: From France to Italy The Italian FRANÇOIS branch would include the renowned mathematician Giuseppe FRANÇOIS and his brother, archaeologist Alessandro FRANÇOIS. Alessandro “had made his family’s name internationally famous through a series of discoveries of inestimable value” in the early 1800s.12 Today, the family is probably best known for its winery and estate in Tuscany. In 2010, a present-day Alessandro FRANÇOIS and his family run the Castello di Querceto estate. The American branch of the FRANÇOIS family, the RICHARD family, would include plantation owners, state senators and representatives, federal and county judges, and prominent businessmen in what would become the state

Image Courtesy of Alessandro François

of Florida.

Figure 5. Title of Nobility Conferred to Antoine FRANÇOIS in 1749 by Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor

Florence, Duchy of Tuscany, 1745 In 1745 Emperor Francis I dispatched Antoine’s eldest son, Jean (“Giovanni” in Italian), to Florence to serve as inspector in the Excise and Contracts Office. Jean settled in Florence and founded the Italian branch of the FRANÇOIS family. On July 15, 1749, Emperor Francis I granted Antoine FRANÇOIS [the father of Jean, back in Lorraine] a title of nobility. In the document, the Emperor declared "we have ennobled the said Antoine FRANÇOIS together with his children of either sex...their heirs and descendants. This recognition was due to the loyalty and devotion Antoine had always shown to the cause of the imperial family and to the Emperor himself. The Emperor had appointed Antoine “Gentleman of the Bedchamber and Chamberlain” at the age of 13…He later served as pharmacist to Duke Leopold and official court pharmacist…Antoine had also loyally performed useful services in the Austrian military forces. 6

Chapter 1: From France to Italy The document also offered another reason why nobility was being conferred…It noted that Antoine had shown himself to be a good father, capable of inspiring in his sons [Jean and Louis] the same characteristic sense of ethics and morality so effectively that ‘these two youths have rendered us services for many years now with the same fidelity, zeal and dedication …13

As a result of Jean’s appointment, the FRANÇOIS family, in addition to being recognized as a noble family in France, also entered the Florentine Patriciate, which means its members were “recognized as members of the first rank of nobility.”14 At the Grand Ducal Palace in Florence on February 29, 1744, Jean FRANÇOIS married Maria Francesca Giovanna FERRY. Sir DESARMOISES, the Marquis of Nancy, gave away the bride, and Sir Du MESIUL, a major in the Gendarmerie, served as

Image Courtesy of Alessandro François

Jean’s best man.15

Figure 6 Unique Coat of Arms Conferred to the FRANÇOIS Family in 1749


Some Ancestors and Relatives of “Francis I� RICHARD See Appendices for Family Descendancy Lists.

Chapter 1: From France to Italy

Figure 7. Some Ancestors & Relatives of "Francis I" Richard


Chapter 1: From France to Italy

The FERRY Family There is some confusion as to the correct spelling of this surname. The French spelling is FERRY; the Italian is FERRI. Since Maria’s grandfather was from Nancy, France, the correct spelling should be FERRY. However, since Maria and her immediate family were born in Florence, the church records referring to them use the Italian spelling FERRI. In this work, FERRY will be used unless specifically referring to a record which uses the Italian spelling. Maria FERRY was the eldest of at least four children. Her immediate family, including her parents and siblings, had all been born in Florence and baptized at the cathedral, Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore. In fact, going back at least several generations, three fourths of her ancestors had been born and baptized in Florence. These included the lines of both of her maternal grandparents and that of her paternal grandmother. The surnames on her maternal grandmother’s side include VASELLI and PICCI; on her maternal grandfather’s side are TOTTI and BEVILACQUA. The surnames on her paternal grandmother’s side include LANDI, MAZZONI, and PORRI (or TORRI).16 While Maria’s father, Francesco Gaetano FERRY, was baptized in Florence on February 2, 1703, his father, according to baptismal entries, was born in Lorraine.17 Since the Marquis of Nancy (Duchy of Lorraine) gave her away at her wedding, Maria’s family, through her grandfather, obviously still had close ties to the Court of Lorraine despite the fact that the rest of her relatives were Florentine.

Figure 8. Baptismal Entry. Maria FERRI. Florence, Italy. Jan 15, 1726. Maria Francesca Giovanna di Francesco di Felice FERRI e di Maria Vettoria di Matteo TOTTI.


All years are birth years. All places of birth are Florence, Duchy of Tuscany unless otherwise noted.

Chapter 1: From France to Italy

Figure 9 Pedigree of Maria Ferry


Chapter 1: From France to Italy Jean FRANÇOIS kept a detailed description of the events of his life in a chronicle entitled Mémoires sur Différentes Choses (Memoirs on Various Subjects). According to the book The François at Querceto, “One of the most joyous moments triumphantly reported in his memoirs was, without doubt, the birth of his and his wife’s first child, Giuseppe Lodovico,” or Joseph Louis in French. He was born on March 8, 1746 at 3:30 in the afternoon.18 Joseph Louis FRANÇOIS would become the patriarch of the American branch of the FRANÇOIS family. Oddly enough and for reasons explained below, this FRANÇOIS surname would be replaced by the surname RICHARD in the Americas.

Figure 10. Baptismal Entry for Giuseppe Lodovico FRANÇOIS. Florence, Italy March 9, 1746. Giuseppe Lodovico del’Ill [ustrissimo] Signore Giovanni d’Antonio FRANÇOIS, e della Signora Maria di G. FERRI.

The Duel Joseph Louis FRANÇOIS was the oldest of eight children. He lived a very privileged life with his family in Florence for almost twenty years until an event occurred that would forever change the direction of his life and that of future generations. When he was 19 or 20 years old, he stepped on the train of a young lady’s dress. Though it was, in all likelihood, an accident, and like any gentleman, he must have apologized profusely, he was, nevertheless, challenged to a duel by the young lady’s companion. Joseph Louis won the duel, but it was a sad victory. His opponent died, and duel or no duel, killing a person was a serious crime. Consequently, young Joseph Louis was faced with making a dire decision. He could remain in Florence and be prosecuted for his crime, or he could flee the country, leaving behind his family, not knowing if he would ever see them again. Don Louis Joseph Francis RICHARD, of Florence, when a highspirited and ambitious youth, became involved in a difficulty with another young Italian, and a duel with swords was the consequence. His adversary was killed and as a result, Don Louis had to leave his native country hurriedly to avoid prosecution. He joined a party of Italians who were bound for Bordeaux, France, and residing there for some time, married, and afterward went to the island of San Domingo.19


Chapter 1: From France to Italy

The Flight On August 18, 1766, a twenty year old young man named Louis FRANÇOIS boarded Le Glaneur in Bordeaux, France.20 The ship’s destination: Cap Français, Saint Domingue. Even though a couple of details of this young passenger do not fit with Louis Joseph FRANÇOIS, it’s more than likely that this is the same noble Louis FRANÇOIS from Florence. Since he was on the lam and trying not to be detected, it stands to reason that he would try to hide his true identity as much he could. He sailed under the guise of a domestic servant to Sir Amans DUPINEL, a 55 year old fellow passenger from Albi, France. In a further attempt to hide his identity, Louis reported his place of origin as Amiens, a city in northern France.


Tenand-Ulmann, Suzanne and Cattin, Paul. Le Château des Allymes. p. 28.


Ducretet, B. Cahiers René de Lucinge. "Les nouvelles recherches sur Nicod François, premier seigneur des Allymes," p. 40.


Tenand-Ullman, p. 28.


Tenand-Ullman, p. 29.


Tenand-Ulmann, p. 63.


Tenand-Ulmann, p. 31.


Tenand-Ulmann, p. 28.

8 9

Source: Ducretet, pp. 42-48. Bosi, Enrico and Favi, Fabrizio. The François at Querceto: A Century of History. p. 13.


Inventaire des Registres Paroissiaux. Nancy. Paroisse Notre Dame BMS 1706-1718. Marriage Ban of Antoine François and Marguerite Rose Harmant. 3 Feb 1715. p. 450/639; Marriage Entry 12 Feb 1715. p. 451/639.


Johnson, N.R., Bouillaguet, P., et al, Correspondance de Madame de Graffigny. Vol. 3. 1er october 1740 - 27 novembre (1992). p. 297. “L’apothicaire du roi Stanislas était Antoine François. Il epousa en premieres noces Marguerite-Rose-Françoise Harmant (1715) et en secondes, Louise Pellier (1735).”


Bosi, p. 19.


Bosi, pp. 12-13.


Bosi, p. 16.


Bosi, p. 17.


Registri Battesimali. Baptism of Maria Francesca Giovanna Ferri. Record #308/146. For information on specific baptismal records for family members, see Sources for Appendix B Descendants of Elia Ferry.


Registri Battesimali. Baptism of Francesco Gaetano Ferri. Record #74/56. February 2, 1703.


Bosi, p. 18.


Rerick, Rowland H. Memoirs of Florida, Volume I, p. 662.


Registres des certificats d'identité et de catholicité, soumissions et passeports concernant les passagers embarqués à Bordeaux.