This is transcribed from a copy of a newspaper article "Century of Old Fontaine
Estate" by Mary Lytle Byers (from Courier Journal March 1914, per Ann S. Fontaine
2002) (this date consistent with wording in text)
The copy was in poor condition. Unreadable text is shown as ..... in the transcription below.
It could be more than one article, as the pieces were fragmentary and hard to read. J. Scott, April 1999
|Caption under photograph:
"COL. AARON FONTAINE."
Caption under map:
"ORIGINAL SURVEY OF TRACT GRANTED TO JOHN CONNOLY BY LORD DUNMORE, OF VIRGINIA, IN "FINCASTLE COUNTY," DECEMBER 14, 1773, UNDER THE PROCLAMATION OF KING GEORGE 111., OF 1763 -- "FOR MILITARY SERVICES."
"Little of all we value here
Wakes on the morn of its hundredth year
Without both looking and feeling queer -- "
Hardly can be held to apply to Fontaine Ferry park which under the management of Col. Harry A. Bilger, soon will open for the summer season of 1914. It is probable that few persons recall that this is the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the famous fountain that gave the celebrated amusement resort its name and prestige. An article prepared by Charles Thurston who is one of the descendants of the Fontaines, tells some interesting incidents in connection with the origin of the place.
Mr. Thurston says:
"Col. Aaron Fontaine came from Virginia in 1798 with a family of twelve children and his son-in-law, Judge Fortunatus Cosby, and settled on Harrods Creek in Jefferson county, of this State. He afterward removed, on January 17, 1814, to the banks of the Ohio river west of Louisville and established his family on a large estate which was purchased by him from Mr. William Lytle, of Cincinnati, O. This estate was part of 3,000 acres purchased by his son-in-law, Judge Fortunatus Cosby, from Sarah Beard, July 7, 1806, the property being known as part of the Connolly and De Warnsdorff tracts.
"The estate purchased by Col. Aaron Fontaine from William Lytle embraced ... acres and at the time of its purchase the property was called "Carter's ferry". It was afterward named "Fontaine Ferry" by Col. Fontaine in 1814 and the place was laid out in orchards lawns and grass lands. The house, of substantial construction, faced the Ohio River, where a boat was kept for pleasure and service. A fine cypress avenue opened on what is now Main and the old "Fountaine Ferry Road" was a famous drive leading into the country retreat. Here Col. Fontaine lived the life of a country squire in the good old days in peace, plenty and hospitality, 100 years ago.
"Col. Fontaine was a gentleman of the old school whose type almost has passed away. He was of French descent and a member of a noble Huguenot family in France. Among the number of the ancestors of this Huguenot was the noted Peverence Peter Fontaine, rector of Westover parish, Charles City County, Va., in 1716. It is said of Col. Fontaine that he was particularly courteous and polite to everyone with whom he came in contact and particularly so to his wife to whom he always doffed his hat before taking his morning toddy and insisted that she taste the toddy first.
"Col. Fontaine, previous to his emigration to Kentucky in 1798, married Barbara Terril, of Virginia, who traced her lineage to the royal house of Stuart and was the granddaughter of Col. William Overton, of "Glencairn," Hanover county, Va. Twelve children were born of this marriage as follows: Mary Ann, the wife of Judge Fortunatus Cosby; Mathilda, the wife of Thomas Prather; Martha, the wife of Aexander Pope; America, the wife of William S. Vernon; Sallie, the wife of Gov. George Floyd; Deborah, the wife of Judge Edmund Bullock; Maria the wife of Sterling Grimes; Barbara, the wife of John Sanders, Ann Overton, the wife of John I. Jacob, and Peter, John and Maury Fontaine, sons.
"Soon after the death of his first wife, Barbara Terrill Fontaine, Col. Fontaine married Mrs. Elizabeth Whiting Thruston, the widow of Col. John Thruston, of "Sans Souel," of Jefferson county, who was with Gen. George Rogers Clark in the campaigns against the British and the Indians at Kaskaskia and Vincennes. Mrs. Thruston had ten children when she married Col. Fontaine and four children were the result of this marriage.
"Mrs. Elizabeth Whiting Thruston's children were Charles M. Thruston, Sr., lawyer in Louisville from 1800 to 1856; Alfred Thruston, cashier of the Bank of Louisville in 1833; Algernon Thruston, Attourney General of Texas, killed at the side of Davy Crockett in "The Alamo:" Lucius Thruston, Louisville; Mrs. Kitty Luckett, Louisville; Mrs. Worden Pope, Louisville; Mrs, Mollie January, St. Louis, Mo.; Mrs. Fanny Rector, of Arkansas; Mary Thruston, of Louisville, and John Thruston, II, Louisville. The children of the marriage of Col. Fontaine and Mrs. Thruston were Aaron B. Fontaine, Alexander Fontaine, Henry W. Fontaine and Emmeline Dillon Fontaine.
.... have twenty six children .... ets of children in this ... family and the writer has ... distinction of being the ...grandson of Col. Aaron Fontaine and his two wives as well as Judge Fortunatus Cosby and his wife Mary Ann, and the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Charles M. Thruston, Sr., the latter being a granddaughter of Col. Fontaine and the daughter of Judge Cosby. It is unusual that a grandson should be related on both sides to all the heads of the three families by direct blood descent.
"There may be several omissions in this genealogy which the writer is not able to supply from his notes, but the data given is of sufficient scope to interest the large number of descendants of this extensive connection now living in Louisville.
"In conclusion it may not be amiss to mention some of the members of this family who have achieved something more than a local reputation. Among the number whose names are recalled are Gen. George Cosby, C.S.A., of California; Admiral Frank Coast, U.S. Navy; Gen. Gates Thruston, U.S.A., Nashville, Tenn.; Admiral Levin Powell, U.S.N., Washington D.C., Algernon Thruston, ex - Attourney General, of Texas; Henry Rector, formerly Governor of Arkansas; Alfred Thruston, first cashier of the Bank of Louisville; Judge Buckner Thruston, United States Senator from Kentucky from 1805 to 1809; Patrick ... (Fontaine?), member of Congress from the ... district of Kentucky, and Charles .... Thruston, eminent as a lawyer in Louisville from 1800 to 1856.
The son of this Jean de la Fontaine became a minister of the Protestant churches of Royan and Vaux -- he was called the "prophet of the persecution," as by his untiring labor and exhortations he prepared his people for the great persecution of the Huguenots that followed the revocation of the edict of Nantes. This devoted pastor, though of simple tastes and abstemious habits, was a man of commanding figure and dignified presence. By his second marriage to a beautiful French girl -- Marie de Chaillon -- an heiress and much his, junior, he became the owner of the estate of Jenouille and the Manor of Jaffe. It was here that his youngest son -- and a man destined to make the name renowned in history as "the fighting Huguenot" -- was born in 1653.
"The Fighting Huguenot."
Jacques Fontaine -- for the title had been dropped -- the most famous of the name, gives a personal account in his "Memoirs of a Huguenot" of his trial and persecution for the faith, his daring escape with his betrothed wife from France, and their subsequent life and adventures in England. After teaching school, inventing and manufacturing a new weave of cloth, he finally went to Ireland, taking charge of a French congregation in Cork. Here M. Fontaine was held in such esteem that he was presented with the freedom of the city. It was in an engagement with a French privateer, manned by Frenchmen and carrying eighty men and ten guns, off the coast of Ireland, that M. Fontaine defended his household and himself so bravely that through the influence of his friend, the Duke of Ormonde and Governor General of Ireland, he was granted a pension from Queen Anne in 1705, in recognition of his bravery and service.
The Coming to Virginia
It remained for three sons and one daughter of "the fighting Huguenot" to perpetuate the name and qualities of their ancestors in the new world. Capt. John Fontaine, and English officer; Pierre and Francis, both clergymen of the Church of England, and Mary Anne Fontaine, their sister, who had married Matthiew Maury, of Castle Mauron, Gascony, landed in Virginia, and were given a cordial welcome by Gov. Spotteswoode. Mary Anne Maury became the ancestress of the many noted men and women of that name. Pierre Fontaine had the good fortune to become the rector of Westover parish and chaplain to that "prince of the lordly manor of Westover," the distinguished Col. William Evelyn Byrd. In a novel by Marian Harland, called "His Great Self," founded on the Westover manuscripts of Col. Byrd, Pierre Fontaine is shown to be a familiar member of the household, and an intimate friend of the beautiful Evelyn. He is described as "a polished scholar and courtly gentleman of winning manners, with an olive complexion, clearly chiseled features, soft, dark brilliant eyes, 'a true descendant of the handsomest man in Navarre.'"
Romance says he was in love with the ill-fated Evelyn Byrd, but realizing the hopelessness of his own suit aided her by every means in his power in her unfortunate love affair with her English lover, Lord Peterborough.
Both Pierre Fontaine and his brother, Capt., John Fontaine, were members of Gov. Spottesswoode's famous expedition across the blue Ridge in 1716, which ended on their return in the institution of the "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe," Gov. Spotteswoode presenting to each member a miniature gold horseshoe inscribed with the motto "Sic Juvat transcendere Montes." The journal of Capt. John Fontaine had been preserved, in which he gives an account of the party reaching the top of the range of mountains, and drinking a health to King George and the royal family.
Some Noted descendants.
A grandson of the Rev. Pierre Fontaine, of Westover, Col. William Fontaine, was an officer in the Revolution, being present with his regiment at the surrender of Yorktown by Lord Cornwallis. A letter written to his relatives, soon after the glorious event, gives the personal description of an eye- witness.
Other noted representatives of the family were Charles D. Fontaine, of New Orleans, a great- grandson of Patric Henry, and a celebrated statesman; Dr. Clement Rush Fontaine, an eminent physician of Virginia; Col. Walter Lloyd Fontaine and Lamar Fontaine, known as a "raconteur" and daring Confederate soldier.
Various descendants of the Fontaine family have distinguished themselves in the service of the army and navy while others in the church and the professions have reflected credit on the name.
The Kentucky Fontaines.
The Fontaines of Kentucky, brought to the Commonwealth the heritage of an honored ... and ancestry, were descended from Aaron Fontaine, son of the Rev. Peter Fontaine, of Westover, and born -- it is said -- in his father's seventieth year, 1753.
In his youth young Aaron Fontaine lived with his sister, Mrs. Isaac Winston ......................