From France to England
Thousands of Puritans left England for religious reasons, as did many from other counties in Europe during the Seventeenth Century. Among them were the Huguenots, including the Brassier or Brashear family.
Robert Brassier was born about about 1595 in Carpentras, France
Married possibly Elizabeth Fowle or a woman named Florence in France.
Their children were:
1. Benjamin (Benoit) Brassier or Brashears born about 1620, probably in France and died 04 December 1662 Calvert Co., Maryland. He married Mary Richford.
2. Mary Brassier died young in Virginia
John Brassier married Mary Cocke River that genealogists have tried to tie Robert to but have not successed. However we do know that Robert was a French Huguenot. In the Sixteenth century, growing numbers of Frenchmen and women were being pulled toward the writings of John Calvin, the French theologian who inspired the protestant reformation in France. Calvin was forced to flee France for Switzerland because his teachings which caused violent uprisings by the threatened Roman Catholics. Many of his followers stayed in France but the violence continued and by the end of the Seventeenth century over 200,00 Huguenots (as the followers of Calvin were called in France) had fled France.
Robert married and had children. The name of his wife has been suggested as either Elizabeth Fowke from France or Florence. There was a Florence, connected to Robert’s family who came over to Virginia in 1653, but if this was indeed Robert’s wife, then she would have been an elderly woman at the time and such a trip would have been hard on her. Some genealogist suggest that Florence was actually the new wife of Robert Brashear Jr, who had returned to Europe in 1653 to bring back other family members.
Robert and his wife had ten children, the older born in France, the middle ones born in England and the two youngest, Margaret and Mary in Virginia.
Robert Brassure and Peter Rey were granted land in Warrisquicke Creeke, Nanzemond County, Virginia the next year. "To all to whom these presents shall come: I Sr[Sir] John harvey, Kt [Knight], Governor, &c., send, &c. now know yee that I thete said Sr. John Harvey, Kt., doe with consent of the Councell of State accordingly give and grant unto Robert Brassure and Peter Rey six hundred acres of land seituate, lying and being in the upper Countie of New Norfolke [land now in Nansemond Co., VA] lying north east and south west along the south side of Creeke upon the head of said Creeke and butting upon Nansemund River, alias Matrebers river. The said six hundre acres of land being due unto them, the said Robert Brassure and Peter Rey, by assignment form peter Johnson, to have and to hold, &c. dated 24th February 1638" [VA Land Patents, Book 1, p. 622/Back p. 7}
In 1653 Robert was issued a land patent for twelve hundred acres in Nanzemond County on the “southern branch of the Nanzemond River”. Persons with land patents in early Virginia were expected to pay their way to their new land but were given fifty acres for each person they paid passage for. Robert’s patent included himself "Robert Brasseur, Florence his wife, Mary Brasseur, Persid Brasseur, Kathe Brasseur, Bennet Brasseur" and non-family members "Marg. Stockwell, Geor. Juory...W. Wroten, Thos Parker, Jno. sutton, Joh. Stephens, Step Dordan, Jon Loyd, Jon. Bott., Symon Iron, Jon Barefield, Eliz. Patemen, Geor Daldye, Wm. Ball, Nicho. Maroise, Tho. Pursell, Ra. Ellis and Jon Abby.” Also on this date, a patent was issued to Robert Senior’s son Benjamin Brasseur.
I have not been able to discover when or where Robert died but it is strongly possible that he died on his acres on the Nanzemond River several years after the 1653 land patent was issued.
Robert must have been a man of adventure and courage and faith. He fled France in order to serve his God in his own way and then took a risk to come to the New World to carve out a life there.
1. http://www.next1000.com/family/EC/brassieur.robt.html by Cheryl Grubb
"My Brasseur/Brashear(s) Connection"
4. Early Families of Southern Maryland, Vol 4, Brashear
1. The Brashear (Brasseur) Family
7. Virginia Land Patents, book 1, page 622