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History of the Pickney name

The following is an excerpt (used with permission) from Evelyn Snyder Pickney's book The Pickney Family - A Brief History from 1850 to 2002. This explains the origins of the Pickney name and when it was changed from Pequigney. Note that this is entirely different than the more common name Pinckney. There's no indication anywhere of any relation between the Pickney and Pinckney families. This outlines how the Pickney family came from Europe to the United States. Francois Xavier Pequigney was my Great-Great-Great-Grandfather.

-Lou Pickney
(Pickney Family Tree/Blaylock Family Tree)

French Immigration to America

The people of France rose up against their King, Louis XIV, in 1789. Louie and his queen, Marie Antoinette, gave lavish parties while Frenchmen starved. Louis and Marie lost their heads and a new regime came into power. The new government was worse than the monarchy.

There was another uprising in 1830 and again in 1848. In 1848 Louis Philippe was driven from the throne and a provisional government set up "national workshops" to reduce unemployment. The French national assembly opposed the workshops, and as a result workmen, newspaper journalists, students and some of the young men of the aristocratic class began an uprising in June of 1848. They threw up barricades in the narrow alleys of Paris and fought hand to hand. 30,000 soldiers from all of the provinces were sent in and the rebellion was crushed with unbelievable blodshed. The play "Les Miserables" is based on this 1848 revolution.

In the small province of Strasbourg lived a carpenter, Francois Xavier Pequigney, with his wife and twin children. Strasbourg was a meeting point for trade routes and its name means "town of roads". Strasbourg was first a Roman province, then the Germans invaded, and then the French. In 1848 Strasbourg was under French rule. After the rebellion of 1848, Francois decided to take his wife and babies and leave the land of their birth. His cousin, Francois X. Grisez had left Strasbourg ten years earlier. He had written about the new country of America where he was free to make a living and was not continuously oppressed by the government.

In 1851 over 20,000 French immigrants left France for America. Many were political refugees fleeing from the failed 1848 revolution. Economic depression and crop failures from the preceding three years was a great contributor to the French immigration to America.

Most of the immigrants set sail from the port of Le Harve, France. Francois and Rosalie set sail for America in the year of 1850.

The First Pickneys in America -- the First Generation
Francois Xavier Pequigney - born 8/07/1829, died 4/28/1881
Rosalie (Deloye) Pequigney - born 4/14/1827, died 7/08/1901

Francois Xavier Pequigney was born August 7, 1829 in Alsace Lorraine, France in the province of Strasbourg. He was the son of Francois Xavier Pequigney and Anna Grisez.

Francois worked as a carpenter as his father had before him. When Francois was seventeen, he married Rosalie Deloye. They were married in Champagne, Canto de Lure, Department of Haute Soane, France, in the year 1846.

In 1850, Francois and Rosalie left their parents and their homeland and sailed for America. Their twin children, Julius and Julia, who were a little over a year old, set sail with them. The trip took several months. While on the journey, the twin girl Julia died and was buried at sea.

Francois, Rosalie and their remaining child, Julius, got off the ship in New York Harbor. Many of the French immigrants stayed in the big city, but as Francois was from much more of a rural area, they were happy to leave and emigrated to Harrisburg, Ohio, near Louisville in Stark County. Here Francois' cousin, Francois Xavier Grisez, met them and gave them the assistance they needed to begin their new life. In the next ten years they had two more children, Louis and Mary.

Francois, Rosalie, Julius, Louis and Mary are listed in the 1860 Ohio census. "Francois is 38 years old and works as a carpenter." Rosanna (Rosalie) is "kepin house", a housekeeper. They are listed as living in Nimishillen Township, in dwelling house number 1253.

Sometime in the late 1860's, after the Civil War, Francois and Rosalie moved with their (by then) five children to Winchester, Tennessee. Church records at the Good Shepherd Catholic church in Winchester showed that the Pequigneys were members of the church (the name had been changed by 1870 to Pickney).


Elizabeth Mason wrote with this:

Hello Lou! I am a Pequigney/Pickney cousin. I got your link from a (distant) Pequigney cousin in France. I wanted to correct on some of our family genealogy.

Francois Xavier Pequigney
born: 27 August 1820 Plancher Bas, France
(in the department of Haute Soane, France)

He is the son of Joseph Pequigney (1791-1855) and Marie Anne Grisey (many various spellings, Grisez, Grise, etc.) (1788-1866)

F X Pequigney of course married Rosalie Deloye on 8 May 1848 Plancher Bas, France. They had 8 children:

Julius Pequigney born: 27 March 1849 Plancher Bas, France (Baptism records record his name as: Charles Jules Pequigney)

Julia Pequigney born: 3 Jan. 1851 Plancher Bas, France (Baptism records record her name as Marie Julie Pequigney)

The family legend of them being twins is false this based on baptism records from Plancher Bas, France (Dept. of Haute Saone)

They sailed to America in 1854.

Joseph Pequigney & Marie Anne Grisey had 7 children. Fereol, Marie Therese, Francois X., Louis Constant, Marie Dorothee, Jean Baptiste, and Francois Joseph. All from Plancher Bas, France.

FX & Family and his brother Fereol Pequigney came to America together and settling in Ohio. Fereol did not like America so he went back to France. This is from a letter written by Fereol Pequigney April 1862 to a cousin in NY.

Just thought I would tell you some of the information on our family. All this information can be found by census records in US and from Baptism records in Plancher Bas, France.

You have to be careful there are several FX Pequigney's in area (France).

Hope you enjoy reading more about the Pequigney's.

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