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Frederick de Vaux of Wallonia

Updated: Jan 26, 2019

Frederick de Vaux (also spelled De Voe, De Vouw, Deveaux) was my paternal 9th great-grandfather. He was born in "the Walloon country", presumably Wallonia, the French-speaking region of southern Belgium. He went from there to Mannheim, Germany, where he obtained citizenship.

Excerpts from "Revised History of Harlem (City of New York)", give us a glimpse into the life of Frederick de Vaux. The facts contained herein are from this source.

The passport Frederick obtained in Mannheim is still preserved, and was shared with the author by one of De Voe's descendants, Col. Thomas De Voe, of New York. Here follows a translation:

"We, Director, Sheriff, Burgomaster and Council of the Electoral Paltz City, Mannheim, hereby make known and publish, that the bearer of this, Frederick de Vaux, later a Burgher of this city, for his own business is intending to travel in Holland, and from thence further to England; in which behalf every one is requested to let the said Frederick de Vaux pass free, safe, and unmolested, at all places, and also to show him all good will and consideration; we engaging to do the same for every city, according to merit. In witness hereof, we have attached our usual seal. Done at Mannheim, this 23rd February, old style, Anno one thousand six hundred and seventy five." {Seal}

Note: A "Burgher" in medieval times was a title of a citizen of a town, and a social class from which city officials could be drawn.

De Voe "had lately left the Lower Palatinate, with many other French, on account of the troubles there; De Vaux coming via England to join his brother Nicholas in this country. He was now a widower, but a little later married a daughter of Daniel Tourneur, deceased, from which union sprang the respectable De Voe family in the lower sections of Westchester County, first seated at De Voe's Point, near which Frederick obtained by his wife a fine property." (Note, p. 395 states that Frederick purchased the land from William Bickley in June 25, 1694).

He was part of Harlem's Night Watch, in 1676, in anticipation of possible aggression from the Indians, though no action was required.

Frederick married Esther (or Hester) Tourneur on June 24, 1677. Details about their descendants are given here:


  • "Revised History of Harlem (City of New York): Its Origin and Early Annals", by James Riker, Henry P. Toler, and Sterling Potter, 1904, p. 330-331 footnote, 424, and 635.

  • Burgher article on Wikipedia [Link]


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