Esther Jane Benoit1

b. circa 1644

6th great-grandmother of William Lemuel Horn Jr.
8th great-grandmother of Laura Jane Munson.
Family Background:
Horn and Allied Families
Appears on charts:
Pedigree for William Lemuel Horn II
     Esther Jane Benoit was born circa 1644.1 She married Robert (Andre) Pickens circa 1665 in La Rochelle, France.1
     Caution! Relationships are traditional unless otherwise noted. Please visit Terry McLean's Web site for a much more comprehensive treatment of the Pickens family.

     General Andrew Pickens of Revolutionary War fame wrote on 28 August 1811 in a letter to General Harry "Light Horse" Lee (father of Robert E. Lee), "My father and mother came from Ireland. My father's progenitors emigrated from France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes."2,1

     Referencing the above quote, Alice Noble Waring wrote in her book, Pickens Genealogy, Southern Branch, "The first progenitor of whom he [General Andrew Pickens] wrote was Robert (Andre), born ca 1644, who held an obscure diplomatic post at the court of Henry IV of France. A Protestant of the Presbyterian faith, he presumably went to France from Scotland in 1661 during the time Charles II of England attempted to restore Catholicism in that country. Therefore, when the Edict of Nantes was revoked on October 22, 1685, and the persecution of Protestants became intense, he and his French wife, Esther Jane (Benoit) Bonneau, fled to Scotland by way of La Rochelle, France. It is not known how long he stayed in Scotland, but at the end of the seventeenth century, he was living in Limerick, Ireland, where he is believed to be buried. It is presumed that his sons were born in France. They were Andrew, John, Robert, and William."3

     Miss Eliza Pickens, great granddaughter of General Andrew Pickens in a paper prepared for D.A.R. said: "General Andrew Pickens first home was in Buck's Co. Penn. The Pickens were French Huguenots and left France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV in 1685. General Picken's great grandfather, Robert Pickens held a good position in France and with every inducement to remain. He refused to live under Roman Catholic rule. He married an accomplished young widow, Madam Bonneau."2

     In Cousin Monroe's History of the Pickens Family (19-20), Mrs. Day included "A Pretty Little Family Tradition" that was furnished by Robert Welborn Pickens that says in part, ". . .According to this tradition, Robert (or Andrew) Pickens was living in France, when the Edict of Nantes was revoked October 22, 1685, and held a very responsible position in the French courts. He had married a widow, Madame Esther Jane Bonneau, who was a Huguenot with deep convictions. She was said to have had a strong personality and to have possessed unusual beauty." Following the Revocation, they escaped France by way of La Rochelle on the west coast. They went to Scotland briefly, and then to Northern Ireland where their sons who came to America were born. The names of these sons were Andrew, John and Robert Pickens.4

QUESTIONS: From what tradition does the surname "Benoit" originate? Could it be a corruption of "Bonneau?" That is not to suggest that her maiden name was Bonneau, but rather that someone in the past may have corrupted the spelling of her married name, and it crept into tradition as her maiden name.

Children of Esther Jane Benoit and Robert (Andre) Pickens


  1. [S674] Terry Pickens McLean, online <…>, Terry Pickens McLean (e-mail address), downloaded 2004.
  2. [S675] E.M. Sharp, Pickens Families of the South (Memphis, Tennessee: E.M. Sharp, 1963), 1.
  3. [S674] Terry Pickens McLean, 2004, as quoted from Alice Noble Waring, Pickens Genealogy, Southern Branch (Charleston, SC: R.L. Bryan Company, 1966), 57-58.
  4. [S671] Monroe Pickens, comp., Cousin Monroe's History of the Pickens Family (Easley, South Carolina: Kate Pickens Day, 1951), 20.