According to Bob Juch’s Kin, the Rev. James Fontaine is my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. He was born in France, on the 7th April, 1658. At the age of sixty-four, he wrote an autobiography for his children, the beginning of which reads:

“I, James Fontaine, have commenced writing this history, for the use of all my children, on the twenty-sixth day of March, 1722; being sixty-four years old.

My Dear Children—Whenever I have related my own adventures to you, or given you details of the incidents that befell your ancestors, you have evinced so deep an interest in them, that I feel I ought not to neglect making a record of the past for your use; and I am determined to employ my leisure time in this way. I would fain hope that the pious examples of those from whom we are descended, may warm your hearts and influence your lives. I hope you will resolve to dedicate yourselves, wholly and unreservedly, to the service of that God whom they worshipped at the risk of their lives, and that you, and those who come after you, will be steadfast in the profession of that pure reformed religion, for which they endured, with unshaken constancy, the most severe trials. You cannot fail to notice, in the course of their lives, the watchful hand of God’s Providence, supporting and preserving them through hardship and suffering.”

In 1838, Ann Maury, a descendent of Rev. Fontaine, published the first edition and what appears to be an abridged version of this autobiography. It was entitled, ”A Tale Of The Huguenots Or Memoirs Of A French Refugee Family (De La Fontaine)”. Thirty-four years later, in 1872, a new edition was published which appears to be the unabridged version, entitled “Memoirs Of A Huguenot Family”.

As a sidenote, I belong to a circle of historic churches known as the Strict and Particular Baptists. One of the leading figures of these churches in the early 18th century was a man named John Gill. Dr. Gill, though a Baptist, subscribed to the Five Points of Calvinism, which Rev. Fontaine himself embraced. He was born in 1697, when Rev. Fontaine was thirty-nine years old, and had been serving for two years as the pastor of the Goat Yard Chapel, when Rev. Fontaine wrote his autobiography in 1722. Perhaps not of interest to anyone else who may read these pages, it warms my heart to know these men were contemporaries in the gospel ministry.

As I stated in the preface of the first edition, I am pleased to make the writings of my forefather available through the online resources of the AHB. I thank the Lord Jesus Christ, who enabled us both, for that He counted us faithful, putting us into the gospel ministry.

“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”—1 Timothy 1:17

Jared Smith



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