ONffroy de Verez, An Historical Account


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Revolution and Exile

Jamaica, England, Constantinople, Turkey, Peru, New Orleans

Jamaica, England, Constantinople,
Turkey, New Orleans, Peru

On leaving France, the four sons of Anne Marthe Rolland Onffroy de Vérez journeyed widely throughout the world, each setting his own course.

Louis Armand Onffroy, the eldest son, sailed for England where many noble French emigrées had emigrated after the Revolution. There, in 1832, he married Fanny Harris, daughter of a member of the British Admiralty.

Cross of Saint LouisJules Henri Onffroy, the second son, left France for the isle of Jersey and later went to England. Jules was the last Chevalier de Saint Louis named by King Charles X before his departure into exile. In 1839, he left for Constantinople and, at the urging of the Maronites, was chosen as Chef d’Etat Major of the Syrian Army waging war for Catholicism against the Muslim Druses, a sect of Shi’a Islam. He was proclaimed Emir of Libya by popular acclaim on May 31, 1840, but he refused the title of General offered to him by the Turks. He left for Bavaria where he spent time in the court of Louis II and then journeyed to North America where he searched for gold with the millionaire Mackay.

Jules Henri later emigrated to Peru where he met and married Marie Assumption de O’Yorsabal, sister-in-law of the general of Baygada, interim president of the Republic of Peru. They had one son, Enrique Manuel, born April 1, 1858, who only lived a few months. Jules Henri took part in a number of events in Peru both political and military. He made his home for a long time near the summit of the Andes and dedicated himself to the study of the origins of the indigenous people and their primitive Kichna language. He was actively involved in the Peruvian railroads and on Feb. 1, 1853, the minister of war named him a civil engineer of the State of Peru.

Machu Picchu PeruJulds Henri Onffroy assumed the name Don Enrique and the title “de Thoron” , an hereditary title worn by only a single member of the family, Returning to France, he published several books of his research, authored under the name Don Enrique Onffroy de Thoron, including:,

  • Grammaire et dictionnaire francais-kichua
  • La langue primitive depuis Adam jusqu’à Babel
  • Amerique Equatoriale: Son Histoire Pittoresque Et Politique (1866)

He also published a collection of verses, Amour et Bienfaisance, as well as a number of theater pieces in verse that stayed in manuscript form. Several historical studies were also written by him particularly concerning the Jews and the Old Testament.


Pierre Roland Onffroy, the third son, left France and returned to Jamaica. It's likely he returned to work in the operations of the sugar plantations at St. Ann, Jamaica, owned by his uncle, Henri Jean Achilles Onffroy.

In 1807, slavery was outlawed in Great Britain. Theoretically this meant that slaves could no longer be exported from Africa to the West Indies. It became apparent that, in fact, slavery and the trading of slaves was still going on. Therefore, in June, 1817, a new law went into effect in the British colony of Jamaica requiring the registration of all slaves. The slave registry is public record and has been made available on the Web by Ancestry.com. A search on Ancestry.com, in 2011, found scores of slaves registered to Achilles Onffroy between 1817 and the 1830s.

Louise Oger OnffroySometime before 1836, Pierre Roland Onffroy relocated to New Orleans where he lived at 124 St. Ann St. for a period. There he met and married Louise Oger (or Ogé). She was a “noble Creole of New Orleans” whose father had once been extremely wealthy. According to family history, his fortune had been greatly reduced “due to Mr. Oger having the weakness of being too generous in assisting certain friends who were struggling in their businesses”. Mr. Oger and Mr. Faget, who became Pierre Roland’s brother-in-law, were at one time the two richest proprietors of Saint-Domingue. They had colossal fortunes and were adored by their slaves and the inhabitants of the island.

It is likely that Louise was related to the celebrated Vincent Ogé, most probably his grand-daughter. Vincent Ogé was a wealthy free man of color born in Saint-Domingue and the instigator of the Ogé Revolt in 1790. Vincent Ogé, a slave owner himself, was in Paris at the time of the French Revolution in 1789, and tried to persuade the Grands Blancs, white noble men with plantations in Saint-Domingue, to grant equal rights to free men of color. Unsuccessful in this endeavor, he returned to Saint-Domingue where he pressured the local government for equal rights - he was again rebuffed. In October, 1790, he gathered 250 to 300 free men of color who were successful in running off the colonial militia sent out from Le Cap Francais to take him into custody. On Nov. 20, 1790, outnumbered greatly by his enemies, he and his associates surrendered to the Spanish authorities in Eastern Hispaniola after being given assurances of their safety. The vow was broken and he was turned over to the authorities in Le Cap where he was executed by being broken on the wheel in the Le Cap public square.

Louise Oger bore 8 children for Pierre Roland Onffroy in Jamaica from 1836 to 1859. Louise died in 1859. Pierre Roland Onffroy returned to France with his family and on Dec. 28, 1878, he was married to Anna Maria Theresa Raymond on the Isle of Jersey off the coast of Normandy. He eventually entered into the insurance industry, an industry that was in its infancy. He lived in Paris for 15 years, then Redon, then Nantes where he was Inspector for La Compagnie D’Assurance La Providence.

He was one of the founders of L’Oeuvre de Terre Sainte et de Syrie which supported the Maronites in Lebanon, a branch of the Catholic church. A promoter of the L’Oeuvre des Zouaves Pontificaux, in 1866-67 he procured 4 million francs in 3 years for Pope Pius IX (from a brief of Pius IX, 27 Sept 1867). He represented Henry, Count de Chambord, in Nantes for more than 14 years until he moved to the midi where he died at Pamiers (Ariege) at the age of 77 on October 16, 1889. He was a great christian who led an admirable life. In addition, he was granted the titles of Chevalier de St. Gregoire le Grand and Charles II of Spain.

L'Homme au LoupThe fourth, and youngest brother, Francois Emile, went to join his father in exile in Mayence (Mainz Germany). He re-entered France in 1839 after the death of his father and married Antoinette de Busseil at his home, the Chateau de Saint-Christophe-en-Brionnais, northwest of Lyon in Burgundy. For a time, he served as battalion chief of naval infantry and chevalier of the Legion of Honor.

Francois Emile Onffroy was high-spirited and cultivated with a superior intelligence. He was a man of great character and each person that he met admired his modesty and urbanity. Having earned the esteem, love and respect of the people surrounding him, he died at the Chateau de Saint-Christophe on Nov. 5, 1870.

His daughter was Marie Onffroy de Vérez ( Madame Henry Forissier). Her grandson, Alain-Roland Forissier, put down in writing and published her remembrances about the Onffroy and Forissier families in a book, titled L’Homme au Loup, that was published in 1975 by Éditions de Trévoux.