Jacques Hemery

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Jacques Hemery


A son of the very rich Hemery family, Jacques was born in France, naturalised in Jersey and became a successful merchant

Jacob and Louise Hemery, the founders of the Jersey family, had two sons, Jacques and Pierre. Jacques decided to settle permanently in Jersey and on 19 November 1736, described as a young Frenchman of good character and manners, who had been apprenticed to a local merchant, he applied to the Court for letters of naturalization, and the Court having granted the request Jacques Hemery legally became a Jersey citizen.

His brother moved to England, settling in Southampton where he was French master at the Royal Academy. A little acknowledged Jersey export was French language skills and his work in England demonstrates him as bilingual. At this time the everyday language of Jersey was French, but increasingly English was spoken, beginning with the merchant classes due to the trade with England, and also among those dealing with the officers and men of the English regiments sent to garrison Jersey. This process gathered momentum throughout the 19th Century, continuing until today when French speakers are a small minority in the Island. The Hemery brothers were among the first to be bilingual, and as such Jacques is often referred to as James.

Peter married in 1741. There is a record of a Mrs Anne Perchard, widow, of Windlesham in Surrey, giving her consent to her daughter Elisabeth's (aged about 20) marriage to Peter Hemery of Kingston near Portsmouth (aged about 30) on 28 March 1741 ‘before the licence was granted’. They had a daughter, but she died unmarried and so his line died out.

The will dated 7 January 1779 of Peter Hemery of the Parish of Portsea in the County of Southampton, French master of the Royal Academy.

All worldly goods to my daughter and executrix Elizabeth Hemery. If she remains unmarried at my decease, all my wearing apparel, furniture and half my stock in the three percent annuities consolidated are entirely left to her, and any money in the house or owed to me. The rest of the stock to be equally divided between my nephews James and Clement Hemery of Jersey and their heirs, but if my daughter is married all is to go to her.

Elizabeth Hemery, daughter of Peter Hemery, made a will dated 16 September 1800

The will of Elizabeth Hemery of the Parish and town of Portsea in the County of Southampton.
To James and Clement Hemery, the sons of my father's brother James Hemery of Jersey £1300 stock in the three percent annuities consolidated divided equally.
To Samuel Perchard Piggott £700 stock.
To Samuel Perchard Piggott for Mary Perchard £700 stock, the interest payable to her as an annuity during her life if she remains single, but on marriage or decease £300 stock to go to my godson Peter Hemery son of Clement Hemery and his heirs, and £400 to Samuel Perchard Piggott.
To Peter Hemery £500 stock, and a silver watch. My household furniture, linen, books, plate and wearing apparel.
To my goddaughter Elizabeth Charker late Hancock 5 guineas.
To Edey and Christian Hancock sisters of the above 5 guineas each.
To Sarah Campston formerly Jacobs 5 guineas.

The rise of a merchant family

Jacques was a merchant, and also served in the Jersey Militia, in 1746 being listed as a Lieutenant in the South Regiment (Regiment du Sud) The South Regiment was based in St Helier. He married Anne Elizabeth Chevallier on 20 October 1742.

She was baptised in St Helier Jersey 12 March 1706. She died some time before April 1769. The couple had four children, Jean Hemery baptised 18 June 1744, Jacques Hemery baptised 5 February 1746, Clement Hemery baptised 30 August 1747, and Pierre Hemery baptised 14 or 16 March 1749. Jean lived less than a year, being buried on 7 April 1745.

The Chevalier marriage was a good connection to a prominent Jersey family. The known Chevalier family tree goes back to the 15th Century in Jersey, and the family were undoubtedly in the Island before then. The best known member of that line was Jean Chevalier who wrote a diary describing, among other events, the Civil War in Jersey and the siege of Elizabeth Castle.

Anne Elizabeth Chevalier was baptised in St Helier on 12 March 1706 and married Jacques Hemery in October 1742. Her parents were Clement Chevalier and Marie Dumaresq. They married 13 January 1697 in St Brelade. They had the following children:

Clement Benjamin baptised 17 January 1698, died 1792, inherited Aspall, Suffolk from his uncle Temple Chevalier; Temple baptised 17 September 1701; Debora baptised 17 September 1701; Temple baptised 13 November 1704; Anne Elizabeth baptised 12 March 1706; Jean baptised 15 August 1710; Philippe baptised 8 November 1711; Susanne baptised 18 January 1714; Susanne baptised 25 May 1715; Marie baptised 25 May 1715; Marie baptised 4 March 1717; Marie baptised 22 April 1719; Philippe baptised 22 April 1719.

Points of interest – 2 sets of twins, Marie had 20 years of child bearing from the ages of 19 to 40, and if a child died young the next baby was given the same name, up to three times in the case of ‘Marie’

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