FrenchFrançais                                The extraordinary life of my collateral ancestor ,
Jacques Donatien LERAY de Chaumont


And : My Ancestors

Jacques Donation Leray de Chaumont
During my recent stay in the city of Quincy Adams, near Boston, where I exposed my electronic equipment control organ pipes to the Convention of American Organbuilders, I was surprised to rediscover the extraordinary life of my collateral ancestor Jacques Donatien LERAY Chaumont, who met Quincy Adams, another prominent name in the US history. And its decisive influence on the history of American independency.
My parents had once told me about this ancestor, but without detail. Now my family is like LERAY Chaumont of the Nantes region, from a collateral branch.
But now, one can find its traces in many studies, learned societies, etc.
It is considered the USA as "The Father of the American Revaultion" (in English in the text ...)

Let us first recall that Jacques Donatien LERAY de Chaumont was born in Nantes in 1725. He became very rich through maritime trade with India in Nantes. And became adviser and superintendent of King Louis XVI of finances. He was also governor of the Invalides.
He joined the outset freedom ideals of the nascent American Union, and decided to help it by persuading the King to engage in this way, despite the risk to see freed the French colonies of the time. It thus bestowed a loan of 700,000 pounds to Lafayette, who was able to make conveying arms and ammunition and greatly help US in their war of independancy. This aid was decisive, and it is certain that without it the American insurgents were beaten by the English, and would have remained a British colony.

And enabled many "Settlers" (farmers) US to settle on its US land in Pennsylvania and LERAYS CITY TOWN of LERAY in the state of New York. The Mansion his son James Leray built in Leray District (NY) is carefully maintained by US army in Fort Drum (NY).

Jacques Donatien Leray hosted
Benjamin Franklin in his chateau de Passy town (Now part of Paris) :  "Hôtel de Valentinois" .
Franklin experienced in his home the first Lightning rod, and several electric experiences with my ancestor Jacques Donatien Leray. He also built in Chaumont a Printer factory, sugar factory and a porcelain factory.
Several inventions were also experienced in Passy during this time, such as the Montgolfier balloun.
He was also owner of the chateau of Chaumont on the Loire river.
Hewas the first founder of the sugar factory in Chaumont.

Unfortunately, the young American nation could never repay his debt, and he received "en échange" important areas in the state of New York and Pennsylvania, allowing farmers (Settlers) to settle. (Remeber he gave the 700 000$ to the marquis of Lafayette from his own goods). But the French Revolution, partly due to the considerable assistance, ruined him. And also the United States money was drastically depreciated. He had to sell his amazing chateau of Chaumont and the Passy Castle.
However, his memory remains alive in the United States, where there are still two cities that bear his name:
LERAYSVILLE Pennsylvania and TOWN LERAY DISTRICT including Fort Drum (NY State).
His grave is always in Chaumont sur Loire, but abandonned in a very sad shape.
See also the :
LeRay de Chaumont Chapter.
Founded in remembrance of his life and his action in favor of US Independancy and Foundation .

Jacques Donatien had a son, with the same first name : Jacques (James)  Donatien (son)1760- 1840
Jacques Donatien II  had 2 sons named Vincent Leray (1790-1840)(whose Cape Vincent name is issued) and Alexander Leray (whose name Alexandria Bay is issued)
Vincent died without children.
Alexander Leray
In this regard I express a hypothesis on the origin of the name of the neighboring river, nicknamed "Black River", near the ancient city Leray Town in the state of New York:
This weird name for a river, could be a distortion of "LOIRE RIVER" to "BLACK RIVER" then "BLACK RIVER". Hypothesis perhaps bold, but it is not impossible that my ancestor called the river adjacent to his property "LOIRE RIVER" which, from oblivion, was transformed into "BLACK RIVER".

Some links on the life of Jacques Donatien

LERAY Chaumont


READ ALSO the following outstanding book :
FRANCE and AMERICA in the Revolutionay era : The Life of Jacques Donatien LERAY de Chaumont
Thomas J. Schaeper - Berghahn Books

Watertown Flower LibraryWatertown Flower Library (front) in LERAY's district (NY)Main Hall

                        LERAY's MANSION in LERAY Town and Château de Chaumont sur Loire being owned by Jacques Donation LERAY
Jacques Donatien LERAY's Castle  in Passy (now part of Paris) where lived Benjamin Franklin, hosted by my ancestor, when he asked for help for the American Independancy against English Kingdom. This Castle was destroyed by year 1909.The Leray Manson in the LERAY District (NY)
near Watertown
LERAY de Chaumont Castle near the Loire River
See also the "Lan's Art" subsidized by our money.
My ancestor who loved fine arts would be disgusted by such horrors

LERAYSVILLE : other LERAY de Chaumont places