GUILLAUME PAISANT (PAYSANT)
Born: ca. 1565 in Beaubille, Calvados, a maritime department of Normandy on the English Channel (Norman French).
Wife: Anne Guedeville (ca. 1569 - ?) of the same place.
"Guillaume (William) lived during the first half of that period when France was internally disrupted by eight turbulent Religious Wars. It should be noted that during the 16th and 17th centuries French Protestants, one of the members of the Reformed or Calvinistic Communions, ere known as Huguenots and were welded by their persecution into something like a political as well as religious unity. In March 1562, one of their congregations assembled in a barn in Vassy and were attacked by Catholic followers of the Duke of Guise. On this the Prince of Conde called his CO-religionists, the Huguenots, to his standard. From then on the feud between these two factions led to widespread conflict and many a bloody battle, Guillaume would have been a mere child when the infamous St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre took place in 1572. In this tragedy thousands of Huguenot civilians were slain in Paris.
Intervals of war and peace continued until Henry IV, King of France and Navarre, often referred to as Henry the Good, succeeded to the throne and in 1598 signed the Edict of Nantes, a decree which protected the Huguenots and secured for them partial religious freedom. Among its provisions were: the proclamation of full amnesty;; the granting of liberty of conscience; and permitting of public religious exercises. In addition the Huguenots were to be allowed to establish new churches and to maintain universities. They were also to be eligible to civic offices but were obliged outwardly to celebrate the festivals of the Catholic church and to pay tithes to the Catholic priesthood.
The court ignored the treaty and the Huguenots again arose in arms. On October 23, 1685 Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes. Huguenot marriages were declared null, their children were sent to convents, and their religious leaders were slain. Those who are familiar with this period of strife in France's history will realize that Guillaume and his descendants almost all of whom remained in the vicinity of Caen through five generations, were subjected to drastic restrictions denying them the civic and religious privileges enjoyed by other citizens.
Before and particularly after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, we find that like hundreds of thousands of other French Huguenots, many of the Paisant family left their homes and emigrated to those countries that offered the freedom they deserved -- Holland, Switzerland, Great Britain, and her colonies." *1
First North American Relative: Louis Paisant (Paysant) (1724 - 1756)
*1 - Marion M. Payzant, Wollaston, MA, "The Payzant and Allied Jess and Juhan Families in North America," 1970 printed by Semline, Inc., Braintree, MA, USA
Payzant and Hammond family information largely comes from:
Payzant, Marion M., The Payzant and Allied Jess and Juhan Families in North America, Semline Inc. Braintree, MA, 1970