RAPLEE, JANSSEN,
COLET, COLIGNY FAMILY
IN EUROPE



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THE RAPLE FAMILY IN EUROPE

First of all, it is important to remember that we are dealing with events that took place at the beginning of the 17th century, plus or minus four hundred years ago. All we have are are a few documents from that period and group memories of one of the oldest American families. If our descent from the Janssens, Colets and Colignys is a delusion, it is one that is shared by nearly all branches and dates back to before the revolution.

The Raple family in America is well documented. It is only when we search for our European roots that we get confused. One source, Louis P. DeBoer in 1917, manages to stray way claim that we are descended from Jean Raparlier or Raparier born in Valenciennes in 1490. It appears that this claim is based on nothing more than the similarities in the names. This is too bad, as most people have taken this at face value and have spread it throughout the LDS files. Raparier actual is an ancient noble family, but there is no indication that it is connected to our family.

Read the DeBoer document for yourself and come to your own conclusion.

There also exists a birth certificate for a Joris Raparlier born in Valenciennes in 1601 who may or may not be our ancestor. However in early court records in Brooklyn, NY, our Joris signs a petition as Jan Joris Rapalje, not Joris Rapararlier or Joris Raparier. This 1661 and Joris had dropped the use of the name Janssens.

Huguenot Appl -1
Application by the Miller Family in 1880 by Charles Kingsbury Miller,
Vice President of the "Rappleye and Raple Family" organized June 18, 1880 at Farmerville, New York

Huguenot 2nd application
Bergen Family from Lowe Application

I found the above membership applications of the New York Huguenot Society several accepted and verified applications that state Joris Janssen de Rapallje was descended from Colonel Gaspard Colet de Rapallje, cousin of Admiral Gaspard Coligny II , leader of the French Protestants. I refer to page 361 in the American Families of Historic Lineage, Long Island Edition VOL II by John Howard and William S. Pelletreau.

"Of this family, Gaspard Colet de Rapella, nephew of the Admiral Gaspard Coligny (or his father Marshall Gaspard Coligny?) was born in Chatillon-Sur-Loing (now, sur-Coligny) in 1505. . ."

The names Rapalje and Rapalier could be taken to mean "I/we are of Rapala" Flemish, French, Beligian, and Spanish were spoken in that area of Europe and the name may have changed according to which language was being spoken. Last names were just coming into fashion at that time, previously you were known by your area of birth. In the 1640s the Westbrooks in my family came from the Dutch village of Westbrook near the Hague in the 1640s. Previously that family used names like Little Jannette, daughter of Jan.

In addition I refer you to the Blavant Family History of the Rapaljes.

Joris's father was Abraham Janssen, a historical painter of some fame and a contemporary of Ruebens. In fact when the younger Ruebens started taking commissions away from him, he challenged him to a painting duel. He submitted to Ruebens a list of allegorical subjects and a list of art experts to judge their work. The idea was to establish who was the better artist. Ruebens refused, stating that "for me, you will always be the master, but let history decide." I would guess that it has. It is said that he "then married a younger woman and took to the dissapated life". There are four or five of his works surviving today, one in the New York City Metropolitan Museum, another in a Connecticut college, one in Berlin, and one in Antwerp, Belgium. His style was allegorical, the accepted style of the day.

Janssen painting
Painting by Abraham Janssen in NYC Metropolitan Museum of Art


Abraham's father, Honorious Janssen, also a historical painter, married Breckie Colet de Rapallje who was the daughter of Gaspard Colet de Rapallje, born in Chatillion sur Loire' France in 1505. Gaspard Colet served as a colonel of the army under Francis I but fled north to Hainault in 1548.




Coligny Donjon


The Coligny Chateau at Chatillion, France.


So just who was Gaspard Colet? We don't rightly know. We know that he was born in Chatillon France in the Coligny Chateau, when Gaspard Coligny I's older brother Jacques II Coligny, was lord of Chatillion. Gaspard Colet again and again is referred to as the nephew of Gaspard Coligny, often mistakingly of his son Gaspard Coligny II.

In previous research, I could find no indication that Gaspard Coligny I, had any sisters, and had suggested that Gaspard Colet was his bastard son. However on rereading "History of the Coligny Family in France" by M. Becquerel, I came across the following reference that indicates he did indeed have more than one sister. This can be found on page 15 in the original French. History of Admiral Coligny and his Family by M. BECQUEREL
Jean III held allegiance to Louis XI against the duc of Bourgogne, Charles the Téméraire. He was the first of the lords of Coligny who made their residence in France and to Châtillon-sur-Loing; in spite of that, his family preserved always the names and titles of Coligny and d'Andelot in remeberence of the ancient properties, seigneuriales of the county of Bresse. He had married in 1464, Éléonore of Courcelles, they had two son, Jacques II and Gaspard 1st, and several daughters.

As Gaspard Coligny the first, Govenor of Picarde, had sisters, it makes sense that one of them might marry a lord in Picarde named Colet. Also, as the English were waging war in that area, it makes perfect sense that she might retreat to safety at Chatillion to give birth to Gaspard Colet in 1509.

Gaspard Coligny was the Govenor of Picardie where a John Colet was a lord of Noyen in Picarde. Possibly Gaspard Colet's father was of this family. There is also a possibilty that he is of the house of Cholet to the west of Chatillion. However, this area was under English rule at the time,and no such connection has appeared.

Although the term "Evangeliest" was used instead of "Huguenot" to describe reformists beflre 1560, it is intersting that they Colets were signeurs (lords) of Noyon in Picarde where Jean Calvin was born in 1509, four years after Gaspard Colet.  Gaspard Colet later got in trouble for handing out Protestant Bibles and preaching. According to documents in the Brooklyn Heights (NYC) Geneological Society, his refusal to collect the salt tax, was apparently the last straw.

To give the "flavor" of the times I have included below a few quotes from :

France in the Sixteenth Century
by Frederic J. Baumgartner.

page 154

"By the mid-sixteenth century, the French nobles could not ignore the fact that the infantry constituted a major threat to the lancers domination on the battlefield. The centuries-old prejudice against arming French commoners meant that the monarchy had a great deal of difficulty in raising a native infantry force and continued to rely on foreign mercenaries. Foreigners, however, were expensive and difficult to handle, and their availability depended on political events usually beyond the control of the king. In 1534 Francis I issued an edict intended to create a powerful native infantry. It established seven legions of 6,000 men with noble commanders; they received the title of colonel, the first time the term was used in the French army. The edict set the composition of the legions at 60 percent pikemen, 30 percent harqucbusiers, and 10 percent haJberdmen. The legions found it difficult to fill their quota of harquebus, since firearms were still rare in France. Each legion also included fifes and tarnhourines for marching in step, which had become a practice for infantry. The officers were exempt from the feudal levy and paid all the time; the soldiers were freed from the tail/es but paid only in wartime--6 l month for harquehusiers and 5 l for the others, which compared to 7 l for Swiss mercenaries. The edict creating the legions also imposed strict discipline on the troops and required them to muster twice a year in peacetime to drill. The legion system, however, failed to work as intended. The infantrymen lacked discipline and usually ravaged the districts, even the French ones, through which they passed, largely because their pay was usually late. The gendarmes often refused to cooperate with the legions. By 1544 the legions had fallen badly below strength, and the monarchy continued to use the older infantry companies, usually made up of Gascons, called the "bands of adventurers," alongside the legions. Foreign mercenaries remained a crucial part of the French army."

Along with the loss of importance and prestiege of the Infantry, Gaspard Colet was facing new problems. During a time when the King was desperate for money, he went face to face with him over the salt tax and religion. La Rochelle in Rupalla or Rapalla had a charter that excused them from the salt tax. The King wanted it enforced and Colet did not. Francis I backed down but his son Henry did not. All this corresponds with the time that Gaspared Colet fled north.

page 165

"While vagabonds and highwaymen were a more serious problem overall, the monarchy was more concerned about the larger, more organized episodes of popular violence, which increasingly involved opposition to heavy taxes. The largest popular revolt before the religious wars erupted in 1547 over the gabelles.2 In 1541 Francis I mandated a large increase in the tax for the provinces of the southwest, which been nearly exempt. The edict put the tax there at the same high level as in the rest of the realm. The drastic increase in the cost of salt, coming on top of other royal infringements on local autonomy in a region that less than a century earlier enjoyed vast autonomy under the English, led to riots and violence in La Rochelle and the countryside around it. The king temporarily backed down, ending the riots, but in 1546 he issued a new edict reestablishing the new gabelle. It went into effect after Henry II succeeded his father. As soon as it did, tax farmers swarmed into Guyenne "like locusts" to take huge profits. In April 1548, violence erupted near the town of Saintes and quickly spread across Guyenne. One of the several ragtag armies of the Pétaults, "disorderly ones," near Périgueux was said to have numbered 40,000 men. Peasants and urban laborers and artisans cooperated in seizing control of numerous towns and Bordeaux itself. Nobles, wealthy townspeople, and especially royal officials were murdered. Most ominous for the monarchy, Tristan de Moneins. the lieutenant to the governor of Guyenne, was struck down as he negotiated with the rebels."

page 143

"Henry II was a conservative Catholic deeply loyal to the traditional faith. In October 1547, he created a new criminal chamber, the Second Tournelle, in the Parlement of Paris to hear heresy cases exclusively both as a court of first instance and appeals. The new chamber s zealous pursuit of heresy led to the name of the chambre ardente. It was not true, however, that this "zealous chamber" burned "all who fell into its clutches." In the 23 months it functioned, it handled 323 cases of accusations of heresy, blasphemy, and sacrilege: 37 persons were condemned to death; 39 were acquitted; 142 were given penalties ranging from a public reprimand to exile; and 105 were remanded to the Church courts when the Second Tournelle was shut down in 1550. Only 29 persons were identified as "Lutheran" or Sacramentarian; more vague charges of heresy and blasphemy overwhelmingly predominated."
Under Henry II's father Francis I, Gaspard Colet as a noble and Colonel of the Infantry was safe. Francis I considered the new religion to be a problem of the rabbel, not the noble class. With the death of Henry II, this protection was gone. Colet fled north to Hainault (Belgium) where he reportedly had family.

I cannot verify it yet but it appears that the Colet castle was outside of La Rochelle, (earlier known as Rupella or Rapalla and origin or the name Rapallje?) perhaps at the village of Cholet, France. The Colets were from Savoy, Picardie and France. Other than Col of the Infantry, I have not been able to find out what titles Gaspard Colet may have had. Is he the son of John Colet of Picardie or of the Rupella Cholets? This would be helpful in finding out where he lived and exactly what is his connection to the Colignys.


Dictionnaire DeLa NOBLESSE
Des Maisons Souveraines Del'Europe
De La Chenaye-Desbois Et Badier
Troisieme Edition
A PARIS
Chez SCHLESINGER feres,libraries-editeurs
Rue de Seine, 12

As can be seen below in the third shield from the left, Colet, Coulet and Choulet are the same and the shield is that of the House of Savoy. This makes sense as a John Colet is shown fighting under the banner of Savoy in the 14th century. In the book La France Protestant, pg 523 we find "Les Collot, signeurs d' Escury, Pres Noyon, en Picardie, Jean Collot Home d'ARMES en 1530 et Ginnon Collot en 1411."


Raplee Shield Colet shield Colet Swiss Coligny shield

I found these shields for Colet, Coligny and Rapalje in "L'ARMORIAL GENERAL ARMS" by V. Roland at the New York Geneological Society Library. Unfortionately, they do not allow copies from old books. I had to draw them.


As is shown in the graphic below and explained in the following article, Gaspard Colet de Rapalye had three childen, Breckje de Rapalye, Gaspard de Rapalye, and Gaspard de Coligny III. The Raplee family in America is descended from Breckje. I do not know the descent from either of her brothers. It is probable that there are descendants of these brothers in the United States, however, I haven't seen any data to support that.

The following is from the
American Families of Historic Lineage, Long Island Edition
Editorial Supervision of William S. Pelletreau & John Howard Brown.
Volume II, New York

The Rapelje family in the Old World, the Coligny family of France, was next to the families Montmorency, Rohun, Leval, and the semi-royal house of Lorraine, the most important in the line of French heraldry, The ancestry of the family has been traced back to the first duke of Burgundy of the sixteenth century, and at that period had been a great house for more than four hundred years.

In 1120 they founded the Abbey of Le Mirerir, and in 1202 the abbeys Montmerle and Grillon. Humbert de Coligny is reputed to have followed Conrad III in the several crusades, but this has not been definitely established. In the department of Ain, on the line from Lyons to Strasburg, about fifty miles from Geneva to the west and twenty-five miles to the north of Main, is the small village of Coligny, the origin of the family name.

One hundred years before the birth of the celebrated Admiral Coligny, the martyr who was put to death by order of Queen Catherine of Navarre, and became one of the numerous victims of the massacre of the massacre of Saint Bartholomew, the family of Coligny removed to Chatillon-sur-Loing, from which latter place his titles, Gaspard di Coligny, Marquis de Chatillon, Admiral of France, Colonel of the French Infantry, Governor of Picardy, Isle de France, Paris and Havre was derived.

The Admiral's father had enjoyed the high favor of Francis I and held the position of Marshal of France, governor of Picardy, Lieutenant of the Principality of Orange and the county of Guienne. His son, the Admiral, received in 1577, collar of the order and the command of the French infantry. He opposed the English troops at Boulogne and negotiated the treaty which restored the city to the French in 1550. In 1557 he commanded the infantry in the campaign of Lorraine, helped in the capture of Metz, siege of Verdun, and in the sieges of Rodermark, Damvilliers, Ivry and Montmedy was a conspicuous chieftain, and under the Duke of Vendome he carried by assault Hesden and Seronaune in Picardy. He incurred the animosity of Catherine of Narvarre by espousing the Protestant cause, and was assassinated August 24; 1572.

Of this family, Gaspard Colet de Rapellea, nephew of the Admiral, was born in Chatillon-sur-Loing, in1505. He was a staunch Protestant, and after suffering beyond endurance he fled to the forests -of the Ardennes, and under the protection of the kingdom of the Netherlands found refuge from further persecutions.

He there married a daughter of Victor Antoine Jansen, of Antwerp, and he named his three children in the order of their births-(I) Gaspard Coligny, after his uncle and himself; (2) Gaspard Colet, thus preserving the family name; and (3) a daughter Brickje, who married her cousin, Victor Honorus Jansen, and their son Abraham Jansen became an historical painter and married the daughter of Hans Loedwick, of Amsterdam, and by this marriage we have William, Joris and Antoine Jansen de Rapella These three brothers all came to the New Netherlands, William and Joris sailing from Rochelle, in France, in 1623 and locating at Fort Orange, Rensselaerwick, followed in 1631 by Antoine, who preserved the true family name of Jansen, and was the founder of that branch of the family in America. William died unmarried.

Joris Jansen de Rapelje, the Walloon, came from the Gallo-Romance stock; this race includes the old Gallic-Belgian, intermingled with Teuton blood. The Walloons in the forests of Ardennes resisted the barbarous onslaught of the Germans, mixed themselves with the Roman element, and their language became romanized to such an extent as to become a French dialect. While akin to their Galli-Roman neighbors in France and using the French language in conversation and in literature, they have peculiar and distinctive traits which combined patience, perseverance and industry with excitability and a disposition to passion. The separation of Belgium from Holland was largely the work of the Walloons, and they constituted the leading element in Belgium statesmanship and advancements in the arts and sciences. It was largely from this stock that the early settlements in Rensselaerwick, New York, Long Island and Westchester were drawn.

I. JORIS (GEORGE) JANSEN RAPELJE and his wife Catalyntje, daughter of Joris Trico, of Paris, France, came to New Netherlands about 1632, proceeding up the Hudson river to Rensselaerwick in the ship "Unity," in which they had crossed the Atlantic from Holland. Catalyntje Trico Rapelje was born probably in Holland, in 1605 in which kingdom her parents had taken refuge from the persecutions of the Papal authorities of France. The time of her birth is fixed by her own testimony when on October 17, 1688, she stated her age to be 83 years, and that she came in the ship "Unity" in 1623 landing in Rensselaerwick, Fort Orange, and in 1626 removing to New Amsterdam Their daughter Sarah was born at Fort Orange, June 7, 1625, and their youngest child, Daniel, was born in New Amsterdam, December 29, 1650.

Joris Jansen RaPelje was one of the twelve great burghers of the New Netherlands, and represented the colonists in that capacity in 1641. He received a patent for a tract of land embracing 167 acres in Wallabout after 1650, at which time he moved to Bruecklen. He served as a magistrate of Breuckelen, 1655-1656-1657-1660-1662. Up to the time of the possession of the New Netherlands by the English, soon after which calamity to the Dutch settlers he died.


Chart of Coligny/Colet descent from Charlamagne
Chart of Coligny/Colet descent from Willaim I of England

Admiral Coligny - His Family and the Lordship of Châtillon-sur-Loing    
by M. Becquerel

Click here for descendents of Col Gaspard Colet de Rapalje
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Last Updated on Dec. 24, 2004 by Dale C. Jones