1. The first Dumas in North America were French settlers in Canada in the 1600’s. They were generally Catholics from the North Coast in France. Many of these Canadian French and their descendents are found in the northern states and a few as far south as Alabama and Oklahoma.
2. Jerome (Jeremiah) Dumas, a Huguenot, arrived in James Town, Virginia July 20, 1700 and his descendants are numbered in the thousands. His descendants are largely in southern States. This is whom I believe our line of Dumas descends from.
3. There was a slow migration of Dumas from France and adjacent countries from the 1700’s to the present. They generally went to towns where the other French people were such as New Orleans, New York, Minneapolis, etc.
4. There were families of peddlers in Central Europe in the 1800’s. They were largely Jewish and many had gotten the name of Dumas in Greece. Some of them migrated to New York, Savannah, etc. At least some of them are Jewish
5. There were Greek people named Dumas. Some of them came to America and started restaurants (and other businesses) in Dallas and other cities. James A. Haritos was born near Athens, Greece and his mother was a Dumas. He says that in the Middle Ages, a group of Dumas from Greece migrated to France. This does not prove that all Dumas in France are related to the immigrants.
6. There was a French soldier named Dumas in Maximillian’s army when he took over Mexico. Dumas was well liked by the Mexicans and remained after the revolution. There are one or more Mexican families by the name of Dumas, some of whom now live in Texas.
The Dumas family is of French origin. The name is said to have originally been DuMaison (of the house). Such variants as DuMais, DuMas, DeMoss, Dimas, DeMas, Doomas, Dumis and similar names may have had the same origin.
The name Dumas appears frequently in French records. Among those sufficiently prominent to have their names in biographies appear Adolphe Dumas (1806-1861) born in Vancluse; Charles Luis Dumas (1765-1813) born in Lyons; the chemist Jean Baptiste Andre Dumas (1800-1884) born at Alais, died at Cannes; Louis Dumas (1676-1744) born at Nimes; Rene Francois Dumas, born in Lons-le-Saulnier in 1757, at one time president of the Tribunal Revolutionnaire, was guillotined with Robespierre on July 28, 1794. A brother to Jean Francocis Dumas, born in 1750 a noted writer and at one time an advocate in the Department of Justice was noted for his eloquence and devotion to the Protestant faith; he was guillotined June 24, 1795 in Paris. Michael Dumas, an artist, born in Lyons, France in 1812, had pictures in the Salon of 1853 and was awarded a decoration. The relation, if any, of these people to the American branch of the family is not known at present. Thirteen or more Dumas Coats of Arms are known for the Dumas Family.
Alexandre Dumas, the author, cannot be a relation. He assumed the name of Dumas as a pen name.
Frenchmen by the name of Dumas were active in the fighting both before and during the Revolutionary War. Captain Dumas from Languedoc with 1500 men was in a battle at Pointe des Peres, 9 miles from Quebec, Canada on July 12, 1759. Charles W. F. Dumas was a courier between Benjamin Franklin, John Paul Jones, etc. Count Guillaume Mathieu Dumas (1753-1837) born in Montpelier on January 23, 1753 was a French General and military historian; he served as aide to Count Rochambeau, Commander-in-Chief of the French Army sent to aid the American revolutionists; he was a friend of Lafayette and later served Joseph Bonaparte, dying in Paris on October 16, 1837.
There was a Dumas in Hamburg, Germany who was a friend of Benjamin Franklin and is reported to have loaned money to the American revolutionists.
I got the above and following information from the book “The Dumas Families Vol. 1 Jerome (Jeremiah) Dumas” by John H. Wilson. He self published this book in 1986. He traveled all over gathering information on Dumas’. He even went to Grove Hill, Alabama and spoke to Fred Dumas son of James Frank Dumas. Mr. Wilson put together two books that I know of and was working on the third when he died. He started out with the first book telling of Jerome (Jeremiah) Dumas and his descendants. He then wanted to write books about each individual line of descendants. His second book was Elhanon Winchester Dumas, which is the line he comes from. He died before he could do a book on our line. I have been trying very hard to find the link in our Dumas line to Jerome (Jeremiah) Dumas. I think I am getting close. There is just not much information in Mr. Wilson’s book on the man I think our line goes through. It can be a slow go trying to find information on the Internet. I have worked with a researcher, but that can be expensive. Mr. Wilson’s book tells of the Dumas’ who came from one man, Jerome (Jeremiah) Dumas of Languedoc, France, who arrived at Hampton, Virginia on July 20, 1700. He was a Huguenot and came over from London to Virginia with a Protestant group who settled around Manakintown in what was later King William Parish. The Huguenots (if not originally known as such) were drawn largely from the business and professional ranks and had enough money to buy Bibles and other books whereas the farm hands and other laborers not being able to read remained Catholics.
However, France was generally a Catholic Nation and the Protestants were persecuted. By Edict of Nantes of 1598, Henry IV gave a measure of religious freedom (not always observed) to the Protestants. This continued for nearly 100 years but in 1685, Louis XIV promulgated a revocation of the Edict of Nantes and the Protestants were again vigorously persecuted, their property confiscated, their churches destroyed. It is estimated that more then 400,000 Protestants, many of them professional people, businessmen and skilled artisans, fled from France, many to England. Some went to Germany where the Lutherans welcomed them. Others went to Holland, Ireland, etc. In Letters of Denization march 25, 1688 Magdalen Dumas was listed among the foreign Protestants and aliens in England.
Most of the early day Dumas people were plantation owners. They were pioneers and established settlements with the name of Dumas in Georgia; Wilcox County, Alabama; Tippah County, Mississippi; Desha County, Arkansas; and Moore County, Texas. There is strong artistic tendency in the family and a number have been artists of some local renown. The present generations are largely business and professional people.
Jerome (Jeremiah) Dumas was the son of Jeremie Dumas of Saint Fort de Cona, Saintonge, France and Susanne Faure Dumas. Jerome (Jeremiah) was born about 1681 in St. Fort, Saintonge, France and died January 1734 in Goochland County, Virginia. He had went to England from France and resided there from before 1683 to 1700 and probably spoke English Fluently. He married Unity Smith of New Kent County, Virginia in about 1702. She was of English descent and his first child was baptized in the English Church. The family was apparently more closely related to the English. He had arrived in Virginia aboard the ship “Mary and Ann” on July 20, 1700. It was the first of four shiploads of French Protestant Refugees (Huguenots) promoted by the Marquis de la Muce and his assistant Charles de Sailly. There had been request from Virginia for a settlement of French Protestant refugees, which met with favor by the King and Queen, and they supported sending of the ships. A Dr. Daniel Cox, Court Physician to the Queen, was active in the matter hoping to settle them on the Virginia-Carolina line where he had land grants. However, when the refugees arrived in Virginia, Governor Nicholson and his council decided the Virginia-Carolina line was too unhealthy and changed their destination to the vicinity of Manakintown 20 miles above the falls on the James River. Only a few of the second shipload in the “Peter and Anthony” (Daniel Perreau, commanding) which arrived Sept. 20, 1700 and only a few of the third shipload which arrived Oct. 20, 1700 went to Manakintown. They received no colonial funds and all assistance was in the form of voluntary contributions.
At first the settlers were given 133 acres including some bottomland (10,000 acres in all) but some authorities indicated that they received 1200 acres with some frontage on the James River. Jerome Dumas’ place was reported to be on Fire Creek where it enters the James River. By 1714 there were only 291 people at Manakintown.
There are several references to Dr. Jerome Dumas. There was not found any evidence that Jerome (Jeremiah) Dumas ever attended a Medical School. He could have picked up some information on the known remedies of the time and acted as a doctor in treating family and neighbors or the title could have been entirely honorary.
Jerome (Jeremiah) Dumas died in January 1734. At the Court of Goochland County, Virginia held Jan.26, 1734, Benjamin Dumas, son of Jerome (Jeremiah) Dumas submitted an inventory of the Estate of Jeremiah Dumas with a total value of 20 pounds, 10 shillings, 4 pence including:
1 mare with colt
1 gold ring
Clothes and linen
Shoe buckles, books, carpenter tools
5 pounds, 12 shillings cash
1 quire paper, ink glass
Silk handkerchief, 2 skins
1 knife and fork
1 saddle, 1 beaver hat, 3 pair garters, etc.
Jerome (Jeremiah) Dumas & Unity Smith had five children. I have been working on discovering which one of his children we descend from. There are a few of them that not much are written about in Mr. Wilson's book. Going by research that I had done I believe I have figured out our line, but am not 100% positive. I need to have more research done. This can only be done in North Carolina at the archives there.
Here is my idea of our line:
Jerome (Jeremiah) Dumas had a son named
Benjamin Dumas – born 1705 in New Kent County, Virginia and died March 2, 1766 in Anson County, North Carolina. He married Frances Clark about 1725.
They had a son named
Benjamin Dumas – born 1728 in Virginia and died in 1797 in Richmond County, North Carolina. He married Jamima McLendon about 1755. Several of their children went to Alabama. They had a son named
Jeremiah Dumas – born about 1775, died about 1834. Not much is know about this son. He is shown in a few censuses’ I have. And by studying these censuses and the other information in Mr. Wilson’s book I believe that he is the father of
Thomas Dumas – born in 1805. He married Jane Threadgill. I have not been able to find much information on Thomas Dumas. I do, however know that he is the father of
Jeremiah Thomas Dumas – born Dec. 22, 1827 and died July 16, 1880, who as you will see from the family pages is the father of
James Frank Dumas – born May 10, 1859 and died Nov. 9, 1938, who of course is the father of
George Washington Dumas – born Dec. 25, 1887 and died Jan. 15, 1972.
I am still working on finding proof that our line does go back to Jerome (Jeremiah) Dumas from France. When I am able to prove this I will finish filling out our family tree and let everyone know!