origin. The Edict of Nantz, which granted toleration in religion to France, was repealed in 1685, by Louis XIV, letting loose the bloodhounds of persecution thereby. Thousands fled to America for safety and freedom of conscience. Speaking of one of these refugees (Pierce Bowdoin) in a lecture before the Maine Historical Society at the commencement of Bowdoin College, in 1849, Mr. Robert Winthrop says:
"He was one of that noble set of Huguenots of whom Gaspar de Coligny, the gallant admiral who filled France with the glory of his name, was one of its most devoted disciples, and one of its most lamented martyrs; which race has given to our land, blood every way worthy to be mingled with the best that has ever flowed either in the veins of Southern cavaliers, or Northern puritans. He was of that noble stock that gave three out of the five Presidents to the old Congressongress of the Confederation; and which gave to South Carolina, her Lawrences, her Marions, her Hugers, and her Marigalts; her Jays to New York; her Boudinots to New Jersey; and her Dexters, and Faneuil, with the cradle of liberty to Massachusetts."
And he might have added, her Brevards, with the first declaration of independence to North Carolina. Of such stock sprung the Brevards of our State.
The first of this family, of whom much is known, left his native land, on the revocation of the Edict of Nantz (1685) and went to the north part of Ireland where he became intimate with the family of McKnitts.
He is the first to whom the name can now be traced; was a Huguenot, who fled from France in the revocation of the Edict of Nantz in 1685, and settled among the Scotch-Irish in the north of Ireland. He came to Elk river, in Maryland, in company with the family of McKnitts, one of whom he subsequently married--issue, 1. John, 2. Robert, 3. Zebulon, 4. Benjamin, 5. Adam, and 6. Elizabeth.
The three elder brothers with their sister came to North Carolina, between 1740 and 1750.
I. John married a sister of Dr. Alexander McWhorter, from New Jersey, and settled near Center Church in Iredell County,--issue, (a) Mary, (b) Ephraim, (c) John, (d) Hugh, (e) Adam, (f) Alexander, (g) Robert, (h) Benjamin, (i) Nancy, (k) Joseph, (l) Jane, (m) Rebecca.
(a) Mary, Married General William Davidson, who was killed in the Battle at Cowan's Ford, February 1, 1781--issue, William Lee Davidson, who married Betsy, daughter of Major John Davidson (q. v.). Margaret married Rev. Finis Ewing, to whom were born, Hon. Ephraim Brevard Ewing, (Judge of Supreme Court of Missouri--a large connection still living, to which belongs the wife of Senator Francis Marion Cockrell), and George Davidson married -- Mushat.
(b) Ephraim, author of "a more formal declaration" than the Davie copy of the original, married a daughter of General Thomas Polk. and is buried beside his wife in Charlotte. He was a graduate of Princeton and a member of the medical profession, issue, Martha married Dickerson of South Carolina--believed to be the same that was killed in a duel by Andrew Jackson, -- to whom were born, James P. Dickerson, Lieutenant Colonel, Palmetto Regiment, fell in storming a fort in the attack upon City of Mexico.
(d) Hugh, Legislature from Iredell, 1780-81.
(e) Adam, an attorney at Statesville, married Sally Harper; went with the first troops from North Carolina to Washington's army, where he served a year; afterwards in battle of Ramsour's Mill, &c.--had issue, (1) Rebecca married -- McRea, to whom was born Rev. J. M. McRea, now of Salem, Indiana. (2) Sally married John, son of Major John Davidson (q. v.) and father of Matthew, whose son is Hon. R. H. M. Davidson, the Member of Congress from Florida.
(f) Alexander married Rebecca, daughter of Major John Davidson--issue, (1) Eliza married
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