Jesse de Forest, son of Jean de Forest, was born in 1576. On Sunday, September 23, 1601, he married Marie du Cloux. After living in Sedan biefly, Jesse moved to Montcornet in 1609, and later moved to Leyden, Holland where he made his home on the Breedestraet. Jesse served with Prince Maurice of Nassau, as a Lieutenant and Captain.
In 1621, the Walloon and Huguenots of Leyden planned to follow the Puritans to America (then called the West Indies). Jesse de Forest was acclaimed the leader and spokesman for the band when the exiles approached the British Ambassador at The Hague regarding their settling in Virginia. The English turned down his petition to establish a colony in Virginia.
It was Jesse's desire to establish a Colony in the New World, so that the Walloons could practice their Reformed Religion without persecution. He then sought permission from the Dutch to establish a colony in what is now New York City. He was granted permission. He assembled approximately 60 families of French Speaking Walloons and Dutch for the settlement in New Amsterdam, New Netherland.
The first permanent settlers arrived in New Amsterdam May 1624. Today, there is a Monument in Battery Park, New York City called the Walloon Settlers Memorial. That monument was given to the City of New York by the people of France in honor of Jesse's inspiration in founding New York City.
|There is also a monument in Jesse's honor in Avesnes, France. There is
also the College Jesse
de Forest and Jesse
de Forest Avenue, both located in Avesnes. Considered the Founder of New
Amsterdam. Leader of the Walloons.
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