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Early Laffoons Found in Montserrat, British West Indies Island
Posted by: LaVelda Faull (ID *****9234) Date: March 26, 2009 at 09:15:16
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I ran across something today that I found very interesting. I realize that the dates of this Laffoon family does not predate our Matthew and Nathaniel Laffoon in the American colonies, namely Virginia. However, it is quite early and perhaps there were Laffoons there earlier than this inscription would indicate. If so, did our Laffoons go from Ireland or England to the British West Indies specifically the island of Montserrat, and then go on to America? Or were these Laffoons related to ours? The spelling of the name is "L A F F O O N". I have only seen a few families spelled in this way in early records. They surely bear looking into. The first names are like those of our early family in the USA also.

Montserrat is a part of the British West Indies that consist of a diversified group of Caribbean islands which also include Antigua, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, etc. Montserrat calls itself "the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean". It is one of the Leeward Islands of the Eastern Caribbean and used to have quite a large population for its small size. However, in the 1990's a volcano erupted and over half of its population fled. It's capital city was destroyed and is now abandoned. Montserrat was colonized by the Irish and the British. I read an article on the internet by Brian McGin entitled "How Irish is Montserrat(The Black Irish)". Most of the place names on this island are of Irish origin. The author states "of all the areas settled by seventeenth-century Irish exiles, the Caribbean was the one they came closest to making their own. "By the third quarter of the seventeenth century, Montserrat had become the most Irish island in the West Indies. A 1678 census shows a vibrant community of almost 1,900 Irish men, women and children". He also states "In 1673....seven of every 10 whites were Irish".

In the book "The monumental inscriptions of the British West Indies" by Vere Langord Oliver, there is a mention of the Laffoon family on a monument in St. Anthony's Chapel in the parish of St. Anthony. This chapel unfortunately now lies buried under a ton of ash from the erupted volcano. I was unable to obtain the entire transcription, as I found this on "Google Book Search" and they only allow you to see a "snippet" of the page. By doing a few different searches, I was able to get more of the "snippet" than with my original search. However, I still was not able to obtain the whole thing.

Below is what I was able to transcribe so far:

"7. On the north wall of the Nave, near the Organ is a Large urn of Sheraton style with drapery above. Lower is an oblong of white marble bearing the inscription...

This monumental record is dedicated to the piety of
WILLIAM LAFFOON, Esqr, the only surviving son of ...
.....(not able to see this portion of the page).....
To the memory of ......SARAH ANNE ALLEN LAFFOON, who
departed this Life the 1st of June 1772.
Also to the venerable Memory of MARY LAFFOON, his
Mother, who departed on the 21st of June, 1773.
Also to the loved memory of three Brothers, Vizt
JOHN LAFFOON, who departed on the 16th of January 1785,
THOMAS LAFFOON, who departed on the 1st of December
1787,
and CHARLES LAFFOON who departed on the 11th of January
1789."

"1785 Aug 2 WM LAFFOON OF ST. ANTHONYS his bond of L8000
(8,000 lbs). LAFFOON's plantation of 84 acres, No.
3465."

Note: I don't know if the last lines were on the inscription or were part of the author's notes.

I think this family bears looking into to discover any possible connection to our own Laffoon families in America. Who was the four brother's father? I keep trying to google search the book but so far haven't been able to come up with a search word that would show me the rest of the monumental inscription. I can see the index and there is no other Laffoon first name mentioned, so the father has to have the same name of one of the four brothers. I wonder if any of the brothers who died were old enough to have been married with children? Did William have children? Did any of these Laffoons have earlier relatives, ancestors, etc. who may have come earlier to Virginia from the Carribean? Since no date is given for William Laffoon, when did he die?




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