Research shows Perrenot family ancestors were of French origin

Published 9:44 am Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One of the daughters in the Milligan family featured in last week’s column married into the Perrenot family. While limited information on this family is available, they were very influential in Northwest Florida and Covington County.

Kate M. (Milligan) Perrenot and her family were introduced last week, so today’s writing will focus on her husband, Charles J. Perrenot, and his family. His father, Peter Frederic Perrenot, was born circa 1812 in the Country of France. It is not knowN exactly when he came to the United States, but he was married to a young lady named Mary in Florida. There is a marriage record of a Frederic Perrenot being married on July 5, 1837, in Escambia County, Florida, to a Marie Pose.

Peter Frederic next shows up in the 1850 Federal Census for Escambia County, Florida, where they were residing in the Woolsey community. At the time he was listed as being 38 years of age, and his wife, Mary, who was born in Florida, was 25. They had four children at the time; George F., 9; Olesia (Clesia ?), 7; Emele A., 4; and Carmelite A., 2. All the children were born in Florida.

By the 1860 census, the family was living in Santa Rosa County in Milton. Frederic was listed as a carpenter and was 47 years of age. He and his wife, Mary, had their first four children who were enumerated in 1850 along with the following additional four: Fred, 8; Theodore, 4; L., female, 2; and C., female, 1. There was also a 70-year old C. Pernot, native of France, in the household who was most likely Frederic’s mother.

By the 1870 census, the family had moved to Texas as so many had after the War Between the States. They were residing in Indianola in Calhoun County where Frederic was still working as a carpenter. He and Mary had the following children with them at the time: Theodore, 15; Louisa, 12; Charles, 9; and Mennie, 7.

By the 1880 census, Mary had apparently died, as Peter F. was living in Aransas of Rockfort County, Texas. He was a carpenter at 67 years of age, and his daughter, Minnie E. was keeping house at 18 years of age. Frederic apparently died before 1890, and his daughter, Minnie, returned to their former home in Florida where she was married to Frank Thompson in 1888 in Santa Rosa County.

Frederic and Mary Perrenot reared the following children: George F., b. 1841, m. Mary D. ?; Clesia, b. 1843; Emele A., b. 1846, m. M.E. ?; Camelite Alia, b. 1848; Frederic J., b. 1852, m. (1) ? (2) Fanny H. ?; Theodore, b. 1855; Louisa, b. 1858; Louisa, b. 1858; Charles J., b. 1861, d. ca 1899, m. Kate Milligan (1861-1934-39); and Minnie B., b. 1863, m. Frank E. Thompson.

George F. Perrenot and his wife, Mary D., had three children before they left Florida, and then they had four more after settling in Texas: George F. Jr., b. 1862; Morgan H., b. 1866; Mary H., b. 1868; Estelle L., b. 1871; Dallas T., b. 1863; Eloise M, b. 1865; and Arthur L., b. 1878.

Emele A. Perrenot and his wife, M.E., had three children born in Texas: M.A., b. 1870; E.E., b. 1873; and R.M, b. 1876.

Frederic J. Perrenot and his wife had four children who were all born in Texas: Mary, b. 1878; Edna, b. 1880; Edward, b. 1884; and Frederick A., b. 1886, d. 1941, m. Mary J. ?.

Charles J. Perrenot and his wife, Kate (Milligan) had three children: Caroline, b. 1892; Leon Charles, b. 1894, d. 1909; and Mary Louise, b. 1897, d. 1966, m. 1918 Dudley Lee O’Neal, Sr. (1892-1954).

Minnie Perrenot and her husband, Frank E. Thompson, Sr. (ca 1860-before 1910), had one son, Frank E. Thompson, Jr., b. 1900.

While Minnie E. Perrenot and her brother, Charles Perrenot, returned to Florida to marry, the other siblings remained in Texas and reared their families there. Minnie E. returned to Texas later and was enumerated there in the 1910 and 1920 censuses. Charles remained in northwest Florida and died there at a fairly young age shortly before 1900.

Then in 1900, Charles’s widow, Kate (Milligan) Perrenot, moved to Andalusia about the time two of her Milligan brothers did. She has been described as being a “wealthy widow” who built a magnificent house on River Falls Street. In 1905, she sold it to the John Burnett family who had moved to Andalusia from Castleberry, Alabama, to establish the Coca Cola Company. Afterwards, Kate Perrenot had a large “Arts and Crafts” house on the lot where the current Regions Bank stands. This house was one-story, painted gray and featured a large porch.

Although little of Kate Perrenot’s life in Andalusia has been researched, it is known that she contributed much to the community. One proof of this is that a handsome walnut table was donated to the Andalusia Public Library in her memory. The table is engraved with “In Memory of Kate M. Perrenot.” It is located in the front central area of the library’s main floor. It is believed that the table was a part of the library’s furniture when it was located on Oak Street.

Kate and Charles Perrenot’s only son died as a teenager, so that family name disappeared from Covington County. Their older daughter, Caroline or Carol, and her husband, ? Longone, lived in New York where he owned an opera house, and she sang in several operas. Their youngest daughter, Mary Louise and her husband, Dudley Lee O’Neal, Sr. resided in Andalusia on Church Street where they reared their only son, Dudley Lee O’Neal, Jr., b. 1922, d. 2004, m. Mildred J.?

Sources for the above include notes shared by Dr. William C. Hansford and research done by Bob Bryan.

Anyone who might have a correction to the above or more information on the Perrenot family is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or email: