Rémy Mignot

Rémy Mignot

Granville, Departement de la Manche, Basse-Normandie, France
Death 15 Aug 1848 (aged 47)
Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA
Burial Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 34185167 · View Source
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Rémy Mignot was born in port city of Granville in lower Normandy, France, the son of Adrian Nicolas Mignot and his wife Marie Moisson. (NOTE: He is sometimes referred to in the church records as "Remigius," the Latin form of Rémy.) He arrived in Charleston by 1823 with other French immigrants from Normandy, escaping the political and economic upheavals following the fall of Napoleon and the restoration of the Bourbon Monarchy. Mignot was reportedly "strongly attached to the imperialist cause" (Obituary of L.R. Mignot, "The Art Journal" [London], Jan. 1, 1871.)

In contrast to most Charlestonians of French ancestry, Mignot was not Huguenot, but Catholic. Nevertheless, he assimilated well into the relatively cosmopolitan society of the port city. Soon after arriving in Charleston he opened a prosperous coffee shop and confectionery, catering to the Low Country planter elite. Following fashion, the business moved from East Bay to King Street.

Mignot became a naturalized American citizen on Aug. 31, 1832. He participated in the life of St. Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Church, standing as sponsor for the baptisms of other French families. (He is first mentioned in church records on Jan. 4, 1824.) Through his business and family, he maintained strong ties to Europe. At the time of his premature death from dropsy at age forty-seven Rémy Mignot had acquired a considerable estate, including a Low Country plantation.

Mignot married twice. By his first wife Elisabeth, he is known to have had two sons: Julius (b. 1828; baptized October 18, 1829; died young) and Louis Rémy (1831-1870), who would become the most accomplished Southern-born American landscape painter of the nineteenth century.

Following the early death of his first wife, Rémy Mignot married in 1834 Théonie Marie Louise Alexandrine (de la) Rivière (1819-1875), daughter of Jean-Pierre (John Peter)(de la) Rivière. A baron under the French monarchy, Rivière had fled the Revolution, first to Saint-Dominque (Haiti) and then to the United States. In Charleston he made his livelihood as a grocer.

By his second wife Mignot had four additional children: Adolphus John (1835-1911), Louisa Constance (1837-1906), Alida Octavia (1840-1861), and Adrian Paul (1844-1923).

Rémy Mignot died at age 47. Cause of death was given as dropsy (edema). His personal property was valued at $4,473.75, including twelve enslaved African Americans, each appraised at $300.

According to a biography of his son Louis, Rémy Mignot discouraged the boy's artistic ambitions and it was only after Rémy's death in 1848 that Louis left for an extended period of study at The Hague. Returning to the United States in 1854, Louis settled not in Charleston, but in New York where his talent and European training won him quick acceptance into the front ranks of landscape painters now known as the Hudson River school. He was especially celebrated for his scenes of winter and the South American tropics.

In 1849 the widowed Théonie Mignot married Rémy's close friend and business associate Adolph John Rutjes (b. ca. 1820), a native of Prussia with strong family ties to the Netherlands. As the Civil War approached, the Mignot children were sent for schooling in the Netherlands. Son Adolphus John Mignot co-founded with his brother-in-law Anthonius Alexander Martinus de Block the very successful cigar manufacturing company, Mignot & De Block, in Eindhoven. (De Block was married to Louisa Constance Mignot.) Son Adrian Paul Mignot became a tobacco broker and philanthropist in Liverpool.

[Biographical sketch by John W. Coffey]

Family Members


A LA MEMOIRE / DE / REMY MIGNOT. / Né à Granville France, / Le 15 Juillet 1801, / Décédé à Charleston, / Le 15 Aout 1848, / Agé de 47 Ans, / Et un Mois. /....


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  • Maintained by: John W. Coffey
  • Originally Created by: Saratoga
  • Added: 25 Feb 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 34185167
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rémy Mignot (15 Jul 1801–15 Aug 1848), Find a Grave Memorial no. 34185167, citing Saint Mary of the Annunciation Cemetery, Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA ; Maintained by John W. Coffey (contributor 47365586) .