More than ordinary eminence

Daily Reading for September 7 • Elie Naud, Huguenot Witness to the Faith, 1722

The remains of many Huguenots repose among the innumerable dead of old Trinity church-yard, that vast home of the departed; and where can be found their memorials of honor, patriotism, and exalted piety. Here lie the ashes of the Rev. Elias Neau, near its northern porch. He was a man of more than ordinary eminence; his life useful, beneficial, and religious. Mr. Neau was the paternal ancestor of Mrs. Commodore Oliver H. Perry, of Rhode-Island.

Previous to his escape from France, he suffered confinement for several years in the prisons and galleys, and while in his dungeons, learned by heart the liturgy, and became attached to the English Church service. When the Rev. Mr. Vesey was rector of Trinity, Mr. Neau was appointed catechist of that church. For a number of years, he faithfully discharged the duties of this important appointment among the Indians and the slaves, of whom some fifteen hundred were catechumens in the city of New-York. He could only collect them together on Sunday nights, after the last public services; and when properly prepared, would present them to Mr. Vesey, for baptism. Mr. Neau may be said to have founded the Free School of Trinity, an institution so useful and well known among the noble charities of New-York. Its former tablet is still preserved among the mementoes of the olden time. This excellent Huguenot closed his useful life in 1722, resting from his earthly labors alongside of God’s holy temple, where he had so long worshiped and served him.

From The Continental Monthly, Vol. 2, No. 2 (August, 1862); found at

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