This item is from the Encyclopedia of Delaware (1882).
Bracketed material has been added.
MAJOR ELIAS NAUDAIN was of Huguenot ancestry, being descended from Elias Naudain, who was born in Poiton, France, in 1655, and who fled to London in 1680, with his wife, Gabel Armand, and three children, on account of the religious persecutions preceding the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The records of that city show, under date of March 8th, 1682, that he became a British subject by naturalization. A son and daughter were born in London and these were baptized in 1686, in the French Church in Threadneedle Street, that being the first of the Huguenot congregation in England. This last son Elias, who was born in 1684 [sic], emigrated very early in the eighteenth century to the American Plantations.
He purchased a large tract of land on Blackbird Creek, in New Castle County [Delaware], and built there, about 1715, a spacious brick mansion, which is in good preservation to this day. This property is now owned by the heirs of the great granddaughter of the builder, a sister of the subject of this sketch. This emigrant appears to have been a man of prominence and high character in the community. His name occurs as one of the subscribers to aid in building Drawyer's Presbyterian Church, near Odessa, Delaware in 1711. He held the position of Elder in that congregation, and was selected as lay member of the first Synod of the Presbyterian Church, which was convened at Philadelphia. Little is known of the circumstances or the precise date of his marriage, except that his wife's name was Lydia. They were the parents of seven children: of these, Elias was born in 1712, and Arnold in 1723. The latter married in 1751, Catherine Alfree, who was then aged seventeen; and both of these died on the sixth of August, 1796. Their children were named Elias, Arnold, John, Andrew, Mary, Lydia, Rachel and Rebecca. Andrew the fourth son, was born October 27th, 1758. He settled in Kent County, Delaware, at what has since been known as Naudain's Landing. On March 30th, 1786, he married Rebecca Snow, whose family is said to have settled in Maryland in 1635. She inherited an estate of some three hundred acres on which the two spent their lives and were buried.
Andrew engaged in farming, and in merchandising also, and by his industry accumulated an ample estate. He was careful to give each of his children an education suited to their rank in life, and to the pursuit of a career adapted to their respective talents. His position in the community was one of influence for good. Like his father and grandfather, he was an Elder in the Presbyterian Church. Elias Naudain, the subject of this sketch, was one of the eleven children, and the second son of Andrew and Rebecca Snow Naudain. He was born in January 16th 1795, and died on March 12th, 1849. He resided always upon the domain left to him by his father, cherishing to his last hour the associations of his boyhood, and a fondness for agriculture, as is attested by the fact that he left behind him the best improved lands in Kent. He was a man of singular excellence and purity of character. He never sought a public office, yet the general esteem in which he was held led to his selection at various times to fill posts of trust. He was selected a member of the lower House of Assembly, for the session that had opened at Dover, Delaware, January 3rd, 1826, and at that same session his brother, Arnold, who was a deputy from New Castle County, was chosen speaker. March 13th, 1827, he was commissioned First Major of the Fourth Regiment of Militia, by Governor Paynter, and he held that office until the repeal of the Militia law.
At the election held in 1832, for the purpose of choosing delegates to the Convention to revise the Constitution of 1792, he was elected from Kent County as a member of that body, and discharged the duties devolving upon him with ability and with an intelligent comprehension of the delicate questions involved. The evidence of the value of the work of this Convention is found in the fact that, although it was performed nearly fifty years ago, it has never been necessary to amend it except in the matter of holding elections. He was afterward twice elected to a seat in the General Assembly of the State of Delaware, the last time to the Senate, where he was in constant attendance. He was here distinguished by his devotion to his duties, and by a wise and constant regard for the public welfare. With him, honesty of purpose and frankness of expression were necessary allies, and this trait was so conspicuous that it was a common saying, "whatever Elias Naudain says you may rely upon." During the period between 1820 and 1830 he filled the office of Justice of the Peace in Leipsic [Delaware], in Little Creek Hundred, and administered its affairs with the probity and success which his high character justified his friends in expecting. He married in his twenty-fourth year, Lydia, one of the daughters of Dr. James Jones, of Kent County, but originally from the "Welsh Tract" in New Castle County, Delaware, he being of Welsh descent. Dr. Jones had been a surgeon in the Revolutionary Army, and served under Washington at Valley Forge, later in life he became a Baptist preacher.
Four children were born of the above marriage: Rebecca, Andrew, James and Arnold; but all died in infancy except the first named; she is now the wife of Robert H. Moor, Esq., of Philadelphia, Pa. Mrs. Lydia Naudain died in 1826; and in 1828 Elias wedded Margaret Pettigrew Millichop, of Milford, Delaware.
They had seven children: James M., Arnold, Matilda, Catherine, Elias, Margaret and Sarah Greer, all of whom except the third, who died in childhood, are living. Catherine married Dr. Alexander Hardcastle, of "Castle Hall," Caroline County, Maryland, and Margaret wedded M. Laird Simons, Esq., an editor of Philadelphia. Elias the sixth son of the subject of this sketch, is the fifth of that name in immediate succession from the French refugee and it is continued to the seventh generation by two grandsons and a great grandson. The widow of Major Elias Naudain is still living (1880). He was a man of most courteous and agreeable manners, the natural outgrowth of a true and manly heart.
A christian and an elder, his name should long be cherished as one of the worthiest of the sons of the ancient Delaware State.