Born a French nobleman, Etienne de Grellet du Mabillier fled to New York to escape the French Revolution. Anglicizing and shortening his name to Stephen Grellet, he encountered the writings of George Fox, joined the Society of Friends, and eventually settled in a house in Burlington City.
A world traveler, he visited every European nation but Portugal, as well as Haiti, where he was called "Saint Stephen." Grellet discussed his Quaker beliefs with dignitaries including the Kings of Prussia and Spain, Pope Pius VII, and Czar Alexander I of Russia. Grellet's strangest distinction was his status as the last living person able to identify the true "Lost Dauphin" of France if the need arose - but it never did.