Thursday, July 3, 1997

Stephen Grellet

Quaker Missionary

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.

Grellet died in 1855, and is buried in the Quaker burial ground behind the Burlington Meeting House. Two of his chippendale chairs, donated by his daughter, are in the collection of the Library Company of Burlington.

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