Ohio History Journal

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Leo Lesquereux

Leo Lesquereux.                  279






The revocation of the Edict of Nantes inflicted an irrepar-

able injury upon the French nation in depleting it of its middle

class, from which its industrial energy, its science, literature and

art were mainly drawn; but the Protestant neighbors of France

gained correspondingly thereby. England, Holland, Switzer-

land and the English colonies in North America were greatly en-

riched by this enforced emigration. These Huguenot exiles

brought unique and invaluable contributions to the countries in

which they found refuge,--intelligence, strong convictions and

the courage to maintain them, skill and taste in handicraft, and

gracious manners the charm of which was everywhere recog-

nized. They at once became loyal subjects of the governments

that sheltered them and their contributions to the public service

soon became out of all proportion to their numbers. For ex-

ample, of the seven presidents of the congress that sat in Phila-

delphia during the revolution, three were of Huguenot parentage.

It was from this stock that Leo Lesquereux sprung, and by

its training and traditions his early life was shaped. His ances-

tors, when driven from France by the revocation, established

themselves in the Swiss canton of Neuchatel and here, in the

village of Fleurier, on November 18, 1806, Leo Lesquereux was

born. His father was a manufacturer of watch springs, owning

a small factory and employing four or five workmen therein.

His mother was well educated and had a great love of knowledge

and great respect for superior attainments among those whom

she met. She insisted that her son should have the best educa-

tion available, hoping to see him enter the ministry of the

Lutheran church.

From his early childhood he had an enthusiastic love of na-

ture and especially of the sublime scenery that surrounded his

home. To scale the most difficult summits and to gather the

rare flowers that grew there, were among his early ambitions and

pleasures. He must have been a daring climber. On one of

* Ohio State Geologist and Professor of Geology, Ohio State University.