Select Duval Miscellany

Here are some Duval/Duvall stories and accounts over the years:

Duvals and Duvalls Today




Claude Du Vall the Highwayman

Claude Du Vall, the gentleman highwayman, was hanged at Tyburn in January 1670 and reportedly buried under the centre aisle of the church of St. Paul’s, Covent Garden.  A memorial at the church reads: 

“Here lies DuVall: reader, if male thou art,  
Look to thy purse; if female, to thy heart.  
Much havoc has he made of both; for all  
Men he made to stand, and women he made to fall  
The second Conqueror of the Norman race,  
Knights to his arm did yield, and ladies to his face.  
Old Tyburn’s glory; England’s illustrious thief,  
Du Vall, the ladies’ joy; Du Vall, the ladies’ grief."

Pierre Thuot dit Duval in Quebec

Edme Thuot was a master baker in the town of Tonnerre in Burgundy, about 120 miles southeast of Paris.  While he was undoubtedly a respected tradesman, it was a distinct social step upward when he married Marie Louise Duval, the daughter of a royal bailiff, in 1668.  From that time forward, he and his descendants were known as Thuot dit Duval (Thuot also known as Duval). 

Their son Pierre decided to emigrate to New France shortly after 1700.  By 1709 he was in Montréal where he fathered an illegitimate child who was born early the following year.  By 1712 he was established in Montréal as a master baker and in that year married Marie Fournier. 

Pierre and Marie moved between Montréal and Québec City several times, suggesting that his baking enterprise may have been more than just a single shop.  Between 1713 and 1725 they had ten children.  Pierre was able to sign his marriage record and all of his children’s baptism records, which some of his sons could not - a case of declining family literacy which was not unusual in French Canada at that time. 

The Thuot dit Duval surname remained in place with his descendants in Quebec until the mid/late 19th century and then became Duval.

Early Duval Marriages in Quebec

Pierre Duval
Marie Jamare
Marin Duval
Anne-Antoinette Durand
Romain Duval           
Adrienne Leclerc
Jean Duval
Marie Lamy
Jean Duval
Marie Lemaitre

William Pope DuVal

The scion of a well-to-do Richmond, Virginia family, William Pope DuVal migrated to the Kentucky frontier as a youth in 1800. Settling in Bardstown, DuVal read law, served in Congress, and fought in the War of 1812.

In 1822, largely because of the influence of his lifelong friend John C. Calhoun, President James Monroe appointed DuVal the first civil governor of the newly acquired territory of Florida.  During his twelve years there DuVal founded Tallahassee and oversaw Middle Florida's development into one of the Old Southwest's most prosperous slave-based economies.

After leaving the governor's chair, he returned to Kentucky, lent his efforts to the cause of Texas independence from Mexico, and eventually returned to practice law and local politics in Florida.

Throughout his career DuVal cultivated the arts of oratory and story-telling - skills essential to success in the courtrooms and free-for-all politics of the American South.  Part frontiersman and part sophisticate, DuVal was at home in Kentucky, Florida, Texas, and Washington, D.C.  He delighted in telling tall tales, jests, and anecdotes that epitomized America's expansive, democratic vistas.

Among those captivated by DuVal's life and yarns were Washington Irving, who used DuVal's tall tales as inspiration for his The Early Experiences of Ralph Ringwood, and James Kirke Paulding, whose Nimrod Wildfire shared DuVal's brashness and bonhomie.


The Greenhows and Duvalls

Two Greenhow women – mother and daughter – were closely connected in different ways with Duvalls from Maryland.

Rose Greenhow the mother was a Confederate spy in Washington DC at the time of the Civil War.  In April 1861 she passed on the information that Federal troops would be marching on Manassas in mid-July.

Her courier, a young woman named Betty Duvall, rode out of Washington by way of the Chain Bridge dressed as a country girl.  Meeting General Bonham at the Fairfax County Courthouse, Duvall advised him that she had an urgent message for General Beauregard.

"Upon my announcing that I would have it faithfully forwarded at once," Bonham later recalled, "she took out her tucking comb and let fall the longest and most beautiful roll of hair I have ever seen. She took then from the back of her head, where it had been safely tied, a small package, not larger than a silver dollar, sewed up in silk."

Rose Greenhow’s ending was tragic.  Suspected as a spy, she was imprisoned in Washington DC but later released.  She traveled to London and published her memoirs.  But on her return to America in 1864, her ship was pursued by a Union gunboat.  Fearing capture and re-imprisonment, Greenhow fled the grounded ship by rowboat. A wave capsized the rowboat and she was drowned. 

Her youngest daughter Rose, or “Little Rose,” lived through the death of both her parents and her sister.  Growing up, she fell in love with a young West Pointer, Lieutenant William Penn Duvall, and they married in 1871.  He enjoyed a distinguished military career, ending up as a general.  On the downside he was a severe disciplinarian, both in and out of the army, and as a result he and Rose ultimately divorced.

After the divorce Rose appeared on the stage for a time and then departed for France, retiring to the Sacred Hearts Convent there.

Mareen Duvall to Robert Duvall

Mareen Duvall (1625-1699) the emigrant to America
- Mareen Duvall the Elder (1662-1735) in Maryland
-- Mareen Duvall the Younger (1687-1741) in Maryland
--- Samual Duvall (1714-1783) in Maryland
---- William Duvall (1738-1815) in Maryland and Virginia
----- William Henry Duvall (1788-1873) in Virginia
------ Andrew Jackson Duvall (1829-1900) in Virginia
------- Abraham Lincoln Duvall (1861-1928) in Virginia
-------- William Howard Duvall (1904-1984) the US Navy admiral, in Virginia and Maryland
--------- Robert Duvall (b. 1931) the actor, in Maryland and Virginia

Robert Duvall grew up primarily in Annapolis, Maryland, the site of the United States Naval Academy.  He recalled: "I was a Navy brat.  My father started at the Academy when he was 16, made captain at 39 and retired as a rear admiral.”  He has been married four times, but none of these marriages have produced children.

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