Vincent Rongnion and Ann Boutcher
RUNYONS. Among the multitude of Christian "exiles for conscience sake " from France was also the Huguenot family of the Runyons, transplanted to America about 1665. The founders of this large and influential line of pioneers, settled in East Jersey on the Elizabeth Town Grant as early as 1668-70. His name first appears as "Vincent Rongnion, mariner of Poitou." By modern orthography the family is now known as Runyon, with numerous representatives in every State of the Union. The district from which the progenitor of the the Runyons in America came was one that experienced the most cruel desolation of property, and whose consecrated people endured more inhuman abuses than any other outraged province in the Empire. These devoted Protestants manifested the most unexampled heroism under sufferings, and yet proved steadfast adherents to their religious convictions. The most popular and diabolical measure of the Papal authorities for intimidating these "obdurate heretics" and securing enforced conversions among them in this Province of Poitou, was the military occupation by the Dragonades quartered upon their families. This system of outrages impoverished the inhabitants, paralyzed all their industries and finally depopulated whole communities. For rather than bow the knee to Baal; from this strong hold of Calvinism emigrated thousands of the faithful to Holland and England and other islands of the sea. From thence multitudes sought a refuge in this country for permanent homes. It is a reliable tradition that the founder of the Runyon family in America escaped from these cruel persecutions in his native place, to the Isle of Jersey, off the coast of France, and from there took ship to this country. The first reference to his name on this side of the waters is seen A. D. 1668, in a "marriage license " given by Philip Carteret, the young Governor of East Jersey. The document is on file in the office of Secretary of State of New Jersey, at Trenton, and reads as follows : To any of the Justices of the Peace or Ministers of the Province of New Jersey : Whereas. I have received information of a mutual agreement between Vincent Rongnion, of Portiers, in France, and Ann Boutcher, the daughter of John Boutcher, of Hartford, in England, to solemnize marriage together, for which they have requested my lycense, and then appearing no lawful impediment for the obstruction thereof, these are to require you or eyther of you, to joyne the said Vincent Rognion and Ann Boutcher in matrimony, and them to pronounce man and wife, and to make record thereof , according to the laws in that behalf provided, for the doing whereof this shall be to you or eyther of you a sufficient warrant. Given under my hand and seal of the Province, the 28th of June, 1668, and the 20th year of the raigne of our Sovereign Lord Charles the Second, of England, Scotland and Ireland, king, defender of the faith, &c. (Signed) Ph. Carteret. This couple were joyned in matrimony by me the 17th of July, 1668. (Signed) James Bolton. Ann Boutcher, the newly wedded wife of Vincent Runyon, may have been a descendant of the same family as Joan Boutcher, of Kent, a lady of distinction and piety, who was a Baptist and was burned at the stake May 2, 1550, within sight of the Canterbury Cathedral. . The next public notice of Vincent Runyon's name is found as owner of a piece of ground at Elizabeth Town, which he bought March 20, 1671-2. He was probably induced to make his first settlement at that place because of the national affiinity of many of the early settlers. The Governor himself was of Norman French ancestry, and the Surveyor General, Robert Vanquellin, came from Caen, in France. The Secretary of the Province, James Bolton, was also of French extraction and besides there emigrated with Gov. Carteret a number of French men and women. Mr. Runyon did not remain long among that settlement, for the stern Puritan element predominated and rendered his relations unpleasant. Disposing of his town property as soon as possible the next public notice of him was in the Baptist community at Piscataway, where ever afterward he and his descendants have lived. Here on the Raritan River, in the spring of 1677, he purchased a farm of 154½ acres and from the homestead established there, went out the many children of this distinguished sire to become the founders of other large and influential lines of the Runyon family . The sons and daughters of Vincent and Ann Boutcher Runyon were : Vincent, Darich, Joseph, Reune, Ephraim, Mary, Peter, Jane and Sarah (Sarah Runyan and Richard Sutton were married January 25, 1702), all born several years before the public organization of the Piscataway Baptist Church. VlNCENT, the oldest son, married Mary Hull 1691, and had children to the number of eleven : Sarah, Martha, Rezin, Mary, Anna, Vincent, Reuben, Reune, and three dying in infancy. PETER, the youngest son, born 1680, married 1704, Providence Mackford, and had five sons and four daughters: John, Joseph, Peter, Richard, Benjamin, Grace, Rosannah, Providence and Sarah. The other sons and daughters married into the families of Randolph, Sutton, Holton, Webster, Cooper, Layton, Bray, Mollison, Martin and Mannings, and many of their descendants are here today at the roll call of their forefathers. HUGUENOTS
Through the connection of Richard Sutton and Sarah Runyan, descendants of Richard Sutton became eligible for membership in the Huguenot Society of America. As shown by the probate date of his will, Richard Sutton probably died early in 1732. His widow married again in the year 1736, her second husband having been James Campbell.
In the list of the eaily Christians who made Piscataway Township their abiding place and became identified with the mother church should be mentioned a few families of French ancestry. These embrace the names of the Piatts, Bolces, Lupardus', Coriells, and Brokaws, who early joined the colony of industrious Baptists. Their forefathers had endured hardships innumerable on account of religious beliefs in native France, and barbarous severities had been inflicted upon them because of their refusal to accept "the King's religion."