Book examines Lincoln ties to last French royals
The direct descendents of the last king and queen of France might just be living among the “commoners” of Lincoln County.
At least that’s a theory put forth by Lincoln County resident and author Stephen Payseur in his new book “The Book of Daniel.” Payseur purports that his direct ancestor, Daniel Pesour, supposedly born 1793 in Lincoln County, could have actually been Louis Charles, the son of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, the royal couple executed during the French Revolution in1793.
“After much research, I decided to put everything down in this narrative for the reader to decide,” Payseur wrote in the book’s preface. “There are way too many coincidences for all of this to be false and way too many assumptions for all of it to be true.”
Payseur developed the idea behind his book, self-published through his CreekSide Publishing Company based in Lincolnton, from online genealogical research, family stories and historical fact. Stories abound in the Payseur family and Lincoln County about well-off French families, whose wealth was either hidden or from an unknown origin, Payseur said.
Some of these men, Payseur theorizes, could have been involved in the conspiracy to smuggle prince Louis to North Carolina.
The story goes like this: The children of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette – Louis Charles and Marie Therese – remained imprisoned following the public execution of their parents. The daughter was eventually exiled to live with her mother’s family in Austria.
And what happened to Louis Charles? That’s not quite as certain.
Official records state that the young prince died in prison due to illness at the age of 10. But many conspiracy theorists claim staunch loyalist sympathizers hatched a plan to smuggle the young prince out of prison.
After a supposed escape, in which sympathetic prison workers switched the young prince with his mentally and physically handicapped cousin from his mother’s side of the family, Louis was taken to Vendee, an area known for royal sympathizers.
Several years later, after serving alongside his caretaker, General Jean-Baptist Kleber and inheriting his “uncle’s” spoils of war following Kleber’s death, Louis was taken to England where he was united with King Louis XVI’s former paymaster, George Pesour. The teenagers assumed the identity of Daniel Pesour – and a new date of birth – and set sail with George for North Carolina, eventually ending up in an area around Dallas.
Author Payseur goes on to cite several historical coincidences that, if true, could lend credence to his theory.
He said a DNA test conducted in 2000 does show a relationship between Marie Antoinette and remains exhumed from Louis’ supposed grave in Paris, where prison officials buried the prince after his death. The test showed that the two did indeed share DNA, but could not confirm a mother-son relationship.
“This leaves the possibility out there,” Payseur said.
Payseur will appear at the Lincoln County Cultural Center on Sunday, July 22, from 3-5 p.m. to sign copies of “The Book of David.” Cathy Davis, the center’s director, said she coordinated the author’s appearance because of her reaction his last book, “North Carolina Slave Narratives.”
“When I read ‘Slave Narratives’ I was just completely engrossed and really felt the stories he compiled were just so searing,” Davis said.
Where to purchase
“The Book of Daniel” can also be purchased as an e-book for the Kindle at www.amazon.com or at www.cspubco.com.