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De Rosset, Moses John

by Durward T. Stokes, 1986

27 Dec. 1726–1767

Moses John De Rosset, physician, was the son of Armand John De Rosset, a French Huguenot physician, and his Swiss-born wife. The couple left France after their first children, Gabrielle and Lewis Henry, were born and visited London, where Moses John was born. Within the decade, the De Rossets arrived in Wilmington, N.C., where the doctor established himself as a medical practitioner and influential citizen. Medicine appealed to his descendants as a profession to the extent that there was a De Rosset physician in Wilmington until 1881. Nothing is known of the early years of Moses John until he was sent on a sea voyage to prevent a marriage of which his parents disapproved. Unfortunately, he was captured by either Spanish or Algerian privateers and confined for two years, after which the chastened youth returned to North Carolina and applied himself to the study of medicine. He then followed in his father's footsteps as a physician and influential citizen of Wilmington.

On 7 Jan. 1754, De Rosset was commissioned captain in the North Carolina regiment commanded by Colonel James Innes and served in this command during the French and Indian War. For many years he was one of the justices for New Hanover County and served on the governing board for Wilmington; in January 1766 he was elected mayor of the port city. Although his brother, Lewis Henry, was a prominent loyalist who was finally exiled, the mayor was a staunch patriot and a leader in the resistance to the hated Stamp Act, although he wrote conciliatory letters to Governor William Tryon after the affair was settled. Moses John De Rosset was also a devout Anglican and a faithful member of St. James's Church, which his father had helped to found. In 1759 he married Mary Ivy, whose sister, Ann, married James Moore. The De Rossets had two children, Magdalene Mary and Armand John. De Rosset was buried in St. James's Churchyard. He left a comfortable estate to his widow, who for several years used the knowledge gleaned from her husband's medical practice to minister to the physical needs of those around her. In May 1774 she married Adam Boyd; after the American Revolution failing health prevented her from accompanying him to his clerical post in Georgia, and she made her home with her daughter, Mrs. Henry Toomer, until her death in 1798.


Deeds of New Hanover County (New Hanover County Courthouse, Wilmington).

De Rosset Family Papers, Group 1 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill).

Catherine De Rosset Meares, Annals of the De Rosset Family (1906).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vols. 4, 5, 7 (1886–88).

Durward T. Stokes, "Adam Boyd, Publisher, Preacher, and Patriot," North Carolina Historical Review 49 (1972).

Additional Resources:

DeRosset Family Papers, 1671-1940 (bulk 1821-1877) (collection no. 00214). The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed May 29, 2013).

CSR Documents by De Rosset, Moses John, 1726-1767, UNC Libraries:

Catherine DeRosset Meares. Anna. (accessed May 29, 2013).

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