This is the name given to the natural bump (a ‘huge knot’?) on the headland you cross when hiking the Beachcroft Trail on the northwest side of Champlain Mountain. In earlier times Huguenot Head (692’ up) was known as Round Peak or Picket Mountain.
According to the National Huguenot Society’s website, “The exact origin of the word Huguenot is unknown, but… Protestants who met to study the Bible in secret were called Huis Genooten, meaning ‘house fellows.’”
We do know that the Huguenots were French Protestants of the 16th and 17th centuries, most of whom followed the religious teachings of John Calvin. After thirty-six years of bitter religious wars ended in France in 1598, King Henry IV signed the Edict of Nantes, which granted the Huguenots the protection of their religious and civil liberties. (Henry, who had joined the Huguenot armies as a teenager, was raised a Protestant but converted to Catholicism before becoming king of France in 1589.)
The Huguenots enter into the story of Mount Desert Island because as king, Henry IV financed the early explorations of this area by his fellow Huguenot Pierre Dugua, aka Sieur de Monts. Dugua’s navigator Samuel de Champlain, who converted to Catholicism in 1603, had been born in a Huguenot coastal village, and served in Henry IV’s army against Catholic forces.
In October 1685, King Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes, at which point some 400,000 Huguenots fled France for other, safer countries. Today only about 2% of the French population is Protestant.
Fun Fact: Famous historic figures with Huguenot ancestry include George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Paul Revere, Davy Crockett, Henry David Thoreau, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Winston Churchill, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. More modern people on a similar list include Warren Buffett, Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp, Robert Duvall, Jean-Luc Godard, Al Gore, and Charlize Theron.