The name PONTIOUS was originally a French and Catalan topographic name for someone who lived near a bridge, rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form PONTIS, and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. It has travelled widely in many various forms including DEPONT, DUPONT, PONTI, DELPONTE and PONTICIELLO. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. Early records of the name mention Alanus de Ponte who held a toft in Perth, circa 1250. Juliana de Ponte granted an annuity of 21 shillings to the convent of St. Catherine of Ayr in 1340. Robert Pont was Provost of Queen's College, Edinburgh in 1573. Robert Pont, a Venetian Protestant, fled to France and came into Scotland with James V, in the retinue of Queen Magdalene. The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000, and such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans a little over one hundred years later, although the custom of using them was by no means common for many years afterwards. During the reign of Malcolm Ceannmor (1057-1093) the latter directed his chief subjects, after the custom of other nations, to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created 'The first erlis that euir was in Scotland'. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour.
Samuel Francis DU PONT (1803-65) was the US naval officer, born in Bergen Point, NJ. He entered the navy in 1815. In the Civil War he organized the blockade of the South Atlantic area by the Federal naval forces, and captured the ports of South Carolina and Georgia. He was unjustly blamed for the failure of the Federal attack on Charleston in 1863, and relieved of his command.
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