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colonial governor, was born on 4 February 1866 in Rochefort-sur-Mer, France. His father, Joseph William Merlaud-Ponty, was a consular judge and communications officer in the French port of Rochefort. Merlaud-Ponty's mother was Marguerite Merlaud-Ponty (née Sonolet). He appears to have been the only child of his parents, although his father later remarried and had a daughter with his second wife. Not much is available about Merlaud-Ponty's early life. His parents were Catholic, but Merlaud-Ponty later rejected Christianity and became a Freemason. When he was dying in 1915 Merlaud Ponty rejected the sacrament of extreme unction and refused to have his secular marriage recognized by a priest When Catholic missionaries then refused to hold a religious funeral his family pleaded in vain to change the missionaries decision Merlaud Ponty who was nearly always referred to as William Ponty as an adult completed his primary and secondary education passed his ...