In honor of Mother's Day, we remember our
Mothers of Acadia ~ Pioneers in a New Land
Mothers of Acadia ~ Pioneers in a New Land
This page honors all of the women who came from France as Pioneers to a land called New France. By their heroic deeds, they braved all kinds of challenges. In all that they did they mirrored the strength of their descendants. Without a doubt, they are truly the Mothers of Acadia...
With a strength and determination that only settlers to a new land must have, the first acadian homes were filled with the strength of Christian spirits filled with hope. Their homes were filled with the smiles and nurturing love of French women settlers who supported their spouses in all of their endeavors. These brave women came from Poitou, Berri, Bretagne or Touraine.
The First Census of Acadia ~ work of P. Molin in 1671 ~ though meager on details, nonetheless transmitted the names for the most part, of the mothers of families who worked under the roofs of these homes of Port-Royal, founded by Poutrincourt in 1605.
Let us give them the honor rarely given them.. let us name these women! Over more than three centuries and many "deportations" later, let us walk briefly in their footsteps at a time when they were filled with a spirit of great adventure in coming to North America, in crossing an ocean under most extremely wanting material and austere conditions, marked by an energetic determination, with a vision prepared to confront all dangers, all of the rigors of an unknown future like the forest of a New World.. of a New People!
The Mothers of our Acadian Ancestors were born in France. They were the companions of the first pioneers who arrived from 1632-1635, under Cavalryman Razilly, who were still alive in 1671 as human links between the country of "Loire" and of Port-Royal.
Here is a list of "Mothers of the Acadian people" as it is preserved on large yellowed paper in the Maritime Archives (Ministry of the Colonies), in Paris.
A good number of these women were obviously born on Acadian soil, but this does not diminish the merit due them at all.
Martine GAUTHIER, spouse of Denis GAUDET, was the grandmother of all the Acadian Gaudets of America. Born in France, she married in Port-Royal in 1645, 2 or 3 years after her arrival on the Ship Aulnay. (Denis Gaudet had come to Acadia in 1632, with his father Jean who was 96 in 1671 and who had remarried to Nicole Coleson from the Scottish group that had settled at Port-Royal (Scottish Fort in 1629.)
Marie GAUDET, daughter of Jean, had married Etienne HEBERT in Port-Royal, in 1650. When P. Molin visited her, she was a 38 year old widow who was preparing to care for her 10 orphaned children. One of her daughters, Marguerite HEBERT, would marry Jacques PRINCE at Port-Royal, 1678 and would be the grandmother of all Prince Acadians, including the first Bishop Prince of Saint-Hyacinthe.
Françoise GAUDET, another daughter of Jean, born in France in 1624, wed Daniel LEBLANC in Port-Royal about 1650. She would count three Acadian Bishops (as of 1945 but more now) among her descendants and René LEBLANC, Notary of Grand-Pré her grandson, the son of René and Anne BOURGEOIS.
Marie GAUDET, daughter of Denis and Martine GAUTHIER, became by her marriage to Olivier DAIGLE, the grandmother of a numerous family. Alexandre DAIGLE died at 101 in 1902 at St-Charles de Kent. Bishop ROBICHAUD of Moncton was also a distant relative of Marie GAUDET.
Anne GAUDET, another daughter of Denis and Martine GAUTHIER, married Pierre VINCENT. Her daughter, Huguette in Port-Royal 1684, became the wife of Jean de BASTARACHE, grandmother of all the Bastarache who came from the Basque Country (High Pyrenees).
Jeanne TRAHAN, wife of Jacques BOURGEOIS, doctor of Port-Royal, had ten living children at the 1671 census. Born in France in 1631, daughter of Guillaume TRAHAN, she wasn't very aware of the ocean crossing in 1632. She married at 12 years of age in Port-Royal, and lived into the 1700's, living proof, having witnessed all of the Acadian hardships of the end of the 17th century, in which her husband was very involved (he was both doctor and merchant, well known in Boston, property owner in Beaubassin).
Madeleine TRAHAN, much younger than her sister Jeanne, came to Port-Royal in 1694, the wife of Jacques LEGER, first of his name in Acadia and who, because he was a soldier, had the dit name of La Rosette.
Radegonde LAMBERT, wife of Jean BLANCHARD, had six children in 1671. She was already a grandmother. Her oldest daughter Madeleine BLANCHARD, 28 years old, wife of Michel RICHARD, first of his name in Acadia, had seven children at this time. One of the seven, Catherine RICHARD, married François BROSSARD, ancestor of all of the Brossard or Broussard of America, and especially Louisiana.
The widow of François Guérin, who was 26 years of age with five children in 1671 to care for, kept her maiden name was Anne Blanchard. She married at 13 years of age and her oldest daughter, Anne married at 12 years of age. Anne.
Two AUCOIN sisters lived nearby: Michelle AUCOIN, wife of Lieutenant General Michel BOUDROT, and Jeanne AUCOIN, wife of François Girouard. These are the two grandmothers of all of the Acadian Boudrot and Girouard families. Françoise BOUDROT, daughter of Michel and Michelle AUCOIN, married Etienne ROBICHAUD about 1663. He is a direct ancestor of His Excellency Bishop ROBICHAUD, once Archbishop of Moncton.
The two GAUTEROT sisters, daughters of François GAUTEROT/GAUTREAU, born in Acadia, each had four children in 1671. One, a half sister born of François' first marriage to Marie whose surname is unknown, was the wife of Michel DUPEUX (DUPUIS), and the other sister, daughter of François and Edmée Lejeune, was the wife of Claude TERRIAU [son of Jean and Perrine RAU/REAU]. This last sister would live to be 90 and her husband would die in Port-Royal at the age of 87. Claude's brother, Pierre TERRIAU, married Cécile LANDRY, and was the founder of Grand-Pré along with Pierre MELANSON, in 1680. In 1671, the elderly Jean TERRIAU, father of Claude and Pierre, and his wife Perrine RAU/REAU, were still living in Port-Royal.
Catherine VIGNEAU, wife of Pierre MARTIN, listed five children in the census with P. Molin. This family came to Acadia with Aulnay. In 1689, Mathieu MARTIN became the first "seigneur" of the lands of Cobequid (Truro).
Mathieu MARTIN's sister Andrée married François PELLERIN, the first of his name in Acadia. Another daughter of Pierre MARTIN and of Catherine VIGNEAU, Marie, married Pierre MORIN and raised a large family in Beaubassin.
Antoinette LANDRY, 65 years old, wife of Antoine BOURG (BOURQUE), raised a family of eleven children. BOURQUE Village, on the north river and close to the fort at Port- Royal, face BELLIVEAU Village on the south river. Antoine BELLIVEAU, head of the family, married Andrée GUYON.
Pierre COMEAU, an aged Cooper of 75 years of age, and his wife Rose BAYOLS, had nine children. Barbe BAYOLS, widow of Savinien de COURPON, left eight children in France to come to Acadia where two of her married daughters lived: Mrs. Pierre COMEAU and Mrs. Jean PITRE.
There were two René Landry in Port-Royal in 1671. The older René married Perrine BOURG, the other married Marie BERNARD who had come from France. It is from this second union that the large family of Landry came. Marie BERNARD had forteen children, eight of which were boys who all married and had children. Seven of them were among those who colonized Grand-Pré, allied with the THIBODEAU, TERRIAU MELANSON, DUPUIS, RICHARD, GUILLEBEAU, and BROUSSARD ancestors.
Louise DOUCET married Abraham DUGAS, the gunsmith of Port-Royal. Their descendants were established by Claude DUGAS, born in 1652. He married Françoise BOURGEOIS, daughter of Jacques and also by Abraham DUGAS, born in 1661. He married Jeanne GUILLEBEAU.
A young Englishman from Plymouth, Laurent GRANGER, came to Acadia on Thomas Temple's ship in 1657. He converted to Catholicism so that he could marry Marie LANDRY, daughter of René and Perrine BOURG (BOURQUE). They had two children in 1671.
It would take forever to list all of the mothers of Acadia with all of the known details to the end. However, let me list the names of the many others we should remember with the gratitude due them for the legacy they have left us:
Marie HÉBERT, mother of all the Forest descendants, was the wife of Michel de Forêt.
Marie POIRIER, mother of the Caissy descendants. Her husband was Roger CASEY, a young Irishman who was one of the founders of Beaubassin.
Michel Poirier, brother of Mrs. Caissy, married Marie BOUDROT in 1673 in Port-Royal where he was born in 1651. His parents were Jean POIRIER and Jeanne CHABRAT.
Marie MERCIER, mother of the Babin descendants was the wife of Antoine BABIN.
Mother of a group of HÉBERT descendants was Geneviève LEFRANC wife of Antoine HÉBERT.
Catherine LEJEUNE, wife of François SAVOIE, was the mother of the Savoie descendants. Françoise SAVOIE, mother of the CORPERON, she was the daughter of François, and wife of Jean CORPERON.
GAUTEROT descendants was Edmée LEJEUNE, wife of François GAUTEROT.
CYR: Marie BOURGEOIS, wife of Pierre SIRE.
THIBAUDEAU: Jeanne TERRIAU, wife of miller Pierre THIBODEAU.
PETITPAS: Catherine BUGARD, wife of Claude Petitpas.
GUILLEBEAU: Catherine TERRIAU, wife of Pierre GUILBEAU.
DOUCET: Henriette PELTRET, wife of Pierre DOUCET who was the son of Germain Doucet, dit La Verdure, former lieutenant of Aulnay and tutor of his children.
BROT (BRAULT/BREAU): Marie BOURG (BOURQUE), wife of Vincent BROT.
BERTRAND: Huguette LAMBELOT, wife of Clément BERTRAND.
ARSENEAU: Marie GUERIN, wife of Pierre ARSENEAU.
CORMIER: Madeleine GIROUARD, wife of Thomas CORMIER.
Two mothers - Marie Mius d'ENTREMONT, wife of Pierre Melanson dit Laverdure, founder of Grand-Pré, and Marie DUGAS, wife of Charles Melanson dit La Ramée, brother of Pierre (both came from Scotland in 1657 with governor Temple). d'ENTREMONT: Madeleine ELIE (HÉLIE), wife of Philippe Mius d'ENTREMONT, lord of Pubnico.
ALLAIN: Marguerite BOURG (BOURQUE), wife of Louis ALLAIN.
There were many more who were omitted in the 1671 census but who we see in the 1686 census.
To all of the unknown heroines, mothers of us all, we offer a tribute of admiration and of thanksgiving. From both our known and unknown "mothers", we have been given the legacy of the best of who they were: women of strong faith, women with an invincible hope that made them greater than the enormity of what they endured... women who loved God.. family... and their beloved Acadia!
The historical data presented is from research done with the 1671 Census by Antoine BERNARD, c.s.v. and published in L'Acadie Vivante. This was published some years ago and has been translated from French by me for this page as well as updated according to newer information researched in the past several years. Information is confirmed in the Dictionnaire généalogique des familles acadiennes by Stephen A. White
Mother and Child graphic on this page generously contributed to the Acadian Ancestral Home by Touch A Memory Graphics
© Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Acadian & French Canadian Ancestral Home
Acadian Ancestral Home Blog
All Rights Reserved