Friday, February 08, 2013

Acadians Deported from Beaubassin Acadia in 1755


In 1755, the Deportation began from the Chignecto region of Acadia (Nova Scotia). On July 31, Colonel Monckton was at Chignecto and had been advised that the plan devised to remove the Acadians from Nova Scotia should be kept top secret.


On July 15, 1755, Governor Charles Lawrence called for a meeting of the Council to which he invited Admirals Boscawen and Mostyn. There were Twenty-one ships anchored in the harbour at Halifax. It was at this meeting that Lawrence's plan to rid the province of these "Neutrals" as they were called by the British, would become more specific in intent. The Council, under Lawrence's advice, decided to obtain a decision from the Acadians as to whether or not they would take the oath to the King of England. This oath meant that they could no longer be neutral but that in time of war, they would have to take up arms as the King's subject. This was why the Acadians had always remained neutral: because England and France were always at war one with the other, if the Acadians took this oath, it would mean that they would be taking up arms against their own countrymen, relatives and friends. The oaths they had taken thus far also allowed them freedom to practice their Catholic faith.


On July 25, 1755, a petition was presented from the Acadians of the Annapolis River area. These Acadians offered to forfeit their guns but would not swear a new oath citing the oath taken under Governor Philipps. The petition was rejection by the Council. The Acadians now had until 10:00 a.m. on July 28 to decide what they would do. Unfortunately, the Deputies decided that no matter what the Acadians decided, they would not change the decision that had been long-standing: to rid themselves of the Acadians.


While the Acadian Deputies were held as prisoners on George's Island along with the Pisiquid Deputies, the Council's resolution was to remove the Acadians from Nova Scotia. This would end the many years of indecision on the part of both sides of the issue.


Prior to this, there had been no such consideration to the Lord of Trades remove the Acadians from their lands. However, on this date of July 28, 1755, Governor Lawrence sent off a message of the imprisonment of these Deputies and that his plan was the best course to resolve this issue once and for all. Here is the message he sent to the Lord of Trades:



...They were ordered to be kept prisoners at George's Island, where they were immediately conducted. They have since earnestly desired to be admitted to take the oath, but have not been admitted, nor will my answer be given them until we see how the rest of the inhabitants are disposed. I have ordered new deputies to be elected and sent hither immediately, and am determined to bring the inhabitants to compliance, or rid the Province of such perfidious subject.


Lawrence was obviously already decided to obtain a decision in his favor that would expel the Acadians from Minas, Cobequid, Annapolis, Pisiquid and the Chignecto region. Here is the decision rendered by the Council:


After mature consideration, it was unanimously agreed that, to prevent as much as possible their attempting to return and molest the settlers that may be set down on their lands, it would be most proper to send them to be distributed amongst the several colonies on the continent, and that a sufficient number of vessels be hired with all possible expedition for that purpose.


In the Chignecto region, Acadians were held at both Fort Lawrence and Fort Beauséjour (renamed Fort Cumberland when it fell to the British). Meanwhile, Colonel Monckton and his troops were busy trying to keep the Acadians close to the forts. Because of the undeveloped country north of this area, it would be quite easy for anyone to escape and not be captured again so a decision was made that these Acadians would be the first to experience exile.


So after four generations of pioneering and making a life in this place called Acadie the grandchildren and great grandchildren of the first settlers would be removed from the only home they had ever known for by 1755 those first pioneers were the only ones who knew their roots in France and they had all passed on by now.


On August 13, 1755, ten ships under the command of Captain John Rous carried off 960 Acadians headed for South Carolina and Georgia. Behind where one could no longer see, were the homes of the Acadians who had lived at River Hébert and Menoudie. Though the Acadians were relegated to the bowels of the ships, these ships sailed by the burning villages of other Acadian homes as they slid past Cap Maringouin and Chipoudy Bay eventually making their way to the Bay of Fundy.


The ships that would deport the Acadians from this region: Boscawen ran aground; Boscawen from Chignecto to Pennsylvania; Cornwallis to South Carolina; Dolphin to South Carolina; Jolly Phillip to Virginia; Endeavor to South Carolina; Prince Frederick to Georgia; Two Brothers to South Carolina.


The Beaubassin area would be made up of Weskak (today Westcock), Pré des Bourgs (Sackville), Pré des Richards (Middle Sackville), La Butte, Le Coupe and Le Lac at the confluence of the Missiguash, Menouie and Eleysian Fields, Maccan (Makon), Nappan (Nepane) and Rivière Hébert.


Acadians on a list of eleven men in 1686: Pierre Morin, Guyon Chiasson, Michel Poirier, Roger Kessy, Claude Du Gast, Germain Bourque, Guillaume Bourgeois the latter both sons of Jacques Bourgeois, Germain Girouard, Jean Aubin Migneau, Jacques Blou and Thomas Cormier.


In 1698, there were twenty-eight families living in Beaubassin. Some of families: Arseneau, Bernard, Blou, Boudrot, Bourg/Bourque, Bourgeois, Chiasson, Chastillon, Cormier, Devau, Doucet, Girouard, Godin, Godet, Guercy, Haché, Mercier, Mirande, Poirier and Richard. Men from these families had married into the families of Cyr, Dugas, Guerin, LeBlanc, Martin, Melanson, Pellerin and Trahan.






A monument was erected commemorating the last known Acadian residents of Beaubassin in 1750. They were:


Pierre Deraier & Francoise Arsenau,
Jaques Mouton & Marguerite Kessy,
Francois Arsenau & Anne Bourgeois,
Abraham Arsenau & Agnes Sire,
Marie Sire,
Pierre Gravois & Marie Rose Bourgeois,
Francoise Sire,
Jaques Bourgeois & Marie Bourque,
Pierre Arsenau & Jeanne Marie Heon,
Marie Chiasson,
Claude Bourgeois & Anne Blanchard,
Michel Bourgeois & Marie Doucet,
Charles Heon & Marie Jeanne Bourgeois,
Jean Kessy & Marie Richard,
Paul Sire,
Oliver Bourgeois,
Pierre Cottard & Agnes Bourgeois,
Jean Mouton & Marguerite Poirier,
Baptiste Bourgeois & Anne Bernard,
Claude Bourgeois,
Michel Poirier & Madeline Bourgeois,
Francois Bourel & Marguerite Doucet,
Claude Tendon & Francoise Kessy,
Claude Poirier & Marguerite Sire,
Marie Kessy,
Paul Devau & Marguerite Buote,
Vincent Devau & Marie Buote,
Claude Kessy & Anne Chiasson,
Jaques Kessy & Marie Olivier,
Joseph Arsenau,
Anne Buote,
Jean Arseneau,
Brele & Anne Sire

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Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Acadian & French-Canadian Ancestral Home
Blog & Website

2 comments:

Marc Bourgeois said...

Thanks for this great article Lucie.
So many people have put an importance on Grand-Pre that most people don't realize that the deportations actually started with the deportation of the Acadians from Beaubassin following the capture of Fort-Beasejour.
Its place in acadian history need to be reinstated. I and the Association of Bourgeois of Acadian Descent hope that this will happen and are working to see the site get recongnized not only as the first settlement outside of the Port-Royal area, but as the place were the depportation realy started.

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino said...

Hi Marc,

It definitely has been established as such - the archealogical digs have been adding to its prominence. That said, there will always be some difficult in that there is not a thing other than an piece of land these days. Whereas thanks to Mr. Herpin, an historic place to remember was established long ago.

I have visited where all of the Acadians once stood - today there not even plaques rememberting thos places..at least not in most places.

Thanks for you post. Greatly appreciated!

Lucie