Friday, March 24, 2006

PART VI. Le Grand Dérangement

Chapter 17: War Again

England and France had been at peace for thirty years when the two super powers of the day went at each other once again.[1] Called the War of the Austrian Succession in Europe, this conflict was known as King George’s War in the English colonies. A number of battles preceded the outright declaration of war in March 1744,[2] including a battle at Fort Duquesne in which the British force was almost annihilated, losing two thirds of their army.

The Canadians, operating out of their “French Gibraltar” of Louisbourg in far northern New Brunswick (Cape Breton Island), tried to get the Acadians to join the fighting against the English. It seems that the Acadians, most of whom lived within British Nova Scotia, replied “Thanks, but no thanks. We are our own people. And we are neutral.” Actually, the government of France had helped them so little that this insistence on neutrality could not serve them any worse.[3]

Many French privateers helped to harass the English on the high seas, and it could very well be that Michel Bergeron, also called Michel de Nantes, was among them. The name de Nantes is listed by the British as being among the most dangerous pirates.

France managed to lose their great fortress Louisbourg on 15 June 1745. Two days later the flag of Great Britain flew over the second strongest point that the French had in America[4] (Quebec was first). This was, however, the only real land victory the English had. On the other hand, they practically destroyed the French Navy.

A party of French and Indians did recapture the Acadian town of Grand Pré. But the French fleet consistently had bad luck in their encounters with the British fleet. The French detachment retreated from Grand Pré and Chignecto (where Nova Scotia attaches to the mainland).

This war ended on Oct. 18, 1748. Each side regained everything they had lost. Much to the chagrin of the New Englanders, France once again held Louisbourg.

Chapter 18: The Final War for North America

The English colonists in America were among the first to fight in the next great war, including a young officer named George Washington, who was forced to retreat from the Ohio Valley in 1754 after the crushing defeat suffered by British General Braddock at Fort Duquesne in western Pennsylvania.

Two years later England and France entered their final world war. This one, indeed, should be called a World War, for it took place in the Americas, Europe, Africa, India, and on as many oceans. The battles were raging by 1743, but the Seven Years War (in American History it is called the French and Indian War) officially began in 1756 and ended in 1763. France lost practically everything it had in the way of an empire.

The Acadians had always been looked at askance by the English. It was true that they had refused to join either side the last time there was any fighting. But the English pointed out the facts that the Acadians were still “Papists,” their priests came from Canada, they still spoke French almost exclusively, and they were so friendly with the Indians that most Englishmen were convinced they were helping the natives against Britain (which was not true).

In 1750 the English captured the French town of Beaubassin, and five years later the fort at Beauséjour, in the Chignecto region. With that area secure and the British protected from French incursions into Nova Scotia, the stage was set for Le Grand Dérangement, the Great Insanity.

Chapter 19: The Expulsion of the Acadians

The Acadians had always been an independent bunch. Over half of the early Acadians came from Brittany, Poitou, Normandy and Picardy. In every one of these regions there were tremendous and ancient influences: Celtic, various other pagan, and rebellious protestant/ Huguenot influences.[5] Celtic Brittany not even part of France until a royal marriage in 1515. These influences have led to the observation that “The Cajun tradition is nominally Christian and predominantly Catholic, yet still retains a surprising range of preChristian values and perceptions.”[6] Even so, a leading Nova Scotia authority on the history of Acadian culture, Professor Alphonse Deveau of Collège Sainte-Anne, has observed: “religion, to the Acadian, was based on inner convictions and [was] not imposed from the outside. These inner convictions have been generously interlaced with ritualistic holdovers from the pagan rural areas of seventeenth- century France, and reinforced by the episodic lack of orthodox clergymen....”[7] It was the basic inner conviction that brought the people to Mass but led them to feel little need for preaching. Priests assigned to Acadia wrote back to their bishops in Québec complaining that as soon as they began their sermons the men would go outside for a smoke and a horse race or two. Then they would return for the rest of the Mass.[8]

This was probably truer of the Acadians who wound up in Louisiana than those who found refuge in Québec; this author’s family was quite orthodox Catholic (its roots were in the Québec villages of StGrégoire and Ste-Eulalie). Acadians in both the northern and southern branches sustained an intense love of the sacraments and of the Virgin Mary. We must remember that the settlements on the Saint John River had a long string of missionary priests to minister to the people, and when they went to Québec, their new home had many more available priests than their relatives who now lived in early- nineteenth-century Louisiana.

The English had tried for forty years to get the Acadians to swear loyalty to England’s kings and queens. At times the Acadians would do so. Then the monarch would die and the loyalty oaths would be demanded again. Finally the Acadians decided they would not swear loyalty to anyone any more except themselves.

In the late summer of 1755 Governor Lawrence set his plan into motion. The whole plan was made possible by the capture of the French Fort Beauséjour, on the isthmus connecting Nova Scotia and presentdayNew Brunswick in June 1755. Around the same time, the Protestant English began persecuting the Catholic Acadians.[9] In the same year, the government in Nova Scotia decreed that the Acadians ought to be banished forever. The Council of Halifax declared them outlaws. Correctly sensing great trouble coming, A great number of fearful Acadians left their homes on the southern Fundy coast and others from the Beaubassin. They sought refuge on the Saint John. Some founded new settlements while others joined already existing villages. They had fled leaving everything they owned behind and now had no means of supporting themselves. Saint Anne took them in.[10]

The idea of expulsion had occurred a few times before, but each time it seemed to have gotten bogged down when London entered the picture. From all that we can find out, the plan never had the approval of officials in London. Even so, in September 1755, many ships suddenly appeared at the Acadian towns. The British Army landed and called a meeting of the local Acadian men in their churches, then locked the doors. The women were told if they obeyed orders and got on the ships with their children, the men would be permitted to join them.

It didn’t quite work out that way. There are still stories that Lawrence gave orders to deliberately separate the men from their wives and children. This was a clear act of genocide, for this British officer was determined to ruin the Acadian nation. One of the officers in Minas Basin, a Lt. Col. Winslow, disobeyed these orders (if indeed they were given) and did all he could to keep families together.

But even “keeping families together” presented problems; Acadian families had never been nuclear families. Family had always meant the full spectrum of grandparents, aunts and uncles, parents, siblings, and all of the cousins. As one may surmise from the interwoven Bergeron, Dugas, Bourg and Godin families in this history, there was enough marriage between a relatively small number of families that everyone was considered everyone’s cousin. This still hold true today: any Acadian or Cajun is called a “Cajun Cuzzin.”

The Acadian family may have been even more closely knit in earlier times. It is reported that the family had an extended network, through intermarriage, into every other family of the community. We see this with the families of the Saint John River. The same thing happened after the migration to Louisiana. “‘Our manner of living in Acadia was peculiar,’ recalls the grandmother of a St. Martinville judge, in his 1907 classic oral-history account, Acadian Reminiscences, ‘the people forming, as it were, one single family.’ Such a family—extended by the blood, by the ring, and by the back door—forms a community where no one is left out and where institutions like mental hospitals and old-folk homes were never developed....”[11] Thus it was not necessary to split parents from children to be severely traumatic. The loss of all one’s second cousins, known and depended upon on since birth, could do it. This is precisely what happened; during the Grand Dérangement the death rate due to depression was staggering.

The ships, disregarding what members of the families were on them, were sent to disperse the Acadian population throughout the British colonies. In some places, such as Catholic Maryland and Georgia, the refugees were treated somewhat humanely. But the best of governors were still under orders to disperse the Acadians throughout their small towns and absorb them, like the Assyrian conquest of Israel that resulted in the Ten Lost Tribes. At the worst, we have rumors of Acadians being sold on the block in the slave markets of North Carolina.

Of the 10,000 French in Nova Scotia about 3000 fled and 7000 were deported.[12] The Acadian people died by the thousands. They may have lost as much as half of their population. In some cases the rickety old ships sank with the refugees locked in the holds. Some colonial governors tried to refuse to take the refugees and they were stuck in the holds without proper food and clothing for as long as to two or three months.

On 30 March 1756 Governor Lawrence wrote: “Some” (Acadians) “from the isthmus have joined the troops of the French officer” (Lt. Charles Boishébert) “who withdrew last summer to his fort at the mouth of the St. John” (at the mouth of the Nerepis). “Reinforced by Micmacs and the Indians from this river” (the St. John) “there are according to the indications about 1500 men who employ great activity to harass our troops every time they made a sortie from the forts Cumberland and Gaspereau. As they can receive help from Canada and from Louisberg by a little fort called Jediach” (Shediac) “there is no doubt but that they draw to themselves settlers who fled into the woods into the interior of the province.”[13]

Meanwhile, the Acadian people who were being deported would (and did) rebel when they had the chance. Under the leadership of a Charles Belliveau, on one of the ships carrying 32 families to the Carolinas, the captive Acadians managed to take over the ship. They turned it around and, Belliveau being a very good seaman, soon reached St. John.[14]

Other Acadian refugees continued to make their way to the St John River. Some of them had travelled “slipped away in the woods... [then] wandered around at first, during 8 years, from camp to camp...” before stealthily going from place to place, hiding when necessary and sailing when they could. Practically all of by foot or by canoe through long, long stretches of lands unknown to any but the indigenous peoples.[15] Thirty families had come in from Beauséjour alone.[16] Others come all the way from Grand Pré. These people had finally reaching safety.[17] More fugitives had made their way back up the Atlantic coast in small boats, them were in extremely deplorable condition.[18]

Boishébert was soon burdened with over a thousand weak, hungry, forlorn people. Because he hardly had enough resources to take care of his own troops, he sent a number of the refugees on to Canada.[19] Father Germain helped him settle others up and down the river, at Grimross, at Villeray (three miles down river from Grimross), at Nashwaak, at Pointe Ste-Anne, and at Aukpaque. Some French authorities estimated that there were over 2000 Acadians on the St. John in 1758.[20]

Then information was received that the enlistments of two New England regiments were up and both regiments were dissolved and sent home. The authorities in Nova Scotia were having a very hard time recruiting replacement troops quickly. This prevented any new excursions up the St. John River, and would probably do so for at least a year.[21] The Acadians there breathed a great sigh of relief.

The war would continue for many more years. In retrospect, most Anglophone people consider the Acadian expulsion to be a regrettable but necessary affair of that war.

Britain went on to take Louisbourg again in 1758.

Chapter 20: The First Wave of Refugees from the River Saint John

That same year (1758) Colonel Robert Moncton, who had played a key role in the fighting around Beauséjour and in the deportation, heard about the Saint John River villages from an Acadian prisoner; who mentioned visiting a village of around forty houses.[22] He laid his plans carefully. In the autumn Moncton and 2000 troops crossed the Bay of Fundy with the assignment to clear the St. John of all remaining Acadians. He first established a new base of operations by reconstructing the old fort at the mouth of the river. He named it Fort Frederick.[23] The New England Rangers were Moncton’s most effective troops. The four companies were commanded by Captains McCurdy, Brewer, Goreham and Stark.[24]

When Moncton and his troops appeared on the St. John, Boishébert retreated. He not only pulled back his regular troops, but also the Indian allies, so they would not be influenced by new promises from the English. The French forces left the area completely unprotected and returned to Canada.[25]

Father Germain departed with Boishébert and also went back to Canada. On his way up the river he took the church-bell from the Indian chapel at Aucpaque. He left it at the Indian village of Madousca (now Edmundston). Later the true owners stole it from the chapel at Madawaska and took it back home.[26]

Boishébert told the St. John Acadians that they could also go to Canada if they so desired. A number of families did so. Canada’s Governor Vaudreuil wrote about a migration of many St. John Acadians in a letter he wrote in November 1758.[27] Evidently over 1600 people succeeded in reaching to Québec, but that city was suffering through a famine. By the time the exiles reached their goal they were able to get only two ounces of food per day. The resulting weakness open the door to a smallpox epidemic. Over 300 of the Acadian refugees died.[28]

In the spring of 1758 twenty-nine of the refugees, “with the remains of their families,” went farther up the St. Lawrence to the area around Bécancour, in search of refuge. In that region, the local seigneur, the Sieur de Montesson “welcomed them with great joy and settled them on the left bank of Lake St. Paul, whose scenery reminded them a little of their lost homeland.”[29] Guy Desilets,[30] a cousin who wrote a book about Saint Grégoire, continues:

I give you here the names of the first leaders of the settlement: Charles
Goudet, Claude Hébert, Pierre Bergeron, Regis Pare, Bonaventure Duro, Amant
Thibeau, Joseph and Jean-Baptiste Richard, Charles Héon, Pierre Arsenault,
Bercase Benoit, Pierre Cormier, Jean and Joseph Le Prince, Benoni Bourg, Michel
and Charles Le Prince, Jean-Baptiste Halin, François Cormier, Jacques and Pierre
Bourg, Etienne Migneau, Pierre and Joseph Héon, François and Charles Gaudet - of
the line of Charmantes-à-Marin Gaudet - Amant and Joseph Bourg, the latter, my
ancestor by my mother.

And immediately, the seigneur charged the engineer-surveyor Leclerc to
lay out for them 29 plots, each three arpents wide on a length of 28 French
arpents. And also immediately, of the fact of the abundance of game in the
forest as well as the freshwater fish which swarmed in the nearby lake, well,
for these people arrived at our home in rags and in an emaciated state,
immediately, there was the abundance of food; these Acadians had finally fallen
into the arms of Divine Providence as the grannies of our home said, in the

And when the first white smoke rose over the first clearings, this was
truly the symbol of the selection of a new homeland… and the film of our
imagination permits us to assert here that had to be very beautiful after such

And soon enough, it was then that in the enormous pines which, they
tell us, were growing in abundance in the territory at the time, were carved by
axe into the cradles of the first families of our home... and it was that which
was truly the birth of a new parish... the life that was settled and that was
perpetuated from generation to generation, for in coming to make this
St-Grégoire which we have inherited and where it is so good to live today “far
from danger, in the shelter from the misfortune...” As was said so well by the
poet and musician A. T. Bourque, in his unforgettable song Evangéline![31]

Back on the St. John River, the Acadians were left unprotected in their settlements at Grimross, Oromocto and Ste. Anne’s. Needless t say, they were in a state of continual unrest and alarm. Soon enough, they realized that the British general intended to head up the river. Every day the premonitions of a coming catastrophe increased. Large numbers of people again sought safety in the woods and lived after the “Indian fashion” but many (most?) did not know how to live that way. Their condition became more pitiful with each passing day.[32] A few believed the distance between them and the English gave them enough security, and so they returned to their farms. Many went back to Ste-Anne’s Point.

Chapter 21: War Comes to the River Saint John

In late October 1758 Moncton set out up the River St. John with a force of 700 English soldiers. His goal was to annihilate the Acadian settlements. The English found most of the homes empty. The settlers had bolted for the forest, many running up to St. Anne’s, or even further, on to Canada. The English burned all of the villages as far as a point thirty miles below St. Anne’s. Grimross had been the home of 300 inhabitants and Villeray had just been started. Their fate was the same.[33] At Grimross (present-day Gagetown), Moncton destroyed everything he could find: houses, barns, crops, animals, everything.[34] Then, afraid of being trapped by the frozen river, he turned back to Fort Frederick, and afterwards sailed for Halifax with thirty Acadian families as prisoners. A Major Robert Morris was put in charge of the fort.[35]

It was now November and winter was about to arrive. With everything totally destroyed, the Acadian families had nothing on which to live. Moncton had intended the effect to be maximum; it was catastrophic. We have no idea how many people died of hunger and cold during that winter of 1758-59 because of this Saint John campaign. The number of refugees had jumped tremendously. They no longer had homes or provisions to survive the winter. There was no longer any place of refuge, no safe shelter, nowhere to live in peace.[36]

When word reached Ste-Anne that Moncton was on his way up the river, the people pulled back, perhaps Michel II leading them farther up the Saint John to the nearby Maliseet (Malicite) village at Aukpaque (Ecoupag) to live with his cousin Ambroise St.-Aubin. Also, if they were forced to fight there, they could probably get Indian help to resist the invaders.

Michel II seems to have been very close to the Indian communities in his own right. He had married a woman named Magdeleine Bourg. Some genealogical references (their accuracy is questionable) designate her as Indian. However, an internet resource of mine did confirm that Bourg is quite a common name among the present-day Micmac.

But Moncton did not continue on to Sainte-Anne’s Point, giving the reason that winter was advanced (November 1758) and that he was of the opinion that Saint Anne was “without consequence since it was only a village without any sign of fortification.” He hypocritically told a government official “that it was better this way for he would not have been able to take care of the Acadians whose houses he would have destroyed. He adds that otherwise, this would have been cruel.[37]

With such destruction down river, many people certainly fled to Sainte-Anne for safety. Feeling comfortable and safe there, they set out to reconstruct their lives; after all, the English never came that far upriver. Many were carpenters and woodsmen, who, within a few days could quickly build a “house, room by room, with a chimney of stones with clay masonry.”[38] Evidently quite a few new houses were erected.

Even so, during this period the St. John Acadians had a hard time to exist. The arriving refugees could build houses easily, but they still had to be fed. In addition, at one time the residents were required to provide provisions for Montesson’s three hundred Indians and Canadian troops who were heading to Beausejour.[39] To do this, the villagers were forced to use the grain and cattle needed for the next year’s planting and tilling.[40] This extra burden came when the supply line from the mouth of the river had been cut off by the English occupation of Fort Frederick and the English navy. It was difficult enough to communicate with Québec by land, but bringing in supplies by that route was a formidable task.[41]

Still, Moncton had pulled back. The Acadians of Ste-Anne’s Point had returned home. The danger seemed over, at least for now. The New Year of 1759 must have opened with a great deal of hope.

But if Moncton was done for the winter, the officers of the New England Rangers were not through with their vengeance on the French who had given them so much grief over the years. Again, they could not reach Québec, so they took it out on the closest French speakers, the Acadians. Moncton’s “humanitarian point of view” mentioned above was not shared by these other officers at Fort Frederick. They prepared a midwinter expedition to destroy the rest of the Acadians.[42]

On 19 February Captain McCurdy and his Rangers set out from Fort Frederick[43] on snow- shoes. When the troops camped for the first night they chose a site at Kingston Creek, not far from the Belleisle River. They camped on a very steep hill, practically a mountain. One of the men cut down a large birch tree for fuel but made a mistake in felling the tree. It rolled wildly down the steep mountainside, crushing Captain McCurdy and killing him instantly. His lieutenant, Moses Hazen, took command of the company. Soon afterwards Hazen’s Rangers made it up the river to Ste. Anne’s Point, where they found a considerable town.[44]

The Rangers struck with a vengeance.

On 28 February 1759, Lieutenant Hazen and about fifteen men arrived at Point Sainte-Anne. The well-armed group surrounded the first three houses of the village, perhaps with five soldiers at each house. They took some of the occupants captive,[45] including Joseph Bellefontaine, the 64 year old son of Barthélémy’s old friend Gabriel Godin and good friend of Michel Bergeron dit de Nantes. They also captured Joseph’s wife, Anne Bergeron, his 26 year-old son Michel and wife Madeleine Guilbault, his daughter Nastasie and her husband Eustache Paré (age 25), and four of his grandchildren.[46] The English tied Joseph and Michel Godin to trees and proceeded to slaughter their kin in front of them.

In 1774 Joseph Godin-Bellefontaine himself wrote a long mémoire and detailed the massacre of his family by Lieutenant Hazen and his soldiers. This is how he related the horrible scene:

“Every human soul will be, as he, much affected by the horrible massacre of a part of his family, of which they had the harshness of making him a witness, he and his son Michel bound, their hands behind their backs and tied to some trees, they repeated to him over and over that he and all his family had to sub­mit to English domination and to swear an oath of fidelity to their King. He persisted in the perseverance of his refusal, they took their rage to the point of massacring his daughter Nastazie, wife of Eustache Paré, crushing her head with a blow of the butt of a gun, his two children and a son of Michel, and split­ting the head of the wife of the latter with a blow of a hatchet. During this bar­barous scene, Anne Bergeron, his wife, and Eustache Paré, his son-in-law, each took one of the said Paré’s children in their arms and only saved them from the fury of these cruel men by their flight into the woods with that which they had on their bodies, without having time to take old clothing or provisions or papers.”[47]

Anne Bergeron and Eustache Paré protected those children with their own bodies, escaping into the woods through a hail of bullets. Most of the remainder of the inhabitants also scattered into the forest and escaped.

Tied to their trees, Joseph and Michel Godin and his son Michel expected to suffer the same fate as the women and children who lay on the ground before them. However, because they were commissioned officers in the French militia they were taken prisoner to Fort Frederick. The English hoped to exchange them for English prisoners. Joseph’s wife, Anne, and his son-in-law, Eustache Paré, who had run into the woods, each with a child in their arms, found that they simply could not live apart from their family. They went to Fort Frederick and surrendered to the British.[48]

This massacre is collaborated in contemporary English documents. A letter from Fort Frederick which was printed in “Parker’s New York Gazette or Weekly Post-Boy” on 2 April 1659 provides some additional details of the behavior of the Rangers. From it we can glean that the soldiers scalped the murdered women and children and brought their scalps back to Fort Frederick:

The fifth of March, Lieutenant Hazen of the Rangers came in from a
scout of fifteen days with a party of sixteen Rangers, up the river St. John’s,
he brought in with him six French scalps and six prisoners. Lieut. Hazen reports
that he had been up to St. Anne’s which is 140 miles up this river from Fort
Frederick [sic.], where it was expected he would have found a strong garrison of
the enemy, but on his arrival he found the town evacuated which he set fire to,
burnt a large Mass house with a bell of about 300 lbs., a large store-house, and
many valuable buildings amounting in the whole to 147, to-gether with a large
quantity of hay, wheat, peas, oats, etc., killing 212 horses, about 5 head of
cat­tle, a large number of hogs etc., and that he took the prisoners and
scalps with eleven of his party on his return near Grimross, and that the
inhabitants of St. Anne’s are chiefly gone to Canada, the remainder scattered in
the woods. He was pursued by thirty or forty of the enemy but not overtaken, ...
he arrived in good health without the loss of one man.[49]

The church that was burned was located to the west of the present Old Government House on Woodstock Road in downtown Fredericton, New Brunswick. When the residents of Ste-Anne’s first heard the sounds of attack, they fled to save their lives. There was no time at all to take any possessions with them, and so their animals and winter provisions were left behind and were destroyed by the Rangers.[50]

When they returned on 5 March,[51] the Englishmen did not lie about the devastation they had visited upon the Acadian settlement. But we see from the above that the soldiers did lie to their superiors about where and from whom they took the scalps. Another letter mentioned that the scalps were from men the Rangers had chased down at Grimross.[52] General Jeffrey Amherst congratulated Hazen for his efforts and promoted him from lieutenant to captain. However, the report made to Amherst made no mention that the dead and scalped people were women and children. Some time later, when Amherst learned these grisly details, he made it known that he did not approve of such conduct. But he did not bring charges, and he permitted Hazen to keep his advancement in rank.[53]

Later, outside of official circles, Hazen’s soldiers did not even try to keep the truth a secret. Reverend Jacob Bailey noted in his journal, that while spending the night at Norwood’s Inn in Lynn (Massachusetts) during December 1759: “We had among us a soldier belonging to Captain Hazen’s company of Rangers, who declared that several Frenchmen were barbarously murdered by them, after quarters were given, and the villain added, I suppose to show his importance, that he split the head of one asunder, after he fell on his knees to implore mercy. A specimen of New England’s’ clemency!”[54]

The Ste-Anne Acadians later returned to their village and found only cinders and ruins. They did their best to bury the two murdered women, Anastasie Godin and Madeleine Guilbaut, and the children in the village’s cemetery located near the ruins of their church. But it was winter and the ground was too frozen to dig very deep. They did the best they could.[55] Excavators in the early 1900s discovered a number of bodies buried closely together. One grave held two. All together seven of the skeletons showed evidence of having been killed in battle. One had a bullet hole in the head and the right side of its head was crushed in. Another grave contained two bullets. All of these bodies were buried only about three feet down. There was no evidence of any coffins or religious items. It was determined that the burials occurred shortly after the Hazen raid.[56]

Surprisingly, the ruin of 1759 did not mean the end of the village of Point Saint Anne. Many would stay in the area for another four years.

Imagine the crushed spirits of the residents of Pointe Ste-Anne. Michel Bergeron II undoubtedly sat watching the river flow past him. Just as the water disappeared around the bend, so had his family vanished. His father Michel I and his fourth wife Marie-Jeanne Hébert, captured by the English and perhaps now dead. Two of his brothers (Charles and Jean-Baptiste) and two of his sisters (Angélique and Anne), captured by the English and possibly dead.[57] His uncles Barthélemy and Augustin and their families, captured by the English and maybe dead. His father’s long-time friend, Joseph Godin, and his aunt, Anne Bergeron, captured by the English, perhaps dead. One of his close friends, Michel Godin, captured and his wife (Madeleine Guilbaut) and son murdered in cold blood. The sister of his friend, Anastasie Godin, killed the same way, and her husband, Eustache Paré, captured and possibly dead.

The British captured Quebec City in 1760. The following year they took Montréal. Meanwhile, Michel I and Barthélémy II were prisoners in Halifax, soon to be deported.

In 1761, there were 42 Acadians still living on the River Saint John. The English government in Halifax considered them among the exiled.[58]

Shortly after the capture of Québec, a group of 200 Acadians refugees there, originally from the Saint John River, realized the war was as good as over. They took the oath of allegiance to England’s king, thus earning passes from Judge Thomas Cramache and Brigadier Robert Moncton to return home. They traveled back to their old lands on the Saint John. Their old missionaries Germain and Coquart returned with them. They presented themselves to Colonel Arbuthnot, presently commander of Fort Frederick, and promised to be faithful to their new government. Arbuthnot had them stay at the fort while he waited for Halifax to respond to their request to settle on the river. On 30 November 1759, Governor Lawrence and the Council of Halifax considered the fate of the returned Acadians. They not only rejected the Acadian request, but ordered them to Halifax, where they were taken as prisoners of war. They were to be deported to England.[59]

Father Germain settled in the Indian village of Ekoupahag (Aukpaque). He continued to serve both the Acadian and the native community from there. He also continued to watch over the sacred land of SteAnne’s cemetery. In the spring of 1762, a group of surveyors from Newburyport (Massachusetts) arrived and began to lay out Point Sainte-Anne for English settlement. Father Germain sent the Malecites to confront them. This was his scheme to prevent non-Catholics from desecrating the site of the cemetery.[60] The Indians came down from their village with an Interpreter, all having painted faces of divers colours and figures and dressed in their war habits. The chiefs, with grave countenances, informed the adventurers [the surveyors] that they were trespassers on their rights; that the country belonged to them and unless they retired immediately they would compel them to do so.

The reply made to the chiefs was to this effect: that the adventurers had received authority to survey and settle any land they should choose at the River Saint John; that they had never been informed of the Indians claiming the village of Ste. Anne, but as they declared the land there to be their property (though it had been inhabited by the French, who were considered entitled to it, till its capture by the English) they would retire further down the river. The sur­veying party removed their camp, according to their promise, almost as far down as the lower end of Oromocto Island on the east side of the river....[61]

The surveyors knew that the government in Halifax did not want to annoy the Indians because it desired to maintain good relations to enhance the fur trade. The Acadians, for their part, really did not want to make their presence known, and especially did not want to appear to the English that they were trying to maintain a claim to this land.3 In his article “Le village acadien de la Pointe-Sainte-Anne (Fredericton)”, Fidèle Thériault mentions that this party included a number of Acadians disguised as “Indians with painted faces ... in particular Ambroise Saint-Aubin. He was the grandson of Jean Serreau de Saint-Aubin.”[62] But here Thériault is wrong. Acadians may have appeared playing the role of Indians, but Ambroise St-Aubin was legitimately half Malecite by his mother.

Thériault tells us that “Ambroise had received his first name in honor of one of his uncles, Barthélémy Bergeron dit d’Ambroise (also Amboise), who had married Geneviève Serreau de Saint-Aubin.”[63] Even though he was half Indian, there is a tradition that “Ambroise Saint-Aubin was blond, large and having great physical force. His step and his manners were those of a noble. Following in the footsteps of the Baron de Saint-Castin at Pentagouët, Ambroise chose his spouse from among the native people and later became chief of the River Saint John Malecites. We only know the first name of his wife, who was called Anne.”[64] Already being half Malecite, it is not surprising that he might choose to live with his mother’s people, as his brother Joseph seems to have done. Thus it is logical that he should choose an Indian wife.

In 1762 the residents of Ste-Anne’s Point were still there, numbering over 40 inhabitants. An Englishman, Joseph Peach, drew a map of the area that year. The map shows a number of houses and gardens between Point Saint Anne and the village of Aukpaque. One large settlement was named “Bellefeuille” and was most likely the home of another sons of Gabriel Godin- Bellefontaine, Jacques Godin.[65] There is another connection here with the Bergeron d’Amboise family, for Jacques Godin married Anne-Marie Bergeron, the youngest daughter of Barthélémy and Geneviève.[66] They left the area about this time, but their son, Daniel Godin stayed. In fact, he was later one of the founders of “French Village” (present-day Kingsclear) and the ancestor of the “Goodine” family of that area.[67]

After the Ranger raid of 1759, the Acadians had moved somewhat upriver. Because their church had been burned down they worshipped at the church at Ekoupahag. They also buried their dead in the cemetery there. In fact, they were not even able to harvest the hay growing in their old fields; the inhabitants of Maugerville gathered that harvest.[68] The picture of the situation that we get from Thériault, Maxwell and Raymond is that of a people trying to resettle their lives. The descendants of these people remember it a bit differently. Guy Desilets wrote:

having had wind of the human trap that was being prepared [by the
English], they slipped away into the forests of New Brunswick, where for nearly
eight years, we are told, they lived on the banks of the St. John with a group
of Micmac Indians [in truth, these were Malecites].

But this could be only a temporary situation for them, for all of them were not like some people able to return to the savage state. The oral tradition tells us moreover that they had to constantly watch over some miserable goods that they had been able to take with them. More, the Indians rapidly noticed that the Acadian girls were very pretty (and I well understand them a little) but the “mômans” [“chicks”?] were annoyed by their constant chaperons in the forest.[69]

The author of this paper has studied Native Nations history and culture for over 25 years, and it seems that there was a major cultural clash going on here. Indian people often see individuals as owning only what was inside their homes, the food they grew or hunted, the clothes they wore, weapons, and animals they owned. Other items generally (there were some differences within the different nations) belonged to whomever needed them. Then others could take them and use them. A European people who were used to owning almost every item could easily see this situation as Indians stealing from them. As far as the young women go, there generally was not a great problem with intermarriage between these two groups, so there may have been some jealous young Acadian men, and the chaperoning could easily be the result of French parents not quite sure how “honorable” the young men were. (Among some Indian nations, there was indeed a double standard, in which the young women had an ideal of saving themselves while the young men played the game of conquest of the girls. The author do not know enough about Malecite culture to be able to say whether this was true at Aukpaque or not.) At any rate, it seems that there was some degree of cultural conflict going on, which of course might happen more easily with two larger groups of people, when individuals (as in a marriage) could make the cultural adjustments more easily. Michel II may very well have understood what was happening and perhaps did not know how to work it out, and so he made the choice he did, as we will see shortly.

There were also other pressures. Remember that as far back as 1755, the English passed a law that no Catholics could own land or pass it on to their heirs. This law was aimed directly at the Acadians. It was not repealed until 1783. Then, in March 1759, the government of Nova Scotia passed another law sentencing Catholic priests to life imprisonment if they were caught ministering to people in the colony. Finally there was the imprisonment of the returning Acadians who had sworn their loyalty and had been given permission to return to their River Saint John lands but wound up prisoners at Fort Frederick.[70] After all this, none of the Acadians felt they could yet trust the English in any way.

The final straw came when more deportations began to shape up. James Simonds, Richard Simonds and Francis Peabody came to Ste-Anne’s Point in 1762, and two years later James Simonds and his friends established a trading post nearby. A Lieutenant Gilfred Studholme, of the 40th Regiment, then commanded the troops at Fort Frederick. He was given the unpleasant orders to command the remaining Acadians to move. These people were living between Ste. Anne’s and Aukpaque, probably on both sides of the river.[71]

It seems that they did not leave, for six months later [some time after January 1763] Charles Morris and Henry Newton, two members of the Council of Nova Scotia, were sent out by the government in Halifax to order the Acadians still living near Ste. Anne’s to move to some other part of the province. In all fairness, these orders were not only for the Acadians; they also ordered settlers from New England to leave because their lands had been retained for officers and men who had been discharged from the army.[72] The Acadians tried to gain some time to harvest their crops but the Council of Halifax very probably did not grant permission to do so. A short time after the Acadians petitioned the Council, there were 87 Acadian prisoners (17 families consisting of men, women and children) at Fort Frederick.[73] Fr. Bergeron published a list of French Acadians who lived as prisoners (note the wording) on the River Saint-John dated August 12, 1763:

Pierre Bergeron and Marguerite Bourg with six children; Embroise (sic)
Brun and Marie Bergeron with six children; Simon Bergeron and Marie Saindon with
two children; Joseph Bergeron and Angélique Syndon; Michel Bergeron [this was
Michel II, son of Michel and grandson of Barthélémy, and destined to be another
kind of hero] and Magdeleine Bourg; François Bergeron and Rosa­lie Bourg;
Joseph Bourg and Marie Bergeron: all, of young couples about to emigrate the
following year toward the future Petite Cadie de S.-Grégoire-de- Nicolet;
finally Etienne Bergeron, unmarried, yet to emigrate to Gaspésie to today’s

Almost all of these named were children of Michel I.[75] They had managed to evade deportation for eight years, but not without tremendous hardship.

Remember the laws against Roman Catholics. Remember the constant and increasing pressure to relocate. Remember the cultural problems some were having with their Native hosts. At some point, the Acadians came to the conclusion that they could not continue to live this kind of life.

Chapter 22: The Great Trek

They finally made the decision to depart from the homeland. It must have been very difficult. For Michel, his grandfather, grandmother, other family and friends were buried here. This was the place where he last saw his father, his aunts and uncles, lifelong friends. But they could not continue living here.

A group of 10 extended families, under the leadership of Michel Bergeron II, became the last Acadians to leave Acadia. This story of the massive migration of Acadians from the St. John River to the Nicolet region of Quebec (just across the St. Lawrence from the old city of Trois Rivières) was first preserved in memory, then was written down. There are three written versions, all quite similar to each other.[76] This extract from the Mechascebé, a journal of Louisiana, of 14 December 1872, is one of those written records. It describes the “Adventures of a group of banished Acadians through the forests of Canada:

At the time of the dispersion of the Acadians, in 1755, what
present-day histori­ans would willingly add: from 1755 to at least 1775,
several families of Grand Prée and (of) Beauséjour threw themselves into the
woods so as not to fall into the hands of the English... They kept alive the
hope that in following the natives through the woods they might approach near
enough to Canada to come to settle there; but they (natives of the country) did
not move very far away from the coast and life in the middle of them became
intolerable [mostly because of raids by Anglo-American Rangers]... it was
decided... to tempt fate through the woods.

The troop was composed of some ten families, among others, named:
Béliveau, Gaudet, Poirier, Bergeron, Bourque, Bercasse (of the Landry dit
Bercasse) and Lamontague (of the Laurt dit Lamontague). There were several
women, girls, young men and children of young age. The leader of the expedition
was Michel Bergeron de Nantes (son of Michel I, this one being the son of
Barthélémy). They trusted in divine Providence and disappeared into the woods
heading in the direction of Canada. It was about the spring of 1763. They
marched all summer... If they were continually pressed by the most poignant
anxieties, at least the provisions would not fail at all, thanks to the skill
and the care of Michel Bergeron, or Michel de Nantes, as he was called

Jacques-Philippe Godin dit Bellefeuille and Anne-Marie Bergeron had already gone to Canada. In fact Godin had already died on 4 February of this year.[78]

They left their homes and the burial plots of their ancestors, including Barthélémy Bergeron d’Amboise and Geneviève Serreau de St-Aubin. As Fr. Bergeron put it: “So, from this time on, we cannot see our humble hero [Barthélémy] anywhere else than resting under the earth of that precious corner of Old Acadia which, for all that, remains doubly dear to us.”[79]

Through the dense forests they went. There is a saying in Quebec that a squirrel who had climbed a tree on Cape Diamond - at Quebec - would have easily been able to go as far as Windsor, in Ontario, without ever touching the ground! Simply by jumping from branch to branch. Obviously, this is a caricature, but one which illustrates very well the immensity and density of these forests. The forests of New Brunswick were just as dense. All of this part of the continent was inhabited by numerous kinds of feathered and furred game. There was, however, a good aspect to the route they took: it had long been used as a road between Canada and Acadia, and it would continue to be such until trains and highways appeared. And then a major highway would be built along the same path.

It was by this route that the French officers Marin and Montesson had led their troops to Beauséjour in the late 1750s. The march had taken them less than a month from Quebec, a distance of roughly 500 miles.[80] During the War of 1812, New Brunswick’s 104th Light Infantry (1000 men) went from St. John to Québec in February, crossing the frozen St. Lawrence. They had made a midwinter march of 435 miles in sixteen days.[81] But both of these were cases involving trained soldiers on disciplined marches.

The Acadians were not disciplined troops. Furthermore, they were slowed down by old folks, children, and pregnant women. Guy Desilets wrote:

In the summer of 1763, all these people, more than sixty-odd, they tell
us, started on a long march toward Quebec. Crossing the immense forests of New
Brunswick and the valley of the Temiscouata, they built some makeshift rafts
each time they had to cross a sizable river, feeding themselves by the luck of
the hunt and by fishing; and this which today takes us some hours to cover, for
them, they were almost three seasons of effort and ordeals, for it was necessary
to adapt even to the resistance of the most elderly and the most feeble.[82]

The Saint John River was their guide for most of the trek, taking them first to the west and then to the north. Sometimes they met small groups of Indians who were out hunting, but the native people showed them no hostility,[83] certainly not to a party led by someone who surely spoke a local language; we should have no doubt that Michel II, growing up with his Malicite cousin, Ambroise, learned that language.

Other large rivers flowed into the main river, and had to be crossed. Waterfalls, some of them truly magnificent, provided a break in the scenery. Roughly halfway through the journey they came to the Grand Falls. Its Indian name was Chik-un-ik-pe, “a destroying giant.”[84] Raymond, in his book about the River Saint John, describes these falls as “not excelled by any east of the Mississippi, excepting Niagara and possibly one in Labrador.”[85]

No description or series of illustrations will suffice to give a just
idea of their majesty and beauty. The main fall is almost perpendicular, about
seventy-four feet in height. At the base there is a huge fragment of rock upon
which the water thundersunceasingly, and from which a dense column of spray
arises. When the sunlight falls upon the moving spray, a splendid rainbow
shimmers over the wild and foaming waters below. Almost of equal interest with
the great cataract itself is the winding gorge below, through which the seething
torrent rushes for a distance of one mile to the lower basin, descending nearly
fifty feet in that distance. The gorge is in places exceedingly narrow. The
walls are in general perpendicular and from 80 to 150 feet in height. The rapids
through the canyon are often of the wildest character. At the narrowest place in
the gorge a colossal mass overhanging the cliff is known as Pulpit Rock.[86]

Imagine our fatigued and bedraggled refugees resting beside this magnificent scenery. Michel probably knew they had completed about half the journey to that other great river which would become their home, the Saint Lawrence. He probably had also learned of a Malecite legend which he would have passed on during story-telling time around the campfires after supper:

On the Madawaska their [Mohawk] advance party at early dawn surprised,
in their small encampment, a Maliseet hunter with his family. The hunter and
chil­dren were instantly killed and the life of the woman was only spared
upon her promising to be their guide. She was placed in the chief’s canoe and
the war party proceeded onward. As they approached the Little Falls at the mouth
of the Madawaska, the woman told them that a portage must be made as the place
was impassable by water. Re-embarking they proceeded and reached the tranquil
waters that are to be found for at least a dozen miles above the Grand Falls.
Upon being assured by the guide that there were no more falls the flotilla of
canoes was lashed together in raft-like fashion and drifted with the tide. In a
lit­tle while almost all the wearied Mohawks were sleeping, but the woman
well knew that they were nearing the Falls. Hearing at length the noise of
falling water, some of the watchers inquired the cause and were told that it was
only the noise of a water-fall at the mouth of a river which here joins the St.
John. As the fleet swept on and quickened for the plunge, the Indian woman
slipped quickly into the water and swam to the shore. Meanwhile the sleepers
awoke as the full blast of the cataract thundered in their ears. They sprang in
desperate horror to their paddles. Their cry of despair as they were swept into
the abyss was mingled with the exultant warcry of the Indian woman as she saw
the ene­mies of her tribe descend into the gulf, where every soul was lost.

There is another form of this legend in which the womanshares the fate of the Mohawks.[87]

They continued on, leaving the Saint John to follow the shores of Lake Temiscuata north. Summer slipped into autumn, and the leaves began to change color. Undoubtedly many people became concerned about reaching shelter before the first snows. But they kept walking, a few more miles each day. They kept their faith that the Good Lord would watch over them, and they prayed constantly.

It is thus at the home of the Bergerons, the lineage of my grandmother
Annie, we were reminded in the past that during this long march there was always
someone in the group to say the rosary! And thus it is that the trusting
devotion in Mary came to our home.[88]

And so this author learns why his father never used a missal or any other object at Mass, except that he constantly prayed the rosary!

They traveled for two months,[89] though some of the accounts certainly make it sound like it took longer than that. After an almost impossible and incredible odyssey, on the point of succumbing to discouragement,[90] three days before Toussaint, All-Saints,[91] the refugees reached the small village of Cacouna, so tiny they did not even have a church. (It would not be erected canonically until 1835[92]) Here they were welcomed as family. Here they passed the winter where they deloused themselves [Guy Desilets comments “This is not that golden legend!”], recovered their health, repaired their belongings, and built small boats for the next leg of their journey.[93] Even though Cacouna did not have its own church, they did have the services of a priest from Kamouraska, and the registers of that parish tell us that in the spring of 1764 Michel Nantes Bergeron and his wife had a child baptized there.[94] This would probably have been Marie-Rose, their second child, second daughter.

The people of Cacouna had been moved to pity for the heartrending condition of the refugees. Close bonds developed between the two groups. In the spring, as the Acadians prepared to depart, the residents of the village warned them of the hardships and dangers ahead. They begged their guests to stay and live among them. But the Acadians were determined to continue, quite probably in the belief that they might find their relatives who had preceded them. And so, there were painful separations again, as the refugees thanked their hosts for their generosity. And with “eyes filled with tears, [they] raised the sails of their frail boats and ascended the river.”[95]

Michel’s party stopped at Quebec, where they learned that earlier Acadians were happily settled in the Bécancour area.[96] Michel II possibly visited his aunt Anne-Marie while he was here, and it may have been from her that they found out about Nicolet-Bécancour. Her husband, Jacques-Philippe Godin dit Bellefeuille had died at Gentilly, near Bécancour, on 4 February 1763.[97] Sometime afterward, she moved back to the Québec area, where she would later die at Ste-Famille, Ile d’Orleans, on 1 January 177[98]. But other Bergerons had remained around Nicolet and Bécancour.

Chapter 23: The Laurentide (of the St. Lawrence) Bergerons

And so in the spring or early summer of 1764 [Fr. Bergeron says it was in the autumn of that year[99] this second large group of Acadian exiles reached their new home.[100] At Bécancour they found the same kind of warm welcome as they had at Cacouna.[101] Some of the people settled in Bécancour[102] but the rest settled on the southern bank of the Saint Lawrence a few miles from the mouth of the Godefroy River,[103] across from old colonial city of Trois Rivières. The Bergerons, Béliveaus, Richards and some other families went up the small River Judith to western end of Lake Saint Paul.[104] Guy Desilets mentions that “they settled behind the first [group of Acadian] arrivals, on a line traced in the seigneurie of Godefroy and which would become the great road of Saint-Grégoire. Today, it is the well named Boulevard of the Acadians.”[105]

Michel Bergeron could be described as a hero for his leadership, guidance, and hunting skills while getting the refugees up the Saint John, then up the Saint Lawrence. But now he entered into a totally different kind of heroism. He was a master carpenter,[106] so he went to work in Trois Rivières on various government projects.[107] He kept in close contact with his fellow Acadians six miles away on the Godefroy River. They lived through the winter by hunting and by trapping the plentiful beaver in the nearby streams.[108] All winter long, Michel spent the money he earned on provisions to supply the new village which they had named “Petite Cadie de Ste-Marguerite.”[109] The name was later changed to St-Grégoire.

Michel chose some land, beside the site where the church of Saint-Grégoire is located today. Fr. Bergeron tells us that the Acadian historian Mgr L. Richard wrote that it was “Michel Bergeron who cut down the first tree.”[110] This land remained with his descendants even to the present time. Others settled in the neighborhood.[111] Oral tradition has it that in the spring of 1765 a large area was cleared precisely where the heart of the old village was located. It was there that the people planted a community garden.[112]

In the following years still more Acadians arrived at the newest Acadia. Among these people were the Hébert and Vigneau families.[113]

Michel Bergeron’s house is shown in the photograph above. Guy Desilets wrote:

Michel Bergeron, called Michel Nantes, a very fine personality of a man ... died in his house in the village of Saint-Grégoire at the very beginning of January 1832.... [Since he was born in 1736, this would made him 96 years old when he died.]

And it is in this same house at which hardly 24 years later, bore the
one who was going to become our grandmother Desilets: Annie Bergeron. Moreover,
many Bergerons in our region, and even to the depths of the Bois-Francs,
iden­tify themselves with this honorable ancestor (Nantes) as did also the
genealo­gist Adrien Bergeron, p.s.s.[114]

This photograph was sent to the author by Guy Desilets’ brother, Denis.

Chapter 22: A Continent’s Separation

Michel I, his fourth wife and his four youngest children all wound up in Louisiana. These children were his sons Charles and Jean-Baptiste and his daughters Angélique and Anne.[115] Others of his children went neither to Canada nor to Louisiana. Etienne settled in Carleton on the southern shore of Gaspé, the large peninsula between New Brunswick and the St. Lawrence River. On 12 February 1777, at the age of 36, he married Claire Couroit.[116] Joseph and his wife Angélique Saindon stayed at Cacouna then moved to L’Isle Verte, just north of Rivière-du-Loupe on the St. Lawrence. Some of his family later moved up to Rimouski. His daughter Magdeleine and her husband Antoine-Ambroise Godin settled in the same area along the St. Lawrence. Daughter Angélique settled around Kamouraska, a little to the south on the river. Some of the descendants of these four couples returned to the St. John River, though to the northern town of Madawaska.

Most of the Bergerons of Maine come from this branch of the family. A number of them still carry the name of D’Amboise or Damboise.

Barthélémy and Geneviève’s two other sons, Barthélémy II and Joseph Augustin, and their families wound up in Louisiana. We have already seen what happened to their daughter Anne- Marie, who had married Jacques-Philippe Godin dit Bellefeuille. There are no indications as to where Marie and her husband François Roy wound up. Their only other daughter was Marie- Anne.

Joseph Godin dit Bellefontaine and his son, Michel, after their capture at Pointe Ste-Anne by Hazen’s Rangers, were driven tied up to Fort Frederick. A short time later, Marie-Anne Bergeron and Eustache Paré joined them in captivity. The commandant of the fort spared their lives but sent them, almost naked, to Port Royal. They were sent to Boston, but the authorities in Boston refused to accept them. Eventually they were sent to England. During this whole time, they suffered severely, being kept in a ship’s hold, practically unclothed, for weeks. Their food was some kind of mashed and rotten mixture. In England, they were kept in that ship’s hold for another fifteen days. Finally, they were taken and released at Cherbourg, France.[117] They were in the most dreadful possible state of misery, of nudity, and of sickness from which several had already died and all the others were dying. They found in the homes of this town’s inhabitants the human sentiments and behavior, and the help which brought back to life those who had enough strength to sustain the effect.[118]

They received a pension from the king of 12 livres per day, but some time later this was cut in half. Their son, Michel, worked to help support them, but he died of smallpox on 30 March 1767. He was only 33 years old. Joseph and Anne-Marie suffered in poverty and misery for years. Their small pension allowed them to buy only the coarsest food. They slept on straw. They had only a few rags to wear.[119] They petitioned the king for relief. We have no indication whether or not they received any help, but the commissioner general of the Marine had already made arrangements for them to live in an abbey or other religious house where they could receive clothing and food.[120]

Fr. Bergeron writes:
an invaluable passage is collected in the “Role of the names, surnames
and positions of the Acadians of honorable family of North America who have
exercised military functions there, currently resident at Cherbourg (France)...
The Sieur Bellefontaine, dit Beauséjour, of the River St. Jean, son of Gabriel,
officer on the ships of the King... was adjutant of all the militias of the
River St. John... and there possessed as sole owner of several plots of land
where he had the pain to see massacred before his eyes one of his daughters and
three of the children of that daughter by the English... Aged 71 years.
Invalid... 300 livres... Marie-Ann Bergeron, his wife... daughter of Barthélémy
who was of Amboise and had been settled in Canada (sic, for Acadia: correction
by Placide Gaudet) where he sailed for his own business, and of Delle Cerau
(Serreau) de St Aubin... 300 livres (of pension).”[121]

Back on the Saint John River, when Father Charles-François Bailly arrived in 1767, there were no more than eleven Acadian families living near the Indian village of Ekoupahag.[122] On 13 June 1768, Father Bailly married the daughter of Ambroise & Anne St-Aubin, Angélique Saint- Aubin with Louis (a Malecite), son of Jean and Madeleine.[123] The St. Aubin name continued to remain within the First Nations / Native American community even to present times. While attending a powwow in New Hampshire, the author struck up a conversation with an Abenaki woman about our respective ancestors. After describing that he was Acadian, he noted that anyone with the name of Serreau or Saint Aubin in their family tree was a cousin. She asked if that was spelled “A-U-B-I-N?” When he answered affirmatively, she stood up to shake his hand, saying with a smile, “Hello, cousin!” So, as the nations intermarried and strengthened the area’s major political structure (the Abnaki Confederacy) the name of Saint Aubin has not only spread throughout New Brunswick but also New England.

On the following 18 July, Ambroise Saint-Aubin and Pierre Thomas visited the authorities at Halifax and met with the governor. They had a number of requests: that Father Bailly be permitted to legally live with them; that they grant the Indians along the Saint John more land at Ecoupahag, four acres at Point Saint Anne. These four acres included the Acadian cemetery and “the site of the old church,” obviously the one that had been burned down by Hazen in 1759.[124] Lillian Maxwell says that Father Bailly sent these two chiefs to make this request. Evidently he wanted to keep the site in the hands of Catholics and preserve it for the Acadians.[125] Ambroise Saint-Aubin was certainly also interested in preserving the site, since he most likely had some relatives and friends buried there. All of the Indian requests were granted.[126] After St. Aubin’s death in 1780, the Indians no longer cared about the land at Point Ste-Anne.[127]

During the Revolutionary War, the Americans looked for support from the people of the Saint John. The English at Maugerville, the Acadians and the Malecites were all sympathetic to the Americans. To neutralize this influence, the government of Nova Scotia granted a 500 acre tract at Ekoupahag, Savage Island, and Point Sainte-Anne.[128]

Five years later, New Brunswick was separated and made into a separate province. The new government issued an edict in 1784 declaring that landowners who had received their lands by letters patent from the government of Nova Scotia had to register at Fredericton any time during 1785, otherwise the title would automatically be annulled. The Malecites did not register and so they lost their title. New Brunswick re-granted all of these lands, except for the acres at Point Ste- Anne, no pressure being applied since Ambroise St. Aubin was no longer alive.[129]

In Louisiana, Michel I died before 6 August 1664. Barthélémy Bergeron II died before 9 April 1766. Joseph-Augustin died 30 August 1765. All died in St. Martinville, St. Martin Parish, Louisiana.[130]

Some of Barthélémy and Geneviève’s grandchildren died quite young, most probably because of the shock, stress, and ill-treatment they received during the Grand Dérangement. Most of them went on to start new lives wherever they finally settled down. Their descendants live in new homelands on the southern shore of St. Lawrence near Trois Rivières, Bécancour and Nicolet; in the Edmundston region of New Brunswick; throughout New England; spreading out from the New Acadia in Louisiana. Some individuals migrated away from their homelands, and their modern families are now all over the globe. The author knows of Bergerons in Arizona, Florida, and Washington DC. And his own extended family is now spread to Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Arizona, Oregon, Denmark, and undoubtedly a few more places. We are constantly discovering and communicating with new cousins.

Every single Acadian and Cajun Bergeron or d’Amboise (with all its variant spellings), without exception, is a descendant of Barthélémy Bergeron d’Amboise and Geneviève Serreau de St. Aubin.

[1] Hannay, p.329.
[2] Ibid.
[3] For a good synopsis of the conditions under which the Acadians lived at this time, and the little aid they tended to give freely the French military, see Murdoch, Vol. II, pp.
[4] Murdoch, Vol. II, pp. 60-61.
[5] Rushton, pp. 6-9.
[6] Ibid., p. 7.
[7] Ibid., p. 10.
[8] Rushton, p. 11.
[9] F. Thériault, p. 10.
[10] Ibid., p. 11.
[11] Rushton, p. 15.
[12] Maxwell, p. 23.
[13] Ibid., p. 24.
[14] Raymond, p. 105.
[15] Ibid, p. 106.
[16] Maxwell, p. 24.
[17] Bergeron, LGA, Vol. I, p. 261.
[18] Raymond, p. 106.
[19] Ibid.
[20] Maxwell, p. 25.
[21] Raymond, p. 108.
[22] F. Thériault, p. 10.
[23] Ibid., p. 11.
[24] Raymond, p. 110.
[25] Maxwell, p. 25.
[26] Ibid.
27] Ibid.
[28] G. Desilets., pp. 14-15.
[29] G. Desilets, p. 15.
[30] The author’s line of ancestry goes from Michel II to his son François, to his son Antoine, to Théophile, then Jules, who came to the United States. Guy Desilets’ line goes from Antoine to his son Jean Baptiste, to Calixte, to his daughter Annie, who married Jean Desilets.
[31] Ibid. pp. 15-17.
[32] Raymond, p. 112.
[33] Maxwell, p. 25.
[34] F. Thériault, p. 11.
[35] Maxwell, p. 25.
[36] F. Thériault, pp. 11-12.
[37] Ibid. p. 12.
[38] Ibid. p. 10.
[39] Maxwell, p. 25 and Raymond, p. 101.
[40] Raymond, p. 101.
[41] Maxwell, p. 25 and Raymond, p. 101.
[42] F. Thériault, p. 12.
[43] Ibid., p. 15.
[44] Raymond, pp. 122-123.
[45] F. Thériault, p. 12.
[46] Ibid., pp. 12-13.
[47] Ibid., p. 13.
[48] F. Thériault, p. 13.
[49] Maxwell, p. 26.
[50] F. Thériault, p. 14.
[51] Ibid., p. 15.
[52] Raymond, p. 123.
[53] F. Thériault, p.13-14.
[54] Raymond, pp. 123-124.
[55] F. Thériault, p. 15.
[56] Ibid. p. 17.
[57] Ledoux, p. 79.
[58] F. Thériault, p. 18.
[59] Ibid., pp. 18-20.
[60] Ibid., pp. 20-22.
[61] Raymond, p. 122.
[62] Ibid., p. 22.
[63] Ibid.
[64] Ibid., pp. 22-23.
[65] Ibid., p. 25.
[66] White, p. 122 and p. 747.
[67] F. Thériault, p. 25.
[68] Ibid., p. 26.
[69] G. Desilets, pp. 17-18.
[70] F. Thériault, p. 20.
[71] Raymond, p. 133.
[72] Ibid., pp. 139-140.
[73] F. Thériault, p. 25.
[74] Bergeron, SGCF69c, p. 164. He provides another list, of the same adults but with different numbers of children in SGCF69d, pp. 218-219.
[75] Bergeron, LGA, Vol. I, pp. 264-265.
[76] Ibid., p. 259.
[77] Bergeron, SGCF69c, pp. 164-165.
[78] White, p. 747.
[79] Bergeron, SGCF69c, p. 173.
[80] Raymond, p. 103.
[81] Ibid.
[82] G. Desilets, p. 18.
[83] A. Desilets, p. 59.
[84] Raymond, p. 28.
[85] Ibid., p. 8.
[86] Ibid.
[87] Raymond, pp. 27-28.
[88] G. Desilets, pp. 18-19.
[89] A. Desilets, p. 58.
[90] Bergeron, LGA, Vol. I, p. 261.
[91] Bergeron, SGCF69c, p. 165.
[91] G. Desilets, p. 19.
[93] Bergeron, LGA, Vol. I, p. 261 and G. Desilets, p. 19.
[94] G. Desilets, p. 19.
[95] A. Desilets, pp. 60-61.
[96] G. Desilets, p. 19.
[97] White, p. 747.
[98] Ibid., p. 123.
[99] Bergeron, LGA, Vol. I, p. 261.
[100] G. Desilets, p. 17.
[101] A. Desilets, p. 61.
[102] Ibid., p. 62.
[103] Bergeron, LGA, Vol. I, p. 261.
[104] A. Desilets, p. 62.
[105] G. Desilets, p. 19.
[106] Ibid., p. 58.
[107] Bergeron, SGCF69c, p. 165.
[108] A. Desilets, p. 62.
[109] Bergeron, SGCF69c, p. 165.
[110] Bergeron, LGA, Vol. I, p. 262.
[111] A. Desilets, p. 62.
[112] G. Desilets, p. 20.
[113] Bergeron, SGCF69c, pp. 165.
[114] G. Desilets, p. 19.
[115] Ledoux, p. 79.
[116] Bergeron, SGCF69c, p. 164.
[117] F. Thériault, pp. 49-50.
[118] Ibid., p. 50.
[119] Ibid.
[120] Ibid., p. 51.
[121] Bergeron, SGCF69c, p. 166.
[122] F. Thériault, p. 25.
[123] Ibid., p. 23.
[124] Ibid.
[125] Maxwell, p. 30.
[126] Ibid.
[127] F. Thériault, p. 23.
[128] Ibid., p. 26.
[129 Ibid., pp. 26-27.
[130] White, Vol. I, p. 122.

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]