Wednesday, August 22, 2007

PART IV “Nos amis, l’ennemi”

Chapter 11: Port Royal and Campobello

Their home at Passamaquoddy (on Campobello) probably in ruins, the Bergeron d’Amboise family undoubtedly settled down in Port Royal for a while.

Marie-Anne, born in Boston, was baptized in Port Royal on 20 September 1706. Just over three years later (26 September 1709) daughter Anne (or Anne-Marie) was baptized at the age of two days. Her sponsor was “Pierre Gaultier, Godmother Damoiselle Marie-Anne Gautier (who signs a very beautiful hand)... brother (Récollet Father) Justinien Durand.”[1] The following year, the final child was born, a son named Joseph-Augustin.[2] According to Fr. Bergeron, a daughter Françoise was born in 1708, but it turns out that the Françoise he mentioned was probably a granddaughter.

Barthélémy evidently continued his old ways. He seems to have been a merchant (the English said “smuggler”) in peace time and a privateer (the English undoubtedly said “pirate”) in war time. One document says that he “sails on his own account” outside of the “occasional trip against the Bostonians.” His travels took him between the Acadian towns of Port-Royal, the Minas Basin towns (Grand Pré, Cobequid and Pisiquid), Beauséjour, Chipoudy, etc....[3] Up and down Fundy he sailed, with sun and with storm. He experienced the thrill of whales broaching off the beam and of porpoises racing just under his bows. He saw the bay from waters fifty feet higher than they had been a mere six hours earlier. Six hours later he was able to examine towers of rock nearly five storeys tall which could shred his hull when they were submerged. He sailed and studied, navigated and learned, mastered every square foot of this bay and became a navigator of considerable renown.

During these years there was much more activity between Acadians and Bostonians than either side’s government would have desired. The Acadians did not have a money economy, but relied on their own local resources, helping each other in a very “socialist” manner. They traded with various merchants for items they were not able to provide for themselves. Of course, it has always been practically impossible to tax trade by barter. Because of this economy, which continued long after the English took over Nova Scotia, the authorities branded merchants like Barthélémy as smugglers. But this kind of life continued even during periods of wartime and there are indications that some Boston merchants actually traded muskets, powder and shot to the French, who gave them to their Indian allies to use against the New Englanders in their wars. The trade was so common at all times that the Acadians called the Bostonians “Nos amis, l’ennemi— Our friends, the enemy.” We will even see later on that Barthélémy had a Bostonian friend who seems to have been quite close.

Fr. Bergeron tells us of the kind of vessel Barthélémy sailed: “This coastal navigation was as important as the easily-observed facts: the size of the launch-schooner (chaloupe-goélette) in question, the volume of its cargo, the five man crew found there,....”[4]

“Other things that absolutely need to be added to properly judge these men and these things: the passage alone, from the French Bay to the St. John River, of the reversible falls or of the dangerous passes of the fiendish narrows that make, even in our day, an exploit as dangerous as rare; furthermore, the frequent and dense fogs of this Bay which so frighten sailors, without counting the monster tides varying from thirty to eighty feet (and which require, even today, some quays to be constructed in levels of multiple landings) cause numerous problems of navigation. It is necessary to have leaned from the top of these quays to view the sea below to know... vertigo!”[5]

But all was not trade and peaceful sailing. The Bostonians were determined to conquer Acadia, evidently believing that would take away their French problem. They laid siege to Port Royal in June 1707. Bonaventure was ill at the time, right there in the fort. The English destroyed a number of farms and houses, including Bonaventure’s home and everything he owned. The Bostonians left when St. Castin arrived with a band of Abenaki Indians, then returned in August. St Castin again came to the rescue. The English left for good after a number of sharp fights.[6]

For the next couple years, the Acadians tried to strengthen the fort, while Indians carried on the land war. Privateers kept after enemy shipping, and the booty captured served as supplies for Port Royal.[7] In 1709 Baptiste settled in Beaubassin where he became a port captain. He sailed often between that settlement and Placentia, Newfoundland, where he outfitted numerous privateers.[8]

It seems that the Bergeron d’Amboise family was certainly still in Port Royal in 1709. Fr. Bergeron wrote that the first register of Port-Royal has this entry: “26 September, baptism of Marie-Anne Bergeron (who later married Joseph Bellefontaine dit Beauséjour, “in the Chapel of Saint-Laurent of the upper river”) born of 24th of the same month, daughter of Barthélémy Bergeron and Geneviève Scrault (sic). Sponsor, the sieur Pierre Gautier, Godmother Damoiselle Marie-Anne Gautier (who signs a very beautiful hand)... brother (Récollet Father) Justinien Durand.”[9]

Then came another war. In 1710 the English attacked Port Royal in force. The French garrison was forced to surrender on 13 October. The whole garrison, including Bonaventure, was shipped off to La Rochelle, in France. Bonaventure tried to get the French government to accept plans for the recapture of Port Royal, but he died the following year in La Rochelle.[10] The English had conquered (for the final time) the peninsula known as Acadie Peninsulaire by the French and as Nova Scotia by the English. Port Royal was renamed Annapolis Royal.

The d’Amboise family appears four years later in the Acadian Census of 1714, made by Father Félix Pain, Récollet, missionary of Beaubassin, on 28 August. According to all the copies of this census that the author has seen, it lists the family this way:

“DAMBOUC and wife, 3 sons, 3 daughters.”[11]

For the longest time it never registered that this was our ancestor. Then something clicked. Obviously the printed records are a misreading of the handwriting; the “i” and the “s” in “Damboise” must have been run together so that they looked like a “u” while the “e” must have been written hastily so that it looked like a “c.”

Fr. Bergeron assures us that “Placide Gaudet [one of the greatest Acadian genealogists and historians] clearly established... that this Damboise was in fact Barthélémy Bergeron d’Amboise.'[12]

Before continuing, here is a description of Port Royal, written by Father de Rochement, s.j.: “Port Royal... Is a seaport, and before arriving there one enters the basin for which the entrance is about a hundred steps wide. This fort is constructed at three places of this entrance and on a small river in which the biggest buildings went up under the batteries; it is of a good defense of earth and contains the houses of the officers, the barracks of the soldiers and the magazines of the king; it is at the foot of this fort that there are built houses of the middle-class... The continuous war that the English have always made there is the cause of its little growth...'[13] The census reported that the d’Amboise family lived in Port Royal, in the sector of the Cape. Another source, the “Unpublished Documents on Acadia” (1/166), further located the family in the vicinity of the Cape, but more specifically in the area called the Lower Town and, furthermore, “Near The Fort.”[14]

On either side of the “DAMBOUC” entry are the following entries: “Abraham DUGAST and wife, 4 sons, 2 daughters” and “Rene GRANGER and wife, 5 sons, 3 daughters.”[15] These seem to be the closest neighbors to our ancestor’s family. In his analysis of the census data, Fr. Bergeron mentions that they lived “among neighbors who, sixty years later, ‘found themselves...’ at this Nicoletaine Petite-Cadie [i.e., the Nicolet region of Québec where St-Grégoire is located] ...: the Orillon-Champagnes, the Vigneaus, the Boudreaus, the Melansons, the Belliveaus, etc.”[16]

“They have, at this time,” Fr. Bergeron wrote, “three boys (Barthélémy II, Michel and Joseph- Augustin) and three girls (Marie, Françoise and Marie-Anne).”[17] But the daughters had to have been Marie, Marie-Anne, and Anne (or Anne-Marie).[18]

In 1714, with Port Royal no longer in French hands, Baptiste acted as an advisor to the French government on the choice of a new military base on Cape Breton Island.[19]

Three years later, Marie Bergeron married (Jean-)François Roy at Port-Royal (18 January 1717).[20] The marriage mass was celebrated by Father Justinien Durand, a Récollet missionary.[21] This young couple were probably the first to make Barthélémy and Geneviève grandparents; they may have had a daughter (Marie-Jeanne) before 1720 (the records are lost) and definitely had a son (Bénoni) in that year.[22]

Two major family events occurred in 1721. On 21 April 1721, Barthelemy II married eighteen-year-old Marguerite Dugas, the daughter of Claude Dugas and Marguerite Bourg of Port Royale. She was a cousin of the Abraham Bourg who lived next door to the Bergeron d’Amboise house in Port Royale.[23]

Sometime that same year, Michel married a woman whose name we do not know. He had four wives; we know the names of only two.[24] We also do not know where she was from.

The following year (1722) Barthélémy II and Marguerite Dugas had their first child, a son named Jean-Baptiste.

Chapter 12: Campobello (Again?)

Information from now on becomes very scarce. We do have some indications, however, of where our family lived and some of the things they did. The information about the Bergeron d’Amboises living on Campobello comes from materials written and stored in the English- speaking world. Fr. Bergeron did use the work of Beamish Murdoch, but it seems that he and the Acadian historians and genealogists did not look much further.

First, we know that there were indeed Acadian settlements on Campobello. Guy Murchie wrote in his Saint Croix Courier series: “It is a matter for sincere regret, however, that we do not know the sites of these French settlements, particularly that of St. Aubin. Aside from the indirect evidence we have referred to, the only information we have upon the subject is found upon a map, to be referred to in a future article, made early in the last century [i.e., the early 1700s] by Captain Cyprian Southack. If the imperfect topography of this map is correctly interpreted by the present writer, it locates French houses upon Campobello, near Wilson’s Beach; on Ecose Island, Pleasant Point, and the lower end of Deer Island. Old cellars, believed to be French, are found upon Indian Island; and others, which are possible French, at Mill’s Point, between Cak Bay and Waweig. Their other settlements were probably at St. Andrews, at the mouth of the Magaguadavic, at St. Stephen or Calais, and at Letang.”[25]

Guy Murchie, in his Saint Croix: Sentinel River, has the following account that is proof, we believe, of the Bergeron d’Amboises living on Campobello:

In Lovewell's War, so called, Passamaquoddy was the scene of the first encoun­ter of the campaign. The sloop, Ipswich, in which Hibbert Newton, Collector of Customs at Annapolis Royal, John Adams, son on one of the councillors of Nova Scotia, and a Mr. Savage of Boston and his negro servants were passen­gers, touched at Harbor de Loutre, Campobello, on June 13, 1722. It proved for them to be a kind of Pearl Harbour.

They anchored there on their way to Boston with the idea of going ashore for breakfast at Monsieur Dambois' house. While there they were looking at some flakes used for drying fish, Pierre Neptune and twelve other Indians, armed with hatchets and knives, "naked and nearly as long as a bugginett," seized Captain James Blinn of the sloop. Blinn struggled and demanded what it meant.

"War," answered Chief Joseph St. Aubin, who had just come from Saint John, where it had been planned to seize all English ships, destroy Annapolis, and rid the country generally of English.

The party was confined in Dambois' house under guard, the old man [59 years old] having disappeared. During the scrimmage, however, the two sailors who had rowed them ashore managed to slip away unnoticed, got in the dinghy, and started for the sloop. The Indians demanded that Blinn hail them back. Instead he shouted for them to go on board and make sail. Then he told the Indians, who didn't understand the order, that the sailors were too frightened to obey.

The Indians insisted that all on the sloop be brought on shore. Accordingly Mr. Savage at Blinn's request, started to go aboard. On coming along side in a canoe paddled by two of the Indians with a guard of two other canoes, he slipped quickly over the side of the sloop and ordered the crew to fire on the canoes. Seeing what was up, the Indians made off.

The sloop being now under sail and about to escape, the stratagem of the cap­tain caused the Indians to release the prisoners upon the promise of presents. It was agreed that two of Dambois' men should go on board for the presents, but Savage sent only a part of what Blinn had ordered. The Indians refused to accept a part. When Dambois' men went back for the remainder Savage told them he would send no more unless the prisoners were released and put on board. He gave them an ultimatum that if this was not done within the hour, the sloop would sail for Annapolis. Blinn was helpless. He wrote an order to Sav­age to show that his plan for release was official. Before the canoe arrived the third time, however, the sloop had sailed.

The prisoners were now in great fear of the Indian's revenge. Hibbert Newton's journal, which tells us the story, says that God was good. D’Amboise having returned, their release was finally arranged by his giving the Indians twenty- seven pistoles' worth of Indian corn, powder and shot, which together with the presents from the sloop already delivered amounted to about 60 pounds. The Indians then crossed to their wigwams on Indian Island where they celebrated all night with occasional gunfire, which caused the late prisoners some anxi­ety.[26]

Captain Blinn had a small shallop stored at Otter harbor. A timely Bay of Fundy fog set in and the shallop sailed for Grand Manan from which island after another night in the open the harassed voyagers managed to reach Annapolis with news of another war.[27]

This story shows up in a number of references of many periods of time. Alden Nowlan, in his Campobello: The Outer Island, quotes Mr. Hibbert Newton, who was present during these events:

It was Earlely ye 13th wee came to an Anchor att a place called Otter Har­bour in passimaquada. As near as I can guess about six a clock, the Boat was hoisted out and Mr. Blinn, Mr. Savage, Mr. Adams Jun’., my son Tommy not quite four Years of Age, with Mr. Savages Negro man and two Sailors belong­ing to the Sloop, went on shore, with a Design to have refreshed ourselves at Mons. Dambois’s house the people lookt very Dejected, and Melancholy at our entering their house, but the reason we could not Imagine, till Leaveing the Old man’s house, we went a quarter of a mile farther to his sons house [we do not know which son this was], where is the place the Flakes are, that they dry their Fish on, we were all Looking at the Fish, when on a Sudden one Pierre Neptune an Indian, with twelve Other Indians seized on Mr. Blinn with their Axes in their hands, and Naked Knives very near as Long as a Bugginett. Mr. Blinn at the first Struggled with them, then one of the Indians clapt his knife to his side, and had he made the least resistance would in all probability have stabbed him. We demanded the Meaning of this Treatment: and they answered us, it was warr, and we their prisoners…. Mr. Blinn Started up and asked him that Called himself Chief, what they would be att, and what they wanted. They told him his sloop and all his Cargoe, now in the time they were securing us, Two of our Boat Crew slipt into the Boat, and were got half way to the sloop, before the Indians Discovered them. When they did they Order’d Mr. Blinn to hale them a shore, but instead of that, they not understanding our Language, Mr. Blinn called to them to do as he had Ordered them that was to bring the Sloop to Saile which accordingly they did. We were verry much concern’d when we saw the Sloop had left us, and were in great fear the Indians might do us Some Mis­chiefs, for they were continually wetting their knives and Swinging their hatch­ets in their hands, however God Almighty’s providence so Order’d it they did us no harm but pointed to us to go into the Cannoes, and carried us to Dambois’ house when they agreed to release us Mr. Blinn paying them, twenty seven pis­tols, wch Dambois did for him in Indian Corn powder shot &c. and with things they had from on board the Sloop, amounted to about 60 pound. Before it was night two of the Dambois’s went in a Birch Cannoe to acquaint Mr. Blinn’s people to bring the Shallop to us as soon as it was dark which accordingly they did…. As soon as it was day rowed the Shallop out of the Harbour, it being quite calm. We had not rowed Long, before we had a hard gale at N.N.W. wch by the blessing of God carried us safe from the hands of the Salvages [sic].[28]

All in all, the treatment of the English by the Indians was quite mild and the price for their release was actually small. In August, 2001, my wife and I visited the Passamaquoddy Reservation just north of Eastport, Maine. There was a wonderful tribal museum there, with a huge number of photos on the wall of people having the surname of “Neptune.” So Pierre Neptune must have been of the native nation we now know as Passamaquoddy. Joseph St. Aubin was Geneviève’s nephew, the son of her brother Charles who had married a Malecite woman.[29] It would not be much of a stretch to imagine this young man visiting his aunt and uncle, Geneviève and Barthélémy. Given leaders from the Passamaquoddy and the Malecite, this Indian war involved at least two of the tribes in Acadia.

Given the incident just quoted, it seems that Charles Serreau de St-Aubin’s son Joseph grew into a “chieftaincy.” However, “chief” is a very misleading term. With most native nations in what later became the United States, a person was a leader as long as he had followers. Therefore, Joseph St-Aubin was persuasive, or had a personality that persuaded others to follow or was leading a popular cause – or all three. Furthermore, he had probably grown through a series of leadership roles in order to include members of other nations in his entourage.

Also, it is intriguing that Blinn should stop in at d’Amboise’s for breakfast. This indicates a friendship of some length and depth. Of course, we have no idea when it began, but we do know that it continued into the next generation: Captain James Blinn’s son, Peter, shows up in a later event concerning Michel Bergeron, son of Barthélémy and Geneviève.

Chapter 13: Laws against Indians

When the Massachusetts Bay House of Representatives heard of what had happened to Blinn and Newton, it passed the following resolution:

That Thirty Men under a proper Officer ... with Provision, Arms and Ammuni­tion be put on Board the Sloop offered by Margaret Blin the Petitioner, to repair as soon as may be to Passamaquada, and there to use their best Endeav­ours to recover from the Indians the Persons mentioned in the said Petition, to be taken with them the Effects, belonging to them or any of them, and in case of Refusal to deliver them, or that they can't find the Persons so unjustly and forcibly seiz'd upon, to make Reprisal of the like Number of Indians, if possible in order to Exchange them for our People, if it may be, or if that can't be done, to bring the said Indians to Boston.

And when they have done what is to be performed at Passamaquada, to touch in their return at the several Places or Harbours on this side, where it is proba­ble there may be any English Fishery or Vessels to give the Notice of the Fact committed at Passamaquada, and to warn them, and all such Vessels as they see Fishing on the Coast to be upon their guard, and in case they hear of any other Persons at any other Place seiz'd upon by the Indians, to endeavour the recovery of them, or make Reprisal in their stead.

And it is proposed that so far as the Sloop may be employed in going to Passamaquada, and in seeking the Recovery of said Blin and his Effects and in return in case she come directly back, the Sloop and the Sailors belonging to her as to their Wages and Provisions be at the Charge of said Blin, but as to the Time spent in Notifying other Places, at the Charge of the Province.[30]

The reaction of the Bostonians to the Indian actions they believed led to Lovewell’s War, not only Blinn’s capture, was immediate and potentially violent. On 25 July 1722[31] the Massachusetts government issued a proclamation that partially declared:

I do therefore by and with the advice of his Majesty's Council, hereby declare and proclaim the said Eastern Indians, with their Confederates, to be Robbers, Traitors and Enemies to his Majesty King George, his Crown and Dignity; and that they be henceforth proceeded against as such: Willing and Requiring all his Majesty's good Subjects, as they shall have Opportunity, to do and execute all acts of Hostility against them; Hereby also forbidding all his Majesty's good Subjects to hold any Correspondence with the said Indians, or to give Aid, Comfort, Succour or Relief unto them, on penalty of the Laws in that case made and provided. And whereas there be some of the said Indians, who have not been concerned in the perfidious and barbarous Acts beforementioned, and many may be desirous to put themselves under the Protection of this Govern­ment.[32]

This may have put the Bergeron d’Amboise family in some danger. They were not only located where Blinn and Newton were captured, but also, as we have seen, Geneviève had Indian relatives. People with such close family ties as the Acadians and the Native Americans simply could not abide by such laws. We do not know how soon they moved, but the family went inland into New Brunswick shortly after this.

Somewhere along the line, Blinn had gotten some sort of special item that he could use to establish communications with the Indians without danger.

In July 1723, a number of sailing vessels were taken by Indians in Canso (northern Nova Scotia) and other harbours near it. Governor Phillips outfitted a couple of fishing vessels manned with sailors to find the Indians and take the stolen ships back. There was a battle, many Indians were killed, some English captives were rescued, many ships were recovered but:

The loss of so many Indians enraged them (the Indians) and they determined to revenge themselves upon the poor fisherman, above twenty of whom yet remained prisoners..., and they were all destined to be sacrificed to the manes of the slain Indians. The powowing and other ceremonies were performing when Capt. Blin, in a sloop, appeared off the harbour and made the signal or sent in a token which had been agreed upon between him and the Indians, when he was their prisoner, should be his protection. Three of the Indians went aboard his vessel and agreed for the ransom, both of the vessels and captives, which were delivered to him and the ransom paid.[33]

Blinn appears throughout Murdoch’s work. At one point (23 August 1727) he was even imprisoned for insolent behavior, unmannerly gestures and disrespect to “H. M. authority and royal commission.” The council ordered him to be imprisoned for his offense.[34] Perhaps Blinn and the Bergeron d’Amboises had the same attitude towards the British authorities.

[1] Bergeron, SGCF69d, p.218.

[2] Bergeron, LGA, p. 264.

[3] Bergeron, SGCF69c, p. 171.

[4] Bergeron, SGCF69c, p. 172.

[5] Ibid.

[6] DCB, Vol. II, p. 177.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid., p. 450.

[9] Bergeron, SGCF69d, p. 218.

[10] DCB, Vol. II, p. 177.

[11] Cyr.

[12] Bergeron, SGCF69c, p. 162.

[13] Bergeron, SGCF69c, p. 162.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Cyr.

[16] Bergeron, LGA, Vol. I, p. 257.

[17] Bergeron, SGCF69d, p.218. He was wrong here. Barthélémy and Geneviève never had a daughter named Françoise. The Françoise Bergeron which Fr. Bergeron lists is actually a granddaughter.

[18] White, Vol. I, p. 1122.

[19] DCB, Vol. II, p. 450.

[20] White, Vol. I, p. 122.

[21] Public Archives of Nova Scotia.

[22] Bergeron, LGA, Vol. VII, p. 230.

[23] White, Vol. I, pp. 562-575.

[24] White, Vol. I, p.122.

[25] Murchie, Courier, Section XXX, third page.

[26] Murchie, St. Croux, pp. 121-123.

[27] Ibid, p. 123.

[28] Nowlan, pp. 12-13.

[29] White, vol. II p.1465.

[30] Massachusetts Bay Province Acts and Laws, p. 47.

[31] Penhallow, p. 91.

[32] Ibid, pp. 89-90.

[33] Murdoch, Vol. I, p. 401.

[34] Ibid. Vol. I, p. 444.

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