Wednesday, August 22, 2007

PART V. At Sainte-Anne-du-Pays-Bas

Chapter 14: Sainte-Anne du Pays-Bas

Barthélémy and Geneviève’s son Michel also was a sailor, but he evidently spent a good amount of time around Port Royal. About 1725, he took on a new name. He was confronted with the existence of another Michel Bergeron living in that town. This other man was no relation whatsoever; he had come from the French province of Auvergne. Actually, both men found it expedient to change their names. Michel Bergeron from Auvergne signed his name as Pierre Bergerac from that time on, “while the familial branch of Michel-from-Barthélémy took the surname de Nantes in place of d’Amboise.”[1] From now on he would be known as Michel Bergeron dit de Nantes or simply Michel de Nantes.

Shortly after this the Bergeron d’Amboise family moved up the St. John River. They settled in at Sainte-Anne’s Point, across from the old fort at Nashwaak which had been the headquarters of Governor Villebon. The church there was named for Sainte-Anne-du-Pays-Bas (Saint Anne of the Netherlands). This location would later become the city of Fredericton, New Brunswick. Here, Barthélémy was reunited with his friend Gabriel Godin dit Bellefontaine, whom he had met back in 1695.

The Treaty of Utrecht that had ended the war in which Port Royal had been lost, gave all of Acadie Peninsulaire (Nova Scotia) to the English. However,

the limits of Acadia never having been fixed, the French claimed that they com­prised only the peninsula of Nove Scotia, that especially the River St. John ... was excluded. Also Vaudreuil [governor of Canada]... would charge Father Loyard (Jesuit missionary)... to grant shares to colonists. His successor, Father Jean-Pierre Daniélou, took a census in 1733 that gave 20 families and one hun­dred eleven souls, with 15 (families) and 82 (souls) below the Indian village of Aukpaque, probably on the Point Ste-Anne (Frédéricton). Rumilly specified that ‘some Acadians of Port Royal have (at this time) founded a small settle­ment on the River St-John, in territory claimed by the French...’”[2]

Fr. Bergeron was convinced that Barthélémy and Geneviève moved to Ste-Anne as a result of the pressures being applied by the missionary priests between 1728 and 1730 to get Acadians out of the English area.[3] And:

our Bergerons, who with many others had resided in Acadie Peninsulaire despite the Bostonian conquest and the miserable treaty of Utrecht, on the insistence of the King of France, of the military chiefs of Continental Acadia and of the Missionaries, joined with other compatriots to find refuge in “French Acadia” and to found what will soon be “Sainte-Anne-du-Pays-Bas”, upstream on the River Saint-John.[4]

There are a couple problems with this information. First, the Bergeron d’Amboises, as we have seen, were probably not still living in Annapolis Royal (Port Royal) but on Campobello. At the very least, they were living at Annapolis Royal only part of the time. Second, they seem to have been at Ste-Anne-du-Pays-Bas well before 1728-30.

Marie-Anne, the daughter born in Boston in 1706, married Joseph Godin-Bellefontaine dit Beusejour at Ste-Anne-du-Pays-Bas in 1726. He was the son of Berthélémy’s old friends Gabriel Godin and Andrée-Angelique Jasne. They were actually married on the River Saint-John,[5] i.e., at the Sainte-Anne settlement. Marie-Anne probably did not come to this region alone, but with her parents, and it is a pretty safe bet that the young couple would not have met and immediately gotten married. Assuming they knew each other for about a year, we can make a reasonable assumption that the Bergeron d’Amboises had moved to central New Brunswick in 1724 or 1725.

The year after his sister was married (1727) Michel got married again, this time to Marie Dugas, the daughter of Abraham Dugas and Marie-Madeleine Landry, their old neighbors in Port Royal.[6] This was his second wife. Since we do not know who his first wife was, we have no way of knowing when or why she died. (She almost certainly died; Acadians seem never to have divorced.)

The folowing year, Barthélémy II and his wife Marguerite Dugas (married in Annapolis Royal on 21 April 1721),[7] had a new son Charles. The baby was born on 23 March 1728, and was baptized at the house by his grandfather, Barthélémy, who is described as a “resident of the St. John river” at that time. Later that year, on 13 June 1728, little Charles’ baptism was registered at St. Jean-Baptiste parish in Annapolis Royal.[8]

Meanwhile, Barthélémy continued “to sail on his own account.”[9] “We can also add...,” wrote Fr. Bergeron, “that Barthélémy Bergeron made, and probably alone, the usual coastal navigation of the immense French Bay (Fundy), between Point Ste-Anne of the St. John River and Memramcook and all the intermediate places....”[10]

Indeed, he may have continued privateering during the colonial wars. Barthélémy may also have served as support for Michel in these years. Fr. Bergeron again:

1730 (it might be better to say from 1696 to 1755) “Between two expeditions of Bostonians against Port Royal (Rumilly 1/184) some corsairs, using Port Royal as a base, threw the desolation back to the doors of Boston...” “Boston was aroused by these rapid and incessant blows... Church... went to sea again, where he was not entirely safe because of the privateers who, although few in number, even cut the route of the vessels whose destinations were the English colonies. Mentioned were Robineau, de Nantes [Michel Bergeron?], François Guyon, and Baptiste.... The Adventures of the chevalier de Beauchêne, written by Le Sage, tells in detail the life of these buccaneers, fighting in their manner under the flag of their country as long as the war between the crowns (of France and England) lasted.[11]

Port Royal was under English control (and called Annapolis Royal) after 1710. The assertion that the privateers operated out of Port Royal until 1755 is debatable. It may have been a situation of them hiding in the open or they may have operated out of other ports, the St. John River and the Acadian settlements in the north. But there are indications that both Barthélémy and Michel were sailing the Bay of Fundy in the early 1700s.

In 1729[12] or 1730[13] Barthélémy and Geneviève’s son Augustin married the 18- or 19-year-old Marie Dugas. She was the daughter of Claude Dugas and Marguerite Bourg, and the sister of Barthélémy II’s wife, Marguerite. About the same time (1730), daughter Anne-Marie (who had been born in 1709) married Jacques-Phillipe Godin dit Bellefeuille another son of Gabriel Godin and Andrée-Angelique Jeanne (Jasne) and brother of Joseph, Marie-Anne’s husband. Such relationships were common among the Acadians; there are numerous cases of two or more brothers marrying sisters.

On 20 March 1731, René LeBlanc of Grand Pré provided a list of people living on the St. John River to the authorities at Annapolis. There were about seventeen armed men in the area. He specifically mentioned the Bellefontaines (i.e., the Godins) and the Bergerons. These were the two families who had been settled there for almost forty years, since the time of Governor Villebon. This is how he enumerated these men: “The old Bergeron, called (dit) d’Ambroise [sic], Barthelemy Bergeron [i.e., Barthélémy II], Michel Bergeron, Augustin Bergeron, François Roy, the old woman Bellefontaine, Louison Bellefontaine, Beauséjour, Bellefeuille, Laincour, Boisjolly, Préville, Bonaventure (the eight Godin Bellefontaine brothers), a Dugas, a Foret of Cape Breton, Valecour.”[14] Pitre and Pelletier mention that the “old woman Bellefontaine” is the widow of Gabriel Godin. And so we know that Barthélémy Bergeron d’Amboise was definitely still living in 1731, now 67 years old, and we know that his old friend had died.

1731 Census of Pointe Sainte-Anne by René LeBlanc

The old Bergeron dit d’Amboise

Barthelemy Bergeron

Michel Bergeron

Augustin Bergeron

François Roy

The Old (Godin) Bellefontaine

Louison Bellefontaine

(Godin) Beauséjour

(Godin) Bellefeuille

(godin) Maincour

(Godin) Bois Jolly

(Godin) Préville

Bonaventure (Godin)

A Dugas

A Forest du Cap Breton

(Godin) Valecour

I (René LeBlanc) also declare that there was a Jesuit (Jean-Pierre Daniélou) come the past autumn to the River Saint John, sent by Canada - he who sould winter with the French who lived there.

[from F. Thériault, p.32-33]

Of course, through the years, the grandchildren kept arriving. In 1736, Michel and Marie Dugas had their fifth child, the third son. They named him after his father, Michel.[15] We will hear considerably more of him as a grown man.

It seems that another very important son had been born not far from Ste-Anne. Genevièves brother Charles had married a Malecite woman about 1690. They had two sons that we know of, Joseph and Jean-Baptiste. We met Joseph as a Malecite chieftain on Campobello in 1722, when Captain James Blinn and Hibbert Newton were captured during Lovewell’s War. It seems that the Malecite St. Aubin family settled at Aukpaque, some miles up the St. John River from Ste-Anne’s Point. It is certain that they were there in 1708.[16] Later we will meet a very important Malecite leader by the name of Ambroise St. Aubin, who lived at Aukpaque; he may very well have been a son of Joseph.

Chapter 15: A Visit to Annapolis Royal

In July 1736 Michel Bergeron and his brother-in-law, Joseph Bellefontaine, went to visit the old Acadian town of Port Royal, now called Annapolis Royal. We have no reason for their visit, except perhaps Michel wanted to visit his in-laws and ex-neighbors, the Abraham Dugas family. But it seems that they were ignorant of either the law (as it applied to French outsiders) or the social graces: they were charged with “contempt and disrespect in not coming to wait upon him [the lieutenant governor] on their arrival....” They were imprisoned.[17]

The two prisoners humbly begged pardon for their fault, for believing they were of too low a social status to be required to wait on such a personage. Evidently the authorities saw the opportunity to get some information, because Michel and Joseph were required to give a list of the inhabitants of St. Anne's, which they did. This list comprises 15 families, numbering 77 persons. It also indicates that there were now three sons and three daughters of Barthélémy and Geneviève, married with several children. Michel himself was one of them. There is no mention of old Barthélémy in this list.[18] We have no way of knowing whether he was dead or whether Michel was had chosen not to mention him for some other reason.

Then the governor suggested that they give “security for their good behaviour for the next twelve months.” They were required to make a penalty payment of one hundred pounds, New England money, for each of them.[19] The authorities probably thought these two country bumpkin Acadians could never pay such an exorbitant sum, or perhaps they were trying to cheat them out of the money.

1736 Census of Pointe Sainte-Anne by Father Jean-Pierre Daniélou

Married men and women boysgirls

Joseph Bellefontaine and his wife (Marie-Anne Bergeron)31

Michel Bergeron and his wife (Marie Dugas)33

Barthelemi Bergeron and his wife (Marguerite Dugas)54

Augustin Bergeron and his wife (Marie-Rose Melanson2

François Roy and his wife (Marie Bergeron)54

Jean Dugas and his wife 2

Louis Bellefontaine and his wife (Françoise Bergeron)1

Jacques Bellefontaine and his wife (Anne Bergeron)1

René Bellefontaine and his wife (Françoise Dugas)1

Pierre Bellefontaine and his wife (Marie-Anne Bourg)22

Jean Bellefontaine and his wife 31

Charles Bellefontaine and his wife (Marie Landry)1

Jean Pair (Laforêt dit Paré) and his wife

Pierre Pair and his wife

Pierre Robert and his wife


Total of men 15In all 77 souls apart from

of women15the missionary priest

of boys28Jean-Pierre Daniélou

of girls19

[from F. Thériault, p.33-34]

Interestingly enough, these two young men had arrived on a ship owned and operated by none other than a Captain Blinn. At this point, Captain Blinn himself offered to be bound for them, and, the captain being well known in the area, this was accepted.[20] This is an interesting situation. As one reads the work of Beamish Murdoch, Blinn seems to be working for the Annapolis government. Yet he offers to be bound for Michel (and Joseph), and 200 pounds was a lot of money. This could only indicate a friendship with the Bergerons, or at least the repayment of an obligation, an old debt to the Bergerons for having bought a Bostonian sea captain’s freedom in 1722.

What is even more interesting, this Captain Blinn could not be the same individual as the person at Campobello in 1722. That was James Blinn, and he had died in 1731 at Annapolis Royal.[21] This Captain Blinn seems to have been his youngest son, Peter, born 16 January 1704[22] (which made him about two years younger than Michel Bergeron). So we seem to have here a second generation friendship and the memory of a family debt.

We know for a fact that Michel was also a sailor. One account (which we will extensively quote later) that he plied the Bay of Fundy much as his father had done. There are also indications that he might have been a deep-water sailor, crossing the Atlantic to the French seaport of Nantes and back.

In 1741, Michel I and his wife Marie Dugas had their last child, a boy named Joseph.[23] Marie may have died in childbirth because Michel married again two years later, to a woman whose name is unknown.[24] Joseph grew up and married Angélique Saindon. This couple are the ancestors of cousin Joe Damboise of Grafton, NH. Joe has helped considerably in the research for this paper. This branch of the family includes another cousin, Bob Bergeron of Phoenix, AZ. Joe and Bob are second cousins to each other (and sixth cousins to this writer). Bob’s grandfather, Emile, kept the family name of “Bergeron” while Emile’s brother, Narcisse, chose to keep the family name of “d’Amboise,” which evolved into “Damboise”[25] (and asumed an Anglicized pronunciation). So, thanks to choices made by our ancestors along the way, both portions of the original family name have been preserved. This is the reason we insist on using the full name of “Bergeron d’Amboise” in this work.

1739 Census of Pointe Sainte-Anne by Father Jean-Pierre Daniélou

Actual state of the new French colony of the Rier Saint John, at one place below the village of Ekoupahag.

Philippe Bellefeuille his wife 4 children

Louis Bellefontaine his wife 2 children

Widow Engelique Bellefontaine, her son Bonaventure with his wife and her son-in-law Michel (saindon) with his wife and two children

Pierre Laforest his wife 2 children

René Valcour his wife 3 children

Charles Boisjolie his wife 3 children

Jean Laforest his wife 1 child

Frnçois Roy, his wife, eight children and his son François engaged to Marguerite

Barthelemy (Bergeron)

St-Aubin his wife 9 children

Augustin St-Aubin, his wife and children with one relative

Jean Dugas his wife 3 children

Beauséjour (Joseph Godin), his wife, five children and one domestic

Michel St-Aubin, his mother, his wife, eight children and one domestic.


Father Daniélou, missionary to the Savages and of the French bears witness to the following articles:

1st This rising colony deserves the protection of His Majesty through his zeal to supply to the Savages all that they need and to give them the means to shelter them from the dangers of the English trade.

2nd These French enlighten the novices by their exemplary regularity. They never give intoxicating drink, they wear themselves out for them, and never will they take the half of what is due them.

3rd This new settlement will be able to act as barrier to render useless the projects of the English. The beautiful river of Saint John abundantly supplies fish. The land there is fertile. The vicinity of the sea makes cod fishing easier. The large island called Messahane is full of moyacs and other game. There is no lack of wood for construction and our French make ships for trade

4th Monsieur Cavagnal de Vaudreuil, governor of Three Rivers and seigneur of the parish of Ekoupag, to aid the zeal of Monsieur the Marquis de Beauharnois, charged Sieur Alexandre Bourg with the responsibility of granting several plots of land, and he had the generosity to not require any fee up until the new colony would be solidly established. Our illustrious benefactors will not refuse, at least the tribute of our gratitude and the feeble help of our prayers.

5th To avoid wordiness, I finish admiring in silence the very singularity of Divine Providence on this new people, where we see neither sterile women, nor children ugly of body or spirit, nor oath takers, nor drunkards, nor corruption, nor inclination to seduce women, nor blindness, nor lazy people, nor beggars, nor invalids, nor takers of others goods.

We dare flatter ourselves that so many tokens of the Heaven’s protection will persuade you to protect us through a generous contribution and that you will grant us the necessary help for strengthening the nw colony.

For thirty years we suffered in silence the bad treatment of the savages, the heavy debts, the tributes that was necessary to pay them to whom Monsieur the General alone could put an end, the ravages of their hunting dogs.

Today the only confidence that we have in your paternal kindness emboldens us to ask for some bonus for a time, for example, one hundred pounds of powder per year and two hundred pounds of lead.

[from F. Thériault, p.34-35] [from F. Thériault, p.33-34]

Poor Michel had the worst luck with his wives. His third spouse died within four years of being wed, and he married Marie-Jeanne Hébert, his fourth (and final) wife in 1747.[26]

Chapter 16: Playing Tag Along the Coast

Michel appears in another scrape with the English. This one, in 1750, was quite a bit more serious. Here is the story as reported by Fr. Bergeron:

In the “Généalogies et notes acadiennes, deposited at Ottawa in 1906, Placide Gaudet of such respected memory, gave (in Append. IIIe) the text of the ‘JOURNAL of this which happened at Chignetou and other parts of the frontiers of Acadia from 15 Sept. 1750 until 28 July 1751... (taken from) a memoire... of a Relation made by the Sieur de la Valliere.’” The text is long, but very interesting:

About the fifteenth of November, the (Bostonian) captain Cox, commanding a ship armed with 30 soldiers from the company of Gorum and six canons, which cruised from Cap Enragé [at the beginning of Chignecto Bay] to Beaubassin, caught sight of a chaloupe [a launch-schooner or sloop] which came out of the Petit-koudiac River [the river from present day Moncton] commanded by Michau (for Michel, son of Barthélémy) d’Amboise (for Bergeron d’Amboise), making way for the St. John River, gave chase to him all day and forced him about four hours of the evening to run aground at full sail on Cap-des-Demoi­selles on the coast of the Chipoudy,....”[27]

The tide was going out at the time. Low tide was at 18h43 (6:43pm), so by 4pm the tide was quite low. It is possible that Michel was trying to outguess the shallow places in order to keep Captain Cox at a distance, and he miscalculated.[28]

... he fired many canonshots on it [the chaloupe] from where it sat aground, he lowered twenty men who went to the chaloupe, pursued five men who had been in it and who had abandoned it and retreated firing on them [the Bostonians].

They [the Bostonians] took from the chaloupe the large sail, a feather bed, some little bit of bacon and some peas and brought its anchor offshore to the length of its cable.

The Sieur de Baurans, officer of the troops of Louisbourg, who was com­mander of this post [Chipoudy] and who was just two leagues from there, hav­ing been informed, took about thirty Acadians and lay in ambush within range of the chaloupe where he passed the night with his people, after having brought the anchor back to land and partly unloaded the chaloupe so that it would be able to float....[29]

Captain Cox having noticed that people had arrived by the wild cries the Acadians made, fired many canonshots during the night which had no effect; with daybreak, the English having discovered the Sieur de Baurans and his people, continued to make a very lively artillery firing, but that was always without effect, de Baurans, Michel Bergeron, his five companions and the other Acadi­ans being on the banks of a stream that served them as entrenchment. Near four in the afternoon after having attempted to put some people ashore in two armed pirogues of about twelve to fifteen men each, and having been pushed back three times, not seeing any chance to succeed, captain Cox raised anchor and abandoned the chaloupe... having already at this point transfered the cargo which consisted of twenty casks of wheat or flour and a barrel of lard, had been taken (by de Baurans) for the King’s account and distributed by order of mon­sieur de Saint-Ours to a group of inhabitants who not having been able to bring in their harvest in time being employed at guard, from Chipoudy to the Point at Beauséjour having lost everything and being reduced to perish if someone had not given them some help as M. de la Corne had promised them in the name of the King that they would be compensated for all losses that they made, which has been carried out faithfully...”[30]

The feather bed which the Bostonians discovered on the chaloupe was an incredible luxury for those times, and in a relatively small boat. We wonder if this might not be the result of a son trying to make his father, who insisted on continuing to go to sea, as comfortable as possible in his old age. Remember, we have no idea when Barthélémy died. He was not mentioned in the list Michel gave to Lt. Governor Armstrong in 1736. But there is an even more intriguing comment from Fr. Bergeron: “If, later in 1751 {at the age of 88!?}, we see him deliver a similar naval fight to the enemy warships....”[31] Who knows? C’est possible!

[1] Bergeron, SGCF69c, p.169.

[2] Bergeron, SGCF69c, p. 162. His quote from Rumilly comes from Robert Roumilly, Histoire des Acadiens, vol. I, p.271.

[3] Bergeron, LGA, Vol. I, p. 258.

[4] Bergeron, SGCF69d, p. 218.

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

[6] Ibid.

[7] PubArchNS, RG 1 Vol. 26 p.326. The officiating priest was Father Charlemagne Cuvier. Marguerite Dugast was the daughter of Claude and Marguerite Bourg.

[8] PubArchNS, RG 1 Vol. 26a p.26. The officiating priest at the registration of this baptism was Father René Charles de Breslay. The godparents were Joseph Belliveau and an aunt, Anne Marie Dugast.

[9] Bergeron, SGCF69c, p. 171.

[10] Bergeron, SGCF69c, pp. 171-172.

[11] Bergeron, SGCF69c, p. 163.

[12] White, Vol. I, p. 566.

[13] Ibid., p. 122.

[14] Pitre & Pelletier, p.110.

[15] Bergeron, LGA, Vol. I, p.265.

[16] White, Vol. II, p. 1465.

[17] Murdoch, Vol. I, p. 514.

[18] Murdoch, Vol. I, p. 515.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Sat Aug 25 20:17:57 2001.

[22] Sat Aug 25 20:17:57 2001.

[23] Bergeron, LGA, Vol. I, p. 265.

[24] White, Vol. I, p. 122. The cause of Marie Dugas’s death is conjecture. All that we know for certain is that she dies “before 15 January 1748” (White, I-574) which does not say much because we do know that Michel remarried in 1743.

[25] Bergeron, Robert.

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

[27] Bergeron, SGCF69c, p. 163, and LGA, Vol. I, p. 260.

[28] The author calculated the low tide on 5 April 2004 at a web site named “Calcul de la marée” located at ann_marees/cgi-bin/predit_ext/choixp.

[29] Bergeron, SGCF69c, p. 163, and LGA, Vol. I, p. 260.

[30] Ibid. SGCF69c, p. 164, and LGA, I-261.

[31] Ibid., SGCF69c, p. 171.

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