Acadian-Cajun Genealogy & History

The 1758 Exile

       In 1758, Louisbourg (the last French stronghold on the Atlantic coast) fell. Thousands of Acadians at Louisbourg and Ile St. Jean (present-day Prince Edward Island) were deported to northern France. Again, many Acadians did not survive the trip. In fact, two entire ships sank, drowning hundreds of Acadians The surviving Acadians arrived in St. Malo in early 1759.
Louisbourg falls ... another exile follows
     Louisbourg was in trouble, and Villejouin got 200 men from Ile St. Jean to go to its aid on July 1.  But 100 had to be abandoned because they had no shoes.  The rest proved useless, since Louisbourg surrendered on July  26, 1758.  England’s policy was now to get rid of the French completely.  All were to be sent to France. [Harvey, p. 188]
     On Aug. 8, Amherst had Lord Rollo & Lieut. Spry (engineer) take 4 ships of war and 500 men to Ile St. Jean.  He was to build a fort.  M. Crucour sent 2 officers from Louisbourg to inform the French to surrender.  If they resisted, kill them.  All of the inhabitants were to be brought to Louisbourg. [Harvey, p. 189]
     Rollo arrived and started work on Ft. Amherst.  After hearing from the French officers, the settlers offered no resistance, though many in outlying settlements escaped to Quebec and Miramichi ... carrying or destroying as much household goods and livestock as possible.  Indians (150) on the north shore destroyed property so the English wouldn’t get it.  The chaplain at Port La Joye had escaped the day before Rollo arrived, but the priests at Northeast River, St. Peters, and Point Prim were deported with the settlers.  The first group of 692 was sent out from Port La Joye.  The commandant Villejouin wrote a note on Sep. 8, 1758. [Harvey, p. 190]
     He had made preparations to defend the island, but with the fall of Louisbourg it was unnecessary.  He knew he couldn’t advise the people to take arms.  Even if he had time to evacuate the island, it would have been impossible. [Harvey, p. 191]
     Miramichi was the closest place, but it was so lacking in provisions that some who went there have since returned ... better to be deported than to starve to death.  The inhabitants asked Rollo if they could keep their lands.  He forworded the request to Louisbourg, which refused it ... apparently they planned to totally rid themselves of the French.  Though Rollo had evacuated about 700 (including the commandant), there were still 4000 on the island.  He infers that they have been slow in turning themselves in due to the treatment of the English.  It’s been 3 years since the last of the refugees arrived on the island.  Provisions and clothing had been scarce.  There were heavy losses and hardship in their getting there.  It seems that no one actually starved. [Harvey, p. 192]
     They are headed to France.  He has “seen them plunged into the most frightful misery that they have ever experienced, such as I can scarcely paint for you.  These people will be without food and clothing, unable to procure lodgings and firewood, in a strange world, timid by nature, and knowing not whither to turn in their hour of need.”  He thought the English should leave some of the Acadians on the island to care for the livestock (incl. 6000 cattle). [Harvey, p. 193]
     A letter from Boscawen to Pitt (Sept. 13, 1758), based on Rollo’s information, shows how the English didn’t know much about Ile St. Jean.  He said they had over 10,000 cattle and many inhabitants said they grew 1200 bushels of corn a year.  Quebec was their only market.  They were Quebec’s only supply of corn and beef in the New World.  Those from this island have been killing the English inhabitatants to sell their scalps to the French. [Harvey, p. 194]
     They had thought the island held 400-500 inhabitants, but M. Drucour said there might be as many as 1500.   The story of the French paying Indians (not Acadians) for English scalps may 
have been true, but the claims of supplying livestock to Quebec was all wrong.  The Acadian Gautier (Nicolas’ son) was the only one who went with Indians on scalping raids. [Harvey, p. 195]
     The deportation of Ile St. Jean went slowly.  Some were escaping (with French help) from the north shore, but Capt. Hay in charge of the transports wouldn’t allow any of them to go there.  On Oct. 29, Lord Rollo reported 1500 embarked.  On Nov. 5, Admiral Durell reported 2000 embarked on 16 transports and sent as cartel ships to France.  On Nov. 6, Whitmore reported to Pitt that 2200 were embarked but Rollo had to leave a whole parish (of a far part of the island) behind.  Rollo returned to Louisbourg on Nov. 14. 
     It’s hard to determine the exact number deported.  Besides the 2000 Durell said were deported before Nov. 5, 7 transports left Canso on Nov. 25 led by Captain Nicholls on the Duke William. [Harvey, p. 197]
     Over 700 people were on the 2 largest ships ... the Duke William and the Violet.  With the 5 smaller ones holding 600, there would be a total of 3500 deported in 1758.  Of these, 700 were drowned.  But, were these 7 ships part of the 16 mentioned by Durrell? 
     Of the 3100 Acadians deported from Ile St. Jean, it is estimated that about 1650 of them drowned or died of disease.
     Many of them escaped from the north shore to Quebec on French schooners.  Others fled to Miramichi, but they had no food.  A Sept. 24, 1758 report from Murray to Wolfe stated that those at Miramichi were starving and preparing to go to Canada. [Harvey, p. 198]
     Some found their way to St. Pierre and Miquelon; a 1767 census there shows 81 from Ile St. Jean
     The parish of Malpeque and some around the Northeast River had escaped deportation.  They soon become good at hiding in the woods. [Harvey, p. 199]
     When ships were sent to Ile St. Jean in spring 1759 to pick up the remaining inhabitants, the person in charge (Capt. Johnson) said they had all gone off to Canada.   A report by Gov. Wilmot (June 2, 1764) estimates 300 Acadians on the island ... who declared “recently in a most solemn manner” that they would recognize no king except the King of France.  Capt. Holland estimated 30 Acadians families on the island in 1765.  Capt. Morris estimated 207 Acadians there in 1767. [Harvey, p. 200]

     Those Acadians deported to France were joined in 1763 by those who had been kept at England.    In 1763, there were 2400 living on welfare in France. 

More material on those exiled in 1758 is on the Ile St. Jean page.
Visit the Exile pages for more information on specific exile locations. 

Meanwhile, in the American colonies ...
     Meanwhile, the Acadian exiles in the American colonies weren't doing very well.  Only Connecticut had made any arrangements (in Oct. 1755) to accept the refugees. 
     In Boston, one vessel had sick people, with 40 on deck (they were overcrowded).  Another also had 40 on deck.  And another was sick with bad water.  There hadn’t been enough food for the trip.  A few were allowed to land.  Two thousand landed at Boston, 200 at N.Y, and 300 and Connecticut.  The rest went to PA, MD, the Carolinas, and GA.  In Philadelphia, the 3 ships held the passengers on board for 2 months.  by Nelson Surette
     A petition was filed there in 1766 for payment of coffins for the Acadians (called French Neutrals).  From 450, many had died ... leaving 217.  SC gave the Acadians vessels and they (1/2 made it) sailed up to the St. John River.  Those in GA were allowed to make boats and headed north.  They got as far as MA when Lawrence had their boats seized and imprisoned them.  Things were also hard in MD; many left for Canada when they could.  Those sent to VA were refused landing, and were taken to England.  Four of the 20 ships never made it.  One was lost.  Storms blew two to Santo Domingo.  Another was taken by the Acadians back to Acadia. 
     In the N.Y. counties of Kings, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, and Westchester, 93 people (18 families) were settled.  A May 6, 1756 list names them:  An act was passed on July 9, 1756 allowing Justices to bind out French Neutrals. It says how they arrived “poor, naked, and destitute of every convenience.” 
     It only applied to those who were useful/employed.  Their service was to be contracted, with a time limit and amount to be paid.  Under this act, 110 Acadians (58 girls, 52 boys ... almost all <21) who came from Georgia in August 1756 were bound out.  For a while, some of them were kept on Governor’s Island, N.Y. Bay, until distribution to Winchester and Orange counties by 
Aug. 26, 1756. 
     A list of family head and number of children is given in the book.   In the N.Y. colony, 332 Acadians arrived in May and August 1756.  The counties received: Kings (9), Orange (81), Queens (44), Richmond (13), Suffolk (44), and Westchester (141).  The county had 55 minors bound out. 
      Every now and then, Acadians arrived in NY from GA.  On Aug. 29, 1756, the sheriff (Willet) informed the govt. of 44 Acadians that needed care.  There were sent to various places (Bedford, New Castle, etc.).  Nine were distributed on Oct. 16, 1756.
     In July 1757, a group of Acadians from Westchester escaped and were captured near Ft. Edward, on their way to Crown Point.  In Aug. 1757, the N.Y. council ordered that Acadians in their counties be put into the jails.  This was done to the male Acadians by Aug. 13.  A N.Y. merchant (Daniel Jauncey) offered the council to pay to ship the Acadians away (on behalf of the Acadians), but it didn’t work out.  In 1765, the Marquis de Fenelon said he’d accept 150 of them in the West Indies, but the offer was ignored. 
     On Aug. 25, 1768, a small group came in on the sloop Swallow from Quebec.  On April 28, 1756, a sloop arrived with Acadians from Cap Sable, but were refused landing.
     On Aug. 6, 1756, an Acadian (Jacques Morris) arrived with 2 vessels of Acadians from GA (via Barnstable), but were refused landing. The sloop Lemmon also brought 50 Acadians but was refused landing.  Benj. Smith took some Acadians to his house (the book lists them).  Their daily allowance (per 5 people) was: 3 1/2 pecks of Indian meal, 1 peck of rye, pork, beef and sauce, and 2 quarts of milk.
      There are various notes of Acadian news in the area, such as: on May 13, 1763, Benj. Fitch took in James Eber and family (from Dartmouth) as tenants.  On Sept. 15, 1762, a number of vessels arrived at Boston harbor from Halifax with Acadians.  The ships were the: Lyon, Exchange, Charming Nancy, schooner Charming Nancy, Despatch, Hopson.
     The South Carolina Gazette noted on Nov. 6, 1755 that the Baltimore Snow was expected soon with Acadians.  This concerned the population.  In a few weeks, 1020 Acadians had arrived.  In Feb. 1756, two groups attempted to escape.  On the 12th, all but 30 had been brought back.  The Acadians were saying that they could make their way back to Canada over land. 
     A group of Acadians arrived from Georgia on April 1.  They planned to keep going up to Acadia.  On the 15th, 80 Acadians left in 7 canoes as far as Sullivan’s Island.  They had obtained passports.  The following morning, they put to sea, headed for Acadia.  They were followed by 300 more.
     In Charleston, they planned to spread them out.  They dispersed 80% of them throughout the province.  The churches were to take care of their needs for the first 3 months.  They were allowed to bind them out.  The other 20% were to be put in the towns by the church of St. Philips.  They were not allowed to have firearms.  Most Acadians in the area eventually left, though a few (ie. Lanneau in Charleston) remained. Worcester received 11 people. 
     Those that were left in 1767 made their way to Canada.  Some from Grand Pre were put down in Baltimore.  Things were a bit better here, where even some private homes were opened to them.  Some stayed in an old mansion (the Reverdy Johnston house, at the NW corner of Calvert & Fayette St., where the courthouse now stands), where they also made a small chapel for themselves.  They later built homes on South Charles St., near Lombard.  The area was known as “French Town”.     They built a church (St. Peter’s Church) at St. Charles and Saratoga St.  Later, on July 7, 1806, they laid the cornerstone to a bigger cathedral to be built.  Marshfield, Plymouth County, MA has records of the Acadians.  One of the houses they lived in had belonged to Col. John Winslow.
     On June 4, 1760, 22 vessels, led by a brig of war, arrived.  They found 60 ox-carts and yokes ... left by the Acadians.  They found bones of starved animals and ruins of homes.  The dykes had broken in a 1759 storm (and Acadians helped repair them).  The Grand Pre and Gaspereau area was now called Horton. [Herbin, 128-148]

The 1755 Exile
The 1758 Exile
The "End" of the Exile
Exile Destinations
England | Quebec | New Brunswick | Prince Edward Island | Nova Scotia | France
St. Domingue | Martinique | French Guiana | Falkland Islands | St. Pierre & Miquelon | Louisiana
American Colonies
Connecticut | Georgia | Maryland | Massachusetts | New York | Pennsylvania | South Carolina

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