|MARYLAND - 913 Acadians
You might think that Maryland, which was the
location of many English Catholics, might have offered a warmer welcome
than the other colonies. This was generally not the case. England
was still at war with the French and there was a strong bias against the
Catholics (Maryland was still mostly Protestant). Before the Acadians
arrived, the French presence in the Ohio Valley to the west of Maryland
caused them to distrust any French population. The newspaper (Maryland
Gazette) editor (Jonas Green) often warned of the French threat in
Nova Scotia, enciting public opinion against the Acadians. This anti-French/anti-Catholic
viewpoint was riding high, just when the Acadians showed up on their shores.
| The first ship to arrive in Annapolis, was
the Elizabeth ... a sloop captained by Nathaniel Millbury.
It received sailing orders on Oct. 13 and left Minas on the 27th with 242
Acadians. It arrived in Maryland on Nov. 20, 1755. Once there,
the captain complained that he was unfairly sent to the Wicomico River
area (until the governor's return) but wasn't given any additional supplies.
The Leopard (also called Leynard and Leonard), an 87 ton schooner captained by Thomas Church, left
Minas on Oct. 27 with 178. It was probably one of the least crowded
ships, carrying 178 Acadians ... only 4 in excess of the allotted 2 per
ton. It arrived at Maryland on Nov. 24 (others say Dec. 30, 1755).
It was noted that the Acadians on this ship disembarked against the captain's
wishes. They eventually ended up it Annapolis and Baltimore.
Capt. Francis Peirey sailed the Ranger (which had about 263 Acadians from Pisiquid) and arrived at Annapolis on
November 29, 1755. The 87 ton sloop Dolphin, captained by
Zebad Forman, left Pisiquid on Oct. 27 (some say Oct. 28) with 230 (some
say 227) Acadians. It and the Three Friends were anchored
at the north of Pisiquid, where the St. Croix and Avon Rivers meet.
The Dolphin was in the group of ships that sought shelter in Boston Harbor
when a storm struck on Nov. 5. While there, an inspection of the Dolphin found many sick passengers, with 40 lying above deck; 47 of them were taken
off the ship. They were given supplies and headed south, arriving
at Annapolis on November 30, 1755 with 180 Acadians. They were anchored
at the Severn River and weren't allowed immediate unboarding because the
governor (Horatio Sharpe) was absent. The Dolphin was later
sent to Lower Marlborough, Patuxent River.
There were 3 warships escorting the
24 vessels from Minas on October 28, 1755. Though one of them, the
Nightingale (capt. by Dudley Diggs) was supposed to escort them to Maryland,
Admiral Boscawen said it was headed for Pennsylvania. It is known that
the ship was separated from the convoy by a severe storm and ended up in
The ships brought Acadians from Grand
Pre (420) and Pisiquid (493). They arrived needing supplies.
The local population of Annapolis immediately complained about having to
provide supplies for them. So the assembly ordered 3 of the ships to go
to the Patuxent River, the Choptank River, and the Wicomico River to wait
on orders. The Leopard remained at Annapolis.
The French considered themselves to be prisoners
of war. At times, they were said to be British subjects. The
controversy continued for years. As prisoners, they thought they
should have been cared for; but no governmental support was offered.
They had to depend upon private help for provisions. Since the English
Catholics were prevented from helping, it was up to the Protestants to
help. But the needs were so great, the assistance ended and the Acadians
were forced into low-level jobs. They spent their existance in the
colonies at a poverty level.
The locals changed from calling the arrivals "French Papists" to feeling pity for them because of their poverty. When 900 arrived in Annapolis on 5 ships on Dec. 1, they didn't know where to put them. Some were sent to Patuxent, Oxford, and Somerset. Some were taken to Baltimore and stayed near the Battle Monument on Calvert Street. Those that stayed at Annapolis were put in large warehouses on Hanover and Duke of Gloucester Streets.
ACADIANS IN THE SNOW by Robert Dafford
|| For example, an Andrew Stygar paid to house
some Acadians at Baltimore for a few days, but soon had to stop the funding.
They moved into an abandoned 2 story house built by Edward Fotterell where
they stayed for several years. The Acadians gradually got jobs in
the port and on fishing vessels and moved into cabins and huts along South
Charles St. Other Acadians in rural areas found work on tobacco plantations,
though begging was the occupation of many. [Founding,
Brasseaux, p. 39]
One of the major philantropists when it came to
the Acadians was Henry Callister, who spent a good deal of money getting
the Acadians in homes for the winter at Oxford and Wye River. He
did this with some difficulty; a good portion of the population wanted
nothing to do with the Acadians. Except for humanitarian help by
a few in the cities (Annapolis, Balitmore, Oxford), most of the population
distrusted the Acadians and let them starve and freeze. For example,
Acadians in Somerset County had to take shelter in the swamps in the middle
of winter, where many of them got sick and died. [History
of Maryland, Scharf, p. 476]
| In the spring of 1756, Governor
Sharpe pushed for public aid for the Acadians, but also wanted to prevent
their mobility. The legislature responded by demanding Acadians to
work for a living. If parents couldn't provide for children, those
children were to be bound out to farmers and craftsmen. And after
June 1, unemployed Acadians were to be put in jail until they could find
a job. Those counties with larger Acadian populations were allowed
to move them elsewhere to balance out the load. Acadians weren't
allowed into Frederick County to the west, which bordered French territory,
for fear of their joining the French. The law also said that if an
Acadian wanted to travel more than 10 miles from his home, he had to get
a passport from the local justice of the peace. If caught traveling
without a passport, they could be put in jail for 5 days and moved to another
Things did not get better for the Acadians.
A letter in the Feb. 10, 1757 Maryland Gazette says that the Acadians
"cannot find houses, clothing, and other comforts, in their condition needful,
without going from house to house begging, whereby they are become a nuisance."
Charity continued to be given to the Acadians, but they stayed in poverty
and people got tired of helping out.
Their impoverished state also led to widespread
disease such as pneumonia and smallpox ... reducing their numbers from
913 in December 1755 to 667 in 1763.
From 1755 to 1763, the Maryland Acadians were
poor, sick and saw their hopes (of returning home) disappear as the British
victories piled up. Finally, the war came to an end in 1763.
The French minister Nivernois wrote a letter to the Acadians in England
offering an end to their stay in English territory. Copies of the
letter made their way to the colonies. The Maryland Acadians sent
a letter to the French ambassador on July 7, 1763 asking for help.
England had given the Acadians 18 months to relocate, but the poor Acadians
couldn't afford travel expenses. Though France wanted settlers in
its tropical colonies, the Acadians wanted to return to Canada.
Acadian representatives tried to get the Maryland
goverment to provide financial aid to return them to Canada, but met with
resistance. By now, word of the Acadian resettlement in Louisiana
had made its way to Maryland. The Acadians in Maryland and Pennsylvania
started making plans to sail to Louisiana. When faced with further
financial support of the poor Acadians or sending them away, the colonial
govenments finally came up with funds to assist them in their journey.
In the latter 1760s, 90 percent (782) of the Acadians in the two colonies
sailed for Louisiana. The last group to leave on Jan. 5, 1769 sailed on the Britain. Though they disembarked in Texas, they made their way to Louisiana by land.
|• A Guide to the Acadians in Maryland in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, by Gregory A. Wood
• The Acadians Transported to Maryland, by Basil Sollers, Maryland Historical Magazine, V. 3, 1908
• Acadians Sent to Mississippi , by Basil Sollers, Maryland Historical Magazine, V. 4, 1909
• A History of Anne Arundel County in Maryland, by Riley
• Strangers In A Strange Land: A Look At How Exiled Acadians Fared in Maryland