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Exile Destination: Maryland
 
 
MARYLAND - 913 Acadians

Baltimore, 1752You 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 New York.
      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.

ARRIVAL in MARYLAND by Robert Dafford
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 area. 
     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.
LINKS:
• 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
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
Copyright © 1997-09 Tim Hebert