Before the exile, there were only
a few Acadian settlements scattered around the New Brunswick area.
These included the St. John River (the oldest settlement), Memramcook,
Miramichi, Petitcodiac, and on the northern coast of New Brunswick.
Around 1755, many Acadians migrated to New Brunswick to escape the
One of the ships carrying exiled Acadians,
bound for South Carolina, was overtaken by the Acadians and sailed north.
Thirty-two families made it to the St. John River. When pressured
by the English, they moved further inland. By 1756, about 1000 Acadians
were settled along the St. John River. The French commander, Charles
Boishebert, sent many of them to Quebec; but many remained and settled
the area around present-day Frederickton.
In September 1758, the English raided New
Brunswick and the smaller French forces retreated. The following
month, Monckton captured 100 Acadians and sent them to Halifax. They
were later transferred to Europe.
In November 1756, an English raid on the St.
John River area destroyed the homes and farmland. The Acadians escaped
and fled to Quebec, though some of them later returned.
At the end of January 1759, the English raided
the largest St. John River settlement (Ste Anne) and desroyed the homes.
Twenty-five Acadians were taken prisoner. Those who refused to help
burn the homes were killed, including women and children. Some of
the Acadians escaped further inland or to Quebec. But not long after
they arrived in Quebec, it too fell to the British. So meny of them
returned to the St. John River area
In October 1759, there were still
some hardy Acadian settlers along the St. John River ... many of whom remained
until 1767. In that year, England finally agreed to allow them to
stay if they took the British oath of allegiance. They did so, and
even lived up to their word by helping the British side in the American
Revolution. But as soon as the war was over, Loyalists were allowed
to come in and take the Acadians’ land.
These “French Squatters” as they were called,
protested to the government. The officials told them to move upriver
to the Madawaska region. If they settled that land for 3 years, they
were told, they could obtain the title. Now, a small group of Acadians
had been in the Madawaska area since 1768. In June of 1785, the St.
John River Acadians moved to Madawaska. More followed in 1786 and
settled in nearby Verte River Valley. After 3 years, they found out that
the deal had changed and the British wanted 5 years of service for the
land. This was just too much for some of the Acadians, and they left.
Another area that found itself inhabited by Acadians
was the northern coast of New Brunswick. Father Le Guerne led many
of the 4000 Acadians who migrated to the Miramichi area. Some of
the women from Beaubassin who had their husbands deported were in this
group. Most of them had nothing but the clothes on their back.
Hundreds of Acadians died that first winter.
Before the next harsh winter, many migrated to Quebec ... though many also
In 1758, the British were working on conquering
Quebec. As part of this campaign, they came in and destroyed the
minimal settlement at Miramichi. Similar problems would also occur
in the Petit Codiac area. Most of the Acadians in the Petit Codiac
River Valley had been there before 1755. When the British took Acadia,
the Petit Codiac Acadians retained their weapons. Before long, Joseph
Broussard dit Beausoleil led a group of Acadians in conducting guerilla
into Nova Scotia, as it was now called. They also manned a privateer
in the Bay of Fundy.
When Louisbourg fell in 1758, the Petit Codiac
Acadians surrendered also. They were sent to Halifax, where they
were kept until the end of the war in 1763. Some were allowed to
work on the dykes in work-release type programs. Some would later
move to St. Pierre & Miquelon.
In 1764, many of the Halifax Acadians, led
by Joseph Broussard, set sail for Saint Domingue. The Acadians who
had gone there before had asked them to come to the island, and then they
would all make their way up the Mississippi River and settle in Illinois.
But when the Halifax Acadians made it to Saint Domingue, they found the
remaining Acadians in poor shape, without the funds to pay for transportation
to Louisiana. So the 231 Halifax Acadians took another ship to Louisiana,
February of 1765.
There were still other areas of Acadian settlements
in New Brunswick that relatively escaped the British raids. These
included Cocagne, Restigouche, the mouth of the Miramichi, Memramcook,
Caraquet, Nepisiguit, and the Baie des Chaleurs area. For example,
Restigouche alone had about 1000 Acadians in 1760. But in 1761, the
British found and raided these areas. They took 787 prisoners.
Some of these were allowed to remain due to illness or age. Others
stayed because the English didn’t have enough room on their ships.
Of the 787 prisoners, 335 were sent to Halifax. The Acadians that
escaped the raids fled to Baie des Chaleurs, Quebec, and Gaspe until
things died down enough for them to return.
Finally, in 1764, the British said it was
okay for them to stay in those settlements. At the beginning of the 19th
century, almost 90% of the 3600+ Acadians in New Brunswick were in or near
those early settlements.