Acadian-Cajun Genealogy & History » Français  
Ile St. Jean
[Prince Edward Island]
1534 to 1719
     The first white man to land on the island (and record it) was Jacques Cartier in his 1534 voyage. [D.C. Harvey, The French Regime in Prince Edward Island, p. 1]  It was first shown on a map of the era by Champlain.  The 1612 map shows it as very small, but it is named and pretty much correct in the 1632 map.  Nicolas Denys described the island as having fir, beech, and birch trees.  There were 2 harbors on the Baie Verte side, but the entrances were shallow.  Ships had to be unloaded and tilted (like careening) and towed into the deeper bay. There were plentiful waterfowl nesting there.  There were caribou, which the Indians liked to hunt, but no moose.  Game in the area included cod, salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, sea-cows, and seals.The northern side of the island was a popular place for fishermen to cure their fish on the shore. [Harvey, p. 10]
     For the most part, Ile St. Jean (called Abegwet by the Indians) was ignored by the European powers in the 1600s.  In the mid 1600s, the island was part of a grant to Nicolas Denys 

     When Acadian fell (1710), more attention was given by the French to Cape Breton (renamed Ile Royale).  The idea of using Ile St. Jean to provide for Ile Royale didn’t come for years, and when it did it was requested by the Acadians and Ile Royale itself.  Soon after the fall of Port Royal, a few Acadians ventured to Ile St. Jean.  The east coast of the island (6 leagues deep) had been granted to Sr. de Louvigny, Major of Quebec, in 1710.  He needed (by 1711 royal edict) to settle people there within a year.  The Acadians didn’t want to be in a feudal system, but they did settle in and grew wheat & peas (typical Acadian crops) and fished.  As soon as the French took control on Ile Royale, an engineer (de Couagne) wrote the minister about using Ile St. Jean.  He asked for permission to explore it, as it had good harbors, codfish, land and good wood that might be useful.  [Harvey, p. 30-32]

     The King of France wanted the Acadians to move to Ile Royale.   A few Acadians moved, but most of them remained.  Either they didn't like the land or they were hoping to keep their land and live in peace.  The Minister urged officials to try to get the Acadians to move to Ile Royale instead of Ile St. Jean. When the Ile Royale officials were failing at bringing over the Acadians, Ile St. Jean looked more promising. 
     The Acadians on Ile St. Jean had been asking de Louvigny for grants of land.  In May 1716, France revoked the 1710 concession and made Ile St. Jean royal domain again.  But it was too late, for the governor at Annapolis (Caulfield) wrote on May 16, 1716, that the people of Annapolis who had settled Ile St. Jean had abandoned it.  Apparently, the Acadians love for their land was more than their love for France or fear of the English.  Perhaps France should have allowed the Acadians to just become English subjects.  In 1717, Comte de St. Pierre offered a plan to resettle the Acadians at Ile St. Jean.  Before 1719, there was no permanent settlement at Ile St. Jean.  Comte de St. Pierre had received a grant of Ile St. Jean, Miscou, and nearby islands in August 1719.  Gautier, Nicolas and others had offered the Count 10% of the business for his influence, 
but he turned around and got the whole concession himself.  [Harvey, p. 36-40]

1720 to 1743
     The island was divided in 1720 between St. Pierre, M. Farges, and M. Moras.  In summer, 1720, at least 3 ships left Rochefort for the island with colonists, fishermen, and supplies.  The commandant, de Gotteville, said in 1721 that he expected to winter 250 people, with people arriving every day from Acadia. St. Peters was the chief fishing center under the French.  De Gotteville and La Ronde quickly built structures, and they remained until destroyed by New Englanders in 1745.  One building, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, served as a chapel, with a Sulpician priest (Rene Charles Breslay).  In Nov., La Ronde went to Bay Verte and Beaubassin to get Acadian carpenters to build ships in the winter months.  Three ships had been built on the island. [Harvey, p. 42-45]

     Most of the 1720-21 colonists were from France.  Though permission was given in 1720 for the Acadians to go to to Ile St. Jean, it seems that their preference for the island was an excuse not to go to Ile Royale.  St. Ovide learned in Nov. 1720 that Acadians had been to the island to inspect it, and that they found the land red and dry, poorer than they had expected. 
     There was virtually no immigration to Ile St. Jean in the late 1720s.  The 1730 census found less than 300 people. St. Ovide suggested that young Acadians might move there to get land, since the population in the Acadian marshes was becomin crowded.  Plus, they would be further from England’s control, and would be helping France by producing goods for Ile Royale.  A missionary (Father Felix, who had served the Acadians for 25 years) was brought to the island in 1728, hopefully to attract Acadians.  A garrison was established at Port La Joye.  They soon got about 100 Acadian settlers. By the end of the year, records show 54 houses, 76 men, 51 women, 156 children, 14 domestics (297 total). There were settlements at Tranche Montagne, Tracadie, St. Peters, and Port La Joye (16 families from France, 4 from Acadia) ... with 1100 people total.  [Harvey, p. 47-64]    Powder was stored at Port La Joye.  Indians came there once a year to get powder. Micmacs gathered once a year for the French to give them presents. They feasted and were provided with powder for hunting (and for war). [Harvey, p. 71]

    A good crop came in 1730, which caused the settlers to clear more land.  The yield attracted the attention of the Acadians, and 60 Acadians from Beaubassin came to look over the land.  The 1730 census showed 76 men, 55 women, 182 children, 12 domestics (325 total).  St. Peters was the most “thickly settled” area, mostly with fishermen. Three Rivers was a distinct settlement with a separate history.  The population of the island really didn’t increase until 1750, when Acadians came after the founding of Halifax.  De Pensens urged France to let 1-2 soldiers per year settle there, and pay them for 3 years; since they would be better settlers than Acadians who were “naturally lazy and accustomed to work only in easy marshes.” And the island lands were uplands and difficult to clear.  [Harvey, p. 65-70]

     In the early 1730s, Roma build a number of structures at Three Rivers. They were made airtight by moss and clay.  The chimneys were made from clay, which were kept going day and night for 7 months of the year.  A refrigerator was made (to keep food preserved) and 2 wells (and fitted with 4 pumps) were dug to supply it with water.  There was an oven for baking bread.  A huge cellar was built, with an entrance at each end, to store fruit.  Several levers were made to clear land.  He built roads to Cardigan, Sturgeon Rier, Souris, and St. Peters.  But it all went up in smoke when, on June 20, 1745, New Englanders came from Louisbourg and plundered the goods and burned down the buildings. [Harvey, p. 85-91]
     The governor of Ile Royale promised to pay for moving Acadians to Ile St. Jean (since he might be appointed governor there also) and asked for a ship to do so.  Not counting fishermen, the 1734 census showed 396 people, and there were 432 the next year.  The 1734 census says that they came from: Spain (4), Canada (16), Acadia (162), and France (214).  The 1735 census shows: Spain (3), Canada (15), Acadia (198), and France (216). [Harvey, p. 94-98]
     French immigration had stopped in the mid 1730s.  Evidentally, the Acadians also brought livestock with them.  Buildings were built in 1735 for the surgeon, chaplain, and powder vault.  In 1741, 5 Acadian families immigrated to the island and settled at Malpeque.   In 1743, 8 Acadian families (50-60 people) settled at Malpeque, instead of at Three Rivers where they would have had to pay rent to the seigneur.  1744 was the 3rd properous year in a row.  More Acadians were coming over ... younger Acadians who had scouted the area first. [Harvey, p. 99-107]

1744 to 1748
      A long expected war had broken out between France and England in spring 1744.  Louisbourg got word of it on May 3.  New Englanders, supported by a British fleet, took Louisbourg on June 17, 1745. The fall of Louisbourg also meant the surrender of Ile St. Jean.  The soldeirs at Louisbourg and most of the population were sent to France.  Some escaped to Quebec and some stayed.  Two groups of soldiers were sent to Ile St. Jean.  There was no resistance at Three Rivers by Roma.  At Port La Joye, the settlement was burned down also.  But the settlers were basically left alone. 
     De Ramezay from Quebec made attacks on the English in the Maritimes, but basically things were quite during the English period of Ile St. Jean.    Though Shirley said in 1747 that 150 Acadians helped de Ramezay in his attack on Noble at Grand Pre. 
     The War of the Austrian Succession ended with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle on Oct. 18, 1748.  Ile Royale and Ile St. Jean were returned to France. [Harvey, p.109-121]
1749 to 1758
     Acadians were promised liberal assistance by the govt. if Acadians would move to the island with their livestock.  On July 3, 1749, Louisbourg was officially turned over to the French.  The French fort at Louisbourg was to be offset by a fort built in Chebucto Bay.  Halifax was founded in Chebucto Bay in summer 1749. 

     Cornwallis wrote a note to the Lords of Trade on Sep. 11, 1749, to which they replied on Feb. 16, 1750.  He notes that something (by Micmacs and Id. St. Johns Indians, led by the French priest LeLoutre) was brewing.  He states the French were trying to stir up the Indians against them.  If there is ever proof that the Acadians supplied the Indian or French with arms, it would justify the total disarming of them.  The French were not only trying to get the Acadians to go to Ile Royale and Ile St. Jean, but also to other New Brunswick areas that were French.  Ile St. Jean needed to be built up to supply Ile Royale. So the missionaries (like Le Loutre) had orders from the top.  Le Loutre thought that “the interests of the state and of religion” were one.  It was Le Loutre who really started the grande derangement by forcing Acadians on the Isthmus of Chignecto to French soil. [Harvey, p. 128-131]

     Capt. de Bonnaventure was appointed comandant of Ile St. Jean in Aug. 1749.  He was to reestablish the capital.  By winter, he had built an office building for himself, a guardhouse, a commandant’s quarters, flour magazine, barracks, subalterns quarters, dry goods magazine, bakery, stables, forges, captain quarters, molasses magazine, surgeon quarters, chaplain quarters, powder-vault, and prison.  They were made of wood, but cost more than they should. [Harvey, p. 132]

     Due to the pressure of missionaries and French officials, immigrants moved to Ile St. Jean steadily from 1749 to 1751.  The first came from Beaubassin.  All of the Acadians in that area moved to French soil over those 3 years ... some on the French side of the isthmus, some to the island.  It states in a Aug. 15, 1749 note that 7-8 Acadian families (50-60 people) moved to Port La Joye from Beaubassin.  They were given provisions, but it was hard to find a place for them.  If the older landowners objected, the new ones might have to pay cens et rents on a scaled set in Canada. [Harvey, p. 133]

     On April 25, 1750, Le Loutre got the Indians to burn 300 houses at Beaubassin.  He himself set the church on fire.  On April 27, the immigration across Baie Verte began.  By July, 200 had crossed over; and by November, over 800.  De Bonnaventure wrote on July 22 that “the Acadians come with precipitation bringing their beasts with them.”  Five or six boats were used.  Two of them had come from Quebec to bring supplies to the Canadians on the isthmus.  The Indians helped with the move.  “Some of the refugees were naked having had to escape with arms in their hands.” 
     The English hadn’t bothered with the 1749 movement, but sent troops to Beaubassin in 1750, where Ft. Lawrence was being built, and cruisers to the area.  This created anxiousness to the already tense situation.  One boat (Le Loudon) carrying dispatches and a few Acadians was captured.  Le Loutre’s plans were among the papers.  One of the notes said that 100 families from Cobequid would like to go to the island. Another by a Doucette said if France wasn’t going to regain Acadia, he wanted to bring his family to Canada ... there were “in a wretched state for we are like the savages in the woods.”  Another boat (St. Francois) was also taken. [Harvey, p. 137-138]

     Bonnaventure had 1000 new settlers, most of whom were supposed to be on Kings’ rations.  To promote farming, they were forbidden to fish.   Bigot told Le Loutre to promise the Acadians 3 years of assistance if they’d move to the island, and the Indians would help them move.  It seemed that the Acadians from Minas, Pisiquid, and Cobequid were ready to move (under threats by La Corne and Le Loutre), but there wasn’t much movement.  The 1751 migration was less than half of that in 1750 ... mostly the overflow from Beaubassin and some from Pisiquid and Cobequid.  Those in Cobequid said they were afraid to move due to the vigilance of English cruisers. 

We find a letter from Augustin Doucet at Port LaJoie on Aug. 5, 1750 to a Madame Languedor of Quebec as follows. "I was settled in Acadie. I have four little children. I was living contented on my land. But this did not last long, for we have been obliged to leave all our goods and to fly from under the dominion of the English. The king obliges himself to transport and maintain us until news is received from France. If Acadie does not return to the French, I hope to take my little family with me to Canada. I assure you we are in a poor situation, for we are like Indians in the woods." [Murdoch, V. 2, ch 14 appendix]

     In 1751, the Acadians on the isthmus were told (proclamation by de la Jonquiere) that they had 8 days to take an oath to the French King and enroll in the military ... or they’d be declared rebels and chased from their lands.  If they had taken the English oath regarding arms, there would have been little chance of them actually being called to do so. 
     The 45 settlers he placed between Point Prime and Point a la Framboise asked him to make a parish.  The priest went there for 15 days, but they didn’t get along with each other.  The settlers along Riviere du Nort Est also want a parish there. 
     Their diet this winter has mainly been bread and peas.   Desherbiers sent him word that Prevost was sending meat and vegetables.  Priests would be provided where the settlers could support them.  He also said “I know that the Acadians are not accustomed to obey their superiors ... “ 
     The suffering of the Acadians who went to the island (1749-1751) were as bad as those of the Acadians after the 1755 expulsion.  In many cases, they had less belongings and clothing than those deported at Grand Pre. [Harvey, p. 139-144]

     Col. Franquet, an officer of engineeers sent to supervise new fortifications at Louisbourg, visited Ile St. Jean in late summer 1751 (July 27-Sept 1).  He prepared a 40 page report, which recommended: 1) the 4 main ports be fortified and supplied with troops, 2) three more church parishes be created, 3) the settlers be allowed to fish, 4) a surveyor be sent to settle land disputes, 5) a govt. be organized for the island, separate from Ile Royale, 6) direct communications between the island and France be established. 
     He passed Cap a L’Ours (Cape Bear) and les Isles a Bois (Wood Islands) and Point Prim.  He then entered the Great Bay of Port Lajoie and remarked that one had to stay in the channel while going to Port La Joye, for fear of the reefs running from St. Peter’s and Governor’s Island.  They went through the narrow entrance with Point a la Framboise on the right and Point de la Flamme on the left, and along the northern shore past Point de la Croix, from which a huge cross rose high above the water, and on past Point de la Guerite, then under the graveyard, and on till opposite Point Marguerite (Battery Point) on the southern shore, and the creek on the northern side formed by the small stream that runs to the sea through the valley of Warren Farm.  Around the harbor were ebony forests and red shores.  Houses of settlers were scattered along the sides of the valley, while the governmental buildings could be seen on the summit.  A brick and stone fort was planned.  A square redoubt was to be erected on Point a la Framboise, and the Vidette Station on Point de la Flamme strengthened.  He then traveled up the Riviere du Nord Est.  Communication between settlements was done by canoe, hugging the shores.  There were no roads on the island. [Harvey, p. 146-162] 

     There was almost no migration to the island in 1752.  The problems were still there .... finding provisions for the new settlers, and finding land for them to settle.  There was no land surveyor, though the governor kept asking for one. 
     Sieur de La Roque was charged with taking a “general census of the settlers, on the island, name by name, men as well as women and children, their respective ages and professions, the number of arpents each has of improved land, the number of their cattle, their species, fowl, etc., etc., distinguishing the good workmen from those who are not, and the character of each individual ... and lastly a general survey of everything.”   He found 28 settlements, always on rivers or on the coast.  The total population (not counting military) was 2223, with 368 families or bachelors. 
See the full census.

1752 Sieur de La Roque Census Summary
Port La Joye  9 families 39 people
Riviere du Ouest  19 families 109 people
Riviere du Nord  7 people  44 people
Riviere du Nord Est  34 families 185 people [N side] 10 families 64 people [S side]
Riviere de Peugiguit 7 families 34 people [E side]  8 families 37 people [W side]
Riviere du Moulin a Scie 43 families 308 people
Anse au Comte Saint Pierre  4 families 31 people
Anse au Matelost  24 families 153 people
Grande Anse  18 families 95 people
Grande Ascension 11 families 59 people
Pointe au Boulleau 3 families 14 people
Anse de la Boullotierre 1 family  11 people
Pointe Prime  13 families 73 people
Anse a Pinnet  17 families 110 people
Havre La Fortune  6 families 48 people
Pointe de l’Est  4 families 22 people
St. Pierre du Nord 63 families 353 people
Tracadie   8 families 64 people
Etang des Berges  2 families 15 people
Macpec   32 families 201 people
Bedec   8 families 42 people
La Traverse  5 families 23 people
Riviere des Blonds 5 families 37 people
Riviere au Crapeau 2 families 12 people
Anse du Nord Ouest 3 families 30 people
Anse aux Sanglier  2 families 10 people
     At Port Lajoie, the settlers had been there less than 3 years (most <2).  Most of the original settlers had moved to the interior during the period of English control.  Among the population, 151 came over in 1748-49, 862 in 1750, 326 in 1751, and 27 in 1752.  In that period, 93 children were born to the older settlers, while 114 to new settlers.  Since that gives 1573 in that period, so 650 (2223-1573) must have been there in 1748. 
    As for livestock, there were 98 horses, 1259 cattle, 799 oxen, 1230 sheep, 1295 pigs, 2393 hens, 304 geese, 90 turkeys, and 12 ducks.  The mortality of beast must have been large.  Prevost had stated in Nov. 1751 that the Acadians had brought (to the island) 2209 cattle, 171 horses, etc.    Though some were sent to Louisbourg, many were probably eaten in years of bad crops. 
     The settlers also owned 4 schooners (15 tons, 25 tons, 26 tons, 45-50 tons), 4 batteaux, 15 fishing boats, and 11 small boats or canoes.  There were 4 flour mills and 2 sawmills on the island.  Much of the land wasn’t producing because there wasn’t enough seed.  France had not kept the colony supplied as promised. 
French name, Ile St. Jean
English name, PEI
Port La Joye 
Riviere du Ouest 
Riviere du Nord 
Riviere du Nord Est 
Riviere de Peugiguit 
Anse du Compte St-Pierre
Riviere du Moulin a Scie 
Anse au Matelost 
Grande Anse 
Grande Ascension 
Pointe au Boulleau 
Anse de la Boullotierre 
Pointe Prime 
Anse a Pinnet 
Havre La Fortune 
Pointe de l’Est 
St. Pierre du Nord 
Etang des Berges 
La Traverse 
Riviere des Blonds 
Riviere au Crapeau 
Anse du Nord Ouest 
Anse aux Sanglier 
West River
North River
East or Hillsborough River
Pisiquid River
Mc Kie Creek
Orwell Cove
Vernon River
Birch Point extending into Orwell Bay
Newtown River flows SW into Orwell Bay
Point Prim
Pinette (Pinette Bay)
Bay Fortune
East Point
St. Peter's Harbour
Stanhope (Campbell's Pond at Grand Tracadie)
Traverse River
Johnston's River area
Crapaud River
Nine Mile Creek
Holland Cove, also Observation Cove
For even more Ile St. Jean place names, try Prince Edward Island Placenames, Past and Present.

Map of Isle St. Jean     Also, in La Roque’s comments on Malpeque we find that there were 3 bad years in a row. The first year was plagued by field mice.  The settlers blamed the plague on an evil spirit that was against the island.  Their suspicions fell on someone (St. Germain dit Perigord) and the Indians killed him and buried him on the Isle of Comte de Saint Pierre (larboard as you enter Port la Joye).  The second year was plagued by tons of large locusts that ate everything ...even the grass and buds on the trees.  In the third year, wheat crops were scalded.  For the last 6 months, most didn’t even have bread to eat.  They lived off of shellfish gathered on shores when the tide went out. [Harvey, 169-172]

     Comte de Raymond wrote to de Bonnaventure on Oct. 4, 1751.  Bonnaventure was to help all who wanted to move to the island and would provide for them for the 1st year.  The roads from Port la Joye to Three Rivers, from Three Rivers to St. Peters, and from Three Rivers to East Point, were to be improved. 
     In 1752, only 7-8 Acadian families came to the island, and later in the year 5 German & Swiss families arrived from Halifax.  The crop was also very good that year. 

    The crops looked good in 1753 until August, when the wheat was hit by rust.  The gardens were very successful.  The Acadians wanted to raise horses, but were discouraged.  Horses ate more than oxen and took longer to train and be useful.  So the settlers couldn’t have more than 1 horse per family. 
    Before 1752, the only priest was at Port la Joye.  But four more came, to Malpeque, St. Peters, Northest River, and Point Prim.  The Minister directed that “2700 livres be diverted from the secret service funds for this purpose” and the settlers competed in constructing their churches.  Those at Point Prim (most from Cobequid) had their former priest Girard with them.  Girard wrote on Oct. 31, 1753 that “nakedness is almost universal.”  Some will not be able to work in winter due to lack of implements.  They can’t protect themselves from the cold by day or by night.  Most children are so naked that they can’t cover themselves.  When the priest enters their huts, they are sitting in the ashes beside the fire and try to hide themselves with their hands, and “take flight having neither shoes, stockings, nor chemises.”  All weren’t that bad, but most are in need. [Harvey, 173-179]

    The building of Ft. Edwards and Ft. Lawrence increased immigration in 1753 (400) and 1754.  In 1753, 135 of those had tried settling at Pointe a la Jeunesse on Ile Royale, but had almost starved.  In 1753, only 1/3 of the land was used because they didn’t have enough seed.  More Acadians would have gone to the island, but there was a lack of fortifications. 

    The 1755 census showed a population on the island of 2969.  But soon the deportations occurred and in late 1755 and early 1756, 2000 Acadians showed up at Ile St. Jean ... from Beausejour, Cocagne, Pisiquid, and Cobequid.  Villejouin (Bonnaventure’s successor) sent the aged and sick to Canada, which left him 1400 to deal with.  The Cobequid Acadians had moved as a group via Tatamagouche before the deportation.  When the British arrived at Cobequid, no one was there. [Harvey, 180-181]

     Of the 87 who came from Cocagne in spring 1756, 16 had been deported in 1755 and unloaded in Carolina.  They (and 34 others) traveled back to the St. John River and then to Cocagne.  (Only to be deported again in 1758).  There was great suffering the in 1755-56 winter.  De Villejouin asked Louisbourg for help, but there was little to give. Some supplies were also sent in the spring from Drucourt and Prevost (2 vessels) and from Bigot in Quebec in the summer.  One of Bigot’s boats was the Le Flora, that had carried some of the “useless mouths” thither.  Another boat headed for Louisbourg (Les Deux Soeurs) was chased away by the English and unloaded at Ile St. Jean. [Harvey, p. 182]
     Rations  per family per month were: 20# flour, 10# vegetables, 12# beef, 1# butter, and 1 pot of molasses.  Bad weather in August led to a smaller harvest.  Settlers were asking the commandant every day to kill some of the 7000 cattle for food to prevent starvation; but he viewed that as a last resort. [Harvey, p. 183]
     A cargo was taken from the English that year (1756), and the following was sent to Ile St. Jean: 1179 quintals 60# flour, 258 quintals of salt beef, 133 quintals 16# de pieds et testes de cochons, 3942 pots of molasses, 100 hogsheads of salt, 517 ells of drugget, 82 1/4 ells of course blue cloth, 176 various wraps, 100 hats, 2000 ells of blue, striped stuff for chemises.  Indians saved much of the cargo (salt, flour) of a boat caught in the ice near Port la Joye.  Seed wheat was brought from France on the frigates that came to defend Louisbourg, but the crops failed. 
     Sixty of the young men were armed and sent to Acadian in the winter of 1756. They retrieved 40 oxen and some horses near Pisiquid.    They also killed 13 English, wounded 4, and captured a magazine with 300 hogshead of wheat, 60 of flour, and lard and butter.  They burned 2 granaries of wheat, a mill, and a bakery.  They helped some Acadians hiding out between Cobequid and Tatamagouche to move to Ile St. Jean.  And they took 500 oxen to Louisbourg. [Harvey, p. 185]

     Word spread of English designs on Louisbourg.  Some settlers were expecting a “visit” from the English and didn’t even till their land that year (1757).  The coastal settlers were armed and had ammunition.  They were instructed to send their women and children into the woods if the enemy approached. [Harvey, p. 184]

     Vaudreuil wrote to the Minister on April 18, 1757 noting that “the women and children dare not go out being unable to hide their nakedness.  It is the same with a number of men.”  There were more than 6000 cattle on the island.  He suggested the King send some frigates to the island.  He didn’t want to lose it to the English.  In a Dec. 10, 1757 note from Prevost to the Minister, he asked for seed since the last 2 crops had been bad.  They’d have starved if they hadn’t captured some wheat and rye.  They needed seed from France for the 1758 season.  In 5 years, there had been only 1 good harvest. The island rarely had more than a couple months rations.  They should have killed the cattle, in light of what was soon to happen to them. [Harvey, p. 186]

    Louisbourg was in trouble, and Villejouin got 200 men to go 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.  Crucour sent 2 officers from Louisbourg to inform the French to surrender.  If they resisted, they were to be killed.  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 (on the northwest 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. Both of these ships sank as they neared England. A third ship, the Ruby, sank off Portugal and lost 190 of its 310 passengers.  With the 5 smaller ones holding 600, there would be a total of 3500 deported in 1758.  Of these, about 900 were drowned.   In 1763, there were 2400 Acadians, primarily from the Ile St. Jean deportation, living on welfare in France.  [Harvey, p. 198]

     Of those who escaped the deportation, some left from the north shore and headed for  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.  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. 

     When ships were sent to Isle 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.  In 1765, Capt. Holland stated in a letter to the Earl of Hillsborough that "there are about thirty Acadian families on the island, who are regarded as prisoners, and kept on the same footing as those at Halifax. They are extremely poor, and maintain themselves by their industry in gardening, fishing, fowling, etc. The few remaining houses in the different parts of the island are very bad, and the quantity of cattle is but very inconsiderable."  [Duncan Campbell, History of PEI

     Capt. Morris estimated 207 Acadians there in 1767. [Harvey, p. 199-200]   Their descendants form a large part of the current Acadian population on the island today.

After the Exile Period (also see Prince Edward Island)
       After the island was cleared of its inhabitants (though some had hidden away, and some made their way back), England had it surveyed in 1767 to divide it up for their own settlers.  The island was divided into 67 cantons and given to influential British.  The common settlers (such as the Acadians) were "renters" who had to pay the owners a price.  Some of the areas that contained Acadians were cantons 16, 17, and 19.   Early Acadian settlements were Tignish, Mount Carmel, Miscouche, Egmont Bay, Rustico, St. Louis, and Souris.  Note: the island became Prince Edward Island in 1798.
     In the early 1800s, Acadians made their way to the present-day Evangeline region of PEI.  Though at first they were there illegally, some managed to purchase land as the years went by.  Sixty-one families (with surnames of Arsenault, Gallant, Richard, Bernard, Poirier, Cormier, and Aucoin) were there in 1828.  In 1852, the government allowed Acadians to buy land in canton 15.  That area continues to be occupied by Acadian descendants, though the population has spread out beyond the borders of that canton. Acadians who arrived there after 1830 often settled in cantons 14 and 16. 
     Over time, some of the Acadian areas lost their French nature, though it still remains in places such as Mount Carmel, Egmont Bay, and Wellington.
Today there are still some Acadian descendants on the island. The focal point of Acadian interest may be the Acadian Museum at Miscouche (on Route 2; GPS N46 25.944 W-063 51.936). It is open 9-6 M-F and 1-4 on Sundays. Admission is: Adult: $4.50, Student: $3.50, Family: $12.50.
     In 2008, the La Société Saint-Thomas-d'Aquin held events to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the deportation of Acadians from the island. A monument at Port LaJoye was unveiled on Dec. 13, 2008 to commemorate that event. That day was chosen because it was the 250th anniversary of the sinking of the Duke William.
Ile St. Jean [Prince Edward Island] LINKS

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Acadia: 1632-1653 * 1654-1670 * 1671-1689 * 1690-1709 * 1710-1729 * 1730-1748 * 1749-1758
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Copyright © 1997-09 Tim Hebert