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,
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,
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,
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
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,
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
Riviere du Ouest 19 families
Riviere du Nord 7 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
Anse au Comte Saint Pierre
4 families 31 people
Anse au Matelost 24 families
Grande Anse 18 families 95
Grande Ascension 11 families 59
Pointe au Boulleau 3 families 14
Anse de la Boullotierre 1 family
|Pointe Prime 13 families 73
Anse a Pinnet 17 families
Havre La Fortune 6 families
Pointe de l’Est 4 families
St. Pierre du Nord 63 families 353
Tracadie 8 families
Etang des Berges 2 families
Macpec 32 families 201
Bedec 8 families 42
La Traverse 5 families 23
Riviere des Blonds 5 families 37
Riviere au Crapeau 2 families 12
Anse du Nord Ouest 3 families 30
Anse aux Sanglier 2 families
| 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.
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
Pointe au Boulleau
Anse de la Boullotierre
Anse a Pinnet
Havre La Fortune
Pointe de l’Est
St. Pierre du Nord
Etang des Berges
Riviere des Blonds
Riviere au Crapeau
Anse du Nord Ouest
Anse aux Sanglier
East or Hillsborough River
Mc Kie Creek
Birch Point extending
into Orwell Bay
Newtown River flows
SW into Orwell Bay
Pinette (Pinette Bay)
St. Peter's Harbour
Pond at Grand Tracadie)
Johnston's River area
Nine Mile Creek
Holland Cove, also Observation
|For even more Ile St.
Jean place names, try Prince
Edward Island Placenames, Past and Present.
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,
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,
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.
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.
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
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,
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
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.