Acadians from Ile Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island) built small fishing boats to ply their trade and made their way to Québec by sailing the St. Lawrence River. Approximately 600 Acadians were in Québec by October 1756.
As Acadians were moved from Miramichi by Lieutenant Charles de Boishébert and from Ile Saint-Jean by Governor Raymond de Villejoin, they went to Québec. There was such a great movement of Acadians that by 1758, there were more than 1,600 Acadians living in the capital of New France, Québec. Three hundred or so of them died from smallpox between November 27, 1757 to March 1, 1758.
Some Acadians who hoped to go to Québec never arrived being captured instead by the English in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and then brought to Halifax, Nova Scotia where they were held on George Island.
Some of the Acadian refugees settled on the south shore of the St. Lawrence near Québec in Bellechasse and Lotbinière counties.
Others searched for other villages and their descendants can still be found in places like Beaumont, Saint-Vallier, Montmagny, Cap Saint-Ignace, L'Islet, Kamouraska and Rimouski.
With Québec as their focal point, some Acadians went along the St. Lawrence to Beauport, Saint-Joachim, Bae Saint-Paul, Cap-Santé, Deschambault, Batiscan, Champlain, Trois-Rivières, Pointe du Lac, Yamachiche, Louiseville and Maskinongé.
When the Deportation years had ended, two groups of Acadian Exiles from Massachusetts arrived in Québec on September 1st and September 8th, 1766. A great many lost no time settling in Saint-Grégoire de Nicolet, which had been settled earlier by the first Acadians to arive there as well as in Bécancour. They joined others who had arrived in previous years when fleeing from the Deportation. Those first settlers had come from the St. John River, New Brunswick, through the Madawaska territory and Cacouna on the St. Lawrence River, or from Ile Saint-Jean. However, those from New England had also come by traveling through the forests.
Beginning 1767, exiles returning from New England eventually founded the parish of L'Acadie, near Saint-Jean d'Iberville. They also settled the vast seigneury of Longueuil which belongd to Captain Alexander Grant who inherited it from his French-Canadian wife, Charlotte LeMoyne.
The first order of business when the Exiles arrived in Québec was to search for parents, children and other relatives from whom they had been separated at Deportation. This is why some families originally in one location are later found elsewhere.
Twelve families for a total of 80 persons arrived by Lake Champlain at L'Assomption on the seigneury of Saint-Sulpice near Montreal in 1766. There names were: Joseph Brault, Joseph Dupuis, Armand Dupuis, Joseph Hébert, Pierre Lanoue, Pierre Martin, Charles Landry, Jean-Baptiste Landry, Germain Landry, Joseph LeBlanc, François Leblanc and François Poirier.
In May 1767, about 40 other famillies consisting of several hundred Acadians arrived at Québec from Massachusetts and Connecticut by schooner. Many of the Acadian Exiles, deported in 1755, had civil marriages in the New England Colonies contracted before witnesses assigned by the Catholic Church of Québec. all these marriages, as well as baptisms, were re-validated upon their arrival at L'Assomption, as found in the parish registers. (This means that the marriages were given the nuptial blessing of the Church.)
It would seem that the first Acadian Families went to Carleton, Québec in the Fall of 1755. However, though this has been believed over the years, there are no official documents that substantiate this to be true. In his study of the movements of the Acadian refugees from the time of the capture of Fort Beauséjour by the English in 1755 until the winter of 1756-1757 spent at Miramichi, Bona Arsenault in his History of the Acadians Fides - 1994 - ISBN 2-7621-1745-3 - believed that it was highly improbable that any of the refugees cut themselves off from the group who went to Baie-Verte, as certain historians claim, and then to have moved immediately to Carleton where there was no supply post of any kind at that time.
Carleton used to be called Tracadièche. Its English name was given it by Lord Dorchester who was Sir Guy Carleton. He gave this locale the name of Carleton in approximately 1795. It is located 40 miles west of Bonaventure on Baie des Chaleurs from where it is believed Acadians may have come to settle in Carleton, according to Mr. Arsenault. Lord Dorchester named the neighboring parish, Maria, after his wife. He had been one of Wolfe's lieutenants at the Battle of the Plaines d'Abraham in Québec were he was wounded.
The 1777 census for Carleton listed 36 men, 36 women, 90 boys, oncluding 14 orphans, 93 children, 63 cattle, 2 horses, 37 sheep and 12 swine. Among the names we find: Allard, Arseneau/Arsenault , Barillot, Bergeron dit d' Amboise, Bernard, Boudreau, Bour/Bourque, Bujeaut/BugeaudBujol/Bujold, Comeau, Couroit, Dugas, Gravois, Jeanson/Johnson, Landry, LeBlanc, Lebrun/Brun, Meunier, Poirier, Richard and Savoie.
Acadian refugees who went to the Magdelene Islands had come from Prince Edward Island (Ile st-Jean), Cape Breton (Ile Royale), and St-Pierre & Miquelon Islands. The Magdalene Islands are located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Jacques Cartier had stopped here in 1534 on his way to the Gaspé region.
The Magdalene Islands were part of vast lands given Nicolas Denys along with land on the Gulf in 1653. Others held these grants between 1663-1742 as none of the land grantees remained on the islands for any length of time. French-Canadians would hunt seal and fish for lobster at this location, two main resources of this area.
In 1761, Acadians from P.E.I., Cape Breton and even Baie des Chaleurs began arriving in the Magdelene Islands seeking refuge. In 1765, other families settled at Havre-Aubert on the islands where they worked for Richard Gridley who had fought with Wolfe. Twenty-two of Gridley's hirees consisted of 17 Acadians and 5 French-Canadians who had taken the oath of allegiance on August 31, 1765. Of these pioneers, some then settled at Havre-aux-Maisons together with other refugees rom P.E.I. and the St-Pierre & Miquelon islands. Others moved to Cap-aux-Meules, La Grande Échourie, L'Étang du Nord and La Grande Entrée.
In 1792, a group of 40 families consisting of 250 persons left St-Pierre & Miquelon for these islands. This time, the migration was caused by the French Revolution. The revolutions effects could be felt all the way into the French colonies of France which of course would include St-Pierre & Miquelon. Among those who had come with this wave of Acadians were those who had been held prisoners either in Nova Scotia during the Deportation years, or who were in exile in the New England Colonies.
The Acadians eventually spread out through many parts of the province of
Québec. Though many years have passed since the tragedy of the Deportation
of 1755, perhaps many descendants are still aware of this dark time in our
Acadian History. Descendants living in such places as St-Grégoire de
Nicolet, St-Jacques-de-l'Achigan, Baie des Chaleurs, Gaspé region, the
Magdelene Islands and the north shore of the St. Lawrence must surely be
aware of the fabric from which they have been woven.
Source and references: History of the Acadians by Bona Arsenault by Fides 1994 - ISBN 2-7621-1745-3.
Michel Corneau/Cornu and his wife, Françoise Pitre, arrived in the fall of 1763 At the Pointe de Lévy. Michel was an Acadian from Cobequid. He had gone to the Magdalen Islands/Iles-de-la Madeleine.
He had married, as did many Acadians during the years of Exile by natural contract, in the presence of four witnesses, to Françoise Pitre, not having a priest to bless their union. Their marriage was rehabilitated at the Pointe-de-Lévy on 26-11-1763. The day before they had baptized his daughter, born in the Magdalen Islands on 16-09-1763.
Michel Corneau/Corne was the son of François Corneau/Cornu and Françoise Boucher. His wife, Françoise Pitre descends from Jean dit Jean Marc Pitre (to Marc Pitre/Jeanne Brun to Jean Pitre/Marie Pesseley) and Judith Térriot (to Pierre Térriot and Marie Bourg) who married abt 1729. Michel's father Jean dit Marc Pitre died while a prisoner at Fort Edward (Pisiguit/Windsor) between July and August 1762.
Michel Corneau came to the Pointe-de-Lévy with his two brothers André and
Jean-Baptiste and a sister, Geneviève. André married, the 29-04-1765, Ursule
Lacasse. Geneviève married the 01-07-1765, Ambroise Charest. Jean-Baptiste
married the 16-08-1774, Françoise Guay.
Ref: Les Acadiens dans Bellechasse, by Pierre-Maurice Hébert, p. 52-53 (Courtesy of James Carten).
In doing Acadian research, we find many Ancestors who went to Québec to begin life anew following their long years in exile. In searching baptismal, marriage and burial records as we go through the Repertoires, we often find ancestors who, following their exile, had their marriages blessed (referred to as being rehabilitated) in the Catholic Church. We find many of these at Saint-Grégoire as one of the places most often referenced to check for information. Then too, there is l'Assomption and areas surrounding Montréal but for now we will talk about the history of Saint-Grégoire.
The Acadians work incessantly to have a parish of their own at Bécancour. Between 1784 and 1790, the Acadian Community of Sainte-Marguerite (the future Saint-Grégoire) had grown to several hundred people. This was a great increase in the same time period compared to other parishes where the Acadians had settled. It was during this period of time that the Acadian immigrants arrived succesively in large groups. The land owners known as seigneurs, were also pressuring the bishop and the government so that the settlers on their lands would be organized into a parish.
The situation was a bit complex due to the fact that the Acadians were actually situated between two parishes that were equally attractive to them. The farmers of Bécancour wanted to remain attached to their parish and at the same time, Nicolet did not want to lost the contributions of the new settlers considering the debt owed on the new church that had been built. It was not until 1802 that the question was settled between government and bishop of Nicolet. Numbering 1,757 people, the Acadians would finally have their parish.
The canonical establishment of the parish took place 18 August 1802. On November 4, 1802, the first Mass was said in the first rectory that had just been completed. It is also on this same date that the first Registers of the parish exist.
The church itself opened for worship in 1806. This is the oldest church in the diocese of Nicolet and it is a beautiful church that the Acadians are very proud.
Some of the streets are names as follows: Poirier, Béliveau, Gaudet, Cormier, Gauthier, LeBlanc, Héon, Thibodeau, Forest, Prince.
Today there is a bridge across the St. Lawrence Seaway from Trois-Rivières. When crossing the bridge, you arrive in the heart of Saint-Grégoire where many Acadian ancestors settled when the Deportation years of 1755-1763 had ended.
SOURCE: Excerpts from Pierre-Maurice Hébert's book on the Acadians of Québec. Translated into English by me.
Reprinted here with permission of:
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Acadian & French Canadian Ancestral Home
The Ancestral Home Newsletter