French Village and the Loyalists

French Village and the Loyalists The division of Nova Scotia to create the province of New Brunswick in 1784 set forth a wave of migrating Loyalists to settle this new province. Many of them settled on the ruins of abandoned Acadian villages where many Acadians had settled their families. After the destruction of the “Pointe-Saint-Anne” village in the winter of 1759 by Lieutenant Moses Hazen and a group of rangers, where he was only able to capture three of its families, many of the Acadians were able to flee the village. Some of these Acadians fled west and settled near the Malecite village of Ekoupahag.

Afterwards, many other Acadians started to settle nearby, and some settled at what became French Village. One of the pioneers of the French Village was Jacques Daniel Godin who was the grandchild of Gabriel Godin who was one of the founders of the Acadian village of “Pointe-Saint-Anne”. 1 The French Village was situated about seventeen kilometres from what became the City of Fredericton, and is now part of Kingsclear. 2 There are stills ruins of what seems to be an old church that burned to the ground, and also an old cemetery where we can find Acadian tombstones mixed with those of the Loyalists’. 3 1. G. Alain and M.

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Basque: “Une presence qui s’affirme-La communaute acadienne et francophone de Fredericton, Nouveau-Brunswick” (Moncton, Les editions de la francophonie, 2003), 75-77. 2. Retrieved online on April 2nd, 2012 from: http://archives. gnb. ca/Exhibits/Communities/Details. aspx? culture=en-CA&community=1378 3. Beyea, Andrew Sherwood. The History of French Village submitted to the Kings County Record where it was printed in serial form between October 12th, 1961 and August 9th, 1962. pp. 6-7 “The coming of the Loyalists to Nova Scotia in 1783 provided the implication of challenge for the reorganization of the province. 4 What started it all was the evacuation of the Loyalists from the American colonies. After the division of Nova Scotia to create New Brunswick in 1784, loyalists came to settle along the St-John River and some settled on the site of the French Village that had been previously settled by the Acadians. “By imperial order dated 18 June 1784, Nova Scotia was split into two territories to create New Brunswick. ”5 The Canadian Encyclopedia states that “In 1784 present-day New Brunswick was in turn separated from Nova Scotia following the arrival of American Loyalists who demanded their own colonial administrations. 6 Following the end of the war in 1783, the Acadians again had to be on the move as the land they lived on had now been reserved for the loyalist refugees coming to obtain grants of land; land promised by Britain as reward for their loyalty during the war with the Americans. 7 Then there was the announcement that the Acadians needed to leave their village along the St-John River to make room for these Loyalists. “Gentlemen – The lieut-governor desires that you will give notice to all the Acadians, except about six families whom Mr Bailly shall name, to remove themselves from St.

John’s River, It not being the intention of the government that they should settle there, but to acquaint them that on their application here they shall have lands in all other parts of the province. I am etc. Richard Bulkely. ”8 4. W. S. MacNutt: New Brunswick A History: 1784-1867 (Toronto: MacMillan of Canada, 1963), 42. 5. Chaire d’etudes acadiennes: Acadia of the Maritimes, Thematic Studies from the beginning to the present (Universite de Moncton, 1995), 381. 6. The Canadian Encyclopedia: History of Acadia (retrieved online from http://www. thecanadianencyclopedia. com/articles/history-of-acadia. 7. L. M. B.

Maxwell: An outline of the History of Central New Brunswick to the time of the Confederation (Sackville, The Tribune Press, 1937), 30. 8. Beyea: The History of French Village, 15. Upon hearing this news, the Acadians abandoned their village, and set forth to find another place to settle. Many of them made their way to the Madawaska region and some of them, including my ancestor Joseph Boucher, set forth further north east of New Brunswick in search of yet another place to settle his family. 9 The Acadians of French Village had to suffer another kind of deportation when they had to evacuate their village because of the coming of the Loyalists.

These Acadians had to once again uproot their families and they suffered many hardships in the process. “So when the Acadians, who had already experienced many vicissitudes, learned that most of the lands they occupied were granted to others and what remained would soon be required to furnish homes for the incoming Loyalists then near at hand; they were forced to realize that they must abandon their place of sojourn and leave behind them the fruits of years of toil, and as they gazed sadly upon the fields their hands cleared and tilled, they might well have cried out in despair. ”10

The arrival of the loyalists in the French Village affected the Acadian families that were already settled there, like my ancestor Joseph Boucher. Joseph Boucher and his family were forced to leave French Village before the coming of the Loyalists to head north east of New Brunswick. “Upon the arrival of the Loyalists in New Brunswick, Joseph Boucher and Isabelle Martin had to leave the land they occupied. It would seem that they went toward Cocagne before going to live in Caraquet but they finally settled in Bouctouche, where Joseph died September 19, 1799 at the age of 72”. 11 9.

Acadian ancestors, Retrieved online on April 2nd, 2012 from http://www. acadian-home. org/ancestorsacadian. html 10. Beyea: The History of French Village, 15. 11. Acadian ancestors, Retrieved online on April 2nd, 2012 from http://www. acadian-home. org/ We can find traces of my ancestor Joseph Boucher in a letter of complaint that Msgr. Bourg, a Catholic Priest, wrote to the English authorities in protest of Joseph Terriot, who was a favourite with the English traders: “We Francis Levecon, Charles Levecon, Joseph Bouche, Francis Robiche and Alex Courmi do declare before God, that we have heard Joseph Terriot say that Mr.

Bourg our priest, was a bad man and that if he was to come to his home that he would send him out. We declare after this for in addition this that we have heard Joseph Terriot say that Col. Franklin, Mr. Bourg the priest and Mr, White was the justices of the devil. ”12 This letter of complaint shows the problem with French names, as evidenced by the incorrect spelling of my ancestor’s name “Bouche”. It is ironic that the Acadians had to live this awful experience once again, as did the Loyalists after deciding to remain loyal to the British Crown.

Both these people had to suffer tremendously for the loyalty they held to their Monarchy. “The expulsion and dispersal of the Acadians held a mirror up to the experience of the refugee loyalists, to reveal a pattern of transcontinental migration recognizable in outline, but terribly distorted and reversed. The whole scheme stood in stunning contrast to the image of a tolerant, multiethnic British Empire increasingly promoted in the wake of the Seven Year’s War”13 12. Beyea: The History of French Village, 14. 13.

Maya Jasanoff: Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World (Toronto: Random House of Canada Limited, 2011), 155. Many of the loyalists that came to settle in New Brunswick were from military regiments. These loyalists, like many other loyalists who were professionals, were not accustomed to hard work nor to the climate of the region. 14 “New Brunswick Loyalists were made up of officers and men of the provincial regiments based on New York and the refugees from nearby areas who fled for protection to the British lines during the long period when New York was the British Headquarters”. 5 This would explain their animosity to the French, as they had fought against the French for many years and why they proceeded to get rid of French names that had been attributed to places before their arrival. “Unfortunately for the preservation of those place names, the loyalists were so unsympathetic towards their predecessors that the only Acadian place names now known in the French Village or its vicinity are those applied to Terrieau Lake and de Nomies’ Spring. 16 Andrew Sherwood Beyea, a historian and a descendant of a Loyalist family who had settled on the site of what was the French Village, wrote The History of French Village in 1924 for the Kings County Records where it was printed between October 12th, 1961 and August 9th, 1962. In his book, he explores the fact that his ancestors were Loyalists who came to New Brunswick and settled at the site of what was the French Village and the fact that the existence of this village is somewhat contested. In fact, the one great difficulty in tracing the history of French Village and its Acadian inhabitants lies chiefly in the lack of uniformity among writers in the spelling of proper and personal names. ”17 14. James Hannay: History of New Brunswick (St-John, John A. Bowes, 1909), 143. 15. Esther Clark Wright: The Loyalists of New Brunswick (Yarmouth: Sentinel Printing Ltd, 1985), 157. 16. Beyea: The History of French Village, 19. 17. Beyea: The History of French Village, 20. Andrew Beyea also argues for the existence of this village when he writes about the old graveyards. But besides the Burial Hill, which was situated near the upper end of the settlement, the Acadians of French Village, had another grave, yards further down the river on its opposite shore, near the present Anglican church, and upon what is now known locally as the Government Stock Farm, in which a number of their dead are buried. The very fact of their having found it necessary to open two cemeteries may be accepted as strong circumstantial evidence of its early occupancy by them. ”18

This Acadian-Loyalist cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in New Brunswick but there is no record of it at the Provincial Archives. Andrew Beyea describes it as being “the oldest place of internment in the Province of New Brunswick still in use for the burial of the dead”. 19 Even though the existence of this village is contested, I think it is safe to say that if you ask the locals of the region, the French Village existed; Acadians settled there and buried their dead in the cemetery. 18. Beyea: The History of French Village, 6-7. 19. Beyea: The History of French Village, 37. Nevertheless, to those who have always lived in the vicinity of French Village and have had the privilege of conversing with those of an older generation, who in their time had both seen and talked not only with most of its first English settlers but also with their predecessors, the Acadian habitants, who were born and lived there before the coming of the Loyalists, and who after their departure occasionally revisited it until the middle of the nineteenth century, it is quite impossible for them not to receive with the utmost credulity the traditions and folklore of the early Acadian-Loyalist fathers. ”20

Perhaps the best evidence of its existence lies in the official plan of deputy surveyor John Wetmore. “John Wetmore; deputy surveyor, in his official plan of the Westmorland Road in 1786, now in the crown land office at Fredericton, has placed at the point where the road crosses the Hammond River some 15 small characters evidently intended to represent houses or buildings, through which is written “French Village” Farther eastward, where the names along the road are those of the Loyalists, is written, English Settlement. ”21 20. Beyea: The History of French Village, 11. 21. Beyea: The History of French Village, 17.

A map of Crown Land Records of that period shows the placement of the French Village, near Kingsclear. The surveyor general having shown the placement of the French Village on his map of Crown Land Records confirms the existence of this Acadian Village. 22 This map also shows the land allocations that were allocated to the Loyalists at that time. We can see the names of loyalists that had been granted land in the French Village district, names such as: John Murray Barberie, Stephen Miller, Daniel Goodwin, and John Martin. 23 The loyalists that came to settle in the region of the French Village included many children and old people.

Children were born upon their arrival and many other births followed soon after. Many loyalists married during that time “to relieve the monotony of wilderness life”. Deaths also followed the loyalists, as many of them died, as did Richard Bull a loyalist who wad settle on the lot where the Burial Hill is situated and was buried in the Acadian cemetery. He was followed in death by James Fowler, a loyalist veteran, and also buried in the old Acadian cemetery. “The internment of these two on the Burial Hill formed a precedent for others to bring hither their dead and which, having ever since continued”. 4 22. Map of Crown Land Grants to the Loyalists in French Village, Retrieved online on March 12th, 2012 from http://archives. gnb. ca/Exhibits/Communities/Details. aspx? culture=en-CA&community=1972 23. Map of Crown Land Grants to the Loyalists in French Village, Retrieved online on March 12th, 2012 from http://archives. gnb. ca/Exhibits/Communities/Details. aspx? culture=en-CA&community=1972 24. Beyea: The History of French Village, 37. It is ironic, that these loyalists, these Englishmen, would bury their dead in the same cemetery as the Acadians who were French and not of the same religion.

The French and the English having been at war for years and years, to finally end with both people mingled together in one cemetery, I think is inspiring. As Beyea put it: “mingled with kindred dust of earlier Acadian inhabitants lie the bodies of those Loyalist veterans who fought so bravely and determined for their Sovereign King George III and the unity of the British Empire”. 25 In conclusion, Acadians not being educated on knowing how to read or write in the 18th Century is one of the reasons why it is difficult to prove the existence of this village.

The arrival of the Loyalists who probably got rid of any French names that had been previously given to places by the Acadians, is also a reason why finding any proof that this village existed is difficult. Nevertheless, the Surveyor General’s Map of Crown Land showing the placement of the French Village is proof if its having existed. The existence of the Acadian-Loyalist cemetery in French Village is also proof of the existence of this village. For the Acadians, the arrival of the Loyalists in New Brunswick was the continuation of a migration to find a place to settle and call home.

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French Village and the Loyalists. (2017, Jan 22). Retrieved from