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A HISTORY OF THE SETTLEMENT OF TRACADIE, ANTIGONISH COUNTY, NOVA SCOTIA

The following article was published in The Casket, Antigonish, Nova Scotia on June 28, 2000.

THE SETTLEMENT OF TRACADIE

Written by Lloyd Boucher, with assistance from Stephen A. White

The precise date of Tracadie's founding is unknown. One of the best sources of estimation are the notes of Edme Rameau de Saint-Pere, a French writer who visited Tracadie in 1860 (as well as the other principal Acadian settlements of Nova Scotia), in order to gather material for a history of the Acadians.

Rameau interviewed Captain Joseph Girrior (c 1788-1866), one of the oldest and probably the most prominent Acadian of the parish at the time. From this interview, Rameau concluded there were a number of different settlers spread out over a period of time.

Girrior's parents came to Tracadie in 1782. There were already four families established at the shoreline. The Benoit family was the first to arrive -- 10 years before the Girriors. About four or five years later, came the Bonnevie dit Beaumont (Bonvies and Bowmans), Jacquet dit Deslauriers (Deloreys) and the Fougeres (who later moved to Havre Boucher).

When the Girouards (Girriors) arrived in 1782, they brought with them the Gauterots (Guthros), the Maillets (Myettes), the Barillots (no longer in the area), the D'orlys (Hurleys) and the Petipas. The Cotes (Coties) and the Perraults (Perros) came from Quebec. Mathe (Matties) came from Cape Breton via the Isle of Jersey. The Boudreaus were the last Acadians to arrive, coming in 1806-1808.

There do not seem to have been any other family names in Tracadie until after the close of the Napoleonic Wars. About 1814 or 1815, a group of French soldiers and sailors who had been interned at Halifax during the wars were released and came to Tracadie, including Pierre Davisson (Davidson), Joseph Hannequin dit Alicon (Allison), Joseph-Aime Dadu (Dadeau), Jean Courtin (only had daughters) and Augustin Paschal. Also among the Halifax prisoners was an American sailor, James Bowie. One may also include in this group Dominique Dorley, who left Halifax earlier than the others and went to the Gaspe before coming to Tracadie.

After the arrival of these French prisoners, very few others of French origin entered the population. The church registers and other sources show the subsequent arrival of a certain number of Irishmen.

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