So the history of Acadia had its beginning in 1524. when , King of France, wanted to share the wealth advantages, and benefits derived from the New World, with Portugal and Spain. His intentions were to discover a westward passage to China. The occasion presented itself in 1523 when Giovanni Verrazano (1486-1528), a navigator from Florence, Italy, made proposals to the court to undertake the voyage and the costs of the expedition to be underwritten by the King. On January 17th, 1524, Verrazano sailed from the Madeira Islands with two ships, the Dauphine and the Normanda towards the New World. The crew, consisting of Norman and Breton sailors. They reached their destination on March 7 after a voyage of 50 days.
They explored the North American coastline from Georgia in the US to Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. His expedition first landed on the coast of present-day Georgia. On his third landing, on the coast of Virginia, he noted that the areas of Virginia and Delaware were so green and fertile, Indian inhabitants so gentle and friendly, that they named the country roundabout "Arcadie", in remembrance of that fabled Ancient Greece province, famous for its beautiful trees and rolling countryside, whose innocence and Joie de vivre were celebratcd by the poets in their description of Arcadian beauties and vistas. The regions comprising Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware greatly resembled Nova Scotia, Canada; and map makers of the day, by error, while copying Verrazano's map, (which no longer exists), changed the location and the spelling from the original. For example, Zaltieri's map has Larcadia, in present day Maine, denoted them as L'Arcadie. The name was later changed to L'Acadie by dropping the letter "r" in the spelling to leave the word Acadia.
Today the French inhabitants of Acadie are still called Acadians, and in Louisiana , Cajuns; an English corruption of the word.
Secondly: other authors trace the origin of the word Acadia, or Acadie, to either the Malecite Indians word "quoddy" meaning a fertile place, or to the Micmac Indians "algatig", "a camp site". In fact there are a number of places in the Acadian peninsula ending in "acadie" or "quoddy", such as Shubenacadie, Tracadie, Nacadie, and Passamaquoddy, which is often found as Pesmacadie on old maps.
It would have been possible for French fishermen and fur traders who had been coming to these shores for many years before Verrazano to have heard the Indians using their words for "camp site" and "fertile place", and to have thought that this word designated this territory.
These Frenchmen would in turn give their own pronunciation to the Indian words they heard, and would have reported back to their superiors in France about the abundance of furs and fish in "La Cadie".
The monopoly of the fur trade granted by letters patent to Sieur de Monts by Henry IV of France, in 1603, clearly speaks of "La Cadie". Champlain first uses "Accadie" then "Acadie".
Whatever the origin of the word, it is widely used today throughout the Maritimes, in Quebec, in Louisiana and in France. There is an Acadia University, Acadian Lines, Editions d'Acadie, Acadia Colliery, Acadian Recorder, Village Acadien, Acadian Parish in Louisiana and paroisse Acadie, near Montreal, the ferry boat "Acadia" in France. In spite of its obscure origin the name has found a wide and varied acceptance on two continents.
Abenaquis - Malecites (Indian group); Annapolis-Nord - Granville; Annapolis-Sud - Annapolis Royal; Annarechaque - Arichat C.B., Baie-Francaise - Bay of Fundy; Baie-Maringouin - Cumberland; Baie Verte - Cumberland; Barachois St. Louis - Louisdale, C.B.; Barachois a Villedieu - Petit de Grat; Bassin-des-Mines - Minas Basin; Barachois Espagno - Pondville C.B.; Beaubassin - Amherst and Fort Lawrence, NS; Sackville area of NB; Bedeque - Summerside PEI and Baddeck NS; Canseau - Canso; Cap Baptiste - Cape Blomidon; Cap-de-sable - Barrington; Cap-Fourchu or Fourchu - Yarmouth; Cap Fendu - Cape Split; Chedaboutou - Guysborough; Chibouctou - Halifax; Chipoudy - Hopewell; Chipoudie - Shepody; Cobequid - Truro; Gaspareau - Cornwallis; Grand-Pre - Grand Pre; Ile Royale - Cape Breton; Ile Sainte-Croix - Dorchet Island, Ile Saint-Jean - Prince Edward Island; La Heve - La Have; Le Coude - Moncton; Les Mines - Horton; Medictec - Woodstock; Mistigoueche - Mahone Bay; Neireka - Arichat; Nipisiquit - Bathurst; Pentagoet - Bangor; Peticoudiac - Moncton; Pisiquit - Windsor; Plaisance - Placentia; Pobomcoup - Pubnico; Pomcour - Yarmouth; Port-Lajoie - Charlottetown; Port-Rossignol - Liverpool; Port Toulouse - St. Peters; Richibouctou - Richibucto; Riviere-aux-Canards - Canning; Silvabro - Dieppe; Ste-Anne-de-la-Baie des-Espagnols - Sydney; Ste-Anne - Fredericton; Tintamarre - Sackville; Tracadieche - Carleton.
These are the family names of those deported from Grand-Pr‚ in 1755. This list denotes how many from each family name are said to have been deported from this one location. 27 Boudro(Boudreau) 12 Commo (Comeau) 2 Benoit 2 Blanchard 2 Braux (Breau) 1 David 2 Doucet 1 Duon 13 Dupuis 41 H‚bert 42 Landry 56 LeBlanc 14 Richard 4 Sonnier 13 Terriot (Th‚riault, Th‚rio) 4 Tibodo (Thibodeau) 16 Trahan 2 Vincent
The French colonized vast areas of the New World. They tried and failed to settle Brazil, the Carolinas, and Florida. They had greater success in the Caribbean and Canada. By 1664 France controlled 14 islands in the Caribbean basin. The principal possessions were St-Domingue (now Haiti), Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Dominica. The economies were based largely on sugar. The labor system was African slavery. The island societies had a rigid class structure headed by white officials and planters (gros blancs) who governed the merchants, buccaneers, and small farmers, white laborers (engages), and the slaves.
The French were the first Europeans to explore the St. Lawrence River and settle in Canada. To protect the entrance to the great river they needed to hold also the region around the Gulf of St. Lawrence. They gave the name Acadie (in English, Acadia) to the land south of the Gulf. It included what is now Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Although the first arrivals in Acadia came about 1604, they weren't really able to colonize the area for several decades. In 1605 the French built a fort, Port Royal, at the mouth of the Annapolis River in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia.
Because of its geographical position, Acadia at once became involved in the long struggle between the British and French for possession of the North American continent. In 1621 James I of England granted all Acadia to Sir William Alexander, who renamed it Nova Scotia (meaning New Scotland). Time after time Port Royal was conquered by the English and retaken by the French. The Acadians took no part in the wars. They also lived in peace with the friendly Micmac Indians.
Early battles and exchange of ownership (between the French and English) made Steady colonization a problem. Finally, a number of setters ... both males and females ...arrived to settle the land in the 1630's and 1640's. It is estimated that the core of the Acadian settlement consisted of about 50 families who arrived during those two decades. Although a few more settlers came over from France, most of the additional surnames in Acadia come from soldiers and French-Canadians (to the west) who came to Acadia and married the Acadian females. By 1668 a few dozen French families had settled in the beautiful Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. Instead of clearing the forest, they built dikes on the low-lying land adjacent to the Bay of Fundy and transformed the salt water marshes into rich meadows.
The exact boundaries of Acadia were always in question. At times, it referred to the peninsula (present day Nova Scotia). But many Acadians moved to Ile St. Jean (present day Prince Edward Island) and into the New Brunswick coastal areas, especially in the 1700's after England gained control of the peninsula area. The first Settlement was at Port Royal. By the 1670's and 1680's, settlements had formed at Beaubassin (Amherst) and des Mines (Grand Pre). These three areas would be the major population centers for the Acadians.
Despite their success as a culture, their home was in dispute for decades. The English and French were both after control of the land. Before being permanently turned over to English control in 1713, it changed hands 11 times. But once English control was permanent, some English leaders wanted to remove the Acadians and settle their own people in the land. During the first 40 years of English rule (1713-1755), the Acadians remained prosperous and their population grew. Original settlements extended from Cape Sable Island in Nova Scotia to the Petitcodiac River Basin in New Brunswick. A distinct Acadian culture gradually evolved. The Acadians fished and farmed valuable farmlands that they claimed from the bay by building dykes. A sense of community life and independence grew as they worked together to survive.
Gradually, the Acadians began to develop their own culture, and no longer considered themselves pure French. By the 17th century, their numbers had reached 2,000. Exact estimates of the population at the beginning of the deportation (1755) range from 11,000 to 19,000.
The final struggle for North America began in 1754. The English were in control of Acadia when the war started. The Acadians were French in language and customs. The English feared that French priests would persuade the Acadians and Indians to enter the war.
Finally, England found a way to eliminate the French Neutrals, as the Acadians were called The English openly stated their fear that the Acadians would join arms with the French. But the fact is that the English just wanted to get rid of the Acadians. When a number of Acadians were caught fighting with the French, it provided the incentive for the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, Charles Lawrence to start the ball rolling. He asked the Acadians to sign an oath of allegiance to England, but they said that they wanted to remain neutral. Of course, had they agreed, Lawrence would have taken the same actions. He started gathering the men, and then their families, to deport them to other lands.. All who refused to take the oath were deported.
So in 1755, 6,000 to 8,000 Acadians were deported to the American colonies along the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to South Carolina. Some made their way to Louisiana to live with the French settlers there. Some of the American colonies refused to take the Acadians, so they (at least the ones who survived) were shipped to England. Some of those who escaped deportation hid out in the woods of Acadia, only to be later captured and deported. Many moved westward to areas still held by the French ... from Ile St. Jean to Quebec. In 1758, Louisbourg (the last French stronghold on the Atlantic coast) fell. Thousands of Acadians at Louisbourg and Ile St. Jean (present-day Prince Edward Island) were deported to northern France. Again, many Acadians did not survive the trip. In fact, two entire ships sank, drowning hundreds of Acadians.
Conditions in the colonies and in England were miserable. Hundreds upon hundreds died from diseases and other conditions. Some were taken as indentured servants. They were confined to certain areas and not allowed to travel. Finding work was extremely difficult. The Protestant, English-speaking colonists did not welcome the Catholic, French-speaking Acadians. With the conclusion of hostilities in 1763, the Acadians were free to return home. But those who did found they could not settle together in large groups and their land was now occupied by people brought over by the English. They gradually settled along the various remote coastal regions of the province.
In 1765, Acadians in the colonies started making their way to Louisiana. From 1765 to 1785, it is estimated that about 1,500 Acadians settled in Louisiana, primarily in the Attakapas and Acadian Coast regions.
Many Acadians settled in French Canada, just west of Acadia (now Nova Scotia), and were assimilated into the French-Canadian culture. Things were different for those who had been sent to France. Even though they were "French", they didn't really feel at home in France. Those Acadians in England, who were 'held' in four port towns, were shipped to France in 1763. Several attempts were made to "settle" the Acadians, but none were successful.
When the Acadians in France found out about their relatives in Louisiana and a possible new "homeland", they asked to join them. It took a number of years to work out the details. In 1785, with the help of Spain, about 1600 Acadians traveled on 7 ships from France to Louisiana to join their friends and family. Over the 20 year time span, over 3,000 Acadians arrived to make South Louisiana their 'New Acadia'. Even though they have intermarried with other nationalities, there are still a large number of people who consider themselves Acadian (or of Acadian heritage). The largest number of these people can be found in Canada and in Louisiana.
Canada has Acadians around its country today. In the former land of Acadia (now Nova Scotia), there are 40,000 Acadian descendants. There are several areas of 'concentration', such as Clare in Digby County, Argyle in Yarmouth County, Guysborough, Richmond, Inverness Counties and the urban areas of Halifax - Dartmouth and Sydney. There are also Acadian areas of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. According to the 1990 census, 597,729 people in the United States claimed that their first ancestry was Acadian-Cajun and 70,542 claimed it as their second. The Louisiana Acadian descendants, which made up 2/3 of this number, are known as Cajuns.
The story of the Acadian bells prior to the Expulsion, starting with those of Port Royal, now Annapolis Royal. We know of a certain number of them, but most probably not all of them. If we had all the Acadian church bells that people have said to have been hidden at the time of the Expulsion, we would surely have more than enough to compete with the chime of the tower of the Parliament House in Ottawa. There has been a certain number of them which were thus hidden. Some have been recovered. There could be others which are still buried in the ground. Many of those that different legends have buried all over the place will never be found, for the simple reason that they never existed.
Every church in Acadia did not have a bell. In that case, people were summoned to the divine service by other means. Colonel Robert Hale of Beverly, Mass., who visited Acadia in 1731, says that in one of the churches of "Meshequesh" in New Brunswick, on Musquash Brook about eight miles north of Sackville, flowing into the Tantramar River, a flag was hoisted to call the people to the morning and to the evening prayers. One Sunday morning in 1727, near "Megoguich," on the Missaguash River, which makes the boundary between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, an Acadian asked Ensign Robert Wroth, an adjutant of the troops of the King of England in Acadia, permission to "hoist a small dirty white flag as a signal to the inhabitants to attend divine service."
In New England at this time, people were summoned to church by drums, flags or conch-shells. The Puritans of Higham, Mass., were saying that "a church bell is a contrivance of priests, not suitable for our meeting houses. We will continue to use the drum."
It was not an easy task at the time to get a bell. With regard to those of the Acadians, they had to be ordered form France. Already, though, in the 17th century, there was in Quebec a "master bell-caster" by the name of Jean Amounet, three of his bells, destined to the parish of Quebec, having been blessed in 1664 by Bishop de Laval. In 1712, Pierre la Tour of Beauport, a suburb of Quebec, was another "master bell-caster". And in 1757, still in Beauport, there was Etienne Simonneau who was involved in the same trade. Already in 1645, the parish church of Quebec had received a bell of 100 pounds. In 1651, a bell of 1,000 pounds arrived in Quebec. With regard to Nova Scotia, as early as 1654, a bell from Port Royal was brought to Boston at the time of the conquest of Acadia by Sedgewick. It was then in the hands of Capt. Lothrop. This bell belonged to the Capucin Fathers. Another one of these bells was taken to Boston or elsewhere during the same raid. One weighed 200 pounds and was worth 300 English or French pounds; the other was 100 pounds, being worth 150 English or French pounds.
Port Royal had to wait a number of years before getting another bell; in fact, in 1701, it did not have one yet. Finally, in 1706, the French Minister was writing: "Will cause a bell to be given to the Recollets of Port Royal, the one that was given them having cracked at the first peal." This new bell must have been the MARIE BELL. It is the one which Father Sigogne inherited in 1801 for his church in Church Point. We read, in fact, in Father Sigogne's registers: "On June 11, 1801, I, priest undersigned, have blessed a bell which comes from Jacob troop of Annapolis, which is said to have belonged to the Catholic church of Port Royal, today Annapolis; she received the name of MARIE ...a name given by Marguerite LeBlanc, widow of Pierre Doucet." This Pierre Doucet is the one I described in my sketch No. 49. The Troop family, of German origin was from Granville, where Jacob himself was born in 1759.
This must have been the bell of the church of St. John the Baptist, which replaced the one taken to Boston in 1654; the church was located between Granville Center and Upper Granville. According to tradition, when the Acadians of Annapolis heard that they were to be sent into exile, they brought all their copper and silver coins to the pastor, who lowered the bell from the steeple, filled it with the coins brought by the Acadians and buried it in the ground.
Twenty years later, Jacob Troop, while plowing his field in Granville, found the bell. He kept his finding to himself, although people noticed that the started to live at ease without doing a great amount of work. Shortly after Father Sigogne arrived at St. Mary's Bay, Troop offered him the bell, figuring probably that, belonging to the Catholic Church, he could not keep it.
Unfortunately, this bell perished in the great fire of September 12, 1820 that devastated all the buildings in its path for miles and miles, including the church, of which I will give you an account later on. It is then that Father Sigogne gathered a great quantity of old copper coins from his parishioners and sent them to France, with which a new bell was cast. It arrived in Church Point in April of 1823. On the 20th of that month, Father Sigogne blessed it, when he gave to it the same name as that of her elder sister, that of MARIE. Her godfather was Anselme Doucet, son of Capt. Pierre, mentioned above and her godmother was his wife, nee Elisabeth LeBlanc.
August 14 and 25, 1905, three new bells were blessed in Church Point for the new church which had just been built; they are still in service. That is when the parish of Church Point gave the bell of 1823 to her daughter, the parish of Concession, which had been erected as a mission of Church Point in 1901.
And that is the story of the bells of Port Royal and of their followers.
- THE STORY OF THE ACADIAN BELLS, THOSE OF THE FORTRESS OF LOUISBOURG -
If Port Royal can boast of having had the first bell in Nova Scotia, Cape Breton can boast of having had the largest number before the Expulsion. In Louisbourg, sometimes called "The Dream City of America," there were three bells at the Fortress, two at St. Clair's Monastery, one at the hospital and two at the parish of Notre-Dame of the Angels. Then at Ingonish, the parish had its bell; likewise with regard to the parish of St. Ann. I am giving here they story of the three bells of the Fortress. Those three bells were offered in 1735 by Louis XV for the chapel of the Citadel. On March 31 of that year, they were blessed and received the names of Saint Louis, of Saint Antoine-Marie and of Saint Jean (anglice St. John).
The Bell of Saint Louis was the largest of the three. In 1745, when Louisbourg was taken by the troops from New England, the officers of the New Hampshire Company took it and brought it with them. Sir William Pepperel, of Kittery, Maine, Commander of the troops, offered it to Queen Chapel, at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, whose name was changed in 1791 to that of St. John's Church. In 1806, the church was destroyed by fire, when the bell suffered great damage. It was cast anew with great care by Paul Revere, of Boston, the well known patriot of the American War of Independence, and placed in the belfry of the new church. In 1905, this bell, on account of its long usage, cracked and had to be cast again, this time by Paul Revere's successors, the Globe Bell Company. While doing so 300 pounds of metal was added to it, with the result that it finally weighed 2600 pounds. In doing so, the following latin words were inscribed on it: "Vox ego sum vitae - Voco vos orate venite," which means, "I am the voice of life - I call you to come and pray." It is the inscription of a bell of a French parish which had been seized at the time of the French Revolution. There was another inscription added to that one, which came from Governor Wentworth of New Hampshire and which read thus: "From St. John's steeple, I call the people, On holy days, to pray and praise." Finally, on the edge of the bell we read: "My mouth shall show forth its praise." Thus, after many vicissitudes, the bell of Saint Louis still rings merrily since nearly two centuries and a half, although in a new version, far from its original home of Louisbourg. Strange as it might sound, Louisbourg was to hear her voice once more, through the radio. Saturday evening, July 29, 1933, between seven and eight o'clock, in a friendly gesture on the part of the United States towards Canada, the bell of Saint Louis, from the steeple of St. John's church, in Portsmouth, N.H., rang in full peal, while the Post American Legion Bugles played the national anthem of the United States, which was carried on the wings of the herzian waves to the extreme limit of old Acadia, with the echoes of the bell of Saint Louis of the ancient capital. And thus Louisbourg heard once more the sound of one of its bells that it had not heard for 188 years.
The Bell of Saint Antoine-Marie, known now as "The Grand Old Bell of Lunenburg," from the title of a booklet which gives its story, written by Rev. Ferdinand William Elias Peschaud, D.D., Pastor of St. Jacob's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Miamisburt, Ohio, published in Bridgewater, N.S., 1908. It is the second in size of the three bells of the Fortress. It has a diameter of 23 inches at its base and has a height of 18 inches. On one side of its sound-bow there is the drawing of three steps, on which rests a crucifix, measuring in all eight inches and a quarter, and on the opposite side is engraved the figure of a person holding the Infant Jesus in his arms. Authors have said that this person is the Blessed Virgin; they are wrong, because I have seen this design, which has all the features of St. Joseph as represented in the traditional iconography of the Church.
The date 1723 is inscribed on the wooden yoke. It is said that it was cast in Brittany, France. Although this bell did not quite experience the vicissitudes of its big sister, it has its story. It escaped the siege of 1745, but not that of 1758, when Louisbourg was definitively seized. In that year, it was brought to Halifax, where it was idle till 1772, when the members of the new Lutheran parish of Lunenburg bought it from the Government for 27 pounds, 16 shillings and five cents. It was placed in the belfry of their new church, now the Zion Lutheran Church, the most ancient Lutheran church in Canada, which was started in 1770. The bell rang for the first time in its new abode on the 11th of August, 1772.
We are told that when in 1782 the American privateers invaded Lunenburg, the bell was taken down and put under water in Back Harbour, north of the town, where it stayed while the danger lasted.
Many years after, it was borrowed for a time by the Lutheran church of St. Peter, in Chester. When it was returned it stayed some fifty years in the rectory of the Minister. It was while preparing the celebration of the 175th anniversary of the foundation of the parish that the bell was hoisted anew in the steeple, where it is still perched, witnessing silently in its old age of over 150 years the ups and downs of a fast changing world.
The Bell of Saint Jean (anglice St. John) is the smallest of the three; it base measuring 13 inches, its height being 11 inches and a half and it weighs 52 pounds and a half. It bears the following French inscription: "Bazin ma fait," that is "Bazin made me," under which there is a cross in the form of a fleur- de-lis. After the conquest of Louisbourg it stayed in place for quite a number of years, when, around the beginning of the last century, it was brought to Halifax with other relics from Louisbourg.
The Governor of Nova Scotia presented it to Rev. Fitzgerald Uniacke, pastor of St. George's parish in Halifax. After using it for his school, it was given to the St. John Anglican church of Fairview, west of the town, better known in history as Dutch Village or Dutch Settlement.
During the week of Feb. 16, 1896, a lady from Montreal, by the name of Robertine Barry, attached to the daily newspaper "La Patrie," bought the bell for a hundred dollars. It was placed in the Museum of the Chateau de Ramezay, in Montreal, in a glass case, surmounted by a cross which was brought from Louisbourg. Of the three bells of the fortress of Louisbourg, it is the only one which is in the hands of the descendants of France.
- THE STORY OF THE ACADIAN BELLS, THE OTHERS IN CAPE BRETON -
Apart from the three bells of the Fortress, there were other bells in Louisbourg at the time of the Acadians.
At the Monastery [sic] of Saint Claire, there were two of them, the Marie-Joseph Bell and the Georges-Angelique Bell. This monastery was founded by the Recollet Fathers, whom I have spoken of a number of times.
They had arrived in Acadia in 1630, being then the first priests in the Cape Sable region, where they had a monastery which had been erected for them by the members of the Company of New France, on the Sand Hills of Villagedale, Shelburne County, close to Fort Saint Louis that I told you about in my sketch No. 43. They would have established here a bishopric, if their superiors in France had not rejected their project; it would have been the first one in Canada. This was at the time of Charles de La Tour. Their monastery was burned down in the Fall of 1642 by Charles d'Aulnay, along with the fort. These were from the Province of Aquitaine, the name that used to be given to the south-western corner of France; while the Recollet Fathers who erected the Saint Claire monastery were form the Province of Brittany. They arrived in Louisbourg from Placentia, Newfoundland, in 1714, after the Treaty of Utrecht. Their chapel served as a parish church till 1730 and even after.
The Marie-Joseph Bell was blessed on February 19, 1724. It took its name from its godmother, Madomoiselle [sic] Marie Jeanne LeMoreau, of La Rochelle, and from its godfather, Joseph Lartigue, merchant and member of the Supreme council in Louisbourg. It weighed 30 pounds.
The George-Angelique Bell was acquired later, in 1757 only. It came from an English vessel which had been seized by Capt. La Croix, a buccaneer on the coasts of Acadia. It weighed 100 pounds. It was blessed on September 12 of that year. It had as godfather Sieur Georges Grondin and as godmother Dame Angelique Grondin, sister to Capt. La Croix, who gave her their names. Unfortunately, this bell was not to be heard for even a whole year, because on July 26 of the following year, Louisbourg was to fall into the hands of the English. There are no records as to what happened to these two bells. There has been in Chester a bell, made in France in 1700, which had belonged to a monastery. There was a long Latin inscription on it and its edge was ornamented with a crown of flowers very well intertwined. In 1840, when a new church was erected, a new and larger bell was installed. The monastery bell was then put in a vessel, which was fishing off the Grand Banks, to be used as an alarm bell. It was taken back to Chester, where it stayed for a while, when it tolled to announce a happy occurrence, as to usher in the New Year, to proclaim a wedding, etc. It then was installed atop of a post aboard a superb vessel, the Peerless. This vessel was finally sold, and we then lose track of its bell. Fifteen years later, the Peerless was found in Valparaiso, Chili, by the one who had been its chief petty officer in Nova Scotia; it had been converted into a pontoon for coal, still having atop its post the same bell. We have every reason to believe that this French bell from a monastery which had beached, one way or another, in Chester, was one of the French bells of Saint Claire's Monastery in Louisbourg.
In Louisbourg, the King's Hospital had also its bell. This hospital, made of stone, seems to have been built in 1716, when the Brothers of Charity of St. John of God took charge of it. Its bell is called, in documents, "La cloche de l'Institut, " the Bell of the Institute. It hung on the exterior wall of the left wing, facing the yard. It was used to announce the divine office, meals, working hours and certain important events. There was still another bell in Louisbourg, that of the Notre-Dame Of The Angels parish, founded in 1722 by the Recollet Fathers. It had its bell, even two bells, one in each of its two steeples. We do not know what became of these bells, neither of the one of the hospital.
In 1878 was found in the ruins of Louisbourg a bell, which was picked up by the captain of the bark "The Moselle." Were inscribed on it the date 1674 and the words "Franco Nicolas Sol de Salvador Lorenzo." On each side, there was a cross. Many theories have been given to explain the origin of this bell. Some have said that it might have belonged to a vessel of the Spanish Isles which was trading in Louisbourg. It could very well have been the bell of one of the buildings in Louisbourg, civil or religious.
We find other bells also elsewhere in Cape Breton at the time of the Acadians. In Ingonish, now in Victoria County, which was founded in 1720, a church was built in 1729, when it received, this same year, a bell, to which was given the name of Jean-Francoise (anglice John Frances). It had a long inscription in French, which I translate: "For the parish of Ingonish I was named Jean-Francoisse (sic) by Jean Decarette and by Francoisse Vrail, godfather and godmother. Le fosse Huet made me in 1729." After the conquest of the island in 1758, it was only in 1849 that it was unearthed at the site where the church had stood. It was still in perfect condition. It was brought to Sydney, and that is as much as we know about it, although an author, J. G. Bourinot, wrote in 1892 that it was brought to New England, where most of the relics of this type at the time have found their way.
Another important parish in Cape Breton was that of Saint Ann, now in Victoria county also. The settlement itself dates back to 1629. But it was only in 1716 that a church was erected here by the Recollet Fathers. It had its bell, although it was very small. La Cloche de Sainte Anne de L'Ile Royale (St. Ann's Bell of the Ile Royale, the name given then to Cape Breton). It is not known what happened to this bell. But in 1903, an author, C. W. Vernon, was saying that the bell used at this church was found a number of years ago and carried to the United States.
- ACADIAN BELLS, THOSE OF MINAS BASIN AND OF THE ISTHMUS OF CHIGNECTO -
Minas Basin, which comprised Grand Pre and Cobequid (Truro), is the region in all Acadia which has been the most exalted by songs and poetry, but not by its bells. In fact, we find hardly any traces of them here. At Grand Pre, it is true, Longfellow speaks of Evangeline's beautiful heifer bearing the bell, and of the bell that "from the belfry softly the Angelus sounded," when it tolled in the morning, at noon and in the evening, in memory of the Annunciation. Nevertheless, the annals do not mention any bell in Grand Pre, even though many authors, along with Longfellow, do so; it would have been strange, in fact, if it had been otherwise. Most probably the church at Grand Pre, which was dedicated to St. Charles, was set on fire at the time of the Expulsion, just like St. Joseph's Church, which was located in the vicinity of Canard.
Likewise, we have no records of bells in the PISIQUID region, even though there were at least four churches here: one or more at the Assumption parish (Windsor) and three or more at the Holy Family parish (Falmouth). Regardless of Grand Pre, of Canard River and of Pisiquid, we are certain that there was a bell in COBEQUID (Truro). Cobequid, which had been granted in 1689 to Mathieu Martin, because he was said to be the first Acadian born in Acadia, had a church, measuring 100 feet by 40. It was dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. We do not know when it was built, because the church registers disappeared with the church when it was set on fire by the invaders at the time of the Expulsion. Its bell was a big one, we are told. Thomas Miller, who wrote the history of Colchester County, tells us that he learned from a man by the name of Alexander Vance, of Masstown, about 12 miles west of Truro, that one day, while he was plowing his field, he found the melted metal of the Cobequid bell; it was at the exact spot where the church had stood. And this hideous and shapeless junk of metal, blackened by fire, is all that we have left of any of the bells of the Minas Basin region.
We will have more luck if we explore the churches of the Isthmus of Chignecto region. It was called originally "Beaubassin", close to the Missaquach River that I mentioned in sketch No. 58. There were seven or eight churches here, namely at Beaubassin proper (Chignecto, close to Amherst); Beausejour (Fort Cumberland); Tantramar, N.B. (on the river of the same name); Baie Verte, N.B. Chipoudy, N.B. (at St. Anselme, Fox Creek); and even at the "Coude" (Elbow, now Moncton). There was also a chapel at Minudie, N.S., in the peninsula that stretches out into Cumberland Basin.
Of all these churches, we know that there has been a bell for a time at Beaubassin proper, which was transferred afterwards to Beausejour, and another one at Tantramar.
Beaubassin proper had its first church in 1686. It had cob-walls covered with stones and a hatched [sic] roof. Known at first as the church of "Notre-Dame du Bon Secours," its name was changed to that of "Notre-Dame of the Assumption."
Benjamin Church, from Massachusetts, who invaded Acadia in 169[?*], set this church on fire. It was replaced in 1723 and burned again in 1750, this time by the Acadians themselves, with the rest of the village, at the approach of Lawrence's fleet, when they moved on the other side of the river, in what is now New Brunswick territory. Before doing so, Father Germain had lowered the bell from the steeple; it was taken to Beausejour. It measures 20 inches in height and has a diameter at its base of 22 inches. It is well ornamented with fleur-de-lis and is inscribed with the latin words AD HONOREM DEI FECIT F M GROSS A ROCHEFORT in 1734," that is "To the Glory of God. Made by F. M. Gross of Rocherfort in 1734," Rocherfort being 20 miles south of La Rochelle, France.
At BEAUSEJOUR, where there was at first but a small chapel, was started in 1753 a church which was to be under the patronage of St. Louis, in which was installed the Beaubassin bell, after it had been completed in April of 1755. Unfortunately, it rang during one morning only, because at the approach of Monkton's fleet, the Acadians, realizing that they would have to capitulate, set the church of fire on July 4. But before doing so, they saved the bell.
After a number of years, the Beaubassin-Beausejour bell was installed in the St. Mark Anglican church, at Mount Thatley, now on route 16, close to Fort Cumberland. When the museum at Fort Beausejour alias Fort Cumberland, was built in the 1930's, the bell was placed here on display, where it is still one of the main attractions of the museum.
At Tantramar, the site of today's Upper Sackville, N.B. there were at the time of the Acadians three churches, one of which had been built purposely for the Indians. One of them had a bell, but it was after Robert Hale visited the place in 1731; I said, in fact, that then a flag was raised to call the people to prayer [sic]. He is the one who tells us of another bell, much smaller, just a hand-bell that I mentioned in sketch No. 40, when he says that he saw here a priest go to one of the churches, "habited like a fool in petticoat, with a man after him with a bell in one hand ringing at every door, and a lighted candle and lantern in the other."
The church at Tantramar, in which was the bell, was set on fire by the invaders in November of 1755. But the Acadians had already buried the bell in the ground. Returning from exile, they recovered and brought it to Memramcook. After having been in use for several years, it cracked. It was then sent to Troy, New York, with two of the small bells to be cast into a larger one. And that was the end of Tantramar Bell.
To these bells, I want to add the small bell of the Museum of Cathedral of Moncton. It is a hand-bell, weighing 13 1/2 ounces, which had belonged to an Acadian at the time of the Expulsion by the name of Jacques Leger, which had served either at the Memramcook church or at the Chipoudy church. It had been put at first in Grand Pre, in the museum, before it was given to Archbishop Arthur Melanson of Moncton.
Port Royal Park features reconstructed 17th-century buildings representing the former fur-trading post that was located here. Costumed interpreters and period demonstrations help recreate the look and feel of Port Royal, one of the first European settlements in North America. Visitors can also take in the panoramic view of the Annapolis River and Basin.
Grand Pre Park commemorates the Acadians and the Deportation of 1755. This 14-acre site features a statue of Evangeline, formal gardens, various statues and monuments, a 19th-century blacksmith's shop and a stained-glass window depicting the Deportation. Acadian-Days festivities occur at the site annually.
Fort Anne National Historic Site is of national historic Significance because of the site's role in early European colonization, settlement and government in Acadie and Nova Scotia in the 17th and 18th centuries; in the struggle for empire in the 17th and 18th centuries; as the centre of changing social, political and military relations among the Mi'kmaq (MicMac), the Acadians and the British living in the area throughout the 17th and 18th centuries; and as an example of Vauban-style fortifications that survive due largely to successive generations of Canadians who treasure their cultural landscapes.
Fortress of Louisbourg OR Fortress of Louisbourg - the largest reconstructed 18th-century French fortified town in North America - is a series of experiences that set a mood. Ramparts, streets, households and 100 costumed staff help to create the look, texture and mood of another century. Heavy cannons on stone ramparts, a busy waterfront tavern and a roasting spit turning in a crowded kitchen all tell how people of a different age lived and worked.
St. Peters Canal is an 800 m-long canal linking the Atlantic Ocean with Bras d'Or Lake in Richmond County, Nova Scotia. St. Peters area is also an old Acadian settlement site. Work started on the canal in 1854 and was completed in 1869. The canal also boasts the only functioning lock system in Nova Scotia. View interpretive exhibits, enjoy a picnic lunch, or experience the canal by pleasure craft.
Fort Beausejour is a star-shaped fort built in the 1750s by the French in the course of their struggle with the British for possession of Acadia. The site features the restored ruins of the fort, a Visitor Reception Centre with exhibits, and a sensational view of the Bay of Fundy and Acadian Dykelands.
Monument Lefebvre. Memramcook, New Brunswick. In its
early development, the Monument Lefebvre site based its activities around the
following statement of commemorative intent:
To commemorate the survival of the Acadians from 1755 to the present in the Maritimes.
As the site's development has evolved, and in response to the on-going input of interested and committed partners, the site's mandate is changing. The following statements represent an evolving direction as the management strategy currently being created recognizes three elements: To commemorate the Monument Lefebvre as a memorial to Father Lefebvre C.S.C., founder, in 1864, of the first French-language, degree-granting college in Atlantic Canada; forunner of Moncton University.
Fort Amherst - Port-la-Joye commemorates the first permanent settlement on Prince Edward Island. Grassy ruins of the fort are still visible, and the site's displays give visitors an appreciation of the fort's chaotic history. The grounds provide an excellent view of the countryside and the Charlottetown Harbour.
Halifax Defense Complex. Includes several large fortifications in the Halifax area, including: Halifax Citadel, Georges Island, McNabs Island and Fort York Redoubt.
The above information has been gleamed from many sources, books, pamphlets and Internet sites. Some information is from the home page of Tim Hebert, presented with permission
Hope to add some other sites of interest to me or you in the future.
Suggestions or interesting Links always welcome.
Please notify me of any errors or omissions and Links that have been changed or not responding.
Always under construction, have a nice day.
Last update February 18, 2001
© Copyright George Rose 1997 - 2010, all rights reserved. De Colores.