BOOK EIGHT:  A New Acadia01



BOOK ONE:         French Acadia

BOOK TWO:        British Nova Scotia

BOOK THREE:     Families, Migration, and the Acadian "Begats"

BOOK FOUR:      The French Maritimes

BOOK FIVE:        The Great Upheaval

BOOK SIX:          The Acadian Immigrants of Louisiana

BOOK SEVEN:     French Louisiana

BOOK NINE:        The Bayou State

BOOK TEN:          The Louisiana Acadian "Begats"

BOOK ELEVEN:   The Non-Acadian "Cajun" Families of South Louisiana

BOOK TWELVE:  Acadians in Gray


The first Acadian exiles from Halifax arrive at La Balize, February 1765 ...01a 

The First Acadians in Louisiana

The Broussards were not the first Acadians to come to the colony.  Nor, as legend would have it, did the first Acadian exiles, like Evangeline of Longfellow's poem, reach Louisiana during the 1750s via the upper Mississippi. 

In many histories touching on the Acadians in Louisiana published since the early 1800s, examples abound of the enduring myth that Acadians arrived there in the 1750s via the Appalachian passes.  One of the first accounts of the Acadian odyssey to the lower Mississippi is that of state supreme court judge François-Xavier Martin, whose two-volume history of Louisiana was published in 1827.  Only a shadow of the actual Acadian experience in exile can be detected in Judge Martin's sweeping account:  "Thus beggared," he writes of the Acadian dispersal, "these people were, in small numbers and at different periods, cast on the sandy shores of the southern provinces, among a people of whose language they were ignorant and who knew not theirs, whose manners and education were different from their own, whose religion they abhorred and who were rendered odious to them, as the friends and countrymen of those who had so cruelly treated them, and whom they continued as a less savage foe, than he who wields the tomahawk and the scalping knife.  It is due to the descendants of the British colonies," Judge Martin waxes on, "to say that their sires received with humanity, kindness and hospitality those who so severely smarted under the calamities of war.  In every province, the humane example of the legislature of Pennsylvania, was followed, and the colonial treasury was opened to relieve the sufferers; and private charity was not outdone by the public.  Yet, but a few accepted the profered relief and sat down on the land that was offered them."  Judge Martin's narrative, under the heading for 1756, plunges headlong into the overland myth:  "The others fled westerly," he says of the exiles, "from what appeared to them a hostile shore--wandering till they found themselves out of sight of any who spoke the English language.  They crossed the mighty spine and wintered among the Indians.  The scattered parties, thrown off on the coast of every colony from Pennsylvania to Georgia, united, and trusting themselves to the western waters, sought the land on which the spotless banner waved, and the waves of the Mississippi brought them to New Orleans."  Judge Martin then indulges in a wonderful fiction found in no contemporary record:  "The levee and square of that city presented, on their arrival, a spectacle not unlike that they offered, about a quarter century before, on the landing of the woman and children snatched from the hands of the Natchez.  Like these, the Acadians were greeted with tenderness and hospitality; every house in the city afforded a shelter to some of these unfortunate people.  Charity burst open the door of the cloister, and the nuns ministered with profusion and cheerfulness to the wants of the unprotected of their sex."  Judge Martin continues, again without having consulted a contemporary record:  "Kerlerec and Auberville allotted a tract to each family:  they were supplied with farming utensils at the king's expense, and during the first year the same rations were were distributed to them out of the king's stores, as to the troops.  They settled above the Germans coast, on both sides of the Mississippi, and in course of time their plantations connected the latter settlement with that of Baton Rouge and Pointe Coupee.  It is, at this day, known by the appellation of the Acadian coast."  But the judge says nothing of these first arrivals settling on the prairies west of the Atchafalaya Basin.   Later in his narrative, Judge Martin adds:  "On the fall of Canada [in 1759] a number of the colonists, unwilling to live under their conquerors, sought the warm clime over which the spotless banner still waved; most of them settled in the neighbourhood of the Acadians [on the lower Mississippi].  Others of a more roving disposition crossed the lakes that separate the right bank of the Mississippi from the western prairies and began the settlements of Attakapas, Opelousas and Avoyelles."  Notice that Judge Martin says nothing of Acadians settling in the prairie districts.

Beginning in the late 1840s, not long after Judge Martin's passing, Creole historian Charles Étienne Arthur Gayarré published a history of his native state.  In a later edition of his work, for which he consulted colonial records only recently made available, Gayarré says nothing of Acadians reaching Louisiana during the 1750s.  He offers, instead, a more accurate account of their arrival in the colony:  "Thus, between the 1st of January and the 13th of May, 1765," Gayarré relates, "about six hundred and fifty Acadians had arrived at New Orleans, and from that town had been sent to form settlements in Attakapas and Opelousas, under the command of Andry.  In one of his despatches to his government, the Commissary Foucault observed that these settlements would, in a few years, rise to considerable importance...."  Gayarré says nothing of Acadian settlements above the German Coast in the context of the 1765 arrivals but places them there a few years later, during the early Spanish period.  Despite his careful research, however, he missed entirely the arrival of the Acadians from Georgia in February 1764.

Not so the next author of a multi-volume history of Louisiana.  Alcée Fortier, professor of linguistics at Tulane University, published a two-volume history in 1904.  Like Gayarré, Professor Fortier delved deeply into the available colonial records, so only a few errors mar his account of the first Acadians to reach Louisiana:  "On April 6, 1764," Professor Fortier relates, "D'Abbadie announced the arrival in New Orleans of four Acadian families, twenty persons.  They had come from New York."  A few pages later, the professor continues:  "On February 28, 1765, Foucault, the commissaire ordonnateur, wrote to the minister that a few days previously several Acadian families, to the number of one hundred and ninety-three persons, had come over from Santo Domingo.  They were poor, and worthy of pity, and assistance was given to them until they could choose lands at the Opelousas and be in a condition to help themselves.  On May 4," Fortier continues, "Foucault announced the arrival of eighty more Acadians, whom he intended to send to the Attakapas; and on May 18, of forty-eight Acadian families, which he sent also to the Opelousas and the Attakapas.  On November 16, 1766, Foucault announced the arrival from Halifax[sic] of two hundred and sixteen Acadians.  Gayarré says lands on both sides of the Mississippi, above the German Coast, were given to them, and they settled there as far as Baton Rouge and Pointe Coupée."  Like Gayarré before him, Professor Fortier, though he misidentified the origin of the 1766 arrivals, says nothing of Acadians coming to Louisiana in the 1750s.  He, in fact, notes that "Judge Martin, in his History of Louisiana, says the Acadians arrived in 1755 and received lands along the Mississippi coast.  Martin, however, gives no authority for his statement"--for the simple reason that there was none. 

Later in the twentieth-century, however, Louisiana and Canadian historians resurrected the 1750s-overland myth.  Sidney Marchand's Ascension Parish, first published in 1931, insists:  "At irregular intervals following the year 1757, a stream of the exiles continued to pour into Louisiana, until more than 4000 had taken up their abode in what is now the southern portion of the state.  An interesting group of 216, who came direct from Halifax, Nova Scotia, landed in New Orleans on Nov. 16, 1766.  They were sent to Cabahanosse ... which settlement soon became known as the Acadian Coast (Ascension and St. James)."  Oscar Winzerling, in his otherwise excellent history of the Acadian exiles of 1785, states in his conclusion to Acadian Odyssey, first published in 1955:  "The seven [ships'] expeditions [of 1785] formed but half of Acadian immigration to the state[sic] of Louisiana.  For these Acadians and those other three or four thousand who, between 1755 and 1776, filtered from the American colonies and the West Indies into Louisiana, the cruel expulsions of 1755 were gone with the clouds of the Seven Years' War."  In truth, "only" about 1,300 Acadians "filtered" in from Georgia, Halifax, Maryland, and St.-Domingue in the first decade of Acadian settlement in Louisiana.  What Winzerling's passage does reveal is the imprecision of Acadian studies as late as the mid-1950s as to the number of Acadians who came to Louisiana in the earliest years of their migration there, and, especially, when they first reached the colony.  A decade later, Bona Arsenault's, History, published in 1966 in both French and English versions, continued the myth, in spades.  The Canadian genealogist-turned-historian states, under the heading "Arrival of the First Acadians in Louisiana":  "It is our belief that a number of Acadians deported in 1755 to Maryland, the Carolinas and Georgia most certainly succeeded in reaching Louisiana, in 1756.  For example, we know that the Acadians who disembarked in South Carolina had no trouble getting permission to leave.  Among those exiled to other American colonies, a number of them headed for the Mississippi either by sea, or by following certain rivers.  Others escaped from the transports which brought them to Virginia in the fall of 1755, and before these vessels were directed to England in the beginning of 1756.  It was to these first Acadians of Louisiana that Longfellow referred, in his Evangeline, when he wrote:  'Past the Ohio shore and past the mouth of the Wabash, 'Into the golden stream of the broad and swift Mississippi, 'Floated a cumbrous boat, that was rowed by Acadian boatmen.  'It was a band of exiles; a raft, as it were, from the shipwrecked 'Nation, scattered along the coast, now floating together, 'Bound by the bonds of a common belief and a common misfortune; 'Men and women and children, who, guided by hope or hearsay, 'Sought for their kin and their kind among the few-acred farmers, 'On the Acadian coast, and the prairie of fair Opelousas.  'On ward o'er sunken sands, through a a wilderness sombre with forests, 'Day after day they glided down the turbulent river; 'Night after night, by their blazing fires, encamped on its borders 'Now through rushing chutes, among green islands, where plumelike 'Cotton-trees nodded their shadowy crests, they swept with the current...'"  A wonderful tale, to be sure, but, alas, pure fiction.  Arsenault continues:  "Felix Voorhies, an eminent judge of Louisiana, in Acadian Reminiscences, published at the turn of the century [1907], tells the touching story of a group of Acadians deported to Maryland in 1755 and who, a few years later, succeeded in reaching Louisiana.  This story was related to him by his grandmother, an Acadian who had been one of the exiles in that group.  Having received help and shelter from Irish families in Maryland, these Acadians acquired horses and covered wagons and courageously began the long trek west.  After crossing Virginia and the mountainous country of North Carolina, they reached the Tennessee River.  They had been on the move two months.  Learning that they could reach Louisiana more easily by riding the strong river currents, they sold the horses and wagons, felled trees and built rafts.  They floated down the Tennessee, reached the Mississippi, Bayou Plaquemine and, finally, Bayou Teche along which they settled.  This was in the region of the Attakapas post, in present-day St. Martinville.  Charles Gayarré, a Louisiana historian, wrote that Acadian refugees arrived on the Mississippi in a steady stream immediately after their deportation to the English colonies and right up until the Treaty of Paris of 1763; but, it is impossible to ascertain their number."  Arsenault evidently was referring to Gayarré's earlier works; as explained above, Gayarré says nothing of such early arrivals in his later histories. 

Entrepreneur-turned-politician Dudley J. LeBlanc, who served in the Louisiana state senate beginning in the 1940s, perhaps was the most vociferous proponent of the 1750s-overland scenario.  "The story of the Acadians has been told often and many people have written about it, but no one actually knows when the first Acadians reached Louisiana," the Senator wrote in his history of the Acadians, first published in 1927.  Senator LeBlanc continues:  "As soon as the Acadians deported to Georgia arrived there, Governor Reynolds permitted them to leave.  The unfortunate people made crude boats, others took to the woods heading for Canada or back to Acadia, while some joined Acadians from South Carolina and traveled through the great wilderness which separated them from the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana via woods and water ways as they followed the paths of the earliest travelers down to the Mississippi River."  To buttress his assertion, Senator LeBlanc quotes the research notes, published in 1962, of two members of the Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Society, Mrs. Stephen Roy Campbell and Dr. Isobel French:  "'We are mainly interested in the Acadians who went to South Carolina and Georgia, as from these a small group of those who escaped were the first to travel the well-known Canadian Route through the forests and water ways on to the Mississippi River and Louisiana.'"  The two researchers cite Dr. Chapman J. Milling's study of Acadian exiles in South Carolina, first published in 1943:  "'Some made crude boats.  Others took to the woods heading for Canada, while others, joined by escaped parties of Acadians from Georgia, made their way to Louisiana.  A reference to such a party is made in an article in the South Carolina Gazette, said party leaving in May 1756.  The route from Canada to Louisiana via woods and water ways, particularly the Mississippi River, was the very first route known and used by explorers, missionaries, voyagers, coureur de bois, etc.  It required, we are told, approximately a month to travel from South Carolina to Louisiana.'"  Senator LeBlanc then asserts:  "As the wild ducks regularly came from Canada and the East to roost in an ideal pasture, at Cabahanoce (Indian name for duck's sleeping place), so came the early Acadians to find a haven of refuge on French soil which had been settled by the earliest Canadian and French pioneers at 'Les Oumas' or 'Houmas', twenty-two leagues above New Orleans.  This thinly populated area offered rich and choice lands along the Mississippi River, at a time when concessions could be had on the vast grants.  De Sennegy, whose early and authentic book on St. James is based on church archives and from family records of leading families of those days, dates the earliest Acadian arrivals in small, straggling weary groups between the year 1754-1759."  The Senator adds:  "Some Acadians seem to have come to "Houmas" or St. James via Pointe Coupée even before the deportation of 1755.  In the registers of St. Francis Church, Pointe Coupee Acadian names appear in the entries of the early seventeen-fifties.  We find names like Hebert and Richard in the books.  This seems to confirm the tradition that some Acadians, having been able to get away from Acadia into Canada during the long tense years prior to 1755, came from there to Louisiana."

As late as 1979, one encounters passages such as this in William Faulkner Rushton's dismally researched The Cajuns:  "Upon arriving in Louisiana in 1754, Salvador and Jean Diogène Mouton and their families were thrust into the company of highly advanced Indians who, as in Nova  Scotia, lived near the lands the Acadians settled."  Rushton's chronology asserts:  "1754--Five Mouton brothers and one nephew begin their immigration to Louisiana, the first Cajun settlers in the state."  And, again under the heading 1754:  "April 6--The first fully documented arrival of Cajun refugees in Louisiana:  four families, totaling twenty people, who had arrived via New York."  Under the heading 1756, we find:  "Scattered Acadian refugees dumped in Maryland, the Carolinas, and Georgia begin heading for Louisiana."  And:  "1757--The first chapel is established at St. James Parish, soon to become the principal settlement of the Acadian Coast along Louisiana's Mississippi River."  Also:  "1761--In Louisiana, the first Cajun name appears in the cattle industry's so-called brand book:  Bernard."  And, finally, "1764--In December a boatload of 20 refugees turns up in New Orleans."  Every assertion undocumented in a work filled with inaccuracies.

By the 1980s, however, scholars such as Glenn R. Conrad and Carl A. Brasseaux of the University of Southwestern Louisiana, today's University of Louisiana at Lafayette, helped resurrect the true history of the first Acadians in Louisiana.  Brasseaux's In Search of Evangeline, published in 1988, offers a discussion of the Evangeline/Emmeline Labiche myth, which includes the improbable movement of Acadians from Maryland to Louisiana via the Appalachian passes and the Tennessee, Ohio, and Mississippi river valleys, à la Longfellow's fictional Evangeline.  Brasseaux informs us that it was early nineteenth-century Louisiana historians François-Xavier Martin and René de Sennegy, both cited by Senator LeBlanc, who created the myth of Acadians taking an overland route to Louisiana.  He says of a later proponent of the myth:  "Like Longfellow, [Judge Felix] Voorhies depended upon his imagination for the trans-Appalachian journey, an episode for which factual information was understandably lacking, since it never took place."  Brasseaux concludes:  "The Maryland [as well as South Carolina and Georgia] Acadians knew the dangers and difficulties of overland travel and consistently traveled to Louisiana aboard chartered merchant vessels whose departures from Maryland and arrivals at New Orleans are well documented.  On the other hand, the voluminous materials relating to Acadian immigration into Louisiana fail to yield a single piece of evidence to substantiate the use of an overland route."  In an even more comprehensive work on The Founding of New Acadia, published in 1987, Professor Brasseaux explains:  "... it is certain that the overland odyssey described in Felix Voorhies' Acadian Reminiscences has no basis in fact.  The vigilance of colonial forces ordered to fire at Acadians approaching the Appalachian frontier, the belligerence of trans-Appalachian Indian tribes both during and after the Seven Years' War, and the exiles' general ignorance of the interior routes to Louisiana militated against a transcontinental trek.  It is also certain that few, if any, Acadians reached the lower Mississippi Valley via Quebec.  Indeed, Acadian refugees in Quebec appear to have ventured no further south than Detroit, where one couple was married on January 3, 1773."301 

And so, among serious historians at least, the legend is now itself a legend.  Despite his imprecise sources and erroneous conclusions, Senator LeBlanc at least was correct about the British colony from whence the first documented Acadian exiles came.  He even deduced correctly the place where they settled after they reached Louisiana.  But he missed by many hundreds of miles the actual route they took, and the date on which they arrived he missed by many years.301a


In February 1764, while Jean-Jacques-Blaise d'Abbadie still served as the colony's caretaker governor, the first Acadian exiles to reach Louisiana stepped off a vessel at New Orleans.  These 21 men, women, and children had come without warning, certainly without permission, and, having reached a French colony, intended to stay.  Focusing on the benefits they, and others like them, would provide the colony, d'Abbadie did his best to accommodate them.  Jean-Baptiste Cormier, père of Chignecto was 54 when he reached Louisiana.  With him were wife Madeleine Richard, age 54, and five daughters, all natives of Chignecto:  Madeleine, age 23; Marie, age 18; Marie-Anne, age 17; Marguerite, age 13; and Anastasie, age 11.  Jean-Baptiste, called Jean, Richard, of Nappan, Chignecto, age 44, came with wife Catherine Cormier, age 43, and three children, the oldest born at Chignecto, the younger ones in Georgia:  Jean-Marie, age 18; Rosalie, age 8; and Joseph, age 5.  Olivier Landry of Chignecto, age 36, came with wife Cécile Poirier, age 39, and three children, the older ones born in Chignecto, the youngest one in Georgia:  Joseph, age 16; Marie, age 14; and Jean-Antoine, age 3.  Jean-Baptiste, called Jean, Poirier of Menoudie, Chignecto, age 26, came with wife Marie-Madeleine Richard of Nappan, age 22, and two sons, both born in Georgia:  Jean-Baptiste, fils, age 3; and Joseph, age 1 1/2.  Each of the four nuclear families was related by blood or marriage, so they were essentially a single, extended family, typical of the Acadians still enduring their Grand Dérangement.  The arrival of this party at New Orleans is marked by records of the St.-Louis church noting the baptism of three of their children--Jean-Antoine Landry, Joseph Poirier, and Joseph Richard--on February 26, and another baptism, that of Jean-Baptiste Poirier, fils, on March 1.  It is interesting to note that the New Orleans priest who penned the baptismal records did not include the childrens' ethnicity.  A few weeks later, on 6 April 1764, Director-General d'Abbadie wrote to his superior, the French Minister of Marine:  "My Lord, I have the honor to inform you of the arrival of four Acadian families, including twenty persons, who came here from New York last February."  D'Abbadie continues:  "The English who held them as prisoners till the signing of the peace [in February 1763] permitted them to leave, provided they would defray their own traveling expenses.  Their passage from New York to Mobile cost 550 livres per family, consuming all of the hard-earned savings accumulated during their captivity."  The director-general implored the Minister to include a reimbursement of the Acadians' expenses in the colonial budget, noting that he had "ordered ... a ration of corn and rice be given to them until they can be settled."302 

In truth, these Acadians had come to Louisiana not directly from New York but from South Carolina and Georgia, to where the British had deported them in the fall of 1755.  The historical record offers a tortured itinerary these exiles may have followed before finally finding a home in lower Louisiana.  In the spring of 1756, Georgia authorities looked the other way as Acadians languishing on the colony's beaches purchased or built boats to return to their homeland.  The Cormiers, Landrys, Poiriers, and Richards may have been among the Acadians who made it as far as Long Island, where, on 22 August 1756, they came ashore, likely the victims of a maritime mishap.  New York authorities "detained" them in that colony for seven years, "until peace was declared."  Finally free to go, they headed south, perhaps to join their kinsmen in French St.-Domingue, or perhaps to move on to someplace else.  They were not among the Acadians who went to the sugar island.  In late August 1763, South Carolina authorities counted three of the families--the Cormiers, Poiriers, and Richards--at Charles Town, and the Landrys down the coast at Port Royal, not far from Georgia.  Or perhaps, as some historians insist, the families had spent their entire exile in Georgia.  After moving to South Carolina following the declaration of peace, they decided to return to their homeland, made it only as far as New York, changed their minds, and sailed back to Georgia, all within a four-month period.302a 

Regardless of how or when they got there, by early winter of 1763 the families were back in Georgia, but not to stay.  According to a notice in the Georgia Gazette, dated 22 December 1763, a party of 21 Acadians left Savannah the day before aboard the Savannah Packet for Mobile, "from which place they are to go to New Orleans."  They reached Port Dauphine in January, took boats up the bay to Mobile, and found the place abuzz with activity and no small amount of anxiety.  Director-General d'Abbadie had come to Mobile the previous October to oversee the transfer of eastern Louisiana to British jurisdiction.  He had lingered there until January, making certain the French soldiers and settlers who had chosen not to stay moved on to New Orleans, from whence they would go to new homes along the river above the city.  Perhaps the Acadians reached Mobile in time to consult with the director-general, or perhaps they arrived there after he had returned to New Orleans in mid-January.  No matter, they had personal business to attend to in this first Catholic community they had visited in nine long years.  After witnessing the blessing of a marriage--that of Jean Poirier and Marie-Madeleine Richard--at the Mobile church on 22 January 1764, they continued on to the Louisiana capital, perhaps by boat from Port Dauphine west into the Mississippi Sound, through the Rigolets, along the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain, and up Bayou St.-Jean to the rear of the city.  Or they may have hitched a ride aboard one of the ships carrying French expatriots from Mobile to New Orleans via La Balize.  However they got there, French officials welcomed them at New Orleans and issued them tools and rations at the King's expense. 

While baptizing their children at the New Orleans church, the families likely witnessed the presence of dozens of British redcoats of the 22nd Regiment of Foot awaiting transport for their movement up to Illinois.  While the families likely were still in the city waiting for transportation of their own, word reached New Orleans of the redcoats' thrashing at Roche-à-Davion, south of Natchez, on March 19, by a force of Indians opposing their passage.  Loftus and his men fell back to the city, which they reached on March 22, so the families may have witnessed their retreat as well.  Seeing it or only hearing of it, one also suspects the humiliation of the British would have gladdened the hearts of these long-suffering Acadians.  The upriver incident also may have delayed their re-settlement in the colony. 

Sometime in March or April, though the river at that season "was very high and navigation was very difficult," d'Abbadie sent the Acadians to a stretch of river at Cabahannocer above the Germans.  Their escort placed them on the outside of a sharp bend along the west bank of the river, between Nicolas Verret's plantation and Jacques Jacquelin's cow ranch.  And there, on narrow land grants, face au fleuve, atop the river's natural levee, in a colony of 4,000 fellow whites, 5,000 enslaved blacks, 200 mulatto slaves, 100 Indian slaves, and 100 gens de couleur libres, these 21 exiles set to work creating a New Acadia of their own.303  

Olivier Landry's kinship to a retired French military officer now in business at New Orleans may have brought him and his family to Louisiana and not to some other French possession.  Olivier was a cousin of Joseph de Goutin de Ville, whose mother, Jeanne Thibodeau, was Olivier's paternal grandmother's younger sister.  Having a Thibodeau mother--she was, in fact, Pierre Thibodeau and Jeanne Thériot's seventh of 16 children and their sixth daughter--connected de Goutin to many of the older, established families of French Acadia.  His aunts and uncles had married into the Landry, Lejeune, Robichaud, Boudrot, Bourg, Hébert, Préjean, Aucoin, Dugas, Le Borgne de Bélisle, D'Amours de Louvières, Comeau, and Bourgeois families, names that, like Cormier, Poirier, and Richard, soon would appear in the church and census records of lower Louisiana.  Two of de Goutin's first cousins, in fact, were wives of Alexandre and Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil, who, with dozens of their kinmen in the prisons of Nova Scotia, were pondering a move to the Mississippi valley. 

As the story goes, while Olivier and his family languished in an English colony at the end of the war with Britain, he somehow communicated with his cousin at New Orleans, who informed Olivier that the French authorities in Louisiana would welcome Acadians there.  In New Orleans, Olivier and cousin Joseph may have enjoyed a tearful reunion.  Nor would it be surprising if the retired officer was kin to other members of the party.  Soon after the party reached the city, de Goutin's eldest son Jean-Baptiste de Ville, only 12 years old, served as godfather at the baptism of 3-year-old Jean-Baptiste Poirier.  After Olivie and his fellow exiles settled at Cabahannocer, they likely sent out word by the remarkable Acadian grapevine that the French authorities in Louisiana had welcomed them to the colony.304 

These exiles would never return to their homes in Old Acadia, and only happenstance had brought them to this tropical valley of hanging moss, snakes, and palmettoes.  First at La Balize, where their ship from Mobile had to clear French customs, then in the exotic city at the head of the beautiful crescent, and now on their own river bend along the wide Mississippi, interesting parallels and startling contrasts greeted the first Acadians of Louisiana: 

Both Acadia and Louisiana had been founded by Frenchmen, Acadia in the early seventeenth century, Louisiana at the end of that century.  The French founders encountered only two significant Native peoples when they came to Acadia--the Algonquin-speaking Mi'kmaq and Maliseet.  In Louisiana, at least half a dozen nations greeted the French founders on their first upriver journey, and the Natives spoke such different languages that a lingua franca--the Mobilian Dialect--had arisen among them.  From the beginning, the French in Acadia got along well with the Mi'kmaq.  The French in Louisiana, mostly Canadians, also befriended the Natives along the lower Mississippi, with one and then two bloody exceptions.  Each colony in its early stage was sustained by the fur or skin trade--beaver in Acadia and whitetail deer in Louisiana.  Each colony in the beginning contained its share of charismatic leaders--Biencourt, La Tour, and d'Aulnay in Acadia; the Le Moyne brothers in Louisiana.  No single personality dominated early Acadian history, but the early history of Louisiana is essentially the story of one man--Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, sieur de Bienville.  France neglected both colonies throughout the time it possessed them, Acadia off and on for just over a century, Louisiana for six and a half decades.  Despite persistent neglect from the mother country, each colony survived and eventually thrived.  Each colony offered challenging natural phenomena that had to be overcome or endured--huge tides and brutal winters in Acadia; semi-tropical heat and humidity, insect-born diseases, frequent flooding and destructive storms in Louisiana.  In each colony, as in most of North America, the chief means of communication and transportation was by water, so mastery of watercraft--birch bark canoes in Acadia, dugout pirogues and plank-sided bateaux in Louisiana--was essential to survival.  No European families came to either colony during its formative years, only fur or skin traders, officers, sailors, soldiers, craftsmen, merchants, and missionaries.  Only after extended families set down roots did either colony achieve a level of self-sustainability.  In Acadia, because of the long, cold winters, most of the families engaged in a higher level of subsistence agriculture, with fishing, cattle raising, and fruit production providing a surplus for trade.  In Louisiana, early attempts at growing wheat failed miserably, so that essential grain had to be grown in upper Louisiana and transported downriver.  Only rice could thrive on the lower Mississippi.  However, when agriculture did take root in lower Louisiana, it soon transcended subsistence agriculture and moved into plantation-level production, first of tobacco and indigo and ultimately of sugar.  In Acadia, homesteads on the Fundy shore were oddly-shaped affairs, dictated by the natural distribution of dykable marshland.  In Louisiana, as in Canada, homesteads took the shape of rectangular long lots fronting the river or bayou.  Slavery did not take hold in Acadia.  The Mi'kmaq were too powerful to allow Europeans to enslave them, and most Acadian families were so large and healthy, and their communities so tight-knit, no shortage of labor burdened their frontier economy.  The only slaves in Acadia, if they existed at all, were a hand full of Africans owned by the wealthiest colonists and used only as prestige-domestics.  In Louisiana, despite French policy against it, Indian slavery existed from the very beginning, the Natives held first as domestics and then as laborers on scattered farms.  Not until 1769 was the practice of Indian slavery outlawed in Louisiana, not by the French but by the Spanish.  After the founding of New Orleans in 1718, the development of a plantation economy on the lower Mississippi necessitated the importation of West-African chattel, an institution that would survive well beyond the colonial period.  Most significantly, when extended families did emerge in either colony, they created their own unique créole culture shaped largely by the frontier experience.  Yet, during peace negotiations following two long wars between Britain and France, both colonies--the first in 1713, the second exactly half a century later--were considered expendable by the metropolitan elites sitting at Versailles and Paris.  Both colonies, along with the thousands of loyal subjects who had made a life there, were thrown aside, never to be reclaimed by Bourbon France.  The greatest contrast between the two places must have hung like a heavy gray cloud above the refugees from Georgia:  Acadia was gone, the old life was over, consumed by the brutal impact of their sudden exile and their dozen years among the British goddamns.  Louisiana, on the other hand, lay stretched out before them, different from their homeland in so many ways but nonetheless opening its arms to them.304a 

If no more of these distant wanderers had come to Louisiana, there would have been little chance their folkways could have stood the test of time there.  Like the Canadians, Frenchmen, Africans, and Germans who had come before them, they, too, would have been subsumed into Louisiana's créole culture.  After a generation or two, their unique identity would have ceased to exist.  But that would have happened if only they had come.  They likely did not know it, but hundreds of their wandering kinsmen were making their own way to this New Acadia on the lower Mississippi. 

Halifax Refugees Find a New Home in Lower Louisiana, 1765

During the final years of the Seven Years' War, hundreds of Acadians, including resistance fighters led by Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil, languished in the prison camps of Nova Scotia.  Beginning in September 1761, colonial authorities at Halifax allowed Acadian prisoners not suspected of partisan resistance to assist in the construction of a road "from Halifax to Fort Sackville at the head of the Bedford Basin" northwest of the British citadel.  Meanwhile, in one of the strangest ironies of the Acadian experience, 130 young prisoners, likewise vetted for partisan activities, were enticed to return to their former lands to rebuild and maintain the dykes their fathers had constructed in the Fundy settlements.  The New England "planters" now occupying former Acadian lands in the Annapolis and Minas basins were "upland farmers," unfamiliar with the aboiteaux within the massive dykes that had transformed coastal marshes into productive fields.  The young Acadians worked diligently for their New England employers and, lke the road builders at Halifax, were paid in Canadian currency.  Despite their plunge from landowners to mere laborers, these Acadians hoped to return to their farms and villages after the war with Britain finally ended. 

This was not to be. 

The war ended with the Treaty of Paris of February 1763.  Article 14 of the treaty gave all persons dispersed by the war 18 months to return to their respective territories.  British authorities decreed, however, that Acadian prisoners being held in the province, or those in other parts of the Acadian disaspora who attempted to return to Nova Scotia, could not reoccupy their former lands as proprietors.  If Acadians chose to remain in Nova Scotia, they could live only in small family groups, away from their lands along the Bay of Fundy, or they could continue to work for low wages as laborers at Halifax or on "Planters'" farms.  If they stayed, they must also take the hated oath, without reservation, to the new British monarch, George III.305  

Although Article IV had given dispersed subjects a year and a half to return to their homes, most of the Acadians in Nova Scotia were still being held in confinement in the autumn of 1764, months after the time for them to go had expired.  Nova Scotia's new governor, Montague Wilmot, who had replaced Jonathan Belcher, Jr., the year before, had, in the time allotted, "tender'd to them" the oath of allegiance as well as "offers of a settlement in this Country."  But most of the Acadians had rebuffed the oath as well as the offer.  British leaders in Halifax, led by former governor and now chief justice Belcher, still felt threatened by the Acadian presence in Nova Scotia, as did the new governor.  They were especially fearful of Beausoleil Broussard and other resistance leaders.  Ignoring orders from London's Board of Trade to keep them in Nova Scotia and entreaties from the New English "planters" to retain them as cheap but highly skilled labor, Belcher encouraged Wilmot to remove the Acadians once again from the province.  Wilmot, likely under the influence of his uncle, the powerful Earl of Halifax, resisted that policy at first, so the chief justice hatched a scheme of his own:  send the Acadians from Halifax to Basking Ridge, New Jersey, to work as indentured servants on a British nobleman's land; Belcher's father just happened to be the governor of New Jersey at the time, and the nobleman was one of his father's political allies.  Governor Wilmot also received a proposal to send 30 Acadian families to Chusock, New York, to work as indentured servants there.  But no Acadian family agreed to either of the proposals.  Haunted by the fear of Acadian treachery, Wilmot proposed to his uncle the deportation of the Acadians to the islands in the West Indies recently won from the French, but the earl informed his nephew that land there would soon "be sold at pubic auction and thus would be unavailable to these Acadians."  The Board of Trade insisted on the Acadians' immediate release and their re-settlement in Nova Scotia, as long as they took the ironclad oath and did not resist the rising tide of New English "planters."306 

The time for decision had run out.  It was time for them to act.  Nova Scotia was no longer a welcome place for the descendants of its original settlers.  Too proud to work for wages, unwilling to work as indentured servants in colonies where they could lose their religion as well as their children, unable to return to their farms in the Fundy basin, and determined not to take the hated oath, the Broussards and their kin, nearly 200 of them now, most of them still languishing on Georges Island, had to find a suitable place to put down new roots.  The St. Lawrence valley was out of the question.  They were hearing stories of how the French Canadians treated with contempt Acadian refugees who had settled among them, and the Earl of Halifax and the Board of Trade forbade the migration of more Acadians to Québec.  Besides, Canada was as much a British possession now as Nova Scotia, and settling there would require them to take the oath.  Nor was it likely that Wilmot would applaud the troublesome Broussards and their partisan compatriots settling as close as Québec to their former lands along the Bay of Fundy.  It was better that they find territory controlled by France, where they could speak their own language, practice their religion, and avoid the oath. 

The closest French possession to the prisons camp at Halifax were îles St.-Pierre and Miquelon off the southern coast of Newfoundland.  Some of their fellow exiles in Nova Scotia already had gone to the islands to work in the French fishery there.  But the islands lacked appeal for most of the Broussard party, most of whom were grain farmers and cattle raisers, not fishermen and gardeners.  Their plan was to stay together come what may, perserving their extended families and kinship networks.  What would be the impact on two small fishing islands of the sudden arrival of 200 men, women, and children?  It was best that they choose an open country where they could farm and raise their cattle and where their children and grandchildren could take up land of their own.  The Illinois country and the pays d'en haut were viable options, but the British would not let them take the shortest route there via Canada, and France had just ceded the eastern part of Illinois, as well as most of the pays d'en haut, to Britain.  Moreover, Indian rebellions, including one led by the Ottawa chief Pontiac, were ravaging the pays d'en haut, and the fighting there could last for years.  Still, the west bank of the upper Mississippi held promise for them.  By 1750 the French had founded Ste.-Geneviève across from Kaskaskia.  Like the older settlements east of the river, the newer west-bank settlement served as a breadbasket for the more numerous population of lower Louisiana, so grain farmers and cattlemen, accustomed to hard winters, likely would thrive there.  They could not know it, but in February merchants from New Orleans had founded a new settlement on the west bank of the Mississippi just below the confluence with the muddy Missouri, 50 miles above Ste.-Geneviève.  Called Paincourt at first, perhaps a reference to the area's potential for wheat production, it soon would be called by another French name--St.-Louis.  Significantly, a kinsman of the Broussards--a first cousin of the Beausoleil brothers' wives--was a long-time resident of the Illinois country.  Pierre d'Amours de Louvières, son of Charles d'Amours and his second wife Anne-Marie Thibodeau, had come to Illinois as a cadet of troupes de la marine in c1736 and remained there.  Retired now, in his mid-50s, he lived at Prairie-du-Rocher on the river's east bank, across from Ste.-Geneviève.  One suspects the Broussards were not only aware of their cousin's presence there, but may have found a way to communicate with him through the Acadian grapevine.  Downriver from Illinois, the French also retained control of the Isle of Orleans and the west bank of the lower Mississippi, or so most of the world believed.  Word of the Treaty of Fontainbleu, which had transferred New Orleans and western Louisiana from France to Spain in November 1762, did not reach New Orleans until September 1764, so the Broussards would not have heard of it.  Even if they had, the transfer from French to Spanish rule would not have made much of a difference to them:  despite Spanish control of the province, the great majority of the inhabitants of western Louisiana would continue to speak French and raise their children in the Roman Catholic faith.  The Broussard brothers also were kin through their Thibodeau wives to Joseph de Goutin de Ville, the retired French military officer who was now a businessman at New Orleans, and they may have communicated with him as well.  New to western Louisiana were four Acadian families--the Cormiers, Landrys, Poiriers, and Richards of Chignecto--recently arrived from Georgia.  Each was closely related to the Broussard brothers or to members of their party:  young Jean-Baptiste Cormier, fils, whose mother, like the Broussard brothers, was a Richard, may already have heard from his parents and sisters, now settled at Cabahannocer on the river above New Orleans.  Also at Cabahannocer was Jean Poirier, whose wife also was a Richard, and Jean Richard, whose wife was a Cormier.  Moreover, Olivier Landry, whose wife was a Poirier, was kin to the Broussard brothers' wives through his paternal grandmother, Marie Thibodeau, who also was the eldest sister of Joseph de Goutin de Ville's mother, Jeanne Thibodeau.  Upon arrival in the colony the previous February, Olivier may have been informed by his New Orleans cousin that their kinsmen up in Halifax were seeking a new home.  If the Broussards could manage to get there, New Orleans could serve as a gateway to the prairies of western Illinois.  France also controlled St.-Domingue in the Caribbean Basin, where hundreds of exiles from the British seaboard colonies recently had gone to start a new life.  Surely there must be plenty of farmland and pasture on such a large sugar island to accommodate 200 more Acadians, but letters from their kinsmen in St.-Domingue detailed the rigors of the tropical climate there and maltreatment at the hands of French officials.  But if they went there and found reasons not to remain, they could move on to New Orleans and Illinois.  And then there was the mother country itself, where the British had deported hundreds of Acadians from Île Royale and Île St.-Jean after the fall of Louisbourg, and where the Minas Acadians held in England had been recently repatriated.  Even with permission from the French Crown to go there, however, a cross-Atlantic voyage to France would be difficult and expensive, but so would a voyage to the French West Indies.  There was much for the Broussards and their kinsmen to consider, and their time was running out.308

After much deliberation, the old resistance fighters and their compatriots chose to depart British Nova Scotia and sail to French St.-Domingue.  They asked the Nova Scotia Council "to subsidize their voyage to the French Antilles."  Reminding the Acadians of how much they had earned "'from the profits of their labors purchased at a high price, during the last four years,'" the Council refused them.  Wilmot, however, was happy to provide them with rations for the voyage, just to be rid of them.  And so they would go, not as former deportees like so many of their fellow Acadians, but as former prisoners of a failed resistance and on their own hook.309 

Using the money they had saved from their labor in Nova Scotia, the Broussard party left Halifax in late November 1764 aboard a chartered English merchant schooner bound for Cap-Français on the north coast of French St.-Domingue.  Behind them would come other chartered vessels carrying 400 more of their compatriots from the prison compounds of Nova Scotia.  The Broussards reached Le Cap, as Cap-Français was known, in January.  They could see even in that winter season that the island's climate was unsuitable for them.  They had hoped to reunite with relatives there, but many of the St.-Domingue Acadians were either dead or dying from tropical diseases, starvation, and overwork.  Just as disturbing, there was little chance of acquiring productive farm land in the island's plantation-slave economy.  They could see no future for their children in St.-Domingue, despite its being the wealthiest colony in the world.  Some of them nevertheless chose to stay, but the Broussards and most of their kinsmen decided to move on.310  

"Packet-boat mail service was established between France and Saint-Domingue in 1764," Carl A. Brasseaux informs us, so the port served as a gateway to French possessions in the region.  The Broussards chartered another merchant vessel at Le Cap, welcoming aboard a hand full of fellow Acadians who were related to members of the party.  Among them was Théotiste Broussard, widow of Joseph Hugon, who had been deported with her family from Chignecto to South Carolina probably aboard the English sloop Endeavor in 1755.  She was among the dozens of Acadians who had left that British colony in November 1763 for French St.-Domingue.  "So strong is the attachment of the Acadians to the superstitions of the Romish religion," wrote South Carolinian Peter Timothy in the South Carolina Gazette the previous August, "that tho' they are well used here, live very comfortably and get a great deal of money, yet they are all going to leave this province as well as Georgia, to the number of 300, merely that they may have priests among them.  They propose going to Cape François, and 6 of their number are now ready to depart, to give notice of the Coming of the rest and make preparations for their reception."  Perhaps to assuage their collective consciences, Peter Timothy and his fellow Carolinians refused to see the true conditions the Acadians had endured in their Palmetto colony.  Unfortunately for Théotiste and her fellow Acadians who ventured to the tropical French colony to enjoy their priests, they found nothing there but more misery and death.  Théotiste may have become a widow there, but, unlike many of the survivors of the St.-Domingue venture, she was not left alone.  With her were daughter Marie Hugon, age 14, and brother-in-law, Jacques Hugon of Chignecto, age 35, who had gone to South Carolina with a wife and two children but had lost them all.  Théotiste managed to hook up with her Broussard cousins before the Beausoleil party departed Le Cap, and now she and her daughter and her widowed brother-in-law would try their luck in another French colony, hopefully with happier result.311 

Before the Halifax Acadians left St.-Domingue, they baptized at least one of their newborns.  Victor Comeau of Chepoudy and his wife Anne Michel of Annapolis Royal, widow of Michel Brun, had married probably at Georges Island in the early 1760s.  Their son Thomas was born at the prison compound in 1762 or early 1763, and, by the time they left Halifax in late November 1764, Anne had become pregnant again.  She gave birth to son Jean either on the long voyage from Halifax down to Cap-Français or in the island city, and she and Victor baptized the boy in the church there.312 

From Le Cap, the Broussards sailed west through the Florida Straits into the Gulf of Mexico and then on to the mouth of the Mississippi River.  Their arrival at La Balize was a complete surprise to the French authorities still in control of Louisiana.  Official French correspondence, as well as baptismal and marriage records at St.-Louis church, place the Broussard party at New Orleans by 19 February 1765.  They were not the first exiles to come to Louisiana--those had come exactly a year before--but the Broussards and their kin were the first large group of Acadians to reach the lower Mississippi valley.  Members of the party, numbering slightly over 200 now, included families from the Chignecto/trois-rivières area, where the Broussards had lived, but the party also included former habitants from Annapolis, Minas, Rivière St.-Jean, even Île St.-Jean, a reflection of the chaos of their Grand Dérangement.  Nearly all of them were members of old, established families whose progenitors had reached Acadia in the 1600s.  Some of the nuclear families were headed by widows, and a number of wives were pregnant.312a 

The Broussards, of course, were the largest family in the party:

Alexandre dit Beausoleil was 66 years old when he stepped off the ship at New Orleans.  With him were wife Marguerite Thibodeau, age 60, and four unmarried children, all born on the Petitcoudiac:  Sylvain, age 24; Simon, age 21; Anne, age 18; and Pierre, age 14.  Alexandre's son Jean-Baptiste, age 34, came with wife Anne Brun, age 27, and two sons:  Mathurin, age 15; and Jean, age 1.  Alexandre's son Anselme, age 31, came with wife Madeleine-Marguerite Dugas, age unrecorded, and infant son Joseph-Théodore, who likely had been born at sea.  Ursule Trahan, age unrecorded, widow of Alexandre's son Joseph-Grégoire Broussard, came with two children, both natives of Pigiguit:  Élisabeth, or Isabelle, age 12; and Joseph, age 11.  Joseph dit Beausoleil was age 63 and a widower when he reached New Orleans.  With him were four unmarried children, all natives of Petitcoudiac:  twins François and Françoise, age 19; Claude, age 17; and Amand, age 15.  Beausoleil's son Joseph-Grégoire dit Petit Jos, age 38, came with second wife Marguerite Savoie, age 29, who was very pregnant, and son René, age 12.  Beausoleil's son Victor-Grégoire, age 37, came with wife Isabelle LeBlanc, age 33, and no children.  Beausoleil's son Timothée-Athanase, called Athanase, age 24, came with wife Anne-Marie Bourgeois, age 25, who was pregnant, and daughter Isabelle, age 2.  Rose LeBlanc, age unrecorded, widow of Raphaël Broussard, came alone.  François Broussard, age unrecorded, a kinsman of the Beausoleil Broussards, also was a member of the party. 

Their cousins the Thibodeaus also were plentiful:

Brigitte Breau of Grand-Pré age 45, widow of  Charles Thibodeau, came with three children:  Jean-Anselme, age 14; Anne dite Nanette, age 10; and Marie-Louise, age 2.  Paul Thibodeau of Annapolis Royal, age 37, came with wife Rosalie Guilbeau, age 24, who was pregnant.  Also with them was cousin Anne Thibodeau of Pigiguit, age unrecorded.  Olivier Thibodeau of Chepoudy, age 32, came with wife Madeleine Broussard, age unrecorded, who was pregnant, and two of their children:  Marie, age 2; and infant son Théodore, born at sea.  Also with them were two of Madeleine's daughters by her first husband, Jean Landry Anne Landry, age 11; and Isabelle Landry, age unrecorded.  Olivier's brother Amand of Chepoudy, age 31, still a bachelor, as well as Baptiste Thibodeau, age unrecorded, and Madeleine Thibodeau, age 15, also were part of the extended family. 

Other members of the party were related by either blood or association to the Broussards and the Thibodeaus: 

Jean Arseneau of Chignecto, age 37, came with wife Judith Bergeron, age 31, and four sons:  Jean-Charles, age 13; Joseph, age 8; Guillaume, age 5; and Pierre-Paul, age 3.  Pierre Arseneau of Pointe-Beauséjour, Chignecto, age 34, came with wife Anne Bergeron of Rivière St.-Jean, age 24, daughter Marie-Catherine dite Rosalie, age 1; and his sister ____, widow of _____ Bernard, age 39.  Jean Arseneau's brother Joseph, also of Chignecto, age 25, came with wife Marie Bergeron of Rivière St.-Jean, age 20, and no children.  François Arseneau, also called François Allemand, age 1, his relationship with other members of the Arseneau family undetermined, also was in the party.  Charles Babineau of Annapolis Royal, age 37, came with his second wife Anne Guilbeau of Annapolis Royal, age 25, and two sons:  Charles-Dominique, age 4; and Julien-Joseph, age 1.  Augustin Bergeron of Annapolis Royal and Rivière St.-Jean, age 55, came with wife Marie Dugas, age 54.  Their son Jean-Baptiste Bergeron of Rivière St.-Jean, age 35, came with wife Catherine Caissie dit Roger of Chignecto, age 29, who was pregnant, and four children:  Madeleine, age 15; Osite, age 13; Jean-Baptiste, fils, age 11; and Charles, age 9.  Augustin's nephew Barthélemy Bergeron III of Rivière St.-Jean, age 25, came with wife Anne Arseneau of Chignecto, age 20, and infant son Charles.  Michel Bernard of Chignecto, age 31, came with wife Marie Guilbeau of Annapolis Royal, age 31, and two sons:  Jean-Baptiste, age 3; and Michel, fils, an infant.  Jean Boudrot, age 25 came with wife Marguerite Guilbeau, age 22, and 4-year-old son Jean-Charles dit Donat.  Anne Boudrot of Annapolis Royal, age 55, widow of Charles Bourg, came with six children, all born on Île St.-Jean:  Marguerite, age 28, still unmarried; Marie-Madeleine, age 21; Gertrude, age 18; L'ange, age 17; Joseph, age 14; and Louise, age 12.  Joseph Bourgeois of Chignecto, age 29, came with wife Marie Girouard, age 27, 2-year-old daughter Marie, and two younger, unmarried brothers:  Michel, age 24; and Pierre, age 20.  Sylvain Breau of Petitcoudiac, age 52, came with wife Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Darois of Port-Royal, age 66, and no children.  Firmin Breau of Rivière-aux-Canards, Minas, age 14, also was in the party.  Victor Comeau of Chepoudy, age 25, came with wife Anne Michel, age 32, and two sons:  Thomas, age 2; and Jean, an infant, who had been born at Cap-Français, St.-Domingue.  Jean-Baptiste Cormier, fils of Chignecto, age 23, was still a bachelor.  Pierre Darois of Petitcoudiac, age 28, came with wife Marie Bourgeois of Chignecto, age 30, who was very pregnant when they reached the colony; their son Michel was born and baptized at New Orleans on February 19, soon after their arrival.  Michel-Laurent Doucet of Annapolis Royal, age 43, came with wife Marguerite Martin, age 44, and five children:  Joseph, age 13; Michel, fils, age 12; Pierre, age 9; Jean, age 3; and Marie-Marthe, age 1.  Agnès Brun, age 22, widow of Paul Doucet, came with year-old daughter Anne dite Nanette Doucet, born in Boston, Massachusetts.  Jean Dugas of Annapolis Royal, age 53, came with wife Marie-Josèphe Godin of Rivière St.-Jean, age unrecorded, and six children, the older ones born at Ékoupag, Rivière St.-Jean:  François, age 25 and still a bachelor; Marie-Rose, age 16; Charles, age 15; Athanase, age 12; Michel, age 8; and Théodore, age 6.  Joseph Dugas, age unrecorded, came with wife Cécile Bergeron of Rivière St.-Jean, age 30, and four children:  Cécile, age 12; Joseph dit Cadet, age 11; Pélagie-Madeleine, age 6; and Mathilde, an infant.  Charles dit Charlitte Dugas, age 28, came with wife Marguerite Broussard, age 28, daughter of Joseph dit Beausoleil, and no children.  Charlitte's younger brothers Jean, age 24, and Pierre, age 16, also were in the party, as well as Jean Dugas, age 1, probably an orphan, and Joseph and Madeleine Dugas, ages unrecorded, whose relationship with other members of the family also were not known.  Pierre Forest, age unrecorded, came alone.  Pierre Gautrot, age unrecorded, came with wife Louise Thibodeau, age unrecorded, and daughter Marie-Josèphe, age 10 months.  Joseph Girouard of haute rivière, Annapolis Royal, age 35, still a bachelor, came alone.  Anselme-Joseph Godin dit Bellefontaine, probably of Rivière St.-Jean, age recorded, came alone.  Augustin Guédry, age unrecorded, came with wife Théotiste Broussard, whose age also was unrecorded.  Joseph Guédry, age 30, evidently a bachelor, came alone.  Joseph dit L'Officier Guilbeau of Annapolis Royal, age 55, came with wife Madeleine Michel, age 53, and three children, two born at Annapolis Royal and the youngest at Restigouche:  Félicité, age 20; François, age 16; and Jean, age 8.  Joseph-Pepin Hébert of Chignecto, age 17, came with his sister Louise, age 11.  Pierre Hébert, age unrecorded, described as an orphan "of both father & mother," also was a member of the party.  Théotiste Broussard, age unrecorded, widow of Joseph Hugon, came with daughter Marie, age 14, and her brother-in-law Jacques Hugon of Cobeguit, age 35.  Paul Josset, age unrecorded, came alone.  Pierre Lagrèse or Lagrèze, perhaps a French official, whose age also was unrecorded, came alone.  Mathurin Landry, age 28, came with wife Marie Dugas, age unrecorded, who was pregnant.  Simon LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, age 28, came with wife Catherine Thibodeau, age unrecorded, and three children:  Cosme, age 5; Marie-Louise, age 3; and newborn Marie-Angélique, born either at Cap-Français or at sea.  Simon's younger brother René dit Petit-René, age 15, also was in the party.  Louis dit Luci Levron of Annapolis Royal, age 43, still a bachelor, came alone.  Ambroise Martin dit Barnabé of Chignecto, age 31, came with wife Marie-Madeleine Godin dit Bellefontaine of Rivière St.-Jean, age 27, and two daughters:  Hélène, age 4; and newborn Élisabeth, or Isabelle.  Claude Martin, age 29, came alone.  Two sets of Martin siblings--brothers Joseph, age 24, and brother Pierre, age unrecorded, of Chignecto; and twins Bonaventure and Judith-Philippe, age 12, orphans--also were members of the party.  Charles dit Lazers Pellerin of Annapolis Royal, age 41, came with wife Cécile Préjean, age 33, and no children.  Michel Poirier, age 27, still a bachelor, came alone.  Jean-Charles Poirier or Pothier, a year-old orphan, also was a member of the party.  René Robichaud of Annapolis Royal and Bédec, Île St.-Jean, age 30, came with wife Marguerite Martin dit Barnabé of Chignecto and Tracadie, Île St.-Jean, age 32, and two daughters:  Madeleine, age 8; and Genevière, age 6.  Abraham Roy of Annapolis Royal, age 34, a widower, came with two children:  Marie, age 10; and Sauveur, age 6.  Jean-Baptiste Semer of Grand-Pré, age 21, came alone.  Pierre Surette, age unrecorded, came with wife Marie Thibodeau of Petitcoudiac, age 25, who was pregnant, and their 3-year-old daughter Marie-Anne.  Jean Trahan of Grand-Pré, age 47, widower of Marguerite Broussard, came with three children:  Madeleine, age 15; Germain, age 13; and Marguerite, age 10.  Jean's brother Michel of Grand-Pré, age 39, came with wife Anne-Euphrosine Vincent of Annapolis Royal, age 34, and four children, the older ones born at Grand-Pré, the youngest one at Halifax:  Paul, age 13; Françoise, age 12; Jean-Athanase, age 11; and Marie-Françoise, age 2.  René Trahan of Petitcoudiac, age 37, came with wife Isabelle Broussard, age 32, and 10-year-old son Olivier.313

While recuperating at New Orleans from their odyssey, the Broussard party changed their collective minds about continuing on to Illinois.  Cousin Joseph de Goutin de Ville, after welcoming his kinsmen with open arms, may have convinced them to remain in lower Louisiana.  Or perhaps simple circumstance dictated a change of mind.  Acting Director-General Charles-Philippe Aubry was reporting to his superiors that "the Indians are still giving the English a great deal of trouble" up in the Illinois country.  Moreover, British vessels, including two frigates, now free to navigate the Mississippi along its entire length, had taken positions at Bayou Manchac above the city, where the British planned to build a fort on their side of the river, and at Natchez, where they planned to construct an even larger post.  They also may have heard rumors of British plans to fortify the bluffs at Baton Rouge, between Manchac and Natchez.  Illness had haunted them since Halifax, and at least 10 of their young women, including two of Joseph dit Beausoleil's daughters-in-law, were pregnant.  Contemplation of another difficult journey, this one up a long, winding river plagued by strife and uncertainty, would have encouraged them to embrace the peacefulness of New Orleans and think twice about moving on to Illinois.313a

As an inducement for them to remain in lower Louisiana, Aubry agreed to a plaintive request from the new arrivals.  Despite a royal decree of 29 June 1764 that liquidated colonial bills and currencies, Aubry authorized the Acadians to exchange their "letters of exchange, card money, and drafts" for French currency.  Local merchant Gilbert-Antoine de Saint-Maxênt served as exchange agent for a wealthy merchant in Bordeaux, M. Lamalatie, who would attempt to complete the long and, in the end, futile transaction for the weary exiles.  Saint-Maxênt's initial report to the French authorities, prepared at the end of April 1765, contains the names of 32 family heads in the Broussard party, including two widows.  Saint-Maxênt valued their Canadian money at 33,395 livres, 18 sols. Interestingly, Joseph dit Beausoleil's name is not on Saint-Maxênt's list; perhaps he had expended his money at Halifax and Cap-Français paying for the passage of others.314 

The Acadians took care of more intimate business while they lingered in the city.  On February 27, soon after their arrival, Amand Thibodeau of Chepoudy, age 31, married Gertrude, 18-year-old daughter of Charles Bourg and Anne Boudrot of Île St.-Jean, at St.-Louis church--the first recorded Acadian marriage in Louisiana.  Gertrude came to Louisiana with her widowed mother and five siblings and likely had met her future husband in the prison compound at Halifax.  Joseph Girouard of the haute rivière married Ursule, daughter of René Trahan and Élisabeth Darois and widow of Alexandre dit Beausoleil's son Joseph-Grégoire Broussard, at St.-Louis church on April 8, on the eve of the party's departure from the city.  Rose LeBlanc, widow of one of Joseph dit Beausoleil's sons, took a different path.  She remained in the city, applied to the novitiate of the Ursuline Order, and was accepted on August 14, earning for herself the distinction of being "Louisiana's first Acadian religious."  The Acadians also ministered to family members and friends at the King's hospital on the edge of the city.  There, one of them recalled, "... they gave us a pound and a half of bread and meat for women who were pregnant or nursing as well as the disabled and sick persons...."  Despite such excellent care, the Acadians were compelled to bury at least two of their own.  Pierre Gautrot, husband of Louise Thibodeau, died at New Orleans soon after the party reached the city, perhaps the first Acadian to die in the colony.  Pierre left his wife with an infant daughter, Marie-Josèphe; Louise was one of the widows who appeared on the list of family heads, dated 30 April 1765, hoping to exchange their Canadian card money for Louisiana funds.  Mathilde, infant daughter of Joseph Dugas and Cécile Bergeron, died at New Orleans on March 11.315 

The Acadians' reputation for hard work and loyalty to France having preceded them, Director-General Aubry was determined to keep them close.  "They would actually have died of misery had we not provided them some assistance," Aubry wrote to the Minister of Marine soon after the Halifax refugees appeared at New Orleans.  "I thought that the honor and the humanity of our country compelled me to do something for these poor families who have been wandering for the past ten years.  Their affliction is the result of their sacred attachment to their homeland and to their religion.  I shall attempt to settle them on the right [west] bank of the river, as close to the city as possible."  He offered to settle them directly across from the city, at the site of today's Algiers.  The place, however, was low and subject to flooding, thus requiring the building of high, expensive levees, and was "blanketed by dense, hardwood forests."  Such a place could not be suitable for the weary Acadian exiles, most of whom were Chignecto cattlemen who had lived beside the coastal marshes of the upper Fundy shore.  And then there was the question of cost.  "These people," Aubry informed the Minister in late April, "would have had to build levees and clear a substantial amount of land.  This would have necessitated feeding these people for several years while they established themselves and became self-supporting.  Such a precedent was set by the settlers of the German Coast.  We find ourselves in such circumstances that I did not dare make such expenditures."  Aubry had heard rumors that "The English, who often meddle in the affairs of other people, wish to induce the Acadians to join them along the Iberville River [Bayou Manchac, above the German Coast].  It is unlikely, however," he assured the Minister, "that these people, who refused to submit to English rule--both after the Treaty of Utrecht and during the last war--and who consequently were treated harshly by them, would now join the British."316 

So very true. 

But before Aubry could concoct another settlement scheme for them, the Broussards again seized control of their collective destiny.  In June 1764, their cousin Joseph de Goutin de Ville had received a land grant on upper Bayou Teche in the still-undeveloped Attakapas District, west of the Atchafalaya Basin, and he likely had told his cousins about the wonders of that country.  Downriver from de Ville's land grant was an even larger one held by another retired French army officer, former infantry captain Jean-Antoine-Bernard Dauterive, a major cattle producer in the colony.  Ordonnateur Foucault either had gotten wind of an impending agreement between the Broussards and the cattleman, or he and Aubry may have been the authors of a scheme to send the Acadians to the prairie districts and thereby buttress the developing cattle industry there.  In late February, weeks before the agreement was finalized, Foucault wrote to the Minister of Marine:  "They [the Halifax Acadians] are poor and worthy of pity.  Until they have chosen land in the Opelousas district, sixty leagues from New Orleans, and are able to care for themselves, I cannot refuse them assistance."317

Likely in March, while Dauterive and the Broussards were negotiating a deal, Beausoleil sent, or more likely led, a scouting expedition across the Atchafalaya Basin to the cattleman's spread along lower Bayou Teche.  One of the young Acadians, Jean-Baptiste Semer, age 21 at the time of his arrival, described for his father their coming to New Orleans and then noted:  "We the first ones have been sent seven or eight men to look over the land and locations in order to find a suitable site, and we were told that at Attakapas there were magnificent grasslands with the finest soil in the world."

By April, the Beausoleil brothers and several other party leaders--Joseph's son Victor, Alexandre's son Jean-Baptiste, cousin-in-law Olivier Thibodeau, and associates Joseph dit L'Officier Guilbeau, Jean Dugas, and Pierre Arseneau--had "agreed to tend Dauterive's livestock for six years; in consideration for their labor, they would receive not only half of the herd's increase but also the land grant Dauterive and his partner," André Massé, "had acquired in 1760."  One wonders how much the Acadians knew of Dauterive's reputation in the colony.  In 1758, during the war with Britain, Governor Kerlérec had hard words to say about him:  "This officer is one of the most antisocial, insubordinate, hot-headed men that I have known in this colony; a schemer; and always restless.  I have disciplined him often, but without success."  (Then, again, perhaps the Broussards had much in common with the irrascible old soldier!) 

Regardless of their feelings towards Dauterive and other members of the French elite, the Acadians chose to play a part in the colony's cattle industry, now decades old.  As Carl A. Brasseaux explains:  "Development of the cattle industry at Attakapas was vital, the acting governor [Aubry] argued, because 'since the cession of Mobile, we are entirely without cattle.'  Finally, the cattle produced at Attakapas [one historian describes them as "semidomesticated longhorns"] could support New Orleans in times of war, because the post's lines of communication with the capital were not exposed to British raids."  The Dauterive Compact, as it came to be called, was a clever way for the Acadians to acquire cattle in a hurry so that they, too, could help mitigate the shortage of beef in the colony.  Brasseaux calls the place where the Acadians planned to raise their cattle "the former Dauterive-Massé concession," implying that the land on which they would settle at Attakapas would belong to them, not to the cattlemen.318 

Aubry and Foucault agreed to the arrangement, notarized in their presence on April 4; again, they may have been the authors of the scheme.  They had just opened up the western districts to colonization by approving the settlement there of "scores of French subjects from Alabama" whom the locals called Allibamonts.  Why not send these Acadians there as well.  The exiles had raised cattle in Acadia, so they certainly could raise Spanish longhorns out on the western prairies.  "We ... sent seven or eight men to look over the land and locations in order to find a suitable site," one of the young Acadians remembered, "and we were told that at Attakapas there were magnificent grasslands with the finest soil in the world."  On April 8, Aubry commissioned Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil Capitiane Commandant des Acadiens aux Attakapas.  The following week, Aubry ordered retired French engineer lieutenant Louis-Antoine Andry, assisted by Pierre-François Olivier du Closel de Vézin, fils, to lead the capitaine commandant and his party to Bayou Teche "via Bayou Plaquemine and the network of waterways lacing the Atchafalaya Basin," normally a six-day journey and most likely the same route the scouting party had taken.  Under Andry's supervision, the Halifax Acadians would make their settlements "along a navigable river, checking carefully the high water level so that flooding can be avoided."  Andry was tasked also with surveying the Teche from the new Acadian settlements down to the Gulf in hopes of establishing a quicker line of communication between the prairie districts and New Orleans.  Also accompanying the Broussard party would be Father Jean-François de Civray, a "gouty" French Capuchin missionary who had served Louisiana since 1737.  Perhaps the vicar-general at New Orleans, Capuchin Father Dagobert de Longuory, thought an experienced priest like Father Jean-François was the ideal choice to minister to this large group of settlers.  One wonders, however, if the vicar-general informed the Acadians that Father Jean-François was an habitual gambler who had recently returned from "exile" at Mobile.319

Probably during the third week of April, the Acadians, carrying their few personal belongings, stepped aboard what the locals called pirogues for their journey across the Atchafalaya Basin.  Their provisions for the trip as well as for their settlement, enough to last them six months, had been carefully calculated by Ordonnateur Foucault and his supply clerks:  "foodstuffs, tools, muskets, and building material worth 15,500 livres."  Upon departing the city, Jean-Baptiste Semer relates, "... (they gave us) bread, that is to say, flour for the men and an equal amount of rice and corn for the women and children."  The Acadians also would go to Attakapas with plenty of powder and shot, essential for survival on an untamed frontier.  On their way upriver, they passed settlements at Chapitoulas and Cannes Brûlé before reaching Des Allemands, the German Coast, where they would have seen the neat cabins, freshly-plowed fields, and well-tended gardens of an alien people who had come to the colony four decades earlier.  Here, amidst the Germans' long-lot habitations, was evidence that this new land could yield wonders for them.  The young Semer remembered vividly what he saw there:  "The land here brings forth a good yield of everything anyone wants to sow.  Wheat from France, corn and rice, sweet potatoes, giraumont (a kind of zucchini), pistachios, all kinds of vegetables, flax, cotton ...  indigo, sugar, oranges, and peaches here grow like apples in France."  A veritable breadbasket for the colony.  Jean-Baptiste could not have known it, but one of his grandsons many years hence would marry a German girl whose ancestors were living at this very place.320 

Above the German Coast, the flotilla of pirogues came upon a stretch of river where the habitations were more scattered, some of them giving evidence of having been settled only recently.  Here were nondescript villages of natives whose names they had never heard of, and also several vacheries, the stench of livestock filling their nostrils for miles along the river.  For the dozens of Chignecto cattlemen, however, it must have been a welcome perfume.  One of them, Jean-Baptiste Cormier, fils of Chignecto, doubtlessly was more excited than most of his fellow passengers as they approached the Côte Cabahannocer.  Here, along the west bank, at a sharp bend in the river, dwelled the four Acadian families who had come to the colony the year before.  One of those families was that of Jean-Baptiste Cormier, père and his wife Madeleine Richard--Jean-Baptiste, fil's parents!  The older Jean-Baptiste was a still-vigorous man of 56; his wife was 55.  They had been deported to Georgia aboard one of the two ships that had sailed from the Bay of Chignecto on 13 October 1755 and reached Savannah two and a half months later.  Jean-Baptiste, fils had been only 13 then, but somehow the boy, their only son, had become separated from the rest of the family.  While his parents and sisters sailed on to a distant colony filled with Englishmen who hated them, Jean-Baptiste, fils had remained in Acadia, looked out, no doubt, by his uncles, aunts, and cousins as they survived as best they could in the wilderness bordering the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  Jean-Baptiste, fils had grown to manhood there and in the prison compound on Georges Island.  He may have received word from his parents that they had come to Louisiana; if so, they likely have told him about the wonders of this New Acadia.  So here he was, a man of 23 now, crying in the arms of his beloved parents, surrounded by his five sisters, who had remained with their parents, the youngest sister hardly known to him.  He remembered of course his older sister Madeleine, now 24, and younger sisters Marie, 19, Anne, 18, and even Marguerite, 14.  But here was Anastasie, now age 12, who had been a toddler of 2 when he had last laid eyes on her during that terrible autumn of 1755.  Having fulfilled the dream of reuniting with his family, Jean-Baptiste, fils likely bid farewell to his fellow exiles and remained with his parents at Cabahannocer.321 

Somewhere on the journey, on April 23, Petit Jos Broussard's wife, Marguerite Savoie, gave birth to their daughter Marguerite.  The infant was baptized the following day, with René Trahan, "proxy for André Massé," standing as godfather and Isabelle LeBlanc, wife of Petit Jos's younger brother Victor, serving as the baby's godmother.  Interestingly, Marguerite's baptismal record does not appear in Father Jean-François's Attakapas register but in the baptismal register of the church of St.-François de Assisi of Pointe Coupée, one of the oldest parishes in the colony.  The church lay at the top of a prominent bend on the west bank of river, a good ways above Cabahannocer.  The pastor at Pointe Coupée in April 1765 was Capuchin Father Irénée, who likely would have recorded the baptism.  The recording priest noted that the child's parents were "both Acadians going to establish a new settlement at Attakapas," which begs the question:  Did Petit Jos and his very pregnant wife continue upriver to Pointe Coupée to baptize their daughter, or did the Pointe Coupée priest meet the Broussards on the river while making his rounds to the lower settlements?321a 

One suspects the latter.  Up and around the bend from Bayou Plaquemine, Bayou Manchac, called by the British the Iberville River, flowed into the Mississippi from the east.  On the north bank of the little bayou, near its mouth, the British were building a fort, its palisade having gone up sometime that April.  One suspects that at least one British vessel still lay anchored in the river near its confluence with the Manchac.  On April 24, the day of Marguerite Broussard's baptism, Director-General Aubry wrote to his superior, the French Minister of Marine:  "I have the honor to direct your attention, Your Grace, to the arrival of several Acadian families. ... I have sent them to the Attakapas District, forty-five leagues distant from the city (of New Orleans).  They will settle fifteen leagues away from the river on the right bank of the Mississippi.  This settlement will afford, in a short time, great advantage to the colony.  Since the cession of Mobile, we lack cattle altogether; the spot to which the Acadians are going has fine grazing land where prosperous cattle ranches can be developed to supply New Orleans.  All this without the incovenience of passing in front of the English post at the Iberville River."  One can see by Aubry's comments to the Minister he intended for the Acadians to stay clear of the redcoats.  These recent arrivals, after all, were some of the most hardened veterans of the Acadian resistance.  If Petit-Jos Broussard and his wife and their daughter's godparents had chosen to contiune up to Pointe Coupée, they would have had to pass British positions at Manchac and Baton Rouge--if not in violation of the commandant's orders, certainly against his wishes.  It is perhaps more likely that Father Irénée would have come to the Broussards, not they to him.321b 

Still following Lieutenant Andry's lead, the Broussard party arrived at the mouth of Bayou Plaquemine, the gateway to the Atchafalaya Basin, three dozen miles below Pointe Coupée.  Spring was high water time on the lower river, so access into Bayou Plaquemine, a distributary of the Mississippi, would have been easy for experienced boatmen.  Beyond the sand bar at the entrance to the bayou, Andry led them down the winding Plaquemine to its confluence with Upper Grand River, which carried them past Bayou Maringouin, named for the dreaded mosquito.  Continuing westward and then northward into the heart of the swampy basin, they paddled and poled up to Bayou Courtableau, then called Rivière-des-Opelousas, which took them to the head of Bayou Teche.  But the expedition, despite the well-known route, would not have been an easy one.  Today, the once free-flowing Courtableau no longer is connected to the Atchafalaya River.  In 1765, however, the bayou flowed freely along its lower stretches; steamboats, in fact, from the early 1800s, would ply the waters of Bayou Courtableau up to present-day Washington.  To be sure, the confluence of Rivière-des-Opelousas and the upper Teche would not have been navigable in 1765 during periods of low water, generally July through November; only after the dredging of the 1920s would the confluence be navigable year round.  The Broussards, however, came this way in late April or early May, when the water would have been high enough for low-draft pirogues to have slipped from the Opelousas into the Teche.  But even during this time of high water, the party's progress through the Basin would have been plagued by many obstacles:  A notorious sand bank at the entrance to Bayou Plaquemine collected its share of driftwood.  Until the early 1800s, the channel of the Atchafalaya along its entire length was choked with logs and other debris.  A raft of sunken logs imbedded in quick sand--dubbed Petit Diable in steamboats days--bedeviled the mouth of Rivière-des-Opelousas even when the waters of the Atchafalaya ran high.  However, the Broussards' advance party would have warned Andry of navigational hazards such as these, and young Acadians, wielding axes, picks, and shovels, would have made short work of such annoyances.  They were, after all, the aboiteaux builders of the upper Fundy marshes. 

And so here they were at the head of Bayou Teche, ready to navigate the final leg of their watery journey to a new Acadia.  Back in old Acadia, there were rivers and creeks aplenty, all churned by the Fundy tides, but they had never heard of a "bayou."  The word was derived from bayuk, meaning small stream in Choctaw, a language unknown to the Acadians.  Like the Atchafalaya, the Teche had once held the silt-laden waters that now flowed down the Mississippi.  Members of another nation, the Chitimacha, may have named the bayou after the lowly "worm," which others morphed into "snake."  The Acadians' descendants someday would hear the fantastical tale of a giant snake the Indians had slain with only spears and arrows.  The great serpent's death throes had carved out the deep, twisting bed of the Teche.  The moss-draped oaks standing atop its natural ridges served as silent witnesses to the prowess of these mighty warriors, who lived on the bayou's lower reaches.321c 

Standing at the threshold of the vast pairie region, one wonders if the Halifax Acadians came upon any of the recent arrivals in this part of the colony.  Farther up Rivière-des-Opelousas, not far above its confluence with the upper Teche, Frenchmen, mostly retired soldiers from Mobile and the Alabama River valley, had come here the year before.  Moving from the river settlements above New Orleans to the Poste des Opelousas, the Allibamonts, as their French neighbors called them, were the first substantial group of colonists to settle on the prairies.  They, too, if water levels had permitted, would have endured the winding journey through the Atchafalaya Basin.  If not, they would have journeyed up the Mississippi to the mouth of Red River, followed that stream to the head of the Atchafalaya, and taken it down to its confluence with Rivière-des-Opelousas.322 

Having reached the Opelousas country, Lieutenant Andry led the Acadians south now, down the dun-colored Teche.  Perhaps the grasslands emanating from the bayou in all directions reminded some of them of the wide stretches of marsh and prairie back in their native Chignecto.  But the climate here was so different--so warm, so wet.  The rains came hard, obscuring everything around them, hurrying along the current of the sluggish stream.  As at Chignecto and Minas in the old country, they could see the dark gray clouds forming across the prairies hours before the rain came pouring down.  It reminded them of rain falling upon the Bay of Fundy or the tossing Atlantic, at first so seemingly far away and then suddenly upon them, hard, cool, refreshing.  The great live oaks with their long gray beards of moss were not the only flora they had never seen.  Thick clumps of palmetto covered the ground along the edge of the swamps.  Sturdy bald cypress, draped in moss, with their peculiar "knees," stood magnificently above even the oaks and the other great trees.  They had seen much wildlife since they left New Orleans, that smelly little city they were glad to put behind them.  Some of the wildlife was familiar--deer, turkey, bear, waterfowl of every description--but much of it they had never seen before.  There were raccoons back in Acadia, those troublesome creatures, but there were no opossums or other strange mammals they were finding here, no tropical birds like the ones they were seeing, roosting and flying in such amazing numbers.  There were many more snakes here, some of them deadly, Andry no doubt pointed out.  But the most fantastical--and dangerous--creature of them all was the slow-moving alligator, whose narrow yellow eyes promised them a warm reception if they came too close.  The swamp had been full of them, but they also had seen them along the banks of the Mississippi, and there were plenty of them here, basking in the shade along the muddy banks.  If the Indians ate them, they would eat them, too.  It may have been on this journey that they were introduced to the wriggly red swamp crawfish, which would have looked to these northerners like stunted lobsters.  Again, if the Indians ate them, they would eat them, too.  They kept a constant look out for the local Indians, wondering if they resembled the Mi'kmaq back home.  The place where they were going bore the name of the local Natives.  They were heading down to Attakapas to make a new life for themselves, but they probably saw no actual Atakapa on their journey down. 

They reached La Nouvelle-Acadie, as Father Jean-François called it, in early May.  Here, at the present site of St. Martinville, lay Dauterive's vacharie, stretching eastward towards the swampy edge of the Atchafalaya Basin.  Amid stately live oaks draped in Spanish moss, one of which would figure prominently in their descendants' collective memory, the Acadians must have contrasted this exotic place with their beloved homes back in Acadie.  Some had lived at Minas with its complex of dykes and marshland watched over by distant Blomidon.  Others hailed from Ékoupag and Ste.-Anne-du-Pays-Bas on a sweeping bend of Rivière St.-Jean, a stream of such magnificence in its lower stretches only the Mississippi in these parts stood as its equal.  Others had lived in the Annapolis valley with its imposing basin and winding haute rivière, birthplace of the aging Beausoleil brothers.  One family had lived at Tracadie on the north shore of Île St.-Jean where the cold, icy winters lingered well into early spring.  But most members of the party were from Chignecto with its wide, open marshes and lovely basin, or from the upper Petitcoudiac in the trois-rivières, not much wider than this sluggish brown stream but with hills and stands of dense hardwood along its banks, its swirling waters rising and falling with the tides.  None of these places back in old Acadie resembled this place in any way.  Aubry's instructions to Andry had insisted the Acadians "reside in the village and cultivate outlying lands in the European tradition," but, Carl Brasseaux tells us, "it is apparent that the settlers prevailed upon the colonial engineer to establish them on widely separated parcels of land ... thereby duplicating the settlement patterns of their native Acadia."  Moreover, when the Acadians arrived at their intended destination, they "were denounced as trespassers by Dauterive's neighbors."  Determined to settle in a place where they would not be scorned, the Broussards, fierce veterans of the Acadian resistance, abjured their compact with Dauterive and insisted that Andry lead them farther down the bayou.  One wonders if Dauterive's partner, André Massé, met the Broussards on the banks of the Teche.  Massé was about the same age as the elder Beausoleil brothers and habitually dressed like an Indian.  Such a figure would have reminded the old resistance fighters of their glory days back in Acadie.  After passing the homestead of Jean-Baptiste Grevemberg dit Flammand, another major cattle producer in the area, the Acadians came to a place called presqu'ile, the peninsula, later la fausse pointe, the false or fake point, near present-day Loreauville.  In his impromtu parish register, Father Jean-François de Civray called the Acadian settlements there le premier camp d'en bas, the first "camp" lower down; le dernier camp d'en bas, the last "camp" lower down; and, between them, closer to le dernier camp d'en bas, le camp appelle Beau Soleil, which was, as Aubry dictated in his orders, "a parcel of land proportionately larger by one-half than the ones provided the other individuals"--the capitaine commandant's habitation.  These "camps" likely consisted of adjacent parcels of land fronting the bayou, an open arrangement of individual habitations rather than a series of clustered villages, not unlike the settlement pattern adopted by the Germans at Des Allemands four decades earlier. 

After a careful examination of land and church records, as well as the first Spanish census of the area, Teche historian Donald Arceneaux explains that each of these "initial Acadian settlement" locations--La Manque, which was Father Jean-François's le premier camp d'en bas, in Spanish quartel de la manque, or "the break" or "the gap"; La Pointe, Father Jean-François's le dernier camp d'en bas, called by the Spanish quartel de la punta, or "quarter of the point"; and Bayou Tortue, Father Jean-François's le camp appelle Beau Soleil, in Spanish quartel de le cano de tortugas, or "quarter of the channel of tortoises"--lay "along a roughly eight-mile stretch of today's Fausse Pointe oxbow of the Teche, running downstream from below present-day Daspit to near Morbihan."  Daspit lies southwest and upstream from Loreauville, Morbihan south-southwest of Loreauville and well below it.  Arceneaux sites le premier camp d'en bas/La Manque "between the southern side of Loreauville and the vicinity of the sharp bend at Belle Place."  He places le dernier camp d'en bas/La Pointe "between the vicinity of the sharp bend [at Belle Place] and Morbihan."  Camp Beausoleil/Bayou Tortue, he speculates, straddled the Teche from near Daspit across the neck of the Fausse Pointe peninsula towards Morbihan, down bayou from the other "settlements."  Near Camp Beausoleil, just downstream from today's Daspit Bridge, Bayou La Chute, with its 10-foot waterfall, or chute, fell into the Teche from the south.  No longer visible, the waterfall's base was made of clay, not stone, the latter substance entirely absent from the surface of the soil along the Teche.  This tiny bayou, with a short portage at its upper, or southern, end, would have served as a shortcut across the oxbow peninsula.  Arceneaux continues:  "This single settlement location was actually three adjacent neighborhoods/communities.  The precise 1765 camp site locations are currently unknown, but they were somewhere within the neighborhoods identified in April 1766" by the first Spanish census.  Arceneaux insists that each of these "initial" settlements, not just Camp Beausoleil, lay on both banks of the bayou along the arc of Fausse Pointe.323 

Happily, perhaps miraculously, a description of Acadian life during these first days on Bayou Teche has survived the test of time.  "They have granted us six arpents to married people and four and five arpents to young men," Jean-Baptiste Semer, explained to his father.  "[S]o we have the advantage, my dear father, of being sure of our land ownership, and of saying I have a place of my own....  A person who wants to devote himself to property and make an effort will be comfortably off in a few years.  It is an immense country; you can come here boldly with my dear mother and all the other Acadian families.  They will always be better off than in France...."  To be sure, the son painted a rosy picture of his new home to lure his parents there.  In truth, the Attakapas dwellings, at first, were nothing more than crude huts that would have to suffice until they had the time and the wherewithal to build more substantial structures.  "We went to Attakapas with guns, powder, and shot," Semer continued, "but as it was already the month of May, the heat being so intense, we started to work in too harsh conditions.  There were six plows that worked; we had to break in the oxen and travel fifteen leagues to get horses.  Finally, we had the finest harvest....  (We are) hoping for a very fine harvest this year, with God's help, having cleared a great deal of land," he reassured his father.  "We have only to sow, and we already have oxen, cows, sheep, horses and the finest hunting in the world, deer, such fat turkey, bears and ducks and all kinds of game."  (Semer said nothing of cattle in his letter, which is understandable if the Broussards had abrogated their compact with Dauterive.)  The young Acadian's words reflected the director-general's own sentiments, revealed in a letter to the Minister of Marine, dated May 14:  "This uninterrupted influx of new families will soon turn Louisiana into a New Acadia," Aubry wrote to the duc.  "They are now being reborn in Louisiana, and, if they are helped a little, they will accomplish wonders."323a

But their Herculean efforts came at a price.  The rigors of travel, adjustment to a new climate, and the hard work required to prepare their new homesteads took its toll on the colonists.  The first to die in the New Acadia, on May 16, was Olivier Thibodeau's newborn daughter, Marguerite-Anne, one of the first Acadian exiles born in Louisiana.  The infant was only six days old when she passed.  Her mother, Madeleine Broussard, died the following day, probably from complications of giving birth, leaving Olivier a widower to care for four young children:  two of his own, including infant son Théodore, and two from his wife's first marriage to Jean Landry.  Even worse, an epidemic, perhaps of smallpox, typhoid, or malaria, struck the settlement in early summer and raged through the autumn.  "...[E]verybody contracted fevers at the same time and, nobody being in a state to help anyone else, thirty-three or thirty-four died, including the children," young Semer recalled.  Father Jean-François, with pen and ink and a burial register, was there to record the tragedy.  The epidemic was especially dire for the aged and the very young:  Jean-Charles Potier, an orphaned child, was buried on July 1.  Marie-Charlotte Godin, wife of Jean Dugas, was laid to rest on July 18.  Pierre Hébert, "an orphan of deceased parents," was buried on July 25.  Joseph Dugas was buried on July 27.  On the same day, Théotiste Broussard, wife of Augustin Guédry, was buried at dernier camp d'en bas.  Marie Dugas, wife of Mathurin Landry, died probably from complications of childbirth and was buried on July 29.  Pierre Lagrèze, who Semer would mention in the letter to his father, died at the end of the July, his age and status unrecorded.  René Robichaux, age 30, husband of Marguerite Martin dit Barnabe, was buried on August 2.  Brigitte Breau, widow of Charles Thibodeau, was buried on August 5.  Marin Robichaux was buried on August 18 with no mention  of a wife.  The same was true of Paul Josset, who was buried on August 24.  August Bergeron, father of Jean-Baptiste and uncle of Barthélemy III, was buried at premier camp d'enbas on August 31.  Marianne, 3-month-old daughter of Jean-Baptiste Bergeron, died on August 31.  Joseph dit L'Officer Guilbeau, age 55, one of the Dauterive signers, was buried on September 1.  Anselme-Joseph Godin dit Bellefontaine was buried on September 2.  Jean Dugas, another Dauterive signer, age 53, was buried on September 5, a month and a half after his wife died.   Marguerite Thibodeau, age 60, wife of Alexandre Broussard dit Beausoleil, was buried at dernier camp d'en bas on September 5.  André-Paul, 2-week-old son of Paul Thibodeau, died on September 7.  Isidore, 6-week-old son of Mathurin Landry, died on September 9.  Alexandre Broussard dit Beausoleil, age 66, one of the oldest in the party, was buried at dernier camp d'en bas on September 18, less than two weeks after his wife Marguerite had passed.  Jean Dugas, age 1, another orphaned child, was buried on September 19, as was François Arseneau, age 1, another orphaned child.  Madeleine Dugas was buried on October 6.  On October 8, Jacques Hugon, who had lost his wife and children in South Carolina and St.-Domingue and who had come to Louisiana with the Broussards to start a new life, died at age 35, before he had a chance to remarry.  Newlywed Ursule Trahan, first married to one of Alexandre Broussard's sons, was buried on October 10; her new husband, Joseph Girouard, was buried 12 days later; Ursule's two children, Élisabeth Broussard and Joseph Broussard le jeune, were 12 and 11, respectively, and had to be raised by relatives.  Joseph Dugas was buried on October 11.  Sylvain Breau, age 52 was buried at dernier camp d'en bas on October 12, the same day his wife Isabelle Darois, age 66, was buried.  Joseph, 15-month-old son of Jean-Baptiste Bergeron, was buried on October 19; this was the second child of Joseph and his wife Catherine Caissie buried in less than two months.  On October 20, Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil, Capitiane Commandant des Acadiens aux Attakapas, age 63, was buried at Camp Beausoleil.  Barthélemy Bergeron III, age 25, Jean-Baptiste Bergeron's first cousin, was buried on October 27; Barthélemy's 8-month-old son Charles was buried two days later.  Michel, fils, 9-month-old son of Michel Bernard, was buried on October 28.  Isabelle LeBlanc, wife of Victor Broussard, was buried on October 29, nine days after her father-in-law was laid to rest.  Jean-Baptiste Bergeron, age 35, he who buried two children, a father, and a cousin since the end of August, was buried on November 2.  Catherine Thibodeau, wife of Simon LeBlanc, was buried on November 15.  Marie-Marthe, 20-month-old daughter of Michel Doucet, was laid to rest on November 24. 

"By the epidemic's end," Shane Bernard informs us, "approximately one in five of the nearly two hundred exiles had perished," a devastating toll on the harried settlers of Nouvelle-Acadie.324 

Beginning in the summer, as the death toll mounted, settlers from le premiere camp d'en bas, or La Pointe, attempted to escape the malady by moving nothwest to a place they called Côte Gelée, the Frozen Coast, which lay on today's Bayou Tortue "directly opposite Dauterive's new Prairie Vermilion concession," near today's Duchamp.  According to Carl Brasseaux, at least 32 Acadians headed back up the bayou and found refuge on an unoccupied ridge of the upper Teche at the eastern end of the Opelousas District.  Dozens more, including "those of the Rivière de Saint-Jean," the young Semer described them--Arceneaus, Bergerons, Dugass, Godins, and Martin dit Barnabés among them, as well as Bourgeoiss from Chignecto, a Darois from Petitcoudiac, a widowered Landry, a Poirier from Chignecto, a family of Roys from Annapolis Royal, a family of Bourgs from Île St.-Jean, and even a Thibodeau--retreated up the Teche to its confluence with the Opelousas, re-crossed the Atchafalaya Basin, and took refuge at Cabahannocer, which lay on a stretch of the Mississippi that may have reminded the St.-Jean refugees of home.  "There was a gouty [Capuchin priest] here who had gone up with us," Semer quipped to his father, "but he was forced to return," probably accompanying the "Saint-Jean" Acadians back to the river.  But most of the Fausse Pointe Acadians survived the "fevers" and remained on Bayou Teche.326 

By the end of September, while the epidemic on the Teche still raged, Director-General Aubry could write to the Minister of Marine: "We have every hope that in a very short time these settlements will become quite large, even though several Acadian leaders have died of extreme fatigue and heat."  One sign that the settlement had the potential for growth were the children born to the exiles during their short stay in New Orleans and their first months on the Teche.  Some of the newborns did not survive childhood:  Michel, son of Pierre Darois and Marie Bourgeois, born on February 19 and baptized the same day in the church at New Orleans; Marguerite-Anne, daughter of Olivier Thibodeau and Madeleine Broussard, born on May 10 and baptized the following day; Marianne, daughter of Jean-Baptiste Bergeron and Catherine Caissie, born on May 31 and baptized on August 4; Augustin, son of Pierre Surette and Marie Thibodeau, born on June 19 and baptized the same day, whose early death ended his family's line in Louisiana; Isidore, son of Mathurin Landry and Marie Dugas, born on July 26 and baptized the following day; and André-Paul, son of Paul Thibodeau and Rosalie Guilbeau, born on August 26 and baptized the following day--all died as infants.  Marie, daughter of Charles dit Lasers Pellerin and Élisabeth Thibodeau, born in August or September and baptized at age four months on 11 January 1766, at least survived infancy.  But a few of the Teche newborns survived childhood and helped create families of their own:  Jean-François, son of Michel Bernard and Marie Guilbeau, who may have come to the Teche in utero, married three times, to a Broussard, a LeBlanc, and a Melançon, and died in his late 60s; Marguerite, daughter of Petit Jos Broussard and Marguerite Savoie, born perhaps on the river on the way to Attakapas, became a sister-in-law of Jean-François Bernard by marrying his older brother Jean-Baptiste; Marie, daughter of Timothée-Athanase Broussard and Anne-Marie Bourgeois, who also may have arrived in utero, married twice, to a Godin and a Melançon, and died in her early 60s.325

Despite the deadly setback in their first months in the colony, during the following years, motivated by "[t]he persistent frontier spirit among many exiles" and the pressure of overcrowding in their original settlements, Attakapas Acadians, now under the command of André Massé, moved from Fausse Pointe and Côte Gelée to new communities in the Teche Country.  These included La Pointe de Répos on the east bank of the Teche near present-day Parks; La Pointe near present-day Breaux Bridge; La Grande Pointe at present-day Cecilia; Grand Prairie on the upper Vermilion west of the Teche; Carencro along the south bank of the eponymous bayou north of Grand Prairie; Beaubassin on the upper Vermilion east of Carencro; the middle and lower Vermilion River down towards the Gulf; Bayou Petite Anse near a prominent rise in the marshy prairie southwest of Fausse Pointe that proved to be the tip of a huge salt dome; the shores of Lake Tasse, now Spanish Lake, west of Fausse Pointe; Lake Peigneur southwest of Lake Tasse; and Chicot Noir on the east bank of lower Bayou Teche above André Massé's home and the Chitimacha village.  Like their cousins on the lower Mississippi, these prairie Acadians settled atop the natural levees on long-lot Spanish land grants facing the water.327  map

Among the other early settlers in the Attakapas District was a family from the Mobile area who settled on the Teche where the Acadians established their "initial" settlements.  Antoine Bonin dit Dauphine of Grenoble, France, for reasons of his own, preferred to live at Fausse Pointe on the lower Teche rather than among his fellow Allibamonts on Bayou Courtableau.  Antoine Bonin's dit suggests that he and his family resided in eastern Louisiana on Île Dauphine, formerly Île Massacre, today's Dauphin Island, south of Mobile.  Many of their fellow Allibamonts had lived not on the coast but at the interior forts in present-day central Alabama.  One wonders if this geographical divergence influenced the Bonins' choice of settlement in western Louisiana.328


In 1763, the caretaker French government at New Orleans had created the Poste des Opelousas or Opelousas District on the prairies above Attakapas and appointed former infantry lieutenant Louis-Gérard Pellerin as the "post's" first commandant.  At the time, the huge Opelousas region was inhabited only by a hand full of Indian traders and cattlemen, the most prominent being the family of Jacques-Guillaume Courtableau of Biloxi.  This changed in late 1764 and early 1765, when French authorities at New Orleans opened the prairie districts to large-scale colonization.329 

The first large group of settlers in the Opelousas district were Allibamonts recently arrived from Mobile, Île Dauphine, and the Alabama River valley.  These colonists were mostly former French troupes de la marine who had refused to live under British rule.  About the time the Opelousas District had been created, the Treaty of Paris of February 1763 had ceded eastern Louisiana to Britain.  In late October of that year, Louisiana's Director-General d'Abbadie had gone to Mobile to supervise the transference of the area to British rule.  The British tried to entice the Frenchmen to remain, but the effort failed.  Some of the troupes de la marine who had served at Mobile and in the frontier forts above Mobile Bay were family men who were eligible for retirement on half-pay.  Rather than remain in a province ruled by the hated British, they chose to migrate to western Louisiana.  In mid-January1764, many of them followed d'Abbadie back to New Orleans.  Some of them honored the director-general's wishes and settled on the Upper German Coast, where, in February and March, he granted them land in present-day St. John the Baptist Parish.  Others moved farther up to Pointe Coupée, an established French-Creole community.  When they learned of the French cession of the colony to Spain in September 1764, most elected to remain in western Louisiana, but for some reason the river settlements did not please many of them.  When d'Abbadie's successor, Charles-Philippe Aubry, opened up the western districts to colonization in late 1764, many of the Allibamonts, perhaps to place themselves as far from the center of political power as they could, moved on to the prairies.  Meanwhile, other French families drifted down to Opelousas from the Illinois country, the eastern part of which also had been ceded to Britain in 1763.  A year later, these new immigrants also chose to remain in the colony despite its cession to Spain.  They settled at "The Coast of the Old Opelousas" and "at New Opelousas on the Right Bank" of Bayou Courtableau before securing land farther out on the prairies.  According to a Spanish census taken in the spring of 1766, heads of Allibamont families bore the names Aulien, Baptiste, Barré, Bellefonoss, Bello, Bertrand, Bissan, Brignac, Carrière, Carron, Cave, Charente, Chretien, Cochon, Daquan, Demarest, Doucet, Duplechin, Durand, Fontenot, Guillory, Henry, Joben, Labot, Lafleur, Lebeau, LeBrande, Males, Manne, Mondon, Moreau, Noville, Patin, Penelle, Pillet, Radau, Rivard, Sainte-Manne, Taumelette, and Tesson.  Some, like Guillory and Rivard, were among the oldest names in the colony.  Families from Illinois who settled in the Opelousas District included Lacase, Langlois, and Vidrine.330 

Not long after the Allibamonts and Illinoisans settled on Bayou Courtableau, nine Acadian families reached New Orleans from Halifax via Cap-Français either with or soon after the Broussards.  During the two months between the arrival of the Broussard party in late February 1765 and its movement to Attakapas in late April, these nine families evidently joined the larger party, if they had not already been a part of it.  Most of these exiles also were from the Chignecto area, but two families had lived at Annapolis Royal.  And at least two of the wives were pregnant: 

Michel Comeau of Chepoudy, age 31, came with very pregnant wife Marie-Madeleine Girouard, age 28, and son Jean, age 5.  Charles Comeau of Chepoudy, age 23, came with wife Anastasie Savoie, age 21, and no children.  Joseph Cormier of Rivière-des-Hébert, Chignecto, age 25, came with wife Marguerite Saulnier, age unrecorded, who also was pregnant, and year-old daughter Susanne.  Joseph's younger brother Michel, age 24, still a bachelor, also was a member of the party.  Timothée, called Mothé, Guénard, an Acadian born in Maryland, age 49, may have died before reaching New Orleans.  His wife Anne-Marie Thibodeau, age 42, came with two children:  Joseph, age 19; and Anastasie, age 14.  Jean-Baptiste dit Cobit Hébert of Chignecto, age 29, widower of Marie-Rose Thibodeau, came alone.  Marie-Modeste Savoie, age unrecorded, widow of Paul Léger, came with two children:  Scholastique, age 19; and Joseph, age unrecorded.  Pierre Pitre of Port-Royal, age 66, a widower, came with two children:  Catherine-Françoise, age 22; and François, age 17.  Pierre Richard of Chignecto, age 35, came with wife Marguerite Dugas of Cobeguit, age 30, and three sons:  Fabien, age 13; Louis, age 5; and Pierre, fils, age 2.  Pierre's younger brother Victor, age 18 and a bachelor, also was a member of the party.  Paul Savoie of Chepoudy, age 24, a bachelor, came alone.  Charles-Jean Saulnier probably of Petitcoudiac, age unrecorded, still a bachelor, came with four younger unmarried Saulnier kin, all siblings or half-siblings and all natives of Petitcoudiac:  Sylvain, age 29; Madeleine, age 18; Olivier, age 13; and Joseph, age 9.  Pierre Thibodeau of Annapolis Royal, age 41, came with wife Françoise Saulnier of Petitcoudiac, age 34, and four daughters:  Marie-Josèphe, age 13; Anne-Marie, age 5; Françoise, age 4; and Adélaïde, age 3.331 

These Acadians, too, celebrated a birth and mourned a death during their odyssey to the New Acadia.  On May 16, Michel Comeau and his wife, Marie-Madeleine Girouard, baptized their son Louis, born on April 20; Opelousas District commandant Louis Pellerin and his wife Marie-Marthe Belaire served as the boy's godparents.  The oldest family head among these nine Acadian families would have been Mothé Guénard, whose father was an Irish soldier who had married an Acadian girl in the early 1710s.  If he were still alive, Mothé would have been age 49 when the party reached New Orleans.  Like Michel Comeau, Mothé also had married a Thibodeau--Anne-Marie, daughter of Pierre le jeune of Annapolis Royal.  Unable to escape the British dragnet at Annapolis Royal in 1755, Mothé and Anne-Marie were deported to Massachusetts probably aboard the transport Helena, which reached Boston in late November.  Mothée and Nanny, as his wife was called, appeared on a list of Acadians at Marlborough, Massachusetts, in 1761, with seven children.  When the war with Britain ended, most of the Acadians in New England migrated to the St. Lawrence valley, but Mothé and Nanny returned to Nova Scotia, perhaps in search of her Thibodeau kin.  Colonial officials sent them to one of the prison compounds in the British-held colony, where they likely reunited with her family.  The records are not clear, but Mothé may have died on the voyage to Louisiana, or perhaps he was one of the "seven or eight who ... died" at New Orleans soon after the Halifax Acadians reached the city.  Just as sadly, Nanny reached the prairie with only two of their seven children.332 

The other family heads in the party were relatively young men; the eldest, after Mothé Guénard, was Pierre Thibodeau, age 41 when he reached New Orleans.  One of the youngest family heads, Joseph Cormier of Chignecto, was only age 25.  His wife, Marguerite Saulnier, probably of Petitcoudiac, was pregnant when they left Halifax and gave birth to twin daughters, Félicité and Marie-Louise, probably soon after they reached the colony.  Their daughter Susanne had been born on Georges Island, Halifax, and was just a toddler when the family reached Louisiana.  Accompanying Joseph and Marguerite was Joseph's younger brother, Michel, still a bachelor, who may have been pining for Marguerite's sister, Anne dite Nanette, widow of Basil Babin; he had known her at Georges Island, but, sadly for him, she had not yet come to the colony.  The Cormier brothers were first cousins of Jean-Baptiste Cormier, fils of the Broussard party who would reunite with his parents and sisters at Cabahannocer on the trip up to Bayou Plaquemine.  The brothers, anxious to see their uncle and aunt and five female cousins who they also had not seen for over a decade, likely visited their relatives at Cabahannocer before moving on to the prairies.  Teche-bound Pierre Richard, a nephew of the Cormier brothers' aunt, Madeleine Richard, and of Madeleine's brother, Jean-Baptiste, also settled at Cabanhannocer, would have had good reason to linger there.  Pierre also had not seen his Richard relatives in over a decade.333 

The Cormier brothers could have told a tale of their own of loss and separation.  When they were boys, their large family had been forced by French soldiers and Mi'kmaq warriors to abandon their home at Rivière-des-Héberts and move to Aulac, west of the Missaguash.  By 1755, their father, Pierre dit Palette Cormier, had died, so an older brother, Pierre dit Pierrot, age 21 in 1755, stood as head of the family.  Pierrot and probably some of his brothers may have been among the 300 Acadian militia captured at Fort Beauséjour in June 1755.  On August 10, Pierrot, as a family head, was expected to respond to Lieutenant Colonel Robert Monckton's summons for Acadian men and older boys to report to Fort Cumberland, but he was one of the hundreds of Acadians who did not bother.  After securing their families from capture, Pierrot and his older brothers, and perhaps his younger brothers, Joseph, age 15, and Michel, age 14, may have joined the local Acadian resistance.  In either September or early October, Pierrot and some of his brothers were captured at Jolicoeur, present-day Jolicure, New Brunswick, near Le Lac, perhaps by New English rangers.  After being held in one of the forts, Pierrot was transferred to a deportation transport resting at anchor in the Cumberland Basin and bound for a distant British colony.  The night before the ship's departure, probably during the chaos of embarking the women and children, Pierrot slipped off the vessel and swam to shore.  After creeping through a hayfield along the water's edge, he slipped past British soldiers guarding an aboiteau, waited until the guards' backs were turned, slipped hand-over-hand from one timber head to another, dropped silently onto solid ground, and ran for his life into some nearby woods.  There he eluded more soldiers tracking him with dogs.  He made his way undetected to an Acadian encampment, where he was told that the members of his family who had escaped the British roundup were heading toward Québec.  He hurried off in search of them, following the upper Petitcoudiac and the Kennebecasis to Rivière St.-Jean.  There, at Ste.-Anne-du-Pay-Bas, Pierrot reunited with his wife, Anne dite Nanette Gaudet, whom he had married earlier in the year, and his widowed mother, Cécile Thibodeau.  Younger brothers Joseph and Michel may have been among the siblings Pierrot greeted at Ste.-Anne that day.  Or, during the family's perambulations following the deportation at Chignecto, the teenagers may have become separated from their mother and siblings and hooked up with their Thibodeau cousins, who were part of the Acadian resistance force operating in present-day  eastern New Brunswick.  The Cormiers' respite on Rivière St.-Jean was short lived.  Beginning in the late summer of 1758, British raiding parties drove Pierrot, his family, and other Acadians up the St.-Jean portage to Kamouraska, on the lower St. Lawrence.  Family tradition says Pierrot and his brothers Jacques and François served in the Acadian militia at the Battle of Québec in September 1759, escaped the victorious British, and then boarded a French frigate at Pointe-Lévy, near Québec, bound for France.  As crewmen aboard the frigate, they may have fought at Cap-Rouge on the St. Lawrence in May 1760; if so, Pierrot, Jacques, and François would have been among the few survivors of the ship's crew.  It may have been after the fall of Québec that Joseph and Michel became separated from the family.  They may have joined the 300 Acadians who headed back down the St.-Jean portage to the lower river, where they hoped to resettle.  British forces, however, on orders from Governor Charles Lawrence, took these Acadians as prisoners to Halifax, where they arrived in February 1760.  Meanwhile, Pierrot and wife Nanette, probably with other members of the family, lived at L'Islet, on the lower St. Lawrence, from 1761-64.  The war with Britain finally over, Pierrot and four of his brothers, along with their widowed mother, returned to Ste.-Anne-du-Pays-Bas in 1765.  But Joseph and Michel could not have been with them.  However it happened, the younger brothers ended up as prisoners of war at Halifax, where they were counted by British officials in August 1763.  By then, Joseph had married Marguerite Saulnier of Petitcoudiac.  When the Acadians at Halifax left Nova Scotia in late 1764, the Cormier brothers were among them.  They followed Joseph's in-laws to Cap-Français and then on to New Orleans.  Along with first cousin Jean-Baptiste, fils, they were the only Cormiers of their generation to emigrate to Louisiana.  After becoming separated from their widowed mother and the rest of their family during Le Grand Dérangement, Joseph and Michel never laid eyes on their mother or on any of their brothers and sisters again--a story all too common for thousands of Acadian exiles.334 

The Cormiers, Richards, and other families in their party followed the Broussards across the Atchafalaya Basin in late April or early May.  Judging by the date of Louis Comeau's baptism--May 16--Michel Comeau and his family, at least, may not have left the city until later that month, unless the boy was baptized at Opelousas and the sacrament was recorded back in New Orleans.  Not long after the Halifax Acadians reached lower Bayou Teche, a mysterious epidemic began to strike them down.  That summer and fall, some of the exiles moved out into the Vermilion prairie, while others headed back up the Teche, re-crossed the Atchafalaya Basin, and retreated to Cabahannocer.  "At least thirty-two other immigrants," Carl Brasseaux informs us, "sought refuge at the Opelousas post, then located along Bayou Teche below present-day Port Barre.  Apparently moved by pity for the latter group, militia captain Jacques Guillaume Courtableau personally settled the exiles at Prairie des Coteaux, along the Teche Ridge in an arc contiguous to the eastern and southeastern corporate limits of modern-day Opelousas, ... along the west bank of Bayou Del Puent, and in northern Prairie Bellevue, along the west bank of Bayous Sandy and Callahan."  Regardless of when they arrived at these settlements--during the springtime migration down the Têche, or after heading back up the bayou during the summer or fall--these 32 Acadians remained at Opelousas, determined to create vacheries of their own.335 

When the new Spanish governor, Antonio de Ulloa, came to the colony in March 1766, he maintained the post at Opelousas but did not send more Acadian immigrants to the district.  During a tour of the lower colony's settlements that spring, the governor gave only "verbal" land titles to the Opelousas Acadians, who also bearded him on the status of their Canadian card money.  On July 9, back in New Orleans, Ulloa wrote to his superior, Jeronimo, the marques de Grimaldi, Spanish Minister of State:  "During my visit to the Opelousas and Attakapas (posts), the Acadians settled there showed me a small coffer which contained currency of the province of Canada, the total of which is owed them by His Most Christian Majesty [Louis XV of France] and which does not constitute part of the Louisiana debt nor that of the (river) Acadians of which Your Excellency was notified in the month of March.  They total 6,890 livres, 17 sols, which constitute a little more than 13,000 pesos.  To have a statement on their value, I arranged for the superior of the Capuchins to take it himself to Mister Maxênt, the merchant who had taken care of the money of other Acadians."  But, like their fellow exiles at Cabahannocer and Attakapas, the Canadian currency of the Opelousas Acadians was never redeemed.335a

During the autumn of 1767, in a reversal of Ulloa's settlement policy for the district, officials in New Orleans urged Acadian families to move from Attakapas to Opelousas "because, when the rivers are low, the waters of Attakapas form very toxic puddles from which develop many sicknesses and therefore become a threat to the families."  In late November 1767, Governor Ulloa announced to the marques de Grimaldi that he had consolidated the prairie districts under one commandant, the unpopular Louis Pellerin of Opelousas.  Evidently the consolidation had been in the work for weeks.  A petition dated 27 August 1767, signed by nine of Attakapas's "most distinguished settlers"--Jean-Baptiste Broussard, Olivier Thibodeau, René Breau, Jean Trahan, Michel Trahan, Paul Thibodeau, Charles Dugas, Charles Guilbeau, and Amand Thibodeau--criticized Pellerin's performance as Opelousas commandant.  The Acadian leaders recounted for the governor the unseemly conflict between Pellerin, whose morals they openly questioned, and Capuchin Father Valentin, a priest from Pointe Coupée who administered the sacraments to residents of the prairie districts and whom the Acadians cherished.  They accused the commandant of "forcing the Indians to trade only with him, telling them that as 'chief' of the post, only he had that right.  It was alleged that at the most inopportune times--the planting and harvest seasons, for instance--he would demand public improvements and exact these labors from the inhabitants."  Pellerin also had built a tavern within five arpents of what passed for a church at Opelousas and thereby alienated Father Valentin.  The Attakapas Acadians accused Pellerin of misusing supplies the governor had sent to the prairie settlements for their relief.  They beseeched the governor to appoint a new commandant for the prairie districts "more experienced at directing settlers in the establishment of a new post and less apathetic about the royal service."  The petition worked.  In late November, Ulloa relieved Pellerin of his post and brought him up on charges the following year.  Meanwhile, Ulloa authorized for the settlers at Opelousas and Attakapas "two majors elected by the majority of the community and confirmed by the government," as in typical Spanish villages.  The Opelousas settlers elected Frenchmen Gabriel Fuselier de la Claire and Jacques Patin as co-commandants.  René Trahan and petitioner Jean-Baptiste Broussard were elected by their fellow Acadians as co-commandants at Attakapas.  "This is enough for now," Ulloa informed the Minister, "but, in the future, it will be necessary to elect a corregidor who will lead them so that there won't be any discord or disorder, because the distance of about 100 leagues that separates them from us and the growth of the population require it."336a

Acadian heads of families who settled at Opelousas after 1765, likely including some who moved there at the behest of Spanish officials, bore the names Boudrot, Bourg, Broussard, Doucet, Forest, and Landry.  Several families--Boutin, Brasseur, Chiasson, Granger, Guédry, and Jeansonne--came to the colony from Halifax in 1765 or from Maryland in 1766 and 1767 and had settled in river communities before moving on to the Opelousas prairies.  In the early 1770s, three more Acadian families--Benoit, Lejeune, and Trahan--who ventured to the colony from Maryland in 1769 aboard the ill-fated English schooner Britannia, chose to join their compatriots at Opelousas after living at San Gabriel on the river.337 

A land dispute in the early 1770s with Jacques-Guillaume Courtableau's widow drove Opelousas Acadians from Prairie de Coteaux south to Prairie Belleveu and Bayou Bourbeaux.  In 1773, a hurricane damaged many of their homesteads.  Dissatisfied with life in a district where they were a distinct minority, some of the Opelousas Acadians asked Governor Luis de Unzaga for permission to migrate to French St.-Domingue.  Unzaga refused to let them go, so they sought permission at least to move south into the Attakapas District, where many of their relatives lived and probably where they sought to go all along.  Again, Unzaga refused to let them leave, but some of them sold their lands and moved to Attakapas anyway.  Unzaga, like many another powerful official who thought he could control these people, was learning a lesson in Acadian stubbornness; in the end, the governor relented.  Most of the Opelousas Acadians remained in the district, however, and built up their livestock herds.336   map


With the arrival of the Cormier, Landry, Poirier, and Richard families on the Upper German Coast in the spring of 1764, the stretch of river called Côte Cabahannocer became the first Acadian community in French Louisiana, predating the Acadian settlement on Bayou Têche by a year.  After a flood of more Acadians came to Cabahannocer in 1765 and 1766, Louisianans began to call it by another name: Côte des Acadiens--the Acadian Coast. 

On 18 December 1764, Nova Scotia governor Montague Wilmot wrote to his superior, the Earl of Halifax, who also was his uncle, about the Acadian prisoners who had been held in the colony during the final months of the Seven Years' War:  "... no reasonable proposals being able to overcome their zeal for the French and aversion to the English government, many of them soon resolved to leave this Province, and having hired Vessels at their own Expense, six hundred persons including women and children, departed within three weeks for the French West Indies, where, by the last information I have had, they are to settle for the cultivation of lands unfit for the sugar cane.  And although they had certain accounts, that the climate had been fatal to the lives of several of their countrymen, who had gone there lately from Georgia and Carolina, their resolution was not to be shaken; and the remainder of them, amounting to as many more, in different parts of the Province have the same destination in view, when the Spring shall afford them convenience and opportunity."  Wilmot was not sad to see them go.  "Thus my Lord," he gushes on, "we are in the way of being relieved from these people who have been the bane of the Province, and the terror of its settlements."338

The British governor would not know it for many more months, but these "six hundred persons" did not remain in the French West Indies.  After lingering at Cap-Français, the gateway to the French Antilles, they moved on.  By late winter, nearly half of them had reached French Louisiana; by mid-spring, 231 Acadians who had survived the long voyage from Halifax were on their way to the prairie region west of the Atchafalaya Basin.  But what of the remaining 300 or more exiles who had left Halifax for the West Indies the previous December?  Were they also heading to the lower Mississippi valley, following the Broussards and the Thibodeaus to that New Acadia? 

Another letter from a governor to his superior, this one written by Charles-Philippe Aubry to French Minister of Marine the duc de Choiseul, on 14 May 1765 from New Orleans, answers the question:  "When I first had the honor of informing you of the arrival of the sixty Acadian families from St. Domingue and their subsequent departure for the Attakapas with Mister Andry for the purpose of establishing a village," Aubry wrote, "I did not anticipate that they would be followed by so many others.  This uninterrupted influx of new families will soon turn Louisiana into a New Acadia.  At this moment I am informed that 300 men, women and children are on the lower river.  Rumors presently indicate that we are no longer dealing with hundreds (of Acadian immigrants), but thousands.  It appears that there are approximately 4,000 who would like to put an end to their long years of exile by settling in Louisiana."  The rumors of more arrivals were largely true; only the numbers were exaggerated.339 

The day before Aubry's letter of May 14, Ordonnateur Foucault had informed the Minister of Marine that he had just learned "of the arrival on the lower river of 48 Acadian families.  Like the families who preceded them, they came from Saint-Domingue.  It appears more than 1,000 families are expected in this colony any day now."  So he, too, had heard the amazing rumors that Aubry soon would report to the Minister.  Foucault lamented to le duc, "The 80 persons whom I discussed in my letter ... dated May 4, and these 48 additional families are causing me a great deal of concern."  It was the ordonnateur's duty to oversee the colony's finances, which the recent war and metropolitan neglect had left in a sorry condition.  But neglect was not the only thing that had driven the colony's finances to its knees.  Only a few weeks before, Foucault had overseen the expenditure of 15,500 livres, 15 sols, for "provisions, ammunition and merchandise provided by the king's warehouses in New Orleans to the Acadian families..." who were settling at Attakapas and Opelousas.  The King's warehouses were empty now, and yet hundreds, perhaps thousands, of more Acadian exiles were on their way to New Orleans!  "There is nothing easier than to give them land in the areas where the other Acadians have already settled," Foucault lamented of the later arrivals.  "However, how can we prepare them for the trip?  They will need provisions, tools, ammunition and boats.  These items will have to be purchased, since the royal magazines are completely empty at present.  This will be very expensive," he warned the Minister, "particularly if the additional 1,000 families arrive as expected."  Aubry's communication to the Minister the following day repeated the same litany of complaints, with the added, unnerving detail:  "To make matters worse, the Acadians have smallpox, and will inflict a new calamity upon the colony."340 

Aubry, Foucault, and their caretaker government would do what they could for the new arrivals despite limited resources.  But where were the Spanish?  Would they soon appear with resources enough to accommodate so many Acadian exiles? 

The new arrivals were the remainder of the 600 Acadians who had refused to languish in Nova Scotia.  They, like the Broussard party, had chartered British commercial vessels to French St.-Domingue but refused to remain there.  After some of their fellow Acadians languishing in the tropical colony joined them at Le Cap, these Halifax refugees also chartered other vessels for the final leg of the journey to French Louisiana.  The first of their parties appeared at La Balize in May--about the same time the 34th Regiment of Foot reached New Orleans from British West Florida on its way up to Illinois.  One wonders what these survivors of the Acadian resistance thought of running into so many hated redcoats only a few months after putting behind them the prison compounds of Nova Scotia.  By early August, Foucault was notifying the Minister of Marine that "Small groups ... are coming aboard the ships arriving daily from Saint-Domingue."  Young Jean-Baptiste Semer, who had come to New Orleans with the Broussards, witnessed the exodus.  "After us," he wrote, referring to the 200 members of his own party, "there arrived yet another 105 in another ship and then eighty, forty, (and) some twenty or thirty, in three or four others.  I believe there were about 500-600 of us Acadians, counting women and children."  They were still coming as late as December.  However, as Aubry's and Foucault's reports to the Minister show, these officials did not--could not--settle the newcomers near their fellow exiles from Halifax.  The caretaker government did not have the resources to stage another exodus to the prairie districts; circumstances beyond their control were dictating for the Acadians a settlement pattern that would prove to be inexorable.  After spending weeks in New Orleans recuperating from their journey, during which time they also turned in their Canadian currency for possible reimbursement, the newcomers moved on to their New Acadia.  Aubry and Foucault sent them to the nearest area of vacant lands above the city, at Côte Cabahannocer, where the 20 Acadians from Georgia had settled the year before.340a 

Many families among these later arrivals bore the surnames of Acadians who had settled earlier at Cabahannocer or had gone to the prairies:

Pierre Arseneau of Chignecto, age 30, came with wife Marie-Josèphe Godin dit Lincour of Rivière St.-Jean, age 21, and two sons:  Eusèbe, age 3; and infant Pierre, fils, born probably at sea.  Firmin Arceneau, age 12, an orphan, also was a member of the party.  Marguerite Dugas of Rivière St.-Jean, age 62, widow of Barthélemy Bergeron dit d'Amboise, fils, came with her unmarried son, Germain, age 22.  Marguerite's son Jean-Baptiste Bergeron dit d'Amboise of Rivière St.-Jean, age 43, came with wife Marguerite Bernard, age 35, and four children, all born at Ste.-Anne-du-Pay-Bas:  Jean-Baptiste, fils, age 15; Marie-Blanche, age 13; Marin, age 10; and Mathurin, age 8.  Marguerite's son Charles Bergeron of Annapolis Royal, age 37, came with wife Isabelle Arseneau of Chignecto, age 32, and three children: Simon, age 12; Jean-Théodore, age 3; and Marguerite, age 2.  Also in the extended family were two of Marguerite Dugas's nieces, both of them sisters and natives of Ste.-Anne-du-Pay-Bas:  Anne-Marie or Marie-Anne Bergeron, age 16, and Marie Bergeron age 15.  Pierre Bernard of Chignecto, age 34, came with wife Marguerite Arseneau, age 30, and three children:  Jean-Baptiste, age 11; Pierre, fils, age 7, and Marie, age 5.  Olivier Boudrot of Grand-Pré, age 37, a widower, came with 12-year-old son Simon.  Joseph Boudrot, age unrecorded, probably another widower, also was in the party.  Joseph Bourg of Grand-Pré, age 43, came with wife Marie Landry of Ste.-Famille, Pigiguit, age unrecorded, and five children:  Joseph, fils, age 20; Marguerite, age 16; Pierre, age 15; Jean, age 5; and Charles, age 3.  Another Joseph Bourg, perhaps of Cobeguit and a widower, age 30, came with two children:  Marie-Rose, age 3; and Joseph, fils, age 2.  A third Joseph Bourg, age 25, came with three cousins whose surnames have been lost:  Madeleine ____, age 19; Joseph ____, age 12; and Marie ____, age 11.  Paul Bourgeois of Chignecto, age 33, came with wife Rosalie LeBlanc, age 20, and no children.  Paul's brother Jean-Baptiste Bourgeois of Chignecto, age 32, came with Marie-Madeleine Bourg, age unrecorded, who was pregnant, and two sons:  Jean-Baptiste, fils, age 4; and Joseph-Marie, age 2.  Michel Bourgeois of Chignecto, a widower, age 31, came alone.  Jean Bourgeois of Chignecto, probably a widower, age 26, also came alone.  Athanase Breau of Chepoudy, age 30, came with wife Marie-Josèphe LeBlanc, age 21, and two children:  Joseph-Athanase, age 2; and infant daughter Anastasie.  Paul Doucet, age 21, came alone.  Charles Forest of Chignecto, age 43, came with his second wife Marguerite Saulnier, age 40, and five children:  Pierre-Paul, age 19; Anselme, age 13; Marie, age 5; Marguerite, age 3; and Charles, fils, age 1.  With Charles also was niece Marguerite Forest, age 19.  Pierre Forest, age 26, came with wife Anne Dupuis, age 24, and no children.  Joseph Forest of Pigiguit, age 19, came with wife Isabelle Léger, age unrecorded, and no children.  Marie Forest, age 17, also was in the party.  Simon Gautrot of Grand-Pré, age 29, came with wife Marie-Madeleine Breau of Chepoudy, age 22, and no children.  Firmin dit La Prade Girouard of Pigiguit, age 16, came alone.  Bonaventure Godin dit Bellefontaine of Rivière St.-Jean, age 50, came with second wife Marguerite Bergeron dit d'Amboise, age 42, and four children:  Théotiste, age 16; Marie, age 14; Bonaventure, fils, age 12; and Michel, age 9.  Barthélémy Godin dit Bellefontaine, age 30, came with wife Marie-Claire Martin, age 31, and no children.  Théotiste dite Sally Thibodeau, age 25, widow of Bonaventure Godin, came with 4-year-old daughter Marie-Anne-Barbe.  Jacques Godin dit Bellefontaine, age 25; Jean-Baptiste Godin dit Bellefontaine, age 19; and Jean Godin dit Bellefontaine, age 18--all single and from Rivière St.-Jean--also were members of the party.  Marie-Anne Bergeron of Rivière St.-Jean, age 36, widow of Alexandre Godin dit Lincour, came with four children:  Marie-Anne, age 14; Victor, age 13; Pierre-Paul, age 9; and Marie-Ann, age 6.  Joseph Godin dit Lincour, age 25; and Charles Godin dit Lincour, age 15--both single and from Rivière St.-Jean--also were in the party.  Joseph Guilbeau of Annapolis Royal, age 34, came alone.  Claire Robichaud of Annapolis Royal, age 52, widow of Jean-Baptiste Hébert dit Manuel of Cobeguit, came with four children and a grandson:  Marie-Théotiste, age 15; Théotiste-Marie, age 12; Mathurin, age 11; Marie-Blanche, age 10; and grandson Jean-Louis Hébert, age 2.  Claire's son Joseph dit Pepin Hébert of Cobeguit, age 26, came with wife Françoise Hébert, age 20, their year-old-son Louis, and orphan Jean-Charles Hébert of Chignecto, age 14.  Unmarried Hébert brothers from Chignecto, one of them perhaps a widower, also were in the party:  François, age 30; Joseph III, age 29, and Pierre, age 28.  Joseph Landry of Pigiguit, age 26 and already a widower, came with two sons:  Joseph, fils, age 2; and Pierre, age 1.  Joseph LeBlanc of Grand-Pré and Annapolis Royal, age 45, came with wife Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Gaudet, age 46, and four children:  Anne, age 17; Joseph, fils, age 15; Élisabeth, or Isabelle, age 11; and Gilles, age 8.  Étienne LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, age 43, came with wife Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Boudrot, age 43, and seven children:  Simon, age 21; Marguerite, age 16; Étienne, fils, age 14; Marie-Madeleine, age 7; Mathurin, age 6; Joseph, age 3; and infant Marie-Marthe-Élisabeth.  Marcel LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, age 31, came with wife Marie-Josèphe Breau of Cobeguit, age 29, and 2-year-old daughter Marguerite.  André LeBlanc, age unrecorded, also may have been in the party.  Jean Léger of Chepoudy, age 43, came with wife Marie-Madeleine Saulnier of Petitcoudiac, age unrecorded, and no children.  Marie Léger of Annapolis Royal, age 21, came with two younger siblings:  Scholastique, age 19, and Paul, age 7, who had been born in New York.  Anne Martin dit Barnabé of Annapolis Royal, age 45, came with two young cousins from Chignecto:  François Martin dit Barnabé, age 19, and his brother Paul, age  17.  François and Paul's older brother Joseph of Chignecto, age 26, came with wife Marguerite Pitre, age 26, and no children.  Pierre Michel of Annapolis Royal, age 28, a widower, came alone.  Joseph Poirier, age 25, came with wife Marie-Anne Bourgeois, age 15, and no children.  Amand Préjean of Chepoudy, age 41, came with wife Madeleine Martin, age 37, who was pregnant, and five children:  Marin, age 15; Anastasie, age 14; Marie-Anne, age 13; Joseph, age 5, born at Restigouche; and infant André-Joseph, born at sea.  Amand's brother Joseph of Chepoudy, age 33, came with wife Marguerite Durel of St.-Pierre-du-Nord, Île St.-Jean, age 28, who also was pregnant, and 4-year-old daughter Victoire.  Amand and Joseph's brother Charles of Chepoudy, age 29, came with wife Marguerite Richard, age 20, who, like her sisters-in-law, was pregnant.  Amand, Joseph, and Charles's unmarried brother Basile of Chepoudy, age 21, also was in the party.  Joseph dit Vieux Richard of Annapolis Royal, age 48, came with wife Anne Blanchard, age 40, who was pregnant, two daughters, and a nephew:  Marie-Anastasie, age 6; Rosalie, age 2; and Joseph Richard, age 3.  Joseph Richard of Chignecto, age 29, came with wife Agnès Hébert dit Manuel of Cobeguit, age 23, and two children:  Louis and Marie, age unrecorded.  Another Joseph Richard, this one of Ste.-Famille, Pigiguit, age 29, came alone.  Rosalie Thibodeau of Pointe Beauséjour, age unrecorded, widow of Claude Richard, came with infant son Joseph.  Bruno Robichaud of Annapolis Royal, age 40, came with wife Anne-Félicité Broussard, age 33, and two sons:  Firmin dit Ephrem, age 14; and Bruno, fils, age 1.  Joseph Caissie dit Roger of Chignecto, age 19; and two first cousins with the same name, Jean Caissie dit Roger, ages 10 and 8, were in the party.  Charles dit Jean-Charles Savoie of Annapolis Royal, age 44, came with second wife Judith Arseneau of Île St.-Jean, age 29, came with 2-year-old son Jean-Baptiste and orphan Basile Deroche of Île St.-Jean, age 11.  Charles's brother Joseph of Annapolis Royal, age 38, came with wife Anne Préjean, age 30, who was pregnant, and 5-year-old daughter Marguerite.  François-Joseph Savoie of Chepoudy, age 35, a widower, came with two sisters, also from Chepoudy:  Rosalie, or Rose, age 24; and Marie, age unrecorded.  Joseph Saulnier of Petitcoudiac, age 26, still a bachelor, came with two unmarried siblings:  Jean-Baptiste, age 19; and Marguerite, age unrecorded.  Charles Thibodeau, age 24, still a bachelor; Jean-Baptiste Thibodeau, age 22; and Pierre Thibodeau, age unrecorded--also were in the party.  Pierre Vincent of Pigiguit, age 20, came alone. 

More new Acadian family names appeared in the colony: 

Pierre Arosteguy of Bayonne, France, and Minas, age 52, came with wife Marie Robichaud of Annapolis Royal, age 53, and four children, none of whose ages were recorded:  Anne, Jean, Marguerite, and Marie-Théotiste.  Pierre's son Pierre fils, age unrecorded, came with wife Isabelle Comeau, age unrecorded, who was pregnant.  Anne dite Nanette Saulnier of Petitcoudiac, age 24, widow of Basile Babin, came with two daughters:  Lisa-Marie-Josèphe, age 5; and Marie-Josèphe, age 3.  Joseph Barthélemy, age 30, came alone.  Joseph Blanchard, age 26, came alone.  Joseph's brother Amable Blanchard, age 23, came with wife Anastasie or Anatalia Girouard of Annapolis Royal, age 20, and infant son Marin.  Also in the party were brothers Joseph and Pierre Blanchard, ages unrecorded; siblings Marguerite Blanchard, age 14, and Victor Blanchard, age 13; and another Victor Blanchard, age unrecorded.  Pierre Chiasson of Chignecto, age 36, came with wife Osite Landry, age 32, and two children:  Michel, age 6; and infant daughter Marie.  Also with Pierre was his brother Paul, age 19; and nephew Jean-Baptiste Chiasson, age 3.  Agnès-Marie Daigre, age 14, came alone.  Pierre Doiron, age 32, came with wife Marie Bourgeois, age 35, and two children:  Olivier, age 1; and Marguerite, age unrecorded.  Honoré Duon of Annapolis Royal, age 49, came with wife Anne-Marie Vincent of Pigiguit, age 52, and three children:  Anne-Perpétué, age 20; Jean, age 18; and François, age 16.  Honoré's brother Charles of Annapolis Royal, age 29, came with wife Marie-Josèphe Préjean, age 28, and two children:  Jean-Baptiste, age 5; and Marguerite, age 1.  Honoré and Charles's brother Claude-Amable of Annapolis Royal, age 27, came with wife Marie-Josèphe dite Josette Vincent of Pigiguit, age 26, and niece Françoise Pitre, age 1.  Anne Gaudet, age 41, widow of Michel Dupuis, came with two daughters and a nephew:  Marie, age 14; and Monique, age 11; and Joseph Dupuis of Annapolis Royal, age 14.  Marie Breau of Grand-Pré, age 62, widow of Jean Gaudet, came with three unmarried children:  Charles, age 35; Rosalie, age 26; and Jérôme, age 25.  Claude Gaudet, age unrecorded, came with wife Catherine Forest, age unrecorded, and 13-year-old son Charles.  Pierre Gaudet, age unrecorded, came with wife Marie-Madeleine Doucet, age 29, and three children:  Pierre, fils, age 5; Charles, age 2; and infant Marguerite.  Joseph Gaudet of Annapolis Royal, age 26, came with wife Marguerite Bourgeois, age 21, and year-old daughter Rosalie-Victoire, born in Boston, Massachusetts.  Marie-Rose Bourgeois of Chignecto, age 34, widow of Pierre Gravois, came with three sons:  Paul, age 14; Joseph, age 12; and Jean, age 10.  Charles Jeanson of Annapolis Royal, age 20, came with three siblings:  Jean, age 19; Marie, age 18; and Paul, age 10.  Antoine Labauve of Grand-Pré, age 39, came with wife Anne Vincent, age 27, two twin sons, and a nephew:  Jean and Marin, age 6, and Jean-Baptist Labauve of Grand-Pré, age 15.  Surgeon Philippe de Saint-Julien Lachaussée of Picardy, France, and Rivière St.-Jean, age 38, a widower, came with 10-year-old daughter Louise-Françoise.  Catherine Comeau, age 39, widow of ___ Lafaye, came with 15-year-old daughter Marie-Marquis.  Pierre Lambert of Chignecto, age 38, came with third wife Marie Doiron of Chignecto, age 28, son Pierre, fils, age 14, and stepdaughter Marie-Anne Boucher of Beaubassin, age 11.   Joseph Lanoux, age 19, and brother Pierre, age 18, both unmarried, were in the party.  Geneviève Bergeron of Rivière St.-Jean, age 35, widow of Jean-Baptiste Damours dit de Louvière, came with six children, the youngest born in Boston and Halifax:  Charles, age 15; Jean-Baptiste, fils, age 10; Anastasie, age 8; François, age 6; Isidore, age 2; and infant Susanne.   Joseph Marant, age 36, came with wife Angélique Dugas, age 29, and two of Angélique's kinsmen: nephew Joseph Orillion dit Champagne, age 17, and his sister Marguerite, age 15.  Marie-Josèphe Breau, age 34, widow of Paul-Honoré Melanson, came with five children:  Joseph, age 13; Marie, age 12; Jean-Baptiste, age 9; Anastasie, age 6; and Dominique-Jean dit Minique, age 3.  Joachim dit Bénoni Mire of Pigiguit, age 29, a widower with no children, came with two half-brothers, perhaps twins, also from Pigiguit:  Joseph and Simon, age 21.  Salvator Mouton of Chignecto, age 32, came with wife Anne Bastarache of Annapolis Royal and Chignecto, age 34, who was pregnant, and two sons:  Marin, age 12; and Jean, age 11.  Salvator's brother Louis, age 28, came with wife Marie-Modeste Bastarache of Annapolis Royal and Chignecto, age 32, and infant daughter Anne-Charlotte.  Salvator and Louis's nephew, Jean dit Neveu Mouton of Chignecto, age 18, came with his wife Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Bastarache of Annapolis Royal and Chignecto, age 18, who also was pregnant.  Joseph Part of Rivière St.-Jean, age 27, still a bachelor, came with three siblings, also natives of Rivière St.-Jean:  Olivier, age 19; Pierre, age 16; Marie, age 14; and François, age 12.  Françoise Melanson of Minas, age 56, widow of Joseph Thériot of Cobeguit, came with four sons, the youngest born on Île St.-Jean:  Thomas, age 20; Ambroise, age 17; Paul-Hippolyte, age 14; and François-Xavier, age 12.  Joseph Thériot of Grand-Pré, age 35, came with wife Madeleine Bourgeois, age unrecorded, and two daughters:  Marie-Rose, age 2; and Marie, age 1. 

Here, like the Broussard party, was a mix of Acadians from every settlement of the Fundy region, but these later-arrivals contained a somewhat larger percentage of exiles from the Minas Basin than could be found among the prairie Acadians.  Still, many of the newcomers had lived in the Chignecto/trois-rivières area, as well as at Cobeguit and along Rivière St.-Jean, so they would have found relatives among the Acadians who had gone to Attakapas and Opelousas.341 

Documents generated by the attempted Canadian money exchange at New Orleans reveal at least two leaders among the Halifax Acadians who settled at Cabahannocer.  Jean-Baptiste, son of Barthélémy Bergeron dit d'Amboise, fils and Marguerite Dugas, was born probably at Annapolis Royal in c1722.  He married Marguerite Bernard, and they settled at Ste.-Anne-du-Pay-Bas on Rivière St.-Jean, today's Fredericton, New Brunswick.  During the Grand Dérangement, the St.-Jean settlements became a refuge for Acadians who had escaped the British at Annapolis, including the party who had captured the North Carolina-bound Pembroke and sailed it to the mouth of the river in February 1756.  The St.-Jean Acadians also welcomed fugitives from Chignecto, the trois-rivières, and even faraway South Carolina.  Their respite from British oppression ended, however, in the summer of 1758.  After the fall of the French fortress at Louisbourg that July, British forces under Brigadier General Robert Monckton took control of lower Rivière St.-Jean.  The following February, New English rangers led by Lieutenant Moses Hazen struck the upriver settlements, destroying everything they could find and taking prisoner any Acadians they did not choose to kill.  Those who escaped the New English onslaught moved either to Canada via the St.-Jean portage or joined their fellow exiles on the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  Jean-Baptiste Bergeron dit d'Amboise and his family, including at least three children, went to the Gulf.  According to a document dated 8 March 1766 at New Orleans, "one Bergeron" handed over "the sum of 47,076 livres (pounds), 19 sols (schillings), 6 deniers (pence), belonging to 73 families, some of whom arrived in June 1765...."  Also handing in Canadian currency was "one Lachausée, 27,044 livres, 7 sols, 8 deniers, belonging to 37 families, some of whom reached this colony in various ships--in August, September, October and November...."  This was Philippe de St.-Julien Lachaussée, a French physician born in Picardy in c1727.  He also had settled on Rivière St.-Jean, where he married Françoise, daughter of Acadian Jean-Baptiste Godin dit Lincour, in c1754.  Philippe's wife died soon after their marriage, perhaps from the rigors of childbirth, and he remarried to Marguerite, daughter of Charles Belliveau, at Ste.-Anne-du-Pay-Bas in 1756.  Belliveau, from Annapolis Royal, was a leader of the Acadians who had captured the ship Pembroke.  When the British struck the St.-Jean settlements in 1758, the physician and his family, including an infant daughter, joined their fellow fugitives on the Gulf of St. Lawrence shore.  Philippe's son Pierre-Philippe was baptized at Restigouche, at the head of the Baie des Chaleurs, in March 1761 but died probably at Halifax a year or so later.  Philippe's second wife also died in the early 1760s, probably in a prison compound in Nova Scotia.  When he came to Louisiana in the summer of 1765, the physician was accompanied only by his 10-year-old daughter, Louise-Françoise.  In October 1766, he remarried again--his third marriage--to Marie-Rose, called Rose, Bourgeois, widow of Pierre Gravois, at Cabahannocer, and she gave him two more sons, the youngest of whom, a second Pierre-Philippe, perpetuated the family line in Louisiana.342

Before and after leaving New Orleans, Surgeon Lachaussée would have been busy delivering new babies among his fellow arrivals.  The fate of some of the newborns is unknown:  Marie-Rose, daughter of Pierre Arosteguy; and Marguerite-Françoise, daughter of Jean dit Neveu Mouton, may not have survived childhood.  The same held true for Claude, son of Jean-Baptiste Bourgeois, who died at age 7; Charles-Amand, son of Charles Préjean; and Anne-Marie, daughter of Joseph dit Vieux RichardBut a few of the newborns made it to adulthood and helped create families of their own:  Marie-Geneviève, daughter of Salvator Mouton, followed her siblings to the Attakapas prairies, where she married a Guilbeau, but died at age 18, probably from the rigors of childbirth; Jean-Baptiste, son of Joseph Préjean, married a Gravois, settled on Bayou Lafourche, and lived into his early 70s; and Joseph-André, son of Joseph Savoie, married a Landry and also settled on Bayou Lafourche.342a

Among the exiles who survived the rigors at Cabahannocer was a family different from all the others:  members of the Acadian seigneurial class who had retained their holdings on Rivière St.-Jean for three quarters of a century.  At the center of this immediate family was Geneviève Bergeron, a granddaughter of Barthélémy Bergeron dit d'Amboise, the soldier, who was the family's progenitor in Acadia.  Barthélémy had come to North America during King William's War and fought under the redoubtable Iberville, founder of Louisiana, before settling down at Port-Royal, Acadia.  There he became a successful merchant and married Geneviève, a daughter of Jean Serreau de Saint-Aubin, the seigneur of Passamaquoddy; Geneviève de Saint-Aubin also was the widow of Jacques Petitpas who, unlike his brothers, opposed the British during Queen Anne's War.  Geneviève Bergeron's father, Michel dit Nantes, was her grandfather's second son.  He moved with his family to Rivière St.-Jean probably on the eve of the British seizure of French Acadia; his second wife, Geneviève's mother, was a Dugas (Michel dit Nantes married four times).  During the late 1740s, while probably in her late teens, Geneviève married Jean-Baptiste, son of Louis d'Amours de Chaffours and Ursuline d'Abbadie de Saint Castin, probably on Rivière St.-Jean.  Louis, born either at Québec or on Rivière St.-Jean, was the second son of Mathieu d'Amours, sieur de Freneuse, whose seigneurie, granted in September 1684, lay on Rivière St.-Jean between Jemseg and Nashouat.  Jean-Baptiste's mother Ursuline was from an even more distinguished family:  her father, Jean-Vincent d'Abbadie, third baron de Saint-Castin, was the famous capitaine de sauvages of Pentagöuet who had led the Abenaki band of his two wives, daughters of an Abenaki headman, during the wars against the English; Ursuline's brother was Bernard-Vincent d'Abbadie, fourth baron de Saint-Castin, who, like his aristocratic French father, led the Abenaki against the British; like her brother, then, Ursuline was descended from Abenaki chiefs.  Jean-Baptiste, who adopted the surname D'Amours dit de Louvière, fathered at least three children by Geneviève Bergeron on Rivière St.-Jean:  Charles, born in c1750, Jean-Baptiste, fils in c1754, and Anastasie in c1757, the latter on the eve of the British attack up the river during the summer and fall of 1758.  Jean-Baptiste d'Amours and his family, with father-in-law Michel dit Nantes Bergeron, who had escaped the British roundup at Annapolis Royal three years before and taken refuge with his daughter and son-in-law on Rivière St.-Jean, likely were captured by the British, who transported them to Boston, where more of their children were born:  François in c1759, and Isidore in c1763.  In 1763, instead of repatriating to British Canada along with most of their fellow refugees in the New England colonies, evidently Jean-Baptiste and Geneviève went to Nova Scotia, where many of her Bergeron and Dugas kin were still being held by the British.  Their youngest child, Susanne, was born in c1765, either at Halifax or on the voyage down to the French West Indies.  Geneviève likely was a widow when she brought her six children to Louisiana in 1765; she certainly was that in April 1766, when the Spanish counted her and her children on the east bank of the river at Cabahannocer.  She died there by September 1769, when her children were listed in another Spanish census with or near other families:  Charles, now age 20 and calling himself a Louvière, resided next to married cousin Germain Bergeron, on the east bank of the river; brothers Jean-Baptiste, fils, age 14, and François, age 10, were living in cousin Germain's household; and Isidore was living with the family of Pierre Hébert and Marie Bergeron, his maternal aunt and uncle.  Anastasie and Susanne do not appear in the 1769 census; Susanne may have died in infancy, but Anastasie soon married a LeBlanc from Canada.  All four of Jean-Baptiste d'Amours dit de Louvière's sons married in Louisiana.  Charles stayed at Cabahannocer and married a Melançon; he was counted in the St.-Jacques census of 1779 with no slaves.  Jean-Baptiste, fils also remained on the river but did not marry; in 1777, at age 20, he was working as an engagé for an Ascension area surgeon.  François was still at St.-Jacques in 1777 but soon moved to the Attakapas District, where he married a Thibodeaux in c1780 and remarried to a Bourgeois in November 1799.  Isidore followed his older brother to Attakapas, where he also married twice, into the Landry and Picard families.  Neither he nor brother François became major cattle producers or plantation owners.  Interestingly, like their brothers who remained on the river, they retained as their surname not d'Amours, which had been the name of their great-grandfather the Acadian seigneur, but Louvière, their father's dit.  Their parents' brutal exile and the rigors of life in Spanish Louisiana had transformed these descendants of nobles and seigneurs into humble Acadian farmers.344a

One suspects that, through the remarkable Acadian grapevine, Geneviève Bergeron was aware that a cousin of her husband was living upriver at Illinois when she and her children reached New Orleans.  Pierre de Louvières, son of Charles d'Amours and his second wife Anne-Marie Thibodeau of Ste.-Foy, Canada, had come to Illinois as a cadet of troupes de la marine in c1736 and remained there.  Pierre married Marie-Anne Richaume, daughter of a senior officer, in c1743, and settled at Prairie-du-Rocher, just downriver from Fort de Chartres.  Pierre de Louvières was kin also to other Acadians who had come to Louisiana; his mother was an older sister of Joseph de Goutin de Ville's mother Jeanne Thibodeau and a paternal aunt of the wives of Alexandre and Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil, who were daughters of Anne-Marie and Jeanne's brother Michel.  Pierre de Louvières, age 54 in 1766, would die at Prairie-du-Rocher in May 1768 and be buried in the church there.  In 1740, when Pierre was a 28-year-old cadet soldats at Illinois, Governor Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, sieur de Bienville, had called him a "Gentil homme of Canada," who, despite his young age, was "very wise."  One wonders if Pierre de Louvières's status in the colony had anything to do with cousin Jean-Baptiste's sons using the surname Louvière instead of d'Amours.344b

Also among the new settlers at Cabahannocer were members of a small extended family whom exile and Spanish policies kept poor, if not humble, until opportunities under American rule opened a way to wealth and influence.  The Moutons had come to Acadia later than most of the families who populated the colony.  According to family tradition, in 1703, during the early months of France's second war with England, Jean Mouton of Marseille, who would have been only 14 years old, settled at Port-Royal.  Jean's father Antoine had served as maître d'hôtel, or head steward, at the château of the famous French aristocrat François de Castellane-Ornado-Adhémar de Monteil, Comte de Grignan, of Provence, so son Jean may have been tutored in the comte's household.  At age 22, in January 1711, the year after the British captured Port-Royal, Jean, now age 22, married 16-year-old Marie Girouard, a member of one of the earliest families to settle in Acadia; Marie's father was Alexandre Girouard dit de Ru, later the Sieur de Ru; her maternal grandfather was Alexandre Le Borgne de Bélisle, former French governor of Acadia and seigneur of Port-Royal; and she also was a descendant of the colony's famous governor, Charles de Saint-Étienne de La Tour; so Jean married very well.  In 1712, he and Marie moved to Grand-Pré, where Sr. Jean, as he was called, earned his living as a surgeon.  Sons Jean, fils, Jacques, Charles, and Justinien, and daughters Marie-Josèphe and Marguerite were born at Grand-Pré before the family moved on to the even more distant Acadian community of Chignecto in c1725.  Four more children were born to Sr. Jean and Marie at Chignecto:  sons Pierre, Salvator, and Louis, and daughter Anne. The Moutons lived at Chignecto for thirty years and may have been among the dozens of Chignecto families living east of Rivière Missaguash who were forced to relocate west of the river, in French-controlled territory, during the fall of 1750.  Five years later, British forces rounded up the older Mouton sons and their families and deported them along with other Chignecto Acadians to South Carolina.  The three younger sons, Salvator, Louis, and Pierre, somehow escaped the British roundup.  With Salvator's wife, Anne Bastarache, whom he had married at Annapolis Royal in January 1752, and their children, the Mouton brothers fled to the Gulf of St. Lawrence shore and found refuge at Restigouche, at the head of the Baie des Chaleurs.  There, Louis married Marie-Modeste Bastarache, a younger sister of Salvator's wife, in October 1760.  But they did not live there in peace.  The war caught up to them the year of Louis's marriage when, in July, the British attacked the fort at Restigouche with overwhelming force.  Pierre died in the fight, and Salvator and Louis fell into the hands of the victorious British, who imprisoned them in Fort Edward, Nova Scotia, at the former Acadian settlement of Pigiguit, for the rest of the war.  Louis's daughter Anne-Charlotte was born in one of the prison compounds in February 1764.  In late 1764 or early 1765, Salvator, Louis, and their families joined hundreds of other Nova Scotia detainees in their exodus to Louisiana.  The Mouton brothers were among the dozens of Acadians who settled at Cabahannocer.  With them was nephew Jean dit Neveu, son of Salvator's and Louis's older brother Jacques, and Neveu's wife Élisabeth Bastarache, whom he had married in Nova Scotia; their daughter Marguerite-Françoise was born at New Orleans on November 20, so Élisabeth had been pregnant on the long voyage down from Halifax.  Salvator's wife Anne died soon after they reached Cabahannocer, and he remarried to fellow Acadian Anne Forest at New Orleans in c1768.  Salvator and Louis's older brother Charles, who had been deported to South Carolina in 1755, reached Louisiana from Martinique during the late 1760s.  Typically, Charles, his wife Anne Comeau, and their son Georges joined his kinsmen at Cabahannocer, now being called the Acadian Coast.  Salvator, only age 40, died in a New Orleans hospital in April 1773.  He was survived by his second wife Anne and three children from his first marriage:  Marin, age 20 at the time of his father's death; Jean, age 19; and daughter Marie-Geneviève, who was only 8.  A few years after their father died, Marin, Jean, and Marie-Geneviève, along with their cousin Jean dit Neveu, moved to the Attakapas District.  It was there that the Mouton brothers made names for themselves as land speculators.  Jean dit Chapeau, as his neighbors called him, was especially successful; like his namesake grandfather, he married well, took advantage of economic opportunities whenever they presented, and became one of the early shakers and movers of southwest Louisiana.346

Aubry and Foucault sent these 300 late-comers to both banks of the river at Cabahannocer above the concessions of Cantrelle, Judice, and Verret.  A few of the new arrivals would have reunited with their kinsmen--the Cormiers, Landrys, Poiriers, and Richards from Chignecto and Georgia--living on the right, or west, bank below them.  In September 1765, Aubry appointed brothers-in-law Louis Judice and Nicolas Verret as provisional co-commandants of a new district created for Cabahannocer.  Judice and Verret soon organized two companies of militia among the Acadians there.  Meanwhile, in late September, Aubry and Foucault could report to the Minister of Marine:  "All these families are hard at work getting settled...."343 

Sometime that autumn, a few dozen Acadians from Attakapas--mostly "those of the Rivière de Saint-Jean," a young Acadian noted--escaped an epidemic raging along the Teche and joined the newcomers at Cabahannocer.  Among the refugees were Acadians named Arseneau, Bergeron, Bourg, Bourgeois, Darois, Dugas, Godin dit Bellefontaine, Guédry, Landry, Martin dit Barnabé, Poirier, Caissie dit Roger, Roy, and Thibodeau.  Some of them returned to the prairies, but most of them remained on the river.345a 

The Acadians at Cabahannocer, meanwhile, also died in frightening numbers.  Sadly, during the first year of settlement, the visiting priest from the German Coast, Capuchin Father Barnabé, did not record deaths among the Cabahannocer Acadians as diligently as his fellow Capuchin had done at Attakapas.345b 

In June 1766, a year after the first of the Halifax exiles settled at Cabahannocer, Co-commandant Verret communicated to the Spanish authorities a scathing critique of how the soon-to-be ousted French regime had treated the new arrivals.  "The terrible state of affairs which presently prevails at the Acadian Coast," the co-commandant wrote to the new Spanish governor, "compels me to acquaint you with the deplorable conditions faced by these people.  There are many sick among them.  This situation will only worsen, since the fevers have only just appeared.  Here is an account of the wretched circumstances in which they find themselves.  I have seen, with my own eyes, in a hut, a sick man laid up, and a woman in labor.  Their only nourishment was the rice and the corn which is alloted to them by the order of the king.  People who have reached this state and who cannot obtain broth or any relief cannot hope to recover.  I am well aware of all that is given to them through the king's generosity.  However, this generosity does not suffice when the sick are involved.  Left to their fate, without the necessary foods and relief that their situation requires, they are doomed to certain death.  It appears that the large investment which their settlement has required will be irretrievably lost.  To this, I would like to add that the confined woman who was bearing her child is not receiving the proper nourishment.  Unable to provide the milk her child requires, she is on the verge of losing it.  The other sick people scattered along this coast fall into the same category.  What help can they expect from medicines when they are deprived of nourishing foods?  Reduced to a diet of grits and boiled rice, their bodies cannot regain the strength lost in fighting disease.  The make matters worse, the phyician," Jacques LeDuc, "despite his many efforts, cannot properly care for the sick.  He is constantly called upon to run back and forth across the district, and, consequently, he is unable to determine the effects of the medicines that he administers.  This state of affairs is most prejudicial to the patients.  I believe, Your Excellency," the co-commandant continued, "that there might be a way to relieve these people without incurring too great an expense. ...  It think it would be quite feasible to build a hut of post-in-ground construction right next to the physician's quarters.  Surrounded by stakes and covered with shingles, this hut could constitute a hospital large enough to accommodate thirty people.  The building could be divided into three areas, one to house the men, one to house the women, and third to lodge one Acadian family, which could perform the nursing duties in the hospital.  The king's only expense would be the wages of the people entrusted with the nursing care.  He would also have to furnish the necessary nails and iron (implements).  As for the wood and labor, they would be the responsibility of the Acadians who would ultimately benefit from it.  This done, the king would decree that a few cattle be obtained from Mister Dauterive at Bayougoula," the same retired French army captain who had furnished cattle to the Attakapas Acadians the year before.  The beeves "would provide the necessary sustenance for the sick, according to their needs.  I, myself, offer to furnish all the necessary wood, which will be needed by the surgeon, and to see to it that the work is accomplished with utmost diligence," which revealed how little Nicolas Verret knew these Acadian farmers. 

To make his case for the new hospital as well as continued assistance for the Acadians, the co-commandant then reviewed for the Spanish governor the neglect they were still suffering at the hands of French officials.  "Until now," Verret continued, "there has been a great deal of abuse concerning the food supplies.  This has been most detrimental to the Acadians.  Please think of the time which is lost in travel, when these people are forced to travel back and forth to procure their share.  Because they only receive their flour in town, they loose[sic] ten to twelve days (in travelling)" down to New Orleans and back.  "Afterward they must procure a certificate from Mister de la Chaise"--Jacques de La Chaise, fils, since 1759 the assessor of the colony's Superior Council, and son of a former French commissaire-ordonnateur--"which they must then bring to my brother-in-law, JudiceJudice takes it in exchange for another which they must present to settlers in order to obtain their food.  As you can see, Sir," Verret explained, "they spend all their time crossing the district.  This is most prejudicial to them, particularly now, when they need to tend to their small crops.  It also creates difficulties for the sick (Acadians), who are unable to go to the city to receive their share."  Verret then offered a solution to the bureaucratic mess.  "My brother-in-law or I could be authorized, each in his own (militia) district, to purchase the necessary rice and corn (at farms) downstream," most likely from the Germans.  "We could also be authorized, for a period of three-to-six-months, to distribute to the Acadians the certificates which would allow them to obtain their share of the (grain).  As for the flour, we could bring back from the city, with the help of the Acadians, 50 to 100 quarts (of flour)," each quart weighing 160 pounds, the equivalent of an English barrel.  "This flour could be partly stored at Judice's (residence) and party at my house.  We could be given scales and weights, as well as their registry sheet, indicating the delivery date and the exact share that is due each recipient.  Handling these details will mean a great deal of work for us," Verret admitted, but "If my few remarks can be of any help to these families or the good of the people, I shall be satisfied in knowing that I have been of some help."  Verret took an opportunity to suggest one more improvement for the governor's consideration.  "At present at least one-fifth of our settlers are ill," the commandant noted.  "While waiting to build the hospital, it would be most (advisable) if the king would give, starting now, one cow per week to be distributed among the sick." 

One wonders how many lives could have been spared had Aubry implemented these common-sense measures for the Acadians on the river.  Although the conscientious officers living among the exiles could not mitigate the hard transition to an alien climate the Acadians were forced to endure in their new tropical home, they could minimize the bungling among colonial bureaucrats who seemed to care more for the accuracy of their account books than for the welfare of the long-suffering exiles.345

Another duty of the Cabahannocer commandants--not as essential as distributing food or caring for the sick, but important nonetheless--was the recording of marriages at Cabahannocer performed by Father Barnabé, the German Coast priest.  The earliest marriages, recorded at the end of March 1766, were those of two of Jean-Baptiste Cormier's daughters, Madeleine and Marie, to new arrivals Simon Mire and Michel Poirier, respectively.  Over the next two years, into February 1768, Judice and Verret recorded 25 more marriages in the district, all of them featuring Acadian brides and all but one of them Acadian grooms.  The sacred ceremonies were conducted in the homes of the co-commandants; in the case of the Cormier sisters, that of Nicolas Verret.344


By the end of 1765, at least 600 Acadians from Halifax had joined the 21 Acadians from Georgia in populating what remained of French Louisiana.  Dozens of their families contained children of marriageable age, giving promise that, along the river and out on the prairies, their Acadian culture stood a very good chance of surviving in this strange, sub-tropical region.  That more of them were coming--perhaps thousands, French officials believed--would only assure the culture's survival here.  But would it remain the culture of their fathers, if there still was such a thing?  Beginning in the 1710s, Fundy Acadians began migrating from British Nova Scotia to the French Maritime islands of Île Royale and especially Île St.-Jean, where geography forced them to engage in limited agriculture and concentrate on fishing and lumbering.  This economic divergence from the Fundy settlements, still devoted to the construction of aboiteaux, affected the entire culture for two generations.  Disturbances at Chignecto in the early 1750s only exacerbated the problem when it forced even more Fundy Acadians to seek refuge on the Maritime islands.  And then came the Great Upheaval and its decade-long impact on the Acadians.  To be sure, relatively few of the 1765 arrivals had lived in the French Maritimes; the island Acadians would come to Louisiana in much greater numbers two decades later.  But the impact of geographical separation on whatever cultural unity their fathers may have enjoyed was part of the emotional baggage of every Acadian exile.

They would remain farmers and cattlemen here, that was certain, but no aboiteaux would demand their collective efforts in this land devoid of magnificent tides.  There were extensive coastal marshes here, but none as approachable and certainly not as malleable as the tidal marshes lining the Bay of Fundy.  Only fishing and trapping were viable pursuits on Louisiana's Gulf coast; no agriculture beyond small-scale ranching was possible there.  The Acadians on the Mississippi would have to learn from Germans and Creoles how best to farm the river's natural levees.  The prairie Acadians were learning from Creole and West African cowhands, as well as the Atakapa, the fine points of raising cattle on the endless grasslands.  Here was a circumstance that could further diminish the unity lying at the heart of their culture:  the Acadians on the river would concentrate on crop raising, with husbandry as a secondary pursuit, while their cousins on the prairies would specialize in husbandry, with only limited crop raising on the narrow levees lining the area's bayous.  The differences between the river and the prairie here could mirror the differences between Minas and Chignecto back in peninsula Acadia.  Even more troubling, the geography of South Louisiana offered a barrier as forbidding as the Mer Rouge had imposed on greater Acadia.  The prairie Acadians already had endured it:  the wide, treacherous Atchafalaya Basin with its labyrinth of rivers, bayous, and coulees.  Would the Atchafalaya barrier lead to the creation of subcultures east and west of the Basin, where Acadians imagined only a single culture existed?  They had expended so much time and energy reuniting their extended families.  Would that troublesome swamp stand forever between them, culturally as well as geographically?346a

Moreover, a demographic element of this New Acadia held the promise of dramatic cultural change.  In peninsula Nova Scotia and on Île St.-Jean the Acadians had been dominant in numbers, if not in political or economic power.  Such was not the case in Louisiana as 1765 drew to a close.  In the spring of 1766, Spanish officials, recently arrived in the colony, ordered a comprehensive census to "find out how many militiamen were available" for defense of their new province.  The result was "1,893 men capable of bearing arms.  Along with 1,044 women and 2,616 children of both sexes," an historian of the era informs us, "this brings the total for the white population of New Orleans and neighboring posts to 5,452 persons," the great majority of them French Creoles.  The same census counted only 411 Acadians of the slightly more than 600 who had come to the colony from Halifax.  The Acadians, then, made up only seven and a half percent of the colony's white population--a decided numerical minority.  The folkways of the French Creole, not the Acadian, were still dominant in this New Acadia.  Only a dramatic increase in Acadian population could provide the chance to save their culture.  If the hundreds of their brethren in the British Atlantic colonies followed them to Louisiana, they could provide the culture that saving demographic at least along the river and out on the prairies.  For now, Acadians made up the largest population at Attakapas and Cabahannocer, but they were still a minority at Opelousas, and, except for a hand full remaining in New Orleans, were absent from the other districts of lower Louisiana.346b 

Another social phenomenon conducive to cultural change soon appeared among them:  exogamy, or intermarriage.  After less than a year in the colony, at least three Acadian women--Anne Arsoteguy; Anastasie, called Stasie, Guénard, only 15; and Rose Thibodeau, a widow--had chosen husbands from other cultures.  In the next two years, women from 13 other Acadian families--Bergeron, Boutin, Clouâtre, Doiron, Granger, Hébert, Landry, LeBlanc, Léger, Martin, Rivet, Savoie, and Saulnier--most of them young, also married men from other cultures.  Not until November 1772, when Joseph Guénard of Opelousas married Véronique Duplechin of Pointe Coupee, do area church records feature an Acadian man marrying a woman who was not a fellow Acadian.  Intermarriages such as these, over several generations, in even greater numbers, inexorably would transform the culture of their fathers into something they could only imagine.346c

A New Spanish Governor, 1766

The Spanish took their time in establishing a government in Louisiana.  Not until late June 1765, two months after the Broussard party had reached lower Bayou Teche and while more shiploads of Acadians from Halifax were arriving at La Balize, did Antonio de Ulloa y de la Torre-Guiral receive confirmation of his appointment, made two months earlier, as governor of the Spanish province of Luisiana--an appointment secured by "influential friends at the Spanish court."  On the surface, the 49-year-old native of Seville, son of a Spanish economist who belonged to the lesser nobility, seemed a wise choice for the position.  Antonio was fluent in both French and English, and he had governed before.  He was not, however, one of those professional colonial bureaucrats Spain produced in large numbers, nor was he a soldier, though, as a young man, he served for a short time in the Spanish navy.  He was "perhaps Spain's greatest eighteenth-century scientist" and was well acquainted with some areas of New Spain as well as much of Europe.  While in Ecuador on a French scientific expedition, he and a colleague discovered the element platinum.   On his way home from South America in 1745, during the War of the Austrian Succession, he was captured by the British and held in England as a prisoner of war.  He befriended British scientists, who were so impressed with his attainments in the fields of astronomy, mineralogy, and natural history, they made him a fellow of the Royal Society of London.  Although the war was still on, the president of the Royal Society helped secure Ulloa's early release.  In Spain, he published an account of his years in South America, established the first museum of natural history and the first metallurgical laboratory, and oversaw the construction of a celestial observatory at Cádiz.  By 1751, he had become so well-known in the world of science he was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.  In 1758, two years before Spain entered another war against Britain on the side of their Bourbon ally France, the Spanish Crown "sent him as governor to Huancavelica," in the Peruvian province of Angares, "with orders to revive production of a valuable mercury mine which had become almost inoperative during the previous decade.  Ulloa not only failed to achieve this goal, but so alienated the powerful Peruvian aristocracy, upon whom the success of the venture rested," he was compelled to resign.  He sailed from Callao, Peru, in November 1764 and, via Cape Horn, reached Havana the following February.  In late June, still at Havana and still holding the rank of naval captain, Ulloa received a dispatch from Minister of the Indies Julián de Arriaga, dated April 24, that he had been appointed governor of western Louisiana. 

On 10 July 1765, from Havana, Ulloa addressed a letter to Aubry and the Superior Council in New Orleans, "apprising them, that having been honored with the king's command to receive possession of the colony, he would soon be with them for this purpose, and expressing his hope that his mission might afford him a favourable opportunity, of rendering them and the other inhabitants any service they might require."  In early October, acting Commissaire-Ordonnateur Foucault urged the governor-designate "to assume authority in the colony as soon as possible because of dire economic conditions."  A few weeks later, acting Director-General Aubry wrote a letter of his own to Ulloa.  He complained of the lack of provisions, especially gunpowder, at New Orleans, not mentioning the newly-arrived Acadians and their drain on the colony's storehouses, and painted "a gloomy picture of deteriorating relations with the Indians."  He, too, expressed anxiety over Ulloa's delayed arrival.  In November, Ulloa replied to both French officials that he was delayed by the arrival of the frigate that would take him from Havana to New Orleans.  He assured them of his "'desire to render to you any services that are in my power,'" including a petition to the intendente at Havana for a shipment of powder to New Orleans. 

Not until after Ulloa had replied to Foucault and Aubry did the frigate for which he had been waiting finally reach Havana.  The Liebre had set sail from El Ferrol, on Spain's northwest coast, on 5 September 1765 but did not reach Havana until November 20 after a long and difficult voyage.  The length of the voyage and the resulting shortage of fresh water had prompted a stopover at Santo Domingo before the ship could continue on to the Cuban capital.  Desertions among the soldiers delayed departure from Santo Domingo.  At Havana, Ulloa pointed out that the frigate was too large to negotiate the channel at La Balize, where the water was lowest in winter.  Not until 17 January 1766 did Ulloa and his entourage leave Havana for New Orleans in two smaller vessels, one of them a brig commanded by French nobleman Louis de Villemont, who was intimately familiar with Louisiana.  The brig reached La Balize on February 12, the other, larger, slower vessel not until two weeks later.347  

The 18-gun packet-turned-frigate Volante, with Louisiana's new governor aboard, finally reached La Balize in late February, over three years after the cession at Fontainebleau and a year and a half after d'Abbadie's announcement that western Louisiana belonged to Spain.  According to Alcée Fortier, "A tragic event" deprived Ulloa "of eleven of his sailors," perhaps the result of a ship-board accident on the voyage from Havana to La Balize.  Amid rain, thunder, and high winds, Ulloa and his entourage arrived at New Orleans about noon on March 5.  The new governor brought with him six military officers, including Captain Francisco Riu y Morales, a veteran of over 30 years service, and Lieutenant Pedro Joseph Piernas of the regiment of Léon; commissary of war and military intendant Juan Josef de Loyola, who could not speak French; Estevan de Gayarré, a government auditor or comptroller called a contador real; treasurer Martin Navarro; and a commissioner.  Also in the entourage were three Spanish Capuchins, including his personal chaplain Father Antonino de Mesones, and a priest named Father Clemente, who "were appalled by the lack of religious discipline and the disorganized state of the church" in the colony.  Amazingly, Ulloa was escorted by only 90 Spanish soliders, "more than twenty of whom soon deserted."  Fortier insists Ulloa was "received with respect," but Carl A. Brasseaux describes an "unenthusiastic reception," especially from members of the Superior Council. 

Ulloa and his unimpressive entourage brought something else to Louisiana.  New Orleans historian Eberhard Faber explains:  "A region of multiple ethnic and cultural groups was well suited to the Spanish social system, a tiered, unequal array of 'orders' and castes, ranked from the monarch at the apex of the social pyramid to the slaves at the bottom.  Though specifics varied considerably from one part of Spain's vast new world empire to another, the basic hiearchical conception of society was everywhere the same.  In its imperial context, it built on the feudal European model of three estates (aristocracy, clergy, and commoners)," not unlike that of ancienne régime France, which would endure for another generation in the Acadians' homeland.  But the Spanish system also included "a colonial distinction between white criollos and peninsulares, and an assortment of racial categories such as mestizos and mulato in addition to pure negro" more rigid that its French counterpart.  The Spanish system also was "rife with legal privileges and exemptions granted to particular corporate groups--for example, the prerogative of military officers to receive justice in special fuerro courts.  All this" in a decade would "contrast sharply with the egalitarian ideal expressed in the American Declaration of Independence, or, in two decades' time, "the French Revolution's invention of the citoyen, the people as a single demos rather than categorized by rank and status; the individual as endowed with natural rights rather than deriving privileges from a specific social station." 

Ulloa the perceived ursurper wasted little time alienating the French colonial elite.  He failed to register his commission with the Superior Council, "a routine requirement in both the Spanish and French empires," Carl A. Brasseaux relates. This only compounded his perceived weakness in the eyes of the colony's French-Creole element, who had opposed the cession of western Louisiana from the moment they had learned of it.  Ulloa's failure to register his commission was tantamount to refusing to take formal possession of the colony.  This greatly confused Aubry and Foucault, who had been waiting for over a year and a half to hand over the colony to Spain.  "Sensitive about the weakness of his position," Brasseaux goes on, "Ulloa may have feared that to submit his orders for inspection" by the Superior Council "would give the appearance of subordination to the more secure French authorities.  Whatever the reason for his action, it was a tactical error.  Certification of his letters patent would have extended legal recognition to Ulloa's status as the official representative of the Spanish king.  In the eyes of French Louisianians, the action would have constituted the legal act of transfer.  Ulloa's refusal to go through normal legal channels created doubts in the minds of some colonists about the validity of the cession itself." 

Adding to the confusion, Ulloa retained both Aubry and Foucault in their positions, Aubry as what Ulloa called commanding-general, and Foucault as colonial commissary or deputy auditor.  Aubry, at least, was willing to recognize Ulloa "as the representative of the King of Spain," and he issued orders in the name of that King.  But, in spite of his new title, Aubry was French, not Spanish.  Amazingly, because Ulloa had not formally taken possession of western Louisiana, the French government was still obligated to provide financial support for the colony!  The new French Minister of Marine, César-Gabriel de Choiseul-Sevigny, duc de Praslin, who succeeded his cousin, the duc de Choiseul, in April 1766, was no more inclined to assist Spanish Louisiana than his cousin had been.  Moreover, attempts to coax French officers and soldiers to join the Spanish service, thereby supplementing Ulloa's meager force, largely failed.  "There is no longer any hope that the (French) soldiers in the local garrison will decide to serve the Spanish king," Foucault wrote the retiring French Minister on April 2.  "Mister Aubry has tried every means to change their minds, but his efforts have been in vain."  Foucault lamented that this failure likely would delay the formal Spanish takeover.  While awaiting further orders from Spain, Ulloa would have to secure reinforcements for his meager Spanish force before he could relieve Foucault, Aubry, and the other French officials of the onerous duties they had performed for much too long.  Foucault also informed the Minister that Ulloa, with Aubry and a large entourage, had begun a tour of the colony's settlements, which would further delay the formal Spanish takeover and place an even greater burden on French colonial resources.

Meanwhile, beneath this odd "'government with two heads,'" the French fleur-de-lys flew over New Orleans as though nothing had changed.348

The Acadians on the prairies and at Cabahannocer faced more personal concerns than who ran the colony from distant New Orleans.  By early March 1766, the Teche Acadians in their various communities were busy improving their simple dwellings and preparing the soil for spring planting.  They also were facing the troublesome question of land ownership.  No sooner had Lieutenant Andry escorted the Broussards to Fausse Pointe than one of the district's cattle barons, Jean-Baptiste Grevemberg, accused the Acadians of encroaching on his land.  Grevemberg claimed all of the vast prairie from Fausse Pointe westward to the lower Vermilion River.  In July 1765, he sent a "memorial" to both the acting director-general and the ordonnateur "asserting his right to the land and requesting a patent to his fourteen-year-old vacherie."  Aubry and Foucault, aware not only of Grevemberg's wealth and influence, but also of the delicate state of the new arrivals, "permitted the Acadians to remain on their farmsteads.  Grevemberg could console himself with a concession of 7.5 square leagues (18.75 square miles)" west of Bayou Teche.349

Grevemberg's land dispute with his unwelcome neighbors, who had abrogated their deal with Jean-Antoine-Bernard Dauterive, did not prevent Grevemberg from selling them cattle which they could use to create vacheries of their own.  Up on the Opelousas prairie and at Cabahannocer, Acadians also were preparing for spring planting.  Meanwhile, colonial officials in New Orleans were doing what they could "to furnish subsistence to the Acadians until the next harvest," especially to the newest arrivals.  When word reached the settlements that the new Spanish governor had finally reached New Orleans, the typical Acadian reaction would have been a shrug of the shoulders, a bon mot or two, and a resumption of whatever work he or she was doing.  Their ancestors had endured changes of imperial masters more often than they could remember, and they, too, had changed rulers when they came to this colony, the great majority of them arriving after the world had been told that the western half of French Louisiana now belonged to Spain.  They would always call France their mother country, as they had done in Acadia, and as they would do here.  As long as the Spanish recognized their land grants and protected them from the British, they would find them to be the most loyal of subjects.  As to their cherished religion, the British had failed to convert any of them to their noxious heresies, but the Spanish were Roman Catholics, too.  The Spanish priests who would come to their settlements to administer the sacraments would have to know French; they would not bother to learn Spanish here any more than they had bothered to learn English back in Nova Scotia.  Mass was celebrated in Latin anyway, a language few, if any of them, understood.  At least the new governor was not British, who were settling much too close to this province for their liking.  He was no Belcher, no Wilmot, no Lawrence (damn his name!).  How much trouble could this new governor bring to a people who were accustomed to nothing else but trouble?350

In late March, Ulloa and his entourage, in four boats, began their tour of the lower Louisiana settlements, first of the German Coast, which included Cabahannocer; then Pointe Coupée, which the Spanish called Punta Cortada; Opelousas; Attakapas; and Natchitoches; as well as many of the Indian villages.  The Acadians, now, would have an opportunity to take the measure of the man.  They could care less that Ulloa had not bothered to present his letters patent to the French-Creole busybodies on the Superior Council.  He was here, representing a still-powerful nation.  They may have been puzzled that he had brought so few soldiers to Louisiana, but they would have known that many more of them were stationed at Havana, from whence the new governor had come.351

The Acadians were impressed with Ulloa, who seemed to understand their immediate needs as well as their ultimate desire.  Subsisting on what little the French caretakers had given them, the Acadians asked for more powder and shot so that they could supplement their diet with hunting.  Ulloa complied.  Their response, and what they told him about their struggles during their Grand Dérangement, affected him deeply.  Back in New Orleans, following his month-long tour of lower Louisiana, Ulloa wrote a series of long reports to his immediate superior, the Marques Jeronimo Grimaldi, Spanish Minister of State.  His impressions of the Acadians filled each letter.  His missive of May 19 was especially revealing:  "In order to assist (the exiles in becoming self-sufficient), each Acadian settlement was given a small gift of gunpowder and ammunition to be divided among themselves.  When we assured them that they would enjoy full protection of His Majesty, of Your Excellency, and of myself in his royal name as long as they remained here they thanked us profusely, with indescribable joy that moved us to great tenderness and affection, and used part of the few pounds of gunpowder that were given to them to salute with their guns [which the French caretakers had given them] the monarchs of Spain and France."  And then the Acadians expressed their ultimate desire to their new governor:  "After indicating that they will be as loyal to His Majesty [Carlos III] as they have hitherto been to the Most Christian King [Louis XV], they requested my permission to write to their Acadian countrymen in the New England provinces so that they would get ready to flee their present captivity.  They did the same with commanding General Aubry, and, although they were told to desist until the Spanish court was informed and able to reach a decision about it, I am persuaded that they will not do so because of their desire to be reunited with their friends and because of their repugnance towards the English nation."352 

Ulloa was correct in assuming the Acadians were only being polite when they asked him for permission to communicate with their kinsmen in the Acadian diaspora.  Jean-Baptiste Semer, only a month before, had dictated a letter to his father at Le Havre, France, containing a glowing description of the Attakapas country and a plea for his kinsmen to join him there.  In Maryland, over 200 Acadians, having received word from their kinsmen in Louisiana that French officials would welcome there, were preparing to charter a British merchant vessel to take them down to Cap-Français, from whence they would repeat their kinsmen's journey on to the New Acadia.  "The Acadians [still in the British domains] have been offered the most advantageous inducements by the English government to settle among them and to recognize the English king as their sovereign," Ulloa went on.  "They have written the French government regarding their wish (to leave) and have sent me a copy; yet none of the offers has changed the Acadians' minds and their sole intention is to leave the English domain which they hate unabashedly."353

Ulloa, in turn, had taken the measure of these determined exiles.  "I have told Your Excellency," he continued, "that they are good and industrious people; quiet, without vices and able farmers.  Mister Aubry and the other officers who have served in the last two wars in the territories from there to Canada assure me that they are good marksmen.  As they proved in expeditions against the English, they are equally capable of effectively waging war against the Indians, this being especially important in this colony, where one must always rely on the inhabitants for its defense and and where skill and stratagems very different from those used against other people are required against the Indians."  He was alluding, of course, to the Acadian resistance in Nova Scotia.  On his visit to Attakapas, Ulloa could not have met the fierce resistance leaders; they had been in their graves a number of months now.  But he would have met the Broussards' sturdy sons:  Jean-Baptiste, Sylvain, Simon, Pierre, and perhaps Anselme, sons of Alexandre dit Beausoleil; and Petit Jos, Victor, Athanase, François, Claude, and Amand, sons of Joseph dit Beausoleil.  The older ones had fought beside their fathers in the woods and on the bay, and the younger ones carried memories of those terrible years.  Other family heads and their sturdy older sons, at Attakapas, Opelousas, and Cabahannocer, also had fought the British and their New English minions from Beauséjour to Restigouche.354

Ulloa had seen and heard much on his visit to the Acadian settlements.  Aubry and the other French officers had sung their praises to him, and the governor had seen for himself the handiwork of these long-suffering farmers and fishermen:  "These people are naturally good, quiet, hard-working and industrious," he informed the Minister the State.  "It is to be admired that they have all prospered in very little time.  In only one year, a single man, having under his care a wife, children and, in some cases, a widow, sister, sister-in-law or mother living with his own family, has cleared the 4 arpents or tanegas (1.59 acres) that have been given to him; has built a dyke to contain the river within its banks (and to keep it from) flooding the land; (and has cleared) a road over which a cart can travel.  He had built a house, and cultivated land, and (built) wooden fences, although those enclose small areas.  One can say that two black day laborers would not have been able to advance as much as a single one of these men, whose untiring application of work has been the cause of several deaths from fatigue.  This progress shows all that necessity and perseverance can do when one puts his heart into it.  The French officers were astonished by the progress made by these people," and he vowed to extend them aid as long as they could.  "While His Majesty determines what he wishes to do," Ulloa continued, "I have agreed to do it (assist the Acadians) also, because the sooner they begin to get some rest, the sooner they will succeed in earning a livelihood, and we will be relieved of having to provide them with the necessities of life."354a

In the concluding paragraph of his May 19 report to the Minister, Ulloa's final comment about the Acadians revealed a keen understanding of who they were:  "I must tell Your Excellency," he concluded, "that the Acadians are the type of people who live among themselves as though they were a single family.  (They do) not make any alliances with other French people, nor do they give their daughters in marriage to those who are not of their kind, as occurs in Spain among the highlanders of Santander.  They settle their differences among themselves and help each other in every way, as if they were brothers.  This quality makes them preferable for settlement over other types of people.  And the government must be careful to keep them as they are, because as long as they remain unchanged, the king will be able to count on good vassals who, when the time comes, will gladly take up arms and sacrifice themselves to his royal service, in defense of his domains."355

An important element of Ulloa's tour was a general census conducted by the commandants in the lower colonial districts.  Here was a first systematic counting of the Acadian exiles in Louisiana.  In a document dated 9 April 1766, Cabahannocer commandant Louis Judice reported to the colonial authorities his count of the settlers in his district, the great majority of them Acadians.  His survey began "on the right [west] bank of the Mississippi River from the habitation of Jacques Cantrelle to Bayou Lafourche," and continued on the "left [east] bank of the river from the habitation of Joseph Hébert to the village of the Alibamon Indians."  Judice counted 43 men, 43 "wives," 55 boys above age 15, 56 boys below the age 15, 17 widows, 17 girls above age 15, and 35 girls below age 15, for a total of 266 men, women, and children at Cabahannocer.  Living among the settlers were 16 slaves, 5 of them belonging to Jacques Cantrelle and 11 held by Judice himself.  No Acadian at Cabahannocer held a slave.  The commandant also counted 687 arpents of land, 95 hogs, and 97 guns, but no horses.  Judice's report mentioned two Indian villages in his district, those of the Alibamon and Houma.  Only 14 inhabitants in the district were non-Acadians:  Commandant Judice, his wife, their two sons Louis, fils and Michel, the co-commandant's father-in-law, Jacques Cantrelle, Nicolas Verret's sons Michel and François, Joseph Wiltz, ___ Popolus, ___ Ducros, Marc Maulet, Pierre Bidau, Saturnin Bruno, and Félix Pax, the last two "established above the village of the Houma Indians" on the east bank of the river.  The census thus counted 252 Acadians in the district, out of the 320 or so who had come there in 1764-65.  Two years later, Bruno, age 28, would join the Acadians at Cabahannocer by marrying Scholastique, 22-year-old daughter of François Léger, one of the earliest exogamous marriages among the Louisiana Acadians.356

At Attakapas, in a report dated 25 April 1766, Commandant André Massé, who had succeeded Joseph dit Beausoleil Broussard the previous autumn, counted, besides himself, only 130 individuals, 121 of them Acadians, in the district.  Thirty-eight of the Acadians he counted in the "District of the Pointe"--that is, Fausse Pointe.  Another thirty-eight lived at what he called "Bayou Queue de Tortue," but he obviously meant Bayou Tortue.  Forty-five other Acadians lived in the "District of La Manque."  The nine non-Acadian settlers were the Bonin family, the only Allibamonts in the district.  No Acadian, and no Bonin, owned a slave.  By way of contrast, Massé held 20 of them on his large vacherie.  Up in the Opelousas District, Commandant Pellerin's census, undated, revealed a very different pattern of settlement.  Pellerin counted himself and 154 other non-Acadians, most of them Allibamont, at "The Coast of the Old Opelousas" and at "New Opelousas on the Right Bank" of Bayou Courtableau.  The commandant owned the largest number of slaves--24--but militia captain M. Jacques-Guillaume Courtableau owned 21, Allibamont Grégoire Guillory owned 10, and a dozen others, all Allibamonts, owned as many as 6 and as few as 1.  Pellerin counted only 38 Acadians in his district, none of whom owned a slave.  Massé and Pellerin's censuses thus revealed that of the 231 Acadians who had gone to the prairies, only 159 remained--testimony to the devastation wrought by the epidemic of the previous summer and the number of them who had retreated to Cabahannocer.357

Sadly, the Spanish general census of April 1766 counted only 411 Acadians left in Louisiana of the slightly more than 600 who had gone there.  One wonders what accounts for this amazing reduction in their numbers.  Did the commandants conduct their censuses in haste and fail to count all of the inhabitants?  Were there still Acadians at New Orleans who were not counted in the district surveys?  Did Halifax refugees leave Louisiana and return to St.-Domingue?  More likely, the Cabahannocer Acadians also had died in substantial numbers during their first summer in the colony, but no priest like Father Jean-François was there to record their sufferings.  On 14 May 1765, before the epidemic broke out along the Teche, Aubry had told the Minister of Marine, the duc de Choiseul-Stainville, that "the Acadians have smallpox, and will inflict a new calamity on the colony."  Was Aubry referring to the Acadians who had just reached La Balize, where they could have been quarantined before moving up to the city, or was there smallpox among the Acadians already in New Orleans?  On 9 May 1766, in a report to the Spanish Minister of State, the marques de Grimaldi, Ulloa provides another clue as to why so few Acadians had been counted that spring:  "Those who come here are being settled in an area ten leagues above this capital at its nearest point," he said of the Acadians at Cabahannocer.  "Each of them has been assigned land and housing, given tools so they can work the land, and some provisions, though only in small quantities.  Consequently, many of them have died in misery because there was not enough (food)."  Ulloa lamented the loss of these valuable settlers and its impact on the colony.  "[T]he French leaders have aided them as much as possible, assigning them two leaders to govern and guide them, but, since this does not provide their daily bread and shelter, we lose in those who die what is gained in those who come to increase the population."  How did the Acadians reconcile themselves to the loss of so many loved ones during their first year in Louisiana?  In a report dated 19 May 1766, Ulloa sheds light on this as well:  "The Acadians themselves tell me that everyone [of them] in the English colonies will come," he assured the Minister of State, "and those in Canada will do the same.  This is due to the fact that, despite the many (Acadian deaths) on the island of Saint-Domingue and even here during last summer, they would rather expose themselves to mortal dangers while searching for the desired freedom of religion and civil treatment than remain in the relative safety of their own land under English rule."358 

Ulloa soon would see for himself how true was this observation.

Exiles from the British Atlantic Colonies Find Refuge in Spanish Louisiana, 1766-1768

Like the Acadians from Georgia, the exiles in Maryland and Pennsylvania were deportees who had been shipped off to a British colony and forced to remain there until the war finally ended.  And like the Acadians from both Georgia and Halifax, the exiles from Maryland decided for themselves where they would create their own New Acadia.  In late June 1766, following riots at Baltimore and Annapolis in reaction to Britain's notorious Stamp Act of 1765, over 200 Acadians, mainly from the scattered communities of Oxford, Snow Hill, and Newtown on Maryland's Eastern Shore, but also from Port Tobacco on the lower Potomac River, departed the colony on a chartered English sloop and headed to New Orleans via Cap-Français.  They, too, may have taken aboard fellow Acadians languishing in the island colony before moving on into the Gulf of Mexico.  When they reached La Balize towards the end of September 1766, they numbered 224 "men, women and children, 150 in the last two categories."  Fourteen of them had died during the three-month voyage, and three more died on the journey up from La Balize to the city.  Three of the new arrivals were newborns, but only one of them survived the rigors of the voyage.  The sloop on which they came did not wait at La Balize for the lighters that normally came down to take ship's passengers on the 105-mile trip up to New Orleans; after their stop at La Balize to answer to colonial customs, the party continued upriver, fighting the river's powerful current, until the lighters finally caught up to the vessel on a stretch of the lower river.359

These new arrivals had not secured permission to emigrate to the Spanish colony; they probably were not even aware that the colony was Spanish.  No matter, heeding what the Halifax Acadians had been telling colonial authorities for months now, Ulloa, Aubry, and Foucault were expecting more Acadian arrivals, from whence they did not know.  The physical state of the Maryland exiles when they reached Louisiana is best described by Ulloa himself:  "Because these people arrived in misery and in great need (of assistance), they were helped immediately, by which had been reserved for the first needy (Acadians) who might arrive," he wrote the Minister of State the day after the newcomers reached New Orleans.  "I gave them a bull and a calf, which I had brought from up-river for consumption by myself and my companions.  I did so the same night in which the boat carrying them was discovered.  The shipmaster assured me that as soon as they (the Acadians) received the animals, they killed them and ate the meat raw."  Ulloa, from his refuge at La Balize the following December, described this act of charity as the giving of "alms ... which I hope was very pleasing to God."  It certainly was most pleasing to the starving Acadians!360  

Following his policy of giving new Acadian arrivals "land next to those who are already settled," Ulloa sent the Maryland exiles to what Louisianians soon would be calling the Acadian Coast.  There they were given small lots in the vacant lands between the Acadians from Georgia and the upper end of the German Coast in Nicolas Verret's district on the west bank of the river.  Unlike the Acadians from Halifax, few of these Maryland Acadians were from Chignecto, Rivière St.-Jean, or the Annapolis basin.  The great majority of them came, instead, from the Minas Basin and included a large contingent from Pigiguit.  Nevertheless, many of them bore the surnames of Acadian families already living in the colony.  Four prominent Minas Basin families--the Babins, Landrys, LeBlancs, and Melansons--made up the largest portion of the contingent from Maryland.361  

Most of the Babin family heads were widows: 

Anne Thériot of Grand-Pré, Pigiguit, and Oxford, age 45, widow of Joseph Babin, came with three children, all born at Pigiguit:  Joseph, age 21; Jean-Jacques, age 18; and Marguerite, age 17.  Ursule Landry of Minas and Oxford, age 42, widow of Jean-Baptiste Babin, came with four children:  Joseph, age 18; Marie-Josèphe, age 16; Marguerite, age 14; and Anne-Barbe, age 10.  Anne Forest of Minas, age 37, widow of Pierre Babin, came with two sons:  Joseph dit Dios, age 12; and Charles, age 6.  Amand Babin of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, and Oxford, age 24, came with wife Marie-Anastasie Landry, age 18, and two of his sisters, also natives of L'Assomption:  Élisabeth-Madeleine, age 22; and Marie-Josèphe, age unrecorded.  Two sets of unmarried siblings also were in the party.  Marguerite Babin of Minas and Oxford, age 27, came with sisters Madeleine, age 20; and Marie, age 13.  Charles Babin of Pigiguit and Oxford, age 24, came with siblings Vincent-Ephrem, age 21; and Brigitte, age 16.  Also in the party were Marie-Josèphe Babin, age 19; and Anne-Geneviève Babin, age 18. 

The Landrys of Pigiguit were especially numerous in this first party from Maryland; they were, in fact, the largest single family group that would come to Louisiana at one time.  Sadly, most of their families were headed by widowers:

Joseph Landry of Pigiguit and Oxford, age 56, a bachelor who could not hear, came alone.  Joseph's brother Abraham dit Petit-Abram Landry of Pigiguit and Oxford, age 54, a widower, came with nine children:  Étienne, age 24; Simon and Anne, perhaps twins, age 22; Marguerite, age 15; Pierre-Abram dit Pitre, age 14; Élisabeth, or Isabelle, age 12; Joseph dit Le Cadet, age 9; Marie-Madeleine, age 7; and Marie, age unrecorded.  Joseph and Petit Abram's brother René Landry of Pigiguit and Oxford, age 50, also a widower, came with five children:  Marin, age 18; Félicité, age 16; Olivier, age 13; Joseph dit Dios, age 9; and Firmin, age 6.  Marie-Josèphe Bourg of Grand-Pré and Oxford, age 52, second wife and widow of another Joseph Landry, came with four children, all Landrys:  Marie-Madeleine, age 19; Marguerite, age 16; Anne-Gertrude, age 15; and Joseph dit Belhomme, age 14.  Pierre dit Pierrot à Chaques of Pigiguit and Oxford, age 45, another widower, came with six children:  Jean, age 14; Osite, age 13; Isabelle and Jean-Baptiste, perhaps twins, age 10; Firmin, age 7; and Paul, age 4.  François Landry of Pigiguit and Oxford, age 44, yet another widower, came with three children:  François, fils, age 25; Pélagie, age 17; and Joseph, age 8. Vincent Landry of Minas and Oxford, age 49, came with wife Susanne Godin, age 29, and infant son Charles-Calixte.  Firmin Landry of Pigiguit and Oxford, age 38, another widower, came with four children:  Hélène, age 16; Joseph, age 13; Saturin, age 11; and Marie-Madeleine, age 9.  Pierre dit La Vielliarde Landry of Pigiguit and Oxford, age 34, a widower, came with four children:  Joseph, age 10; Anne-Isabelle, age 7; Pierre-Alexis, age 4; and Fabien, age 2.  La Vielliarde's brother Étienne of Pigiguit and Baltimore, age 32, came with second wife Marie-Josèphe Landry, age 32, who was pregnant, and 9-year-old daughter Anastasie.  Charles Landry of Pigiguit and Oxford, age 28, a bachelor, came with five unmarried siblings, all natives of Pigiguit:  Amand-Pierre, age 20; Pélagie, age 17; and Anne, François, and Marie, ages unrecorded.  Charles et al.'s brother Jacques of Pigiguit and Oxford, age 23, came with wife Françoise Blanchard, age 19, and Jacques's 14-year-old brother Joseph.  Marie-Josèphe Landry, age 28; Geneviève Landry, age 22; and Basile Landry of Grand-Pré, age 16, also were in the party.  

The LeBlancs from Maryland only added to the substantial number of family members already in the colony:

Jacques LeBlanc of Grand-Pré and Oxford, age 58, came with wife Catherine-Marie-Josèphe Forest of Pigiguit, age 56, and three daughters:  Catherine, age 16;  Osite, age 14; and Marguerite, age unrecorded.  Jacques's older son Sylvain of Grand-Pré and Oxford, age 25, came with wife Marie-Madeleine LeBlanc, age unrecorded, and year-old son Simon-Sylvain.  Jacques's younger son Paul of Grand-Pré and Oxford, age 23, came with wife Agnès, or Anne, Babin, age 23, who was pregnant, and infant son Marcel.  Désiré LeBlanc of Grand-Pré and Oxford, age 49, came with wife Marie-Madeleine Landry, age 43, and 10 children:  Simon, age 24; Isaac, age 20; Jérôme, age 17; Élisabeth, or Isabelle, age 15; Désiré, fils, age 13; Marine, age 11; Osite, age 8; Benjamin, age 6; Anselme, age 4; and Marie, age unrecorded.  Jean-Pierre LeBlanc of Grand-Pré and Snow Hill, age 40, came with wife Osite Melanson, age 34, who was pregnant, and three children:  Isaac, age 5; .Joseph dit Josime, age 4; and Hélène, age 1.  Pierre LeBlanc of Minas and Oxford, age 35, came with wife Anne Landry, age 29, and daughter Anne-Rose, age 7.  Marie-Marthe LeBlanc, age 17, also was in the party. 

Most Melanson family heads also were widows: 

Madeleine LeBlanc of Grand-Pré and Snow Hill, age 54, widow of Jean-Baptiste Melanson, came with three unmarried children, all natives of Grand-Pré:  Jean-Baptiste, fils, age 25; Charles, age 23; and Marie-Rose, age 21.  Madeleine's older son Paul Melanson of Minas and Snow Hill, age 36, came with wife Marie Thériot, age 30, and four children:  Philippe, age 16; Marie-Madeleine, age 10; Jean-Baptiste, age 7; and Marie-Anne, age 5.  Marguerite Broussard of Annapolis Royal, Minas, and Snow Hill, age 46, widow of Jacques Melanson, came with three unmarried daughters:  Madeleine, age 22; Anne-Élisabeth, age 20; and Marguerite, age 19.  Osite Hébert of Minas and Snow Hill, age 35, widow of Alexandre Melanson, came with six children:  Madeleine, age 17; Pierre-Jacques, age 16; Joseph, age 12; Étienne, age 10; Paul-Olivier, age 4; and infant Charles dit Migouin.  Anne Landry of Minas and Snow Hill, age 26, widow of Joseph Melanson, came with two children:  Olivier, age 6; and Marguerite, age 3.  Melanson siblings Marguerite, age 19, and Joseph, age 11, both natives of Grand-Pré, also were in the party. 

Other families with names already found in Louisiana also were in the party:

Marguerite Blanchard, age 33, came with niece Madeleine Blanchard, age 6.  Jean-Baptiste Breau of Pigiguit and Oxford, age 41, came with second wife Marie-Rose Landry, age 36, and six children:  Marguerite, age 19; Marie-Madeleine, age 17; Jean, age 15; Amand and Anne, perhaps twins, age 12; and Esther, age 7.  Paul Breau of Pigiguit and Port Tobacco, age 21, who came alone, also was in the party.  Anne Landry probably of Minas and Port Tobacco, age 34, widow of Jean Broussard, was pregnant; she came with two sons:  Firmin, age 14; and Jean, fils, age 6.  Augustin Broussard probably of Minas, age 18, also was in the party.  Osite Dupuis of Grand-Pré, age 22, came alone.  Pierre Forest of Minas, age 29, still a bachelor, also came alone.  Amand-Paul Gautrot of Grand-Pré and Newtown, age 35, came with wife Marie Landry, age 28, year-old daughter Anne, and orphan Marie-Madeleine LeBlanc, age 11.  Marie Poirier, age 13, came alone.  Marie LeBlanc, age 32, widow of Joseph Richard, came with daughter Marguerite, age 6. 

Only a few of the Acadians from Maryland bore family names not yet seen in Louisiana:

Joseph Bugeaud of Pigiguit and Oxford, age 43, came with wife Anne LeBlanc, age unrecorded, and five children:  Marguerite, age 15; Augustin, age 13; Félicité-Perpétué, age 11; Anne, age 7; and Marie-Madeleine, age 1.  Joseph's brother Étienne of Pigiguit and Oxford, age 42, a widower, came with four children: Mathurin, age 14; Pierre, age 11; and twins Marie and Marie-Madeleine, age 5.  Euphrosine Gautrot of Grand-Pré and Snow Hill, age 42, widow of Pierre Granger, came with three children, all born at Grand-Pré:  Marie-Anne, age 23; Joseph, age 19; and Jean-Baptiste, age 14.361a 

One family head among the new arrivals was French but not Acadian, and his Acadian wife was the first of her family to come to Louisiana.  François Simoneau, age 38, a native of Lorraine in northeastern France, had emigrated to Maryland by c1759, when he married Acadian exile Marie-Anne-Osite, called Anne, Corporon, a native of Annapolis Royal, who was 31 in 1766.  They brought four children with them to Louisiana, all born in Maryland:  Joseph, age 6; René dit Simon, age 4; and Marguerite, age 1.  Anne was pregnant when she and François left Maryland in late June.  Son Alexis was born aboard ship on August 10, a month and a half before they reached New Orleans.361b

Four of the wives who were pregnant when the party reached the colony gave birth in the months that followed:  Anne Landry, widow of Augustin Broussard, gave birth to son Paul at New Orleans in November, but he probably did not survive childhood.  Jean-Baptiste, son of Étienne Landry and his second wife Marie-Josèphe Landry, born at Cabahannocer, lived to create a family of his own.  The same was true for Simon, newborn son of Jean-Pierre LeBlanc and Osite Melanson; and Marie-Rose, daughter of Paul LeBlanc and Anne Babin.361c

The September 1766 arrivals were not the only Acadians who appeared suddenly at New Orleans that year.  On October 6, only a week after 224 Acadians from Maryland had reached the city, Étienne-Michel, called Michel, David dit St.-Michel, age 46, and his wife Geneviève Hébert, age 40, appeared at New Orleans with eight children:  Anne, age 22; Joseph, age 18; Paul, age 12; Marie, age 10; Marie-Madeleine, age 9; Jean-Baptiste, age 6; Claude, age 5; and Angélique, age 1.  Michel, a native of Louisbourg, Île Royale, was, like his father, a blacksmith by trade.  He had married Geneviève at her native Grand-Pré in January 1744, and they were still living there in the fall of 1755 when the British deported them to Maryland.  Evidently Michel's skills stood him in good stead in the British colony, where they were counted at Snow Hill on the Eastern Shore in July 1763.  A report on Acadians at New Orleans in July 1767 notes: "Michel David has arrived in the Colony on the 6th of October 1766 and he did not ask for any farming land.  He has always been a blacksmith in a city and dwells on the King's property.  This family has received the food supplies for the month of July."  So even an Acadian family that could pay its own passage to Louisiana still needed the largesse of colonial officials until they could become self-sufficient.  Michel was the first Acadian David to come to Louisiana.  He and Geneviève did not remain at New Orleans.  By the early 1770s, they had moved on to the Acadian Coast, where Michel practiced his blacksmith trade, as well as farming, on the east bank of the river near his fellow exiles.  Michel's oldest son Joseph also worked as a blacksmith.363

Here were 200 more Acadians to add to the 600 who already had come to the colony.  Cabahannocer was now the center of Acadian presence in Spanish Louisiana.  That more Acadians from Maryland were on their way there could be no doubt.  That French and Spanish officials would be ready for them was another matter.


By the time the first Maryland Acadians reached the colony, relations between Governor Ulloa and some of the French officials in New Orleans had reached the boiling point.  Ulloa's refusal to take formal charge of the colony, despite reinforcments from Havana, placed Ordonnateur Foucault, especially, in a precarious position.  He and Aubry were operating more or less without instruction from their superiors in France; the last detailed directive from the Minister of Marine concerning the transfer of the colony from France to Spain had been issued to the now-dead d'Abbadie back in April 1764.  As ordonnateur, Foucault was tasked with inventorying the French king's property in every corner of the colony and accounting for all expenditures so that someday French Court officials could hand to their Spanish counterparts an accurate tally of what Carlos III owed his cousin Louis XV in the way of financial compensation.  The fate of his predecessor Rochemore fresh in his memory, Foucault understood the consequences of failing to take proper care of the King's finances.  Moreover, Foucault and Aubry no longer were on speaking terms and in fact had become hated rivals.  Despite Ulloa's failure to take charge of Louisiana and his demands on the colony's finances, Aubry still supported the Spanish governor, even rationalized his behavior, and this Foucault could not abide.  In his fight with Ulloa and Aubry, Foucault was not above using the Acadians as a potential weapon against them.  "Since I was reluctant to incur new and increased disbursements," he wrote to the new Minister of Marine on 18 November 1766, "I devised a plan, whereby, by refusing to help these wretched people [the Acadians from Maryland], I would force Mister Ulloa into assisting them.  I was unable, however, to refuse the urgent pleas made on their behalf by Messrs. Aubry and Ulloa.  The latter assured me that all the moneys spent since the arrival of the Spaniards, as well as necessary future expenditures, will be born by the Spanish king."365

Ulloa quarreled also with the French-Creole elite who controlled, among other things, Louisiana's influential Superior Council.  Foucault, as ordonnateur, was the Council's chief judge, but, taxed by his other duties, he had long deferred that role to the colony's influential attorney-general, Nicolas Chauvin de Lafrénière, fils.  As a result, the Superior Council, "which also possessed administrative and quasi-legislative powers," had become "an autonomous body which, through legal and extralegal means, was able to control much of the lower colony."  Ulloa was fully aware of the power of the Superior Council.  His "delay [in registering his commission with the Council and thus assuming control of the colony] may well have been due, as he wrote in 1769, to his fear that 'they (the councillors) wanted the Spanish governor to make himself dependent on the Council in order to subjugate him to the wishes of that tribunal.'"  Lafrénière had opposed the cession of the colony from France to Spain from the moment he learned of it, so, like Foucault, he opposed Ulloa, which made him an enemy also of Aubry.  Soon after his arrival, Ulloa immediately alienated the French Creoles by removing supervision of the colony's slave trade from the Superior Council, which they dominated, "to a board of his own selection," which they would not. 

Just as disconcerting to the Creole elite, Ulloa's economic policies, dictated to him by the Spanish government, conformed to Spain's narrow mercantilism.  Especially troubling was a decree from the Spanish Court that Ulloa published on 6 September 1766.  It required that "all captains coming from Santo Domingo, as well as those who come from France," be "provided with a passport of his Excellency the Secretary of State of his Catholic Majesty (for otherwise they will not be received), present themselves to M. de Ulloa with their passports, immediately after their arrival, and with the invoice of their cargoes."  Other provisions gave Ulloa the authority to set prices for all goods coming into the colony and to compel merchants "to receive the currency money of the country in payment of their merchandise," regardless of the currency's value.  Finally, the Court decreed that all merchants engaging in seaborne trade with the colony "will form at least one third of their cargo of lumber and other products of the colony."  The decree also specified the ports--all Spanish--which could receive the lumber and which ships would be allowed to carry it. 

Although "designed to protect the general public from profiteering," the new decree could not fail to elicit an outcry from the city's commercial establishment.  The new governor suspected that many of the colony's merchants and shippers were deeply engaged in smuggling, which Louisianians "had come to consider ... an inviolable right."  Back in February 1765, the French Minister of Marine had addressed a directive to Director-General d'Abbadie granting free trade between Louisiana and all French possessions--an important element in d'Abbadie's efforts to heal the crippled colonial economy.  Louisiana's planters and merchants had taken full advantage of this unfettered trade not only with the French Antilles, but also with the nations of the pays d'en haut.  But here was a hard directive from a Spanish governor who had not yet taken formal possession of the colony!  On September 8, New Orleans merchants and local planters petitioned the Superior Council, "asking to be heard before the ordinance was put into effect, that they might have time to prove 'that the extension and freedom of commerce, far from doing harm to states and colonies, are, on the contrary, their strength and their support.'"  At least 69 signatures--including those of Joseph Milhet, Denis Braud, and a Broussard--accompanied the petiton, to which was added 19 signatures "a little later."  The Superior Council admitted it did not have the power to annul the decree, but it "promised that it would not be enforced as long as legal possession of the province had not been taken."  Aubry, yielding to the Superior Council, "agreed not to enforce the measure."  Ulloa demanded from Foucault the list of signatories, but the commissary refused to hand over the petition and sent it on to the duc de Choiseul. 

The official Spanish reaction to the protest was typical.  In the spring of 1767, "acting on the governor's suggestions," Minister of State the marques de Grimaldi ordered Ulloa to abolish the Superior Council and replace it with a Spanish cabildo as soon as he took formal possession of the colony.  The Minister instructed Ulloa to appoint an asesor letrado, or Spanish attorney-general, on the eve of the formal transfer so that the transition could be a smooth one.  But Ulloa did not budge.  Though he now possessed the power to abolish the Superior Council and impose Spanish institutions in its place, Ulloa still was not ready for a formal transfer of power.  Meanwhile, he would try his best to keep secret the ultimate fate of the Superior Council.  Unfortunately for him, word of it got out and "caused much consternation among the French colonial population," especially the New Orleans Creoles.362 

Fully aware of this dangerous dynamic and his inability to control it, during the summer of 1766 Ulloa retreated from New Orleans to the mouth of the river, where, until the following summer, he ensconced himself at a new post near La Balize, over which he flew the flag of Spain.  Commissary of War Loyola, Comptroller Gayarré, and Treasurer Navarro remained at New Orleans to handle day-to-day matters.  Ulloa evidently had created an ad hoc council to help him run the colony.  Its members included not only Loyola, Gayarré, and Navarro, but also Captain José Melchor de Acosta of the Spanish frigate Volante and several Frenchmen:  retired captain of infantry François-Marie de Reggio; long-time colonial surveyor-general Pierre-François Olivier du Closel de Vézin; Jaques de La Chaise, fils of the Superior Council; and Captain Dreux of the militia.  Ulloa also could rest assured that Commanding-General Aubry still supported him.  According to Alcée Fortier, "Aubry went to see Ulloa at the Balize, and while he was there he and Ulloa signed a paper by which the colony was transferred to Spain.  No public act of possession took place, except that Aubry authorized Ulloa to raise the Spanish flag at the Balize."  While at La Balize, in June 1767, the 51-year-old governor married Francisca Melchora Rosa Ramírez de Laredo, 25-year-old daughter of Francisco Bonaventura Ramirez de Laredo y Torres Toledo, the Conde de San Javier y Casa Laredo of Lima, a very fine match for him. 

By then, Ulloa probably had convinced himself that the Acadians, now a substantial part of the colony's population, still held him in high esteem.  The Acadians were too busy fighting illness, the elements, and the endless struggle for their daily bread to pay much attention to colonial politics, including trade policies, though some of them may have wondered why the French fleur-de-lys still flew over New Orleans while the Spanish flag flew over La Balize.  As long as the Spanish governor maintained pressure on French officials to assist them when they needed it, the Acadians could not complain.  They had seen their cousins newly arrived from Maryland settled close by on the river, so that was good.  More were coming, of that they were certain, and the governor had said he would welcome them all.  Ulloa, so far, by his words and deeds, seemed to understand their determination to reunite with as many of their kin as possible.  If their New Acadia was to be a Spanish one, then so be it.364

Although Ulloa was genuinely concerned about the Acadians' welfare and understood their need to reunite with their families, as governor his principal focus had to be on larger issues, such as the colony's defense.  His tour of the lower colony in the spring of 1766 and many hours of conversation with Aubry, the professional soldier, revealed serious flaws in the colony's defenses.  Before 1763, the British dwelled hundreds of miles from the Louisiana frontier, so only by securing alliances with the Indians could they hope to attack any part of French Louisiana.  After 1763, that circumstance changed dramatically.  The imperial wolf was at the door!  British territory, and the expectation of British settlement, began at Bayou Manchac, which the British called the Iberville River, and continued along the east bank of the Mississippi all the way up to the pays d'en haut.  The British had fortified Manchac, Baton Rouge, and Natchez in West Florida and held Fort de Chartres, Kaskaskia, and Cahokia in Illinois.  The Spanish were forced to build new fortified outposts on the west bank of the river at St.-Geneviève and St.-Louis, which became the capital of Spanish upper Louisiana in 1767.  Nor could the Spanish forget that the British held Canada and the pays d'en haut.  "English-armed vessels routinely cruised Lakes Maurepas and Ponchartrain."  Soon after he returned from his tour, "Ulloa received a French trader's report of British designs to establish a large garrison on the Texas Gulf Coast.  Responding to similar rumors, Spanish authorities in Mexico conducted a thorough reconnaissance but found no wayward Britons" poised at Ulloa's strategic rear.  In lower Louisiana, Aubry and Ulloa could see the frontier they now shared with Britain was one vast avenue of invasion.  "These new inhabitants [the Acadians at Cabahannocer] and those who have been living along the (Mississippi) River, in Des Allemands, Pointe Coupée, Arkansas, and even up to Illinois occupy very little space, considering the great distances that exist between them," Ulloa informed Minister of State Grimaldi in May 1766 soon after he finished his tour.  "As I told Your Excellency ..., it is ludicrous to think that our frontier will be defended by the inhabitants who are presently there because there is no place through which the enemy cannot penetrate with no more effect than by crossing the river.  Once on our side, he can go with an army unchallenged, freely, wherever he pleases, since the country is completely flat, with nothing more to obstruct his path than its trees and woods."366  

With the limited resources at hand, Ulloa did what he could to place obstructions into the path of a potential invader.  At the mouth of the Mississippi, he abandoned the broken down French post at La Balize, which Bienville had built in the early 1720s and which largely had washed away, and ordered the construction of Fort San Carlos, on what he called Isla Reina Católica, beside the northeast pass, not far from old Balize.  Alongside the fort, the Spanish "constructed a governor's house, a church, barracks, hospital, warehouses, shops, and a wharf over a thousand feet in length."  To control access into and out of the river, Ulloa forbade the usage of all the other passes except the one that flowed past Fort San Carlos.  Fully aware of those factors of geography, wind, and tide that complicated navigation of the river's lowest stretches, Ulloa saw no choice but to oversee every aspect of the river's navigation within his power to control.  According to the conspirators who later turned on him, Ulloa forbade "the pilots to sleep on board the vessels anchored in front of the [northeast] pass, which the winds and the want of water prevented from entering.  From this arose repeated inconveniences and accidents, which, however, did not make him change his first arrangement.  The first inconvenience was the delay to the ships that were going out, a delay costly and frequent at all times, but almost inevitable in winter, when the north-northeast winds are frequent, which cannot serve for the northeast pass, while they not only bring the ships out of the east pass, but set them on their journey without their having to wait after getting out of the pass.  There was similar difficulty in entering:  when the winds were southwest and south-southwest, one could not enter by the northeast pass; those winds were favorable to the east pass."  But Ulloa's detractors did not, or refused to, see the bigger picture the governor could not ignore.  British warships and supply vessels, exercising their right of free navigation, also were forced to pass beneath the guns of Fort San Carlos.  Ulloa's onerous restrictions served a dual purpose:  to control the main access into and out of the colony, and to limit opportunities for smuggling.366a 

Ulloa also turned his attention to vulnerable points on the river above New Orleans, where the British had gotten ahead of him.  As soon as they had created their new colony of West Florida in 1764 with its capital at Pensacola, the British turned to their western frontier and saw the importance of the Bayou Manchac/Lake Pontchartrain line of communications between the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico.  The British called Bayou Machac the Iberville River.  West Florida's governor, George Johnstone, a retired naval captain, later called the confluence of the Manchac and the Mississippi "Point Iberville."  Following Major Arthur Loftus's failed upriver expedition in early 1764, in which the French forced the British commander to ascend to New Orleans via the river's mouth, the need for a fort at Point Iberville became more important that ever.  Relying on the judgment of his military officers, Johnstone considered Point Iberville "as the key to projecting British power at mid-continent."  If the Iberville could be cleared of its natural obstructions, the route would allow the British to avoid the natural and manmade obstructions, including the fortifications, at La Balize and New Orleans, which belonged to a potential enemy.  Moreover, the Iberville "canal" would serve as an all-water approach to the river above New Orleans.  In case of war, it would allow British forces to attack New Orleans and its upriver settlements from two approaches, including the vulnerable rear.  Most importantly, an all-water route from the Gulf through the Iberville would be a commercial boon for Baton Rouge and Natchez, which the British intended to fortify.  In January 1764, Major Robert Farmar of the 34th Regiment of Foot, then in command of West Florida until Johnstone's arrival, ordered British engineer Lieutenant Campbell of his regiment to "clear the river."  Campbell hired 50 slaves from New Orleans, to be supervised by a French overseer, and, the following autumn, began the herculean task of clearing obstructions from the Iberville.  The effort was dealt a blow the following spring, when "the Mississippi's next seasonal upsurge poured 'a barricado' of logs and other 'rubbish' into the bayou that eviscerated signs of progress."  Progress on the fort was another matter.  During the autumn of 1764, workers began clearing a fortified position on the British side of the Iberville which would serve to protect the turn into and out of the little bayou as well as the approach to the bluff at the New Richmond, the English name for Baton Rouge.  The fort at Point Iberville also would protect the approach to Natchez, the gateway to British possessions in the Illinois and Ohio regions.  With the arrival of royal artillerists and engineers, the fort's palisade arose in April of 1765.  In July, before Major Farmar moved most of the 34th Regiment up to Illinois, he left a small force--"the engineer, an artillery officer, and three or four artificers (most of them in a sickly state)"--at Point Iberville.  On August 29, a force of Pacana Creek, recently domiciled on the west bank of the river, perhaps encouraged by the French, crossed over and overwhelmed and robbed the British garrison before pillaging the fort.  Johnstone, however, refused to abandon Point Iberville.  When Ulloa reached New Orleans in March 1766, the British were hard at work rebuilding and strengthening the position.  In December, elements of the 21st Regiment of Foot--"Scots fusileers, ... lately arrived in West Florida"--reoccupied the post.  They called it Fort Bute, after the former prime minister, good friend of King George II, and Governor Johnstone's fellow Scotsman.  Though they labored diligently for four more years, the British failed to clear the Iberville of obstructions.  Fort Bute nevertheless held strategic value, and so it stood until the summer of 1768 when the British evacuated the lower Mississippi.367 

British presence on the river posed another kind of threat to the Spanish, this one a challenge to their mercantilist policies.  Free navigation of the Mississippi brought to lower Louisiana merchants ships as well as naval vessels flying the Union Jack.  The resulting trade with the British "increased considerably" at Manchac and Baton Rouge, "and British vessels were almost continuously anchored, or fastened to the trees, a little above New Orleans."  As Aubry and Foucault looked the other way and Ulloa announced a series of feckless decrees, the colonists purchased not only typical merchandise from their former enemies, but also an essential commodity not imported into French Louisiana in any great numbers for decades.  "Guinea negroes were now introduced by these vessels," François-Xavier Martin informs us, "or brought from Pensacola through lakes Pontchartrain to bayou Manshac[sic] and Baton Rouge.  The facility, thus afforded to French planters to supply themselves with slaves, was the origin of the fortunes of many of them."  A cross-river trade in deerskins and rum with Indians living east of the Mississippi also flourished despite mercantilist decrees issued from Pensacola.367a

The governor's path was clear:  he must build more fortifications of his own to counter the British presence on the Mississippi, military as well as commercial.  In April 1767, while Ulloa was still at La Balize, he sent an expedition of seven boats, filled with soldiers, sailors, and supplies, to several upriver sites.  The first contingent, commanded by Lieutenant Frederick José de Orieta, stopped on the east bank of the river near the mouth of Bayou Manchac, where they constructed Fort Infante San Gabriel across the bayou from Fort Bute.  A second contingent under Lieutenant Pedro Joseph Piernas continued upriver to Natchez.  They promptly began construction of Fort San Luìs de Natchez "on the west side of the Mississippi about a league from British Natchez," where the West Floridians were finishing a palisade of their own, Fort Panmure.  A third contingent turned into the Red River and constructed a fort "on an eminence between Black river and the Mississippi," below present-day Delhoste.  Ulloa also sent a force under Captain Francisco Ríu y Morales upriver "to the mouth of the Missouri," above St.-Louis, where the captain and his men "constructed Fort El Principe de Asturias on the south bank" of the Missouri to serve as the capital of upper Louisiana.  They also built "a blockhouse named Don Carlos Tercero El Rey on the north" bank of the Missouri.  Ulloa issued orders to Captain Riu y Morales "not to interfere with the civil concerns of the inhabitants" of upper Louisiana, "who continued under the orders of St. Ange," the former French commander at Fort de Chartres, "the British commandant having died."

Unlike at New Orleans, the flag of Spain flew above each of these new fortifications.368 

And then there were the Natives.  For decades, in fact, since the first days of French Louisiana, the Natives had played a major role in the colony's defense.  With only a few exceptions Iberville had befriended the petite nations of the lower Mississippi and brought them into the French orbit.  By the 1710s, Bienville, with the help of friendly petite nations, defeated the troublesome Chitimacha and, after relocating the center of the colony from Mobile Bay to the lower Mississippi, moved petite nations about like chess pieces to protect New Orleans and its satellite settlements.  Meanwhile, after the Natchez had been vanquished, Bienville secured alliances with the Choctaw, as well as elements of the Alibamon and Chickasaw, and made them an essential part of the colony's defenses.  Everything changed after 1763, when France lost eastern Louisiana to Britain.  Many of the nations in the region, large and small, moved to the French-controlled side of the Mississippi to avoid British governance.  Ulloa inherited this chaos, which he witnessed first hand during his tour of lower Louisiana.  He wasted no time informing his superiors that he would do what he could to maintain the alliance system cobbled together by the French over many decades, but he did not bother to meet with local headmen to establish formal relations with these Native allies.368a

It was not enough to construct new fortifications, man them with the few soldiers and sailors Ulloa could muster, and depend on the local Indians to come to their aid.  Each fort must have a contingent of settlers who would provide a militia force to reinforce the soldiers and Indians in the event of attack.  If Ulloa could coax bands of friendly Indians to move closer to his new forts, then so much the better.  But there was a more dependable resource for the colony's defense--the hundreds of Acadians who had ventured to the colony and perhaps hundreds more on the way.  He had reported extensively on the Acadians to his superiors in Spain.  His immediate superior, Minister of State Grimaldi, wrote to him on 27 May 1767:  "In your letter of May 19 of last year, Your Excellency briefly informed me about the Acadians settled in the colony, of their good qualities, piety and affection for their king, and what we can expect from them.  You explained how France was helping them, which was necessary to relieve their misery, and that probably many of the families that were separated or were discontent in the English possessions will do as the others have done (i.e, settle in Louisiana).  On August 23 [1766]," the Minister continued, "I told Your Excellency to assign lands to those who came, and to give them the same help that the French leaders had been providing them.  His Majesty has taken the important matter under consideration," the Minister assured him, "and has resolved that 252 pesos of the colonial budget be allocated annually for the enlargement of the colonial population; that Your Excellency promote the migration of the Acadians by regular means, without giving the English any cause to complain; and (that you) give them for their settlement and subsistence the same aid and assistance that France had been giving them, as well as six hens and a rooster per family." 

Here was wholehearted agreement that Ulloa should not only encourage the Acadians to remain, but also lure more of them away from the British.  How thrilled he must have been when he reported to the Minister during the third week of July 1767:  "On July 12 an English vessel arrived at Isla Reina Católica.  It is carrying 211 Acadians from Virginia, of all sexes and ages...," he added. 

Here was the governor's militia for Fort San Gabriel.369


In truth, the new arrivals were not from Virginia; all of the Acadians there had been shipped off to Britain 11 years before and were now in France.  Ulloa was describing a second contingent of exiles from Maryland.  Their chartered ship, the English schooner Virgin, 60 tons, under master Thomas Farrold, had left Baltimore the previous April, spent 17 days at Cap-Français, may have picked up a few more Acadian refugees there, and then sailed on to Louisiana.  Ulloa was thrilled with the new arrivals.  "I have assigned all these people to Fort St. Gabriel, next to (the) Iberville (district), so that they may settle below it (the fort) toward the city (New Orleans)," he informed Minister of State Grimaldi in his July 23 letter.  "I immediately ordered them to continue their trip in the same boats in which they made the crossing.  They (the ships) have already returned.  I advised the (fort's) commander to give them land, following the same procedures that have been used in other places where the first families have settled.  As a result, that settlement is entirely composed of an able body of settlers and (it was populated) with such precision that the stockade fort and the dwellings of the employees and the Spanish troops were hardly finished when, quite opportunely, a complete suburb of a large town was added to it.  If one had intentionally asked to have families sent at great expense for this purpose, one would [could not?] arrange a more timely arrival than as when they appeared."370

Ulloa's cheerful summation to the Minister obscured what really happened between him and the Acadians.  Having received many letters from their relatives in Louisiana, these recently-arrived exiles expected to go to Cabahannocer.  When the governor informed them that they would be sent farther upriver, to a new post at San Gabriel, 25 miles above Cabahannocer, they protested loudly and said "they had no intention of establishing themselves at their frontier post."  Ulloa was stunned by their "ingratitude."  He wrote later in a memoir of this time in Louisiana:  "'A group of Acadians arrived (at New Orleans) in the month of July or August 1767.  We destined them for Fort St. Gabriel, but, as they put it into their heads (that we) must permit (some of them) to remain vagrants in the city (and allow) the others to occupy lands contiguous to those of the other Acadians who were established opposite the Cabannocé coast, we had all of the trouble in the world to subject them to our arrangements.  It was necessary to tell them that, if they did not wish to take themselves there, it would be necessary to expel them from the colony, as it (their intransigence) was unprecedented, for His Majesty, who satisfied all needs of a destitute nation, must be allowed to prescribe these conditions (of settlement)."371 

Needless to say, the new arrivals complied with the governor's wishes and prepared to move up to the site of their homes, but not without delay.  Evidently Ulloa was still ensconced at La Balize, where he had married a Peruvian marchioness in June.  On August 6, Commissary of War Loyola, at New Orleans, wrote to the governor at La Balize:  "The physician aboard His Majesty's packet boat Volante has just submitted the certificate that I am sending to Your Excellency with this letter, and which I beg you to return to me.  (It states that) the Acadians who, because of their illness, cannot be sent to join all the others who arrived here lately and who have been sent here by Your Excellency.  I understand that you decreed that, besides the sick, the dependents who form part of each (infected) family must also remain (in New Orleans).  Therefore, I beg you to let me know who they are, because, without this information, we will not be able to make the list of one group or the other, nor credit them with the rations that belong to them.  As a result, I will not be able to complete this lengthy task by tomorrow.  Nevertheless those who must leave for their destination may do so."371a

On August 7, the harried commissary gave the go ahead for Spanish officers to begin transporting the families unencumbered by illness.  They reached the new upriver post on August 17, and on the following day "they began to divide the land."  Once the newcomers arrived at San Gabriel, they could see that they were in easy communication with their relatives at Cabahannocer, who they had passed on their way up.  They also learned that their position on the river across from the mouth of Bayou Plaquemine placed them closer to their relatives in the prairie districts.  "Their leader let me know that they were very pleased and happy," Ulloa insisted.  But he had made a serious faux pas not only with these Acadians, but also with the rest of them, at least the ones at Cabahannocer.  He had threatened to deport these weary exiles if they did not obey his instructions, an arbitrariness that reminded them entirely too much of certain British governors in Nova Scotia.  He probably did not communicate it to the Acadians, but in his July 23 missive to the Minister of State, the one in which he had failed to mention his conflict with the San Gabriel-bound Acadians, Ulloa included this ominous statement:  "The next Acadian immigrants will be sent to Fort San Luìs de Natchez."  This site lay many leagues above the other Acadian settlement, including the new one at San Gabriel.  If Ulloa believed he could send Acadians to such a place without a fight, he was badly mistaken.372  map 

The 200-plus Acadians who came from Maryland in July 1767, like the September 1766 arrivals, were mostly exiles from the Minas Basin.  During their 12-year sojourn in Maryland, they had lived in scattered communities throughout the eastern half of the colony:  at Baltimore; Annapolis; Georgetown, Fredericktown, Newtown, and Oxford on the Eastern Shore; Upper Marlborough; and Port Tobacco and the lower Potomac.  Also with them were a family of Acadians who had been exiled to North Carolina and Pennsylvania before joining their kinsmen in Maryland.  And at least one family likely had come directly from French St.-Domingue. 

The Landrys, again, were especially numerous:

Jean-Baptiste Landry of Pigiguit and Oxford, age 57, a widower, came with five unmarried children, all natives of Pigiguit:  Marguerite, age 30; Marie-Madeleine, age 20; Marie-Rose, age 18; Jean-Athanase, age 16; and Marie-Perpétué, age 13.  Jean-Baptiste's son Hyacinthe of Pigiguit and Oxford, age 24, came with wife Marguerite Landry, age 24, and no children.  Anne Flan of Annapolis Royal, Minas, and Baltimore, age 56, widow of Alexandre Landry, came with six children, all natives of Minas:  Anselme, age 29; Paul-Marie, age 23; Firmin, age 19; Marie-Marguerite, age 16; Jean, age 14; and Anne, age 12.  Anne's son François-Sébastien of Minas and Baltimore, age 26, came with wife Marguerite LeBlanc, age 23; and two daughters:  Rosalie, or Rose, age 3; and infant Isabelle.  Augustin Landry of Pigiguit and Upper Marlborough, age 48, came with second wife Marie-Madeleine Babin, age 49, and six children:  Marie, age 20; Joseph-Marie, age 19; Joseph-Ignace, age 14; Mathurin, age 12; Marguerite, age 5; and Madeleine, age 3.  Marie Landry of Oxford, age 38, widow of Alexis Granger, came with 10-year-old daughter Anne-Madeleine, called Madeleine, Granger and two of Marie's younger siblings:  Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Landry, age 33; and Pierre Landry, age 30.  Jean Landry of Pigiguit and Oxford, age 35, came with wife Ursule Landry, age 30, 11-year-old daughter Élisabeth, or Isabelle, brother-in-law Joseph Landry, age 24, and orphan Marie ____, age 4 1/2.  Athanase Landry of Oxford, age 25, came with wife Marie-Madeleine Hébert, age 24, and no children.  Marie-Josèphe Landry, age 25, also was in the party.  Marie Landry, only a child, died on the voyage down. 

The Héberts also were well-represented:

François Hébert of Grand-Pré and Georgetown, age 57, a widower, came with six unmarried children, all natives of Grand-Pré:  Jean-Baptiste dit Petit-Jean, age 25; Étienne, age 23; Pierre-Caieton, age 20; Joseph, age 18; Charles l'aîné, age 16; and Madeleine, age 15.  François's son Alexandre of Grand-Pré and Georgetown, age 31, came with wife Anne Landry, age 27, and no children.   François's son François, fils of Grand-Pré and Georgetown, age 29, came with wife Marie-Josèphe LeBlanc, age 25, and two sons: Charles le jeune, age 4; and Jean-Baptiste, age 3;  François, père's son Amand of Grand-Pré and Georgetown, age 27, came with wife Marie-Claire Landry, and 22, and no children.  Paul Hébert of Grand-Pré and Georgetown, age 55, came with wife Marie-Josèphe Melanson, age 49, and seven unmarried children, all but the youngest natives of Grand-Pré:  Anne-Marie, age 22; Ignace le jeune, age 20; Marie, age 18; Jean-Baptiste, age 17; Amand, age 13; Marguerite, age 7; and Paul, fils, age 3; also with them was orphan Marie Blanchard of Grand-Pré, age 13.  Paul's son Pierre-Paul of Grand-Pré and Georgetown, age 30, came with wife Marguerite LeBlanc, age 20, and three children:  Charles, age 5; Marianne, age 3; and infant Marguerite.  Paul's son Joseph of Grand-Pré and Georgetown, age 27 came with wife Anne Landry, age 27, and infant daughter Anne.  Paul's brother Ignace l'aîné of Grand-Pré and Georgetown, age 43, a widower, came with two children:  Jean-Baptiste, age 14; and Marie, age 5.  Geneviève Babin of Grand-Pré and Newtown, age 43, widow of Amand Hébert, who had died on the voyage from Maryland, came with four children:  Geneviève, age 22; Marie-Josèphe, age 18; Charles, age 16; and Marguerite, age 6. 

Other familiar Acadian names could be found among the new arrivals: 

Marie LeBlanc of Minas and L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 66, widow of Paul Babin, came with unmarried daughter Marie, age 22.  Joseph Babin of Pigiguit and Upper Marlborough, age 54, a widower, came with three children:  Anne-Élisabeth, age, 24; Étienne, age 18; and Cyprien, age 17.  Pierre Babin of Minas and Upper Marlborough, age 43, came with wife Madeleine Richard, age 29, children Louise-Ludivine, age 13, and Simon-Pierre, age 3; and orphan Paul Babin, age 16.  Jean-Baptiste Babin of Minas, age 38, came with wife Isabelle-Marguerite LeBlanc, age 20, infant son Pierre, and orphan Marie Babin, age 3.  Ignace Babin of Minas, age 26, came with wife Marguerite Breau, age 28, and infant son Paul, who may have been the "Oliver" Babin born on the voyage from Maryland.  René Blanchard of Port-Royal, Grand-Pré, and Baltimore, age 66, came with wife Marguerite Thériot, age 58, and 18-year-old daughter Madeleine.  René's older son Joseph of Grand-Pré and Baltimore, age 38, came with wife Marie-Josèphe Landry, age 29, and three children:  Firmin, age 9; Marguerite, age 5; and Joseph, fils, age 1.  René's younger son Anselme of Grand-Pré and Baltimore, age 27, came with wife Esther LeBlanc, age 22, and two children:  Rose-Osite-Barbe, age 4; and Jérôme, age 2; also with them was Marguerite Blanchard, age 13, perhaps Joseph's sister.  Three more Blanchard youngsters also were in the party:  Marie, age 15; Pierre, age 14; and Rose, age 10.  Charles Comeau of Pigiguit and Port-Tobacco, age 58, a widower, came with three children:  Marianne, age 22; Jean-Charles, age 18; and Firmin, age 14; also with them was orphan Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Comeau, age 9.  Joseph Dupuis, a bachelor of Rivière-aux-Canards, Connecticut, and French St.-Domingue, age 31, came with four young kinsmen:  nephew Jean-Baptiste Dupuis, age 15; Jean-Baptiste's brother Simon-Joseph, age 13; their sister Marie-Madeleine, age 12; and their baby brother Pierre, age 2, born at Le Mirebalais, French St.-Domingue, on the eve of their parents' death there.  Bonaventure Forest of Pigiguit and Upper Marlborough, age 44, came with wife Claire Rivet, age 42, and four daughters:  Marguerite, age 18; Marie, age 15; Marie-Madeleine, age 13; and Anne-Rose or Anne-Sophie, age 12.  Jean-Baptiste Forest of La Famille, Pigiguit, and Upper Marlborough, age 31, came with wife Marguerite Richard, age 24, and two children:  Marie, age 3; and Moïse, age 1.  Pierre Forest of Baltimore, age 29, came with wife Marguerite Blanchard, age 28, and two sons:  Pierre, fils, age 6; and Simon, age 3.  Jean-Charles LeBlanc of Grand-Pré and Baltimore, age 31, came with wife Judith-Marguerite Landry, age 40, and five children:  Jean-Baptiste dit Agros, age 10; Joseph dit Agros, age 9; Simon dit Agros, age 7; Marie, age 5; and Anne, age 1.  Marie-Josèphe Trahan of Minas and Baltimore, age 45, widow of Michel dit Michaud LeBlanc, came with two children: Marguerite, age 18; and Joseph-Michel, age 9.  Bonaventure LeBlanc of Baltimore, age 40, came with wife Marie Thériot, age 40, and five children:  Joseph dit Adons, age 16; Anne, age 14; Marie-Madeleine, age 10; Esther, age 6; and Isaac, age 4.  Jean-Baptiste LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, age 18, may have come with sibling cousins Marie-Madeleine LeBlanc, age 22; Pierre LeBlanc, age 14; and Rose LeBlanc, not yet in her teens.  Two LeBlanc sisters from Georgetown--Marie-Marguerite, age 16; and Marie, age 14--also were in the party.  Amand Melanson of Grand-Pré and Baltimore, age 39, came with wife Anne Babin, age 37, and four sons:  Joseph, age 15; Simon, age 3; Mathurin, age 2; and infant Olivier.  Marie-Josèphe LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, Ste.-Famille, Pigiguit, and Upper Marlborough, age 55, widow of Joseph Richard, came with two unmarried sons:  Simon-Henry, age 27; and Paul, age 20.  Marie-Josèphe's son Mathurin of Ste.-Famille, Pigiguit, and Upper Marlborough, age 25, came with wife Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Landry, age 30, and no children.  Amand Richard of Grand-Pré and Port Tobacco, age 23, came with wife Marie Breau, age 25, and two sons:  Simon, age 3; and infant Joseph.  Also with Amand were his father Pierre of Grand-Pré, age 55, and orphan Marie Boudrot, age 12.  Siblings Marguerite Richard of Baltimore, age 24, and Joseph, age 23, also were in the party. 

Among the new arrivals were other Acadian family names--like Flan and Rivet--that had not yet appeared in Louisiana: 

Pierre Allain of Grand-Pré and Baltimore, age 44, came with wife Catherine Hébert, age 39, and five children:  Jean-Baptiste, age 16; Marguerite, age 15; Simon, age 7; Pierre, fils, age 3; and infant Bibianne.  Anselme Le Borgne de Bélisle of Grand-Pré and Annapolis, age 28, came with wife Anne Babin of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 28, and infant son Paul.  Pierre-Paul Boutin of Minas, Île Royale, Halifax, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, age 50, came with wife Ursule Guédry of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 37, who was pregnant, and three children:  Marguerite, age 15;  Joseph, age 14; and Susanne-Catherine, age 5; also with them were Pierre-Paul's nephew Pierre-Olivier Boutin, age 18; and his sister Marie-Françoise Boutin, age 16; Ursule gave birth to daughter Marie-Julienne the following February.  Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Thibodeau of Annapolis Royal, Grand-Pré, and Georgetown, age 50, widow of Cosme Brasseur dit Brasseux, came with six unmarried children, most, if not all, of them born at Grand-Pré:  Marie-Marguerite, age 22; Marie-Madeleine, age 20; Marie, age 18; Blaise, age 15; Anne, age 14; and Marie-Rose, age 12.  Élisabeth's son Pierre Brasseux of Grand-Pré and Georgetown, age 25, came with wife Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Richard, age 24, and infant daughter Marguerite.  Orphans Marguerite Leprince of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, and Upper Marlborough, age 14, and half-brother Joseph, age 11, came alone. 

The new Maryland contingent included one of the few Acadian exiles whose name hinted at former nobility:  Anselme Le Borgne de Bélisle of Grand-Pré was a direct descendant of Emmanuel Le Borgne de Bélisle, one of the towering figures in seventeenth-century Acadia.  Two of the party's family heads were not Acadian; they were not even French!  Joseph Castillo, called Castille by his Acadian confreres, age 32, was a native of the Spanish island of Menorca.  He married Acadian exile Rose-Osite Landry of Pigiguit perhaps at Upper Marlborough, Maryland, where they were counted in July 1763.  She also was age 32 in 1767.  They brought four children with them to San Gabriel:  Pierre, age 14; Marguerite, age 12; Marie-Marthe, age 6; and Joseph-Ignace, age 4.  Diego Hernandez, another Spaniard, age 28, had married Acadian exile Judith-Théotiste Babin of Minas in Maryland; she was age 23 in 1767.  With the young couple was infant daughter Marguerite, who had been born on the voyage down from Maryland.  Pierre Allain carried aboard the Virgin and on the bateau ride upriver a precious bundle he and his fellow Minas exiles had carefully preserved through their many years of exile in Maryland.  Sometime after their arrival, the Acadians presented to the priest at San Gabriel the parish registers for the years 1707 to 1748 from the church of St.-Charles-des-Mines at Grand-Pré.  They had managed to save them from the destruction of their village nearly a dozen years earlier.373 

By September 12, the new arrivals had finished selecting "their land," and the Spanish commandant at San Gabriel, Lieutenant José de Orieta, began "to survey the land for distribution to the Acadian families," a task which continued into the autumn.  Orieta reported to the governor on September 23 that "four Acadians" already were working their land at San Gabriel.  "There are 48 arpents and 30 yards' interval (between landholdings) (after leaving 2,700 yards of cleared land for the defense of the fort and (to permit) artillery fire) from the line where the land that you gave the Spaniards begins," he explained, "including the land that will serve for the roads that should be built between the two possessions...," that is, between the lands belonging to the Acadians and the Spaniards who the governor hoped also would settle at San Gabriel.  Orieta added:  "The rains, the hot sun, and unstable weather have been the cause of some sickness among the Acadians, but they are muddling through, thank God."  He also noted that one of his officers, Agústín Moreno, was preparing to leave for Pointe Coupée, upriver, to marry an Acadian girl who had just arrived in the colony with her family:  Marie, daughter of Paul Hébert and Marguerite-Josèphe Melanson of Grand Pré.  On the same day Lieutenant Orieta wrote his letter to the governor, San Gabriel's physician, Jacques Le Duc, beseeched the governor to increase his compensation so that, among other things, he could hire "a young Acadian who has asked to work at the hospital" at San Gabriel.  On October 20, Orieta reported that "On the fifteenth, at 2 p. m., all the heads of Acadians families were placed in their respective homes ... with 12 yards' interval between two landholdings (to be used) for the main road...."  The lieutenant informed the governor that between "land grants nos. 25 and 26," held by Pierre Brasseux and his mother Élisbeth Thibodeau, widow of Cosme Brasseur dit Brasseux, "one arpent has been measured as the site for a chapel for their assemblies and for a cemetery.  This step was taken in conformity with the oldest traditions," Orieta added.374

The settlement the lieutenant laid out for them was impressive in its dimensions.  According to Carl Brasseaux, "All of the concessions were initially confined to the east bank of the Mississippi River, and the forty-seven land grants accorded the immigrants stretched from a point 4,200 yards below Fort St. Gabriel to a spot six to eight miles downstream, near the present boundary between the parishes of Iberville and Ascension."  Only a few weeks after their arrival in the colony, the second contingent of Maryland exiles had a community of their own.374a


Meanwhile, Lieutenant Piernas, commandant at San Luìs de Natchez, informed Governor Ulloa that construction of the fort there was progressing despite illness among the soldiers and workers.  On 26 September 1767, Piernas wrote the governor:  "I am informed of the anticipated arrival of the Acadian families, their number, and their assignment to this fort in order to populate the settlement.  When they are transferred here, they will be distributed according to Your Excellency's instructions...."   One wonders which Acadians the lieutenant was talking about.  The 210 Acadians from Maryland who had arrived in mid-July already were settled with Lieutenant Orieta at San Gabriel.  Had Ulloa decided to send some of those Acadians to Fort San Luìs de Natchez?  Would he even consider uprooting some of the Halifax exiles at Cabahannocer and resettling them at the distant outpost?  He had informed the Minister of State in late July that he planned to send to Natchez "The next Acadian immigrants" to come to the colony, but when that would be he could not know.375 

As it turned out, he would not have to wait very long.  In Maryland, another contingent of Acadian exiles was gathering at Port Tobacco on the lower Potomac.  They, too, would hire a British merchant vessel and sail to Louisiana via Cap-Français, but they did not leave Port Tobacco until December 17, nearly three months after Piernas's missive to Ulloa.  No matter, in the second week of February 1768, during one of the coldest Louisiana winters in memory, a ship with 150 Acadians aboard reached Isla Reina Católica.  This third contingent of Acadians from Maryland endured Spanish custom officials at the fortified island before being escorted upriver to the King's warehouse at present-day Algiers.  Informed of their arrival, Lieutenant Piernas and his subordinate, Ensign Andrés de Balderamma, hurried down to the city to escort the Acadians up to Natchez.  "They [the Acadians] were received with kindness," the lieutenant insisted in a report to the governor.  "Those who were ill, and, by the way, there was a large number of them, were given medicines and were treated by the two doctors" at the warehouse.  He then gathered together the family heads and told them where they were going.376 

These Acadians, predictably, had already decided where they would go.  Here was the largest part of the Breau clan from Pigiguit, led by brothers Alexis and Honoré.  Their brother Jean-Baptiste had lived among his wife's kin, the Landrys, at Oxford on Maryland's Eastern Shore while Alexis and Honoré had been confined at Port Tobacco.  Jean-Baptiste and his family had come to Louisiana in 1766 and settled at Cabahannocer, and that is where his brothers were determined to settle.  Most of the other families in the party, all of them Minas Acadians who had been deported to Maryland in 1755, also had endured exile at Port Tobacco, though a few had lived at Upper Marlborough, Oxford, and Princess Anne. 

Only three new Acadian family names could be found in this party:

Étienne Benoit of Pigiguit and Port-Tobacco, age 18, came alone.  Marguerite LeBlanc of Grand-Pré and Port Tobacco, age 62, widow of Pierre Cloistre dit Clouâtre, came with four unmarried children, all natives of Grand-Pré:  Pierre-Sylvain, age 27; Anne, age 23; Marie-Marthe, age 21; and Joseph l'aîné, age 18.  Cécile Breau of Minas and Port-Tobacco, age 30, widow of Georges Clouâtre, was Marguerite LeBlanc's daughter-in-law.  Cécile came with three children:  Joseph le jeune, age 7; Marie-Madeleine, age 6; and Charles, age 3.  Jean L'Enfant, age 20, came alone. 

The largest family was the Breaus.  Some of the family heads were widows: 

Marguerite Gautrot of Grand-Pré and Port Tobacco, age 63, widow of Pierre Breau, came with three unmarried daughters:  Marie-Josèphe, age 22; Marie-Rose, age 20; and Marie, age unrecorded.  Marguerite's son Jean-Charles of Pigiguit and Port Tobacco, age 35, came with wife Marie Benoit, age 31, and four children:  Michel, age 13; Marguerite, age 9; Ludivine, age 6; and Simon, age 2.  Claire Trahan of Grand-Pré, L'Assomption, Pigiguit, and Port Tobacco, age 61, widow of Charles Breau, came with four unmarried children, all natives of L'Assomption:  Pierre, age 27; Élisabeth, or Isabelle, age 25; Anne-Gertrude, age 23; and Madeleine, age 21.  Alexis Breau of Pigiguit and Port Tobacco, age 44, a leader of the expedition, came with wife Madeleine Trahan, age 45, and six children:  Honoré le jeune, age 21; Joseph, age 17; Charles, age 15; Marie, age 11; Anastasie, age 6; and Alexis, fils, age 3.  Alexis's brother Honoré of Pigiguit and Port Tobacco, age 37, another leader of the expedition, came with wife Anne-Madeleine Trahan, age 36, and three children:  Madeleine, age 14; Élisabeth, or Isabelle, age 3; and Joseph-Honoré, age 1.  Joseph-Charles Breau of Pigiguit and Port Tobacco, age 34, came with wife Marie-Josèphe Landry, age 36, and four children:  Marguerite, age 8; Joseph-Marie, age 5; Claire, age 3; and infant Charles.  Marguerite Landry of Port Tobacco, age 33, widow of Simon-Pierre Breau, came with five children:  Marie-Anne, age 14; Jean-Baptiste-Pierre, age 13; Hélène, age 2; and infant twins Augustin and Marianne.  Antoine Breau of Port Tobacco, age 32, came with wife Marguerite Landry, age 32, and five children:  Scholastique, age 17; Joseph, age 14; Charles, age 9; Perpétué, age 7; and Marie-Rose, age 4.  Jean Breau, age 32, came with wife Marie ____, age 27, and two children:  Marie, age 3; and infant Jean-Baptiste.  Rose-Osite Landry of Port Tobacco, age 30, widow of Janvier Breau, came with three daughters:  Marguerite-Pélagie, age 5; Madeleine, age 3; and infant Marie.  Breau siblings Bibianne, age 24; Marguerite, age 20; and Joseph, age 15, also were in the party.

Other members of the party bore surnames that one could find among the hundreds of other Acadians who had come to the colony during the previous four years: 

Catherine Landry of Minas and Port Tobacco, age 48, widow of Antoine Babin, came with seven children:  Claire, age 24; Louise-Anne, age 22; Firmin, age 21; Charles l'aîné, age 18; Rose, age 14; Élisabeth, or Isabelle, age 4; and Marie, age unrecorded.  Catherine's older son Joseph l'aîné of Minas and Port Tobacco, age 38, came with wife Rosalie Babin, age 31, son Simon, age 5, and Joseph's brother Joseph le jeune, age 21.  Catherine's younger son François-Marie of Minas and Port Tobacco, age 26, came with wife Marguerite-Hélène Breau, age 31, and two sons: Charles le jeune, age 4; and infant; also with them were orphan siblings Mathurin Babin, age 12, and Anne, age 7. Olivier Babin of Minas and Port Tobacco, age 18, came alone.   Orphan Augustin-Rémi Boudrot of Pigiguit and Port Tobacco, age 13, came alone.   Marguerite Babin of Port Tobacco, age 38, widow of Alexis Comeau, came with four children:  Joseph, age 17; Marguerite, age 13; and twins Étienne and Pierre, age 8.  Anne Vincent of Oxford, age 59, widow of Alexandre Doiron, came with three daughters:  Agathe, age 30; Élisabeth, or Isabelle, age 20; and Pélagie, age 16.  Anne Breau of Grand-Pré and Port Tobacco, age 58, widow of Jean-Baptist Dupuis, came with three children:  Marie, age 29; Monique, age 24; and Pierre, age 18.  Jean-Baptist Dupuis of Port-Tobacco, age 38, came with wife Anne Richard, age 32, and three children:  Firmin, age 16; Marie, age 13; and Cécile, age 4.  Anne-Madeleine Dupuis of Port Tobacco, widow of Jean Guédry, came with five children:  Firmin, age 16; Madeleine, age 14; Anne-Monique, age 8; Jean-Baptiste, age 7; and Élisabeth, or Isabelle, age 3.  Pierre Guédry of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, Île Royale, Halifax, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, age 26, came with wife Marguerite Dupuis, age 27, and 3-year-old daughter Marie.  Basile Landry of Pigiguit and Upper Marlborough, age 41, came with wife Brigitte Boudrot, age 36, and two daughters:  Susanne-Marie, age 12; and Madeleine, age 2.  Basile's brother Joseph of Pigiguit and Upper Marlborough, age 38, came with wife Marie-Madeleine Boudrot, Brigitte's sister, age 35, and three children:  Joseph, fils, age 11; Simon, age 5; and Madeleine, age 3.  Mathurin Landry of Pigiguit and Port Tobacco, age 34, came with wife Marie Babin, age 28, and two children:  Marie-Ludivine, age 6; and Marcel, age 2.  Seven unmarried Landry siblings of Grand-Pré and Port Tobacco came together:  Madeleine, age 28; Augustin, age 25; Geneviève, age 23; Cécile, age 21; Alexandre, age 18; Pierre, age 16; and Anne-Madeleine, age 14.   Five unmarried Rivet siblings of La Famille, Pigiguit, and Upper Marlborough came together:  Michel-Maxine and Marianne, age 28, perhaps twins; Cyrille, age 25; Blaise, age 21; and Marguerite, age 18.  Charles Trahan of Pigiguit and Princess Anne, age 37, came with second wife Marguerite Thibodeau, age 26, who was pregnant, and three children:  Brigitte, age 11; Firmin, age 4; and Charles dit Charlitte, age 2; Marguerite gave birth to daughter Marie-Madeleine in June.377 

These Acadians also had relatives at Cabahannocer, and, like the Breaus, were determined to reunite with their kinsmen there.  But that is not where the Spanish officers told them they would go.  Cabahannocer, where hundreds of Acadians from Halifax and Maryland had gone in 1765 and 1766, was "full" now, they informed the new arrivals, as was San Gabriel above Cahahannocer.  They would be settled, instead, across the river from British Natchez, where they would provide the militia force for Piernas's Fort San Luìs.  For months now, the governor had intended to send a large group of Acadians there.  And here they were, 150 of them, a sizable contingent for the new outpost.  Lieutenant Piernas and Ensign Balderama were crystal clear about the governor's intentions:  "In the event that they would refuse to go [to Fort San Luis], they would be forced to leave the colony and to go wherever they pleased."  In other words, they would be deported.  The Acadians protested.  The Breau brothers understood immediately what Ulloa's settlement scheme would do to their dream of reuniting with their families.  They "clearly interpreted the distribution of Louisiana's Acadian population among widely scattered military posts as a diaspora and balked at the prospect of being settled 115 linear miles from" Cabahannocer, Carl Brasseaux tells us. 

On January 28, Commanding-General Aubry had written to an acquaintance:  "My position if most extraordinary.  I command for the King of France and at the same time I govern the colony as if it belonged to the King of Spain.  I have almost succeeded in being able to make French vivacity agree with Spanish gravity, by the trouble which I have given myself.  There has happened, thanks to God! no accident--not a Spaniard killed, not even a quarrel at all serious."  That was two weeks before the Breaus' arrival, and here was his "serious quarrel."  Aubry stepped in and pleaded with the Acadians to cooperate with the governor, but the Breaus insisted on reuniting with their families at Cabahannocer.  Ulloa then ordered Ensign Balderamma to step up the pressure by cutting off the Breau brothers' rations.  Alexis and Honoré still refused to go to Natchez, and so the governor ordered them and the other families to return to the ship on which they had come.  "Faced with deportation," Professor Brasseaux continues, "Honoré[,] accompanied by his brother Alexis, called upon Ulloa at New Orleans, informing him that despite 'substantial (British) inducements' to remain in Maryland, he and his fellow exiles had sailed to Louisiana in order to 'exercise freely their religion.'"  The brothers "'begged Monsieur Ulloa to allow them ... to settle along the German Coast or that of the Acadians, for they had cost the king nothing and had consumed the small amount of money which they possessed.'"378

Determined to complete his settlement scheme, which was based on the needs of the colony and not of a hand full of willful Acadians, Ulloa refused the Breaus request and ordered the deportation of the entire party.  Alexis and Honoré joined their fellow Acadians aboard the ship on which they had come, but fearing arrest at Isla Reina Católica and the breaking up of their families, Alexis and Honoré led their wives and children off the ship and took refuge "at a hut on André Jung's farm," the first of several safe houses where they found refuge.  The other Acadian families also left the ship, but they were too numerous to find safe houses of their own.  After rounding up the families, but unable to find Alexis and Honoré, Lieutenant Piernas and Ensign Balderamma summoned the family heads individually and ordered each of them "to declare whether or not they 'wished to establish themselves on the land assigned to them.'"  The Acadians, according to Carl Brasseaux, "made one more futile appeal to the Spanish for land grants at" Cabahannocer, "and when Ulloa persisted in his decision to populate San Luìs with the Breau Acadians, they lodged a formal complaint with French Commissaire-ordonnateur Foucault, ... first judge of the Superior Council...."  Satisfied in "having the last word in the matter," the Acadians, probably under armed guard, boarded three boats Piernas and Balderama had brought down for them.  On February 20 began the slow, arduous journey up the Mississippi to their new homes at Natchez.379

The voyage upriver was long and slow and plagued by foul weather much of the way.  At Des Allemands, Lieutenant Piernas reported, "a two-year-old child, son of one of the Acadians, died of an illness had had endured for nine months.  He was buried at Des Allemands church."  Here, they likely took on board some of the grain Ulloa had ordered to be confiscated from the Germans to feed the destitute Acadians.  The convoy reached Nicolas Verret's plantation on the last day of February, where the officers presented a letter from the governor to the Cabahannocer co-commandant, took him aboard, and continued on their way.  Verret, Carl Brasseaux reminds us, "had been ordered by Ulloa to act as tour guide for Jacob Walker, an Irishman representing a group of potential Maryland Catholic immigrants," many of them English.  Verret also was coming along "to accompany the Acadians to their destination, and, during the voyage, to point out to them the great advantages afforded by settlement in this colony."  Tragedy struck one of the families before they reached San Gabriel.  "Before arriving at the Iberville settlement," Piernas reported to the governor, "a daughter of Anna Bro (Breaux) died.  Her name was Marie de Puy (Dupuis) and had been ill with hemorrages[sic] for four years."  Marie was 29 years old and still unmarried when she died.   At Fort San Gabriel, more of the Acadians' relations greeted them.  "A few families tried to remain at Iberville," the lieutenant complained, "but I allowed no one to stay and even forced to return and continue the journey a family who, without my knowledge, had detached itself from us and was five leagues away in the home of a relative. Only a woman remained in the hospital of the fort, because the physician said it was dangerous for her to continue travelling.  Her daughter remained to assist her."  More heavy rain and contrary winds detained them at San Gabriel for two days.  Continuing upriver, all of the Acadian settlements lay behind them now, so the chances of any of the families escaping was considerably diminished.  The party reached Pointe Coupée on March 8.  "All of the Acadians are happy," Lieutenant Piernas insisted, "but are always pestering and begging as is their nature."  One wonders what the Acadians thought of a Spanish officer who imagined he knew the truth of "their nature."  At Pointe Coupée, the lieutenant loaded the boats with as much corn as they could carry.  He hoped to take the boats the rest of the way to Fort San Luìs without stopping.380 

Piernas and his unhappy passengers reached Fort San Luìs de Natchez at 7 a.m. on March 20, exactly a month after they had left New Orleans.  The Acadians now had seen for themselves how truly remote was this outpost from the other communities downriver.  To appease them, Piernas gave them lodging in the post barracks, which he insisted were the most comfortable quarters at the fort.  Meanwhile, Commandant Verret, who had lived among Acadians for three years now, knew that his efforts to convince them to stay would not be easy.  "Upon my arrival at Natchez," he wrote the governor on March 26, "I took the Acadians on a surveying tour of the land.  May I say that I found the land quite suitable for settlement.  Nevertheless, the Acadians either through prejudice or obstinacy, refuse to remain here.  They all agree that the land is suitable, but too isolated."  The Acadian family heads concocted every kind of clever excuse they could think of to convince Verret, Piernas, and, ultimately, the governor, that this place was entirely unsuitable to them.  "Their wives and their children would be exposed to Indian harassment," they told Verret, "and they themselves would live in constant fear."  Verret and Piernas assured them that the Indians in the area were not hostile.  When Verret, a successful planter, pointed out the fine quality of the soil around the fort, "some of the Acadians agreed," Piernas noted, but then they claimed that the land closer to New Orleans was even better than here.  The Acadians pointed out an oxbow in the river near the fort and claimed that they had heard that the bed "dries out when the river falls, and it is not suitable for a settlement."  Piernas "offered to settle them farther downstream," away from the ox bow, "in a place more to their liking in order to remove this inconvenience."  This played right into their hands:  they pointed out to the lieutenant that living farther downstream would deprive them of protection from the fort!  Piernas then offered "to settle half or part of the families above the fort and the remainder below in order that all may have the protection they desire and be free of the Indian raids that they fear," but the Acadians remained unconvinced that the remote outpost would be safe from Indian attack, not to mention the British across the river.  Exasperated by the constant argument, both Verret and Piernas reassured the Acadians that "In return for their full cooperation, they would always enjoy preferred status among the peoples of the colony," but, again, the Acadians did not budge.  "[A]ll of my arguments and everything I deemed appropriate to tell them regarding this matter has been to no avail," Verret confessed to the governor.  The young post commander, hoping some day to become a captain, was even more embarrassed by his failure to convince the Acadians they should settle at his post.  "I hope, Sir," Piernas wrote to the governor a week after returning to the post, "that this turn of events will not diminish the trust you have place in me in the past.  I attempted at all times to execute your orders and to do everything possible to make the Acadians comply with the wishes of His Majesty and Your Excellency." The lieutenant could not help adding:  "... I have tried to watch over them and overlook their impertinent outbursts, which are so frequent that I would rather command an army than six of these families."  Again, someone who imagined he had power over these simple farmers learned a lesson in Acadian stubbornness.381 

But the Acadians were not done with their agitation against an overweening Spanish authority.  Three of the family heads, including Joseph Breau, "the most outspoken critic of the Natchez colonization project," Carl Brasseaux notes, demanded to be given a boat so they could return to the city and present their case to the governor himself.  Piernas, knowing the mind of the governor, granted them permission to go.  Alexis and Honoré, meanwhile, successfully eluded the governor and learned quickly that they had many "friends" in the colony--French Creoles, Germans, and of course fellow Acadians--who also despised Ulloa.  Alexis Breau felt so safe among them, in fact, that, with the full knowledge of colonial Commander Aubry, he purchased a farm at Cabahannocer from one of its French-Creole settlers!  When Ulloa learned of it, he ordered Commandant Judice to "'send for and tie up" the impudent exiles.  Judice summoned Alexis, but the Acadian, "feigning illness, sought and secured a three-day delay of sentence," Brasseaux relates, and made his escape with assistance of fellow Acadians Jacques Godin dit Bellefontaine and Charles Gaudet, who had come to Cabahannocer from Halifax three years before; Gaudet's wife was a BreauJudice called out the militia to arrest the Breaus and escort them to the commandant at Les Allemands.  The militiamen, however, openly rebelled, notifying Judice that "'they simply did not want to arrest their confrère.'"  When Ulloa heard of the incident, he threatened to confiscate the property of, and then to deport, any Acadian at Cabahannocer who helped the fugitives.  Honoré and his family, meanwhile, found refuge at the plantation of Jacques Enoul de Livaudais, fils at Des Allemands, while the long-time civil commandant there, Karl Friedrich Darensbourg, looked the other way.382 

In New Orleans, Joseph Breau and his two companions only infuriated the governor further.  After hearing their arguments, Carl Brasseaux tells us, Ulloa "threatened the deputies with imprisonment aboard the Volante, a Spanish frigate moored in the Mississippi River, and then summarily dismissed them with a threat to deport the entire Natchez contingent.  The threats were followed by regulations establishing stringent controls over the Natchez settlers."  Lieutenant Piernas, following the governor's instructions, called a meeting of the family heads in late April and delivered an ultimatum:  "either accept land to be assigned near Fort San Luìs or face deportation as well as financial responsibility for the Spanish expenditures on their behalf."  The tactic worked.  "Facing a second diaspora," Brasseaux recounts, the Acadians relented.383

Ulloa was undeterred in his efforts to capture the fugitive brothers and their families and to prevent any more members of the Breau party from seeking refuge in other communities.  On April 4, three weeks after the party reached Fort San Luìs de Natchez, Ulloa issued a circular letter to the commandants at Opelousas, Attakapas, Pointe Coupée, Cabahannocer, and Des Allemands.  It read:  "Gentlemen:  You will prevent any newly arrived Acadian from settling in your district.  Consequently, you will forewarn all the settlers that they are forbidden to harbor them, under any circumstances.  You will also warn the Acadians already settled in your district.  Should they receive any Acadians, even relatives under any circumstances, they will pay dearly for their disobedience, forfeiting their land grants."  The Pointe Coupée commandant, François Amirault Duplessis, a French army captain who had remained in the Spanish service, informed the governor in late April that he had posted a copy of his circular "on the (front) door of the (parish) church" and added:  "It is certain that this order, instead of encouraging these said Acadians, will prompt them to cross the river with their belongings one fine day."  Duplessis's determination to prevent any of the Fort San Luìs Acadians from stopping at Pointe Coupée effectively trapped them at Natchez.  They had little choice now but to submit to the governor's will.385 

Two of the other commandants who received the circular, René Trahan and Jean-Baptiste Broussard of Attakapas, were Acadians who had come to the colony from Halifax three years earlier.  One wonders what these former resistance fighters thought of Ulloa's threats against their fellow Acadians.385a 

Ulloa was exerting so much pressure now on the commandants along the river that, not long after his circular was issued, the fugitive Breau brothers had no choice but to take their families to British West Florida.  One wonders, then, if any of the other Breaus at San Luìs gave serious consideration to crossing the river with them.  In mid-April, Montfort Browne, lieutenant-governor of West Florida, had visited Pointe Coupée on his way up to Natchez, and Commandant Duplessis had treated him with all due respect.  While at Natchez, Lieutenant-Governor Browne also paid a visit to Fort San Luìs, during which Lieutenant Piernas extended to him every honor due his position.  Evidently sometime during the visit the Briton "secretly visited" the Acadians.  A few months later, he reported to his superior, the Earl of Hillsborough, that the Acadians at Fort San Luìs "had become so disenchanted with the Spanish regime that 'they wish themselves again in our colonies.'"  There can be no doubt that the Acadians complained bitterly about their treatment at the hands of Ulloa and his minions, even to a British official, and that other Frenchmen were enamored with the promise of wealth in British West Florida, but Browne's conclusion about the collective "wish" of the Acadians was nothing more than British hubris.  The Acadians at Fort San Luìs now despised the Spanish governor; there was no doubt about that either; but, being Acadians, they likely mistrusted the British even more.  Despite the lieutenant-governor's enticements to resettle in West Florida, perhaps including the offer of a priest at Mobile, the Acadians, except for the fugitive brothers, remained on the Spanish side of the river.  What had happened to them in 1755 was still too fresh in their collective memory.384 

The exiles at Natchez had no choice but to make the best of a bleak situation.  "By late 1768 the Acadians had selected home sites, begun construction of their homes, completed a road from 'the first habitation' to Fort San Luìs, and agreed to organize a militia company.  The industriousness persisted throughout the summer, despite an epidemic of dysentery that decimated the children."  The pattern of settlement at Fort San Luìs was typical for the region.  Lieutenant Piernas laid out for them "... long, narrow, contiguous riverfront sites, the northern-most of which lay approximately 2.5 miles below modern-day Vidalia, Louisiana."  Unfortunately for the Acadians, Piernas placed them in an area that "lacked a sanitary source of water," hence the many cases of dysentery.384a

Adults as well as children died among the Acadians at Fort San Luìs during their first months in the colony.  In late April, Marthe Clouâtre, age 21, died of illness and was buried in the fort's cemetery; Marthe, who had come to the colony with her widowed mother, was unmarried.  In early June, Claire Trahan, widow of Charles Breau, died at age 61 after a lengthy illness; she left three daughters and a son, all unmarried; her two older daughters, Élisabeth and Anne-Gertrude, returned to New Orleans and became Ursuline nuns.  In early July, Marguerite Dupuis, wife of Pierre Guédry, long afflicted with open sores, died of her terrible ailment; she left Pierre with a young daughter; Pierre remarried to Claire Babin at Fort San Luìs the following January.  By mid-summer, the Acadians had "contracted a fever," likely malaria, but, Lieutenant Piernas assured the governor, "it was not of the worst kind.  The clearing of new land causes it...."  In early September, "a seven-or-eight year-old child," unnamed, died of dysentery.  In late September, Jean-Baptiste Dupuis, age 38, died of dropsy.  About the same time, two more Acadian children died, this time of scurvy.  During September and October, more Acadians, including a 21-year-old man and a 6-year-old girl, died of "the flux."  In September, Marie Breau was sent to Pointe Coupée, where she could be cared for by the post's physician; she died there on the night of October 4, a victim of "the grey flux."  In late October, the post commandant reported to the governor:  "The Acadians continue to die of the usual causes, except for a woman and a child whom we lost only a few days ago."386

Another kind of "tragedy" plagued the settlement.  As in all cultures, weddings among the Acadians were a time of rejoicing and celebration.  Among their relatives at Cabahannocer, no fewer than 45 marriages had been celebrated between March 1766 and June 1768, all but two of them Acadians marrying other Acadians.  Not so at Fort San Luìs.  On June 20, a young Acadian widow, Élisabeth, 20-year-old daughter of Alexandre Doiron and Anne Vincent, married Vincent St.-Pierre of Vigo, Galicia, Spain, a soldier in the garrison, probably at Pointe Coupée, the nearest church, miles downriver.  On the same day and probably at the same place, Élisabeth's sister Pélagie, age 26, married Antoine Rodriguez of Florida.  The same day also, Marie, daughter of Antoine Babin and Catherine Landry, her mother a widow, married Francisco Dies of Seville, Spain, a soldier in the garrison.  On August 9, also at Pointe Coupée, Geneviève, 23-year-old daughter of Joseph Landry and Marie-Josèphe Richard, both deceased, married Sergeant Juan Bautista Beloti of Pavie, Italy.  And Marianne, called Anne, 28-year-old daughter of Michel Rivet and his first wife Anne Landry, both deceased, married Corporal Ferdinand Ribolle of Fuente Vergona, Cordovan, Spain.  On December 31, Anne, 24-year-old daughter of Pierre Cloistre dit Clouâtre and Marguerite LeBlanc, her mother a widow, married Bernard Capdeville of Bern, Switzerland, a widower whose first wife also had been Acadian, at Pointe Coupée; Bernard was the post's surgeon.  All of the brides were in their 20s, and all of the grooms, one would hope, were men of substance.  But they also were soldiers, still on active duty and subject to the vagaries of their profession.  Sergeant Beloti, in fact, less than a month after his marriage to Geneviève Landry, was ordered to accompany his commander up to Missouri, where he was expected to remain.386a

On the first of September 1768, Pedro Joseph Piernas, now a captain, turned over command of Fort San Luìs de Natchez to Jean Delavillebeuvre, a French officer in the Spanish service, and prepared to leave for his new post upriver at Missouri.  Judging from his many letters to the governor over the previous six months, Piernas, who never understood them, doubtlessly was glad to be free of the Acadians, and one would suspect that they were glad to be free of him.  No matter, during his time as their commandant, he had overseen their labors, addressed their concerns, reported their marriages and deaths, and did what he could to keep them healthy.  The Acadians could only hope that their new commander, a fellow Frenchman, might better understand them.  They expected no such favor from their Spanish governor.  "Though the exiles accepted hard work and illness as an unpleasant fact of everyday life, they could not brook arbitrary treatment.  The forced settlement of the exiles at Natchez created a legacy of bitterness among the colony's entire Acadian population, for Ulloa had clearly subordinated their aspirations for familial reunification to strategic considerations," Professor Brasseaux concludes.387

Rebellion, "Bloody O'Reilly," and More Exiles from Maryland, 1768-1770

Ulloa had lost favor with the French Creoles of New Orleans from the moment he had come to the colony.  The Germans had never thought much of him; they were still smarting over Ulloa's recent confiscation of some of their grain to feed Acadian arrivals.  And now he had alienated these very Acadians.  The Spaniard's confrontation with the Breau clan evidently turned his head against all Acadians in the colony.  In March 1768, three days before the Breau party reached Fort San Luìs, 11 Acadians from Opelousas signed a petition addressed to the governor, imploring him to loan them oxen and ploughs.  Despite an excellent wheat crop the previous year, they still lacked the wherewithal to bring in their latest crop.  "It will be years," the Acadians lamented, addressing themselves in the third person, "... before they can purchase the oxen and ploughs necessary for farming.  They will continue to live in a state of misery, and will be unable to contribute in any way to the development of the colony.... They expect, barring unforeseen obstacles which could forestall your generosity, to be able to repay you at the end of the year," the petitioners hoped.  "They will always be indebted to you for their great happiness.  They will thank God for the generosity of their new master, and the generosity of the one who so worthily represents him.  They have the honor, Sir, to respectfully remain your most humble and obedient servants."  Ulloa's response, written on April 8, could only have angered the Opelousas farmers, who had come to the colony three years earlier with only the shirts on their backs:  "The (Acadian) petitioners must furnish their own farming supplies as well as all things needed for their advancement," the governor decreed.  "The king has not customarily furnished or loaned cattle and ploughs to new settlers.  His Majesty has already spent more than enough for the settlement of the Acadians in this colony."387a 

In other words, the Acadians were on their own.387b 

About the same time, Commandant Judice at Cabahannocer reported to the governor that "an English scoundrel" named John Haller had robbed an Acadian in his district.  The victim and his confrères pursued the Englishman as he tried to escape to the British side of the river and caught him before he could cross Bayou Manchac.  No doubt after roughing him up a bit, the Acadians deposited him in the stockade at Fort San Gabriel.  They then received permission from the San Gabriel commandant, as well as from Judice, to escort the miscreant down to New Orleans, where he could face justice before the Superior Council.  At New Orleans, the Acadians asked the governor to compensate them for their expenses.  Ulloa wrote in the margin of Judice's report:  "... in the future, the Acadians will furnish the provisions and funds necessary to transport local criminals."  Here, states Carl A. Brasseaux, was "an unprecedented departure from existing practice, in which civilian guards were paid for their services and travel expenses.  Ulloa's reaction reveals the governor's increasingly hostile attitude towards the Acadians."  In late July, while the family attended church services, the house of Athanase Breau of Cabahannocer burned down, destroying all of the family's possessions.  Commandant Judice allowed Breau to go to New Orleans "to beseech you [Ulloa] to furnish him the necessary tools to rebuild, his having been damaged by the fire.  I also urge you, Sir, to give him a musket and a three-month supply of food rations," Judice added.  Ulloa did not respond to Judice until the middle of September:  "I very much regret the fire at a certain Braud's house," he informed the commandant, "but it is impossible to grant his request."388 

If the Acadians could have read Ulloa's letter to the Spanish Minister of State Grimaldi, dated 6 October 1768, they would have despised him even  more.  While applauding the withdrawal of British forces from their forts along the east bank of the Mississippi, Ulloa commented:  "If they had done this sooner, we could have avoided the expense of those we have established and cannot now abandon because of the settlements which are dependent upon them and must be protected from the attacks they might suffer from the Indians."  And then he added:  "With regard to the settlements from here to Iberville and Natchez, which naturally will continue to be extended, it may be possible to avoid henceforth the expense of the Acadians and have those who come find some way of supporting themselves with the aid of their own countrymen, or otherwise, without giving them anything more than lands when they ask for them.  This would relieve the royal exchequer of quite a heavy expense.  They are now of less importance, not only because there are no English to trouble us on the 500 leagues of river between here and Ilinueses [Illinois], but also because there is already a sufficient number of families to multiply the population by means of the opportunities offered them through the commerce which is being established in this province.  Consequently it may now be considered as a land tilled and sown, and lacking only water to make it grow, and time for the crop to mature."  Looking at the economic depression all about them which Ulloa had made only worse with his mercantilist decrees,  the Acadians doubtlessly would have wondered what commercial opportunities the governor was alluding to.388a

The Cabahannocer Acadians already were angry over Ulloa's treatment of their relatives up at Fort San Luìs de Natchez.  His refusal to compensate them for performing their civic duty, or to help a fellow Acadian in distress, or to grant them any more assistance when they needed it, could only alienate them further from the Spanish authority.  One suspects that after the spring of 1768 the governor had few friends left among the prairie Acadians as well, who, among other things, were smarting over the governor's refusal to redeem their Canadian money.  By the time he wrote to the Minister on October 6, Ulloa's standing among the French Creoles and Germans, as well as the Acadians, had hit rock bottom.  Whatever hope any of them may have harbored for the colony's return to France had been shattered by Jean Milhet's return to New Orleans the previous winter.  Even with the assistance of former governor Bienville, the prominent merchant had failed to gain access to King Louis XV.  Milhet's efforts to reverse the Spanish cession had utterly failed.  His "protracted action had kept the hopes of his countrymen alive, and when his presence among them, put an end to every expectation from his mission," François-Xavier Martin explains, "they became exasperated, and began to manifest their ill disposition towards Ulloa," as well as his ally Aubry.362b

By late summer of 1768, the colony's economy was all but wrecked; Louisiana, in fact, was facing "its hardest economic times since the French and Indian War," Carl Brasseaux asserts.  By then, a cabal had formed among Creole leaders determined to overthrow Ulloa and his government.  Most were affluent planter-merchants, former members of the abolished Superior Council who, in order to escape the rigors of Spanish mercantilism, were heavily engaged in the profitable smuggling of commodities and slaves.  They also held "large amounts of worthless currency," not unlike the Halifax Acadians' Canadian card money, "which they hoped would be exchanged at face value for the much more desirable Spanish currency," but which Ulloa refused to redeem.  Others were French and Swiss military officers who had never accepted Spanish rule.  That summer, two of the conspirators--Balthazar de Mazan, a chevalier of the Order of St.-Louis; and Jean-Baptiste Bienville de Noyan, a naval officer and grand-nephew of the former governor--slipped away from New Orleans via "a canal" on de Mazan's plantation "which communicated with Lake Borgne" and made their way to Pensacola.  There, they approached Montfort Browne, the lieutenant-governor of British West Florida, and Brigadier-General Frederick Haldiman "to ascertain whether the support of the government of West Florida could be obtained."  According to François-Xavier Martin, "The governor declared himself unwilling to aid his neighbours, in an opposition to a king in amity with his own."  Martin also notes that Browne informed Commanding-General Aubry of the conspirators' offer, and Aubry promptly warned Ulloa.  Other New Orleanians communicated with the British officials, but nothing came of it. 

Early in October, Ulloa published yet another mercantilist decree, issued by the Spanish Court the previous March and aimed at the burgeoining smugglers' trade.  It "required that all Louisiana commerce be channeled through six designated Spanish ports and that only Spanish vessels should engage in the trade"--Louisiana's own Navigation Act.  "If enforced," Jo Ann Carrigan reminds us, "this decree would have seriously injured colonial business interests....  Spain could provide no favorable market for Louisiana's principal exports, having little use for peltries and receiving already from her other colonies adequate supplies of lumber, tobacco, indigo, and sugar, all of far better quality than Louisiana's products.  If required to ship these goods to Spain, only to be forced to reship them elsewhere for sale, Louisiana merchants could see their profits eaten up by loading, reloading, storage, insurance, commissions, and duties.  Furthermore, since Spain was dependent on outside sources for manufactures, Louisiana could expect colonial needs to be supplied only at great cost."  Ironically, "Ulloa himself had advised against this measure," seeing clearly its impact on a fragile colonial economy, but "as the agent of Spain he was held responsible" for enforcement of all the Court's decrees. 

It proved to be the final straw.  "Opposition leaders met and decided to employ the judicial system, which they controlled, to banish the Spanish governor from the colony," Carl Brasseaux continues.  But the French-Creole elite, who made up most of the opposition leadership, could not stage such a dramatic coup d'état without popular support.  Employing well-timed rumors, they stirred up feelings against Ulloa among the townspeople of New Orleans.  Meanwhile, they spread a rumor among the Germans, who had suffered terribly from the lingering economic depression, that "Ulloa, unable to pay for grain purchased from them" to distribute among the destitute Acadians, "had renounced his government's financial obligations," which caused a panic up and down the German Coast.  The rumor was a lie.  Reinhart Kondert explains:  "One week before the outbreak of the rebellion, Governor Ulloa heard about the plot to oust him.  In the hopes of stopping the conspiracy before it became too advanced, the Spanish leader dispatched his agent, Antoine Gulber de St. Maxent, to the German Coast with 1,500 pesos to compensate the Germans for their expropriated grain.  In this way, he hoped to allay the festering German disenchantment with his government.  Maxent was to meet with D'Arensbourg and offer him payment for the grain.  The October 25 meeting between Ulloa's agent and the German leader did not go as planned.  D'Arensbourg refused to accept either the 1,500 pesos or any gesture of good will extended to him by the Spanish authorities.  Ulloa later described this meeting in the following manner:  'Maxent arrived at the habitation of D'Arensbourg for whom I had given him a letter, and when he delivered it to him found him to be so different a man from what we expected him to be; in spite of his great age, determined to defend liberty and neither wanting to be a subject of the king, nor the country to belong to the king.'"  Darensbourg promptly informed Joseph Roué de Villeré, a native of Canada and former royal scribe, of the meeting, and Villeré arrested Saint-Maxênt before the agent could return to New Orleans.  The Canadian had replaced Darensbourg as military commandant at Des Allemands while the aging veteran remained as the settlement's civil commandant.  Moreover, Villeré was married to one of Darensbourg's granddaughters, and the old man was a grandfather-in-law also of Attorney-General Lafrénière.  Capuchin Father Barnabé, still the priest among the Germans, also "took an active part with the most influential of his flock" in fomenting rebellion against the Spanish. 

In late October, oppositon leaders held a general meeting in New Orleans similar to the one they had held during d'Abbadie's tenure three and a half years earlier.  Attorney-General Chauvin de Lafrénière, along with Jean and Joseph Milhet and Julien-Jérôme Doucet, addressed their fellow colonials.  Lafrénière then circulated a petition he and Pierre Caresse, a prominent merchant, had written, and which Denis Braud would print.  The petition called for the ouster of the Spanish governor and the removal of his officers from the colony.  Circulated through the province over the next few days, the petition was signed by as many as 560 people, perhaps a few Acadians among them. 

The conspirators did not forget the Acadians.  Their petition devoted considerable space to Ulloa's mistreatment of Louisiana's newest arrivals.  "How shall we describe the inhumanity with which the Acadians have been treated?" the petition read.  "Those people, so long tossed about by events, determined, through a patriotic spirit, to abandon all that they might possess on the English lands, to come to live under the happy laws of their former master.  They arrived, at great expense, in this colony.  Hardly have they succeeded in clearing the ground needed for a poor hut when, on account of some representations which they wished to make to M. de Ulloa, he threatened to drive them from the colony and to have them sold as slaves, to pay for the rations with the King had given them, by ordering the Germans to refuse to give them a refuge.  We leave it to be decided whether this conduct is not barbarous.  But we believe we can say, without exaggerating, that it is diametrically opposite to that political prudence which wishes that all the branches of the population be favored.  Those who complain (and what man borne down under the yoke can suffer such inhumanities without murmuring?)--yes, we dare says so--those who complain are threatened with being imprisoned, exiled to the Balize, or sent to the mines."  Still angry over Ulloa's treatment of the Breaus and for his callousness towards their continued suffering, the exiles were an easy mark for such propaganda despite the exaggerations in the indictment against Ulloa.  "Such charges," however, "may have been partially true," Carl Brasseaux informs us. "Ulloa had apparently negotiated with some British authorities who desired to indenture Acadian laborers for eighteen months."389

On the evening of October 26, Bienville de Noyan persuaded dozens of Cabahonncer Acadians to march to New Orleans.  Luckily for the conspirators, the fall harvest was over, and the farmers on the lower river had more free time on their hands.  Bienville de Noyan employed a clever strategem to convince the otherwise peaceful Acadians to participate in the coup d'état.  He informed them that, despite efforts by the French caretaker government, Ulloa refused to redeem 107,517 livres in Canadian paper currency many of the refugees from Halifax had been holding for years.  On the night of October 27, "armed with fowling-pieces, with muskets, and all sorts of weapons," the Acadians took up the march downriver.  On the way, they were joined by dozens of frustrated farmers from the German Coast led by Joseph Roué de Villeré.  The large force of "rebels," about 500 in number, reached the Chapitoulas Gate, the western entrance to New Orleans, the following day.  Two of the lead conspirators--Joseph Milhet, Jean's brothers; and Jean-Baptiste Payen de Noyan of Chapitoulas, Bienville de Noyan's older brother, Attorney-General Lafrénière's son-in-law, and a landowner at Cabahannocer--issued the Acadians and Germans provisions and ushered them into the city. 

Hours earlier, on the 28th, Foucault had presented to the Superior Council the rebels' petition with its hundreds of signatures.  Lafrénière then addressed the Superior Council in words meant to stir a revolution against the Spanish authority.  Likely few, if any, of the Acadians in the city would have been in the chamber to hear those words.  By then, Commanding-General Aubry, still supporting Ulloa and his regime, had mobilized the city's garrison of 110 regulars, mostly Frenchmen who had joined the Spanish service but who also hated the Spanish governor.  Merchant Pierre Caresse led some of the rebel militiamen, both Acadian and German, to the home of François Chauvin de Léry, Chauvin de Lafrénière's first cousin, "where they were supplied muskets and generous drafts of Bordeaux wine."  Some of the Acadians may have spent the night at the New Orleans home of Joseph de Goutin de Ville.  The following day, October 29, at 9 a.m., the Superior Council met in special session at Foucault's house.  According to Aubry's estimate, at least 900 supporters of the rebellion, many of them intoxicated and all under the command of Pierre Marquis of the Swiss regiment, filled the streets around the chief judge's house and shouted their demands for a "'favorable' decision."  Lafrénière convinced every member of the Council except Foucault to accept the petition and its signatures and to approve a decree banishing not only the Spanish governor, "but also every Spaniard residing in the colony."  That afternoon, in spite of Aubry's protests, representatives of the Council presented their decree to Ulloa aboard the frigate Volante, on which the governor and his wife had taken refuge the evening before.  Two days later, on October 31, despite Aubry's further protests, the Council ordered the expulsion decree to be promptly enforced.390

Ulloa's governorship, such as it was, had come to an inglorious end. 

The hard-pressed Aubry, with too few loyal troops under his command, had managed to extract from the insurrectionists a promise not to harm the ousted governor while he prepared to vacate the city.  On November 1, while Ulloa and his entourage remained aboard a rented French vessel, colonists, including Acadians, danced and sang in the streets, "crying 'Vive la roi de France!'"  According to Alcée Fortier, a reveller "named Petit"--merchant Joseph Petit--"cut the cables of the vessel on which was the Spanish governor, and the ship drifted down with the current."  Reaching La Balize, Ulloa's vessel took refuge beneath the guns of Fort San Carlos.  He and his wife lingered there for several weeks before sailing to Havana in late November.  As a final gesture of defiance, the Volante, with its 20 guns, under Captain José Melchor de Acosta, posted itself beneath the walls of Fort San Carlos, over which still flew the Spanish flag.  Here was a reminder to the insurrectionists that Spain still wielded at least token power over the colony.  Spanish commissary of war Juan Josef de Loyola, who was ill at the time of the coup d'état, remained at New Orleans.  With him were contador Estevan Gayarré and treasurer Martin Navarro, whom the insurrectionists detained in the city "to hold them responsible for the debts which the Spanish treasury had incurred...."  

A "revolutionary" Council--essentially the old Superior Council--took control of the colony.  They promptly selected three envoys to hurry to Versailles--Superior Councilman Julien Le Sassier, Bienville de Noyan, and Joseph Milhet--to explain to King and Minister what had transpired at New Orleans.  Bienville de Noyan had been selected to represent the planters; being a naval officer, he refused to do so, but he nevertheless accompanied the others to France, where he remained.  Joseph Milhet, likely recalling his brother's experience in Paris, declined to represent the merchants, so Pin Saint-Lette agreed to go to speak for his fellow merchants and planters.  With them went "all the papers relating to the revolution, including the famous memorial of the planters and merchants" written by Julien-Jérôme Doucet and printed by Denis Braud.  On October 30, Aubry had composed a letter to the Minister of Marine relating the details of the insurrection.  When he could manage it, he sent the letter via his own envoy, Louis-Georges de La Perlière, to alert the French Court about Ulloa's ouster.  Meanwhile, Balthazar de Mazan communicated with British General Haldiman, touting the conspirators' success against Ulloa and asking again for British assistance "in case Spain attempted to retake Louisiana by force."  Again, nothing came of it:  "A careful officer," David Narrett explains, "Haldiman distanced himself from the revolt rather than assisting the rebels as the latter had imagined.  The general evidently played a confidence game all along, sounding out creole opinion but withholding any commitment." 

When word reached Fort San Luìs de Natchez of these momentous events, the Acadians there, fearing Spanish reprisal, refrained from moving south to Cabahannocer.  The prairie Acadians did not participate in Ulloa's ouster, though many of them, especially among the Opelousas settlers, probably were glad to see him go.  The Breau brothers came out of hiding.  Older brother Alexis returned to his recently-purchased farm at Cabahannocer, and Honoré settled there, too.  Soon after Ulloa's departure, Honoré went to New Orleans to testify before the Council, which was holding an inquiry "Relating to the Harassment Inflicted by Antonio de Ulloa, Self-styled Governor of Louisiana."  The younger Breau brother spared no opportunity to traduce the erstwhile governor.  Despite a number of exaggerations--such as his claim that, among the Fort San Luìs Acadians, "[a]lmost half of them died"--Honoré painted a vivid picture of Acadian frustration at the hands of another official who had treated them badly.391  


Probably unaware of the chaos in the Mississippi valley colony, a small contingent of Acadians still living at Port Tobacco, Maryland, hired an English merchant vessel to take them to Louisiana.  The oldest Acadian head of family, at age 52, was Étienne Rivet, a widower from Ste.-Famille, Pigiguit, counted at Upper Marlborough in July 1763.  He had four unmarried sons in his household in 1769:  Étienne, fils, age 21; François, age 18; Pierre, age 16; and Théodore, age 14.  Étienne's sister Claire had gone to Louisiana in 1767 with her husband, Bonaventure Forest, and five of his Rivet relations had accompanied the Breaus to Louisiana in early 1768.  Evidently, Étienne, having failed to join either of the earlier parties, had made his way to Port Tobacco to join the few Acadians still lingering there.392 

The leader of the remaining Acadians at Port Tobacco was Honoré Trahan of Pigiguit, age 43 in 1769, who was kin to all of the other members of the party.  His wife Marie Corporon was age 50.  His sister Anne, age 38, widow of Jean-Baptiste Benoit, was married to 39-year-old Louis Latier, who had served at the French fortress of Louisbourg; with Louis and Anne were three Benoit daughters from her first marriage--Marie-Anne, age 15; Marie-Rose, age 13; and Marguerite, age 9--and three of her children by Louis:  Antoine, age 7; Paul, age 6, and Élisabeth, or Isabelle, age 4.  Honoré's daughter Marie, age 22, had recently married Frenchman Antoine Bellard of Picardy, age 30; with them was 2-year-old son Étienne-Simon.  Also in the party were five children of Honoré's sister Marguerite, wife of Jean-Baptiste Lejeune of Pigiguit; Marguerite and Jean-Baptiste had died during Le Grand Dérangement, so the Lejeune orphans--Jean-Baptiste, fils, age 20; Blaise, age 18; Marguerite, age 17; and Joseph and Nanette, age 13, born probably in North Carolina--were in the care of their maternal uncle and aunt.  Honoré's son Pierre, age 18, was still living with his parents.  Another related family was that of Pierre-Olivier, called Olivier, Benoit, age 40.  Olivier was a brother of Anne Trahan's first husband, Jean-Baptiste.  With Olivier was his second wife, Marie-Geneviève Brasseur, age 45, and three of their children:  Jean-Charles, age 10; Marie-Rose, age 8; and Madeleine, age 6.393 

Honoré and his family, like many Maryland Acadians, were natives of Pigiguit, but they, along with their Benoit and Lejeune kin, had not been exiled to the Chesapeake colony in the autumn of 1755.  They had moved from Pigiguit to Baie-des-Espagnols on Île Royale in 1749, and then to Mirliguèche, on the Atlantic side of the Nova Scotia peninsula, in late August 1754.  When the British rounded up the Acadians in Nova Scotia in the summer of 1755, Honoré and his kin, despite having taken an unconditional oath of allegiance to the British King, were among the first Acadians held at Georges Island in Halifax harbor.  The British deported them, along with other Acadians from Mirliguèche, to North Carolina in December 1755, and they landed probably at Edenton on Albemarle Sound.  In c1760, North Carolina officials allowed them to leave.  Most of their relatives moved to Philadelphia.  Honoré and his family, including the Lejeune orphans, moved to Maryland instead, where they were counted at Port Tobacco in July 1763.  Soon afterwards, relatives who had endured with them their own petit dérangement but who had gone from North Carolina to Pennsylvania, joined them at Port Tobacco.  Two families of these relatives--the Boutins and the Guédrys--emigrated from Maryland to Louisiana in 1767 and 1768.  It now was time for Honoré Trahan and his family, as well as the Rivets, to join their kinfolk on the lower Mississippi.394 

The Acadians, only 29 in number, including Honoré Trahan's French-born son-in-law, chartered the English schooner Britannia, John Steel master, at Port Tobacco, probably in late December 1768, but they were not the only passengers aboard the vessel.  Also on the Britannia's passenger list were 51 German Catholics, a French-Canadian couple, seven "bachelors," and 12 "Britishers"--101 passengers in all.  Evidently these Germans, Frenchmen, and French Canadians were as eager to escape the British colony as were the few Acadians still living there.  Heads of the eight German families were Nicolas Ory, age 66; Nicolas Marcoff, age 62; Joseph Basbler, age 50;  Adam La Maur, age 50; André Reser, age 39; Jacob Miller, age 30; Philip Pigleal, age 30; and widow Catharine Ausuber, age 40.  The French-Canadian couple were Pierre Primeau, age 25, and Susanne Plante, age 20.  Among the "bachelors" was André Meche, age 25.395

The Britannia left Port Tobacco on 5 January 1769, worked its way carefully down the wide Potomac, rounded Smith Point into lower Chesapeake Bay, and, after clearing the Virginia capes, headed south along the Atlantic coast to the Straits of Florida.  After clearing the Florida keys and entering the Gulf of Mexico, the schooner made straight for the mouth of the Mississippi.  On February 21, after six weeks at sea, "we sighted the coast of Louisiana," Captain Steel recalled, but as they neared the end of their long ordeal at sea, Mother Nature conspired to ruin their voyage:  " ... due to easterly winds and continuous fog," the captain insisted, "we were driven some eighty leagues south and then to the west of the Mississippi," deep into the center of the Gulf of Mexico.  "Finding ourselves without food and water, we were obliged to put in at a small bay"--the Bahía del Espíritu Santo, where La Salle and his colonists, under similar circumstances, had landed 84 years earlier.  Nearby stood Presidio Nuestra Senora de la Loreto de la Bahía, commanded by Captain Don Francisco Thobar.  Captain Steel and his passengers came ashore the first week of April.  Evidently alerted by local Indians, Captain Thobar and a small force of Spaniards accosted the stranded seafarers.  "From him we requested a passport and food to get to New Orleans, both of which he refused us," Captain Steel recalled, "(despite the fact that a clergyman who was there, and our supercargo offered him any security he wanted)."  Evidently the Spanish officer suspected that the ship's officers, crew, and strange mix of passengers were smugglers or even spies.  Or perhaps he saw an opportunity to enrich himself.  On April 8, Thobar "seized our schooner, with all its sails, tackle, equipment, passengers, crew, and merchandise, and took everything (except the schooner) with him to a fort thirty leagues inland," Captain Steel lamented.  "There he obliged the crew and passengers to work until the 21st of May, when he ordered the captain and pilot placed in stocks, keeping them so twenty-four days on half rations, until an order arrived from the governor of that province to set them at liberty."  Not to be outdone by his larcenous host, the Britannia's supercargo, Philip Ford, representing the owners of the vessel, made a detailed list of the merchandise the ship had carried and the Spanish now possessed, including the value of each item in Spanish pesos.  Thobar, meanwhile, forced the passengers and crew to work at local haciendas to pay for their upkeep.  Left on the shore of Espiritu Santo Bay, the schooner became a victim of the weather and the local Indians, who removed everything of value that the Spaniards had not already taken.396  

Finally, on September 11, after the sailors and the passengers from the Britannia had been held captive at La Bahía for five long months, Don Rafael Martínez Pacheco, the newly-restored "commandant of Fort Cokesaw"--the presidio of San Augustín de Ahumada near El Orcoquisac on the lower Trinity River--arrived at La Bahía with orders from his superior, "the governor of that province."  Don Rafael would escort the stranded seafarers to Spanish Louisiana, where they finally could complete their journey.  Before their departure, Don Rafael took the opportunity to purchase from Philip Ford, for 561 pesos, "a lot of cattle" for the benefit of his own presidio.397 


Things had changed dramatically in Louisiana since the Britannia had left Port Tobacco the previous January.  Colonists still labored under the illusion that France would soon reassert its sovereignty over Louisiana, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  The "revolutionary" Council, despite Jean Milhet's failure, sent more letters to France, carried, this time, by Pin Saint-Lette, a merchant at Natchitoches, and councilman Julien Le Sassier.  They hoped, again, to enlist the aid of former governor Bienville, who had strenuously opposed the Spanish cession from the moment he had heard of it.  Bienville, however, had died at Paris in March 1767, a year and a half before Ulloa's ouster.  The insurrectionists hoped Louis XV would approve their actions against Ulloa--a forelorn hope at best.  In Louisiana, the final, frail thread of French control in the colony, Commanding-General Aubry, refused to cooperate in any way with Lafrénère's Council.  Aubry, too, had sent a trusted representative to France to inform the Court of Ulloa's fate; his man, La Perlière, reached the Court months before Saint-Lette and Le Sassier could deliver their letters. 

Foucault and the insurrectionists were on their own.  Attorney-General Lafrénière and his hand-picked Council, the ordonnateur now no more than a figurehead, attempted to restore the colonial economy, but their efforts failed.  France had not sent funds to Aubry for a number of years; Spanish commissary Loyola, who had remained at New Orleans, refused to cooperate with the new "government"; and official trade remained anemic.  Nevertheless, François-Xavier Martin informs us, Saint-Lette and Le Sassier, when they finally reached Versailles, renewed "the representation, which Milhet had made in regard to the depreciated paper currency, which inundated the province.  They obtained an arrest[sic] of the king's council," dated 23 March 1769, "which is believed to be the last act of the French government concerning Louisiana."  Like much of what had emanated from Versailles in the previous decades, it was little more than a token gesture from a harried King who had washed his hands of a troublesome business.  The new Council's only success during the short time in which it held power was to pressure Captain de Acosta to sail the frigate Volante to Havana in late April 1769.  Another lucky stroke for the insurrectionists was British abandonment of West Florida in late autumn of 1768, the best sort of assistance their former enemy could have given them. 

Ulloa reached Havana on 3 December 1768, arrived at Cadiz later in the winter, and alerted the Spanish Court, who hurried envoys to Versailles to lodge a formal complaint.  Amazingly, the insurrectionists almost won their case at Court.  As Professor Brasseaux relates, "In spite of the many anti-insurrectionist reports he received," the duc de Praslin, French Minister of Marine, evidently prompted by his cousin, the duc de Choiseul, then serving as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, "seriously considered establishing a republic in Louisiana to serve as an example for the English seaboard colonies," then at odds with the British Parliament.  Praslin "abandoned the idea, however, when Spain, at first reluctant to reclaim the colony, decided to assert its authority, fearing that to do otherwise would provide a bad example for its own American possessions.  By early spring, 1769, the Spanish crown had begun preparations to impose its authority over Louisiana by force."  Mindful of Ulloa's failire to take formal possession of the colony, the Spanish were "forced to appeal to Louis XV for letters patent supporting whatever measures were necessary to subjugate the colony."  When Louis XV complied with Spanish wishes, the authority of Aubry and Foucault was "effectively extinguished," and the fate of the insurrectionists was sealed.  In April, King Carlos III appointed Alejandro O'Reilly, a refugee from British oppression in his native Ireland and one of Spain's most distinguished soldiers, as governor and captain-general of Spanish Louisiana.  His mission would be the restoration--or, rather, the establishment--of Spanish control over the colony.398 

As an Irish mercenary, O'Reilly had fought in Italy against the Austrians during the 1740s and in the Spanish invasion of Portugal in 1762.  He soon rose to the rank of brigadier-general in the regular Spanish army.  In 1763, he was part of the Spanish contingent that secured Havana from the British, who had captured the city the year before.  Analyzing the successful British siege, O'Reilly reorganized and strengthened the Havana defenses.  In 1765, King Carlos III sent him to Puerto Rico to rebuild the defenses there.  Back in Havana, O'Reilly married into a prominent Spanish family; his bride was a sister of the Cuban governor.  When Ulloa reached Havana in December 1768 and reported on the coup d'état in October, O'Reilly was in Spain.  In May 1769, he hurried back to Havana, which he reached in June, to fulfill the King's commission.399 

O'Reilly sailed from Havana on 5 July 1769, reached the Appalachee coast by the 12th, and anchored before Isla Reina Católica on the evening of the 20th.  With him was a flotilla of 23 ships, including his flagship, the Volante, whose officers and crew were familiar with Louisiana waters.  Aboard these vessels were nearly 3,000 soldiers and sailors, one of the largest forces ever sent to the region.  Remaining at Fort San Carlos, O'Reilly sent his aide-de-camp, Francisco Domingo Joseph Bouligny, to summon colonial leaders to the downriver post.  Bouligny traveled incognito so that he could gather information on the way.  He reached the city on July 24 and found a large, silent crowd awaiting him at the dock.  A French official at La Balize had sent a messenger in a swift boat to alert the population of the arrival of the Spanish fleet.  The messenger also had told them a Spanish official was approaching the city in "a twelve-oar boat."  "This threw the town into great consternation," Judge Martin insists.  Aubry gathered the people at St.-Louis church and read to them the French official's message, evidently authorized by the Spanish commander and explaining why he had come.  Hysteria gave way to stoicism, hence the quiet demeanor of the crowd when the aide-de-camp appeared.  Also at the dock waiting to greet Bouligny were the three Spanish officials who had remained in the city, commissary Juan José de Loyola, contador Estevan Gayarré, and treasurer Martin Navarro.  The four of them walked to Aubry's house.  They found him still amenable to re-establishing Spanish control and willing to address the population about the arrival of the Spanish force, which he did at 9 o'clock the following morning.  According to Bouligny, "The whole assembly remained profoundly silent, looking at each other, and only [Pierre] Marquis spoke to the [acting] governor, saying that he wished to talk to him in private.  After this, and without doing anything, the assembly dispersed."  Later in the day, the New Orleanians selected three delegates to report to O'Reilly:  Attorney-General Lafrénière, still the leader of the revolutionary faction, and Joseph Milhet and Pierre Marquis, also prominent insurrectionists.  Aubry asked Bouligny to escort the delegates downriver, which he was happy to do.  Also with them was La Perlière, Aubry's respresentative, recently returned from France.  The party set out on the 26th and reached the Volante 40 hours later.  Meanwhile, O'Reilly consulted with Spanish officers and the officials who had remained at Isla Reina Católica.  This testimony, along with Ulloa's detailed reports, gave the captain-general a clear picture of who was responsible for the October uprising.  After hearing Lafrénière's plea not to consider Louisiana "a country to be conquered," O'Reilly requested that the attorney-general address the inhabitants of New Orleans in hopes of avoiding bloodshed.  Lafrénière, seeing the overwhelming might of the Spanish force, hurried back to the city and beseeched his fellow Louisianans not to resist the Spaniards.  When the Germans heard of the Spaniard's arrival, they were determined to resist.  Some of the Acadians at Cabahannocer, aware of their part in ousting Ulloa and the penalty for treason, evidently joined the Germans in contemplating resistance.  Cooler heads prevailed, however.  The Acadians and Germans set aside their weapons and quietly awaited their fate.400

On August 15, Aubry went down to consult with O'Reilly about the formal transfer of power.  On the following day, O'Reilly aboard the Volante and his troops aboard the transports, made their way up to the city, which they reached by the evening of the 17th.  O'Reilly, his officers, and men remained aboard the transports until the following day.  On the afternoon of August 18, Aubry formed the French troops and the militia at the Place d'Armes, between the levee and the church, his men facing the river.  At 5:30, the Volante fired a salute, the Spanish units disembarked, and, while the populace looked on, O'Reilly marched his army to what now would be called the Plaza de armas, where they "formed rapidly on the other three sides of the square."  In an impressive public ceremony, O'Reilly did what Ulloa should have done three and a half years earlier.  Aubry formalized the cession with a short address.  "You have just heard the sacred orders of their Majesties--Most Christian and Catholic--with regard to the province of Louisiana, which has been ceded irrevocably to the Crown of Spain," he reminded his fellow Frenchmen.  "From this moment you are the subjects of His Catholic Majesty, and in virtue of the orders of the King, my master, I release you from the oath of fidelity which you owed to His Most Christian Majesty."  He then handed to O'Reilly the keys to the city's gates.  The crowd stood silently as the white banner of France was slowly lowered and the banner of Spain was hoisted in its place.  Both sides fired salutes--a feu-de-joie--and O'Reilly, attended by Aubry and followed by the other officers, "perambulated the square, in token of his being in possession of the colony."  O'Reilly then led his officers and colonial notables to the nearby church, "where a solemn Te Deum was chaunted, and the benediction of the host given." 

O'Reilly's next task was just as important in establishing Spanish control of Louisiana.  On August 19, he summoned Aubry and requested a list of the Louisianians who had written, printed, and distributed the Superior Council's decree which had ordered Ulloa's expulsion.  Aubry, who had stood virtually alone among French officials in supporting Ulloa, "readily complied, implicating many members of the conspiracy to oust Ulloa," Carl Brasseaux relates.  On the morning of August 21, with Aubry's report in hand," O'Reilly summoned Lafrénière and twelve other French Louisianians to his residence under various pretexts.  Once the colonists had gathered, the Spanish governor had each accused of treason, arrested, and incarcerated."  They included, besides Lafrénière, Jean-Baptiste Payen de Noyan, Denis Braud, Pierre Hardy de Boisblanc, Pierre Marquis, Julien-Jérôme Doucet, Joseph Petit, Balthazar de Mazan, Pierre Caresse, Pierre Poupet, and Jean and Joseph Milhet.  None of them were Acadian, but two of them--Payen de Noyan and Joseph Milhet--had assisted the Acadian "rebels" from Cabahannocer.  Absent from the band of conspirators was Karl Frederick Darensbourg, civil commandant of Des Allemands.  The old veteran "was also considered guilty of having committed treason," Rienhart Kondert informs us, "but he was spared severe punishment because of his age and because of the 'intercession of [Nicolas] Forstall, under whose uncle O'Reilly is said to have served in the Hibernian regiment in Spain."  According to Aubry's account, O'Reilly informed the assembled conspirators that, if found guilty, "their property would be confiscated according to the custom in Spain; but he promised the prisoners to give to their wives and children all the aid they might need.  Lafrénière and his companions were then taken by several officers and a detachment of grenadiers to the places where they were to be kept, some to the barracks and others to the Spanish ships."  Denis Braud, the printer, was released from custody, having been "able to prove that he had printed" the Superior Council's memorial "only on Foucault's orders."  Joseph Roué de Villieré was lured from his plantation on the German Coast by reassurances from Aubry that he had nothing to fear from O'Reilly.  As soon as the commandant reached the city, he, too, was arrested, but, unlike his fellow conspirators, he refused to submit to the indignity.  According to his friend Jean-Bernard Bossu, Villeré "'struck the Spanish officer who commanded the post.  The latter's soldiers threw themselves upon him, and pierced him with bayonets.  He was carried on board a frigate that was in the port," probably the Volante, "where he died a few days afterward.'"

But one of the biggest fish got clean away.  Denis-Nicolas Foucault, who also had opposed Ulloa's policies, was not among the accused conspirators.  Aubry, though he still considered Foucault a bitter enemy, could not find enough evidence against the former ordonnateur to justify his arrest.  Aubry did take the opportunity, however, to traduce Foucault to O'Reilly.  The captain-general's inquiries kept pointing to Foucault as a leader in the opposition against Ulloa.  His authority unclear over high French officials, O'Reilly turned Foucault over to Aubry, who promptly placed him under house arrest.  Still convinced of Foucault's guilt, O'Reilly authorized Aubry to subject the former ordonnateur to intense interrogation.  Despite damaging testimony by Jean-Baptiste Garic, former clerk of the Superior Council, Aubry could find no hard evidence to implicate Foucault in Ulloa's ouster.  Moreover, "Foucault declared that he [had] acted as an officer of the King of France and was accountable only to that monarch for his actions."  Unable to arrest him with the others, O'Reilly was determined to punish him nonetheless.  He ordered Foucault's property in the colony to be confiscated and sold, and then deported him to France.  Guarded by a French officer, Foucault boarded a ship bound for La Rochelle on October 14.  After a cursory investigation, he spent 18 months in the Bastille at Paris as a sop to the Spanish government.  Released in late June 1771, he was promptly reinstated in the royal service.  The French Court even beseeched the Spanish government to restore his confiscated property in Louisiana.  In 1772, Foucault finally received promotion from naval scribe to commissioner--hardly punishment for his actions against Ulloa.  The Court appointed him ordonnateur at Pondichéry, French India, in 1772.  Four years later, the ministry of Marine transferred him to Mauritius, then called Île-de-France.  He retired from the royal service with a substantial pension in August 1783 and died at Tours 20 year later, age 79. 

After O'Reilly took formal control of the colony, Charles-Philippe Aubry's work in Louisiana was done.  He nevertheless lingered at New Orleans to assist in the interrogation of his enemy Foucault.  That done, Aubry left Louisiana aboard the Père de Famille with dozens of French soldiers and their families on November 28, bound for Bordeaux.  With him reportedly were two chests full of Spanish silver O'Reilly had given him as a reward for his services.  Aubry's fate, however, was very different from that of the former ordonnateur.  On 17 February 1770, the Père de Famille foundered at the mouth of the Gironde.  The former commanding-general, who had endured so much, drowned within sight of his beloved France.401

In late August, after the ceremony in the Plaza de armas, O'Reilly appointed a Spanish tribunal to pass judgment on Lafrénière and the other conspirators.  Aide-de-camp Bouligny, whose father had been born at Marseille, spoke fluent French and served as interpreter at the conspirators' trial, which was overseen by fiscal Don Felix de Rey.  "According to a recent student of the revolt," Jo Ann Carrigan informs us, "the official records of the trial reveal that 'Each conspirator, questioned privately, frequently lied and accused others in an attempt to escape the gallows.'  Their testimony hardly distinguished them as the 'fearless patriots' described by early historians.  One rebel even claimed that his mental faculties had been disturbed at the time of the revolt; another, that the idea of a republic had been proposed only 'in a joking way.'"  Moreover, the conspirators' chief defense was a shaky one:  "The prisoners denied the jurisdiction of O'Reilly's court," Alcée Fortier relates, "and argued that they had committed no act of insubordination against Spain, as Ulloa had not exhibited his credentials and had not taken possession in the name of the King of Spain." 

An objective observer could have pointed out to the harried defendants a number of holes in their legalistic defense:  Despite his failure to present his credentials to the Superior Council, Ulloa came to Louisiana on orders from his King to govern in conformity with Spanish law and custom.  His presence in the colony spanned two and a half years, during which time he ordered the construction of a number of defenses from the Mississippi's mouth to its confluence with the Missouri.  He directed the colony's commerce as well as its defense.  He helped the colony's poorest inhabitants as much as limited resources allowed.  He supervised the settlement of 600 Acadian exiles from Maryland, substantially increasing the colony's population as well as its defense.  In a word, he had actually governed Louisiana in spite of the many obstacles standing in his way.  True, he had governed poorly during those two and a half years, but "he was far from being a tyrant, and circumstances beyond his control shaped the course of events."  No matter, the men who had ousted him, not Ulloa, stood before O'Reilly's tribunal. 

Not surprisingly, the defendants were all found guilty.  On October 24, the tribunal imposed the death sentence on five of the chief conspirators--Nicolas Chauvin de Lafrénière, fils; Pierre Caresse; Pierre Marquis; Joseph Milhet; and Jean-Baptiste Payen de Noyan--and condemned them to the gallows.  In the end, however, these conspirators did not hang for their offenses.  The Spanish could find no hangman still residing in the city, so O'Reilly consented to execution by other means.  The following day, at 3 p.m., the five conspirators were removed from their cells in the Lisbon Regiment barracks, which stood near "the upper side of the convent of the Ursulines, on Chartres Street."  In the barracks courtyard, a large number of troops formed a three-sided square.  While the condemned stood quietly at the open end of the square, François Xavier Rodriguez, chief clerk of O'Reilly's expedition, who oversaw the proceeding, read the death sentences in Spanish, and then Henry Garderat and Jean-Baptiste Garic, the latter the former clerk of the Superior Council, read the sentences in French.  The condemned were then executed by firing squad.  Relatives of the condemned had gathered in the nearby convent to pray with the nuns, so they clearly heard the shots that killed their loved ones.  After the smoke cleared, Rodriguez inspected the bodies and noted that the "five culprits had received different wounds in the head and in the body, that they were without movement and absolutely deprived of life."  The other convicted conspirators were sentenced to long prison terms--Joseph Petit was given life; Bathazar de Mazan and Julien-Jérôme Doucet 10 years; and Jean Milhet, Pierre Poupet, and Pierre Hardy de Boisblanc six years, all to be spent in a dungeon at distant Havana.  Alcée Fortier, writing 135 years later, sums up the feelings of many Louisianians over the fate of the October conspirators:  "Lafrénière and his companions died with the greatest courage," the Creole insists, "and have left names that will be honored in Louisiana to the end of time, together with those of Villeré and the unfortunate prisoners of Morro Castle," known from that day forward as the "Martyrs of Louisiana."

Meanwhile, to the great relief of the Germans and the Cabahannocer Acadians, O'Reilly granted amnesty to all the colony's inhabitants except those who had been sentenced by his military tribunal.  On 26 August 1769, eight days after officially becoming Spanish subjects, "the principal inhabitants" of New Orleans and its immediate environs "took the oath of allegiance to the King of Spain, before O'Reilly."  More oaths were administered below the city in late September.  According to Charles-Philippe Aubry, O'Reilly informed the populace that the oath was voluntary, but refusal to take it would result in deportation, most likely into British West Florida.  In late autumn, thirty-three heads of households at Attakapas, 24 of them Acadians, took an "oath of fealty" to Carlos III that would have reminded the older habitants of earlier days:  "We, (the) undersigned habitants (settlers) and Domicilliers (residents) Established at Atakapas, today, 9 December 1769, Of Our own free volition and full will, Swear to God to maintain the most Inviolable fidelity and obedience to His Catholic Majesty, our only and legitimate Sovereign:  To Reveal to the Governor of this Province, without any delay, everything that we will learn to be contrary to his sovereign authority and service, and to oppose (such actions against Spain) by our force and at the peril of Our Lives."  Two of O'Reilly's officers--Don Eduardo Nugent, captain of infantry, and Juan O. Kelly, lieutenant of artillery and interpreter, whom the captain-general had dispatched to the outlying districts in mid-November--attested that "We, (the) Undersigned, certify that the signatory residents are the (same as the) persons stated and who have sworn fidelity to His Catholic Majesty, in our presence this day, 9 December 1769, at atacapas."  Attakapas syndic Claude Martin, along with fellow habitant Jean Berard, a Frenchman, also marked or signed the document. 

One wonders what the Acadians of Attakapas, Opelousas, and the Mississippi settlements truly thought of this "voluntary" oath and the specter of forced emigration.  For some of the older Acadians from Chignecto, such as Pierre Richard of Opelousas, this would have been the third oath of allegiance they had taken to three different monarchs during the previous 40 years.  One suspects few, if any, of them even contemplated refusing to take this latest pledge.  They had come too far and sacrificed too much to forsake their New Acadia.  O'Reilly had instructed Nugent and Kelly to collect "memorials presented by the people" of each of the outlying districts, so here, at least, was an opportunity to register their complaints to a higher authority.402


During the second week of September, while the Louisiana rebels awaited their fate, the Acadians and Germans from Britannia, still languishing in coastal Texas, began their 420-mile overland trek from Presidio La Bahìa to Natchitoches via El Camino Real de Los Tejas.  Under the escort of Don Rafael Martínez Pacheco of the Trinity River presidio, most of the Acadians and the Germans reached the Red River settlement on October 24, the day O'Reilly's tribunal sentenced the conspirators to death.  The German families and the ship's officers and crew were sent on to New Orleans, which they reached via pirogue on November 9.  The Germans picked up tools and supplies in the city, and most of them were taken up to Fort San Gabriel to become a part of the militia defense there.  Not so Jacob Miller and his family.  They settled, instead, at St.-Jean-Baptiste on the Upper German Coast and perhaps at Natchez before crossing the Atchafalaya Basin to the Opelousas prairies in the 1770s. 

Meanwhile, the commandant at Natchitoches attempted to hang on to the Maryland Acadians because of their familiarity with grain production.  Natchitoches was an old and solidly established community, having been founded over a half century earlier, four years before New Orleans.  Long a center of tobacco production, it also was an important cattle producing area and a way station on an essential trade route between East Texas and western Louisiana.  Here, on the edge of the Louisiana-Texas frontier, was a place that held promise for French-speaking immigrants.  On the day after Christmas, in fact, one of the young Acadians, Marie-Rose, called Rose, 14-year-old daughter of Jean-Baptiste Benoit and Anne Trahan, married Romain, son of Pierre De La Fosse and Jeanne Gillemenne of Rouen and Natchitoches.  About the same time, one of the Lejeune orphans, Marguerite, married Jacques Croque or Crooks at Natchitoches.  In spite of the new commandant's entreaties and kind treatment by the residents of Natchitoches post, Honoré Trahan and most of his relations refused to remain there.  Typically Acadian, they were determined to reunite with their extended families, and Natchitoches, like Natchez, lay far from their kinsmen.  In mid-April 1770, O'Reilly's successor, Luis de Unzaga, ordered the Acadians at Natchitoches to continue on to San Gabriel, where he placed them on 6-by-40-arpent lots along the west bank of the river "below Bayou Plaquemine."  Tellingly, Marie-Rose Benoit and new husband Romain followed her parents to the Upper Acadian Coast, and Marguerite Lejeune and her new husband Jacques also followed her relatives to the river.  However, Honoré Trahan, wife Marie Corporon, son Pierre, and the Lejeune orphans did not remain there.  By 1774, they, along with the De La Fosses and one of Marie-Rose Benoit's younger sisters, had moved on to the Opelousas prairies.  Honoré's sister Marie and her husband Antoine Bellard followed the Trahans to Opelousas, as did the French-Canadian couple, Pierre Primeau and Susanne Plante.  The Rivets remained at San Gabriel, where relatives from Natchez soon joined them.  Olivier Benoit and his family also remained at San Gabriel, where they, too, were reunited with kinsmen from Fort San Luìs.402a

While the Acadians from the Britannia endured their many adventures, their cousins at Natchez, also refugees from Maryland, wondered what the Spanish had in store for them.  On 18 October 1769, the leaders of the Breau party sent a letter to Captain-General O'Reilly repeating the complaint that they were "continuously exposed to assassination" at the hands of local Indians.  Revealing their true motive, they begged permission from the captain-general to join their relatives at San Gabriel and Cabahannocer.  Fort San Luìs commandant, Jean Ferrault Delavillebeuvre, and the post's engineer, Guy Dufossat, both French, included an addendum to the Acadians' letter verifying the post's vulnerability.  After receiving the missive from the San Luìs Acadians, O'Reilly asked Delavillebeuvre, Dufossat, and Aubry for their opinions on the larger issue of maintaining the isolated post, especially now that the British had abandoned the lower river.  "All agreed upon the uselessness of the post and the justice of the request of the inhabitants," O'Reilly reported on 29 December 1769.  Having decided to abandon the fort, O'Reilly granted permission to the San Luìs Acadians "to select lands 'twenty to thirty leagues ... above the capital,'" that is, along the Acadian and German coasts, where they had hoped to settle all along.  Thanks to the British, who had abandoned their lower Mississippi posts the previous year, and the good sense of the Spanish captain-general, the Acadians' 21-month ordeal at Natchez was over.  As soon as they could manage it, members of the Breau party moved down to Cabahannocer, to San Gabriel, and to the stretch of river above and below the Fork, where the Spanish had created a new district, La Fourche de Chitimachas.  At least two members of the party moved on to the western prairies.  This, combined with O'Reilly's decision to release the party being held in Texas, "wedded" the Acadians "to the Spanish regime."403


Not all of the captain-general's decisions, however, were applauded by the colony's Acadians.  In early 1770, O'Reilly decreed that all settlers along the river were required by law to maintain levees and roads under penalty of losing their land grants.  This affected the hundreds of Acadians living on the river.  O'Reilly decreed that the Recopilación de las leyes de lost reynos de las Indias, not the coutume de Paris, would be the colony's basic law code, and also declared the official language of the province would be Spanish, not French.  As Ulloa had done, O'Reilly decreed that Louisianians could engage in commerce only with Spain and its possessions.  The enforcement of this policy would hurt the river Acadians who, taking a nod from their ancestors, had established a flourishing but illegal trade with British merchants in West Florida.  After meeting with Native delegations at New Orleans beginning in the fall of 1769, O'Reilly abolished the trade in Indian slaves, in which a few river Acadians may have engaged.  And then there was the oath of allegiance to King Carlos III.  After re-evaluating the colony's sad state of defense, O'Reilly created militia units for each of Louisiana's administrative districts.  All able-bodied males between the ages of 16 and 50 were required to serve in these companies, and future Spanish land grants, to be made not by local commandants but by the governor of the province, would be based on militia service. 

Many of these decrees reminded the older Acadians of similar treatment at the hands of British governors back in Old Acadia.  O'Reilly, on his part, "scoffed at these new arrivals and described them as costly and of little benefit," so the feelings between the exiles and their powerful captain-general likely were mutual.404

Before he left, O'Reilly made certain that his successors would have a good idea of what they would be governing, especially the colony's largely unexplored prairie region.  Amazingly, Shane Bernard informs us, though French traders and cattlemen moved through and even lived in the prairie region during the final decades of French rule in Louisiana, "duing their six-decade rule the French never bothered to formally explore south Louisiana's interior beyond the banks of the Mississippi."  In the early 1760s, a French exploring party surveyed the coastal marshes of today's southwest Louisiana, but the wide, open prairies above them had not been systematically explored before the Spanish took formal control of the colony.  O'Reilly sent an expedition led by fellow Irishmen Juan O. Kelly and Eduardo Nugent, the first a lieutenant of artillery, the second a captain of infanty, to reconnoiter the route from New Orleans to the Spanish presidio at Los Adaes near Natchitoches, then the capital of Spanish Texas.  The officers were ordered to take not the usual route via the confluence of the Mississippi and Red River but through the Atchafalaya Basin to Bayou Teche and then overland to the middle Red River.  Furthermore, the Kelly-Nugent entrada was more than a formal exploration.  "The purposes of the expedition," Shane Bernard explains, "were to extract oaths of allegiance from colonists; to count all inhabitants, free and enslaved, along with every horse, mule, donkey, cow, sheep, goat, pig, ox, and cart; to report on the condition of roads and trails in case the Spanish military should need them for deployment; to receive petitions and complaints; and to collect the names of local troublemakers.  O'Reilly also instructed Kelly and Nugent to assess the quality of the land and the types of produce grown in the places they visited." 

Leaving the city in mid-November with horses, slaves, and soldiers, the expedition headed upriver to the mouth of Bayou Plaquemine, but the venture soon turned into chaos.  Heavy autumn rains plagued the journey upriver.  Near the mouth of the Plaquemine, "half of the expedition became lost in 'the great downpour' and 'wandered aimlessly in the woods'" on the west bank of the river.  Local Natives found them and escorted them back to the main expedition.  Probably with the assistance of Native guides, it took Kelly and Nugent three days to make their way through the Atchafalaya Basin.  They did not follow the usual route up and around to the confluence of the Atchafalaya and Bayou Courtableau but emerged on the Teche much farther down, below the vacherie of the Grevembergs and near the Acadian settlements at Fausse Pointe.  They then made their way slowly up the bayou, visiting the Grevembergs and lingering among the Acadians.  On December 9, they administered the oath of allegiance to the habitants on the lower Teche, Acadians as well as Creoles and Frenchmen, including cattle barons Jean-Baptiste Grevemberg and Jacques-Joseph Sorrel.  Other Frenchmen who took the oath were Jean Berard of Grenoble, the district notary whose wife was a daughter of Alexandre Broussard dit Beausoleil; Antoine Borda, the local physician whose wife was a Martin dit Barnabé; Michel Meaux of Chaillevette, Saintonge, who shortly would marry a granddaughter of Alexandre Broussard; Antoine Bonin, the Allibamont from Grenoble and Mobile; and Grevemberg's sons François and Barthélemy.  The Acadians, of course, were most numerous.  They bore the names Babineau, Bernard, Broussard, Doucet, Dugas, Guilbeau, Hébert, Labauve, Landry, LeBlanc, Martin, Semer, Thibodeau, and Trahan.  The Broussards, of course, were especially numerous--three of them sons of Alexandre and two of them sons of Joseph dit Beausoleil. 

From the Acadian enclaves, Kelly and Nugent continued up bayou.  Winter weather unique to the region plagued them again.  "Rain fell incessantly, filling the bayou, turning trails to muck, and miring the horses," Shane Bernard relates.  "Settlers urged the expedition to turn back, but it pressed forward, felling trees to make bridges across the turbulent water.  They visited the home of Gabriel Fuselier de la Claire near present-day Arnaudville, where the small bayou named for the cattleman formed the boundary between the Attakapas and Opelousas districts.  By the time they reached Jacques-Guillaume Courtableau's vacharie on the upper bayou near the confluence with the bayou named for the long-time settler, the expedition had become hopelessly lost again.  Local Natives assisted them, but, despite the officers' entreaties, the Indians refused to guide them any farther, "'stating that it would probably mean death,'" Nugent reported.  Between downpours, Kelly and Nugent were able to observe the nature of the surrounding countryside.  Though divided into two separate political entities, the officers reported, Attakapas and Opelousas "'can be considered as one, wholly alike in quality of land, products, and livestock.'  The terrain, they remarked, consisted of 'spacious prairies covered with admirable grazing of very high and slender grass which is free from thistle and thorn....'  The soil yielded corn, rice, and sweet potatoes, and many of the inhabitants specialized in cattle ranching.  'The care of the cattle keeps the natives busy,'" the officers observed, "'though it does not necessarily mean much work....'  Still, they noted, dashing a later stereotype of the of the lazy Acadian, 'The inhabitants are not indolent and among them there are some industrious Acadians ... (who) live in great tranquiity and accord....'"  Kelly and Nugent recorded an estimate of the number of habitants in the prairie districts:  "363 whites, 148 slaves, and approximately 6,200 farm animals, 3,700 of which were cattle."  They then moved on to the Red River valley and up to Los Adaes.404a


"Bloody O'Reilly," as the French Creoles would call him, returned to Havana in early 1770, taking most of his Spanish soldiers with him.  In his place, he left army colonel Luis de Unzaga y Amezaga as acting governor.  Unzaga served in that capacity for two and a half years and then as governor until 1777.  Also remaining was a Spanish official who had come to the colony with Ulloa in March 1766:  Martin Navarro succeeded Estevan Gayarré as cantador real and would become the colony's first intendente in 1779.  Though Gayarré had enjoyed his time in Louisiana, he chose to return to his native Spain and retire from the Spanish service.  Gayarré's son, Juan Antonio, age 18 when O'Reilly and his father sailed away, chose to remain in the colony, where he would serve as a military commissary under Unzaga and Gálvez. 

O'Reilly also had organized for the defense of the colony the Fixed Louisiana Battalion of Infantry, in which French officers served alongside Spaniards such as newly-promoted brevet captain Francisco Bouligny.  Under the restored Spanish regime, there would be no more "perpetual and irrevocable" Superior Council dominated by French Creoles; O'Reilly had replaced that troublesome institution with a typical Spanish cabildo, which would serve as "the colony's chief judicial body" and meet in a new edifice to be constructed by local builder François Duplantis beside the St.-Louis church.  Sitting in the cabildo, which first met in O'Reilly's residence on 26 November 1769, were six "perpetual" regidors, who exercised legislative as well as judicial functions:  two "ordinary" alcades, or magistrates, for New Orleans; the principal alcade, who served the rest of the province; the bailiff; the comptroller; and the provincial attorney general.  Also serving in the cabildo were the alférez real, "an honorary officer who merely carried the royal standard during public functions"; the mayordomo de proprias or scribe; a notary; and the governor.  In September 1769, while still assisting O'Reilly in the interrogation of former Ordonnateur Foucault, Charles-Philippe Aubry noted in a dispatch to authorities in France:  "Mr. O'Reilly does not intend to set up anything new, unless it is absolutely necessary."  So, inspite of the part played by French Creoles in the October revolution, the name of the colony's chief judicial body "changed more than the institution" itself.  O'Reilly appointed to the first cabildo "mostly old citizens of Louisiana" who had not taken part in the revolt against Ulloa, or at least had not been convicted of doing so.  They included François-Marie de Reggio; Pierre-François Olivier du Closel de Vézin, the former King's surveyor-general who now served as principal provincial alcade or "magistrate for appellate cases from the outlying posts"; Charles-Jean-Baptiste Fleuriau, son of a former attorney-general; Antoine Bienvenu; Joseph Ducros; printer Denis Braud, who was receiver of fines; Louis-Antoine de La Chaise de Saint-Denis, an ordinary alcade; Jean-Louis Trudeau, another ordinary alcade for New Orleans; Jacques de La Chaise, fils; Juan Durel, the mayordome de proprias; and the ubiquitous Jean-Baptiste Garic, who served as notary.

O'Reilly also had seen fit to appoint French Creoles and retired French army officers to command the newly-created districts--men who, as O'Reilly did, tended to look down their noses at the Acadian "peasants."  The aging Karl Frederick Darensbourg, a German, not a Frenchman, was stripped of his remaining civil duties at Des Allemands, where he had commanded for 47 years.  Two of the chief conspirators, Nicolas Chauvin de Lafrénière, fils and Joseph Roué de Villeré, one a French Creole, the other a French Canadian, had been the husbands of two of the old soldier's granddaughters.  Most damning of all, the civil commandant had figured too largely in the anti-Ulloa faction.  According to biographer Reinhart Kondert, by encouraging the German militia to go to New Orleans that fateful October day, Darensbourg "gave his open blessing to the forced removal of the Spanish regime," that it was, in fact, the old "commandant's word that made possible the illegal takerover of the capital."  Moreover, as O'Reilly "later acknowledged, after the insurrection had been suppressed, the German commander 'had great influence over the minds of these people' ... and 'was in all respects ... very guilty.'"  O'Reilly nevertheless pardoned the 75-year-old veteran, but he did not let Darensbourg and his family go unpunished.  O'Reilly also deprived Darensbourg of Karlstein, his estate at Des Allemands, and forced him to move to New Orleans.  Darensbourg's two sons, Charles Frederick and Pierre Frederick, "were compelled to vacate their habitations on the Mississippi and move to the remote Opelousas country."  Villeré, the former military commandant of the Germans, was dead, so François Simard de Bellisle of Atakapa fame would command the Lower German Coast, called St.-Charles after the church there; and Robert-Antoine Robin de Lognie would command the Upper German Coast, called St.-Jean-Baptiste after its church.  Cabahannocer, also called St.-Jacques after its church and still a predominantly-Acadian district, would remain under Nicolas Verret, who had not participated in Ulloa's ouster.  His brother-in-law Louis Judice, who also had stood by Ulloa, would command the new district of Lafourche de Chitimachas, called Ascension after its church, above Cabahannocer.  Louis Dutisné would command at San Gabriel, also still an Acadian district, above Ascension.  Jean-François Allain, fils, a Frenchman from Touraine, not an Acadian, would command at Pointe Coupée, where the Spanish discouraged Acadians from settling.  Gabriel Fuselier de La Claire of Lyon, a wealthy merchant and land owner at Attakapas now serviing as co-commandant at Opelousas, would command both prairie districts.  In Attakapas, he would replace elected co-commandants René Trahan and Jean-Baptiste Broussard--a hint, perhaps, that Acadians no longer would command there despite significant numbers. 

Continuing his policy of smooth transition, O'Reilly appointed as head of the colonial militia not a Spaniard but a distinguished native of France.  While still in his teens, Paul-Augustin Le Pelletier de la Houssaye served in the French Guards, the Regiment of Vintinielle, and in the Coast Guards of Aunis.  Coming to the colony as a 16-year-old cadet in 1731, by the end of the decade he held the rank of ensigne en pied.  The following year, Governor Bienville described the young infantry officer as "wise, faithful to his duties, active, full of zeal, and unprejudiced."  By October 1750, De La Houssaye was serving as a captain of troupes de la marine and had become a chevalier of the Order of St.-Louis.  By July 1759, he was serving as major at Mobile.  A decade later, now in his early 50s, he was considered to be "one of the most distinguished officers and one of the most highly esteemed citizens of the colony."  Upon the death of Louis de Villmont, who had headed the colonial militia under Ulloa, De La Houssaye volunteered "to enter the service of Spain and to be named commander of the militia."  O'Reilly's appointment of lower-ranking militia officers also reflected a bias towards Frenchmen and French Creoles:  not a single Acadian held the rank of captain, lieutenant, or sub-lieutenant in any of the Acadian companies.  They served, instead, as sergeants, corporals, and privates, at least for now.  Interestingly, not a single German surname appeared among the militia officers of either of the German districts.  O'Reilly had been aware of German and Acadian participation in the October revolution, but had Frenchmen and French Creoles not led the rebellion against the hated Ulloa?  Were not all of the rebel leaders O'Reilly had executed members of the colony's socio-economic elite?  And yet here they were, resplendent in their "lavishly studded and tassled" militia uniforms, still lords of Louisiana, still the dominant element in every corner of the colony.405 

No matter, if they chose to remain in Louisiana, the exiles must endure these Francophone elites as they had endured the British in Nova Scotia.  They would obey the new governor and their district commandants as long as these leaders respected their rights.  The daily struggle of feeding their families still absorbed their greater attention, and some still needed government assistance to cope with the colony's fragile economy.  They had lived in this New Acadia for only a hand full of years now, and most had little to show for it.  But that would change. 

The Acadians Come Into Their Own in Spanish Louisiana, 1770-1785

Except for a few who may have drifted in from the French West Indies during the 1770s, the Acadians aboard the Britannia were the last of their countrymen to come to Louisiana for 16 years.  From February 1764, when the first of them arrived, to October 1769, when the Acadians from the Britannia completed their overland trek to Natchitoches, 1,300 Acadians had come to Louisiana:  21 from Georgia, nearly 600 from Halifax, a like number from Maryland, and a dozen or two from the Caribbean basin, mostly from St.-Domingue.  The largest number of them had settled on the river above New Orleans, first at Cabahannocer and then at forts San Gabriel and San Luìs de Natchez.  When O'Reilly released the San Luìs Acadians from their ordeal at Natchez, most of them abandoned land that decades hence would be prized as among the most fertile in North America and joined their relatives at San Gabriel, Ascension, and Cabahannocer on the Acadian Coast.  A few headed out to the prairie districts, where hundreds of their fellow Acadians also had settled at Attakapas and Opelousas.405a 

Whether in 1764 or 1769 or each of the years in between, when the Acadians reached New Orleans with their extended families (only a hand full of them came as individuals), so devastating was the exile to their station in life, few, if any, possessed material comforts of any kind.  The families from Chignecto had suffered the longest--some had been driven from their homes east of the Missaguash as early as the autumn of 1750.  In Louisiana, many Chignecto Acadians could be found in the river settlements, but most had followed the Broussards to Bayou Teche.  A substantial number of Louisiana Acadians had lived in the upper Annapolis valley, from whence they had escaped in late autumn of 1755; here, they could be found in roughly equal numbers along the river and on the prairies.  In the decades before Le Grand Dérangement, a relatively small number of Acadians had settled away from the Fundy shore along Rivière St.-Jean, but a surprising number of these valley exiles had come from the prison compounds of Nova Scotia.  Most could be found at Cabahannocer, but a few had followed the Broussards to Attakapas.  As they had been the largest segment of the Acadian population before 1755, the Acadians of the Minas Basin, including Pigiguit, made up a slight majority of the Acadians who had come to Louisiana.  Since most of the Minas Acadians had come from Maryland, they could be found in large numbers on the Acadian Coast, though some could be found on the prairies as well.  If one looked hard enough, in fact, one could find Acadians in Louisiana hailing from Mirliguèche, Cap-Sable, Cobeguit, Île St.-Jean, even Île Royale. 

The 1,300 or so Acadians who had come to Louisiana before 1770 were not the largest contingent of exiles in the Acadian diaspora.  Twice as many Acadians were living in France at the time, even more on the St. Lawrence, and there may have been as many of them still living in French St.-Domingue as in the lower Mississippi valley.  Georgia and Halifax exiles had shown the way to this New Acadia, and their cousins in Maryland had followed.  But would more of them venture to Spanish Louisiana to join their kinsmen there?  There was not much chance of it.  As Gilbert C. Din notes of the colony during the 1770s:  "Transportation costs to get to Louisiana, the colony's still deplorable reputation, and uncertainties about rural life there, all dissuaded potential immigrants away from the hazards of relocation."  Was this true for Acadians as well as other potential immigrants?  Could the intense desire to reunite with kin, a centripetal force only strengthened by the rigors of the Great Dispersal, overcome Louisiana's "deplorable reputation"?  Only time would tell.  In the meantime, the hundreds who were here would make the most of it, the "uncertainties about rural life" be damned.406  

With few exceptions, the Acadians of Louisiana were rural folk.  For generations they had lived in an Eden of their own making along the Bay of Fundy.  Their homesteads had been farms, not sprawling plantations.  No cash crop could grow in the rich soil they had created with their long rows of dykes and their clever aboiteaux; the hard northern winters made certain of that.  They were grain farmers, orchardmen, cattlemen, fishermen, traders.  Only a handful of elites, seigneurs generally, owned significantly more land than the typical habitant.  No slaves worked their fields, pruned their fruit trees, tended their cattle, stored, prepared, and cooked their food; they themselves, their wives, their children, their many kinsmen, performed those essential daily tasks.  Their immediate families were large, their children healthy, but they did not think of family in such limited terms.  Their families were extended and usually near--aging parents, married siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins by the score, most within sight or only a short trip away.  Infectious diseases were rare in their world, tropical fevers unknown to them.  Every man and woman among them could handle a canoe.  Some of them fished as much as they farmed.  They were crack shots and skilled hunters--typical frontiersmen.  High snows did not stop them from traveling in winter; the Mi'kmaq had taught them long ago how to make and use their clever wooden snow shoes.  They lived peacefully with the Mi'kmaq until imperial politics intervened during their final years in old Acadia.  Some of the Mi'kmaq shared blood with them, they all shared faith, and the Mi'kmaq were not happy to see them go.  Most of the Acadians took their most precious possession, their families, into exile, but their land and their farms they could not take with them.  And now the houses and barns of New Englanders and British immigrants lay atop the ashes of their father's homesteads.  Land is what they needed in this New Acadia.406a 

As of 18 August 1769, when the Spanish formally took possession of the colony, the Acadians of Louisiana were subject to the land policies not of imperial France and its caretaker government, but of imperial Spain.  According to Andrew McMichael in his study of Spanish West Florida:  "The Spanish system of land grants ... was quite simple.  Any person who swore loyalty to the Spanish Crown could apply for a land grant.  Spanish land policy operated under the principle that every person deserved enough land to sustain a family, and that the way to govern or to hold land was to populate it.  In theory, Spanish law required petitioners to profess the Catholic faith....  All vacant lands in New Spain remained the legal possession of the Crown, and the king retained the exclusive power to distribute lands for a fee.  Anyone who received a land grant had to inhabit and cultivate a part of the land for four years, after which that person would receive title to the property.  Failure to fulfill these terms resulted in loss of the title. ...  The size of a family usually determined the amount of land granted, as long as the grant did not exceed eight hundred arpents.  This did not limit an individual or a family to eight hundred arpents total.  After the owner improved the land, he could petition the Crown for an increase in the size of the holding...."  However generous this may have been, "Spanish policy still held firm to the notion that settlers should receive only as much land that they could realistically use.  If the grant bordered a river, Spanish law required the owner to construct levees, canals, or bridges as needed.  Squatters who occupied and cultivated a portion of land for at least ten years could make an outright purchase of the property after a government assessment...."  Also, "... Spanish customary law tried to ensure that all residents had river access of some sort--which could result in very oddly shaped plots."  And land holders "would be expected to serve in the militia, help pay for levees and other improvements, and perhaps act as an alcade," or local magistrate.  McMichael concludes:  "Under Spanish land policy, acquiring land was quite easy as long as the claimant could prove the ability to cultivate the land and improve it.  This promoted two results.  First, the policy discouraged rampant land speculation of the type seen in the Virginia and Kentucky portions of the British and later American territories.  Second, it actively encouraged settlement, as the landholder had to live on and work the land in some fashion."406b


Getting land was one thing, keeping it another.  The Attakapas Acadians were the first to secure land in the face of opposition.  No sooner had they reached Jean-Antoine-Bernard Dauterive's vacharie on Bayou Teche in the spring of 1765 than his French Creoles neighbors accused them of trespassing.  This compelled the proud Acadians to move on, thus abrogating the cattle deal they had made with Dauterive that April in New Orleans.  Their next dispute over land came quickly.  Belgian-Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Grevemberg dit Flamand claimed a huge expanse of prairie between the west bank of the Teche at Fausse Pointe all the way to the east bank of the lower Vermilion, so he considered the Broussards to be interlopers on his vast concession.  In July 1765, while the Acadians were setting themselves up at Fausse Pointe, Grevemberg beseeched the French authorities in New Orleans to recognize his claim.  Lieutenant Andry had settled the Broussards on both banks of the Teche at the edge of Grevemberg's domain, where, acting governor Aubry insisted, the Acadians would remain, but he nevertheless granted to Grevemberg a formal title to his huge vacharieGrevemberg promptly sold some of his cattle to the Acadians, but they probably did not forget the slight.  After an epidemic struck them during their first summer in the colony, some of them moved out into the prairie to an area they called Côte Gelée, the Frozen Coast, north of Grevemberg's vacherie and along the west bank of Bayou Tortue.  This placed them directly across from Dauterive's new concession on Prairie Vermilion, which lay between the Tortue and the Teche.  By 1770, Acadians also had moved up bayou to La Pointe de Repos, the Restful Point, near present-day Parks south of Breaux Bridge.  The large concession held by Gabriel Fuselier de La Claire above the Attakapas settlements discouraged movement farther up towards Opelousas, where fellow Acadians had settled five years earlier.410 

Despite these distractions, the original Attakapas Acadians, after years of struggle, managed to rise above their pitiful beginnings.  This was due not only to individual hard work and collective effort, but also to Spanish liberality in awarding them land grants.  "Between 1771 and 1772," Shane Bernard asserts, "Spanish governor Luis de Unzaga awarded the exiles over two dozen land grants along the Teche.  These grants averaged about 415 acres each and totaled more than 10,000 acres."  By 1783, another 10 grants were issued by Unzaga and his successor, Benardo de Gálvez, as more Acadians came to the Teche, "raising the total size of Acadian land holdings on the bayou to over 18,000 acres."  This allowed them to grow enough food for their growing families, as well as indigo and tobacco for the colonial market.  Most importantly, after their deal with Grevemberg, they slowly but surely created respectable herds of cattle for their own domestic use and the New Orleans market.  Following primitive trails opened by Afro-Creole drovers hired or held by Massé, Dauterive, Grevemberg, Sorrel, and other early ranchers in the district, the Acadians drove their surplus beeves along the natural levees of lower Bayou Teche, Bayou Black, and the lower Lafourche on to the massive holding pens across from New Orleans.  Some of the trails "required herds to embark on vessels called 'cattle barges' or 'round boats' (supposedly 'because they made the trip "around" by the way of the Atchafalaya, Red, and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans')."412a

A close look at Attakapas District censuses from 1769 to 1777 attests to the growing affluence of the prairie Acadians.  In 1769, at the beginning of formal Spanish control, Charles Babineaux, age 38, owned an oxen, 4 cows, 3 suckling calves or yearlings, 2 bulls or heifers, 2 horses, 2 colts, and 20 pigs; two years later, listed as age 48 and living on the upper Teche, Charles held 12 arpents without title but owned 5 horses and 15 head of cattle; three years later, his widow, Anne Guilbeau, owned 40 pigs, 10 horses and mules, and 33 head of cattle; in 1777, she owned 20 hogs, 7 horses, and 40 head of cattle.  In 1769, Michel Bernard, age 34, owned 4 cows, 4 suckling calves or yearlings, 3 horses, and 10 pigs; two years later, Michel also held 12 arpents without title but owned 7 horses and 16 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 40 pigs, 10 horses and mules, and 47 head of cattle.  Firmin Breaux, only 22 in 1771, moved from Cabahannocer on the river that year after purchasing land from a French-Creole concessionaire at Grand Pointe on the Teche; he was counted there in 1777, when he owned 11 hogs, 9 horses, and 40 head of cattle.  Michel-Laurent Doucet, recorded as age 50 in 1769, owned 2 oxen, 3 cows, 3 suckling calves or yearlings, 5 bulls or heifers, 3 horses, and 20 pigs; two years later, held 12 arpents without title but owned 11 horses and 25 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 18 pigs, 11 horses and mules, and 30 head of cattle; in 1777, he owned 50 hogs, 15 horses, and 40 head of cattle.  Son Joseph dit Hilaire Doucet, age 22 in 1774 and recently married, owned 6 pigs, 4 horses and mules, and 23 head of cattle; in 1777, he owned 30 hogs, 10 horses, and 40 head of cattle.  In 1769, Charles dit Charlitte Dugas, age 32, owned 5 cows, 4 suckling calves and yearlings, 2 oxen, 3 bulls and heifers, 5 horses, and 4 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 6 horses and 25 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 15 pigs, 14 horses and mules, and 40 head of cattle; in 1777, he owned 25 hogs, 10 horses, and 40 head of cattle.  Younger brother Jean Dugas, who had fled to Cabahannocer in 1765 but returned to Attakapas, was age 28 and newly married in 1769, when he owned  2 cows, a suckling calf or yearling, a horse, and 7 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 4 horses and 14 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 25 pigs, 5 horses and mules, and 20 head of cattle; in 1777, he owned 28 hogs, 8 horses, and 30 head of cattle.  Brother Pierre Dugas, who was 25 years old in 1774 and recently married, owned 8 pigs, 3 horses and mules, and 15 head of cattle that year; in 1777, he owned 15 hogs, 9 horses, and 50 head of cattle.  In 1769, Madeleine Michel, widow of Joseph dit L'Officier Guilbeau, owned 2 cows, 2 suckling calves or yearlings, 2 bulls or heifers, 2 horses, and 20 pigs; in 1774, at age 62, she owned 10 pigs, 2 horses and mules, and 10 head of cattle; in 1777, she owned 9 sheep, 10 hogs, 4 horses, and 18 head of cattle.  Son Charles Guilbeau, age 30 in 1769, owned 2 oxen, 3 cows, 3 suckling calves or yearlings, a horse, and 15 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 15 head of cattle and 5 horses; three years later, a widower, he owned 26 head of cattle, 10 horses and mules, and 30 pigs.  Brother François Guilbeau, age 22 and still a bachelor in 1771, held 12 arpents without title that year but owned an undetermined number of horses and 12 head of cattle; three years later, newly married, he owned 12 pigs, 5 horses and mules, and 25 head of cattle; in 1777, he owned 20 hogs, 6 horses, and 40 head of cattle.  In 1769, Jean-Baptiste dit Cobit Hébert, age 33, owned 6 cows, 3 suckling calves or yearlings, 3 horses, a suckling foal or colt, and 19 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 6 horses and 75 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 5 pigs, 5 horses and mules, and 30 head of cattle; in 1777, he owned 5 hogs, 6 horses, and 30 head of cattle.  Joseph-Pepin Hébert, age 29 in 1777, owned 10 hogs, 4 horses, and 30 head of cattle that year.  In 1769, Simon LeBlanc, age 32, owned 4 cows, 4 suckling calves or yearlings, 3 bulls or heifers, 2 horses, a suckling foal or colt, and 12 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 5 horses and 17 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 40 pigs, 8 horses and mules, and 30 head of cattle.  Younger brother René dit Petit René LeBlanc, age 27 in 1777, owned 11 hogs, 7 horses, and 30 head of cattle that year.  In 1769, Claude Martin, age 32, newly married and serving as the community's syndic, owned 2 oxen, 5 cows, 3 suckling calves or yearlings, 3 bulls or heifers, a horse, and 18 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 6 horses and 15 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 30 pigs, 9 horses and mules, and 60 head of cattle; in 1777, he owned 50 hogs, 14 horses, 75 head of cattle, and 2 slaves.  Younger brother Bonaventure Martin, age 35 and still a bachelor in 1777, owned no hogs, 15 horses, and 38 head of cattle.  Cousin Joseph Martin, age 28 and newly married in 1769, owned an oxen, 4 cows, 4 suckling calves or yearlings, 2 bulls or heifers, 2 horses, 2 suckling foals or colts, and 6 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 7 horses, 10 or 20 head of cattle, and 1 slave; three years later, he owned 50 pigs, 10 horses and mules, 60 head of cattle, and 1 slave; in 1777, he owned 60 hogs, 7 horses, 60 head of cattle, and 2 slaves.  In 1769, Grégoire Pellerin, age 40, served as an engagé for French Creole Jacques-Joseph Sorel; two years later, Grégoire held 12 arpents without title but owned 10 sheep, 4 horses, and 25 head of cattle; three years later, not long before his death, he owned 8 pigs, 10 horses and mules, and 50 head of cattle; in 1777, his widow, Cécile Prejean, age 45, owned 25 sheep, 20 hogs, 15 horses, 100 head of cattle, and 3 slaves with one soon to be born.  In 1769, Jean-Baptiste Semere, the letter writer, age 25, owned 5 cows, 3 suckling calves and yearlings, 3 horses, a suckling foal or colt, and 19 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 6 horses and 29 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 8 pigs, 5 horses and mules, and 36 head of cattle; in 1777, he owned 2 hogs, 7 horses, 60 head of cattle, and a slave.  In 1769, Paul Thibodeaux, age 36, owned 4 cows, 4 suckling calves or yearlings, 1 horse, and 18 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned a horse and 19 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 30 pigs, 7 horses and mules, and 30 head of cattle; in 1777, he owned 40 hogs, 10 horses, and 40 head of cattle.  In 1769, Olivier Thibodeaux, age 35, owned 6 cows, 5 suckling calves or yearlings, 2 bulls, 2 horses, and 15 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 2 horses and 10 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 50 pigs, 12 horses and mules, and 50 head of cattle; in 1777, he owned 80 hogs, 22 horses, and 120 head of cattle.  Younger brother Amand Thibodeaux, listed as age 29 but closer to 34 in 1769, owned 2 cows, 1 suckling calf or yearling, 1 horse, 1 suckling foal or colt, and 16 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 2 horses and 10 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 20 pigs, 5 horses and mules, and 26 head of cattle; in 1777, he owned 30 hogs, 6 horses, and 50 head of cattle.  Jean-Anselme, called Anselme, Thibodeaux, age 27 and still a bachelor in 1777, owned 9 horses and 36 head of cattle.  In 1769, Jean Trahan, age 51 and a widower, owned 5 cows, 3 suckling calves or yearlings, 2 oxen, 2 horses, a suckling foal or colt, and 10 pigs ; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 9 horses and 18 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 4 horses and mules and 15 head of cattle; in 1777, he owned 30 hogs, 13 horses, and 40 head of cattle.  Younger brother Michel Trahan, age 44 in 1769, owned 4 cows, 2 suckling calves or yearlings, a horse, and 16 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 6 horses and 15 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 12 pigs, 5 horses and mules, and 40 head of cattle; in 1777, he owned 30 hogs, 6 horses, and 40 head of cattle.  His son Paul Trahan, age 22 in 1774, owned 2 pigs, 5 horses and mules, and 8 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 12 hogs, 3 horses, and 12 head of cattle.  Cousin and former district co-commandant René Trahan, age 42 in 1769, owned 2 oxen, 10 cows, 6 suckling calves or yearlings, 8 bulls or heifers, 6 horses, 2 suckling foals or colts, and 20 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 4 sheep, 20 horses, and 60 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 25 pigs, 13 horses and mules, and 68 head of cattle; in 1777, he owned 26 hogs, 25 horses, and 100 head of cattle.412 

The Broussards, to no one's surprise, also became successful cattlemen.  Jean-Grégoire dit Petit-Jos, oldest surviving son of Joseph dit Beausoleil, was age 41 in 1769 and owned 2 oxen, 8 cows, 8 suckling calves or yearlings, 8 bulls or heifers, 5 horses, a suckling foal or colt, and 15 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 4 sheep, 10 horses, and 45 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 15 pigs, 8 horses and mules, and 80 head of cattle; in 1777, his holdings had increased to an impressive 20 hogs, 20 horses, 100 head of cattle, and 3 slaves.  His son René, age 24 in 1777 and recently married, owned 15 hogs, 7 horses, and 50 head of cattle that year.  Petit-Jos's brother François, age 23 in 1769 and newly married, owned 2 oxen, 13 cows, 9 suckling calves or yearlings, 7 bulls or heifers, 8 horses, 2 suckling foals or colts, and 15 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 7 horses and 28 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 10 pigs, 6 horses and mules, and 36 cattle; in 1777, he owned 5 hogs, 9 horses, and 79 head of cattle.  Brother Claude, married in c1772, owned 20 pigs, 10 horses or mules, and 25 head of cattle in 1774, when he was age 26; three years later, he owned 12 hogs, 10 horses, and 50 head of cattle.  Brother Amand, only 24 but already a widower in 1774, owned 8 horses and mules and 45 head of cattle that year; three years later, he owned 6 sheep, 4 hogs, 20 horses, and 100 head of cattle.  In 1769, cousin Jean-Baptiste, age 37, the oldest surviving son of Alexandre dit Beausoleil, owned an oxen, 4 cows, 4 suckling calves or yearlings, 6 horses, and 10 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents of land without title; three years later, he owned 30 pigs, 12 horses and mules, and 40 head of cattle; in 1777, he owned 6 sheep, 40 hogs, 14 horses, and 60 head of cattle.  Son Mathurin, age 27 and still a bachelor in 1777, owned 29 horses and 65 head of cattle that year.  Jean-Baptiste's younger brother Sylvain, age 27 in 1769, owned 2 oxen, 3 cows, 3 suckling calves or yearlings, 2 bulls or heifers, 3 horses, and 15 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 4 sheep, 9 horses, and 15 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 25 pigs, 7 horses and mules, and 57 head of cattle; in 1777, he owned 20 hogs, 10 horses, and 79 head of cattle.  Younger brother Simon, age 25 in 1769, owned 2 oxen, 3 cows, 2 suckling calves or yearlings, 3 horses, and 8 pigs; two years later, held 12 arpents without title but owned 8 horses and 16 head of cattle; three years later, he owned 20 pigs, 9 horses and mules, and 49 head of cattle; in 1777, he owned 20 hogs, 10 horses, and 50 head of cattle.  Younger brother Pierre, age 19 and still a bachelor in 1769, owned 5 cows, a suckling calf or yearling, 4 horses, and a suckling foal or colt; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 13 or 15 head of cattle, and 7 horses; three years later, he owned 50 head of cattle and 18 horses and mules; in 1777, newly married, he owned 6 hogs, 30 horses, and 100 head of cattle.  Alexandre dit Beausoleil's eldest grandson, Joseph le jeune, a 20-year-old bachelor in 1774, owned 9 head of cattle and a horse or mule; three years later, newly married, he owned 9 hogs, 10 horses, and 23 head of cattle.411  

Even late comers to Attakapas, most of them river Acadians who, despite Spanish restrictions, began moving to the prairies during the late 1760s, were doing well by the close of Unzaga's governorship, which ended in 1777.  That year, Victor Blanchard, age 25, who had come to the colony in 1765 and moved from the river to Attakapas by the mid 1770s, owned 6 hogs, 5 horses, and 8 head of cattle.  Augustin Broussard, age 29, a 1766 arrival who had moved from the Ascension to Attakapas during the early 1770s, owned 4 hogs, 8 horses, and 7 head of cattle in 1777.  Jean-Baptiste Cormier, fils, age 35, who had come to the colony in February 1765 but probably remained at Cabahannocer with his parents and sisters before moving to Attakapas during the early 1770s, owned a horse and a slave in 1777.  Charles Duhon, age 43, a 1765 arrival who had moved from the river to Attakapas in the 1770s, owned 6 hogs, 5 horses, and 35 head of cattle in 1777.  Younger brother Claude-Amable Duhon, age 41, owned 6 hogs, 4 horses, and 20 head of cattle that year.  Claire Robichaux, age 64, widow of Jean-Baptiste dit Manuel Hébert, a 1765 arrival who had moved from the river to Attakapas during the early 1770s, owned a horse and 4 head of cattle in 1777.  Son Joseph dit Pepin Hébert, who also came from the river in the early 1770s, owned 16 head of cattle, 5 horses and mules, and 20 pigs in 1774; three years later, at age 39, he owned 12 hogs, 6 horses, and 20 head of cattle.  Jean-Charles Hébert, a 1765 arrival who moved from the river to Attakapas in c1770; in 1774, newly married, he owned 10 head of cattle, 2 horses or mules, and 2 pigs; in 1777, at age 24, he owned 16 hogs, 4 horses, and 30 head of cattle.  Jean-Baptiste, called Baptiste, Labauve, a 1765 arrival who had moved from the river to Attakapas in the late 1760s, was age 27 and newly married in 1769, when he owned 3 cows, a suckling calf or yearling, 4 bulls or heifers, a horse, and 3 pigs; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 9 head of cattle and 5 horses; three years later, he owned 20 head of cattle, 6 horses and mules, and 20 pigs; in 1777, he owned 15 hogs, 6 horses, and 30 head of cattle.  Basile Landry, age 50, who had come to the colony with the Breaus in 1768 and moved to Attakapas during the 1770s, owned 10 hogs, a horse, and 6 head of cattle in 1777.  Firmin Landry, a 1766 arrival who had moved from Cabahannocer to Attakapas during the late 1760s, was age 42 in 1769 and owned a cow, a suckling calf or yearling, 3 bulls or heifers, a horse and 5 pigs that year; two years later, he held 12 arpents without title but owned 28 head of cattle and 7 horses; three years later, he owned 25 head of cattle, 7 horses and mules, 8 pigs, and 6 sheep; in 1777, he owned 10 sheep, 13 hogs, 16 horses, and 35 head of cattle.  Amand-Pierre Landry, age 31, a 1766 who had moved to Attakapas in the early 1770s, owned 14 hogs, 6 horses, and 18 head of cattle in 1777.  Joseph Landry, age 22 and a bachelor, owned 9 horses and 4 head of cattle in 1777.  Marie-Josèphe Breaux, age 46, widow of Paul-Honoré Melançon and wife of Creole François Moreau, had come to the colony in 1765 and moved from the river to Attakapas on the eve of the census; she owned 8 hogs, 4 horses, and a head of cattle in 1777.  Jean dit Neveu Mouton, age 30, a 1765 arrival who had moved from the river to Attakapas during the late 1760s or early 1770s, owned 3 horses, 5 head of cattle, and 3 slaves in 1777.  Amand Prejean, age 53, a 1765 arrival who had moved from the river to Attakapas during the early 1770s, owned 7 horses and 30 head of cattle in 1777.  François-Joseph Savoie, age 47, he of the four wives, was a 1765 arrival who had moved to Attakapas during the late 1760s, returned to the river in the early 1770s, and then moved back to Attakapas; he owned 3 horses, 4 cattle, and a slave in 1777.411a

As these census figures reveal, many Attakapas cattlemen also raised hogs in substantial numbers.  Their pigs were butchered for home consumption, of course, but the numbers of these animals hint that, by the end of the 1770s, Attakapas Acadians were producing pork for the colonial market as well.  By any measure of success, including the production of large, healthy families, the descendants of the old resistance fighters, their relatives, and associates, created a thriving New Acadia on the Attakapas prairies.411b


The Opelousas Acadians also had to struggle to keep their land.  In the summer of 1765, Jacques-Guillaume Courtableau, the largest landowner in the Opelousas District, had granted them refuge at Prairie des Coteaux after they had fled the epidemic on the lower Teche.  Governor Ulloa had found them still living on Prairie des Coteaux when he toured the colony's lower settlements the following spring.  Both Ulloa and Aubry had given them "verbal assurance that they 'would never be troubled in the possession of their properties.'"   The Acadians spent the following years improving their prairie holdings, though, in the spring of 1768, they were forced to beg Ulloa for the loan of oxen and ploughs to bring in their latest crop of wheat.  That same year, Jacques-Guillaume Courtableau acquired the land grant of the recently-ousted Louis-Gérard Pellerin, "whose vague boundaries overlapped those of the Prairie des Coteaux property owners," most of whom were the struggling Acadians.  A few years later, Madeleine Vincent, Jacques-Guillaume Courtableau's widow and second wife of the Acadians' benefactor, insisted that the Pellerin grant included a woodland that Governor Unzaga had declared was "a commons for all settlers" and which bordered the Prairie des Coteaux settlement.  In June 1773, the Acadians, fearing that the widow would lay claim to their grants as well, beseeched Unzaga to reaffirm their titles and "to order Mme Courtableau to stop harassing her neighbors."  Commandant Fuselier de La Claire suggested a compromise, but the governor washed his hands of the affair.  The dispute ended later in the year when François Marcantel, an affluent French immigrant, purchased the disputed woodland from the Courtableau estate.  Shaken by the confrontation with the local elite, the Opelousas Acadians secured new Spanish grants, sold their Prairie des Coteaux holdings, and moved south to Prairie Belleveau and Bayou Bourbeaux, where most of them engaged in cattle raising.407 

The Cormier brothers of Chignecto were among the successful practitioners of a type of agriculture that had been familiar to them back in Acadia.  In 1750, when French-Canadian militia and Abbé Le Loutre's Mi'kmaq had uprooted the Cormier family and destroyed its economic independence, Joseph and Michel were only ages 10 and 9 respectively.  Until they reached Louisiana 15 years later, raising cattle was something the brothers had known only as boys, but after a decade of effort on the Opelousas prairies they had managed to create successful vacheries of their own.  At Prairie des Coteaux in 1771, older brother Joseph, age 31 and a widower, held six arpents frontage without title and owned four horses and 15 head of cattle.  Younger brother Michel, age 30 and now married, also held six arpents frontage without title but owned 7 horses and 28 head of cattle.  Michel, who had acquired title to a large grant from Governor Unzaga in 1771, moved to his new property on Bayou Bourbeaux by 1773, where, using the poteaux-en-terre construction method, he built a house on level ground with bousillage walls, a dirt floor, and a porch that encircled the house.  In 1774, Michel, now also a widower but soon to remarry, owned 6 horses and mules, 16 swine, and 20 head of cattle.  Joseph, who had moved to nearby Prairie Belleveau, was married again in 1774 and owned 15 swine, 15 horses and mules, and an impressive 78 head of cattle.  But this was only the beginning of their success as cattlemen.  Three years later, in 1777, Joseph, now age 37, owned 20 hogs, 15 horses, and 150 head of cattle.  That year, Michel, now remarried and age 36, owned 16 hogs, 16 horses, and 50 head of cattle.  He, too, like brother Joseph, owned no slaves, but what they held in land and animals stood in decided contrast to their economic status of nine years before, when they and their Acadian neighbors had been forced to beg the Spanish governor for oxen and ploughs.408 

Other 1765 arrivals became successful livestock producers on the open prairies of Opelousas.  In 1777, Charles Comeaux, age 35, Joseph Cormier's neighbor on Prairie Belleveau, owned 50 hogs, 15 horses, 100 head of cattle, and a single slave.  Charles's cousin Michel Comeaux, age 43, Michel Cormier's neighbor on Bayou Bourbeaux, owned a slave, 40 hogs, 12 horses, and 200 head of cattle--one of the largest herds in the entire district.  François Pitre, only 29 years old, owned 15 hogs, 12 horses, and 50 head of cattle.  Joseph Guénard, age 31, owned 10 hogs, 5 horses, and 15 head of cattle.  Pierre Richard, age 48, on Prairie Belleveu, owned  20 hogs, 12 horses, and 100 head of cattle.  Younger brother Victor Richard, only age 30, also living on Prairie Belleveu, owned 10 hogs, 9 horses, and 70 head of cattle.  Pierre Savoie, age 36, owned 20 hogs, 12 horses, and 60 head of cattle.  Sylvain Sonnier, age 41, on Prairie Belleveau, owned 45 hogs, 11 horses, 150 head of cattle, and 2 slaves.  Younger brother Olivier, age 25 and still a bachelor, owned 4 horses and 15 head of cattle.  Brother Joseph, age 21 and a bachelor, owned 5 horses and 15 head of cattle. Pierre Thibodeaux, age 52, also on Prairie Belleveau, owned 25 hogs, 7 horses, and 80 head of cattle. 

Even late comers to Opelousas were doing well by the end of Unzaga's governorship:  In 1777, L'ange Bourg, age 27, who had come to the colony with the Broussards in 1765, moved to Cabahannocer and then to Opelousas a year or two later, and was recently married, owned 10 hogs, 8 horses, and 48 head of cattle.  Brother Joseph Bourg, age 26, still a bachelor, owned 12 horses and 27 head of cattle.  Pierre-Paul, called Paul, Boutin, age 50, a 1767 arrival who had moved to Opelousas from San Gabriel during the late 1760s or early 1770s, owned 40 hogs and 38 head of cattle.  Blaise Brasseaux, age 25, who had come to the colony with his widowed mother in 1767 and also moved from San Gabriel during the late 1760s or early 1770s, owned 5 horses and 15 head of cattle.  Joseph Granger, age 31, a 1766 arrival who had moved from Cabahannocer to Opelousas in the 1770s, owned a horse and 2 head of cattle.  Younger brother Jean-Baptiste Granger, age 25 and still a bachelor, owned 2 head of cattle.  Pierre Guidry, age 35, who had come to the colony with the Breaus in 1768 and moved to Opelousas during the early 1770s, owned 12 horses and 10 head of cattle.  Charles Jeansonne, age 32 and soon to marry a sister of Blaise Brasseaux, was a 1765 arrival who had moved from Cabahannocer to Opelousas in the late 1760s or early 1770s and owned 8 horses and 6 head of cattle.  Brother Jean Jeansonne, age 31, owned 10 hogs, 5 horses, and 18 head of cattle.  Brother Paul Jeansonne, age 22 and still a bachelor, owned a horse and 10 head of cattle.  Cousin Joseph Jeansonne, age 29 and also still a bachelor, who had come to the colony during the late 1760s or 1770s, owned 8 hogs, 2 horses, and 4 head of cattle.  Blaise Lejeune, age 26, who had come to the colony in 1769 aboard the Britannia, owned 4 hogs, 3 horses, and 8 head of cattle.  Younger brother Joseph Lejeune, age 21 and a bachelor, owned 2 head of cattle.  Mathurin Richard, age 36, a 1767 arrival, owned 4 head of cattle.  Jean dit Valois Savoie, age 26, who had come to the colony in 1765 and moved from Cabahannocer to Opelousas during the mid-1770s, owned 4 horses and 25 head of cattle.  Honoré Trahan, age 51, who had come to the colony in 1769 aboard the Britannia and now resided on Prairie Belleveu, owned 20 hogs, 6 horses, and 30 head of cattle.  Son Pierre Trahan, age 27 and recently married, owned 12 hogs, 3 horses, and 26 head of cattle.  These latecomers also had struggled to gain a foothold in a district dominated by other ethnicities, but now they and their families could enjoy the material comforts that had eluded them for so long.409


Difficulties with land along the Acadian coasts had less to do with grasping neighbors than with the existential whims of a powerful river and Spanish inheritance laws.  Unfortunately, "several settlers were given lands subject to rapid erosion, particularly at river bends," Carl Brasseaux asserts.  When the Mississippi eroded away the front portion of a farm, which was generally no more than six arpents wide along the river, the family had no choice but to move to vacant land nearby or to leave the river entirely.  At the same time, Spanish inheritance laws dictated that land be divided evenly among heirs, "which," Brasseaux continues, "divided the original family land grant into progressively small tracts with each successive generation."  Because of these factors, and despite "the imposition of increasingly stringent restrictions on intracolonial movement" during the 1770s, Acadians who did migrate tended to move from the river to the prairies.  Still, most of the river Acadians remained in place, determined to make a decent living on the land they possessed.  As a result, population density on the Acadian coasts "increased 226 percent between 1766 and 1777, rising from 241 to 786," Brasseaux informs us.413 

The relative economic prosperity of the prairie and river settlements, based, at least, on the number of animals owned, are reflected in economic data gleaned from the Acadians at Lafourche des Chitimachas, or Ascension, in April 1777.  Commandant Louis Judice counted  61 men, 67 women, 128 boys, 92 girls, 586 arpents, 137 slaves, 1,178 horned cattle, 158 horses, 80 sheep, 882 swine, 130 arms, 1 free "savage," 12 goats, and 3 kids in his district that year:   François-Marie Babin, age 35, who had come to the colony with the Breaus in 1768, held 9 arpents on the east bank of the river at Ascension and owned 9 swine and 11 head of cattle.  Brother Firmin Babin, age 30, held 9 arpents on the east bank and owned 3 swine and 7 head of cattle.  Amand Babin, age 34, a 1766 arrival, held 6 arpents on the right bank and owned 20 swine, 3 horses, and 19 head of cattle.  Brother Charles Babin, age 35, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 10 hogs, no horses, 20 head of cattle, and 2 slaves.  Brother Vincent-Ephrem, called Ephrem, Babin, age 32, held 6 arpents on the left bank and owned 30 hogs, 2 horses, 15 head of cattle, and 3 slaves.  Joseph Babin, age 29, a 1766 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 16 hogs, a horse, 20 heads of cattle, and 2 slaves.  Joseph dit Dios Babin, age 23, a 1766 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 12 swine, 2 horses, and 8 head of cattle.  Anselme Le Borgne de Bélisle, age 39, scion of a noble Acadian family who had come to the colony in 1767, held 5 arpents on the west bank and owned 8 swine, 3 horses, 13 head of cattle, and a slave.  Jean-Baptiste Breaux, age 52, a 1766 arrival, held 6 arpents "fallow" on the west bank and owned 29 swine, 3 horses, 15 head of cattle, and a slave.  Joseph Breaux, age 24, a 1768 arrival, held 4 arpents on the east bank and owned 2 horses and 4 head of cattle.  Paul Breaux, age 32, a 1766 arrival, held 5 arpents on the east bank and owned 21 hogs, a horse, 22 head of cattle, and a slave.  Firmin Broussard, age 25, a 1766 arrival, held 2 lots, one 8 arpents "fallow," the other 6 arpents, both on the east bank, and owned 8 swine, 2 horses, and 14 head of cattle.  Joseph Bujole, age 54, a 1766 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank of the river and owned 19 hogs, 2 horses, 18 head of cattle, and a slave.  Son Augustin Bujole, age 24, held 5 arpents on the west bank and owned 7 swine, 2 horses, and 10 head of cattle.  Joseph's younger brother Étienne Bujole, age 53, held 12 arpents on the west bank of the river and owned 18 swine, 3 sheep, 3 horses, 24 cattle, and 4 slaves.  François Dugas, age 37, who had to the colony in February 1765 with the Broussards, held 6 arpents on the right bank and owned 9 swine, 2 horses, 20 head of cattle, and a slave.  Younger brother Charles Dugas, age 27, held 6 arpents on the right bank and owned 15 hogs, 2 horses, and 11 head of cattle.  Brother Athanase Dugas, age 24 and a bachelor soon to be married, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 10 hogs, 4 horses, and 5 head of cattle.  Brother Michel Dugas, age 20 and also a bachelor soon to be married, lived with brother Athanase and owned 10 sheep, a horse, and 2 head of cattle.  Jean Duhon, age 30, a 1765 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 8 swine, 4 horses, 28 head of cattle, and 1 slave.  Younger brother François Duhon, age 28, held 7 arpents on the west bank and owned 3 swine, 2 horses, and 9 head of cattle.  Pierre Dupuis, age 27 and still a bachelor, a 1768 arrival, held 4 arpents on the east bank and owned 7 swine and 2 head of cattle.  Firmin Dupuis, age 25, a 1768 arrival, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 8 swine, a horse, and 6 head of cattle.  Charles Foret, age 55, a 1765 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 9 swine, 4 horses, and 16 head of cattle.  Son Pierre-Paul, called Paul, Foret, age 31, held 5 arpents on the west bank and owned 15 swine, 7 sheep, 2 horses, 16 head of cattle, and a slave.  Charles's son Anselme Foret, age 25, held 5 arpents on the west bank and owned 4 swine, 2 horses, and 5 head of cattle.  Charles Gaudin dit Lincour, age 26, a 1765 arrival, held 5 arpents on the west bank and owned 8 swine, 3 horses, 14 head of cattle, and a slave.  Amand-Paul Gautreaux, age 45, a 1766 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 7 hogs, 3 horses, and 23 head of cattle.  Joseph Guidry, age 45, who had come to the colony during the late 1760s, held 8 arpents on the east bank and owned 15 swine, no horses, 15 head of cattle, and a slave.  Firmin Guidry, age 25, a 1768 arrival, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 8 swine, 3 horses, and 10 head of cattle.  René Landry, age 61, a 1766 arrival, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 15 hogs, 2 horses, 24 head of cattle, and 3 slaves.  Son Marin Landry, age 29, held 2 lots, both 6 arpents, one "in fallow," on the east bank and owned 10 swine, 4 horses, and 20 head of cattle.  René's son Olivier Landry, age 24, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 8 swine, a horse, and 9 head of cattle.  René's son Joseph dit Dios Landry, age 20, a bachelor, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 15 hogs, a horse, and 6 head of cattle.  Pierre dit Pierrot à Chaques Landry, age 56, a 1766 arrival, held 11 arpents alongthe east bank and owned 55 swine, 8 horses, 53 head of cattle, and 6 slaves.  Son Jean Landry, age 25, still a bachelor, held 5 arpents on the east bank and owned 2 horses and 6 head of cattle.  Pierrot à Chaques son Jean-Baptiste Landry, age 21, a bachelor, held 5 arpents on the east bank and owned 2 sheep, 2 horses, and 6 head of cattle.  Abraham dit Petit-Abram Landry, age 55 and recently remarried, a 1766 arrival, held an determined number of arpents on the west bank and owned 10 hogs, a horse, and 6 head of cattle.  Son Étienne Landry, age 35 and recently married, held 5 arpents on the east bank and owned 3 hogs, 2 horses, and 18 head of cattle.  Petit-Abram's son Simon Landry, age 33, held 11 arpents on the east bank and owned 29 swine, 3 horses, 15 head of cattle, and a slave.  Petit-Abram's son Pierre-Abraham dit Pitre Landry, age 25, worked 7 arpents on the west bank and owned 9 swine, a horse, and 18 head of cattle.  Vincent Landry, age 50, a 1766 arrival, held 3 arpents on the west bank and owned 10 hogs, a horse, and 14 head of cattle.  Younger brother Pierre dit La Vielliarde Landry, age 45, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 32 swine, 4 sheep, 5 horses, 29 head of cattle, and 3 slaves.  Brother Étienne Landry, age 43, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 20 hogs, 10 sheep, 2 horses, 25 head of cattle, and 4 slaves.  Mathurin Landry, age 43, a 1768 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 25 hogs, 10 sheep, 2 horses, 28 head of cattle, and a slave.  Charles Landry, age 39, a 1766 arrival, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 18 hogs, 2 horses, 17 head of cattle, and a slave.  Younger brother Jacques Landry, age 34, held 2 lots, one 5 arpents "fallow, the other 6 arpents in production, both on the east bank, and owned 5 hogs, 5 horses, 14 head of cattle, and 2 slaves.  Joseph Landry, age 38, a 1765 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 30 swine, 8 sheep, 5 horses, 26 head of cattle, and a slave.  Basile Landry, age 27, a 1766 arrival, held 5 arpents on the west bank and owned 16 swine, 3 horses, and 18 head of cattle.  Joseph dit Belhomme Landry, age 25, a 1766 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 20 hogs, 8 sheep, 2 horses, 30 head of cattle, and 4 slaves.  Mare-Madeleine Landry, age 54, widow of Désiré LeBlanc, who had just died at age 60, a 1766 arrival, held 8 arpents on the west bank and owned 8 hogs, a horse, and 16 head of cattle.  Son Isaac LeBlanc, age 31, held 12 arpents on the east bank and owned 8 swine, 4 horses, 26 head of cattle, and a slave.  Son Jérôme LeBlanc, age 28, held 6 arpents on the west bank of the river and owned 8 hogs, no horses, 12 head of cattle, and 2 slaves.  Élisabeth Boudreaux, age 55, widow of René LeBlanc, a 1765 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 15 swine, 4 horses, and 17 head of cattle.  Son Simon LeBlanc, age 33, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 5 swine, a horse, and 20 head of cattle.  Pierre LeBlanc, age 46, a 1766 arrival, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 12 hogs, 8 sheep, 3 horses, and 21 head of cattle.  Sylvain LeBlanc, age 36, a 1766 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 15 swine, a horse, 21 head of cattle, and a slave.  Joseph Marant, age 48, a 1765 arrival, held an undetermined number of arpents on the west bank and owned 4 hogs, 2 horses, 2 head of cattle, and 2 slaves.  Charles Melançon, age 34, a 1766 arrival, held 11 arpents on the east bank and owned 15 hogs, 2 horses, and 28 head of cattle.   Charles Préjean, age 41, a 1765 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 4 swine, 2 sheep, 3 horses, and 14 head of cattle.  Younger brother Basile Préjean, age 22, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 10 swine, 8 sheep, 4 horses, and 11 head of cattle.  Joseph Caissie dit Roger, age 31, a 1765 arrival, held 12 arpents along the right bank of the river and owned 9 swine, 12 goats, 4 horses, and 20 head of cattle.415

The same contrast between the prairie and river settlements can be seen in the number of animals owned by the Acadians at San Gabriel in early 1777, the great majority of whom, it must be remembered, had come to the colony two years after most of the prairie Acadians arrived.  The census, completed in March, was conducted by San Gabriel commandant Louis Dutisné:  Pierre Allain, age 54, a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the east bank of the river at San Gabriel and owned 30 fowl, 18 hogs, 4 horses, and 18 head of cattle.  Son Jean-Baptiste, called Baptiste, Allain, age 26 and still unmarried, held 8 arpents on the east bank and owned 14 fowl, 10 hogs, 1 horse, and 12 head of cattle.  Pierre Babin, age 53, another 1767 arrival, held 12 arpents on the east bank and owned 20 fowl, 12 hogs, no horses, and 14 head of cattle.  Jean-Baptiste Babin, age 38, a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 20 fowl, 12 hogs, 2 horses, 20 head of cattle, and a black slave.  Ignace Babin, age 36, a widower soon to remarry, who had come to the colony in 1767, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 17 fowl, 14 hogs, no horses, and 12 head of cattle.  Younger brother Paul Babin, age 26 and still a bachelor, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 18 fowl, 6 hogs, and 2 head of cattle.  Étienne Babin, age 28 and newly married, a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 18 fowl, 8 hogs, 2 horses, and 10 head of cattle.  Younger brother Cyprien Babin, age 27, still a bachelor, held 5 arpents on the west bank and owned 15 fowl, 6 hogs, 3 horses, and 9 head of cattle.  Étienne Babin, age 23 and a bachelor, perhaps a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 18 fowl, 12 hogs, 3 horses, and 16 head of cattle.  Pierre-Olivier, called Oliver, Benoit, age 48, who had come to the colony in 1769 aboard the Britannia, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 14 fowl, 10 hogs, and 22 head of cattle.  Mathurin Benoit, age 20 and a bachelor, likely a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 14 fowl, 6 hogs, and 2 head of cattle.  Marie-Josèphe Landry, age 39, widow of Joseph Blanchard and soon to remarry, a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 20 fowl, 10 hogs, no horses, and 18 head of cattle.  Anselme Blanchard, age 36, a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 18 fowl, 8 hogs, 3 horses, 12 head of cattle, and 2 slaves.  Jérôme Blanchard, age 18 and a bachelor, perhaps a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank but the census taker did not count his animals.  Pierre Brasseaux, age 35, a 1767 arrival, held 12 arpents on the east bank and owned 30 fowl, 16 hogs, 7 horses, and 17 head of cattle.  Jean-Charles Breaux, age 44, who had come to the colony in 1768, held 9 arpents on the east bank and owned 40 fowl, 19 hogs, 6 horses, 20 head of cattle, and a slave.  Son Michel Breaux, age 23 and newly married, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 14 fowl, 12 hogs, 3 horses, and 9 head of cattle.  Marguerite Landry, age 41, widow of Antoine Breaux, another 1768 arrival, held 9 arpents on the east bank and owned 40 fowl, 18 hogs, 3 horses, and 20 head of cattle.  Son Joseph, age 23, held 6 arpents along the east bank and owned 20 fowl, 12 hogs, 2 horses, and 8 head of cattle.  Marie-Josèphe Landry, age 40, widow of Joseph Breaux, a 1768 arrival, held 8 arpents on the east bank and owned 30 fowl, 18 hogs, 4 horses, and 20 head of cattle.  Pierre Breaux, age 36 and still a bachelor, a 1768 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 10 fowl, 6 hogs, no horses, and 3 had of cattle.  Jean Breaux, age 26 and still a bachelor, who had come to the colony in 1766, held 6 arpents on the east side of the river and owned 18 fowl, 8 hogs, and 12 head of cattle.  Paul Chiasson, age 31, who had come to the colony perhaps from St.-Domingue in 1765, held 5 arpents on the east bank and owned 20 fowl, 8 hogs, 1 horse, and 12 head of cattle.  Pierre-Sylvain Clouâtre, age 37, a 1768 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 20 fowl, 12 hogs, no horses, and 9 head of cattle.  Younger brother Joseph Clouâtre, age 27, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 18 fowl, 12 hogs, no horses, and 10 head of cattle.  Jean-Charles, called Charles, Comeaux, age 28, a 1767 arrival, held 16 arpents along the east bank and owned 40 fowl, 21 hogs, 6 horses, 20 head of cattle, and 3 slaves.  Joseph Comeaux, age 26, a 1768 arrival, held 8 arpents on the east bank and owned 18 fowl, 8 hogs, no horses, and 10 head of cattle.  Augustin Dugas, age 30, perhaps a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 17 fowl, 5 hogs, 2 horses, and 8 head of cattle.  Pierre Dugas, age 23, perhaps a brother and a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 16 fowl, 8 hogs, 2 horses, and 10 cattle.  Alexandre Dugas, age 19 and a bachelor, perhaps another brother and a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 8 fowl, 4 hogs, and 6 head of cattle.  Joseph Dupuis, age 41, who had come to the colony during the 1760s probably from St.-Domingue, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 30 fowl, 10 hogs, 3 horses, and 12 head of cattle.  Nephew Jean-Baptiste Dupuis, age 25 and recently married, held 8 arpents on the west bank and owned 20 fowl, 10 hogs, and 8 head of cattle.  Brother Simon-Joseph, called Joseph, Dupuis, age 23 and a bachelor, held 8 arpents on the right bank and owned 14 fowl, 9 hogs, and 12 head of cattle.  Pierre Foret, age 42, probably a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 30 fowl, 12 hogs, 19 head of cattle, and a slave.  Paul Hébert, age 65, a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 40 fowl, 3 horses, 12 hogs, and 18 head of cattle.  Son Pierre-Paul Hébert, age 40, held 5 arpents on the west bank and owned 30 fowl, 12 hogs, 3 horses, and 14 head of cattle.  Son Joseph Hébert, age 37, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 25 fowl,, 10 hogs, 4 horses, and 12 head of cattle.  Son Jean-Baptiste, called Baptiste, Hébert, age 27, recently married, held 5 arpents on the west bank and owned 15 fowl, 2 horses, 12 hogs, and 7 head of cattle.  Son Amand Hébert, age 23 and recently married, held 5 arpents on the west bank, 20 fowl, 12 hogs, 2 horses, and 13 head of cattle.  Paul's younger brother Ignace Hébert, age 53, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 30 fowl, 15 hogs, and 16 head of cattle.  Alexandre Hébert, age 42, a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 20 fowl, 10 hogs, 2 horses, and 10 head of cattle.  Younger brother François Hébert, fils, age 39, held 5 arpents on the east bank and owned 19 fowl, 16 hogs, 3 horses, and 18 head of cattle.  Brother Amand Hébert, age 37, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 28 fowl, 3 horses, 14 hogs, and 18 head of cattle.  Brother Jean-Baptiste dit Petit-Jean Hébert, age 35, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 30 fowl, 12 hogs, 3 horses, and 20 head of cattle.  Brother Étienne Hébert, age 33, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 19 fowl, 12 hogs, 3 horses, and 14 head of cattle.  Brother Pierre-Caieton, called Caieton, Hébert, age 30 and recently married, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 20 fowl, 12 hogs, no horses, and 12 head of cattle.  Brother Joseph Hébert, age 28, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 18 fowl, 5 hogs, no horses, and 7 head of cattle.  Brother Charles Hébert, age 26, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 30 fowl, 18 hogs, 4 horses, 14 head of cattle, and a slave.  Pierre Hébert, age 40, a 1765 arrival, held 5 arpents on the west bank and owned 30 fowl, 12 hogs, 3 horses, and 14 head of cattle.  Augustin Landry, age 58, a 1767 arrival, held 10 arpents on the west bank and owned 30 fowl, 15 hogs, no horses, 18 head of cattle, and a slave.  Mathurin Landry, age 40, who had come to the colony in February 1765 with the Broussards, moved to Cabahannocer, and then to St.-Gabriel, held 6 arpents on the left bank and owned 20 fowl, 14 hogs, 12 head of cattle, and 3 slaves.  Anselme Landry, age 39, a 1767 arrival, held 8 arpents on the east bank and owned 13 fowl, 11 hogs, no horses, and 12 head of cattle.  Younger brother François-Sébastien Landry, age 36, held 12 arpents on the east bank and owned 20 fowl, 12 hogs, 3 horses, 12 head of cattle, and 3 slaves.  Brother Paul-Marie Landry, age 33, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 18 fowl, 10 hogs, no horses, and 12 head of cattle.  Brother Firmin Landry, age 29, held 8 arpents on the east bank and owned 30 fowl, 9 hogs, 3 horses, 12 head of cattle, and a slave.  Joseph Landry, age 38 and a widower, perhaps a 1767 arrival, held 8 arpents on the west bank and owned 17 fowl, 15 hogs, and 12 head of cattle.  Athanase Landry, age 35, a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 16 fowl, 8 bogs, no horses, and 10 head of cattle.  Hyacinthe Landry, age 34, a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 30 fowl, 12 hogs, 3 horses, 13 head of cattle, and a slave.  Brother Jean-Athanase Landry, age 26, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 20 fowl, 14 hogs, 3 horses, and 10 head of cattle.  Joseph Landry, age 22 and a bachelor, who may have come to the colony with the Breaus in 1768, held 10 arpents on the west bank and owned 12 fowl, 4 hogs, and 6 head of cattle.  Joseph Castille of Menorca, age 45, whose wife was a Landry, a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the east bank, and owned 18 fowl, 12 hogs, 10 head of cattle, and a slave.  Bonaventure LeBlanc, age 50, a 1767 arrival, held 10 arpents on the east bank and owned 30 fowl, 14 hogs, 3 horses, and 19 head of cattle.  Son Joseph dit Adons LeBlanc, age 25, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 15 fowl, 9 hogs, and 13 head of cattle.  Jean-Baptiste LeBlanc, age 28 and recently married, a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 18 fowl, 10 hogs, no horses, 8 head of cattle, and a slave.  Younger brother Pierre LeBlanc, age 24, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 15 fowl, 8 hogs, 3 horses, 10 head of cattle, and a slave.  Joseph dit Agros LeBlanc, age 22 and a bachelor, a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 16 fowl, 6 hogs, and 3 head of cattle.  Joseph-Michel, called Michel, LeBlanc, age 19 and still a bachelor, a 1767 arrival, held 4 arpents on the east bank and owned 18 fowl, 2 horses, 6 hogs, and 12 head of cattle.  Amand Melançon, age 49, a 1767 arrival, held 10 arpents on the west bank and owned 30 fowl, 16 hogs, 4 horses, 20 head of cattle, and a slave.  Joseph Orillion dit Champagne, age 29, a 1765 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 30 fowl, 14 hogs, no horses, and 12 head of cattle.  Pierre Richard, age 63 (the census taker said he was 32!), a widower, who arrived in 1767, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 12 fowl, 8 hogs, 2 horses, 10 head of cattle, and 6 slaves.  Marie Breaux, age 35, widow of son Amand Richard and soon to remarry, a 1767 arrival, held 12 arpents on the east bank and owned 30 fowl, 16 hogs, 3 horses, 18 head of cattle, and 2 slaves.  Simon-Henry Richard, age 37, a 1767 arrival, held 12 arpents along the east bank and owned 30 fowl, 10 hogs, no horses, and 11 head of cattle.  Younger brother Paul Richard, age 30 and recently married, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 20 fowl, 12 hogs, no horses, and 18 head of cattle.  Joseph Richard, age 30, probably a 1767 arrival, held 6 arpents on the east bank and owned 20 fowl, 12 hogs, 2 horses, 12 head of cattle, and a slave.  Étienne Rivet, age 60, who had come to the colony aboard the Britannia in 1769, held 10 arpents on the west bank and owned 14 fowl, 12 hogs, 2 horses, and 12 head of cattle.  Michel-Maxime Rivet, age 37, a 1768 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 12 fowl, 7 hogs, no horses, and 9 head of cattle.  Younger brother Cyrille Rivet, age 34, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 20 fowl, 15 hogs, no horses, and 10 head of cattle.  Brother Blaise Rivet, age 30, still a bachelor, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 12 fowl, 11 or 17 hogs, no horses, and 7 head of cattle.  François Rivet, age 26 and still a bachelor, a 1769 arrival, held 6 arpents on the west bank and owned 12 fowl, 8 hogs, and 4 head of cattle.414

The census taker at Cabahannocer in 1777, Commandant Michel Cantrelle, did not list the arpents of land held or the number of animals owned by each inhabitant, so an economic comparison with the other Acadian settlements is not possible.  However, the census, conducted from January to April, does provide the names and ages of the Acadian heads of families, as well as that of the adult bachelors, living on both banks of the Lower Acadian Coast that year.  A few, still living together on the east bank, had come to the colony from Georgia in 1764:  Jean-Baptiste Cormier, père, age 68; Joseph Landry, age 29; Jean-Baptiste, called Jean, Poirier, age 44; Jean-Baptiste, called Jean, Richard, age 58; son Jean-Marie, age 31; and son Joseph, who would have been age 19 and a bachelor.  Some had come to the colony with the Broussards from Halifax in February 1765 and moved to the river during the fall of that year:  Jean Arceneaux, age 49, living on the east bank; son Jean-Charles, called Charles, age 25, on the west bank; son Joseph, age 21 and a bachelor, on the east bank; son Guillaume, age 18 and a bachelor, on the east bank; Jean's younger brother Joseph, age 37, on the east bank; Pierre Arceneaux l'aîné, age 46, on the west bank; Amable Blanchard, age 35, on the east bank; Joseph Bourgeois, age 41, on the east bank; brother Michel, age 36, on the east bank; Pierre Darois, age 40, on the west bank; Joseph dit Cadet Dugas, age 24 and still a bachelor, on the east bank; Joseph Guidry, age 42, on the east bank; Ambroise Martin dit Barnabé, age 43, on the east bank; Marie Cormier, age 31, who came to the colony in 1764, widow of Michel Poirier, on the east bank; and Abraham Roy, age 46, on the east bank.  Most had come to the colony from Halifax in 1765 aboard later-arriving vessels:  Jean-Baptiste Bergeron dit d'Amboise, père, age 55, living on the west bank; son Jean-Baptiste dit d'Amboise, fils, age 27, on the west bank; Germain Bergeron, age 34, on the east bank; Pierre Bernard, age 46, on the east bank; son Jean-Baptiste, age 23 and recently married, on the east bank; son Pierre, fils, age 18 and a bachelor, on the east bank; Pierre Berteau, age 38, on the east bank; Joseph Blanchard l'aîné, age 38, on the east bank; Joseph Blanchard le jeune, age 29, on the west bank; brother Pierre, age 28 and a bachelor, on the east bank; Olivier Boudreaux, age 49, on the east bank; son Simon, age 24, on the east bank; Joseph Bourg, age 42, on the east bank; Pierre Bourg, age 27, on the east bank; Paul Bourgeois, age 45, on the east bank; Jean-Baptiste, called Baptiste, Bourgeois, age 44, on the east bank; brother Michel, age 43, on the east bank; Jean Bourgeois, age 38, on the east bank; Athanase Breaux, age 42, on the west bank; Pierre Chiasson, age 48, on the east bank; Michel Chiasson, age 18 and a bachelor, on the east bank; Joseph Dupuis, age 26, on the east bank; Charles Gaudet l'aîné, age 47, on the west bank; brother Jérôme, age 37, on the west bank; Joseph Gaudet, age 38, on the east bank; brother Charles le jeune, age 25 and still a bachelor, on the east bank; Bonaventure Gaudin dit Bellefontaine, père, age 62, on the west bank; son Bonaventure dit Bellefontaine, fils, age 24 and still a bachelor, on the west bank; son Michel dit Bellefontaine, age 21 and a bachelor, on the west bank; Jean-Baptiste Gaudin dit Bellefontaine, age 31, on the east bank; Jean Gaudin dit Bellefontaine, age 30 and still a bachelor, on the east bank; Simon Gautreaux, age 41, on the west bank; Firmin dit La Prade Girouard, age 28, on the east bank; François Hébert, age 42, on the east bank; brother Joseph, age 42, on the west bank; Antoine Labauve, age 51, on the east bank; twin sons Jean and Marin, age 18 and bachelors, on the east bank; Surgeon Philippe de St.-Julien Lachaussée, age 50, on the west bank; Pierre Lambert, père, age 51, on the east bank; son Pierre, fils, age 30 and still a bachelor, on the east bank; Pierre Lanoux, age 31, on the east bank; Joseph LeBlanc, père, age 57, on the west bank; son Joseph, fils, age 27, on the west bank; son Gilles, age 19 and a bachelor, on the west bank; Marcel LeBlanc, age 43, on the west bank; Jean Leger, age 55, on the east bank; Charles d'Amours de Louvière, age 27, on the east bank; Joseph Martin dit Barnabé, age 38, on the east bank; half-brother Paul dit Barnabé, age 28 and still a bachelor, on the east bank; Joachim dit Bénoni Mire, age 41, on the east bank; Louis Mouton, age 40, on the east bank; younger brother Simon, age 33, on the east bank; Pierre Part, age 28, on the east bank; younger brother François, age 24, on the east bank; Joseph Poirier, age 37, on the east bank; Joseph Richard, age 41, on the east bank; Jean Caissie dit Roger, age 20, a bachelor, on the west bank; Charles dit Jean-Charles Savoie, age 56, on the east bank; Joseph Sonnier, age 38 and a widower soon to remarry, on the east bank; younger brother Jean-Baptiste, age 31, on the east bank; Joseph Thériot, age 45, on the east bank; Thomas Thériot, age 32, on the east bank; younger brother Ambroise, age 29 and still a bachelor but soon to marry, on the east bank; brother François-Xavier, called Xavier, age 24 and still a bachelor, on the east bank; Charles Thibodeaux, age 38, on the east bank; and Pierre Vincent, age 32, on the east bank.  Some came to the colony from Maryland in 1766:  Joseph Babin, age 32, living on the west bank; Pierre Breaux, age 37, on the east bank; Étienne-Michel, called Michel, David dit St.-Michel, age 57, on the east bank; son Paul, age 23, on the east bank; son Jean-Baptiste, age 18 and a bachelor, on the east bank; Marie-Josèphe Landry, age 39, widow of Pierre Foret and soon to remarry to a French Canadian, on the east bank; François Landry, père, who would have been age 66, probably on the east bank; son François, fils, age 36, on the east bank; Jacques LeBlanc, age 69, on the west bank; Paul LeBlanc, 34, on the east bank; Simon LeBlanc, age 25, on the west bank; Osite Hébert, age 46, widow of Alexandre Melançon, on the east bank; son Pierre-Jacques, called Jacques, Melançon, age 27, on the east bank; brother Joseph, age 22 and a bachelor, on the east bank; brother Étienne, age 21 and a bachelor, on the east bank; and Jean-Baptiste Melançon, age 41, on the east bank.  A few had come to the colony in c1765 probably from St.-Domingue:  Paul Leger, age 19 and a bachelor, was working as an engagé on the east bank; and Pierre Michel, age 40, also was living on the east bank.  A few, still living on the west bank, had come to the colony from Maryland in 1768:  Alexis Breaux, age 53; son Joseph, age 26; Alexis's younger brother Honoré, père, who would have been age 46; and son Honoré, fils, age 30.  Two, living on the east bank, had come to the colony from Martinique during the late 1760s:  Charles Mouton, age 56; and son Georges, age 21 and still a bachelor.  And had come came to the colony during the late 1760s or early 1770s perhaps from St.-Domingue:  Pierre Arceneaux le jeune, age 28, living on the west bank; and Charles Comeaux, age 52, on the east bank.  Commandant Cantrelle did offer this impressive summation for St.-Jacques:  The district contained a total of 1,020 arpents of land fronting the river along both banks; 172 slaves, the largest numbers of them no doubt held by the Creole elite; 2,204 head of cattle; 388 horses; and 699 persons.  Of the 134 families counted at St.-Jacques that year, 96, or 72 percent, were Acadian, which was why the area was being called the First or Lower Acadian Coast.414a

The Acadian Coast was not a major cattle-producing area, hence the smaller number of beeves there compared to the prairie districts.  But the number of hogs and fowl held by the river Acadians, as well as the number of slaves they owned, testifies to their attainment of material comfort and an end to dependence on government handouts.  Andrew McMichael's description of another economy in the region during the late 1700s could apply to the Acadian Coast economy as well:  "These small farms also led to a more dynamic economy of the type usually associated with colonial New England.  As in the New England merchant and fishing communities of Boston, Providence, and elsewhere, Baton Rouge farmers produced such a variety of goods, including cattle and lumber, that the failure of one of them could be balanced by the abundance of another.  As in Natchez and Spanish East Florida, cattle ranching and lumbering could, to some extent, assuage the occasional economic setback caused by crop failure" or catastrophic floods.

After nearly a decade of Spanish rule and a dozen years in the colony, there was no question that the river Acadians, as well as their cousins on the prairies, had finally come into their own economically.  Especially impressive were the holdings of the 1768 arrivals from Maryland, whose year and a half at Fort San Luìs de Natchez was a time of misery and want.  After their release from the isolated outpost in December 1769, they hurried down to the Acadian Coast, where, after only a half dozen years of effort, they attained a level of material comfort on par with their Acadian kinsmen.414b 


The Acadians attained more than material comfort during the first decade of Spanish rule in Louisiana.  In 1770, Governor O'Reilly "ordered the construction of chapels and presbyteries in each Acadian settlement and, upon learning of the manpower deficiencies in the province's religious communities, appealed to the diocese of Havana for missionaries to staff the new parishes."  Roman Catholics every one, the Acadians welcomed the new houses of worship as well as the new priests.  When the first Acadians had come to the colony in 1764, there were only four established church parishes in western Louisiana:  St.-Louis at New Orleans, created in 1719; St.-Charles des Allemands on the German Coast, dating from 1722; St.-François de Assisi at Pointe-Coupée, founded in 1727; and a second St.-François, at Natchitoches, where a French priest took his post in 1728.  Each of these parishes answered to a vicar-general, sometimes Jesuit, sometimes Capuchin, residing at New Orleans, who represented the distant Bishop of Québec.  In 1763, when Canada became a British possession, the priests of lower Louisiana answered to the Bishop of French St.-Domingue.  In August 1769, after General Alejandro O'Reilly took formal possession of the colony for Spain, the priests in lower Louisiana answered to the Bishop of Santiago de Cuba.418 

When the Broussards journeyed to Attakapas in the spring of 1765, they took Capuchin Father Jean-François de Civray with them.  Tradition says that Father Jean-François created a church parish at Attakapas.  Father Jean-François, while living with the Acadians at Fausse Pointe, did keep an impromtu set of registers for births and especially burials, but this hardly constituted an ecclesiastical parish.  Nor did the "gouty" priest, as a young settler called him, remain at Attakapas.  His final entry in the parish register, the baptismal record of Acadian Marie Pellerin, is dated 11 January 1766.  In 1773, bayou residents chose a syndic, Jean Berard, to oversee construction of L'Église des Attakapas, or the Church of Attakapas, a small frame structure that arose on land donated by Jean-Antoine-Bernard Dauterive at present-day St. Martinville.  Despite possessing a chapel, the Attakapas residents could not attract a pastor to their erstwhile parish.  It was not unusual for Attakapas baptisms, marriages, and burials to be recorded by priests from other parishes during the earliest days of the parish.  Pointe Coupée lay near a northern route across the Atchafalaya Basin and was the closest church to Attakapas during much of that period, so the Pointe Coupée priest served as a missionary to Attakapas from the late 1760s.  The Opelousas parish, even closer to Attakapas, was founded in 1776, and the priests there served Attakapas residents during the late 1770s.  In 1779, even the curé of Ascension parish, out on the river, administered the sacraments to Attakapas settlers.  By 1781, however, residents of Attakapas finally were given a priest of their own--Father Hilaire de Genevaux, who came to them from Pointe Coupée.  During its early days, the Attakapas parish was variously called St.-Joseph and St.-Bernard, but in the early 1790s, when Father George Murphy served as pastor, it came to be known as St.-Martin des Attakapas or St.-Martin de Tours.  The parish council of St.-Martin de Tours owned the land around the church, which included much of today's downtown St. Martinville.  During the late 1790s, after St.-Martin de Tours had been firmly established, a unique lease-purchase arrangement was made between the church council and local merchants that existed for nearly a century.  By the twentieth century, the parish was calling itself the "Mother Church of the Acadians."417

As Acadians from Halifax and Maryland began to fill the empty spaces along Côte Cabahannocer above the German Coast, church authorities sent Father Barnabé from St.-Charles des Allemands to minister to their needs.  Beginning in March 1766 and continuing into the following year, Father Barnabé began to perform so many weddings at Cabahannocer that Co-commandant Louis Judice informed Spanish governor Ulloa in October 1767:  "It is a pleasure to see these poor people marry.  I expect many more marriages to take place in the near future."  The co-commandant was correct.  A month later Judice was telling the governor:  "I also have the honor of notifying you that Fr. Barnabé, pastor of the Des Allemands parish, has just spent six days at my home, during which time he performed five Acadian weddings.  Sir, as the priest celebrates holy mass in my house and as it cannot accommodate three or four hundred persons, as was the case on the eighth of this month, the priest has proposed construction of a shed, 40 feet long by 20 feet wide.  Roofed and enclosed by posts, it could serve as a church until better facilities are available.  Here, the Christian faithful could congregate on Sundays and feast days for public prayer until such time as we have a (resident) priest."  By July 1768, the temporary chapel was completed.  Father Barnabé blessed it and dedicated it to Sts. Jacques and Philippe.  On the day he reported the completion of the "shed," 2 July 1768, Co-commandant Judice informed Ulloa:  "The Acadians, who, so strong in their faith, had expressed the desire for a church, will today be able to gather in this chapel and openly worship together.  They have also agreed, in my presence, to pay 2 livres, 2 sols per family in order to pay for contractors.  There are many Acadians, however, who refused to pay their share.  I humbly beg you to authorize me to force these delinquents to pay their (church) taxes without further delay."  Despite the Acadians' protests, which dragged on for two years and also involved Co-commandant Verret, Governor-General  O'Reilly, Ulloa's successor, ordered the Acadians to pay their church dues.  Even then, they refused (an historian of the Acadians in Nova Scotia has remarked, "the Acadians were scarcely more willing to pay tithes than quitrents"), and it took a direct order from O'Reilly's successor, Governor Unzaga, to force the "delinquents" to pay their dues.  Meanwhile, in 1770, church authorities created a new parish for Cabahannocer, dedicated to St.-Jacques.  The church lay on the west bank of the river, near Jacques Cantrelle's concession, but the area along both banks, now being called the First or Lower Acadian Coast, soon was being called St.-Jacques as well.  The parish's first resident priest, French Capuchin Father Valentin, formerly of Natchitoches and Pointe Coupée, clashed with some of the Acadian men and was replaced by Spanish Capuchin Father Luis Lipiano de Tolosa in 1772.  Unlike the church at Attakapas, St.-Jacques maintained a resident priest throughout the Spanish period.419

In 1770, Spanish Governor Alejandro O'Reilly appointed Louis Judice to command a new district called Lafourche des Chitimachas, which lay on both banks of the river between Cabahannocer and San Gabriel and centered on the junction of Bayou Lafourche and the Mississippi River--the Fork.  In August, Commandant Judice conducted a census of the Acadian settlers in his new district and counted 84 families.  By August 1772, the area around the Fork had become populated enough for the Spanish to create a new church parish there:  La Parroquia de la Ascension de Nuestro Senor Jesu Christo de La Fourche de Los Tchitimacha, or the Church of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ, located at today's Donaldsonville.  The Acadians called their church and the area around it Ascension.  The founding pastor of Ascension church, Father Angelus de Revillagodos, perhaps the first Spanish Capuchin to administer a parish in Louisiana, died in the church rectory in December 1784 after serving Ascension for a dozen years.  The following year, he was replaced by Capuchin Father Joaquin de Ajofrin and then by Capuchin Father Pedro de Zamora.  Louis Judice served as commandant of Lafourche des Chitimachas well into the 1790s.420

In 1772, the same year Ascension parish was created, the Bishop of Santiago de Cuba created another new church parish on the river above New Orleans.  St.-Jean-Baptiste des Allemands, located at present-day Edgard, served what was now being called the Second, or Upper, German Coast, lying between St.-Charles des Allemands and St.-Jacques parishes.  The first pastor at St.-Jean-Baptiste des Allemands was Father Bernardo de Limpach, a Spanish Capuchin.  St.-Jean-Baptiste des Allemands was not an Acadian community, per se--most of its parishioners were Germans and French Creoles--but Acadians living on the lower end of the Acadian Coast appear in its registers.421 

By 1773, San Gabriel settlement, above Ascension, had become populated enough for a church of its own, appropriately dedicated to St.-Gabriel.  The church, now the oldest wooden church structure in the Mississippi valley, was built on the east bank of the river, south of the old fort, and the priests at San Gabriel served the smaller community on the west bank of the river as well.  The first pastor at St.-Gabriel church was the priest at Ascension, Capuchin Father Angelus de Revillagodas, who was assisted in the first years by fathers Aloysius and Louis-Marie Grumeau.  In 1779, French Capuchin Father Valentin, formerly of Pointe Coupée, St.-Jacques, and Opelousas, became pastor at St.-Gabriel but left in 1782, when Father Angelus de Revillagodas again served as pastor.  In 1783, French priest Father Charles N. M. D'Hermeville came to the parish and served as pastor for the next six years.422 

Meanwhile, out on the prairie, the population of the Opelousas District grew large enough to warrant a church parish of its own.  Originally a mission at the Courtableau vacharie that had been served by priests from Pointe Coupée as early as 1756, local residents built a chapel near Courtableau's homestead by 1767.  Not until 1776, however, did the area have its own church parish, dedicated first to the Immaculate Conception and then to St.-Landry of Sées, a fifth-century French bishop.  The parish's first pastor, French Capuchin Father Valentin, who had long served the area from his post at Pointe Coupée and who came to Opelousas from St.-Jacques on the river, was replaced by another French Capuchin, Father Louis Dubourg de St. Sepulchre, in 1777.  Father Louis-Marie Grumeau, a French Dominican, came in 1779 and remained until 1783.  During the late 1770s, the priests at Opelousas also ministered to the people of Attakapas, who did not have a resident priest of their own until 1781.  From 1779 to 1781, Opelousas priests also ministered to the Malagueños community at Nuéva Iberia on the lower Teche, where a resident priest was not assigned until 1838.423

Finally, after decades of neglect in Nova Scotia under British Protestant rule, and after years of seeing few, if any priests, during their Grand Dérangement, the Acadians of Louisiana had churches of their own and priests to minister to their religious needs.  But, like many things in Acadian life, there was a dark side to their Roman Catholic faith.  Whatever their devotion to the ancient religion, Acadians, especially the men, Carl Brasseaux informs us, "refused to extend to their new pastors the reverence the latter demanded in recognition of their social and religious positions.  Moreover, the exiles, who had awaited the priests' arrival with anticipation, soon chafed under the new theocratic local regime.  Indeed, many Acadians families were subjected to close scrutiny by Catholic clergymen for the first time in generations and bitterly resented the intrusion into their daily lives."  During the late 1760s, some of the French Capuchins who visited their settlements "shared the aristocratic Creole's view of the exiles as ignorant peasants, definitely socially inferior to men of the cloth."  After 1770, many of the Acadians' pastors were zealous Spaniards, not all of whom spoke French.  These factors combined to awaken the Acadians' traditional anti-clericalism.  Arrogant, assertive priests who interfered in their lives joined colonial officials in misunderstanding and then condemning the new arrivals.  "The traditional Acadian ambivalence toward the church ... persisted," Brasseaux continues:  "in the frontier tradition, they remained largely self-sufficient in religious matters but were nevertheless forced to rely upon the church for many essential services.  The church's role in their lives, however, had to be entirely passive.  Any effort by clerics to become more than a peripheral influence was viewed as a move toward church domination, and any perceived encroachment upon Acadian independence elicited a hostile if not belligerent reaction."  Thus, the Acadians' devotion to Roman Catholicism masked a deeper essence in their collective souls--a stubborn independence born of long experience on the North American frontier, something they shared with many of their neighbors in this strange new land of clashing cultures.416


Their anti-clericalism was not the only divisive attitude the Acadians brought with them to Louisiana.  For most of their time along the Bay of Fundy, they had lived in harmony with the Mi'kmaq and other nations of the region.  This changed dramatically by the early 1750s, when Abbé La Loutre and other fanatical French priests turned the Mi'kmaq against the Acadians who refused to join the fight against Britain.  As a result, many Acadians blamed their troubles not only on their British overlords, but also on the bellicose French and their Indian allies.  Although British colonists called the Acadians "Neutral French," they treated the exiles from Nova Scotia as enemies.  This had as much to do with the devastating French and Indian raids along the colonial frontiers as with the Acadians' French language and Roman Catholic faith.  The Virginians, for example, taking counsel of their fears, shipped off to England as soon as they could the hundreds of Acadians Governor Lawrence had foisted on them.  The governors of South Carolina and Georgia were so eager to be rid of the Acadians who appeared in their colonies they encouraged them to hire boats and return to Nova Scotia.  Soon after coming to Louisiana, the exiles could see that here, too, was a hornet's nest of imperial conflict in which the French and then the Spanish encouraged their Indian allies to stand against the British.  Here was the rule, not the exception, in Euro-Indian relations throughout North America.  "This mental framework, in which Indians were viewed paradoxically as economic partners but also as potential military rivals," Carl Brasseaux informs us, "was carried to Louisiana as part of the exiles' cultural baggage."485 

Troubled relations with the local Indians was especially acute along the Mississippi.  On the east bank of the river, across from the Fork, stood a village of the Houma, who had been driven downriver from their traditional homeland decades before.  No nation, from the days of Iberville to the arrival of Ulloa, had been more loyal to the French than the Houma.  In September 1767, soon after Spanish Governor Ulloa settled 200 Acadians recently arrived from Maryland on the river just above the Houma village, the commandant at Cabahannocer, Louis Judice, wrote to Governor Ulloa:  "For quite some time now, the Houma Indians have wanted to go down to the city to see you.  Since I know these people to be tiresome and annoying, I have always tried to discourage them.  Today, however, I was unable to detain them any longer.  They told me that they were going to see their father (the governor).  They asked me to write you a letter, and I was unable to deny their request.  It is, therefore, on their account that I have the honor to write you today."  The following December, Commandant Judice, in another letter to Ulloa, alluded to Houma "insults to the Acadians."  By the early 1770s, the Acadians' growing numbers and Houma recalcitrance led to more violence between the two peoples--a circumstance that reminded many Acadians of the bad times back in British Nova Scotia.  Acadians living near the Fork became so frustrated with the failure of Spanish officials, including Commandant Judice, to curb Houma hostility that they threatened to leave the colony.  They did not leave, of course, nor did the commandant follow through on his threats against the Houma.  By the late 1770s, Houma braves, filled with rum purchased from local Creole merchant Jean-Baptiste Chauvin, were routinely stealing rice and corn from Acadians' fields and rustling their hogs.  The Indians then sold the hogs to the British so that they could buy more rum from Chauvin, who hid his stash of illegal liquor in the woods behind Ascension church.  "Emboldened by alcohol, Houma Indians raided Acadians by day and, when their victims resisted, fired into their homes."  Again, Judice addressed the crisis by writing more letters of complaint to the governor, first Unzaga and then Gálvez, but nothing came of it.  A respite in bad relations with the Houma occurred during the fall of 1785, when a dozen warriors from that nation helped suppress a slave insurrection in the area.  But prejudices still raged between the two peoples, and relations soon deteriorated.  "The continuing feud and the unwillingness of local officials to discipline unruly tribesmen heightened the frustrations of Lafourche Valley Acadians," Brasseaux notes.  Intimidated by the violent tendencies exhibited by inebriated Houma tribesmen, many settlers had watched helplessly as their hogs--an important source of income to Acadians east of the Atchafalaya River--were destroyed and a portion of their crops was removed.  Seething with anger, the Acadians awaited an opportunity to vent their frustrations.486 

Some relief for the Acadians living near the Fork came in 1788, when a smallpox epidemic forced the surviving Houma to migrate to lower Bayou Lafourche.  However, a small band of Choctaw who had lived with the Houma remained at Ascension.  In 1789, they made the mistake of raiding the plantation of Commandant Judice's son and threatened to kill the younger Judice.  The aggrieved father turned to his Acadian militia for help.  They followed the commandant to his son's plantation and formed an ambuscade in the dark.  When the Choctaw confronted Judice, the commandant gave the signal, and the Acadians sprang the trap.  Ignoring the commandant's instructions, the Acadians opened fire on the fleeing Indians and captured five of them, which they escorted to New Orleans for trial.  Other Indians in the area noted the Acadians' warlike actions and stayed clear of them, so much so that Acadian-Indian contact along the river and on upper Bayou Lafourche virtually ceased.487

Acadian-Indian relations on the western prairies was a different matter.  When the Broussard party reached Bayou Teche in the spring of 1765, the Opelousa were too few in number to menace the Creoles and Acadians who settled in the area.   The Atakapa were a much more numerous nation, living in villages along the upper Teche; on the lower Vermilion River; on Bayou Queue de Tortue, a tributary of the Mermentau River; near Lake Arthur on the Mermentau; on lower Bayou Nezpique near its confluence with Bayou Plaquemine Brûlé; and farther out on the Calcasieu prairies.  Among the prairie Acadians, to be sure, were families from the Chignecto region who had suffered at the hands of Abbé Le Loutre and his Mi'kmaq warriors, and so they would have been burdened with the same attitude towards the Indians exhibited by their cousins along the river. The Broussards and many of their kin, however, had no such legacy of fear and distrust.  Here were former resistance fighters who had been living in French, not British territory, in 1755, who had never embraced neutrality, and whose relations with the Mi'kmaq, who fought beside them, had always been friendly.  The Broussards brought this attitude with them to Louisiana, and the Atakapa evidently responded in kind.  Tradition says that during the epidemic which devastated the Teche valley Acadians during their first months in the region, local Atakapa treated them with herbal remedies, a kindness the Acadians would not have forgotten.  Just as significantly, the prairie Acadians got along with the fierce Chitimacha, who lived near them on lower Bayou Teche.488

Another factor in cordial relations between the prairie Acadians and the Atakapa was an economic tie based on cattle raising and land acquisition.  The Atakapa were noted for their skilled cattlemen and their accomplished rustlers.  By the early 1770s, the Atakapas were providing Acadians with horses stolen from Spanish Texas.  They also rustled cattle from Texas ranches and sold freshly-slaughtered beef and cowhides to the Acadians, who may have encouraged them to rustle livestock for the Acadians' growing herds.  By 1772, the Spanish abandoned their presidio at Los Adaes east of the Sabine, which had served as the capital of Texas for half a century.  Moving provincial headquarters all the way back to San Antonio de Béxar meant fewer Spanish troops east or west of the Sabine could harass the Atakapas in their rustling activities.  But such was not the case in Spanish Louisiana.  As the number of European settlers increased on the prairies, the Atakapas migrated westward to the Calcasieu region, selling their abandoned lands in the Mermentau valley to encroaching Europeans, including Acadians.  As a result, the Atakapas literally were becoming marginalized in the Louisiana prairie region, which resulted in fewer contacts with area Acadians.  The same held true for the Chitimacha, whose determination to maintain their cultural autonomy confined them to a small, isolated piece of land on lower Bayou Teche.489 


When the first wave of Acadian immigration to Louisiana ended by 1770, the exiles outnumbered the socially- and economically-dominant French Creoles in each of their communities except one.  Cabahannocer, Ascension, and San Gabriel on the river now were being called the Acadian coasts.  The Attakapas region became predominantly Acadian from the moment the Broussard party arrived.  Not even the creation of a Spanish colony on the lower Teche challenged the Acadians' numerical dominance in the district.  Only at Opelousas did Acadians remain a numerical minority.  Above the Acadian Coast lay Pointe Coupée, where few Acadians settled.  Below the Acadian Coast lay the German Coast, where only a few Acadians lived.  Fewer still remained in the Creole bastion at New Orleans.  After the Acadian refugees from the Britannia left Natchitoches in April 1770, none of them returned to the Red River post.  Moreover, in each of the communities in which the Acadians settled, French Creoles already had been living there.  Acadian insularity alienated their Creole neighbors, as did the Acadians' poverty, stubbornness, disrespect, and their infuriating egalitarianism.  That the exiles now outnumbered them in so many places did not endear the haughty French Creoles to these "peasants" from the north.425 

But there was one thing the Acadians did possess that caught the attention of at least one element of créole society.  Among the Acadians were many daughters of marriageable age.  To be sure, most of these young Acadian women married their own kind, and some of them wasted little time doing it.  The first recorded Acadian marriage in Louisiana, a Thibodeau/Bourg union, occurred at New Orleans in late February 1765; the couple settled at Attakapas.  On a day in early April, also in the city, a Darois married a Bourgeois, and a Girouard married a Trahan.  They, too, went to the Attakapas District, but the Daroiss moved on to Cabahannocer.  In July, at New Orleans, a Savoie and a Landry married and settled at Cabahannocer.  In December, again at New Orleans, a Gaudet/Bourgeois marriage was blessed; they, too, settled at Cabahannocer, where, from the end of March 1766 through June 1768, co-commandants Louis Judice and Nicolas Verret oversaw in their homes the marriage of 39 other couples.  Only two of those marriages included non-Acadians, both of them grooms.426 

Soon after they reached the colony, then, Acadians engaged, slowly but surely, in what sociologists call exogamy--marriage outside of ones culture.  The earliest recorded marriage in Louisiana between an Acadian and a non-Acadian occurred on 17 January 1766 at New Orleans:  Rose Thibodeau, widow of Claude Richard, married Jacques LaChaussée, fils from Côte-de-Beaupré, just below Québec.  Rose, a native of Pointe-Beauséjour, Chignecto, had come to the colony from Halifax.  The couple settled at Cabahannocer.  Rose died soon after the marriage, perhaps from the rigors of childbirth, and Jacques remarried to Acadian Marie-Marthe LeBlanc at Cabahannocer in early February 1768.  The other exogamous marriage at Cabahannocer in its early years was that of Saturnin Bruno, probably an Italian, and Scholastique, called Colette, Léger in April 1768.  Another early Acadian "mixed" marriage was that of Anne Arosteguy to Bernard Capdeville of Bern, Switzerland, a military surgeon in the Spanish army, at New Orleans in late February 1766.  Bernard remarried to Acadian Anne Clouâtre at Pointe Coupée in December 1768, when he was serving at Fort San Luìs de Natchez.  The first recorded marriage between an Acadian and a Frenchman in Louisiana was that of Cécile Bergeron, widow of Joseph Dugas, a victim of the Attakapas epidemic of 1765, and Nicolas Lahure of Longwy, Lorraine, at New Orleans in March 1767.  They settled at Cabahannocer.  Marguerite Bujole of Pigiguit married Augustin Constant, a "publican" from d'Arbone, France, at Cabahannocer in August 1770, and remarried to military physician and lieutenant Don Juan Vives of Valencia, Spain, at Ascension in February 1780.  Acadian women, in fact, began marrying Spaniards, most of them soldiers, soon after they reached the colony.  In March 1767, Marie Granger married Manuel Quintero, a first sergeant in the Spanish service, at New Orleans.  They moved upriver to the Baton Rouge area in the 1770s.  Marie Hébert married Spanish soldier Agústín Moreno at Pointe-Coupée in September 1767; the couple were from Fort San Luìs de Natchez.  Marie-Françoise Boutin married Juan Antonio Segovia at Pointe Coupée in April 1768; the couple were from Fort San Gabriel.  In September 1768, at New Orleans, Marguerite Landry married Agústín Sierra, a master blacksmith from the Canary IslandsThe earliest recorded Acadian exogamous marriage in the prairie districts was that of Anastasie, called Stasie, Guénard and French Canadian Amable dit Beaulieu Bertrand at Opelousas on 9 February 1766; a priest from Pointe Coupée probably performed the marriage.  At the end of October 1767, Acadian Marguerite Martin dit Barnabé of Chignecto, widow of René Robichaux, married French surgeon Antoine Borda at the home of neighbor Michel Doucet at Attakapas; this marriage also was performed probably by a priest from Pointe Coupée.  During the late 1760s, Madeleine Sonnier of Petitcoudiac married Joseph Chrétien at Opelousas.  Joseph became a prominent cattleman and planter in the Grand Coteau area.  Catherine-Françoise Pitre of Opelousas married Frenchman Pierre Joubert dit Bellerose during the 1760s.  The first Broussard to marry a non-Acadian was Isabelle, a granddaughter of Alexandre dit Beausoleil, who married Michel Meaux of Chaillevette, Saintonge, France, at Attakapas in February 1770; the marriage probably was performed by a priest from Pointe Coupée; this was, in fact, the first of Isabelle's three marriages to non-Acadian spouses.  As expected, Acadians took their time surrendering their children to French Creoles.  The first recorded marriage between an Acadian and a French Creole may have been that of Marie-Modeste Savoie, widow of Paul Léger, and Jean-Baptiste Missonnière, "agent of College of Four Nations," at Opelousas in January 1769; the marriage was performed by a priest from Pointe Coupée.  The day after Christmas 1769, Marie-Rose Benoit, who had reached Natchitoches with her family in late October after a 420-mile trek from coastal Texas, married Romain Delafosse of Natchitoches, who may have been born in the colony.  A few weeks later, another young Acadian at Natchitoches, Marguerite Lejeune, married Jacques Croque or Crooks at the Red River post.  In January 1769, Marie-Rose and Marguerite, with their families, had taken ship from Port Tobacco, Maryland, aboard the English schooner Britannia, and here they were, only a few months in the colony, marrying men from an alien culture.  In June 1770, Marie-Josèphe Breau married François Moreau, fils, at Cabahannocer.  In April 1771, Marguerite Prince married Allibamont Jean-Louise Bonin at Attakapas; the marriage was performed by a priest from Pointe Coupée.  Marie Brasseaux married Hubert Janis at Ascension on the river in October 1772 and followed him to Opelousas.  Marin Mouton married Allibamont Marie-Josèphe Lambert of Mobile at St.-Jacques, formerly Cabahannocer, in January 1777.  Hélène Martin dit Barnabé married Allibamont Morice Fontenot at St.-Jacques in January 1778; Hélène's sister Isabelle married Morice's brother Augustin at St.-Jacques three years later.  In July 1772, at Attakapas, Françoise Trahan married Jacques Fostin, fils of Illinois; this marriage, too, was performed by a priest from Pointe Coupée.  In February 1784, Marie-Madeleine Bujole, Marguerite's younger sister, married Auguste, son of former commandant Nicolas Verret, père, at Ascension, an early, and rare, instance of an Acadian marrying into a socially-prominent French Creole family.  The earliest recorded marriage between an Acadian and a German Creole may have been that of Marie David and Antoine Chauffe, originally Schaaf, of St.-Charles des Allemands, at St.-Jacques in January 1774.  Later that year, at Opelousas, Michel Cormier, a widower, married Catherine, daughter of Johann Georg Stahlin, called Stelly, a former Swiss mercenary from Alberhausen, Württemberg, and Christine Edelmayer.  Basile Deroche married Marie Edelmayer, a widow and kinswoman of Johann Georg Stelly's wife, at St.-Jacques in September 1778.  It took even longer for Acadians to marry Anglo Americans.  In July 1781, Jean-Charles Comeaux, a widower living at San Gabriel on the river, married Anne Catherine, called Catherine, daughter of Daniel Boush or Bush of Virginia,.427 

South Louisiana church records reveal 483 Acadian marriages recorded during the first 20 years of the exiles' presence in the colony.  Of these recorded marriages, 74, or a bit over 15 percent, were exogamous.  As Louisiana historian Glenn Conrad attests:  "... this investigator was surprised to discover how soon and to what extent Acadians were marrying non-Acadians."  True, the great majority of Acadians in Louisiana, then and in the decades to follow, married their own kind.  However, considering that these marriages occurred during a time when Acadians were struggling to establish their place in Spanish Louisiana, the number of these "mixed" marriages is remarkable.  They also hint that the Acadian culture in Louisiana was evolving into something different from the culture of their fathers.428


Unlike in Acadie, where the Acadians were numerically if not politically dominant in most corners of the colony, Spanish Louisiana contained a potpourri of exotic European cultures.  French Creoles, including Allibamonts and Illinoisans; French Canadians; recent arrivals from France; German and Swiss Creoles; Italians and Spaniards; and even Anglo Americans, most from the Carolinas and Virginia, populated the colony.  No matter, given the size and the potential of the colony, Governor Unzaga and his successors knew that Louisiana was "dangerously underpopulated."  This had been true when the colony had been French; the dearth of new immigrants was a major reason why France had ceded Louisiana to Spain.  Ironically, just as France was handing over the colony to its Bourbon ally, hundreds of Acadians poured into Louisiana--"Frenchmen" seeking refuge in a "French" colony--but Acadian immigration had virtually ceased by the eve of Unzaga's governorship.  During his seven years as governor, few new immigrants came to Louisiana.  One would think a flood of Spaniards would have poured into the colony after O'Reilly had subdued the French Creoles in 1769, but it did not happen.  Potential Spanish emigrants preferred more southern climes than the recently-acquired borderlands along the Mississippi.  Moreover, a Spaniard who settled in Mexico or in another part of New Spain, even in what was left of the Spanish domain in the Caribbean, would not have been troubled by Englishmen living so near; Jamaica, for instance, was no threat to Cuba and Santo Domingo.  Along the Mississippi, however, the aggressive English occupied the river's opposite bank along its entire length above Bayou Manchac.  While the population of Spanish Louisiana stagnated, Loyalists from the Atlantic colonies poured into British West Florida, "some 1,312 and 1,643 immigrants," most from South Carolina and Georgia, as well as a substantial number from the British West Indies, between 1775 and 1781.  This gave the province a population of from 7,000 to 8,000 by 1783, about half that of Spanish Louisiana.  Not until after Bernardo de Gálvez succeeded Unzaga as governor in 1777 did Spaniards come to Louisiana in substantial numbers, and most of them came not from the Iberian peninsula but from Spanish-controlled islands off the coast of West Africa.429 

They were the Isleños, and they came from the Canary Islands.  When Gálvez succeeded Unzaga as governor in January 1777, his uncle, José de Gálvez, Minister of the Indies, ordered him to conduct a colony-wide census, which the colony's commandants completed in May.  The results were disappointing; the census showed that, despite the Acadian migrations of the 1760s, the colony's population had increased but slightly since the Spanish succeeded the French.  Acadian immigration had ended in 1769, so Gálvez had to look elsewhere for potential colonists who could serve as militia or as recruits in the colony's Fixed Battalion.  In 1778, the governor and his uncle the Minister, using Lieutenant-Colonel Andrés Amat de Tortosa as a recruiting agent, lured hundreds of Canary Islanders to Cuba aboard eight vessels, five of which sailed on to lower Louisiana.  So many Isleños came to the colony, in fact--2,000 by one count--that Gálvez was able to establish four widely separated communities for them, forming a "protective ring around New Orleans."429a 

Gálvez sent the first contingent of Isleños to the San Gabriel area in January 1779.  He settled them at Gálveztown, also called Villa de Gálvez, just south of the confluence of Bayou Manchac and the Amite River, across from present-day Port Vincent.  Anglo Americans fleeing British forces in the area had started the remote settlement only a short time before Gálvez came to survey the place in late November 1778.  To win the governor's favor, the Anglos named their little town after him.  After he moved the Isleños to the Amite, Gálvez ordered them to build a fort at Gálveztown to intercept British traders who might penetrate the Isle of Orleans via that quarter and also to counter the build up of British defenses in the area.  The town eventually numbered "some 400 people."  Not long after its founding, Governor Gálvez sent a Spanish missionary, Father Francisco Lopez, to the fortified outpost.  The priest boarded with the post's commandant, Sublieutenant Francisco Collel, and said Mass in a chapel, dedicated to San Bernardo, attached to one end of the garrison's barracks.  After Father Lopez died in an epidemic that struck the settlement later in 1779, the priest from San Gabriel, 15 miles away, administered the sacraments at Galveztown for most of the rest of its short history.424

Meanwhile, in early 1779, Gálvez established a post on upper Bayou Lafourche near present-day Belle Rose a few miles southwest of the Fork.  Here, François-Xavier Martin noted, was a promising settlement area, characterized by soil "of alluvial origins, like the Mississippi bottoms, which they resemble in every respect" and "appear of older formation; at least it is more impregnated with oxid of iron, its vegetable fossils more decayed, and the canes and timber, which it produces, are generally larger than those on the banks of the Mississippi"--evidence that the Lafourche and its own distrubutaries may have served as an early channel to the Gulf.  Moreover, the banks of the Lafourche and its outlets lay "several feet above the high water mark," requiring "no levee, like those of the Mississippi:  the land wants little or no ditches, as it drains naturally:  the water has traced with the hand of time its own gullies."  Gálvez called the new post Villa de Valenzuéla after the family of his aunt, the wife of his uncle the Minister, and there he settled another contingent of Isleños.  The first commandant at Valenzuéla was Lieutenant Gilbert-Antoine de Saint-Maxênt, father-in-law of governors Unzaga and Gálvez.  Saint-Maxênt quarreled constantly with Louis Judice, the commandant at nearby Ascension, who claimed that Valenzuéla was part of his district.  The Spanish gave an Acadian, Anselme Blanchard of San Gabriel, a contract to clear the land and build the houses for the first settlers at Valenzuéla.  Blanchard, a captain in the Acadian Coast militia, succeeded Saint-Maxênt as commandant at Valenzuéla in August 1781.  He served in the position until 1784, when complaints from the Isleños and a Spanish officer assigned to the post led to his removal.  Meanwhile, over a dozen Acadian families from Acension and other settlements along the river joined the Isleños on the upper Lafourche.  Anselme Blanchard's successor as commandant at Valenzuéla was Nicolas Verret, fils, whose father had served as co-commandant at St.-Jacques with Nicolas, fils's uncle-by-marriage, Louis Judice.  Nicolas, fils was only 33 years old in late 1784 when he assumed his duties as commandant on the upper Lafourche.  During the first year of his tenure, the man who had appointed him, Gálvez's successor Estevan Miró, ordered the redrawing of the boundaries between the Ascension and Valenzuéla districts.  As a result of the new survey, the Ascension District ran not only along the river above and below the Fork, but also along both banks of Bayou Lafourche for the first 40 arpents down from its confluence with the Mississippi.  (An arpent, in this case, was equal to 192 feet or 64 yards in the English measure, so 40 arpents of length would have been about 7,680 feet, or just short of a mile and a half, though the curvature of the upper bayou made it difficult to set the exact boundary between the two districts.)  The Valenzuéla District ran the rest of the way down the bayou, the lower part of which was inhabited only by Indians.430

In early 1779, Gálvez sent another contingent of 42 Isleños families to the "high" ground along Bayou Terre-aux-Boeufs below New Orleans.  The Isleños called their settlement La Conception and then Nueva Gálvez in honor of the governor, but both names eventually gave way to San Bernardo, the governor's patron saint.  Of the four Isleño settlements Gálvez established, San Bernardo was the most successful and the most enduring despite frequent flooding and the ravages of hurricanes.  It also was the only Isleño settlement in Louisiana that survived as a Spanish-speaking community.  The governor ordered the building of a church at Nueva Gálvez soon after its establishment, but, until 1787, the settlers were served by priests from New Orleans.  In 1783, when more Isleños reached Louisiana, Spanish authorities sent most of them to San Bernardo, doubling the size of the settlement.  Eventually, four distinct communities grew up along the bayou.  Serving as commandant at San Bernardo from its inception was the French-Creole aristocrat who had donated land for the settlement, Pierre de Marigny de Mandeville.431

The fourth Isleños community was at Barataria on the edge of the coastal marshlands south of New Orleans.  Like Gálveztown and Valenzuéla, Barataria did not survive, at least not as an Isleño community.432 


Nor did the fifth community Gálvez founded in 1779 remain Spanish beyond the first few generations.  This community, unlike the others, was founded west of the Atchafalaya Basin and was the only settlement composed of Spaniards from the Iberian peninsula.  Though Gálvez can take credit for founding New Iberia, its true founder was an officer who had first come to the colony with "Bloody" O'Reilly a decade earlier. 

Francisco Domingo Joseph Bouligny, a native of Alicante on Spain's Costa Blanca near Málaga, was a 33-year-old army lieutenant when he served as O'Reilly's aide-de-camp and as interpreter during the trail of the conspirators who had ousted Ulloa.  In November 1769, Bouligny was promoted to brevet captain and made the adjutant of the Fixed Battalion of Louisiana Infantry, which O'Reilly organized for the colony's defense before he returned to Havana.  In December 1770, Aide-major Bouligny married Marie-Louise, 20-year-old daughter of Frenchman Vincent-Guillaume Le Sénéchal d'Auberville, who had served as acting ordonnateur of the colony under Vaudreuil and Kerlérec before he died in office, and Canadian Marie-Françoise Petit de Coulange, at New Orleans; Marie-Louise gave Francisco five children, three sons and two daughters.  During Unzaga's governorship, Bouligny became a full captain in October 1772 but a year later was suspended from his post as adjutant of the Fixed Battalion after being accused "of keeping  unsatisfactory battalion records."  Though reinstated in April 1774, he returned to Spain the following year, doubtlessly to clear his name.  While there, he gave much thought to his new home in the Mississippi valley.  In 1776, he submitted to Minister of the Indies José de Gálvez "a lengthy Memoria describing the natural resources, population, and exposed position of the colony of Louisiana, and making recommendations for remedial action."  Nothing had changed in the way of the colony's defensibility since Ulloa and Aubry a decade earlier had concluded that the frontier Spain shared with Britain was one vast avenue of invasion.  "Among his suggestions," historian Gilbert C. Din informs us, "Bouligny advocated building up a protective bulwark by placing fifty families at intervals along the Mississippi River.  Male settlers would serve two years in the army, followed by militia duty when needed."  The captain had served in the colony long enough to know that Acadians, with their insistence on remaining close to their extended families, would refuse to be a part of any such scheme.  They would serve as militia in their present communities on the river and out on the prairies, but no force on earth could disperse them again without bloody resistance.  Bouligny hoped to find his soldier-settlers in Spain.  However, despite his belief "that he could obtain recruits in the Spanish provinces of Valencia and Murcia," he found Iberians willing to go to Louisiana only in Málaga, a Mediterranean port northeast of Gibraltar, and in the Canary Islands.432a 

In November 1776, Bouligny's report to the Minister of the Indies earned him an appointment as "lieutenant-governor of Louisiana in charge of new settlements, commerce, and Indian relations."  He returned to New Orleans at the end of Unzaga's governorship and served in his new post under the Minister's nephew, Bernardo de Gálvez.  In August 1777, Bouligny was promoted to brevet lieutenant-colonel, a rank more appropriate for his elevated duties.  As part of his duties, he suggested to Governor Gálvez "the founding of a settlement deep in the interior" of Spanish Louisiana "to expand agricultural output, boost the colony's population, and defend the territory against British intrusion."  He suggested Ouachita in present-day northeastern Louisiana.  The governor agreed to the creation of such a settlement but not to its location.  Ouachita, the governor believed, "sat too far from New Orleans, too close to hostile Indians, and would inflate the cost of the venture."  In late 1778, while Gálvez was preparing to settle the Isleños east of the Atchafalaya Basin, he ordered Bouligny to lead 60 or so Spaniards recently arrived from Málaga not to Ouachita but to lower Bayou Teche.  In late January 1779, Bouligny led an advance party of 20 Malagueños, soldiers, oarsmen, artisans, and 30 slaves from New Orleans to the lower Teche via the same route the Beausoleil Broussard Acadians had taken 14 years earlier.  They reached the head of the bayou on February 11, Bouligny later reported.  There they met Commandant Alexandre-François-Joseph DeClouet de Piedre, who had replaced Gabriel Fuselier de la Claire as commandant of both of the prairie districts in 1774 and would advise Bouligny and the Malagueños on their selection of a settlement site.  Bouligny chose a site below the Acadians and Allibamonts at Fausse Pointe just above the Chitimacha village of Chief Kamin Nu Tuh, known to the Europeans as Soulier Rouge.  Bouligny sited the new post and the settlement's common grazing land on the west bank of the bayou, where two gens de couleur libres already dwelled, and provided each Spanish family with six arpents frontage on the east bank for cultivating their crops.  Bouligny compensated the Chitimacha for two cabins and a fence on the property with 15 pesos in coin and 100 pesos worth of presents, including 30 pounts of glass beads.  DeClouet promised one of the free men of color living on the site a parcel of land farther down the bayou and banished the other free man of color without compensation.  Bouligny employed the 30 African slaves he had taken along to build the new post, including two warehouses of palmetto logs, palmetto-log huts for the settlers, soldiers, and craftmen, a 240-foot bridge of cypress logs to span the bayou, and fences for the village corral, which would hold the settlers' livestock, including "thirty-two teams of wild and domesticated oxen, six horses, 'and many pigs and chickens,'" purchased from DeClouet.  After the rest of the settlers arrived, they sowed "hemp, flax, wheat, and barley.  Although the hemp and flax seeds failed to germinate," Shane Bernard informs us, miraculously "the wheat and barley thrived even in the subtropical climate." 

The work of the Africans and the Malagueños did not endure.  That spring, hard, incessant rain raised the lower Teche higher than anyone could remember.  When the rain ceased, six to eight feet of bayou water covered the new settlement.  Bouligny "responded to the catastrophe by moving Nueva Iberia," his name for the settlement, "about twenty miles upstream to the foot of the Fausse Pointe oxbow, at a place called Petite Fausse Pointe," just below the Acadians and Allibamonts.  The new site, also on the bayou's west bank, today's downtown New Iberia, offered two advantages not found at the original one.  A portage ran between the bayou and a fresh-water which lay in the prairie northwest of the settlement.  Lac Flamand, named after Jean-Baptiste Grevemberg dit Flamand and later called Lake Tasse for its cup-like configuration, today's Spanish Lake, Bouligny assured the governor was "'filled with fish and game.'"  Another portage led southwest to Bayou Petite Anse, or little cove, which flowed into an inlet of upper Vermilion Bay that Bouligny hoped would serve as a new harbor on the Gulf.  The new post for the Malagueños was erected this time not by African slaves but by Acadian craftsmen Bouligny hired from the nearby settlements.  The Acadians erected two temporary sheds to house the settlers, soldiers, and slaves and then constructed more permanent homes atop nine-foot pilings "to preclude the possibility of flooding." 

Meanwhile, in the third week of June, Bouligny sent a surveying party led by local cattleman Jean-Baptiste Grevemberg and royal surveyor François Gonsoulin down Bayou Teche to the Gulf of Mexico.  The party "would measure the bayou as they traveled it, logging the distance in toises....  Likewise, they would sound the bayou's depth in pieds (feet) and, in deeper spots, brasses (fathoms)."  Gonsoulin, a native of Marseille, a veteran of the French navy, a noted pilot, and also a resident of Bayou Teche, was tasked with recording all measurements.  Luckily for the historical record, he also kept what Shane Bernard describes as "an impressionistic, and intriguingly readable, journal of the expedition."  The party also included six African slaves, who, with the two white men, would travel in Bouligny's "personal falua (a small open boat propelled by oars or one or two sails--the latter of which would have been useless on the bayou)."  The slaves, of course, would work the oars.  In the falua went a month's worth of provisions, giving an idea that Bouligny expected the survey of the lower Teche and the adjacent saltwater bays to be a thorough one.  Besides muskets, ball, and powder, the expedition took along what the Spanish called a pedrero, "a small cannon they would fire daily to convey their location to those back at Nueva Iberia."  For the same purpose, Bouligny also ordered Grevemberg and Gonsoulin to set fire to the "tall, reedy bulrushes that grew along the bayou and coastline."  On their way down the Teche, Gonsoulin noted the site of "ancienne Iberie," the original settlement site, as well as the village of Soulier Rouge and his people.  Gonsoulin made note of "the 'prairies tremblantes,' where water so permeated the marshy earth that the ground trembled when disturbed even by footsteps."  Gonsoulin insisted on called today's Lower Atchafalaya a part of the lower Teche.  Farther down, they passed a large expanse of grassland called Prairie à Jacob and a high bluff near where the Lower Atchafalaya flowed into Atchafalaya Bay, which Gonsoulin called Isle au Bastion.  Here, he was certain, was a good position to erect a fort.  Slipping into Atchafalaya Bay, they turned northwestward to follow the shoreline and came upon what appeared to be a good place to camp and explore.  They "found the place rich in soil, teeming with bear and deer, and forested in 'chêne vert' (live oak)," Bernard relates.  Gonsoulin was so "enamored of the place" he called it Belle Isle, its name to this day.  Other places they passed still carry the names Gonsoulin and Grevemberg assigned to them:  Île-au-Couquille, or Shell Island; Île-aux-Prunier, or Plum Island; Pointe-aux-Chevreuil, or Deer Point.  What Gonsoulin and Grevemberg called Les Quartres Soeurs, or the Four Sisters, "never identified in their journals," Bernard tells us, "might have been their collective names for the four massive salt domes visible from offshore:  Belle Isle, Côte Blanche, Weeks Island, and Avery Island."  As the expedition moved northwestward along the shore of today's Atchafalaya and Côte Blanche bays, "Gonsoulin and Grevemberg came to realize that many of the 'islands' they had named were not islands at all; rather, they were fragments of the mainland sliced through by bayous and wetlands, and only appeared insular."  They also made note of the area's natural resources:  feral livestock called les marrons; more deer and bear; sassafra trees whose leaves were an essential ingredient in filé gumbo, a savory dish favored by the Natives and West African slaves and also, now, by the European colonists; stands of timber "suitable for building"; exotic flowers; plums; palmetto; prickly pear cactus; massive oyster reefs.  They marveled at the long, sinewy coastal chênières with their sandy soil and stands of live oaks.  Off Pointe-aux-Chevreuil at the entrance to Côte Blanche Bay, they spotted a tall ship under sail.  The vessel suddenly turned towards their open boat and fired a distress signal with one of its cannon.  As it came closer, they could see that the ship was a brigantine, "a small, fast two-masted ship" favored by pirates and privateers.  It was the summer of 1779, and only weeks earlier, in May, Spain had declared war against Great Britain.  The ship's sudden maneuver seemed suspicious to the experienced ship captain.  Gonsoulin ordered the slaves to row the falua into a nearby inlet, where they remained until the brigantine disappeared.  They wasted no time rowing along the northern shore of Côte Blanche Bay, around today's Cypremort, or Dead Cypress, Point, and into the Vermilion Bay.  When they reached a placed called Petit Anse, or small cove, they could see to the north "a compact range of wooded hills rising over 160 feet above the encircling salt marsh."  Here stood a 2,200-acre dome of salt that "had been pushed up over eons from deep inside the Earth," Bernard explains.  "Its natural saline springs had attracted animals for over ten thousand years, including (as shown by the fossil record) mastodons, mammoths, giant sloths, bison, and wild horses.  The geological oddity also attracted early Native Americans, who boiled its briny spring water in clay pans to extract the salt."  The Spanish later called it Isla Cuarin, the French Côte de Coiron, which morphed into Cuarin Island and Coiron Hill, after its original European owner, Antoine Coiron.  Later it was called Petit Anse Island after the bayou that flowed past it, and eventually Avery Island.  From Petite Anse, Grevemberg and Gonsoulin ordered the slaves to row up a small bayou named for the cove, Bayou de Petite Côte, now Bayou Petite Anse.  When the bayou gave out north of the big salt dome, past another prairie tremblantes, they pulled Bouligny's falua onto the prairie and walked the rest of the way to Nuéva Iberia.  "Pleased by the expedition," Bernard continues, "Bouligny went on to commission Grevemberg to explore a water route through Barataria Bay," the future haunt of notorious pirates, "to New Orleans.  Gonsoulin, for his efforts, received a Spanish concession of about 400 acres of high land and about 2,000 acres of adjacent marsh--all at that dreamy place along the sea, Belle Isle."

After Bouligny returned to his other duties, Gálvez appointed Frenchman Nicolas Forstal to command at Nuéva Iberia, but the community, again, almost disappeared.  Soon after its founding, Shawn Bernard relates, "the village ... 'was nothing short of a complete failure.'  The problems were manifold," Bernard continues:  as at the original settlement down the Teche "the Malagueños sowed crops unsuited to the climate; basic supplies chronically ran short; and the setterls grew complacent on resulting government subsidies."  The Malagueños Bouligny led to the lower Teche bore the surnames de Aguilar (later Aguillard), Aponte or de Puentes, de Artacho or Artache, Balderas, Barroso, Blanco, Duran, Fernández, Garcia, Garrido (later Gary), Gomez, Gonzales, de Grano, de Guerro or Guerrero, Guzman, Ibañes or Ybanez, Jeval, de Lagos, Lavandera, Lópes or López, Martín, Martines or Martinez, de Maura, Mígues or Miguez, Molina y Postigo, Moreno or Morino, de Ortis or Ortiz, Penalver, del Pino, de Porras, de Prados, Romero, Ruis or Ruiz, de Segura, Selano, Solis or Soliz, Vidal, and Villatorre or Viatoro (later Viator).  Some sources claim Gálvez also sent Isleños to lower Bayou Teche, and perhaps a Granadino or two.  German Americans, an Irish American, and two Anglo Americans also could be found in the early rolls of Nuéva Iberia:  John Abscher, whose surname evolved into Abshire, was a Pennsylvania German; Thomas Beard was from Londonderry, Ireland; and Thomas Berwick and William Henderson were Anglo Americans who heped Bouligny establish the settlement.  Abscher, Beard, and Berwick created families in the area.  By the mid-1780s, the settlers at Nuéva Iberia soon realized that there was not enough room for all of them in the small Spanish concession along the banks of the bayou, so some families moved westward into the surrounding prairies to live among the Acadians.  After 1795, others moved northwest to the shores of nearby Lac Flamand, hence its present name, Spanish Lake.  Father Louis-Marie Grumeau of Opelousas served as missionary to the new settlement until the Attakapas District got a priest of its own in 1781, after which the priests from that parish ministered to the settlers in and around Nuéva Iberia.  The Malagueños and Anglo Americans eventually assimilated with francophone settlers in the area, especially the Acadians, whose numbers dictated that Acadian folkways would remain dominant in the area.433


No sooner had Gálvez settled the Isleños and the Malagueños in their five communities than he had to turn his attention to a more pressing business, something that had been shaking North America for years.  Hundreds of miles away, the American Revolution sputtered and raged along the Atlantic seaboard and up in the Illinois country.  Taking advantage of an opportunity to embarrass the British, on 24 December 1776, Minister of the Indies José de Gálvez, "signed a royal order that gave 'open support to the American effort to free the Mississippi River Valley of British domination.'"  In March 1778, France came into the war as an ally of the Americans.  One can imagine how Acadians responded when news of it reached New Orleans, Halifax, and Québec.  Here, Light T. Cummins observes, was "a welcome opportunity for Spain to weaken her centuries-old international rival Great Britain by supporting the rebellion that began at Lexington and Concord."  Later that year, "When the American Revolutionary War reached Illinois ..., the Spaniards at St. Louis provided munitions to the insurgents" under George Rogers Clark, "... and their victories ended Great Britain's fleeting ownership of the area."  On 8 May 1779, Spain officially declared war against Britain, followed on July 8 by a declaration from King Carlos III authorizing Spain's colonies to engage in war against the British.  The distant conflict on the Atlantic had now reached lower Louisiana.433b 

The conflict drew the colony closer to the center of Spanish commerce in the region and transformed lower Louisiana into an entrepôt for the war against Britain.  The influential Gálvez family had much to do with this development.  "José de Gálvez served as Spanish colonial minister, his brother Matías as the Viceroy of New Spain, and Matías's son Bernardo as governor of Louisiana," Cummins reminds us.  "In particular, Bernardo de Gálvez turned to Spanish Texas for the purpose of provisioning his military forces and, in turn, those of the American rebels.  In that regard, Governor Gálvez sent an agent from New Orleans to Texas for the purposing of procuring a steady supply of Texas beef to feed his army.  The American Revolution thus witnessed the first Texas cattle drives as Spanish ranchers moved their herds from the San Antonio and Guadalupe river valleys eastward across the Sabine River to provision the armies of Bernardo de Gálvez.  Modern estimates hold that between 1779 and 1782 over 15,000 head of Texas cattle went to Louisiana during the course of this supply effort.  Some of this beef found its way from the Mississippi valley to the rebel armies.  The jerky and salt meat consumed by the Continental Army at Saratoga [in 1777?] came from Texas by way of Natchitoches and New Orleans.  Thereafter, a regular cattle trade between Texas and Spanish Louisiana motivated a profitable commerce between the two well into the nineteenth century."433h 

One suspects the Acadians in the cattle-producing prairie districts played their part enthusiastically in the effort to provide beef for the war against the British.  

The governor acted swiftly also on the military front.  On June 25, soon after learning of the war declaration, Gálvez wrote a circular letter to five of his commandants in lower Louisiana:  Bellisle of the Lower German Coast, Robin de Lognie of the Upper German Coast, Cantrelle of the Lower Acadian Coast, and Judice of Lafourche, and sent a similar letter to DeClouet of the prairie districts in late July.  The governor explained to the five commandants:  "Because, in the present circumstance, we cannot take too many precautions to resist an invasion, or for some other operation that service could demand in the future, I have decided that, in one case or another, I could use militiamen and others of your commandery (who) are prepared to bear arms;  that is, only those with neither wives nor children, (and) neither father nor mother for whom to care.  Therefore, I have prepared a list (based on the last census), which I have enclosed...."  Gálvez added:  "I enjoin you to hold this order in the greatest secrecy, so that not even the officer(s) and soldiers themselves know of it until the exact moment when time comes to march, (in order) to allay the alarm it would, undoubtedly, cause, as well as to hide my plan...."  Gálvez did not send marching orders to the commandants at Arkansas, Natchitoches, Pointe Coupée, and Rapides.  They "were obliged ... to remain at their local stations, on alert against British encroachment from the upper reaches of the Mississippi River."433c   

British forces were back on the lower river.  A decade earlier, in June 1768, Major-General Thomas Gage, then commander-in-chief of British forces in North America, had ordered the abandonment of Fort Bute and other British posts on the lower Mississippi and in the rest of West Florida.  Most of the redcoats were bound for St. Augustine on the Atlantic, in British East Florida, "where the incidence of disease and death was not as great as along the Gulf."  Despite protests from the inhabitants of West Florida, more fearful now of an Indian attack as well as loss of trade to the wily French, the settlements above Point Iberville were left undefended.  "Unlike Atlantic colonies recoiling from tighter imperial control," David Narrett observes, "West Floridians demanded immediate British protection." 

Although the departing redcoats pulled down the palisade at Fort Bute, the buildings inside were left standing and served as a British trading post until January 1770.  In October 1771, a British Indian agent, former artillery Lieutenant John Thomas, occupied the site of the dismantled fort and did his best to maintain good relations with the local Natives.  Though forbidden to do so by international agreement, Thomas managed to entice some of the petit nations to move from the Spanish to the British side of the river.  He also attempted to make an ill-advised alliance with a warlike nation, the Arkansas.  Governor Unzaga and other Spanish officials protested, and Thomas was chastised by his superiors.  Other than troubles with locals Indians and sporadic attempts by officials on both sides of the Mississippi, including Thomas, to halt the lucrative smuggling trade, the stretch of river above Bayou Manchac remained relatively quiet for the next few years.  In early 1775, American Whigs invited both British West Floridians and East Floridians to send delegates to a Continental Congress scheduled to meet in Philadelphia, but the Floridians declined to attend.  When war broke out between American revolutionaries and British forces under Gage in Massachusetts that April, the great majority of the settlers in West Florida remained loyal to King George III.  In 1778, the so-called Willing Expedition ransacked Loyalist plantations along the lower Mississippi.  In July of that year, a Revolutionary force under George Rogers Clark of Virginia captured the British posts at Kaskaskia and Vincennes in the Illinois country.  The British responded by sending 500 regulars, German mercenaries, and Loyalist militia under Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Dickson to reoccupy the forts on the lower Mississippi.  Dickson found Fort Bute virtually indefensible, so he left there only 20 Waldecker grenadiers under Captain von Haake.  Dickson stationed his main force, including the 16th and 60th regiments of Foot, at New Richmond, formerly Baton Rouge, and at Natchez.433f

Now that Spain was in the war, British commanders in West Florida looked to their restored defenses along the lower Mississippi and made plans to strike New Orleans from three directions.  But the Spanish struck first.  In late August 1779, in the wake of a hurricane that devastated the region, Sublieutenant Francisco Collell, commandant at Gálveztown, with his hand full of Spanish regulars and his militia of Isleños and Anglo Americans, seized seven British vessels and 125 prisoners on the Amite River and captured Fort Graham, the British post on that river.  Meanwhile, despite the terrible damage from the August 18 hurricane, Governor Gálvez moved companies of the Fixed Battalion, Indian cohorts, and New Orleans militia from the city up to Bayou Manchac, picking up German and Acadian coast militia on the way.  Meanwhile, the Attakapas and Opelousas companies made their way through the Atchafalaya Basin and reached Plaquemine in time to join the governor's forces deploying across the river at Fort San Gabriel.  "From the banks of the bayou," Shane Bernard relates, "came a disparate force" of Frenchmen, Acadians, Spaniards, Anglos, even Africans.  Accompanying the prairie companies were 15 gens de couleur libre or mulattoes and 16 slave "hunters," none owned by Acadians, who would serve as sharpshooters.  Among the forces gathered at Plaquemine were Lieutenant-Colonel Francisco Bouligny and 40 or so individuals fresh from their efforts at Nuéva Iberia.  They included "five professional soldiers and a mix of retired veterans, militiamen, repentant deserters, Malagueño settlers, far-flung Americans, twenty-five slaves, and others."433d

No Acadians appear in the rosters of either of the German Coast companies, but they abound in the extant rolls of the Cabahannocer, Lafourche, and Attakapas units, with a hand full among the militia of Opelousas.  Among the Cabahannocer Acadians on Governor Gálvez's roster were Charles Bergeron, who would have been age 23; Bonaventure Gaudin, fils, age 24; Gilles LeBlanc, age 21; Jean Gravois, called a Lachaussée after his stepfather, age 24; Étienne Melançon, age 23; François-Xavier, called Xavier, Theriot, age 26; Joseph Arceneaux, age 23; Pierre Bernard, fils, age 21;  Pierre Lambert, fils, age 32; Jean-Baptiste Melançon, age 23; Jean-Baptiste David, age 20; Jean-Baptiste, called Baptiste, Bourgeois, fils, age 18; Georges Mouton, age 23; Paul Léger, age 21; Charles Gaudet, age 27; and Joseph Bourg, age undetermined.  Yzaac Bourgeois of that unit also may have been Acadian.  Among the Lafourche Acadians were Paul Le Borgne de Bélisle, age 16; Benjamin Landry, age undetermined; Charles Bujeau, age undetermined; Simon LeBlanc, age undetermined; Joseph Melançon, age 24; Joseph dit Belhomme Landry, age 27; Pierre Landry, age 15; Joseph Breaux, age 26; Jean-Baptiste Guidry, age 18; Pierre Dupuis, age 29; Amand Breaux, age 25; Jean Landry, age 27; Olivier Landry, age 26; Firmin Landry, age 19; Joseph Landry, age 27; Jean Landry, age undetermined; Henri, called Isidore, Robichaux, age 19; Michel Dugas, age 22; and Joseph Landry, fils, age 16.  Strangely, only a single name appeared on the roster of the San Gabriel militia company:  Pierre Breaux, age 38.  Acadians on the Opelousas company roster included Joseph Sonnier, age 23; Joseph Boutin, age 26; Joseph Lejeune, age 23; Jean-Charles Benoit, age 20; Jean-Baptiste Lejeune, age 30; Maitre, probably Jean dit Chapeau, Mouton, age 25; and Paul Léger, age 21, perhaps the same fellow on the Cabahannocer roster.  Acadian militiamen from Attakapas, serving under Lieutenant Jacques-Joseph Sorrel, a Frenchman, included Joseph Trahan, age 17; Mathurin Broussard, age 29; Olivier Melançon, age 19; Jean-Anselme, called Anselme, Thibodeaux, age 19; Germain Trahan, age 27; Marin Prejean, age 29; Joseph Prejean le jeune, age 20; Jean-Baptiste, called Baptiste, Melançon, age 19; Jean-Baptiste, called Baptiste, Duhon, age 20; a Baudrau, probably Boudreaux, perhaps Augustin dit Rémi, who would have been age 24, or Jean-Charles dit Donat, who would have been age 18; a Louvière, either François, age 20, or brother Isidore, age 16; Joseph-Théodore, called Théodore, Broussard, age 15; Jean-Baptiste, called Jean, Bernard, age 17; Cosme LeBlanc, age 19; Charles-Dominique, called Dominique, Babineaux, age 18; Théodore Thibodeaux, age 15; Michel Doucet, age 26; Pierre Doucet, age 23; Jean Doucet, age 17; and Jean Guilbeau, called L'Officier, his father's dit, age 23.  Most of the Acadian militiamen on the governor's rosters were, as per his orders, bachelors, some of them only a few months away from the altar.  One suspects, however, that married Acadians eager to serve their colony ignored the governor's orders and joined the fight against the hated British.  "These soldiers," Shane Bernard asserts, "participated in the American Revolution as much as any New England militiaman...."433e 

There was another "Acadian" in Gálvez's army, but he did not serve in the militia.  Joseph de Goutin de Ville, fils, 17-year-old son of former French army officer Joseph de Goutin de Ville of Port-Royal, Acadia, was a cadet officer in the colony's Fixed Battalion of Infantry.  Joseph, fils, who would use the surname Bellechasse, served his unit from the attack on Fort Bute to the siege of Pensacola three years later.  His paternal grandmother was Jeanne, daughter of Pierre Thibodeau, the Acadian pioneer, so some of the militiamen in the Acadian companies were cousins of the young cadet.433g 

Gálvez launched his offensive against the British during the first week of September.  His Spanish troops slipped upriver to prevent British reinforcements from reaching Fort Bute, while the militia crossed the bayou north of Fort San Gabriel on September 7 and took Fort Bute by surprise.  An authority on the action at Fort Bute wrote that "the militia, particularly the Acadians, behaved splendidly."  Led by the governor's father-in-law, Gilbert-Antoine de Saint-Maxênt of Valenzuéla, the militia lost not a single man in the assault, but they managed to kill one of the German defenders.  Later that month, on September 21, Gálvez, with his small body of Spanish regulars and his trusty militia, captured Fort New Richmond at Baton Rouge after a spirited fight.  Meanwhile, an American privateer, William Pickles, captured a British armed vessel in Lake Pontchartrain and denied the British at Baton Rouge that avenue of escape.  Soon after the fall of Baton Rouge, the British commander of Fort Panmure at Natchez, without a fight, surrendered to Captain Jean Delavillebeuvre, formerly in command of Fort San Luìs de Natchez.  While the governor and his forces maneuvered upriver, Lieutenant Collell at Gálveztown shored up his defenses on the Amite River in case the British at Mobile tried to attack Gálvez's rear or move against New Orleans.  By early October, after a month-long offensive, the lower Mississippi valley was entirely clear of British troops and vessels.433a

Amazingly, Gálvez's force suffered only two casualties in its onslaught against the British on the lower Mississippi--both of them Acadians:  Jean-Baptiste dit Petit-Jean Hébert, a 37-year-old native of Grand-Pré, was married and the father of at least two small children; he served in the Second Company of the St.-Gabriel militia.  Maturin Landry, a 24-year-old native of Pigiguit, recently married, served in the Lafourche company.  Both men survived their wounds.  In contrast, the British lost 36 dead, 10 wounded, and 485 captured at their three forts.  Another authority on the campaign writes:  "In his account to the court of the campaigns on the lower Mississippi in 1779, Gálvez demonstrated great pleasure in the zeal displayed by the Louisiana militia in all of their engagements.  He singled out the Acadian companies, in whom burned the memory of English cruelty in the Seven Years' War, which forced them to abandon their homes in Canada."  When Gálvez, now a field marshal, attacked the British at Mobile in February 1780, he took his Acadian militia with him.  Again, the exiles tasted sweet revenge against their former oppressors.434


The second Treaty of Paris of September 1783 ending the American War for Independence removed the troublesome British from the lower Mississippi valley, but they were soon replaced by an even more aggressive people who claimed the Baton Rouge area for themselves.  Anglo Americans soon appeared there in ever growing numbers.  Acadians from San Gabriel, meanwhile, crossed Bayou Manchac into the once-forbidden area around old Fort Bute.  Across the river, Acadians moved up the west bank into the area north of Bayou Plaquemine.  In 1784, the year Spain assumed control of British West Florida, Governor Gálvez ordered the Mississippi closed to Americans "where Spain owned both banks of the river."  This restrictive policy, along with tensions created by an unstable borderland, may have slowed movement of Acadians from the lower coasts to the Baton Rouge area ... for now.435

Farther downriver, Carl Brasseaux tells us, "As the population density of the First and Second Acadian Coasts grew in the 1770s and early 1780s, at least eighteen families, the patriarchs of which usually could expect not more than a small, practically uninhabitable slice of their parents' estate, capitalized upon the easing of Spanish restrictions on intracolonial movement by migrating to the virtually uncharted central and lower Lafourche Valley," below the Isleño settlement at Valenzuéla.437 

Out on the prairies, new Acadian communities appeared in the Attakapas District at Grand Prairie, today's downtown Lafayette; along the Vermilion River down towards the bay; at the western edge of the district along Bayou Queue de Tortue; at Beaubassin on upper Bayou Vermilion; on the northern edge of the district at Carencro, west of Beaubassin; along the Teche above La Pointe towards the Opelousas boundary; and below Fausse Pointe and the new Spanish settlement at Nuéva Iberia.  In the Opelousas District, Acadians were settling at the southeastern edge of the district near Grand Coteau and on Prairie des Femme.  They also moved farther out on the prairies along Bayou Plaquemine Brûlé; farther out on the Mermentau, Faquetaique, and Mamou prairies along bayous Mallet, des Cannes, and Nezpique; and across the Mermentau between present-day Jennings and Lake Arthur--all excellent places for raising cattle.436   map

Despite these intracolonial movements, as well as the continued presence of native bands and the arrival of hundreds of Spanish immigrants, much of the arable land in Spanish Louisiana remained unoccupied.  This was especially true along both banks of the Mississippi north of bayous Manchac and Plaquemine, out on the prairies, and along Bayou Lafourche.  The colony, then, could easily accommodate hundreds of more farmers.  King Carlos III saw this clearly.  Despite the reluctance of Spaniards to settle in Louisiana, he was determined to send more immigrants there, even if they were not from Iberian Spain.436a 

The Seven Ships Expeditions, 1785-1786

Estevan Rodriguez Miró y Sabater, colonel and commander of the Fixed Louisiana Regiment, served as provisional governor of Louisiana from 1782, when Gálvez, now governor-general of Louisiana and Mobile, returned to Havana and remained there.  As a reward for his victories against the British, in 1781 Gálvez had been named a conde, or count, and was promoted to Viceroy of New Spain three years later.  Miró succeeded him as governor-general in August 1785.  At the time, Louisiana's intendente was Felix Martín Antonio, called Martín, Navarro, a native of La Caruna, who had come to the colony with Ulloa in 1766 as his treasurer.  There had been no intendente in Spanish Louisiana until 1779, when Navarro was appointed to that position.  By the time of his promotion, no Spaniard knew Louisiana and its people, especially the Acadians, as thoroughly as Martín Navarro.438 

On 22 October 1783, King Carlos III issued a royal decree, called a sedula, approving a scheme offered to Spain by Frenchman and former resident of Louisiana Henri-Marie Peyroux de la Coudrenière--the transportation of the hundreds of Acadians still languishing in France to Spanish Louisiana.  Both the Spanish ambassador to France, Don Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea, Count de Aranda, and the Spanish consul at St.-Malo, Manuel d'Asprès, sent copies of the royal order to interim governor Miró, who assigned to Intendente Navarro the task of "making proper provisions for the Acadians" when they reached the colony.  Navarro also was tasked with overseeing the settlement of each new family.  "As Governor Ulloa's subordinate in the late 1760s," Carl Brasseaux informs us, "Navarro had witnessed the disastrous consequences of thwarting the exiles' dream of sociocultural reunification.  Rather than dictate settlement policy to the exiles in the manner of the ill-fated chief executive, he resolved to permit the Acadian immigrants to select their own homesites.  Drawing upon his twenty years of experience in dealing with the exiles, he sought to secure their full cooperation by establishing and maintaining good rapport with them."  Aware of the trauma of transatlantic travel, the dramatic change in climate and food, and "the Acadian scourge--smallpox," Navarro established dormitories and hospitals at Algiers, across the river from New Orleans, one hospital for males in the royal stables, the other, newly built, for females.  He also "added wet nurses and orderlies to the clinic staff" to make the hospitals more efficient.  While the new Acadian arrivals recuperated at Algiers, taking at least a month to do so, the intendente, in command of the royal warehouses at New Orleans, would issue to each family head the necessary tools and implements with which to work their homesteads.  When the time came for the Acadians to leave Algiers, the intendente would hire "a small flotilla of launches and barges" to convey them to their new settlements.439 


On 24 June 1785, Count de Aranda sent dispatches to Governor Miró and Intendente Navarro informing them that the first ship load of Acadians from France was on the way.  Le Bon Papa, a 280-ton frigate under Captain Pelletier, with 156 passengers aboard, many of them from Belle-Île-en-Mer, had left Paimboeuf, the port of Nantes, on May 10 and was halfway across the Atlantic.  Navarro was in Mexico when he received the message and hurried back to New Orleans.  He appointed Anselme Blanchard of San Gabriel, recently commandant on the upper Lafourche, as a salaried commissioner "not only to welcome the exiles to New Orleans in the name of Spanish Louisiana," historian Oscar Winzerling tells us, "but also to grant them entry into the province."  Blanchard's primary task was to supervise the settlement of his fellow Acadians, some of whom would be his own relatives.  He was to assure them "that it was the wish of the Spanish government that they should have full liberty in the selection of their future abodes."440 

Le Bon Papa reached Louisiana on July 29, after 80 days at sea.  Blanchard greeted the 36 families at La Balize and escorted them upriver to the dormitories at Algiers.  There, he made a detailed list of all of the passengers, organized by families.  Blanchard, who spoke Spanish as well as French, was ordered to record the names in Spanish, but he did his best to retain the French inflections. 

The passenger list for Le Bon Papa contained many Acadian families already found in the colony but also some new ones.  The LeBlancs and Lejeunes were especially numerous: 

Simon LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, age 62, came with second wife Marie Trahan, age 51, and three children:  Joseph, age 20; Marie-Anne, age 15; and Jacques-Pierre-Marie, age 13.  Joseph dit Jambo LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, age 54, came with wife Anne Hébert of Pigiguit, age 49, and four children:  Marguerite-Blanche-Ian, age 19; Marie-Françoise, age 17; Joseph-Marie, age 15; and Simon-Louis-Marie, age 14.  Pierre LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, age 50, came with wife Anne-Josèphe Lebert of Rivière-aux-Canards, one of the first of her family in Louisiana, age 41, and four sons:  Joseph-Olivier, age 17; Pierre-Paul, age 15; Jean-Cléandre, age 13; and Victor-Charles, age 10.  Jean LeBlanc, age 36, came with wife Thérèse Hébert, the widower François's daughter, age 35, and year-and-a-half-old daughter Marie-Rose.  Charles-Jean LeBlanc, age 23, came with wife Brigitte-Josèphe Hébert and no children.  Eustache Lejeune of Grand-Pré, age 53, came with second wife Jeanne-Pérrine Giquel, a Frenchwoman from Plouër, age 42, and three children:  Marie-Jeanne-Pérrine-Madeleine, age 23; Servan-Mathurin, age 15; and François-Marie, age 13; also with them was Eustache's niece, Pélagie-Marie Gautrot, age 15.  Eustache's oldest son Jean-Baptiste, age 25, came with wife Marie-Geneviève Doiron, age 19, and no children.  Eustache's brother Grégoire of Grand-Pré, age 45, came with second wife Hélène Dumont of St.-Pierre-du-Nord, Île St.-Jean, the first of her family in Louisiana, age 38, and three children: Marie-Josèphe, age 14; Grégoire-Alexis, age 4; and Julien, age 2; also with them was Grégoire's niece, Marie-Geneviève Gautrot, age 19, Pélagie-Marie's old sister. 

Members of other established Louisiana families also were aboard this first of the Seven Ships: 

Daniel Benoit of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 36, came with wife Henriette Legendre of St.-Pierre-du-Nord, Île St.-Jean, age 34, came with 7-year-old daughter Henriette-Renée.   Jean-Baptiste Boudrot probably of Pigiguit, age 32, came with wife Marie-Modeste Trahan, age 36, and three children:  Marie-Félicité, age 8; Jean-Constant, age 6; and Marguerite-Marie, age 2.  Paul-Dominique Boudrot, age 22, came with wife Marie-Olive Landry, age 18, who was pregnant, and year-old son Paul-Marie.  Charles Broussard of Grand-Pre, age 44, came with second wife Euphrosine Barrieau of Pigiguit, the first of her family in Louisiana, age 37, and six children, five sons and a stepson:  Jean-Charles-Joseph, age 20; François, age 18; Pierre, age 14; Joseph-Dominique, age 12; Jacques, age unrecorded; and Paul-Marie Boudrot, age 13.  Alexandre Doiron of Pigiguit, age 47, came with wife Ursule Hébert of Cobeguit, age 43, and six children:  Marie-Rose, age 21; Madeleine-Ursule, age 19; Isaac-Alexandre, age 16; Mathurin-Luc, age 12; Joseph, age 7; and Jean-Baptiste, age 2.  Jean-Baptiste Dugas of Cobeguit, age 66, came with third wife Anne Bourg, age 64, 21-year-old daughter Anne, and 5-year-old granddaughter Marie-Adélaïde Boudrot.  A second Jean-Baptiste Dugas, age 49, came with wife Marie Grossin of St.-Pierre-du-Nord, Île St.-Jean, the first of her family in Louisiana, age 49, 11-year-old daughter Marie-Josèphe, and orphan Marie-Jeanne Haché, age 18.  Françoise Boudrot of Ste.-Famille, Pigiguit, age 45, widow of Joseph Clossinet and Marin Dugas, came with 11-year-old son Jean-Pierre-Marin Dugas.  Jean-Baptiste Guédry of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 35, came with wife Marguerite Lebert of Rivière-aux-Canards, one of the first of her family in Louisiana, age 32, and three children:  Pierre-Jean-Marie, age 9; François, age 4; and infant Marguerite-Félicité; also with them was niece Marie-Marguerite Lebert, age 14.  François Hébert of Cobeguit, age 72, a widower, came alone.  Amable Hébert of Minas, age 43, a widower, came with four children:  Marie-Modeste, age 22; Marie-Geneviève, age 17; Élisabeth, or Isabelle, age 14; and André, age 9; with them also was Amable's stepmother, Esther Courtney of England, age 60.  Charles Landry of Pigiguit, age 56, came with wife Marguerite Boudrot, age 48, and seven children:  Firmin-Pancrace, age 23; Marguerite-Françoise, age 19; Jean-Sébastien dit Bastien, age 18; Louis-Abel, age 14; Jean-Jacques, age 11; Charles, fils, age 8; and François-Marie, age 6.  Pierre-Joseph Landry, age 15, also may have been aboard.  Angélique Pinet of Port-Toulouse, Île Royale, the first of her family in the colony, age 44, widow of Michel dit Richelieu Léger, came with two sons:  Louis, age 16; and Jean, age 14.  Jean Trahan, age 35, came alone. 

Acadian families new to the colony also were welcomed by fellow Acadian Anselme Blanchard:

Joseph Aucoin, probably of Minas, age 37, came with wife Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Henry, age 37, and five children:  Élisabeth- or Isabelle-Jeanne, age 12; Joseph-Jean, age 8; François-Toussaint, age 6; Marie-Modeste, age 4; and Victoire-Claire, age 3.  Charles Daigre of Ste.-Famille, Pigiguit, age 54, the first of his name to bring a family to the colony, came with wife Anne-Marie Vincent, age 55, and no children.  Anne Boudrot of Pigiguit, age 40, widow of Jacques Haché, came with two daughters:  Marie-Jeanne, age 15; and Marguerite-Marie, age 11.  Three Haché sisters, all born in France, came together:  Hélène, age 21; Marie-Josèphe, age 16; and Élisabeth, or Isabelle, age 8.  Joseph Henry perhaps of Cobeguit, age 42, came with wife Cécile Breau, age 39, and six children: Jean-Laurent, age 19; Joseph-Suliac, age 14; Marie-Josèphe, age 7; Pierre-Similien, age 5; and Anne-Françoise, age 3.  Cécile Bourg, age 50, second wife and widow of Ignace Heusé of Île St.-Jean, came with four children:  Mathurin-Charles, age 23; Marie-Anne, age 20; Jean-Baptiste, age 17; and Grégoire-Ignace, age 9.  Cécile's oldest son Pierre-Ignace, age 25, came with wife Marie-Pérrine Quimine, age 23, and no children.  Marguerite Labauve of Grand-Pré, age 55, widow of François Legendre, came with two unmarried sons:  Louis-Joseph, age 22; and Yves-François, age 17.  Marguerite's oldest son Jean-Baptiste, age 25, came with wife Marie-Rose Le Tuillier, a Frenchwoman from Cherbourg, age 20, and infant daughter Rose.  Pierre Quimine of Chignecto, age 59, came with second wife Marie-Madeleine Dugas, age 53, and two daughters:  Anne-Louise, age 24; and Victoire-Françoise, age 14.  André Templé of Menibeaux, France, and Port-Toulouse, Île Royale, age 57, came with second wife Marguerite LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, age 48, and eight children:  Élisabeth-, or Isabelle-, Marguerite, age 25; Jean-André-Grégoire-Marie, age 24; Charles-Casimir, age 22; Jacques-Olivier, age 20; Marie-Madeleine, age 19; Servan-François, age 15; Olivier-Marcellin, age 14; and André-Joseph, age 7. 

One family aboard Le Bon Papa was headed by a native of New England whose wife was Acadian: 

Louis William Stebens of Boston, Massachusetts, ate  36, came with his third wife Marie Babin, born in Southampton, England, age 24, and three children:  Louis, age 3; Marie, age 2, and infant Balthazar, born aboard ship.  Also with the family was Marie's younger brother, François-Marie Babin, age 20. 

Soon after the Acadians reached Algiers, Navarro granted a subsidy of 10 cents to every family head, seven and a half cents to every adult, and two and a half cents to every child, to be used to purchase the small necessities of life.  Amazingly, only a single passenger, an infant, had died on the voyage, but the change in climate soon began to take its toll on the new arrivals.  Ten Acadians died at Algiers, and three deserted.  Towards the end of their month of recuperation, Navarro ordered Juan Prieto, custodian of the royal warehouses, to issue each family "meat cleavers, axes, hatchets, hoes, spades, and knives according to the number of active workers in each family"--something he would do for each expedition.  Meanwhile, Commissioner Blanchard escorted deputies from among the family heads to inspect available land on upper Bayou Lafourche, and at Bayougoula on the west bank and Manchac on the east bank of the Mississippi in the District of San Gabriel.  Back at Algiers, the deputies conferred with the family heads, and each selected his or her new home.  One family and one single passenger--Jean-Baptiste Guédry and Jean Trahan--chose to go to Bayou Lafourche, where over a dozen Acadians from the river had recently settled.  Another, headed by widow Angélique Pinet, chose to await the arrival of her oldest Léger son before going on to Opelousas.  The great majority of the family heads chose to settle on the river:  six at Bayougoula across from San Gabriel and 27 at Manchac.  Those below the bayou would live in the San Gabriel District, those above in the District of Baton Rouge on lands recently won from Britain.  Having hired launches on which to convey the passengers, river guides, and river hands from André Chiloque and Arnaud Magnon at four dollars a day, and two barges from Étienne Plauche to carry the Acadians' baggage at two and a half dollars per day, Blanchard led the expedition upriver on August 25.  At each new settlement, Blanchard "first secured temporary housing with established settlers for the immigrants and then apportioned land grants of four or five arpents among the exiles.  Blanchard remained with the immigrants until they were moved onto their lands," and soon the new arrivals were putting their tools and implements to good use.441 

At Manchac, the newcomers were greeted by Ambroise Thériot, a native of Cobeguit, who had come to the colony from Halifax in 1765 at age 17.  Along with his widowed mother, Françoise Melanson, and his three brothers, Thomas, Paul-Hypolite, and François-Xavier, Ambroise settled at Cabahannocer, where he married Anne-Madeleine, called Madeleine, daughter of Alexis Granger and Marie Landry, at St.-Jacques de Cabahannocer in June 1777.  Madeleine had come to the colony from Maryland in 1767 as a 10-year-old.  Perhaps soon after the Paris treaty of 1783, which awarded the area north of Bayou Manchac to Spain, the couple moved upriver and were living north of the bayou in the summer of 1785.  Using beef procured from Attakapas, Ambroise organized a boucherie at Manchac for the new arrivals from France.  Ambroise was a collateral decendant of Pierre Thériot, founder of the Rivière St.-Antoine settlement at Minas, who had been known for his great generosity.  One would like to think that Ambroise's boucherie was typical of the way settled Acadians welcomed new arrivals.441a

Navarro's scheme of settlement had gone off without a hitch.  He had establish the pattern he would follow for each expedition.  As soon as he could, he notified minister José de Gálvez that the first expedition was settled.  The intendente described Manchac as "'a wilderness,'" but he assured the minister that it would be "'an excellent site for the exportation of fruit.'"  Unfortunately, back at Paimboeuf, Consul d'Asprès, "anxious to win a reputation for economical efficiency," had already assured that the next expedition would not be so successful.442 


The second ship, the 300-ton frigate La Bergère under Captain Deslandes, was 20 tons larger than Le Bon Papa.  Upon the departure of Le Bon Papa carrying so many of their relatives, Acadian indifference to the Spanish re-settlement scheme suddenly gave way to enthusiasm.  Hearing the reports from Peyroux de la Coudrenière and his Acadian assistant, Olivier Térriot, d'Asprès was convinced that all of the Acadians still in France--2,300 of them--were now eager to leave the mother country and join their kinsmen in Louisiana.  On May 7, three days before the departure of Le Bon Papa, d'Après booked 273 passengers, in 73 families, for La Bergère--117 more than the Acadians crossing on Le Bon Papa!  He called a meeting at his residence of the 73 family heads and suggested that they elect five leaders among them "whose duty it would be to police the ship and distribute rations," Winzerling tells us.  D'Asprès had organized the expedition in haste, and among the passengers were Acadians who, a few years before, had argued bitterly over settling on Corsica.  "To preserve peace aboard ship," d'Asprès "bade the 73 family heads ... to promise obedience" of their elected leaders "under punishment of expulsion at New Orleans" if caused any trouble on the voyage.  The family heads chose Olivier Térriot, Charles Dugas, Charles Aucoin, Simon Dugas, and Étienne Dupuy to lead them.  According to Térriot, the Dugass and Aucoin "were 'well fixed financially,'" but Dupuy, Térriot knew, "was 'as poor as myself.'"443

La Bergère left Paimboeuf on May 12, only two days after Le Bon Papa left the same port, and reached Louisiana, also without mishap, on August 15 after 93 days at sea.  The Bon Papa passengers were still at Algiers when La Bergère reached the colony, so Anselme Blanchard was able to greet the newest arrivals and record another debarkation list.  Seven children had been born en route, and six elderly passengers had been buried at sea. 

The ship's passenger list included many Acadian names already in the colony, including "new" names found among the Bon Papa arrivals.  The Aucoins, a "new" family in the colony, and the Bourgs, Dugass. Héberts, Landrys, and LeBlancs, "old" ones, were especially numerous:

Jean-Baptiste Aucoin of Grand-Pré, age 71, came with wife Jeanne-Anne Thériot, age 60, and 19-year-old daughter Anne-Félicité.  Olivier Aucoin of Grand-Pré, age 59, came with second wife Cécile Richard of Grand-Pré, age 43, and three daughters:  Nathalie-Marie, age 18; Marguerite-Geneviève, age 16; and Marie-Cécile, age 15.  Antoine Aucoin, age 55, a widower, came with two sons:  Pierre-Joseph-Antoine, age 20; and Louis-Jean, age 15.  Fabien Aucoin of Cobeguit, age 38, came with wife Marguerite Dupuis of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 34, and no children.  Charles Aucoin of Grand-Pré, age 36 and still a bachelor, one of the leaders of the expedition, came with sister Félicité, age 35, also unmarried.  Marie-Anastasie Aucoin, age 26, wife of Joseph Thériot, who would come on a later ship, came alone.  Pierre Aucoin, age unrecorded, came alone.  Jeanne Chaillou of Île Miquelon, age 56, the first of her family in the colony, widow of Jean-Baptiste Bourg, came with four children:  Marie-Geneviève, age 18; Jean-Baptiste, age 16; André, age 14; and Charles, age 10.  Marie-Josèphe Hébert of Cobeguit, age 55, widow of Alexandre Bourg, came with daughter Marguerite of Cobeguit, age 37, widow of Firmin Aucoin, and Marguerite's son Firmin-Louis, age 6.  Joseph Bourg of Cobeguit, age 52, came with second wife Marie-Madeleine Granger of Grand-Pré, age 54, and four unmarried children:  Marie-Josèphe, age 21; Fabien-Joseph, age 19; Jean-Baptiste, age 17; and Élisabeth-, or Isabelle-, Blanche, age 14; also with them were two nieces:  Isabelle-Luce Daigre, age 24, and her sister Marguerite-Félicité, age 17.  Joseph's oldest son Pierre, age 24, came with wife Marguerite-Blanche Dugas, age 31, who was pregnant; she gave birth to son Martin soon after reaching the colony.  Jean-Baptiste Bourg, age 42, still a bachelor, came with sister Françoise-Joseph, age 49, still unmarried, and cousin Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Bourg, age 33, also unmarried.  Paul Dugas probably of Cobeguit, age 75, came with two unmarried children:  Simon, age 37, one of the leaders of the expedition; and Anne-Marie, age 19.  Pierre Dugas of Cobeguit, age 57, came with wife Marguerite Daigre, age 60, and two daughters:  Anne-Marie, age 23; and Marie-Victoire, age 20.  Pierre's brother Charles of Cobeguit, age 48, twice a widower and one of the expedition leaders, came with five children:  Marie-Josèphe, age 22; Jean-Charles, age 20; Pierre-Olivier dit Pierrot, age 18; Joseph-Simon, age 16; and Marguerite, age 4.  Ambroise Dugas of Cobeguit, age 34, came with wife Marie-Victoire Pitre, age 32, and four children:  Marguerite-Josèphe, age 9;  Louis-Ambroise, age 5; Céleste, age 1; and infant Eulalie-Martine.  Charles Hébert of Grand-Pré, age 62, a widower, came with daughter Marie-Yvette, age 33, widow of ____ Henry, and grandson Pierre Henry, age 15.  Marie-Madeleine Dugas, age 43, widow of Jean-Baptiste Hébert, came with seven children:  Anne-Simone, age 20; Pierre-Michel, age 18; Anne-Marie, age 17; Joseph-Servan dit Joson, age 15; Isabelle-Jeanne, age 13; Prosper-François, age 5; and infant Étienne.  Luce-Perpétué Bourg of Cobeguit, age 40, widow of another Jean-Baptiste Hébert, came with four children:  Marie-Gertrude-Josèphe, age 17; Jean-Olivier, age 15; Félicité-Jeanne, age 13; and François-Luce, age 11.  Isaac Hébert of Cobeguit, age 35, came with wife Marie-Marguerite Daigre, age 23, and two children:  Rémi, age 3; and infant Renée-Eulalie.   Anne-Osite Dugas of Cobeguit age 30, widow of Charles Hébert, came with three children:  Charles dit Charlot, age 5; Anne-Victoire, age 4; and Marguerite-Sophie, age 2.  Jean-Baptiste Landry of Grand-Pré, age 61, came with second wife Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Dugas of Cobeguit, age 31, sister of Charles, and four children:  Élisabeth-, or Isabelle-, Augustine, age 25; Jean-Baptiste, fils, age 23; Marguerite-Geneviève, age 20; and Marie-Anne, age 9.  Prosper Landry, age 60, came with third wife Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Pitre, age 57, and two sons:  Jean-Pierre, age 22; and Simon-Joseph, age 19.  Pierre Landry of Minas, age 49, came with wife Marthe LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, age 49, and four children:  Joseph-Giroire, age 19; Jean-Raphaël, age 17; Marie-Madeleine-Adélaïde, age 15; and Anne-Susanne, age 9.  Marie-Josèphe Richard of Grand-Pré, age 46, widow of Hilaire Landry, came with two daughters:  Marie-Madeleine, age 18; and Marie-Rose, age 10.  Geneviève Landry, age 34, came with sister Marie-Josèphe, age 32, and "charge" François-Julien ____, age 10.  Ursule Breau, age 65, widow of Jean-Baptiste LeBlanc, came with son Simon of England, age 23, and granddaughter Madeleine-Françoise LeBlanc, age 11.  Claude LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, age 62, came with third wife Dorothée Richard, age 50, and Claire Landry of Grand-Pré, age 80, Dorothée's mother-in-law from her first marriage.  Nathalie Pitre of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 50, second wife and widow of Jean-Jacques LeBlanc, came with two children:  Jean-Baptiste, age 17; and Marie-Geneviève, age 15.  Marie Aucoin of Grand-Pré, age 48, wife of Michel LeBlanc, a sailor, who did not accompany her, came with two daughters:  Marie-Josèphe, age 25; and Apolline-Eulalie, age 13.  Olivier LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, age 38, came with wife Marie-Madeleine Lebert, age 24, and two children:  Marie-Anne, age 3; and Pierre-Olivier, age 1.  Étienne LeBlanc probably of Pigiguit, age 36, still a bachelor, came alone.

Other "established" families sailed aboard the second of the Seven Ships: 

Anne-Symphorose Hébert of Cobeguit, age 47, widow of Joseph Blanchard, came with six children:  Laurent-Olivier, age 19; Marie-Madeleine, age 17; Pierre-Joseph, age 15; Louis-Suliac, age 13; Élie, age 11; and Anne, age 7.  Marie-Josèphe Daigre of Grand-Pré, age 43, widow of Jean-Baptiste Boudrot, came with two children:  Marie-Rose, age 21; and Jean-François, age 11.  Marie Brasseur of Minas, age 37 and unmarried, came with sister Osite, age 24, also still unmarried.  Honoré Breau of Minas, age 50, came with wife Élisabeth, or Isabelle, dite Maillet LeBlanc of Tintamarre, Chignecto, age 42, and seven children:  Olive-Élisabeth, age 16; Marie-Madeleine, age 14; Jeanne, age 9; Pierre-Paul, age 5; twins Charles and Rose-Marie, age 3, and newborn Martina or Martine.  Marie-Madeleine-Marguerite Landry, age 22, wife of Jean-Baptiste Comeau, who remained in France, came with 2-year-old son Jean-Baptiste.  Eustache Daigre of Grand-Pré, age 57, came with wife Madeleine Dupuis of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 44, and three sons:  Jean-Joseph, age 15; Charles-Marc, age 13; and infant Étienne.  Alexis-Jean-Mathurin Daigre, age 22, came alone.  Jacques Doiron of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 43, came with wife Anne-Josèphe Breau of Cobeguit, age 38, and four children:  Jean-Jacques, age 17; Simon-Joseph, age 14; Ursule-Olive, age 14; and infant Martina or Martine.  Joseph Dupuis of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 39, a widower, came with 10-year-old daughter Élisabeth, or Isabelle.  Joseph's brother Étienne of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 36, came with wife Marie-Osite Dugas, age 24, and no children.  Pierre Gautrot of Grand-Pré, age 55, came with wife Marie-Louise Duplessis of Grand-Pré, age 46, and 11-year-old daughter Marguerite-Adélaïde.  Marin Gautrot of perhaps of Cobeguit, age 40, came with Gertrude Bourg, age 38, and two children:  Jean-Louis, age 11; and Marie, age 9.  Agnès Gautrot, age 29, came with half-brother Pierre-Joseph, age 22.  Jean-Benoît Gautrot, age 17, came alone.  Prosper-Honoré Girouard or Giroir of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 41, came with wife Marie Dugas, age 39, and six children:  Marie-Paule, age 20; Anne-Josèphe, age 18; Jean-Baptiste, age 15; Jeanne-Eléonore, age 13; François, age 11; and Pierre, age 7.  Amand Pitre, age 60, a widower, came with daughter Marguerite, age 24.  Tranquille Pitre of Cobeguit, age 36; came with wife Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Aucoin, of Grand-Pré, age 37, and three children:  Jean-Baptiste, age 3; Joseph-Vincent, age 1; and newborn Martina or Martine.  Ambroise Pitre, age 35, came with wife  Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Dugas, age 32, and four children:  Paul-Ambroise, age 9; Marie-Françoise, age 6; Jean-Marie, age 1; and newborn Céleste.  Jean Richard of Grand-Pré, age 55, came with wife Marguerite Landry, age 48, and 14-year-old son Jean-Pierre.  Jean's brother Pierre of Grand-Pré, age 49, came with wife Marie-Blanche LeBlanc, age 43, and three children:  Marie-Marguerite, age 19; Pierre-Joseph, age 16; and infant Charles-Pierre-Paul; also with them was Pierre's cousin Rose Richard, age 30.  Cécile Boudrot, age 38, widow of Charles Richard, came with 14-year-old daughter Marie-Rose, and her half-brother Joseph Boudrot, age 18.  Olivier Thériot, who spelled his surname Térriot, of Île St.-Jean, age 30, not only an expedition leader but the chief recruiter of Acadians going to Louisiana from France, came with wife Marie Aucoin of Minas, age 32, and three children:  Olivier-Marie, age 7; Jean-Toussaint, age 2; and newborn Martina or Martine; also with them was Olivier's brother Jean-Charles, age 20.  Jacques Thériot, age 25, came with wife Françoise Guérin, age 22, and infant Françoise-Élisabeth.  Joseph Trahan of Minas, age 59, came with wife Marie Boudrot, age 57, and three children:  Anselme-Marie, age 19; Marie-Madeleine, age 17; and Marguerite-Aimée, age 11.  Marie-Sophie Leprince of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 43, widow of Joseph Trahan, came with 19-year-old son Antoine-Joseph, and half-sister Judith or Julie Leprince, age 26. 

More Acadian families and individuals new to the colony also graced the list of La Bergère passengers: 

Jean-Baptiste Barrieau of Pigiguit, age 52, the first of his name to bring a family of his own to the colony, came with second wife Marie Daigre, age 45, and four children:  Jacques-Alain, age 19; Jean-Marie, age 15; Pérrine, age 13; and François, age 10.  Pierre-Jacques Bertrand of Pobomcoup, age 54, came with wife Catherine Bourg, age 36, and seven children:  Ambroise-Bénoni, age 18;  Jean-Augustin, age 15; Marie-Catherine, age 13; Marie, age 11; Adélaïde, age 7; Louis, age 3; and infant Anne-Madeleine.  Dominique Guérin of Cobeguit, age 63, a widower, came with two daughters:  Élisabeth, or Isabelle, age 25; and Brigide, age 15.  Dominique's son Joseph of Louisbourg, age 33, came with wife Agnès Pitre, age 38, and year-old daughter Françoise.  Pierre Guillot, age 20, came with sister Françoise-Gertrude, age 19.  Anne-Marie Robichaud, age 57, widow of Charles Lebert, came with son Pierre-Joseph, age 17.  Marie-Rose Livois, age 21, came alone.  Simon Mazerolle of Grand-Pré, age 42, came with wife Marguerite Trahan of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 38, and four children:  Marie-Perpétué, age 18; Élisabeth, or Isabelle, age 16; Anne-Françoise, age 14, and Étienne, age 8.  Marie-Madeleine Noël, age 28, came with sister Marie-Marguerite, age 21, widow of Guillaume-Jean Roquemont of Rouen.  Jean-Baptiste Ozelet of Cobeguit, age 42, came with wife Marguerite Landry, age 43, and four children:  Jean-Charles, age 18; Mathurin-Joseph, age 13; Marie-Charles or -Charlotte, age 10; and Julien, age 4.  Anne-Marie-Madeleine Savary of Minas, age 38, the first of her family to come to the colony, widow of Pierre Potier, came with two sons:  Baptiste-Olivier, age 12; and Jacques-Sylvain, age 7.  Marie-Josèphe Ségoillot, age 19, came alone.   

Two more non-Acadian family heads, married to Acadians, came to Louisiana:

Louis-François Le Tollierec of Plelo, France, age 41, came with wife Élisabeth, or Isabelle, LeBlanc of Île St.-Jean, age 29, and two children:  Marie-Adélaïde, age 4; and Henri-Amable, age 1.  Gabriel Moreau, probably a Frenchman, age 61, came with wife Marie Trahan, age 54, and two children:  Maximin, age 24; and Marie-Anne-Barbe, age 18. 

The dormitories at Algiers were still occupied, so Intendente Navarro had to convert the customhouse at New Orleans into a temporary barracks for the new arrivals.  While recuperating in the city, 12 more babies were born and four marriages were celebrated.  Unfortunately, nine more La Bergère passengers died in the city from the rigors of the voyage and the oppressive heat and humidity of the late Louisiana summer.444

The Bergère passengers lingered at New Orleans longer than anticipated.  They did so not only because of the rigors of the voyage and the adjustment to the new climate, but also because of an oversight on the part of Consul d'Asprès back in France.  To Navarro's chagrin, the consul had failed to send with the Bergère passengers their trunks and other personal baggage, so important to their resettlement in Louisiana.  Navarro assumed that the baggage would arrive aboard the third expedition, but not even the fourth ship, which arrived on September 10, carried the personal items that should have been loaded back in early May; the last of the Bergère baggage did not reach the colony, in fact, until a seventh ship arrived in late December.  Anselme Blanchard, meanwhile, was still supervising the settlement of the Bon Papa passengers at Manchac, so Intendente Navarro hired Jean Cambeau, at 40 cents a day, to guide the "surveyors" for the Bergère families to the unoccupied lands upriver.  The Acadians could not decide where to establish their villages, so Navarro sent veteran officer Pedro Aragon y Villegas to advise them.  After much thought and deliberation, most of the Bergère Acadians--67 families of 242 individuals--selected Bayou Lafourche as their new home.  At that time, the Lafourche valley contained the largest expanse of unsettled territory near the Acadian coasts, where many of the new arrivals had relatives.  The Bergère Acadians heading for the bayou left Algiers on October 4, and Intendente Navarro "closed his books on the expedition" four days later.  These Acadians were not the first of their kind to occupy the natural levees along the upper Lafourche, but, thanks to their arrival in such impressive numbers, no other Acadian community would grow so large so quickly.445

Not all of the Bergère passengers went to Bayou Lafourche.  Several families--those of Charles and Pierre Dugas; Anne-Osite Dugas, widow Hébert; Jean-Baptiste Landry, whose wife was a Dugas; and Marie-Sophie Leprince, widow Trahan--chose to join relatives in the prairie districts, but they were forced by illness, and perhaps low water, to linger at New Orleans longer than the others.  Not until November 13 did Pedro Aragon y Villegas conduct them to Opelousas and Attakapas aboard the goleta San José, which followed the usual route via Bayou Plaquemine and the Atchafalaya Basin to Bayou Courtableau.  Meanwhile, one family from La Bergère, that of Honoré Breau, chose to settle at Manchac, near his kinsmen on the Acadian Coast.446


The third ship, Le Beaumont, a 180-ton frigate of medium size and late construction, was smaller than the other two vessels and also much faster.  So many Acadians now were eager to join the expedition that when a family of four dropped out before the ship's departure, hundreds of Acadians offered to take their place.  The most distinguished passenger aboard Le Beaumont was not an Acadian.  Henri-Marie Peyroux de la Coudrenière, the organizer of the Acadian odyssey from France, was accompanied by his wife, Prudence-Françoise Rodrigue; a niece; servant Louis-François Montréal; and a friend named Le Cat.  Because of his status, Peyroux was designated leader of the expedition.  The Spanish also gave him a daily stipend, running from August 1784 to May 1785, and paid for his family's transportation.447

With 176 passengers aboard, Le Beaumont left Paimboeuf on June 11, while the other two vessels were still at sea, and reached Louisiana during the third week of August only a few days behind La BergèreLe Beaumont did not remain at La Balize but continued up to New Orleans, which it reached on August 19--a swift 70-day voyage.  According to Oscar Winzerling, "The greater part" of the Acadians aboard the smaller frigate "was made up of small families and newly married couples."447a 

Acadians who crossed on Le Beaumont bore many surnames that already could be found in the colony, some of them having appeared only recently from France.  The Daigres, a "new" family, and the Trahans, an "old" one, were especially numerous: 

Olivier Daigre IV of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 53, a widower, came with eight children:  Victor, age 23; François, age 19; Simon-François, age 18; Jean-Baptiste, age 15; Marie-Geneviève, age 11; Pélagie, age 9; Eulalie, age 6; and Honoré, age 3.  Olivier IV's brother Simon-Pierre of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 50, came with second wife Anne Michel of Ste.-Famille, Pigiguit, age 51, and seven children:  Marie-Marguerite, age 26; Anne-Geneviève, age 24; Édouard, age 21; Simon-Pierre, fils, age 18; Élizabeth, age 13; Marie-Madeleine, age 11; and Joseph-Michel, age 9.  Jean-Baptiste Daigre, age 45, came with Marie-Claude Valet, a Frenchwoman, age 31, and year-old son Jean-René, who may have died at sea.  François-Marie Daigre of Minas, age 45, came with wife Jeanne Holley, a Frenchwoman, age 47, and four children:  Louis-Françoise, age 18; Marie-Jeanne-Jacqueline, age 16; Flore-Adélaïde, age 15; and Marie-Louise, age 10.  François older son François-Alexandre, age 22, came with wife Rose-Adélaïde Bourg, age 19, and two children:  Émilie-Adélaïde, age 1; and infant François-Joseph.  Marguerite-Ange Dubois, age 31, the first of her family to come to the colony, widow of Jean Daigre, came with 10-year-old son Jean-Louis.  Marie-Madeleine LeBlanc, age 54, widow of Pierre-Isidore Trahan, came with five children:  Paul-Isidore, age 21; Marie-Jeanne, age 16; Simon-Augustin, age 13; Alexis-Romain, age 11; and Rosalie, age 9.  Anne Granger of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 49, widow of Joseph Trahan, came with four children:  Joseph, fils, age 21; Marie-Anne, age 16; Marie-Julie, age 14; and François-Marie, age 12.  Marie-Josèphe Granger of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 46, Anne's sister and widow of Pierre-Simon Trahan, Joseph's brother, came with four children:  Jean-Baptiste, age 25; Paul-Raymond, age 19; Marie-Renée, age 13; and Marie-Marguerite, age 8.  Joseph Trahan of Pigiguit, age 35, came with wife Marguerite Lavergne of Chignecto, age 32, who was pregnant, and two children:  Joseph Rémi, age 4; and Antoinette, age 2; Marguerite gave birth to son François-Antoine at Baton Rouge the following December.

Names from other established Acadian families also could be found on the Beaumont rolls.  Several of the men from these families had taken French wives: 

François-Xavier Boudrot, age 25, came with wife Marguerite Dugas, age 26, and no children.   Alain Bourg, age 43, came with wife Anne-Marie Comeau, age 40, and two children:  Marie-Geneviève, age 20; and François, age 11.  Joseph Breau, age 23, came with wife Marie-Blanche Trahan, age 19, and no children.  Charles Comeau, age 37, came with wife Marie-Madeleine Clossinet, age unrecorded, the first of her family to come to the colony, and no children.  Jean Doiron of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 57, a widower, came with 21-year-old daughter Marguerite-Josèphe, and orphan Paul-Olivier Daigre, age 18.  Jean-Baptiste Doiron of Pigiguit, age 40, came with wife Marie-Blanche Bernard of Chignecto, age 43, and five children:  Marie-Hippolythe-Honoré, age 17; Rose-Luce, age 13; Amable-Ursule, age 6; Louis-Toussaint, age 4; and Jean-Charles, age 2.  Rose Doiron of Pigiguit, age 35, wife of Frenchman Jean-Baptist Loiseleur, her second husband, who remained in France, came alone.  Marguerite-Josèphe Doiron, age 50, widow of Jean-Baptiste Dugas, came alone, though her 26-year-old son Claude-Bernard Dugas, perhaps without her knowledge, would stow away on a later vessel.  Jean-Pierre Dugas, age 20, perhaps Marguerite-Josèphe's son, came with wife Jeanne Cabon, a Frenchwoman, age 34, and no children.  Jean-Pierre Duhon, age 25, came alone.  Pierre Forest, age 25, came alone.  Widower Charles-Benoît Granger of Grand-Pré, age 33, came with nephew Joseph Daigre, age 14.  Jean-Marie Granger, age 19, came alone.  Charles Guédry of Annapolis Royal, age 59, a widower, came with four children: Anne-Laurance, age 26; Joseph, age 18; Jean-Pierre, age 17; and Jacques-Servais, age 15.  Charle's oldest son Pierre-Jean, age 23, came with wife Louise Blandin, a Frenchwoman, age 27, and no children.  Jean Guédry dit Grivois, age 57, came with wife Marie LeBlanc, age 55, and two sons:  Jean dit Grivois, fils, age 27; and Jacques, age 17; also with them was cousin Josèphe-Marie Célestin dit Bellemère, age 19.  Joseph Guédry of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 35, came with wife Marguerite Lebert of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 32, and three children:  Pierre-Jean-Marie, age 9; François, age 4, and infant Marguerite-Félicité; also with them was niece Marguerite-Marie Lebert.  Joseph's brother Pierre-Janvier of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 31, came with wife Marie-Josèphe Lebert of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 31, Marguerite's sister, and four children:  Pierre-Joseph, age 10; Marie-Rose, age 6; Jean-Pierre, age 4; and infant Joseph-Firmin; also with them was nephew Pierre-Jean-Joseph-Joachim Lebert, age 13.  Anne Benoit, age 55, widow of Pierre and Jean-Baptiste Hébert, came with 13-year-old son Jean-Charles, son of her second husband.  Pierre Hébert of Chignecto, age 45, came with wife Charlotte Potier, age 41, infant son Pierre-Joseph, Pierre's brother Jean-Baptiste, age 40, a bachelor, and Charlotte's daughter Anne-Pérrine Patry, age 12, the first of her name in the colony.  Jean-Pierre, also called Jean-Baptiste, Hébert, age 32, came with second wife Anne-Dorothée Doiron, age 24, and infant daughter Anne-Marguerite.  Pierre Henry of Minas, age 61, came with wife Marguerite Trahan, age 54, and 18-year-old son Cyrille-François.  Charles Henry of Cobeguit, age 53, came with third wife Marie LeBlanc, age 45, who was pregnant, and three daughters:  Marie-Madeleine, age 23; Rose-Anastasie, age 14; and Ursule, age 10; also with them was Marie's son Charles Robichaud, age 17; soon after settling at Baton Rouge, Marie gave birth to son Jean-Baptiste Henry in late October.  Paul LeBlanc of Minas, age 40, came with wife Anne Boudrot of Grand-Pré, age 38, and two daughters:  Adélaïde-Marguerite, age 3; and infant Rose or Rosalie; with them also was niece Rose Trahan, age 23.  Moïse LeBlanc, age 24, came with wife Angélique-Madeleine-Marie De La Forestrie, age 24, the first of her family in the colony, came with two children:  Marie-Josèphe, age 3; and Jean-Martin, age 1.  Four of Moïse's younger siblings also were in the party:  Joseph, age 19; Jacques-Hippolyte, age 17;  François-Marie, age 15; Marie-Madeleine, age 11; and Anne-Geneviève, age 9.  Pierre Potier of Tintamarre, Chignecto, age 45, came with second wife Agnès Broussard, age 31, and five children:  Charles-Victor, age 16; Marie-Constance, age 14; Anne-Apolline or Apolline-Luce, age 12; Pierre-Laurent, age 10; and infant François-Constant.  Pierre Richard of Annapolis Royal and Minas, age 72, came with second wife Françoise Daigre, age 55, and four children:  Anselme, age 20;  Joseph, age 18; Marie-Jeanne, age 14; and Pierre Auguste, age 11.  Jean-Charles Richard, age 19, came alone.  Pierre Vincent of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 36, came alone. 

A few Acadian families on the frigate's passenger list were new to the colony:

Jean-Baptiste La Garenne of Île St.-Jean, age 55, came with wife Anne-Appoline Doiron of Pigiguit, age 46, and no children.   Marie-Pélagie Doiron, age 31, widow of  Joseph Lalande, came with two children:  Émilie, age 11; and Jean-Édouard, age 8.  Pierre Lavergne of Annapolis Royal, age 54, three times a widower, his third wife a Frenchwoman from Lauvaudan, came with three children:  Victoire-Bellarmine, age 22; Marie-Madeleine, age 18; and Pierre-Benjamin, age 17.  Jacques Moulaison of Pobomcoup, age 38, came with wife Marie-Blanche Doiron of Pigiguit, age 41, and three children:  Marie-Rose, age 10; Marie-Sophie, age 9; and Jacques, fils, age 6. 

Non-Acadians among the Beaumont passengers were or had been married to, or were children of, Acadians:

Joseph Acosta of St.-Tropez, France, age unrecorded, a stowaway, married Marguerite Trahan, age 24, aboard ship.  François Arbour, fils of Québec, perhaps a French Canadian, not an Acadian, age 45, came with wife Marie Henry, an Acadian, age 40, and three sons:  François-Henry, age 18; Jean-Louis-Firmin, age 15; and Frédéric-Édouard, age 13.  Joseph Caillouet of Cap-St.-Ignace, Canada, age 31, came with wife Élisabeth, or Isabelle, LeBlanc of Pigiguit, age 32, and infant son Jacques.  Marie-Josèphe Martin of Annapolis Royal, age 47, widow of surgeon Louis Courtin of St.-Nicolas de Prête-Vales, Dunois, France, came with three children:  Marie-Françoise, age 22; Mathurine-Olivier, age 20; and Jacques-Marie, age 16.448 

Intendente Navarro appointed Pedro Aragon y Villegas as commissioner for the Beaumont Acadians and instructed Anselme Blanchard to help prepare quarters for the new arrivals in New Orleans; the dormitories at Algiers and the customhouse in the city were too overcrowded to accommodate them.  While the Beaumont Acadians recuperated in the city, the intendente supervised the marriages of three Acadian girls to three non-Acadians who also had crossed on the frigate, perhaps as members of the crew.  Four Beaumont passengers died at New Orleans, two deserted, and a baby was born to one of the families.  Meanwhile, Winzerling tells us, "The surveyors of this group lost no time in determining the sites for their future homes.  After two weeks of reconnoitering they decided upon Baton Rouge."  Forty-one families with 145 members approved of the selection, some preferring the east bank north of Bayou Manchac in the Baton Rouge District, others the west bank north of Bayou Plaquemine across from San Gabriel, then also a part of the Baton Rouge District.  Four families with 19 members--those of Alain Bourg, Joseph Guédry, Moïse and Joseph LeBlanc, and Jean-Charles Richard--chose to go to Bayou Lafourche, and four families with 20 members--those of Jean-Baptiste Doiron, Pierre Hébert, Pierre Potier, and Pierre Vincent--elected to join relatives in the Attakapas District.  Two families with eight members--those of Joseph Caillouet, a French Canadian married to a LeBlanc; and Jean Guédry dit Grivois--chose crowded Cabahannocer on the Lower Acadian Coast.  During the first week of September, after a short recuperation period, the Beaumont Acadians were ready to move to their new homes.449 

Having been promised further rewards by the Spanish, Henri-Marie Peyroux de la Coudrenière asked Intendente Navarro to appoint him captain and to give him command of the Baton Rouge District, where most of "his" Acadians had gone.  Peyroux received his captaincy, but Navarro and Governor Miró, who probably were not charmed by the smooth-talking Frenchman, sent him, instead, to Ste.-Geneviève in the Illinois country and appointed Spanish officer Joseph Vasquez Vahamonde to command at Baton Rouge.449a


The fourth expedition, that of the 400-ton frigate Le St.-Rémi, would be the largest, and the least successful, of the seven expeditions.  Again, Consul d'Asprès was at fault.  Though a much larger ship than the other three, Le St.-Rémi was dangerously overcrowded when it left St.-Malo.  This was the first of two expeditions scheduled to transport Acadians from that port, which once held the largest concentration of the exiles in France.  After the failure of the Poitou venture during the 1770s, the many Acadians who had gone there from the St.-Malo area had retreated to Nantes, and there they remained.  Still, dozens of Acadian families still living in the villages around St.-Malo also had signed up to resettle in Louisiana.  Unfortunately, d'Asprès ignored his previous dictum about overcrowding and allowed families to sign up for the expedition "regardless of health conditions."  Anxious to leave before the end of June, he called a convocation of the family heads on June 19.  They chose their leaders and made their rules for shipboard conduct and the distribution of rations.450 

Le St.-Rémi, under Captain Nicolas Baudin, left St.-Malo on June 27, 13 days after Le Beaumont had departed Paimboeuf, on the other side of Brittany.  Evidently Le St. Rémi sailed around to Paimboeuf to pick up passengers from Morlaix who had journeyed to the port of Nantes.  D'Asprès thus allowed 323 Acadians and their belongings to be carried aboard the ship, as well as baggage for the Acadians who had crossed on La Bergère.  "As a result of that unhealthy congestion, smallpox broke out during the voyage and carried away twelve children.  Scurvy caused the deaths of three women."  The big frigate reached Louisiana on September 10 after a 75-day voyage, but the nightmare was not yet over.  Le St.-Rémi ran aground in the channel at La Balize.  Sixteen more passengers died of smallpox aboard the stranded vessel, and there was "much sickness in their camp at New Orleans."  The city, by now, was overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of immigrants, with more on the way.  Intendente Navarro ordered the construction of "a wooden hall 200 by 26 feet, capable of housing 800 people" at Algiers to accommodate the current and future arrivals.  It was still summer in lower Louisiana, and the St.-Rémi passengers also suffered from the excessive heat as well as the strange food they were compelled to eat.  The large numbers of sick passengers from the vessel, especially among the women, overwhelmed the two hospitals for the Acadians at Algiers.  Navarro ordered the enlargement of the women's hospital to 45 beds.  Aware of the Acadians' repugnance of French hospitals, he called the expanded women's facility Community House and made it independent of the hospitals in the city.  Sadly, Winzerling relates, "the change of climate carried off many Acadian mothers.  Navarro, in his solicitude for the Acadians, hired wet-nurses to care for their motherless babies."  He also provided extra assistance for the elderly passengers who had fallen ill.451 

Again, the great majority of the Acadians aboard Le St.-Rémi bore family names familiar in the colony, though some of them had come on previous ships from France.  The Dugass, Héberts, LeBlancs, and Trahans were especially numerous: 

Alexis Dugas of Cobeguit, age 62, twice a widower, came with 22-year-old daughter Marie-Rose.  Charles Dugas, age 60, came with wife Anne Naquin of Cobeguit, age 40, and her daughter by her first marriage, Rose-Marie Gautrot, age 22; also with them was orphan Anne Lebert, age 9.  Pierre Dugas of Cobeguit, age 53, came with third wife Rose or Rosalie LeBlanc of Pigiguit, age 43, and two daughters:  Rose, age 3; and infant Anne Pérrine.  Joseph Dugas of Cobeguit, age 43, came with second wife Anastasie Barrieau of Pigiguit, age 43, and nine children:  Joseph, fils, age 23; Marie, age 21; Cécile-Anne, age 19; Élisabeth-Eulalie, age 17; François-Basile-Étienne, age 14; Anastasie-Céleste-Marie, age 12; Jean-Pierre, age 10; Anne-Marguerite, age 7; and Marguerite-Euphrosine, age 2.  Joseph Hébert of Minas, age 50, came with second wife Marie Benoit, age 48, and three children:  Joseph, fils, age 24; Geneviève-Marie, age 22; and Sophie-Marie, age 15; also with them was niece Sophie Benoit, age 8.  Joseph-Ignace Hébert, age 37, came with wife Anne Dugas, age 36, and four children:  Pierre-Joseph, age 15; Olivier-Constant-Mathias, age 11; Élisabeth-, or Isabelle-, Jeanne, age 9; and Louis-Ambroise, age 2.  Joseph-Ignace's brother Jean-Baptiste, age 35, came with wife Anne-Josèphe Dugas of Cobeguit, age 36, and five children:  Jean-Joseph, age 14; Ambroise-Mathurin, age 12; Simon, age 7; Alexis-Thomas, age 2; and newborn Martin.  Another Joseph Hébert, age 36, came with wife Jeanne De La Forestrie of St.-Pierre-du-Nord, Île St.-Jean, age 32, and five children:  Joseph-Marie, age 11; Charles, age 10; Marie-Rose, age 8; and Louis-Jean, age 5.  Charles LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, age 68, came with second wife Marie-Madeleine Gautrot, age 66, and 20-year-old daughter Marguerite-Geneviève.  Another Charles LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, age 52, came with second wife Rosalie Trahan, age 40, and six children:  Marie-Rose, age 21; Pierre-Honoré, age 19; André-Marie, age 18; Marie-Françoise, age 16;  Barbe-Anne, age 12; and infant Jean-Baptiste.  Pierre LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, age 51, came with wife Françoise Trahan of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 47, and four children:  Marie, age 22; Geneviève, age 21; Simon, age 9; and infant Mathurine-Françoise.  Thomas LeBlanc, age 39, came alone.  Joseph LeBlanc of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 31, also came alone.  Pierre Trahan of L'Assomption Pigiguit, age 62, came with fourth wife Marie Clémenceau of Grand-Pré, age 32, and year-old daughter Louise-Renée.  Augustin Trahan, age 50, came with wife Bibienne LeBlanc, age 40, and 12-year-old daughter Marie Modeste.  Jean-Baptiste Trahan of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 50, came with wife Madeleine-Modeste Hébert of Pigiguit, age 44, and four children:  Jean-Michel, age 21; Pierre, age 18; Marie-Louise, age 16; and Jeanne-Félicité, age 14; and perhaps Jean-Baptiste, fils, age unrecorded, as well.  Joachim-Hyacinthe Trahan of Pigiguit, age 50, twice a widower, came with six children:  Anne-Isabelle, age 21; Augustin, age 18; Marie-Félicité, age 14; Catherine, age 12; Jean-Marie, age 10; and Marie-Vincente, age 1.  Marguerite Trahan, age 49, widow of Joseph Trahan, came with 12-year-old daughter Augustine-Pélagie.  Pierre Trahan of Pigiguit, age 48, came with wife Marguerite Duon, age 44, six children:  Geneviève, age 23; Élisabeth-, or Isabelle-, Apolline, age 18; Catherine-Marguerite, age 16; Anne, age 12; Marie-Françoise, age 10; and Joseph-Marie, age 8.  Paul Trahan of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 42, came with wife Marie-Josèphe Trahan of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 44, and two sons:  Paul-Alexis, age 16; and Pierre-François, age 5.  Eustache Trahan of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 40, came with wife Marie LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, age 58, and no children.  Marin Trahan, age 40, came with second wife Marguerite Juon, a Frenchwoman perhaps from Morlaix, age 20, and six children:  Madeleine, age 23; Jean-Baptiste, age 21; Marie-Marguerite, age 16; Françoise-Barbe, age 11; Jean-Joseph-Marie, age 8; and Françoise-Marie, age 7.  Pierre Trahan, age 28, came alone.  Marie Trahan, age 20, also came alone.

Other established families filled the passenger rolls of Le St.-Rémi

Michel Aucoin of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 30, came with wife Marie-Rosalie De La Forestrie of Île St.-Jean, age 30, and two daughters:  Marie-Françoise, age 5; and Rose-Adélaïde, age 1.  Grégoire Benoit of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 40, came with wife Marie-Rose Carret, age 31, who was pregnant, and five children:  Jean-Marie, age 12; Marie-Rose, age 10; Donatien, age 8; Françoise-Félicité, age 3; and Rémond-Grégoire, age 2; also with them were Marie-Rose's sister Thérèse Carret, age 29, who, along with her older sister, were the first of their family in the colony.  Jean-Grégoire Blanchard, age 37, came with wife Marie-Madeleine Livois of Île St.-Jean, age 31, the first of her family in the colony, and three children:  Marie-Madeleine, age 9; Jean-Baptiste, age 8; and infant Pierre Charles.  Félix Boudrot of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 56, came with second wife Madeleine Hébert, age 56, and no children.  Jean-Charles Boudrot of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 51, came with second wife Marguerite-Victoire Guédry of Île Royale, age 34, and five children:  Joseph-Marie, age 21; Henriette-Charlotte, age 13; Marguerite-Renée, age 4; Pierre-David, age 2; and infant Félix-Marie.  Jean-Baptiste Boudrot of Minas, age 25, came with wife Marguerite Bedel, a Frenchwoman, age 23, and two children: Jean-Baptiste, fils, age 2; and infant Jean-Charles.  Marie Boudrot, age 24, wife of Frenchman Jean-François Havard, came with infant son Jean-Marie and her younger brother Joseph; husband Jean-François came to Louisiana on L'Amitié, the next transport out of Nantes.  Pierre Bourg, age 56, came with wife Anne-Marie Naquin of Cobeguit, age 48, and three children:  Jeanne-Madeleine-Françoise, age 20; Pierre-Olivier, age 18; and Georgine Victoire, age 11.  Théodore Bourg, age 39, came with wife Anne Granger, age 54, and three children:  Anne-Théodose, age 19; Madeleine-Julienne, age 17; and Théodore-Prosper-Étienne, age 14.  Honoré Comeau of La Famille, Pigiguit, age 71, came with second wife Anastasie Célestin dit Bellemère of Grand-Pré, age 45, and two of her sons by her first marriage:  Joseph-Marie Boudrot, age 17; and Charles Boudrot, age 14.  Mathurin Comeau, age 25, came alone.  Jean-Baptiste Daigre of Grand-Pré, age 52, came with wife Marie-Flavie Boudrot, age 46, and two children:  Anne-Marie, age 15; and Joseph-Marc, age 11.  Jean-Baptiste-Alexandre Daigre, age 20, came alone.  Étienne Darois of Grand-Pré, age 47, came with wife Madeleine Trahan, age 45, and four daughters:  Élisabeth, or Isabelle, age 24; Marie-Madeleine, age 18; Susanne, age 17; and Marie-Elisabeth, or -Isabelle, age 8.  Joseph Gautrot of Cobeguit, age 63, came with second wife Anne Pitre, age 45, and six children:  Rose-Sébastienne, age 22; Joseph-Marin, age 15; Pierre-Olivier, age 13; Charles, age 10; and François and Jean-Guillaume, age 8, perhaps twins.  Marguerite Hébert, age 59, widow of Alexandre Gautrot, came with two children:  Jean-Alain, age 21; and Victoire-Andrée, age 16; also with them was grandson Charles Gautrot, age 18.  Marguerite's older son Pierre-Grégoire Gautrot, age 25, came with wife Marie-Madeleine Michel, age 21, and daughter Martina or Martine, born aboard ship.  Charles Gautrot, age 44, came with wife Anne-Pélagie Trahan, age 39, and six children:  Jean-Charles-Joseph, age 19; Marie-Madeleine-Pélagie, age 18; Jean-Marie, age 7; Pierre-Isidore, age 4; Anastasie-Marguerite-Marie, age 2; and infant Jean-Baptiste-Simon.  Jérôme Guérin of Île St.-Jean, age 35, came with wife Marie Pitre, age 38, and infant son Jean-Pierre.  Charles-Olivier Guillot of Pigiguit, age 38, came with wife Madeleine-Josèphe Boudrot of Pigiguit, age 40, and three children:  Jean-Michel, age 14; Simon-François, age 12; and Élisabeth-, or Isabelle-, Madeleine, age 10.   Jean-Philippe Henry, age 22, came with wife Marie-Josèphe Thibodeau of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 32, and two of her sons from her first marriage to Frenchman Nicolas Metra:  Nicolas, fils, age 3; and infant Joseph.  Pierre Labauve of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 38, came with second wife Anne or Jeanne Bonfils, a Frenchwoman, age 32, and 13-year-old Jean Dugas, her son by her first husband.  Simon Landry of Minas, age 50, came with wife Marguerite Gautrot, age 59, and no children.  Aimable-Étienne Landry, age 19, came with three siblings:  Jeanne-Marguerite, age 20; Bonne-Marie-Louise, age 17; and Abraham-Isaac, age 13.  Jean Lejeune, age 29, came with wife Félicité Boudrot of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 31, and no children.  Tranquille Leprince of L'Assomption Pigiguit, age 63, came with wife Susanne-Marie-Josèphe Bourg, age 57, and two daughters:  Marie-Marguerite, age 32, wife of Frenchman Thomas-Hourardon Calegan, who would come on a later vessel; and Isabelle, age 30; also with them was granddaughter Susanne-Marie-Josèphe Calegan.  Michel Levron, age 55, came with wife Marguerite Trahan, age 50, and two children:  Marie-Josèphe-Françoise, age 22; and Jean-Marie, age 17.  Michel's older son Alexis, age 24, came with wife Anne Trahan, age 24, and no children.  Pierre Michel of Annapolis Royal, age 48, a widower, came with three children:  Joseph-François, age 25; Gertrude-Olive, age 15; and Marie-Louise, age 5.  Anne Daigre of Grand-Pré, age 43, widow of Joseph-François Michel, came with two daughter:  Marie-Madeleine, age 20; and Anne-Josèphe, age 15.  Pierre-Olivier Pitre, age 48, came with wife Rosalie Hébert, age 40, and four children:  Marie-Rose, age 18; Madeleine-Rose, age 5; Anne-Henriette, age 3; and Pierre-André, age 1.  Anselme Pitre of Cobeguit, age 45, a widower, came with four children:  Jean-Pierre, age 21; Marie-Françoise, age 18; Marguerite-Ludivine, age 14; and  Isabelle-Olive, age 12.  The unmarried Richard sisters came together:  Marie, age 44; Marguerite, age 42; and Élisabeth, or Isabelle, age 33.  Their brother Charles of Minas, age 31, came with wife Marie-Josèphe Trahan, age 19, and no children.  Joseph Richard, age 36, a widower, came with 10-year-old daughter Marie-Élisabeth.  Joseph Robichaud, age 36, a widower, came with four children:  Jean-Baptiste, age 21; François-Xavier, age 16; Anne-Marie, age 14; and Renée, age 9.  Anne Hébert, age 45, widow of Pierre Robichaud, came with four children:  Marie-Josèphe, age 17; Anne-Théotiste, age 15; Joseph-Gervais, age 13; and Jean-Pierre, age 2.  Pierre Thériot of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 42, a widower, came with 15-year-old son Pierre-Marie.  Blaise Thibodeau of Annapolis Royal, age  56, came with wife Catherine Daigre, age 56, and three children:  François-Jean, age 18; Joseph-Marie, age 15; and Élisabeth-, or Isabelle-, Jeanne, age 10; also with them was nephew Joseph-Nicolas Hébert of Grand-Pré, age 31, still a bachelor.  Blaise's older son Firmin-Charles, age 25, came with wife Marie-Madeleine Thériot, age 20, and two children:  Firmin-Blaise, age 2; and newborn Martin.  Jean Thibodeau of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 42, came with second wife Marie Dugas, age 18, and two children by Jean's first marriage to Frenchwoman François Huert of Pleudihen, near St.-Malo:  Jacques-Joseph-Nicolas, age 18; and Marie-Jacquemine, age 14; also with them was kinswoman Élisabeth Thibodeau of Minas, age 45, widow of Frenchman Jacques Bourbon of Caen.  Ursule Hébert, age 45, widow of Jean Vincent, came with four daughters:  Anne-Blanche, age 23; Marie-Blanche, age 17; Jeanne-Marguerite, age 12; and Flore-Adélaïde, age 11.

Acadian families new to Louisiana also arrived on Le St.-Rémi:

Honoré Carret of Ste.-Famille, Pigiguit, age 56, came with wife Françoise Benoit, age 40, and 24-year-old son Pierre-Marin; also with them was Françoise's mother Marie-Madeleine Thériot, age 72, widow of Charles Benoit, and cousin Victoire-Marie Benoit, age 14.  Honoré's brother Ignace of Ste.-Famille, Pigiguit, age 41, came with wife Marie-Madeleine Clémenceau of Grand-Pré, age 34, and three children:  Eustache-Ignace, age 15; Jean, age 14; and Marie-Josèphe, age 7.  Hillaire Clément of St.-Esprit, Île Royale, age 39, a widower, came with two children:  Marie, age 10; and Jean-Hilaire, age 8.  Jean-Baptiste Darembourg of Île St.-Jean, age 61, came with wife Madeleine Henry of Grand-Pré, age 45, and .18-year-old daughter Marie-Jeanne.  Jean-Baptiste's daughter Marie-Madeleine, age 23, wife of Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Lirette of Nantes, who sailed on a later ship, came with two daughters:  Marie-Jeanne, age 2; and infant Rose-Adélaïde.  Marie Hébert, age 43, widow of Joseph Moïse, came with two children:  Joseph-Pierre, age 12; and Marie-Joséphine, age 6.  Ambroise Naquin of Cobeguit, age 60, came with wife Élisabeth Bourg, age 58, and twin sons:  Joseph-Jacques and Pierre-Paul, age 19.  Charles Naquin of Cobeguit, age 48, a widower, came with six children:  Anne-Marie, age 18; daughter Ives, age 16; Jean-Charles, age 14; Marguerite-Ludivine, age 10; Renée, age 8; and Paul, age 5. 

Non-Acadian family heads who crossed on Le St.-Rémi were married to Acadian women:

Lambert Billardin probably of Morlaix, France, age 40, came with wife Marguerite Daigre, age 37; and three children:  Étienne, age 10; Marie-Jeanne, age 6; and Marguerite, age 3.  Antoine Boutary of Quercy, France, age 50, came with wife Marie-Marguerite Saulnier, age 40, and three sons:  Auguste, age 9; Antoine, fils, age 7; and infant Guillaume.  Jean Garnier, originally Christian Spiger, of Sai, Switzerland, age 34, came with second wife Osite-Perpétué Thériot, age 25, and two daughters:  Jeanne-Marie, age 1; and infant Marie-Françoise.  Guillaume Hamon, perhaps a Frenchman, not an Acadian, age 24, came with wife Marguerite Saulnier of Rivière-aux-Carards, age 27, and no children.  Pierre-François Lecoq of St.-Malo, age 40, came with wife Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Vincent, age 28, and four children:  Marie, age 11; Guillaume, age 9; Victoire, age 1; and infant François. 

When Spanish authorities compiled a debarkation list for Le St.-Rémi, they discovered 16 stowaways, many of them young Frenchmen "engaged" to Acadian girls.452

By early October, most of the sick passengers had regained their health.  "The camp bustled again with activity:  elections of surveyors, discussions on future settlements, the admission of nineteen new adherents, and the celebration of eight births and five marriages," Oscar Winzerling tells us.   By then, Intendente Navarro had served as godfather to many of the Acadian children born at Algiers and New Orleans.  "His kindness made the exiles very happy," Winzerling relates.  "But when he consented to be godfather for all Acadian babies whether born aboard ship or in camp at New Orleans, or during the trip up the Mississippi River, he won the heart of every one of the exiles.  From that time on the Acadians loved him as a member of 'their nation.'"453 

As soon as most of them had recovered from their illness, Navarro called a meeting of the St.-Rémi family heads and offered them a proposition.  He had heard that Acadians were good carpenters, so he offered to pay them a subsidy of $100 for constructing their own houses.  "Because they were an honest people, he told them, he was confident that they would build their homes with thrift, avoid waste of time, and use only the best materials.  To show his appreciation of their co-operation, he would grant them permission to apply any savings in time and material to purchase cattle for their farms," Winzerling relates.  The St.-Rémi Acadians heartily endorsed the plan.454 

In early October, the surveyors for the St.-Rémi expedition returned to their camp and recommended settlement on Bayou Lafourche, where most of their La Bergère compatriots had gone.  Two St.-Rémi families--those of Jean-Baptiste and Pierre Trahan--chose to join relatives at Attakapas, and two individuals elected to settle at Nueva Gálvez below New Orleans and at Baton Rouge, but the great majority of them--85 families with 303 members--agreed to go to Bayou Lafourche.  The intendente tasked Anselme Blanchard with settling these hundreds of his fellow Acadians along the lower stretches of the bayou.  Blanchard had to wait, however, for more of the St.-Rémi Acadians to be well enough to travel.  On December 16, after the heads of families received their tools and implements, Blanchard assembled on the levee at Algiers the expedition members well enough to travel and loaded them aboard the San José, recently returned from the prairies, on launches hired from André Chiloque and Arnaud Magnon, and on a boat leased from Josef de la Puente, for the journey upriver and then down the Lafourche.455


The fifth expedition, that of the 400-ton frigate L'Amitié, sometimes called by its Spanish name La Amistad, was the third to depart Paimboeuf.  The four previous expeditions had left Paimboeuf and St.-Malo in May and June.  L'Amitié, whose embarkation d'Asprès had entrusted to his vice-consul, Luìs Landaluze, had been scheduled to depart Paimboeuf in late June, but the big frigate did not set sail until eight days after La Ville d'Archangel, an even larger frigate, left St.-Malo on August 12.  The delay in L'Amitié's departure resulted from dozens of Acadians in the St.-Malo area failing to depart on La Ville d'Archangel.  Only six expeditions had been planned in the beginning, but d'Asprès and the Count de Aranda had already realized that there would be dozens, perhaps hundreds, of "leftovers," requiring more ships.  Landaluze held up the sailing of L'Amitié so that these "leftovers" would not become too numerous, but he resisted d'Asprès's efforts to pack the ship with as many passengers as had sailed on the overcrowded St.-Rémi.  When L'Amitié left Paimboeuf on August 20, it carried "only" 270 passengers--260 adults and 10 children--slightly less than had crossed aboard La Bergère, a smaller ship.  Among the passengers aboard L'Amitié were more relatives of Peyroux de la Coudrenière, who had crossed on Le Beaumont with the third expedition and awaited his kinsmen at Ste.-Geneviève in the Illinois country.456  

L'Amitié, under Captain Joseph Beltremieux, reached New Orleans on November 8.  Despite Landaluze's efforts to limit the number of passengers aboard L'Amitié, there was "much sickness during the voyage...."  Six were buried at sea, and 27 arrived in the colony "very sick.  But once they landed they recovered rapidly," Winzerling tells us, so the expedition was largely a successful one.  Amazingly, no passenger in the L'Amitié expedition died in the camp at Algiers.  Moreover, there were 17 marriages, 10 births, and 24 "adherents."457 

The large number of marriages was the result of Intendente Navarro's efforts to marry off the many Acadian women of marriageable age who had come to the colony without husbands.  As on Le St.-Rémi, a number of stowaways, most of them love-struck young Frenchmen "engaged" to Acadian girls, crossed on L'Amitié; 12 of them this time.  Navarro also had been informed that a number of sailors aboard the ships had fallen in love with Acadian girls but feared that marrying them at New Orleans would end their wives' subsidies from the Spanish crown.  Navarro had no instructions from his superiors about encouraging marriage among the new settlers, but he understood the importance of stable families in promoting the interests of the colony.  "To encourage all bachelor immigrants to enter marriage with Acadian girls," Winzerling relates, Navarro "published two guarantees:  first, to the stowaways and sailors, the right to settle in Louisiana; and second, to any local bachelor, the right of family head with a continuation of the usual subsidy from the government."  The result was a spectacular increase in Acadian marriages.  "From November 20 to December 19, 1785, there was much festivity among the Acadians," Winzerling continues.  "Back in Acadia a marriage was an event of communal celebration.  And the Acadians clung tenaciously to their 'national' traditions.  The occasion of a marriage called for dancing, games, and a rehearsal of their national history, accompanied with the usual drink of beer, cider, or 'café noir.' And this was a special occasion."  This further endeared the Spanish intendente to the wayward exiles.458 

The passenger rolls of L'Amitié included names well-established in the colony, as well as some that had arrived only recently from France.  The Boudrots and the Hachés were especially numerous:

Zacharie Boudrot of Pigiguit, age 64, came with second wife Marguerite Vallois, age 47, a Frenchwoman, and two children:  son Benjamin-Hillaire, age 15; and stepson Jacques-Olivier Dubois, age 19.  Zacharie's older son Charles, age 21, came with wife Marie-Anne Gautrot, age 19, and infant son Charles-Marie.  Brigitte Apart of Grand-Pré, age 60, widow of Antoine Boudrot, came with five children:  Charles-Michel, age 24; Marie-Madeleine, age 22; Joseph, age 19; Étienne, age 18; and Marguerite-Josèphe, age 16.  Marin Boudrot of Minas age 53, came with wife Pélagie Barrieau of Pigiguit, age 39, and two children:  Étienne, age 13; and Marie-Anne, age 1.  Étienne Boudrot of Minas, age 42, came with wife Marguerite Thibodeau, age 40, and seven children:  Joseph-Marie, age 19; Cécile-Marguerite, age 17; Blaise-Julien, age 16; Anne-Henriette, age 14; Jean-Étienne, age 5; Marguerite-Susanne, age 3; and infant Yves-Cyprien.  Joseph Boudrot of Minas, age 40, came with wife Marguerite Richard dit Sapin of Minas, age 42, who was pregnant, and four children:  Marie-Marthe, age 20; Jean-Charles, age 18; Jean-Joseph, age 9; and Sophie, age 3; also with them was sa minuere Marie Hébert, age 12; the following February Marguerite gave birth to son Simon.  Anne Olivier of Annapolis Royal, age 64, widow of Jean-Baptiste Haché, came with niece Madeleine-Apolline Haché, age 10.  Françoise Doucet, age 46, wife of Louis Haché of Louisbourg, who sailed to the colony later, came with son Pierre-Charles, age 10, and three young kinsmen, all siblings or half-siblings:  niece Marie-Anne Haché, age 19; nephew Pierre-Alexis, age 16; and nephew Joseph-François, age 10.  Jean-Baptiste-Charles Haché, age 22, came with wife Marie-Modeste Pinet, age 20 infant daughter Martina or Martine, and two of his siblings:  Bonne-Marie-Madeleine, age 18; and Frédéric, age 15. 

Other established families could be found on the ship's passenger rolls: 

Joseph Aucoin, age 60, came with second wife Madeleine Gautrot, age 63, and no children; he was her second husband.  Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Duon of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 42, widow of Alexandre Aucoin, came with seven daughters:  Anne-Marie, age 24; Geneviève, age 20; Marie-Madeleine, age 17; Marie-Félicité, age 15; Élisabeth-, or Isabelle-, Josèphe, age 13; Anne-Augustine, age 11; and Marie-Renée, age 6.  Mathurin-Jean Aucoin, age 30, came alone.  Magloire-Simon or Simon-Magloire Babin, age 23, perhaps a stowaway, came alone.  Joseph Aucoin, age 33, a sailor, came alone.  Anne-Marie Haché of Île St.-Jean, age 39, wife of sailor Jean-Charles Benoit, who crossed on a later vessel, came with four children:  Jean-Marie, age 14; Paul-Frédéric, age 9; François-René, age 7; and Sophie-Renée, age 2.  Marguerite Benoit of Île St.-Jean, age 32, widow of Joseph Précieux, came alone, though one suspects she soon made the acquaintance of a younger fellow, a stowaway, who was going to Louisiana to be with his widowed mother.  Eustache Bertrand, age 49, came with wife Marguerite Landry, age 37, and four children:  Madeleine-Marguerite, age 19; Marie-Geneviève, age 11; Marie-Josèphe, age 7; and Louis-Martin, age 1.  Marguerite Blanchard, age 46, widow of Jean Bertrand, came with 20-year-old son Jean-Nicolas.  François Blanchard of Cobeguit, age 54, came with wife Hélène-Judith Giroir of Pigiguit, age 43, and four children:  Françoise-Hélène, age 20; Eudoxe-Marie-Gillette, age 15; Joseph-François, age 10; and Marguerite-Anne, age 5.  François's brother Bénoni, age 45, came with second wife Madeleine Forest, age 43, and six children:  Marie-Madeleine, age 18; Joachim-Jacques, age 16; Bénoni-Jacques, age 13; Anne-Marguerite, age 11; Céleste, age 8; and Moïse, age 3.  Madeleine Blanchard, age 47, widow of Charles Bourg, came with two sons:  Jean-Charles, age 11; and Joseph-Florent, age 7.  Athanase Bourg, age 45, came with wife Luce Breau and two sons:  Joseph-Marin, age 13; and Charles, age 10.  Jean Bourg, age 28, came with wife Catherine Viaud, age 33, a Frenchwoman, and infant daughter Catherine.  Lucien Bourg, age 21, came with wife Marie-Isabelle Trahan, age 25, who was pregnant; Marie-Isabelle gave birth to son Jean-Firmin the following April, probably at Attakapas.  Alexis Breau of Cobeguit, age 61, came with wife Marie-Josèphe Guillot, age 62, and 20-year-old daughter Marguerite-Blanche; with them were two kinsmen:  Jean-Charles Gautrot, age 22; and Fabien-Amateur Guillot, age 21.  Joseph-Gabriel Breau of Île St.-Jean, age 32, came with wife Marie-Marguerite Templé of Port-Toulouse, Île Royale, age 32, and two children:  Joseph, age 7; and infant Eulalie.  Jean Broussard, age 40, came with wife Marguerite Comeau, age 32, and 11-year-old son Jean-Baptiste dit Petit.  Jean-Baptiste Chiasson of Chignecto, age 56, came with third wife Anne-Perrine Joanne, age 40, a Frenchwoman, and two sons:  Joseph-François, age 19; and Pierre-Louis, age 15.  Benoît Comeau of Chepoudy, age 48, came with wife Anne Blanchard of Petitcoudiac, age 45, and six children:  Jean, age 19; Marie-Anne-Victoire, age 16; Anne-Eléonore, age 14; Marguerite-Anastasie, age 12; Rose-Julie, age 5; and newborn Claire-Adélaïde; with them also was Anne's unmarried sister Madeleine Blanchard of Petitcoudiac, age 40.  Jean-Baptiste Daigre, age 25, came with wife Marie LeBlanc, age 27, and two daughters:  Marie-Judith, age 1; and infant Marguerite-Louise.  Marie-Anne Précieux of Port-Lajoie, Île St.-Jean, age 52, widow of Augustin Doucet dit Justice, came with two sons:  Jean-Baptiste, age 19; and François, age 14.  Charles Doucet, age 40, still a bachelor, came alone.  Claude-Bernard Dugas of Boulogne-sur-Mer, age 26, came alone, though one suspects that his widowed mother's crossing on Le Beaumont had motivated his stowing away on this vessel.  Honoré Duon of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 47, came with wife Anne-Geneviève Trahan of Pigiguit, age 44, and three sons:  Augustin-Marin, age 20; Honoré-Jacques-Marie-Louis, age 17; and Jean-Charles, age 13.  Marie-Marguerite-Pélagie Gautrot, age 21, came with sister Madeleine-Rosalie, age 20.  Marie-Josèphe Thériot of Cobeguit, age 65, widow of Honoré Giroir or Girouard of Pigiguit, came with two unmarried daughters:  Eudoxile, age 38; and Marie-Rose, age 23.  Charles Giroir of Minas, age 56, came with wife Michelle Patru, age 58, a Frenchwoman, and no children.  Ignace Hamon of Île St.-Jean, age 39, came with wife Anne-Josèphe Bourg, age 41, who was pregnant, and two daughters:  Anne-Madeleine, age 12; and Marie-Modeste, age 10; daughter Martine was born probably in New Orleans soon after their arrival.  Ambroise Hébert probably of Cobeguit, age 39, came with his brother Jean-Pierre, age 38, also unmarried.  Étienne Hébert of Chignecto, age 38, came with third wife Anne-Madeleine Breau, age 36, and five children:  Marie-Cécile-Rose, age 18;  Jean-Louis-Étienne, age 16; Guillaume-Bénoni, age 12; Louis-Gabriel, age 10; and infant Marie-Madeleine.  François Landry of Annapolis Royal, age 69, three times a widower, came with two sibling grandchildren:  Bonne-Marie-Adélaïde Landry, age 16; and Jean-Jacques-Frédéric, age 15; also with them was François's nephew Jean-Charles Landry, age 18.  Pierre LeBlanc of Minas, age 49, came with wife Marie-Blanche Landry of Minas, age 52, and 16-year-old daughter Marguerite-Anne.  Jean-Baptiste LeBlanc of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 44, came with wife Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Aucoin of Minas, age 50, and niece Marie-Marguerite Semer, age 19.  Michel Léger, fils of Louisbourg, age 23, came alone.  Anastasie Levron of Grand-Pré, age 49, widow of Amand Lejeune of Minas, came with six children:  Joseph, age 22; Marie-Rose, age 18; Marie-Marguerite, age 16; Alexis-Simon, age 12; Anne-Adélaïde, age 6; and Rosalie, age 2.  Marie-Josèphe Doucet probably of Annapolis Royal, age 60, widow of Pierre Moulaison, came with son Joseph, age 30.  Marguerite Boudrot, age 46, widow of Benjamin Pitre of Cobeguit, came with six children:  Marie-Madeleine, age 24; Madeleine-Modeste, age 22; Cécile-Olive, age 17; Marguerite-Charlotte, age 15; Étienne, age 7; and Jean, age 4.  Ursule Breau of Cobeguit, age 45, widow of François Pitre of Cobeguit, came with 22-year-old daughter Ursule-Françoise.  Marie Moïse of Île Royale, age 44, widow of Olivier Pitre of Louisbourg, came with three children:  Victoire, age 19; Françoise-Olive, age 14; and Louis-Constant, age 10.  Joseph Semer of Minas, age 60, a widower, came with two daughters:  Marine, age 25; and Anne-Françoise, age 21.  Marie-Françoise Semer, age 24, pregnant wife of Joseph Boudrot, came with brother Grégoire-Dominique Semer, age 16; Marie-Françoise gave birth to son Antoine probably at Attakapas.  Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Boudrot probably of Grand-Pré, age 60, widow of Olivier Thibodeau, came with daughter Élisabeth-, or Isabelle-, Marie, age 17.  Jean-Baptiste-Pierre dit Alequin Thibodeau, age 20, came with wife Marie-Rose D'Amour dit de Louvière of Rivière St.-Jean, age 24, and newborn son Jean-Martin.  Chrysostôme Trahan of Pigiguit, age 43, came with wife Anne-Françoise Granger of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 41, and seven children:  Anne-Julie, age 20; Marie-Madeleine, age 18; Marie-Marthe, age 14; Jean-Chrysostôme, age 10; Joseph, age 7; Marguerite, age 5; and infant Renée-Sophie.  Jean-Paul Trahan, age 16, came alone.  Ursule Hébert, age 45, widow of Jean Vincent of Minas, came with four daughters:  Anne-Blanche, age 23; Marie-Blanche, age 17; Jeanne-Marguerite, age 12; and Flore-Adélaïde, age 11. 

Acadian families new to the colony also could be found aboard L'Amitié:

Pélagie Benoit of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 44, widow of Yves Crochet of Megrit, France, and Louisbourg, came with five children:  Jean-Guillaume, age 25; Françoise-Pélagie, age 21; Marguerite-Pérrine, age 19; Yves-Jean, age 19; and Julien, age 15.  Louis Dantin, fils, of Port-Toulouse, Île Royale, age 40, came with second wife Hélène Aucoin, age 37, and four daughters:  Jeanne, age 16; Marie-Anne, age 11; Anne, age 9; Judith-, or Julie-, Geneviève, age 7; also with them were two daughters from Hélène's first marriage:  Françoise-Josèphe Doiron, age 17; and Marie-Victoire Doiron, age 12.  Jean-François De La Mazière of Île St.-Jean, age 37, came with wife Véronique Renaud of Île St.-Jean, age 37, and four children:  Jean-Baptiste, age 8; Louise-Céleste, age 6; Rose-Jeanne, age 4; and newborn Martina or Martine.  Jean-Aubin Fouquet of Île St.-Jean, age 52, came with third wife Marguerite Quimine of Chignecto, age 50, and two daughters:  Marie-Charlotte, age 15; and Jeanne-Madeleine, age 11.  Jean Gousman of Andalusia, Spain, and Annapolis Royal, age 56, came with second wife Rose Bonnevie of Annapolis Royal, age 44, and two children:  Rosalie-Charlotte, age 21, born at Halifax; and Jean-Thomas, age 2.  Vincent Neveu, age 20, came alone, but he evidently was engaged to Cécile Hébert, whom he married soon after reaching New Orleans; he may have been French and not Acadian.  Charles Pinet dit Pinel of Minas, age 54, came with wife Marie-Anne Durel of Île St.-Jean, age 50, and two children:  Louis, age 22; and Marie-Madeleine, age 14.  Marie-Henriette Potier of Île St.-Jean, age 46, widow of Jean-Baptiste Rassicot dit Ratier of that island and Pierre Gaudet of Chignecto, came with three Rassicot children:  Jean-François, age 20; Anne-Marguerite, age 17; and Marie-Henriette, age 15. 

And there were families among L'Amitié passengers headed by non-Acadians with current or former Acadian spouses:

Marie-Josèphe Richard of Grand-Pré, age 30, widow of Frenchman François Basset, came with 5-year-old daughter Marie and sister Marie-Geneviève Richard, age 32.  Joseph Bénard of Russia, age 46, came with wife Jeanne Richard, age 40; and three children:  Marie, age 19; Martin, age 7; and Anne, age 2.  Jean-François Havard of Nantes, age unrecorded, husband of Marie Boudrot, who came on an earlier ship, Le St.-Rémi, with their infant son Jean-Marie, came alone.  Colette Renaud of Île St.-Jean, age 45, widow of René LeTullier, came with three children:  Jean-Charles, age 19; Adélaïde, age 16; and Isidore, age 14.  Jean Metra of Bernin, Lorraine, age 46, came with wife Marguerite Bourg, age 52, and 18-year-old daughter Anne-Marguerite.459 

The Amitié Acadians' quick recovery from the trauma of their transatlantic voyage allowed them to remain only briefly in the camp at Algiers.  Some of them--nine families with 35 individuals, including those of  Marie-Josèphe Richard, widow of Frenchman François Basset; Joseph Bénard, a Russian married to a Richard; Anne-Marie Haché, wife of Jean-Charles Benoit; Charles Doucet; Honoré Duon; Jean-Aubin Fouquet; Charles Giroir; Jean Gousman; Anne Olivier, widow of Jean-Baptiste Haché; and Jean-Baptiste LeBlanc--chose to settle at Nueva Gálvez, also called San Bernardo, below New Orleans.  Two bachelors--Simon Magloire Babin and Jean-Paul Trahan--went to Baton Rouge.  A Spanish report shows that two unidentified newlyweds went to Bayou des Écores above Baton Rouge.  Five families--those of Joseph Aucoin; Élisabeth Duon, widow of Alexandre Aucoin; Lucien Bourg; Jean Broussard; and relatives of Jean-Baptiste Semer the letter writer, who had come to the colony with the Broussards in February 1765--went to Attakapas.  And an Acadian stowaway--Michel Léger, fils--joined his widowed mother and siblings at Opelousas.  The great majority of the Amitié passengers, however--71 families with 224 members--chose upper Bayou Lafourche as their new home.  Juan Prieto, manager of the King's warehouses, issued tools and implements to most of the heads of families on December 15, so the 224 Acadians from L'Amitié going to Lafourche may have accompanied the 303 Acadians from Le St.-Rémi who left Algiers for the bayou on December 16--527 Acadians in all!  After they reached their home sites on the bayou, the population of the Valenzuéla District more than doubled.  L'Amitié passengers going to Nueva Gálvez, also called San Bernardo, below New Orleans, and newlyweds who Navarro allowed to remain longer in camp, did not leave for their settlements until the middle of January.460


The next expedition was the fifth ship to leave France, the second to depart from St.-Malo, and the sixth to reach LouisianaLa Ville d'Archangel, at 600 tons, also was the largest of the Seven Ships.  The big frigate, under Captain LeGoaster, left St.-Malo on August 12, eight days before L'Amitié left Paimboeuf.  Aboard La Ville d'Archangel were 309 passengers, second in number only to what the overcrowded St.-Rémi had carried in June.  The expedition had been ready to leave St.-Malo in early July, but contrary winds delayed its departure for a month.  At first, Luìs Landaluze was tasked with organizing the expedition, but Consul d'Asprès took over before the ship set sail.  The large number of Acadian petitioners who had recently come forth, totaling 378 potential passengers, compelled the consul to employ a larger ship for the second expedition out of St.-Malo, but prudence dictated that not all of the petitioners should be taken at once.  Thus, a seventh expedition was required to accommodate the "leftovers" from St.-Malo.  In spite of the crowded conditions aboard La Ville d'Archangel, d'Asprès was compelled to squeeze aboard another passenger, "a distinguished French colonist," Duhamel Deschenais.461 

A larger ship with so many passengers required a longer passage across the Atlantic, so La Ville d'Archangel did not reach Louisiana until November 4, after 85 days at sea.  The long crossing caused the ships' provisions to run out days before the voyage ended, so La Ville d'Archangel reached the colony with 38 "very sick passengers" aboard.  It also ran aground in the muddy channel at the mouth of the river.  Apprised of the ship's arrival and the condition of the passengers, Intentende Navarro "promptly rushed water, provisions, medical supplies, and extra help so that by November 11" the ship was able to enter the main channel of the Mississippi.  At that time, Acadians from Le St.-Rémi and L'Amitié still occupied the camp at Algiers, so the intendente ordered the big frigate, with its passengers still aboard, to make the 110-mile journey up to the city, which it reached on December 3--the sixth expedition to disembark at New Orleans.  Having closely observed the behavior of the Acadians in the previous expeditions, as well as those who been living in the colony for the past two decades, Navarro was fully aware of their spirit of independence and their amazing stubbornness.  He boarded La Ville d'Archangel as soon as it docked and spoke to the new arrivals.  He was glad to see that, except for the 38 sick passengers, the others were in tolerable health.  He reviewed for them the pact they had made with the Spanish king over the cost of their transportation to the colony and their settlement there.  He explained to them the protocols they were expected to follow once they disembarked, and he asked for their cooperation.  The expedition's leaders thanked the intendente "graciously for his welcome and instructions," Winzerling tells us.  "They told him that the expedition was unanimous in its belief that 'at long last' it had found 'its day of peace and prosperity.'  They promised him as chiefs of the expedition faithfully to fulfill to the best of their ability all matters he had outlined in his speech.  They assured him that everyone was eager to begin the work of colonization as soon as he would permit possession of the land their surveyors had chosen."  Navarro then turned to Pedro Aragon y Villegas, commissioner for the Acadians in New Orleans, and ordered him to escort the healthy passengers to their camp in the city.  The 38 sick passengers he sent not to a city hospital but to the Community House he had built for the Acadians at Algiers.  Sadly, despite the extraordinary care, 15 of the passengers died.  Meanwhile, two of the ship's passengers deserted, but 11 new adherents joined the expedition.462 

Navarro served as godfather for two of the expedition's newborns.  While the surveyors from La Ville d'Archangel looked at empty land along the river between New Orleans and Pointe Coupée, Navarro did what he could to encourage more marriages.  Most of the 53 families in the expedition were large ones, and many of the "children" were of marriageable age.  One happy result was seven marriages contracted among the passengers.462a 

Again, the passenger list of La Ville d'Archangel contained the usual mix of Acadian surnames already established in Louisiana and new ones not yet seen there.  Understandably, the number of new ones was lower in this expedition than in previous ones.  

The Aucoins, Bourgs, Héberts, and Henrys were especially numerous: 

Alexis Aucoin perhaps of Cobeguit, perhaps age 68, came alone.  Jean-Baptiste Aucoin of Minas, age 66, came with wife Marguerite Thériot, age 57, and five children:  Marie, age 27; Jean-Baptiste, fils, age 21; Rose-Madeleine, age 19; Rose-Anastasie, age 17; and Pierre-Firmin, age 11.  Joseph Aucoin of Cobeguit, age 64, came with second wife Anne Hébert, age 48, and six children:  Anne-Marie, age 21; François-Malo, age 15; Gabriel-Guillaume, age 13; Marie-Madeleine, age 11; Françoise-Victoire, age 8; and infant Hyacinthe-Laurent.  Claude Aucoin of Minas, age 57, came with wife Marie-Josèphe Saulnier of Petitcoudiac, age 48, and five children:  Perpétué, age 22; Anne-Anastasie, age 17; Mathurin-Casimir, age 13; Marie-Gertrude, age 12; and Pierre, age 9.  Michel Aucoin, age 53, came with wife Élisabeth, or Isabelle, Hébert, age 45, and 10 children:  Jean-Charles, age 23; Marie-Josèphe, age 21; Anne-Théodose, age 19; Grégoire-Alexis, age 18; Michel-Pierre, age 16; Pierre-Paul, age 14; Élisabeth, or Isabelle, age 13; François-Étienne, age 11; Florianne-Marguerite, age 4; and Constant-Jean-Baptiste, age 2.  Simon Aucoin of Minas, age 53, came with wife Marie-Geneviève Thériot of Minas, age 50, and four daughters:  Perpétué, age 26; Marguerite-Geneviève, age 16; Anne-Olivie, age 12; and Rose-Félicité, age 11.  Charles Aucoin of Minas, age 50, came with wife Madeleine Trahan of Minas, age 48, and son Pierre, age 30 and still a bachelor; with them also were Madeleine's sister Françoise, age 38, widow of Pascal Hébert; and kinswoman Marie Daigre, age 20.  Alexandre Aucoin of Grand-Pré, age 45, came with wife Rosalie Thériot, age 45, and three children:  Marie-Élisabeth, age 20; Marie-Jeanne, age 8; and Mathurin, age 5.  Joseph Aucoin of Cobeguit, a widower, age 41, came with four sons:  Alexis-Joseph, age 20; Fabien-Isaac, age 15; Mathurin-Jean, age 12; and Joseph-Marie, age 10; also with them was kinswoman Marie-Osite Breau, age 40.  Jean-Baptiste Aucoin, age 27, came with wife Marie Forest, age 20, and infant daughter Marie-Jeanne.  Charles Aucoin, age unrecorded, probably a stowaway, came alone.  Ambroise Bourg, age 53, came with second wife Marie-Modeste Moulaison of Pobomcoup, age 40, and nine children:  Marie-Victoire, age 20; Aimée-Modeste, age 18; Madeleine-Adélaïde, age 16; Thérèse-Julie, age 14; Élisabeth-, or Isabelle-, Céleste, age 12; Joseph-Faustin, age 8; Pélagie, age 5; Modeste, age 3; and Ambroise, fils, age 1.  Jean Bourg, age 50, came with second wife Anne-Josèphe Daigre, age 40, and eight children:  Marie-Josèphe, age 17; François-Marie, age 16; Marguerite-Pérrine, age 15; Madeleine-Perrine, age 12; Jeanne-Anne, age 7; Jean-Marie, age 6; Joseph-Marie, age 3; and infant Charlotte-Françoise.  Marin Bourg of Cobeguit, age 45, came with wife Marie-Osite Daigre, age 40, and nine children:  Marie-Luce, age 22; Joseph-Pierre, age 20; Marguerite-Josèphe, age 17; Marin-Joseph, age 16; Rose-Madeleine, age 13; Pierre-Jean-Baptiste, age 12; Marie-Françoise-Madeleine-Josèphe, age 10; François-Georges, age 7; and Guillaume-Jean, age 4.  François-Xavier Bourg of Cobeguit, age 44, came with second wife Marguerite-Pélagie Henry of Cobeguit, age 34, and seven children:  Félix-Xavier, age 15; Joseph-Fautin, age 11; Marie-Élisabeth, or -Isabelle, age 8; Maximilien, age 6; Élisabeth-, or Isabelle-, Félicité, age 4; Pierre-Jean-François, age 1; and infant Anne-Victoire; also with them were Charles Bourg of Cobeguit, age 51, and his wife Marguerite LeBlanc of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 40, and no children.  Another Joseph Bourg, age 40, came with wife Marie Dupuis, age 36, and five children:  Marguerite-Marie, age 16; Isabelle-Germaine, age 12; Marie, age 8; Yves-Jean, age 6; and infant Jean-Baptiste-Simon-Louis.  Joseph Hébert of Cobeguit, age 50, came with second wife Marguerite Daigre, age 45, widow of Honoré Richard, and five children:  Marie-Josèphe, age 18; Pierre-Jean, age 17; Thérèse-Anne, age 12, infant Jean-Pierre; and stepdaughter Marguerite-Marie Richard, age 16.  Pierre Hébert of Cobeguit, age 50, came with second wife Susanne Pitre of Cobeguit, age 55, widow of Jean-Baptiste-Olivier Henry, and six children:  Marie-Josèphe, age 24; Pierre-Jean, age 22; Joseph-Yves, age 15; François-Étienne, age 16; Mathurin-Pierre-François, age 13; and Jean-Baptiste-Olivier, age 11; also with them was unmarried stepdaughter Marguerite-Josèphe Henry perhaps of Île St.-Jean, age 35.  Another Joseph Hébert of Cobeguit, age 45, came with wife Marie-Madeleine Aucoin of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 44, and two daughters:  Marie, age 17; and Victoire, age 14.  Luce-Perpétué Bourg, age 43, second wife and widow of Pierre Hébert, came with three daughters:  Victoire-Luce, age 17; Anne-Marie-Julienne, age 11; and Julienne-Perrine, age 5.  François Hébert, age unrecorded, perhaps a stowaway, came alone.  Jean Henry, age 53, came with wife Marie Pitre, age 53, and three children:  Maximilien, age 24; Élisabeth-, or Isabelle-, Modeste, age 21; and Marie-Rose, age 18; also with them was Jean's unmarried sister Marie, age 55.  Pierre Henry, age 51, came with wife Marguerite-Josèphe Bourg, age 48, and 21-year-old son Jean-Vincent.  Charles Henry, age 49, came with wife Françoise Hébert, age 47, and three children:  Françoise-Victoire, age 15; Marguerite-Toussainte, age 13; and Charles, fils, age 9.  Another Charles Henry, this one from Cobeguit, age 49, came with wife Marguerite-Françoise Thériot of Cobeguit, age 50, and three children:  Marie-Josèphe, age 22; Jean-Baptiste Théodore, age 18; and Jeanne-Françoise, age 17; also with them were Marguerite-Françoise's mother Françoise Guerin of Cobeguit, age 75, widow of François Thériot, and Marguerite-Françoise's unmarried sister Marie, age 52.  Barthélémy Henry of Île St.-Jean age 41, came with wife Anne Bourg of Île St.-Jean age 39, and four children:  François-Barthélémy, age 15; Jacques-François, age 12; Barthélémy-Charles, age 9; and Marie-Jeanne, age 3.  Pierre Henry of Île St.-Jean, age 28, came with two half-sisters:  Françoise, age 23; and Angélique, age 21. 

Other established families could be found on La Ville d'Archangel's passenger rolls: 

Jacques Blanchard, age 18, came alone.  Amand Boudrot of L'Assomption, Pigiguit, age 55, who was blind, came with second wife Marie-Pérrine Nogues, 35, a Frenchwoman, and five children:  Jean-Baptiste, age 15; François-Joseph, age 14; Marie, age 6; Joseph-Alain, age 4; and infant Hélène.  Victor Boudrot, age 55, came with second wife Geneviève Richard, ate 37, and five unmarried children:  Joseph, age 27; Cécile, age 15; Geneviève-Sophie, age 11; Noël-Victor, age 9; and infant Anne-Jeanne.  Also with them were Victor's oldest daughter Hélène-Marie-Rose, age 31; her husband François-Pierre Le Lorre, a Frenchman, age 30; and stepdaughter Geneviève-Marguerite Pitre, age 17.  Louis Clossinet of Île St.-Jean, age 54, came with wife Marie-Marguerite Daigre, age 40, widow of Amand Giroir, and stepdaughter Geneviève-Charlotte-Marguerite Giroir, age 16.  Simon Comeau of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 44, came with wife Marguerite-Geneviève Aucoin of Minas, age 45, and eight children:  Marie-Luce, age 21; Élisabeth-, or Isabelle-, Madeleine, age 19; Marie-Madeleine, age 18; Félicité-Augustine, age 16; Jean-Baptiste, age 14; Alexandre-Simon, age 10; Pierre-Paul, age 9; and infant Joseph-Marie.  Marie Thériot, age 42, widow of Simon's brother Joseph, came with five children:  son Élie-Marie, age 19; Joseph-Mathurin, age 17; Simon-Pierre, age 15; Jeanne, age 11; and Marie-Élisabeth, age 6.  Ambroise Dupuis of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 43, came with wife Anne Thériot of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 40, and two children:  Jean-Charles, age 18; and Marguerite-Marie, age 8.  Jacques Forest of Grand-Pré, age 76, came with second wife Angélique Richer, age 43, a Frenchwoman; with them were nephew Étienne Forest, age 35; and kinswoman Marie-Jeanne Billeray, age 27, widow of Frenchman François Le Sommer.  Marie-Jeanne's mother was a Forest, and she was the only member of her father's family to come to Louisiana.  Jacques Forest's son Victor of Pigiguit, age 52, came with fourth wife Marie-Jeanne-Catherine Richer, age 46, a Frenchwoman, who also was a sister of his father's wife, and seven children:  Joseph-Victor, age 24; Anne-Perrine, age 20; Servanne-Julienne, age 17; Marie-Adélaïde, age 15; Jeanne-Élisabeth, or -Isabelle, age 12; Jean-Jacques, age 11; and Étienne-Gilles, age 7.  Another Jacques Forest of Minas, age 55, came with wife Marie-Geneviève Comeau of Minas, age 50, and son Pierre-Nicolas, age 15, with them also was kinswoman Marie Forest, age 21, perhaps the widow of Jean Landry.  Anne Forest, age 30, widow of Simon LeBlanc, came alone.  Joseph-Ignace Gaudet, age 42 and still a bachelor, came alone.  Anne-Thériot, age 36, second wife and widow of Pierre Landry and Joseph Granger, came with six children:  stepson Joseph-Constans Granger, age 20, stepdaughter Ignace Granger, age 15; Jeanne-Marie Granger, age 8; and Pierre-Marie Granger, age 6; and a daughter by her first marriage, Marie-Anne Landry, age 17.  Claude Guédry of Cobeguit, age 71, came with second wife Anne Moïse of Annapolis Royal, age 54, and six children:  Marie-Cécile, age 21; François-Xavier, age 19; Suliac-Charles, age 17; Malo-Bénoni, age 15; Pierre-Claude, age 12; and Olivier, age 8.  René Landry of Minas, age 55, a widower, came with eight children:  Marie-Madeleine, age 23; Servanne-Laurence, age 20; Jean-Baptiste-Raphaël, age 18; Marguerite-Josèphe, age 16; Anne-Marie-Jeanne, age 12; Pierre, age 9; Joseph-Marie, age 7; and Jeanne-Guillemette, age 4; also with them was René's unmarried brother-in-law Paul Babin, age 52.  Joseph Melanson of Grand-Pré, age 64, came with second wife Ursule Hébert of Grand-Pré, age 69, and no children.  Charles Pitre, age 56, came with wife Anne Henry, age 52, and three children:  Joseph-Pierre, age 20; Marguerite-Josèphe, age 15; and Élisabeth-, or Isabelle-, Modeste, age 11.  Jean-Baptiste, called Jean, Pitre, age 52, came with wife Félicité Daigre, age 55, and six children:  Charlotte-Marie, age 20; Pierre, age 19; Jacques-François, age 18; Françoise-Madeleine, age 17; Félicité, age 16; and Marguerite-Marie, age 14.  Marie-Blanche Richard, age 42, widow of Claude Pitre, came with 17-year-old daughter Marie-Charlotte.  Jean-Jacques Thériot of Grand-Pré, age 57, a widower, came with five daughters:  Geneviève-Catherine, age 21; Marie-Josèphe, age 19; Jeanne-Marie, age 14; Rosalie-Pauline, age 12; and Marguerite-Pérrine, age 6.  Jean-Baptiste Thériot, age 39, came with wife Anne-Angélique Briand, a Frenchwoman, age 42, and 13-year-old son Jean-Baptiste, fils.  Anne-Josèphe Henry probably of Pigiguit, age 33, widow of Théodore Thériot of Cobeguit, came with 5-year-old daughter Anne-Angélique.  Charles Thibodeau, age 63, came with wife Madeleine Henry, age 58, and five children:  Marguerite-Josèphe, age 22;  twins Jeanne-Tarsile and Pierre-Charles, age 20; Hélène, age 18; and Marie-Victoire, age 15.  Madeleine Aucoin, age 69, widow of Charles Trahan, came with two unmarried daughters:  Marie, age 47; and Marguerite, age 40. 

Three new Acadian family names could be found among this ship's passengers, including the scion of one of Acadia's seigneurial families:

Pierre Arcement of Pigiguit, age 52, came with wife Marie Hébert, age 50, and seven children:  Marie-Josèphe, age 22; Tranquille-François, age 20; Victoire-Hélène, age 18; Pérrine-Madeleine, age 14; Guillaume-Romain, age 13; Julie-Céleste, age 12; and Françoise, age 9.  Ambroise Longuépée of Cobeguit, age 52, came with wife Marie Henry, age 40, and 20-year-old son Janvier-Pierre, age 20.  Ambroise's brother Jean of Cobeguit, age 45, came with wife Marie-Françoise Bourg, age 40, and nine children:  Anne-Josèphe, age 19; Marie-Françoise-Jean, age 17; Marguerite-Olive, age 15; Jean-Jacques, age 14; Pierre, age 12; Laurentine-Urienne, age 10; Louis, age 6; Jean-Baptiste, age 4; and infant Hélène.  Jacques Mius d'Entremont IV of Pobomcoup, age 29, descendant of seventeenth-century Acadian shaker and mover Philippe Mius d'Entremont, baron de Pobomcoup, came with wife Marie Hervé, age 30, a Frenchwoman, and two children:  Jacques-Ferdinand, age one; and newborn Marie or Martine.  Also with them were two children from Marie's first marriage to Louis Langlinais:  Jean-Louis, age 11; Marie-Jeanne, age 9; and Angélique, age 7; as well as Jacques's mother, Marguerite Landry, age unrecorded, widow of Jacques Mius d'Entremont III of Pobomcoup. 

One family aboard La Ville d'Archangel was that of a Frenchman whose widow was Acadian:   Victoire Dugas, age 38, widow of Thomas Aillet, came with two sons:  Thomas, fils, age 10; and Louis, age 6.463 

The surveyors from La Ville d'Archangel recommended two places of settlement:  Bayou Lafourche, where nearly 800 of their fellow Acadians had gone; and Bayou des Écores, present-day Thompson Creek, which the Spanish called Rio Feliciana, north of Baton Rouge in the new Spanish sub-district of Feliciana.  According to François-Xavier Martin, Anglo-Americans, "principally from the banks of the Roanoke river, in North Carolina," had gone to Feliciana beginning in the mid-1760s, but there was plenty of arable land still to be had along the lower reaches of the bayou.  By late December, members of the expedition had recuperated enough to proceed to their new homes.  Most of them--53 families with 271 members--chose Bayou des Écores.  However, six families--those of Pierre Arcement; Amand Boudrot; Jacques Mius d'Entremont IV; Luce-Perpétué Bourg, widow of Pierre Hébert; Anne Forest, widow of Simon LeBlanc; and Blanche Richard, widow of Claude Pitre--elected to join the many Acadians on Bayou Lafourche; and a family of seven--that of Claude Aucoin--chose to remain at New Orleans before moving on to Opelousas.  Storehouse manager Juan Prieto issued the necessary tools and implements.  On 17 January 1786, Intendente Navarro hired launches, boats, and a barge from François Broutin, André Chiloque, Baptiste Anstive, Jacques Mather, and Louis Demarest, at four dollars a day for the boats and a dollar a day for the barge, and the expedition headed slowly upriver.  The large Bayou des Écores contingent was established at Feliciana by the third week of February.464 


The seventh and final expedition of 1785 was that of La Caroline, a 200-ton brig assigned to Captain Nicolas Baudin, who had taken Le St.-Rémi to Louisiana over the summer and had quickly returned to France.  The other six vessels had been frigates, which tended to be larger than brigs, so the final ship was chosen not for its size but for its speed.  Her port of departure also would be different--not St.-Malo or even Paimboeuf, but directly from Nantes.  Aboard were 28 Acadian families of 77 individuals, the so-called "leftovers" who had missed the departure of La Ville d'Archangel at St.-Malo, as well as a few last-minute volunteers.  Also aboard La Caroline were the last of the personal baggage for the Bergère expedition, which had departed Paimboeuf in May.  Consul d'Asprès, aware that the French government had approved of only a six-ship endeavor, tried to outfit this seventh expedition as surreptitiously as possible so as not to alarm French officials.  He was confident that he could secure the signatures of at least 300 more Acadians for Louisiana, which would require at least two more transports, but, Winzerling tells us, "the French government foiled his plans."  La Caroline, then, was the final expedition, the final opportunity for the hundreds of Acadians still in France to join their relatives in the Spanish colony at the expense of the Spanish government.464a

La Caroline left Nantes on October 19, two months after La Ville d'Archangel and L'Amitié had sailed, and arrived at La Balize on December 17.  "The expedition enjoyed good health throughout the entire trip, losing only one member," Winzerling relates.  Among the passengers was Spanish priest Father Juan Léon, on his way to serve at New Orleans.  Captain Baudin deposited his passengers and their belongings at La Balize, took on a cargo of wood, and hurried back to France.  The intendente sent the usual contingent of vessels to convey the passengers up to New Orleans, where they spent a month recuperating from the voyage.  The expedition gained more members from three births, five "new adherents," and two marriages, and lost another member through desertion.465  

Most of the names on La Caroline's passenger roll included members of Acadian families long established in the colony:

Jean-Charles Benoit of Pigiguit, age 39, husband of Anne-Marie Haché, who crossed with their children on an earlier ship, L'Amitié, came alone.  Charles Blanchard, age 51, a widower, came with two sons:  Suliac-François, age 20; and Charles-Pierre-Marc, age 16.  Olivier Boudrot of Grand-Pré, age 74, came with second wife Anne Dugas, age 59, and two children:  Marie, age 18; and Jean-Baptiste, age 17.  Marie Boudrot, age 40, widow of Jean-Charles Thériot, came alone.  Ignace Boudrot, age 36, came with wife Anne Pierson, a Frenchwoman, age 26, came with 2-year-old son Charles.  Jean-Félix-Simon Boudrot, age 22, came with wife Marie-Julienne Brossier, a Frenchwoman, age 20, and no children.  Basile Chiasson of Pointe-Beauséjour, age 36, came with wife Monique Comeau, age 38, and two children:  Anne-Adélaïde, age 11; and Charles-Albert, age 3.  Jean-Baptiste Doiron, age 25, came alone.  Joseph Doucet of Annapolis Royal, age 53, a widower, came with three children:  Marie-Marguerite, age 19; Madeleine, age 17; and son Ange, age 15.  Michel Doucet, age 45, came with wife Marie-Blanche Cousin of Ministigueshe, Cap-Sable Island, age 37, and three children:  Eléonore-Honorine, age 17; Jean-Baptiste-Michel, age 12; and Marguerite-Bénoni, age 9.  Joseph dit Gros Duon, age 19, came alone.  Louis Gaudet of Chignecto, age 57, came with wife Marie Hébert, age 54, and three children:  Madeleine, age 28; Marguerite, age 20; and François-Louis, age 12.  Charles Gautrot of Rivière-aux-Canards, age 49, came with second wife Marie-Madeleine Melanson of Grand-Pré, age 49, and two children:  François-Marie, age 18; and Rosalie-Charlotte, age 5.  Ambroise Hébert, age 54, came with wife Félicité Lejeune of Grand-Pré, age 45, 16-year-old daughter Gertrude-Anne, and niece Anne-Angélique Gautrot, age 20.  Claude-Marie LeBlanc, age 20, came alone.  Martin-Bénoni Pitre, age 18, came with half-siblings Joseph Hébert, age 12, and Marie-Louise Hébert, age 10.  Basile-Marie Richard, age 18, came alone.  Joseph Thériot, age 27, husband of Marie-Anastasie Aucoin, who came on an earlier ship, La Bergère, came alone.  

New Acadian families, understandably, were few on the passenger list of the last of the ships from France:

Jean Delaune of Île St.-Jean, age 42, came with wife Marie-Anne Part of Île Royale, age 34, and two children:  Pierre, age 1; and infant Marie-Céleste.  Jean's brother Christophe of Île St.-Jean, age 35, came with wife Marie-Josèphe Boudrot, age 30, and two sons:  Jean-Baptiste, age 11; and Louis-Augustin, age 1; also with them was Marie's sister Céleste Boudrot, age 20.  Louis Lamoureux dit Rochefort of Havre-St.-Pierre, Île St.-Jean, age 44, came with wife Marie Hébert, age 36, and two children:  Jean-Louis, age 20; and Marie-Adélaïde, age 10. 

Two family heads among the ship's passengers were Frenchmen married to Acadians:

Nicolas-Gabriel Albert, age 45, came with wife Marie-Marthe Benoit, age 49, and 12-year-old son Nicolas-Gabriel, fils.  Étienne-François Angilbert, a Frenchman, age 32, came with wife Félicité Hébert, age 28, and infant daughter Marie-Adélaïde. 

Six passengers aboard the vessel were not Acadian in name, but Spanish authorities, as well as the Acadians themselves, would have considered them part of the Acadian community.  Pierre-Vincent Monté or Montet, age 22, and his five younger siblings--Marie-Françoise, called Françoise, age 19; Joseph-Adam, age 16; Jean-Baptiste-Guillaume, age 13; Marguerite, age 10; and Pierre-Paul, age 7--called Montain and Maintoy on the embarkation and debarkation lists, were the 19th family on the ship's passenger roll.  They were the children of Guillaume Montet of Périgaux, France, and Marguerite Vincent of Minas, who had married at Liverpool, England, in c1763.  Guillaume may have been a French privateer captured by the Royal Navy during the Seven Years's War and held prisoner at Liverpool.  In the spring of 1763, soon after the war ended, the couple, along with dozens of Acadian exiles from the English ports, were repatriated to France.  Guillaume and Marguerite landed at Morlaix, where their first child, Pierre-Vincent, was born in St.-Martin Parish in January 1764.  In November 1765, the couple and their young son joined other Acadians from England on Belle-Île-en-Mer off the southern coast of Brittany.  The other five Montet siblings were born on the island between November 1765, soon after their arrival, and April 1779.  Marguerite died at Bangor on the island in June 1779, perhaps from complications of childbirth.  Guillaume died there in November 1781.  The children were likely looked after by members of the Acadian community, including an unmarried maternal uncle.  Their mother's ethnicity qualified the orphans to take passage to Louisiana. 

In early January, Intendente Navarro ordered the issuance of tool and implements to three family heads--Jean-Charles Benoit, Michel Doucet, and Ambroise Hébert--and commissioned François Broutin to escort them, along with 11 families from L'Amitié, to Nueva Gálvez/San Bernardo below New Orleans.  On January 17, he ordered Juan Prieto, for the last time, to issue tools and implements to the remaining 18 families of 54 members who were joining their fellow Acadians on Bayou Lafourche and on the river at Cabahannocer.  The Montet siblings chose to go to Lafourche.  At the last moment, Navarro permitted two of the families--including that of Ignace Boudrot--to join the Ville d'Archangel passengers who were about to head upriver to Bayou des Écores.  One unmarried passenger--Jean-Baptiste Doiron--joined his relatives at Baton Rouge.  Another bachelor--Jean dit Gros Duon--headed to Attakapas, and Basile Chiasson and his family moved on to Opelousas.466


And so concluded the Seven Ships' expeditions, which brought nearly 1,600 Acadians from France to Spanish Louisiana.  The official Spanish report counted 1,574 Acadians aboard the Seven Ships, and an earlier report had counted 1,596, but some of them were non-Acadian spouses and children who bore their fathers' French surnames.  No matter, more Acadians reached Louisiana during the five months between July and December 1785 than had come to the colony during the entire five-and-a half-year period between February 1764 and October 1769.  If French authorities, alarmed by the success of the venture, had not shut down the operation in late 1785, Consul d'Asprès might have sent hundreds of more Acadians, including 250 just arrived from Miquelon, on additional ships to Louisiana.  The substantial cost of the expeditions, however, dissuaded the Spanish from underwriting anymore such ventures.467 

The amazing influx of so many new arrivals dramatically changed the Acadian presence in Spanish Louisiana.  The population of the Valenzuéla District increased dramatically, to over a thousand by early 1786, the great majority of them newly-arrived Acadians living along parts of the bayou where only Native villages had stood.  The San Gabriel de Manchac and Baton Rouge districts could boast hundreds of new settlers.  The Upper Acadian Coast, once confined to the stretch of river below bayous Manchac and Plaquemine, now reached up towards Pointe Coupée on the west bank and across from Pointe Coupée on the east, where a new Spanish district, Feliciana, held 300 Acadians from France.  Nearly a hundred Acadian newcomers increased the population of the two prairie districts.  Two dozen Acadians, many with French spouses, added to the population density along the Lower Acadian Coast.  And San Bernardo, the closest Isleño community to New Orleans, was augmented by several dozen Acadians who wanted to live closer to the city.468

Spanish largesse did not end with the placement of the last Acadian arrivals along Bayou des Écores in late February 1786.  Intendente Navarro's final contribution to the Acadians' wellbeing occurred after he had overseen their settlement.  The daily stipend authorized by Spanish authorities for the new arrivals, to be ended only after they had become economically self-sufficient, was seven and a half cents a day for each adult and two and a half cents a day for each child.  It did not take the Acadians long to realize that the meager stipend for their children was not enough to maintain their families in the Louisiana economy.  Some Acadians blamed the Spanish for their plight, but most were determined to endure privation rather than complain to the intendente, who had done so much for them.  When Navarro toured one of the new settlements in early 1786, however, "the beloved godfather of Acadian children quickly saw the needs of his godchildren," Winzerling tells us, "and opened a way for their parents to present their petition without embarrassment.  He presented their needs with a favorable recommendation" to his superiors and was granted permission to award each Acadian, regardless of age or gender, seven and a half cents per day. 

The Acadians called him un santo--their saint.468a

The intendente and his superiors were not the only officials who recognized an important need among the new Acadian arrivals.  The sudden increase in population in so many Louisiana communities compelled Church authorities in Havana to establish new parishes where the Acadians had settled.  San Bernardo, whose Isleño habitants had built a church for themselves in 1779, received its first resident priest, Spanish Capuchin Father Mariano de Brunete, in 1787.  During the late 1780s, residents built a church at Baton Rouge on the site of the present city.  Priests from nearby Pointe Coupée and St.-Gabriel administered the sacraments there until 1792, when Baton Rouge was given a parish of its own, dedicated to St.-Joseph.  Irish Franciscan Father Charles Burke was sent to Baton Rouge perhaps because of his language skills; his parishioners were not only French-speaking Creoles and Acadians, but also English-speaking Anglo Americans forced by Spanish colonial policy to "convert" to Roman Catholicism.469

On upper Bayou Lafourche, the arrival of over 850 Acadians dwarfed the original Isleño community that had arisen there in 1779.  A census of the Valenzuéla District in mid-1784, conducted a few months before the Acadians from France arrived, had counted only 174 persons in 46 families, 150 of them Isleños in 40 families.  By January 1788, after a "general census of the inhabitants established in Lafourche" had been taken, Commandant Nicolas Verret, fils reported that the population of the Valenzuéla District had grown to 1,075 settlers, most of them Acadians from France.  In January 1789, Verret counted 1,033 persons in Valenzuéla.  Two years later, in January 1791, he counted 1,191.  As more Acadians from the crowded river districts moved to Bayou Lafourche to find fresh land and to join their kinsmen already there, families from the nearby German Coasts moved south into the valley and allowed their children to marry Isleños and Acadians.  Spaniards from Málaga, as well as Canadians, Irishmen, Italians, and even Anglo Americans, joined the Isleños, Acadians, French Creoles, and Germans in populating the Valenzuéla District.  In April 1793, thanks to the dramatic increase in population, Church authorities, now in Havana, established a new parish there.  The Spanish called it La Parroquia de la Assumption de Nuestra Senora de La Fourche de los Chetimachas de Valenzuéla, or the Church of the Assumption, built at present-day Plattenville.  The first resident priest at Assumption was Spanish Capuchin Bernardo de Deva.470

Meanwhile, the nearly 300 Acadians who had gone to the Feliciana District were frustrated in their efforts to secure a church parish of their own.  In the first months of 1786, on a triangular-shaped, 62-arpent parcel along Bayou des Écores, five miles above its confluence with the Mississippi, they had built a church, a presbytery, and a cemetery for their future use.  However, the chronic shortage of priests in the colony postponed the designation of a new parish at Feliciana, and, in the end, one was never created there.  Priests from Pointe Coupée across the river, or from Baton Rouge after 1792, administered the sacraments to the Bayou des Écores Acadians.  Finally, in the mid-1790s, ecclesiastical authorities, now headquartered at New Orleans, created a parish for Feliciana, with chapels at nearby Bayou Sara and St. Francis, but by then most of the Acadians in the district had moved away.471 

The Arrival of La Brigitte, 1788, and Other Acadian "Stragglers"

On 11 December 1788, almost exactly three years after La Caroline dropped its anchor at La Balize, the schooner Brigitte reached Pass à L'Outre and arrived at the Spanish outpost, but this vessel had not crossed from France.  The captain of the schooner was 49-year-old Joseph Gravois III, and he had sailed from Île St.-Pierre, off the southern coast of Newfoundland, on October 16, less than two months earlier.  Also aboard the schooner were Gravois's wife, Marie-Madeleine, called Madeleine, Bourg, age 42, a native of Grand-Pré, and eight of their children:  daughters Angélique-Marguerite and Marie-Félicité, ages 24 and 22, still unmarried, younger daughters Marie-Victoire, age 13, Marie-Tarsille, age 8, and Madeleine-Blanche and Marie-Susanne, ages undetermined; and sons Jean-Hébert and Joseph-Frédéric, whose ages also are difficult to discern.  Accompanying the Gravoiss was Marine LeBlanc, age 52, widow of Joseph Babin and, like Marie-Madeleine, also a native of Grand-Pré.  With Marine were five of her children, none of whom were married:  daughters Marie-Victoire, age 25, and Anne-Marguerite, age 18, and sons François-Laurent, age 22, Pierre-Moïse, age 20, and Mathurin-Louis, age 15.  Also aboard was Marine's uncle-in-law, Charles Babin, age unrecorded, and Jean-Baptiste Boudrot, age 21, perhaps a cousin of  Joseph Gravois's wife. 

But for the amazing distances the Gravoiss traveled during Le Grand Dérangement, their story would have been a familiar one to many of their fellow Acadians in Louisiana.  Though a native of Chignecto, Joseph evidently made his way to Minas, from which he was deported to Virginia in 1755 when he was 16 years old.  The following year, he joined hundreds of other exiles sent from Virginia to England, and, with them, was repatriated to France in May 1763.  He married Madeleine Bourg at St.-Suliac, near St.-Malo, in August 1763; he was 24, and she was 17; she, too, had come to France via Virginia and England.  They lived at nearby St.-Servan, where Joseph evidently took up the life of a sailor.  Joseph's work took him to England in February 1767; he took Madeleine and their two daughters with him.  They were counted at Windsor in 1770, but they did not remain there.  By the following year, they had crossed the Atlantic to Baie Ste.-Marie, Nova Scotia, a new community of Acadian exiles down the coast from Annapolis Royal, but they did not remain there either.  Two years later, they had moved on to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where they were counted at Carleton, on the north shore of the Baie des Chaleurs, in 1775.  They remained there until the mid-1780s before moving again, this time to Île St.-Pierre, a French-owned island off the southern coast of Newfoundland.  It was from there that they sailed to Louisiana in October 1788. 

Marine LeBlanc's story was similar, though her wanderings were not as extensive.  Like Joseph and Madeleine, she, too, had been exiled from Minas to Virginia in 1755 and then deported to England in 1756.  The following November, she married fellow Grand-Pré native Joseph Babin at Southampton.  They had three children in England, including son Bonaventure, born in late November 1759.  Their fourth child, daughter Marie-Victoire, was born aboard the repatriation ship La Dorothée on its way from Southampton to St.-Malo.  They lived at St.-Servan, near St.-Malo, until 1765, when they joined other exiles on Belle-Île-en-Mer, off the southern coast of Brittany.  Four of their children were born there, and then in the early 1770s they returned to St.-Servan, where the rest of their children were born, the last one in July 1779--11 children in all.  Marine may have become a widow soon after the birth of her 11th child.  She and her children may have been among the 600 Acadians whom the French allowed to return to îles St.-Pierre and Miquelon in 1784.  Evidently her husband's uncle, Charles Babin, followed her and his brother's family back to North America.  Son Bonaventure, who turned 26 in 1785, may have remained in France and gone to Louisiana that year with hundreds of his fellow Acadians. 

Jean-Baptiste Boudrot's story was typical of many of the younger Acadian exiles who had come to Louisiana from France in 1785.  His father, Victor Boudrot, had married Jean-Baptiste's mother, Catherine-Josèphe Hébert, at Port-La-Joye on Île St.-Jean in January 1752 and settled at Grande-Anse, across the bay from Port-La-Joye.  In late 1758, the family, now including three children, was deported to St.-Malo.  Two of the children died at sea on the crossing aboard the transport Supply.  Six more children were born in the St.-Malo suburbs of St.-Suliac and St.-Servan between April 1760 and July 1770, including Jean-Baptiste, who was born at St.-Servan in December 1767.  His father Victor remarried to Geneviève Richard of Grand-Pré, widow of Simon dit Pierre Pitre, at St.-Servan in August 1773, and fathered at least five more children.  A carpenter, Victor did not take his family to Poitou with the majority of Acadians at St.-Malo but remained in the port city, probably to follow his trade.  In 1785, Victor, Geneviève, and eight of their children, including a son-in-law, emigrated to Louisiana aboard the sixth of the Seven Ships, La Ville d'Archangel.  They followed the majority of their fellow passengers to Bayou des Écores, where Victor died.  In September 1787, Victor's widow Geneviève Richard remarried to a LeBlanc and, like most of their fellow Feliciana Acadians, moved on to upper Bayou Lafourche, taking her blended family with her.  Jean-Baptiste Boudrot, who had turned 18 in 1785, did not accompany his family to Louisiana.  He may have taken up the life of a sailor and was away from France in 1785.  Like Marine LeBlanc, he, too, found his way to the little French island off the southern coast of Newfoundland.  He would have been kin to the Gravoiss through Joseph's wife Madeleine, whose mother, also, was an Hébert.  Or perhaps he was simply Joseph Gravois's deckhand, and this was his opportunity to reunite with his family in Louisiana. 

By 1787, Acadians on crowded îles St.-Pierre and Miquelon began moving on to Lower Canada.  Joseph Gravois and his fellow Acadians decided to go elsewhere.  Here, according to Dr. Carl Brasseaux, was the only group of Acadians "known to have migrated to Louisiana from Canada after the first migration (1764-1770)."  They also were among the last of the Acadian exiles to reach Louisiana.  Professor Brasseaux continues:  "Armed with a passport from Ygnacio Balderas, a Spanish official they encountered, they ascended the Mississippi to New Orleans and evidently secured permission to join relatives" at Ascension on the Acadian Coast.  None of Joseph Gravois's sons seems to have married, but four of his daughters took husbands.  Amazingly, only one of them, Marie-Tarsille, married a fellow Acadian, a Braud; the other daughters married into the Bertrand, Frederick, and Mulford families--a German, a Swede, and an Anglo American--and two of them moved to the Attakapas District.  Marine LeBlanc died at Ascension in September 1789, nine months after she reached Louisiana; she was 53 years old.  Only one of her Babin children married--Anne-Marguerite, to a Richard at nearby St.-Jacques.  Jean-Baptiste Boudrot settled on upper Bayou Lafourche, where, in November 1793 and April 1803, he married fellow Acadians, a LeBlanc and a Benoit, both, like him, natives of France.  He created a large family on the bayou.  His succession record was filed at the Lafourche Interior Parish courthouse in October 1848; he would have been in his early 80s then.471a 


The great majority of Acadians who came to Louisiana, like the passengers aboard La Brigitte, did so as part of extended families, not as individuals.  As this narrative has shown, the first of them, from Georgia, numbering only 21, appeared at New Orleans in February 1764.  Two hundred more arrived from Halifax via Cap-Français this time in February 1765, followed by 400 more from Nova Scotia by the end of the year.  Another 224 arrived from Maryland in September 1766.  That October, a family of 10 Acadians appeared at New Orleans, fresh off the boat from Maryland.  Another 213 arrived from Maryland in July 1767, followed by 150 more from that colony the following February.  In October 1769, 27 Acadians and 51 German Catholics, all passengers from the ill-fated schooner Britannia, appeared at Natchitoches after a harrowing ordeal in coastal Texas:  nearly 1,250 Acadians in all during the nine years since the first arrivals.  And then came the surge of exiles from France:  156 arriving aboard Le Grand Papa in July 1785, 273 more aboard La Bergère in August, 176 aboard Le Beaumont that same month, followed by 341 on Le St.-Rémi in September, another 270 aboard L'Amitié in November, 309 aboard La Ville d'Archangel and 77 more aboard La Caroline in December--a total of 1,550 Acadians from Nantes and St.-Malo, 300 more than had come to the colony from 1764 through 1769.  The 18 Acadians aboard La Brigitte were among the last of the 2,800 Acadians who had come with their families to Spanish Louisiana.471b 

But a hand full of Acadians did arrive as individuals or with a loved one or two and joined their cousins in the Spanish colony: 

The family of 10 that came to Louisiana on its own hook in October 1766 was that of Étienne-Michel, called Michel, David dit Saint-Michel of Louisbourg and Minas.  Another David family from Acadia, probably not kin to Michel, had a tale of their own to tell.  Jean-Baptiste, fils, son of Jean-Baptiste David and Marguerite Lapierre of Grand-Pré, Jean-Baptiste, fils's wife Marguerite Landry, and their children, including son Jean-Baptiste III, called Baptiste, born at Grand-Pré in May 1748, were exiled to Pennsylvania in the autumn of 1755.  Jean-Baptiste, fils died there before British authorities counted his widow and four children in that colony June 1763.  Marguerite and most of her children soon left for Massachusetts, where they were counted probably at Boston with a Landry cousin in July.  Jean-Baptiste III moved, instead, to Maryland, where he married Marie Ritter or Kidder of Germany, in c1770.  Their son Jean-Baptiste IV, also called Baptiste, fils, was born in c1774; the baptismal record of one of his daughters calls Jean-Baptiste IV a "native of Maryland."  The last contingent of Maryland Acadians departed for Louisiana from Port Tobacco in January 1769.  Evidently Jean-Baptiste David III, like his namesake Étienne-Michel, went to Louisiana on his own, taking his family there sometime after 1774.  They settled in the Opelousas District, where Jean-Baptiste IV married Scholastique, daughter of fellow Acadians Pierre Savoie and Lisette Bourg, in May 1798.471e

Jean-Thomas, son of Jean Bertrand, whose father was a colonel of militia in Newfoundland, and Marie Le Borgne de Bélisle, granddaughter of a former governor of French Acadia, was born at Havre-la-Baleine, Île Royale, in c1740.  At Miré on Île Royale in 1752, a French official counted his widowed mother "wintering here with her family," where she hoped to settle.  Still in his teens when the French fortress at nearby Louisbourg fell to the British in July 1758, Jean-Thomas likely was deported to France with some of his kinsmen later that year.  Sometime in the late 1700s, perhaps in 1785, he found his way to New Orleans, evidently with a wife named Bernarda.  Unlike the other Acadian Bertrands in Louisiana, Jean-Thomas was a descendant of Sr. François of Île de Ré and Plaisance, not Claude of Port-Royal and Port-Razoir.  Jean-Thomas died at New Orleans in November 1801.  The St.-Louis Cathedral priest who recorded his burial said that Jean-Thomas was age about 60 when he died.  The priest said nothing about children from Jean-Thomas's union with Bernarda.471f

Paul-Hippolyte, called Hippolyte, only son of Amand Hébert and Françoise Gautrot of Minas who were exiled to New England in 1755, was born in Connecticut in c1761.  In the late 1760s, he followed his family to Laprairie-de-la-Madeleine across from Montréal, but he did not remain there.  After he came of age, he may have followed a first cousin to St. Louis on the upper Mississippi, then in Spanish upper Louisiana.  By the late 1780s he had moved to lower Louisiana and married Marie, daughter of fellow Acadians Pierre Michel and his second wife Marie Léger, at St.-Jacques de Cabahannocer on the river above New Orleans in February 1790--his first appearance in Louisiana records.  His daughters married French immigrants.  Though his older son survived childhood, he did not marry.471g

Olivier, son of Acadian exiles Augustin Guédry and Marguerite Picot, may have been born at Boston in c1764, not long after the Treaty of Paris would have allowed his family to leave Massachusetts.  Soon after his birth, Olivier's parents evidently took him to Canada with hundreds of other Acadian immigrants from the New England states.  British officials counted them at Québec in 1766 and at St.-Jacques-de-l'Achigan above the city in 1767.  During the 1780s or early 1790s, after he came of age, Olivier left Canada and emigrated to Louisiana, most likely via the upper Mississippi.  If so, he would have been one of the few Acadians to follow that route to the Spanish colony.  In January 1793, 29-year-old Olivier first appears in Louisiana records.  On January 8, he married Marie-Félicité, called Félicité, daughter of Acadians Alexandre Aucoin and Isabelle Duhon and widow of Joseph Faulk, at Attakapas.  Félicité, a native of Belle-Île-en-Mer, France, had come to Louisiana aboard L'Amitié, the fifth of the Seven Ships, in 1785 with her widowed mother and six sisters, among only a handful of passengers from their ship who chose to go to the western prairies.  Félicité was age 17 when she married her first husband, an Anglo American.  She was age 23 when she remarried to Olivier.  The couple settled at Grand Prairie on upper Bayou Vermilion, today's downtown Lafayette, where neighbors called him Olivier dit Canada to distinguish him from another Olivier Guidry who lived at nearby Grande Pointe.471c


A member of a notable Acadian family who came to Louisiana during the early 1790s may not have been an Acadian at all.  One of the most accomplished Louisianans of his day, his story was decidedly atypical among the exiles who found refuge in Spanish Louisiana.  According to biographer Joseph G. Treble, Jr., Henry Schuyler Thibodaux, as he spelled his name, son of Alexis Thibodaux, "a French Canadian," and Anna Blanchard, was born at Albany, New York, in 1769.  Tregle says Henry was orphaned at an early age and raised "in the family of Gen. Philip Schuyler" of Albany, hero of the American Revolution.  Most remarkable of all, Tregle relates, the young French Canadian was educated in Scotland before he emigrated to Louisiana.  According to family tradition, Henry's trade in the Spanish colony was that of a shoemaker, an unusual occupation for someone with a classical education.  Significantly for Tregle's version of the story, both of Henry Thibodaux's marriage records provide his parents' names and tie them to New York and Canada.  His first marriage record says he was son of Alexo Tibodaux and Ana Blanchar "of New York in America," and his second marriage record calls him Henri Thibodeaux "of Canada," lending credence to Tregle's version of the story. 

Recent genealogical research, however, offers a different version--one which hints that Henry Schuyler Thibodaux of Louisiana may gave been a descendant of Pierre Thibodeau of Acadia.  According to family historian Dick Thibodeau, Acadians bearing the names of Henry's parents--Alexis Thibodeau and Anne Blanchard--were transported in the autumn of 1755 from Village Thibodeau, Pigiguit, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, perhaps aboard the sloop Three Friends.  Acadian genealogist Stephen A. White notes that Alexis Thibodeau, born in c1723, married Marie-Anne, daughter of René Blanchard and Anne Landry, in c1747, place unrecorded, but it could have been Pigiguit, where Thibodeaus resided in large numbers.  In his published genealogy of the Acadian people, White says Marie-Anne Blanchard's husband Alexis was a son of Joseph Thibodeau and Marie-Josèphe Bourgeois, but in corrections to his work White concludes that Alexis's parents actually were Jean Thibodeau and Marguerite Hébert.  Jean was the eighth child and second son of Pierre Thibodeau, so Alexis, husband of Marie-Anne Blanchard, would have been a grandson of the seigneur of Chepoudy.  Stephen White also notes that Alexis à Jean Thibodeau remarried to Catherine, daughter of Jacques à René LeBlanc and Catherine Landry and widow of Jean-Baptiste Babin, at St. Joseph Church, Philadelphia, on 17 February 1762, so if Henry Thibodaux of Louisiana was born in 1769, as Joseph Tregle insists, Alexis à Jean's first wife Anne Blanchard could not have been Henry's mother. 

This, of course, lends credence to Tregle's claim that Henry Schuyler Thibodaux was French Canadian, not Acadian.  Genealogist Wendy Roostan proposes, however, that the 1769 birth date is a fiction, that Henry, son of Alexis Thibodeau and Anne Blanchard, was born in c1761 at Philadelphia, where the family then resided.  In 1763, after the war with Britain finally ended, many of the Acadians languishing in the seaboard colonies were repatriated to the St. Lawrence valley.  According to Stephen White, Alexis à Jean Thibodeau of Acadia was counted at Nicolet, across from Trois-Rivières, in 1795-96 and died at Nicolet in July 1802, age 79--when Henry à Alexis Thibodeau would have been living in Louisiana for nearly a decade. 

In light of Joseph Tregle's assertion that Henry Thibodaux of Louisiana was adopted by the Schuylers of Albany, the question must be asked:  Where did Henry à Alexis Thibodeau spend his early years?  Other than a notation in a marriage record, what historical evidence places him in "New York in America"?  If he had been born in 1761, as Roostan claims, his father and stepmother likely would have taken him to British Canada a few years after his birth, which may explain why he was called "Henri of Canada."  Did they go to Canada first and then move down to New York, or go first to New York and then up to Canada?  Did Henry leave Canada during his late teens, while the American Revolution still raged?  Looking down the road from Nicolet to Albany, one could fashion an interesting story of the travails of a young Acadian whose parents had settled in Canada:  Was he conscripted into the British Canadian militia and captured by the Americans, perhaps in upper New York during the late 1770s?  In one of the most dramatic moments of the War for American Independence, General "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne surrendered his army of redcoats and German mercenaries to American General Horatio Gates at Saratoga, New York, in October 1777.  Henry à Alexis of Acadia would have been 16 or 17 years old at the time, old enough to have served in the Canadian militia.  Was the bright young Acadian, technically an orphan, taken by his captors to Albany?  Following Tregle's version of the story, did Henry ingratiate himself with members of the Schuyler family, who taught him to speak and read English, providing him a basic, if not a classical, education?  Roostan's research reveals that the Schuyler family was noted for their charity, including raising, though not adopting, orphans, both Native and European.  Was Henry's tutor a Scotsman, hence the pleasant fiction that General Schuyler sent the bright young orphan to Scotland for an education?  Roostan's research in the United Kingdom has turned up no trace of a Henry Thibodaux, or even a Henry Schuyler, enrolled at any of the universities in Scotland.  Nor has her research in Schuyler family records turned up evidence of the family adopting an orphan named Henry Thibodaux.  The Revolutionary War ended in September 1783 with the signing of another Treaty of Paris.  Henry à Alexis of Acadia would have been in his early 20s.  Did he return to Nicolet and live with his aging father?  Did he remain at Albany and learn the shoemaker's trade?  Stephen White's research reveals that most of Henry à Alexis's closest Thibodeau relatives would have been living in Canada during the 1780s.  What motivated Henry Thibodeau to emigrant to faraway Louisiana?  Did he see more opportunity for a Frenchman in the Spanish colony than in a Canada controlled by the British?  Did he have a falling out with his father, or with British authorities, and set out on his own?  Tregle insists that, after his education in Scotland, Henry Schuyler Thibodaux "immigrated to Louisiana shortly after 1790." 

Finally, in May 1793, the future governor generated a primary-source record for future historians to ponder:  Called Henrrique, son of Alexo Tibodaux and Ana Blanchar "of New York in America," he married Félicité, daughter of Jacques Bonvillain and Charlotte Saint Ives, called Eber, of St.-Charles-des-Allemands on the Lower German Coast, at St.-Jacques on the Lower Acadian Coast.  If one follows Joseph Tregle's birth date for Henry, he would have been age 24 at the time; using Roostan's date of birth, he would have been age 32 at the time of his marriage.  Henry remarried to Brigitte, daughter of French Canadian Nicolas Bélanger and French Creole Marguerite Lejeune of False River, Pointe Coupée, at Baton Rouge in June 1800; the marriage record calls him "Henri of Canada."  By 1804, he had moved his growing family to upper Bayou Lafourche and settled in present-day Assumption Parish.  He soon moved farther down bayou to near the headwaters of Bayou Terrebonne, which made him one of the pioneer settlers of what became Terrebonne Parish. 

The humble shoemaker did not remain humble long.  He promptly threw himself into local politics while he amassed land and slaves on upper Bayou Terrebonne near present-day Schriever.  He named his plantation St. Brigitte (usually spelled St. Bridget) after his wife.  In 1805, at age 36 (age 44 according to Roostan), his neighbors sent him to the legislature of the United States Territory of Orleans.  In 1808, he became a justice of the peace for Lafourche County.  In 1811, he was chosen as a delegate to the state constitutional convention that helped create the State of Louisiana.  His neighbors promptly elected him to the new state Senate, in which he served for over a dozen years.  From October 1814 to April 1815, he served as a company officer in the Louisiana state militia.  In 1824, Henry was serving as president of the Senate when Governor Thomas B. Robertson resigned his office to become a federal judge.  The Louisiana state constitution of that day designated the president of the state Senate, not a lieutenant governor, to succeed a governor who resigned from or died in office.  Henry Schuyler Thibodaux served as interim governor of Louisiana from November to December 1824, until the inauguration of Robertson's elected successor, Henry Johnson.  After his short time as governor, Henry returned to the state Senate and continued as its president.  Three years later, while campaigning for a regular term as the state's chief executive, he was struck down by a liver ailment (an abscessed liver) at his home on Bayou Terrebonne.  He died in October 1827, age 58 or 66, and was entombed at Halfway Cemetery near Schriever, though many decades later his ashes were re-interred at St. Bridget's Church Cemetery in Schriever.  His will, dated 28 Jul 1817, named his wife Brigitte and his oldest son Léandre as his executors.  His succession inventory records were filed at the Houma courthouse, Terrebonne Parish, in November 1827 and at the Thibodauxville courthouse, Lafourche Interior Parish, in January 1828, so he owned property in both parishes.  The town named after him in Lafourche Interior Parish, today's Thibodaux, existed during his lifetime but was not incorporated until three years after his death. 

Governor Thibodaux had five sons.  The two by his first wife married Acadians.  The three by his second wife married French or German Creoles.  A daughter by his first wife married into the Acadian Bourgeois family.  His daughters by his second wife married into the Barras and Porche families.  The governor's grandsons tended to marry French Creoles, and at least three of them married Anglo Americans, but one of his grandsons and several of his granddaughters married Acadians.  Judging by the number of slaves the governor's sons held during the late antebellum period, the family prospered on their farms and plantations on upper Bayou Terrebonne and along the Lafourche.471d  

Adjustment and Assimilation, 1780s-1790s

Meanwhile, the new arrivals from France entered a period of adjustment to a world very different from the one they had put behind them.  There were similarities between their experiences in Bourbon France and in Spanish Louisiana.  In France, the Acadians had been supported by government subsidies until they could become self-sufficient; the Spanish were compelled to support them as well.  Intendente Navarro, in fact, increased their subsidy in 1786 after he settled the last of them.  The French government had offered the Acadians opportunities to settle in agricultural regions--on Belle-Île-en-Mer and in Poitou--instead of languishing in the port cities, where their collective skills--agricultural, not commercial--were ill-suited to their achieving self-sufficiency.  The Spanish also encouraged the new arrivals to settle in areas suitable for agriculture, away from the commercial hub at New Orleans.  But the contrasts between the two worlds, and Louisiana with old Acadia, were more startling than the few similarities between them.  The newcomers who had made their living from the fisheries of greater Acadia would have to eschew that way of life here.  Lower Louisiana lay on the northern littoral of the Gulf of Mexico, to be sure, but neither the French nor the Spanish had developed a fishery in these waters.  There were varieties of edible fish in the bays and deeper waters of the Gulf, and shellfish, especially oysters and shrimp, also thrived in these waters, but where were the cod banks, the halibut, herring, and mackerel, or anadromous species like the salmon or gaspereaux spawning in the rivers and bayous that flowed into the Gulf?  The wide coastal marshes with their weak tides, as their cousins could have told them, not only were useless for dykes and aboiteaux, but provided little solid ground on which to build fishing communities.  The climate of the lower Mississippi Valley was much different from that of northwestern France and greater Acadia.  Most of the new arrivals settled on natural levees along the Mississippi River and Bayou Lafourche, far different from the tidal marshes of the Bay of Fundy, the coves and rivers of the Maritime islands, or the agriculturally-marginal regions of northwestern France.  Here, they would have to build retention levees and drain the back swamps on their narrow holdings in order to preserve or create arable soil.  And, like their cousins who had come to the colony during the late 1760s, they, too, would have to deal with restrictive Spanish inheritance laws.  Cattle production on their narrow waterfront lots would have to be on a scale much smaller than it had been at Minas and Chignecto.  What they could grow in Louisiana's climate and soil was different from what they had been able to grow in Acadia and France.  Other than Indian corn, which was native to North America and which they had grown in Acadia, the only grain that thrived along the lower Mississippi was rice.  As decades of experience had shown, wheat, barley, and oats could not endure the heat and humidity there.  If they had insisted on returning to a life as wheat farmers, the new arrivals would have been better off moving upriver to Illinois, not settling near their cousins in subtropical lower Louisiana.  But settlement in Illinois, so far from their kinsmen (and too close to Peyroux at Ste.-Geneviève), was something they had not even remotely entertained.  Moreover, here they could grow more than corn and rice.  Louisiana's subtropical climate was suitable for cash crops like tobacco and indigo, which they could sell at New Orleans for Spain's international markets.  The great majority of the new arrivals could not speak Spanish, though this was not necessary in a colony still dominated by Francophone cultures.  Their Acadian cousins already in the colony still clung to their French language and traditions, and so would they.  Although many of the new arrivals had spent a quarter of a century in the embrace of mother France, they believed they were no less Acadian than their cousins already here.  The biggest contrast of all, however, could not yet be discerned:  the agricultural settlement schemes in northwestern France, for the most part, had utterly failed them.  Why else would they have crossed an ocean to come to this place?  But settlement here in this New Acadia, despite restrictive Spanish policies, held every promise of success. 

Perhaps Olivier Térrio and that scoundrel Peyroux had been right all along.472 

Spanish officials ordered a general census to be taken in the Valenzuéla District not long after the new arrivals established themselves there.  In January 1788, the district commandant, Nicolas Verret, fils, counted 1,075 settlers, consisting of 71 non-Acadian families, mostly Isleños, and 209 "Acadian" families, some of them headed by non-Acadians who had married Acadian women in France or after they had reached the colony.  Of the 209 "Acadian" families, nearly a dozen of them, including two families whose heads were not Acadian, had come to the colony during the late 1760s and had moved from the river to Bayou Lafourche.  The rest of the Lafourche valley Acadians were newcomers from France.

Amazingly, Commandant Verret counted only 54 slaves in his entire district.  He owned 10 of them; physician and lieutenant of militia Don Juan Vives, a Spaniard whose wife was an Acadian Bujole, also owned 10; and François Mathias and Nicolas Daublin (Nicolas's wife was a "free Indian"), owned 3 and 12, respectively.  Only one Isleño, Miguel Suares, owned slaves; he held 3.  The other 16 slaves in the district were held by Acadians, all but one of them earlier arrivals:  Anselme Le Borgne de Bélisle, scion of a noble Acadian family who had come to the colony from Maryland in 1767, owned 1 slave; François Simoneaux of Lorraine, whose wife was an Acadian Corporon and who had come from Maryland in 1766, owned 1; Joseph Comeaux, who had come with the Breaus from Maryland in 1768, owned 2; Germain Bergeron, who had come from Halifax in 1765, owned 2; and Pierre dit La Vielliarde Landry, who had come from Maryland in 1766, owned 11, making him the second largest slaveholder in the Valenzuéla District.  The only Acadian who had arrived aboard one of the Seven Ships and held a slave along the Lafourche that year was Jacques Mius d'Entremont, another scion of a noble Acadian family, who had crossed on La Ville d'Archangel; he owned a single slave.473 

The typical land holding was 6 arpents frontage on the bayou by 40 arpents deep, as on the river, but there were exceptions:  Acadians Jean Sonnier, who had come to the colony from Halifax in 1765, Firmin Babin, who had come to the colony from Maryland in 1768, and Jacques Mius d'Entremont, held 8 arpents frontage apiece; Estevan Ernandez and Bernardo Rivero, probably Isleños, and Domingue LaCoste and André LaCoste, probably French Creoles, also held 8 arpents frontage apiece; Lieutenant Vives and Miguel Suares held 9 arpents frontage each; Commandant Verret, Augustin Domingo (probably an Isleño), and Acadian Germain Bergeron, held 10 arpents frontage apiece; and Nicolas Daublin, with his Indian wife and a dozen slaves, held 12 arpents fronting the bayou.474  

The largest cattle producer in the district was Estevan Ernandez, with 26 head of "horned cattle."  Lieutenant Vives held 24 head; Acadian Germain Bergeron, a 1765 arrival, held 20 head; French Creole Jean Licaire 16 head; Laurent LaCoste 15 head; Acadian Anselme Le Borgne de Bélisle, a 1767 arrival, held 14 head; François Simoneaux and Miguel Suares 12 head apiece; and Joseph Landry, who had come to the colony in 1766, his cousin Pierre dit La Vielliarde Landry, another 1766 arrival, and Nicolas Daublin, each held 10 head of cattle.  Most of the Acadians from France held 1 head or none, though Spaniard Luìs Juncal, who wife was an Acadian Dugas who had crossed on Le St.-Rémi, held 6 head of cattle; Acadian Charles Aucoin, and Frenchman Louis LeTullier, whose wife was an Acadian LeBlanc, all having crossed on La Bergère, held 5 head each; Jean-Baptiste Daigle, who had crossed on Le St.-Rémi, also held 5 head; and Olivier Aucoin, François Giroir, and Prosper Giroir, who had crossed on La Bergère, held 4 head apiece.475 

The January 1788 census reveals that the Bayou Lafourche area was not destined to become an important cattle-producing area--by then, the prairie districts had long dominated that form of agriculture--but the number of swine being kept along the Lafourche pointed to the growth of another hog-producing area for the New Orleans market.  Compared to the commandant and Miguel Suares, who held 20 hogs each, Estevan Ernandez, who owned 22, and Lieutenant Vives, who owned 40, the Acadians from France were only beginning to increase their production of pork for the colonial market.  Nevertheless, some of the late arrivals were off to a good start:  Fabien Aucoin, who had crossed on La Bergère, owned 12 hogs; and Madeleine Dugas, widow of Jean-Baptiste Hébert, Prosper Giroir, and Pierre Landry, all of whom had crossed on La Bergère, Louis Desormeaux, married to an Acadian Trahan who had crossed on La Bergère, Jean-Grégoire Blanchard, Joseph Dugas, Jean-Baptiste Daigle, and Jean-Baptiste Hébert of Le St.-Rémi, Joseph Lejeune, who had crossed on L'Amitié, and Luìs Juncal, owned 10 hogs apiece--which was remarkable considering that they had living in the colony for only two years.476 

Verret's 1788 census also listed "quarts of rice," "quarts of corn," and "horses" for each settler in his district.  These economic categories revealed the same patterns among the settlers:  generally, the higher the socioeconomic status or the length of time in the colony, the wealthier that settler would be.  But, of course, there were exceptions.  The commandant, Lieutenant Vives, and Nicolas Daublin held 200 quarts of corn apiece; Acadian Pierre Landry dit La Vielliarde, who had come to the colony in 1766, held 150 quarts; Laurent LaCoste held 100 quarts; Acadian Germain Bergeron, living in the colony since 1765, held 100; Miguel Suares held 80 quarts; Acadian Joseph Landry, and François and Simon Simoneaux, the last two married to Acadians, all of whom had come to the colony in 1766, held 60 quarts apiece; François's sons Joseph Simoneaux, married to an Acadian Bourg, who had lived in the colony since 1766, Acadians François Landry and Anselme Le Borgne de Bélisle, who had come to the colony in 1767, and Joseph Comeaux, who had come to the colony in 1768, held 50 quarts apiece.  However, Acadian newcomer Louis Gaudet of La Caroline held 125 quarts of corn; Acadian Charles-Olivier Guillot of Le St.-Rémi held 100 quarts; Acadians Joseph Bourg of La Bergère and Charles Naquin of Le St.-Rémi held 60 quarts; and newcomers Pietro Cancieni of Venice, married to an Acadian Landry, Luìs Juncal, and Acadians Étienne Boudreaux, Joseph Dugas, Pierre Dugas, Jean-François De La Mazière, Charles Gautreaux, Prosper Giroir, Joseph Lejeune, and Pierre-Olivier Pitre, all newcomers from France, held 50 quarts apiece--again, remarkable considering the short amount of time they had been living in the colony.477 

Relatively few of the Lafourche settlers grew rice, but those who did, and who held the largest quantity of the grain, included Acadian newcomers:  Jacques Doiron, who crossed on La Bergère, held 40 quarts of rice; François Friou, married to an Acadian Bourg who crossed on La Bergère, held 30; Jean-Pierre Bourg, who also crossed on La Bergère, held 25; Luce Breaux, widow of Athanase Bourg, who crossed on L'Amitié, held 20; Jean-Baptiste-Alexandre Daigle, who crossed on Le St.-Rémi, held 16; and Michel Aucoin, who crossed on Le St.-Rémi, and Étienne Dupuis, who crossed on La Bergère, held 15 quarts apiece.  Compare this to the other "large" rice farmers on the bayou:   Isleño Manuel Rouano held 30 quarts; and Acadians Pierre Landry and Anselm Le Borgne de Bélisle and French Creole Nicolas Daublin held 15 quarts apiece.478

Verret's census also counted the number of horses held by the settlers in his district.  Lieutenant Vives owned 15 steeds; Estevan Ernandez 8 of them; Acadian Joseph Landry 6; François Simoneaux 5; Acadians François Landry, Pierre dit La Vielliarde Landry, and Anselme Le Borgne de Bélisle, Isleño François Allemens and Miguel Suares, and French Creoles Nicolas Daublin, Louis Desormeaux, Jean Licaire, and Jean-Baptiste Rougee 4 apiece.  Few of the Acadian newcomers owned horses.479

A year later, in January 1789, Commandant Verret conducted another general census of the district.  Again, he counted only 54 slaves.  Now there were only 1,033 settlers in the district, 42 fewer than the year before, the result, perhaps, of out migration or unusually high mortality.  In 1789, Verret counted 1,515 arpents of frontage in the district, compared to 1,059 arpents of frontage the year before.  In 1788, the commandant counted 188 quarts of rice, and 345 quarts the year after; 7,310 quarts of corn in 1788, and 10,665 quarts the following year.  There were 453 head of cattle in the district in 1788, and 645 head in 1789.  The number of horses changed dramatically, from 198 in 1788 to 406 a year later.  Hog farmers in the district held 1,429 swine in 1788 and 2,592 a year later.  In January 1791, Verret conducted a third general census of the district.  He counted 1,191 individual settlers that year, up 158 from two years before; 109 slaves, up from 54; 1,768 arpents of frontage; 905 quarts of rice; 31,068 quarts of corn; 1,622 head of cattle; 495 horses; and 4,593 hogs.  In April 1797, Verret, still commandant at Valenzuéla, counted 1,797 habitants in his district, the great majority of them Acadians who had come from France; the district's settlers that year owned 267 slaves.  In January 1798, residents in Valenzuéla District numbered 1,693, with 274 slaves.480

The Acadians from France played an important part in the economic transformation of the Bayou Lafourche valley.  The newcomers could see now, after a decade of living there, that here indeed was their New Acadia, a place where their children and grandchildren could fashion a lasting home for themselves. 


The new arrivals along the river, meanwhile, were having a tougher time adjusting to their new environment.  The Mississippi River flood of July 1788, the result of a tropical storm surge, was especially hard on "the newly arrived Acadian families living at Fort Bute at Manchac."  A "Report on the amounts of corn and rice which are necessary" for their subsistence noted that "These families lost their crops during the flooding of the Mississippi."  A similar report, dated 18 July 1788, listed the "Amounts of rice and corn distributed to Acadian families living in the district of Baton Rouge who lost their crops during the Mississippi flood."  A third report, dated 16 August 1788, was entitled "Report on the amounts of corn which are necessary for the subsistence of the newly arrived Acadians families from France who have suffered losses of their crops during the flooding of the Mississippi River."  Here, again, Acadians had to depend on government assistance to get them through hard times.481  

The terrible experience of July 1788 did not deter most of the new arrivals from rebuilding their riverside farms and starting over again.  However, a perusal of area church and census records reveals that many of the hundreds of Acadians found on the three listings abandoned the river and moved on to other parts of the colony:  Charles-Benoit Granger of Manchac, or at least his wife, Marguerite-Ange Dubois, moved on to upper Bayou Lafourche, where she remarried in January 1792; Charles Guidry died at New Orleans in September 1797, age 71, but his children remained in the Manchac/Baton Rouge area; Madeleine LeBlanc, widow of Pierre-Isidore Trahan, took her family to Attakapas, where they settled at Carencro; André-Joseph, Charles-Casimir, Élisabeth-Marguerite, Jacques-Olivier, Marie-Madeleine, and Servan-François Templet, with their mother Marguerite LeBlanc, widow of André Templet, Madeleine Dugas, widow of Pierre Quimine, Grégoire-Ignace, Jean-Baptiste, Marie-Anne, Mathurin-Charles, and Pierre-Ignace Usé, with their widowed mother Cécile Bourg, Paul-Dominique and Jean-Baptiste Boudreaux, Charles Broussard, Édouard Daigre, Jean Delaune, Pierre-Janvier and Jean Guidry dit Grivois, père and fils, Anselme Landry, Charles-Jean LeBlanc, Amable Hébert, Jean-Baptiste-Théodore Henry, François-Marie and Simon-Magloire Babin, Marie Babin, wife of Louis William Stebens, Marguerite-Josèphe Doiron, widow of Jean-Baptiste Dugas, and Frenchman Étienne Peltier and his Acadian wife, Jeanne-Marguerite Clossinet, all moved on to Bayou Lafourche; Maximilien Henry and Joseph Doucet went to New Orleans; Simon-Pierre Daigre, fils moved to Attakapas; Victor Foret moved to Opelousas, and Daniel Benoit died at his daughter's home in St. Martin Parish in December 1825, in his late 70s, but he probably had gone there from Baton Rouge in his final years.  Their fellow new arrivals who remained on the river settled in what became Iberville, East Baton Rouge, and West Baton Rouge parishes.482

The largest migration from a river settlement occurred at Bayou des Écores north of Baton Rouge.  During the late 1780s, probably soon after they reached the bayou, and continuing into the early 1790s, some families, perhaps wanting to live closer to their cousins downriver, moved south to Baton Rouge and Manchac, settling on both banks of the river.  In August 1793, and again in late August 1794, devastating hurricanes struck lower Louisiana.  The second storm produced so much rain that Bayou des Écores overflowed its banks and destroyed most of the Acadian farms there.  The Acadians had endured enough.  Most of the rest of them moved away, following, or seeking, their extended families.  The exodus to Baton Rouge and Manchac continued, some moved on to Bayou Lafourche, and a few moved out to the western prairies.  By the late 1790s, the Acadian settlement at Bayou des Écores had been largely abandoned.483

Another motivation for the Acadians to abandon Bayou des Écores was rising political tensions in the area.  After the American Revolution ended in 1783, Anglo Americans and British refugees began pouring into the Feliciana area, where they were forced to adjust to Spanish rule.  Following the Louisiana Purchase of April 1803 and the swift transitions from Spanish to French to American rule later in the year, the United States government lay claim to the swath of Mississippi delta north of Bayou Manchac, insisting it was part of what they had purchased from Napoléon, but the Spanish averred that Baton Rouge and Feliciana below the 31st parallel still belonged to their West Florida province with its capital at Pensacola.  If Acadians still remained in Feliciana after 1803, this political brouhaha would have been enough to send them packing; Acadians hated nothing more than the kind of political instability their parents and grandparents had endured back in British Nova Scotia.  By 1804, the church the Acadians had built at Bayou des Écores "had fallen into ruin and was demolished."  As a result of the Acadian exodus, the cultural future of the Feliciana country was determined not by the francophone exiles who had come there in 1786, but by Anglo Americans who in 1810 removed themselves from the Spanish empire beneath their Bonnie Blue Flag.484  


Few of the new arrivals from France chose to settle in the prairie districts, but those who did wasted no time establishing their economic independence there.  Like the descendants of the early arrivals, the Acadians from France found plenty of empty land along the bayous flowing through the prairie districts.  And their older sons and daughters created families of their own, adding to Acadian numbers in the region.490 

Political as well as demographic changes came to the prairie districts during the late 1780s.  In early 1770, Governor O'Reilly had appointed Gabriel Fuselier de La Claire of Attakapas as commandant of both the Attakapas and Opelousas districts.  Four years later, Fuselier de La Claire was replaced as commandant of the prairie districts by another Attakapas resident, Alexandre DeClouet, native of Château Chambrésis, France, a chevalier of the Order of St.-Louis, and former commander of the Arkansas Post.  DeClouet, advanced in age--he was in his late 50s in 1774--"retired" as commandant of the prairie districts in March 1787, when he would have turned 70.  The districts were then separated, and DeClouet was succeeded at Attakapas by Jean Delavillebeuvre, former commander at Fort Luìs de Natchez, who was not a favorite of his Acadian charges.  In 1795, the Spanish replaced Delavillebeuvre with Louis-Charles DeBlanc, a native of Natchitoches and former commander there.  DeBlanc was still commanding at Attakapas at the end of the Spanish period.  Nicolas Forstal, a native of Martinique and scion of a noble family, who commanded the Malagueños post at Nuéva Iberia in 1785-86, succeeded DeClouet as commandant at Opelousas in 1787.  Forstal was succeeded in the spring of 1795 by Martin Milony Duralde of Cambo, France, and Missouri, who commanded at Opelousas until the Spanish surrendered the colony to France in December 1803.  Honoré de La Chaise, Forstal's kinsman, served as Opelousas commandant during the few months the French were again in power at New Orleans.  In October 1804, after Jefferson's Purchase, American army Captain John Bowyer sent the young Frenchman packing.491

Meanwhile, in 1798, Spanish authorities moved the administrative center of the Opelousas District to the site of the present city, where a new church, also dedicated to St. Landry, was under construction.  Three years earlier, in June 1795, the parishioners of St. Landry had beseeched their pastor, Father Pedro de Zamora, to ask the ecclesiastical authorities in New Orleans to relocate their church.  In May 1796, resident Jean Tesson of Saintogne, France, donated an arpent of land for a new church at what was then called Tesson's Point.  Even more generously, local planter Michel Prudhomme, a native of Strasbourg, gave 3 x 10 arpents of land for the new church, a priest's house, and a jail on property he owned at the site.  An early historian of Louisiana notes that the move from the Bayou Courtableau to the site of the church took the administrative center, and the community sure to follow, away from the commercial advantage of a navigable stream.492

The Acadian presence in the Opelousas District remained demographically insignificant.  The general census of 1785 counted 171 families in the district, only 30 of them, or 17 1/2%, Acadian.   A general census a decade later, in 1796, counted 49 Acadian families at Opelousas, again only 17 percent of the total in the district.  Most of the Acadians lived at Bellevue or Grand Coteau, with a hand full of others residing in the North Plaquemine, Grand Prairie, Grand Louis, and Faquetaique sub districts, west of the present city.  Half of the district's 12 sub districts contained not a single Acadian family in 1796.  Despite their small numbers, however, Acadians were among the largest stockmen in Opelousas.  In 1788, nearly a quarter century after the first Acadians came to Opelousas, Joseph Cormier of Bellevue owned 697 head of cattle and 60 horses.  Cormier's neighbor, Charles Comeaux, held 643 head.  Charles's cousin, Michel Comeaux of Plaquemine Brûlé, ran 500 head.  Sylvain Sonnier of Bellevue owned 300 head of cattle.  His neighbor, Anne-Marie Thibodeaux, widow of L'Ange Bourg, owned 166 head.  Pierre Richard of the same area owned 140 head of cattle.  His younger brother Victor owned 150 head.  Michel Cormier of Prairie des Femmes, Joseph's younger brother, owned 130 head of cattle.  François Pitre of the Plaisance area also owned 130 head of cattle.  Joseph Bourg, the dead L'Ange's brother, owned 120 head.493 

Acadians in the Attakapas District, on the other hand, remained significant in numbers if not in political influence.  The general census of 1785 revealed that half of the district's families were Acadian.494 

Acadians and Slavery in Spanish Louisiana

The general census of 1785 revealed something else about the prairie Acadians--the presence of an emerging slave-holding class among the former exiles and their descendants.  This new phenomenon in Acadian socioeconomic behavior had in fact begun on the river, not the prairie, but by the time the Acadians from France reached Louisiana, Acadian slave holding, unknown in the old country, had taken root throughout the New Acadia.495 

Several factors had prevented slavery from taking hold in Acadia.  The Mi'kmaq were too proud and too powerful to allow Europeans to enslave them, and most Acadian families were so large and healthy, their communities so tight-knit, there was no shortage of labor in their fields and pastures.  The only slaves in Acadia, if they existed at all, would have been a hand full of captured Indians or Africans owned by the colony's seigneurial elite.  The Acadians' first exposure to agricultural slavery on a significant scale would have been during their Grand Dérangement.  Chignecto Acadians exiled to South Carolina and Georgia, and Minas Acadians exiled to Virginia and Maryland would have encountered West African bondsmen.  The Acadians deported to Virginia remained in the colony for only six months, but in that short time they literally rubbed shoulders with the Old Dominion's peculiar institution; Virginians accused the "Neutral French" of fraternizing with their chattel and used that as an excuse for sending them on to England.  Mirliguèche Acadians exiled to North Carolina remained probably at Edenton until c1760, so they, too, would have encountered the institution before moving on to Pennsylvania and Maryland, where they also would have seen it.  Acadians from Minas, Annapolis Royal, and Cap-Sable sent to Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Connecticut would have observed slavery on a much smaller scale than their cousins in the southern colonies, but the institution did exist in the northern provinces, mostly in its domestic and urban forms.  The Acadians who emigrated to Louisiana from Halifax, however, would not have been exposed to African slavery during their decade of exile.  They were the ones who had escaped the roundup of 1755 and found refuge in Canada or along the Gulf of St. Lawrence shore.  Not until they arrived at Cap-Français, St.-Domingue, on their way to Louisiana, would they have caught their first glimpse of agricultural servitude.  They realized immediately what little chance they or their children would have had to thrive in the sugar island's plantation-slave economy.  So they moved on to the lower Mississippi valley, where they encountered the institution on a smaller scale, especially on Louisiana's western prairies.  Maryland Acadians who came to Louisiana during the late 1760s settled mostly on the river above New Orleans, where a substantial portion of the colony's West Africans resided.  But these exiles would have been accustomed to the bondsmen's presence.  As Carl A. Brasseaux reminds us, during their time in the Chesapeake colony "Acadians had come into contact with the local slave population, and 'able-bodied' exiles worked side by side with them in the tobacco fields" of Maryland.496

By 1770, French and Spanish Louisiana had a long history of slave holding.  First came Indian slavery, which the French-Canadian founders practiced but did not favor.  Most of the agricultural labor in their native Canada was performed by engagés and family members, not by slaves.  Climatic conditions precluded the development of a plantation-based economy in the St. Lawrence valley.  In Louisiana, the climate was amenable to plantations, but severe neglect by France in the colony's formative years stifled even the most basic form of agriculture along the French Gulf Coast.  As a result, Indians in Louisiana, as in Canada, were used as domestic servants, not, as on St.-Domingue and the other French islands, as gangs of laborers tending fields of valuable cash crops.  Louisiana's small population limited the scale of Indian slavery during its formative years.  This changed by the end of the colony's second decade, when proprietary companies under Crozat and Law attempted to transform the Gulf Coast colony into a profitable enterprise.  By then, Louisiana had a cash crop of its own.  Iberville had tried to grow sugar at the site of New Orleans in 1700, but the experiment had failed.  The crop that did grow well in Louisiana's soil was not an import from Africa via the Caribbean but the sacred weed of the Natives--tobacco.  Granted, Louisiana tobacco was not as prized as the varieties grown in England's Chesapeake colonies or even in the West Indies, but it was good enough for a limited international market, and Law's Company made the most of it.  The Company received a monopoly on the Louisiana tobacco trade, while one its subsidiaries, the Company of Senegal, gained a concession for the West African slave trade.  In 1719, exactly a century after the first Africans arrived on the Chesapeake, Law's Company began importation of Africans to work the tobacco fields along the lower Mississippi, especially at Natchez.  Pointe Coupée became a tobacco-growing settlement in the 1720s and, after the massacre of 1729, replaced Natchez as the largest tobacco-producing area in the colony.  Settlers at Natchitoches on Red River also grew the weed.  In the early 1720s, with encouragement from the Company, riverside planters above and below New Orleans began the cultivation of a new cash crop, the dye-producing plant indigo, a native of India, for, despite the dreams of the proprietors, tobacco exports had not transformed the colony into a profitable venture.  Like tobacco, the production of indigo was labor intensive.  By the late 1720s, Louisiana was exporting indigo as well as tobacco, so enslavement of West Africans became even more essential to the colony's new plantation-based economy.  In September 1724, Law's Company instituted the Code Noir, or Black Code, based on the 1685 Code of the West Indies, for Louisiana.  By then, the Company, having promised to import 3,000 West Africans a year, had managed to bring in only a fraction of that number, but control of the servile population was nonetheless essential in the minds of the new planter elite.  At Natchez in November 1729, African slaves helped the Indians massacre most of the French settlers there.  The colony's first slave revolt occurred near New Orleans in early 1731 and was brutally suppressed by French authorities.  This was the year in which Louisiana reverted to royal governance, after which the importation of West Africans into the colony virtually ceased.  For over three decades, Eberhard Faber notes, "the only slaves in Louisiana had been the generation brought in the 1720s and their children."  In 1751, during Vaudreuil's governorship, the Code Noir was amended.  That same year, Jesuit priests brought sugarcane to Louisiana and grew it, along with indigo, on their plantation above New Orleans, but their small crop of cane produced molasses and syrup, not granulated sugar.  It would be decades before a market developed for Louisiana sugar.  Slaves, meanwhile, were used extensively in the colony's burgeoning cattle industry, especially in the prairie districts from the mid-1750s. 

When the first large group of Acadians reached Louisiana at the end of the French regime, indigo and tobacco were still the mainstays of what passed as a colonial plantation economy, and chattel slavery was well established.  Louisiana's population in 1765, in fact, as it had been for decades, was not unlike other colonies in the region--more African than European.  When the Spanish took formal control of the colony in late 1769, they abolished the Indian slave trade, but they did not abolish slavery itself.  According to Jo Ann Carrigan, one school of colonial historians maintains that the French, and the Spanish who succeeded them, employed a system of enslavement in Louisiana "more humane than that developed in the Anglo-American colonies.  Its provisions," as originally expressed in the Company's Code Noir, "emphasized religious education and conversion of the slave, the sacremental validity of his marriage, the sanctity of the family, the obligations of masters to slaves, and limitations on the master's power over slaves.  Manumission was to be followed by enjoyment of the same 'rights, privileges, and immunities' as free-born subjects.  The code expressed an obvious concern for the protection of human rights as well as property rights."  Nevertheless," Carrigan concludes, "the evidence clearly indicates that the various provisions were not consistently enforced in French Louisiana.  With certain revisions and additions, the Black Code was carried over into the Spanish regime."  Las Siete Partidas or the Seven-Part Code, which dated back to the Middle Ages, along with modifications by derecho indiano, or law of the Indies, served as "the foundation of Spain's slave law" in the New World, Andrew McMichael explains.  The combination of these legal traditions, along with the Código Negro, introduced to New Orleans in 1790, "gave rise to a system of slavery that recognized many more freedoms for slaves and allowed for the transition from slavery to freedom" even more so than the French Code Noir.  Moreover, the Spanish system was much less restrictive than that of the British and Anglo Americans, especially in matters of race.  Nevertheless, in Louisiana under Spanish rule, the enslavement of West Africans (but no longer Indians), and the impromptu importation of more West Africans, continued unabated.  In 1777, the year Gálvez replaced Unzaga as governor, a royal decree from Madrid made the importation of West Africans into Louisiana "official" again.  However, despite Spanish control of the government and the economic clout of the French-Creole elite, Eberhard Faber points out, "[t]he renascent slave trade was dominated" not by Spaniards and French Creoles but "by a coterie of Anglophone merchants of English, Scottish, and Irish origin."  From the late 1760s to the late 1780s--the two decades in which Acadians poured into the colony--the resulting "'re-Africanization' of Louisiana's slave population" increased the number of enslaved Africans in Spanish Louisiana "from under six thousand to over twenty thousand." 

"The influx of enslaved Africans" on such a dramatic scale, Faber continues, "eventually gave rise to another group particularly associated with New Orleans society...:  "the gens de couleur libre or free people of color.  The colony's demographic characteristics--a high proportion of blacks to whites in the overall population, and a high proportion of men to women in the white population--favored racial mixing and thus the growth of the free black class.  But another factor was undoubtedly the Spanish policy--not written into law but generally practiced and judicially supported--of allowing slaves the right of self-purchase at a mutually agreed-upon price.  With a cooperative owner, this practice could also extend to coartación or self-purchase according to an installment plan, with freedom in some cases coming even before the the payments were complete.  Between 1771 and 1803 a total of 1,921 slaves were manumitted in New Orleans, with slightly less than half of these being compensated manumissions at an average price of about $350.  Eventually libres tended to intermarry, and it became common for mixed-race children to be born of two mixed-race parents.  By the end of the Spanish period about a third of the nonwhite population, and about a fifth of the total population, consisted of libres."496a


Although the vast majority of the 2,800 Acadians who came to Louisiana between 1764 and 1785 did so via La Balize and New Orleans, few of them chose to live in the city, where most of the colony's gens de couleur libre resided.  Nor did they linger in the city's immediate environs, where most of the colony's slaves were held.  They nonetheless enjoyed the luxury of being Europeans, with only their dress and their Acadian accent distinguishing them from their créole "betters."  Their white skin made them especially "eligible" to purchase slaves of their own, but several factors slowed their entry into the colony's slave economy. 

The economic devastation of their Grand Dérangement only reinforced an abiding egalitarian spirit derived from their collective experience on the Acadian frontier.  Moreover, here was a significant portion of the Acadian diaspora living side by side with survivors of one of the greatest forced migrations in history.  Ownership of West Africans, then, or any other human beings, would have been a hard irony these Acadians could not have ignored.  Nevertheless, by the spring of 1766, a hand full of exiles--Jean-Baptiste Cormier, père, who had come to Louisiana from Georgia in 1764; and Halifax arrivals Jean Arosteguy, Jean dit Valois Savoie, Paul Doucet, Jean Bourgeois, Joseph Thériot, Jean Godin dit Bellefontaine, and Ambroise Martin dit Barnabé--had jumped headlong into the colony's slave-based economy.  After purchasing West Africans from New Orleans merchants, probably on credit, they took them to Cabahannocer, where "the black laborers were quickly pressed into service, assisting their new masters in clearing the dense hardwood forests hindering development of their fertile riverfront properties."  But the poverty, if not the humanity, of the great majority of Acadian exiles made for a gradual entry into the ranks of the slave-holding elite.  The Attakapas census of December 1769 counted no slaves among the Acadians there, though they made up 83 percent of the European population.  Less than two years later, in 1771, only one Acadian at Attakapas was reported as a slave holder:  Joseph Martin, a 1765 arrival, held only a single slave.  No Acadian held a slave at Opelousas in 1771.  Three years later, the same held true there:  no Acadian at Opelousas was recorded as owning any of the district's 163 slaves.  At Attakapas that same year, Simon Broussard, a son of Alexandre, owned 10 slaves; Joseph Martin still held his 1; and Marguerite Martin dit Barnabé, with her husband, physician Antoine Borda, owned 1--only 12 of the 165 slaves counted at Attakapas in October 1774.497 

Not until the late 1770s, when the early arrivals from Halifax, Maryland, and St.-Domingue had finally come into their own economically, did more Acadians begin to break into the ranks of Louisiana's slave holders.  Although cattle raising often provided the "opportunity for non-slave-owning landholders to embark on the path to slave owneship," the embarkation seemed to run slower in the cattle-producing prairie districts.  At Attakapas in May 1777, letter writer Jean-Baptiste Semer held 1 slave; Claude Martin, 2; Jean dit Neveu Mouton, 3; Jean-Baptiste Cormier, fils, 1; Joseph Martin, 2; François Savoie, 1; and Cécile Prejean, widow of Grégoire Pellerin, 3, with another on the way; and Marguerite Martin dit Barnabé, with husband Antoine Borda, still only 1--14 of the district's 302 slaves.  At Opelousas that same May, Michel Comeaux owned 1 slave; Charles Comeaux, 1; and Sylvain Sonnier, 2--only 4 of the district's 218 slaves.498 

On the river, however, the transition to a slave-holding economy moved at a quicker pace.  In March 1777, at San Gabriel, on the Upper Acadian Coast, Joseph Landry owned 1 slave on the east bank of the river; Jean-Baptiste Babin, 1; Joseph Richard, 1; Pierre Foret, 1; Anselme Blanchard, 2; Firmin Landry, 1; François Landry, 3; Mathurin Landry, 3; Baptiste LeBlanc, 1; Jean-Charles Comeaux, 3; Hyacinthe Landry, 1; Jean-Charles Breaux, 1; on the west bank, Augustin Landry held 1; Amand Melançon, 1; and Pierre Richard, 6--26 slaves held by 19 percent of the Acadian families in the community.  In April 1777, at Ascension, Jean Duhon held 1 slave on the west bank of the river; Paul Foret, 1; François Dugas, 1; Mathurin Landry, 1; Joseph Landry, 1; Anselme Le Borgne de Bélisle, 1; Charles Gaudin dit Lincour, 1; Jérôme LeBlanc, 2; Joseph Bujole, 1; Étienne Bujole, 4; Sylvain LeBlanc, 1; Joseph dit Belhomme Landry, 4; Étienne Landry, 4; Joseph Babin, 2; Pierre dit La Vielliarde Landry, 3; on the east bank, René Landry held 3; Isaac LeBlanc, 1; Pierre dit Pierrot à Chaques Landry, 6; Paul Breaux, 1; Jean-Baptiste Breaux, 1; Simon Landry, 1; Charles Babin, 2; Vincent-Ephrème, called Ephrème, Babin, 3; Charles Landry, 1; Jacques Landry, 2; Joseph Guidry, 1; and Prosper Hébert, 1--51 of the 137 slaves in the district, held by 48 percent of the Acadian families in the community.  In March 1779, at St.-Jacques, formerly Cabahannocer, on the Lower Acadian Coast, Pierre Arceneaux owned 12 slaves;  Pierre Bourgeois, 1; Simon LeBlanc, 7; Joseph Hébert, 4; Bonaventure Gaudin, 4; Philippe Lachaussée, 4; Joseph Gravois, 1; Joseph Duhon, 2; Honoré Breaux, 2; Alexis Breaux, 2; Charles Gaudet, 3; Athanase Breaux, 3; Joseph LeBlanc, père, 4; Joseph LeBlanc, fils, 2; Simon Gautreaux, 3; Marcel LeBlanc, 6; Jacques LeBlanc, 2; Joseph Breaux, 1; Jacques Babin, 1; Pierre Lanoux, 1; Paul LeBlanc, 2; Joseph Sonnier, 3; Olivier Boudreaux, 1; Joseph Melançon, 1; Ambroise Theriot, 1; Mathurin LeBlanc, 6; Pierre Chiasson, 2; Jean Arceneaux, 3; Baptiste Gaudin, 3; Pierre Bernard, 1; Joseph Arceneaux, 2; Pierre Part, 1; Bénoni Mire, 2; Paul Bourgeois, 1; Joseph Bourgeois, 4; Michel Bourgeois, 1; François Landry, 1; Antoine Labauve, 2; Joseph Martin, 2; Pierre Michel, 2; Ambroise Martin, 1; Catherine Comeaux, widow of Joseph Guilbeau, 1; Jean Bourgeois, 2; Joseph Poirier, 1; Baptiste Bourgeois, 6; Michel Bourgeois, 3; Joseph Gaudet, 2; Joseph Bourg, 2; Joseph Blanchard, 2; .François Hébert, 1; Charles Thibodeaux, 1; Jean Leger, 2; Jean Poirier, 7; Jean Richard, père, 3; Jean Richard, fils, 2; Pierre Bourg, 2; Joseph Landry, 1; and Firmin Girouard, 2--147 slaves held by 59 percent of the Acadian families in the community.499 

By 1785, the pace of slave ownership had picked up on the prairies.  In April of that year, at Attakapas, ____ Dugas held 2 slaves; Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil, 4; F. Broussard, 2; Jean-Baptiste Cormier, fils, 1; Jean-Baptiste Broussard, 4; Amand-Pierre Landry, 1; René Trahan, 4; François Broussard, 7; Amand Broussard, 4; Joseph Trahan, 2; Widow Trahan, 2; Claude Duhon, 1; Claude Broussard, 2; René Broussard, 1; Pierre Dugas, 2; Pierre Broussard, 8; Sylvain Broussard, 1; Widow Babin, 1; Charles Guilbeau, 1; Jean dit Chapeau Mouton, 7; Widow François Savoie, 2; Michel Bernard, 3; Amand Thibodeaux, 1; Olivier Thibodeaux, 5; Claude Martin, 7; Joseph Martin, 5; Mt., perhaps Michel-Laurent, Doucet, 3; Jean-Baptiste Semer, 1; and Widow Pellerin, 7--91 slaves held by 35 percent of the Acadian families in the community; interestingly, Marguerite Martin dit Barnabé, now Antoine Borda's widow and one of the original Acadian slaveholders in the district, held no slaves in her household at Poste des Attakapas.  At Opelousas that same month, Michel Cormier held 4 slaves; Joseph Lejeune, 3; ____ Pitre, 2; Pierre Guidry, 3; Paul Boutin, 3; Charles Comeaux, 4; Pierre Richard, 2; Pierre Savoie, 4; Victor Richard, 2; Pierre Thibodeaux, 3; Joseph Bourg, 1; Sylvain Sonnier, 8; and Michel Comeaux, 6--45 slaves held by 47 percent of the Acadian families there.500 

According to Carl Brasseaux, "The number of Louisiana Acadians owning slaves in the prairie settlements rose from only 5 percent in 1775 to 10 percent in 1785; meanwhile Acadian slaveowners in the river districts rose from 20 to 40 percent."  This held promise for momentous change among Louisiana Acadians.  Brasseaux continues:  "As the circle of slaveholders expanded slowly in the 1770s and early 1780s, the new elite emerged--based as before on land and livestock, but for the first time having rigid social boundaries that automatically elevated the slave owners above the workers they employed.  The acquisition of slaves gave the slaveholder social stature, undoubtedly appealing to some upwardly mobile Acadian immigrants who aspired to join the colony's Creole aristocracy."  Acadian sensibilities prevailed at first; they were, after all, still players in the North American frontier experience.  "Most of the immigrant slaveholders, ... were eminently practical pioneers who realized simply that development of a habitation for commercial agriculture required amounts of labor far beyond the capacity of the family labor pool," Brasseaux explains.  "As a consequence, in the late 1770s, many ambitious Acadians who, unlike the vast majority of the immigrants, were unhappy with the comfortable existence they had only recently attained, began to acquire young black field hands" as well as female house servants.501 

There was a dark side, of course, to what Thomas Jefferson famously described as having "the wolf by the ears."  Again, Carl Brasseaux says it best:  "Though median Acadian slaveholdings in many settlements ranged from only two to four slaves in the 1770s, the proliferation of the slave population--an increase of 1700 percent in some posts--necessitated changes in the Acadian life-style.  Control of the slave population was initially very mild, with black laborers working shoulder to shoulder with their white masters.  The presence of a large, alien, and subservient population by the 1780s nevertheless subjected the inexperienced slave owners to the constant specter of servile insurrection."502

The wolf struck in November 1785, as the Acadians from France were settling on their new habitations.  While leading a routine slave patrol along the west bank of the river at Ascension, Acadian Pierre-Paul, called Paul, Foret, who had come to the colony from Halifax in 1765, stumbled upon the notorious "renegade freedman" Philippe hiding in a cabin on the Widow Landry's farm.  Foret and his patrolmen failed to capture the wily black man, who, with a "lieutenant," was "plotting a massive slave insurrection," Brasseaux relates.  Philippe, in fact, "had already organized a 'company'" of fugitives--the latest effort by Louisiana slaves to form a maroon community.  Spanish authorities placed the Ascension District on full alert, offering a reward of 20 piastres for Philippe's head.  In the weeks that followed, Philippe and his black confederates, aided by Acadian-held slaves, eluded the slave patrols scouring the area both night and day.  To sustain themselves, Philippe and his insurrectionists began to raid Acadian farms, "stripping them of provisions and arms."  Commandant Louis Judice was forced to employ Houma warriors, who themselves had harassed local Acadians, and raise the bounty on Philippe and his men to 100 piastres.  The Houma ambushed the rag-tag force, but Philippe escaped.  He took refuge on the farm of Frenchman Nicolas Daublin, whose loyal slave, Esther, alerted her master.  After an hour-long gun battle, Daublin shot and killed Philippe, and the insurrection soon collapsed.503 

Caught in the middle of this bloody drama, the Acadians' traditional egalitarianism gave way to darker forces in their collective consciousness.  Carl Brasseaux tells us:  "Though the crisis was resolved in the slaveholders' favor, the event served as an important watershed in Afro-Acadian relations, producing a spontaneous and radical change in Acadian attitudes toward blacks throughout Louisiana.  No longer viewed as mere laborers, Negroes were now seen as inveterate schemers who posed an ever present threat to internal security.  Both slaveholding and nonslaveholding Acadians consequently demonstrated no hesitation in mounting a united and openly hostile front against threats, either real or perceived, from the slave community in subsequent years."  For example, when smallpox appeared at Commandant Judice's plantation in 1787, local Acadians imposed an impromptu quarantine on the place and attempted to purchase the diseased slave so that they could drown her in the river!  The exiles had taken the wolf by its ears, and they were determined not to let go.504

A troubling result of Acadian slaveholding was the sexual exploitation of female slaves.  According to Carl Brasseaux, "by the antebellum period, mulatto children of Acadian parentage had become commonplace in the river parishes."  Acadians "who aspired to join the colony's Creole aristocracy" were emulating a less admirable side of Louisiana's socioeconomic elite.505 

The new Acadian arrivals from France, naturally, sought to join their earlier-arriving cousins in embracing the colony's plantation-slave economy, but, like their established cousins, the transition was a slow one.  As already seen, in January 1788, Commandant Nicolas Verret, fils counted only 54 slaves in his district on upper Bayou Lafourche, where most of the new arrivals had settled.  Of the 16 Acadians who owned slaves in the district that year, only one new arrival--Jacques Mius d'Entremont--owned a slave.  The others had come to the colony during the mid- and late 1760s and had moved from the river to the upper bayou in the early 1780s.  Little had changed in the hand full of years after the 1788 census.  In January 1791, Verret counted 109 slaves in the district, but only a few were held by new arrivals:  Fabien-Amateur Guillot, 1; Jean-Charles Theriot, 1; Louis Gaudet, 1; and Jacques Mius d'Entremont, still 1.  By contrast, two earlier-arrivals still living on the upper bayou had become substantial slaveholders:  François-Sébastien Landry held 5; and Pierre dit La Vielliarde Landry, 15, making him the second largest slaveholder in the district that year.  In April 1797, the district's slaves numbered 267, only a small percentage of them held by Acadians, but a majority of the Acadian slaveholders now were late arrivals from France:  Jean-Baptiste Foret, born at St.-Jacques, held 1; Amédée Savoie, also a native of St.-Jacques, 4; Mathurin LeBlanc, a 1765 arrival, 2; Jean-Baptiste Bergeron, another 1765 arrival, 2; Henri Robichaux, a 1765 arrival, 6; Louis Gaudet, a 1785 arrival, 3; Jean-Baptiste Doucet, another 1785 arrival, 2; Jean Roger, a 1765 arrival, 6; Jean Delaune, a 1785 arrival, 1; Joseph Bourg, another 1785 arrival, 1; Vincent Landry, a 1766 arrival, 1; Pierre-Joseph Blanchard, a 1785 arrival, 1; Marie-Osite, called Osite, Daigle, widow of Marin Bourg, also a 1785 arrival, 1; Jean-Baptiste Giroir, a 1785 arrival, 1; Étienne LeBlanc, a 1785 arrival and a bachelor, 3; François-Sébastien Landry, a 1767 arrival, still 5; Anselme Le Borgne de Bélisle, another 1767 arrival, 3; Jean-Baptiste Daigle, a 1785 arrival, 1; Joseph LeBlanc, a 1785 arrival, 2; Jean-Jacques-Frédéric, called Frédéric, Landry, a 1785 arrival and another bachelor, 1; Joseph Comeaux, a 1768 arrival, 5; Pierre dit La Vielliarde Landry, a 1766 arrival and Joseph Comeaux's father-in-law, still 15; and Jean-Baptiste Landry, another 1766 arrival, 5.  One wonders what happened to Jacques Mius d'Entremont.  The January 1798 census at Valenzuéla counted 274 slaves in the district and detected more Acadian slaveholders now residing there:  Alexandre Landry, born at Ascension, held 3 slaves; Charles Bergeron, a 1765 arrival, 2, Pierre Arceneaux, another 1765 arrival, 4; Michel Bourgeois, a 1765 arrival, 4; Joseph-Marin Bourg, a 1785 arrival, 2; Pierre Bourg, another 1785 arrival, 2; Laurent-Olivier Blanchard, a 1785 arrival, 1; Joseph Gaudet, a 1765 arrival, 2.  The 1798 census also revealed that Louis Gaudet now owned 4 slaves, and Pierre dit La Vielliarde Landry, 16.506 

Despite abortive slave revolts at Pointe Coupee in 1791 and 1795, slaveholding in the prairie districts also had increased dramatically by the late 1790s.  A general census at Opelousas in May 1796 revealed the following slaveholders among the Acadians there:  In the North Plaquemine sub-district, Michel Comeaux held 12 slaves; and Pierre Doucet, 2.  In the Bellevue sub-district, Charles Comeaux held 10 slaves; Anaclet, son of Joseph Cormier, 7; Joseph Landry, 6; Blaise Brasseaux, 1; Jean Jeansonne, 1; Joseph Bourg, 2; Basile Chiasson, 5; Sylvain Sonnier, 11; Victor Richard, 5; Françoise Sonnier, widow of Pierre Thibodeaux, fils, 3; and Pierre Richard, père, 6.  In the Grand Louis sub-district, François Pitre held 4.  In the Grand Coteau sub-district, Joseph Boutin held 2; Paul Boutin, père, held 1; Louis-David, called David son of Pierre Guidry, held 2; and Jean Savoie, 6.  In the Faquetaique sub-district, Joseph Lejeune held 2.507

During the 1790s, two important technological developments, one mechanical, the other chemical, gave promise of increasing the rate of slave holding among Louisiana Acadians.  On a much larger scale, these developments also guaranteed that the institution of slavery would remain a fixture of North American agriculture.  In 1792, in faraway Georgia, a recent Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale College arrived at Mulberry Grove, the plantation home of Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene's widow, Catherine Littlefield; he was there to serve as the plantation's tutor.  Eli Whitney, born at Westborough, Massachusetts, in December 1765, had worked as a nail maker and farm laborer in his youth before attending Yale.  The story of his famous invention is a familiar one:  after listening to the Widow Greene and her neighbors discussing the difficulty encountered by their slaves in deseeding upland cotton by hand, Whitney fashioned his cotton "gin" in 1792 and secured a patent for it in March 1794.  A little known part of the story is that Whitney's original gin contained mechanical flaws, which Catherine Littlefield helped to correct, and that hand-held gins of various kinds existed decades before Whitney's invention.  As early as 1769, for instance, Spanish officials noted that Acadians in the prairie districts "'From cotton make very good cloth for their clothes'" probably cotonnade, but the Spaniards did not say if the Acadian women separated the seeds by hand or used a simple ginning device.  Despite his patent, Whitney made little money from his famous invention; most of the profits he and his partner earned went into lawsuits against a host of patent infringers.  Nevertheless, Whitney's machine and its many imitations gave a tremendous boost to the cotton-growing industry.  According to Eberhard Faber, in the 1790s cotton production "quickly replaced tobacco along the Mississippi above Baton Rouge, in West Florida on the far shore of Lake Pontchartrain, and in the western prairies," where so many Acadians lived.  By the early 1800s, cotton, not tobacco or indigo, "came to dominate the agriculture of New Orlean's intermediate hinterlands...."508 

The second development had just as dramatic an impact on the economy of South Louisiana.  Jean-Étienne, called Étienne, de Boré, was born at Kaskaskia, Illinois, in the early 1740s into an old Norman family of the minor nobility.  When he was four, Boré's family returned to France, where, as befitted a member of his class, he was properly educated.  At the age of 16, he became a cadet in a company of the King's Mousquetaires.  He emigrated to Spanish Louisiana in the late 1760s but soon returned to France.  In 1771, while serving as a captain of cavalry, he married a daughter of former Louisiana treasurer Jean-Bapiste Destréhan de Beaupré.  In 1776, Boré and his wife returned to Louisiana, where she had inherited property, and he took up the life of a gentleman planter on the east bank of the river at Chapitoulas, a few miles above New Orleans.  There, he grew Louisiana's principal cash crop, indigo, and did well until the early 1790s, when persistent drought and insect pests, as well as collapse of the French market, diminished the colony's indigo crop, including his.  At the same time, competition from Spanish Guatemala deprived Louisiana of its international indigo market.  On the verge of bankruptcy, Boré was determined to find another cash crop that would restore his personal fortune.  He turned to sugarcane, a "forced" crop that had been grown in the colony since the early 1750s to produce syrup and molasses for local use.  Though the transformation of cane juice into granulated sugar had been practiced in the West Indies for centuries, the process had proved "elusive in semi-tropical Louisiana."  Boré built a sugar mill on his property, planted a crop of cane, and, with the help of two of his Spanish neighbors, succeeded in transforming cane juice into granulated sugar.  His 1795 crop garnered him $12,000 in a market eager for the product, and a new industry was born in Spanish Louisiana.  Boré later served briefly as mayor of New Orleans.509

The End of Spanish Rule, 1790s-1803

Other developments, some locally, some distant, touched the lives of Louisiana's Acadians during the final years of Spanish rule.  On Good Friday, 21 March 1788, a terrible fire destroyed four-fifths of New Orleans.  "Only the structures fronting the river survived."  Few Acadians resided in the city at the time, but the fire affected them in several ways.  One of the 856 buildings lost was St.-Louis parish church, which had stood facing the Place d'Armes (the Spanish called it the Plaza de Armas) since 1727.  Here, beginning in 1764, Acadians baptized their children soon after reaching the colony.  In February 1765, the first Acadian wedding in Louisiana was recorded at the church.  After the loss of Canada to the British in 1763, St.-Louis and the other Louisiana church parishes--St.-François at Natchitoches, St.-Charles on the German Coast, and St.-François at Pointe Coupée--had been removed from the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Québec and placed under the care of the Archbishop of St.-Domingue.  In August 1769, after the Spanish took formal possession of the colony, Louisiana fell under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Bishop of Santiago de Cuba.  An auxiliary bishop, Spanish Capuchin Father Cirillo de Barcelona, took office at New Orleans in 1785.  Two years later, in September 1787, Louisiana parishes were transferred to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Havana; Father Cirillo continued as that bishop's auxiliary.  After the great fire of March 1788, local philanthropist Don Andrés Almonester y Roxas, using his own money, financed much of the cost of rebuilding St.-Louis church.  Don André also provided shelter for the parish's curé, Father Antonio de Sedella, known affectionately by his Francophone parishioners as "Père Antoine."  The new church was constructed between March 1789 and December 1794.  The chapel at Charity Hospital, a private home, and the Ursuline convent chapel (Our Lady of Consolation) served as temporary parish "churches" during the long period of planning and constructing the impressive new church.  By the time of the new church's completion, however, it no longer was simply a parish church.  In April 1793, Pope Pius VI issued a papal bull creating the Diocese of Louisiana.  The new diocese's first bishop, Don Luis Ignacio Maria de Penalver y Cardena, a native of Havana, took his seat at New Orleans in July 1795, and St.-Louis church was now a cathedral.   The pastors of the Acadian parishes--St.-Martin de Tours at Attakapas Post, St.-Jacques at Cabahannocer, Ascension at the Fork, St.-Gabriel at Iberville, St.-Landry at Opelousas, San Bernardo at Terre-aux-Boeuf, St.-Joseph at Baton Rouge, and Assumption on upper Bayou Lafourche--now answered to a bishop residing in nearby New Orleans, not in faraway Canada, St.-Domingue, or Cuba.516

Governor Miró used the Good Friday fire and the resulting relief effort for the fire's victims to loosen Spanish trade restrictions with American merchants in the region.  This would have benefited Acadians also, especially those living on the river at Bayou des Écores, Baton Rouge, and the Acadian coasts, where, for decades now, many had resorted to smuggling first with the British and now with the Americans to obtain quality goods at affordable prices.  For years, Spanish governors had warned Madrid that continuation of Spain's restrictive commercial policies would transform Louisiana into "a desert."  In the early 1770s, during Unzaga's governorship, officials documents reveal that "the prohibition of tobacco exports was driving the inhabitants to vagabondage, that there were not enough Negroes, that food shortages were recurrent and profiteering chronic, and that commercial conditions were deplorable in general."  The only promising development for the colony's struggling economy before Miró's post-Good Friday fire reforms was the emergence in the region of a new nation-state with the potential to provide the "elements necessary for economic development and prosperity in Louisiana."517

This new nation of course was the United States of America, which chose not a monarchy but a republican form of government.  The Treaty of Paris of 1783, guided by Gálvez's successful offensives, restored East and West Florida to Spain.  Anglo Americans were now moving into the Mississippi valley, especially into the areas where the British had held dominion until 1779.  The boundaries between the southern United States and the Spanish Floridas were in dispute, however, a factor that, along with aggressive Anglo-American migration, strained relations between the erstwhile allies.  An historian of Louisiana's colonial economy provides the broad perspective:  "The Anglo-Americans, for all the nervous tension they aroused in the Spaniards, did provide that mobile population and potential source of capital which Spain was unable to provide herself.  The sweep of Americans across the Appalachians, which appeared to the Spanish as a threat to New Spain, created the first productive hinterland for New Orleans and ultimately provided that population which would fill up the lands in and around Louisiana."  Adds Gilbert C. Din:  "Unable to secure ideal settlers--i.e, Catholic monarchists--Spanish immigration policy evolved when Miró cautioned the government that if the Protestant British colonists who remained in West Florida after the Spanish conquest were expelled, they would resettle on the province's edge and pose a threat."  With this in mind, in 1788, the year of the Good Friday fire, Miró recognized this "threat" as an opportunity and formally invited Anglo-Americans to settle in Spanish Louisiana.  On 20 April 1789, 10 days before the inauguration of General George Washington as President of the United States in faraway New York, Miró "notified Americans of the king's acceptance of Protestant settlement in West Florida and Louisiana."  The new settlers were promised "free land, the tax-free introduction of their personal property, and no disturbance in religious matters, although Catholicism remained the only religion allowed public worship.  An oath of allegiance and the obligation to take up arms in defense against any invader were also required.  For persons who did not wish to resettle, they could introduce goods of any kind from the United States by paying a 15 percent tax."  Din notes:  "This change in Spanish policy signaled the beginning of Anglo-American penetration of Louisiana.  Because settlement with Spaniards and European Catholics [including the Acadians from France] had proved to be too costly, Spain was resorting reluctantly to Anglo-American colonization.  The government planned, in permitting entry of Anglo-Americans, to Hispanize them, convert them to Catholicism" using English-speaking Irish priests, "and instill in them sufficient loyalty so that they would defend the colony against all invaders--even invaders from the United States."  All of this was easier said than done of course--"once in Louisiana," Din explains, "many new immigrants chose their own domiciles, not those designated by authorities to bolster defenses and speed conversions." 

When he learned of Miró's change in immigration policy, the new American Secretary of State welcomed it.  "'I wish a hundred thousand of our inhabitants would accept the invitation,'" Thomas Jefferson wrote to President Washington.  Like "'settling the Goths at the gates of Rome,'" the Secretary quipped, "'It may be the means of delivering to us peaceably what may otherwise cost a war.'" 

Miró's successor, Francisco Luis Héctor, XV baron de Carondelet et Noyelles, Seigneur d'Haine St.-Pierre, reached New Orleans in December 1791.  He had served in the region a decade earlier at the siege of Pensacola.  After serving as governor of San Salvador and as audencia, or appellate judge, of Guatemala during the 1780s, he was named governor-general of Louisiana and West Florida in March 1791.  Carondelet understood well the American leaders' sentiment and attempted to reverse Miró's policy.  By then, however, it was much too late.  Anglo-American refusal to obey the Royal Proclamation of October 1763 prohibiting white settlement west of Appalachians was one of many causes of the American War of Independence, which itself encouraged settlers like Daniel Boone to move into the prohibited region.  In 1782, during Gálvez's tenure, Spanish officials in New Orleans opened commerce in the city to non-Spaniards, including Americans.  "As early as 1784," Eberhard Faber notes, "the population of Americans west of the Appalachians matched all of Spanish Louisiana."  Ominously for the Americans, Spain closed the lower Mississippi to American commerce in 1784 during Miro's governorship.  By 1787, the year of the Northwest Ordinance, which established a template for the creation of new territories and sovereign states, the population of Kentucky alone, then the western district of Virginia, numbered 30,000, close to the population of Louisiana.  The following year, Spain opened the Mississippi to American commerce, albeit "with a heavy schedule of duties."  In 1792, Kentucky, now the fifteenth state of the American Union, was well on its way to becoming home for 200,000 settlers by the end of the century.  In 1793, when Spain entered the war against Republican France, Spanish officials in New Orleans announced a reduction in duties on American trade.  Tennessee, formerly the western district of North Carolina, "lagged not far behind [Kentucky] in the growth of its population"; by 1796, the year Tennessee became the sixteenth state, 77,000 people had settled there.  In the 1790s, Faber reminds us, "a series of wars cleared the Old Northwest of most of its hostile Indians.  After this the floodgates of settlement were thrown wide open," boosting the population of the huge territory from the upper Ohio to the Mississippi.  "[B]y the century's end," Faber notes, the number of Anglo Americans in Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Northwest Territory--456,000--was "nine times greater" than the population of Spanish Louisiana, which stood at 50,000.  Politically, these hundreds of thousands of frontier Americans looked east to the national capital at Philadelphia.  Commercially, however, Faber explains, "their access to the wider world lay not to the east but down the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers to the Mississippi, past New Orleans and to the Gulf," into a region still firmly controlled by Spain.

It was inevitable, then, that Anglo Americans from these and other areas would continue streaming down the Mississippi and into Spanish Louisiana.  The new arrivals settled not only in New Orleans, but also in the Creole and Acadian communities along the lower river, down on the Lafourche, and out on the western prairies.  Anglo Americans were especially plentiful in the Natchez District, which the Acadians had abandoned in 1769, and in Feliciana, where Acadians settled in 1786 but largely abandoned in the 1790s.  Despite Spanish laws and the oaths of allegiance Spanish officials compelled them to take, most Anglo-American immigrants refused to "Hispanize" or give up their Protestant faiths.  Nor did they care much for Spanish trade restrictions, which limited economic opportunity.  The frequent changes in Spanish policies towards American commerce "only represents the tip of the iceberg of the subject's complexity," Eberhard Faber explains.  At New Orleans, "... Spanish governors and other bureaucrats often acted unilaterally--implementing, then changing their own independent policies--and enforced regulations haphazardly and unpredictably.  As the city's economic life began to revolve around overseas trade, ignoring or circumventing regulations became standard practice....  The real problem with Spanish trade policies, for the merchant community," Faber concludes, "was not that they were overly restrictive but that they were inconsistent and unpredictable."  John G. Clark adds:  "Americans accompanied their goods.  Although New Orleans did demonstrate a greater growth rate in the last fifteen years of the eighteenth century than in the entire preceding period, the profits did not flow into Spanish coffers, but into the pockets of native merchants and newly-arrived entrepreneurs.  New Orleans and the province, an economic backwater even within the economically backward Spanish colonial empire, was not worth accommodating before prosperity arrived.  With prosperity it became unassimilable since the nature of its commerce worked at cross purposes with and functioned in spite of the established system."  One suspects that this new economic paradigm touched the Acadian settlements as well as the provincial capital.518

Carondelet could not control, much less stop, the Americans, but he could boost the number of European Catholics living in the province in hopes of neutralizing American influence.  To that end, in April 1792, he turned to Captain Henri-Marie Peyroux de la Coudrenière, who, with Olivier Térrio, had coaxed so many Acadians to emigrate from France in the early 1780s.  Peyroux, commandant at Ste.-Geneviève in upper Louisiana since 1787, was promised a promotion to lieutenant-colonel if he could lure more Roman Catholics into the province.  In the American capital of Philadelphia, the Spanish ministers, with Peyroux's help, did their best to coax French royalists and German and Dutch Catholics to move on to Spanish Louisiana.  However, Carondelet and the ministers would have been wise to have consulted Olivier Térrio about Peyroux's character.  Seeing his opportunity, the wily Frenchman "commissioned a brigantine to take colonists to New Orleans."   However, when the ship sailed from Philadelphia, it carried only 25 passengers, including the putative lieutenant-colonial.  In the ship's hold, however, were 1,040 barrels of flour that Peyroux had purchased from the Americans to resell at a fat profit.  Carondelet repudiated Peyroux, refusing to grant his promotion or pay his expenses.  The governor turned, instead, to Thomas Wooster, an American who had settled in Louisiana and was serving as a captain of militia.  Wooster headed to Philadelphia in June, but he, too, failed miserably in luring Catholics to Louisiana.  His sin was not profiteering.  Ignoring strict orders not to alert the American authorities to his activities, Wooster posted a notice in a Philadelphia café "announcing that anyone wishing a passport to New Orleans or desiring to become a Spanish citizen should obtain information from him."  Embarrassed, the Spanish ministers were forced to repudiate Wooster's actions. 

Despite these failures, Carondelet continued his efforts to lure European Catholics to the colony.  A few German Catholic families who appeared suddenly at New Orleans he sent to Galveztown in the San Gabriel District, and he encouraged French émigrés fleeing the Revolution in France to move from Gallipolis on the upper Ohio to Nuevo Bourbon, near Ste.-Geneviève.  In March 1795, Carondelet awarded to Joseph, marquis de Maison-Rouge, "a French emigrant, who proposed to bring into Louisiana, thirty families from his country," a "considerable tract of land ... two leagues in width and twelve in length" along the Ouachita River in present-day northeastern Louisiana.  Here were more émigrés fleeing the Revolution.  After reaching Spanish Louisiana via the Ohio River valley, the marquis's Frenchmen would form "an establishment, on the banks of the Washita, designed principally for the culture of wheat, and the manufacture of flour."  Carondelet issued a similar grant in the Ouachita District to the Baron de Bastrop:  12 square leagues along Bayou Bartholomew, a tributary of the Ouachita, near present-day Bastrop.  Former French naval officer Jacques-Marcellin Céran de Hault de Lassus de Saint-Vrain, who had come to upper Louisiana in 1794 with his family, received 10,000 square arpents in upper Louisiana to exploit any lead deposits he could find there.519 

Carondelet hoped the New Bourbon and Ouachita ventures would serve "as the start of halting the Anglo-American and English advances" into the colony, but, of course, it did not.  Worse yet, Spain's principal agent in the United States, army General James Wilkinson of Kentucky, who had been "hired" by Carondelet's predecessor, informed him that George Rogers Clark, the conqueror of British Illinois during the American War for Independence, was planning, with Revolutionary French backing, to attack New Orleans with a force of Kentucky riflemen.  Wilkinson was able to diffuse the plot, which was a lucky thing for Spain, because Carondelet could muster a defense force of only 2,800 men, half of them raw militia, to defend New Orleans and the lower colony against American aggression.  The Spanish could see that the Kentuckians and other westerners, desperate to use the Mississippi River to send their products out into the world, would do anything to secure New Orleans and control of the entire river.  The so-called Jay Treaty between the United States and Britain, signed at London in November 1794, alarmed the Spanish, who anticipated an alliance between the two Anglophone nations.  Taking advantage of Spanish fears, and fully aware of the potential for war in the Mississippi valley, the American minister to Spain, Thomas Pinckney of South Carolina, opened negotiations with Spanish prime minister Don Manuel Francisco de Godoy (di Bissano) y Ávarez de Faria, de los Rios y Sánchez-Zarzosa, the Prince of the Peace, to settle boundary disputes between the two nations.  Also up for discussion would be the question of navigation rights on the lower Mississippi and the use of New Orleans by American shippers.  The result was the First Treaty of San Lorenzo, more commonly known as Pinckney's Treaty.  Negotiated at Madrid and signed at nearby San Lorenzo de El Escorial, the King's summer palace, on 27 October 1795, the treaty went into effect in August 1796 and was entirely satisfactory to both parties, especially to the Americans.  The treaty set the boundary between the southern United States and the Spanish Floridas at the 31st degree of north latitude from the Mississippi River to the Chattahoochee River and from there along a vaguely-defined frontier all the way east to the Atlantic Ocean.  The boundary between the western territories of the United States and Spanish upper Louisiana was set in the middle of the Mississippi above the 31st parallel.  Most important to the settlers of the trans-Appalachian region, the Spanish granted to western Americans navigation rights on the Mississippi and "right of deposit" at New Orleans.  This allowed farmers and businessmen in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys to transport their goods downriver to the Louisiana port, store them there at reasonable rates, transfer them to ships at the New Orleans docks, and transport them downriver to the Gulf of Mexico, all without undue restrictions.  The treaty thus removed the pretext for war between the westerners and Spain.  It also neutralized conspiracies to separate the territories west of the Appalachians from the rest of the United States.  Both nations agreed not to incite the Indians in their respective territories.  Unfortunately for the Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek, the treaty placed their territories within the boundaries of the more aggressive United States.  And unfortunately for Carondelet and his successors, the treaty encouraged more Anglo-American Protestants to slip into Spanish Louisiana.520


A year after the Good Friday fire of March 1788, during the governorship of Estevan Miró, a sociopolitical upheaval shook Europe to its core, and its tremors were felt in Spanish Louisiana.  The story of the French Revolution is a familiar one.  By the early 1790s, émigrés fleeing the Revolution made their way to Spain, and some even to the United States, spreading fear of the Revolution and its radical measures, including the abolishment of slavery in all French colonies by the National Convention.  Only until the Revolutionaries transformed France into a republic, declared war on Austria, Britain, Holland, and Spain, and launched a Reign of Terror that killed nobles, priests, and peasants, as well as a king and queen, did the Revolution touch Spanish Louisiana.  Carondelet was serving as governor-general when the cataclysm in Europe washed over the colony.  According to Eberhard Faber, he "governed the colony in a mode of constant horror at Jacobin machinations, perceived or real, emanating from slaves, free people of color, lower-class whites, and American settlers.  Above all, he suspected the refugees now arriving from the French Caribbean, whites and slaves alike, of bringing radical Jacobin ideas with them like a contagious plague.  Not all of these fears were groundless." 

In truth, most Louisiana Acadians, who the Flemish aristocrat would have considered "lower-class whites," probably cared little for Louis XVI, who had followed his grandfather to the throne in 1774, nearly two decades after the commencement of the Great Upheaval, and who was beheaded in January 1793 on the eve of the Reign of Terror.  The exiles from Georgia, Halifax, and Maryland had come to Louisiana while the aging Louis XV still occupied the throne of France, but the only exiles who had taken an oath of allegiance to him were the Acadians of Chignecto and the trois-rivières who had been pressured to do so by French officers during the early 1750s.  Most of the other exiles who had come to Louisiana--those who had lived at Minas and Annapolis in British Nova Scotia--had taken oaths of allegiance only to British King George II, and then only conditionally.  The hundreds of Acadians who had come to Louisiana from France in 1785 had lived there during the last 16 years of Louis XV's reign and the first nine years under Louis XVI, but they had no reason to celebrate their time in the mother country, else they would have remained there.  When French Revolutionaries appeared in New Orleans during the early 1790s and began their agitation, they found few, if any, Acadians eager to embrace their radical views, especially on religion.521 

More compatible with Acadian thinking would have been the conservative views of the French émigrés, including priests who had fled the excesses of "dechristianization" and the Reign of Terror.  Two such priests were Jesuit Father Bernard-Alexandre Viel, a native of Louisiana who became a Jesuit in France, and Father Michel-Bernard Barrière, a native of France who had found refuge in Kentucky before moving to New Orleans.  From the mid-1790s until the early 1800s, both priests served in the Attakapas District as pastors of St.-Martin de Attakapas, now St. Martin de Tours, parish.  Father Barrière was especially beloved by his Acadian parishioners, who called him "The Apostle of the Teche Country."523 

Spain joined the war against Revolutionary France in the spring of 1793.  Luckily for Spanish Louisiana, the nearest French colony was hundreds of miles away--the island province of St.-Domingue.  Taking seriously the words of the Revolutionaries' Declaration of the Rights of Man, slaves in northern St.-Domingue rose up in rebellion in August 1791, so French forces in the colony, focusing on the uprising, posed no threat to Spanish provinces along the Gulf of Mexico.  Touched only by the United States, with whom Spain would be at peace after 1796, and the Spanish province of Texas, lower Louisiana seemed safe for now.  Moreover, after war erupted, Britain joined Spain in the struggle against Revolutionary France, so British Canada posed no threat to upper Louisiana.  The threat of invasion did rear its ugly head in the form of the George Rogers Clark/Citizen Gênet conspiracy, but the plot went awry, and lower Louisiana was spared the terrors of invasion.522

Nevertheless, internal disruption plagued the colony, especially in New Orleans.  "The outbreak of war between France and Spain ... was a devastating blow to the security and the prosperity of the colony," Gwendolyn Midlo Hall reminds us.  "By early 1795, disorder reigned in New Orleans.  Houses were ignited, and dangerous mobs were attracted to the fires.  The authorities did not have the force to deal with these disorders, and officials stayed away from the scene to avoid precipitating a crisis or being assassinated.  American royalist militia were brought from Natchez," still a part of Spain, "to restore order."  The global impact of the French Revolution also "had an immediate, drastic impact upon Louisiana's economy," Hall asserts.  "The colony's indigo crop was marketed in France via the French West Indies.  Planters had sunk deeply into debt during the 1780s, obtaining slaves on credit against future indigo crops.  Maritime trade was disrupted, and the market for indigo evaporated.  Spain canceled Louisiana's monopoly of the Mexican tobacco market and stopped buying Louisiana tobacco."  The colony's tobacco-growing regions, Natchitoches and Pointe Coupee, were devastated by these developments.  Pointe Coupee plantations also grew indigo, so that area was especially hard hit.  "Planters defaulted on their debts," Hall relates.  "Hunger and famine gripped the district."  On top of all that, in 1791 and again in April 1795, slave conspiracies, which in 1795 included a handful of local whites, were uncovered in the district.  Due to Spanish settlement patterns, Pointe Coupee, though one of the oldest districts in the colony, contained few Acadians in the 1790s, but the community south of Pointe Coupee and across the river from Baton Rouge was heavily Acadian, and Bayou des Écores in the Feliciana District still contained Acadians recently arrived from France.  These districts also suffered from the collapse of the indigo and tobacco markets and the hysteria that always followed a slave conspiracy.  Indigo-and tobacco-growing areas farther downriver, including San Gabriel, Ascension, and Cabahannocer, all heavily Acadian, also would have suffered from the loss of their markets and harbored deep-seated fears over slave uprisings.522a

It was in St.-Domingue, France's richest colony, that mass bloodshed resulting from the new global war came closest to the Acadians of Spanish Louisiana.  The first to revolt were the colony's gens de couleur libre, who were frustrated with the mixed signals from Paris over the status of their civil rights.  The royalist-leaning regime still in charge of the colony quickly suppressed the mulatto revolt, but later in the year the slaves rose up, "turning the island into a charnel house."  The success of the slave revolt of 1791 was followed by Revolutionary-French seizure of Cap-Français two years later.  The Revolutionaries, supported by a pitifully small contingent of French soldiers, coaxed thousands of rebels into joining them against the French royalists in the colony, who were supported by Spanish and British agitators as well as royalist-leaning rebels.  To appease the rebels, in August 1793, Revolutionary commissioner Léger-Félicité Sonthonax, with approval from the National Convention in Paris, abolished slavery in St.-Domingue, which the Spanish in neighboring Santo Domingo considered an even greater threat to their own interests.  In June of 1794, Spanish forces joined a British invasion of French St.-Domingue.  While yellow fever devastated the British and Spanish ranks, rebel forces under Toussaint L'Ouverture joined the Revolutionaries in fighting the invaders and royalist planters.  Thanks to the help of the rebels, the Revolutionaries retained control of the colony, at least for now.  L'Ouverture defeated a second British invasion in 1798 and controlled much of St.-Domingue by 1800.  That year, he launched an invasion of his own into Spanish Santo Domingo to free the slaves there.  In January 1801, the Spanish lost control of their part of the island, today's Dominican Republic.  A decade or more of revolution in France's pre-eminent sugar province "spurred the advent of sugar production around New Orleans," which could only have helped the economy of Spanish Louisiana.524

Meanwhile, in France, the Reign of Terror that followed the execution of Louis XVI burned itself out by 1795.  A more moderate government, the Directory, came to power in Paris under yet another constitution, but it, too, succumbed to corruption and reverted to dictatorial measures to hold on to power.  A diplomatic coup during the time of the Directory was the Second Treaty of San Ildefonso, signed with Spain in August 1796, in which the former allies agreed to fight against the British.  The Directory remained unpopular and was forced to rely on the army to overawe the French population, which came at great cost.  By the late 1790s, Napoléon Bonaparte, an artillery officer born at Ajaccio, Corsica, in 1769, had emerged as Revolutionary France's most successful battlefield commander.  It was he who had saved the Directory from a royalist uprising in October 1795, had conquered northern Italy in 1796-97, brought Austria to its knees by a succession of treaties, and invaded Egypt and Syria in 1798-99.  In November 1799, back in France, though his army remained in the Levant, Bonaparte led a coup d'état against the Directory and helped to install a new government, the Consulate.  Napoléon, as he came to be known, proved to be as adept at politic infighting as he was at fighting battles.  He outmaneuvered his fellow conspirators and was elected First Consul by an overwhelming majority.   Signaling his intent to remain in power, the Corsican took residence in the Tuileries, once a home of the Bourbon monarchs.  In the summer of 1800, he wisely ended the so-called Quasi-War, a naval conflict that since 1798 had pitted France and Spain against Britain's Royal Navy and a neutral United States.  In May 1801, after crossing the Alps and defeating a resurgent Austria, Napoléon was elected First Consul for life.  In March 1802, he concluded the Treaty of Amiens with an exhausted Britain, and peace came at last to war-torn Europe.  The peace proved to be only temporary, but it gave Napoléon time to establish undisputed power over a battered and impoverished French Republic.525

In October 1800, soon after coming to power in France, Napoléon turned to his ally, Carlos IV of Spain, and extracted from him the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso.  Among other things, the secret agreement retroceded Louisiana to France without specifying the boundaries between what would be French Louisiana again and Spanish West Florida.  As compensation, Napoléon granted his ally the Italian province of Tuscany, one of his recent conquests.525a


By then, Carondelet had surrendered the governorship of Louisiana to a former subordinate.  Manuel Gayoso de Lemos y Amorin had come to the colony with O'Reilly in 1769 and, under Miró and Carondelet, had served as lieutenant-governor of the District of Natchez.  Gayoso de Lemos's district had included Nogales, later Walnut Hills, now Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Chickasaw Bluffs, now Memphis, Tennessee.  His second and third wives were Anglo-American sisters, and for a time he encouraged Americans to settle in the Natchez district, though he of course gave preference to Roman Catholics.  It was Gayoso de Lemos who acquired information from the traitorous American General James Wilkinson that alerted Governor-General Carondelet to the plot being hatched by George Rogers Clark and Edmond-Charles Gênet to attack New Orleans in 1793.  The terms of Pinckney's Treaty surrendered the eastern part of the Natchez District--including Natchez, Nogales, and Chickasaw Bluffs--to the United States when the treaty took effect in August 1796.  Gayoso de Lemos spent the rest of that year and much of 1797 supervising the transference of that part of his district to American control.  Spanish troops did not leave the district until 1798, giving Gayoso de Lemos, or at least his officers, plenty of time to stir up "anti-U.S. sentiment" among the local Natives.  One of his final acts as governor at Natchez was "an extended trip through Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Michigan," the purpose of which "was to allow the Spanish government to follow up on Citizen Genet's attempts to separate parts of the west from the United States and allow Spain to access the loyalty of Americans west of the Appalachians."  Later, as governor-general, Gayoso de Lemos was not above using Wilkinson and his associate, New Orleans merchant Daniel Clark the younger, in his efforts to wreak havoc with Spain's Anglo-American neighbor "by separating the western United States, including Tennessee and Wilkinson's Kentucky, from the mother country" à la Edmond-Charles Genêt. 

In August 1797, Gayoso de Lemos succeeded Carondelet as governor-general of Louisiana and West Florida, with the military rank of brigadier-general.  By then, Spain was again an ally of France, and Louisiana was viewed by both governments as a buffer zone to protect Texas and Mexico from a British attack down the Mississippi.  To appease the Americans, who he needed to bolster the colony's defenses, Gayoso de Lemos allowed them to bring their slaves into Louisiana despite the prohibition of 1792, motivated by the revolt in French St.-Domingue, which attempted to halt the importation of new Africans into the colony.  Yet, in 1798, Gayoso de Lemos issued an edict declaring Roman Catholicism the only faith allowed in Louisiana.  It also imposed mandatory church attendance and tithes on the population while prohibiting unnecessary work on Sunday and holy days.  The edict was unpopular not only with Anglo Americans, but also with anti-clerical Acadians.  That same year, Spain revoked the trade provisions of Pinckney's Treaty in reaction to President John Adams's Quasi-War against the French Republic, still Spain's ally.  The Adams government protested loudly, and the specter of war loomed large again. 

Gayoso de Lemos continued as governor until his death from yellow fever in July 1799.  Colonel Francisco Bouligny, who also had come to the colony with O'Reilly in 1769 and founded the Malagueño settlement at Nueva Iberia a decade later, was promoted to brigadier-general so that he could serve as the colony's military commander until an interim governor arrived.  Sebastián Calvo de la Puerta y O'Farrill, marqués de Casa Calvo, who also had come to the colony with O'Reilly, had fought under Gálvez at Mobile and Pensacola in 1780-81, and against the French Republicans in St.-Domingue in 1794, took office at New Orleans in September.  For a year and a half, the marqués stood in for the appointed governor-general, Manuel Juan de Salcedo, who did not reach New Orleans until July 1801, nine months after the secret treaty had been signed in Spain and four months after John Adams stepped down as United States president.  To the annoyance of officials in Mississippi Territory, Casa Calvo did what he could to befriend the Indians, especially the Choctaw, still living in American territory.  In October 1802, a year and a half into Thomas Jefferson's tenure as United States president, acting intendente Juan Ventura Morales, on orders from King Carlos IV, closed the port of New Orleans to American trade.  Jefferson and his Republican colleagues in Congress girded for war against their Spanish neighbor.  Salcedo quickly restored to Americans the right of deposit at New Orleans, and war again was averted.526

The Third Treaty of San Ildefonso was not a secret for long.  President Jefferson, once Adams's friend but now his political rival, was determined to halt the naval war with France and thereby avoid any future conflict over the use of New Orleans by Americans living west of the Appalachians.  Jefferson was well aware of the importance of the Louisiana city to the future of American commerce:  "There is on the globe one single spot, the possessor of which is our natural and habitual enemy," he wrote to Robert Livingston, the American minister to France, in April 1802.  "It is New Orleans, through which the produce of three-eights of our territory must pass to market, and from its fertility it will ere long yield more than half of our whole produce and contain more than half of our inhabitants."  Jefferson saw Spain as a faltering empire that posed little threat to American hegemony in North America, even while it held New Orleans.  "Spain might have retained it quietly for years," Jefferson continued.  "Her pacific dispositions, her feeble state, would induce her to increase our facilities there, so that her possession of the place would be hardly felt by us, and it would not perhaps be very long before some circumstance might arise which might make the cession of it to us the price of something of more worth to her."  But Republican France was another matter.  Jefferson was well aware of his nation's relationship with France.  "Of all nations of any consideration France is the one which hitherto has offered the fewest points on which we could have any conflict of right, and the most points of a communion of interests," the avid Republican and former Secretary of State believed.  "From these causes we have ever looked to her as our friend, as one with which we never could have an occasion of difference.  Her growth therefore we viewed as our own, her misfortunes ours."  As American minister to France during the late 1780s, Jefferson had witnessed the first convulsions of the French Revolution, including the fall of the Bastille in Paris, so he harbored few illusions about America's former friend, yet he and his fellow Republicans, even during the bloody Reign of Terror, remained staunch defenders of America's old ally.  Yet, turning his attention again to New Orleans and Spain's feeble hold on the city, Jefferson penned in his letter to Livingston these ominous words:  "Nor can it ever be so in the hands of France.  The impetuosity of her temper, the energy and restlessness of her character, [places her] in a point of eternal friction with us...."  He assured Livingston that the day France resumed possession of New Orleans would be a dark day indeed, for it would wed the United States "with the British fleet and nation" and compel the tight-fisted Americans to create a fleet of their own, as Jefferson's Federalist opponents had attempted to do during the recent war with France.527 

Choosing diplomacy over war, in early 1803 Jefferson sent a trusted protégé, James Monroe, to Paris to assist Livingston in negotiations to establish "an open port at New Orleans and free trade" with France, or perhaps even the purchase of New Orleans and West Florida.  The Americans' timing could not have been better.  In 1801, Toussaint L'Ouverture had issued a new constitution for St.-Domingue which made him governor-for-life.  Napoléon would have none of this.  Determined to restore slavery to St.-Domingue and to oust the upstart black general-turned-governor, in January 1802 the First Consul sent his brother-in-law, General Charles Leclerc, at the head of expeditionary force of warships and soldiers to restore French control of the colony.  Mulatto troops under two of L'Ouverture's defeated opponents assisted Leclerc.  During the struggle that followed, some of L'Ouverture's associates, including Jean-Jacques Dessalines, turned on him.  Overwhelmed, L'Ouverture was promised his freedom if he agreed to join his remaining forces with Leclerc and Dessalines.  He did so in May 1802, and the French reneged on their promise.  They seized L'Ouvterture, transported him to France in chains, and held him in a prison in the Jura region, where he died a few months later.  The quiet that followed L'Ouverture's ouster was short-lived.  That summer, when they realized that Leclerc and his forces were there to re-establish slavery, as the French were doing on Guadeloupe, the Dominicans promptly revolted.  Dessalines and the other créole leaders fought alongside the French until October, when they joined the rebels.  In November, like many of his soldiers and sailors before him, Leclerc died of yellow fever.  The French expedition fell to pieces, and St.-Domingue was once again liberated by its former slaves.  Napoléon was determined to crush the rebellion and restore French control over the valuable colony.  Preparing to resume the war with Britain, he had big plans for St.-Domingue and his recent acquisition, Spanish Louisiana:  the restoration of French hegemony in the Mississippi and St. Lawrence valleys, with New Orleans as a base of operations.  Hearing of his brother-in-law's death, Napoléon dispatched another expedition to St.-Domingue to overawe the rebels, this one commanded by Donatien-Marie-Joseph de Vimeur, vicomte de Rochambeau, whose father, the comte, had been George Washington's second in command at Yorktown in 1781 when the Americans and their allies triumphed over Britain.  The younger Rochambeau had fought in the French Antilles during the 1790s, so he was prepared for what awaited him in St.-Domingue.  His brutal tactics, however, alienated not only the colony's former slaves, but also the elite gens de couleur libre, many of whom, like Jean-Jacques Dessalines, from time to time had supported the French.  After a bloody series of campaigns, Dessalines, the new strongman in the colony, defeated Rochambeau at Vertières, near Cap-Français, in November 1803.  Rochambeau withdrew the remnants of his army--only 7,000 men--from the colony, but he himself did not make it back to France.  Napoléon's war with Britain had resumed the previous spring.  A British naval squadron captured Rochambeau's ship, the Surveillant, on its return voyage, and the British held the vicomte as a prisoner of war in England for nine long years.  Meanwhile, on the first of January 1804, Dessalines declared independence for the Republic of Haiti, formerly French St.-Domingue.  By then, Napoléon, in despair over the news from St.-Domingue, had abandoned the idea of resurrecting a French empire in North America.  He turned his attention to the defeat of Britain and the conquest of Europe.528 

Nothing could have served American interests better than the resumption of fighting in St.-Domingue and the defeat of Napoléon's forces there.  In early April 1803, a month before the declaration of war against Britain, the First Consul informed his treasury minister, François de Barbé-Marbois, that he was considering the sale of Louisiana to the United States--not just the Isle of Orleans, which he knew Jefferson wanted, but the entire territory west of the Mississippi from the Gulf of Mexico to the pays d'en haut!  Foreign Affairs Minister Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgod, who had been secretly negotiating with Livingston over the purchase of New Orleans, did not support the idea, but Napoléon insisted on it and even set the price--15 million dollars, which he would use to fund his invasion of Britain and other military endeavors.  On April 11, Barbé-Marbois, who knew the Americans were willing to pay as much as 10 million dollars for the Isle of Orleans alone, stunned Livingston with the expanded offer.  A few days later, Monroe reached Paris, and he, too, was stunned by Napoléon's proposal.  Jefferson had authorized neither Livingston nor Monroe to purchase more than New Orleans and its surrounding "isle."  The purchase of New Orleans, or any foreign territory, had posed a constitutional dilemma for Jefferson and his party, whose strict-constructionist views of federal authority did not recognize the power of a President or Congress to acquire territory by purchase from a foreign nation.  While considering the acquisition of New Orleans from Spain, Jefferson had contemplated pushing through Congress and then offering to the states a constitutional amendment to authorize a purchase.  And now Napoléon was offering to sell all of Louisiana for a most reasonable price!  Setting aside their party's constitutional scruples, Livingston and Monroe could see clearly that the purchase must be made:  possessing the entire Louisiana territory would double the size of the United States and solve all of its Mississippi River problems; it would remove an aggressive nation from its western frontier and project American influence, power, and settlement into the unexplored Rocky Mountain West, where who knows what riches waited to be found that could enhance the new nation's standing in the world.  Fearful that Napoléon would withdraw the proposal and they would lose the chance to acquire even New Orleans, Livingston and Monroe agreed to the purchase.  On 30 April 1803, in Paris, they, along with Barbé-Marbois, signed the Louisiana Purchase Treaty, after which Livingston uttered the prophetic words:  "We have lived long, but this is the noblest work of our whole lives....  From this day the United States take their place among the powers of the first rank."  A copy of the treaty reached Washington, D.C., on July 4, and Jefferson presented it to the nation.529 

The Louisiana Purchase proved to be the cornerstone of Jefferson's presidency, but his Federalist opponents, fearing that the purchase would stymie their efforts to improve American relations with Britain, tried to block ratification of the treaty in the federal Senate.  They failed.  Opponents in the federal House of Representatives failed by only two votes to pass a resolution condemning the sale.  New Englanders and other northeasterners were especially vociferous in their opposition to the purchase.  Speculators who had purchased huge tracts of land in New York and New England for easy profit would lose sales to farmers going west instead.  Easterners feared that easy use of the Mississippi River would diminish the importance of the Atlantic seaports in transporting America's goods to the markets of the world.  Northerners feared that so much new territory would lead to the spread of slavery and the enhancement of southern influence in Congress.  Federalists, who represented the nation's elite, questioned the wisdom of granting citizenship to the "foreigners" residing in Louisiana--Frenchmen, Spaniards, Germans, Creoles, free persons of color, Acadians.  Would these "others" accept American democracy?  Would they embrace Jefferson's party and spurn the Federalists? 

And then there was the question of legality.  In the San Ildefonso treaty of October 1800, Napoléon promised not to sell or otherwise alienate Louisiana to another nation, so Spain insisted that the sale was void.  For a fading empire like Spain's, there were considerations much more compelling than diplomatic legalities.  Andrew McMichael explains:  "For Spain the real value of New Orleans and Louisiana lay in the same strategic considerations that had brought France to the colony [a century] prior to the purchase.  Instead of the need to contain the British, however, Spain by the early nineteenth century wanted to halt or at least slow American expansion across North America--an expansion that could threaten not just European control of the Mississippi and points west, but also northern Mexico and potentially all of New Spain.  Thus while the Americans desired control over the Mississippi River to ensure open access to New Orleans for farmers in the Ohio and the Mississippi valleys, the purchase of all of Louisians would be a grave threat to Spain's empire.  Moreover, ... U.S. control of Louisiana also threatened the Floridas, making American expansion into those areas all but inevitable.  It was for these reasons that Spain's King Charles declared the Purchase void."  American Secretary of State James Madison did his best to placate the Spanish, reminding them that when he had offered to purchase New Orleans from them, they had told him he must take up the matter with France.  President Jefferson, meanwhile, put into motion a speedy transference of territory to the United States despite questions still unanswered about the boundaries between the purchased territory and Spanish West Florida.  Jefferson appointed General James Wilkinson, still secretly in the employ of Spain, and Mississippi territorial governor William Charles Cole Claiborne of Virginia, as commissioners to receive the province from France.530  


On 26 March 1803, a  Frenchman arrived at New Orleans with his wife, three daughters, and "a considerable entourage."  The person of Pierre Clément, baron de Laussat, appointed by Napoléon as "prefect" for Louisiana, was proof positive that the news circulating through the province was God's honest truth:  here was the French official who would oversee the transfer of the colony from Spain:  Louisiana--Louisianans!--would be "French" again.  Forty-six years old when he reached New Orleans, Laussat was the scion of a noble family from Pau, in the province of Béarn, near the foothills of the Pyrenees.  He had served as a receiver-general of finances in his native province before the Revolution tore his nation asunder.  As a "philosophical liberal," his career opportunities depended on which Revolutionary faction was in power.  "He was briefly imprisoned during the Jacobin period" and, despite being a nobleman, survived the Reign of Terror with his head intact.  Napoléon's coming to power in late 1799 offered Laussat an opportunity to gain political influence.  He was active in the government of the Consulate and was an advocate of the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso, which returned Louisiana to France.  In the following months, Laussat, who had never set foot outside of France, skillfully maneuvered for appointment as colonial prefect in Louisiana, which would make him "the highest ranking French civilian officer" in the colony and in charge of the transfer from Spanish to French jurisdiction.  The appointment came in late August 1802, and Laussat and his party left France aboard the 32-gun Surveillant in January.  General Claude Victor-Perrin, "along with four thousand troops slated for the occupation of Louisiana," would follow soon from Holland and reach Louisiana in mid-April.531 

New Orleans welcomed the Frenchman with unbridled enthusiasm.  "The town's only newspaper, Le Moniteur, heralded the Prefect's arrival, cannon salutes boomed across the Mississippi, and a lavish ceremony was prepared at the governor's mansion for Laussat and his entourage."  Eberhard L. Faber continues:  "For many New Orleanians, Laussat's coming was a welcome sign of their city's readiness to step into the modern world.  They saw Bonaparte's France as a virile and powerful nation (not yet calling itself an 'empire') steering a confident pragmatic path between the decay of the ancien régime and the excesses of the Revolution.  The town would continue to thrive, they hoped, but now with martial efficiency, making future-minded investments in infrastructure to end the dilapidation and disrepair, and energetically policing the threatening populations--disorderly 'Kaintocks,' rambunctious sailors and soldiers, and disrespectful slaves and free people of color--whose presence they saw as an inconvenient accompaniment to prosperity."  The Spanish ensconced Laussat and his family at the plantation of French Creole Bernard de Marigny "at the east gate of the city."  One suspects the typical Acadian view of Laussat's mission, if they gave it any mind, was somewhat different from that of the elitist French Creoles.  Although Mother France had neglected them and then cast them aside, the Acadians had sacrificed much to maintain their French identity.  Even 37 years of Spanish rule had not removed the "Frenchness" from the collective identity of the earliest Acadian arrivals.  The later arrivals had lived in France for a quarter of a century before enduring Spanish rule for 18 years now.  However, in their patois, their collective experience, and their worldview, they were still more Acadian than "French."  No matter, the Creoles, and perhaps even the Acadians, welcomed what Napoléon's prefect represented--the restoration of French rule.  Only two days in the city, without authority and without troops to back up his actions, Laussat published a proclamation in which he said "it was 'high time the French government came forward and announced its rights and intentions here.'"  The proclamation blamed the transference of Louisiana to Spain on "a 'weak and corrupt government,'" that of Louis XV, and alluded to the atrocities of Alejandro O'Reilly when he suppressed the rebellion against Ulloa.  The French Creoles applauded the prefect's words, for it was their own kind whom "Bloody" O'Reilly had executed 34 years before, but the Spanish, who had treated Laussat with courtesy up to that point, were appalled by the ill-advised proclamation and offered little cooperation afterwards.532 

Not all of the Frenchmen in the colony applauded Laussat's proclamation.  He "earnestly believed" that his proclamation would encourage "'the patriotism of the colonists,'" but, for some of the French-Creole elite, Laussat's words and manners gave them pause.  Was this a harbinger of things to come?  Would the new régime, so full of bluster and righteousness, resort to confiscation of their property instead of exempting it from taxation?  Would they impose trade restrictions as the Spanish had done?  The Ursuline nuns, who had been working miracles in the city since 1727, "undoubtedly well aware of the appropriation of church property and occasionally violent anticlericalism of the revolutionary Republic," were so apprehensive about the fate of their institution that "Governor Salcedo felt obliged to reassure them that Laussat was not going to ban religion or confiscate their relics."  For over a decade, Louisiana, and especially New Orleans, had been a refuge for French émigrés escaping the excesses of the Revolution; here were champions of the ancien régime the prefect so vehemently derided.  One of the most outspoken was Father Michel-Bernard Barrière at Attakapas, whom Laussat considered "a very bad subject" and a "muddle-headed fellow" who polluted the minds of his predominantly Acadian parishioners.533 

Laussat, surrounded by actual and potential enemies, was perplexed by the failure of General Victor to reach New Orleans by the appointed time.  April turned into May, May into June, and still no Victor and his thousands of French soldiers.  Without them, Laussat's prestige, not to mention his power, was limited.  He began to quarrel bitterly, even publicly, with a member of his entourage, André Burthe, Victor's pretentious adjutant-general.  Having alienated the Spanish, who now ignored him, Laussat had to rely on the good wishes of the colonial elite, who, he should have seen, "were far more concerned with their own wealth than with anything the new regime had to offer in the way of 'Frenchness.'"  Visitors stopped calling on him at the Marigny plantation.  Wealthy businessman, landowner, and acting United States consul Daniel Clark the younger, who had lived at New Orleans since 1786 and knew much about Louisiana and Louisianans, did what he could to alienate Laussat from his Creole acquaintances.  A rumor began circulating about an American cession.  Even worse for French interests in this or any colony, another rumor insisted that France was now at war again with Britain and its formidable navy.  By July, with still no sign of Victor's army, Laussat's prestige had evaporated.  None of his many dispatches to Paris had been answered, so he was in the dark about Napoléon's intentions.  Moreover, an entire month was lost to him while he recuperated from a bout of yellow fever that struck him in early July.534

When the rumor of an American cession proved to be true, the ailing Laussat found himself in the midst of a full-blown diplomatic crisis.  The Spanish ambassador in Washington, as expected, "insisted that Bonaparte had 'no authority to alienate said province without the approval of Spain,'" raising "apprehensions that Spanish forces might resist the transfer" to American jurisdiction.  Secretary of State Madison directed Wilkinson and Claiborne "to prepare an armed expedition to take New Orleans."  Laussat, meanwhile, realizing that war with Britain, which had been declared in May, would deny him Victor's force, plotted to acquire at least a regiment of French troops from St.-Domingue to occupy Louisiana.  He would then "'quickly reanimate the public mind ... (and) endeavor to frenchify even the Spaniards.'"  This delusion was shattered on August 7, when news of Jefferson's purchase reached New Orleans.  Americans celebrated.  Laussat did not.  He called the news "an 'improbable and impudent lie,'" until October 8, when he received official notice of the purchase.  His only role in the colony now would be to supervise the transfer of authority from Spain to France and then surrender the province to the upstart Americans; it would not be his fate to transform Louisiana into a model French colony.  When these transfers would occur was anyone's guess.  On October 22, at a formal dinner hosted by Madame Laussat, the volatile Frenchwoman lost her temper and called the Spanish officials "'Souls of filth and mean slaves ... to the astonishment of all present.'"  Laussat fretted to Claiborne that the incident might give former interim governor the Marqués de Casa Calvo an opportunity to delay the proceedings.  Madrid had assigned Casa Calvo, who Laussat despised, as commissioner to Louisiana to supervise the transfer to France and then remain at New Orleans as Spanish consul.  Until then, the Americans, who could receive the province only from France, must wait for the pleasure of the Spanish officials before they could pressure Laussat into a speedy transfer.  Complicating the matter further was the inordinate delay of General Wilkinson to get to New Orleans via Mobile.535  

In the weeks between Madame Laussat's disastrous dinner and General Wilkinson's arrival in late November, the prefect decided to tour the colony, at least that part of it lying along the east bank of the river above New Orleans.  Laussat was especially interested in the sugar and cotton operations along the Mississippi.  Already an acquaintance of Étienne de Boré, he was curious about the application of Boré's sugar processing techniques among his fellow planters.  From his brief journey up the river from La Balize in late March and during his seven months in New Orleans, Laussat had formed strong opinions about the French Creoles and their culture, few of them flattering; he and his wife were especially taken aback by the number of Creole planters who had fathered children by their female slaves.  Now he could glimpse two more important cultures of the lower colony, that of the Germans and the Acadians.  Among the Germans, he seemed more interested in their relationship with their priests, but he did note their general prosperity.  And then, during the second week of November, he reached Cabahannocer, the Lower Acadian Coast.  "I wanted to see one of those Acadian families which populated this coast," he recalled in his memoirs.  "So I went to the house of Pierre Michel, a cotton and corn planter.  He and his wife are sexagenarians.  Both born in Acadia, they were married in Louisiana and had seven or eight children.  Everybody in the house was at work--one daughter was ironing; another was spinning; and the mother was distributing the cotton, while a number of little Negroes, all under twelve, were carding it, picking out the seeds, and drying it.  No one, more than these people, regretted not being able to remain French," the prefect was certain.536 

In his memoirs, written before his death in 1835 but obviously taken from notes he had scribbled during his time in Louisiana, Laussat reviews the history of the Acadians, including their settlement in Louisiana, and reveals a glaring ignorance of their experience there:  "When, in 1755, Acadia was conquered by the English, the French colonists there refused to swear allegiance to the conquerors and, consequently, were forced to leave their native country," the former prefect wrote.  "Louisiana, doomed in a few years to pass under Spanish domination, received them.  Some of the Acadians came directly, and some came by way of France; some came at their own expense, and others at the expense of the government.  Most of them settled on this coast, to which they gave their name Côte-des-Acadiens, and the rest settled at La Fourche.  The last arrivals in Louisiana were brought here from France by Spain about twenty years ago."  Despite only a cursory contact with Louisiana's Acadians, the opinionated Laussat formed a lasting impression of their collective character:  "Like the Germans or the Alsatians, their neighbors on these shores, they are a hardworking and industrious people.  Their morals are loose, and they are a very handsome species of men.  They cultivate cotton, corn, and rice on seventeen or eighteen small farms, which follow one after the other.  These farms lead to the large cotton plantation of M. (Marius Pons) Bringier, where we were expected for the night." 

Laussat and party may have visited the home of another Acadian during their sojourn at Cabahannocer. "We were nearly there [at Bringier's]," the prefect relates, "when, at the height of the day's heat, we came upon a pretty, slender young lady riding a horse and dressed with elegant simplicity, a straw hat on her head.  'Isn't that,' we said to her by way of opening a conversation, 'the house of M. Bonaventure Gaudin?'  She answered, 'No, sir.  You have just passed it.'  We then asked, 'Are we far from the house of M. Bringer?'  She said, 'I don't know,' and proceeded on her way.  'Surely you are from M. Bonaventure Gaudin's household,' we said.  'No.'  And she galloped away resolutely.  This wood nymph in the heart of these solitary forests--her youth, her elegance, her beauty, the way she rode--provided momentary and pleasant amusement on our trip.  Upon dismounting," the prefect concluded the tale, "we learned that she was a Creole, thirteen or fourteen years old, who was married six months ago," most likely not to an Acadian.537

And what of the hundreds of prairie Acadians the prefect failed to mention?  One suspects they would have welcomed him as their cousins on the river had done--offering him a deferential smile as they went about their business.

On November 30, a dreary day back in New Orleans, Governor Salcedo "handed Laussat the keys to the city," formally transferring power in Louisiana from Spain to France.  "With a few score townspeople looking on gloomily through the rain, Spain's four decades of ruling the colony came to a quiet end--and the three short weeks of Bonaparte's Louisiana began."  The transfer of power from France to the United States was supposed to have taken place immediately, or very soon, after the assumption of power from Spain, but the 500 American troops ordered to New Orleans "suffered logistical delays upriver," and Claiborne and Wilkinson would not oversee the transfer without them.  Laussat took full advantage of the brief interregnum to make his mark on the colony.  The result was "sweeping changes in Louisiana's governmental and civic structure" that would complicate matters considerably for the Americans.  During his first day in power, Laussat issued eight decrees, and more followed in the next 20 days.  Laussat reorganized the Louisiana militia under new officers, nearly all of them French Creole.  Commander of the re-organized militia, however, was an Acadian of sorts:  42-year-old Colonel Joseph de Goutin de Ville, fils, called Bellechasse, was the fourth son of Joseph de Goutin de Ville of Port-Royal, Acadia, who had come to Louisiana as a French army officer in the early 1730s; the colonel's mother was French Creole, to be sure, and he had served in the Fixed Spanish Regiment of Louisiana from 1775 until his retirement in 1798.  Aware of his distinguished military service as well as his identity with the French-Creole elite, Laussat appointed Bellechasse head of the Louisiana militia in spite of his loyalty to the Spanish dons.  Laussat abolished the Spanish cabildo at New Orleans, replacing it with an appointed mayor and a 12-member Municipal Council.  Nine of the new councilmen were French Creoles, all of them the prefect's "friends," including Jacques-Philippe Villeré, whose father had played a fatal role in the Rebellion of 1768.  Only two of the new councilmen were Americans.  Not one of them was Spanish.  To the position of mayor, Laussat appointed his French-Creole friend Étienne de Boré.  The mayor and council then turned on the non-white population of the city, imposing, among other things, "new punishments for slaves found walking the streets after dark or attending dances."  Laussat's final decree, issued at the insistence of the Municipal Council, erased all paternalistic Spanish reforms directed at the abuse of slaves and free persons of color, essentially negating the more humane elements of slave law in Louisiana.  Eberhard Faber reminds us:  "The harsher racial order later linked by many historians with American rule--increasing codification of racial boundaries, greater strictures on the public activities of nonwhites, and official suspicion, rooted in fears about security, of free people of color--thus began in the earliest hours of the interim French regime....  It originated not with Yankee newcomers but with wealthy creole planters, newly empowered by Citizen Laussat."  Even more troubling for the immediate future of New Orleans and Louisiana, Laussat's decrees swept away all vestiges of the colony's Spanish-based judicial system and replaced it with nothing of substance.  Laussat's reforms made possible a re-assertion of Creole control not only in the city but throughout the lower colony.  To Laussat and the Creoles, at least, the humiliation of August 1769 was finally erased.  More importantly, Anglo Americans, along with Acadians, Germans, Isleños, and other disparate cultures, now must contend with a resurgent French-Creole hegemony.  The transition to even nominal American control would not be a smooth one.538 

The transfer of possession from Bonapartist France to the United States occurred on December 20 at New Orleans.  "This time the weather was balmy and the mood more celebratory" as the Americans raised the Stars and Stripes.  Consul Daniel Clark's American volunteers "shouted 'piercing huzzas' and threw their hats in the air."  Laussat was overcome with emotion and hurried from the Place d'Armes in tears.  That evening, at one of the city's opulent soirées, having regained his composure, the former prefect offered a toast "to 'the friendship and indissoluble union of the three powers' while affectedly lamenting 'what a magnificent New France we lost!'"  Meanwhile, the Americans in New Orleans and Washington rejoiced:  the "empire for liberty," as Jefferson later dubbed the grand new territory, finally was theirs.539 

Ominously, the borders between the new American territory and Spanish West Florida and Texas remained undetermined, hence the appointment of the Marqués de Casa Calvo as "commissioner of limits" for Spain.  In the months between the announcement of the purchase in July and the cession by France in December, Jefferson's Secretary of State, James Madison, hurried surveyors from Mississippi Territory into Spanish West Florida, "checking boundaries."  Amazingly, not even the American magistrate in charge of the transition could pinpoint the borders between the new American territory and the Spanish realm.  "In August 1803," Andrew McMichaels relates, "Jefferson received a detailed report from the new territorial governor, William C. C. Claiborne, who answered several questions regarding the territory included in the purchase.  Claiborne told Madison that, first, there was no dependable large-scale maps of the entire area, though he was working to obtain copies of smaller, detail maps.  Although the Spaniards had made a few maps, they had, unfortunately for the Americans, never published them.  More pressingly with regard to the 'West Florida question,'" as Americans would call it, "Claiborne informed the government that according to the 1763 Treaty of Paris, and confirmed by 'the authority of the oldest settlers in this territory,' 'New Orleans was the only tract of Country east of the Mississippi included in the Province of Louisiana as then ceded by France to Spain.'"  Dozens of Acadian families, most of them 1785 arrivals from France, lived above Bayou Manchac in the Baton Rouge District east of the river, and a few remained in the Feliciana sub-district north of Baton Rouge.  Hearing of the ceremonies taking place in New Orleans, some may have wondered if they were now American citizens or still loyal subjects of King Carlos of Spain.540


These Acadians and their Louisiana brethren, meanwhile, went about their business, certainly taking notice of these momentous events but few playing direct roles in any of them.  They had adjusted well to Spanish rule--many of them, in fact, knew no other government, having grown up and created families of their own during the 37 years since Ulloa's arrival.  Their adjustment included marrying more of their non-Acadian neighbors, hastening assimilation into the polyglot culture of lower Louisiana.  From February 1765, when the first Acadian marriage was recorded in the colony, through 1803, South Louisiana church and civil records document at least 2,260 Acadian marriages.  Of those marriages, at least 441, or 19.5%, were exogamous.  Compare this to an exogamous rate of 15.3% for the 483 recorded Acadian marriages from February 1765 through 1784, and one can see an upward trend in the rate of Acadian "mixed" marriages.510 

To be sure, there were Acadian families, even among the early arrivals, with not a single recorded exogamous marriage during the first decades of their presence in Louisiana.  The Melançons came from Halifax in 1765 and France in 1785, but especially from Maryland in 1766 and 1767; South Louisiana churches record 37 marriages in the family through 1803, but not until May 1805 do any of those churches record an exogamous marriage in the family.  The Poiriers were among the very first families to emigrate to the colony, in February 1764, but an exogamous marriage among them cannot be found in an area church record until October 1805.  The first Mires came from Halifax in 1765, but a member of the family marrying a non-Acadian cannot be found in South Louisiana church records until November 1807.  The Allains came to the colony from Maryland in 1767, but no exogamous marriage for that family appears in area church records until November 1809.  The Babineauxs arrived even earlier, in February 1765, but no exogamous church record can be found for them until July 1814.  Members of the Girouard family came to the colony as early as February 1765, though most of them, using the surname Giroir, arrived from France in 1785, but none married a non-Acadian, at least not in a marriage recorded by an area church, until October 1817.  However, these were the exceptions, not the rule.  The great majority of Acadian families, small or large in number, or early or late in arrival, engaged in their share of "mixed" marriages while Spain controlled the colony.511 

Exogamous rates were especially high among Acadians in the Opelousas District, a bastion of Creole culture.  Michel Cormier, who came to the district in 1765, remarried to Catherine, daughter of former Swiss mercenary Johann Georg Stahlin, now Stelly, at Opelousas in c1774.  The Jeansonnes, descendants of Scottish soldier William "Billy" Johnson of Annapolis Royal, first came to Louisiana from Halifax in 1765 and settled at Cabahannocer on the river before moving on to the Opelousas prairies by the 1770s.  The first immigrant generation, while still living on the river, married fellow Acadians from the Brasseaux, Leger, and Prejean families; strangely, none of these marriages, like that of Michel Cormier and Catherine Stelly, were recorded by area churches.  Not until November 1790 does a Jeansonne marriage appear in South Louisiana church records, when a daughter of Jean Jeansonne married a Fontenot at Opelousas.  After that, every recorded Jeansonne marriage was exogamous, until September 1846, when a Jeansonne married a Pitre, a family which also could boast a high exogamous rate of marriage not only at Opelousas, but also in the Bayou Lafourche valley, where today the name is pronounced PEE-tree instead of PEET.  An interesting case of cultural assimilation among prairie Acadians is that of the descendants of Joseph Lejeune, who, with brother Blaise and sister Marguerite, came to Louisiana from Maryland aboard the Britannia in October 1769.  Before following their maternal uncle, Honoré Trahan, to Opelousas, older brother Blaise, a native of Pigiguit, married into the Breau family at San Gabriel on the river in November 1773.  Blaise took his family first to Bellevue prairie, near the present city, before moving out to Prairie Faquetaique, near the headwaters of Bayou des Cannes.  Younger brother Joseph, who had been born probably in North Carolina during Le Grand Dérangement, followed brother Blaise to Bayou des Cannes.  In c1782, Joseph married Pérrine, called Patsy, daughter of Anglo Americans Gilbert Hayes and Jeanne Jackson of Carolina and Mobile.  While in his late 60s, Joseph remarried to Mary Ritter, probably a German Creole.  He died in October 1847, in his early 90s, though his relatives told the recording priest that he was 110!  By then, and since the 1820s, Joseph, his children, and his grandchildren no longer were calling themselves Lejeunes; their surname had evolved into Young, influenced, no doubt, by Joseph's first wife, Patsy Hayes, from whom all of his many children sprang.  None of Joseph's children married fellow Acadians, though a few of his grandchildren did take Acadian spouses.  None of older brother Blaise's sons married fellow Acadians, but they continued to call themselves Lejeune.512 

Nor is it surprising that most of the young Acadians from France who came to the Opelousas District with their families in 1785 chose non-Acadian spouses.  Claude Aucoin, who crossed on La Ville d'Archangel and followed his Saulnier wife to Opelousas, was 60 years old when he remarried to a Brasseaux in November 1788, but his children married non-Acadians:  Perpétué married a French-Canadian Normand; Anne-Anastasie married a French-Canadian Bertrand dit Beaulieu in December 1789; Mathurin-Casimir married a daughter of Philippe Langlois in October 1796 (her mother was an Acadian Jeansonne); and Pierre married twice, first to a Silvestre in January 1800 and then to a Fontenot in May 1818.  Basile Chiasson, who crossed on La Caroline, remarried to a Thibodeaux in July 1789, when he was age 40; his son Charles-Albert, however, married a daughter of Charles Bourassa in October 1802.  Angélique Pinet, who was a widow when she crossed on Le Bon Papa, remarried to Michel Blanchet of Québec in April 1787.513 

Some of the later comers who chose to settle in the Attakapas District helped create multi-ethnic families of their own.  Élisabeth Duhon of Rivière-aux-Canards, widow of Alexandre Aucoin, whom she had married at Liverpool, England, in October 1759, crossed on L'Amitié with seven daughters, ages 24 to 6:  Marie-Madeleine married Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Simon of Rennes, Brittany, at New Orleans in November 1785 (he also had crossed on L'Amitié, either as a crewman or a stowaway).  Marie-Félicité married Carolinian Luke Faulk in October 1787.  And Marie-Renée married Mathew Sellers, Jr. of Charleston, South Carolina, in February 1796.  Amable-Ursule Doiron crossed on Le Beaumont with her family; her second husband was Simon Durio of Grand Coteau.  Her sister Marie-Hippolythe-Honoré, a native of Le Havre, married François Begnaud of Nantes in February 1786.  Isabelle-Eulalie Dugas crossed on La Bergère as a 17-year-old, married a fellow Acadian at Attakapas in June 1786, and then remarried to David Caruthers of New Jersey and Carencro in October 1793; David had to convert to Catholicism to wed his Acadian bride.  Marie-Françoise Semer, who crossed on L'Amitié, married William Norris, Jr. of Redston, Pennsylvania, and Carencro, in August 1796; William, Jr. was a Presbyterian who also had to convert to Catholicism in order to marry his Acadian "girl," who was age 33 at the time of their marriage.  Marie-Françoise's cousin, Anne-Françoise Semer, married Frenchman Joseph Sabot in December 1798.  Geneviève Trahan, who crossed with her family on Le St.-Rémi, married French Canadian Jean-Baptiste Morin in November 1786 and died 11 months later, at age 25, perhaps from the rigors of childbirth.514

Likely without realizing it, the Acadians of Louisiana were creating something new in a place very different from Acadie.  Their children and grandchildren still spoke French, but some of them learned rudimentary English to communicate with their Anglophone neighbors.  They clung tenaciously to the Roman Catholic faith, but their priests were Spanish and Irish as well as French, and Acadian men were as anti-clerical here as they had been back in Acadia.  There were no tidal marshes to dyke down here; true, there were salt marshes along the coast that dwarfed anything they would have found in Acadia, but the tides were too weak here to construct aboiteaux for the creation of new fields and pastures.  And even if the tides had been strong enough, there was no higher ground behind the coastal marshes on which to build their houses and barns.  Farming along the river and bayous was more akin to clearing the uplands back in Acadia, as their ancestors were sometimes compelled to do, except here one was clearing away the top of a natural levee, though the contrived levees they were forced to build along the river and bayous resembled the sturdy dykes--sans les aboiteaux--their grandfathers had built on the Fundy shore.  On the prairies, the soil was deep and rich, ready for the plow--an implement seldom used by their parents and grandparents.  Herds of cattle, some properly branded, many not, grazed on the limitless prairies, so that was not so different.  They ate very different food than what their ancestors in France and Acadia had eaten and grew different things.  Their houses were built out of different wood, with Spanish moss and clay mixed into the walls--a concoction the Creoles called bousillage.  Their boats were different here--pirogues instead of canoes.  And, to accommodate the hot, wet climate, so was their clothing.  They could not remember the last time they had seen snow of any significance, so they had forgotten how to construct snowshoes and toboggans.  Influenced by local Africans, Germans, and Spaniards, they learned to play new musical instruments to accompany their traditional fiddles and triangles of iron.  They were surrounded here by many exotic cultures, something they had experienced only in exile, and then only briefly.  Mostly they married their own kind, but soon after their arrival they began taking up with Frenchmen, Germans, Spaniards, Englishmen, Anglo Americans, Italians, Native Americans, Afro Creoles, and even French Creoles.  Many Acadians, now, were slave owners, a few of them aspiring members of Louisiana's socioeconomic elite.  By the time Spanish rule gave way to American territorial government, the first Acadians had been living in Louisiana for two generations.  Even the older folks among the more recent arrivals had not laid eyes on greater Acadia for nearly half a century, and the great majority of the new ones had been born in France.  Much time and distance separated them from their roots in Old Acadia.  Many, if not most, of them, had lost track of their cousins, even their siblings, deposited by the Great Upheaval into many corners of the Western world.  A century and a half would pass before any meaningful connection would be restored between themselves and their distant kin in the Acadian diaspora.  Meanwhile, they were becoming a substantial component of this strange new land where their fathers and mothers had taken them.  Along the river, down on the Lafourche, and out on the western prairies, a new, exotic culture quietly evolved among the exiles and their numerous descendants.515 



BOOK ONE:         French Acadia

BOOK TWO:        British Nova Scotia

BOOK THREE:     Families, Migration, and the Acadian "Begats"

BOOK FOUR:       The French Maritimes

BOOK FIVE:         The Great Upheaval

BOOK SIX:           The Acadian Immigrants of Louisiana

BOOK SEVEN:     French Louisiana

BOOK NINE:        The Bayou State

BOOK TEN:          The Louisiana Acadian "Begats"

BOOK ELEVEN:   The Non-Acadian "Cajun" Families of South Louisiana

BOOK TWELVE:  Acadians in Gray



01.  I have chosen here "A New Acadia," not "The New Acadia," in deference to our Acadian cousins in NB & Gaspésie, who insist that they are La Nouvelle-Acadie.  See Rudin, Remembering & Forgetting in Acadie, especially chap. 6. 

01a.  See note 312a, below. 

301.  Quotations from Martin, F.-X., Louisiana, 1:328-29, 336; Gayarré, Louisiana, 2:121-22; Fortier, Louisiana, 1:147, 152-53; Marchand, Ascension Parish, 20; Winzerling, Acadian Odyssey, 161; Arsenault, History, 191-92; LeBlanc, Acadian Miracle, 311-13, (italics added in sixth quotation); Ruston, The Cajuns, 78, 316-17, 319; Brasseaux, In Search of Evangeline, 21-23, (italics added in second quotation); Brasseaux, Founding of New Acadia, 105.  See also William H. Adams," Martin, François Xavier," in DLB, 551-52; Brasseaux, Founding of New Acadia, 73, 105; Brasseaux, In Search of Evangeline, 20-21; BRDR, vols. 1b, 2; Clark, A. H., Acadia, 364, quoting J. B. Brebner's New England's Outpost, published in 1927; Dugas, "An Immigrants' Journey"; Fortier, 1:158; O. C. Guillot, "LeBlanc, Dudley J. ("Couzin Dud")," in DLB, 495-96; LeBlanc, 314-15; Oubre, Vacherie, 57, 73; Plank, Unsettled Conquest, 209n25. 

Judge Martin was a native of Marseille, lived for a time in Martinique, & spent years at Newbern, NC, before emigrating to LA.  See Adams; Dugas.  The judge's time in NC may explain his feelings toward the English colonists & the "charity" they offered the Acadian exiles in 1755.  See Book Five. 

For Senator LeBlanc's bio, see Guillot.  The Senator lived from 1894 to 1971.  His The True Story of the Acadians was published in 1927, The Improved Version in 1932, & Acadian Miracle, quoted here, in 1966.  LeBlanc's "health" product, Hadacol, made him wealthy.  He also was a popular broadcaster & was active in the creation of CODOFIL, The Council for the Development of French in Louisiana, authorized by the state legislature in 1968.  See <>

This researcher has been unable to find Senator LeBlanc's quotation in a 1990 reprint of Milling, Exile Without End.  Perhaps the quotation was included in the original edition of 1943 but removed by the editors of the reprinted edition, used in this study. 

That Héberts & Richards appear in the Pointe Coupée church records of the 1750s does not mean that they were Acadian members of those families.  In fact, they were not.  See BRDR, vol. 1b, which covers the years 1722-69.  There are Héberts listed in this volume, but all of them are Acadians, & the sacramental records--3 marriages & a baptism--are dated 26 Sep 1767, 26 Mar 1769, & 27 Mar 1769.  See BRDR, 1b:86 (PCP-3, 236, 280; PCP-4, 20, 38-39).  The only family name close to Hébert is Erber or Herbert, & close examination shows them to be from Île de Ré, France, not Acadia.  See BRDR, 1b:86-87.  For the Richards at Pointe Coupée, see BRDR, 1b:157-59.  Only 1 Richard sacramental record is for an Acadian, a baptismal record dated 26 Mar 1769; the other 8 are for non-Acadians, & close examination of those records shows that these Richards were from France, specifically Avignon & Hannonois.  The Senator also devotes several pages to a misreading of St. James church records that mention Acadians.  See 314-15, in which he insists these church records put Acadians at St. James in 1757 & 1759.  A perusal of BRDR, vol. 2, reveals no such dates for these St. James church records relating to Acadian Poiriers & Richards. 

For a critique of De Sennegy, pseudonym of Aldric Lettin de la Peychardière, see Brasseaux, In Search of Evangeline

Brasseaux, Founding of New Acadia, published in 1987, opens chap. 5 with the confusing passage:  "Between 1757 and 1770 approximately one thousand Acadians migrated to Louisiana...."  (The number was closer to 1,300.  See Appendix.)  Where does the professor get 1757?  Which Acadians came to LA at that date?  If they did not come overland, as he later insists in his In Search of Evangeline, did they come by sea?  From where?  Who were they?  Where did they settle?  Or is this simply a misprint in an otherwise superb piece of scholarship? 

For exceptions to Brasseaux's assertion in Founding of New Acadia, 105, that "few, if any, Acadians reached the lower Mississippi Valley via Quebec," see notes 471c & 471g, below. 

Today's serious scholarship on the Acadians of LA follows the work of Brasseaux.  E.g., Oubre, 57, published in 2002:  "Possibly, a few Acadian stragglers started to reach the French settlements of colonial Louisiana within a few years of the deportations.  This has never been established as a fact, and the possibility is discounted by most researchers."  Oubre, 73, states:  "There is another historic marker across the highway [from St. James Church] stating, 'Site of First Acadian Settlers in Louisiana.  Refugees came overland 1756-57," & concludes:  "Obviously, there is no documentation that anybody came overland at that early date." 

301a.  Amazingly, the 1750s-arrival myth still finds its way into recent scholarship.  In an article published in Louisiana History during the summer of 2009, Gilbert C. Din, one of the finest historians working today, while describing the Acadian diaspora, makes the startling assertion:  "By 1759, the new arrivals were taking up residence on the Mississippi above New Orleans in an area that became the Acadian Coast."  See Din, "Empires Too Far," 274.  Five years later, Din is still writing:  "In as much as Louisiana was still French in 1759, they [the Acadians] preferred to resettle there, and Acadians began moving to the colony where local authorities assisted them in settling down."  See Din, Populating the Barrera, 4, published in 2014.  

302.  Quotations from Brasseaux, ed., Quest for the Promised Land, 16.  See also Fortier, Louisiana, 1:147; NOAR, 2:xx, 167, 229, 238; Oubre, Vacherie, 68; Villiers du Terrage, Last Years of French LA, 211; note 303, below; Appendix

Brasseaux, ed., is an English translation of the original documents relating to the Acadian exiles in LA.  Villiers du Terrage, an English translation of, among other things, d'Abbadie's Journal, says the director-general noted that "Their [the Acadians'] passage cost them 2,200 livres and took all their savings."  550 x 4 = 2,200, so comme çi, comme ça

The brochure explaining the figures on Robert Dafford's "The Arrival of the Acadians in Louisiana," found on the north wall of the first floor of St. Martinville's Acadian Memorial, says of figures 34, 35, & 36, "Salvador and son Jean & Marin Mouton, circa 1764, Cabannocé":  "Arrived with a group of twenty believed to be the earliest refugees from Acadia in Louisiana."  It is true that the "the earliest refugees from Acadia in Louisiana" numbered 20, but, contrary to family myth, the Moutons were not among them.  For the Moutons' actual arrival, see note 341, below. 

302a.  Quotation from Villiers du Terrage, Last Years of French LA, 211.  See also Brasseaux, "Scattered to the Winds", 11-12, 22-23; Delaney, "Chronology of the Deportations," <>; Faragher, A Great & Noble Scheme, 430-31, 533; Jehn, Acadian Exiles in the Colonies, 26, 193, 231; Roger Rozendal, "First Acadians in Louisiana, 1764," & "Trek of the 1764 Acadians to Louisiana," at <>; Book Three. 

Faragher, 430-31, a recent history, relates:  "By 1763 this group of families had relocated to Charles Town, where in August they were listed on the register the South Carolina exiles sent to Ambassador Nivernois.  Within weeks, however, they departed for New York, where they booked passage on a vessel bound for the port of Mobile on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.  Upon their arrival there in February 1764, they were greeted warmly by French officials, who provided them with lands along the Mississippi River at a place called Cabannocé, about seventy-five miles upriver from New Orleans."  In his citation for the passage, on 533n20, Faragher cites Brasseaux (1985 & 1994); articles found in Acadiensis entitled "A New Acadia:  The Acadian Migrations to South Louisiana, 1764-1803," vol. 15, & "Phantom Letters:  Acadian Correspondence, 1766-1784," vol. 23; & Rozendal.  In the second posting, entitled "Trek of the 1764 Acadians to Louisiana," Rozendal writes:  "The Treaty of Paris ratified 10 February 1763 provided an eighteen-month grace period during which Acadians detained in British territory could relocate to French soil.  It would seem the Georgia Acadians gathered in Savannah, Georgia as soon as they could and left for South Carolina where 185 of them were in the census 23 August 1763.  It would seem that at least some of them did not stay long and headed for New York.  There the Four Families made the decision to go to Louisiana at their own expense.  It is known the group was in Mobile, Alabama by January 22, 1764 where the marriage of Jean Poirier and Madeleine Richard was solemnized.  A copy of this ceremony is in Vidrine's 'Loves Legacy' pp. 329-321[sic].  From there, they went on to Louisiana, arriving before February 26, 1764.  Therefore, it seems likely that in a year starting in February 1763, the Four Families went from Georgia to South Carolina, then to New York, back to Georgia and ended up in Louisiana in February 1764."  But this SC-to-NY-&-back-to-GA-scenario makes little sense.  Leaving SC no earlier than late Aug 1763, the party would have had slightly less than 4 months to reach NY, make their decision to go to LA, sail back down the coast, book passage on the Savannah Packet for Mobile, & leave Savannah in late Dec.  Did they have the time, much less the resources, to do this much sailing back & forth?  What would have compelled them to head north from SC, turn around at NY, & return to GA before going on to Mobile?  Had they been in NY all along?  Brasseaux & Delaney note that 7 boatloads of 78 Acadians from GA landed on Long Island on 22 Aug 1756 & remained in that colony until the peace of 1763.  See Brasseaux, 22; Delaney, "Chronology."  However, one looks in vain for any of these families on a list of "the heads of the French Neutral families, number of their Children returned from Georgia...," dated 26 Aug 1756, & on an undated list of Acadians in NY.  See Jehn, 26, 193.  Nevertheless, d'Abbadie's Journal, dated 4 Apr 1764, notes that "Four Acadian families, twenty persons in number, arrived here from New York where they had been detained until peace was declared."  See Villiers du Terrage; italics added.  D'Abbadie would have gotten his information from the Acadians themselves, & they seem to have told him they had ended up in NY, where they were held until word of the peace arrived.  The Treaty of Paris was signed in Feb 1763, so word of it likely reached NY in late spring or early summer, late summer at the latest--likely before the third week of Aug.  Only then would the 4 families have been allowed to leave the colony "where they had been detained until peace was declared."  If, as Rozendal & Faragher would have us believe, they got to NY via SC before sailing back to GA, they could not have arrived at NY until late summer or early fall--weeks, if not months, after the NY authorities had learned of the Paris peace accord.  Note that the Acadians told d'Abbadie they had been retained in NY, not GA or SC, "until peace was declared." 

303.  Quotations from <>, "18th Century News"; Villiers du Terrage, Last Years of French LA, 209.  See also Anderson, Crucible of War, 619, 626, chap. 64; Brasseaux, ed., Quest for the Promised Land, , 29n53, 39; Faragher, A Great & Noble Scheme, 430-31; Martin, F.-X., Louisiana, 1:xl-xli, 343-44; Narrett, Adventurism & Empire, 47; Oubre, Vacherie, 53, 58-59, 66; Usner, Lower Miss. Valley Before 1783, 108; Villiers du Terrage, 202-08, 247-48; White, DGFA-1, 1336; Book Seven. 

For the blessing of the Poirier-Richard marriage, see White

Did the the Cormier-Landry-Poirier-Richard party take a ship from Mobile to New Orleans, which would have required a stop at La Balize, or did they take smaller vessels to the Bayou St.-Jean portage via Lake Pontchartrain, which would have taken them to New Orleans without going to La Balize?  Considering there were 21 of them, they could very well have taken a ship.  One suspects that, with the French evacuation of eastern LA well underway, there were a number of ships going from Mobile to New Orleans the Acadians could have taken in late Jan or early Feb 1764.  Then again, according to King's commandant Aubry in a letter to the French Minister of Marine, dated 24 Apr 1765, "It has always been customary to travel from Mobile to New Orleans by (sailing) between the mainland, Ile Massacre [Dauphine] and the other islands, by way of Lake Pontchartrain, arriving at Bayou St. John, which is two leagues from New Orleans." 

The 22nd Regiment of Foot, under Maj. Arthur Loftus, gathered at New Orleans in late Jan & Feb 1764 on their way from Pensacola to IL to participate in what history calls Pontiac's Rebellion.  Loftus & his redcoats did not leave the city until Feb 27, while the Acadian families were baptizing their children at St.-Louis church.  See Anderson; Martin, F.-X., 1:343-44; Villiers du Terrage; note 302, above; Book Seven. 

The site of the first Acadian settlement is now Moonshine/Lagan, St. James Parish.  Oubre, 66, estimates the distance between Verret's & Jacquelin's grants as 3.5 miles.  See Oubre, 59, for the exact location of the Acadian settlement at Moonshine/Lagan viz later plantations in the area.  The Allibamonts who came to New Orleans about the time the Acadians arrived were settled downriver from the Acadians, closer to the upper German settlements.  See Book Seven. 

Population figures for lower LA are c1763 & from Narrett via Usner. 

Judge Martin says of the natural levees on which these first Acadians settled:  "By a singularity, of which Louisiana offers perhaps the only instance, the more elevated ground in it is found on the banks of its rivers, bayous, and lakes.  This elevation of a soil generally good, rarely too strong, often too weak, owing to a mixture of sand, varies considerably in its depth, and reaches, in very few places indeed, the elevated land of another stream or lake.  Hence, the original grants of land were made of a certain number of arpents (French acres) fronting the stream, face au fleuve, with the eventual depth, which was afterwards fixed at forty arpents, and ordinarily carries the grant to a considerable distance into the cypress swamp."  Here was a very different agricultural environment from the one these Acadians had known at Chignecto or their cousins had known at Annapolis, Minas, & other Acadian settlements.  See Book Two. 

To be sure, these GA Acadians would have seen plenty of hanging moss & palmettoes during their months of exile on the lower Atlantic coast. 

304.  See NOAR, 2:229; Oubre, Vacherie, 57; White, DGFA-1, 1508-09, 1517; note 308, below; Books One & Two; De Goutin family page.

Marie, Pierre Thibodeau & Jeanne Thériot's oldest child & Olivier Landry's paternal grandmother, was born in c1661.  Jeanne, the Thibodeaus' 7th child & 6th daughter & Joseph de Goutin de Ville's mother, was born in c1672.  Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil's wife Agnès was a daughter of Michel Thibodeau, younger brother of Marie & Jeanne.  Joseph Broussard's older brother Alexandre married Marguerite, Agnès's older sister, so there was an extensive connection to the Thibodeaus among the first Acadians to come to LA.  See White.  It was Stephen White who first broached the theory that Olivier Landry was drawn to LA by his kinsman Joseph de Goutin de Ville

Oubre seems to be hinting at Joseph de Goutin de Ville's existence without naming him:  "It is quite possible that a person born in Acadia preceded or followed closely the lead of Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac, a resident of Port Royal from 1683 to 1690 ...."  Followed to be sure, but not until the early 1730s.  See Book Six.  Cadillac had not been born in Acadia, lived there only briefly, & never considered himself to be Acadian, or even Canadian.  Books One, Two, & Six.  De Goutin, on the other hand, was born at Port-Royal in 1705 & spent his early years in greater Acadia.  His father having died when he was only 9 years old, he was raised on Île Royale by an Acadian widower, the daughter of one of Acadia's pre-eminent pioneers.  

304a.  See Din, "Empires Too Far," 266; Hodson, Acadian Diaspora

For the impact of exile on Acadians like these refugees from GA, see Hodson, especially his Introduction, entitled "The Worlds of the Acadian Diaspora."   

305.  Quotation from Marshall, Acadian Resistance, 188.  See also Clark, A. H., Acadia, 24; LeBlanc, R.-G., "Acadians in Halifax & on Georges Island," 9, 13, 22-24; Book Five. 

There were four major prison camps in the region--Georges Island at Halifax, Fort Edwards at Pigiguit, Fort Cumberland at Chignecto, & Fort Frederick near the mouth of Rivière St.-Jean.  Beausoleil Broussard was held first at Pigiguit & then at Halifax.  See Book Five. 

The New England "planters" came to Chignecto, Annapolis, & Minas beginning in the spring of 1760, not long after especially high tides generated by the storm of 3-4 Nov 1759 "damaged the dykes, neglected for four years after the deportation of the Acadians."  See A. H. Clark; LeBlanc, R.-G., 9, 13; Book Five. 

George III succeeded his grandfather, George II, on the British throne in 1760.  The oath, as it was crafted by the NS Council in Nov 1764, read:  "To swear and solemnly and sincerely promise before God that I shall be faithful to His Britannic Majesty, King George III, and that I shall defend him with all my might against all of this enemies, and against all assaults upon his person, his government, and his dignity.  In addition, I shall make every effort to discover and to inform His Majesty and his successors of every treasonous conspiracy, or any attack against him or against them, the princes of the royal house.  I promised to do all of these things sincerely and in good faith, adhering to all of the oaths declared by me without equivocal mental restrictions or secret reservations whatsoever.  I take this oath, and promise with all my heart, without duress, and in all sincerity, upon the Christian faith, so help me God and the Holy Gospel."  An ironclad oath, to be sure.  Notice, however, that this oath placed no restrictions on practicing the Roman Catholic faith.   

306.  Quotations from Jehn, Acadians in Exile, 269, a letter from Wilmot to the Earl of Halifax, dated 18 Dec 1764; LeBlanc, R.-G., "Acadians in Halifax & on Georges Island," 23 See also Brasseaux, Founding of New Acadia, 33-34; Brasseaux, ed., Quest for the Promised Land, 23-27; S. Buggey, "Belcher, Jonathan," in DCB, online; Jehn, 270; LeBlanc, R.-G., 21-22; Marshall, Acadian Resistance, 195-96; Martin, F.-X., Louisiana, 1:341; Book Five. 

For other contemporary documents, see Brasseaux, ed., Quest for the Promised Land

In the years following the dispersal of 1755, Lt.-Gov. Belcher, "like most Nova Scotians, continued to regard the Acadians as a threat to the province, despite assurances to the contrary from Major-General Sir Jeffery Amherst, commander-in-chief in North America."  In Jul 1762, during the final months of the Seven Years's War, Charles-Henri-Louis d'Arsac de Ternay raided Newfoundland, renewing fears of a French attack on NS.  Belcher, still lieutenant governor and also chief justice, "urged on by the colonial legislature in Halifax and by his own fears, accepted the advice of his council of war and on 30 July ordered all those Acadian 'prisoners of war' who had earlier been concentrated at Halifax deported to Boston.  The Massachusetts government refused, however, to receive further Acadians, and Belcher was faced with their return to Halifax.  The pragmatic Lords of Trade rebuffed Nova Scotian fears as unwarranted and the expulsion [of 1762] was inexpedient."  See Buggey; Book Five.  

Wilmot had commanded at Fort Cumberland, Chignecto, in 1756-57, during the height of Acadian resistance, & had long despised--& feared--the Acadians.  See Book Five. 

Baskenridge, as it appears in the document in Brasseaux, ed., 26, is actually Basking Ridge, in today's Somerset County, north-central NJ.  Can anyone tell me where Chusock is located in NY?  Online Wikipedia does not. 

Marshall tells us Wilmot conceived a plan he was certain would discourage the Halifax Acadians from remaining in Nova Scotia, including an ironclad oath "that insulted their Roman Catholic faith," &, in violation of every directive from his superiors in London, a very hard choice:  "the West Indies or continued imprisonment."  Marshall, however, provides no text of the new ironclad oath that insults the Roman Catholic faith.  See note 305, above, for the actual text of the oath the Halifax Acadians would have taken at the end of the war, which likely was written in London, not Halifax.  Only the last sentence of the oath mentions religion in any way, & it hardly insults the Roman faith.  Keep in mind that the Treaty of Paris allowed French Canadians, &, by extention, Acadians, the free exercise of their Roman Catholic faith.  If Wilmot delivered an ultimatum to the Halifax Acadians that gave them the choice of going to the West Indies or suffering continued imprisonment at Georges Island, he did not put it in writing; Marshall cites no such document to buttress her assertion.  Unfortunately, her work contains no citations at all, only a bibliography.  A perusal of the contemporary documents in Brasseaux, ed., 23-27, relating to Wilmot & the Halifax Acadians supports no such oath & no such ultimatum.  One suspects that the settlement restrictions placed on them if they remained in the province, the hard provisions in the actual oath, & of course their pride, was sufficient motivation for them to seek a homeland elsewhere. 

308.  See Brasseaux, Founding of New Acadia, 32-33, 55-59; Brasseaux, Scattered to the Wind, 64; Cummins, "St. Maxent," in DLB, 711; Debien, "The Acadians in Saint-Domingue"; De Ville, Mississippi Valley Mélange, 2:17; LeBlanc, R.-G., "Acadians in Halifax & on Georges Island," 21-24; White, DGFA-1, 461, 919, 1509; notes 304, above, & 344b, below; Books Three, Five, Six, & Seven. 

Wilmot had rejected a scheme proposed in late 1763 by French fisherman Jacques Robin to use the Acadians in NS to create a fishery at Miramichi, their former refuge on the Gulf of St. Lawrence in present-day NB.  LeBlanc, R.-G., 21-22, says Wilmot "took a very dim view of reassembling a significant number of Acadians in once place, which he thought would endanger the security of the colony, since they would be able to create bases for a resurgence and for a[n] eventual French expedition.  To his mind," LeBlanc continues, "not only were these Acadians '... all zealous Frenchmen and the most rigid Papists...,' but they also had great sway with the native peoples."  See also Book Three. 

The crowding on îles St.-Pierre & Miquelon became so burdensome by the late 1760s that the French sent many of the Acadians there to France.  See Brasseaux, 55, 57-59; Books Three & Six. 

For the IL settlements on the upper Mississippi, founded by the French beginning in 1699, see Book Seven. 

One of the founders of St.-Louis, Gilbert-Antoine de Saint-Maxênt, the Broussards soon would meet in the flesh.  See Cummins; note 314, below. 

309.  Quotations from Brasseaux, Founding of New Acadia, 33.  See also LeBlanc, R.-G., "Acadians in Halifax & on Georges Island," 24; Marshall, Acadian Resistance, 196-97. 

310.  See Brasseaux, Founding of New Acadia, 34, 74; Brasseaux, Scattered to the Wind, 64; Hodson, Acadian Diaspora, 105-16; Marshall, Acadian Resistance, 197; Davis, W. C., The Pirates Laffite, 5; Johnson, W., River of Dark Dreams, 22; LeBlanc, R.-G., "Acadians in Halifax & on Georges Island," 24n98, 25; notes 331, 338, & 340a, below. 

Brasseaux, Founding of New Acadia, 34, states:  "Free to execute their designs, approximately six hundred Acadians, led by Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil, chartered 'Vessels at their own Expense' and, in late November or early December, 1764, began the first segment of their roundabout journey to Illinois.  Unable to complete their preparations before the onset of winter, however, numerous other Acadians, 'amounting to as many more, different parts of the Province,' made ready to depart for 'the same destination' in the early spring of 1765."  Marshall, who we must assume was attempting to follow Brasseaux, says:  "In early December 1764, 600 Acadians accompanied Beausoleil on a ship[sic] bound for Santo Domingo, and the following spring, another 200--some from Fort Edward, others from Halifax--followed."  It is true that approximately 600 (not 800) Acadians in NS sailed from Halifax to St-Domingue & then on to LA in 1764-65, but Beausoleil's party numbered only 200; the other 400 were led by leaders such as Jean-Baptiste Bergeron dit d'Amboise & surgeon Philippe Lachaussée.  See Appendix.  As to 600 Acadians taking "a ship" in Dec 1764, that would have required a most remarkable merchant vessel for that day, & the result would have been terrible overcrowding & the loss of many of them on a voyage as long in distance & time as the one from Halifax to Cap-Français.  There were an indeterminate number of ships carrying these 600 Acadians, the names of these vessels evidently lost to history. 

St.-Domingue's population consisted of 10 times as many African slaves as whites and free persons of color--a most unsatisfactory circumstance for Acadians who had never held slaves.  See W. Johnson; Book Two. 

311.  Quotation from Brasseaux, ed., Quest for the Promised Land, 51n83.  See also Arsenault, Généalogie, 1006, 2614; Brasseaux, Founding of New Acadia, 74; Brasseaux, Scattered to the Wind, 64; Hodson, Acadian Diaspora, 232n146; Jehn, Acadian Exiles in the Colonies, 235; LeBlanc, R.-G., "Acadians in Halifax & on Georges Island," 24; Milling, Exile Without End, 42; Wall of Names, 19

Information on Théotiste Broussard is hard to come by, but not so her daughter Marie Hugon & brother-in-law Jacques Hugon  See Arsenault; Hodson; Jehn; Milling; Wall of Names; Appendix

312.  See Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, vol. 1-A; Wall of Names, 15; Book Three; Comeaux family page.

For Jean's marriage record, see Hébert, D., 1-A:199, 498 (SM Ch.: v.3, #91), which calls him Jean Como "du Cap-François, Isle St.-Domingue."  A baptismal record for Jean does not appear in NOAR, vol. 2, so he likely was baptized at Cap-Français. 

312a.  See Brasseaux, Founding of New Acadia, 74; Brasseaux, ed., Quest for the Promised Land, 28-33; Fortier, Louisiana, 1:152; Mouhot, ed., "Letter by Jean-Baptiste Semer," 223-24; note 302, above; Books One & Three; Appendix.

The first official reference to the party--Director-General Aubry to Minister of Marine the duc de Choiseul, dated 25 Feb 1765, in Brasseaux, ed., 31--notes that "200 Acadians, men, women, and children repelled by the climate of Saint-Do