Acadians Who Found Refuge in Louisiana, February 1764-early 1800s
Le Borgne de BÉLISLE
Emmanuel Le Borgne, Seiur du Coudray, chevalier de l'ordre de Saint-Michel, born at Calais in c1610, married Jeanne, daughter of Jacques François, at St.-Marguerite, La Rochelle, in February 1635. Emmanuel became a wealthy merchant at La Rochelle. During the early 1640s, he secured a business partnership with Acadian governor Charles d'Aulnay, who died in 1650. After securing papers from the dead governor's father verifying his claims, Le Borgne sent an expedition to Acadia to seize what assets he could of d'Aulnay's estate to satisfy what he claimed was a 260,000-livres debt. Le Borgne sent his second son, Alexandre, still a boy, to Boston in 1651 to make peace with the New Englanders and to press his father's claims in Acadia. Le Borgne himself did not go to Acadia until 1653. Meanwhile, his men reeked havoc in the colony, but little of the debt was recouped before the English seized Acadia again in 1654. At the end of that year, after the surrender of Port-Royal, Le Borgne left his eldest son, 18-year-old Emmanuel du Coudray, as a hostage at Port-Royal and evidently returned to France. The French crown, from 1657 to 1667, considered Le Borgne to be the proprietary governor of the colony, but he never returned to Acadia. Emmanuel, fils eventually was released by the English, never married, and died au service du roi in August 1675, at age 39, the same month his father died at La Rochelle, at age 65. Emmanuel, père's youngest son, Nicolas, born in c1643, became a priest, so he, too, did not create a family of his own.
Emmanuel, père's second son, Alexandre Le Borgne de Bélisle, born at La Rochelle in c1640, went to Acadia with his father and older brother when he was still a boy, and it is he who became the progenitor of the Bélisle family in Acadia. He married Marie de Saint-Étienne de La Tour, daughter of former governor Charles La Tour and La Tour's second wife, Jeanne Motin de Reux, former governor d'Aulnay's widow, in c1675. Their daughters married into the Girouard dit de Ru, D'Amours de Plaine, Rodrigue dit de Fonds, and Duperié families. However, before he settled down with Marie and started his own family, Alexandre made his own mark in Acadian history. During the English occupation of the colony, in May 1658, when he was only 18 years old, the young nobleman, at the head of a force of 50 men, seized La Hève on the Atlantic coast from the English. Sir Thomas Temple, the English governor, counterattacked. Alexandre was wounded in the fight and brought to London as a prisoner, where he remained for a number of years. In 1668, French authorities made Alexandre governor of Acadia in place of his father, and he remained in this position, in absentia or otherwise, until Acadia became a royal French colony; thus, Alexandre was the last proprietary governor of French Acadia. He became seigneur of Port-Royal after he returned to Acadia in 1670 and died there in c1693, in his early 50s. He fathered seven children by Marie, two of them sons who remained in Acadia and created families of their own.
Alexandre's older son Emmanuel Le Borgne de Bélisle, born in c1676 at Port-Royal, married Cécile, a daughter of Pierre Thibodeau, at Port-Royal in c1698; they had only one child, a daughter, Marie, who married Jean Bertrand of Plaisance, Newfoundland.
Younger son Alexandre, fils, married Anastasie, a daughter of Jean-Vincent d'Abbadie de Saint-Castin, the famous capitaine de sauvages, and an Abenaki woman named Mathilde, at Pentagouët, Maine, in December 1707, during Queen Anne's War. Alexandre, fils and Anastasie had eight children, including two sons: Alexandre III, born in c1708; and Jacques in c1710. Alexandre, fils and Anastasie's daughters married into the Rondeau, Dupont Duvivier, and Robichaud families. Alexandre III married Marie, daughter of Jean LeBlanc and Jeanne Bourgeois of Minas, at Grand-Pré in January 1731. They must have been cousins because the Church had to grant them a dispensation to marry. Alexandre III died in August 1744, when he was only 36, but not before giving Marie at least five sons: Alexandre IV, born in c1736; Anselme (probably named after his paternal great-uncle, Bernard-Anselme d'Abbadie de Saint-Castin, also a famous "captain of Indians") in c1738; Jean-Pierre, called Pierre, in c1740; Joseph-Marie in c1742; and Mathurin in 1744. Jacques married Marie-Anne Maurice probably at Annapolis Royal in c1730. Marie-Anne gave him a son, Jacques, born in c1731, who married Cécile, daughter of Claude Doucet and Marie Comeau, at Annapolis Royal in January 1752.
LE GRAND DÉRANGEMENT
When the British rounded up the Acadians at Minas in 1755, Alexandre IV escaped and fled north into Québec. He married Geneviève Cloutier, a Canadian, at L'Islet, Québec, in the lower St. Lawrence valley, in April 1773. In the early 1800s, their younger son Anselme le jeune moved his family first to Rivière-Ouelle and then to L'Isle-Verte, farther down the St. Lawrence. Typical of most, if not all, Acadian families, these Acadiennes of Canada lost touch with their Cadien cousins hundreds of miles away, and until the Acadian reunions of the mid-twentieth century, may even have forgotten the others existed.
Alexandre IV's widowed mother and his younger siblings were not as lucky. In the fall of 1755, the British deported them to Maryland, where younger brother Anselme married cousin Anne, daughter of Paul Babin and Marie LeBlanc of l'Assomption, Pigiguit, in the late 1750s or early 1760s; Anselme's mother, also, was a LeBlanc. They endured life among English colonists who, despite their Catholic roots, did not care very much for the French "papists" who had been thrust upon them. In July 1763, colonial officials counted the young couple at Annapolis with other Acadian exiles, including Anselme's widowed mother, brother Pierre, and sister Marie-Rose. When word reached the Acadians in Maryland that they would be welcome in Louisiana, where many of their relatives had gone, they pooled their meager resources to charter ships that would take them to New Orleans via Cap-Français, French St.-Domingue.
LOUISIANA: RIVER SETTLEMENTS
Anselme Le Borgne de Bélisle, age 29, wife Anne Babin, age unrecorded, and their infant son Paul came to Louisiana with the second contingent of Acadian exiles from Maryland in 1767. They settled with other Maryland exiles in the new Acadian community of St.-Gabriel d'Iberville, upriver from New Orleans. They also lived at Ascension, on the river below St.-Gabriel. Anne died at St.-Gabriel or Ascension in the late 1760s or early 1770s, and Anselme remarried. He and his new wife settled on upper Bayou Lafourche.
LOUISIANA: LAFOURCHE VALLEY SETTLEMENTS
During the late 1780s and early 1790s, Spanish officials were counting Acadian Bélisles on upper Bayou Lafourche:
Marguerite Le Borgne de Bélisle, wife of Amand Landry, died in Assumption Parish in 1831, in her late 50s.
Françoise-Hélène Le Borgne de Bélisle, wife of Lucas Alexandre Landry, died in Assumption Parish in December 1841; she was 69 years old.
Marie Le Borgne de Bélisle died in Assumption Parish in May 1843. The priest who recorded her burial said that she was 73 years old when she died but mentioned no husband.
Descendants of Anselme LE BORGNE DE BÉLISLE (c1738-1817; Emmanuel, Alexandre, Alexandre, fils)
Anselme, son of probably Alexandre Le Borgne de Bélisle III and Marie LeBlanc, born at Grand-Pré in c1738, was exiled to Maryland in 1755. He married fellow Acadian Anne, daughter of Paul Babin and Marie LeBlanc of l'Assomption, Pigiguit, probably in Maryland. They came to Louisiana in 1767 and settled at St.-Gabriel d'Iberville and Ascension on the Upper Acadian Coast. Anselme remarried to Marie-Josèphe, daughter of fellow Acadians Joseph Dupuis and Élisabeth LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, on the Acadian Coast in the late 1760s or early 1770s. Spanish officials counted them at Ascension in 1777; they owned a single slave. They moved to upper Bayou Lafourche probably in the late 1780s; Spanish officials counted them at Assumption in 1788; they still owned only a single slave. A decade later, they held three slaves. Their daughters married into the Landry family. Anselme died in Assumption Parish in February 1817, age 80. None of his three sons seem to have fathered sons of their own, so, except for its blood, this line of the family did not survive in the Bayou State.
Oldest son Paul, by his father's first wife, born probably at Annapolis, Maryland, in October 1766, died at Ascension in August 1791. He was only 25 years old and did not marry.
Joseph-Anselme, by his father's second wife, baptized at St.-Jacques, age unrecorded, in May 1778, probably remarried to Marie Azélie, daughter of fellow Acadian Joseph Duhon and widow of Augustin LeBlanc, at the Paincourtville church, Assumption Parish, in September 1850; Joseph was in his early 70s. Joseph Anselme died in Assumption Parish in November 1851; he was 74 years old. He and his wife (or wives) seem to have had no sons, so his line of the family died with him.
Youngest son Auguste, by his father's second wife, born at St.-Jacques or Ascension in c1782, died near Paincourtville, Assumption Parish, in May 1855. He was 73 years old and does not seem to have married.
NON-ACADIAN FAMILIES in LOUISIANA
The Le Borgne/Bélisle family from Acadia should not be confused with the family that sprang from Jacques-Antoine Le Borne or Borne of Valenciennes, France, who came to Louisiana in 1718 as an engagé contracted to the Demeuves Concession, which was supposed to have gone to the Red River valley but was established, instead, at Taensa, near present-day Norco, St. Charles Parish. After the concession failed, Jacques-Antoine remained in the colony and settled on the nearby Lower German Coast. Descendants of Jacques-Antoine Borne, like many residents of the German Coast, moved into the Lafourche valley during the late colonial and early antebellum periods. Some of them married into Acadian families and are still found in Lafourche valley parishes today.
A French officer named Bellile was serving in Louisiana in 1766.
During the late colonial period, a French Creole family lived just upriver from New Orleans at Chapitoulas and spelled their name Bélisle and Belille, the same way the Acadian Anselme spelled his name.
A free Negro named Titon Bellille lived in New Orleans during the late 1700s.
The Le Borgne de Bélisles were true aristocrats in Acadia. One of them served as the last proprietary governor of the colony during the 1660s, and some of them held seigniorial lands at Port-Royal and in the Minas Basin. Only one member of the family came to Louisiana. Anselme Le Borgne de Bélisle of Minas was exiled to Maryland in his late teens. He married a fellow Acadian in Maryland, was counted at Annapolis in July 1763, and his first son was born there a few years later. The family came to Louisiana in 1767 and settled on the Upper Acadian Coast, where Anselme's wife died, and he remarried to another Acadian. He and his new wife settled on upper Bayou Lafourche. She gave him several daughters and at least two more sons.
After Anselme Le Borgne de Bélisle's younger sons Joseph-Anselme and Auguste died in Assumption Parish in the 1850s, the names Bélisle and Le Borgne disappear from the church records of South Louisiana. Except for its blood, then, this noble Acadian family did not survive in the Bayou State.
The family's name also is spelled Belhisle, Bélile, Béllille, Bélleisle, Béllisle, Bogne dit Bélile, Borgne, Debilile, dit Béline, Laborgne, Le Borgne, Leborgne dit Belleisle, LeBorn, LeBorne, Velila.
Sources: Arsenault, Généalogie, 405-08, 1100-01, 2415; BRDR, vols. 1a(rev.), 2, 3, 6, 7, 8; Clark, Acadia, 107, 119, 132-34; Clément Cormier, "Le Borgne de Belle-Isle, Alexandre," in DCB, 1:435-36; Griffiths, From Migrant to Acadian, 77; Jehn, Acadian Exiles in the Colonies, 154; Oubre, Vacherie, 29; Robichaux, German Coast Families, 34, 36, 118-22; Voorhies, J., Some Late Eighteenth-Century Louisianians, 65, 129, 134, 257, 264, 370, 404; Mason Wade, "Le Borgne, Emmanuel," in DCB, 1:433-35; White, DGFA-1, 6, 136, 1024-31, 1100-01; White, DGFA-1 English, 218-19;
Wood, Acadians in Maryland, 83.
(present-day civil parishes that existed in 1861 are in parenthesis; hyperlinks on the abbreviations take you to brief histories of each settlement):
Lafourche (Lafourche, Terrebonne)
|SB||San Bernardo (St. Bernard)|
Attakapas (St. Martin, St. Mary, Lafayette, Vermilion)
San Luìs de Natchez (Concordia)
St.-Gabriel d'Iberville (Iberville)
Bayou des Écores (East Baton Rouge, West Feliciana)
New Orleans (Orleans)
St.-Jacques de Cabanocé (St. James)
Baton Rouge (East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge)
Opelousas (St. Landry, Calcasieu)
For a chronology of Acadian Arrivals in Louisiana, 1764-early 1800s, see Appendix.
The hyperlink attached to an individual's name is connected to a list of Acadian immigrants for a particular settlement and provides a different perspective on the refugee's place in family and community.
|Anselme LE BORGNE de BÉLISLE 01||Jul 1767||StG, Asc, Asp, Lf||born c1738, probably Grand-Pré; son of probably Alexandre LE BORGNE de BÉLISLE III & Marie LEBLANC; exiled to MD 1755, age 16; married (1)Anne, daughter of Paul BABIN & Marie LEBLANC of l'Assomption, Pigiguit, late 1750s or early 1760s, MD; in report on Acadians at Annapolis, MD, Jul 1763, called Anselme BELHISLE, with wife Anne no surname given, & no children, next to his widowed mother & 2 siblings; arrived LA 1767, age 29; in report on Acadians who settled at St.-Gabriel, 1767, called Anselmo BELILE & VELILA, age 29, head of family number 24, assigned farm number 40, with wife Ana no surname given age 28, & son Pablo age 9 mos.; married (2)Marie-Josèphe, daughter of Joseph DUPUIS & Élisabeth LEBLANC of Grand-Pré, late 1760s or early 1770s, probably Ascension, now Donaldsonville; in Ascension census, 1777, right [west] bank, called Anselme BELISLE, age 38, head of family number 27, with wife Marie DUPUIS age 35, son Paul age 13, daughters Marie age 6, Françoise[-Hélène] age 4, Margueritte age 2, 5 arpents, 1 slave, 13 cattle, 3 horses, 0 sheep, 8 swine, 2 arms; in Valenzuéla census, 1788, right [west] bank, called Anselme BELLILE, age 48[sic], with wife Marie-Josèph[e] DUPUIS age 46, sons Paulle age 24, Joseph[-Anselme] age 10, Augustin age 8, daughters Marie age 16, François[e-Hélène] age 14, Marguerite age 12, 1 slave, 6 arpents, 15 qts. rice, 50 qts. corn, 14 horned cattle, 4 horses, 20 swine; in Valenzuéla census, 1791, right [west] bank, called Ansem BELILE, age 52, with wife Marie Joseph no surname given age 47, sons Pol age 26, Joseph[-Anselme] age 13, Auguste age 10, daughters Marie age 19, Françoise[-Hélène] age 17, Margrithe age 15, 1 slave, 6 arpents, 20 qts. rice, 400 qts. corn, 22 horned cattle, 4 horses, 50 swine; in Valenzuéla census, 1795, called Anselmo BELLEISLE, age 57, with wife Maria DUPUIS age 54, sons Josef age 18, Agustin age 16, daughters Maria age 24, & Margarita age 20; in Valenzuéla census, 1797, called Enselme BELLILLE, age 58, with wife Marie DUPUIS age 55, sons Joseph age 19, Augustin age 17, daughters Marie age 25, & Francoise[-Hélène] age 21, 3 slaves; in Valenzuéla census, 1798, called Joseph BELILLE, age 57[sic], with wife Marie no surname given age 59, sons Joseph age 20, Auguste age 17, daughters Marie age 26, & Margueritte age 22, 6/60 arpents, 3 slaves; died [buried] Assumption Parish,13 Feb 1817, age 80|
|Paul LE BORGNE de BÉLISLE 02||Jul 1767||StG, Asc||born Oct 1766, probably Annapolis, MD; son of Anselme LE BORGNE de BÉLISLE & his first wife Anne BABIN; in report on Acadians who settled at St.-Gabriel, 1767, called Pablo, age 9 mos., with parents; in Ascension census, 1777, right [west] bank, age 13[sic], with father, stepmother, & half-sisters; in JUDICE's Company, Acadian Coast Militia, Jul 1779, called Paul BELLISLE; in Valenzuéla census, 1788, right [west] bank, called Paulle, age 24[sic], with father, stepmother, & half-siblings; in Valenzuéla census, 1791, right [west] bank, called Pol, age 26[sic], with father, stepmother, & half-siblings; died [buried] Ascension 23 Aug 1791, "age 20[sic] years," "a bachelor," so he never married|
01. Wall of Names, 10, calls him Anselme BÉLISLE; Arsenault, Généalogie, 2415, calls him Anselme BÉLISLE, probablement son of Alexandre BÉLISLE & Marie LEBLANC, says he was born c1738, & that he married Marie-Josephe DUPUIS but gives no date or place of marriage; BRDR, 3:561 (ASM-3, 123), his death/burial record, calls him Anselmo Le Borgne dit BELLISLE, "age 80 yrs., married to Maria Josefa DUPUIS," but does not give his parents' names. See also Jehn, Acadian Exiles in the Colonies, 154; Voorhies, J., Some Late Eighteenth-Century Louisianians, 429, 432; Robichaux, Bayou Lafourche, 1770-98, 12, 22, 66, 105, 115, 154.
Why is Anselme's baptismal record not found in the Grand-Pré church records in BRDR, 1a(rev.):153, with the rest of his siblings? This is probably why Arsenault says he probablement was son of Alexandre LE BORGNE de BÉLISLE & Marie LEBLANC. However, his appearance in the census at Annapolis, MD, in Jul 1763 next to "widow BELHISLE" & 2 of her children convinces me that Anselme was her son.
Wall of Names, 10, calls his wife Anne DUPUIS. The editors of that work probably took her given name from the British record at Annapolis, which calls her Anne but gives no surname, & the 1767 Spanish report at St.-Gabriel, which calls her Ana but also gives no surname. So why do the Ascension, Assumption, & Lafourche censuses of 1777, 1788, 1791, 1795, 1797, & 1798 call Anselme's wife Marie & Marie Josèph & never Anne? I can find no Anne DUPUIS in the church records of the Baton Rouge Diocese that would fit the wife of Anselme BÉLISLE. His wife's burial record, dated 23 Dec 1831, in BRDR, 5(rev.):222 (ASM-3, 223), calls her Marie Josèph DUPUY, "age 92 yrs., widow of Aceneu de Belle-Isle (sic) (his correct name is Anselmo LEBORGNE dit BÉLLEISLE ...)," says she was daughter of Joseph DUPUY & Marie LEBLANC, & that she died "the 22nd" & was buried the next day. (Actually, Marie-Josèphe DUPUIS's mother's name was Élisabeth LEBLANC; Anselme's mother was Marie LEBLANC, so the priest was confused here.) The age given for Anne ____ in the Spanish report of 1767 conforms to the ages given for Marie-Josèphe DUPUIS in the Lafourche census of 1798 & her burial record. However, the baptismal record for Marie-Josèphe DUPUIS, daughter of Joseph DUPUIS & Élisabeth, not Marie, LEBLANC, in BRDR, 1a(rev.):70 (SGA-3, 15a), says she was born in late Jun 1742, not in 1739. The census records at Ascension in 1777 & 1791, & at Assumption in 1795 & 1797, nail her age precisely. So I am convinced that we are dealing with 2 different women here, one born in c1739, surname unknown, the other in 1742, named Marie-Josèphe DUPUIS, not Anne. See also Arsenault, p. 1161, the profile of Marie-Josèphe DUPUIS's parents.
A descendant of Anselme LE BORGNE de BÉLISLE has, to my satisfaction, solved the mystery of his first wife's name. Louise H. Jeter writes to the author in an e-message dated 4 Jun 2010:"I am writing concerning Anselme LeBorgne dit BELISLE's first wife. The mysterious "Anne" of Maryland, mother of Paul (who is so much older than the children of the second wife, my ancestor) intrigued and worried me. But I think I have identified her and want to share the information with you."She was Anne BABIN, daughter of Paul BABIN and Marie LANDRY (or LEBLANC). I first figured this out forty years ago when I was living in Baton Rouge and making regular (weekly) trips down the bayous and/or river to the various courthouses that contained my ancestors' records. As I searched in Ascension Parish, I found references to Enselme BELISLE being the brother-in-law of members of the BABIN family. I was young and inexperienced then and it was some time before I recognized that this was my Anselme and that his wife must have been a BABIN. [Sydney Marchand arrived at the same conclusion in his An Attempt to Re-Assemble the Old Settlers in Family Groups, p. 10, when he said, 'Enselm BELISLE appears to have married a daughter of Paul BABIN and Marie LANDRY' ...]"
Mrs. Jeter then offers the following evidence to support her conclusion:"Marriage Contract - 8 April 1768 (this marriage contract drawn-up in St. James parish) - groom: Efraine BABIN, son of Paul BABIN and Marie LEBLANC; brother-in-law of the groom: Enselme BELISLE (Ascension Parish Courthouse, Donaldsonville, La, Book Q, p. 697)."Marriage Contract - 9 Jan 1772 - Bride: Bridget BABIN, daughter of Paul BABIN and Marie LEBLANC; brother-in-law of the bride: Enselme BELISLE (Ascension Parish Courthouse, Donaldsonville, La, Book Q, p. 157)."Paul BABIN was deceased by 7 Jul 1763 when the Census was taken in Maryland but his widow is listed in Oxford, Maryland with some of her children including the Brigite and Efraine whose marriage contracts are referenced above."Later, when the New Orleans Diocese books became available, my Mom found a son for Anselme BELISLE and Anne BABIN, christened in Louisiana. This was Pierre Jacques BELISLE, born and christened 8 Aug 1767, recorded at St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, La (Book 6, p. 3) in Sacramental Records of the Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Vol. 2, 1751-1771, p. 247."I don't find any other records about this child or about Anne BABIN. She may have died in childbirth - clearly died by about 1770 when Anselme married Marie Josèphe DUPUIS. The baby is not on the 1777 Census (and Paul is) so he died young."I feel like I have 'found' Anne and I hope you will add her information to your website so that others can know her, too. Please feel free to correct my notes and conclusions..... I only offer this as a suggestion as to who she is."
I have nothing to correct here. Mrs. Jeter's excellent research has identified not only Anselme BELISLE's first wife's surname but also another Acadian immigrant to LA--their son Pierre-Jacques, who reached the colony in utero.
02. Wall of Names, 10, calls him Paul BÉLISLE; BRDR, 2:70 (ASC-4, 9), his death/burial record, calls him Pablo BÉLISLE, age 20 years & a bachelor, but does not give his parents' names. See also Voorhies, J., Some Late Eighteenth-Century Louisianians, 432; Robichaux, Bayou Lafourche, 1770-98, 12, 22, 154.
His estimated birth year is from the Spanish report of 1767, which differs from the Ascension census of 1777 & the Lafourche census of 1788. See Robichaux, p. 154.
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