Acadians Who Found Refuge in Louisiana, February 1764-early 1800s




Pierre, son of Noël Surette and Françoise Colarde of Mauset, diocese of La Rochelle, France, born in c1679, was a sailor when he married Jeanne, daughter of Étienne Pellerin, at Port-Royal in February 1709.  They remained at Port-Royal and settled in the parish of St.-Laurent on the haute rivière, now the upper Annapolis River.  Although Pierre became a farmer along the upper Rivière-au-Dauphin, he also continued to work as a sailor.  As late as 1724, when he was in his mid-40s, records show him as a crew member on Englishman William Winnett's sailing vessel.  Pierre died at Annapolis Royal in October 1749, age 70.  Jeanne died at Québec in January 1758 during Le Grand Dérangement, also at age 70.  Pierre and Jeanne had nine children, all born at Port-Royal/Annapolis Royal.  Four of their daughters married into the Doucet, Gignac, Long, Mius, and Petitot dit Saint-Seine families.  Their three sons created families of their own, but they did not remain on haute rivière:  

Oldest son Pierre, fils, also called Pierre II, born in December 1709, married Catherine, daughter of Pierre Breau, at Grand-Pré in September 1732 and lived at Minas before moving to Petitcoudiac.  

Joseph, born in May 1712, married Marguerite, daughter of Claude Thériot, at Grand-Pré in October 1730.  They remained at Minas.  

Youngest son Paul, twin of sister Madeleine, born in November 1721, married Marie-Josèphe Landry, widow of Jean Landry, probably at Minas, where he, too, raised a family.  


Le Grand Dérangement of the 1750s scattered this family to the winds. ...


In late February 1756, Pierre Surette II, who had ingratiated himself with his British captors, led a daring escape from Fort Cumberland, formerly French Fort Beauséjour, at Chignecto.  Eighty Acadians, including partisan leader Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil, escaped via a tunnel they had dug with discarded horse bones.  They escaped to the woods and managed to elude the British, but they paid a terrible price in doing so.  By 1759, they had joined other Acadian refugees at Miramichi, on the Gulf of St. Lawrence shore.  There, they suffered almost as much as they had done in the woods north of Chignecto.  In November 1759, near Memramcook, Pierre II and two other Acadian resistance leaders, Jean and Michel Bourg, "surrendered" to the British, but, the following spring, Pierre II rejoined the resistance movement, at Restigouche on the Baie des Chaleurs.  After a British force captured Restigouche in the summer of 1760, Pierre II and his family were sent to a prison compound in Nova Scotia, where they were held until the end of the war.  After their release, Pierre II and his family decided to remain in Nova Scotia, at Chezzetcook near Halifax.  They stayed there until c1770, when they moved to Ste.-Anne-du-Ruisseau, present-day Pointe-à-Rocco, northeast of Cap-Sable.  ...


Meanwhile, at Halifax, Pierre II's namesake nephew, Pierre le jeune, his teenage wife Marie Thibodeau, and her Broussard and Thibodeau kin, had a serious dilemma on their hands.  The Treaty of Paris of February 1763 stipulated in its Article 14 that persons dispersed by the war had 18 months to return to their respective territories.  In the case of the Acadians, however, this meant that they could return only to French soil.  Chignecto was no longer French territory.  British authorities refused to allow any of the Acadian prisoners in the region to return to their former lands as proprietors.  If Acadians chose to remain in Nova Scotia, they could live only in the interior of the peninsula in small family groups and work for low wages on former Acadian lands now owned by New England "planters."  If they stayed, they must also take the hated oath of allegiance to the new British king, George III, without reservation.  They would also have to take the hated oath if they joined their cousins in the St. Lawrence valley.  After all that they had suffered on the question of the oath, no self-respecting Acadian would consent to take it if it could be avoided.   Some Halifax exiles chose to relocate to Miquelon, a French-controlled island off the southern coast of Newfoundland.  Others considered going to French St.-Domingue, today's Haiti, where Acadian exiles in the British colonies already had gone, or to the Illinois country, the west bank of which still belonged to France, or to French Louisiana, which, thanks to British control of Canada, was the only route possible to the Illinois country for Acadian exiles.  Whatever their choice, they would not remain in old Acadia.  So Pierre and Marguerite gathered up what money they could and prepared to leave their homeland.  


Surettes were among the earliest Acadians to seek refuge in Louisiana.  Pierre Surette le jeune, age unrecorded, came with the Broussard dit Beausoleil party from Halifax that reached New Orleans via Cap-Français, St.-Domingue, in February 1765.  He likely was a part of the Broussard party because his wife, 17-year-old Marie Thibodeau, was a Broussard kinswoman.  With them was daughter Marie-Anne, age 3.  Also in the party was Marie's widowed mother and three of Marie's siblings.  After a short respite in New Orleans, during which daughter Marie-Anne was baptized on March 4 at the St.-Louis church, Pierre and Marie followed the Broussards to the Attakapas District, where they helped created La Nouvelle-Acadie on the banks of Bayou Teche.  Marie was pregnant when they reached Attakapas, and in June, two months after they settled on the Teche, she gave birth to son Augustin.  

That summer and fall, an epidemic swept through the Teche valley settlements and killed dozens of Acadians.  When French officials counted the surviving Attakapas settlers in April 1766, only Marie Thibodeaux and daughter Marie-Anne Surette were left in her household at La Manque, near the upper Teche.  Pierre and the infant Augustin must have died by then, probably victims of the epidemic.  Marie remarried to fellow Acadian Jean-Baptiste Semer at Attakapas in c1768.  

Marie-Anne married Firmin dit Ephrem, son of fellow Acadian Bruno Robichaux, at Attakapas in April 1778, and remarried to Marcel, son of fellow Acadian Paul LeBlanc, at the St. Martinville church, St. Martin Parish, in August 1811, in her late 40s.  Soon after their marriage, Marie-Anne's husband secured a decree of separation from her.  She died at her home at La Grand Pointe on the upper Teche in November 1817; the priest who recorded her burial said that she died at "age about 53 years," but she was 55.  Her succession records were filed at the St. Martinville courthouse, St. Martin Parish, in August 1811 and December 1817. 


Though Pierre Surette le jeune of Grand-Pré had a son in Louisiana, the boy died in childhood, and Pierre did not live long enough to father more sons.  His daughter, however, married twice, into the Robichaux and Landry families.  The Acadian branch of the family, then, except for its blood, did not take root in the Bayou State.  The Surettes of South Louisiana today are descended from French Creoles or Foreign French, not Acadians. 

The family's name also is spelled Suret, Surre.  This family should not be confused with the Serret or Serette family from Bordeaux, France, who lived at New Orleans, on the Acadian Coast, and briefly at Attakapas during the late colonial period and settled in Iberville Parish and the Baton Rouge area during the antebellum period. 

Sources:  Arsenault, Généalogie, 802-03, 1289-93, 2594; BRDR, vols. 1a(rev.), 2; Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, vols. 1-A, 1-B, 2-A; Marshall, Acadian Resistance; NOAR, vol. 2; White, DGFA-1, 1476-78; White, DGFA-1 English, 309-10.  

Settlement Abbreviations 
(present-day parishes that existed during the War Between the States in parenthesis; hyperlinks on the abbreviations take you to brief histories of each settlement):




Lafourche (Lafourche, Terrebonne)


Pointe Coupée




Natchitoches (Natchitoches)

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. 

Name Arrived Settled Profile
*Augustin SURETTE 01 Feb 1765 Atk arrived LA Feb 1765, in utero, with party from Halifax via St.-Domingue led by Joseph BROUSSARD dit Beausoleil; born & baptized 19 Jun 1765, Attakapas; son of Pierre SURETTE & Marie THIBODEAUX; brother of Marie-Anne; died before Apr 1766, when his widowed mother was listed in the Attakapas census without a son in her household
Marie-Anne SURETTE 02 Feb 1765 Atk born 24 Feb 1762, Halifax; daughter of Pierre SURETTE & Marie THIBODEAUX; sister of Augustin; arrived LA Feb 1765, age 3, with party from Halifax via St.-Domingue led by Joseph BROUSSARD dit Beausoleil; baptized 4 Mar 1765, New Orleans, age 3; in Attakapas census, 1766, La Manque District, unnamed, probably the girl in the household of Maria THIBODEAU widow; married, age 26, (1)Firmin dit Ephrem, son of Bruno ROBICHAUX & Félicité BROUSSARD, 25 Apr 1778, Attakapas, now St. Martinville; in Attakapas census, 1781, unnamed, with husband & 1 unnamed other; in Attakapas census, 1785, unnamed, with husband & 3 unnamed others; married, age 49, (2)Marcel, son of Paul LEBLANC & Agnès or Anne BABIN, & widower of Marie-Madeleine BOURGEOIS, 6 Aug 1811, St. Martinville; legally separated from husband 1812; died "at her home" at La Grand Pointe, St. Martin Parish, 8 Nov 1817, "age about 53[sic] years," buried next day "in the parish cemetery"; succession records dated 6 Aug 1811 & 6 Dec 1817, St. Martin Parish courthouse
Pierre SURETTE 03 Feb 1765 Atk born & baptized Grand-Pré, 25 Sep 1736?; son of Joseph SURETTE & Marguerite THÉRIOT?; married Marie, daughter of probably Charles THIBODEAUX & Brigitte BREAUX, c1760 or 1761; arrived LA Feb 1765 with party from Halifax via St.-Domingue led by Joseph BROUSSARD dit Beausoleil; on list of Acadians who exchanged card money in New Orleans, Apr 1765, called Pierre SURET; died before Apr 1766, when his wife was listed in the Attakapas census, La Manque District, as a widow


01.  Not in Wall of Names because of the circumstance of his birth.  Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, 1-A:735-36 (SM Ch.: v.1, p.7; SM Ch.: Slaves Baptism Register v.1, p.1, #3), his birth/baptismal record, calls him Augustin SURET, gives his parents' names, & says his godparents were Augustin GREVEMBERG, Catherine THIBAUDAU, & ____ [Édouard?] MASSE.  See also Voorhies, J., Some Late Eighteenth-Century Louisianians, 125.  

Since he was born only 4 months after his family reached LA, he was in utero when his mother stepped off the ship at New Orleans, so he is included on this list.  Was he a victim of the epidemic that killed dozens of Teche valley Acadians in the summer & fall of 1765?  His early death & the death of his father soon after he reached the colony, perhaps also in the Teche epidemic, is why the Acadian line of the SURETTE family did not survive in LA.

02.  Wall of Names, 25, calls her Marie-Anne SURETTE; NOAR, 2:259 (SLC, B5, 84), her birth/baptismal record, calls her Marie-Anne SURRE, gives her parents' names, says she was born 24? Feb 1762 "in Chipute, England," & says her godparents were Jean LAFITTE, "merchant in this city," & Marie-Anne FORTIER; Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, 1-A:677, 736 (SM Ct.Hse.: OA-vol.1, #80), the record of her first marriage, calls her Marianne SURET, "native of Acadie," calls her husband Freme ROBICHAUX, "native of Acadie," gives her & his parents' names, says both sets of parents were "of Acadie," & that the witnesses to her marriage were Jean-Baptiste BROUSSARD & Silvain BROUSSARD; Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, 2-A:602, 895-96 (SM Ch.: v.5, #218), the record of her second marriage, calls her Marie SURETTE, "inhabitant of this parish, native of Acadie, widow of Ephrem ROBICHOT, calls her a major daughter, calls her husband Marcel LEBLANC, "of this parish, native of St. James Parish on the River," calls him a major son, give her & his parents' names but not his first wife's name, says all parents were deceased at the time of the wedding, & that the witnesses to her marriage were Michel MARTIN, Marcelle PATIN, Jean LANDRY, Alexandre BROUSSARD, & Léon LATIOLAIS; Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, 2-A:896 (SM Cte.Hse.: Succ. #96), her first succession record, dated 6 Aug 1811, calls her Marie SURETTE, "wid. Euphreme ROBICHOT," & lists her children by her first husband; Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, 2-A:896 (SM Ch.: v.4, #1143), her death/burial record, calls her Marie SURETTE, "spouse of Marcel LEBLANC, inhabitant of la grand-pointe, native of Halifax," says she died "at age about 53 years at her home," that she was buried "in the parish cemetery," but does not give her parents' names; Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, 2-A:896 (SM Cte.Hse.: Succ. #283), her final succession record, calls her Marie SURETTE, "m.1st to Freme ROBICHOT m.2nd to Marcel LEBLANC," but does not give her parents' names or list any children.

Where is Chipute, England?  Her burial record says that she was born at Halifax. Did the priest mean to say that she was born in an English colony?  If so, he was right.  Perhaps Chipute was Chepoudy, which was not very close to Halifax.  Was her godfather, the merchant Jean LAFITTE, that Jean LAFITTE?  The answer is no, because the famous LA pirate was not born until c1780. 

See the footnote for her second husband's profile for details of their separation in 1812. 

03.  Wall of Names, 25, calls him Pierre SURETTE.  See also <>.  

Was he the Pierre, son of Joseph SURET & Marguerite TERIOT, born & baptized at Grand-Pré on 25 Sep 1736?  See BRDR, 1a(rev.):180 (SGA-2, 157).  

Where did he marry his wife?  Restigouche?  Halifax? 

Evidently, Marie & Pierre had no time to produce more children between the birth of Augustin in Jun 1765 & the death of Pierre in either late 1765 or early 1766.  Did Pierre & Augustin die of the same thing?  Were they victims of the epidemic that killed dozens of their fellow Teche valley Acadians in the summer & fall of 1765?  If they were, their deaths were not recorded by the priest at Attakapas.  In c1768, Marie THIBODEAUX remarried to Jean-Baptiste SEMERE, who also had come to Attakapas with the BROUSSARD party & who had written the famous letter of Apr 1766 to his father in France.  

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