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The recording of two diaspora Acadian families on Isle Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island)

Author(s): Robert Ferguson

Year: 2014

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Summary

In 1720, the Comte de Saint Pierre sent three ships from France to Isle Saint-Jean, the island known as Epekwitk to its Mi’kmaw inhabitants. Initially, the newcomers established two settlements, at Port la Joye and at Havre Saint-Pierre, and began the French occupation of the island. Isle Saint-Jean was part of the colony of Isle Royale. It was not considered a part of Acadia, which, by 1713, was under British domination and had been renamed Nova Scotia. In 1720, the Comte de Saint Pierre sent three ships from France to Isle Saint-Jean, the island known as Epekwitk to its Mi’kmaw inhabitants. Initially, the newcomers established two settlements, at Port la Joye and at Havre Saint-Pierre, and began the French occupation of the island. Isle Saint-Jean was part of the colony of Isle Royale. It was not considered a part of Acadia, which, by 1713, was under British domination and had been renamed Nova Scotia. Although first settled by immigrants from France, Isle Saint-Jean soon became a haven for ambitious or disaffected Acadians, initiating the diaspora that in many ways defines the Acadian story. This was especially true of the massive immigration in the troubled years before 1755, but from the start, there was a steady movement of people from the mainland to the island. Michel Haché dit Gallant, of Beaubassin, joined the French settlers of Port La Joye in 1720, to be followed by other members of the family later in the decade. Another clan community grew up on the north shore of Havre Saint-Pierre. The first Oudy family arrived from Beaubassin in 1729. Sons and daughters soon followed, establishing at least eight farms along the shore. The fates of the Haché-Gallant and the Oudy families following deportation from the island in 1758 had dramatically different results, illustrating both the resilience of the Acadians and the tragedy of le Grand Dérangement.Through geophysical surveys with an EM38 and EM38B and subsequent excavation by Parks Canada and the University of Prince Edward Island archaeological field school, the original Gallant house site and seven of the Oudy homesteads were located. This paper will discuss the results of fieldwork between 1986 and 2008, and in particular, excavations at two of the house sites.


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The recording of two diaspora Acadian families on Isle Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island). Robert Ferguson. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437040)


Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-49,09

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America