A view of a perfect piece of ceramic from the late 1600s time period.
A map showing the locations of both Fort Beausejour and Beaubassin An aerial view of Beaubassin Bill Casey meets with Premier Lord
September 13, 2005
Amherst — MP Bill Casey met with Premier Bernard Lord yesterday to provide him with the status of the Acadian Village of Beaubassin.
Although the site of the Village is located in Nova Scotia, it is a very important part of Acadian history and is tied directly to nearby Fort Beausejour National Park.
Casey provided some historical documents to Premier Lord and confirmed that the site was designated a National Historic Site in June.
Also, Casey confirmed that the Government of Canada had purchased the land and is now preparing to plan for the future of this critical part of Canadian history.
Although this is a Government of Canada project, Mr. Lord will pass on the documents to the Ministers that could be involved in such an undertaking, and agreed that this is an important Acadian site, which should receive more attention.
Casey and Premier Lord discussed the possibility of bringing together Fort Beausejour and Beaubassin as one project, which represents the history of Canada all in one location.
Casey says “this site was shared by the French, the Acadians, the English and our Aboriginals. No site in Canada involves an Acadian Village, a French Fort and an English Fort, all together. It is an opportunity to showcase our history in one location. All parties should have a role in the planning for this exciting project”.
The photograph shows Mr. Lord and Mr. Casey examining the infrared photograph of the 42 foundations of Acadian buildings burned down in 1750.
Beaubassin Declared a National Historic Site!
July 27, 2005 — The historic Acadian village of Beaubassin was today designated a national historic site by the Government of Canada. This is a significant achievement by the community, and for all who gave their time and effort on the Beaubassin and Fort Lawrence projects.
In the near future, a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque will also be placed at the Beaubassin village site to commemorate this important place of local history.
For more information about the announcement, here is a link to my Press Release, and a link to the announcement from Parks Canada:
July 28, 2005
Government Declares Beaubassin a National Historic Site Original Beaubassin Villager Remembered—Fort Lawrence
June 16, 2005 — 84-year-old Paul S. Martin of Lafayette, Louisiana, accompanied by his wife, daughter and son in law, unveiled a plaque at the Nova Scotia Information Centre. The unveiling commemorates Sieur Jean-Jacques Mouton and members of his family who were ancestors of Mr. Martin. Both the Mouton and Martin families were residents of Beaubassin village at the time of the 1755 Deportation of the Chignecto Acadians.
Mr. Martin’s well attended address and acknowledgements were conducted at the information centre, with presentations made to him by local officials.
Mr. Martin also received the first printed copy of Paul Surrette’s Atlas of the Acadian Settlement of Beaubassin, by a representative of the Tantramar Heritage Trust, and a copy of John G. McKay’s “Beaubassin, And The Beginning of The Acadian Tragedy, by the author.
The bilingual plaque, is 30 by 36 inches and is situated behind the information centre adjacent the Beaubassin monument.
It is Mr. Martin’s expressed hope that it will eventually be allotted a permanent place somewhere in the actual village, following development of the site by Parks Canada.
(Thanks to local historian John McKay for his contribution to the website and for all of the pictures from this event below
Latest Excerpt from
Beaubassin and the beginning of the Acadian tragedy, by local author and historian John G. McKay:
Jacques Bourgeois died at Port Royale in 1701. He had lived to see the Beaubassin settlements well established if not altogether secure over the past 30 years. He saw his sons prospering on the virgin land they had wrested together from the wilderness, and had watched his cattle grazing in the marshes safe from tidal incursion by virtue of his labour. he had eaten the bread that Jeanne made using flour milled from his grain in his own gristmill. In the fiercely devout Roman Catholic faith that the Acadians adhered to, Sieur Jacques Bourgeois probably died content with his lot. While there had been labour and hardship, periods of apprehension and the terror of the New England raiders during his nearly 60 years in Acadia, both at Port Royale and Beaubassin, his legacy would endure for another half century along the slopes of the ridge, sunlit in the warmth of summer and chilled in the wind blasted depths of winter, embodied in the lives of kith and kin, until the fatal clouds gathered and the once and final storm was unleashed upon the fair Beaubassin and all of its unique, God fearing populace.
Beaubassin and the beginning of the Acadian tragedy by John G. McKay
Devoe-deVaux Family History 1691–1991, The Story of An Acadian Family From Beaubassin to Bras D’Or, by Colonel John Brooks Devoe, M.A.
Colonel John B. Devoe hails from the state of New Hampshire, U.S.A. His book is the product of over 40 years of seeking out the story of his Acadian ancestors, a family whose beginnings can be found at Beaubassin. Colonel Devoe is also a direct descendent of Beaubassin’s founder, Jacques Bourgeois.
Colonel Devoe has also granted his permission for excerpts of his work to be placed on this site. A link to Colonel Devoe’s website can also be found to the upper left.
At the time of this first phase of the Deportation, which lasted through December of that year, the total population of Acadia, including the Chignecto area, Isle Royal and Isle St-Jean has been estimated to be as high as 18,000 by some sources. The number deported from September to December in British Acadia (Nova Scotia), was close to 7,500 in two dozen or so vessels. Some of the ships never reached their destination and of those sent to Virginia some 360 Acadians died aboard, a fate likely shared as well by others who found themselves destined for other ports.
By 1686, the population of Beaubassin was 127, and about the time we estimate that Michel deVaux arrived in 1693 it was but 119. Beaubassin grew at a rate somewhat less than the Minas Basin settlements, but by the late 1680s a grist mill and a sawmill had been built, grain was being produced and the settlement had adopted all the field crops and animals known at Port Royal. Fruit trees were well established by the turn of the century (pears, plums, and apples) and some scholars have attributed their introduction to our Roger Cassie while others say it was Pierre Martin.
Devoe-deVaux Family History 1691–1991, The Story of An Acadian Family From Beaubassin to Bras D’Or, by Colonel John Brooks Devoe, M.A. Chronology of Beaubassin Village and Preservation Efforts
1650s — Bourgeoisville village is established (and is later to be named Beaubassin)
1701 — Jacque Bourgeois dies at Port Royale, following years of hard physical work making Beaubassin a prosperous agricultural community.
1713 —The Treaty of Utrecht sees France cede Hudson Bay, Newfoundland, and most of Acadia to England, while they retain Isle Royale (Cape Breton), and Isle Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island). The boundaries of Acadia are unclear, and in the years to come this will lead to dark consequences for the Acadian population.
1715 — Beaubassin grows and contains 50 families. There are 32 acres of apple orchards and the residents count 1000
head of cattle and 800 hogs as their property. A trading post is also located in Beaubassin.
1737 — Abbé LeLoutre arrives at the fortress of Louisbourg. Following a lengthy stay, the Abbe is posted to Shubenacadie. In the years that follow, the Abbe becomes an important spiritual leader to the Acadians and missionary to the Mi’kmaq people. During later hostilities between the French and English, Abbe LeLoutre will direct Indian raids and ambushes, and will serve to relay French messages. Eventually, the Abbe will have a price placed on his head by the English.
1747 — Beaubassin is where the notorious deRamezay’s Raiders headquarter. The Raiders use Beaubassin as a base of operations during their winter campaign against Colonel Noble in Grand Pre.
1749 — A year of British military build-up in Nova Scotia. A garrison at Chebucto is established (to be renamed Halifax), Fort Sackville is constructed, and a picketed fort and blockade is erected in Minas. In the next year, British Major Charles Lawrence will be given orders to establish a Fort in the area of Beaubassin to counter French forces in the area. Before Major Lawrence arrives in Beaubassin, the “Black Priest” Abbe LeLoutre has already been warning the villagers of serious consequences should they decide to trade with the British. The Abbe even goes so far as to threaten the withholding of sacraments. The Abbe further warns that Beaubassin may have to be abandoned for nearby Beausejour.
1750 — With the assistance of local natives, the Village of Beaubassin is burned, just as a British force under Major Lawrence sails up the Bay of Fundy. The French priest, Abbe LeLoutre leads the villagers across the water to Fort Beausejour. The English establish Fort Lawrence, near the burned village.
1755 — Deportations of Acadians from Nova Scotia. The “Black Priest” returns to the Old World 1755–1772. Abbe LeLoutre sailed for France in 1755, and at the end of the summer his ship is captured in the English Channel. LeLoutre, undoubtedly recognized for his deeds in Acadia, is incarcerated on the Island of Jersey for the next 8 years. He is released following the end of the Seven Years War (1763). At 54 years of age, Abbe LeLoutre then returned to France and discovering that 3000 Acadian refugees are now living in the country, spends the remainder of his life working for the Acadians, including finding them homes. Abbe LeLoutre died in Nantes, France in 1772 at the age of 63.
October, 1934 — Nova Scotia Minister of Highwways, Hon. A.S. MacMillan, sends a letter to the Chairman of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board in Ottawa asking that Beaubassin be restored as a local historic site.
Spring, 2000 — Various Federal Government Ministers are sent letters requesting financial assistance on behalf of the Fort Lawrence Heritage Society. The funding request is aimed at this group buying the current Beaubassin Village lands.
Fall, 2000 — The Government advises that the Hon. Sheila Copps, Minister of Canadian Heritage will be lead Minister on this file. Parks Canada also advises the County of Cumberland officials that Parks Canada staff have had preliminary discussions with the Beaubassin/Fort Lawrence Task Force.
February, 2001 — Bill Casey, MP, discusses the issue of protecting Beaubassin Village with Minister Robert Thibault, Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency. Official thanks are also sent by Casey to Minister Sheila Copps for her attention and cooperation on this issue. A meeting is held with Finance Minister Paul Martin to provide information and to seek his assistance with Federal Funds.
Summer, 2001 — Grand Pre receives $5 million dollars in Federal funding to upgrade the Acadian site in anticipation of the 2004 Acadian Congress, to be held in Nova Scotia. The Government is pressed to not forget Beaubassin.
September, 2001 — The Council of the Municipality of the County of Cumberland passes a motion requesting the Government of Canada purchase the lands located in Fort Lawrence, NS (the lands formerly known as Beaubassin).
October, 2001 — A presentation is delivered on Beaubassin Village to officials from Minister Sheila Copps office. The officials are pressed to protect this heritage site. Heritage Officials agreed to arrange a meeting between Parks Canada, ACOA, and the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association to determine possible funding options for the lands. Hon. Robert Thibault (ACOA Minister) is invited to unveil Beaubassin plaque later in the fall.
December, 2001 — An official reminder is sent to Hon. Robert Thibault about his unveiling the Beaubassin Memorial plaque.
February, 2002 — Parks Canada officials advise the County of Cumberland that Historic sites officials have met with a representative of the Fort Lawrence-Beaubassin Task Force. The representative of the Task Force was expected to prepare for a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada meeting. Specific contact information for the local Parks Canada official was given at this time.
May, 2002 — The Government is again requested to move ahead with protecting the Beaubassin Village site. The Co-ordinator for the 2004 Congrés Mondial Acadian believes public pressure, the MP Bill Casey’s pressure, and community involvement are all steps in the right direction.
June, 2002 — Bill Casey MP raises the question of federal support for acquiring and preserving Beaubassin in the House of Commons. The Hon. Sheila Copps advised the House that she supported the case in principle and appreciated Casey work on the issue. The MP has also has a discussion with Parks Canada officials and receives status update on the issue. The official explains the process followed by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board.
August, 2002 — The Government of Canada announces the Atlantic Canada Cultural and Economic Partnership. The 3-year, $10 million Atlantic Canada plan is designed to help financially support the upcoming 400th anniversary of the founding of Acadia.
August, 2002 — The Minister of Canadian Heritage, Hon. Sheila Copps announces funding of $165,000 for the Societé Nationale de l`Acadie (SNA) to help finance the “coordination and promotion of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Acadia”.
October, 2002 — MP Bill Casey meets with Prime Minister Jean Chretien to seek his support in securing and protecting the Beaubassin Village site. Mr. Casey explained the historical significance of Beaubassin, especially as it relates to Canada’s English, French and Native peoples. Prime Minister Chretien made recommendations to move forward on the file and asked Parks Canada officials to investigate.
December, 2002 — A meeting is held with Alain Latourelle (Director General, Parks Canada). The history of Beaubassin Village was discussed in detail. Mr. Latourelle outlined the steps in designating the Village a National Historic Site. It was explained that first, this site had to be so designated by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board. Following that, a funding arrangement would be needed through a partnership. The owner of the present day Beaubassin Village site would also need to provide authorization.
February, 2003 — The Beaubassin Village site receives recognition in the Province of Nova Scotia’s
Doers and Dreamers Guide. March, 200 3— The current owners of the Beaubassin Village site grant permission to proceed with the historic designation process.
June, 2003 — Park Canada officials are advised that protection of this site is timely because of the upcoming, 400th year Anniversary of the Acadians in Canada.
January, 2004 — Government officials advise that an official paper will be before the Historic Sites and Monuments Board in November 2004. Mr. Casey is also advised that only under very special circumstances will the Government buy private lands. The officials also relay that once the Historic Sites and Monuments Boards of Canada meets, the Board will then make a recommendation to the Minister. An internal memo confirms that Beaubassin Village will be discussed by the Board in November of 2004.
February, 2004 — A meeting is held with the Honourable Denis Coderre, Minister Responsible for La Francophonie and President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada to seek his support for a local effort to preserve and protect the Beaubassin site.
June 11, 2004 — Bill Casey visits the archeologist team digging at the Beaubassin site. The team reports that the Beaubassin site is just as important as the Acadian site at Grand Pre. Fragments of glass, scallop shells, nails, hinges, a wall, and many other items have been found. The archeology team, as of this date, is still searching for the location of the Acadian cemetery. Local community officials are also excited by the finds, and look forward to more discoveries from Beaubassin.
June 18, 2004 — A massive wooden cross is raised at Beaubassin to the excitement of the community and organizers. The cross, which can be clearly seen for miles, will be used as a centrepiece for the upcoming outdoor mass scheduled for August. Some 9,000 Acadian descendents are expected to attend. It is important to note those who played a role in raising the cross at Beaubassin (to be updated frequently of course!) Gordon Hebert, a Member of the Celebrating Beaubassin Committee, and a co-coordinator of the upcoming outdoor mass, and Bert McWade, Chair of the Committee both played large roles in this effort. Cumberland County officials and the representatives of the descendent families who are hosting reunions in the Amherst area have also given much of their time to this project.
June 22, 2004 — Father Vernon Driscoll, Parish Priest for the St. Charles Church in Amherst blesses the tallest wooden cross in North America, located near the original site of Beaubassin Village. The Amherst Daily News reports on June 23, 2004, that Father Driscoll conducted this ceremony on the site that “was the former home and last known home of the Notre Dame d’Assomption church that burned in 1750.” Other religious leaders including Deacon Mark Cherry and Father Edmour Babineau joined Father Driscoll at this event. Father Babineau is reported to have descended from Acadians in the Dieppe area. The event was also to pay tribute to First Nations peoples who lived in the area before European settlers arrived. The cross is 60′ tall with a 16-foot cross arm. It was erected, and will be lit with strong community support from the Nova Scotia Power Corporation, Harrlson’s Building Centre, and the Knights of Columbus. The cross was put in place in anticipation of the bilingual mass to be held at Beaubassin in August.
July 23, 2004 — Minister of the Environment, the Hon. Stephane Dion announces that Parks Canada will protect approx. 137 of land which were formerly part of the Village of Beaubassin. The protected areas will include the ruins of the Acadian cemetery, a large portion of the ancient Acadian village, and Fort Lawrence.
August 6, 2004 — Dawn Smith, coordinator of CMA 2004 in Cumberland County announces that the original bell from the old Beaubassin Notre-Dame L’Assomption church, which was burned down in 1750, will be used in the
. After much work by reunion and mass organizers, Parks Canada agreed to loan the historic bell for use during the mass. Preparations are underway to transport the bell the short distance from Fort Beausejour to the Beaubassin site using a special cradle. For all who attend the mass on August 14, this artifact will certainly symbolize yet another piece of their shared ancestry. mass on August 14 August 12, 2004 — The historic church bell which once hung in the Church of Notre-Dame l’Assomption, is prepared by Parks Canada staff in Beausejour for a journey back to the former village area. The bell will be rung to call the Acadians, friends, and neighbours to mass on Saturday, August 14.
Late Fall, 2004 — The latest word from the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada is that between December 2nd-5th, the Board will meet in a closed session to review a research paper detailing the 18th Century conflict betweenthe French and English forces in the Chignecto Isthmus. The Board will also consider the importance to which Beaubassin Village, Fort Lawrence, Beausejour,and other major regional sites played in this conflict. Parks Canada has already protected much of Beaubassin Villageby acquiring the lands earlier this summer,and next spring the final word on Beaubassin Village beingdeclared a national historic site will be made.