Jean Gaudet, the Eldest Gaudet to settle in Canada was born in Martaizé, France in 1575. He was a censitaire (tenant who paid rent) on the fief at Martaizé, which was a part of the seigneury of Aulnay. In 1636, when he was about 61 years old, he left with his 11 year old son Denis and embarked on their adventure into New France. The first year was a scouting party with just men, then after a winter back in France, they returned to Nouvelle France, settling in at much more promising site of Port Royal.
|After their third trans Atlantic trip, in the days when scurvy was a major life threat on the tiny ships at sea, they started their new life. Jean and Denis settled lands 10 miles upriver from the fort, on the north bank. Jean remarried in 1642, to Nicole Coleson (1607-1688) who was 35 years old at the time (she was also 32 years younger than Jean!) They had at least one child together, Jean 'Le Jeune', thus starting the repeating of the same few names between father and sons for the next of generations. This makes for confusion, so in the following text I have differentiated the various characters by their 'nicknames' as you'll find in various genealogies posted on the internet. Now, keep your eye on Denis, he's a key figure.|
In 1644, Denis (1625-1709) married a woman 7 years older than him himself. After 25 years of marriage, Denis and his wife with their two unmarried daughters and 2 teenage sons named Pierre (known as l'Ainé and Le Jeune) packed up and moved another 10 miles up river. They were now 20 miles up river from the fort. They broke new land, creating a vast tract of their own. This was about the time of the treaty of Breda in 1667, which restored Acadia to France again.
We see here the arrival of a 'Filles du Roi' (1663-1673). These were single women capable of bearing children for whom the King paid for their transport and dowry. They were women of various pedigrees who were destined to become wives in Canada. The size of their dowry changed depending on who they married.
|Denis wanted lands for himself and his children. An early 18th century survey indicated 5 habitations at a 'Gaudet Village' as well as Bernard Gaudet's land beside it. The land must have been good, because his oldest son, Pierre l'Ainé (1650-1741) (our direct ancestor), had 10 kids! His younger son, Pierre Le Jeune (1654-1697), not to be outdone had 11!
An interesting side note is that the 2 Pierre's married two sisters, Anne and Marie Blanchard.
We often note that Jean Gaudet is our oldest ancestor, but it is thanks to the work of his son Denis that our branch took off. He would have first worked on his father's land, then on his first farm, then picked up and moved up river, 10 miles, a fair distance at that time. Those lands he broke were held by our family for about 87 years!
Click here for the full version of this map!
This picture is taken in modern day Annapolis valley, Nova Scotia. The lands in the middle of the picture were originally settled by Gaudets.
This photo will correlate with #27 in the map above, Bernard Gaudet and Gaudet Village
|With 21 children between them, the 2 Pierres had to provide! Their lands were side by side, still 10 miles up river from the fort where Denis had settled. In 1686, when Pierre l'Ainé's was 35, his farm consisted of 4 arpents. By the time he was 43, it had grown to 26 arpents, with an additional: 10 cattle, 12 sheep, 10 pigs and 3 shot guns. He was a fairly large land owner! N.B: one arpent is 0.84 acres, or 36,801 s.f.
In 1696 Pierre l'Ainé left to live with one of his sons in Beaubassin. He handed his farm over to his oldest son, Bernard 'le Vieux' (1673-1757). The farm continued expanding, by 1698, there were 50 trees in the orchard. Bernard would become the Chief Gaudet (sic) of this local.
The governing powers were constantly shifting. Acadia was but one of the assets that were transferred back and forth between England and France as they battled and politicked for control over the colonies and the world. The wars in one part of the globe lead to treaties, which affected the ownership of colonies thousands of miles away. Port Royal and its inhabitants, like most other small colonies were minor assets in the grand scheme of things for European nation states. Sugar, only obtainable in the Caribbean, was much more valuable to France than the natural resources being extracted out of Acadia. Colonies existed to enrich the mother country with resources. As the centuries changed so did the desired commodities.
This painting shows the Acadians busy at work
harvesting their crops. In the background can
be seen part of the dyke system that they used
to drain and isolate marshland from nearby
rivers and tidal flows. This method of farming
gave the Acadians very rich, damp soil in which
to plant their crops. The English called the
Acadians stupid and lazy because they used this
method of farming rather than cut down trees and
clear the land of stumps and boulders.
|Communications in the 17th and 18th centuries was the same speed as transportation. The fact that the colony changed hands again between France and England was found out with a change of govenor, or military leader, or subsequent to an attack on the fort. The colony changed hands often. You were expected to change your allegiance to the ruling crown to continue living in the area! The govenor, or power that be in an area, was supreme in all things. Appeals by other parties were so lengthy as to be impractical.
This is what Pierre 'Pitre' (1698-1775) would have been facing when he was bringing up his 8 children. What was he suppose to do when faced with the new foreign govenor who was backed by the Longknives. Before civilization takes place, brute force rules. There were several oaths required, with differences in interpretation and obligations of soldiering between the English and French.
Their family was growing and expanding rapidly. It must have been a busy area with all those people working, by hand, to live and survive. Don't forget they were in one of the most northern colonies on the Atlantic coast, not a pleasant place in winter with 17th century amenities. It definitely was not the palm trees of the Caribbean! Still it was a a sheltered valley with fertile soil.
Painting by Claude Picard.
Series: Deportation of the Acadians.
When the British took control of Acadia around
1730, they forced the Acadians to sign pledges of
allegiance to the English Crown. The Acadians
did this but they also vowed that they would
never fight with the British against the French.
Despite this signing, the Acadians were still
forced out of their country starting in 1755.
|In the 1740's, I can imagine that Port Royal, and more specifically the land in the North East end of the valley that the Gaudet's occupied was getting pretty full. At the same time tension was rising between the French settlers and the English powers. Those factors may be why Pierre 'Pitre' named his youngest son Bonaventure, thinking the youngest may have to move on to find land of his own.
Come 1755, Bonaventure was 13 years old. At the end of the harvest, the English gathered the French colonists, read them the deportation act and physically removed them from the valley, in none so gentle means. They were forcefully evicted, families intentionally separated and sent off to different colonies, possessions stolen and or spoiled, farms and barns burned down destroying buildings, removing their reason to come back, animals were confiscated, to be given to the English Settlers who would be showing up to settle the lands in the years to come. Somehow, throughout all this Bonaventure managed to stick it out with his older brother Charles 'Charlitte'.
When looking through the data of our genealogy, births, deaths, marriages, locations, you start to imagine glimpses of our ancestors lives. For example: Bernard 'Le Vieux' died in Annapolis Royal, 18 months after the deportation at the age of 84. His children and grand children gone, scattered from Connecticut to Louisiana. Was he forced to watch all his family be deported, yet left behind due to his age?
Pierre 'Pitre', Bonaventure's father, died in Connecticut in 1775, Was he deported With Bonaventure and Charles? I don't know. I do know that none of Pitre's children died in Connecticut, they were scattered from Louisiana to New Brunswick and Quebec. Why didn't he move back to Quebec with the rest, or was he scattered?
Under the British the French inhabitants
of Acadia were deported in 1755 to make
room for the growing number of English
settlers in North America. In some cases,
the Acadians were falsely lured into
meetings at churches at which they were
told that they were to be deported
starting at once.
In other cases, they were kept as prisoners,
for a few more weeks, in order to get the
crops off the land. Then they were
deported and stripped of all accumulated
wealth. They kept the clothes on their backs
and one bag of food to carry with them.
This is the most horrible and despicable part of
Canadian history. One for which the English
Crown has yet to apologize.
The details of how our ancestor's were deported
are unknown to me. With time and the internet,
we may be able to fill in the gaps of our knowledge.
|Who Controled Acadia When!
First settled by Champlain in 1605! Reverted to the English from 1628 until 1632.
France regained power with the Treaty of St-Germain en Lay.
It went back to the English after an attack in 1654 .
The Treaty of Breda, 1667, gave the French control.
In 1674 the Dutch conquered Acadia.
In 1677 the French took over.
The Longknives, English soldiers, in 1690 recaptured the fort.
Acadia went back to the French with the 1697 treaty of Ryswick.
The English conquered Acadia in 1710.
Formalized with the Treaty of Utrecht, in 1713.
Renamed Nova Scotia.
From 1720-1730 negotiations on the oath to sign.
In 1748-49 had to sign the standard oath of allegiance to the English Crown, not the one negotiated before.
The English would not let the French leave, setting up roadblocks at times. To let them go would have meant the loss of assets, and resources required by the English.
1755, Deportation of French colonists!
|It was our predestined adventurer ancestor, Bonaventure 'Bonan' Gaudet, who first settled down in St-Jacques. He's our direct ancestor who was expelled from Port Royal in 1755.
Bonaventure (1742-1816) was shipped to Norwich Connecticut with his brother Charlitte. I imagine it wasn't easy there. Language barriers, arriving in a new community, foreign language, literally paupers, whereas they had been the sons of successful farmers just weeks before.
12 years after their deportation, Bonaventure surfaced in Quebec, a married man. His first Quebec winter was spent in Ste-Marie Salome. In 1768 he moved, finding good lands north east of St-Jacques. But the land was wooded and hard to work. So, a few years later they went back to St-Jacques l'Achigan, where the land was easier to work, and was filling up with Acadians. He was in his late 20's, establishing roots again.
|Norwich Connecticut Town Hall circa 1902.
|Bonaventure (born in Port Royal, 1742-1816), literally translates into 'Good Adventure' and it cannot be denied that he had an adventure filled life. Even though he was on earth 250 years ago, he travelled farther distances than many people still do to this day. He lived in 3 different regions, in at least 3 different political states, Acadia, Connecticut and Quebec! This at a time when neither Canada nor the USA existed, France and England were represented by govenors and the military, the Hudson Bay Company was a force to be reckoned with, and American independence was 10 years away.
His adventures were such that they didn't preclude him from naming his first son after himself.
St-Jacques was a place where our family regrouped with their community. It took some people 50 years beyond the deportation of 1755 to find 'une terre acceuillante', an accomodating land.
When we were driving through the area, it was common to see the name of Dupuis, the same ones that are the ancestors of our friends and relatives in Bellevue. When looking at the people Pierre's kids married back between 1833 and 1857 you see the following family names: Dugas, Fontaine, Dupuis, Leblanc, Brault, Forest and Venne. These are family names that still surround us! These family names are also found back from the early days of the settlement of Nouvelle France! That is our ancestral community. Our Acadian roots.
|It was a population squeeze that made the family emigrate to Bellevue. You see, Bonaventure had 1 girl and 4 boys (Pierre (1778-1858)), their middle child is our ancestor. At that time, in the late 1700's, land was still available nearby.
Pierre then had 6 girls and 2 boys, Aimé (1821-1885) and Joseph. Hence only 1 extra farm needed.
Aimé begat Azarie, Azilda then Ernest(1850-1929), Azarie and Ernest had different mothers, yet when Aimé died he split his money in two, half to each son, Azarie lost all, while Ernest made a success of himself.
Now comes the squeeze. Ernest had 1 girl Mary, and 6 boys, Zénon, Oscar, Hildège, Armand (1886-1980), Rosario and Adrien. There were no more fields left in St-Jacques or in the surrounding area. Transportation at that time was fairly slow, from the 3-5 miles per hour walking pace on irregular terrain, to the speed of a horse drawn carriage and possibly faster with the speed of a good steed.
|The church in St-Jacques L'Achigan!
|Click here for a bigger pictures!
Edmour Gaudet, on leave
What was Ernest to do? One option, used in the Occident since before the time of Charlemagne, was to divide the land between your sons, or, as our family has done for 375 years now, move to where things are easier, find new lands for the family to grow and thrive upon. Keep the family unit together.
Ernest's oldest son Zénon twice tried to get married but each time his mother Cordélie (remembered as a real b****) denied her permission, thinking the girls were below their standards. Fed up in 1898, Zénon left heading for riches in Colorado.
|The Klondike gold rush in the Yukon was happening at the the same time that Zénon set off for Colorado. While seeking his fortune in the US, something happened that freaked him out. He got out of there, never telling anybody what exactly transpired. This time he went to Vancouver, checking things out. In 1899 he decided to head home, but on the way he decided to stop off to see some cousins who were already settled in Bellevue. He checks things out, impressed, heads back to St-Jacques. He decides with his good friend, Emery Gaudet, to go off together to these new lands.
In the winter of 1900 they took their homesteads. They were then both married on the same day 2 years later, it would have been a few days after the priest arrived to form the parish. Zénon wrote to his father, telling him of his impeding marriage, Cordélie couldn't stop this one, and mentions the homestead system in place to populate the west. You could get a quarter, 160 acres, for only $10.
So, in 1902, Ernest went to Bellevue. He chose and officially took possession of his homestead, getting his title right away, breaking land, seeding some wheat in the north east corner, near where his house would be. He went back to St-Jacques, sold everything, then started the family move to Bellevue in 1903.
Three horse power
|This time however, we were not leaving under the same conditions as when we were deported from Port-Royal. Ernest sold his house, farm and animals, bought new supplies and equipment for the prairies including the house, and having a surplus $9 000 in turn of the century currency after all was said and paid! That was a formidable sum of money! How many people do you know today who have no debts, all equipment paid and a big fist full of dollars in the bank?
In January 1903, Armand left with his older brother. Oscar, who was over 21, was considered a pioneer and thus had an adult ticket. This allowed him one complete boxcar of materials to be brought with them to Duck Lake, Saskatchewan. When Ernest, Cordélie, Hildège, Rosario and Adrien arrived in March, they had another full wagon car of goods. Date of Arrival in Duck Lake was the 31st of March, 1903!
|March 31st, 1903, transport of Ernest and company, plus a first batch of goods to Bellevue by horse drawn sleigh.
April first, day of rest for the horses!
April 2, the family and neighbors formed 'une corvé' going to Duck Lake, getting a load, then transporting it back to Bellevue.
A third trip was probably required to bring everything of the box car load to Bellevue, after another day of rest for the horses.
366 years after Jean Gaudet and his son arrived in Port Royal, the family of his 10th generation decendant, Armand Gaudet produced the family below.
This picture was taken at the Gaudet family reunion in Bellevue Sask, in July 2002.
Click on the picture below for a bigger version.