The First Bergeron d’Amboises in The Americas

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Three Acadian Generations

The First Bergeron d’Amboises in The Americas
Richard J. Bergeron

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Goals. Some number of years ago, I came across the three referenced articles by Father Adrian Bergeron. They were in French. Being a pure Anglophone, I tried to translate these, and finally went to study the language formally. I spent three complete years (12 quarters) studying at the Alliance Française in Minneapolis. By that time, others and I had discovered a number of other pertinent data. So I began to write my version of this story. Here are the things that I have tried to do:
1. Provide an English version of the information in Fr. Adrian Bergeron’s three biographical articles on the Bergeron family. Many Acadian descendants in America, and even some in Canada, have lost the ability to speak French. I wanted to make these materials available to them.
2. Put Fr. Bergeron’s material in chronological, i.e., historical, order. This makes the story more understandable.
3. Update Fr. Bergeron’s material with Jean-Marie Germe’s data coming out of France, specifically Barthelemy Bergeron’s baptismal certificate and Marguerite Boyleau’s family background.
4. Add the fact that Barthelemy had been captured by the Bostonais in the 1690s, and to add material found in the Anglophone world, specifically the Campobello and “Captain Blinn” information.
5. Thanks to some of the above new material, make some logical deductions that answer some intriguing questions: who was the grandmother that provided Michel de Nantes with his “dit” name? Was Genevieve’s marriage to Barthelemy her first or her second (Fr. Bergeron insisted this was her first marriage)? Where did Michel II learn to be such a “coureur du bois” as he was known to be?
6. Create a biographical/historical article using all the above resources and to try to deduce some information about personalities: languages spoken, closeness to Genevieve’s indigenous relatives, an open-mindedness even towards some English individuals, a sense of fairness, a very long-term friendship with persons at Ste-Anne-du-Pays-Bas beginning considerably before 1730, etc.
7. Create an outline for a future book.
There are a number of people who deserve great thanks for helping to make this work a reality. First, my cousin Joan Pepich, whose own recollections and family tree writings launched me into this search. Secondly, Remi Ferland of Laval University, Quebec City, who responded with data about four generations that connected our grandfather Jules to the subjects of this work. Third, Ms. Fredrica Givan of Fredericton Junction, New Brunswick, who did a great amount of research for me in our homeland and discovered almost all of the initial materials relating to the Bergeron d’Amboise family on Campobello Island. I owe her many thanks for her work and for the information she freely shared. I also owe many thanks to my newly discovered distant cousin, Joseph Damboise of Grafton, NH, for his research, shared information and questioning thought.

Eight Bergeron families came to the Americas from France. Two of them grew to be very large families: the descendants of André Bergeron of Aunis form the largest Québecois (French Canadian as compared to Acadian) Bergeron family; the descendants of Barthélémy Bergeron d’Amboise became the Acadian Canadian and the Cajun Bergerons. I will often refer to our family as Bergeron d’Amboise. Our founding ancestor himself, Barthélémy, was usually known as d’Amboise, not Bergeron, and we have relatives (Joe, mentioned above, for example) who still carry the surname of d’Amboise, D’Amboise or Damboise instead of Bergeron.

The French Connection

Chapter 1: Amboise – The Early Years

Amboise is located on the Loire in the old province of Touraine, just upriver from the city of Tours. It is not a very large town, but it is very old. In 505 or 506 the newly converted Clovis, King of the Franks, met with Alaric, king of the Goths. They met on a small island, near modern Amboise. They had lunch and departed as declared friends. This meeting is remarkable because Clovis was burning with the fires of a convert to Roman Christianity and Alaric just as firmly adhered to Arianism, a belief declared heretical by the Church; Arians did not believe in the equal godhead of the three Persons of the Trinity. The peace between Franks and Goths would not last long.
The Burgundians were another Germanic nation that favored Arianism. They lived along the eastern border of the Frankish lands, in the areas now called Belgium, Luxembourg, the Saar, and Burgundy, and parts of Alsace and Lorraine. Their country was called Burgundy then, and Clovis had already fought many battles with these heretics. The family name of Bergeron seems to have originated in this country, and the ancient family seat was supposedly located there. However, the word “bergeron” means little shepherd, and it is doubtful that a work name like “Shepherd” would start in just one place. Furthermore, it seems that our specific family began in Touraine, around Amboise. If the family originates in a famous medieval family called “d’Amboise,” of which there are indications but which is actually mere conjecture at this time, they took on the name of “Bergeron” later.
Around the late 900s, during the days of the powerful Counts of Anjou, a nobleman named Gelduin, Lord of Saumur, was forced from his chateau on the Loire in a surprise night attack by Foulque Nerra. Gelduin left Saumur, between Angers and Tours and went to a new chateau at Chaumont-sur-Loire, just upriver from Amboise. His son was the first to be named d’Amboise, supposedly after he incorporated the town of Amboise into his estates. The story is only legendary here, because these lands were too close to the powerful Angevin Counts to be held by a relative of Gelduin. The first seigneur of Amboise that we know of was an Angevin loyalist, Lisois I, living about the same time as Gelduin. Lisois’ son married Denise de Chaumont, possibly the daughter or granddaughter of Gelduin, resulting in a long line of the d’Amboise family centered on both Amboise and Chaumont. They were nominally loyal to the Counts of Anjou, one of whom inherited the English throne, became Henry II, and founded the Plantagenet dynasty of that country. It was at Chaumont that Henry II met for the last time with Archbishop Thomas à Becket, who was murdered shortly afterwards in his cathedral at Canterbury. The chateau at Chaumont was razed to the ground not long after that.
But the d’Amboise family persevered. They grew in strength and stature through the ages. They married well, inherited a number of other seigneuries and their chateau. They also rebuilt their original home. At least one of these Lords of Amboise (Seigneurs d’Amboise) died in the battles of the Hundred Years War. The family split in two, one line centered at Amboise, the other at Chaumont. In 1460, seven years after the end of that war, Pierre d’Amboise had a son at this Chateau, whom he named George. In fact, Pierre would have a total of 17 children, more than one of them becoming famous in French history.
Chapter 2: Medieval Powerhouse: Soldiers, Rebels, and Advisors to Kings

King Louis XI (1461-83) inherited a war-torn country. But he had some remarkable skills (he was called the universal spider because of his web of intrigues) and some good counselors. He trusted in using his wits to change the medieval realm he inherited into the national monarchy that lasted until the French Revolution of 1789. In the process he helped to develop a new merchant class, sheltered the growing bourgeoisie, held his lords in check, and protected the Renaissance in Italy. He was a major shaper of the modern western world.
Needless to say, the nobles did not care for the centralization of power that Louis XI was forging. In 1465 a number of them rebelled “for the good of the people.” Pierre d’Amboise, who had fought for his country with Jeanne d’Arc at Orleans, participated in this rebellion. He should have known better because he knew Louis quite well, having helped him in his intrigues while he was still dauphin (the official heir to the throne of France). After Louis regained control, he took the chateau at Chaumont away from d’Amboise, razed it to the ground, then returned the land to the noble family. This was Louis’s style: summary justice and weakened nobles in one blow.
But the d’Amboise family was powerful enough not to simply accept this. Pierre began rebuilding his chateau the next year, and the work was continued by a son, Charles, and a grandson, Charles II.
Of Pierre d’Amboise’s 17 children, two sons (including Georges) became cardinals in the Catholic Church. Another was an architect and builder. A number of others were counselors to various kings. For being “petite noblesse” or minor aristocracy, this was a very influential family.
By this time, the king owned the lands around the neighboring town of Amboise. He began the planning and building of a great chateau there on a rocky spur of land jutting into the Loire River. It was designed to guard the bridgehead and the little town.
The future King, Charles VIII (1483-98), was born at Amboise in 1470. It was he who built the Chapel of St. Hubert, originally as part of the chateau.
Louis XII (1498-1515) continued building the structure at Amboise, and was responsible for building the Louis XII wing, six large double casements connected by a balcony of ironwork. He invited Leonardo Da Vinci from Italy.
By now Georges d’Amboise, son of Pierre, was Georges, Cardinal d’Amboise. He became one of the most reliable advisors to Louis XII and the king turned over many functions to him. In fact, when people asked the king to do something, he would reply: “Laissez faire à Georges (Let George do it)!”
In 1511, Charles II d’Amboise, finished rebuilding the family chateau at Chaumont-sur-Loire.
Francis I (1515-1547) was another lover of Italian art and culture. He continued work on the great chateau at Amboise. During his reign, Leonardo da Vinci finally did come to live in France; he died at Amboise (at the Clos Lucé manor) as a guest of the king in 1519. He is supposedly buried in the Chapel of St-Hubert.
Later in its existence, the great d’Amboise family had “four main branches” (indicating other, minor, branches?) which were: the family at Amboise itself, those at Chaumont-sur-Loire (Pierre’s and Georges’ family), the famous branch at Bussy and another at Aubijoux. We will shortly revisit the topic of the d’Amboise branches again.
Some time in the early 1500s, after the chateau of Chaumont was completed, the d’Amboise family lost their home for the final time. We do not yet know why, but at the same time all of society was changing and the aristocracy was suffering a number of reversals.
The next century and a half were filled with wars, religious civil wars, and rebellions. While fascinating, the details are too complex to recite here. During the French Wars of Religion, Catholics and Calvinists (the Huguenots or French Protestants) fought each other through eight civil wars from 1561 to 1598. During these terrible times a mass execution was held at the chateau of Amboise (in 1560, after which the royal family rarely used this place again), a horrible massacre occurred on St. Bartholomew’s Night (1572), and the Valois dynasty ended, giving the throne of France to the Bourbon family (1594).
Aside from massive political and religious movements, this period also experienced economic influences the world had never seen before. The influx of gold and silver from the Americas changed everything. Gold helped the rich, of course, but they had always counted their value in the coins of that metal. However, silver was worth a lot less and (literally) mountains of it had reached Europe. For the first time in history, smaller, less valuable silver coins gave common folks the chance to earn (and save!) hard money. Common people with spendable cash caused unbelievable social change: the middle class (called the bourgeoisie in France) was born.
All of this had a grave effect on the aristocracy. Tax structures were changing and peasants were leaving the land for cities, jobs, and a chance to live a better life. The aristocracy was suddenly unable to raise the monies they had once collected. The cost of horses, carriages, good cloth (not the woolens worn by the peasants), the great variety of foods, good wine, and all the necessary servants was tremendous. But between the new economic phenomenon called inflation and their reduced income, it became extremely difficult for the nobles to run the organization of a chateau or a mansion in the manner that was expected. Many of the nobility financed their lifestyle by selling off lands to the new middle class. And the bourgeoisie often loaned money to the aristocracy to help them live in their accustomed ways. That could make things even worse; many noble families went bankrupt.
The rising middle class not only became richer, they grew more powerful. Many merchants and bankers became more influential than many nobles. More than a few of the bourgeoisie were eventually named to the nobility. Two classes of aristocracy came into existence: the old landed nobility and the mercantile nouveau riche. At the same time, more than a few voices began to ask why the nobles were still so privileged when they did nothing but live off the working classes. Molière even made public the contempt, disdain and derision on the stage for everyone to see and enjoy. The status of much of the nobility declined at the same time that of the bourgeoisie increased.
In society at large, wages did not keep up with prices, and there was a great need for relief for the poor. Villages and towns could not afford to care for them, and the Church developed new orders of priests and nuns to administer to the new underclass. Much of the work of George Cardinal d’Amboise, in his position as Archbishop of Rouen, was involved with the relief of the poor. Regrettably, such charitable work made only a small difference.
In 1598 King Henry IV issued the Edict of Nantes, providing for freedom of religious worship within certain limits. It was accepted by both Catholics and Protestants, both sides being worn out. This is important to Acadian history because the earliest settlement and development of that colony was a joint Protestant-Catholic effort.
Samuel Champlain and others developed a colony in Acadia in 1604. This colony had many problems, and Champlain went on four years later to found another “more successful” colony at Quebec, which was called “Canada,” and also “New France.”
The Catholics began the siege of the last major Protestant stronghold, the city of La Rochelle, in 1627. This is the period in which Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers takes place. La Rochelle fell to royal forces the following year. This was the primary seaport from which settlers and military personnel departed for New France and Acadia.
The Fronde, an early French Revolution, took place between 1648 and 1652.
Chapter 3: Ancestral Families

This is the world which gave birth to the first Acadian with the name of Bergeron, our ancestor Barthélemy Bergeron d’Amboise.
One of the major genealogists of the Bergeron d’Amboise family was Father Adrien Bergeron, an Acadian from the Nicolet county area on the south bank of the St. Lawrence, across from Trois Rivières, Québec. He published articles and genealogies from the 1960s (perhaps earlier) to the 1980s. It was from his work that the author discovered the basic framework of the early family. The part of that framework that is pertinent to the present discussion is this: Barthélemy Bergeron d’Amboise married Geneviève Serreau de St-Aubin, the daughter of Jean Serreau de St-Aubin and Marguerite Boileau (Boyleau) de la Goupillère. All of these families seem to have been very effected by the history just recounted, i.e., the rise of the bourgeoisie. We will return to Fr. Bergeron and the Bergeron families (there are two of them) in a while, but will first discuss the Serreau and Boyleau families.
Paul Delaney, a Bergeron descendant and an English professor at th life. The ruthlessness of the Hudson Bay campaign may have put the idea in his head to leave soldiering and go on to something else. We really do not know what was in his mind at this time. But the next campaign would be even more ruthless than Hudson Bay, and the opportunity to do something else still had to present itself.

Chapter 6: Horror at Schenectady

A new war had been declared, and the English colonies received the news before New France. At dawn of August 5, 1689, the Iroquois, sent by the British, fell upon the small settlement of Lachine, near Montréal. The settlers were awaken by war cries. Many were hacked down in their homes. Others were killed as they tried to escape. Others were captured. Of the 77 houses in the town, 56 were burned down. The Iroquois warriors departed early enough to get away, but late enough so their campfires that night could be seen across the lake. It seems that they slowly burned a few captives to death that night to celebrate their victory. Men, women, and children (including babies) had all been killed.
This was the beginning of an eleven-year-long war. The governor general quickly devised plans for revenge. There would be a three-pronged attack on the English colonies, two into Massachusetts and Maine, and a third into New York. They planned the attacks to show the English what the results of such Iroquois raids would be.
D’Iberville was doing nothing at the time, so he volunteered to go along on the New York expedition. There can be no doubt that his selected men accompanied him. We know that Barthélémy began to prepare for another military operation because we have the “last will and testament” that he registered before leaving for battle. It provides some great insight as to his social status. Fr. Bergeron provides two different documents sworn to at this time. In Le Grand Arrangement des Acadiens au Québec (1981) we find the following will:
BEFORE GILLES RAGEOT “gardenottes” notary of the King… In the prevosté [a region under the notary’s jurisdiction] of quebecq In new France was present in person Barthélémy Bergeron VOLUNTEER residing in this city Being on his departure for the journey to the English, present in good health of body of the (flawless)? memory and understanding having good and firm intention as (well) he appeared to the said notary for the inspection of his person words acts And bearing And other following outward actions accompanied by reason and good judgment which said that he being ready to make a very risky journey to go to the English and not being certain of being able to return considering that nothing is more certain than death and nothing more uncertain than the hour of it not wanting that to be reached before having provided for the salvation of his soul and for his temporal affairs not wanting to live intestate but while his senses and reason are in him and he is in good health by the grace of god, his good pleasure and will has dictated and named to the said notary in the presence of the witnesses hereinafter named his testament and order of last will that follows at present as a good Christian and Catholic has to have registered and recommended his soul to god the Creator father son and holy spirit, to the glorious virgin Mary to St. Michael angel and archangel to his good guardian angel to st Bartholemew his patron and to all the saints of paradise;
Item given to Pierre Lezeau boat-master living in the said city the sum of three hundred livres for the good friendship that he has for him –
Item given in alms to the poor of the general hospital of this city another sum of three hundred livres to accept and to receive from the said pierre Lezeau from the sum of eleven hundred fifty livres that he has in his hands belonging to the aforesaid testator following The will that he admitted this Day before the said notary And The surplus up to the said sum of eleven hundred fifty livres which is five hundred fifty livres the said testator gives and leaves behind to pray to God for The Repose of his soul after his death.
And to execute and account for the present testament The said charges donations And alms The said testator has Appointed And Chosen The said Pierre Lezeau whom He gives to be able to do this, The present testament to increase and not to reduce so much in Use of prayers that otherwise in this way that he will judge at the right time, of this he will enable to happen to the said testator of his said journey desiring that the present testament might be executed And it might have its full and entire effect in being his last will this was in this way dictated… to him read And re-read and that he has said to have Understood and Heard in the office of the said notary…

According to Fr. Bergeron’s article in the Mémoires de la Société Généalogique Canadien-Française (Jul-Aug-Sept 1969) the following was also sworn to:
BEFORE GILLES RAGEOT Royal Notary was present in person Pierre Lezeau boat-master residing in this city (of Quebec) Who voluntarily has acknowledged And confessed to have Had And received of Barthélémy Bergeron volunteer residing in this said city the sum of eleven hundred fifty livres {“pounds,” French money} in silver Money that the aforementioned Loiseau has admitted to have In his hands And who to him has been [re?]leased by the aforesaid Bergeron before these Presents And Nine Hundred pounds for a note signed by Catignon on the date of 26th November last to receive of said Catignon in all the month of April next to whom said Loyseau the said Bergeron grants to be able to receive It For him And in his absence and to give complete receipts and in valid evidence And even (? in case of refusal?) to reject all procedings and diligently essentials which said note has been (competently?) put by the said Bergeron is hands of the said Lezeau for the said Lezeau to render Account to the said Bergeron on his return, or at his order, And to return to him The whole Between The hands they pledge sc obliging sc Renouncing sc done And admitted to the said Quebec office of the said notary afternoon the seventh Day of January one thousand six hundred ninety…
1690: BEFORE GILLES RAGEOT “gardenottes” notary of the King… In the prevosté [a region under the notary’s jurisdiction] of quebecq In new france was present in person Barthélémy Bergeron volunteer residing in this city Being on his departure for the journey to the English, present in good health of body sound of (flawless?) memory and understanding having good and firm intention as he appeared to the said notary for the inspection of his person words acts And bearing And following other external actions accompanied by reason and good judgement which said that he being ready to make a very risky journey to go to the English and not being certain of being able to return considering that to him nothing is more certain than death and nothing more uncertain than the hour of it not wanting to be xxxxx (reached/sent? called?) before having provided for the salvation of his soul and disposed of his temporal affairs not wanting to live intestate but while senses and reason are in him and he is in good health by the grace of god, his good pleasure and will has dictated and named to the said notary in the presence of the witnesses hereinafter named his testament and order of last will that follows at present as a good Christian and Catholic must have registered and recommended his soul to god the Creator father son and holy spirit, to the glorious virgin Mary to St. Michael angel and archangel to his good guardian angel to st Bartholemew his patron and to all the saints of paradise;
Item given to Pierre Lezeau boat-master living in the said city the sum of three hundred livres for the good friendship that he has for him –
Item given in alms to the poor of the general hospital of this city another sum of three hundred livres to accept and to receive of the said pierre Lezeau on/over/for/upon the sum of eleven hundred fifty livres that he has in his hands belonging to the aforesaid testator following The will that he entered into this Day before the said notary, And The surplus up to the said sum of eleven hundred fifty livres which is five hundred fifty livres the said testator gives and leaves behind to pray to God for The Repose of his soul after his death.
And to execute and account for the present testament The said charges donations And alms The said testator has Named And Chosen The said Pierre Lezeau whom He gives to be able to do this, The present testament to increase and not to reduce so much in Use of prayers that otherwise in this way that he will judge at the right time, of this that it will be able to happen to the said testator of his journey desiring that the present testament might be executed And that it might have its full and entire effect in being his last will this was in this way dictated… to him read And re-read and that he has said to have Understood and Heard in the office of the said notary…
One thing we see here is that Barthélémy was by no means a pauper. The sum of 1150 livres is a huge amount of money to just have on hand. Also, our ancestor is still single. Otherwise he would never have left so much of this money to Pierre Lezeau, boatmaster and well known merchant, simply “for the good friendship that he has for him”. He had been in Canada for five years and not gotten married even though the king had given specific orders that, as soon as the campaigns were done, the government and military leaders were to exert all their influence help the soldiers find a wife and start a farm at the earliest possible time. Barthélémy remained, as Fr. Bergeron says, “‘in the service of the King’, but also by no means attached to the country, independent of fortune and, through successive winters, resident and businessman in Quebec, The Capital of New-France!” Again that special status seems to be at work.
D’Iberville and Barthélémy became part of a party of 210 men (including 96 Christian Iroquois who had been persuaded to live in Canada) assigned to attack New York. They left Montréal in the middle of winter on snowshoes. Protected by theier blanket-coats and mittens, each armed with a musket, a knife, a hatchet and a pouch of bullets. Each had also been issued a pouch of tobacco for his pipe. Frontenac, the governor of Canada, had left the choice of target to the leaders of the expedition; on the way, they decided to take Albany or die trying. Instead, they wound up on the path for Corlaer (Schenectady).

By this time the temperatures were warm enough that the men waded through knee-deep half-melted snow. Some areas were mud with embedded with chunks of ice. It was slow. It was absolutely painful. Then it turned cold again, the wind picked up and the snow returned. After a long and arduous journey, the French forces reached Corlaer at 4 p.m. on February 8, pelted by a cold, windy snowstorm. They began to move into place, resolved to attack as soon as they reached the town. The men were so cold and hungry that some of them later mentioned that if any of the English had appeared and asked them to do so, they would have surrendered immediately. But nobody challenged them.
The town had two gates, one facing east, used to get to Orange (Albany) to the southeast. The other gate faced west toward Mohawk country. This is where the French and Indian force came upon the town. Everyone was asleep and the Mohawk gate stood wide open.
D’Iberville was to take a detachment (certainly Barthélémy would be with him), go around the town, and stop fugitives from escaping through the other gate. They missed that gate in the dark and hurried back to the main body of men. The attack began when they rejoined their countrymen.
The French and Indians split into two groups. They entered the town and made their way around the inside of the stockade wall. When the leaders met, they gave the signal and the attack began. They vented all their anger on the citizens of the town, and as the Iroquois had done at Lachine, they (especially, they say, the Indian allies) did not discriminate in who they killed. They killed sixty people: 38 men or boys, 10 women, and 12 children. They captured another 80 or 90 persons. The killing and pillage continued for two hours. And then they had not gotten revenge on their enemy, for Corlaer was a Dutch town, not an English one. This is the way the colonial wars went in America. It would happen many times in reverse, later, in Acadia.
There was a man there, by the name of John Sander Glen, who lived just outside the town walls. He had always treated French captives with which he had come into contact compassionately. He had saved the lives of several Frenchmen who had been captured by the nearby Mohawks. D’Iberville had special orders concerning this man, and presented Glen with the news that he and all that was his were to be spared. Furthermore, Glen could go among the prisoners and name anyone who was a relative. He named so many people that the accompanying French Indians commented that he must have been related to everyone in town.
The French burned down the town and departed. They took 27 men and boys with them, leaving behind 60 old men, women, and children. Only two in the French party had been lost, but fifteen more were killed almost within sight of Montréal by a band of English Mohawks chasing after them.

We have no way of knowing to what degree Barthélémy participated in this grisly business. I would like to think that our ancestor was sickened by the slaughter. It is very interesting to note that, so far as we know, he never fought on land again.
Even so, life went on. Stephen White reports that on February 15, 1691, Barthélémy was godfather for Anne, the daughter of François Garneau at her baptism at L’Ange Gardien church. Garneau must have been an old friend. He was married at L’Ange Gardien church February 7, 1689 to Louise Carreau.

To Acadie

Chapter 7: Barthélémy in the navy

The international politics concerning Maine were a tinderbox throughout these years. The French claimed Maine down to the Kennebec River (i.e., almost all of it), while the English claimed it up to the St. Croix River (i.e., all of it). Placing the border at the Penobscot River (which flows through present-day Bangor) might have been a good compromise. However, the French wanted a bigger buffer for Acadia and the English wanted the French gone, period. The French already had a military post at Pentaguët, near present-day Bucksport, on the shore directly south of Bangor. Its commander, the Baron St. Castin was a very real thorn in the side of the Bostonian effort to expand Massachusetts to include all of Maine.
Meanwhile, the Canadians spent 1691 preparing ships and a supply of munitions for another attack on English outposts in Hudson Bay. On February 27, 1692, the minister (of France) gave orders that three of the king’s ships, the Poli (Polite), the Envieux (Envious) and a transport vessel (the Tranquille, the Tranquil) should join the force. But by the time the Envieux arrived from France, it was too late in the season to begin a campaign in the arctic.
However, during the summer of 1692 the Bostonians, under special instructions from the English government, had begun to build a fort they named William Henry at Pemaquid, north of the Kennebec River. [This was on the coast of Maine, just across the bay from present-day Portland, to the east of the mouth of the Kennebec.] It was a large and strong fort of stone and mortar, armed with 14-18 cannons and about 60 men.
It was decided, instead, to try to take Fort William Henry. D’Iberville was given command of the Poli and Simon-Pierre Denys, Sieur de Bonaventure was given command of the Envieux. Barthélémy Bergeron d’Amboise may have met Bonaventure during the Hudson Bay years, but this is probably when they developed a close friendship. Bonaventure had come to Canada, like Barthélémy Bergeron d’Amboise, as one of the Troops of the Marine. He served in the Hudson Bay, working for the Compagnie du Nord. Bonaventure obviously impressed D’Iberville, and was named as a first lieutenant of frigate, then became captain in 1689. From that time Bonaventure was mainly an officer of the King in Acadia. He became known to the English as a famous corsair. Eventually he became the temporary governor of Acadia.
The first documented reference to Baptiste was made by Governor Villebon in his journal entry for January 5, 1692, but he supposedly had been operating along the coast for quite a few years. Pierre Maisonnat, better known as “Baptiste,” was a privateer operating out of Port Royal, as were a number of others. Bostonian accusations had some degree of truth to them; for some period of time Port Royal was indeed a nest of privateers (pirates or corsairs to the New Englanders). These sea dogs got their crews from Acadian youths in the seaports, young men attracted by the free way of life and the dream of plunder.
We do not know why, or for what qualifications, but Barthélémy had evidently been assigned to sail with Bonaventure, but after that he joined the crew of Baptiste. In fact, he may not have been “assigned” this duty as such, but may have joined of his own free will as so many young Acadians did. Enlistment in the Compagnie Franche de la Marine was for a period of six years. This means that Barthélémy completed his tour of duty some time in 1690, and was then free to work for whomever he wished.
We do know that Barthélémy sailed for a number of years with these privateers. Father Bergeron writes: “our Barthélémy was definitively settled in Port Royal from 1693, continuing to go to war with ex-officers, soldiers or friends of D’Iberville: the most famous being Bonaventure and the corsair Baptiste Maisonnat.” He became familiar enough with the Bay of Fundy to later be classified as a navigator. This was a job of tremendous responsibility due to the 50 foot Fundy tides, reversing waterfalls, gigantic whirlpools, and other wonders of the area.
On June 28, 1684, one Jean Serreau de St-Aubin had received a true seigneurial land grant from the king. In such a grant, the king granted the seigneur not only land, but also the complete administration of justice, all rights to have tenants over whom he had all the rights and duties of an old-style feudal lord. The land grant encompassed 5 leagues square where the St. Croix River flowed into the Atlantic, and as lord of this seigneurie was called the Sieur de Pesmoncady (the word later evolved into Passamaquoddy). The St. Croix is the present-day border between Maine and Canada’s province of New Brunswick. Jean Serreau de St-Aubin and his wife, Marguerite Boyleau [Boisleau] de la Goupillière, were French aristocracy in every sense of the word. Jean was a landed seigneur from Poitou in France. His wife and her sister Marie were among the very few aristocratic “Filles du Roi.” The Serreau family had settled in the northern part of the Acadian Seigneurie of Saint-Croix, on the French Bay (i.e., the Bay of Fundy). Their home may have been very close to the present day town of St. Andrews, N.B.
As part of the constant wars between the English and the French colonies, Major Benjamin Church, a famous Indian fighter from Massachusetts, spent much of 1692 ranging up and down the coast attacking all the Acadians and French he could find. Here was a dangerous man who earlier that spring had thought nothing of slaying captive Indian women and children, saving only the families of some leaders and a few old women.
On November 9, 1692, Church’s men succeed in taking captive one of the Serreau de Saint-Aubins. Many have thought this was Jean, the seigneur, but newer evidence seems to point to his son Charles. Church also captured St. Aubin’s wife and children as well as his (Charles’) brother-in-law Jacques Petitpas, who was married to Geneviève (one of Charles Serreau’s sisters; he had another sister named Marguerite). Jean Serreau, the father, had received a land grant from the king that encompassed 5 leagues square where the St. Croix River flowed into the Atlantic, and as lord of this seigneurie was called the Sieur de Pesmoncady (the word later evolved into Passamaquoddy). The St. Croix is the present-day border between Maine and Canada’s province of New Brunswick. During Church’s raid all of the buildings of Jean Serreau’s seigneurie were looted and burned.
Meanwhile, two French deserters named Du Vignon and Albert had been bribed by the English to seize the Baron St. Castin of Pentaguët. The Governor of Massachusetts “persuaded” Serreau and Petitpas to enter into the plot, holding their families hostage to guarantee their good behavior. The stories vary as to where it happened, but Serreau and Petitpas immediately revealed the plan. The two traitors were executed; the two loyal Acadians received a reward of 554 livres which they used to purchase the freedom of their families, or, as it turned out, most of their families. Petitpas’ wife Geneviève was not freed for years.
Governor Villebon ordered the Poli and the Envieux to meet with a ship commanded by Baptiste, at Pentaguët. Baptiste was to act as pilot for D’Iberville and Bonaventure, who were to attack Ft. William Henry at Pemaquid from the sea. Villebon would take a few French and many Indian allies to attack from the land side. Baptist failed to show up because English activity around Port Royal kept him from refitting. When the naval group arrived, a British ship was waiting for them and the fort was prepared for the attack. D’Iberville pulled back, but would return in 1694.

Then, some bad luck fell to Barthélémy and his captain. The following are from Villebon’s journals and shed some light on naval warfare in 1690s:
December 9th [1694]-I was notified that an English ship was at the mouth of the river [St. Jean]. The Commander sent word that he had come to pay the ransom money and to return a sailor of Baptiste’s crew in exchange for an English ship-master whom I held prisoner. [This member of Baptiste’s crew would turn out to be Barthélémy.]
– – – – –
On the last day of May [1695] I heard that M. Baptiste had been attacked and his corvette taken in Musquash Harbor by an English Frigate of 36 guns and another armed vessel, as he was on the point of setting sail for Spanish Harbour. I shall say nothing about the manner in which he fought, since his verbal examination relates the affair as it took place. One thing is certain, that this frigate would not have gone into that harbour if Baptiste had not been betrayed.
June 4th [1695].-M. François Guyon, Canadian privateer, returned from a raiding expedition having come upon the same English frigate with its three prizes twenty-four hours after its fight with M. Baptiste. It was fast on the rock, three leagues from land, south west of Grand Manan. The frigate hoisted a white flag to have speech with him and he promised, on the surrender of the prizes, to let them have two boats in which to go ashore, with supplies for fifteen days. This was done. Their capture was valuable because of the quantity of provisions on board. [Guyon was another of the famous corsairs in these waters during this period, and he remained active for a long time.]
Of these kinds of events, Fr. Bergeron writes of days in the 1730s: “Church… went to sea again, where he was not entirely safe because of the privateers who, although few in number, cut the route of the vessels whose destinations were the English colonies. Mentioned were Robineau, de Nantes [this may have been Barthélémy’s son Michel Bergeron I], François Guyon, and Baptiste whose true name was Pierre Maisonnat. The Adventures of the Chevalier de Beauchêne, written by Le Sage, tells in detail the life of these buccaneers, fighting in their way under the flag of their country as long as the war between the crowns (of France and England) lasted.
Villebon’s journal continues:
June 20th [1695]-I had news that an English frigate and a sloop had anchored off Manawoganish and that she brought ransom money. … Having had definite information that they had come to restore the man Amboise, one of Baptiste’s crew, and to pay ransom for the vessel, I sent a Frenchman to the shore opposite the frigate with a white flag, on the 23rd. The Captain sent in his longboat, and a message was delivered on my behalf that they might safely come to confer with me and bring Amboise and the ransom.
24th-The frigate’s longboat appeared and landed on an island in the harbour. I sent word to the Lieutenant in charge to come to me, which he did after having asked for a
safe-conduct. He put the Frenchman ashore and made over the money. The English ship-master was then given over to him.
Barthélémy may have stayed at Ft. Nachouac for some time. Then he may have gone back out to sea- or he may have gone directly to Québec (see the next chapter). He may have been there before; Baptiste had a homestead near Fort Nashwaak in partnership with one Jean Martel, so he been in the area a number of times. (A 1696 letter describing the area’s progress to Frontenac, Governor of Canada, reported: “the Sieur Martel [harvested] very little, for he has only begun to cultivate his land during the last two years.”) Baptiste must have been familiar with the new settlers across the river on a point of land still called Ste-Anne’s Point. Barthélémy may very well have been with him at times in those early years.

During this final decade of the seventeenth century a village began at Point Saint Anne on the southern bank of the Saint John River, across from Villebon’s Fort Nashwaak. Several settlements had been formed along the river, but this one was the most successful and the most important.
Gabriel Godin-Bellefontaine came over from Port Royal, across the Bay of Fundy, in present-day Nova Scotia, where his parents lived. If any one person can be given the honor of the title of founder of this village, it would be him. His son Joseph would later write in his mémoires:
When Monsieur de Villebon, under the reign of Louis XIV, constructed for the King the fort that carried his name on the height of the River Saint John, 25 leagues from its mouth, in Acadia, he accepted settlers from other districts of this province already inhabited by the French, Sieur Gabriel Bellefontaine, ship’s officer of the King in Canada, and Angélique Robert Jeanne were of this number. Monsieur de Villebon, who knew what Sieur Gabriel Bellefontaine would be worth and the advantageous party that he would able draw, chose him and named him the lieutenant commandant under his orders. At the same time he granted him a plot of land of three leagues frontage on the bank of the river with all the depth that he could expand, which he developed through all the settlements that the country permitted him to form there, and he began a considerable enough trade as much with the other French colonies as with the savage Nations.
Sieur Gabriel Bellefontaine having made himself very familiar with all the languages of these Savages, Monsieur de Villebon conferred on him the commission of interpreter of these Nations for the King, so that he became the chief of this new colony, as much by the titles of authority that the governor handed down to him as by the fortune that he made, and even more by the confidence that not only the other colonists, but even these Savages, had in him, in his decisions, one and all regarding him as their arbitrator.
Joseph Godin considered Barthélémy Bergeron himself to be one of the pioneers of the village at Saint Anne’s Point. He also reported that Barthélémy had gone through the area “with his family [thus it must have been in the mid-1690s] at Villebon’s fort where he improved his concession and he also traded there….”
Gabriel Godin’s settlement grew through the decade and became known as one of the best established villages one Université de Moncton in Moncton, NB, has done extensive research that shows that Geneviève Serreau’s mother, Marguerite Boisleau (Boyleau) was from a family that probably started out as part of the rising bourgeoisie. He has also provided some valuable information and insights concerning the rest of the families.

Jean Serreau de St-Aubin
Jean Serreau, Sieur de Saint-Aubin, originally came from Poitou, France. This is part of the territory once ruled by the great medieval duchess and queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Serreau evidently had extensive lands in France, and was later given a large fief in Acadia. Beyond this, all that the author knows of this ancestor was provided by Paul Delaney. Serreau’s records have not yet been found in the archives, but it seems that is merely a matter of time. Part of the problem was that there were several places in Poitou called St-Aubin. He was a legitimate noble, though of the petite noblesse (the lesser nobility). He evidently carried the rank of “ecuyer” or squire. This was the lowest noble rank. As Paul Delaney reports: “… when hopefully we find him in Poitou, he might well have some interesting ancestry…. We don’t know how ancient his nobility was. He might have been a first generation…, or he might hook up to some ancient families.”

Marguerite Boyleau
Paul Delaney has provided us with a very large set of genealogical data concerning the family and ancestry of Marguerite Boyleau, wife of Jean Serreau and mother of Barthélemy Bergeron’s wife, Geneviève. Counting Marguerite and her sister Marie, Delaney gives us five generations of the Boyleau family (the Roman Numerals are mine):
René Boyleau I (?-c1540), leather merchant, Sieur de la Baste, married Marie Soussac about 1520.
René Boyleau II (born 1 Apr 1545 in Tours), Sieur de la Baste, married Marie Proust (widow of Pierre Fleuriau) on 9 Nov 1572 in Tours. She was the daughter of Louis Proust, Sieur de la Goupillère and Perrine Gascoing.
René Boyleau III (born 1 jan 1574, Tours), Sieur de la Goupillère from Ballan, married Marthe Quantin about 1600 in Tours. She was the daughter of André Quantin, Seigneur de la Ménardière, de Richebourg et du Moulinet and Marguerite Bougreault. (See below for interesting information about Marthe Quantin’s genealogy.)
René Boyleau IV (born 18 Feb 1611 in Tours), Sieur de la Goupillère, married Joachine Ferrand in 1640 in Ballan. She was the daughter of Léonard Ferrand, Sieur de Belesbat, and Jeanne de Portebise.
By the late 17th century the family was in such a state that two daughters of the last-named couple, the sisters Marguerite and Marie, went to New France as Filles du Roi (“Girls/Daughters of the King”), special ladies sent over to the new world by the king for the express purpose of becoming wives to the soldiers already there, settling down and populating the colony. Very few aristocratic women went to New France this way. Marguerite (born c1642), married Jean Serreau de Saint-Aubin; and Marie (born c1645), married Pierre Chauvin, Simon Chamberland, and Jean Jolin.
Paul Delaney’s previously unpublished family tree (as published by Jean-Marie Germe) showed Marguerite and Marie’s grandmother, Marthe Quantin being the daughter of André Quantin and Marguerite Bougrault. Marguerite Bougrault’s mother was Françoise d’Argouges, a member of a family carrying the same name as a very famous family which was originally from around Caen, Normandy. Delaney’s family tree traces back a number of generations beyond Françoise d’Argouges, far enough back to find the d’Argouges family in histories of Normandy. The Norman family can be traced all the way back to Rollo, the Viking chieftain who arranged with the French king at Paris to settle down on lands at the mouth of the Seine. Members of this d’Argouges family later accompanied William the Conqueror to England and helped with the conquest. This looks like a connection to a highly placed noble family, but Delaney cautions us not to connect Marguerite Boyleau’s ancestral d’Argouges and the famous Normans; he was unable to find any connection even though he searched rigorously. He even mentioned a court case in France (discovered by a professional genealogist of Tours that he had hired to do some research) where the d’Argouges in Tours tried to make a claim connecting their family to the Normans, but the French courts denied the claim on the basis that, historically, inheritances in the family had never been of the noble form, so, therefore, the family could not have been nobility or related to nobility. (If the family were noble, the oldest son would inherit the “partage,” two-thirds of everything. The other children divided the remaining third.)

Bergeron Family #1
We know for certain of two Bergeron families in the town of Amboise. One of these families provides definite indications of some sort of relationship to the Medieval family. Father Bergeron writes that a Cajun Cousin, one Jacques Bergeron from Louisiana served in France during World War II. While there, he hired “a certain Dame Lubineau of Nantes, an experienced genealogist, … to retrace among the old registers of Amboise the origins of our family.” He published a listing from Barthélemy’s father back five generations. The list below is compiled from those data:
Joseph Bergeron married Marie, c1530 at Amboise
Jean I, born 1540, only known child
Jean Bergeron married Gabrielle Bardougne, c1554 at Chaumont-sur-Loire
Jean II, born 1570, only known child
Jean II Bergeron married Jeanne Belouche, c1595 at Notre-Dame de Grève, Amboise
Jean III, born 1598
Noël, born 1601
Gabrielle, born 1603
Marguerite, born 1607
Zacharie, born 1611
Sylvie, born 1617
All baptized at Notre Dame de Grève, Amboise
Jean III Bergeron married Catherine Douaray, c1623 at Chaumont-sur-Loire
Jean IV, born 1633
Louise, born 1637
Jacques, born 1642 [twins?]
Marie, born 1642 [twins?]
Antoine, born 1643
Catherine, born 1644
Thomas, born 1648
Pierre, born 1650
Antoine Bergeron married Claudette Scarron, c1664 at Chapelle St-Florentin, Amboise
Barthélemy, born c1665, only known child
In 1530 we have the first mention of a Bergeron in the town of Amboise. A Joseph Bergeron married a woman named Marie (whose family name we do not know) in that year. Their only child (that we know of) was born about ten years later. He was married in 1570 in Chaumont. This is one of the curious things about this family’s history. The marriage records show each succeeding generation being married in the other town: Jean II in Amboise, Jean III in Chaumont, and Antoine in Amboise. This family definitely seems to have some connections or other reason for going back and forth between the two main centers of the medieval d’Amboise family.
Jean III was born the same year as the Edict of Nantes (1598) to Jean II Bergeron and Jeanne Belouche at Amboise. Their other children were: Noël (b.1601), Gabrielle (b.1603, the year before Samuel de Champlain established his colony in Acadia), Marguerite (b.1607), Zacharie (b.1611), and Sylvie (1617). Father Bergeron mentions that all these children were born and baptized at Notre-Dame de Grève in Amboise.
In 1623 Jean III Bergeron married Catherine Douaray at Chaumont-sur-Loire. They had the following children: Jean IV (b.1633), Louise (b.1637), Jacques (b.1642), Marie (b.1642), Antoine (b.1643) (possibly our ancestor), Catherine (b.1644), Thomas (b.1648), Pierre (b.1650).
Antoine Bergeron was a boy, going from 5 to 9 years old during this troubled time. Twelve years later (1664), he married Claudette Searron (or Scarron) at Chapelle St-Florentin, Amboise. According to unconfirmed sources, they had a son named Barthélemy, who was supposedly born on May 23 of the following year.
Upon analyzing the family of Jean III Bergeron and Catherine Douaray, we see that Antoine, supposedly the father of Barthélemy, was the third son of the family. As was mentioned earlier, in the old system of things, if the family were noble, the first son (in this case, Jean IV) inherited the “partage” (two-thirds of the estate) and the other children divided the remainder. The oldest child may or may not have supported his/her siblings to a greater or lesser degree, or they may have been left to make a living as best they could. These younger children is the pool of educated people which gave the church its priests and nuns. And this is where the vast majority of professional soldiers came from.
The available data do not indicate whether Antoine and Claudette Bergeron’s Barthélemy was the oldest son or not. He was certainly the son of a younger son. Even if Jean IV did support his brothers, by the time Barthélemy was born, there probably were far too few family resources available to support him. And so he joined the Troupes de la Marine, which assigned his unit to New France.
Now, all this is if this is truly our Barthélemy Bergeron. Paul Delaney indicates that this family may not even have had a son named Barthelemy; he mentions the possibility that Dame Lubineau of Nantes or Joseph Bergeron of Louisiana saw this Bergeron family and, simply assuming that it had to be the right one, assigned our ancestor to it. He wrote: “This Bergeron is well-known, and I found some material on it, and there was no mention of a son Barthélemy. Nor does Father Bergeron provide any birth or baptismal record, or other documentation to show that his family did indeed have a son Barthélemy. So that I think that the one whose baptismal record M Germe found was very probably the one and only person of this name, and our ancestor.”

Bergeron Family #2
Even though Father Bergeron published the data provided by Dame Lubineau of Nantes, he admitted that it was uncertain whether that Barthélemy was our ancestor. The problem was the fact that “she has not yet succeeded in discovering the baptismal certificate of Barthélemy: which forces us for the moment to consider ‘this French part’ of our genealogy as only ‘hypothetical,’ though endowed with strong probability.”
That strong probability had been reduced to zero. A genealogical researcher in France by the name of Jean-Marie Germe has actually found a baptismal certificate for Barthélemy Bergeron d’Amboise, who was baptized at Saint Denis church in Amboise on May 23, 1663. He was the son of René Bergeron and Anne Dagault and his godparents were Barthélemy Bertail and Gabrielle Saicher. Regrettably, that is almost all we know of this family.
So now, except if Dame Lubineau’s family never had a son named Barthélemy as Delaney suspects, we have a problem: two Bergeron families from the same town with sons named Barthélemy born within a couple years of each other. And here is an interesting coincidence that may well support Delaney’s supposition: The date provisionally provided for Barthélemy’s birth into Dame Lubineau’s Bergerons is 23 May 1665 while the baptismal date discovered by Germe is 23 May 1663. What is the probability of two babies named Barthélemy being born into Bergeron families in the same town and having meaningful “dates of origin” of 23 May?
We do not know how, or even if, the two families were related to each other. And we do not know which, if either, were related to the medieval d’Amboise family. As cousin Joe Damboise of New Hampshire wrote to the author: “How do we know that the Barthélemy, son of René and Anne Dagault, is one and the same as the Barthélemy who married Genevieve Serreau? How did past genealogists come up with Antoine Bergeron and Claudette Scarron as Barthélemy’s parents? Maybe Antoine and René were brothers or cousins who each had sons named Barthélemy. I wonder.”
We know Antoine’s siblings (see above), so unless the data are incomplete, Antoine and René were not brothers. However, Antoine had two uncles that we know of, Noël and Zacharie. As Joe suggested, one of them may have had a son René, making him Antoine’s cousin. Needless to say we need considerably more work here. I tried to find more information about René Bergeron and Anne Dagault by asking (over the internet) a volunteer researcher in France to try to find a marriage certificate. She could find nothing in Amboise and was quite surprised by that result.
There may be another place to search. In the early 1700s when a different Michel Bergeron showed up in Port Royal, Acadia, Barthélemy’s son Michel took the name of “de Nantes” because he had a grandmother from that city. We know, from the work of Paul Delaney, that Michel’s other grandmother, Marguerite Boyleau, was from Tours and her family had been there for about four generations. The only grandmother who could have come from Nantes would have to be Anne Dagault. Her wedding to René Bergeron could very well have occurred in the home town of the bride. The author hopes to find somebody to follow that trail in the near future.
Again, keep in mind that, as Paul Delaney points out, the family listed in Father Bergeron’s works are quite upper class and carried the designation of “Sieur de la Goupillère” (NOT the same Goupillère as the Boyleau family). They probably were not aristocracy, but they were certainly upper class bourgeoisie. And there is no indication whatsoever that the family found by Germe has the same status; it does not have the documentation in the archives to support any claim to the same social position.
Chapter 4: The Question of Aristocracy

Some mystery still remains about the double surname of Barthélemy Bergeron d’Amboise. The enigma is not about the names themselves – the second name (d’Amboise) can be easily explained as locational. But if it IS a locational name, and Barthélemy was a commoner, there is the puzzling events of Barthélemy having the friends that he had and receiving the deferential treatment that he did in New France and Acadia.
There could be four reasons for his name: (1) Barthélemy was truly a descendant of the medieval d’Amboise family, (2) he used “d’Amboise” as a locational amplification (but see below), (3) he actually did use a “dit” name (again, see below), or (4) he deliberately tried to amplify his social status in New France by using the medieval family’s name to good advantage. Of course, we can not know all his motivations with any certainty, but from many indications of his personality (which we will see later in this paper) Barthélemy seems to have been much too honorable a person for the fourth possibility to be true. But this is the author’s conjecture (bias?).
Furthermore, we can not know whether points two and three were true or not without completely proving point one. The following are some arguments in favor of the first point, which, in some respects, seem to be overwhelming.
There are a number of facts which logically indicate that Barthélemy’s family was descended from the medieval d’Amboises, or at least from some aristocratic family. Consider the following points (most of which we will meet again later in this biography):
1. For most of his life, Barthélemy was known as d’Amboise, not Bergeron, and there is no instance in any document of those times that the common “dit” was used between his surnames. Especially during his early years in America, very rarely was he even called by the name of Bergeron. The educated people of that time would have known their history, known of the d’Amboise family, and probably not have used this form of address if he were not truly from that family. Furthermore, “if you had such very exalted ancestry, even of the wrong side of the blanket, you let people know, as it gave you status, exempted you from certain taxes, and offered the possibility of many government appointments that were not offered to lesser mortals.” It seems to the author that this is very close to what happened with Barthélemy Bergeron d’Amboise, as illustrated in the remainder of this list.
(By the way, a considerable part of the “Bergeron family” from Acadia today carries the name of d’Amboise, with various spellings and anglicizations, instead of Bergeron.)
2. Furthermore, Barthélemy was certainly treated with all the deference of aristocracy. (And it is very interesting that just when history seems to lose the d’Amboise family, genealogy has found the Bergeron family, especially if we come from the Antoine Bergeron line.)
3. As mentioned earlier, the great d’Amboise family had four main branches: the family at Amboise itself, those at Chaumont-sur-Loire, the famous branch at Bussy and another at Aubijoux. Now, consider this: “by a curious tradition the members of these branches were referred to, not as d’Amboise de Bussy, etc., but as Bussy d’Amboise.” The idea that the “Bergeron d’Amboise” family might have been a minor offshoot of the great medieval family, carrying the same “curious” nominal construction, does not seem terribly far-fetched (though we still have no firm basis for such an assumption).
Another possibility was brought to mind by Paul Delaney’s comment concerning people “being on the wrong side of the blanket.” Barthélemy’s family (that of René Bergeron) may have been on the wrong side of the blanket as related to the other, higher class Bergeron family (the one found by Dame Lubineau). Paul wrote: “Of course, there may be a link between the two Bergeron families and a common origin in the past, but we have not found anything on this yet. I have concentrated my research on the Boyleau line.”
4. In Canada, most of Barthélemy’s best friends were young noblemen, including a cousin of D’Iberville, one of the ten sons of Pierre Le Moyne (seven of whom died for their country). In fact, Barthélemy was one of about twenty young men that D’Iberville would keep close to him as special troops or companions.
5. Barthélemy seems to have flaunted the king’s law that all young men newly arrived in the colonies had to marry within a year. He did not get married for ten years.
6. When he did get married, he married Geneviève Serreau de Saint-Aubin, the daughter of a legitimately landed noble. We have already examined the status of the Sieur de St. Aubin and his wife, Marguerite Boyleau, had a lineage that can be traced back for centuries.
7. When he was captured by the English in 1692, Barthélemy was ransomed by Villebon, the governor of Acadia.
All these are strong indications that this founder of the Acadian Bergeron family was himself at least a nobleman of some degree. As a matter of fact, when I once talked about this to the renowned professor Bernard Bachrach, with whom I had studied Medieval History at the University of Minnesota, I mentioned that I thought Barthélemy Bergeron d’Amboise might have been petty nobility. Professor Bachrach warned me that the d’Amboise name may have been merely a locational name and not an indicator of anything else. When I enumerated just three of the items in the above list, he replied: “All right, then, you may be making a valid assumption.” No proof, but a valid assumption.
Father Adrien Bergeron, our own family’s genealogist and historian, wrote: “we can conclude that he [Barthélemy] was of the number of those ‘sons of completely bankrupted and titled families, who position themselves to work on this side of the ocean, in the hope of making a career…’” In fact he specifically asked if Barthélemy might have belonged to the d’Amboise family. Even so, there is no proven connection between us and the famous, powerful French family of cardinals, architects and royal advisors, and the possibility of such a connection needs considerably more research.
So, it is possible (but only possible!) that both sides of the Bergeron d’Amboise-Serreau de Saint-Aubin family in Acadia were from famous families who had fallen on hard times, and whose children went looking for a better life in a completely different world. It is likely that both sides were not from famous families, but were local minor aristocrats or bourgeoisie families raised to the minor aristocracy. Remember that this was a period when many noble and notable families were being ruined by the high cost of maintaining their lifestyle, inflation, and the competing new merchant class (the bourgeoisie). Many of their sons and daughters were forced to look for a new life in the Americas. These included the following famous families of Acadia as well: Serreau de Saint-Aubin, Deschamps de Boishébert, the sons and brothers of the Denys de La Ronde family (including de Bonaventure, de la Trinité, de Saint-Pierre and du Tartre), and Abbadie, the barons de St.-Castin.

Chapter 5: The Hudson Bay Expedition

Governor de La Barre returned to Quebec in the autumn of 1684 after a disastrous campaign against the Iroquois. Reinforcements, the Troops of the Marine had arrived, but too late to participate in that year’s military action. Yet they must have had some effect: it was almost a full year before Canada heard anything of the Iroquois again.
The commanding officers of these Troops of the Marine brought to Canada with them a letter from the king. According to this letter, these captains and their troops had been ordered to operate independently of De La Barre, and not be part of his forces.
The letter also shows that the King of France was much more anxious about his wars in Europe than the immediate needs of the colonies. In response to the entreaties of the Governor, the King replied: “I have seen what you wrote to me on the subject of the communication by ground between Canada and Acadia. Nothing would be better and more useful for the growth of the two colonies than to make the path from one to the other easy, so that the residents of Canada might help Acadia with their commodities and that those of Acadia carrying their fish to Canada, they could mutually help each other. But I can not consent to make this expense of 25 to 30.000 livres … as you proposed. Therefore, it is necessary that you seek other expedients (think of that!) and it is to that you have to think…”
This from the king who, at the same time, spent millions to wage war in Europe and elsewhere!
Almost in the same breath, the king added: “I recommend you prevent as much as it will be possible that the English are not established in the Hudson Bay which was taken possession in my name several years ago….”
There was a French fur-trading company in Canada at that time called the Company of the North. Their profits pretty much depended on being the sole fur traders of the area, and an English organization (later called the Hudson Bay Company) was moving in. The men who ran the Company of the North now saw no chance to get either money or men from their king. They would have to do the best they could on their own. They asked Denonville, governor general of Canada, for some soldiers and an officer to command them. Denonville gave them 24 men, and assigned the chevalier de Troyes as commander. Furthermore, three sons of the Le Moynes (the greatest family in Canada) volunteered to go along: de Ste-Héléne, d’Iberville, and de Maricourt. The fact that their father was a director of the Compagnie du Nord certainly helped them be accepted. It is certain that John de Méra, Pierre Viaux and Barthélémy Bergeron also took part in this expedition; we have the documented proof in the court records of 1685 where these three were awarded money from “three notes signed by d’Hiberville.”
Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville, is one of the most important figures of Canadian history, and certainly of French Canadian history. He was born near Montréal in 1661. He became the most famous of the fourteen children of Charles Le Moyne, baron of Longueuil and Châteauguay, and lieutenant-general of Canada (a very high position, second only to the commander of the national armed forces).
D’Iberville is of special interest to us. He started as the second lieutenant of the Hudson Bay expedition under the chevalier de Troyes, later became a frigate captain, a knight of Saint-Louis, the discoverer of the mouths of the Mississippi, the founder of Louisiana, and the commander of a naval squadron. He served in an incomparable and sustained manner through ten military campaigns and two voyages of discovery and foundation. For at least ten years Barthélémy would be attached to D’Iberville as one of his special troops, and participate in the adventures of the most illustrious of Canada’s leaders. Throughout this period Barthélémy remained unmarried, and never settled down to establish a residence in Canada.

An important court judgment of the Sovereign Council of 1689, showed Barthélémy Bergeron connected very closely to Jean de Méra and especially to Pierre Viaux. Viaux was a cousin of de Maricourt and D’Iberville, so it only follows that he and his best friends would serve directly under one of them. Fr. Bergeron writes: “It is entirely plausible, not to say more, that it is through this Pierre Viaux that Bergeron and de Méra came to be put under the direct command of d’Iberville.” D’Iberville chose his close associates, and kept 18 or 20 special soldiers and our ancestor was one of them. This connection between Barthélémy and D’Iberville not only took him into some major military actions, it was directly responsible for him eventually winding up in Acadia.
The chevalier de Troyes kept a journal of the Hudson Bay expedition of 1686. From Montréal one could get to James Bay (on Hudson Bay) by canoe, by following the courses of lakes and rivers. It was a rough trip for individual men in good physical condition, let alone a troop of a hundred men. The expedition lasted four months, through the snow and the mud, through numerous Masses celebrated for them all by Father Sylvie.
On the “day of Easter, we made our devotions in a high mass that was chanted with all the solemnity that the times and place were able to permit,” wrote the Chevalier de Troyes. After vespers there was a “big north wind! I made a review of all my detachment, of which I made three brigades composed each of three squads… and left one third under the orders of the Sieur D’Iberville…”
The men were well equipped. After 85 days of exhaustion and extreme hardship, they arrived at Moose Fort (today Moose Factory) and completely surprised the English. They took all three major trading posts and several small houses for the fur trade on James Bay. This left the English with only Fort Nelson, considerably farther north on Hudson Bay.
The Deliberations of the Sovereign Council of New-France indicate that Barthélémy stayed in the North with d’Iberville from 1686 to 1689, part of the crew left behind to guard the posts when D’Iberville made some brief trips to Quebec or even to France.
When de Troyes left the north in August of 1686, he left d’Iberville in charge of the captured posts. In September, 1688, a couple of English ships blockaded one of the posts and got frozen in the ice through the winter. Both sides were ruthless in their treatment of the other, but d’Iberville made a name for himself notorious by refusing to let the English go out hunting for food without harassment, evidently knowing that the resulting scurvy would decimate the English crews. Then, when the disease was epidemic, d’Iberville invited the English surgeon to go hunting; then when the man had left the protection of his ship, the French commander took him prisoner. The English lost 28 men over the winter, 25 of them to scurvy, and had to surrender. D’Iberville (and evidently his favorite companions) returned to Quebec on October 28, 1689, loaded down with English prisoners, booty and prize furs. The Canadian leader got the credit for the great success of keeping the English out of James Bay. Furthermore, in less than three years, he provided all the evidences anyone would need afterwards of his of organizational and leadership abilities.
Upon returning from the north, Barthélémy settled down to wait for the next assignment. He again lived with his friend, Pierre Lezeau. Lezeau (Loyseau) was a “boat-master” and well-known merchant, and seems to have had a considerable maritime trade and used his family establishment (located in the Low-City of the old capital) as a base of operations. This may have been where Barthélémy got his first taste of being a sailor-merchant, a trade he would use for most of his the Saint John. He raised cattle and cultivated a number of acres of land. The village was centered around the his family and continued to prosper for decades into the next century. Around the 1730s the inhabitants built a church dedicated to St. Anne-du-Pays-Bas (St. Anne of the Netherlands) and they gave the parish the same name. Jesuit fathers were in charge of the parish up to the time of Father Charles-François Bailly, who arrived in 1767.
The village was located on a point of land that today includes the downtown of Fredericton, New Brunswick, hence the name of Point Sainte-Anne. “We rise for a mile on a rocky coast to arrive at the Saint Anne plain, of an expanse of two miles, cleared by the French,” wrote a visitor named John Munro in 1783. “It is an elevated plateau….” The village site is now a public park on the riverfront of New Brunswick’s capital city.
Not far upriver from the Acadian village was a Malecite village named Ekoupahag, or in French, Aukpaque. The two villages grew in parallel. … Each had its own church and cemetery.
It is known for sure that Barthélémy was a very good friend of Gabriel Godin Bellefontaine. Gabriel was just three years older than Barthélémy, who would one day return to settle nearby. According to Fr. Bergeron’s genealogy, three of Bellefontaine’s sons would marry three of the Bergeron d’Amboise daughters, though one of these turns out to be a granddaughter who married a Godin grandson.

Chapter 8: Marriage and Family

We do not know for sure how Barthélémy first met Geneviève, the younger daughter of Jean Serreau de St-Aubin and Marguerite Boyleau, but we can weave together some intriguing strands of information. Fr. Bergeron wondered if Barthélémy and Geneviève might have met at the time of delivering Jean Serreau’s family from their captivity in Boston. We have no idea when they first met or what transpired on those meeting(s), for Geneviève was probably married at the time to Jacques Petitpas. She had given birth to two sons, Jean (born 1691) and Nicolas. But Petitpas had died in 1694.
Fr. Adrien Bergeron wrote: “the wife of Barthélémy was certainly Geneviève Serreau de Saint-Aubin, but, contrary to what Bona Arsenault erroneously tells, not the widow of Jacques Petitpas; the latter, in fact, had married the older sister of Geneviève, Marguerite.” On the other hand, Stephen White, acclaimed genealogist at the Centre d’Etudes Acadienne at the Université de Moncton, who supposedly double- and triple-checked every fact before publishing his two-volume Dictionnaire Généalogique des Familles Acadiennes, insists that Geneviève was indeed the widow of Jacques Petitpas. So, who are we to believe? We stared at a crucial piece of information for years until Joe Damboise of Grafton, NH, pointed out that in the diaries of his expedition in 1704, Colonel Church mentions finding “De Boisses’ wife, who had formerly been Colonel Church’s prisoner, and carried to Boston, but returned; who seemed very glad to see him. She had with her, two sons, that were near grown men.” Joe pointed out what should have been obvious to us: these “two sons, that were near grown men” had to be her sons Jean and Nicolas Petitpas, now in their early teens, nearly grown men in those days.
About 1695 D’Iberville was set to lead another expedition against Newfoundland, but royal bureaucracy balked at his military expenditures. He had to go to France to argue his cause, and even then funding was not quick to come. As Fr. Bergeron wrote, he could no longer keep around him his 18 to 20 favorites. But as far as Barthélémy was concerned, he was no longer associated with D’Iberville. Besides, at this time he was being held in a prison in Boston.
Fr. Bergeron wrote that in 1695, “without doubt, his betrothed Geneviève Serreau de Saint-Aubin had taken the opportunity of the ‘difficulties of d’Iberville’ to finally convince Barthélémy that the hour had come!” We do not know if Barthélémy continued to sail with Baptiste after his marriage.
Joe Damboise brought another very interesting point to my attention. In analyzing the governor’s letters, we see that Villebon was notified on December 9, 1694 that the English wanted to exchange a sailor of Baptiste’s crew for an English ship-master that Villebon was holding. The exchange actually occurred on June 24, 1695. Thus it is firmly established for us that Barthélémy Bergeron D’Amboise was in prison in Boston, at the very minimum, for almost seven months. We also know that Benjamin Church captured members of the Serreau de St.-Aubin family in 1692. According to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography:
“in a letter that Saint-Aubin sent to Boston in 1695 mention is made of a ransom of 30 livres for his daughter.” The most logical daughter would be Geneviève, captured in 1692 with her husband at the time, Jacques Petitpas. Thus we have Barthélémy and Geneviève, the widow of Petitpas, in prison in Boston prison at the same time.
How do we know they were together? Their first child was Barthélémy II, baptized at Île d’Orléans (Québec) on 1 January 1696. (The baby’s godparents were Michel Chartier and his grandmother, Marguerite Boisleau.) We have no idea why the family was in Québec at this time. We do know for facts that: 1.) Petitpas had died in 1694, 2.) Barthélémy Bergeron D’Amboise was not freed from Boston until late June of 1695, and 3.) Barthelemy II was baptized on 1 January 1696, meaning, of course, that he had been born before then. Calculations easily made show that Barthélémy and Geneviève HAD to have been together for Barthélémy II to be conceived and born before the following New Year’s Day. And both Barthélémy and Geneviève were in Boston prisons when son Barthélémy had to have been conceived. Logically they must have been together in the same prison.
Fr. Bergeron believes that Barthélémy and Geneviève were almost certainly married at Port Royal. There were no chapels or missions yet at any of the places where they would later live. Their marriage date was probably some time in 1695. Fr. Bergeron believed that no marriage certificate survived the later wars and deportations: “For, if my ‘historical notes’ are exact, the first parish Régistre of Port-Royal, … covers only the years going from 1702 to 1715….” But the fact that they were in Québec for the baptism (and quite likely the somewhat earlier birth) of their son, indicates the possibility that they went to Québec after being freed and were married there, then waited for the birth before returning to Acadia. Personally, I suspect that Barthélémy waited at Fort Nashwak (Nachouac) with Villebon or at St-Anne’s Point with Gabriel Godin, until Geneviève was finally freed, and then they went to Québec, but we need to learn the date of St-Aubin’s letter to see how late in the year of 1695 his daughter was still a prisoner to shed more light on this theory.
And there is always the possibility that the two lovers found or were provided with a Catholic priest while in the Boston prison….
We may be able to judge what this wedding was like by comparing it with a similar one, six years later. This was the marriage of Geneviève’s second cousin, the “Sieur Louis-Simon de Saint-Aubin, Le Poupet, chevalier de la Boularderie, ensign of vessel of the King and captain of a company kept by His Majesty.” Fr. Bergeron wrote that “Barthélémy had to be of great enough class, then usually ‘the great of the times’ held similar ceremonies, an occasion for all to rejoice socially in a time moreover that was tranquil and stable.”
It is possible that Barthélémy had one final adventure with D’Iberville, Bonaventure, and Baptiste. In 1696, D’Iberville led essentially the same kind of expedition as he had tried in 1692 against Pemaquid. He and Bonaventure were in charge of the naval forces and again Villebon would lead the land forces. Remember, Barthélémy Bergeron d’Amboise was “one of Baptiste’s crew,” but given the fact that he was already married and had a child, we do not know if he was with this expedition. Beamish Murdoch, a Canadian historian, reports:
On the 4 July [1696] they set sail, the Indians embarking with them. The French ships were the Profond and the Envieux, and had two companies of soldiers on board. They met fogs on the voyage, and when near cape Sable they heard the report of cannon, which they supposed were fired by the enemy’s ships as signals to prevent separation. On the 14 July the French ships cast anchor in the fog, at the distance of five leagues from the river St. John. The weather clearing up at 2, P.M., they perceived the three English vessels to windward, bearing directly for the river St. John. When they were one league off, they observed the French vessels, and bore down on them. The Profond masked her warlike character, keeping her ports closed until within musket shot. Two of the English vessels came pretty near, and the small one fired at the Profond, and the other at the Envieux. The enemy, seeing the Profond open her ports, kept to windward, (tiennent le vent), and not being able to resist the musketry, endeavored to escape. The Profond tried to gain the wind on them, and the Envieux followed, contending with stormy weather. M. d’Iberville, in the Envieux, dismasted
the smaller English vessel, which proved to be the Newport, of 24 guns. The prize falling astern, came almost aboard the bows of the Envieux, and lowered her flag. M. d’Iberville left her to be manned by M. de Bonaventure, who gave her to Baptiste to take her to the river St. John, at which place he was near losing her upon the rocks where she run aground. The Envieux chased the other ship, which was the largest, mounting 34 guns. The shot of the French ship passed beyond the chase, but night and fog closed their combat, which had lasted three hours, and the English ship escaped.
The ships arrived at the River St. John on July 15, 1696. On August 2, the expedition set off for Pentaguët, where they met up with St. Castin. They recruited more Indians, and twelve days later they arrived at Ft. William Henry at Pemaquid. The Profond and the Envieux arrived at the same time. Troops began to surround the fort on August 14 and mortars and cannons were brought ashore during the night. St. Castin had also arrived with 300 Indians. On August 15, the French cannon succeeded in landing some shells inside the fort, which greatly alarmed the English.
St. Castin promised that if the English surrendered now, they would be held safe from the Indians. Evidently seven Indians had visited this fort with a flag of truce in February. Four had been shot down and the other three were taken to prison in Boston. As a result, fearing bloody retribution, the English soldiers felt St. Castin’s offer was a good one to accept and they forced their commander to surrender. The garrison marched out unarmed; D’Iberville placed them on a nearby island until transportation could be arranged for them to return to Boston. In this manner they were kept safe from the revenge of the Indians.
In October 1696 the English returned the favor by going upriver and attacking Fort Nashwak. Governor Villebon coordinated his own soldiers, Baptiste and various bands of Indians to repel the soldiers. Iberville arrived at the mouth of the St. John River, downstream from Nashwak, and broke the blockade there. When the English departed the St. John, they left behind two piroques, which Baptiste outfitted as raiders. He recruited crews for these vessels and went off to harass the New England coast.
It seems that by this time Barthélémy was no longer sailing with Baptiste, who was captured in May 1697 and taken to Boston where he was imprisoned. The Treaty of Ryswick was signed in September of that year, but the Bostonians still did not release Baptiste. Governor Frontenac wrote a letter in June of 1698 successfully demanding his freedom. There are no indications that neither Barthélémy nor his family were in any danger of captivity at this time.
We know that Barthélémy was able to obtain his own vessel in which he sailed the Bay of Fundy as a merchant. His craft was a “chaloupe,” which seems to be a good-sized ship, about 50 feet long, two masted, and carrying a crew of five or so. And so he sailed “for himself in the service of his country.”
Barthélémy and Geneviève had their second child, Marie, perhaps as early as Fr. Bergeron’s date for her birth, in 1696. She may have been born somewhat later, because the third child, Michel, was not born until 1702.

Governor Villebon died in the year 1700. Brouillan succeeded to the position of governor of Acadia. Bonaventure, who had been transporting provisions to Acadia for five years, was appointed second in command. On 2 February 1702 he was named the king’s lieutenant.
Fr. Bergeron writes that the newlyweds set up residence in Port Royal, but this seems to have been based on the data from the 1714 Census of Acadia, eighteen years later. They may have stayed there for a while; we saw earlier that Fr. Bergeron has Barthélémy living in Port Royal from 1693, so he certainly may still have had a house there at this time. But it also seems that the couple was given land by the bride’s father, for there are indications that they were in the area of Jean Serreau’s seigneurie in 1704 (see the next chapter of this paper), and are absolutely proven to be there in 1722. We cannot know for sure, but the family may have had two homes, one in the city and one on Campobello Island, which could conceivably help with Barthélémy’s mercantile business, something the French and British authorities may not have regarded with great favor.
Geneviève’s father, Jean Serreau de St. Aubin, who had distinguished himself for many years in the service of his country, planned a trip to France to propose new projects for Acadia. He may also have been trying to recover some property lost in a general decree of 1703. On 20 November of that year, Governor Brouillan presented St-Aubin with a certificate of high praise which testified to his services, loyalty and bravery. He not only won his case in France, but by being absent from Passamaquoddy, he saved himself the hardship of being taken by the English and being held in prison in Boston. He returned to Acadia to receive the news that his seigneurie was in ruins and his daughter and son-in-law were prisoners. He lived with an inhabitant in Port Royal who “received him through charity.”

Chapter 9: Captive in Boston

Now we see a cycle that occurred all too often, which is heart wrenching in its injustice. The War of the Spanish Succession, which is known in the Americas as Queen Anne’s War, was raging. On 19 February 1704, a war party of French and Indians from Quebec attacked a small western Massachusetts town by the name of Deerfield. As seems to be common in all of these battles, no matter who attacked whom, they surprised the town, killed many, and took a number of prisoners, some of whom were killed along the way. Actually, those killed en route to Quebec seem to have been too young or infirm, or too wounded, to survive such a strenuous trek in the middle of a New England winter; the killing may have been more mercy than barbarism.
The Bostonians decided to wreak their vengeance on the people of Acadia, who had absolutely nothing to do with the attack. Col. Benjamin Church was named to lead the expedition. His forces left Boston in the end of May, 1704. By the time they returned home in August they had attacked numerous Acadian locations: first the Maine coast including Passamaquoddy (i.e., the St. Croix River area where Serreau de St. Aubin had his seigneurie), then to the Minas Basin which is the region at the northeastern end of Fundy where Grand Pré was, then a half-hearted attack on Port Royal, then back up the Bay of Fundy to the northwest corner (Chignecto), and back to Passamaquoddy.
During this expedition of 1704, the whole Bergeron d’Amboise family was captured and taken as prisoners to Boston. Fr. Bergeron quotes Rameau de St. Père, an Acadian historian and genealogist (Rameau de St Père:l/327 etc.): “The 2nd July 1704, the enemy (people of Boston… the despicable colonel Church… fleet of 22 vessels…) entered… in the basin of Port Royal… the first detachments looted four houses and carried off all of one family of inhabitants… Three days later… he took thirty-two prisoners, among whom were represented two notable families of the country; they had already begun to remove the cattle, and several houses had even been burned down, when M. de Brouillan [the governor of Acadia]… stopped this invasion and pressed the English (Bostonians) so much that, the same evening of 5 July [the French counter-attack], they began to re-embark, to direct themselves toward the Minas Basin… The English took, in 1704, fifty or sixty prisoners; but a much greater number of English were held at Port Royal….” No mention is made of the names of the three captured families.
Beamish Murdoch mentions that at Port Royal “On the 2 July, at sunrise, it was observed that there were English ships in the basin [3 Charlevoix, 439], that they had even landed troops, carried off the guard at the entrance, which consisted of only three men, and taken as prisoners two of the inhabitants, and two boys who were fishing at the entrance. The English made a descent at the distance of about a league from the fort,
with about fifty men-carried off one family, pillaged three others, and having heard musket fire, re-embarked in haste.”
Fr. Bergeron wrote: “the despicable colonel Church, 2 July, in the Basin of Port-Royal, loots four houses and removes a whole family of residents (that of Barthélémy B. as one is going to see)… Three days after,… he made thirty-two (others) prisoners…”. Nowhere are any names mentioned concerning who was actually taken prisoner or where. We believe the Acadian historians and genealogists put the capture of the Bergeron d’Amboise family at Port Royal because the 1714 census has them living in a house right where the Bostonians attacked: “in the vicinity of the Cape, in the Low-City and Close to The Fort.”
Col. Church kept a detailed journal of this expedition, which a descendant of his published in 1834. In it we see that Church totally mangled all French names: a man named Latreille is called Lotriel (close, anyway), St. Aubin seems to be called Gourdan though there may have been a Gourdan living in the area, a Chartier (Barthélémy II’s godfather?) becomes Sharkee, etc. (The connections between the name variations have been analyzed by a number of people and found to have the above correlations.)
Now, we can examine some entries from Col. Church’s journal:
On the seventh of June last, 1704, in the evening, we entered in at the westward harbour at said Passamequado. Coming up said harbour to an island, where landing, we came to a French house, and took a French woman and children. The woman upon her examination, said her husband was abroad a fishing.

So we learn that Church took prisoners in other places that are relevant to our family. Indian Island is next to the island now called Campobello, which was called Port aux Coquilles by the French. The islands were part of the seigneurie granted to Jean Serreau de St. Aubin, Geneviève’s father. And as we shall see later, we can definitely place the Bergeron d’Amboises on Campobello in 1722. But there are other clues. Back to Church’s account, this time during his second visit to the Passamaquoddy area (for some unexplained reason Church here writes in the third person):
Then Colonel Church with some of his forces embarked in their whaleboats, and went amongst the islands, with an intent to go to Sharkee’s where they had destroyed the fish. But observing a springy place in a cove, went on shore to get some water to drink. It being a sandy beach, they espied tracks; the Colonel presently ordered his men to scatter and make search. [They] soon found De Boisses’ wife, who had formerly been Colonel Church’s prisoner, and carried to Boston, but returned; who seemed very glad to see him. She had with her, two sons, that were near men grown.
To the author, this is too close to be coincidence. Much of the St. Aubin family had been captured by Church in 1692, including Geneviève, who was then 25 years old. According to Church’s earlier entries, this island was in the region of St. Aubin’s (Gourdan’s?) home. Church cannot present French names with more than passing accuracy and calls this woman De Boisses’ wife-close enough to “d’Amboise’s wife” to be tantalizing. Prisoners were taken in this area. And we know that the Bergeron d’Amboise family (at least later) lived on Campobello Island, where there are ruins of French hearths. Finally, Geneviève’s Bergeron children at this time were eight-year-old Barthélémy II, a somewhat younger Marie, and two-year-old Michel (the author’s ancestor). The two sons that Church met here were most likely, as mentioned earlier, her sons by Jacques Petitpas, Jean and Nicolas. Jean would have been about 13 years old, an age considered at that time to be “near men grown.”
The British had built a fort in Boston harbor in the early 1600s. This fortification was named Fort William. It was the home of the Commonwealth’s first prison. We believe this is where our ancestors were held prisoner for so long. As soon as we get the opportunity we plan to investigate this theory, and to examine the archives for pertinent personal and family information. Today the old fort is named Castle Island; it is part of the metropolitan park system and is on the national register of historic places.

The two years during which the Bergeron d’Amboises were held prisoners produced two terrible winters. In 1704, the snow began in late November and was followed by bitter cold. December also had a great storm and later another period of bitter cold. In January 1705 the winds were so bad that the tides were two feet higher than normal. They did great damage to warehouses and cellars, swept away a number of houses and numerous haystacks, and actually moved “great quantities of marsh and removed it far off to other places.” There was a hard freeze in Boston as late as 23 April.
The following year was just as severe, producing very cold, windy and stormy periods in December through February. Samuel Sewall wrote in his diaries for 9 February 1706: “Extraordinary storm; yet at noon I rode to John Russell’s with very great difficulty by reason of the snow and hail beating on my forehead and eyes hindering my sight, and the extravagant banks of snow the streets were filled with.” The deep snows were not melted off until March, which was followed by another snowstorm late that same month. Then spring brought extremely cold rains.
The fourth Bergeron d’Amboise child, Marie-Anne, was born in Boston on 24 June 1706. She was baptized in Port Royal on 20 September of the same year, after returning to Acadia.
A few important things happened back in Acadia while they were gone. Governor Brouillan died in September 1705 and Bonaventure, being second in command was de facto governor for a while. He petitioned to be permanently named to the post. His service had been exemplary. He was popular with the people. But he was denied the position on the basis of reports about his liaison with a widowed woman, Louise Damours de Freneuse. In May of 1706 Auger de Subercase was transferred from his position of governor of Placentia (Newfoundland) to become the new governor of Acadia.
Relatively early in 1705 one of Bonaventure’s letters stated that eight French people who had been prisoners in Boston had stolen a vessel and escaped to Port Royal. These ex-prisoners reported that a number of important prisoners, one of whom was Baptiste, were well-watched prisoners in the fort on the island. The description very closely matches Fort William (Castle Island). Now consider what Fr. Bergeron wrote about this Bergeron d’Amboise captivity: “… the Bostonians had kept good or bad memory of Barthélémy as companion of D’Iberville and, without doubt, as the corsair he had become since at the sides of Baptiste, of Bonaventure and other Acadians of the type.” This reinforces the conjecture that our ancestors were also imprisoned at Fort William.
On 29 March 1705, the 85-year-old Jean Serreau de St-Aubin passed away. He was buried the following day, his funeral being conducted by Father Justinien Durand of St-Jean-Baptiste parish of Port Royal.
Again Fr. Bergeron quoting Rameau de St. Père: “We looked to negotiate an exchange at Boston… Bourgeois and Allain who had some commercial connections in this city, were charged with this affair….” Beamish Murdoch reports: “On 18 September [1706], 51 prisoners were received from Boston at Port-Royal, among whom were d’Amboise and his family…. They were in a condition of absolute destitution…” They had been imprisoned for over two years. Fr. Bergeron uses this Murdoch reference, which also mentions the return of a Goudault. Since there is documentation that Goudault was taken at Passamaquoddy, it could be that Murdoch specifically identified these people because they were the exception, meaning they had not previously been at Port Royal when Church had taken others prisoner there. And so we have another piece of circumstantial evidence that the Bergeron d’Amboise family had been living at Passamaquoddy.

“Nos amis, l’ennemi”

Chapter 10: Port Royal and Campobello

Their home at Passamaquoddy (on Campobello) probably in ruins, the Bergeron d’Amboise family undoubtedly settled down in Port Royal for a while.
Marie-Anne, born in Boston, was baptized in Port Royal on 20 September 1706. Just over three years later (26 September 1709) daughter Anne (or Anne-Marie) was baptized at the age of two days. Her sponsor was “Pierre Gaultier, Godmother Demoiselle Marie-Anne Gautier (who signs a very beautiful hand)… brother (Récollet Father) Justinien Durand.” The following year, the final child was born, a son named Joseph-Augustin. According to Fr. Bergeron, a daughter Françoise was born in 1708, but it turns out that the Françoise he mentioned was probably a granddaughter.
Barthélémy evidently continued his old ways. He seems to have been a merchant (the English said “smuggler”) in peace time and a privateer (the English undoubtedly said “pirate”) in war time. One document says that he “sails on his own account” outside of the “occasional trip against the Bostonians.” His travels took him between the Acadian towns of Port-Royal, the Minas Basin towns (Grand Pré, Cobequid and Pisiquid), Beauséjour, Chipoudy, etc…. Up and down Fundy he sailed, with sun and with storm. He experienced the thrill of whales broaching off the beam and of porpoises racing just under his bows. He saw the bay from waters fifty feet higher than they had been a mere six hours earlier. Six hours later he was able to examine towers of rock nearly five storeys tall which could shred his hull when they were submerged. He sailed and studied, navigated and learned, mastered every square foot of this bay and became a navigator of considerable renown.
During these years there was much more activity between Acadians and Bostonians than either side’s government would have desired. The Acadians did not have a money economy, but relied on their own local resources, helping each other in a very “socialist” manner. They traded with various merchants for items they were not able to provide for themselves. Of course, it has always been practically impossible to tax trade by barter. Because of this economy, which continued long after the English took over Nova Scotia, the authorities branded merchants like Barthélémy as smugglers. But this kind of life continued even during periods of wartime and there are indications that some Boston merchants actually traded muskets, powder and shot to the French, who gave them to their Indian allies to use against the New Englanders in their wars. The trade was so common at all times that the Acadians called the Bostonians “Nos amis, l’ennemi-Our friends, the enemy.” We will even see later on that Barthélémy had a Bostonian friend who seems to have been quite close.

Fr. Bergeron tells us of the kind of vessel Barthélémy sailed: “This coastal navigation was as important as the easily-observed facts: the size of the launch-schooner (chaloupe-goélette) in question, the volume of its cargo, the five man crew found there,….”
“Other things that absolutely need to be added to properly judge these men and these things: the passage alone, from the French Bay to the St. John River, of the reversible falls or of the dangerous passes of the fiendish narrows that make, even in our day, an exploit as dangerous as rare; furthermore, the frequent and dense fogs of this Bay which so frighten sailors, without counting the monster tides varying from thirty to eighty feet (and which require, even today, some quays to be constructed in levels of multiple landings) cause numerous problems of navigation. It is necessary to have leaned from the top of these quays to view the sea below to know… vertigo!”
But all was not trade and peaceful sailing. The Bostonians were determined to conquer Acadia, evidently believing that would take away their French problem. They laid siege to Port Royal in June 1707. Bonaventure was ill at the time, right there in the fort. The English destroyed a number of farms and houses, including Bonaventure’s home and everything he owned. The Bostonians left when St. Castin arrived with a band of Abenaki Indians, then returned in August. St Castin again came to the rescue. The English left for good after a number of sharp fights.
On the other side of the Bay of Fundy, Geneviève’s brother’s family was growing. Charles Serreau de Saint-Aubin had married a Malecite woman about 1690. The Malecite St. Aubin family settled at Aukpaque, some miles up the St. John River from Ste-Anne’s Point. It is certain that they were there in 1708; a census that year list Joseph and his brother Jean-Baptiste as residents. These are the only two sons listed by Stephen A. White. It seems, however, that they had at least one other son. It seems there was another son of Charles and his Malecite wife: Ambroise, named in honor of “his uncle, Barthélémy Bergeron dit d’Ambroise (also Amboise), who had married Geneviève Serreau de Saint-Aubin.” Ambroise lived in Aukpaque for most of his life. We will meet him and his brother Joseph again later in this story.
For the next couple years, the Acadians tried to strengthen the fort at Port Royal, while Indians carried on the land war. Privateers kept after enemy shipping, and the booty captured served as supplies for Port Royal. In 1709 Baptiste settled in Beaubassin where he became a port captain. He sailed often between that settlement and Placentia, Newfoundland, where he outfitted numerous privateers.
It seems that the Bergeron d’Amboise family was certainly still in Port Royal in 1709. Fr. Bergeron wrote that the first register of Port-Royal has this entry: “26 September, baptism of Marie-Anne Bergeron (who later married Joseph Bellefontaine dit Beauséjour, “in the Chapel of Saint-Laurent of the upper river”) born of 24th of the same month, daughter of Barthélémy Bergeron and Geneviève Scrault (sic). Sponsor, the sieur Pierre Gautier, Godmother Demoiselle Marie-Anne Gautier (who signs a very beautiful hand)… brother (Récollet Father) Justinien Durand.”
Then came another war. In 1710 the English attacked Port Royal in force. The French garrison was forced to surrender on 13 October. The whole garrison, including Bonaventure, was shipped off to La Rochelle, in France. Bonaventure tried to get the French government to accept plans for the recapture of Port Royal, but he died the following year in La Rochelle. The English had conquered (for the final time) the peninsula known as Acadie Peninsulaire by the French and as Nova Scotia by the English. Port Royal was renamed Annapolis Royal.
The d’Amboise family appears four years later in the Acadian Census of 1714, made by Father Félix Pain, Récollet, missionary of Beaubassin, on 28 August. According to all the copies of this census that the author has seen, it lists the family this way:
“DAMBOUC and wife, 3 sons, 3 daughters.”

For the longest time it never registered that this was our ancestor. Then something clicked. Obviously the printed records are a misreading of the handwriting; the “i” and the “s” in “Damboise” must have been run together so that they looked like a “u” while the “e” must have been written hastily so that it looked like a “c.”
Fr. Bergeron assures us that “Placide Gaudet [one of the greatest Acadian genealogists and historians] clearly established… that this Damboise was in fact Barthélémy Bergeron d’Amboise.”
Before continuing, here is a description of Port Royal, written by Father de Rochement, s.j.: “Port Royal… Is a seaport, and before arriving there one enters the basin for which the entrance is about a hundred steps wide. This fort is constructed at three places of this entrance and on a small river in which the biggest buildings went up under the batteries; it is of a good defense of earth and contains the houses of the officers, the barracks of the soldiers and the magazines of the king; it is at the foot of this fort that there are built houses of the middle-class… The continuous war that the English have always made there is the cause of its little growth…” The census reported that the d’Amboise family lived in Port Royal, in the sector of the Cape. Another source, the “Unpublished Documents on Acadia” (1/166), further located the family in the vicinity of the Cape, but more specifically in the area called the Lower Town and, furthermore, “Near The Fort.”
On either side of the “DAMBOUC” entry are the following entries: “Abraham DUGAST and wife, 4 sons, 2 daughters” and “René GRANGER and wife, 5 sons, 3 daughters.” These seem to be the closest neighbors to our ancestor’s family. In his analysis of the census data, Fr. Bergeron mentions that they lived “among neighbors who, sixty years later, ‘found themselves…’ at this Nicoletaine Petite-Cadie [i.e., the Nicolet region of Québec where St-Grégoire is located]…: the Orillon-Champagnes, the Vigneaus, the Boudreaus, the Melansons, the Belliveaus, etc.”
“They have, at this time,” Fr. Bergeron wrote, “three boys (Barthélémy II, Michel and Joseph-Augustin) and three girls (Marie, Françoise and Marie-Anne).” But the daughters had to have been Marie, Marie-Anne, and Anne (or Anne-Marie).
In 1714, with Port Royal no longer in French hands, Baptiste acted as an advisor to the French government on the choice of a new military base on Cape Breton Island.
Three years later, Marie Bergeron married (Jean-)François Roy at Port-Royal (18 January 1717). The marriage mass was celebrated by Father Justinien Durand, a Récollet missionary. This young couple were probably the first to make Barthélémy and Geneviève grandparents; they may have had a daughter (Marie-Jeanne) before 1720 (the records are lost) and definitely had a son (Bénoni) in that year.
Two major family events occurred in 1721. On 21 April 1721, Barthelemy II married eighteen-year-old Marguerite Dugas, the daughter of Claude Dugas and Marguerite Bourg of Port Royale. She was a cousin of the Abraham Bourg who lived next door to the Bergeron d’Amboise house in Port Royale.
Sometime that same year, Michel married a woman whose name we do not know. He had four wives; we know the names of only two. We also do not know where she was from.
The following year (1722) Barthélémy II and Marguerite Dugas had their first child, a son named Jean-Baptiste.

During these years, some meaningful events were taking place on the Saint John River, where Barthélémy had spent some time after his first captivity. Since 1718, Vaudreuil, Governor of New France and seigneur of Nashwaak (also called Marson), granted Father Jean-Baptiste Loyard, the local missionary, the power to grant lands to any Acadians who wanted to establish themselves on the Saint John River. In 1722, Vaudreuil demanded that another person perform this task. That person was Alexandre Bourg dit Bellehumeur, notary of Minas. Bourg still held this power when René Le Blanc took his 1731 census of the River Saint John inhabitants. He probably even solicited Acadians of the north to leave Minas, cross the Bay of Fundy and settle on the great river there. Two of Bourg’s own daughters would marry sons of Gabriel Godin and Andrée-Angélique Jeanne and live on the Saint John: Anastasie, of whom we will later hear more, would marry Jean-Baptiste Godin dit Lincour about 1729, and Marie-Josephe would marry Pierre Godin dit Chatillon dit Préville on 22 August 1730. When Vaudreuil’s son succeeded him as governor, he re-affirmed Alexandre Bourg in his position as agent to distribute lands. And he did not charge any of the traditional seigneurial fees from the inhabitants. This, of course, made it much easier for common people to afford owning a grant of land. Nashwaak and Point Saint-Anne certainly had some enlightened leaders at this time.

Chapter 11: Campobello (Again?)

Information from now on becomes very scarce. We do have some indications, however, of where our family lived and some of the things they did. The information about the Bergeron d’Amboises living on Campobello comes from materials written and stored in the English-speaking world. Fr. Bergeron did use the work of Beamish Murdoch, but it seems that he and the Acadian historians and genealogists did not look much further.
First, we know that there were indeed Acadian settlements on Campobello. Guy Murchie wrote in his Saint Croix Courier series: “It is a matter for sincere regret, however, that we do not know the sites of these French settlements, particularly that of St. Aubin. Aside from the indirect evidence we have referred to, the only information we have upon the subject is found upon a map, to be referred to in a future article, made early in the last century [i.e., the early 1700s] by Captain Cyprian Southack. If the imperfect topography of this map is correctly interpreted by the present writer, it locates French houses upon Campobello, near Wilson’s Beach; on Ecose Island, Pleasant Point, and the lower end of Deer Island. Old cellars, believed to be French, are found upon Indian Island; and others, which are possible French, at Mill’s Point, between Cak Bay and Waweig. Their other settlements were probably at St. Andrews, at the mouth of the Magaguadavic, at St. Stephen or Calais, and at Letang.”
Guy Murchie, in his Saint Croix: Sentinel River, has the following account that is proof, we believe, of the Bergeron d’Amboises living on Campobello:
In Lovewell’s War, so called, Passamaquoddy was the scene of the first encounter of the campaign. The sloop, Ipswich, in which Hibbert Newton, Collector of Customs at Annapolis Royal, John Adams, son on one of the councillors of Nova Scotia, and a Mr. Savage of Boston and his negro servants were passengers, touched at Harbor de Loutre, Campobello, on June 13, 1722. It proved for them to be a kind of Pearl Harbour.
They anchored there on their way to Boston with the idea of going ashore for breakfast at Monsieur Dambois’ house. While there they were looking at some flakes used for drying fish, Pierre Neptune and twelve other Indians, armed with hatchets and knives, “naked and nearly as long as a bugginett,” seized Captain James Blinn of the sloop. Blinn struggled and demanded what it meant.
“War,” answered Chief Joseph St. Aubin, who had just come from Saint John, where it had been planned to seize all English ships, destroy Annapolis, and rid the country generally of English.

The party was confined in Dambois’ house under guard, the old man [59 years old] having disappeared. During the scrimmage, however, the two sailors who had rowed them ashore managed to slip away unnoticed, got in the dinghy, and started for the sloop. The Indians demanded that Blinn hail them back. Instead he shouted for them to go on board and make sail. Then he told the Indians, who didn’t understand the order, that the sailors were too frightened to obey.
The Indians insisted that all on the sloop be brought on shore. Accordingly Mr. Savage at Blinn’s request, started to go aboard. On coming along side in a canoe paddled by two of the Indians with a guard of two other canoes, he slipped quickly over the side of the sloop and ordered the crew to fire on the canoes. Seeing what was up, the Indians made off.
The sloop being now under sail and about to escape, the stratagem of the captain caused the Indians to release the prisoners upon the promise of presents. It was agreed that two of Dambois’ men should go on board for the presents, but Savage sent only a part of what Blinn had ordered. The Indians refused to accept a part. When Dambois’ men went back for the remainder Savage told them he would send no more unless the prisoners were released and put on board. He gave them an ultimatum that if this was not done within the hour, the sloop would sail for Annapolis. Blinn was helpless. He wrote an order to Savage to show that his plan for release was official. Before the canoe arrived the third time, however, the sloop had sailed.
The prisoners were now in great fear of the Indian’s revenge. Hibbert Newton’s journal, which tells us the story, says that God was good. D’Amboise having returned, their release was finally arranged by his giving the Indians twenty-seven pistoles’ worth of Indian corn, powder and shot, which together with the presents from the sloop already delivered amounted to about 60 pounds. The Indians then crossed to their wigwams on Indian Island where they celebrated all night with occasional gunfire, which caused the late prisoners some anxiety.
Captain Blinn had a small shallop stored at Otter harbor. A timely Bay of Fundy fog set in and the shallop sailed for Grand Manan from which island after another night in the open the harassed voyagers managed to reach Annapolis with news of another war.
This story shows up in a number of references of many periods of time. Alden Nowlan, in his Campobello: The Outer Island, quotes Mr. Hibbert Newton, who was present during these events:
It was Earlely ye 13th wee came to an Anchor att a place called Otter Harbour in passimaquada. As near as I can guess about six a clock, the Boat was hoisted out and Mr. Blinn, Mr. Savage, Mr. Adams Jun’., my son Tommy not quite four Years of Age, with Mr. Savages Negro man and two Sailors belonging to the Sloop, went on shore, with a Design to have refreshed ourselves at Mons. Dambois’s house the people lookt very Dejected, and Melancholy at our entering their house, but the reason we could not Imagine, till Leaveing the Old man’s house, we went a quarter of a mile farther to his sons house [we do not know which son this was], where is the place the Flakes are, that they dry their Fish on, we were all Looking at the Fish, when on a Sudden one Pierre Neptune an Indian, with twelve Other Indians seized on Mr. Blinn with their Axes in their hands, and Naked Knives very near as Long as a Bugginett. Mr. Blinn at the first Struggled with them, then one of the Indians clapt his knife to his side, and had he made the least resistance would in all probability have stabbed him. We demanded the Meaning of this Treatment: and they answered us, it was warr, and we their prisoners…. Mr. Blinn Started up and asked him that Called himself Chief, what they would be att, and what they wanted. They told him his sloop and all his Cargoe, now in the time they were securing us, Two of our Boat Crew slipt into the Boat, and were got half way to the sloop, before the Indians Discovered them. When they did they Order’d Mr. Blinn to hale them a shore, but instead of that, they not understanding our Language, Mr. Blinn called to them to do as he had Ordered them that was to bring the Sloop to Saile which accordingly they did. We were verry much concern’d when we saw the Sloop had left us, and were in great fear the Indians might do us Some Mischiefs, for they were continually wetting their knives and Swinging their hatchets in their hands, however God Almighty’s providence so Order’d it they did us no harm but pointed to us to go into the Cannoes, and carried us to Dambois’ house when they agreed to release us Mr. Blinn paying them, twenty seven pistols, wch Dambois did for him in Indian Corn powder shot &c. and with things they had from on board the Sloop, amounted to about 60 pound. Before it was night two of the Dambois’s went in a Birch Cannoe to acquaint Mr. Blinn’s people to bring the Shallop to us as soon as it was dark which accordingly they did…. As soon as it was day rowed the Shallop out of the Harbour, it being quite calm. We had not rowed Long, before we had a hard gale at N.N.W. wch by the blessing of God carried us safe from the hands of the Salvages [sic].
All in all, the treatment of the English by the Indians was quite mild and the price for their release was actually small. In August, 2001, my wife and I visited the Passamaquoddy Reservation just north of Eastport, Maine. There was a wonderful tribal museum there, with a huge number of photos on the wall of people having the surname of “Neptune.” So Pierre Neptune must have been of the native nation we now know as Passamaquoddy. Joseph St. Aubin was Geneviève’s nephew, the son of her brother Charles who had married a Malecite woman. It would not be much of a stretch to imagine this young man visiting his aunt and uncle, Geneviève and Barthélémy. Given leaders from the Passamaquoddy and the Malecite, this Indian war involved at least two of the tribes in Acadia.
Given the incident just quoted, it seems that Charles Serreau de St-Aubin’s son Joseph grew into a “chieftaincy.” However, “chief” is a very misleading term. With most native nations in what later became the United States, a native was a leader as long as he had followers. Therefore, Joseph St-Aubin was persuasive, or had a personality that persuaded others to follow or was leading a popular cause – or all three. Furthermore, he had probably grown through a series of leadership roles in order to include members of other nations in his entourage.
Something else is exhibited by this incident: the closeness of the Acadian and Native Nations. From the very earliest contact, the French in Acadia learned from the Indian peoples, shared with them, intermarried with them. One thing that helped was that the Acadians farmed land that they had reclaimed from tidal areas instead of taking tribal lands. Unlike the New Englanders (and the English in general), who were deathly afraid of the original American peoples, Acadians “didn’t find the Indian culture threatening at all….” In his book, The Cajuns, Rushton speaks of an undercurrent of paganism, Celtic culture and religious rebellion within Acadian culture. He describes the ability to get along well with the Native Nations as being due to “the tolerance and pagan base of early Acadian society…, … the extraordinary elasticity and absorptive quality which continue to characterize this culture today.”
Also, it is intriguing that Blinn should stop in at d’Amboise’s for breakfast. This indicates a friendship of some length and depth. Of course, we have no idea when it began, but we do know that it continued into the next generation: Captain James Blinn’s son, Peter, shows up in a later event concerning Michel Bergeron, son of Barthélémy and Geneviève.

Chapter 12: Laws against Indians

When the Massachusetts Bay House of Representatives heard of what had happened to Blinn and Newton, it passed the following resolution:
That Thirty Men under a proper Officer … with Provision, Arms and Ammunition be put on Board the Sloop offered by Margaret Blin the Petitioner, to repair as soon as may be to Passamaquada, and there to use their best Endeavours to recover from the Indians the Persons mentioned in the said Petition, to be taken with them the Effects, belonging to them or any of them, and in case of Refusal to deliver them, or that they can’t find the Persons so unjustly and forcibly seiz’d upon, to make Reprisal of the like Number of Indians, if possible in order to Exchange them for our People, if it may be, or if that can’t be done, to bring the said Indians to Boston.
And when they have done what is to be performed at Passamaquada, to touch in their return at the several Places or Harbours on this side, where it is probable there may be any English Fishery or Vessels to give the Notice of the Fact committed at Passamaquada, and to warn them, and all such Vessels as they see Fishing on the Coast to be upon their guard, and in case they hear of any other Persons at any other Place seiz’d upon by the Indians, to endeavour the recovery of them, or make Reprisal in their stead.
And it is proposed that so far as the Sloop may be employed in going to Passamaquada, and in seeking the Recovery of said Blin and his Effects and in return in case she come directly back, the Sloop and the Sailors belonging to her as to their Wages and Provisions be at the Charge of said Blin, but as to the Time spent in Notifying other Places, at the Charge of the Province.
The reaction of the Bostonians to the Indian actions they believed led to Lovewell’s War, not only Blinn’s capture, was immediate and potentially violent. On 25 July 1722 the Massachusetts government issued a proclamation that partially declared:
I do therefore by and with the advice of his Majesty’s Council, hereby declare and proclaim the said Eastern Indians, with their Confederates, to be Robbers, Traitors and Enemies to his Majesty King George, his Crown and Dignity; and that they be henceforth proceeded against as such: Willing and Requiring all his Majesty’s good Subjects, as they shall have Opportunity, to do and execute all acts of Hostility against them; Hereby also forbidding all his Majesty’s good Subjects to hold any Correspondence with the said Indians, or to give Aid, Comfort, Succour or Relief unto them, on penalty of the Laws in that case made and provided. And whereas there be some of the said Indians, who have not been concerned in the perfidious and barbarous Acts beforementioned, and many may be desirous to put themselves under the Protection of this Government.
This may have put the Bergeron d’Amboise family in some danger. They were not only located where Blinn and Newton were captured, but also, as we have seen, Geneviève had Indian relatives. People with such close family ties as the Acadians and the Native Americans simply could not abide by such laws. We do not know how soon they moved, but the family went inland into New Brunswick shortly after this.
Somewhere along the line, Blinn had gotten some sort of special item that he could use to establish communications with the Indians without danger.
In July 1723, a number of sailing vessels were taken by Indians in Canso (northern Nova Scotia) and other harbours near it. Governor Phillips outfitted a couple of fishing vessels manned with sailors to find the Indians and take the stolen ships back. There was a battle, many Indians were killed, some English captives were rescued, many ships were recovered but:
The loss of so many Indians enraged them (the Indians) and they determined to revenge themselves upon the poor fisherman, above twenty of whom yet remained prisoners…, and they were all destined to be sacrificed to the manes of the slain Indians. The powowing and other ceremonies were performing when Capt. Blin, in a sloop, appeared off the harbour and made the signal or sent in a token which had been agreed upon between him and the Indians, when he was their prisoner, should be his protection. Three of the Indians went aboard his vessel and agreed for the ransom, both of the vessels and captives, which were delivered to him and the ransom paid.
Blinn appears throughout Murdoch’s work. At one point (23 August 1727) he was even imprisoned for insolent behavior, unmannerly gestures and disrespect to “H. M. authority and royal commission.” The council ordered him to be imprisoned for his offense. Perhaps Blinn and the Bergeron d’Amboises had the same attitude towards the British authorities.

At Sainte-Anne-du-Pays-Bas

Chapter 13: Sainte-Anne du Pays-Bas

arthélémy and Geneviève’s son Michel also was a sailor, but he evidently spent a good amount of time around Port Royal. About 1725, he took on a new name. He was confronted with the existence of another Michel Bergeron living in that town. This other man was no relation whatsoever; he had come from the French province of Auvergne. Actually, both men found it expedient to change their names. Michel Bergeron from Auvergne signed his name as Pierre Bergerac from that time on, “while the familial branch of Michel-from-Barthélémy took the surname de Nantes in place of d’Amboise.” From now on he would be known as Michel Bergeron dit de Nantes or simply Michel de Nantes.
Shortly after this the Bergeron d’Amboise family moved up the St. John River. They settled in at Sainte-Anne’s Point, across from the old fort at Nashwaak which had been the headquarters of Governor Villebon. The church there was named for Sainte-Anne-du-Pays-Bas (Saint Anne of the Netherlands). This location would later become the city of Fredericton, New Brunswick. Here, Barthélémy was reunited with his friend Gabriel Godin dit Bellefontaine, whom he had met back in 1695.
The Treaty of Utrecht that had ended the war in which Port Royal had been lost, gave all of Acadie Peninsulaire (Nova Scotia) to the English. However, the limits of Acadia never having been fixed, the French claimed that they comprised only the peninsula of Nova Scotia, that especially the River St. John … was excluded. Also Vaudreuil [governor of Canada]… would charge Father Loyard (Jesuit missionary)… to grant shares to colonists. His successor, Father Jean-Pierre Daniélou, took a census in 1733 that gave 20 families and one hundred eleven souls, with 15 (families) and 82 (souls) below the Indian village of Aukpaque, probably on the Point Ste-Anne (Fredericton). Rumilly specified that ‘some Acadians of Port Royal have (at this time) founded a small settlement on the River St-John, in territory claimed by the French…’”
Fr. Bergeron was convinced that Barthélémy and Geneviève moved to Ste-Anne as a result of the pressures being applied by the missionary priests between 1728 and 1730 to get Acadians out of the English area. And:
our Bergerons, who with many others had resided in Acadie Peninsulaire despite the Bostonian conquest and the miserable treaty of Utrecht, on the insistence of the King of France, of the military chiefs of Continental Acadia and of the Missionaries, joined with other compatriots to find refuge in “French Acadia” and to found what will soon be “Sainte-Anne-du-Pays-Bas”, upstream on the River Saint-John.

There are a couple problems with this information. First, the Bergeron d’Amboises, as we have seen, were probably not still living in Annapolis Royal (Port Royal) but on Campobello. At the very least, they were living at Annapolis Royal only part of the time. Second, they seem to have been at Ste-Anne-du-Pays-Bas well before 1728-30.
Marie-Anne, the daughter born in Boston in 1706, married Joseph Godin-Bellefontaine dit Beauséjour at Ste-Anne-du-Pays-Bas in 1726. He was the son of Barthélémy’s old friends Gabriel Godin and Andrée-Angélique Jasne. They were actually married on the River Saint-John, i.e., at the Sainte-Anne settlement. Marie-Anne probably did not come to this region alone, but with her parents, and it is a pretty safe bet that the young couple would not have met and immediately gotten married. Assuming they knew each other for about a year, we can make a reasonable assumption that the Bergeron d’Amboises had moved to central New Brunswick in 1724 or 1725.
The year after his sister was married (1727) Michel got married again, this time to Marie Dugas, the daughter of Abraham Dugas and Marie-Madeleine Landry, their old neighbors in Port Royal. This was his second wife. Since we do not know who his first wife was, we have no way of knowing when or why she died. (She almost certainly died; Acadians seem never to have divorced.)
The following year, Barthélémy II and his wife Marguerite Dugas (married in Annapolis Royal on 21 April 1721), had a new son Charles. The baby was born on 23 March 1728, and was baptized at the house by his grandfather, Barthélémy, who is described as a “resident of the St. John river” at that time. Later that year, on 13 June 1728, little Charles’ baptism was registered at St. Jean-Baptiste parish in Annapolis Royal.
Meanwhile, Barthélémy continued “to sail on his own account.” “We can also add…,” wrote Fr. Bergeron, “that Barthélémy Bergeron made, and probably alone, the usual coastal navigation of the immense French Bay (Fundy), between Point Ste-Anne of the St. John River and Memramcook and all the intermediate places….”
Indeed, he may have continued privateering during the colonial wars. Barthélémy may also have served as support for Michel in these years. Fr. Bergeron again:
1730 (it might be better to say from 1696 to 1755) “Between two expeditions of Bostonians against Port Royal (Rumilly 1/184) some corsairs, using Port Royal as a base, threw the desolation back to the doors of Boston…” “Boston was aroused by these rapid and incessant blows… Church… went to sea again, where he was not entirely safe because of the privateers who, although few in number, even cut the route of the vessels whose destinations were the English colonies. Mentioned were Robineau, de Nantes [Michel Bergeron?], François Guyon, and Baptiste…. The Adventures of the chevalier de Beauchêne, written by Le Sage, tells in detail the life of these buccaneers, fighting in their manner under the flag of their country as long as the war between the crowns (of France and England) lasted.
Port Royal was under English control (and called Annapolis Royal) after 1710. The assertion that the privateers operated out of Port Royal until 1755 is debatable. It may have been a situation of them hiding in the open or they may have operated out of other ports, the St. John River and the Acadian settlements in the north. But there are indications that both Barthélémy and Michel were sailing the Bay of Fundy in the early 1700s.
In 1729 or 1730 Barthélémy and Geneviève’s son Augustin married the 18- or 19-year-old Marie Dugas. She was the daughter of Claude Dugas and Marguerite Bourg, and the sister of Barthélémy II’s wife, Marguerite. About the same time (1730), daughter Anne-Marie (who had been born in 1709) married Jacques-Philippe Godin dit Bellefeuille another son of Gabriel Godin and Andrée-Angélique Jeanne (Jasne) and brother of Joseph, Marie-Anne’s husband. Such relationships were common among the Acadians; there are numerous cases of two or more brothers marrying sisters.
On 20 March 1731, René LeBlanc of Grand Pré provided a list of people living on the St. John River to the authorities at Annapolis. There were about seventeen armed men in the area. He specifically mentioned the Bellefontaines (i.e., the Godins) and the Bergerons. These were the two families who had been settled there for almost forty years, since the time of Governor Villebon. This is how he enumerated these men: “The old Bergeron, called (dit) d’Ambroise [sic], Barthelemy Bergeron [i.e., Barthélémy II], Michel Bergeron, Augustin Bergeron, François Roy, the old woman Bellefontaine, Louison Bellefontaine, Beauséjour, Bellefeuille, Lincour, Boisjolly, Préville, Bonaventure (the eight Godin Bellefontaine brothers), a Dugas, a Foret of Cape Breton, Calecour.” Pitre and Pelletier mention that the “old woman Bellefontaine” is the widow of Gabriel Godin. And so we know that Barthélémy Bergeron d’Amboise was definitely still living in 1731, now 67 years old, and we know that his old friend has died.

Of course, through the years, the grandchildren kept arriving. In 1736, Michel and Marie Dugas had their fifth child, the third son. They named him after his father, Michel. We will hear considerably more of him as a grown man.

Chapter 14: A Visit to Annapolis Royal

In July 1736 Michel Bergeron and his brother-in-law, Joseph Bellefontaine, went to visit the old Acadian town of Port Royal, now called Annapolis Royal. We have no reason for their visit, except perhaps Michel wanted to visit his in-laws and ex-neighbors, the Abraham Dugas family. But it seems that they were ignorant of either the law (as it applied to French outsiders) or the social graces: they were charged with “contempt and disrespect in not coming to wait upon him [the lieutenant governor] on their arrival….” They were imprisoned.
The two prisoners humbly begged pardon for their fault, for believing they were of too low a social status to be required to wait on such a personage. Evidently the authorities saw the opportunity to get some information, because Michel and Joseph were required to give a list of the inhabitants of St. Anne’s, which they did. This list comprises 15 families, numbering 77 persons. It also indicates that there were now three sons and three daughters of Barthélémy and Geneviève, married with several children. Michel himself was one of them. There is no mention of old Barthélémy in this list. We have no way of knowing whether he was dead or whether Michel was had chosen not to mention him for some other reason.
Then the governor suggested that they give “security for their good behaviour for the next twelve months.” They were required to make a penalty payment of one hundred pounds, New England money, for each of them. The authorities probably thought these two country bumpkin Acadians could never pay such an exorbitant sum, or perhaps they were trying to cheat them out of the money.
Interestingly enough, these two young men had arrived on a ship owned and operated by none other than a Captain Blinn. At this point, Captain Blinn himself offered to be bound for them, and, the captain being well known in the area, this was accepted. This is an interesting situation. As one reads the work of Beamish Murdoch, Blinn seems to be working for the Annapolis government. Yet he offers to be bound for Michel (and Joseph), and 200 pounds was a lot of money. This could only indicate a friendship with the Bergerons, or at least the repayment of an obligation, an old debt to the Bergerons for having bought a Bostonian sea captain’s freedom in 1722.
What is even more interesting, this Captain Blinn could not be the same individual as the person at Campobello in 1722. That was James Blinn, and he had died in 1731 at Annapolis Royal. This Captain Blinn seems to have been his youngest son, Peter, born 16 January 1704 (which made him about two years younger than Michel Bergeron). So we seem to have here a second generation friendship and the memory of a family debt.
We know for a fact that Michel was also a sailor. One account (which we will extensively quote later) that he plied the Bay of Fundy much as his father had done. There are also indications that he might have been a deep-water sailor, crossing the Atlantic to the French seaport of Nantes and back.
In 1741, Michel I and his wife Marie Dugas had their last child, a boy named Joseph. Marie may have died in childbirth because Michel married again two years later, to a woman whose name is unknown. Joseph grew up and married Angélique Saindon. This couple are the ancestors of cousin Joe Damboise of Grafton, NH. Joe has helped considerably in the research for this paper. This branch of the family includes another cousin, Bob Bergeron of Phoenix, AZ. Joe and Bob are second cousins to each other (and sixth cousins to this writer). Bob’s grandfather, Emile, kept the family name of “Bergeron” while Emile’s brother, Narcisse, chose to keep the family name of “d’Amboise,” which evolved into “Damboise” (and assumed an Anglicized pronunciation). So, thanks to choices made by our ancestors along the way, both portions of the original family name have been preserved. This is the reason we insist on using the full name of “Bergeron d’Amboise” in this work.

Poor Michel had the worst luck with his wives. His third spouse died within four years of being wed, and he married Marie-Jeanne Hébert, his fourth (and final) wife in 1747.

Chapter 15: Playing Tag Along the Coast

Michel appears in another scrape with the English. This one, in 1750, was quite a bit more serious. Here is the story as reported by Fr. Bergeron:
In the “Généalogies et notes acadiennes, deposited at Ottawa in 1906, Placide Gaudet of such respected memory, gave (in Append. IIIe) the text of the ‘JOURNAL of this which happened at Chignetou and other parts of the frontiers of Acadia from 15 Sept. 1750 until 28 July 1751… (taken from) a mémoire… of a Relation made by the Sieur de la Valliere.’” The text is long, but very interesting:
About the fifteenth of November, the (Bostonian) captain Cox, commanding a ship armed with 30 soldiers from the company of Gorum and six canons, which cruised from Cap Enragé [at the beginning of Chignecto Bay] to Beaubassin, caught sight of a chaloupe [a launch-schooner or sloop] which came out of the Petit-koudiac River [the river from present day Moncton] commanded by Michau (for Michel, son of Barthélémy) d’Amboise (for Bergeron d’Amboise), making way for the St. John River, gave chase to him all day and forced him about four hours of the evening to run aground at full sail on Cap-des-Demoiselles on the coast of the Chipoudy,….”
The tide was going out at the time. Low tide was at 18h43 (6:43pm), so by 4pm the tide was quite low. We guess that Michel was trying to outguess the shallow places to keep Captain Cox at a distance, and he miscalculated.
… he fired many canonshots on it [the chaloupe] from where it sat aground, he lowered twenty men who went to the chaloupe, pursued five men who had been in it and who had abandoned it and retreated firing on them [the Bostonians].
They [the Bostonians] took from the chaloupe the large sail, a feather bed, some little
bit of bacon and some peas and brought its anchor offshore to the length of its cable.
The Sieur de Baurans, officer of the troops of Louisbourg, who was commander of this post [Chipoudy] and who was just two leagues from there, having been informed, took about thirty Acadians and lay in ambush within range of the chaloupe where he passed the night with his people, after having brought the anchor back to land and partly unloaded the chaloupe so that it would be able to float….
Captain Cox having noticed that people had arrived by the wild cries the Acadians made, fired many canonshots during the night which had no effect; with daybreak, the English having discovered the Sieur de Baurans and his people, continued to make a very lively artillery firing, but that was always without effect, de Baurans, Michel Bergeron, his five companions and the other Acadians being on the banks of a stream that served them as entrenchment. Near four in the afternoon after having attempted to put some people ashore in two armed pirogues of about twelve to fifteen men each, and having been pushed back three times, not seeing any chance to succeed, captain Cox raised anchor and abandoned the chaloupe… having already at this point transferred the cargo which consisted of twenty casks of wheat or flour and a barrel of lard, had been taken (by de Baurans) for the King’s account and distributed by order of monsieur de Saint-Ours to a group of inhabitants who not having been able to bring in their harvest in time being employed at guard, from Chipoudy to the Point at Beauséjour having lost everything and being reduced to perish if someone had not given them some help as M. de la Corne had promised them in the name of the King that they would be compensated for all losses that they made, which has been carried out faithfully…”
The feather bed which the Bostonians discovered on the chaloupe was an incredible luxury for those times, and in a relatively small boat. We wonder if this might not be the result of a son trying to make his father, who insisted on continuing to go to sea, as comfortable as possible in his old age. Remember, we have no idea when Barthélémy died. He was not mentioned in the list Michel gave to Lt. Governor Armstrong in 1736. But there is an even more intriguing comment from Fr. Bergeron: “If, later in 1751 {at the age of 88!?}, we see him deliver a similar naval fight to the enemy warships….” Who knows? C’est possible!

Le Grand Dérangement
(The Great Insanity)

Chapter 16: Two More Wars

England and France had been at peace for thirty years when the two super powers of the day went at each other once again. Called the War of the Austrian Succession in Europe, this conflict was known as King George’s War in the English colonies. A number of battles preceded the outright declaration of war in March 1744, including a battle at Fort Duquesne in which the British force was almost annihilated, losing two thirds of their army.
The Canadians, operating out of their “French Gibraltar” of Louisbourg in far northern New Brunswick (Cape Breton Island), tried to get the Acadians to join the fighting against the English. It seems that the Acadians, most of whom lived within British Nova Scotia, replied “Thanks, but no thanks. We are our own people. And we are neutral.” Actually, the government of France had helped them so little that this insistence on neutrality could not serve them any worse.
Many French privateers helped to harass the English on the high seas, and it could very well be that Michel Bergeron, also called Michel de Nantes, was among them. The name de Nantes is listed by the British as being among the most dangerous pirates.
France managed to lose their great fortress Louisbourg on 15 June 1745. Two days later the flag of Great Britain flew over the second strongest point that the French had in America (Quebec was first). This was, however, the only real land victory English had. On the other hand, they practically destroyed the French Navy.
A party of French and Indians did recapture the Acadian town of Grand Pré. But the French fleets consistently had bad luck in their encounters with the British fleet. The French detachment retreated from Grand Pré and Chignecto (where Nova Scotia attaches to the mainland).
This war ended on Oct. 18, 1748. Each side regained everything they had lost. Much to the chagrin of the New Englanders, France once again held Louisbourg.
The English colonists in America were among the first to fight in the next great war, including a young officer named George Washington, who was forced to retreat from the Ohio Valley in 1754 after the crushing defeat suffered by British General Braddock at Fort Duquesne in western Pennsylvania.

Two years later England and France entered their final world war. This one, indeed, should be called a World War, for it took place in the Americas, Europe, Africa, India, and on as many oceans. The battles were raging by 1743, but the Seven Years War (in American History it is called the French and Indian War) officially began in 1756 and ended in 1763. France lost practically everything it had in the way of an empire.
The Acadians had always been looked at askance by the English. It was true that they had refused to join either side the last time there was any fighting. But the English pointed out the facts that the Acadians were still “Papists,” their priests came from Canada, they still spoke French almost exclusively, and they were so friendly with the Indians that most Englishmen were convinced they were helping the natives against Britain (which was not true).
In 1750 the English captured the French town of Beaubassin, and five years later the fort at Beauséjour, in the Chignecto region. With that area secure and the British protected from French incursions into Nova Scotia, the stage was set for Le Grand Dérangement, the Great Insanity.

Chapter 17: The Expulsion of the Acadians

The Acadians had always been an independent bunch. Over half of the early Acadians came from Brittany, Poitou, Normandy and Picardy. In every one of these regions there were tremendous and ancient influences: Celtic, various other pagan, and rebellious protestant/Huguenot influences. Celtic Brittany not even part of France until a royal marriage in 1515. These influences have led to the observation that “The Cajun tradition is nominally Christian and predominantly Catholic, yet still retains a surprising range of pre-Christian values and perceptions.” Even so, a leading Nova Scotia authority on the history of Acadian culture, Professor Alphonse Deveau of Collège Sainte-Anne, has observed: “religion, to the Acadian, was based on inner convictions and [was] not imposed from the outside. These inner convictions have been generously interlaced with ritualistic holdovers from the pagan rural areas of seventeenth-century France, and reinforced by the episodic lack of orthodox clergymen….” It was the basic inner conviction that brought the people to Mass but led them to feel little need for preaching. Priests assigned to Acadia wrote back to their bishops in Québec complaining that as soon as they began their sermons the men would go outside for a smoke and a horse race or two. Then they would return for the rest of the Mass.
This was probably truer of the Acadians who wound up in Louisiana than those who found refuge in Québec; this author’s family was quite orthodox Catholic (its roots were in the Québec villages of St-Grégoire and Ste-Eulalie). Acadians in both the northern and southern branches sustained an intense love of the sacraments and of the Virgin Mary. We must remember that the settlements on the Saint John River had a long string of missionary priests to minister to the people, and when they went to Québec, their new home had many more available priests than their relatives who now lived in early- nineteenth-century Louisiana.
The English had tried for forty years to get the Acadians to swear loyalty to England’s kings and queens. At times the Acadians would do so. Then the monarch would die and the loyalty oaths would be demanded again. Finally the Acadians decided they would not swear loyalty to anyone any more except themselves.
In the late summer of 1755 Governor Lawrence set his plan into motion. The whole plan was made possible by the capture of the French Fort Beauséjour, on the isthmus connecting Nova Scotia and present-day New Brunswick in June 1755. Around the same time, the Protestant English began persecuting the Catholic Acadians. In the same year, the government in Nova Scotia decreed that the Acadians ought to be banished forever. The Council of Halifax declared them outlaws. Correctly sensing great trouble coming, A great number of fearful Acadians left their homes on the southern Fundy coast and others from the Beaubassin. They sought refuge on the Saint John. Some founded new settlements while others joined already existing villages. They had fled leaving everything they owned behind and now had no means of supporting themselves. Saint Anne took them in.
The idea of expulsion had occurred a few times before, but each time it seemed to have gotten bogged down when London entered the picture. From all that we can find out, the plan never had the approval of officials in London. Even so, in September 1755, many ships suddenly appeared at the Acadian towns. The British Army landed and called a meeting of the local Acadian men in their churches, then locked the doors. The women were told if they obeyed orders and got on the ships with their children, the men would be permitted to join them.
It didn’t quite work out that way. There are still stories that Lawrence gave orders to deliberately separate the men from their wives and children. This was a clear act of genocide, for this British officer was determined to ruin the Acadian nation. One of the officers in Minas Basin, a Lt. Col. Winslow, disobeyed these orders (if indeed they were given) and did all he could to keep families together.
But even “keeping families together” presented problems; Acadian families had never been nuclear families. Family had always meant the full spectrum of grandparents, aunts and uncles, parents, siblings, and all of the cousins. As one may surmise from the interwoven Bergeron, Dugas, Bourg and Godin families in this history, there was enough marriage between a relatively small number of families that everyone was considered everyone’s cousin. This still hold true today: any Acadian or Cajun is called a “Cajun Cuzin.”
The Acadian family may have been even more closely knit in earlier times. It is reported that the family had an extended network, through intermarriage, into every other family of the community. We see this with the families of the Saint John River. The same thing happened after the migration to Louisiana. “‘Our manner of living in Acadia was peculiar,’ recalls the grandmother of a St. Martinville judge, in his 1907 classic oral-history account, Acadian Reminiscences, ‘the people forming, as it were, one single family.’ Such a family-extended by the blood, by the ring, and by the back door-forms a community where no one is left out and where institutions like mental hospitals and old-folk homes were never developed….” Thus it was not necessary to split parents from children to be severely traumatic. The loss of all one’s second cousins, known and depended upon on since birth, could do it. This is precisely what happened; during the Grand Dérangement the death rate due to depression was staggering.
The ships, disregarding what members of the families were on them, were sent to disperse the Acadian population throughout the British colonies. In some places, such as Catholic Maryland and Georgia, the refugees were treated somewhat humanely. But the best of governors were still under orders to disperse the Acadians throughout their small towns and absorb them, like the Assyrian conquest of Israel that resulted in the Ten Lost Tribes. At the worst, we have rumors of Acadians being sold on the block in the slave markets of North Carolina.
Of the 10,000 French in Nova Scotia about 3000 fled and 7000 were deported. The Acadian people died by the thousands. They may have lost as much as half of their population. In some cases the rickety old ships sank with the refugees locked in the holds. Some colonial governors tried to refuse to take the refugees and they were stuck in the holds without proper food and clothing for as long as to two or three months.
On 30 March 1756 Governor Lawrence wrote: “Some” (Acadians) “from the isthmus have joined the troops of the French officer” (Lt. Charles Boishébert) “who withdrew last summer to his fort at the mouth of the St. John” (at the mouth of the Nerepis). “Reinforced by Micmacs and the Indians from this river” (the St. John) “there are according to the indications about 1500 men who employ great activity to harass our troops every time they made a sortie from the forts Cumberland and Gaspereau. As they can receive help from Canada and from Louisberg by a little fort called Jediach” (Shediac) “there is no doubt but that they draw to themselves settlers who fled into the woods into the interior of the province.”
Meanwhile, the Acadian people who were being deported would (and did) rebel when they had the chance. Under the leadership of a Charles Belliveau, on one of the ships carrying 32 families to the Carolinas, the captive Acadians managed to take over the ship. They turned it around and, Belliveau being a very good seaman, soon reached St. John.
Other Acadian refugees continued to make their way to the St John River. Some of them had travelled by foot or by canoe through long, long stretches of lands unknown to any but the indigenous peoples. Thirty families had come in from Beauséjour alone. Others come all the way from Grand Pré. These people had “slipped away in the woods… [then] wandered around at first, during 8 years, from camp to camp…” before finally reaching safety. More fugitives had made their way back up the Atlantic coast in small boats, stealthily going from place to place, hiding when necessary and sailing when they could. Practically all of them were in extremely deplorable condition.
Boishébert was soon burdened with over a thousand weak, hungry, forlorn people. Because he hardly had enough resources to take care of his own troops, he sent a number of the refugees on to Canada. Father Germain helped him settle others up and down the river, at Grimross, at Villeray (three miles down river from Grimross), at Nashwaak, at Pointe Ste-Anne, and at Aukpaque. Some French authorities estimated that there were over 2000 Acadians on the St. John in 1758.
Then information was received that the enlistments of two New England regiments were up and both regiments were dissolved and sent home. The authorities in Nova Scotia were having a very hard time recruiting replacement troops quickly. This prevented any new excursions up the St. John River, and would probably do so for at least a year. The Acadians there breathed a great sigh of relief.
The war would continue for many more years. In retrospect, most Anglophone people consider the Acadian expulsion to be a regrettable but necessary affair of that war.
Britain went on to take Louisbourg again in 1758.

Chapter 18: The First Wave of Refugees from the River Saint John

That same year (1758) Colonel Robert Moncton, who had played a key role in the fighting around Beauséjour and in the deportation, heard about the Saint John River villages from an Acadian prisoner; who mentioned visiting a village of around forty houses. He laid his plans carefully. In the autumn Moncton and 2000 troops crossed the Bay of Fundy with the assignment to clear the St. John of all remaining Acadians. He first established a new base of operations by reconstructing the old fort at the mouth of the river. He named it Fort Frederick. The New England Rangers were Moncton’s most effective troops. The four companies were commanded by Captains McCurdy, Brewer, Goreham and Stark.
When Moncton and his troops appeared on the St. John, Boishébert retreated. He not only pulled back his regular troops, but also the Indian allies, so they would not be influenced by new promises from the English. The French forces left the area completely unprotected and returned to Canada.
Father Germain departed with Boishébert and also went back to Canada. On his way up the river he took the church-bell from the Indian chapel at Aucpaque. He left it at the Indian village of Madousca (now Edmundston). Later the true owners stole it from the chapel at Madawaska and took it back home.
Boishébert told the St. John Acadians that they could also go to Canada if they so desired. A number of families did so. Canada’s Governor Vaudreuil wrote about a migration of many St. John Acadians in a letter he wrote in November 1758. Evidently over 1600 people succeeded in reaching to Québec, but that city
was suffering through a famine. By the time the exiles reached their goal they were able to get only two ounces of food per day. The resulting weakness open the door to a smallpox epidemic. Over 300 of the Acadian refugees died.
In the spring of 1758 twenty-nine of the refugees, “with the remains of their families,” went farther up the St. Lawrence to the area around Bécancour, in search of refuge. In that region, the local seigneur, the Sieur de Montesson “welcomed them with great joy and settled them on the left bank of Lake St. Paul, whose scenery reminded them a little of their lost homeland.” Guy Desilets, a cousin who wrote a book about Saint Grégoire, continues:
I give you here the names of the first leaders of the settlement: Charles Goudet, Claude Hébert, Pierre Bergeron, Regis Pare, Bonaventure Duro, Amant Thibeau, Joseph and Jean-Baptiste Richard, Charles Héon, Pierre Arsenault, Bercase Benoit, Pierre Cormier, Jean and Joseph Le Prince, Benoni Bourg, Michel and Charles Le Prince, Jean-Baptiste Halin, François Cormier, Jacques and Pierre Bourg, Etienne Migneau, Pierre and Joseph Héon, François and Charles Gaudet – of the line of Charmantes-à-Marin Gaudet – Amant and Joseph Bourg, the latter, my ancestor by my mother.
And immediately, the seigneur charged the engineer-surveyor Leclerc to lay out for them 29 plots, each three arpents wide on a length of 28 French arpents. And also immediately, of the fact of the abundance of game in the forest as well as the fresh-water fish which swarmed in the nearby lake, well, for these people arrived at our home in rags and in an emaciated state, immediately, there was the abundance of food; these Acadians had finally fallen into the arms of Divine Providence as the grannies of our home said, in the past.
And when the first white smoke rose over the first clearings, this was truly the symbol of the selection of a new homeland… and the film of our imagination permits us to assert here that had to be very beautiful after such misery!
And soon enough, it was then that in the enormous pines which, they tell us, were growing in abundance in the territory at the time, were carved by axe into the cradles of the first families of our home… and it was that which was truly the birth of a new parish… the life that was settled and that was perpetuated from generation to generation, for in coming to make this St-Grégoire which we have inherited and where it is so good to live today “far from danger, in the shelter from the misfortune…” As was said so well by the poet and musician A. T. Bourque, in his unforgettable song Evangéline!
Back on the St. John River, the Acadians were left unprotected in their settlements at Grimross, Oromocto and Ste. Anne’s. Needless t say, they were in a state of continual unrest and alarm. Soon enough, they realized that the British general intended to head up the river. Every day the premonitions of a coming catastrophe increased. Large numbers of people again sought safety in the woods and lived after the “Indian fashion” but many (most?) did not know how to live that way. Their condition became more pitiful with each passing day. A few believed the distance between them and the English gave them enough security, and so they returned to their farms. Many went back to Ste-Anne’s Point.

Chapter 19: War Comes to the River Saint John

In late October 1758 Moncton set out up the River St. John with a force of 700 English soldiers. His goal was to annihilate the Acadian settlements. The English found most of the homes empty. The settlers had bolted for the forest, many running up to St. Anne’s, or even further, on to Canada. The English burned all of the villages as far as a point thirty miles below St. Anne’s. Grimross had been the home of 300 inhabitants and Villeray had just been started. Their fate was the same. At Grimross (present-day Gagetown), Moncton destroyed everything he could find: houses, barns, crops, animals, everything. Then, afraid of being trapped by the frozen river, he turned back to Fort Frederick, then sailed for Halifax with thirty Acadian families as prisoners. A Major Robert Morris was put in charge of the fort.
It was now November and winter was about to arrive. With everything totally destroyed, the Acadian families had nothing on which to live. Moncton had intended the effect to be maximum; it was catastrophic. We have no idea how many people died of hunger and cold during that winter of 1758-59 because of this Saint John campaign. The number of refugees had jumped tremendously. They no longer had homes or provisions to survive the winter. There was no longer any place of refuge, no safe shelter, nowhere to live in peace.

When word reached Ste-Anne that Moncton was on his way up the river, the people pulled back, perhaps Michel II leading them farther up the Saint John to the nearby Maliseet (Malicite) village at Aukpaque (Ecoupag) to live with his cousin Ambroise St.-Aubin. Also, if they were forced to fight there, they could probably get Indian help to resist the invaders.
Michel II seems to have been very close to the Indian communities in his own right. He had married a woman named Magdeleine Bourg. Some genealogical references (their accuracy is questionable) designate her as Indian. An internet resource of mine did confirm that Bourg is quite a common name among the present-day Micmac.
But Moncton did not continue on to Sainte-Anne’s Point, giving the reason that winter was advanced (November 1758) and that he was of the opinion that Saint Anne was “without consequence since it was only a village without any sign of fortification.” He hypocritically told a government official “that it was better this way for he would not have been able to take care of the Acadians whose houses he would have destroyed. He adds that otherwise, this would have been cruel.”
With such destruction down river, many people certainly fled to Sainte-Anne for safety. Feeling comfortable and safe there, they set out to reconstruct their lives; after all, the English never came that far upriver. Many were carpenters and woodsmen, who, within a few days could build a “house, room by room, with a chimney of stones with clay masonry” quite quickly. Evidently quite a few new houses were erected.
Even so, during this period the St. John Acadians had a hard time to exist. The arriving refugees could build houses easily, but they still had to be fed. In addition, at one time the residents were required to provide provisions for Montesson’s three hundred Indians and Canadian troops who were heading to Beauséjour. To do this, the villagers were forced to use the grain and cattle needed for the next year’s planting and tilling. This extra burden came when the supply line from the mouth of the river had been cut off by the English occupation of Fort Frederick and the English navy, and it was difficult enough to communicate with Québec by land, bringing in supplies by that route was a formidable task.
Still, Moncton had pulled back. The Acadians of Ste-Anne’s Point had returned home. The danger seemed over, at least for now. The New Year of 1759 must have opened with a great deal of hope.
But if Moncton was done for the winter, the officers of the New England Rangers were not through with their vengeance on the French who had given them so much grief over the years. Again, they could not reach Québec, so they took it out on the closest French speakers, the Acadians. Moncton’s “humanitarian point of
view” mention ed above was not shared by these other officers at Fort Frederick. They prepared a mid-winter expedition to destroy the rest of the Acadians.
On 19 February Captain McCurdy and his Rangers set out from Fort Frederick on snow-shoes. When the troops camped for the first night they chose a site at Kingston Creek, not far from the Belleisle River. They camped on a very steep hill, practically a mountain. One of the men cut down a large birch tree for fuel but made a mistake in felling the tree. It rolled wildly down the steep mountainside. Captain McCurdy was crushed by he tree and killed instantly. His lieutenant, Moses Hazen, took over command of the company. Soon afterwards Hazen’s Rangers made it up the river to Ste. Anne’s Point, where they found a considerable town.
The Rangers struck with a vengeance.
On 28 February 1759, Lieutenant Hazen and about fifteen men arrived at Point Sainte-Anne. The well-armed group surrounded the first three houses of the village, perhaps with five soldiers at each house. They took some of the occupants captive, including Joseph Bellefontaine, the 64 year old son of Barthélémy’s old friend Gabriel Godin and good friend of Michel Bergeron dit de Nantes. They also captured Joseph’s wife, Anne Bergeron, his 26 year-old son Michel and wife Madeleine Guilbault, his daughter Nastasie and her husband Eustache Paré (age 25), and four of his grandchildren. The English tied Joseph and Michel Godin to trees and proceeded to slaughter their kin in front of them.
In 1774 Joseph Godin-Bellefontaine himself wrote a long mémoire and detailed the massacre of his family by Lieutenant Hazen and his soldiers. Let’s let him himself relate this horrible scene:
“Every human soul will be, as he, much affected by the horrible massacre of a part of his family, of which they had the harshness of making him a witness, he and his son Michel bound, their hands behind their backs and tied to some trees, they repeated to him over and over that he and all his family had to submit to English domination and to swear an oath of fidelity to their King. He persisted in the perseverance of his refusal, they took their rage to the point of massacring his daughter Nastazie, wife of Eustache Paré, crushing her head with a blow of the butt of a gun, his two children and a son of Michel, and splitting the head of the wife of the latter with a blow of a hatchet. During this barbarous scene, Anne Bergeron, his wife, and Eustache Paré, his son-in-law, each took one of the said Paré’s children in their arms and only saved them from the fury of these cruel men by their flight into the woods with that which they had on their bodies, without having time to take old clothing or provisions or papers.”
Anne Bergeron and Eustache Paré protected those children with their own bodies, escaping into the woods through a hail of bullets. Most of the remainder of the inhabitants also scattered into the forest and escaped.
Tied to their trees, Joseph and Michel Godin and his son Michel expected to suffer the same fate as the women and children who lay on the ground before them. However, because they were commissioned officers in the French militia they were taken prisoner to Fort Frederick. The English hoped to exchange them for English prisoners. Joseph’s wife, Anne, and his son-in-law, Eustache Paré, who had run into the woods, each with a child in their arms, found that they simply could not live apart from their family. They went to Fort Frederick and surrendered to the British.
This massacre is collaborated in contemporary English documents. A letter from Fort Frederick which was printed in “Parker’s New York Gazette or Weekly Post-Boy” on 2 April 1659 provides some additional details of the behavior of the Rangers. From it we can glean that the soldiers scalped the murdered women and children and brought their scalps back to Fort Frederick:

The fifth of March, Lieutenant Hazen of the Rangers came in from a scout of fifteen days with a party of sixteen Rangers, up the river St. John’s, he brought in with him six French scalps and six prisoners. Lieut. Hazen reports that he had been up to St. Anne’s which is 140 miles up this river from Fort Frederick [sic.], where it was expected he would have found a strong garrison of the enemy, but on his arrival he found the town evacuated which he set fire to, burnt a large Mass house with a bell of about 300 lbs., a large store-house, and many valuable buildings amounting in the whole to 147, to-gether with a large quantity of hay, wheat, peas, oats, etc., killing 212 horses, about 5 head of cattle, a large number of hogs etc., and that he took the prisoners and scalps with eleven of his party on his return near Grimross, and that the inhabitants of St. Anne’s are chiefly gone to Canada, the remainder scattered in the woods. He was pursued by thirty or forty of the enemy but not overtaken, … he arrived in good health without the loss of one man.
The church that was burned was located to the west of the present Old Government House on Woodstock Road in downtown Fredericton, New Brunswick. When the residents of Ste-Anne’s first heard the sounds of attack, they fled to save their lives. There was no time at all to take any possessions with them, and so their animals and winter provisions were left behind and were destroyed by the Rangers.
When they returned on 5 March, the Englishmen did not lie about the devastation they visited upon the Acadian settlement. But we see from the above that the soldiers did lie to their superiors about where and from whom they took the scalps. Another letter mentioned that the scalps were from men the Rangers had chased down at Grimross. General Jeffrey Amherst congratulated Hazen for his efforts and promoted him from lieutenant to captain. However, the report made to Amherst made no mention the dead and scalped people were women and children. Some time later, when Amherst learned these grisly details, he made it known that he did not approve of such conduct. But he did not bring charges, and he permitted Hazen to keep his advancement in rank.
Later, outside of official circles, Hazen’s soldiers did not even try to keep the truth a secret. Reverend Jacob Bailey noted in his journal, that while spending the night at Norwood’s Inn in Lynn (Massachusetts) during December 1759: “We had among us a soldier belonging to Captain Hazen’s company of Rangers, who declared that several Frenchmen were barbarously murdered by them, after quarters were given, and the villain added, I suppose to show his importance, that he split the head of one asunder, after he fell on his knees to implore mercy. A specimen of New England’s’ clemency!”
The Ste-Anne Acadians later returned to their village and found only cinders and ruins. They did their best to bury the two murdered women, Anastasie Godin and Madeleine Guilbaut, and the children in the village’s cemetery located near the ruins of their church. But it was winter and the ground was too frozen to dig very deep. They did the best they could . Excavators in the early 1900s discovered a number of bodies buried closely together. One grave held two. All together seven of the skeletons showed evidence of having been killed in battle. One had a bullet hole in the head and the right side of its head was crushed in. Another grave contained two bullets. All of these bodies were buried only about three feet down. There was no evidence of any coffins or religious items. It was determined that the burials occurred shortly after the Hazen raid.
Surprisingly, the ruin of 1759 did not mean the end of the village of Point Saint Anne. Many would stay in the area for another four years.
Imagine the crushed spirits of the residents of Pointe Ste-Anne. Michel Bergeron II undoubtedly sat watching the river flow past. Just as the water disappeared around the bend, so had his family vanished. His father Michel I and his fourth wife Marie-Jeanne Hébert, captured by the English and perhaps now dead.
Two of his brothers (Charles and Jean-Baptiste) and two of his sisters (Angélique and Anne), captured by the English and possibly dead. His uncles Barthelemy and Augustin and their families, captured by the English and maybe dead. His father’s long-time friend, Joseph Godin, and his aunt, Anne Bergeron, captured by the English, perhaps dead. One of his close friends, Michel Godin, captured and his wife (Madeleine Guilbaut) and son murdered. The sister of his friend, Anastasie Godin, killed, and her husband, Eustache Paré, captured and possibly dead.
The British captured Quebec City in 1760. The following year they took Montréal. Meanwhile, Michel I and Barthélémy II were prisoners in Halifax, soon to be deported.
In 1761, there were 42 Acadians still living on the River Saint John. The English government in Halifax considered them among the exiled.
Shortly after the capture of Québec, a group of 200 Acadians refugees there, originally from the Saint John River, realized the war was as good as over. They took the oath of allegiance to the England’s king, thus earning passes from Judge Thomas Cramache and Brigadier Robert Moncton to return home. They traveled back to their old lands on the Saint John. Their old missionaries Germain and Coquart returned with them. They presented themselves to Colonel Arbuthnot, presently commander of Fort Frederick, and promised to be faithful to their new government. Arbuthnot had them to stay at the fort while he waited for Halifax to respond to their request to settle on the river. On 30 November 1759, Governor Lawrence and the Council of Halifax considered the fate of the returned Acadians. They not only rejected the Acadian request, but ordered them to Halifax, where they were taken as prisoners of war. They were to be deported to England.
Father Germain settled in the Indian village of Ekoupahag (Aukpaque). He continued to serve both the Acadian and the native community from there. He also continued to watch over the sacred land of Ste-Anne’s cemetery. In the spring of 1762, a group of surveyors from Newburyport (Massachusetts) arrived and began to lay out Point Sainte-Anne for English settlement. Father Germain sent the Malecites to confront them. This was his scheme to prevent non-Catholics from desecrating the site of the cemetery. The Indians came down from their village
with an Interpreter, all having painted faces of divers colours and figures and dressed in their war habits. The chiefs, with grave countenances, informed the adventurers [the surveyors] that they were trespassers on their rights; that the country belonged to them and unless they retired immediately they would compel them to do so.
The reply made to the chiefs was to this effect: that the adventurers had received authority to survey and settle any land they should choose at the River Saint John; that they had never been informed of the Indians claiming the village of Ste. Anne, but as they declared the land there to be their property (though it had been inhabited by the French, who were considered entitled to it, till its capture by the English) they would retire further down the river. The surveying party removed their camp, according to their promise, almost as far down as the lower end of Oromocto Island on the east side of the river….
The surveyors knew that the government in Halifax did not want to annoy the Indians because they it desired to maintain good relations to enhance the fur trade. The Acadians, for their part, really did not want to make their presence known, and especially did not want to appear to the English that they were trying to maintain a claim to this land. In his article “Le village acadien de la Pointe-Sainte-Anne (Fredericton)”, Fidèle Thériault mentions that this party included a number of Acadians disguised as “Indians with painted faces … in particular Ambroise Saint-Aubin. He was the grandson of Jean Serreau de Saint-Aubin.” But here Thériault is wrong. Acadians may have appeared playing the role of Indians, but Ambroise St-Aubin was legitimately half Malecite by his mother.
Thériault tells us that “Ambroise had received his first name in honor of one of his uncles, Barthélémy Bergeron dit d’Ambroise (also Amboise), who had married Geneviève Serreau de Saint-Aubin.” Even though he was half Indian, there is a tradition that “Ambroise Saint-Aubin was blond, large and having great physical force. His step and his manners were those of a noble. Following in the footsteps of the Baron de Saint-Castin at Pentagouët, Ambroise chose his spouse from among the native people and later became chief of the River Saint John Malecites. We only know the first name of his wife, who was called Anne.” Already being half Malecite, it is not surprising that he might choose to live with his mother’s people, as his brother Joseph seems to have done. Thus it is logical that he should choose an Indian wife.
In 1762 the residents of Ste-Anne’s Point were still there, numbering over 40 inhabitants. An Englishman, Joseph Peach, drew a map of the area that year. The map shows a number of houses and gardens between Point Saint Anne and the village of Aukpaque. One large settlement was named “Bellefeuille” and was most likely the home of another sons of Gabriel Godin-Bellefontaine, Jacques Godin. There is another connection here with the Bergeron d’Amboise family, for Jacques Godin married Anne-Marie Bergeron, the youngest daughter of Barthélémy and Geneviève. They left the area about this time, but their son, Daniel Godin stayed. In fact, he was later one of the founders of “French Village” (present-day Kingsclear) and the ancestor of the “Goodine” family of that area.
Ever since the Ranger raid of 1759, the Acadians had moved somewhat upriver. Because their church had been burned down they worshipped at the church at Ekoupahag. They also buried their dead in the cemetery there. In fact, they were not even able to harvest the hay growing in their old fields; the inhabitants of Maugerville gathered that harvest. The picture of the situation that we get from Thériault, Maxwell and Raymond is that of a people trying to resettle their lives. The descendants of these people remember it a bit differently. Guy Desilets wrote:
having had wind of the human trap that was being prepared [by the English], they slipped away into the forests of New Brunswick, where for nearly eight years, we are told, they lived on the banks of the St. John with a group of Micmac Indians [in truth, these were Malecites].
But this could be only a temporary situation for them, for all of them were not like some people able to return to the savage state. The oral tradition tells us moreover that they had to constantly supervise some miserable goods that they had been able to take with them. More, the Indians rapidly noticed that the Acadian girls were very pretty (and I well understand them a little) but the “mômans” [“chicks”?] were annoyed by their constant chaperons in the forest.
The author has studied Native Nations history and culture for over 25 years, and it seems that there was a major cultural clash going on here. Indian people often see individuals as owning only what was inside their homes, the food they grew or hunted, the clothes they wore, weapons, and animals they owned. Other items generally (there were some differences within the different nations) belonged to whomever needed them. Then others could take them and use them. A European based people who were used to owning almost every item could easily see this situation as Indians stealing from them. As far as the young women go there generally was not a great problem with intermarriage between these two groups, so there may have been some jealous young Acadian men, and the chaperoning could easily be the result of French parents not quite sure how “honorable” the young men were. (Among some nations, there was indeed a double standard, in which the young women had an ideal of saving themselves while the young men played the game of conquest of the girls. I do not know enough about Malecite culture to be able to say whether this was true here or not.) At any rate, it seems that there was some degree of cultural conflict going on here, which of course might happen with two larger groups of people when individuals (as in a marriage) could make the cultural adjustments more easily. I suspect that Michel II understood what was happening and perhaps did not know how to work it out, and so he made the choice he did, as we will see shortly.
There were also other pressures. Remember that as far back as 1755, the English passed a law that no Catholics could own land or it on to their heirs. This law was aimed directly at the Acadians. It was not repealed until 1783. Then, in March 1759, the government of Nova Scotia passed another law sentencing Catholic priests to life imprisonment if they were caught ministering to people in the colony. Finally there was the imprisonment of the returning Acadians who had sworn their loyalty and had been given permission to return to their River Saint John lands and wound up prisoners at Fort Frederick. After all this, none of the Acadians felt they could trust the English in any way.
The final straw came when more deportations began to shape up. James Simonds, Richard Simonds and Francis Peabody came to Ste-Anne’s Point in 1762, and two years later James Simonds and his friends established a trading post nearby. A Lieutenant Gilfred Studholme, of the 40th Regiment, then commanded the troops at Fort Frederick. He was given the unpleasant orders to command the remaining Acadians to move. These people were living between Ste. Anne’s and Aukpaque, probably on both sides of the river.
It seems that they did not leave, for six months later [some time after January 1763] Charles Morris and Henry Newton, two members of the Council of Nova Scotia, were sent out by the government in Halifax to order the Acadians still living near Ste. Anne’s to move to some other part of the province. In all fairness, these orders were not only for the Acadians; they also ordered settlers from New England to leave because their lands had been retained for officers and men who had been discharged from the army. The Acadians tried to gain some time to harvest their crops but the Council of Halifax very probably did not grant their permission. A short time after the Acadians petitioned the Council, there were 87 Acadian prisoners (17 families consisting of men, women and children) at Fort Frederick. Fr. Bergeron published: a list of French Acadians who lived as prisoners (note the wording) on the River Saint-John dated August 12, 1763:
Pierre Bergeron and Marguerite Bourg with six children; Embroise (sic) Brun and Marie Bergeron with six children; Simon Bergeron and Marie Saindon with two children; Joseph Bergeron and Angélique Syndon; Michel Bergeron [this was Michel II, son of Michel and grandson of Barthélémy, and destined to be another kind of hero] and Magdeleine Bourg; François Bergeron and Rosalie Bourg; Joseph Bourg and Marie Bergeron: all, of young couples about to emigrate the following year toward the future Petite Cadie de S.-Grégoire-de-Nicolet; finally Etienne Bergeron, unmarried, yet to emigrate to Gaspésie to today’s Carleton.”
Almost all of these named were children of Michel I. They had managed to evade deportation for eight years, but not without tremendous hardship.
Remember the laws against Roman Catholics. Remember the constant and increasing pressure to relocate. Remember the cultural problems some were having with their Native hosts. At some point, it became obvious that this kind of life could not continue.

Chapter 20: The Great Trek

They finally made the decision to depart from the homeland. It must have been very difficult. For Michel, his grandfather, grandmother, other family and friends were buried here. This was the place where he last saw his father, his aunts and uncles, lifelong friends. But they could not continue living here.
A group of 10 extended families, under the leadership of Michel Bergeron II, became the last Acadians to leave Acadia. This story of the massive migration of Acadians from the St. John River to the Nicolet region of Quebec (just across the St. Lawrence from the old city of Trois Rivières) was first preserved in memory, then was written down. There are three written versions all quite similar to each other. This extract from the Mechascebé, a journal of Louisiana, of 14 December 1872, is one of those written records. It describes the “Adventures of a group of banished Acadians through the forests of Canada:
At the time of the dispersion of the Acadians, in 1755, what present-day historians would willingly add: from 1755 to at least 1775, several families of Grand Prée and (of) Beauséjour threw themselves into the woods so as not to fall into the hands of the English… They kept alive the hope that in following the natives through the woods they might approach near enough to Canada to come to settle there; but they (natives of the country) did not move very far away from the coast and life in the middle of them became intolerable [mostly because of raids by Anglo-American Rangers]… it was decided… to tempt fate through the woods.
The troop was composed of some ten families, among others, named: Béliveau, Gaudet, Poirier, Bergeron, Bourque, Bercasse (of the Landry dit Bercasse) and Lamontague (of the Laurt dit Lamontague). There were several women, girls, young men and children of young age. The leader of the expedition was Michel Bergeron de Nantes (son of Michel I, this one being the son of Barthélémy). They trusted in divine Providence and disappeared into the woods heading in the direction of Canada. It was about the spring of 1763. They marched all summer… If they were continually pressed by the most poignant anxieties, at least the provisions would not fail at all, thanks to the skill and the care of Michel Bergeron, or Michel de Nantes, as he was called then….”
Jacques-Philippe Godin dit Bellefeuille and Anne-Marie Bergeron had already gone to Canada. In fact Godin had already died on 4 February of this year.
They left their homes and the burial plots of their ancestors, including Barthélémy Bergeron d’Amboise and Geneviève Serreau de St-Aubin. As Fr. Bergeron put it: “So, from this time on, we cannot see our humble hero [Barthélémy] anywhere else than resting under the earth of that precious corner of Old Acadia which, for all that, remains doubly dear to us.”
Through the dense forests they went. There is a saying in Quebec that a squirrel who had climbed a tree on Cape Diamond – at Quebec – would have easily been able to go as far as Windsor, in Ontario, without ever touching the ground! Simply by jumping from branch to branch. Obviously, this is a caricature, but one which illustrates very well the immensity and density of these forests. The forests of New Brunswick were just as dense. All of this part of the continent was inhabited by numerous kinds of feathered and furred game. There was, however, a good aspect to the route they took: it had long been used as a road between Canada and Acadia, and it would continue to be such until trains and highways appeared. And then a major highway would be built along the same path.
It was by this route that the French officers Marin and Montesson had led their troops to Beauséjour in the late 1750s. The march had taken them less than a month from Quebec, a distance of roughly 500 miles. During the War of 1812, New Brunswick’s 104th Light Infantry (1000 men) went from St. John to Québec in February, crossing the frozen St. Lawrence. They had made a midwinter march of 435 miles in sixteen days. But both of these were cases involving trained soldiers on disciplined marches.
The Acadians were not disciplined troops. Furthermore, they were slowed down by old folks, children, and pregnant women. Guy Desilets wrote:
In the summer of 1763, all these people, more than sixty-odd, they tell us, started on a long march toward Quebec. Crossing the immense forests of New Brunswick and the valley of the Temiscouata, they built some makeshift rafts each time they had to cross
a sizable river, feeding themselves by the luck of the hunt and by fishing; and this which today takes us some hours to cover, for them, they were almost three seasons of effort and ordeals, for it was necessary to adapt even to the resistance of the most elderly and the most feeble.
The Saint John River was their guide for most of the trek, taking them first to the west and then to the north. Sometimes they met small groups of Indians who were out hunting, but the native people showed them no hostility, certainly not to a party led by someone who surely spoke a local language; we should have no doubt that Michel II, growing up with his Malicite cousin, Ambroise, learned the local Indian language.
Other large rivers flowed into the main river, and had to be crossed. Waterfalls, some of them truly magnificent, provided a break in the scenery. Roughly halfway through the journey they came to the Grand Falls Its Indian name was Chik-un-ik-pe, “a destroying giant.” Raymond, in his book about the River Saint John, describes these falls as “not excelled by any east of the Mississippi, excepting Niagara and possibly one in Labrador.”
No description or series of illustrations will suffice to give a just idea of their majesty and beauty. The main fall is almost perpendicular, about seventy-four feet in height. At the base there is a huge fragment of rock upon which the water thunders unceasingly, and from which a dense column of spray arises. When the sunlight falls upon the moving spray, a splendid rainbow shimmers over the wild and foaming waters below. Almost of equal interest with the great cataract itself is the winding gorge below, through which the seething torrent rushes for a distance of one mile to the lower basin, descending nearly fifty feet in that distance. The gorge is in places exceedingly narrow. The walls are in general perpendicular and from 80 to 150 feet in height. The rapids through the canyon are often of the wildest character. At the narrowest place in the gorge a colossal mass overhanging the cliff is known as Pulpit Rock.
Imagine our fatigued and bedraggled refugees resting beside this magnificent scenery. Michel probably knew they had completed about half the journey to that other great river which would become their home, the Saint Lawrence. He probably had also learned of a Malecite legend which he would have passed on during story-telling time around the campfires after supper:
On the Madawaska their [Mohawk] advance party at early dawn surprised, in their small encampment, a Maliseet hunter with his family. The hunter and children were instantly killed and the life of the woman was only spared upon her promising to be their guide. She was placed in the chief’s canoe and the war party proceeded onward. As they approached the Little Falls at the mouth of the Madawaska, the woman told them that a portage must be made as the place was impassable by water. Re-embarking they proceeded and reached the tranquil waters that are to be found for at least a dozen miles above the Grand Falls. Upon being assured by the guide that there were no more falls the flotilla of canoes was lashed together in raft-like fashion and drifted with the tide. In a little while almost all the wearied Mohawks were sleeping, but the woman well knew that they were nearing the Falls. Hearing at length the noise of falling water, some of the watchers inquired the cause and were told that it was only the noise of a water-fall at the mouth of a river which here joins the St. John. As the fleet swept on and quickened for the plunge, the Indian woman slipped quickly into the water and swam to the shore. Meanwhile the sleepers awoke as the full blast of the cataract thundered in their ears. They sprang in desperate horror to their paddles. Their cry of despair as they were swept into the abyss was mingled with the exultant war-cry of the Indian woman as she saw the enemies of her tribe descend into the gulf, where every soul was lost. … There is another form of this legend in which the woman shares the fate of the Mohawks.

They continued on, leaving the Saint John to follow the shores of Lake Temiscuata north. Summer slipped into autumn, and the leaves began to change color. Undoubtedly many people became concerned about reaching shelter before the first snows. But they kept walking, a few more miles each day. They kept their faith that the Good Lord would watch over them, and they prayed constantly.
It is thus at the home of the Bergerons, the lineage of my grandmother Annie, we were reminded in the past that during this long march there was always someone in the group to say the rosary! And thus it is that the trusting devotion in Mary came to our home.
And so the author learns why his father never used a missal or any other object at Mass, except that he constantly prayed the rosary!
They traveled for two months, though some of the accounts certainly make it sound like it took longer than that. After an almost impossible and incredible odyssey, on the point of succumbing to discouragement, three days before Toussaint, All-Saints, the refugees reached the small village of Cacouna, so tiny they did not even have a church. (It would not be erected canonically until 1835 ) Here they were welcomed as family. Here they passed the winter where they deloused themselves [Guy Desilets comments “This is not that golden legend!”], recovered their health, repaired their belongings, and built small boats for the next leg of their journey. Even though Cacouna did not have its own church, they did have the services of a priest from Kamouraska, and the registers of that parish tell us that in the spring of 1764 Michel Nantes Bergeron and his wife had a child baptized there. This would probably have been Marie-Rose, their second child, second daughter.
The people of Cacouna had been moved to pity for the heartrending condition of the refugees and close bonds developed between the two groups. In the spring, as the Acadians prepared to depart, the residents of the village warned them of the hardships and dangers ahead. They begged their guests to stay and live among them. But the Acadians were determined to continue, quite probably in the belief that they might find their relatives who had preceded them. And so painful separations again, as the refugees thanked their hosts for their generosity. And with “eyes filled with tears, [they] raised the sails of their frail boats and ascended the river.
Michel’s party stopped at Quebec, where they learned that earlier Acadians were happily settled in the Bécancour area. Michel II possibly visited his aunt Anne-Marie while he was here, and it may have been from her that they found out about Nicolet-Bécancour. Her husband, Jacques-Philippe Godin dit Bellefeuille had died at Gentilly, near Bécancour, on 4 February 1763. Sometime afterward, she moved back to the Québec area, where she would later die at Ste-Famille, Ile d’Orleans, on 1 January 1770 . But other Bergerons had remained around Nicolet and Bécancour.

Chapter 21: The Laurentide (of the St. Lawrence) Bergerons

And so in the spring or early summer of 1764 [Fr. Bergeron says it was in the autumn of that year ] this second large group of Acadian exiles reached their new home. At Bécancour they found the same kind of warm welcome as they had at Cacouna. Some of the people settled in Bécancour but the rest settled on the southern bank of the Saint Lawrence a few miles from the mouth of the Godefroy River, across from old colonial city of Trois Rivières. The Bergerons, Béliveaus, Richards and some other families went up the small River Judith to western end of Lake Saint Paul. Guy Desilets mentions that “they settled behind the first [group of Acadian] arrivals, on a line traced in the seigneurie of Godefroy and which would become the great road of Saint-Grégoire. Today, it is the well named Boulevard of the Acadians.”
Michel Bergeron could be described as a hero for his leadership, guidance, and hunting skills while getting the refugees up the Saint John, then up the Saint Lawrence. But now he entered into a totally different kind of heroism. He was a master carpenter, so he went to work in Trois Rivières on various government projects. He kept in close contact with his fellow Acadians six miles away on the Godefroy River. They lived through the winter by hunting and by trapping the plentiful beaver in the nearby streams. All winter long, Michel spent the money he earned on provisions to supply the new village which they had named “Petite Cadie de Ste-Marguerite.” The name was later changed to St-Grégoire.
Michel chose some land, beside the site where the church of Saint-Grégoire is found today. Fr. Bergeron tells us that the Acadian historian Mgr L. Richard wrote that it was “Michel Bergeron who cut down the first tree.” This land remained with his descendants even to the present time. Others settled in the neighborhood. Oral tradition has it that in the spring of 1765 a large area was cleared precisely where the heart of the old village was located. It was there that the people planted a community garden.
In the following years still more Acadians arrived at the newest Acadia. Among these people were the Hébert and Vigneau families.

Michel Bergeron’s house is shown in the photograph above. Guy Desilets wrote:
Michel Bergeron, called Michel Nantes, a very fine personality of a man … died in his house in the village of Saint-Grégoire at the very beginning of January 1832…. [Since he was born in 1736, this would made him 96 years old when he died.]
And it is in this same house at which hardly 24 years later, bore the one who was going to become our grandmother Desilets: Annie Bergeron. Moreover, many Bergerons in our region, and even to the depths of the Bois-Francs, identify themselves with this honorable ancestor (Nantes) as did also the genealogist Adrien Bergeron, p.s.s.
This photograph was sent to the author by Guy Desilets’ brother, Denis.

Chapter 22: From Maine and Gaspé to France and Louisiana

Michel I, his fourth wife and his four youngest children all wound up in Louisiana. These children were his sons Charles and Jean-Baptiste and his daughters Angélique and Anne. Others of his children went neither to Canada nor to Louisiana. Etienne settled in Carleton on the southern shore of Gaspé, the large peninsula between New Brunswick and the St. Lawrence River. On 12 February 1777, at the age of 36, he married Claire Couroit. Joseph and his wife Angélique Saindon stayed at Cacouna then moved to L’Isle Verte, just north of Rivière-du-Loupe on the St. Lawrence. Some of his family later moved up to Rimouski. His daughter Magdeleine and her husband Antoine-Ambroise Godin settled in the same area along the St.
Lawrence. Daughter Angélique settled around Kamouraska, a little to the south on the river. Some of the descendants of these four couples returned to the St. John River, though to the northern town of Madawaska. Most of the Bergerons of Maine come from this branch of the family. A number of them still carry the name of D’Amboise / Damboise.
Barthélémy and Geneviève’s two other sons, Barthélémy II and Joseph Augustin, and their families wound up in Louisiana. We have already seen what happened to their daughter Anne-Marie, who had married Jacques-Philippe Godin dit Bellefeuille. There are no indications as to where Marie and her husband François Roy would up. Their only other daughter was Marie-Anne.
Joseph Godin dit Bellefontaine and his son, Michel, after their capture at Pointe Ste-Anne by Hazen’s Rangers, were driven tied up to Fort Frederick. A short time later, Marie-Anne Bergeron and Eustache Paré joined them in captivity. The commandant of the fort spared their lives but sent them, almost naked, to Port Royal. They were sent to Boston, but the authorities in Boston refused to accept them. Eventually they were sent to England. During this whole time, they suffered severely, being kept in a ship’s hold, practically unclothed, for weeks. Their food was some kind of mashed and rotten mixture. In England, they were kept in that ship’s hold for another fifteen days. Finally, they were taken and released at Cherbourg, France. They were
in the most dreadful possible state of misery, of nudity, and of sickness from which several had already died and all the others were dying. They found in the homes of this town’s inhabitants the human sentiments and behavior, and the help which brought back to life those who had enough strength to sustain the effect.
They received a pension from the king of 12 pounds per day, but some time later this was cut in half. Their son, Michel, worked to help support them, but he died of smallpox on 30 March 1767. He was only 33 years old. Joseph and Anne-Marie suffered in poverty and misery for years. Their small pension allowed them to buy only the coarsest food. They slept on straw. They had only a few rags to wear. They petitioned the king for relief. We have no indication whether or not they received any help, but the commissioner general of the Marine had already made arrangements for them to live in an abbey or other religious house where they could receive clothing and food.
Fr. Bergeron writes: “an invaluable passage is collected in the ‘Role of the names, surnames and positions of the Acadians of honorable family of North America who have exercised military functions there, currently resident at Cherbourg (France)… The Sieur Bellefontaine, dit Beauséjour, of the River St. Jean, son of Gabriel, officer on the ships of the King… was adjutant of all the militias of the River St. John… and there possessed as sole owner of several plots of land where he had the pain to see massacred before his eyes one of his daughters and three of the children of that daughter by the English… Aged 71 years. Invalid… 300 livres… Marie-Ann Bergeron, his wife… daughter of Barthélémy who was of Amboise and had been settled in Canada (sic, for Acadia: correction by Placide Gaudet) where he sailed for his own business, and of Delle Cerau (Serreau) de St Aubin… 300 livres (of pension).’”
Back on the Saint John River, when Father Charles-François Bailly arrived in 1767, there were no more than eleven Acadian families living near the Indian village of Ekoupahag. On 13 June 1768, Father Bailly married the daughter of Ambroise & Anne St-Aubin, Angélique Saint-Aubin with Louis (a Malecite), son of Jean and Madeleine. The St. Aubin name continued to remain within the First Nations / Native American community even to present times. While attending a powwow in New Hampshire, the author struck up a conversation with an Abenaki woman about our respective ancestors. After describing that I was Acadian, I noted that anyone with the name of Serreau or Saint Aubin in their family tree was a cousin. She asked if that was spelled “A-U-B-I-N?” When I answered affirmatively, she stood up to shake my hand, saying with a smile, “Hello, cousin!” So, as the nations intermarried and strengthened the area’s major political structure (the Abnaki Confederacy) the name of Saint Aubin has not only spread throughout New Brunswick but also New England.
On the following 18 July, Ambroise Saint-Aubin and Pierre Thomas visited the authorities at Halifax and met with the governor. They had a number of requests: that Father Bailly be permitted to legally live with them; that they grant the Indians along the Saint John more land at Ecoupahag, four acres at Point Saint Anne. These four acres included the Acadian cemetery and “the site of the old church,” obviously the one that had been burned down by Hazen in 1759. Lillian Maxwell says that Father Bailly sent these two chiefs to make this request. Evidently he wanted to keep the site in the hands of Catholics and preserve it for the Acadians. Ambroise Saint-Aubin was certainly also interested in preserving the site, since he most likely had some relatives and friends buried there. All of the Indian requests were granted. After St. Aubin’s death in 1780, the Indians no longer cared about the land at Point Ste-Anne.
During the Revolutionary War, the Americans looked for support from the people of the Saint John. The English at Maugerville, the Acadians and the Malecites were all sympathetic to the Americans. To neutralize this influence, the government of Nova Scotia granted a 500 acre tract at Ekoupahag, Savage Island, and Point Sainte-Anne.
Five years later, New Brunswick was separated and made into a separate province. The new government issued an edict in 1784 declaring that landowners who had received their lands by letters patent from the government of Nova Scotia had to register at Fredericton any time during 1785, otherwise the title would automatically be annulled. The Malecites did not register and so they lost their title. New Brunswick re-granted all of these lands, except for the acres at Point Ste-Anne, no pressure being applied since Ambroise St. Aubin was no longer alive.
In Louisiana, Michel I died before 6 August 1664. Barthélémy Bergeron II died before 9 April 1766. Joseph-Augustin died 30 August 1765. All died in St. Martinville, St. Martin Parish, Louisiana.
Some of Barthélémy and Geneviève’s grandchildren died quite young, most probably because of the shock, stress, and ill-treatment they received during the Grand Dérangement. Most of them went on to start new lives wherever they finally settled down. Their descendants live in new homelands on the southern shore of St. Lawrence near Trois Rivières, Bécancour and Nicolet; in the Edmundston region of New Brunswick; throughout New England; spreading out from the New Acadia in Louisiana. Some individuals migrated away from their homelands, and their modern families are now all over the globe. The author knows of Bergerons in Arizona, Florida, and Washington DC. And his own family is now spread to Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Arizona, Oregon, Denmark, and undoubtedly a few more now-forgotten places. We are constantly discovering and communicating with new cousins.
Every single Acadian and Cajun Bergeron or d’Amboise (with all its variant spellings), without exception, is a descendant of Barthélémy Bergeron d’Amboise and Geneviève Serreau de St. Aubin.


[ The story presented in this paper, is far from complete. ]

Rich Bergeron has established a “blog” to give everyone the opportunity to provide updated Bergeron Information.

Click here to participate in Rich’s Blog

There are obvious questions without answers (yet): Where were the prisoners kept in 1695 and in 1704-06? Where was Anne Dagault, Barthélémy’s mother, from? Who were Barthélémy’s grandparents? Who were the “other” Bergerons, the ones listed in Father Adrien Bergeron’s genealogy? Where is Marie-Anne Bergeron’s birth certificate hiding in Massachusetts? What, precisely, was the relationship between the Blinns and the Bergeron d’Amboises? Was Michel Bergeron I actually a deep-sea sailor? Did he make trips between Acadia and France, or did he only ply the waters of the Bay of Fundy? Precisely where was the Bergeron d’Amboise home on Campobello? How much time did they spend there compared to their residence in Port Royal? When and where did Barthélémy die? The same questions can be asked for Geneviève. How close were Michel Bergeron II and Ambroise st. Aubin? Was Marguerite Bourg, Michel II’s wife, truly a member of a Native Nation and which one? Where did Michel II learn his carpentry trade?
And these are just the questions that may stand some chance of eventually being answered.
It has been my privilege to have made contact with a number of individuals who did a great deal of research and shared it with me. Now I would ask the readers of this paper to also help. If someone lives in Boston, it sure would be wonderful if they could find Marie-Anne’s birth certificate. Etc., etc., etc., etc. And, as you can see from this paper, any data shared with me will get proper credit.
In addition, there are also the oral histories. Families pass down stories. Guy Desilets illustrates that with his story of the rosary during Michel II’s trek. I am a historian, but to me a real part of history is what people believe and remember, the stories they hand down. Oral histories are history, of a different sort, perhaps, but still history. If anyone is willing to share their family stories, I think they could truly bring this story to life. We are all Bergerons and Damboises and Godins and Bourgs and Belliveaus and… we can go on and on. But we are also all part of this story. As I work my way to writing a complete book, nothing would thrill me more than turning this into “Three Acadian Generations: The Story of the Last Three Generations Before the Expulsion” instead of limiting it to the Bergeron d’Amboises.
But that depends on you, dear readers. Can we create a true saga? A real Acadian national treasure? Our undeniable story instead of just another history? To do this, I need your help.

Thank you, cousins.
Richard Bergeron
Minneapolis, 2004
[email protected]


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Note: Unless otherwise noted, all translations from works in French were made by Richard J. Bergeron.

Figures and Graphics:
The frontpiece figure of a soldier of the Compagnie Franche de la Marine is used in accordance with the permissions given for non-commercial use by the government of Canada. It was originally drawn by Eugène Lelièvre, of Environment Canada, Canadian Parks Service.
All maps are hand-drawn by the author.
The Bergeron House in St-Grégoire was provided by Prof. Denis Desilets of Laval University, another distant cousin, who was born and raised in St-Grégoire.

I am very grateful to my good friend, Rich Bergeron, who provided me the following article which he authored and requested I post on my web site. Additional information can be sourced from Richard via e-mail.