The Port-Royal Habitation was constructed in 1605 near the mouth of the Dauphin River [now the Annapolis River]. Samuel de Champlain was its architect and it had been the center of a small French settlement.
In 1613 Port-Royal was sacked and burned by troops from Virginia but the name Port-Royal survived and after the arrival of Acadian families from France in the 1630s the area became the birth place of Acadia.
Not far where Port-Royal was [today Annapolis Royal] was the little village of Belleisle. Oral history tells us that Pierre Martin planted the first apples in Nova Scotia when he was living here.
It should be noted that the remains of one pre-Deportation Acadian home was excavated in 1983 by archeologists.
PRÉE RONDE [Round Hill]
Again, not far the from the center of the largest settlement existed the village of Prée Ronde. Pierre Thibodeau lived here with his family and owned a mill.
Further north from where Port-Royal once was [today Annapolis Royal] was the village of Paradis Terrestre [Paradise]. Daniel LeBlanc lived here with his family as did the Gaudet family among others. To them it was indeed paradise on earth.
ST-JOSEPH RIVIERE-AUX-CANARDS [Chipman's Corner]
St-Joseph Rivière-aux-Canards extended from the Rivière St-Antoine [today the Cornwallis River] to Pereau. By 1755 there were 180 families living here. On September 3, 1755 Lt. Colonel John Winslow noted that the parish church was a "Butiful church." The Thériault, Comeau, Landry and Hebert families lived here.
RIVIERE-AUX-CANARDS [Upper Dyke, Canard Area]
This area comprised of 21 hamlets and was quite extensive. There were at least three flour or lumber mills. Acadian crops consisted of wheat, corn, flax, peas, beans, cabbage, beets, onions, carrots and turnip. Up to the Deportation in 1755 livestock was in abundance consisting of cattle, sheep, pigs and poulty in the fields. Some of the families that lives here were Surette, Thibodeau, Pellerin, Theriault, Babin, Aucoin and Gaudet.
LA POINTE DES BREAU [Lower Canard]
The waters of the Minas Basin were easily accessible from the fertile lands that still support a variety of crops and apple trees. Early Aadians were fruit raising-pioneers of Acadia and learned to grow plums, pears and cherries as well as apples.
As the name depicts, the Breau family had settled here and called this place home.
RIVIERE DES VIEUX HABITANTS
Situated between Rivière de la Vielle-Habitation (Habitant River) and Rivière Pereau (Pereaux River), this was a small village and it was located away from the larger dyked lands. This area's history tells of thriving ports. Saulnier, Trahan and Pelletier families once lived here.
RIVIERE DES HABITANTS [New Minas]
The first settlers in this village were young couples from Port-Royal, newly married and without children who were looking to start life in a new place though maintaining strong ties with their families in Port-Royal.
Located on the banks of the Rivière St-Antoine or la Rivière Grand-Habitant (Cornwallis River), on the opposite side of the river from Cote des Boudreau (Starr's Point), the village was sometimes known as la Rivière des Habitants. Based on the census of 1714, Acadian families living here were the Dupuis, Sire/Cyr, Hebert, LeBlanc, Landry, Benoit, Boucher and Darois.
Grand-Pré was founded in 1682 by families who left Port-Royal so they could own their own lands and expand. Grand-Pré was often referred to as Mines and extended from La Pointe Noire also called Vieux Logis (today's Horton's Landing)on the Gaspéreau to the town of present-day Wolfville.
Grand-Pré soon replaced Port-Royal as the bread basket of Acadia so much so that it did a good deal of shipping of its agricultural goods to the Massachusetts Bay Colony at Boston.
Four hundred and eighteen men and boys were detained as prisoners in the church on September 5, 1755 after the Deportation order was read by Colonel John Winslow. There is a cross where the parish cemetery is believe to have existed. The families who lived here were the Melanson, LeBlanc, Thériault, Bujold, Hébert, Landry, Trahan, Bourque, Forest, Bourgeois, Doucet, Blanchard and Granger.
GASPEREAU RIVER VALLEY
Acadian families who lived here: Gautreau, Dupuis and Hébert.
The Acadian parish of Ste-Famille was founded in 1722 and was located in Pisiguid/Pisiguit. Families living in this areas were Breau, Landry and Forest further down the Pisiguit river [Avon river]; most of the parishioners of Sainte-Famille were deported to the British American Colonies and very few of them would ever see their native land again. Some of the names on the surviving parish register are: LeBlanc, Breau, Mazzerolle, Roy, Vincent, Landry, Comeau, Doiron, Forest, Daigre, Hébert, Boudrot, Maillet, Rivet and Poirier.
The British arrived in Pisiguit in 1750 and built Fort Edward. On September 5, 1755, Captain Alexander Murray, commander of the fort, read the Deportation order to the men and boys assembled and then held them prisoners until the ships came to deport them. In October 1755 1,000 Acadians were deported from this location. Acadians who were captured or who gave themselves up after years of hiding in the woods were also held in Fort Edward between 1755 and 1762.
While prisoners, Acadians were hired to help the new settlers known as the Planters who had come from New England. They helped with construction and upkeep of the dykes. Some of those prisoners bore the name of: Poitier, Suret, Broussard, Dugas, Girroir, Gallant, Léger, Robicheau, Johnson, Deveau, Bourque, Pelerin, Comeau and Brun.
Some of the Acadians could be found in Chezzetcook by the end of the 1760s. They had been prisoners and released from either Halifax, Fort Edward or Fort Cumberland (Beauséjour) around 1760. Some of the names: Bellefontaine, Lapierre or Boudrot; others were families freed from Louisbourg after its fall in 1758 - these included families by the name of Petitpas or Braulds/Breau. Some of them had been prisoners on l'Ile Rouge (Devil's Island) and George's Island (Ile Ronde) while others had worked on building the forts that preceded the present Halifax Citadel of today.
LA POINTE NOIRE OR VIEUX LOGIS (Horton's Landing)
was the Acadian name for the landing on the Gaspereau River proven by archaeologist and historians to be the actual embarkation point for the Acadians who were deported from the church of Saint-Charles-des-Mines in Grand-Pré. Colonel John Winslow recorded in his diary that they walked a mile and a half in this direction to the transport ships waiting in the harbor. From October to December 1755 some 2,200 Acadians were deported from here. Among the names on Winslow's list found elsewhere on this site under Grand-Pre deportees were: Aucoin, Melanson, Boudro, Belfontain,LeBlanc, Daigre, Gautro, Pitre, Granger, Babin, heber, Blanchard, Landry, Braux, Commo, Trahan, Terriot, Thibodo and Richard. The Acadian dykes can also be seen at this location. Over the years it has continued to be topped off by a modern dykes or the waters would certainly flood the area. This is also where the "Deportation Cross" has been relocated.
Some excerpts from Return to Acadie by La Société Grand-Pré with permission.
Return to Acadie contains excerpts from Acadia Before 1755 by Régis Brun.