The British conquered Acadia from the French in 1710 and subsequently, the Acadians refused to sign an unconditional oath of allegiance to Britain. At this time, the Acadians and Mi’kmaq formed militia against the British and as a result of what the British viewed as the rebellious actions of some of the Acadians, British Governor Charles Lawrence and the Nova Scotia Council ordered the expulsion of all the Acadians. This action led to the deaths of thousands of Acadians.
The Acadian people were expelled from what are now the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island between 1755 and 1763 and were deported to Britain, France and other British colonies.
Fort Edward, in what was then Pisiguit (Windsor, Nova Scotia) played an important role in the Bay of Fundy Campaign (1755) of the Acadian Expulsion. Fort Edward was one of four forts in which Acadians were imprisoned over the nine years of the expulsion (the others were Fort Frederick, Saint John, New Brunswick; Fort Cumberland; and Fort Charlotte, Georges Island, Halifax).
In the early 1760′s it was illegal for Acadians to reside in Nova Scotia. Families and individuals who had avoided capture in 1755 were imprisoned. The prison lists for Fort Edward between 1761-1762 still exist (For a list of the prisoners see List of Acadian Prisoners – Fort Edward). There was Acadian and Mi’kmaq resistance to the Expulsion. In April of 1757, a band of Acadians and Mi’kmaq raided a warehouse near Fort Edward, killing thirteen British soldiers and, after taking what provisions they could carry, setting fire to the building. A few days later, the same group also raided Fort Cumberland.
Fort Beauséjour, (later known as Fort Cumberland) is located at the Isthmus of Chignecto in present day Aulac, New Brunswick, Canada. This fort was famous for the Battle of Fort Beauséjour, which was both the final act in the long fight between Britain and France for control of Acadia and the beginning of the final struggle between the two great empires for North America itself. Fort Beauséjour was one of several French forts erected to strengthen the French position in North America against the British.
In 1755, there was a major battle at Fort Beauséjour. It was also the site of the start of the Expulsion of the Acadians and the area was afterward subjected to the resistance of the Mi’kmaq and Acadians. On June 4, 1755, British forces and militia attacked Fort Beauséjour from their base at Fort Lawrence. After taking control of Fort Beauséjour by June 16, 1755, they changed its name to Fort Cumberland. After the capture of the fort, British forces attempted to convince Acadians of the Beaubassin region to sign the oath of allegiance demanded by the British Crown; however the Acadians refused, stating that they would rather remain neutral. Some of the captured Acadians who remained reported that they were forced to help defend Fort Beauséjour. Armed with this information, the British planned and executed the expulsion of Acadians in August 1755.
This event was the start of what would come to be known as the Great Upheaval (le Grand Dérangement) of Acadian society. It commenced with the Acadians in the Beaubassin region. British forces burnt Acadian homes at Beaubassin and the vicinity of the fort to prevent their return. Fort Cumberland became one of four sites in which Acadians were imprisoned during the nine years of the expulsion, including Fort Edward.
Pierre “Parrotte” Melanson was born in 1720 in Port Royal (later Annapolis Royal). Pierre “Parrotte” Melanson and Marie Josephe Granger (my 5th great grandparents) were married on 1 Feb 1746 in Port Royal. Marie Josèphe Granger, daughter of Laurens Granger and Marie Bourg, was born on 12 Jan 1723 in Port Royal. He and Marie Josèphe had six children: Marie-Josèphe, Jean “Janne”, Osite, Pierre, David and Dominique-Pierre. Escaping deportation during the Acadian Expulsion, Pierre, Marie Josephe and their three living children, Marie-Josephe, Janne and David (see below for more information about the children), sought refuge in the Petitcodiac region (today in New Brunswick) from 1755 to 1760. They were captured and subsequently held prisoner at Fort Edward between 1761 and 1763. They then lived as captives in Fort Cumberland, between 1763 and 1768. Their youngest son Dominique-Pierre was born in captivity at Fort Cumberland. Pierre “Parrotte” and his family lived after their release from Fort Cumberland in Minudie, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia, where he died about 1791 at the age of 71. His wife Marie Josèphe remained in Minudie until her death about 1790 at the age of 67.
Marie-Josèphe Melanson was born on 4 Mar 1747 in Port Royal. Marie-Josèphe Melanson and Jean-Augustin Gaudet, son of Augustin Gaudet and Agnés Chiasson, were married about 1767 while in captivity at Fort Edward. They lived as captives in Fort Edward between 1761 and 1763, and then also in captivity in Fort Cumberland between 1763 and 1768. They had nine children: Marie-Madeleine, Isabelle, Marie-Anne “Nannette”, Marguerite, Jean, Marguerite, Pierre, Pélagie and Sauveur and they all settled in Westmoreland County, New Brunswick, Canada.
Jean “Janne” Melanson was born on 12 Aug 1749 in Port Royal. Janne lived as a captive along with his family in Fort Edward between 1761 and 1763. He lived as a captive along with his family in Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia, Canada between 1763 and 1768. Janne later died in Minudie. Jean “Janne” Melanson and Modeste “Ursule” Forest (4th great grandparents), daughter of Charles Forest and Marie Chiasson, were married on 20 Nov 1773 in Franklin Manor, Minudie. Janne and Modeste had seven children, Louise “Lizette”, Henriette, Romain “Roma”, Apollonie, Pélagie, Rose Anne and Pierre Melanson (3rd great grandfather).
David Melanson was born in 1755 in Port Royal. He lived as an escapee with his family in Petitcodiac between 1755 and 1761. He lived with his family in Fort Edward between 1761 and 1763 and in Fort Cumberland between 1763 and 1768. David Melanson married firstly Marguerite Leblanc, daughter of Joseph Leblanc and Marie Doiron, about 1776 in Minudie, Cumberland County. They had eleven children: Pierre, Cécile, Rosalie, Dominique, Fabien, Firmin, Brigitte, Joseph “dit Magoune”, Gertrude, Romain “Roma” and François. David became a land owner from land grants in Dorchester Crossing and Scoudouc, New Brunswick. David and Marguerite both died in Memramcook, Westmorland County, she in 1810 and he in 1834. Marguerite is among those originally buried at the old Memramcook parish cemetery that were exhumed and re-interred at the new church’s cemetery (St. Thomas) when it opened in 1840.
David married secondly Anne Nanette Richard, daughter of René “petit René de Beaupré” and Perpétue Bourgeois, on 4 Feb 1811 in Memramcook, Westmorland County. They were granted dispensations for third to fourth degree of consanguinity and a third degree of affinity. She died shortly after their marriage at the age of 44 in Memramcook.
Dominique-Pierre Melanson was born in captivity in Fort Cumberland in 1765 and was captive there along with his family between 1765 and 1768. Dominique-Pierre Melanson and Anne-Rosalie Babin, daughter of Pierre Babin and Madeleine Bourque, were married on 8 Nov 1783 in Franklin Manor, Minudie. They had five children: Apolline, Isabelle, Laurent “P’Tit Laurent”, Franéçois and Anne. Dominique-Pierre died on 11 Aug 1813 at the age of 48 in Memramcook.
1. Michael B. Melanson, Melanson – Melancon: Genealogy of an Acadian and Cajun Family (Dracut, Massachusetts: Lanesville Publishing, 2004).
2. “Baptism Records of St-Jean-Baptiste, Port Royal, Acadia,” database, Nova Scotia Archives (http://www.novascotia.ca/nsarm/virtual/acadian/Default.asp).
3. “Marriage Records of St-Jean-Baptiste, Port Royal, Acadia,” database, Nova Scotia Archives (http://www.novascotia.ca/nsarm/virtual/acadian/Default.asp) .
4. “Baptism Records of St-Jean-Baptiste, Port Royal, Acadia,” database, Nova Scotia Archives (http://www.novascotia.ca/nsarm/virtual/acadian/Default.asp) .