Pierre ‘dit Laverdure and his wife Priscilla Mellanson (my eighth great grandparents on my mother’s side) were known by the name, nickname or title of Laverdure. We are descended from the second of their three sons, Charles ‘dit la Ramee’ Mellanson, (my seventh great grandfather).
The origin of the name ‘Laverdure’ is not known, but it is believed that this was actually a title or nickname referring to the area of France from which Pierre came. This is supported by the fact that he was not the only one to use the Laverdure name. The common practice of the day in the French culture was to signify a title or nickname with the use of the preceding word ‘dit’, such as ‘dit Laverdure’ in this case.Two of their sons, Pierre (of the nickname ‘Laverdure’ as well) and Charles (nickname La Ramee), appear to be the first to have begun using “Mellanson” and were both well educated and literate in English and French. The origin of this surname is unclear as their father was not known to have used it. There is speculation that ‘Mellanson’ originated from Priscilla’s last name, which is believed by some to have been Mallinson. This belief is supported by the fact that there is a document containing Priscilla’s signature as the initials ‘PM’, since neither of her married names began with the letter ‘M’.
Pierre and Priscilla had another son named John, who was also known by the name ‘Laverdure’, as was Charles dit La Ramée Mellanson’s daughter Marie (later known as Mary Laverdure), who lived with her grandmother Priscilla in Boston from a young age.
Pierre and Priscilla immigrated to Acadia (see image at left) from England on the ship ‘Satisfaction’ with the English Governor of Acadia, Sir Thomas Temple and several other settlers. They disembarked at St. John’s Fort on the St. John River. Pierre and Priscilla remained in Acadia for ten years.
About 1667, the Treaty of Breda between the English and French resulted in control of Acadia reverting back to France.
Being Protestants, Pierre and Priscilla most likely moved to Boston, Massachusetts to avoid living under a French Catholic government. A petition on file in Boston refers to ‘Peter Laverdure’ as a French Protestant and ‘Priscilla Laverdure’ as an English woman. It also states that Priscilla’s husband left St. John’s Fort to escape the Catholics, supporting the theory that Pierre may have been an Huguenot who left France in the 1620’s to escape Catholic intolerance of Protestants. Pierre is later shown in England where he married Priscilla about 1630.
Having both converted to Catholicism, eldest son Pierre dit Laverdure married Marie-Marguerite Muis d’Entremont, daughter of Philippe Muis d’Entremont and Madeleine Hélie; and Charles dit La Ramée married Marie Dugas, daughter of Abraham Dugas and Marie-Marguerite-Louise Doucet. Pierre and his wife Marie-Marguerite founded Grand Pré at Les Mines (Minas). Later becoming the Captain of the Militia while Acadia was under French control, he held a position of authority and some power in the Les Mines. He was also known to have become a French spy.
Charles became a spy for the English – the opposing side of his own brother, Pierre. In 1695, he signed his name to an oath of allegiance to the King of England at Port Royal.