I and my children are descended from several noteworthy immigrants from France who were original pioneers of Acadia, including the Bourgs of Acadia.
In the past, I have posted about our Melanson ancestors, who we most readily associate ourselves with, since the family name carried down through the generations to my mother, who stopped using the Melanson name upon marrying my father, Gerard Ronald Joseph Turmaine.
In fact, considering sheer numbers, our ties to the Bourg family are the strongest. Antoine Bourg, originally from Martaizé, near Loudon, in France, was the original pioneer of this family and 9th great grandfather to my children, Erin and Stuart. The Bourg and Melanson families intersect with the marriage of Anne (Jeanne) Bourg, daughter of François Bourg and Marguerite Boudrot to Charles Melanson, son of Charles Mellanson and Marie Dugas (and grandson to the original Melanson pioneer couple – Pierre dit Laverdure and Priscilla (Mellanson).
Antoine was born in about 1609 in Martaizé, Loudun, Vienne, France. He immigrated to Port Royal around 1640 and married Antoinette Landry in 1643. Born about 1618 in France, she lived in Bourg Village near Port Royal with her family and shows in the 1693 Acadian census as a widow in the house of her son Abraham and his wife Marie in Port Royal. Therefore, it seems safe to assume Antoine died prior to 1693. According to this same census, her property at the time consisted of 12 cattle, 20 sheep, eight hogs, 26 arpents of land and one gun.
Their children were François (born about 1643); Marie Bourg (1644-1730); Jean Bourg (1645-1703); Bernard Bourg (1649-1725); Martin Bourg; Jeanne Bourg (1650-abt 1700); Renée Bourg (born about 1655); Huguette Bourg (1657); Jeanne Bourg (1658-1724); Abraham Bourg (1660-after 1736); Marguerite Bourg (1667-1727); Alexander Bourg (1667).
In various Acadian censuses, Antoine Bourg is recorded to own land holdings of various sizes; differing quantities of livestock including cattle, sheep and hogs; and a gun.
In 1690, a New England Commander, Sir William Phips, took Port Royal. Governor Meneval of Acadia, after considering the circumstances and the fact that they were greatly outnumbered, opted to surrender. At the time of his surrender, Meneval was assured the church and private property would be left alone, but over twelve days of pillaging, the church and several private buildings were destroyed.
Phips made the Acadians swear allegiance to King William and Queen Mary, in what Phips later falsely described as great rejoicings and acclaim.
After Phips left Acadia, the Acadians lived in a political and patriotic limbo. Authority had not been asserted by either New England or France and the Acadians, preferring to avoid more direct authority and control, insisted the French representative not try to change anything. They feared the English would hear of it and decide to return to punish them. New England made no attempt to assert its authority and the French made no attempt to regain control.
My children and I are directly descended from three of their sons, namely Francois, Bernard and Abraham, who were each an eighth great grandfather to my children.
The oldest child of Antoine and Antoinette was François Bourg born about 1643 in Port Royal. About 1665, he married Marguerite Boudrot (born 1648), daughter of Michel Boudrot and Michelle Aucoin. Their seven children were Michel “Michaud” Bourg (1663-1712); Marie Bourg (born 1668); Alexandre “dit Belle-humeur” Bourg (1671-1760); Marguerite Bourg (born 1673); Magdeleine Bourg (born 1677); Pierre Bourg (born 1681); Anne “Jeanne” Bourg (1683-1749), married to Charles Melanson (1675-1757) and both being my children`s seventh great grandparents. During the years 1671 to 1678, François is recorded as a farmer who in 1678 owned eight acres of land and 15 cattle. François died sometime around 1686 in Port Royal.
Captain Pierre Baptiste Maisonnat
Of particular interest and notoriety, is the husband of François Bourg`s daughter Magdeleine. Commonly known as `Baptiste`, he was Captain Pierre Baptiste Maisonnat.
Born in 1663, in Bergerac, France, he was notorious and fairly well documented as a pirate and cad. He also would be thought of as a playboy by today`s standards. Taken in May of 1690 as one of the prisoners of Sir William Phips during his seizure of Port Royal, Baptiste sometime afterward managed to gain his freedom. The following year, he dedicated much of his time to sailing the waters of New England in his quest for prizes.
Although Baptiste was frequently captured, charged, imprisoned and even on one later occasion sentenced to hanging, he either managed to escape on his own or was released after intervention and negotiations on his behalf by Governor Frontenac of Quebec on several occasions or the Governor of Acadia on another occasion by threatening retaliation were Baptiste indeed hanged.
During his pirating career, Baptiste took François Bourg`s 15 year old daughter Magdeleine as his bride in 1693. Shortly after marrying, Baptiste moved his new wife to Quebec on the pretense that she was in danger in Port Royal. It is far more likely, from what we now know, he wished to hide his marriage from those who were already aware of his other wives in several other localities including France. On November, 1695, Frontenac wrote to the Minister of France, to whom he had once praised Baptiste, informing him that he had heard that Baptiste had several other wives, including in various locations. It is definite that Baptiste had one wife at Bergerac, France, namely Judith Soubiron (born 1660), who gave birth to his daughter Judith-Marie Maisonnat in 1689.
In 1695, once the news of Baptiste`s polygamy broke in Acadia, Magdeleine, recent mother to his daughter Marie-Magdeleine Maisonnat Bourg decided to return home to her father and mother.
Baptiste then returned to France to retrieve his lawful wife and daughter. His wife, Judith Soubiron, later bore him two more children, Pierre and Jean, dying in Port Royal on October 19, 1703.
Baptiste remarried on January 12, 1707, to a widow, Marguerite Bourgeois, the daughter of Jacques Bourgeois. She had been married twice previously, first to Jean Boudrot, son of Michel Boudrot; second to Emmanuel Mirande, a Portuguese.
Baptiste`s poor young bride, Magdeleine Bourg, later married Pierre LeBlanc, Jr. in 1697. He was the son of Pierre LeBlanc, Sr. and Marie Terriot. They had seven children.
Marie-Magdeleine Maisonnat, the daughter of Baptiste and Magdeleine Bourg, was a major influence in Annapolis Royal during the late 1600`s. Known to be somewhat domineering and aloof, she fostered enough grudging respect and influence that she could exercise her own authority in the matters of soldiers, whether to be released from custody or other administrative matters without her right to do so being questioned. She presided at councils of war in the fort, appearing to have inherited some of her father`s spirit and drive.
In 1711, at about 16 years of age, she married William Winniett, a French Huguenot who was a leading merchant in Acadia, at some point receiving the title of “Honorable”`, becoming a member of the Governor`s Council. His sympathy for the Acadians was made obvious resulting in his being under suspicion. He drowned in Boston, bequeathing his considerable property and assets “to my beloved wife Magdeleine Winniett,” whom he had appointed sole executrix. William Winniett and Marie-Magdeleine Maisonnat had 13 children born in Annapolis, including seven boys and six girls.
Antoine and Antoinette Bourg’s fourth child, Bernard, was born in 1649 in Port Royal. About 1670, he married Françoise Brun (1652-1725), daughter of Vincent Brun and Marie-Renée Brau, both immigrants to Acadia from France. They had eleven children, including Marguerite “Margueritte” Bourg (1670-1747); Marie-Claire “Claire” Bourg (1670); René Bourg (born 1676); Jeanne Bourg (1677-1725); Anne Bourg (1680-1751); Françoise Bourg (1682-1715); Claire “Clare” Bourg (born 1682); Abraham Bourg (1685-1751); Renée Bourg (1687); Marie Bourg (1690); Claire Bourg (1692). Between 1671 and 1725, Bernard and his family continuously lived in Port Royal, their livestock and personal property steadily increasing in quantity and value over the years. Prior to his death in Port Royal on May 23, 1725, Bernard had amassed an estate consisting of 24 cattle, 18 sheep, 30 arpents of land and one gun.
Born 1662 at Port-Royal, Abraham was the tenth child of Antoine Bourg and Antoinette Landry. In 1683, Abraham married a young widow, Marie- Sébastienne Brun (1658-1736), daughter of Vincent Brun and Marie Brau. Marie`s first husband was François Gautrot, who died young, leaving her alone to care for a young son, also named François. They were recorded in the 1678 census of Port Royal with a young son, two cattle and a gun. Young François was recorded living with his new family 1791 census. Abraham and Marie- Sébastienne had nine children including Jean-Baptiste Bourg (born 1683); Marguerite Bourg (born 1685); Claude Bourg (1687-1751); Pierre Bourg (1689-1735); Marie Bourg (1690-1727); Marguerite Bourg (born 1691); Michel Bourg (1691-1761); Charles Bourg (born 1694); and Joseph Bourg (born 1697).
Abraham is show in the Acadian censuses between 1686 and 1701 accumulating up to 26 arpents of land; livestock including up to 14 head of cattle, 20 sheep and 12 hogs; and dozens of fruit trees.
Abraham appears to be a relatively educated person of standing as his signature is recorded on the 1695 oath and in the Port Royal church register. He also witnessed the marriage of his daughter, Marie and Jean Fougère, as well as his son Michel’s wedding to Anne Boudrot.
Abraham was one of those chosen to sail to Ile Royale to assess the lands there for settling. The land was found to not be good for farming and the majority of Acadians did not wish to leave the fertile lands of the Annapolis Valley. It appears though, that Abraham did settle there as in 1720, the first record appears indicating he was living in Port Toulouse, Ile-Royale.
Abraham Bourg was chosen to be a Deputy chosen representing the Acadian districts in 1720, but was apparently released from his duties in 1726 due to his deteriorating condition and lameness.
On September 16, 1727 he was one of those who refused to take the oath of allegiance to George II. Lieutenant-Governor Lawrence Armstrong claimed that they had assembled the inhabitants a day earlier and “instead of persuading them to their duty by solid arguments of which they were not incapable they [the deputies] frightened them . . . by representing the oath so strong and binding that neither they nor their children should ever shake off the yoke.” Although many had taken the oath in 1695, the Acadians were using the taking of the oath as a bargaining tool in 1727. They claimed and wished to preserve neutrality between the English and the French and Mik’maq. The Acadians also strongly wished to practice their own religion.
The Deputies were sentenced to prison for their actions in opposition to the adopting of the oath. Bourg, “in consideration of his great age” (he was 67) was allowed to leave the territory without his goods. For their alleged opposition they were committed to prison. The others were released in a short time, so Abraham may never have left at all.
Abraham died and was buried at Port Toulouse, but the actual dates are not known.
- 1671 Acadian Census, (N.p.: n.p., n.d.). Annotation.
- 1678 Acadian Census, (N.p.: n.p., n.d.). Annotation.
- 1686 Acadian Census, (N.p.: n.p., n.d.). Annotation.
- 1693 Acadian Census, (N.p.: n.p., n.d.). Annotation.
- 1698 Acadian Census, (N.p.: n.p., n.d.). Annotation.
- 1700 Acadian Census, (N.p.: n.p., n.d.). Annotation.
- 1701 Acadian Census, (N.p.: n.p., n.d.). Annotation.
- 1704 Acadian Census, (N.p.: n.p., n.d.). Annotation.
- “Baptism Records of St-Jean-Baptiste, Port Royal, Acadia,” database, Nova Scotia Archives; [http://www.gov.ns.ca/nsarm/virtual/acadian/archives.asp?ID=546]
- “Marriage Records of St-Jean-Baptiste, Port Royal, Acadia,” database, Nova Scotia Archives [http://www.novascotia.ca/nsarm/virtual/acadian/Default.asp]
- “Burial Records of St-Jean-Baptiste, Port Royal, Acadia,” database, Nova Scotia Archives [http://www.novascotia.ca/nsarm/virtual/acadian/Default.asp]
- Origins of the Pioneers of Acadia, Stephen A. White online [http://www.acadian-home.org/frames.html].
- “100 Articles Written by Father Clarence J. d’Entremont”; [http://www.museeacadien.ca/english/archives/articles/index.htm]
- “Dictionary of Canadian Biography,” database, [http://www.biographi.ca/index-e.html?PHPSESSID=2s8g2h8iihpptgqhu0fltdmb63].
- “La Société historique acadienne,” pdf document, Stephen A. White, La généalogie des trente-sept familles [http://emptynestgenealogy.com/blythegenealogy]; extracted from Stephen A. White, Les Cahiers: Vol 25, nos 2 et 3 (Moncton, New Brunswick: Université de Moncton, avril-septembre 1994).
- “Acadian Home,” web page, Founding Mothers of Acadia [http://www.acadian-home.org/Founding-Mothers-of-Acadia.html]
- Michael B. Melanson, Melanson – Melancon: Genealogy of an Acadian and Cajun Family (Dracut, Massachusetts: Lanesville Publishing, 2004).
- Jean Fougere Genealogy, Charlene (Fraser) McKenzie online [http://www.accesswave.ca/~cfraser/JeanFougere.html].
- Marie Bourg Genealogy, Charlene (Fraser) McKenzie online [http://www.accesswave.ca/~cfraser/MarieBourg.html].