Wednesday, September 11, 2013


((This was first posted back in May of 2007. It's notable because
it helps me remember that is when I first came into contact with
a geneabuddy, Lucie LeBlanc Consentino. It's also given me an idea
for my Poetry Challenge entry. One of these days I will take a ride
up to Andover to see that powder horn!)) 

I mentioned in a post awhile back that I’d found a website with
an account of Acadian exiles who were sent to Andover, Ma. after
their expulsion from their Canadian homes. Some of them ended
up living for a time in a house owned by Jonathan Abbott, one of
my ancestors.

Twenty-six Acadian men women and children were sent to
Andover in February 1756 and the families of Germaine Landry
and his two sons-in-law Jacques Hebert and Charles Hebert were
placed in a vacant house owned by Jonathan:

“It was, however, a great annoyance to the Puritan farmer to
have these tenants,-- foreigners and Roman Catholics, quartered
near his own residence. But, as his descendants relate, the
Acadians completely conquered the prejudices of this family and
of the community and gained the good-will of all acquaintances.
They were industrious and frugal. The women worked in the
fields pulling flax and harvesting. They practised the rites of their
religion in an inoffensive manner and commended it by their
Sarah Loring Bailey, 1880

Going by the dates I believe this Jonathan was the one born in
Andover 1Sept 1687 and who was married to Zerviah Holt.
According to Ms. Bailey the Acadians and the Abbotts parted on
friendly terms. The Landry and Hebert families eventually were
able to move to Quebec but apparently still had good feelings for
Jonathan Abbott for they sent him a token of their esteem in 1770:

“Two of them sent a souvenir to Mr. Abbot, which the family still
keep, a beautifully carved and polished powder-horn, made by
their own hands. It is inscribed:

His horn made in Alenstown
April Ye 5 1770
I powder with my brother ball
Most hero-like doth conquer all."

It is embellished with figures of animals,-- a turtle, a deer, a fox,
dolphins, etc., and also with representations of armies fighting,
soldiers in uniform with muskets, sabre bayonet, (all the soldiers
with hair tied in queues hanging down behind), also artillery
men and field pieces.” (ibid)
There is an ironic twist to the tale of the powder horn. Germaine
Landry passed away two weeks after the date of the inscription on
18 Apr 1770.

In trying to research more for this post I found a website on the
history of Andover which has selections from a historical series
run by the Andover Townsman newspaper. One entry, entitled
“Deserted Farms” notes that:

“(3) Jonathan died just a month before the date on the powder
horn sent by the French Arcadias who had known the old man
and his son (4) Jonathan to be real friends”- Andover Townsman
13 Nov 1896
It’s an interesting tale but I don’t think it was all that warm
and fuzzy as the later accounts would make it. The
people of Andover had lost men in the Canadian
campaign to wounds or illness. The Acadians are
referred to in the records as “Jacky Bear”, “Charles
Bear”, and “Germaine Laundry” which could be
simple ignorance of French pronunciation or nicknames
given the refugees and since there were probably no
priests available nearby to perform Roman Catholic
Mass there were ceremonies to arouse the old anger at
Papists among the townsfolk.

Still, it’s nice to know that those distant Abbott relatives
were able to see past their differences and deal humanely
with the Acadians.

I had never heard that there had been French Canadian
prisoners in Massachusetts, let alone that one of my
distant ancestors had a more than casual acquaintance
with some. Lucie LeBlanc Consentino whose website
is where I first read about Jonathan Abbott and the
Acadians tells me that there were 2,000 deportees to
Massachusetts and others were sent to other of the
English colonies along the Atlantic coastline. Outside of
the poem “Evangeline” by Longfellow, I was taught
nothing about this episode in American history and I’m
not certain that the poem is even read by today’s kids.

My thanks to Lucie LeBlanc Consentino for letting me
make use of her research from her website and my
apologies for the delay in getting this done. By the
way, she is a distant relative of Germaine Landry and
his wife Cecile Forest as well as of Charles Hebert.
If you haven’t visited her website Acadian & French-Canadian
Ancestral Home I highly recommend that you do so.

I’m a bit rusty on writing long pieces and I hope I’ve
cited everything correctly. It’s taken me longer than
I wanted to finally write this, actually.


Celia Lewis said...

You did just fine on this long piece, Bill! The Acadians' expulsion was a very nasty slice of history in early Canada. Interesting to hear stories about it from the other side of the fence so to speak. Thanks for sharing.

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino said...

And that is how our own histories have crossed on another's paths Bill!