Just wait till you hear Marie Gaudet’s entire story!!! It’s a doozy. Truth be told, she has a secret so well kept that Marie may not have known about it herself.
But first, we have to set the stage. You need to meet the three Maries – Marie Gaudet and her two daughters – both named Marie. Nothing confusing about that, right?
Of course, you’ll meet the rest of the family as we navigate their adventures and misadventures in early Acadia, now Nova Scotia.
Of course, in the beginning, Acadia consisted of just a few houses on a distant peninsula of land, jutting into the North Atlantic. Only the very brave, or maybe the crazy, would choose to go there where death was only one misstep or mistake away!
Marie Gaudet (also Godet), the subject of this article and the mother of the other two Maries, was born between 1630 and 1633, someplace in France, to her father, Jean Gaudet, and an unknown mother. I can’t help but wonder if her mother was named Marie, too.
Several ships arrived with settlers around 1648, so she may have been on board one of those along with at least her father and two siblings.
We know of the following arrivals, plus many undocumented ships bringing both supplies and workers from France.
- 1632 – two ships from Auray in lower Brittany and a third from La Rochelle
- The 1636 St. Jehan roster lists Jehan Guiot and wife, but no children.The departure location is unstated.
- 1640s – ships from La Rochelle with workers, many of whom returned to France after their work contract expired.
- Supply ships arrived in 1648.
There are few records of family arrivals, but clearly, they happened.
Marie was probably married about 1650 because her oldest known child, Marie Hebert, was born in 1651.
In the early 1650s, Port Royal was quite small, especially as the seed of the French-Acadians whose descendants number in the millions today. In 1653, there were about 45-50 households primarily clustered around Port Royal, and the population was estimated to be about 270 residents in 1654.
We don’t know when these families arrived, but we do know that French families would not have been transported during English rule, and they were likely in Acadia by 1650. Control of Acadia was batted back and forth like a ping-pong ball, amid much fighting, between the English and the French.
In 1654, Port Royal was burned by the English, but upriver homesteads may have been spared.
This map was drawn by the English in 1758, but shows the farms scattered along the river to the east of Port Royal, named here as Fort Annapolis.
In 1667, Acadian rule again shifted to the French who, in turn, required censuses be taken for tax purposes! Gotta love that tax man for generating records.
We’re lucky we know as much about Marie Gaudet as we do. As it turns out, we’re indebted to many of her descendants who provided depositions decades after her death.
After the forcible expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia by the British beginning in 1755, some 3,500 eventually found themselves back in France. Of those, 78 Acadian families were repatriated to Belle-Ile-en-Mer, an island off the coast of Brittany.
On the order of Parliament of Brittany at Vannes, 58 depositions of the Acadians regarding their original heads of families were taken on the island between February and March of 1767. The parish priest recorded what the Acadian exiles, under oath, had to say about their ancestors and their origins. The purpose was to allow French officials to determine which Acadian refugees were entitled to the King’s protection.
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino graciously transcribed the essence of the depositions in English, here.
According to ten of Marie Gaudet’s descendants who gave depositions in 1767, Marie came from France and was married to Etienne Hebert. The descendants all stated that Marie and Etienne came from France, in fact, they said that Marie came “with her husband,” according to Lucie’s translation, but what they don’t say is whether or not they were married in France, or in Acadia. Acadian church records from that time no longer exist. In other words, they could have come separately, both from France and even potentially on the same ship. There may have been no marriage record in France, even if the records from where they originated are still extant. We simply don’t know when they arrived, or from where, or where they married.
Marie’s first or middle name may have been Anne, because two of her descendants mistakenly called her Anne, not Marie.
Depositions were given by:
- Grandson Jean Hebert
- Pierre Trahan, husband of her granddaughter Madeleine Comeau
- One from their son, Pierre Trahan
- One from their nephews Sylvestre and Simon Trahan
- Two from the husbands of Marie’s great-granddaughters
- One from a great-great-grandson
- Two from husbands of her great-great-granddaughters
All depositions named Marie specifically except for the two Pierre Trahans.
Marie was the younger sister of Francoise Gaudet, who reportedly “came from France” with her husband, Daniel LeBlanc. Marie was also Denis Gaudet’s younger sister. The tree of Karen Theriot Reader, here, in an immigration note, provides the following information:
Robert C. West, AN ATLAS OF LOUISIANA SURNAMES OF FRENCH AND SPANISH ORIGIN; 1625-1880; Baton Rouge, Louisiana State Univ., 1986; p. 98; own copy. “All members of the clan being descendants of a single couple, Daniel LeBlanc and Francoise Gaudet of La Chaussée, Loudun area, France, who settled near Port Royal in 1659.” (A footnote cites: Sclanders, Ian 1972, “The LeBlancs of Acadia,” in FRENCH-CANADIAN AND ACADIAN GENEALOGICAL REVIEW, 4:11-16; Auger 1972, ibid., pp. 21-36; Godbout 1972, ibid. pp. 17-20; Massignon 1962, 1:42; Arsenault 1978, op cit., vol. 2:648; Pollard, Nora Lee, THE BOOK OF LEBLANC, Baton Rouge, Claitor’s, 1973, p. 1)
This, of course, begs the question of whether the Gaudet family was from La Chaussee. I wonder if anyone has searched the records for anything resembling Gaudet in or near that location.
Life In Acadia
Acadians were subsistence farmers, raising what they needed to live with hopefully a little extra to sell to passing ships, English soldiers at the fort, or maybe on a ship bound for New England – although trading with New England was illegal for the most part.
ChatGPT Dall-E’s interpretation of Acadians working in the field in 1686. ChatGPT is insistent on retaining the steeple on the barn, although we know clearly that the Acadians were Catholic and did not attend church in barns in the fields. Beyond that, this is probably a fair representation of communal farmwork.
The 1671 Census
While Marie’s life in Acadia began at least two decades earlier, the first actual record of Marie Gaudet in Acadia is the 1671 census of Port Royal, where Marie is shown as a 38-year-old widow living in the household next to her daughter Marie Hebert, age 20, and her husband Michel De Forest.
Thankfully, Marie Gaudet’s children are listed:
- Marie 20 (born about 1651, married to Michel DeForest)
- Marguerite 19 (born about 1652, married to Jacques LePrince)
- Emmanuel 18, not yet married (born about 1653)
- Etienne 17 (born about 1654)
- Child born in about 1656 likely perished
- Jean 13 (born about 1658)
- Child probably born about 1660 likely perished
- Francoise 10 (born about 1661)
- Catherine 9 (born about 1662)
- Child probably born about 1664 likely perished
- Martine 6 (born about 1665)
- Michel 5 (born about 1666)
- Child probably born about 1668 likely perished
- Antoine 1 (born about 1670)
Marie also has 4 cattle, 5 sheep and 3 arpents of land.
Marie’s residence is located between Michel DeForest, her son-in-law, and Denis Gaudet, her brother, age 46, with his wife Martine Gauthier. Their father, Jean Gaudet, laborer, age 96, is living with Denis. Jean’s age is almost certainly wrong since he was still living seven years later in the next census – although it’s possible he lived to 103. Regardless, that poor old man was still listed as a laborer.
Marie had endured a lot of recent grief. The obvious gaps between children strongly suggest that she had buried four children, including a child between 1668 and 1670. Given that she had one-year-old Antoine, Marie’s husband, Etienne Hebert, had died about 1670, or at least within the past two years, sometime after Marie had become pregnant for Antoine. Marie could have been pregnant when Etienne died.
There she was, 36 or 37 years old, living on the frontier, either pregnant or with an infant, plus seven other children to care for. Perhaps her two sons-in-law saved the day, along with her teenage sons Emmanuel and Etienne. Regardless, no one wants to be needy and beholden to others.
Marie already had three grandchildren through daughter Marie Hebert with Michel DeForest, and probably two grandchildren through daughter Marguerite through her marriage with Jacques LePrince, although they are not listed in the 1671 census.
Under the circumstances, how was Marie to survive?
How did she survive?
Marie was single in a time when wives in Acadia were a scarce commodity. She also had land, so she probably had her choice of suitors.
Maybe she intended to wait for Mr. Right, but I’d think that Mr. Right-Now would have been imminently attractive with a farm to run and seven hungry mouths to feed.
The next census wasn’t taken for another seven years, in 1678, but a lot happened during that time.
In 1677, Marie’s oldest daughter, age 26, also named Marie, who lived next door, died. I’ve always wondered if she died in childbirth. Marie must have been utterly heartbroken and probably wondered why it couldn’t have been her instead, although she wasn’t even yet 50.
In the 1678 census, which might have been taken in early 1679, we find Dominiq Garrau (Dominique Gareau) and Marie Godet. With them is listed Jean Godet, no age given, which would be Marie’s father, in addition to a boy, age 3, who would have been born about 1675. Another girl is listed, age 4, so born about 1674, along with 3 acres (arpents?) and 8 cattle. The rest of Marie’s Hebert children are missing.
It’s difficult to interpret this. Marie’s two young children must be by Dominique Gareau, or at least by a husband after Etienne died in 1670. Her two youngest children by Etienne Hebert, sons Michel and Antoine, would have been 12 and 8, respectively. The children listed in 1678 were aged 3 and 4, which suggests that Marie remarried about 1673, two years following the earlier census.
But where were her Hebert children? And what happened to these two children with Dominique?
It’s worth noting that the Hebert and Gaudet land may have been well located, meaning higher land and not swampy.
A note on the census says, “Sans Soucy 29, which means “without worry 29,” 1 acre of high land, bordering at one end on the river, at the other end on the north wood [and] on one side Anthoine Hebert [and] Denis Godet.” Antoine Hebert is Etienne Hebert’s brother, and Denis Godet is Marie Godet’s brother.
In this case, “high ground” may be a relative term.
Children Settle Elsewhere
By 1680, Marie’s adult children began to move away. Now, granted, Les Mines wasn’t terribly far away, by today’s standards. But in 1680, transportation was by canoe.
Les Mines generally meant settlements in the Minas Basin. There was no road at that time, because we know in the early 1700s, when forced to flee, the Acadians tried to cut a cart road to Les Mines.
Grand Pre was the largest settlement, and where most of Marie’s children who left settled, but there was no bringing the children for visits to Grandma’s house.
Gone to Les Mines meant gone for good. Marie’s children may have made the voyage to visit occasionally, particularly her sons, but not the entire family and if those visits occurred, they were assuredly rare.
Marie’s son, Etienne Hebert, age 26, had made the trip by 1680 when his first child was born in Grand Pre.
The exodus of the next generation had begun with a trickle, but soon it would be an open faucet.
The 1686 Census
In 1686, Dominique Garault is shown as age 60 (born 1626), along with Marie Godet (no age given, but she would have been in her 50s); children of Marie (and Etienne Hebert): Michel 20, Antoine 16 and Elarie Garault 9 (born about 1677), with 3 arpents of land, 4 sheep and 3 hogs.
Only one Garault child is shown in 1686, the female, meaning Marie’s youngest son, has died. Elarie is later shown to be a misspelling or misinterpretation of Marie, born about 1677.
Marie Gaudet is still living beside her son-in-law, Michel DeForest, who remarried after his wife, Marie’s daughter, Marie, died.
The rest of Marie Gaudet’s children by Etienne Hebert have married and most live nearby, beginning families of their own. Catherine, age 24, had followed the path of other young Acadians to Les Mines and already had four children.
By 1686, Marie had about 41 grandchildren, 11 of whom she had buried, along with five or six of her own children and, of course, her first husband, Etienne.
Marie’s father had also died in the years since the 1678 census. I bet these Acadian families were in church often. Sundays for Mass, of course, plus at least a baptism and a funeral each week.
On May 19th, 1690, the Battle of Port Royal occurred. Most of the Acadian soldiers were absent, and the fort was in a state of disrepair with no cannons mounted. The old fort had been razed, and a new one was in the process of being built, which made Acadia an easy mark as she could not defend herself. The fort, and with it, Port Royal and the rest of Acadia fell immediately. In an act of revenge, the English plundered not only the fort but also the countryside and residents in breach of the surrender agreement.
We don’t know exactly what happened to Marie in 1690, but we do know that Acadian homes were ransacked by the English and stripped of anything and everything valuable. Farms were burned and animals slaughtered for sport. The church and at least 28 homes went up in flames, but the upriver farms were reported to have been spared the torch.
From 1690 through about 1694, this land and her people were embroiled in a tug-of-war between the English and French. Antoine de Cadillac reported that the Acadians, “creolles” as he termed them, “traveled most of the time by bark canoes. Their wives do the same and are very bold on the water.”
I wonder if by the term “Creolle,” which today means a person of mixed descent or a result of two or more cultures, he was referring more to language than anything else.
Three of Marie’s children, Martine, Michel, and Jean Hebert were in Les Mines by about 1690. If they left before the attack, she was probably very thankful for their safety. If they left after, it was just one more loss for her. They may well have decided to leave and settle elsewhere because of the attack.
I would hazard a guess that the Acadians absolutely despised the English.
Neither Marie nor her husband are listed in the 1693 census, transcribed by Lucie. Their location is a mystery. Perhaps they decided to journey to Beaubassin or Les Mines and then decided later to return. Or, maybe their residence was simply missed, although that’s hard to fathom since the entire census of Port Royal consists of 500 people in 80 households, 878 cattle, 1,240 sheep, 704 hogs, and 120 guns. The entire community is cultivating 1,315 arpents of land. Beaubassin has about 119 people in 20 households, and Les Mines, 307 people in 57 households. Other families are scattered.
Everyone knows everyone as they all attend the same church.
Marie’s daughter, Marguerite, age 40, was living in Les Mines. Her husband, Jacques LePrince, had recently died. Marguerite was raising a 15-year-old daughter, twin boys age 13, along with younger children ages 5 and 1. Her mother might have been a lot of help, but Marie, who would be about 63 by now, isn’t listed in Les Mines either.
Marie’s youngest daughter, Marie Gareau is living in La Heve (LaHave today), her name spelled as Garost, age 17, with a 45-ear-old man simply listed as LaChapelle. There are only three households listed, plus one male “volunteer.” No children are listed for any household, but Marie likely had two before her marriage to her second husband about 1698. The census records 50 people at La Heve, 54 cattle, and 14 guns. Based on the lack of inhabitants, this would be considered a remote outpost. Le Have was the original capital on the southern coast of Acadia, abandoned in favor of Port Royal in 1635.
1696 – Another Attack
Another English attack occurred in 1696. Buildings were burned, animals slaughtered, and the dykes that held back the sea were ruined. It would be three long years before the Acadians could work those fields after rebuilding the dykes once the seawater saturated the ground.
This area along the Annapolis River near and adjacent Bloody Creek on the south, shown on the GIS system above in purple, was dyked and drained by the Gaudet/Hebert family for farmable land. Without dykes to hold the salty seawater back and maintain drainage, the purple land reverted to salt marsh.
I can see the family standing on their ruined fields, knowing their crops would be limited or nonexistent for the next few years, and crying. What were they to do?
What was left?
Was there other nearby land that could be farmed?
Marie Godet is living alone in 1698 and is noted as a widow, age 60. Her age is clearly incorrect, as that puts her birth in 1638. Her first child was born about 1651, so she was probably 65-68ish.
Marie lives one house away from her daughter Francoise Hebert and her husband Jean Commeau. Marie’s youngest son, Antoine Hebert, and his family live two houses in the other direction. Marie apparently lives in her own home, but the land is being farmed by some family member or maybe collectively.
Family members have far more allotted land by 1698, maybe as a result of the 1696 attacks that ruined the fields. Francoise and her family are farming 39 arpents with 83 fruit trees, and Antoine is farming 16 arpents with 21 fruit trees. Orchards have matured, and families own many cattle, sheep, and hogs. Life seems good for a change!
I do wonder if any of those orchards remain today.
It would be tempting to assume that Marie died before the 1700 census, since she isn’t shown in the 1700, 1701, 1703, 1707 or 1708 censuses. But she didn’t. Church records, beginning in 1702, remain, and we know that Marie didn’t die until 1710. She was likely living with a family member and simply wasn’t listed in the census.
Warfare continued and, unfortunately, had become a way of life in Acadia. Pirates, always opportunists, joined in the fray.
In 1708, Queen Anne’s War ramped up. Marie Gaudet was in her late 70s and had probably given up hope that she would ever see peace.
It’s nothing short of a miracle that Marie managed to live to the ripe age of 80, given what the Acadian people faced. But Marie wasn’t done with adversity quite yet.
June 1704 Raid on Grand Pre
In June of 1704, the English again raided Acadia in retaliation for a raid on Deerfield Massachusetts earlier that year. Seventeen warships with 550 men first proceeded to Port Royal, then on to Grand Pre.
The incensed English arrived in Grand Pre, which was entirely unfortified, during the last week of June and approached the village from the dense woods, hoping for a surprise attack.
Col. Benjamin Church, the commander, gave the Acadians and Micmac one hour to surrender, delivering this note.
We do also declare, that we have already made some beginnings of killing and scalping some Canada men, which we have not been wont to do or allow, and are now come with a great number of English and Indians, all volunteers, with resolutions to subdue you, and make you sensible of your cruelties to us, by treating you after the same manner.
Church’s forces got stuck in the tidal mud, giving the Acadians the opportunity to hurriedly evacuate into the woods.
When the muddy soldiers reached the village, the Acadian and Micmac men attempted defense, but were no match for the angry soldiers who proceeded to destroy everything.
According to one of Church’s dispatches, they destroyed 60 houses, six mills, the church, many barns, and about 70 cattle. Still not satisfied with his destruction, Church then gave orders on the third day to destroy the dykes and crops.
On the fourth day, Church left Grand Pre and advanced to raid Pisiguit, present-day Windsor and Falmoth, where he took 45 prisoners who were to be used as barter to negotiate the release of prisoners taken in the Deerfield Massacre.
Church then returned to Port Royal where he joined up with the rest of his fleet, burned a few more buildings, and took a few more hostages for good measure. Church then raided and burned Chedabucto, now Guysborough, before returning to Boston where he bragged that “only five dwellings remained in all of Acadia.” If he was right, this tells us what Marie endured at the age of 74. It’s not surprising that we never find Marie listed in the census in her home, again.
In Boston, initially, the Acadian hostages were allowed to roam the city freely, much to the dismay of the residents. Twice, they complained to the House of Representatives, asking that the Acadians be confined.
From that point in late 1704 until their release, the Acadians were confined in Castle William on an island in Boston Harbor which would be where Marie Gareau gave birth on February 1, 1705.
Marie’s youngest daughter, Marie Gareau, gave birth to her son, Paul, in Boston while she and her husband were imprisoned there. The child was baptized in Port Royal on September 26, 1706, just days after their release. This tells us that Marie was in the second group of hostages to be released.
After two long years of imprisonment in exile, the hostages were released in two groups. The first group of 57 left in December 1705, and the second group of 51 was released on September 18, 1706. We have to presume that Marie’s four, five, or six older children were included in the hostages.
Marie Gaudet, Marie’s mother, must have been out of her mind with worry. The baptism of Marie’s baby in Port Royal tells us that Marie got to see her daughter and grandchildren.
I can only imagine the joy of that tearful reunion.
Marie, age 32, along with her husband and five surviving children, were back in Grand Pre by 1709 when she gave birth there.
Later reports indicated that the residents of Grand Pre, not to mention those held hostage, never forgot, never trusted the English, and never felt safe.
Ironically, for Marie Gareau, that fear was entirely justified, as she would be one of the Acadians captured once again, rounded up in Grand Pre, and deported at the hands of the English in 1755.
Then 78 or 79 years old, she died in horrific conditions in 1755 or 1756 onboard the overcrowded disease-infested ships that the Virginians refused to allow to land or accommodate in any way. Hundreds died of illness and malnutrition on the ship held at Williamsburg before the survivors were shipped to England as hostages until 1763.
All I can say is that I hope Marie’s mother, Marie, was waiting with open arms to receive her on the other side.
We do know where Marie Gaudet and both of her husbands lived in Acadia.
In 1653, when Marie was a bride with two young children, Port Royal was described thus:
“There are numbers of meadows on both shores, and two islands which possess meadows, and which are 3 or 4 leagues from the fort in ascending. There is a great extent of meadows which the sea used to cover, and which the Sieur d’Aulnay had drained. It bears now fine and good wheat, and since the English have been masters of the country, the residents who were lodged near the fort have for the most part abandoned there houses and have gone to settle on the upper part of the river. They have made their clearings below and above this great meadow, which belongs at present to Madame de La Tour. There they have again drained other lands which bear wheat in much greater abundance than those which they cultivated round the fort, good though those were. All the inhabitants there are the ones whome Monsieur le Commandeur de Razilly had brought from France to La Have; since that time they have multiplied much at Port Royal, where they have a great number of cattle and swine.”
By 1670, Acadia had grown to about 400 people.
According to a 1733 map at the Nova Scotia Archives based on the 1707 census route, the Hebert and Gaudet families lived in close proximity near a bend in the Riviere Dauphin, now the Annapolis River, at the mouth of Bloody Creek.
Hebert Village is found on the south side of the river, image courtesy of MapAnnapolis, below.
Indeed, the Hebert and Gaudet families had settled upstream from Port Royal several miles, which may have been the only thing that saved them.
If only, if only we had Marie’s journals. It’s doubtful that Marie could either read or write, but we can wish, of course.
Marie Gaudet Dies
Marie lived for a very long time, especially in the age before modern medicine – not to mention that Acadia seemed to remain in a state of almost chronic warfare that ebbed and flowed for Marie’s entire life.
On July 30, 1710, a simple entry recording her death was scribed into the church records by the priest.
Marie’s age is given as 80 years, which puts her birth about 1630, assuming her age is accurate.
That same priest would have given Marie Last Rites, then delivered her final Requiem Mass. The entire community was assuredly present. She was a matriarch, and by then, everyone was probably related to Marie in one way or another.
The Acadians were preparing for war, which descended upon the land once again like an angry plague of locusts less than two months after Marie’s demise.
Her sons, grandsons, sons-in-law, and many descendants would be fighting for their very lives. Maybe it’s a good thing Marie passed when she did.
Marie was buried in what is now known as the Garrison Cemetery. This resting place is located beside the fort’s garrison and what was the Catholic church, which was destroyed along with Acadian graves in 1755.
Marie joined her children and grandchildren: her daughter Marie who died in 1677, her second husband Dominique Gareau who had been gone for about 20 years, her sister Francoise who had died nearly a decade earlier, her brother Denis who died the October before, and of course Etienne Hebert who had been gone for nearly 40 years. They must have had a joyful reunion.
Marie rests in an unmarked grave near the ghostly image of Fort Anne, keeping eternal watch over the bay. Her grave was probably marked with a simple wooden cross at the time, as her family said goodbye and prepared for the war they knew was sure to be visited upon them soon.
Perhaps Marie’s spectre watched her remaining daughter, grandchildren and their families being rounded up and herded onto ships in their forced deportation 45 years later.
Perhaps Marie still watches today.
We depend upon the various censuses, later church records, and suggestive gaps between known children to determine how many children Marie brought into this world.
Few women were spared the sorrowful experience of burying children.
|Child||Spouse||Total Children||Born by 1710 – Grandchildren Marie knew||Died by 1710 – Grandchildren Marie buried||Total Survived|
|Marie Hebert c1651-1677 Port Royal||Michel DeForest||7||6||1||6|
|Marguerite Hebert c1652-died aft 1715 Pisiquit||Jacques LePrince||12||6||6||6|
|Emmanuel Hebert c1653-1744 Grand Pre||Andree Brun||6||6||0||6|
|Etienne Hebert c1654-1713 Saint Charles des Mines, Grand Pré||Jeanne Comeau||15||11||4||11|
|Unknown Hebert child c1656- died bef 1671||0||0||0||0|
|Jean Hebert c1658-1744 probably Pisiquid||Jeanne Doiron||17||11||2||13|
|Unknown Hebert child c1660-died bef 1671||0||0||0||0|
|Francoise Hebert c1661-1713 Annapolis Royal||Jean Comeau||20||17||3||17|
|Catherine Hebert c1662-1727 Louisbourg||Philippe Pinet||14||12||2||12|
|Unknown Hebert child c1664-died bef 1671||0||0||0||0|
|Martine Hebert c1665-died aft 1797 Pisiquit||Nicolas Barrieau||14||9||5||9|
|Michel Hebert c1666-1736 Les Mines, Grand Pre||Isabelle Pellerin||16||12||0||16|
|Unknown Hebert child c1668-died bef 1671||0||0||0||0|
|Antoine Hebert c1670-1753||Jeanne Corporon & Anne Orillon||17||9||0||15|
|Male Gareau c1675-d bef 1686||0||0||0||0|
|Marie Gareau c1677-c1755 Virginia||Unknown LaChapelle & Jerome Darois||16||6||3 (including her first 2 children)||10|
Children in bold remained at Port Royal. The rest moved away.
People who lived longer experienced more joy at the addition of grandchildren and even great-grandchildren – but also more frequent funerals and visits to the cemetery.
When Marie died, she had given birth to 16 children, buried five as infants and one as an adult who predeceased her.
And yes, Marie actually did have two daughters named Marie who both lived – her eldest child from her first marriage and her youngest child from her second marriage. Essentially bookends. No, I don’t know why. Maybe they had different middle names or were named after different people, but we will never know.
At her death, Marie had welcomed 105 grandchildren and buried 26, or 25% of them. A total of 154 grandchildren were eventually born to Marie, but only 121 would survive beyond the cradle.
Upon deeper investigation, we discover that Marie probably didn’t know most of her grandchildren, even though two-thirds were born before she died.
Several of Marie’s children moved as settlers to more distant parts of Acadia, probably for available land. We don’t know exactly when they left, but we have some idea.
- Etienne Hebert was in Grand Pre by 1680
- Catherine Hebert was in Les Mines by 1686
- Martine, Michel, and Jean Hebert were all in Grand Pre by 1690
- Marguerite Hebert was in Les Mines by 1693 as a widow
- Marie’s youngest daughter, Marie Gareau, was in La Heve in 1693 at the age of 17, in Pisiguit by June of 1704 where she was kidnapped and in Grand Pre by 1709
It must have killed Marie for her baby to leave, especially so young.
Les Mines could have been a more generalized name for the region surrounding and perhaps including Grand Pre. At least those children lived near each other and could rely on family in difficult times. That would have been some comfort to Marie.
Only four of Marie’s children stayed near Port Royal: her oldest daughter Marie Hebert who had died by 1677, Emmanual, Francoise and Antoine Hebert. Those four blessed Marie with 38 grandchildren before her death. It’s sad that she never knew the rest, but based on those 1767 depositions, at least they knew her name and remembered her.
Marie said a final goodbye to seven of her children in a different way before her death. I suspect that at least three of them, if not more, left together.
While Marie herself was one of the original immigrants prior to 1650, one of her children, the youngest Marie, lived long enough to be deported in 1755, more than a century later. Marie Gareau died in either 1755 or 1756, languishing on one of the deportation ships off the coast of Virginia at about age 78. There would have been no Catholic Mass as a funeral for her. She would either have been buried at sea or lost to history in a pauper’s grave, because that’s what the Acadians had been reduced to.
Not the End
This was not the end for Marie Gaudet, nor was her birth the beginning.
Marie’s mysterious past would wait for another 313 years to be revealed – on a glorious late fall day after the last colorful leaves fall to the ground on the old homeplace beside Bloody Creek in Nova Scotia.
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- MyHeritage FREE Tree Builder – Genealogy software for your computer
- MyHeritage Subscription with Free Trial
- Legacy Family Tree Webinars – Genealogy and DNA classes, subscription-based, some free
- Legacy Family Tree Software – Genealogy software for your computer
- Newspapers.com – Search newspapers for your ancestors
- NewspaperArchive – Search different newspapers for your ancestors
- DNA for Native American Genealogy – by Roberta Estes, for those ordering the e-book from anyplace, or paperback within the United States
- DNA for Native American Genealogy – for those ordering the paperback outside the US
- Genealogical.com – Lots of wonderful genealogy research books
- American Ancestors – Wonderful selection of genealogy books
- Legacy Tree Genealogists – Professional genealogy research