Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB
August 18, 1892
GLIMPSES OF THE PAST
Contributions to the History of Charlotte County and the Border Towns.
XXX FROM THE DEPARTURE OF DE MONTS TO THE INCURSIONS OF CHURCH-Continued.
[W. F. Ganong, M. A.]
4.-St. Aubin and His Contemporaries.
The one man who interests us most at this period is the Sieur St. Aubin. We have but scanty details as to his life; yet, such as they are, they give us the picture of a goodly man, one about whom we would gladly know more. He was born about 1621, probably in France, and served France well against her enemies. But we will let the following document1 tell its own story. It is a pass given him by Brouillan, governor of Acadia, dated Port Royal, Nov. 20, 1703, and reads:-
Jacques François de Brouillan, Chevalier de lordre militaire de St. Louis, et Gouverneur de la Province de lAcadie.
This is to certify that the Sieur St. Aubin, Seigneur of Passamaquoddy, has worked with diligence to increase the value of his seigneurie, upon which he has settled tenants who hold there in fealty, and has likewise worked in other places for the increase of the colony, having given proofs of his fidelity in the service of the king upon all occasions which have presented themselves, as well in this country as upon the island of Newfoundland, where he has shown evidence of bravery and good conduct, and that in addition he has fought with distinction against the English of New England, and the Indian enemies of France; in virtue of which we now give him this certificate, with permission to go to France to give attention to his business.
He and another Acadian named Petitpas, with their families, were prisoners in Boston in 1692; and the English governor sent them, with two French deserters, to capture Baron de St. Castine, at Penobscot, keeping their families as hostages. They revealed the plan and gave up the deserters,2 and subsequently received from the French authorities a grant of money for their services. St. Aubin probably went to France in 1703, and hence was absent at the time of Churchs visit. He is afterwards heard of at Port Royal; where, in 1705, he seems to have died in poverty,3 caused, doubtless, by his losses through Churchs expedition. A son of his, Louis Simon de St. Aubin, le Poupet, Chevalier de la Boularderie, in 1702 married Magdalaine Melançon, and was captain of a company at the defence of Port Royal against the British in 1707.
In 1704 came Colonel Church with fire and sword, and from the time of his visit history is silent. We do not know when or whither the settlers went from our shores. We simply know that within a few years they disappeared entirely. It is generally believed that they left the country about 1713, when it passed into the hands of the English.
Thus ended the period of French occupation in Charlotte county. The French settlers left no works, no monuments nor descendants, and produced no permanent effect upon its settlement.
It is a matter for sincere regret, however, that we do not know the sites of these French settlements, particularly that of St. Aubin. Aside from the indirect evidence we have referred to, the only information we have upon the subject is found upon a map, to be referred to in a future article, made early in the last century by Captain Cyprian Southack. If the imperfect topography of this map is correctly interpreted by the present writer, it locates French houses upon Campobello, near Wilsons Beach; on Moose Island, Pleasant Point, and the lower end of Deer Island. Old cellars, believed to be French, are found upon Indian Island; and others, which are possibly French, at Hills Point, between Oak Bay and Waweig. Their other settlements were probably at St. Andrews, at the mouth of the Magaguadavic, at St. Stephen or Calais, and at Letang.
A few place names have descended to us from these later French colonists: Lepreau, Letang, Letete, Delute (de loutre, of the otter). St. Croix and the Grand in Grand Manan are older, having originated with de Monts and Champlain. It is fortunate that these names have survived, to stand as a memorial of their former presence as lasting as the English race itself upon the shores of Charlotte county.
1Given in MSS. relating to the History of Canada, published by the Quebec government, vol. ii, p. 407.
2Murdoch, (Hist. Nova Scotia, vol. i., p. 214) in relating this incident, says: 9 November, 1692. Jacques Petitpas and Charles de Soreau, Sieur de St. Aubin, inhabitants of Archimagan in Acadie, were taken by the English, &c. There can be very little doubt that Charles de Soreau is some transcribers error for Jean Serreau.-Rev. W. O. Raymond.
3Des Goutins, in a letter written from Port Royal, Dec. 4, 1705, states that the Sieur St. Aubin died in the beginning of this year, at the house of an inhabitant who had received him through charity.-Rev. W. O. Raymond.
A fort built of logs formerly stood on the high bluff at Sandy Point, on land now owned by James Russell, M.P.P. It may have belonged to this period; and was possibly erected between the time of Churchs expedition and the abandonment of the district by the French inhabitants. Since its wooden walls are said to have remained standing until after the land was granted to Mr. Russells grandfather, at the time of Loyalist settlement, it cannot, of course, be referred to the early French period. There is a family tradition that the face of the fort, the outline of which was somewhat like three sides of an octagon, had three embrasures for cannon, to command the river above and below, as well as opposite the point.-ED.
Readers who are preserving these articles will please make corrections as follows:-
Article XX., second foot-note.-For French nobleman named Lutterelle, read Frenchman named Latreille; and for 1604, read 1704.
Article XXIX.-For Latrielle, read Latreille; and in paragraph referring to Jean Meusnier, for in 1693, read in 1690.
The next preceding article should, of course, have been numbered XXVIII.
Correction: The Additions and Corrections piece following article XXXVII contains the following correction to this one: "In fourth paragraph strike out the first word, He, and substitute, A man of the same name, probably his son. In the foot-note referring to the same person, strike out the last sentence, but note that Charles de St. Aubin, if a son of the seigneur, could not properly be styled Sieur de St. Aubin during his fathers lifetime."