A 19TH Century Canadian Time Capsule

When George II was King of England, and Mr. Hopson was Governor of Nova Scotia, more than 1000 Germans landed at a place called Merliguesh, and they were the founders of the town of Lunenburg. The Germans were also harassed by the Natives and lost many lives in the struggles.

1755 – A large body of troops under the command of Colonel Winslow set sail from Boston to drive the French from the isthmus. They anchored about 5 miles from Fort Lawrence, were joined with English soldiers under the command of Colonel Monckton that had transited by land.

They marched together toward the French Fort of Beau Sejour. The French, rebel Acadians, and Natives awaited them at the Massaguash. After four days, the fort was taken. The English changed the name of the fort to Fort Cumberland, and sent the French to Louisburg, while the Acadians were pardoned.

The next day the English attacked another French fort that was built on a river that runs into Bay Verte. It had been the chief magazine for supplying the Acadians and Natives, and had been occupied by 1500 Acadians.

The English continued their offensive by sailing up the river St. John to attack another fort there, however it was abandoned and destroyed, prior to their arrival. The occupants had burst the canon and left little to be gained by the English. The successful offensive secured the peace of the province. All the French in the province were ordered to be disarmed, and their boats taken from them.

Despite this measure, the English colonists still didn’t trust the Acadians and abused them frequently. The captain of soldiers at Pesiquid (Windsor) told the inhabitants that they must supply his men with wood for fuel on threat of burning their homes if they refused. He also demanded they provide timber for a fort he was repairing on threat of death for refusal.Many Acadians saw the injustice between them and English colonists, and decided to go to Cape Breton or Canada.

Harvest time 1755?: The English were not satisfied that the French wouldn’t arise against them again, and decided that the Acadians should all be sent away.

A proclamation was issued to those who lived in what is now called King’s County(Minas), commanding all the men to assemble at an appointed place, on pain of forfeiting their property.”
“As many as 418 men assembled in the church at Grand Pre, and when they were all shut in, Colonel Winslow, whose duty it was to act on this occasion, told them that he had received orders to inform them that all their lands, and houses, and cattle, were forfeited to the crown; and that they themselves were to be removed from the province.”

“When he had finished his speech, he told them that they were now the King’s prisoners, and must remain under the direction of his troops.”

Due to French success in other colonies at usurping the English, the Nova Scotians followed through with the dispersal of the Acadian population. Five vessels arrived at the Gaspereaux River, and all the men were sent away.

Other vessels arrived and took the women and children, often to completely different destinations: 1000 landed in Massachusetts, some sent to Pennsylvania, and some farther south.

In Nova Scotia 200-300 houses were burned down, along with many barns and mills. The Acadians, originally from Minas and dispersed to the Province of Pennsylvania petitioned the King of England that they had been loyal to the colony and had in fact warned the English frequently of imminent attack.

The Acadians at Cumberland, who were indeed involved in the harassment of the English feared capture if they appeared as summoned, so deserted their homes and fled into the woods to either encamp with the Natives or escape to Canada.

Many turned themselves in after hunger and fatigue overcame them – These were sent away as the other Acadians from Minas. 250 homes were burned, and many of those who were hiding in the woods witnessed the destruction of their homes, furniture, and stores of flax and grain. They hadn’t put up any resistence until the soldiers were to set fire to their church. The surprise attack resulted in 29 soldiers being killed. A total of 7000 Acadians were shipped out from Minas and Cumberland when all was done.

On invitation from the Governor of Nova Scotia, hundreds of farmers from New England, and 200 from Northern Ireland settled on the lands of the banished Acadians.

During this time, the French in Canada were preoccupied with their successful battles against the English on the frontiers of that province. Lord Loudon, Governor of Massachusetts, sent for Governor Lawrence of Nova Scotia, and other English officers to hold a council in Boston to respond to the English defeats in Canada.

The council decided the best strategy was to take Louisburg in Cape Breton. They chose Halifax as the staging point for the fleet. 11000 soldiers gathered in Halifax to await the move on Louisburg, which was protected by as many Frenchmen. They set out, but a terrible storm shattered the English fleet and deferred the attack till the following year.

1758 – The second capture of Louisburg, all of Cape Breton, and Prince Edward Island. Several scalps of Englishmen were found in the house of the Governor of Prince Edward Island. The fortifications at Lousiburg were destroyed and the canon was moved to Halifax.

1759 – ‘Brave’ General Wolfe attacked and took Quebec, and although he was killed at the moment of victory, the conquest of the whole country soon followed. Some Acadians built vessels and returned to Clare, N.S.

1776 – U.S. War of Independence, 20,000 loyalists settled in Nova Scotia, many brought slaves with them that were ‘freed’ in Nova Scotia. Additionally, a large number of slaves escaped from the colonies that revolted, and settled in Nova Scotia.

© John Grove 2000