From Acadian to Cajun: Part 2 – Breau/Trahan
I decided to go ahead and write another post for this series. Even though it was only last week that I wrote the other one, it was still last year. I’ve also spent a lot of time looking at this part of my family history all week long. And talk about sad! This is a really depressing period in the life of Acadians/Cajuns. I don’t know why I didn’t think it would be so bad, since I have looked at it before and read books about it.
But when I start to look and see what exactly was happening to my ancestors and their families at that time, it’s a bit more personal. And there are some really tragic events that occurred. It sounds kind of morbid, but I am intrigued by sad events that I discover. Mainly because I can write about them and memorialize them in some way. That way we can get to know them a bit and make a bit of a connection. But most of those other events that I discover are tragedies that are a result of illness, sickness, or accidents.
This time it is different. This was intentionally done to my family. Sure, the Acadians were ornery and refused to give an unconditional oath to the king of England. But they were his (somewhat) loyal subjects, being that they were born in an English-ruled area. Like I said last week, they were the third generation born in Acadie. But they were treated like foreign invaders and prisoners of war. It was a travesty!
One of those families that was treated this way was the Breau family of Pisiquit, Acadie. My main focus when I was looking for information on this family was my 5Xgreat grandfather Anthony Breaux. He is also called Antoine in various records and on the Wall in St. Martinville, but I use the name Antoine to designate his grandfather. The last name is also variously spelled Breau, Braud, Brot, and Bro.
So Anthony is on the Wall as Antoine Breau, but then I realized that his parents are listed below him. The listing is for “Claire Trahan veuve Charles Breau,” which designates Claire as the widow of Charles when she came to Louisiana.
But at the time of the Grand Derangement, he was very much alive. He and his wife Claire were 50 years old. They had been married for 26 years, and their family with nine children lived in Pisiquit. I saw in one document that they lived in the Village of Breau. There must have been a lot of Breau families that lived there!
One of those families was the family of their oldest child Anthony and his wife Marguerite. Anthony was 25 years old and Marguerite, who was born a Landry, was 18. They had two young children. The oldest was 3 or 4 year old Scholastique, who was later to be my 4Xgreat grandmother. She had a young brother Joseph just a year old. They were just getting started with their little family in the quiet little hamlet of the Village of Breau.
Then things took a turn. The Great Upheaval happened and things were never the same for these families. These three generations of the Breaux family along with many other families were forcibly removed from their homes. Many homes were burned, as well as churches and church documents. This large Breaux group were made to board the ship The Dolphin on October 27, 1755, and they never saw the land of their birth again.
If you read my post last week, you may remember that this is the same ship that contained my Landry family that was Exiled at the same time. The ship reached Boston on November 5th and Annapolis on the 30th. While the Landry family went to Upper Marlboro, the Breaux group went to Port Tobacco.
There are a few documents of the time that was spent in Maryland. Claire, the grandmother of my Scholastique, was a seamstress and she was able to make some money from time to time for the officials in the area. She also must have had a green thumb, because at one point she helped Mr. Mundell with his crop. She also grew rye. She and Charles had at least three new grandchildren who were born in Port Tobacco. Anthony and Marguerite had a son named for Charles in 1758, a daughter named Perpetue in 1761, and another daughter named Marie Rose in 1764.
Those were the highlights of their stay in Maryland. You already know the down side, because Claire was a widow when she made it to Louisiana. I said that from the beginning. Charles died sometime around 1764 or 1765. I hope he made it to at least the birth of little Marie Rose. That would be nice. But we don’t really know. The main clue is a journal entry of a local priest on August 12, 1765, that says, “…my order to Clare Braux Widow for 3 bushels of Rye…” So Charles was probably my age right now when he died (59 years old).
The Breaux family group only stayed in Maryland a few more years. On December 17, 1767, they boarded the ship The Jane bound for Louisiana. They were hoping to join those other Acadians like the Landry family that went to St. Gabriel. But when they reached New Orleans in Feb. 1768, they were brought to Fort St. Luis de Natchez in Mississippi aboard The Guinea. It was here that after a few months Claire Trahan Breaux died. She spent 50 years in her homeland, before spending a dozen long, hard years in Exile in Maryland. She lived less than a year in the South. She was buried on June 7, 1768.
On September 9, 1769, Anthony made his mark on a document giving his unconditional oath of allegiance to Spain. A month later he made a request to abandon the land that was given to him in Natchez in exchange for land nearer to the other Acadians who settled between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. He was granted permission and the family then settled in St. Gabriel, Louisiana.
The 1771 Census shows the family living in St. Gabriel with 3 heads of cattle, 7 hogs, and 3 chickens on a piece of land along the Mississippi with 8 arpents frontage. Just over a year later, another census shows them with seven head of cattle, thirty-seven hogs, and thirteen chickens. They were moving on up!
On February 12, 1776, Scholastique married Joseph Ignatius Landry in St. Gabriel. I mentioned him in the post last week. He spent a dozen years of Exile in Maryland also, but in Marlboro. In 1779, Scholastique’s younger sister Perpetue married Joseph Ignatius’s younger brother Mathurin. That means all of my wonderful cousins descended from Mathurin are actually my double cousins thru this line!
In 1781 Joseph Ignatius & Scholastique’s third child was born. His name was Joseph Emanuel Landry and he is my 3X great grandfather. The path to me goes like this: Emanuel Landry had a daughter named Marguerite or Basilite Landry, Basilite had a daughter named Marie Celeste Leveque, “Granma Celeste” had a son named Rob or “Pappy” Landry, Pappy had a son named Bob, and Bob was my father. But Emanuel was also my 4Xgreat grandfather. That path goes like this: Emanuel had a daughter named Anna Adele Landry, Adele had a daughter named Marie Amelie “Belite” Bujol, Belite had a daughter named Marie Therese Landry, Marie Therese had a daughter named Germaine Erie Patureau, Erie had a son named Bob, and Bob, as you know, was my father.
In 1782 Anthony Breaux died in St. Gabriel at the age of 52. Joseph Ignatius and Scholastique had their fourth and final child in 1783. Scholastique then died in 1785 at the age of 34. After making it through a decidedly turbulent childhood in Exile and reaching the land of milk and honey and meeting the man of her dreams, she died after only eight years of being married. This must have been a tragedy for the whole Breaux and Landry family.
But as you know, people recover and move on. Joseph Ignatius did. I have a total of five paths of lineage from him to me. You will hear about the other three in the next installment. That story entails a longer, more distant, and more tragic period of Exile.
You’ve been warned…
For other installments of the “From Acadian to Cajun” series, click on the following links: