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Background music: "Reel de Sainte Anne" from THE GREAT CANADIAN TUNEBOOK, Sequenced by Barry Taylor, Victoria, BC, Canada

Acadia and Louisburg, 1740-1755. Click on map to enlarge.
"Acadian Overland Transportation Routes to Canada"
(Click map to expand)
 
L'Acadie... Acadia, at one time included all the territories of present-day  Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, the Gaspe area of Quebec and Prince Edward Island and the eastern third of Maine. It was  discovered by the early Acadian explorers that the Saint John River formed an excellent transportation route between southern and northern Acadia and Quebec. And so, many of the Acadian families from Port Royal, Rivieres aux Canards, Grand Pre and other established settlements to the south migrated north first along the lower Saint John River and then later to Quebec via the upper Saint John River. As shown in red on the modified map from Lawrence Burpee, the route to northern Acadia and Quebec moved up the Madawaska River from the Saint John River at Edmundston, New Brunswick north to Lac Témiscouata ending with about 50 miles of portaging (shown in green) to the Kamouraska area on the Saint Lawrence River. From Grand-Pré to Cacouna on the St-Lawrence, the total distance via those waterways is approximately 500 miles. But while this was the established route from Acadia to Canada, there were other routes. One such route which was about 100 miles further west up the north branch of the St-John River as shown on the 'Burpee' map above. This was the 'St-John River to Rivière Achiganaré Chegué to Rivière du Sud' route. The Rivière du Sud runs through the Saint-François du Sud parish. Although not as well-traveled, this route required about only 10 miles of portaging.  

First Migration of the Joseph & Théogenie Ouellet Theriault Great-Branch.

It was Joseph, son of Claude (fifth generation; see the Jehan-to-Joseph lineage below) who was the first generation in this Great-Branch to move from Acadia to Quebec. The reason for the move is obvious: to distance himself from the troubles between France and England in their on-going feud over Acadia.  As we know today, that was a move which saved he and his family from the Great Eviction (Le Grand Derangement) which took place in 1755.

Four generations of Theriaults (in the Jehan-to-Joseph Theriault lineage) had lived in some degree of peace and prosperity in Acadia until Joseph's generation.  But the Treaty of Ultrecht in 1713 just a few years before Joseph was born, was troublesome. The French had ceded the Acadian peninsula to the English who were becoming increasingly beligerent. So, Joseph as many others, began to plan for a future in northern Acadia, which was still relatively stable. His first move was to move from Grand Pré, his paternal village to Beaubassin on the Isthmus of Chignecto some time before he married. Beaubassin was close to the border at that time between Nova Scotia and the remaining part of Acadia which included present-day New Brunswick and the eastern third Maine.

A young lady from Beaubassin caught his eye and so in 1746, Joseph who was then about 26, married  Marie-Agnès Cormier. Marie-Agnès was 23. For many years from 1755 until 1759, Joseph and Agnès managed to evade the pernicious hunts of the English to deport the Acadians during the ‘Grand Dérangement’. Eventually, Joseph and Agnès capitulated and fled their beloved Acadia leaving their home and property around Beaubassin (present day Amherst, NS). At the time of their decision to move, they had been married for 13 years and had six children: two sons and four daughters. The youngest was an infant daughter born on 6 January in 1759 just before they left Acadia.

This was a long and arduous trek which they apparently undertook sometime after January of 1759 . They were obviously forced to move at that time. Using simple straight-line measurements, the trip covered about 700 km. Their efforts to avoid the English surely added many more kilometers to their journey by foot and canoe. It was a very long trek, mostly using waterways. First, crossing the then Baie Française and then to Baie St-Jean... the first hundred miles. The trek up the St-John is about a 300 mile paddle by canoe, all upstream. Fortunately, the St-John, the so-called 'Teaching River', known for all classes of white water,  is very mild in that stretch with the exception of a few major falls, the largest of which is Grand Falls, where the St-John rises 74 feet. But the river is unrelenting and the currents are strong.

In that time, except for a few Indian villages including the Madoueskak village of Malécite Indians located at present-day Edmundston, there were no other settlements in the Upper St-John. The Acadians and French-Canadians would not be settling that area for another 25 years. So when Joseph and Marie-Agnès started their final 100 miles from the upper St-John River to the Madawaska River and headed toward Lac Témiscouata, it was all unspoiled wilderness1. Though they had guides and surely others from Grand-Pré and Beaubassin joining them in their voyage, there was no margin for error. Mistakes and lapses in health were usually lethal. The environment was very unforgiving.
 Lumbering in the 1800's in the northern forests of Maine and New Brunswick...
"Portaging" by Winslow Homer...
This scene was repeated everytime that our ancestors traveled up the St-John River to portage around the Grand Falls.

They arrived in the Fall of 1759 in St-François du Sud where they baptized their daughter born in Beaubassin. They survived an existence for four years by moving from place to place wherever work was available. They rented their home until Joseph was granted some acreage in 1763 in the seigneurie of L’Islet-à-la-Peau in present-day Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. By that time, his two elder sons, Jacques and Anselme were 16 and 15, respectively and were able to help him cultivate his land.

Joseph and Agnès eventually had ten children: four sons and six daughters. Unfortunately, Joseph was hardly able to begin work on his land when he died in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière in 1765 while at the young age of 47. The elder sons, who were still in their late adolescence, continued their father’s work on the land and made their lives in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli.

Joseph and Marie-Agnès raised a family of 11 children including Anselme, their son who was born in 1748 and Charles, their 8th child who was born 15 years later in 1763. Both sons would form the two branches which merged again in the marriage of Joseph and Théogénie more than a century later in 1882. Théogenie was a great-grand-daughter of Anselme while Joseph was a great-grandson of Charles. Thus, Joseph and Théogénie were third cousins when they married. (Marriage between first cousins was not allowed. Some exceptions were granted between 2nd cousins. Marriage between third cousins was acceptable.)

 
"Joseph Terriot farm land in present-day St-Jean-Port-Joli.
The site was dedicated in June 2010 by the Association des famille Thériault de l'Amérique. The monument is on the Chemin de la Côte des Chênes: (
N47.228433 W70.213860). Copy these coordinates in Google Maps (maps.google.com) to see the exact location.
So with Joseph's children, there would begin an infusion of French-Canadian blood into the old Acadian lineage of the Joseph-Théogénie branch as did several other branches of the Theriault family and other Acadian families during that time.

At the age of 30 in 1793, Charles married a 30 year old French-Canadian woman named Anne Blondeau. Together, they raised four children including Charles Thériault. By this time, some Acadians had begun to migrate to the upper St-John River area from the Caraquet area and other areas from the south. In fact, some of the other branches of Theriault's who came from those areas, were some of the first families to settle in St-Basile around 1785. So, as young Charles and other children his age grew along the St-Lawrence River in the early years of the new century, they no doubt heard stories of the new Acadian settlements along the St-John. Villages with names like St-Basil, St-David, Chautauqua (Ste-Luce in present-day Upper Frenchville, Maine) and others were the subject of alot of talk among the Acadians.

Second Migration of the Joseph & Théogenie Ouellet Theriault Great-Branch.

So repeating the cycle that his Grandfather went  through 75 years before, Charles, son of Charles, found his life companion in a French-Canadian lady named Léocadie Gagnon and married her in 1821 in Ste-Anne-de-la-Pocatière. Without any delay, they headed southwest going back over the trail that his grandparents took across the 50 mile stretch of portage and canoed across Lac Témiscouata, to the east end of the Madawaska River. There they settled and in the next year, their first son was born which they named, Dolphis Théophile. With this, Charles had brought the Joseph-Théogénie branch of the Theriault family to the upper Saint John River Valley (shown as the yellow diamond on the Burpee map). Again, as mentioned before, another branch of the Theriault had already settled in Saint Basil.

At this time, the boundary between the United States and Canada had not yet been settled, so the Acadians and French Canadians settled on both sides of the river. In 1842, the boundary was finally settled by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty which declared the river as the boundary at least for the upper Saint John River Valley. By and large, this new boundary had no real effect on the settlers who continued their lives as Acadians2 regardless of the nationality of their settled properties and villages. It is ironic that the boundary as defined in the treaty begins with the "monument at the source of the river St. Croix", the place of the first Acadian settlement in the New World in 1604, two hundred and thirty-eight years earlier.

A look at the vital statistics for all 9 generations shows a migration at the 5th and 7th generations. The migrating generation is shown with a green background. Here's how it went:

   
 Genealogy and Migration of the
Joseph and Théogenie Ouellet Thériault Great-Branch
1.  Jehan  Acadia
Jehan was born around 1601 and died sometime between 1671 and 1678. He migrated from Martaize, France to Le Have, Acadia around 1632 then to Port Royal around 1635 until he died sometime between 1671 and 1678.
2.  Claude Acadia
Claude spent his entire life in Port Royal from around 1637 until he died in 1725 at the age of 88.
3.  Germain Acadia
Germain was born in Port Royal around 1662, married and settled in Rivieres aux Canards, before 1686. He moved to Grand Pre where he died after 1730 at the age of 68.
4.  Claude Acadia
Claude was born in Grand Pre around 1687 and spent his entire life in Grand Pre where he died in 1730 at the early age of 43. Around 1710, he married in Rivieres aux Canards in Acadia and may have lived there for some time. With this generation, the Acadians had begun their migration east and north of Grand Pre. Claude's youngest son Joseph, was born in Grand-Pré in 1718. Both his older sister before him and a younger brother after him were recorded as born in Grand-Pré.
5.  Joseph Acadia-
Quebec

Joseph was born around 1719  in Grand-Pré and some time later, moved to Beaubassin, the second village to be established in Acadia after Port Royal. After marrying Marie-Agnès Cormier in 1745 in Beaubassin, he finally decided in 1759 to migrate to northern Acadia to raise his family. He and Marie Agnès spent the rest of their lives in Sainte Anne de la Pocatiere. In 1763, Joseph died at the young age of 44, some 35 years ahead of his wife.
6.  Charles Quebec
Charles was born in St-Roch-des-Aulnies around the time that his father died in 1763. He spent his entire life on the St Lawrence. We know that Charles married in Riviere Ouelles in 1793 and raised four children including a son, Charles who later migrated to the Madawaska territory. Charles and his wife, Anne Blondeau joined their son for a brief period in the Madawaska territory but returned. Later, their son Charles, brought them to his new home where Charles and Ann lived out the rest of their years on the Madawaska River. The migration to the St-John Valley of the Madawaska territory had begun.
7.  Charles Quebec-
New Brunswick

Charles was born in Kamouraska, Quebec in 1796. He  married in Sainte Anne de la Pocatiere in 1821 and moved to present-day St-Jacques, New Brunswick on the Madawaska River where his two children were born and where his wife died. Charles died on 2 April 1880 in St-Jacques. He was living with his second son, Prudent.
8.  Dolphis New Brunswick
Dolphis was born in Saint Jacques in 1823 where he remained until he died in Saint Jacques in 1887 at the age of 65.
9.  Joseph New Brunswick
Joseph was born in Saint-Jacques, New Brunswick in 1858 where he remained until sometime 1907 when he moved his family to Baker-Brook in the parish of St-Hilaire. His last child and daughter, Almida was born in 1908 in Baker-Brook. He died in 1915 at the age of 57 and was buried in Saint Hilaire, a small village along the Saint John River.

____________________________

FOOTNOTES:

1.  The 'St-John River to Madawaska River to Timisquata Lake' route is one possible route taken by Joseph, a route which was no doubt heavily traveled during this period. According to Jean-Daniel Thériault in his book "Une Famille Acadienne à Saint-Jean-Port-Joli: Joseph Thériault et Agnès Cormier", there is another possible route that was documented to exist in 1685: the 'St-John River to Rivière Achiganaré Chegué to Rivière du Sud' route where the Rivière du Sud runs through the Saint-François du Sud parish where Joseph arrived with his family and where their infant daughter was baptized on 1 November in 1759. He might have chosen this more difficult and less traveled route to avoid capture by the English who under Wolf's command at that very time were actively pursuing the Acadians while plundering and burning the French-Canadian settlements in Lower Canada.

2. Many of the inhabitants of the upper Saint John Valley still to this day consider themselves Acadian instead of French Canadian, largely because of the origins of most of their ancestors from Acadia. In fact, to many, the Acadian distinction is perhaps even more important than the American-Canadian distinction.