Georgia harbor

Savannah Harbor, Georgia

Some of the Acadians deported to Virginia headed for Georgia

When the British vessels arrived with 1,500 Acadian Exiles, Virginia absolutely refused to accept them. Instead, they were sent to England where they would remain imprisoned (coastal detention centers) during the whole Seven Years War.

The Acadians Deported to Georgia

When the transports carrying the Acadian Exiles arrived, Governor John Reynolds rejected these prisoners sitting on the ships off the coast at Savannah. He gave orders forbidding that these Acadians should be allowed to disembarbark anywhere in this colony.

However, having traveled for some time under deplorable conditions on the transport, Governor Reynold's order was ignored and nearly 400 deported Acadians did indeed disembark on Georgia's shores.

Georgia was no more accepting of the Acadian Exiles than was Viriginia. John Reynolds, Governor of Georgia, wanted nothing to do from the arrival of the first vessel when it cast anchor off the coast of Savannah in December 1755. He was so adamant when the first ship arrived that he forbade the chief pilot from accepting any more such people into the Province. However, these orders ignored, nearly 400 Exiles were disembarked from the ships. The terrible thing is that because of how the Acadian/French Neutrals were perceived, these Exiles - already with nothing but the clothes on their backs - lacked the care and support that it was believed would be given them. It was not until January 1756 when they asked the government for help that their existence there was even acknowledged and even then only in as much as giving one week’s supply of rice only to those who were too sick to support themselves.

Since Georgia’s government could care less about what was happening with the Acadian Exiles, this situation allowed them to be detached enough to plan an escape. It seems that with the governor’s help the Acadians were able to obtained ten small boats. Of course, these boats were barely seaworthy and that makes one wonder if Reynold’s wasn’t really hoping that they would perish at sea and he would be rid of them altogether - of course, that is my personal opinion. Anyhow, before the early part of March 1756, the Exiles began their trek up the coast hoping eventually to reach Nova Scotia from this farthest south colony. Anyhow, regardless of what was a bad situation at best, and inspite of the fact that North Carolina tried to get them to remain there, these Acadians determined to return to their home land continued northward. When they arrived at Massachusetts Bay in July 1756, only seven boats remained. Two hundred had departed by the shores of Georgia but less than half - only 90 Acadians had made it this far. Once at Massachusetts, these 90 were arrested and kept here.

History tells us that of the few Acadian exiles who did not leave Georgia, some learned to do the kind of work required on the plantations and in the shipping business. However, most of those who did remain lived in extremely poor conditions. Documents tell us that they remained in Georgia until the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763 at which time they were given eighteen months to decide where they wanted to resettle. Most of those of survived through their Georgia exile took this opportunity to begin life anew in Sainto-Domingo which is known today as Haiti.

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Sources: Massachusetts State Archives Volumes XXIII & XXIV The French Neutrals
Acadian Exiles in the Colonies ~ Janet Jehn - 1977
The Acadian Exiles in the American Colonies 1755-1768 by Milton P. Rieder, Jr. and Norma Gaudet Rieder
Scattered to the Wind - Dispersal and Wanderings of the Acadians, 1755-1809 by Carl A. Brasseaux.

© Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Acadian & French Canadian Ancestral Home
1998 - Present

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