But what about the private life of the Acadians in exile? What did they do, day by day from 1755 up to the Treaty of Paris in 1763 when they were virtually prisoners... or until 1766-68, the years of their great exodus from exile... or even up to around 1775, when hardly any more trace of them can be found in Massachusetts? The answer to this question can be found in a diary which has been kept by a minister who gives us insight into their private lives, having known some of them intimately, even becoming their close friend. This was the Reverend Ebenezer Parkman of Westboro, Massachusetts.
Ebenezer Parkman was born in Boston on September 5, 1703, the son of William and Elizabeth (Adams) Parkman. He was their eleventh child. He graduated from Harvard School of Divinity in 1721 with notable learned figures such as Robert Hale, Nathaniel Hancock, and Samuel Barrett. On October 28, 1724 marks the date of the founding of the Congregational Church in Westboro at which time, the Reverend Parkman became its first pastor. He was here until 1782, in the 80th year of his life and the 59th year of his ministry. He was married to Mary Champney who gave him five children. After her death he married Hannah Breck on September 1st, 1737 and they had eleven children together.
He married at Port Royal, November 23, 1722, Jeanne Dupuis born abt 1701-2, the daugher of Jean Dupuis son of Michel and Marie Gauterot(Gautreau) and of Anne Richard the daughter of Jean-René Richard, dit Beaupré, and of Marie-Magdaleine Landry. Jean-Simon LeBlanc and Jeanne Dupuis had eight children, all born in the vicinity of Port-Royal.Marie-Josèphe, baptized June 8, 1744, Port Royal, whose marriage in exile to Anselme Babin, son of Joseph Babin and of Angélique Landry, was revalidated at Quebec September 2, 1776.
Jean-Simon LeBlanc and their four youngest children were taken to
Westboro, MA where they arrived September 12, 1756. With regard to the rest of the family, Jean-Simon, the oldest of the children, with his own family is found in Lynn, MA as early as January, 1756. Isabelle and her family escaped Deportation and reached Québec where they are found to be in 1757. Nastasie(Anastasie) with her family was placed in Manchester and Joseph was with his in-laws in Cambridge.
It was only after Monsieur LeBlanc became more acquainted with his new friend at Westboro (Rev. Parkman) that he told him of his own family and relatives. He told him that "his sister Mary married an Englishman by who she had a number of daughters: one of which married Governor Cosby, another Governor Enfield of Annapolis, the last of which is at present Governor there."
This Mary was Jean-Simon LeBlanc's half-sister, on the maternal side. He also had a half-brother on his father's side. Thus on account of the fact that Pierre LeBlanc and Magdeleine Bourg had each a child from a previous marriage, there were in reality in Pierre LeBlanc's house three families.
Pierre LeBlanc was born in 1664, the son of Daniel LeBlanc and of
Françoise Gaudet. First married around 1684 to Marie Terriot,(Thériault) daughter of Claude and Marie Gauterot/Gautreau. She must have died not long after giving birth in 1685 to a son, named Pierre.
Pierre then married around 1697-98 to Magdeleine Bourg born abt 1677, the daughter of François Bourg and of Marguerite Boudrot. Their children: Joseph, born abt 1698 who married at Port-Royal January 20, 1721 to Marguerite Bourgeois, daughter of Germain and Magdeleine Dugas. They had 9 children. This family was expelled to Massachusetts. Its members are found to be in exile in Amesbury, MA and then in Methuen, MA. Around 1658, they left for the province of Quebec and settled at St-Denis, on
the Richelieu River, where Joseph LeBlanc was buried October 20, 1775.
Anne, born abt 1700, who married at Port-Royal January 10, 1719, Joseph Bourgeois, brother of the above Marguerite Bourgeois. They were exiled to Massachusetts; they are mentioned April 17, 1758, as being quartered in Beverly. They are listed five years later with those who desired to be sent to "Old France".
Jean-Simon, our Monsieur LeBlanc Parkman writes about, born August 23, 1703 who was third in the family.
Marie, born January 1, 1706, who married at Port-Royal November 24, 1721, Claude Bourgeois, brother of the above Marguerite and Joseph. They were exiled with their family in Massachusetts and sent to Amesbury, MA, where they were in the Spring of 1756. Claude Bourgeois died after 1760. His widow, after an exile of nearly 19 years, arrived, with many of her children, at St-Jacques de l'Achigan, P.Q., during the summer of 1774,
where she died January 24, 1781.
Paul(Pierre), born Nov 2, 1708, married at Port-Royal on Oct 6, 1732 to Marie-Josephe Richard, born in Port Royal, January 9, 1713, daughter of René Richard and of Marguerite Terriot. They were also taken to MA. In 1767, this family with its younger children reached Quebec and about 1770 established at Nicolet, P.Q. where Marie-Josèphe Richard was buried June 2, 1795.
Magdalen, born June 5, 1714. Only 8 mos old when she died.. buried at Port-Royal Feb 7, 1715.
Charles, born Sept 16, 1716, married at Port-Royal, Jan 10, 1735, Magdeleine Girouard, daughter of Francois Girouard and Anne Bourgeois. They escaped deportation and fled towards Miramichi, N.B. In the census of 1763 of Annapolis, Charles Leblanc's name heads the list of the Acadians who were at this place at the time, having with him his wife and six children. He was still there in 1769, where and when two of his children
married. By October 5, 1770, he had only two children left
with him. It is then that he went to nearby St. Mary's Bay to settle at St-Bernard, in the county of Digby, at a place which has been called ever since, up to this day, "L'Anse-de-LeBlanc" [LeBlanc Cove] or simply "L'anse des Blancs"(White Cove). This is where he died, Sept 30, 1805, at the age of 89. His wife had been buried June 8 of the same year, less than four months before. He was known here a "Chat", the ancestor of the first Acadian Bishop, Bishop Edouard LeBlanc, who was Bishop of St. John, New Brunswick from 1912 to 1935.
The father, Pierre LeBlanc, died in 1717. His wife Magdeleine Bourg, was left with six children from this marriage, ranging in age from 13 months up, the oldest not being much more than 19 years old.
Magdeleine Bourg's marriage to Pierre LeBlanc was also her second, and she also had brought to Pierre's house a child, Magdeleine Maisonnat, from her marriage to Pierre Maisonnat, which had taken place around 1693 when she was only about 16 years old. This Magdeleine Maisonnat, born around 1695, is the sister referred to in the entry of January 6, 1757,
of Parkman's diary. Her history is most fascinating, and her father's even more.
The relations between Reverend Ebenezer Parkman and Monsieur Leblanc and his family were always most cordial, from the very day they met for the first time. Three days only after learning of their arrival, Parkman, Oct 19, 1756, paid them his first visit, which was to be the beginning of a long and close friendship, no only with the LeBlancs but also with
other Acadians in exile.
During the first months after their arrival, he visited them at least once a week. Usually, Parkman would ride or go by sleigh as they were some distance from his home. In December of 1756, Parkman and his wife were inviting the LeBlanc family, who always "conducted with much Civility" and from time to time "prepar'd Tea for us"..
It was not long before the members of the LeBlanc family began to visit
the parsonage. The first visit recorded was on Thanksgiving Day, November
25, 1756, when Madame LeBlanc and daughter Marie, notwisthstanding a bad
snow storm, dined at Rev. Parkman's. Although Monsieur LeBlanc had
also been invited the day before, he "was not well enough to come"' most
probably daughter Magdeleine had to stay home with her father. But two
days later, in the afernoon, Magdeleine came to pay her respects to the
Parkmans, accompanied by her sister Marie. Then the LeBlanc girls and
the Parkman girls became close friends, visiting one another as we see
from the beginning of Jan 1757. The Acadian girls will often sit at the
Parkman's table. As a matter of fact, the same is to be said of the
other members of the LeBlanc family. On the occasion of the marriage of
one of Parkman's daughters, he took his wife, the newly married couple,
and many guests to the LeBlanc family's home to invited them to the
banquet.. Magdeleine and Mary returned with them.
The LeBlanc sons Amand and Pierre are mentioned by Parkman in his
diaries as having worked for him.. they are seen working with the
Parkman sons in the corn field..tobacco patch.. orchard, plowing,
planting, hoeing, mowing, reaping, or digging a well to water the
cattle.. or working around the barn. The girls also did some work for
the Parkmans spinning and weaving cloth and yarn for them. Magdeleine
also worked for the Parkman's when Mrs. Parkman was ill.. she did some
washing and cleaning for her..soon after, Mrs. Parkman had surgery.
Sometime after this, Parkman writes that his sons were called off to the
service... and that "The war has called off so many thousands" but that
the haying is done, etc.
This is April 17, 1759.. Thomas, the third child of the family, will die
fighting for King George October 23, 1759.
Though they did not have much, few Acadians had the good fortune of the
LeBlanc family to find, in exile, a friend and sympathetic advisor as
the Reverend Parkman.
It was not easy for the Acadians to travel though they often visited the
parsonage. As a mater of fact, for some time, they were even forbidden
to travel about unless they had a license or passport signed by two
selectmen or overseers of the Poor of the town to which they had been
assigned. This permit was not to be granted for more than six days and
could not include the Lord's Day. It was one way of preventing the
Acadians from gathering together in large groups for their religious
meetings on Sundays. Any transgressions of this rule were to be punished
by imprisonment... they would have been imprisoned for five
days..without bail.. and kept on bread and water only... This law took
effect October 1st, shortly after the LeBlancs arrived at Westboro.
On December 15, 1756, which was a Wednesday, Natalie (Simon's daughter)
and her husband Joseph Girouard visited the Parkmans. They were
quartered in Manchester. Marguerite Robichaud who was a second cousin of
Monsieur LeBlanc also came to visit him from Natick. Present was also
Marin Gourdeau[Gautreau], a first cousin to Joseph LeBlanc's wife, namely
Marguerite Robichaud, daughter of Louis Robichaud. Parkman visits his
mother Marguerite Robichaud, daughter of Prudent Robichaud. Finally,
Jean-Simon is mentioned one more time in Parkman's diary on January 17,
1759 when, with his brother Joseph, he visited Mr. Parkman.
Among other Acadians who came in contact with the Reverend Parkman was
Claude Dugas, son of Claude Dugas and Marguerite Bourg. He married
Marguerite Boudrot. This family was in Grafton, MA just a few miles
south of Westboro, where September 17, 1757 Mr. Parkman went to see the
French Family, there was Claude Du Gas." A few months later while in
Grafton, Reverend Parkman visits the Dugas family. Claude Dugas is
mentioned a couple more times in the diaries when he finally returns
Parkman also wrote about Marie Picotte (he wrote Pickott).. she was usually known as Marguerite. She had been baptized at Port-Royal September 5, 1731, the first born of Michel Picot and Anne Blin. [Note: it has been brought to my attention that Marie Picot was baptized September 7, 1732.] She married Jean-Baptiste Guidry dit Labine abt 1749, son of Pierre Guidry dit Grivois and Marguerite Brasseau/Brassaud. Parkman writes that he went to see Monsieur LeBlanc June 15, 1759 because his son-in-law Joseph Growaer(GIROUARD) from Manchester with wife and children were there. Joseph Girouard and
his family had been transferred in April 1761 to Marblehead, MA. In
1767, they were at St-Ours, PQ..
Worth mentioning, two Melansons who visited Reverend Parkman, Sept 20, 1758. John and Mary Melanson from Lancaster, MA - some 15-20 miles west of Westboro, were quartered them a member of the family of Paul Melanson, son of Pierre Melanson and of Marie Mius d'Entremont, who had married at Grand Pré, Nov 8, 1712, Marie Terriot, daughter of Germain Terriot and of Anne Richard. Benoni Melanson, one of the oldest of the family, was there with his wife and children. Another son, John (Jean) was also quartered in Lancaster. He was born 1733 and married abt 1761 to Fançoise Benoit. In 1766 he was in Quebec with his wife and three
Marie Melanson who visited Parkman with Jean, it would seem she was
probably the daughter of Benoni Melanson as no other of that name is to
be found in Massachusetts at that time. She married Nov 17, 1761 in
Leominster where she had been assigned June 6th of the previous year, to Beloni Doucet son of Pierre Doucet and of Françoise Dugas, which marriage was revalidated at Trois-Rivière, PQ, July 29, 1767. This family established at Yamachiche where Marie died before 1775.
Monsieur LeBlanc was not the only one of the name to come in contact
with Reverend Parkman. August 23, 1758, he writes: "In returning to
Westboro, called..to see the old French folks Mons Pierre LeBlanc." This was surely Pierre LeBlanc of Shrewsbury, where Parkman, on his
return to Westboro from a ministers' meeting at Boylston, interrupted his
trip to visit this French Family. His full name was Pierre Hilaire
Leblanc; he was nicknamed PINAULT, written Pinous in the Mass Archives.
Born in 1683, he was the son of Antoine LeBlanc and Marie Bourgeois, he
marries at Grand Pré Feb 16, 1711 to Françoise Landry, daughter of
Antoine Landry and of Marie Thibodeau. Parkman wrote that a few days
after Christmas, Pierre Hilaire LeBlanc, Sr and Jr visit him. Pierre
Hilaire LeBlanc, Jr will cross the Massachusetts line to get married,
October 13, 1762 in Guilford, Connecticut to Marie-Isabelle Hébert,
daughter of Pierre Hébert and Elisabeth Dupuis. The marriage was
revalidated the 17th of January, 1775 at St-Philippe de Laprairie, where
There are still two others in the diaries.. Peter and Simon Blanc... at this time they were in Needham, MA with their father and mother,
François LeBlanc born in 1686, son of Jacques LeBlanc and of Catherine Hébert, and Marguerite Boudrot, whom he had married at Grand Pré September 19, 1712, the daughter of Claude Boudrot and of Anne-Marie Thibodeau. This François and Monsieur (Simon-Jean) were first cousins,both fathers being brothers. In 1760, when some changes in the assignment of the Acadians took place,
the family of François LeBlanc was retained in Needham. In 1763,
Marguerite Boudrot, now a widow, left with her children for St-Pierre et Miquelon, and in 1767 from here the family left for Halifax.
The Fathers d'Entremont and Hébert say: "A thing which is striking,
when reading the diary and realizing the activities of the Acadians in exile, is the great amount of traveling which was done, notwithstanding the surveillance that prevailed with regard to this matter, and the great facility with which, it seems, they communicated from one town to another, notwithstanding the apparent lack of means they had to do so. From the end of 1756 till the middle of 1769, the Acadians paid well over fifty visits to Westboro, some coming more than once. They must have been attracted by the reputation that Mr. Parkman had acquired through his sympathy for the Acadians in exile, always ready to help them, his door always opened to recieve them and his table always well
provided to feed them, when as many as five at a time had dinner with
him. Parkman also writes about the Acadians having and visiting other "friends".. The LeBlanc family seems also to have been well acquainted with the Rice family of Westboro.. Lieutenant Simon Tainter... on one occasion Lieutenant Tainter - now a Deacon of Parkman, takes Mr. LeBlanc to neighboring Marlborough... he also dines at Deacon Tainter's."
Etienne Robichaud and his father-in-law Charles Belliveau visit.. On February 28, 1766, Parkman says "Monsieur LeBlanc came up the day before yesterday ... he returns to Salem".. we have no way of knowing from the diaries when this family was sent to Salem, Massachusetts.
Apart from the marriages of some of his children during this time, all we know of Monsieur LeBlanc while he was in Salem is that the Acadians would gather at his house on Sundays and Holy Days to attend what they called "La Messe Blanche"(the White Mass), when in the absence of the priest, the congregation would recite or chant different parts of the Mass, one of the elders would read passages from Holy Scripture assigned for that day, to which other prayers would be added by the people.
The Acadians could have stayed and settled in Massachusets or another
of the New England Staes..they chose to leave even for other British
colonies.. Although several of Mr. LeBlanc's children departed for the province of Quebec in 1767 from Massachusetts, there is no evidence to indicate that the old parents accompanied them. It would seem that old Simon LeBlanc and his wife remained at Salem with their younger children. When the latter left Salem, MA for Canada, on the eve of the American revolution, the old couple would have reached their middle seventies. Like many of his Acadian contemporaries, it seems that Monsieur LeBlanc's destiny was that of an unmarked grave in a Salem
cemetery, while his wife, Jeanne Dupuis, now a widow, was at St-Ours,
Quebec on September 28, 1775, acting as a witness with her son and
daughter-in-law, Jean-Simon and Marie Landry, to the marriage contract
of her grandchild Marguerite Girouard, daughter of Joseph Girouard and
of Natalies (Anastasie) LeBlanc, who married at the same place, October
2, 1775, François Gaille dit St-Germain.
[Note: I have information regarding where the rest of their children went if anybody is in need of this information.]
In conclusion, Fathers d'Entremont and Hébert say: "..and that is the
story of Monsieur LeBlanc, his family, his Acadians friends. And that is what we are told of them while they were in exile in Massachusetts.
'Exile without an end, and without an example in story...
Friendless, homeless, hopeless, they wandered from city to city...
Friends they sought and homes; and many despairing, heart-broken,
Asked of the earth but a grave, and no longer a friend nor a fireside.'
That was not entirely the case for Monsieur LeBlanc, for he had found in exile a Good Samaritan, the Reverend Ebenezer Parkman of Westboro."
This was an article prepared by both the
Reverend Clarence J. d'Entremont, [now deceased] while he served at
Our Lady's Haven, Fairhaven, Massachusetts and
Rev. Hector J. Hébert, s.j. [now deceased], when working at the
Université de Moncton
Moncton, N.-B., Canada
and published in the French Canadian and Acadian Genealogical
Review Volume IV No. 1 Spring 1972.
Father Clarence d'Entremont eventually returned to West Pubnico, Nova Scotia where he continued his research until his death. His collection of maps and books was donated to the Acadian Museum at West Pubnico.