Beaubears Island Shipbuilding National Historic Site of Canada - The Other Side Season 6

Extra Research for Season 6 – Episode 4 – Seeking Refuge

Nicolas Denys

In 1653, a Royal Decree from France, granted an area of land lying along the coast from Canso Straight, NS up to Cap-des-Rosiers, QC, to Nicolas Denys (1603-1688).   Nicolas was granted the title of governor and lieutenant of the king, of the region.  He was the son of Jacques Denys, Sieur de la Thibaudière, a Captain of the Royal Guard, and Marie Cosnier.  Nicolas married Marguerite Lafite in France and had Richard (1647-1691) and Nicolas, Jr (1644-?).

Nicolas Sr. died in 1688 and the land was passed on to his wife and son Richard.  Richard inherited a seigneury at Miramichi (which was promised his father in 1687).  Richard established himself on the north bank of the river that ran between what is known today as Wilson’s Point and Beaubears Island, NB.

Richard Denys’ first wife was most likely a Mi’kmaq woman called Anne Parabego (Partarabego) (b ca 1660).  They married around 1680 and had two children, Marie-Anne (b 1681) and Nicolas (b 1682).  Nicolas (b 1682-1732), like his father, married an Aboriginal woman named Marie.  He died with his wife and three of his four children during 1732 in Beaumont, QC.  On 15 Oct 1689, Richard Denys married his second wife Françoise Cailteau in Québec and they had a son, Louis, in 1690.  Louis was killed at age 20 in a sea battle of the ship La Valeur.  In the autumn of 1691 Richard Denys lost his life at sea while on the ship Saint-François-Xavier. Three years later, on 17 July 1694, his estate was settled in favour of his widow and the children of his widow’s subsequent marriage.

Le Grand Derangement

Because the Acadians refused to sign an oath of allegiance to Britain that would make them loyal to the Crown instead of being “French neutrals”, deportation orders were given on 11 Aug 1755, beginning Le Grand Dérangement (Fr.) or The Great Expulsion (En.).  This occurred during the French and Indian War and was part of the British campaign against New France.  The British military ordered the Acadians’ communities to be destroyed and homes and barns were burned down.

In the first wave, the British deported the Acadians to the Thirteen Colonies, in the second wave, they were transported to Britain and France and from there some migrated to Spanish Louisiana, where “Acadians” became “Cajuns”.  Approximately 11,500 Acadians were deported.

Wilson’s Point

Wilson’s Point is a provincially protected site and has been called “Camp d’esperance”, “Boishebert’s Point”, “Beaubear’s Point”, and eventually “Wilson’s Point”, over the years. This area was the hunting and fishing grounds for the Mi’kmaq and a refuge for the deported Acadians.  John Wilson, an innkeeper, jailer, crier, and ferryman, operated a horse-powered ferry system from Nelson to Newcastle and is the person the area is named after.

John was born in Stromness, Orkney, Scotland in 1790 and married Euphemia Clouston (1791-1864) in Orkney in 1813.  He emigrated to Canada with his wife and children Ann, Margaret, and John around 1817.  Their other children Margaret, Susannah, Jane, Mary, Ellen, William, Elizabeth, Isaac, Jessie, and James were all born in New Brunswick.  In 1835, Wilson succeeded Thomas Mullins as county jailer.  While he was the jailer, he was also the crier at the courthouse, and at various times, handyman, janitor, and supplier of firewood.  He was succeeded as jailer in 1840 but continued to serve as court crier, on demand, for the remainder of his life.

John died at his residence in Wilson’s Point in 1876.

— Joanne Schiavoni

Photo Credit: Parks Canada Agency

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