Acadian Flag Sieur de la Roque 1752 Census for Prince Edward Island/Ile Saint Jean

Page 11 - Prince Edward Island


On the way to Malpec....


We left Tracadie and took our way for Macpec [Malpec]. An hour after starting we found ourselves crossing the harbour of the petit Racica (Racicot). The entrance to the harbour lies north-north-east and south-south-west, and is navigable only by boats, and even then only at high tide, and in fine weather. The lands surrounding the harbour are covered with all kinds of hard wood fit for use in the construction of schooners, bateaux, and boats; whilst the soil is good in quality and fit for cultivation.

About six o'clock in the evening while passing the harbour of the Grand Racico in a strong wind we were forced to put into port there. The harbour lies on the north coast eight leagues from Saint-Pierre. We found that the entrance of the harbour lies north-east and south-west, that it is about one hundred toises in width and that it is only accessable to vessels of 30 to 40 tons burden. Inside the entrance the harbour divides into two arms. One runs inland three leagues to the east-south-east towards Petit Racicot.

The depth of the water has not been ascertained. The other half runs a league to the south-west and in it vessels anchor ordinarily in three to four fathoms of water whilst two rivers empty into this arm, the one in the centre and the other in the extremity.

Both of these rivers take their rise three or four leagues inland to the west-north-west. Their currents are rapid throughout and they are well fitted for the construction of flour and saw mills, especially as the surroundings of the harbour and of these rivers are full of all kinds of timber suitable for every description of building purpose.

We left this harbour on the 23rd but a contrary wind blowing in from the north-north-west compelled us to take to rowing, and the wind growing stronger we had to put into port in the little harbour.

The harbour is situated similarily to others on the north coast. It is eleven leagues from Saint Pierre and three leagues from the east entrance to the harbour of Malpec.

We found that its entrance lay north-north-east and south-south-west, with a breadth of 100 to 150 toises. A channel flowing in the centre is 30 to 40 toises in width with a depth of 10 to 11 feet of water at high tide.

We also found that formerly certain persons had prosecuted the fishery industry here by means of vessels.

The harbour is formed something like the gulf of a river, and so penetrated inland to the south-south-west for a distance of a league.

There are two rivers on the west side of said harbour. They take their rise in the interior to the west-south-west, and they resemble the foregoing rivers in character, fitted for the same purposes, and possessed of the same facilities.

The wind having veered to the south-west we resumed our journey, and finally reached the harbour of Malpec towards five o'clock in the evening.


Sketch of the Harbour of Malpec....


The harbour of Macpec [Malpec] lies on the north coast, at a distance of sixteen leagues from the harbour of Saint Pierre.

Thirty-two families who follow the cultivation of the soil as a means of livelihood, are settled here. The harbour is also suitable for the prosecution of the cod fishery, and it is certain that too much encouragement to engage in the industry cannot be given to the settlers, especially as the conditions of the locality itself invite them to do so. The situation is one of the best adapted on the Island to the drying of codfish, owing to several small islands that lie directly in front of the harbour, and which give certainly no lack of fresh air, whilst they also add to the security of the harbour.

We found that the harbour of Macpec [Malpec] has four distinct entrances. The first lies east and west, being formed by the south-west point of the mainland of Isle Saint Jean, and the north-east point of the small isle at the eastern entrance. The distance of these points is estimated at 800 toises. They lie north-east and south-west, and between them is a quarter of a league in which vessels drawing twelve or thirteen feet of water can tack, there being usually about three fathoms of water throughout the entrance at low tide.

The second entrance lies north-north-east and south-south-west. It is formed by the west-north-west point of the aforesaid island at the eastern entrance, and the east-south-eastern point of the isle at the north-western entrance. This entrance is considered to be wider throughout its whole length than the former, with the difference, however, that the channel in this entrance is estimated to have a width of only 300 toises, in which there are from five to six fathoms of water at low tide, and six to seven at high tide. Only these two entrances are navigable for vessels of any kind. As regards to the other two they are accessable by boats only.



The Islands which Lie in the Middle of the Harbour....


The Isle aux Sauvages lying in the harbour of Macpec [Malpec] is half a league from the east and north-west entrances. Its position greatly facilitates the entrance of vessels into the harbour, as well as contributes to their finding safe anchorage in good water. In order to secure this when vessels at sea have reached a point at which they can take one or the other of the two entrances already mentioned, they have only to steer directly for the cape on Isle aux Sauvages, in order to always be certain that they are in the middle of the channels, for both channels run together from a distance from three to four hundred toises outside the two entrances to where they meet again some five hundred or six hundred fathoms from Isle aux Sauvages. After that point vessels can approach the land to the west as closely as they deem convenient, according to their draft, and anchor wherever they wish, there being a depth of six to seven fathoms of water throughout the harbour.

To the west-south-west of the Isle aux Sauvages lies a second isle which had been granted to the late Monsieur Courtin, Priest and Missionary to the Indians, from which fact it bears the name of Ile à Monsieur Courtin. It lies about eight hundred toises distant from the other island and to the west-north-west. Its circumference is estimated at one league, with a diameter of eight hundred toises. The lands are high and wooded with all sorts of hard timber, such as maples, red maples, black birch, oak, &c., but not much oak.

One sees at a glance that the harbour of Macpec [Malpec] is shut in by an island that lies directly facing the entrance, and which adds at once to its value as a harbour, and to the security of the shipping. As already stated the three entrances that the sea has made into three different parts of the island have subdivided it into three, that form with the two extremities of the harbour the four entrances that were referred to already.

There is yet another reason, and a better, for concluding that the currents of water caused by the rising and falling of the tide are very strong throughout the whole of the capacious harbour. The most westerly entrance was rendered impassible in 1750, when during a hurricane the said dunes were broken through, and the strength of the currents of water has prevented their becoming united since.

It is estimated that from the north-west point of the eastern entrance to the point west of the western entrance is a distance of two leagues and a half, running east-south-east and west-north-west, together making the length of the isles and entrances to the harbour of Macpec [Malpec]. Then, from the entrances on the east and north-west to the further end of the bay, the distance is put at two leagues, in which vessels of 100 to 150 tons burden can make the passage, afterwards the harbour divides into two arms. One arm runs to the south-south-east about one league, at the extremity of which a small stream that rises about half a league inland to the south, empties itself. The second arm runs inland three leagues to the west-south-west and is navigable by small vessels for two leagues.

From the west point of the harbour a species of canal or river runs north-west to the harbour of Cachechampec, and is practicable only by boats. Notwithstanding that, the distance between the two harbours is six leagues, there is inland communication between all parts of the two harbours.

The lands in the neighbourhood of Macpec [Malpec] are superior in quality to those of St. Pierre and Rivière du Nord-Est, and even to all those we have visited up to the present time. Nevertheless, those who have settled here have not been able to seed their lands this year, but it must be taken into consideration that this was due to the bad seasons, from which the unfortunate settlers have suffered, during three consecutive years. The first year the trouble was caused by field mice. These animals resemble in appearance those found in the rural districts of France, especially in Châmpagne, where during the fall they store up, at a depth of two to three feet in the earth, grain for their comfortable subsistance, and then go to sleep for six months of the year. It is only in this foresight that the field mice of this country do not resemble those of the old land, for here, after they have devoured everything that they can find to their taste in the country, they throw themselves into the water where they are drowned in such prodigious numbers that their bodies form a kind of dam to the waters, by which they are carried down and accumulate, so that the shores of lakes, rivers, streams, are filled with them. A prejudiced, ignorant, and vulgar people did not long hesitate in ascribing the coming of this plague to some evil spirit working against the island. Suspicion fell upon a man named St. Germain dit Périgord. This suspicion coming to the knowledge of the Indians, they took the man Périgord, put him to death, and buried him on the Isle of the Compte Saint Pierre, which lies larboard as you enter Port La Joye.

The second bad season was caused by innumerable legions of locusts of a prodigious size. They were of so voratious a species that they ravaged all of the growing grain, vegetables, and even the grass and the buds on the trees.

The last year, the wheat crop was completely scalded. These are the events of those three years of anguish, which reduced these poor settlers to the depths of poverty, so that for at least six months the greater number amongst them had not even bread to eat, but subsisted on the shell fish they gathered on the shores of the harbour when the tide was out. It is certain that unless the King makes them a gratuity, or a loan of seed grain, to seed their land this coming spring, the settlers will be under the bitter necessity of abandoning the district, if they would escape death from hunger, as they have no other source of livelihood.

The condition to which the settlers on the harbour of the Macpec [Malpec] have actually been reduced, demonstrates that it is an important and absolute necessity, that they should always be permitted and encouraged to pursue the cod fishing industry. There has for a long time been the mistaken belief, founded on a lack of experience on the conditions, that the settlers who follow the fisheries, neglect the cultivation of the soil. The harbours of Saint-Pierre and of l'Acadie are a certain proof in evidence to the contrary. Witness the extensive clearings which the settlers have made in those places, and I venture to affirm that the fishery is an incontestable means of promoting the culture of the soil, because it enables settlers to employ domestics, and to raise cattle and live stock for lack of which land will be allowed to remain idle. This is not the only advantage that would accure to the settlers, for it can be stated as a certain fact verified by experience that if ever again the people suffer such hardship, as are said to return every ten years, in the form of a plague of locusts, followed the ensuing year, when beech nuts are plentiful, by one of field mice, they will be enabled to support the losses these animals occasion there, by means of the proceeds from the fisheries.

On the shore of the harbour of Macpec [Malpec], a vein of clay has been discovered on land belonging to one Ambroise Barnabé. This clay is proved to be of the quality required for making bricks, being rich, soft, loamy, and free from stones. A peck has been placed on board a vessel commanded by Joseph Boudrot, together with a log of cedar, to be carried to Louisbourg, to the address of Monsieur Pichon, secretary to Monsieur le Compte de Raymond.

The timber in the environs of the harbour of Macpec [Malpec] as well as of its rivers may be described as very fine, and in a general way as including well-nigh all the kinds found in this part of the island such as pine, spruce, maple, red maple, black birch, beech, ash, oak, white birch, cedar, &c.

Between the harbour of Cascampec, situated on the north coast, six leagues from Macpec [Malpec] and seven leagues from Pointe du Ouest and Grand Ance, situated on the south side of the island at a distance of ____ leagues from Pointe du Ouest and ____ leagues from the harbour of Bedec, is a great cedar grove which is estimated to be two to three leagues in circumferance and in which there are cedars estimated to be four feet in diameter and two toises and a half in circumference.


Census of Malpec....


Joseph Arceneau, ploughman and navigator, native of l'Acadie, aged 35 years, and has been twenty-three years in the country. Married to Margueritte Boudrot, native of Port Toulouse, aged 29 years.

They have five children, four sons and one daughter:-

Pierre Arcenaud, aged 10 years.
François, aged 8 years.
Cyprien, aged 6 years.
Joseph, aged 4 years.
Anne, aged 15 Months.

Antoine Arcenaud, native of l'Acadie, aged 30 years, his brother lives with them.

They have in live stock, two oxen, one cow, four ewes, one wether, three pigs, six fowls, together with one bateau.

The land on which they have settled was granted to them by Messieurs Duchambon and Dubuisson, under date of fifth of September, 1742. In it they have made a clearing and sown twelve bushels of wheat and two bushels of peas and still have fallow land sufficient for the sowing of twenty-five bushels.


Abraham Arcenauld, ploughman, native of l'Acadie, aged 34 years, he has been in the counrty 23 years. Married to Marguerite Mirat, native of l'Acadie, aged 30 years.

They have three sons and two daughters:-

Joseph, aged 9 years.
Pierre, aged 4 years.
Jean, aged 4 years.
Marguerite, aged 7 years.
Rosalie, aged 2 years.

In live stock, they have four oxen, two cows, one calf, three wethers, three ewes, four pigs, and four fowls.

The land upon which they are settled was granted to them by Messieurs Duchambon and Dubuisson. They have made a clearing on it and sown twelve bushels of wheat, one bushel of barley, and one bushel of peas, and have fallow land for the sowing of about eighteen bushels.


Julien Desroches, ploughman, native of the parish of Carolle, bishopric of Avranche, in Normandy, aged 35 years. he has been 21 years in the country. Married to Marie Arcenaud, native of l'Acadie, aged 27 years.

They have three sons:-

Julien, aged 7 years.
Felix, aged 5 years.
Joseph, aged 2 years.

In live stock they have one ox, one cow, six wethers, ten ewes, and one fowl.

They hold the land under a grant given by Messieurs Duchambon and Dubuisson, and homolgated by Messieurs the Governor and the Intendant-Commissary of Ile Royale. On it they have made a clearing and sown four bushels of wheat and have fallow land for the sowing of twelve bushels.


Louis Desroches, fisherman and ploughman, native of the same place as his brother above described, aged 40 years. Married to Marguerite Arcenauld, native of l'Acadie, aged 40 years.

Thye have eight children, three sons and five daughters:-

Eustache, aged 16 years.
Alexandre, aged 12 years.
Joseph, aged 9 years.
Rosalie, aged 20 years.
Marie Joseph, aged 14 years.
Marie Anne, aged 10 years.
Henriette, aged 5 years.
Anne, aged 2 years.

In live stock they have two oxen, one cow, one calf, two wethers, ten ewes, and four pigs.

They hold their land under a grant from Messieurs Duchambon and Dubuisson, and homolgated by Messieurs the Governor and Intendant-Commissary of Ile Royale, but from whom they have only a certificate.

On said land they have made a clearing and sown two bushels of wheat and have fallow land for the sowing of twenty-one bushels.


Jean Arcenaud, son of Jacques, native of l'Acadie, aged 23 years, ploughman, he has been eleven years in the country. Married to Magdelaine Boudrot, native of Port Toulouse, aged 25 years.

They have Joseph, aged one year.

In live stock, they have one ox, two cows, one wether, one ewe, two pigs, one sow.

They hold their land upon verbal permission from Monsieur de Bonnaventure. On it they have made a clearing in which they have sown six bushels of wheat, one half bushel of oats, and one bushel of peas.


Alexis Dugats, smith and ploughman, native of l'Acadie, aged 45 years, he has been in the country for one year. Married to Marie Bourg, native of l'Acadie, aged 42 years.

They have nine children, five sons and four daughters:-

Pierre, aged 20 years.
Jean, aged 15 years.
Mathurin, aged 12 years.
Regis, aged 5 years.
Cyprien, aged 3 years.
Elizabeth, aged 18 years.
Magdelaine, aged 14 years.
Victoire, aged 10 years.
Marie, aged one year.

In live stock they have four oxen, two cows, two calves, one heifer, one wether, one ewe, and one pig.

They hold their land upon verbal permission of Monsieur Bonnaventure, but have not made any clearing on it.


Marguerite Richard, widow of the late Claude Arcenaud, native of l'Acadie, aged 45 years, she has been 15 years in the country.

She has nine children, four sons and five daughters:-

Claude Arcenauld, eldest son, aged 24 years.
Paul, aged 20 years.
Ambroise, aged 14 years.
Joseph, aged 11 years.
Magdelaine, aged 21 years.
Anne, aged 18 years.
Judich, aged 16 years.
Rose, aged 9 years.
Anastazie, aged 7 years.

She has in live stock, seven oxen, three cows, four heifers, one horse, seven wethers, eight ewes, two sows, one pig, and one hen.
They hold their land under a grant given by Messieurs Duchambon and Dubuisson under date of 6th September, 1742, and homolgated. On it they have made a clearing and sown nineteen bushels of wheat, one bushel of barley, three bushels of oats, one bushel of peas, and have fallow land sufficient for the sowing of thirty-two bushels.


Pierre Arsenaud, son of Jacques, ploughman, native of l'Acadie, aged 27 years, he has been 11 years in the country. Married to Magdelaine Landry, native of l'Acadie, aged 25 years.

They have Marie Arceneau, their daughter, aged one year.

In live stock they have two oxen, one wether, and two ewes.

They hold their land under a grant from Messieurs Duchambon and Dubuisson. On it, they have a clearing and sown six bushels of wheat, and three bushels of peas. They have no fallow land.


Pierre Arceneau, widower, ploughman, native of l'Acadie, aged 52 years, he has been 21 years in the country.

He has seven children, four sons and three daughters.

Pierre, aged 24 years.
Claude, aged 21 years.
Françoise, aged 17 years.
Louis, aged 14 years.
Marguerite, aged 15 years.
Anne, aged 11 years.
Henriette, aged 9 years.

In live stock they have two oxen, four heifers, three wethers, two ewes, and one sow.

They hold their land under a grant made to them by Messieurs Duchambon an Dubuisson. On it they have made a clearing for the sowing of about fifty bushels of wheat, and have sown nothing this year, they not having the seed.


Pierre Poitier, ploughman, native of l'Acadie, aged 42 years, he has been in the country 11 years. Married to Louise Caissy, native of l'Acadie, aged 35 years.

They have eight children, three sons and five daughters:-

Pierre, aged 18 years.
François, aged 12 years.
Joseph Isadore, aged 6 years.
Marie, aged 15 years.
Appolinne, aged 10 years.
Magdelaine, aged 8 years.
Anne, aged 4 years.
Marie Modeste, aged 15 months.

In live stock, they have four oxen, four ewes, two calves, thirteen ewes, one sow, four pigs, and eight fowls.

They hold their land upon verbal permission from Messieurs Duchambon and Dubuisson. On it, they have made a clearing and sown fourteen bushels of wheat, two bushels of peas, nd have fallow land for the sowing of twenty-four bushels.


Honoré Commeau, ploughman, native of l'Acadie, aged 37 years, he has been in the country 11 years. Married to Marguerite Poirier, native of l'Acadie, aged 38 years.

They have six children, one son and five daughters:-

Joseph, aged 4 years.
Marie, aged 15 years.
Rose, aged 13 years.
Anne, aged 10 years.
Monique, aged 7 years.
Marguerite, aged 18 months.

In live stock they have two oxen, two cows, three calves, eight wethers, two ewes, and six pigs.

They hold their land under grant made by Messieurs Duchambon and Dubuisson, under date the 6th of September, 1742, and homolgated by Messieurs the Governor and the Intendant Commissary of Ile Royale. On it, they have made a clearing and sown ten bushels and a half of wheat and five bushels and a half of peas, and have fallow land for the sowing of eight bushels.


Alexandre Richard, ploughman, native of l'Acadie, aged 57 years, he has been in the country 11 years. Married to Magdelaine Thibaudeau, native of l'Acadie, aged 47 years.

They have three sons and three daughters:-

Jean Richard, aged 15 years.
Joseph, aged 11 years.
Victor, aged 5 years.
Anne, aged 17 years.
Catherine, aged 13 years.
Jeanne Rosallye, aged 9 years.

In live stock they have four oxen, two cows, one heifer, six ewes, four pigs, seventeed geese, twenty hens.

They hold their land under verbal permission from Messieurs Duchambon and Dubuisson. On it they have a clearing where they have sown ten bushels and a half of wheat, and three bushels of peas, and have fallow land for the sowing of twenty bushels.


Ambroise Barnabé, widower, ploughman, native of l'Acadie, aged 49 years, he has been in the country ten years.

He has seven sons and two daughters:-

Ambroise, aged 18 years.
Joseph, aged 16 years.
Michel, aged 14 years.
Pierre, aged 12 years.
Jean, aged 10 years.
François, aged 6 years.
Paul, aged 4 years.
Marguerite, aged 19 years.
Marie, aged 8 years.

In live stock they have two oxen, one cow, one heifer, one wether, seven ewes, and five pigs.

He holds his land under a grant made by Messieurs Duchambon and Dubuisson under date the ____,___, 1742, and homolgated by Messieurs the Governor and the Intendant Commissary of Ile Royale. He has made a clearing on it, and sown sixteen bushels of wheat, one bushel of oats, one bushel of peas, and has ploughed land sufficient for the sowing of thirty-two bushels besides.


Next page - Census of Malpec Continued....


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