July 25, 2011

Our English Ancestors

Pierre Laverdure and his wife Priscilla landed in 1657 after sailing from England with their sons onboard the ship Satisfaction. It is also generally accepted that the family disembarked at St. John's fort at the mouth of the St. John River. The family had sailed to Acadia with the newly appointed English Governor of Acadia, Sir Thomas Temple and a group of other settlers. Pierre and Priscilla, however, were to reside in Acadia for only 10 years.

A Boston court document from 1677 (Priscilla's petition of May 3, 1677) recorded Priscilla's late husband, "Peter Leverdure", as being a Frenchman and a Protestant and "Priscilla Leverdure" as being an Englishwoman. The petition goes on to state that Priscilla's husband had left "[St.] John's fort to escape the wrath of his countrymen Papists". This latter statement clearly suggests that Pierre was a French Huguenot who might have left France as the Catholic government's tolerance for the Protestant Huguenots began to rapidly deteriorate during the 1620's. Either due to the problems unwinding in France or for some other reason, Pierre ended up in England were he and his Priscilla were married about 1630. Ten years before Priscilla's petition the 1667 Treaty of Breda between the English and the French had ceded Acadia back to France. Pierre and Priscilla, both Protestants, were probably unable to fathom the idea of living under a French Catholic government and thus departed for Protestant ruled Boston, Massachusetts, sometime between 1667 and 1770 (Sir Thomas Temple had managed to delay the actual handing over of Acadia to French until 1670).

Two of Pierre's sons went by the Melanson surname, societal logic would dictate that this was their father's surname. However, no record has been found to put the Melanson surname with Pierre senior so perhaps Melanson was Priscilla's surname. Many have suggested that it was Mallinson (or a variation thereof) but there are no records to indicate this in any official sense that would serve to accurately enhance any historical or genealogical research. In an effort to present the most factual data available, most professional researchers and genealogists omit any suggestion of a maiden name for Priscilla from their work. Many spelling variations resembling the Melanson name did exist in England during the 1500's and 1600's but it seems unlikely that Pierre and Charles, both apparently well educated and obviously literate, would go on to consistently misspell their surname when they settled in the New World. This and other details surrounding the origin of the name has gone on to create many theories and possibilities, but it is not known for certain why or from where Pierre and Charles started to use the Melanson surname.

Charles dit La Ramée (Melanson) married Marie Dugas, daughter of Abraham Dugas & Marguerite-Louise Doucet. Charles dit La Ramée and his wife Marie would establish their family near the old Port Royal habitation in the Port Royal basin at what is today known as the Melanson Settlement (sometimes referred to as the "Melanson Village" in old records and maps). The settlement grew quite large over the years with a total of nine households being located on the land during its peak times.

Charles and his wife Marie seem to have done reasonably well as the census' show their cleared land expanding and their livestock increasing. They also had a large section of dyked marshland along the Rivière Daupin (the Annapolis River) adjacent to their property. It was from this dyke that archaeologists recently retrieved two intact aboiteax, one of which is the largest and oldest aboiteau found to date. Other archaeological digs at the Melanson Settlement discovered the foundations of many of the homes and buildings that once stood on the site, including the structure that housed Charles Melanson (son of Charles dit La Ramée) and his wife Anne Bourg.

Marie Melanson daughter of Charles Melanson and Anne Bourg married Charles Godin Boisjoli/Bellefontaine. Their daughter Anne married Pierre Sirois. Marie-Josephe Siros married Vincent Rioux. Basillisse Rioux married Hillaire Thibault. Basillisse and Hillaire were parents of Fabien our great great Grandfather.

For more reading http://www.gregors-gathering.ca/Acadia/Melanson/melansons-intro-gen1.htm

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