June 7, 2013

Murder in War

On 28 February 1759, Lieutenant Hazen and about fifteen men arrived at Point Sainte-A nne. The well-armed group surrounded the first three houses of the village, perhaps with five soldiers at each house. They took some of the occupants captive, including Joseph Bellefontaine, the 64 year old son of Barthélémy's old friend Gabriel Godin and good friend of Michel Bergeron dit de Nantes. They also captured Joseph's wife, Anne Bergeron, his 26 year-old son Michel and wife Madeleine Guilbault, his daughter Nastasie and her husband Eustache Paré (a ge 25), and four of his grandchildren. The English tied Joseph and Michel Godin to trees and proceeded to slaughter their kin in front of them.

In 1774 Joseph Godin-Bellefontaine himself wrote a long mémoire and detailed the massacre of his family by Lieutenant Hazen and his soldiers. "Every human soul will be, as he, much affected by the horrible massacre of a part of his family, of which they had the harshness of making him a witness, he and his son Michel bound, their hands behind their backs and tied to some trees, they repeated to him over and over that he and all his family had to submit to English domination and to swear an oath of fidelity to their King. He persisted in the perseverance of his refusal, they took their rage to the point of massacring his daughter Nastazie, wife of Eustache Paré, crushing her head with a blow of the butt of a gun, his two children and a son of Michel, and splitting the head of the wife of the latter with a blow of a hatchet. During this barbarous scene, Anne Bergeron, his wife, and Eustache Paré, his son-in-law, each took one of the said Paré's children in their arms and only saved them from the fury of these cruel men by their flight into the woods with that which they had on their bodies , without having time to take old clothing or provisions or papers."

Joseph Godin-Bellefontaine is our 8th great uncle.


Maurice Godin of Namur, present-day Belgium, married Huguette Pampelune of Sedan, France, in c1560.  Their son Vorle married Brigitte Gouzier of Bar-sur-Seine, Champagne, in c1595.  Vorle's son Claude married Marie Bardin of Savolles, Champagne, before July 1624, when daughter Jeanne was baptized at St.-Vorle de Châtillon-sur-Seine.  

Claude's son Pierre, born at Châtillon-sur-Seine in May 1630, emigrated to New France in his early 20s.  He reached Montréal in September 1653 and married Jeanne, daughter of Louis Rousseliere, in October 1654.  Like his father, Pierre dit Châtillon was a master carpenter.  He and Jeanne left Montréal in 1664, lived at Charlesbourg near Québec, where they were counted in 1666, then at Québec, returned to Montréal in the 1670s, and went to Chignecto in Acadia probably with the sieur de La Vallière, the seigneur of Beaubassin, between June 1676 and June 1677 "to continue the construction work already under way."    Pierre died either at Port-Royal or Chignecto in the early or mid-1680s, in his 50s (only Jeanne, called "widow of Godin," and three of their children, appear in the Acadian census of 1686).  He and Jeanne had nine children, including four sons, three of whom created families of their own.  

The only branch of the Godin family in New France affected by the Acadian Grand Dérangement was that of Pierre dit Châtillon's second son, Gabriel dit Châtillon.  

Gabriel dit Châtillon, later sieur de Bellefontaine, born at Montréal in July 1661, married Andrée-Angélique, daughter of Robert JasneJeanne, or Joannes, at Québec in July 1690.  Gabriel lived at Charlebourg, Québec, when he was young and was counted at Port-Royal in the late 1680s.  He and his wife settled on Rivière St.-Jean  now New Brunswick, where French authorities had given Gabriel a seigneury.  He and Andrée-Angélique had 12 children on Rivière St.-Jean, including eight sons.

Oldest son Louis dit Bellefontaine, born in c1693, married a woman whose name has been lost to history, in c1736.  Louis died at St.-François-du-Lac, Québec, in February 1749, age 57.

Joseph dit Bellefontaine dit Beauséjour, born in c1695, married Marie-Anne, daughter of Barthélémy 
Bergeron dit d'Amboise, at Rivière St.-Jean in c1726. Joseph served as a major of the local militia during King George's War in the late 1740s. He died at Cherbourg, France, in December 1776, age 81. His daughter, daughter-in-law and grandchildren were brutally slain by Lt. Hazen.

Jacques-Philippe dit Bellefeuille, born in c1697, married Anne-Marie, another daughter of Barthélémy 
Bergeron dit d'Amboise, probably at Rivière St.-Jean in c1730. Jacques-Philippe died at Gentilly, Québec, in February 1763.

Pierre-Joseph dit Châtillon dit Préville, born in the late 1690s or early 1700s, married Marie-Josèphe, daughter of Alexandre Bourg, at Grand-Pré in August 1730.  Pierre-Joseph died in January 1745, before Le Grand Dérangement.  

Jean-Baptiste dit Lincour, born in the early 1700s, married Anastasie, another daughter of Alexandre Bourg, in c1729.  Jean-Baptiste died during Le Grand Dérangement, perhaps at Halifax, where British authorities counted his wife and four children in August 1763 and called her a widow.

Charles dit Bellefontaine dit Boisjoli, born in c1708, married Marie, daughter of Charles Melanson, at Port-Royal in August 1735.  British authorities counted him and his family also in the prison at Halifax in August 1763.

René dit Jean-René dit Valcour, born in the late 1700s or early 1710s, married first to Françoise Dugas in c1734, and then to Françoise, yet another daughter of Barthélemy Bergeron dit d'Amboise, probably at Rivière St.-Jean in c1743.  
Youngest son Bonaventure dit Bellefontaine, born in c1715, married first to a woman whose name has been lost to history, in c1739, and remarried to Marguerite, yet another daughter of Barthélémy Bergeron ditd'Amboise, probably at Rivière St.-Jean in c1740.  

Le Grand Dérangement of the 1750s scattered this large family from France to Louisiana

Living in territory controlled by France, the Godins of Rivière St.-Jean escaped the British round up of their fellow Acadians in Nova Scotia in the autumn of 1755.   In September 1758, British forces raided the Rivière St.-Jean valley and destroyed the settlements there, including Ste.-Anne-du-Pays-Bas with its church and 147 houses.  Gabriel dit Châtillon Godin's descendants survived the onslaught as best they could.  In February 1759, second son Joseph dit Bellefontaine dit Beauséjour and his family were captured by New English rangers, who forced Joseph to watch as they killed his daughter and children and his daughter-in-law.  After being held as prisoners of war at Halifax, Joseph and the rest of his family were deported to France in 1759.  Gabriel dit Châtillon's third son, Jacques-Philippe dit Bellefeuille, and his family escaped the British and fled north to the St. Lawrence valley.  Gabriel dit Châtillon's second daughter Marie-Yvette, wife of Michel Saindon, also dodged the British and returned to Rivière St.-Jean at the end of the war, but moved on to the St.-Lawrence valley, where she died in April 1795, age 86.  Meanwhile, Gabriel dit Châtillon's younger sons, Jean-Baptiste dit Lincour, Charles dit Bellefontaine dit Boisjoli, and Bonaventure dit Bellefontaine, and their families escaped the British and moved northeast to Miramichi  and then to Restigouche on the Gulf of St. Lawrence shore, where they joined other Acadian refugees.  Their sisters Marie-Charlotte, wife of Jean Dugas, and Angélique, wife of Pierre Part, also sought refuge on the Gulf of St. Lawrence shore.  In the early 1760s, British forces captured Miramichi and Restigouche and sent hundreds of Acadians, including the Godins, to prisoner-of-war compounds in Nova Scotia, most of them to Halifax, where they were confined for the rest of the war.  
After the war with Britain finally ended in 1763, descendants of  Gabriel dit Châtillon Godin settled near their cousins in the St. Lawrence valley and at various places in what became the Maritimes provinces.  

Names in Red are our ancestors