Acadian Historical Village (1773-1855)

(continuer en français) – Last updated: January 9, 2022

The Acadian Historical Village is located near Caraquet, New Brunswick, on the Acadian Peninsula.

The Village is made up of 40 old Acadian houses from the 18th to the 20th century, recreating the period of Acadian resettlement after the Great Upheaval* of 1755. The goal of the village is to present the daily life of the Acadians between 1773 and 1949, by showing and explaining their living conditions in a reconstituted setting that is as authentic as possible.

The Village has been operating since 1977 when it opened with 17 houses and their outbuildings, mainly farms from all over the province. The selected buildings were dismantled, transported and reassembled on site, restoring those parts that had suffered from weather or neglect. The years stated during the visit do not always correspond to the years of construction, but to the years of their historical presentation.

House Martin, 1773

Jean-Baltazar Martin built this rough house in 1773 on land he had occupied since 1768. The Acadians had only recently been allowed to resettle on the condition that many constraints be respected. Their resources are limited and this translates into a one-room house made of wood and clay. It is the oldest house in the village.

To illustrate the good relationship between the Acadians and the First Nations, the process inherited from the Amerindians to make a broom from a birch branch is presented.

Mazerolle Farm, 1796

After being deported to Boston, Joseph Mazerolle returned to New Brunswick around 1776, after a few years spent in Quebec. His son built this still rather simple house in 1796. Field stones were used as a base and only small windows lit up the single room inside. The house remained in the same family until it was moved to the Village, several generations lived in it and gradually altered it. It has been chosen to show it in its 1852 state.

Blackhall House, 1822

James Blackhall was a Scottish emigrant who arrived in Canada in 1813. In 1822 he built this house in Caraquet, inspired by the methods of his country, the part leaning against the slope is made of stone, the interior is divided into several rooms with a bedroom upstairs. The geometrical wooden structure and the double-pitched roof are generally referred to as saltbox type by the Anglo-Saxons. Of British origin, James and his son accumulated numerous public offices, adding to the income from their land, which they eventually rented out to carry out their duties of authority. Their home was thus furnished with more means than their neighbours.

Sainte-Anne du Bocage Chapel, 1831

The Catholic religion was one of the essential links in the Acadian community. The clergy, originally essentially from Quebec, also took care of education and thus the passing on of the language, often also caring for the sick and the elderly. Catholic sentiment grew stronger with the arrival and then domination of the English Protestants on their land. This chapel is a copy of a construction made by the inhabitants of a village wishing to have a priest appointed for their community. It still lacks some features such as a tabernacle or a confessional.

Léger House, 1836

It is still a humble wooden house, beams forming a framework, the plank walls are covered with cedar shingles. It is arranged to be inhabited by several generations, the older ones having their own small room, separate from the ordinary common room.

Doucet House, 1840

Several generations of Doucets have lived in this house whose comfort has improved over time. Several rooms separate the activities of the day and the furniture is no longer just functional but becomes decorative. Alongside agricultural and fishing activities, Acadians began to rebuild a network of craftsmen and workers who were experts in their field, enhancing the living conditions of the population.

Robichaud Farm, 1846

The size of the construction is beginning to increase, using a different technique. Large vertical beams receive the boards of the walls in grooves, the whole being covered with shingles. The house remained in the family until it was transferred to the Village, but it had ceased to be a residence and was used as a workshop and warehouse. The work of the wool, from the raw material to its dyeing, is presented here.

Among the outbuildings is a vegetable cellar. This was a cavity dug into the ground, where fruit and vegetables were placed in the dark and at a constant temperature to benefit from it all year round, especially during the winter months when no crops were harvested. The practice is said to have been originated by the Amerindians.

Cyr House, 1852

Once again this house has been passed down from generation to generation in the same family. However, it is interesting that the family tradition dates it back to 1790, whereas the expert’s report dates it back to 1852. Probably several constructions followed one another on the same land, just as the one now exposed was only the outbuilding of a more recent home. The numerous and large windows are quite uncommon in the region.

A flax weaving workshop has been reconstituted here. This decentralized production within the families brought additional revenues, especially in cash, while the agricultural production, essentially subsistence farming, left little surplus for sale.

* The Great Upheaval of the Acadians in 1755

This was a dark period in the British colonization of Canada.

Acadians began settling in northeastern Canada as early as the early 17th century. They were mainly families of French origin who came of their own initiative, with no organization and no support from the royal authorities.

Having taken possession of this region in 1713, the English perceived the presence of their predecessors as a threat and, above all, coveted their land. Governor Lawrence, backed by Boston mercenaries, decided to deport the entire Acadian population in 1755. Families were deliberately split up and sent to the American colonies or to Europe. Their property was seized, their houses and crops were burned.

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