My Sixth Great-Grandmother
(about 1742 to 1814)
Daughter of Jacques Forest and Claire Vincent
Husband Belony Blanchard
Mother of Marie Magdeleine (1767), Joachim-Jacques (1768), Benony-Jacques (1771), Ana (1773), Etienne-Charles-Marie (1775), Celeste (1776), Rosalie (1778), Angelique-Michel (1780), Moise (1782)
People have 256 sixth great-grandparents; that is 128 couples on each side, maternal and paternal. Of my 128 sets of sixth great-grandparents on my maternal side, there are sixty-four women. I have identified seventeen of my maternal sixth great-grandmothers, and at least twelve of them are Acadian and four are of French descent but were not Acadians.
Madeleine Forest Blanchard is the eighth of my Acadian sixth great-grandmothers whose lives started in Nova Scotia or Ile Saint Jean (now Prince Edward Island) and then found themselves in France for many years. Most of them immigrated to Louisiana before they died. Their children grew up in Louisiana and their descendants became the Cajuns.
Click inside the interactive map to view the places Madeleine Forest lived and traveled to throughout her life. If you select the View Larger Map icon, a new tab opens with an enlarged map and timeline.
Madeleine Forest’s exact birthdate is unknown, but life began for her between 1742 and 1743, probably in Pigiguit also known as Pisiquid (today known as Windsor, Nova Scotia), where her parents had married.Jacques Forest and Claire Vincent married at Ste. Famille de Pigiguit in 1731. Una F. Daigre, Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records Acadian Records, … Continue reading The area around Madeleine’s home witnessed conflicts between the Acadians and the British until Madeleine and her family were forcibly deported from their beloved l’Acadie (Acadia) in 1755.
Pigiguit was near the Minas Basin in l’Acadie. The English were officially in control of Nova Scotia and were encroaching on the lands the Acadians occupied. The British had built Fort Edward nearby in 1750. Governor Lawrence of Nova Scotia devised a plan to purge the area of Acadians as they would not take an unqualified oath of allegiance to the king of England. If the Acadians took an unqualified oath, they feared the Mi’kmaq (a large First Nations people in the area) would retaliate. Additionally, an unqualified oath might require the Acadians to take arms against the French Canadians which they could never do; instead, they wanted to be neutral. The Acadians had taken an oath of neutrality many times before, but Lawrence would not accept neutrality this time. Nevertheless, life for the Acadians was soon to be forever changed. Ordering the Acadians to Fort Edward on 5 September 1755, they learned they were being deported. From 13 October until 20 October, they were held as prisoners on four vessels waiting to be taken to several different colonial ports on the eastern seaboard of North America.
The Forest family had the misfortune of boarding one of the ships bound for Virginia, either the Ranger, a schooner, the sloop Three Friends, or the Neptune. As instructed by Lawrence the ships were to be loaded two persons per ton which mean that “two people sharing a space four feet high, a little over four feet wide, and six feet long.”John Mack Faragher, A Great and Noble Scheme (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2005) p. 361.Also instructed by Lawrence, only a few people could be on deck at the same time.“Journal Of Colonel John Winslow, of the Provincial Troops, While Engaged in Removing the Acadian French Inhabitants From Grand Pre … Continue reading Underestimating the number of people in Pigiguit, Captain Alexander Murray, commander of Fort Edward, wrote in a letter to Winslow dated 14 Oct 1755 “Even then with the Three Sloops & his Schooner they will be Stowed in Bulk but if I have no more Vessels I will put them abord let the consequences be what it will.”“Journal Of Colonel John Winslow, of the Provincial Troops, While Engaged in Removing the Acadian French Inhabitants From Grand Pre and the Neighbouring … Continue reading
A week out to sea, a violent storm arose. Surely, Madeleine experienced untold fear and anxiety during the storm. No doubt she and the others were uncontrollably sick and thought they would die. Their accommodations must have been most foul.
Governor Lawrence did not share his strategy of deporting the Acadians with the colonies beforehand, so when the ships arrived in Virginia between 17 and 30 Nov 1755, Virginia had no plans to take care of the sick and homeless Acadians. The colonies received Lawrence’s plan when the ships arrived. Lieutenant-Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia knew the Acadians as French Neutrals. He was not happy with the situation. In fact, Virginia feared the French Neutrals, as did the other colonies. They believed the Acadians were in league with Canadian French soldiers and the Native Americans who raided the colonies and killed the colonists in the western frontier (the Ohio River area). Another factor heavily dissuaded the colonies from welcoming the French Neutrals, they were Catholic and, therefore, “biggotted Papists.”
Virginia’s House of Burgesses would not allocate money for the care of the Acadians and did not want them in the colony. They believed that the Acadians would join with the Canadian French and the Native Americans. While Dinwiddie looked for a solution, Madeleine and her family were forced to remain crammed on the ships. The awful conditions resulted in many Acadians dying from disease.
After seven months of deliberation, the House of Burgesses hired vessels to take the Acadians to England. Just under a month at sea, Madeleine and her family along with nearly 300 Acadians arrived 26 June 1756 in Bristol. They waited three nights and days on the boat in port before they disembarked. Several warehouses on Guinea Street became their home. They were instructed “to be indoors by eight o’clock every evening.”Dorothy Vinter, “The Acadian Exiles in England 1756-1763,” Dalhousi Review, 36 (1957) 352; Dalhousie University, https://dalspace.library.dal.ca/handle/10222/58714 : … Continue reading The Acadians were exposed to smallpox and possibly typhoid with Acadians dying every day for several months.
While Madeleine adjusted to life in England, adults were given a pension of six pence a day and children were given three pence a day for all their needs. Many were without shoes and adequate clothing. The Acadians were not allowed to work in the community, but the women applied their weaving skills and made coarse sheeting for income.Dorothy Vinter, “The Acadian Exiles in England 1756-1763,” Dalhousi Review, 36 (1957) 352; Dalhousie University, https://dalspace.library.dal.ca/handle/10222/58714 : … Continue reading When the Seven Years War ended, also known as the French and Indian War, France asked the Acadians in England to be released to France. Though the Acadians in England wanted to return to l’Acadie, many including Madeleine, were sent to France. Madeleine had been in England for almost seven years.
The ship La Dorothee arrived at Saint-Malo on 12 May 1763 with Madeleine, her parents and her brother Ignace, and sister Anne. Her older brother Jacques and his wife and child were also on the ship. Madeleine may have been twenty years old when she arrived in Saint-Malo.Albert Robichaux, Jr., The Acadian Exiles in Saint-Malo 1758-1785 Part I (Eunice, Louisiana: Hebert Publications, 1981), p. 365
The next post will detail the Madeleine’s life in France and Louisiana.
|↑1||Jacques Forest and Claire Vincent married at Ste. Famille de Pigiguit in 1731. Una F. Daigre, Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records Acadian Records, 1707-1748 Volume 1a (Revised) (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Dioceses of Baton Rouge, 1999). p. 72.|
|↑2||John Mack Faragher, A Great and Noble Scheme (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2005) p. 361.|
|↑3||“Journal Of Colonel John Winslow, of the Provincial Troops, While Engaged in Removing the Acadian French Inhabitants From Grand Pre and the Neighbouring Settlements, in the Autumn of the Year 1755,” Report and Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society (Halifax, 1883), p. 172; digital images, Archive.org (https://archive.org/details/collectionsofnov01novauoft/page/172/mode/1up : viewed 23 March 2023).|
|↑4||“Journal Of Colonel John Winslow, of the Provincial Troops, While Engaged in Removing the Acadian French Inhabitants From Grand Pre and the Neighbouring Settlement, in the Autumn of the Year 1755,” Report and Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society (Halifax, 1883) p.173; digital images, Archive.org (https://archive.org/details/collectionsofnov01novauoft/page/173/mode/1up : viewed 23 March 2023).|
|↑5, ↑6||Dorothy Vinter, “The Acadian Exiles in England 1756-1763,” Dalhousi Review, 36 (1957) 352; Dalhousie University, https://dalspace.library.dal.ca/handle/10222/58714 : viewed 12 March 2023.|
|↑7||Albert Robichaux, Jr., The Acadian Exiles in Saint-Malo 1758-1785 Part I (Eunice, Louisiana: Hebert Publications, 1981), p. 365|