Mouth of the Severn River in Annapolis
Mouth of the Severn River in Annapolis, landing site of the Acadians in 1755 (Painting by Guido Borelli, without modification, Courtesy of Fine Art America)

Four British tall ships carrying more than 900 Acadian deportees arrived in Annapolis, Maryland, in the snow in late November 1755. From there, they were scattered around Chesapeake Bay, including Princess Anne, Port Tobacco, Oxford and Baltimore. In the face of hardship, discrimination and poverty about 350 of them, nearly 38% died in Maryland between the 1755 census of Acadians and that of 1763. By 1770, most had left this original American colony for Louisiana. However, about 200 Acadians did stay in Maryland.

The unexpected arrival in Annapolis of 913 destitutes raised serious concerns among the local population of less than 1,000 souls. The community could not take care and feed so many newcomers. Consequently, the authorities decided to distribute the Acadians around Chesapeake Bay. Only the deportees (178) aboard the Leopard vessel were allowed to disembark at Annapolis. These refugees were initially sheltered in large warehouses close to the harbor on Hanover and Duke of Gloucester streets. According to the census of Acadians living in Annapolis on July 7, 1763, we find the families of Pierre Célestin, Charles Dupuis, Étienne Landry, Joseph Melanson, Jean Sapin and also the widows Bellisle, Hébert, Manjeant and Meunier.

In memory of the Acadians

The 1763 census also indicates that there were 27 Acadian residents in Lower Marlboro, 58 in Upper Marlboro and 157 in Port Tobacco. As indicated on a Port Tobacco customer sales list, it is clear that Michel (Michael) Poupard bought two pairs of shoes on January 14, 1764. See Acadians Were Here.

In 1767 at Port Tobacco, a certificate was issued to the ship Jane to transport “150 French Neutrals (Acadians) with baggage” to New Orleans. The Jane left Port Tobacco on December 17, 1767, and arrived safely two months later. Pierre Guédry and Claire Babin were aboard for the voyage. See Saint-Louis de Natchez in travelling through Colonial French Louisiana on this website.

Princess Anne was the first Maryland community to formally adopt July 28 of every year to commemorate the Acadians’ “Great Upheaval”. In Snow Hill, although there is no vestige of Acadians, an old Native American trail reminds visitors that the Acadians used this shortcut to visit each other between Snow Hill on the beach along the Atlantic Ocean and Princess Anne on Chesapeake Bay, hence the popular name “Beach to Bay”.

Main gate of the Wye House
Main gate of the Wye House located at 26080, Bruff’s Island Street, Easton (Courtesy of Acadians Were Here)

In Oxford in 1756, some fifty Acadians were housed at the Wye House, owned by Colonel Edward Lloyd III, who engaged in a campaign to help the Acadians. Moreover, Matthew Tilghman, President of the Maryland Legislature, welcomed five Acadians to his Rich Neck Manor at 10770 Rich Neck Street, Claiborne.

The annals of Jesuit priest Joseph Mosley are the only evidence of the presence of Acadians at Tuckahoe Mission. The following marriages are registered: Vincent Landry and Susanna Godin on Sunday, October 13, 1765, Joseph Hebbert (Hébert) of Georgetown and Anne-Marie Landry of Oxford on Thursday December 26, 1765, Amant Babin and Anastasia Landry on Tuesday January 14, 1766, as well as Joseph Goudrau of Chestertown and Anne Tibodot (Thibodeau) of Snow Hill on Sunday, February 9, 1766.

A separate and distinct historical capsule deals specifically with Acadians in Baltimore.