At 3688 Angel Oak Street
At 3688 Angel Oak Street (Courtesy of TRAVELER of Charleston)

The famous Angel Oak in Angel Oak Park in Charleston is a majestic tree (photo) whose age is estimated at 500 years old. It reminds all members of the great Acadian family that some deportees lived their life with dynamism and ease in South Carolina. This was the case, for instance, of Bazile Lanneau (from La Noue to Lenud). In 1755, nearly a thousand Acadians were deported to South Carolina. Of the 24 makeshift second-hand cargo vessels, modified and chartered in Boston for the deportation of two persons per tonne (a set rule), six of them dropped anchor in Charleston harbor. Although each one has its own story to tell, the Hobson and the Edward Cornwallis are worthy of mention, as their epic cannot be forgotten.

According to Canadian records, Basile La Noue was born in Acadia on November 11, 1746. At the age of nine, Basile, his mother (Marguerite Richard) and his two brothers Jean-Baptiste and François were deported to Charleston, most likely aboard the Hobson, a 177-tonne vessel, the largest of the 24 carriers leased for the deportation. It left Port-Royal in Acadia on December 8, 1755, with 342 passengers on board, 43 men, 45 women, 120 boys and 134 girls. Its human cargo did not exceed the limit of two passengers per ton. After 38 days at sea it arrived at Charleston. In 1756 on the Vanderhost plantation, Basile’s mother, as well as Francis (François), died of smallpox. Orphan, Basile was adopted (together with his brother Jean-Baptiste) by a local family and his name became Bazile Lanneau.

At 150 Meeting Street
At 150 Meeting Street (Photo credit: Masawchak, without modification)

Research reveals that Bazile educated himself, developed a thriving business, became a bank director in Charleston as well as a city official and Commissioner. He was also an elected representative in the South Carolina State Legislature in 1796, 1798 and 1802. Bazile died on November 9, 1833, at the age of 86, and was buried in the Circular Congregational Church Cemetery (photo) in Charleston.

Only four of Bazile’s children survived to maturity, Emma Louise, Bazile René, Charles Henry and John Francis. They all married and had 30 children in aggregate, thus adding several branches to the Lanneau family tree. Somehow the family took the name of Lenud over the years, referring in particular to Lenud’s Ferry on the Santee River and the Dupré family.

All did not have the same luck

The Edward Cornwallis vessel, like many others, did not respect the rule of two passengers per ton. This 130-tonne carrier left Beaubassin, Nova Scotia on October 13, 1755 with 417 Acadians on board. It did reach Charleston five weeks later but with only 207 passengers, 24 men, 25 women and 158 children. During its voyage 210 deportees died at sea, a mortality rate of 50%. With an overload of 157 people to feed the food supply, correlated to the number of passengers, ran out. Can this blatant noncompliance with the rule (of two persons per tonne) be the cause of an intentional genocide?

Many documents show that most British cargo ships carried about one-third more deportees than they were designed to, resulting in rapid depletion of drinking water and food. The adverse effects of overcrowding and unhealthy eating had devastating effects on the previously robust health of Acadians in exile.