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  • Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
    – A Scottish lord for L’Acadie
L’Acadie River
L’Acadie River, formerly Petite-Rivière-de-Montréal, on the territory of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (author Cantons-de-l’Est, without modification, CC BY-SA 4.0 license)

Located in the west end of the city of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, in the Regional County Municipality of Haut-Richelieu in Montérégie, the historic village of L’Acadie brings to life the oldest parish of the Upper Richelieu River, founded in 1782…

The parish served a Catholic population made up mostly of Acadians who settled along the “Petite-Rivière-de-Montréal” (present-day L’Acadie River). They came from the original American colonies where they lived in exile following their deportation. The bishop of Quebec, Jean-Olivier Briand, named the new parish “Sainte-Marguerite-de-Blairfindie”, whose church was built in 1800 – 1801, at the edge of the river, in the heart of the historic village. But why give a Catholic parish the name of a Queen of Scotland and a title of Scottish nobility? Let’s go back to the 1760s…

The new lords of Longueuil

The territory of L’Acadie was then shared between the barony of Longueuil, the Laprairie-de-la-Madeleine seigneury, belonging to the Jesuit congregation, and the De Lery seigneury. The first settlers of L’Acadie were French-Canadians. They most likely occupied the grounds since the 1750s, attracted by the beauty and fertility of the land to be cleared of trees. The Acadian families settled only in 1763, in successive waves, on the shores of La Petite-Rivière-de-Montréal. With the arrival of a large group of Acadians in 1768, numbering 80 individuals, the village began to be called the New Cadie, then the Little Cadie and ultimately L’Acadie. Many of them were welcomed in the barony of Longueuil. Obviously, the young baroness had her say in the matter…

Sainte-Marguerite-de-Blairfindie church
Sainte-Marguerite-de-Blairfindie church, erected in 1800 – 1801 (author François Charette, without modification, CC BY-SA 3.0 license)

In 1768, the Baroness de Longueuil, Marie-Charles-Joseph Le Moyne, posthumous daughter of Charles-Jacques Le Moyne, third Baron of Longueuil, and Marie-Anne-Catherine Fleury-Deschambault, was only 12 years old. Being still a minor, the responsibility of her barony and of the remaining estate of the Le Moyne family were managed by her maternal grandfather and guardian, Joseph Fleury-Deschambault. Therefore, he was the one who conceded parcels of land to the Acadians, at least as long as he was the curator of the barony of Longueuil. In 1781, the Baroness de Longueuil married Captain David-Alexander Grant, lord of Blairfindie (Scotland). As a result of this marriage, Captain Grant also became lord of Longueuil. As a wise businessman, he considered that the barony of Longueuil did not sufficiently value its great agricultural potential. Consequently, he managed to obtain curatorship by court order the same year. In 1782, by founding the new parish under the name of Marguerite, Queen of Scotland in the 11th century, and adding the name of Blairfindie, the bishop of Quebec could only please the new local lords…

Here are the names of some pioneering Acadian families of L’Acadie (source: Bona Arsenault): Boudreau, Bourgeois, Brault, Clouâtre, Cyr, Hébert, Lanoue, Richard, Trahan…

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