From the community

Promise of land brought Theriault family to ‘Acadie’ in 1630s

Posted May 16, 2013, at 1:37 p.m.

It’s 20 years now since the Theriault Family held its reunion in conjunction with the Acadian Festival in Madawaska, and the family is scheduled to meet again next year in Fort Kent as part of World Acadian Congress 2014.

The two-volume “Theriault Genealogy” written by Linda Dube for the reunion is available at Maine State Library in Augusta and at the University of Maine at Fort Kent’s Acadian reference room.

A nice summary of “Theriaults in Acadie” by historian Guy Dubay of Madawaska can be found on pages 61-66 of Volume I of the Linda Dube book. Guy Dubay wrote in an understandable way of the French history of the times and the problems tenant farmers had sustaining their families in the 1600s.

“Tenants of French seigneuries had little hope of acquiring land of their own,” Dubay wrote, “most of France was locked up by old family alliances and their tenants were rarely given plots larger than a garden plot.” Such restrictions also amplified the lack of sanitary facilities and the effect on health and mortality.

So it was that when Charles de Menou, Sieur d’Aulnay, began to recruit young couples from his estate to become tenants in this new land, which offered them a possible future, Jean and Perrine (Bourg-Rau) Terriau signed on and moved to Port Royal in Acadie, now Nova Scotia.

(Jean Terriau was born about 1601, possibly in Vienne Mortaize, LaVienne, France. He and Perrine were married in 1635 in France.)

Dube cites the 1671 Census by missionary Laurent Molins to show how the family was taking advantage of their land in Acadie: “Ploughsman Jehan Terriau, aged seventy years, his wife Perrine Rau, aged sixty. Their children, seven, of those whom are married, Claude, aged 34, Jehan aged 32, Bonaventure aged 30, Germain 25, Jeanne aged 27, Catherine aged 21. The non-married, Pierre aged 16. Their beasts include six cattle, one sheep, their plowable lands six acres (arpens).”

In addition, at least three of the sons had plowable acres in 1671, as well. Jean and Perrine lived to see all seven of their children grown and married.

Claude Theriault and wife Marie Louise (Gaudrot), married in 1661 in Port Royal, had 14 children. Bonaventure Terriau had three children with wife Jeanne (Boudrot). Jeanne Theriault had 18 children with husband Pierre Thibodeau. Germain had three children with wife Andree (Lebrun-Breau). Catherine Theriault had four children with husband Pierre Guilbaut.

In my husband’s Theriault line, Claude and Marie’s son Germain Theriault married Marie Anne Richard in 1685. Their son Claude Theriault married Marguerite Cormier in 1710. Their son Paul Theriault married Marie Anne Hebert in 1740.

Paul and Marie Anne were the third generation in this line to marry in Riviere Aux Canards, also in Acadie. Fifteen years later, the town was one of those burned to the ground as part of the deportation by the British of thousands of Acadians of French descent. Others went to New Brunswick and moved up the St. John River, settling the Madawaska-St. David area beginning in the 1780s.

Still other Acadians actually moved to Quebec. Paul and Marie Anne’s son, Jacques Theriault, was born in 1759 in Riviere Ouelle. He married Madeleine Grandmaison in 1781 in Kamouraska, Quebec, becoming part of the French migration up the St. Lawrence River.

Jacques and Madeleine’s son Joseph Olivier Theriault married Genevieve Beaulieu-Hudon in 1815 in Kamouraska, and their son Pierre Theriault married Margaret Lavoie in 1854 in the parish of St. Alexandre Kamouraska.

The middle of the 1850s is also the era when we see the large Quebecois migration into the St. John Valley, although Pierre shows that not everyone who came to the area by that path was French-Canadian. Further, the Theriault family is an example of Acadian and French-Canadian intermarriage decades earlier than some people realize.

Pierre and Margaret’s son Charles Theriault married Delema Bosse in 1891 in St. Agathe, Maine. Their daughter Marie Theriault, born 1892 in New Canada Plantation, married John Saucier, my husband’s grandfather, in 1911. Johnny and Marie are buried in Wallagrass, the town where my husband was born to Willard and RoseAnna (Chamberland) Saucier.

Another source for Acadian genealogy is Bona Arsenault’s “Histoire et Genealogie des Acadiens,” which is available at the University of Maine’s Fogler Library in Orono, University of Maine at Presque Isle, University of Maine at Fort Kent, University of Southern Maine and Maine State Library in Augusta.

Janet Jehn’s book of corrections and additions to Arsenault’s work is available at MSL and UMFK. For the location of other books on Acadian resources, visit the URSUS website at ursus.maine.edu.

For information on more than 110 family reunions scheduled for Aug. 8-24, 2014, during the World Acadian Congress, visit http://cma2014.com/en/familles/rencontre.

The Theriault reunion will begin on Aug. 16, 2014, in Fort Kent. It’s not too late to apply to hold a family reunion as part of World Acadian Congress 2014. Both Acadian and Quebecois-origin families are welcome.

Check out the list of families scheduled for reunions during World Acadian Congress, and let me know if there are surnames you’d like to see mentioned in upcoming columns during the coming year. Email familyti@bangordailynews.com.

Veterans of all eras are welcome to march or ride free on a Cyr bus during Bangor’s Memorial Day Parade, set for 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 27, beginning on Exchange Street. The parade will go up Main Street to Davenport Park at the corner of Main and Cedar streets. Cyr buses will take veterans only back to the beginning of the parade route afterward.

Maine veterans who have walking sticks for service during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Global War on Terror and will participate in the parade are invited to bring their walking sticks beginning at 9 a.m. at the undercover entrance to The First bank at 145 Exchange St. to receive a special sticker on their walking stick from Cole Museum volunteers.

In previous years, stickers had been available only to World War II veterans participating, and they will still get their special stickers. But the museum has ordered a separate batch of stickers for other participating veterans.

Walking sticks are available free to Maine veterans who served in one of the four war eras. Those eligible should bring proof of ID and their DD-214 or military ID 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily to Cole Land Transportation Museum, 405 Perry Road, Bangor.

For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email familyti@bangordailynews.com.

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