Tuesday, August 12, 2014

To the World Acadian Congress via St Croix Island

FrancoAmerican Gravy is planning to be at the Acadian World Congress in a few days.  In anticipation of sharing Acadian history with family and cousins it seems appropriate to start at the very beginning of the Acadian experience in North America. The beginning was in 1604 on a small island in the Saint Croix River presentably sitting on the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick.  Stopping at an observation park along the eastern shore of the Saint Croix River in the early evening, we were the only people to read the interpretive signs and stare west into the setting sun for a view of the island where almost half of the 79 Frenchman died of scurvy during the winter of 1604-1605.

L'Ile St Croix from New Brunswick

Scurvy was a common cause of morbidity and mortality among sailors and it wasn't until the 1930s that a definite connection between the lack of Vitamin C in fresh fruits and vegetables and scurvy was firmly established.  James Lind in 1793 conducted research demonstrating a reduction of scurvy if one consumed citrus fruits.
Licensed under
Public domain via Wikimedia Commons 

Scurvy is not a thing pretty and imagining a sailors's slow death from scurvy could not be anything other than agonizing as a he developed malaise, lethargy, ulcers, tender gums, and bodily wounds bleeding out finally resulting in his death.

Scurvy Manifestations copyright NEJM

The settlement was a failure but it was also the impetus to move the enterprise to Port Royal where a new and more thoroughly planned habitation could be planned. In Port Royal, the Acadian ancestors of the Rivets (Mireault, Robichaud, Bourgeois, Lord, Bourg, LeBlanc, Dugas, Melanson and more), the Mylotts (Guilabult, Girouard, Therriot, Bourg, Landry, LeBorgne, Delatour ) and Beauvais (Babin, Benoit, Bourg, Hebert, Comeau, Richard, Melanson and more) would come to flourish.

The Saint Croix River flows from a chain of lakes in northeastern Maine called the Chiputneticook Lakes.  The largest is East Grand Lake where we have been resting for a week mid way through our travels in Quebec, the Gaspe Peninsula and the Acadian Peninsula.  East Grand Lake is one of my favorite lakes and knowing its waters are the actual headwaters of the Saint Croix River and eventually empty into Passamaquoddy Bay make it special.  Here are some photos of the August sunsets on the waters of East Grand Lake.

Below is a recap of the stories written about Acadians in this blog so far.  This list includes some early posts that may not have been well researched but I am reviewing them for accuracy and hope they will "make the cut"!

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