Saturday, September 3, 2016

Salute to Harriette Taber Richardson, Ultimate Port Royal Time Traveler and "A Work All Wrought in Gentleness"

When the Acadian Ancestral tour went to the reconstructed Habitation at Port Royal we had pretty intriguing morning with demonstrations by Wayne Melanson and Judy Pearson. After the demonstrations, we wandered around replica  recreated through the efforts of Harriette Taber Richardson in the mid 20th century.  Richardson, born in 1875, was a Mayflower descendant but fascinated by the period of history we call American colonialism. She used her wealth and influence to create interest to reconstruct the Habitation. Dalhousie University Archives in Halifax hold a fundraising letter written by Harriette T Richarson in 1930.  A short bio is included in the holding's description:

"Harriet Taber Richardson was an American from Cambridge, Massachusetts, who spent her summers in the Annapolis Royal area from about 1923.  An admirer of Samuel Champlain, her interest in him broadened to include Port Royal.  In 1928 she teamed up with local historian Loftus Morton Fortier to rebuild the Habitation.  She established The Associates of Port Royal, with chapters in Massachusetts, New York and Virginia, with the goal of raising money for the reconstruction." 

There is also some biographical information about Harriette T. Richardson in Time Travel  by Alan Gordon.

In September 1927, Harriette Taber Richardson published her translation of Marc Lescarbot's play/masque "The Theatre of Neptune".  The play is often described as the first European theatre written and performed in North America.  It was quickly composed and performed to celebrate the return of Sieur de Potrincourt from explorations along the Atlantic coastline on the 14th of November 1607. The script can be read here.  The cast includes Neptune, of course, 6 tritons and 4 natives and a few other members of a chorus. Samuel de Champlain accompanied Poutrincourt on those explorations and participated in the event.  Additionally, Louis Hebert, an apothecary and ancestor of Arthur Home Mylott, was also present at the production.

Each of the four natives offer gifts to Neptune, although the fourth was unsuccessful hunting and must excuse himself to go off to a fishing area with his harpoon in hand to retrieve "something your cook can roast". The first man offers a "quarter of moose or deer" and the second offers beaver pelts. It is the third native who Lescarbot makes speak of love and his beloved and as far as I can read the only reference to the female gender: 

'Tis not alone in France
That Cupidon commands
Throughout this young new France
As in your world he stands
And lights his torch with flame,
To heat our hearts, his game.
So plants he his light wands.
My mistress heard the news that sped
As herald you were to arrive,
For very love of her she pled
That I should find you and contrive
To offer you her humble duty,
Through this small gift of dainty beauty
Her skilful hand has made alive.
Receive, kind sir, with cheerfulness
This gift to you that I address !
A work all wrought with gentleness,
In courtesy of my mistress.
She would be sad and in distress
And lose her pretty playfulness
If promptly and with nimbleness,
I may not tell her of a kindness
Shown to me, here, your noble highness.

*[Matachiaz, an Indian word for porcupine-quill or bead embroidery.]  

The words that I favor are:
"through this small gift of dainty beauty
Her skilful hand has made alive...
...a work all wrought with gentleness."

So it was very timely for visitors to see examples of this porcupine quill needlework when we visited Port Royal.  Judy Pearson from the Park Service,  a Mi'kmaq, showed us samples of this heritage "wrought with gentleness" along with other traditional items.

Here are a few more porcupine quill creations "wrought with gentleness" we saw on our trip. These were in the museum at Beaubassin.......

Returning to Lescarbot's play, it's believed "Theatre of Neptune" was performed outside the Port Royal Habitation and on the waters of the Rivere Dauphin pictured here....

More photos inside the Port Royal Habitation, a beautiful restoration.  The efforts of Harriette Tabor Richardson, her fascination and her love of the Habitation created the ultimate "Work All Wrought in Gentleness". 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Julien L'or dit Lamontagne: Act Inacheve (Unfinished Act)

Today I am reviewing some the the L'or or Lord lines in our families and found a void. A real void, that is, there is an empty space where there should be writing. A parish register from  "The Registers of St.Jean-Baptiste, Port Royal, 1702-1755 has the name "Julien L'or" written in the left hand margin but there is absolutely no writing!  For those researchers familiar with the style and format of the French Catholic parish registers of Quebec and Acadia, this is a glaring error.  For those reading this story who are unfamiliar with this format, I can only tell you that the dear Cure Charlemagne Cuvier may have tied one on the night before. The empty section occurs between the 17th of February and the 3rd of May, 1724. It must have been a long winter!

Who was Julien L'or anyway? Julien was an early habitant in Acadia, not one of the earliest but he arrived before 1675, probably from France and may have been in Quebec before his arrival in Acadia. Besides being the progenitor of the Lord family, he was a 6th great grandfather of Al, Claire and Ray Rivet and through a marriage also an ancestor of Dorothy Wills. He was born about 1652 and married Anne-Charlotte Girouard about 1675.  Julien and Anne-Charlotte had nine children and the Rivets descend from two of those children, Pierre L'or and Marguerite L'or. Al, Claire and Raymond Rivet's grandmother was Marie Lord, daughter of Solomon Lord, born in St. Jacques de l'Achigan in 1854.

Julien L'or and Anne-Charlotte lived and raised their family on the western side of the River Dauphin, slightly northwest and across the river from Port Royal. In  the 1686 census of Port Royal Julien and Anne-Charlotte are listed as 33 and 26 years old with 4 children: Alexandre 10, Jacques 8, Pierre 5, and Marie 1 year old.  Cattle and sheep are not enumerated on their entry. On this map, you can find their domain:

and the detail...

It is possible that Julien was buried in the cemetery of the church of St Jean Baptiste in Port Royal, present day Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. With a blank entry, who knows exactly what occurred to Julien when he died.  Could he have drown in the River Dauphin and his body never found?

In July, I had an opportunity to walk through the oldest section of the St. John Baptiste cemetery guided by Alan Melanson on the Acadian Ancestral Tour. Julien L'or's remains may have been close by and under our footsteps....even though he has a blank entry in the place where his burial should be recorded!

Here is the line from Claire, Al and Ray Rivet, siblings born in Cohoes NY between 1916 and 1922, who were the children of:
 Paul Emile Rivet 1880-1961, born in St Jacques de l'Achigan, son of 
  Marie Lord , 1854-1914, born in St Jacques de l'Achigan, daughter of
   Solomon Lord, 1827-1913, born in St Jacques de l'Achigan, son of
    Louis Thaddee Lord, 1784-1858, born in St Jacques de l'Achigan, son of
     Jean Baptiste Lord dit Talaron, born 1761 in exile in Connecticut Colony, son of
      Louis L'or, 1722-1781, born in Port Royal, Acadia, son of 
       Pierre L'or, 1682- 1738, born in Port Royal, son of
        Julien L'or dit Montagne and Anne-Charlotte Girouard

Friday, August 19, 2016

Acadian Family Update

Six years ago I started writing about the Acadian Ancestors in the three families I research most intensely - the Mylott family of Waterford & Whitehall New York, the Rivet family of Cohoes New York, and the Wills family of upstate New York, Cornwall and Quebec.  In the past six years I have learned a lot about them through reading & researching and getting help from a special lady, Lucie LeBlanc Consentino, who hosts the website Acadian Ancestral Home.  Thanks to Lucie and her sharing, I think I'm able to explain to others and to myself the story of these ancestors with some accuracy and confidence.  It is a big story and vast history involving Acadian families being pushed and pulled across the globe and throughout the English, French and Spanish colonies of the mid 18th century. For me personally, it is a history that brought the ancestors of the Rivets, Mylotts and Wills together 200 years before Al Rivet, Claire Rivet, Ray Rivet, Arthur Mylott, and Dorothy Wills came together in the working class neighborhoods of Cohoes and Waterford, New York.  For this reason, the story of the Acadians in my families will always be the centerpiece of my family's genealogy. Antoine Bourg and Antoinette Landry who married about 1642 and a founding couple of Acadia, are common ancestors of Al Rivet, Claire Rivet, Ray Rivet, Arthur Mylott and his siblings (Milo and Edgar), and Dorothy Wills and all her siblings (Celina, Julia, Anna, John, Elizabeth, Muriel Etta, Larry and Robert).  The Rivet family emigrating from St Jacques de l'Achigan and the environs of Joliette, Quebec certainly have an overwhelming number of Acadian ancestors who resettled in this areas after the exile.  Some Mylott and Rivet ancestors were thrust together on the journey and drama of "The Pembroke". Some Wills ancestors were exiled to the port of Boston where the dying words of our 6th great grandmother, Jeanne Hebert, were recorded by Timothy Hutchinson, a later governor of Massachusetts colony, in 1755.*

FrancoAmerican Gravy & Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
on tour July 2016
During July 2016, I was fortunate to be able to travel with Luce's Acadian Ancestral Tour for a week to historical sites, memorials, museums, churches, rivers, shores with Fundy tides that are a part of Acadian history. This included locations in present day New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.  The bonus was traveling with 40+ Acadian cousins who are all lovers of genealogy and history - especially Acadian genealogy and history.  Planning and preparation for the tour started more than one year before with Sandra Goodwin of Maple Starts and Stripes and Lucie researching sites and securing the travel services of Fred Clark.  Forty plus adults and one easy going teenager had the trip of a lifetime!  Merci and thanks to everyone.  Soon, I hope to post some of the photos I took and reflections I felt during this amazing tour.

A quiet moment inside the Magical Mystery Tour Bus

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"!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Montmorillon, France

I haven't been posting often, have I? FrancoAmericanGravy is still here with many unfinished posts that may never get published on this site because they are getting harder to write - they are getting deeper and more personal.  For a change of pace, I am remembering a trip to Montmorillon, Vienne, France in spring 2009. This commune is a bibliophile's true respite.
We spent a day strolling in Montmorillon through its streets and bookshops.  I recall wondering if any of my ancestors may have hailed from Montmorillon.  Eventually I discovered a couple, ancestors of Arthur Mylott, who were both born in Montmorillon.  I don't have any documentation yet but my pictures of this town with strange trees, terracotta roofs, winding streets, colorful window boxes and books are so interesting and fun, I am posting here anyway.