Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Chezzetcook Nova Scotia

The Halifax-Dartmouth area constitutes the largest urban center in the Atlantic region.
Because of not having much work over the years many of the people including Acadians, have been been forced to leave and go elsewhere to find work. Acadians form the majority of the estimated 7000 francophones scattered around Halifax Dartmouth area. In the vast majority of cases English has by necessity became the main or dominant language of these Acadians for both school and jobs. Apart from the many individuals who migrated to the city in the 20th century, there is a small Acadian population in Halifax county that dates back to 1760 or earlier. They live in the neighbouring villages of West Chezzetcook and Grand Desert about 30 kilometre from Dartmouth. Although few of the people under the age of 60 speak their ancestral language today the villagers kept many of their Acadian traditions and customs till the 1950s.

Several 100 Acadians had been brought to Halifax as prisoners between 1758 and 1762 Some were deported, some were permitted to resettle in various parts of the province. A certain number of these ex prisoners made their way across Halifax harbour to Chezzetcook maybe because of the marshlands or because it was a Micmac settlement known to French missionaries for many years. Family names still common today in West Chezzetcook and Grand Desert can be traced back to these prisoners, such as Bellefontaine ,Boudreau ,Lapierre and Wolfe.(Wolfe was a French name, Augustin Wolfe was born in Alsace France in 1721). In addition to these former prisoners, there was another group of Acadians, all of whom had been living in Cape Breton, who were granted permission by Governor Lawrence to settle in Chezzetcook with names like Petitpas ,Roma, Boni ,Mayet and Manet. Chezzetcook also became home to the Breau and Bonnevie families and of Simon Julien a deserter in the Napoleonic Wars.
The Nova Scotia Museum posseses the oldest traditional Acadian costumes. All of the items originates from Chezzetcook and dates from 1850 and earlier. Many of the pieces including a bridal cap ,large black kerchief, a cotton print jacket and a striped home spun skirt were worn by Marguerite Bellefontaine who got married in 1843 and died in 1910. The long black and white skirt was worn by Mrs Bellefontaine on Sundays and holidays. On an ordinary day the women wore a black kerchief on the head and a plain grey skirt. The museum also has the white waistcoat worn on special occasions by her husband Charles Bellefontaine 1816-1902. The men wore a grey homespun coat and trousers and a home knitted white sweater with blue spots. It is always interesting to learn about our ancestors and what they wore back then. I have a photo of my great grandmother who died in 1929 she wore a long skirt and jacket with a big apron on top of her skirt. I found most of this information in a book by Sally Ross and Alphonse Deveau called The Acadians of Nova Scotia (A very interesting book). I do hope you have enjoyed my blog.
Changing the subject , if you have time and feel like browsing ,I have two places for you to check out ,lots of things for everyone at

Chow for now.