Sunday, May 04, 2008

Saint Paul de Kent is a small village in Kent County. Many of my maternal ancestors settled there. Yesterday there was an article in L'etoile,(our french newspaper) so I thought I would share it with you, although it doesn't include my ancestors.The title of the article is Saint Paul and its founder L'Abbe Georges Antoine Belcourt.written by Lucie Gosselin and Karina Langis.
Translated by me to the best of my ability.
After having visited many countries arriving at Saint Paul de Kent, I asked myself who had uncovered this splendid place. When discussing this with friends, they talked about l'Abbe George Antoine Belcourt. On this subject I devoured all the articles written by George Arsenault in the Societe Historique Acadienne .(SHA). I realized that the first settlers of the parish of Saint Paul de Kent came from the parish of Rustico in Prince Edward Island.
Taking into consideration the poverty of the people of this parish, this good abbe Belcourt sent some young couples from his parish to colonize the parish of Saint Alexis of Matapedia and the parish of Saint Paul de Kent in New Brunswick ,Canada. It is him who encouraged Mgr Sweeney to buy the lands so that the Acadians could cultivate them. At this time it was a great feat.
Further reading on the subject, I realized that thanks to a man named Olivier LeBlanc of Sainte Marie de Kent,ancestor of the provincial deputy Bertin LeBlanc ,that these Acadians successfully settled in the new parish. Young Olivier who had just built a new church of Mont Carmel in Sainte Marie with the means of a frolic would also have created frolics from 6 am to 6 pm to build the new homes for the new settlers. My grandmother had already told me that this Olivier had encouraged the women to knit and sew the clothes and blankets to fill up the new couples trousseaus because they arrived in Saint Paul deprived of all they owned. It was quite an opperation. Olivier did the impossible my grandmother told me when she visited me in Saint Paul. This same abbe Belcourt had even gathered money to buy farming tools for the parish of Saint Paul de Kent. We don't know if he tried to organize a bank like those in Rustico ,we know he left a box of books at the home of Anselme Girouard (the father of deputy Gilbert A Girouard nephew of Olivier LeBlanc). These books were sent by the historian Rameaux de Saint-Pere.
But sad to say, these books ended in the church and would have burned in the fire of 1955. In Rustico he founded l'Institut du savoir. Mister Rameaux de Saint Pere had obtained gifts? (des dons) from Napoleon 111 the emporor of France for Saint Paul. The bust of Napoleon is in Memramcook. I don't know if abbe Belcourt left a known heritage in Saint Paul. In Sainte Marie de Kent, he left as heritage the passion of Astronomy. According to some cousins, this passion may have possibly favored the creation of the Astronomy Observation founded by an ancient parishioner of Sainte Marie de Kent at the Moncton University .I ask myself if this abbe Belcourt would be the one who left the music and singing passion. While listening to the folks of St Alexis, I hear the same exceptional talent also in Saint Paul. Ah will the soft ,and beautiful voices of the St Paul choir make the honor roll one day?
Now to add a bit more about Saint Paul de Kent in New Brunswick. Some of you may not know it was once called Bishops Land (terre de l'eveque). Joseph Bergeron dit Damboise was one of the early settlers, he came from Iles Verte in Quebec with his wife and two sons Ferdinand and Antoine. Ferdinand was born in Van Buren Maine, so his parents Joseph and Adeline travelled from place to place to find work and a better life. They were in Saint Basile for a while also where Joseph worked for the church.They were on Prince Edward Island for a while, where I believe one of their sons Joseph and a daughter died. So possibly from PEI they heard about the new land in Saint Paul and decided to settle there. I read that before the church was built many masses were held at the home of Joseph and his wife Adelina. The church bell is named partly after Joseph Bergeron dit Damboise.Quite an honor I would say.
In Saint Paul at present , you will find an apple orchard, it is still there and was planted from seed by my great grandmother Domithile Williams dit Bristol. My Mom told me that Domithilde never lived to see them bear fruit, she died in 1929. I have since gone to the apple orchard and walked through it, thinking to myself" I am here walking where my great grandmother once walked, touching the apple trees she planted, I will tell you, it was a very touching and good feeling for me. Because I am sure she was there, I am sure she walked among the little apple trees, she dug the soil and planted in this spot that I stood in.
I do hope you enjoyed my blog,it had been a while since I last wrote. I have moved to another place , and it took up a lot of my time but I am back.
Thanks for the visit. Have a great day


Helen said...


alineskee said...

Hi Helen, glad you enjoyed my article, I left facebook, I was getting too many funwalls, I may go back later on. I moved in Parkton. Helen are you in my Chat n Brag room? If not, let me know and I will send you an invite.