Joseph Moulaison III (The Ancestor of all Moulaisons of Nova Scotia)
The exploits of Joseph Moulaison at the time of The Dispersion are shrouded in mystery. A native of the Pobomcoup area where his family was, he was married by Abbot Desanclaves to Jeanne Comeau in 1753. They escaped the Exile of 1758, likely seeking refuge in the forest with their son, Joseph. His brothers and sisters were imprisoned and deported to France.
It seems to be during the spring of 1764 that he settled in Buttes Amirault. On 27 June 1764, Ronald McKinnon, who had been conceded an immense piece of land in Yarmouth County, bequeathed “250 arpents of land” to Joseph, provided that himself or his own continue to occupy them. He likely settled on the land later occupied by the Landry family, bordering the Tousquet River.
Although he pioneered the area, the Moulaison name hardly remained in Buttes Amirault. His son, Joseph, who married Marie Osithe Doucet, had three sons, including: (1) his first born, Joseph III, known as “Cobichon”, who married Marie LeBlanc and settled in Abram’s River: he is the ancestor of all Moulaisons of Nova Scotia; (2) Pierre, who married Rosalie Mius and settled in the parish of Havre-Aubert at les Îles de la Madeleine, where his descendants are still found; and (3) Michel, who occupied the same site as his father in Buttes Amirault, but who did not have any children: he adopted Frederic Landry who would become his heir and is the ancestor of the Landrys of Buttes Amirault.
Not only had the Moulaisons almost completely vanished from Buttes Amirault but the settlement they founded was to bear another name, thanks to Jacques Amirault II who settled there in 1767.
It was in August 1766 that a certain Captain Amiro obtained permission from the authorities in Boston to set sail for Quebec. It was estimated that this ship would have been built by the Acadians themselves in hopes of making the voyage. It transported the following families: Jacques Amirault’s family, with his two sons, Jacques and Ange; that of Charles Belliveau with his brothers Michel, Isidore, and Joseph; that of Joseph d’Entremont with his mother (sister of Jacques Amirault, father), and her brothers Paul and Benoni; that of Abel Duon (married to a sister of the d’Entremonts); that of Joseph Mius (son of Joseph d’Azit and thus second cousin to the d’Entremonts); and that of Pierre LeBlanc, native of Grand-Pré, married in exile to a niece of Jacques Amirault (father). Let us note that Ange Amirault, Joseph d’Entremont, and Paul d’Entremont all married sisters of the Belliveau brothers.
During a stopover in Halifax, the group was advised they could choose lands they preferred in the province in assurance that they would receive the services of a priest, which was too tempting to resist, thus derailing their journey to Quebec. They spent the winter around Cape Sable, more precisely in “Sand Hills” (Villagedale), where perhaps Fort Saint Louis
At Villagedale, Shelburne County, just south of the swimming area of Sabim Beach, one can find what we refer to as the Sand Hills. To the west there is a rock bluff extending one hundred yards or more before it slants down to the south side of the beach. It is now nearly completely covered with trees; some fifty years ago it was all bare. At that time, a great amount of bricks and stones could be found scattered mostly on its southern slope.
The construction had been started in early summer of 1630 and was completed by December. It was to be the largest structure ever erected in Cape Sable during the course of its Acadian history. Nicolas Denys, cartographer, who visited the fort in the summer of 1635, calls it “a good fort” that stood La Tour “in good stead”.
Charles d’Aulnay, during the feud between him and Charles de la Tour, set the fort on fire in the Fall of 1642 in a frantic rage against his rival, this occurring while La Tour was away. The fort burned to the ground.
It is unfortunate that the excavations that took place in 1987 on Sand Hills, under the auspices of Park Canada, were conducted close to the crest of the hill, while the ruins were spread on the slope.
The first Acadian to live in this village was Joseph Moulaison. The details concerning the origin of this man remain obscure. It is known that he was born in the region of Pubnico and it was here that he married Jeanne Comeau in 1753. He was not a victim of the Deportation but following this tragedy he was the first Acadian to settle in Buttes Amirault in 1764. He had three sons: Joseph, who became the father of three boys, one of whom, Joseph III (nicknamed “Cobichon”), settled in Abram’s River and is the ancestor of all the Moulaisons of Nova Scotia; Pierre, who moved to les Îles de la Madeleine; Michel, who chose to remain on the Hill and adopted Frederic Landry as his heir. Joseph did not give his name to the village he had founded. The name Amirault comes from Jacques Amirault (son), brother of Ange, who settled there in 1767 upon his return from exile.
In his book Histoire du Cap-Sable, Volume III (page 1236), Father Clarence d’Entremont explains how Joseph Moulaison managed to obtain land in these parts:
Buttes Amirault remained annexed to Surette’s Island until 1901 when it became a parish with the construction of its present Sainte-Famille church. The first priest of the Buttes Amirault was Father Émile Hamelin who remained there until his death in 1928.