In the September 1985 Bulletin of the La société historique de Pubnico-Ouest, Father Clarence d’Entremont writes about several Frenchmen who, from the time of the French revolution and the Napoleon wars, had escaped from France and came to settle in our region of Nova Scotia. One of these emigrants was a man named Étienne Bertrand who is the ancestor of the Moff family in Pubnico. The following is what Father d’Entremont wrote on the subject:
In the parochial registers, his name (Étienne) is written Maphre or Maffre. But in Pubnico, where he settled, we always referred to the family as “Moff”. The real name was Bertrand. In West Pubnico, he settled in the region of the Quoggueniche.
He had married Anastasie Clermont, daughter of Paul, from l’Île Wilson, between Wedgeport and Morris Island.
I don’t know where he came from but he was obviously French. Father Sigogne says he was a soldier who had been taken prisoner and escaped. There were Bertrands at the Barony of Pubnico before the Dispersion. I don’t know if he was one of the descendants. This family did not have the best reputation in Pubnico, where the word “follerie” (follies) would be substituted by the word “mofferie”, which is still commonly spoken.
Some members of this family went to the Baie Sainte-Marie, like Anne Moff, who married Marc Thériault in Meteghan in 1879. Before her, there was Joseph Moff, son of Basile à Étienne, of Pubnico, who married the widow Deveau and lived in Meteghan. It was said that she married him because he was very handsome; he had married her because she was rich. He probably went to Meteghan because he would have been employed by Sylvain d’Entremont who was originally from Pubnico as well. He initially stayed with Sylvain d’Entremont, finally moving to central Meteghan, across from the Robichaud Mill.
When his wife died around 1893, he moved into the residence of Léander Comeau, son of P’tit Jean. He died around 1912, he was nearly 86.
They had adopted Marie-Elisabeth Thériault (daughter of Augustin à Longtôt), who I met in 1965 in Lynnfield, Massachusetts; she was over 80 years old at the time. She only had words of praise for the Moff family. The Moffs were obviously not all that hateful. They have since all passed away.
This family’s origins are muddled. For information pertaining to Wedgeport, read the following passage written by Father Clarence d’Entremont and printed in the book Les Familles du Bas-de-Tousquet (page 207):
Benjamin Maffre, known as Borchum, of Cap-des-Corporon, was the son of Étienne Maffre and Anastasie Clermont, who initially lived in Sluice Point or in Surette’s Island before settling in West Pubnico. This couple had twelve children who, at the time, scattered in almost all the Acadian villages of Yarmouth County and as far as Baie Sainte-Marie.
What interests us here, says Father Clarence, is that Benjamin Maffre of Cap-des-Corporon, who was one of the oldest in the family, found himself residing near his father in 1816, either in Sluice-Point or in Surette’s Island, before settling in Tusket. He married three times: first 23 November 1812 to Anne Doucet, daughter of Magloire Doucet; then on 4 October 1825 to Rosalie Dulin, daughter of Louis Dulin of Quinan (Rosalie Dulin was the first child to be baptized by Father Sigogne upon his arrival to Southwest Nova Scotia); she passed away on 7 February 1826 only four months after their marriage; finally on 4 October 1830 to Madeleine Corporon, daughter of Abraham Gilbert Corporon.
This Maffre family completely disappeared. We see the name for the last time (Bertrand) in the registers of the Saint Ambrose parish and those of Saint-Michel: the death of Elisabeth Bertrand, in Yarmouth, on 15 January 1922 at the age of 95. The last surviving member of this large family was Marguerite Bertrand who passed away on 20 April 1935.