Yarmouth Vanguard, August 8, 1989
Although the raid of 1758 in the Cape Sable region, which lead to the second Expulsion, brought into exile less Acadians than the two others, that of 1756 and that of 1759, nevertheless it was of the three the most devastating, the most widespread, the one which also lasted the longest, when from the middle of September to the end of October it brought destruction from Pubnico to Chegoggin, plundering all that could be destroyed and reducing to ashes all that could be burned.
After the Acadians living in what is now Shelburne County had been taken into exile in 1756, Lawrence learned that there were still other Acadians in what is now Yarmouth County. In fact, they were established in Upper East Pubnico, along the Argyle River, including Robert’s Island, in Chebogue and in Chegoggin.
This raid was under the direction of Major Roger Morris, captain of the 35th regiment of the British forces in North America, who was acting under the command of Colonel Monckton, Lieutenant- Governor of Nova Scotia. Morris left Halifax on September 11 for Cape Sable, with 325 soldiers. His Fleet consisted of two men-of-war, to which were joined on their way a transport ship and a pilot ship. They came to anchor at the mouth of the Argyle River in the evening of the 15th. Right away, Captain Gorham left with 40 to 50 rangers to explore the region. He came back the next morning, having found fields of potatoes and of tobacco, but no trace of the Acadians. They proceeded towards Frost Corner, where they found other fields which had been worked very recently.
Next day, the 17th, Captain Watmough took through the woods towards Pubnico. Having noticed an agglomeration of houses on the east side of the harbour, he came right back to tell Morris about it. Morris, after destroying the gardens where he was, left Frost Corner, and at noon, September 20th he anchored his Fleet smack in the middle of Pubnico Harbour.
Immediately after disembarking, they started to follow the trail that they had found of the Acadians, leading to Pubnico Head and about five miles further in the woods, till they lost their trace. Not being able to find the Acadians, Morris sent a hundred men on the west side of the harbour where they had spotted two houses on the elevation where is located the Old Cemetery. They burned those houses and ravaged the gardens adjoining them. This was taking place of Friday, the 22nd. Next day, they proceeded to pillage the village in East Pubnico and to ransack all the buildings, including the Church, the priest’s rectory and the Manor House of the d’Entremont family, all being located north of Hipson’s Brook, also all the other houses, barns and sheds. After devastating all the cultivated gardens, Morris embarked most of his men, leaving to Gorham the task to set everything of fire. By 11 o’clock that morning, all had been consumed.
Morris would have liked to depart right away, but a gale of hurricane force retarded his departure till the following Saturday, Sept. 30, when he headed for Schooner Passage and Chebogue Point. Right away Gorham was sent to explore the Acadian settlement at Chebogue. The next day, which was a Sunday, he reported to Morris what he had seen, and left the same day for more explorations, taking enough provisions for four days. He was accompanied by 20 rangers, who were joined on Monday by 72 more. Wednesday, Oct.4, Gorham came back and gave to Morris the following account: Nine houses with chimneys were burned, plus one Mass House, nine barns and sheds and six haystacks; were taken or destroyed twelve sheep, about fifty bushels of potatoes and turnips. He added that they had found human and animal traces up the river, which were still fresh.
This being done, Morris kept on with his Fleet and entered Yarmouth harbour. This was Sunday, Oct. 8. Gorham, with two whale-boats kept on sailing up the river till he arrived at the Acadian settlement of Chegoggin, that he discovered by chance. That Sunday afternoon, he surprised Father Desenclaves in church with his congregation, consisting of nine families, comprising 61 persons in all. The church stood on top of a beautiful knoll, west of the river, facing the site of the old gold-crusher which used to be on the other side of the road. A mother with six children joined them, making a total of 69 persons. Gorham learned from father Desenclaves that there were still 21 Acadian families and six Indian families up the Tusket River. After confiscating all the arms that he could find, Gorham locked the chapel with all the Acadians in it. He sent immediately a message to Morris, asking for help. It took about all week to pick up the vegetables from the field and gather the domestic animals.
In the meantime, Father Desenclaves, to avoid the wrath of the oppressors, felt that he had to reveal where stood “The Tusket Village,” as it is called in documents, which was located about 15 miles in the interior, north of and at the head of Lake Vaughan, somewhat downstream at the small bridge which spans Reynard’s Falls. This is where Father Desenclaves himself resided. They took him with them by boat. After searching all around and not finding the Acadians, they razed everything, leaving but ashes and dust.
It was not before the 28th which was a Sunday, that the embarkation took place, but it was only for the women and their children, because their husbands and their sons had been kept by Morris to help him “finish the job” at their settlement. A detachment was to stay to ravage all that was “acadian” in the region. It was reported that several “uncommonly large fires” could be seen from Annapolis on November 17, supposedly to have been “occasioned by parties from Cape Sable detachment, who were burning settlements and clearing the country.”
Tuesday, Oct, 31, the Fleet left Yarmouth Harbour with its cargo of 68 Acadians, with Father Desenclaves. They were confined in Halifax till the beginning of the following year, when they were sent to France, where those who had survived arrived February 16.
Next week, I will tell you about the third Expulsion of the Acadians of southern Nova Scotia, which took place in 1759.