The life of Joseph Blanchard illustrates how non-combatant lives were disrupted and even lost as a result of the Seven Years War between France and England. At the start of the war, all Acadians in English-controlled Nova Scotia were rounded up and either imprisoned or deported to many distant locations. Many died during this upheaval.
Joseph Blanchard was born about 1720 in Acadie. His parents were Joseph Blanchard and Anne Dupuis. Like most of the Acadians, they spent their lives caring for large families in small homes, farming, trapping, fishing and trading. Although not wealthy, they were thriving and generally doing well until a few years before war began.
In his profile of the Blanchard family in the draft version of his update to the DGFA, Stephen White added this historical note:
With his father, three of his brothers and his brother-in-law Jean-Baptiste MOYSE, Joseph BLANCHARD was captured at Tatamaguiche by the British soldiers commanded by Abijah WILLARD and taken prisoner to Fort Beauséjour.
He is on the census taken at Fort Beausejour, Nova Scotia in August 1755 at the start of the war; in November of that year, he was deported to South Carolina. This is what Stephen White wrote:
While his wife and children took refuge on Île St-Jean, Joseph BLANCHARD was deported with his father and his brother from Chignectou to South Carolina aboard the brigate Two Brothers. He arrived in Charleston on 11 Nov 1755.
The website Acadian.org, maintained by Denis Cyr and others, has this to say:
Fort Beauséjour was immediately renamed Fort Cumberland and manned by British troops, who continued to march to different parts of Beaubassin, burning villages and crops, and capturing settlers. Sloops and schooners arrived from Halifax to take away those who had been taken prisoner.
The fears of reprisal that had haunted the settlers had been realised. The expulsion of the Acadians from the lands they had occupied peacefully since the seventeenth century had begun. By the thirteenth of October, 1,100 Acadians from Beaubassin had been transported to South Carolina, Georgia and Pennsylvania. By the end of 1755 a total of 6000 Acadians had been sent into exile.
In the confusion, families were separated. The New England colonies, still at war with France, did not welcome French-speaking Catholics who were destitute and a drain on the public purse. As more Acadians arrived they were dispersed up and down the New England coast, sent to British colonies in the Caribbean, and to England. Hundreds died in shipwrecks and from epidemics contracted in filthy conditions. A proud and prosperous people had been reduced to poverty, their homes destroyed, their lands confiscated to be given to new English-speaking immigrants.
With his father and his brothers, Joseph made up part of an outlawed group who had returned to Acadia under the direction of Michel Bourg. In the spring of 1756, Joseph rejoined his family at Isle St. Jean.
In Autumn 1758, Joseph Blanchard was deported again, this time with his wife and five children, from Isle St. Jean on one of five packet boats to France.
Joseph Blanchard, his wife, Marguerite-Geneviève Pitre, and their last surviving child, François-Xavier, disembarked at St-Malo, their four other children having died during the crossing. Joseph followed his children to the grave three weeks after their arrival, on 16 February 1759.
His age at death varies:
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