Jean Pitre dit Bejeau was born about 1699 in Cobequit, Acadia, the eldest child of seven boys and five girls born to Jean Denis Pitre and Francoise Babin. During Jean’s childhood his family shifted locations several times within Acadia. Being the eldest he was probably given responsibility early, but as a child he was certainly never without playmates.
Around 1721 Jean married Marguerite Theriot of Grand Pre, the third child of Pierre Theriot and Marie Bourg. (The registers, recording their marriage and subsequent births of their eleven children, probably no longer exist. Their family unit has been reconstructed from other sources.)
Throughout the majority of their marriage Jean and Marguerite probably lived as did most other Acadians. They got on with life, while the political winds changed around them. By the 1750’s, like many others, Jean sought refuge from the inevitable on Ile St. Jean.
In the 1752 census Jean & Marguerite, both now in their fifties, were settled on the north side of Riviere du Ouest. They had three of their adult children with them and three teenagers. The following year Marie would marry Alexis Marin Blanchard, as would Isabelle to Jean Baptiste Henry, Susanne to Jean Baptiste Olivier Henry, and Jean to Francoise Marie Henry. Three of their daughters were already married: Genevieve to Joseph Blanchard, Madeleine to Pierre Henry, and Marie Josephe to Joseph Theriot. They had some livestock and had made a garden on the plot. But even this meager existence was not to last.
Late in 1758, the English removed Jean and many hundreds more from the island. Jean and wife Marguerite both died at sea on the crossing to France. Of their offspring, Marie and her husband survived the trip (three of their children died at sea) only to die in Nantes along with their youngest child within weeks; Genevieve survived also, with the loss of four of her five children, but her husband died within a week of her sister; Marie Madeleine & her husband survived the trip but Marie Madeleine succumbed two months later (one of their four children died at sea); Elisabeth Isabelle & her husband survived but he died about six weeks later; Susanne & her husband survived the trip but he also died two months later along with one of their five children (three children perished at sea); Marie Josephe and her three children all died at sea but her husband survived the trip; Jean’s widow arrived alone as her husband and three children had died at sea; Pierre survived but died 6 weeks later; and 20-year-old son Anselme survived.
The loss incurred by this branch of Pitres was huge. Not only had Jean and Marguerite lost their own lives, but the death toll included five of their children, four sons-in-law, and nineteen grandchildren.
Jean Pitre, ploughman, native of l'Acadie, aged 55 years, has been in the country fourteen months. Married to Margueritte Terriaud, native of l'Acadie, aged 51 years. They have six children, three sons and three daughters:-
Jean Pitre, aged 20 years.
Pierre, aged 18 years.
Enselme, aged 14 years.
Marie, aged 30 years.
Elizabeth, aged 28 years.
Anne, aged 15 years.
They have the following live stock: two oxen, two calves, one wether, three ewes, one sow, and four pigs. The land upon which they are settled is situated as in the preceding case and was given to them verbally. They have made a garden on it.
Title: Dictionnaire Généalogique des Familles Acadiennes, Première Partie 1636-1714
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