Claude Marc Pitre was born on the 13th of May 1700 at Port-Royal, Acadia, the eldest child of Marc Pitre and Jeanne Brun. The family moved locations in Acadia, possibly to remove themselves as far as possible from British control.
One move eventually brought them to Cobequit where, on 12 June 1724, 24-year-old Claude Marc married Isabelle Guerin, the 19-year-old daughter of Jerome Guerin and Isabelle (Elisabeth) Aucoin. Their son Joseph was born there in 1726 and it is likely Cobequit became their home for the next 30 years.
In 1744, when hostilities resumed between the French and the English, the Acadians were accused of supporting the French. The council at Port Royal had ordered an investigation of the allegations and the two representatives who came from Cobequit in December of 1744 were Claude Pitre and Pierre Theriot -- probably Claude Marc and his wife’s brother-in-law. No action seems to have been taken at this time.
In August 1755, the men were marched off from Cobequit, leaving the families behind who trekked to Tatamagouche to get boats to Île St. Jean. (When the British showed up to remove them no one was there.) It seems probable that Claude Marc’s family was with this group as they did not show up in the 1752 census of the island. It also seems probable that the 14-year-old Catherine Josephe Pitre who died in August of 1756 at Port Lajoie was one of Claude Marc’s daughters (no parents were given in the burial record). It is known that Claude Marc’s daughter Anne Josephe married at Port Lajoie to Ambroise Bourg on 1 June 1757 (her brothers Alexandre and Jean Baptiste were witnesses).
Late in 1758 the deportations to clear the island of Acadians began in earnest. Claude Marc’s wife Isabelle Guerin died “in a shipwreck on the way to Europe.” Son Joseph and his family were on Île St. Jean in 1757 and somehow escaped deportation. [A report on 6 November 1758 noted that Lord Rollo had to leave a whole parish of a far part of the island behind. This was probably the Rollo Bay area where Joseph’s descendants are known to have settled.] There is no further information on Alexandre (presumably died during the crossing). Jean Baptiste had married Felicite Daigre and they survived the crossing but lost their firstborn. Anne Josephe and her husband Ambroise Bourg survived the crossing but she died a year later, probably due to complications having given birth five days earlier.
Claude Marc ended up in Liverpool. [The sloops Sally and Molly, Prosperous and Endeavor, and the schooner Ranger departed from the entrance to the Gaspereau River at Grand Pre on 27 October 1755. They arrived in Virginia during the latter part of November but the governor of Virginia refused to accept them. They were forced to overwinter in harsh conditions on board, and many died from smallpox brought on board via blankets shared by the townspeople. Those remaining were transported to England four months later. During the 7-year-period from 1756 to 1763 around 1200 Acadians arrived in England. By 1763 fewer than 800 had survived disease and the harsh living conditions.] If Claude Marc had been aboard one of these ships then he must have been separated from his family with other Cobequit men and deported in October of 1755. This would explain why his two sons and not he were the witnesses at his daughter’s wedding and why no parents were listed at the burial of the child mentioned above.
One must presume that Claude Marc knew of his wife’s death, as he married again to Madeleine Darois, the 40-year-old widow of Alexis Trahan (who had died in Liverpool in 1756). Claude Marc, Madeleine and her eight-year-old son, Paul Trahan, finally left Liverpool for Morlaix on L’Esturgeon on the 7th of June 1763. In all, 753 Acadians crossed the English Channel. They had been promised settlement on lands in France at the expense of the King. The reality was not quite as promising. On arrival they were housed in barracks where disease soon killed many of them. The "farmland" some were later given in Belle-Île was rocky and windswept, ill-suited for farming.
In 1765 Claude Marc, Madeleine, and Paul were one of the Acadian families resettled to Belle Île en Mer. On 28th February 1767 Claude Marc gave his declaration there (see below) to prove his French pedigree and worthiness for the grant. He was living with his 2nd wife and stepson in the village of Arpens de Triboutons, parish of Sauzon, which is where he died on 7 March 1775. His stepson Paul Trahan died on the island in 1826 so presumably Madeleine Darois also died on Belle Île sometime after Claude Marc’s death.
Excerpt from The Acadians in France, Vol. 2, Belle Isle en Mer Registers, La Rochette Papers (compiled, translated and edited by Milton P. Rieder, Jr. and Norma Gaudet Rieder):
Declaration of Claude Pitre of Arpens de Triboutons:
On February 28, 1767 appeared Claude Pitre living in the village of Arpens de Triboutons, parish of Sauzon. Who in the presence of Jean Baptiste LeBlanc, Simon Pierre Daigre, Joseph Babin and Armand Granger witnesses, all Acadians living on this island, declared that he was born at Port Royal on May 13, 1700 of Marc Pitre and Jeanne Brun of the said place; Marc Pitre born of Jean Pitre originally Flemish and of Marie Pincelet of Paris. Jeanne Lebrun (Brun) daughter of Sebastien Lebrun and Henriette Bourg and Sebastien Lebrun issued of Vincent Lebrun who came from France with his wife Marie Brault and both died at Port Royal. The said Claude Pitre married at Cobeguit, parish of Saint Pierre and Saint Paul June 12, 1724 to Elisabeth Guerin born at the said Cobeguit September 29, 1704 of Jerome Guerin and Elisabeth Aucoin. Jerome Guerin was the issue of another Jerome Guerin who came from France married to Marie Blanchard. The said Jerome Guerin died at Port Royal and Marie Blanchard at Beaubassin. Elisabeth Aucoin was born at Beaubassin of Martin Aucoin who came from France, married at Port Royal to Marie Gaudet and both died at the said place. Of the first marriage of Claude Pitre with Elizabeth Guerin was born at Cobeguit, in the said parish of Saint Pierre and Saint Paul, December 17, 1726, a boy named Joseph Pitre who married at the said place Anne Bourg daughter of Ambroise Bourg and Elisabeth Melancon of Isle Saint Jean in North America, Diocese of Quebec; the said Elizabeth Guerin died at sea with the rest of her family in 1758 on an English ship which was shipwrecked in transporting a party of Acadian families from the said Isle Saint Jean to Europe.
Claude Pitre married a second time in England at Liverpool May 9, 1760 to Magdeleine Darois born at Mines, parish of Saint Charles, in 1715 of Jerome Darois who came from Paris and married at Port Royal to Marie Gareau and died at the Riviere de Petkoudiak in the Bay of Beaubassin. The said Marie Gareau died in Virginia, she was the daughter of Dominique Gareau who came from France, married Anne Gaudet at Port Royal and both of them died at the said place. The said Magdeleine Darois married in 1749 to Alexis Trahan born at Pigiguit, parish of l'Assomption, in 1727 of Alexandre Trahan of Port Royal and of Marguerite LeJeune. Alexandre Trahan issued of another Alexandre Trahan of Port Royal who was married at the said place to Marie Pellerin and the said Alexandre Trahan descended from Guillaume Trahan who came from France and of Magdeleine Brun, both of them died at Port Royal. Marguerite LeJeune born at Port Royal in 1698 of Pierre LeJeune and Marie Thibodault of Port Royal. The said Pierre LeJeune issued of another Pierre LeJeune who came from France, married at Port Royal and died there.
Of the marriage of the said Magdeleine Darois and Alexis Trahan, deceased at Liverpool in England in the month of July 1756, was born at Pigiguit, parish of l'Assomption the 10th of August 1752, Paul Trahan the only son of this marriage is living at the village of Arpens de Triboutons, parish of Sauzon with his mother and his step-father Claude Pitre.
Such is the declaration of the said Claude Pitre who having it read to him stated that the contents were right and that he could not sign the accounting in accordance with the ordinance. Completed and drawn up under the signatures of the witnesses named as being present, of Messire Joseph Benoist parish priest of Sauzon, of Messire Jean Louis Le Loutre missionary priest and of us clerk, at the said Sauzon March 12 of the said year.
Signed: Joseph Babin, Jean Baptiste LeBlanc, Simon Pr. Daigre, Armand Granger, J.L. Le Loutre ptre. miss., Jh. Benoist cure de Sauzon and Thebaud commis.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Claude Pitre of Sauzon Parish, 28 feb 1767, sworn statement in "Declarations from Belle-Île-en-Mer," on Lucie LeBlanc Consentino's website, "Acadian and French Canadian Ancestral Home," citing Excerpt from The Acadians in France, Vol. 2, Belle Isle en Mer Registers, La Rochette Papers, compiled, translated and edited by Milton P. Rieder, Jr. and Norma Gaudet Rieder.
- ↑ 1701 Census of Port-Royal
- Port Royal: Marc PITRE 29, Jeanne BOURG (wife); Claude 1; 1 gun, 7 cattle, 4 sheep, 2 hogs.
- ↑ 1708 Census of Cap Sable, Newberry Library Translation [from the French]:
- Family on Cape Sable in 1708, listed 5th among the French families on the east coast:
- Marc PITRE, 37 years;
- Jeanne BRUN, 36;
- Claude, his son, 7;
- Jean, 5;
- Marie, 2.
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