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Richard Family Genealogy
This is a story that will take you from La Rochelle in France to Penley Hill in Mexico.
1st Generation: Michel Richard was bom in Saintonge, Charente-Maritime, Poitou-Charentes, France in 1630 northeast of La Rochelle. He came to the New World to what was called at the time Acadie on the ship Chateaufort, with captain Guilbeault.
The ship left La Rochelle on March 25,1654 with provisions and colonist for Port Royal Acadie, now Nova Scotia. Michel Richard arrived in Port Royal in time to witness the invasion and taking of Port Royal by the English. Though the French and English were at peace at the time. Major Sedgewick of Boston and an army of 500 men took Port Royal on August 16, 1654.
Also in 1654, Michel married Madeleine Blanchard, daughter of Jehan Blanchard, which started the Richard family in North America. They had seven children, Rene, the oldest, Pierre, Catherine, Martin, who'll be our next ancestor, Alexander, and twins Anne and Madeleine.
Though life must have been hard, Michel's family seems to have been well off. In the 1671 census, he is shown to have a herd of 15 cows, 14 sheep and two plots of land of 14 arpana.
In 1679, it is shown that Michel and Madeleine had ten children four boys and six girls.
Madeleine died in 1680 and Michel remarried and had two more children.
The Second Generation of our story is Martin Richard. Martin was born in Port Royal in 1665 and later married Marguerite Bourg, born in Port Royal in 1668.
In 1689, war was declared between France and England in Boston. Port Royal was the scene of major fighting during King William's war. Port Royal had been a safe harbor for French ships and supplied Indians hostile to the English.
In 1690, Port Royal was attack by English forces lead by William Phips with seven ships armed with 78 cannons and a force of 736 men.
The French found the situation hopeless so he negotiated an honorable surrender. The terms of the surrender were that the French solders were to leave the fort and be sent to Quebic. In the terms of the surrender the citizens were not to be molested.
For 12 days, the English looted and pillaged Port Royal and Phips ordered the Acadian's to swear an oath of allegiance to the King of England. Phips also sent forces to Castine, LaHave and Chedabucto to destroy the French there.
This seems to be the time that Martin moved his family to Beaubassin, N.S. Ca.
Martin and Marguerite had ten children in their family 6 boys and 4 girls.
The Third Generation is Alexander Richard born in 1695 in Boubassin. At this time the Acadians had established themselves as a people unto themselves. By this time schools were being established.
In September, 1696 Beaubassin was attact by Colonel Benjamin Church who led 500 men and 50 Indians from Massachusetts. They killed livestock, destroyed crops and burned homes of the Acadians. This caused the people to take refuge in the woods.
On Sept. 25, 1697, a treaty was signed and Acadia was returned to the French.
In July, Colonel Church attacted Beaubassin after being defeated at Port Royal on July 2 1704. The English burned 20 houses and killed some livestock but the Acadians with the help from Indians forced the English to withdrawn.
In 1709, France abandoned Acadia and all supplies were stopped. The Acadians turned to piracy on the English ships for their survival. Do to lack of supplies the English asked the Acadians at Port Royal to surrender but the head of the Acadian militia decided to stand his ground.
The battle lasted 19 days with a strong resistance and on October 13, 1710 the fort was surrendered to the English.
At this time we find Martin Richard at age 56 and Alexander 5. There were more battles but by 1713 a treaty between England and France ensued. In the articles of the treaty people were given the choice to stay and become a subject of Great Britain or to leave within a year to any other place. The people of Beaubassin felt that their area was in French territory so they didn't leave.
In 1714, Queen Anne died and in 1715, King George II took the throne of England.
The English authorities in Acadia felt the Acadians should take an oath to the new King.
The people in the area of Beaubassin and the surrounding areas refused to sign the treaty for there was no clause saying that they would not be forced to take up arms against the French.
Fourth Generation is Paul Richard, born 1725 in Beaubassin. By 1727, the people of Beaubassin took the oath of allegiance to the King because the authority of the area put in provisions which exempted them from taking up arms. They were able to leave at any time they wished and were able to practice their religion.
In 1731, the English required the oath to be signed again, this caused 60 Acadians of Beaubassin to leave for Ile Sainte Jean (Prince Edward Island) and were able to mark land for themselves.
Peace in Acadia lasted for about 20 years under English rule. In 1741, word arrived in Beaubassin that France and England were about to go to war again. This information arrived about three months before the English in Boston were informed of it.
This caused five families in Beaubassin to leave for Melpec, Ile Saint Jean, which was still French Territory.
It is at this time that Alexander, 46, moved his family to Melpec; his son Paul was 16. It is shown that in 1746, Paul married Marie-Renee Boudrot in Tracadie, Ile Saint Jean.
Tracadie was one of three villages that had a Priest at the time.
Fifth Generation: Joseph Richard, born 1747, later married Rosalie Poirer. In 1752, 2663 Acadians landed on He Saint Jean. By 1754, the refugees were completely destitute and living in an unimaginable state of poverty.
In June 1755, the English troops were ordered to seize all arms and ammunition of the Acadians in Nova Scotia and those refusing to surrender their arms were to be treated as rebels. Also, their boats were taken from them.
By July, the English in Boston had gathered enough ships to deport the people of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
In July 1758, Louisbourg was attacked and defeated by the English. The policy was now to get rid of all French and send them to France. The focus was now on Ile Saint Jean. They were told that if they resisted deportation, they would be killed.
Most did not resist the deportation because the poverty was overwhelming; they were starving and some didn't have clothing to cover themselves. There were about 5,000 people deported, some 600 drowned when their ships sunk. The people in the area of Malpec escaped the deportation by hiding in the woods.
Sixth Generation: Hilaire Richard married Tharsile Bernard.
In 1764, there are about 300 Acadians on the island and they declared, they would recognize no King but the King of France. The English regarded these people as prisoners.
They were extremely poor maintaining themselves by gardening, fishing and hunting. The island was divided into 67 lots at 20,000 acres each; the British Crown awarded the lots to influential petitioners. The Acadians farmed and fished for survival but most of their gain was given to the landowner for payment for being allowed to live there.
Before 1800, small towns grew up along the north shore of the island. In 1799, eight Acadian families founded the town of Tignish, which included Joseph Richard and his son, Hilaire.
Seventh Generation: Sosime Richard, born Sept. 29, 1812 and married Marie Chiasson in Tignish on Jan. 15, 1833. Hard times still prevailed. Between 1813 and 1815, a plague of mice hit much of the Island destroying their crops. 1816 was "the year without a summer." In 1830, Great Britain extended to the Roman Catholics their full civil rights.
Eight Generation: Pierre Richard married Marceline Arsenault in Tignish PEI on Oct. 20, 1857.
1854 brought a free trade treaty between the U.S. and Britain's North American colonies. This caused an economy boom in PEI. By 1880, the ship building industry failed and their economy disappeared. In the next 50 years, some 40,000 people left PEI for New England.
Ninth Generation: Joseph Peter Richard born 186? in Tignish, married Philomene Arsenault. Peter lived in St. Louis, PEI for a time and in 1909 moved his family to Yarmouth, Maine for jobs in the wood mills in the area.
Peter wove utility baskets and fishing creels as a hobby. Peter later followed his son to Rumford for a job in the Oxford Mill. He is shown as being a mill hand.
Tenth Generation: Joseph "Andrew" Richard, born 1893 in St. Louis PEI. Andrew moved from St. Louis to Yarmouth, Maine and later married Antoinette Marie Grenon on Aug. 19, 1913. Andrew and his family moved to Rumford for the good paying jobs in the Oxford Paper Mill. He worked in the Electro Chemical Bleach Dept.
Andrew was a true Acadian for he had one horse to plow his garden. Acadians loved horses but they were too expensive to keep as working animals but most families had one for their pleasure.
Eleventh Generation: Will remain nameless at this time for privacy reasons.
Though Andrew had three daughters and one son, 21 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren of whom still live in the area of Mexico and Rumford.
Andrew died in 1955; he was living on Swett Ave in Mexico, ME at the time. So we have traveled from Poitou-Crarentes France to the top of Penley Hill in just 325 years. What a trip it was.