Our Acadian Heritage

CSS3 Buttons by Css3Menu.com

Acadian Lands Offered To New England Residents

Colonel Charles Winslow had hoped that the exile of the Acadians would open their lands for settlement by "good farmers" from New England. If didn't happen immediately.

In 1758, three years after the deportation of the Acadians, a proclamation by the government of Nova Scotia appeared in the Boston Gazette offering free land grants in the once-Acadian province.

There were few takers, and a second proclamation appeared in 1759, describing the wonderful attractions of the lands and offering liberal terms to settlers.

In April 1759, a five-man committee was sent from Connecticut to look over land. They met with Governor Charles Lawrence and his council at Halifax and were assured that the lands were all that they were advertised to be. Even more, ships from Nova Scotia would be put at their service to transport the immigrants, their stock, and their furniture.

To help the New Englanders decide, the council sent them to visit the lands along the Bay of Fundy. By the time they arrived at the Minas Basin, the orchards were budding, dikes growing green, and rich uplands were waiting for the plow. Compared to the rocky soil of New England, the fertile valley was very attractive.

> Completely sold on the proposition, agents agreed to settle one township at Minas and another at Riviere-aux- Canards, which are today Horton and Cornwallis, respectively.

On May 21, 760, a fleet of 22 ships set sail for the new Promised Land. The New England planters set their feet on the soil of Acadia on June 4, 1760, five years after the Acadian dispersion.

An old ballad, Puritan Planters, tells the tale:

Five years in desolation the Acadia land lain.
Five golden harvest moons had wooed the fallow fields in vain.

Five times the winter snows had slept and summer sunsets smiled

On lonely clumps of willows and fruit trees growing wild.

There was silence in the forest and along the Minas shore

And not a habitation from Canard to Beausejour.

But many a blackened rafter and many a broken wall

Told the story of Acadia's prosperity and fall.

But the simple Norman peasant folk shall till the land no more,

For the vessels from Connecticut anchored by the shore.

And many a patient Puritan, his mind with Scripture stored,

Rejoices he has found at last his garden of the Lord.