Our Acadian Heritage

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Ship Saint-Jehan Brought First Families To Port Royal

Before Isaac de Razilly died, he sent recruiters to France to find families to come to Acadia as permanent settlers and establish a true, lasting colony there. He did not live to see the fruit of their work.

In April 1636, the ship Saint Jehan left La Rochelle, France, with 78 emigrants from Paris, Dijon, La Rochelle and villages names Bourguell and Chinon in the Loire Valley. Among them were five saltmakers, three sailors, a wood chopper, a toolsmith, a cooper, four tailors, a shoemaker, a vine grower, a miller, a gardener, a gunsmith, and 19 farmers. Seven men brought their wives, and six of them brought children.

Not all of the Saint Jehan's passengers would stay, but most of them would. Pierre Martin and his wife came from Bourguell. They became the parents of Mathieu Martin, reportedly the first child born in Acadia of a European father and mother. Another was Jean Gaudet. He was 61 years old in 1636. He farmed Annapolis Basin lands for more than 30 years, dying there at the age of 97.

According to historian and genealogist Bona Arsenault, "The admiralty records of La Rochelle are the first to show French families coming to Acadia. They came aboard the Saint Jehan on April 1, 1636, along with hired men recruited from Champagne, Anjou, La Rochelle and Brittany."