As the Acadians were being deported during the period 1755 through 1765, they were determined to protect their families, to survive this difficult journey, to continue their Catholic faith and to keep their Acadian identity. They lost everything during the deportations except for the scant few things they could bring onto the overcrowded ships. As they disembarked along at ports along the eastern seaboard of the United States, among Atlantic ports in France and in England coastal towns, they had start their lives anew – having lost essentially all their possessions. Some drowned as their ships sank; and others died of illness on board the ships – both forever sharing the sea as their final resting place. Most that survived the wretched deportation voyages died poor and were buried in pauper graves – with at most a small wooden marker atop their grave.
A few Acadian deportees prospered later in life and could afford a stone marker as their memorial; however, most of these stones suffered from the weather over the years and became so worn that their inscriptions are no longer legible. Vandals destroyed others. The gravestones of a few Acadian deportees have survived the almost 200 years since they died and are still legible today.
For many years I have sought these in cemeteries across North America. These tombstones mark the graves of Acadians who were born in Acadia before being deported or who were born in Acadia prior to 1764 and remained in Acadia successfully avoiding deportation. Here are the few I have found.
by Marty Guidry