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Diary of a Frenchman - François Lambert Bourneuf's
Adventures from France to Acadia

Gems in the Newsletters of Societies

I was often disappointed when neighbours visited my grandfather. It usually meant Grampy wouldn't share as many stories with us that night. My disappointment turned to joy one day, however, by a visitor, in his 80s, who talked of days gone by and the experiences he and Grampy shared.

I listened attentively. I pictured women using a dash churn to make butter. They would pour buttermilk into jugs, wrap freshly-made bread in cotton cloths and carefully wash eggs to place in a basket for a trip to Saint John.

I imagined the express wagon, pulled by a good trotter, taking these items to be sold or traded for supplies. Potatoes and vegetables were always needed by city folk so they were good sellers.

François Lambert Bourneuf crossed the Bay of Fundy every two weeks in his small schooner to trade eggs, potatoes, butter and other products with Joseph Joppe LeBlanc and Charles Michaud Melanson.

In 1859, when he was 71 years old, Francois Lambert Bourneuf wrote the story of his life.

The autobiography tells of his childhood in France; his experiences in Regneville, Normandy; the methods of a priest who thought a punch between the shoulder blades would better his education; and about the sudden death of his mother. He also wrote about his experiences as a sailor aboard a French frigate. It was captured in 1809 by the British, which led to a stay in the Melville Prison on the Northwest Arm in Halifax. The description of prison life and his attempts to escape with others were eye-opening.

In 1818, he married Marie Doucet who gave birth to seven children between 1819 and 1838. He settled near St. Mary's Bay, where he became a businessman, shipbuilder and a member of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly from 1843 to 1859.

Financial woes forced Bourneuf to declare bankruptcy in 1855.

Diary of a Frenchman - François Lambert Bourneuf's Adventures from France to Acadia 1787-1871, edited and translated by J. Alphonse Deveau and published in 1990, provides a glance into the conditions of life on both sides of the Atlantic.

Readers may also be interested in collections available at the Acadian Museum and Archives in West Pubnico, N.S. It houses the private collection of local historian Clarence J. d'Entremont, among others. The research centre offers more than 5,000 library books and periodicals (historical and genealogical), genealogies, land grants, deeds, microfilms, maps, photographs, church records and more.

Father Clarence J. d'Entremont wrote 100 articles for publication in the Yarmouth Vanguard from 1989 to 1990. These are available for viewing on the Acadian Museum and Archives' website at One of the articles is titled, The Escape of Francois L. Bourneuf which provides details on his escapade, which lasted more than three years.

Speaking of stories, the Queen's County Historical Society's newsletter - Vol. I, No. 6, published in December, 1981, includes an article about "a poor frozen man" found in the wilderness near Cane's River, Northumberland County by a lumbering party (circa 1859). A bill from Dr. Harry Peters in 1861 was submitted for attendance, medications and a fee for amputation of his legs. Jerome, the man without legs, was found abandoned on the beach at Sandy Cove, N.S. in August, 1863.

The issue also has the School Return of 1844 for District No. 1, Parish of Hampstead; a recipe for buckwheat pancakes; and information from a booklet titled The Farmers of New Brunswick 1883. The booklet lists the customers who bought reapers and two-horse power threshing machines from Johnston & Co. An index of 26 years of newsletters is available at the research centre of the Queen's County Court House Museum in Gagetown.

A very tragic story, titled The Salted Dead by Captain James F. Alcorn from the Saint John Albion, Saturday, Feb. 18, 1860 edition, was published in the Kings County Historical and Archival Society newsletter in 1980 - 1981. The vessel left Saint John on Aug. 13, 1846. The captain was John Clark. Three years later, the wreck was found by a ship with Captain Howard at the helm. Upon entering the locked staterooms, a sad tale unfolded. You can view an index of the newsletters of the Kings County Historical and Archival Society at the Kings County Museum in Hampton.

Twenty-three issues, 1995-2006, of the newsletter of the Associates of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick can be read online at

A table of contents from 2002 to the present of Generations, the publication of the New Brunswick Genealogical Society is also available at

Stories of happiness, sadness, tragedy and the unexplainable can be found in the newsletters of many historical and genealogical societies.

On your next visit to a research repository make an inquiry as to their holdings of these gems filled with information.

Query 1540
McDonald - Ferris: David McDonald married Elizabeth Nancy Ferris on Aug. 8, 1851 in Johnston Parish. I am interested in finding the names of their parents and siblings. Both are listed in the 1861 and 1871 census for Cambridge Parish area.
153 Timber Lane
Hanover, PA
17331, U.S.A.

Query 1541
Brownlee - Walker: Sarah Brownlee married James Walker 15 Apr 1822, St. Andrews Church, Saint John, New Brunswick. They returned to England 1827. She was born in Enniskillen, Ireland in 1799. Am seeking information on her brother James, who petitioned for land in Saint John in 1818 and in1827 when he was 31.

Query 1542
Eccles: Capt. James Eccles, Loyalist, born Roscommon Co. Ireland, landed 1783 in Parr Town New Brunswick, following revolutionary war. Married Ann Clarke. Settled in Douglas, York County. Died 20 May 1839 in Fredericton. Buried in the Old Burying Ground, Fredericton N.B.

Query 1543
Hanley - Reynolds: I am looking for information on the descendants of John Hanley, son of Patrick and Bridget (nee Reynolds) Hanley of White's Mountain, Kings County, New Brunswick. John was born circa 1846 and died in his 43rd year, at his Farren Street home on the 6th January, 1890. His wife's name was Margaret. He is buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery, Saint John.
16 Heritage Court,
Fall River, NS
Canada, B2T 1E7

Query 1544
Crossman - McCarty  - REQUESTED REMOVAL

Query 1545
Scribner: I am searching for photos and information on Dingee Scribner
(1817-1900) or his fishing tackle shop located at 59 King Square, Saint John, N.B.
1170 Thousand Islands Parkway
Mallorytown, ON
Canada, K0E 1R0

New and Used Genealogical and Historical books of
New Brunswick for sale.

Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff living in New Brunswick, Canada. Send your New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at:  Include your name and mailing address for the benefit of the readers of the newspaper who do not have access to E-mail but could have information to share with you. Please put "Query" followed by the surnames in your query. For more information on submitting queries, visit
Published Saturday April 21st, 2007
Appeared on page F2
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