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The Thériaults of Lanaudière

Translated from French by John Mark Hopkins

One feels an especially strong Acadian presence in the Lanaudière region even today. Members of the community are intensely proud of their Acadian origins, and many people still treasure relics that have been passed down from their earliest Acadian ancestors who settled in the region.

Back from their exile in Boston, the Acadians were welcomed by the seigneurs of Saint-Sulpice at Le Portage (now L’Assomption). They quickly settled at L’Achigan (L’Épiphanie), at Saint-Sulpice and especially at Saint-Jacques.  They founded the parish that would be known successively as “Nouvelle-Acadie,”  “Saint-Jacques-de-la-Nouvelle-Acadie,”  “Saint-Jacques-de-l’Achigan” and finally “Saint-Jacques-de-Montcalm.” Many Acadian surnames are found in Saint-Jacques today, such as Gaudet, Thériault, Mireault, Bourgeois, Lord and Landry. There is also a folkloric dance troupe that pays homage to its Acadian origins by its name :  Les Petits Pas Jacadiens.

The Acadians spread into all the neighbouring villages, including Joliette, Rawdon, St.-Côme, St.-Ligori, St.-Alexis, St.-Jean-de-Matha, St.-Félix-de-Valois, St.-Alphonse-Rodriguez, Ste.-Béatrix. But it is especially Sainte-Marie-Salomé that is known for being the home of Acadians.

Lanaudière is home to an Acadian colony which is known for, among other things, certain families of artisans who specialize in the famous arrow sash (“ceinture fléchée”), also known as the “l’Assomption sash,” with designs that feature lightning bolts and flames. One of the designs is actually referred to as an “Acadian” sash.

Among the best known artisans are Élisabeth Mireault from Sainte-Marie-Salomé, Marie Forest, Domitille Mireault and Marie Gaudet (Madame Odilon Vigneault).

The following text is extracted from the spring-summer 2005 edition of  L’Aboiteau, volume XII, No. 2, newsletter of the Fédération acadienne du Québec

The THÉRIAULTS of the region of Joliette are descendants of Jehan Terriau (father) and his son Germain.  Remember that there are only two lines of descendants in the Thériault family:  CLAUDE and GERMAIN. The Thériaults lived in Nova Scotia (Acadia) for 120 years, or four generations:  Jehan, Germain, Germain and Charles. Descendants of GERMAIN are found as well on the Magdalen Islands, on Chaleur Bay, in Montréal, in Québec City, in New Brunswick and in Louisiana. 

 The threat of deportation caused 900 Acadians to flee Cobequid (Truro) for Prince Edward Island, then called Île St.-Jean. Charles, his wife, Angélique Douaron and their ten children were part of this group. The British caught up to them on the island in 1758 and forced the Acadians onto ships that deported them to Brittany (France).  Charles and 700 Acadians perished at sea, as three ships were wrecked.

The Thériaults of Lanaudière are descendants of Jean, son of Charles, with his three sons:  Jean, Charles and François.  Jean never forgot North America and came back to settle in Lower Canada, in St.-Jacques.

 Here are some photos of St.-Jacques church, rebuilt in 1918 as well as a monument in the parish cemetery.

Photos taken by Murielle Thériault (2005)

Choeur

[Chancel of St.-Jacques-de Montcalm church, Lanaudière]

Dportation

[Deportation... St.-Jacques church, Lanaudière]

Drapeau

[Acadian flag in St.-Jacques church, Lanaudière]

Jub

[Nave loft in St.-Jacques church, Lanaudière]

Liste

[List of curates at St-Jacques, Lanaudière]

syndic

[Syndics responsible for the construction of St.-Jacques church, Lanaudière]

Presbytre

[Parish house of St-Jacques, Lanaudière]

Cimetire

[St.-Jacques cemetary, Lanaudière]

Tombstone of Aldéric  Thériault (1856-1927), deceased at the age of 71, and of Victoria Landry (1865-1946), deceased at the age of 81. They married in St-Alexis-de-Montcalm, on 1 August 1882 and had 19 enfants children, of which Irène. Here is the family's line:  Jehan, Germain, Germain, Charles, Jean, Charles, Joseph, Aldéric.

The following superb photos were given by Louis Guy Gauthier, son of Irène Thériault (1906-1972), to Ginette Soulières-Loiselle, granddaughter of Parmélia Thériault.

Click on the small photo to enlarge

atvl10

[Aldéric's house]

atvl04

[Aldéric and Victoria]

atvl03

[Aldéric's family]

atvl06

[Aldéric's sons at their father's house]

atvl08

[Parmélia]

atvl02

[Aldéric's sons]

 

Photos of Aldéric's father : Joseph (1819-1917), husband of  Rose LeBlanc.

 atvl01

 Biographical sketch of pdfAimé "Amable" Thériault (1814-1895): he was the son of Charles T and Ursule Marion who married in 1810, at St-Jacques-de-Montcalm. This text  was written by brother J. Prosper Thériault (1873-1942), son of Aimé, and describes the heroic life of his Acadian pioneer ancestors. 

The text was found by Sylvain Gaudet, in a newsletter of the Société de généalogie de Lanaudière: Nos Sources Vol. 16 - no 4 - December 1996. After authorization by the family (Collection of Laurette Thériault-Hétu and Roger Martel), Murielle Thériault and Réjean Devin prepared this text for the Thériault familiies of America website. 

* * * * * *

Traditional notes on Jean Thériault, born in 1737

(text: brother Prosper Thériault c.s.v. (1833-1913), son of Aimé Thériault)

(sources: Thériault family archive, Roger H. Martel, 499)

 

Born in Acadia near Louisbourg, Jean Terriau had two brothers and five sisters.  At the time of the dispersion of the Acadians by the British, Jean was 15 years old and his brother Honoré was 17.  They were separated from the rest of the family. They never heard their brothers, sisters or parents spoken of again.

 

The vessel that deported them along with many of their compatriots was headed for Boston, which was apparently where they were to be exiled, but the Bostonians refused to accept this living cargo.  The reasons aren’t completely clear, but the Acadians probably frightened the colonists in this part of New England for several reasons:  the Acadians were known for being brave fighters; they were Catholic; they were also considered to be loyal to France.  Whatever the reason, this unfortunate group of Acadians was finally deported to the shores of France.

 

Jean Terriau and his brother, Honoré, travelled across France and began working for a Baron Leblanc who lived near Lyon.  They were in his service for 17 years.

 

Jean (our grandfather) secretly married Baron Leblanc’s daughter and thus fell out of his master’s favour; he was banished from the Baron’s lands along with his wife and child.  It was then that he came back to settle in Lower Canada along with his brother, Honoré, who was also married and the father of one child.

 

The two brothers embarked for Canada from Le Havre, but their departure was not without incident:  about to board the launch that would carry them to their ship, my grandmother was so heartbroken at the thought of leaving France and her family that she refused to continue.  There was no amount of begging or pleading that could convince her.   My grandfather decided to try another tactic and, after grabbing his child, jumped on the launch and left, leaving his wife on the shore.

 

She had a stronger reaction than my grandfather had hoped.  Seeing herself alone and abandoned, she became mad with grief and threw herself into the waves.  Was she hoping to be rescued by the one who had just abandoned her or could she possibly have intended to drown herself?   Because of her ardent faith, one can only assume that it must have been the former. 

 

Jean Terriau rescued his poor wife, departed, and several weeks later, Jean and Honoré Terriau were happily settled with their families at St.-Jacques-de-l’Achigan.  They arrived in Canada around 1774.

 

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website Team

Editor: Guy Thériault

Assistant editor: Karen Theriot Reader

Assistant editor: John Mark Hopkins

Webmaster: Réjean Devin

Assistant webmaster: Matthieu Thériault