Charles “Joseph” LeJeune was born on the Island of Miquelon in 1763, shortly after his family’s return to North America from La Rochelle, France. Charles “Joseph’s” parents, Joseph LeJeune and Martine LeRoy were deported from Isle Royale (Cape Breton Island) by the British following the fall of Louisbourg in 1758. It would be 20 years later, about 1783, when Charles “Joseph” arrives in Petit Bras d’Or with his family. “Joseph” is 20 years old. Shortly after their arrival in Petit Bras d’Or, “Joseph” marries his cousin Agathe LeJeune. Agathe is the daughter of Christophe LeJeune, Joseph Sr.’s half-brother.
John Young was born at Petit Bras d’Or in 1793 to Charles “Joseph” LeJeune and Agathe LeJeune. In 1805, John’s father, Joseph LeJeune petitioned to lease lot 5 at Petit Bras d’Or, on which he had resided for many years.1 In 1808, Joseph was granted 200 acres at Petit Bras d’Or, known as Lot 5.2 Then in 1810, Joseph petitions for Lot 10 at the Petit Bras d’Or. It is documented here that Joseph was born on the Island of Miquelon, has resided in Cape Breton for the past 24 years and is married with eight children.3 John is now 17 years old.
On September 25, 1812, at the age of 19 years, John Young married Catherine Boutilier. Catherine is the daughter of Frederic Nicholas Boutilier and Anna Barbara Magdalena Hirtle. In 1807, Frederic Boutilier and his family relocated from Lunenburg County to Cape Breton County. Based on land petitions registered in Cape Breton County, Frederic Nicolas Boutilier petitioned for 600 acres at Mill Creek in 1808.4 Mill Creek is located on Boularderie Island about 5 kilometres north of the village of Petit Bras d’Or.
At the time of the 1818 census, John Young was 25 years old and living in Petit Bras d’Or with his wife Catherine, who is 26 years old. They have 2 children. He identifies his country as Newfoundland and the country of his parents as France. Interestingly, his father, Joseph Young Sr. is listed as a carpenter with 4 children under age and also living in Petit Bras d’Or. Joseph Sr. is 55 years old and identifies his country as Newfoundland but the country of his parents is identified as Nova Scotia. The reference to Newfoundland is to the Island of Miquelon.5
Based on information provided in the 1818 census, it is reasonable to conclude that Flehaven Young is John Young’s brother. Flehaven is 23 years old, married but without children. Flehaven Young is the only other Young who lists his country as Newfoundland and the country of his parents as France.5
An earlier mention of Flehaven Young comes in 1816, when Flehaven petitions for land at Little Bras d’Or, near North Sydney on Cape Breton Island.
In a petition to Fitzherbert, Flavin Young, age 23, born in Bras d’Or asks for a lot at Bras d’Or.6 There is no indication that Flavin was granted this land.
During the period between 1800 and 1830, the records include many land petitions on behalf of the Young families of Petit Bras d’Or. It is of some interest, that Flavin Young petitioned only once in 1816 and it is even more interesting that there were no land petitions recorded on behalf of John Young.
According to the 1818 census, Francis Young Sr., the son of Christophe LeJeune, was also living in Petit Bras d’Or. Francis was married to Martha Young, who was Joseph’s sister. Francis and Martha lived on 470 acres known as “Mon Espoir” which included Lots 7 and 8 at the French Village.8
In 1822, another land petition is registered in Cape Breton County;
“LeJeune, Joseph, Petitioner, a native of Newfoundland (Miquelon?), age 59, is married and has twelve children. He has lived for thirty years on a lot on the south side of Little Bras d’Or, surveyed for him. He asks a grant. Note: Petitioner has lately been intruded upon by one, Burchal, who claims the only good part of this lot. Note: “This only land to which petitioner, a Calker by profession and a boat builder, can have any claim is lot 10, south side of the Gut of Canso (likely should be St. Andrew’s Channel) near French Village 100 acres, on which he resided…..One son lately sold his share to George Burchal, who immediately petitioned and received a Warrant of Survey.”8
From the last will and testament of Joseph King of Petit Bras d’Or, dated April 3, 1829;
“the last Will and Testament of JOSEPH KING of Little Bras D’Or in the County of Cape Breton yeoman deceased ……………………………………………………………………………….. I give to my well beloved nephew, HENRY YOUNG , son of JOHN YOUNG of Little Bras D’Or in the County of Cape Breton who will likewise constitute, make and ordain the sole executor of this my last Will and Testament, all and singular?? my lands…………..”
Joseph King was married to Elizabeth Boutilier. Elizabeth and Catherine were sisters. Henry Young married Mary Anne Jesseau and raised a family in the Petit Bras d’Or area.
Over the next 20 years, there is little evidence of the whereabouts of John and Catherine. Then in 1851, at Bay St. George, on the west coast of Newfoundland, a George Young and Susan Webb revalidate their marriage. The ceremony was performed by Father Alex Belanger and took place at the St. George’s Mission;
“January twenty-fourth, eighteen hundred and fifty one, after being granted the dispensation of consanguinity from the second to the third degree, and the power given to us by Monsignor John Mullock, bishop of Newfoundland, we the undersigned priests, missionaries of Bay St. George have received once again, the mutual consent of marriage, first given before lay witnesses, of George Young, son of John Young and of Catherine Bouthillier of this mission and by Suzanne Webb, daughter of Jacques Webb and Marie Camus of this mission. We have given them the sacrament of matrimony according to the rites of the apostolic catholic church in the presence of witnesses, George Lent and Damien Gaumond, who could not sign.
Signed: Alex Belanger, VG”
This documentation, not only identifies another son of John and Catherine, but also states quite clearly that John and Catherine are alive and “of this mission”, which would clearly mean the west coast of Newfoundland. This record of George and Suzanne’s wedding is the only reference to John and Catherine at this point in time.
Were John and Catherine living at Bay St. George in 1851?
During the 1820s and 30’s, many families from Petit Bras d’Or relocated to Western Newfoundland. In 1818, there were 61 families living in the district of Petit Bras d’Or, which included the “French Village”. 30 of these families were made up of Youngs, Jesseaus and Marshs. By the mid-1800’s, these 3 families were very well represented on the west coast of Newfoundland. It is possible that John and Catherine moved to Bay St. George during that period. It may be, that John was the “……….One son (who) lately sold his share to George Burchal, ……………” in 1822.
British surveyor J. B. Jukes visited the western shore of Newfoundland in 1839-40.9 Juke’s account of his visit to Bay St. George included the following comment;
“The population seemed to be about half French, the rest English, Jerseyman, and a few Indians. There might be perhaps 500 or 600 people at this time (August 25), but these are mostly transitory inhabitants. The French all leave in November and return in May, and most of the others retire either to more distant settlements or to houses in the woods on the opposite shore during the winter.”
The community referred to in his report is Sandy Point, with the opposite shore being St. Georges. The “French” include 24 families and are listed as natives of Cape Breton. About half of the “French” families are represented by Youngs, Jesseaus or Marchs.
Included in Juke’s list, are 4 families living at the “Gout” or “Le Belier”. The “Gut” describes the confluence of the three major rivers that flow into Bay St. George near the bottom of the bay. Historically, the three rivers that flow through the “Gut” carried large numbers of migrating atlantic salmon in the spring and summer. There is no doubt that the salmon would have attracted fisherman and their families. “St. Georges River” was sometimes used to describe the flow through “The Gut”. It was also known as “Main River” or “Main Gut”. With the arrival of the railway, the area would become part of Stephenville Crossing.
One of the families listed was a Jn Young. It is assumed that Jn is a shortened version of John. John has indicated that he is 38 years old, a native of St. Pierre and has lived at this location for the past 8 years.9 Family size is indicated as 50. Could this be John and Catherine?
In 1818, he identified his country as Newfoundland (meaning the Island of Miquelon). Since he is now living in Newfoundland, he might identify St. Pierre (Miquelon) as his country?
In 1858, Henry H. Forrest, a merchant at St. Georges, provided a list of families to the Governor of Newfoundland.10 Most of the Young families in Bay St. George at this time were part of the family of Jacque (James Young) LeJeune and Catherine Jesseau. Jacque was the son of Christophe LeJeune, who relocated from Petit Bras d’Or to Bay St. George in 1826.
This 1858 list also included a J. Young (Flewen). Also living in Bay St. George at this time is Andre “Flavin” LeJeune. Between 1849 and 1870, Andre “Flavin” Young and his wife Elizabeth raised at least nine children. The family lived in Middle Brook, which was formerly known as “Flavin’s Gultch”.
Did John Young and his brother Flavin Young relocate to the west coast of Newfoundland? We may never find out. Before the arrival of Father Belanger in 1850, there is very little record of the people who lived in Bay St. George.
Nonetheless, it would be reasonable to suggest that John and Flavin were attracted to the fishing on the west coast of Newfoundland and it just may be that Flavin Young and his family settled at Flavin’s Gultch (Middle Brook) and John and Catherine settled at the “Gout” or “Le Belier” (Stephenville Crossing).
1 Cape Breton no.: 198 NSARM microfilm: 15789
2 Cape Breton no.: 395 NSARM microfilm: 15789
3 Cape Breton no.: 650 NSARM microfilm: 15790
4 Cape Breton no.: 461 NSARM microfilm: 15790
5 1818 List of Inhabitants in District of Little Bras d’Or
6 Cape Breton no.: 1472, NSARM microfilm: 15794
7 Cape Breton no.: 2065 NSARM microfilm: 15796
8 Cape Breton no.: 2841 NSARM microfilm: 15798
9 Jukes List of Inhabitants of the Western Shore – J. B. Jukes 1839-40
10 List of Destitute Families of St. George’s Bay – H. H. Forrest, 28 Oct 1858