Joseph Le Jeune (1729-aft 1811) and Martine Le Roy (1738-aft 1811)
There are many LEJEUNE stories in the history of Acadia, but perhaps the most fascinating is the story of Joseph and Martine.
In 1752, a Frenchman named Joseph de la Roque made a voyage to Isle Royale (Cape Breton Island). His orders were to carry out a census of the island. The results would be referred to as the “Inspection Voyage of Sieur de la Roque – Ilse Royale of 1752”.
According to this census, Joseph is 22 years old and living in Baye Des Espagnols (Sydney Harbour) on Isle Royale (Cape Breton Island), with his father Germain LEJEUNE. Joseph is the son of Germain’s first wife, Marie Anne TRAHAN, who died earlier. With Joseph is Germain’s second wife, Marie GUEDRY and their children. Martine is also living at Baye Des Espagnols (Sydney Harbour) with her parents Charles LE ROY and Marie Charlotte CHAUVET.
The following are excerpts from that 1752 census for Baye Des Espagnols (Sydney Harbour) on Isle Royale (Cape Breton Island);
Germain LEJEUNE, ploughman. native of la Cadie, aged 50. Married to Marie GUEDRY, native of la Cadie, aged 40 years. In this country for 18 months.
Joseph aged 22 years
Chrisostime, aged 12 years
Paul, aged 11 years
Marguerite, aged 16 years
Charles LE ROY, ploughman. native of Paris, age 52 years. Marie Charlotte CHAVET, his wife, native of la Cadie, aged 52 years.
Alexandre, aged 22 years
Charles, aged 18 years
Alexis, aged 10 years
Margueritte, aged 24 years
Anne, aged 16 years
Martine, aged 14 years
Ossite, aged 7 years
Also living with Charles LE ROY is;
Jean FOURNIER, his son-in-law, native of Quebec, aged 33
Genevieve LE ROY, his wife, native of the same place, aged 22 years.
Charles LEJEUNE, his son-in-law, ploughman, native of la Cadie, aged 23 years.
Marie LE ROY, his wife, native of the same place, aged 20 years.
They have been the colony two years on July 22.
Before 1750, the LELEUNES and the LE ROYS lived in the village of Pisiquid (present day Windsor, Nova Scotia) together with other French families who had been living in Acadia for more than a hundred years. During that time, the fighting between the English and the French for control of the territory has only been interrupted by the signing of treaties, which produced only short periods of uneasy peace.
The Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, gave control of Acadia and Newfoundland to the English, while the French retained control of Isle Royale (Cape Breton Island) and Isle St. Jean (Prince Edward Island). The French would retain the right to fish off the west coast of Newfoundland, which became known as “the French Shore”. During the period between 1713 and the 1740’s, the residents of Pisiquid lived in relative peace.
By the late 1740s, there is an increased English presence in the Halifax area. In 1750, the English established a military presence in Pisiquid with the construction of Fort Edward. It is easy to understand how the arrival of the English military might have impacted this peaceful community. It was no coincidence that, in 1750, many of the residents of Pisiquid, including Germain LEJEUNE and his family would relocate to Isle Royale (Cape Breton). At the time, it was reasonable to assume that immigrating to Isle Royale would provide some security. Both Isle Royale and Isle St. Jean seemed safe havens from the English.
Five years later, in 1755, the Acadian residents who remained at Pisiquid would be rounded up, placed on ships and deported to the American colonies and other parts of the world. Their homes are burned. The Acadian families now living at Baye Des Espagnols on Isle Royale have escaped this first assault. The area would eventually become known as Petit Bras d’Or and locally as “the French Village”. The French Fortress of Louisbourg is located approximately 50 kilometres southeast of Petit Bras d’Or.
Joseph and Martine were married at Louisbourg on 5 November 1754;
“JOSEPH LE JEUNE, originaire de LAcadie Eveche de Quebec et actuellement habitant de l’Espanole fils legitime de germain et de Marie Trahan d ‘une part et MARTINE LE ROY aussi originaire de L’acadie fille de Charles Le Roy et de Marie Chauvet d’autre part”
Publication de trois bans.
Clement Rosselin cure
chap. ray. de St. L.
A.F.O., G1, 409,1 registre: 37v.
Acte de Mariage Louisbourg, Ie 5 novembre 1754.
“Joseph LEJEUNE, native of lacadie, diocese of Quebec and currently a resident of Baye Des Espagnols, legitimate son of Germain and Marie TRAHAN on the one part and Martine LE ROY also native of lacadie, daughter of Charles LE ROY and Marie CHAUVET on the other part.”
Publication of three banns.
Clement Rosselin cure
chap. ray. de St. L.
A.F.O., G1, 409,1 registre: 37v.
Acte de Mariage Louisbourg, Ie 5
In 1745, the fortress of Louisbourg was attacked by the English, who were joined by forces from the American colonies. In the short term, the French retained control by negotiating a treaty in 1748. The English again attacked Louisbourg in 1758. This time, they not only defeated the French, but they completely destroyed the fortress. The English now have control of Isle Royale and Isle St. Jean.
Subsequently, Acadians living along the coast of Isle Royale were rounded up, placed on ships and deported. Their homes were burned. All French residents, including Joseph and Martine are deported to La Rochelle, France. Martine’s mother died shortly after arriving in France. One can only imagine the trauma and turmoil of such an upheaval. By this time, the LEJEUNE family had been living in Acadia for more than four generations. These Acadian families became refugees in their mother country, which in many respects was quite foreign. In 1761, while living in Rochefort, France, Joseph and Martine had their fist child, Paul, who died shortly afterwards. The next year on August 13, 1762, a daughter, Marie-Henriette was born at La Rochelle.
In 1763, the Seven Years War ended with the Treaty of Paris. England takes over all French possessions in Acadia and France is left with the Islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon off the south coast of Newfoundland. Exiled Acadians, longing to return to Acadia, are attracted to St. Pierre and Miquelon. Joseph and Martine decide to return to the new world. This time, they arrive on the Island of Miquelon. In 1764, daughter Marthe is born and in 1766, a son, Charles “Joseph” is baptised on the Island of Miquelon.
By 1766, the French are becoming concerned about the numbers of French immigrants arriving on the islands. Apparently, it was a question of how many families these small islands could sustain. While many were sent back to France, permission was granted to a limited number of families to return to Acadia.
In the summer of 1767, three sailing vessels and five small open boats (chaloupes) departed St. Pierre for various destinations in Acadia. Some were destined for places like Cheezecook (near Halifax), Îles de la Madeleine, Bonaventure and Baie des Chaleurs in Gaspé and Prince Edward Island. Joseph, Martine and their three children returned to “the French Village” of Petit Bras d’Or near Sydney on Cape Breton Island. They are accompanied by Martine’s father, Charles LE ROY, her brother Alexis LE ROY and their niece Marianne FOURNIER.
This time, the family would live in Petit Bras d’Or for almost ten years. While there, a daughter, Radegonde (Barbara) was born in 1770. For some unknown reason, around 1777, the family decides to relocate to St. Pierre and Miquelon. The 1778 census for St. Pierre includes Joseph LEJEUNE, his wife and seven children. It is assumed that one of the children is Marianne FOURNIER. Unfortunately, the family had no idea what was about to happen. The English, led by the governor of Newfoundland, invaded the islands, burned the houses and expelled the population. Somehow, the English were again feeling threatened by the French. Joseph and Martine are once again crossing the ocean to La Rochelle, France, where they would spend the next five years. While living in France, a daughter Anne Marie is born and the oldest daughter Marie-Henrietta would marry Joseph COMEAU, a widower with six children.
The islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon are returned to France with the Treaty of Versailles in 1783, which ended the War of the American Revolution. Soon afterwards, Joseph and his family returned to the island of Miquelon off the south coast of Newfoundland. The family was accompanied by daughter Marie-Henriette with her husband Joseph COMEAU.
Shortly after their arrival in Miquelon, Henriette’s husband, Joseph COMEAU drowns and the family again relocates to Petit Bras d’Or on Cape Breton Island. It had been more than 25 years since they were first deported from Cape Breton Island. In that time, the family had crossed the Atlantic 4 times. Back in Petit Bras d’Or, Joseph’s family is reacquainted with the family of his half brother Christophe (Chrisostime) LEJEUNE who is also living in Petit Bras d’Or. It would appear that Christophe and his family had somehow missed the deportation. Within the next few years, four of the children of Joseph and Martine would marry four of Christophe’s children.