Notes for Joseph Beausoleil Broussard: Bona Arsenault notes he left Port Royal to establish himself at Chipoudy. He lived at Chipoudy until he went to Louisiana where he was Commandant of the Attakapas County (St. Martinville, LA)
THE MORNING ADVOCATE
Published on 3/3/99
All in the Family
By ANGELA SIMONEAUX Acadiana bureau
LAFAYETTE — Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil, Acadian patriot, is probably the primary reason so many Cajuns live in Louisiana today. Beausoleil first led the Acadian resistance to the British, and later asked that his families be deported to the same location and not separated.
And so it is appropriate that his descendants, the large and boisterous Broussard clan, are planning what promises to be the largest family reunion for Congrès Mondial Acadien this year.
CMA, the World Acadian Congress, began in 1994, when nearly 225,000 Acadians from around the world were reunited in southeastern New Brunswick for the first time since the 1755 deportation.
The second CMA will be held in August with two weeks of activities planned — the first week in the Houma-Thibodaux region and the second week in the Lafayette-Lake Charles region.
This year’s gatherings coincide with Louisiana’s statewide celebration of its French heritage on the 300th anniversary of French explorer Iberville’s 1699 expedition to Louisiana.
Events planned include concerts, academic conferences, tours, festival-like activities and family reunions.
The Famille Beausoleil, as the Broussard family calls itself, already has had a minireunion in, where else, Broussard, and has plans in place for a huge family reunion in Blackham Coliseum the weekend before the Congrès starts.
More than 500 people now belong to the Famille, according to Brent Broussard, one of the group’s organizers.
The key, he said, is organization.
"We have regular monthly meetings; that’s a big part of it," Broussard said. "And getting people involved."
Broussard became involved after seeing an advertisement in a newspaper asking for volunteers to help plan family reunions for Congrès.
He called the CMA office and was sent an organization packet. He thought he was just volunteering to help someone else set up the whole thing, he remembers.
"I found out that I was it," he said.
Broussard organized a meeting of about 17 Broussards in Abbeville, and they formed a committee to get the ball rolling.
"We’ve been working hard to get participation from the Broussards and related families," Broussard said. "We’re inviting everyone to join us. The reunions are going to be the core of the Congrès."
At the first Congrès, organizers made the mistake of putting their money and emphasis on conferences and other activities, explains Valerie Roy, CMA director of communications.
But it turned out that the participants were more interested in meeting their cousins, she said. The 1999 CMA will not make that mistake.
"We’re putting the emphasis where the people want it. It’s the most important part of the Congrès," Roy said. "After what happened, after the Acadians had to leave Nova Scotia, a lot of them were separated from their families. So this is something all the Acadians have wanted for a long time."
More than 80 families so far have signed up to hold reunions during the CMA.
"A lot of the Acadian families are meeting for the first time, but some of them meet every couple of years," Roy said.
Those interested in attending a reunion may call the CMA office at (888) 526-1999 to find out about their family’s plans.
Because they share a dramatic history, many Acadians are interested in their genealogy; Broussard is one of them. It’s been his hobby for the past 10 years. He started tracing his roots soon after learning the true significance of his forebear, Beausoleil, to the history of the Acadians.
Joseph and his brother, Alexandre, were among the primary resisters to the British attempts to remove French settlers from Acadia in the mid-18th century.
They resorted to guerrilla-like tactics to fight the British, and are considered to be the first Europeans to use such tactics. After years of resistance, the brothers surrendered and were deported.
After an unsuccessful attempt at colonization in Santo Domingo, the family settled in Louisiana.
"The people in Canada are surprised when they learn that there is no monument to him here," Broussard said. "He is a hero there."
The story of the Broussards’ deportation and eventual settlement in Louisiana mirrors that of so many Cajun families. Those stories will be told at the myriad family reunions planned this fall.
"It’s heartbreaking, what actually happened," Broussard said of the deportation, known as le Grand Dérangement.
Some Acadians signed allegiance to the king of England and were allowed to remain. Others were imprisoned; others deported.
Beausoleil was imprisoned in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1764. Eventually, he was allowed to leave.
"He came to New Orleans in the early spring of 1765," Broussard said.
That April, Beausoleil signed a contract with a cattle rancher named d’Auterive, and conducted one of the first cattle drives across the Atchafalaya Basin.
"To this day, there are still a lot of Broussards who raise cattle," Broussard said. "I raised cattle until I got married. My grandfather, all his relatives, all had cattle. They’re not there to raise money, it’s in the blood."
There’s more in the blood, Broussard learned during his visits to New Brunswick. He tells of meeting Canadians who resemble his relatives back home.
"It’s really something," he said.
Roy said she knows what Broussard is talking about.
"I find the same thing. I’m from New Brunswick, and I see people and immediately have the feeling I’ve met them before," she said.
"The reunions are the most important part of the Congrés," said Roy. "If we did not have the reunions, there would be no point in even having the Congrés."
SUNDAY, AUGUST 1, 1999 THE SUNDAY ADVOCATE
Grand reunion makes festive time
By ANGELA SIMONEAUX Acadiana bureau
LAFAYETTE -- When Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil and his Acadian resistance army surrendered to the British, their first request was that their families not be separated.
Through the long and difficult deportation, the Broussards worked hard to stay together. More than two centuries later, they have accomplished their ancestor's goal.
The Famille Beausoleil began its reunion Friday night, one of the first events of Congrès Mondial Acadien Louisiane, an international reunion of the descendants of the Acadians who were deported from what is now Nova Scotia.
The reunion was in full swing by Saturday, when hundreds of Broussards and descendants of Broussards came to Blackham Coliseum to see their cousins.
"It's going great," said Brent Broussard, one of the reunion organizers.
"We have family here from all over the United States. We have Broussards from New Jersey, from Wyoming. The Texas Broussards are showing up en masse."
Raymond Broussard and his wife, Luella, came from Vidor, Texas.
"We first heard about this reunion over a year ago, and we started planning to head in this direction," Raymond Broussard said.
Raymond Broussard was born and raised in Texas, but his father was from New Iberia, his mother from Lydia. Luella, whose maiden name is Bodin, is a native of Jeanerette.
Both trace their genealogy back to Beausoleil and his brother, Alexandre.
Raymond Broussard's father is a descendant of Alexandre, his mother of Joseph. Luella Broussard's mother is a descendant of Joseph.
The backbone of the Congrès are the reunions. Over the next two weeks, more than 100 families of Acadian descent will hold reunions across South Louisiana.
The first Congrès, Congrès Mondial Acadien Retrouvailles, was held in 1994 in New Brunswick, Canada. It is hoped that the third will be held in Nova Scotia in 2004, the year that marks the 400th anniversary of the founding of Acadie.
One of the activities planned for each reunion is genealogy research.
That activity was a big success at the Broussard reunion.
"We're getting information from people, and filling in the blanks," Brent Broussard said.
There were three computers and various genealogy books available for Broussards to track their family lines, and many genealogists were picking the brains of the older Broussards for memories.
Most Louisiana Broussards track their lines back to Joseph and Alexandre, who were the leaders of the Acadian resistance to the British before their surrender in 1764, nearly a decade after the Grand Derangement, as the main deportation of the Acadians is known.
After a brief stop in Saint Domingue, the brothers arrived in Louisiana in the spring of 1765. They died within a year.
In Nova Scotia, Beausoleil is a hero and is honored with many monuments. He got one in Louisiana Saturday night, when a plaque was unveiled commemorating his founding of the town of Broussard.
The bronze bas relief sculpture will be hung on a monument in front of Broussard's town hall. The design was created by Lafayette sculptor Celia Soper, from a drawing done by her husband, painter Patrick Soper.
The sculpture features an Attakapas Indian and an Acadian woman, the original settlers of the area, Celia Soper explained. They overlook cane fields, the crops the settlers planted and harvested, she said. There also is a man on a horse, a portrait of a famous Broussard resident who led a band of vigilantes near the end of the Civil War, and a steam train like the ones that used to pass through the cane fields, she said.
The centerpiece of the sculpture is a portrait of Beausoleil, which the Sopers created with some help from local historians.
Across the bottom is a banner with the current name of the town, Broussard, and the original name, Cote Geleé.
"When they first arrived here, it was cold, and there was frost on the ground," Celia Soper explained. "They named it Cote Geleé, which means 'frozen hill.'"
J. Maxie Broussard, a longtime politician and a reunion organizer, thanked the people of Broussard for planning and funding the monument.
"We are deeply appreciative of the gratitude and respect in this gesture," Broussard said. "We feel tremendously honored. It touches us in our hearts."
LIVESTOCK CONTRACTS GIVE CLUES TO BROSSARD FAMILY
By Damon Veach Genealogy columnist/The Times-Picayune May 23, 1999
On April 4, 1765, in New Orleans, Joseph dit Beausoleil Brossard, his brothers Alexandre and Jean Baptiste, his son Victor, Jean Dugas, Joseph Guille, Oliver Thibaudau, and Pierre Arcenaiud signed a contract with Antoine Bernard d'Hauterive. The agreement was that d'Hauterive would provide each family with eight cows and a bull for the families to farm in the Attakapas region on a profit-sharing basis. This agreement is recognized as the beginning of the Acadian cattle industry in Acadiana.
To commemorate this historical event as part of the countdown to Congres Mondial-Acadien, the Famille Beausoleil Association (Broussard families) will re-enact this historical signing at 2 p.m. May 29 at its reunion meeting. The meeting and the re-enactment will be staged in the former Richard Cattle Sales Barn (now Richard's Stockyard Saddle Repair), located in Abbeville, one mile south of the intersection of Louisiana 14 at 1307 South Henry Drive.
Joseph Surname: Broussard (Brossard) Sobriquet: dit Beausoleil Date of Birth: 1/1/1702 Birthplace: Shepody, Acadia
Mother: Catherine Richard Father: Jean-François Broussard Marriage: Married Agnès Thibodeau, daughter of Michel Thibodeau and Agnès Dugas, September 1725. Children: Jean-Grégoire (born 1726), Joseph "Petit Joe," Victor Grégoire (born ca. 1728), Raphaël (born 1733), Timothée (born 1741), Amand (born ca. 1745), François, Isabelle, Amand, Claude Eloy, and Françoise Exile: Participated in French skirmishes against British forces near Fort Beauséjour, 1755. Led sixty men against the British forces beseigning Fort Beauséjour on June 16, 1755. Granted provisional amnesty by Col.Robert Monckton in exchange for Broussard's services as mediator between the British military and the French-allied Micmac Indians. Later organized Acadians in present-day New Brunswick into a resistance movement. Obtailed from the Canadian governor letters of marque and outfitted a privateer that captured several British ships in the Bay of Fundy. In November 1758, he led members of the Acadian resistance against British troops attempting to destroy Acadian settlements along the Petitcodiac River; wounded in the foot in the ensuing battle. Subsequently moved his family to the Miramichi River area. Identified by British General Jeffrey Amherst as the charismatic leader of the Acadian resistance, August 1761. When his followers faced famine, Broussard sued for peace. On the rolls as a prisoner of war at Fort Edward, ca. July 12, 1762. Subsequently moved to detention camps at Halifax, but his wife and children remained at Fort Edward. British records from Fort Edward, dated August 9, 1762, indicate that five members of his family were held as prisoners, but the family received only 3 1/3 rations. Released and later arrested at Pisiquid, Nova Scotia, and brought before the governor's council for carrying a letter from French authorities to the Acadians. Jailed until 1764. Louisiana: Helped organize the migration of former Acadian prisoners at Halifax to Louisiana by way of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti). Departing Halifax in November 1764, Broussard and his followers arrived at New Orleans in February 1765. Joined with other Acadian leaders in signing a contract to grow cattle on shares for Antoine Bernard Dauterive, April 4, 1765. Louisiana's French colonial governor appointed Broussard the first commandant of the Attakapas district, April 8, 1765. Departed with the Acadians for the Attakapas country, ca. late April 1765. The fragmentary extant documentation suggests that he settled with his brother Alexandre in the Fausse Pointe area. Circumstances of Death: The date of his death is the subject of some considerable debate, because of the existence of two burial entries for Acadians named Joseph Broussard. The first indicates that he died in the Attakapas district on September 5, 1765. Death Occurred At: Attakapas district, Louisiana Interred At: Beausoleil settlement (location presently unknown) Date of Burial: Sources: C. J. d'Entremont, "Brossard (Broussard), dit Beausoleil, Joseph," Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3, pp. 87-88; Régis Sygefroy Brun, "Listes des Prisoniers Acadiens au Fort Edward," Cahiers de la Société Historique Acadienne, 3, no. 4, 24ième cahier (1969): 158-164; 3, no. 5, 25ième cahier (1969): 188-192; Grover Rees, trans., "The Dauterive Compact: The Foundation of the Acadian Cattle Industry," Attakapas Gazette, 11 (1976): 91; Hébert, Southwest Louisiana Records, rev. ed., vol. 1A, p. 137; Conover, Broussard, 5.
More About Joseph Beausoleil Broussard: Burial: 20.October.1765, St. Martinville, LA.333
More About Joseph Beausoleil Broussard and Agnès Annette Thibodeaux: Marriage: 11.September.1725, Port Royal, Acadie.334
Children of Joseph Beausoleil Broussard and Agnès Annette Thibodeaux are: