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the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
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Who were the Benoist family - can you tell us a bit about them?
The following excerpts about the Benoist family were taken from Brenda Dunn’s report, Block 2 - Fortress of Louisbourg Report, (H D 17 R), September 1971, rev. 1978.
“Benoist seems to have led a very comfortable life in his Rue Toulouse home. When his wife, Anne Levron, died in January of 1733 an inventory was made in December of the communauté held with Benoist. Luxuries included 401 livres worth of silver (12 place settings, a lady's belt buckle, and a serving dish), 60 faience plates, two beds with mattresses and bedding worth 295 livres and 100 livres respectively, and an 18-year old Negro slave named Charles, valued at 512 livres. The clothing of Anne Levron and her daughter was estimated at 883 livres 10 sols and included such things as 38 chemises a femme, a robe de chambre of damasked satin worth 120, livres, and 14 bonnets. The Lot C residence and property, which Benoist was occupying, were evaluated at 4,000 livres while a property in Block 22 was evaluated at 1,500 livres. The communauté amounted to 10,383 livres 12 sols 9 deniers”. [B. Dunn, Block 2 - Fortress of Louisbourg Report (H D 17 R), September 1971, rev. 1978, p.78]
“Benoist apparently engaged in illicit gambling. In 1728 a game of Pharaon "chez Benoist" was stopped by St. Ovide." [Ibid.]
"…It seems that Benoist and his family were in Port Toulouse from at least 1742 to 1745. In January of 1734, after the communauté with his first wife had been established, he married Anne Jaçau, the daughter of Thomas Jaçau, the master cannonier. In 1740, Benoist, then a lieutenant, was still residing in Lot C. By 1742, however, he was the commandant at Port Toulouse. It seems that his family was with him for, when the English attacked in 1745, he lost the "greatest part of his moveable possessions". The last reference to Pierre Benoist or Anne Jaçau in the Louisbourg parish records was in April of 1741. It is possible that two of their five children were born in Port Toulouse, since the baptisms of only three were registered in Louisbourg.. If Benoist's family accompanied him to Port Toulouse, there is no indication who occupied his Lot C house in Louisbourg.
Benoist's finances continued to decline following his personal losses at Port Toulouse in 1745. During the New England occupation of Louisbourg (1745-49) he was transferred to Rochefort where his family incurred large expenses, partially through illness. When he returned to Louisbourg in 1749, Benoist found his Lot C house in a dilapidated state. Charles Des Herbieres De La Ralière and Jacques Prevost de La Croix reported that it was "inhabitable et presque abatue" while Marianne Benoist described it to be "toute delabré et presque hors d etat a etre occupée" [Ibid. p.80]