Search Website Design and Content © by Eric Krause, Krause House Info-Research Solutions (© 1996)
      All Images © Parks Canada Except Where Noted Otherwise
Report/Rapport © Parks Canada / Parcs Canada  --- Report Assembly/Rapport de l'assemblée © Krause House Info-Research Solutions

Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada



Microfiche Report Series 83


Margaret Fortier


Fortress of Louisbourg

Part Two - The Outports


Named for two rock formations in its harbour which resemble whales, Baleine was the easternmost settlement on the south coast of Ile Royale. [1] It was the site of an unsuccessful attempt at settlement by a group of Scots in 1629. [2] In his account of the island in 1672 Nicholas Denys reported that the land which lay between Baleine and Baie Des Espagnols was "worth very little, although there are fine woods on the tops of the hills, such as birches and beeches, and for the greater part Firs and some Pines". [3]

The terrain between Petit Laurembec and Baleine was described in 1753 as raised land "entierement deserteur" to Baleine, which is "garnies de Rochers, quanitité de molieres et des terres tourbouses". Some 300 to 400 toises around the harbour was covered with pasturage and some prairie. In 1756 Pontleroy reported that although it took a bit longer to go from Petit Laurembec to Baleine along the coast, this route was better than the road since the latter was usually too wet for easy travel. [4] Moving east from here the land was said to be equally deserted, covered in part by stoney or wet ground and without any trees. [5] In 1752 La Roque declared that this section of the coast was impassable to men on foot "mais bien à toute Sorte de gros Betail". The reason for this, he explained, was that the land was covered with 10 to 15 pieds of turf and, in some places, "l'on y trouve pas de fonds et elle est encore beauccups trempée". [6]

Land for a church and presbytery was granted in 1717 which measured 200 toises in width. This land was situated on the northeast side of the harbour adjoining the concessions granted to Pierre Carrerot and George De Lasson. [7] In 1726 both buildings were destroyed by fire. Père Zachery of the Récollets was listed as residing in Baleine in 1734. In 1753 the church land was described as having no garden. [8]

In 1725 the French pay ship, Le Chameau, foundered off the southeastern tip of Ile Royale, not far from Baleine, with the loss of all 216 on board. A massive search to recover her valuable cargo was instigated immediately. Divers were brought in from Québec, and soldiers were offered a bounty of one-third of all they turned in. One hundred and eighty bodies were recovered and were buried near Pointe aux Cannes or Cap Breton, the most southerly point of the island. [9]

Holland remarked in 1767 that Baleine, or Wheelock's Cove as he renamed it, had once held many families who "with immense Labour" cleared land fit for gardening. He found only three English families there with shallops for fishing. 10 The following table lists those known to have settled or owned land in Baleine from 1717 to 1758. [11]