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


An Introductory Manual for Staff at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site



The diversity of Louisbourg society is often difficult for visitors to grasp. Though a community of only a few thousand people, it was at one and the same time a fortified town with a large garrison, a bustling commercial seaport, and a major base for France's Northwest Atlantic fishery. Moreover, it had a very cosmopolitan make-up. Not only was there the predictable mix of Old and New World French (which in itself was quite a mix), but there were also hundreds of Basque fishermen in port each summer, a large contingent of Swiss and German soldiers in the garrison, a few dozen Irish servants around the town and numerous visiting New England merchants.

As Louisbourg was a community where European traditions blended with North American opportunities, it is essential that we understand each of the major influences. We will begin by looking at 18th century France.

Ancien Regime France

Economically prosperous and culturally advanced, France was in most I spheres the leader of 18th-century European civilization. French fashions and tastes were widely copied, and the French language became the chief language of Europe, especially for the nobility and in diplomacy. Similarly, in the arts, sciences and philosophy, French writers and thinkers (such as Voltaire, Montesquieu, Diderot and Marivaux) were among the leaders of the Age of Enlightenment.

In legal terms, France of the Ancien Régime was composed of three estates (états): the clergy, the nobility and everyone else. In reality, however, French society was much more complex. Each of the three estates can, and should be, broken down in turn, revealing a multitude of levels or tiers.

Within the first estate were high and low clergy alike, although the former were virtually all of noble birth and the latter of bourgeois or lesser origin.

In similar fashion, the second estate ranged from a select circle of great aristocrats and landed nobels of long lineage to the thousands of nobles who had purchased their titles relatively recently. The more established group did not accept the parvenus as equals and jealously guarded from possible encroachment every right or privilege their families had gained over the years.

The third estate, to which the overwhelming majority of the population belonged, had the most diverse composition of all. Members of the upper (haute) bourgeoisie included non-noble civil servants, financiers and merchants, while the lesser or petty (petite) bourgeoisie consisted of doctors, lawyers, storekeepers and craftsmen who owned their own shops. Beneath these groups were the urban labourers and servants; lower still came the millions of peasants who worked the land. It is estimated that peasants formed approximately 90 per cent of France's population under the Ancien Régime.

Apologists and theoreticians of the Ancien Régime interpreted the prevailing social structure as being part of the logical ordering of the universe. As the sun constituted the center of the solar system, so the king was the center of society, and the man the center of the family. Also, as all creatures, divine and mortal, were arranged on a descending scale from God to angels to man to animals and so forth, so society was conceived of in terms of different classes or estates. Seen as ordained and correct, this quite rigid social structure is thought to have given security to the individual by assuring everyone an established position in society. Consequently, attempts to change this class structure or otherwise disrupt the status quo were usually viewed as attacks against the very fabric of civilization.

The costume and behaviour of any particular social group reflects its members' affluence and aspirations. The nobility of 18th century France provide a supreme example of this phenomenon. In feudal Europe the nobility had defended the populace and provided armies for the king in war. By the 16th century the creation of a royal standing army had undermined this military role, and by the 18th century the only remnant of this activity was the small ceremonial sword worn by gentlemen for decoration. Nevertheless, while the king held and wielded most of the realm's power, the nobility still owned extensive land holdings, and hence, possessed vast wealth. The use of stewards and other servants freed this monied class to indulge in pleasurable cultural pursuits. Everything in their life-style and manner emphasized their wealth and position, especially the fact that they did not have to work.

The clothing of the nobility was elaborate and expensive, made from rich materials in pastel colours, not suitable for labour of any kind. Corsets and hoops restricted and restrained the body, as did the tight fit, permitting no physical exertion. The high-heeled shoes were made of fragile fabrics and fine leathers, totally unsuitable for hard use. Both men and women, influenced by the ideals of beauty found in the classical statuary of white marble, wore makeup and powdered wigs. This elaborate dress in turn required servants for the necessary hours of preparation, the possession of which further underlined the nobility's position and wealth.

The ornate dress was part of an integrated whole. The graceful poses of figures in ancient art and sculpture were copied in everyday life. A graceful walk and poise in all movements became social necessities. Conversation was conducted in a low-pitched tone, with a witty repartee being essential to civilized communication. Dining became another form of social recreation, with elaborate and complex meals of many exotic and rich dishes. Also expected was the ability to read, not only in French, but in Latin and other European languages, such as Italian or Spanish. Dancing, card games and flirtation largely completed the gamut of recreational activities.

To the great annoyance of the nobility, the wealthiest members of the third estate attempted to copy their lifestyle, albeit usually without the same grace or studied indifference. The lesser bourgeoisie had less time or money for such pursuits, so they tended to wear more serviceable clothing in strong, dark-coloured materials, although finer clothes were often used for church or evening wear. Makeup and powdered hair appeared only on special occasions, and then in a much simpler style. Meals were plainer with fewer courses and less fuss, the food being at least as important as the social manners. This lifestyle accommodated fewer servants-, of course. The lesser bourgeoisie appears to have been more family-oriented than either the nobility or the poorer elements in society.

For the urban and rural poor, survival was the main concern. The children of peasants became peasants; urban labourers followed their parents "occupations. Often servants were people cut off from their families through poverty, death or some other calamity. Through necessity they attached themselves to bourgeoise or noble families, a desirable position in a world of few choices. For most of these people there was little talk of fashions or styles. They wore what was available; clothes passed on to them, purchased at an auction or acquired from some charity. Notable exceptions were those who served a wealthy master, and were therefore outfitted at someone else's expense.

Louisbourg Society

The heavy commercial orientation of Louisbourg, combined with the absence of any higher clergy and the relatively small number of lesser nobility, fostered a society in which the wealthiest and most prestigious members of the third estate were able to move easily into the town's highest social circles. Not only did non-noble merchants, financiers and senior civil servants socialize with noble governors and military officers, but they often married into their families.

Though the situation in Louisbourg was more open than that in France, with much greater room for upward social mobility based on wealth, such things as birth, background and grace remained of paramount importance. The elite of colonial society shared the same desire for status and the ability to display proper rank that characterized their counterparts in France of the haute bourgeoisie or lesser nobility. These desires manifested themselves not only in the costumes they wore, but also in such things as how they furnished their houses, where they sat in church or how they carried themselves in public.

Below the Louisbourg elite on the social plane were the less prosperous or less well-born merchants, junior civil servants and wealthy fishing proprietors. Beneath them were the small shop-owners, artisans, inn and tavern keepers. On the bottom rungs of the social ladder stood the fishermen, soldiers, servants and slaves, roughly in that order.

For all of these people clothing retained its importance as a symbol of identity and position. At a glance one could distinguish a servant from his master or a wealthy merchant from a tradesman. The presence or absence of wigs, powder, makeup, silks, brocade, and dozens of other aspects of a person's costume indicated the level of society in which he or she moved, or aspired to. French law forbade the weaving of cloth in the colony as a manufacture; so fabrics, like most other supplies, were imported. Consequently, the populace, by drawing upon Louisbourg's role as a trading centre, managed to keep reasonably abreast of current fashions in both garments and textiles.

The society which developed on Isle Royale, particularly at Louisbourg, resembled those of France and Canada yet had distinctive qualities which were particularly its own. Among the most important were:

i) absence of any kind of seigneurial system

ii) agriculture and the fur trade were of little economic importance; economic base was in fishing and commerce, with government spending also being important.

(iii) large number of transients (seasonal fishermen, merchants, troops, etc.)

(iv) no compulsory tithe (dîme)--tax to the church, usually set at 1/12 to 1/13 of one's income in France, at 1/26 in Canada.

(v) no parish church ever constructed, no clerical representatives in the Conseil Supérieur.


Who were the people of 18th-century Louisbourg?

The short answer - they were French, Roman Catholic, and either worked in the fishery or trade, or served in the military or in someone's kitchen - will be sufficient for many visitors. Some, however, are looking for a more in-depth response. They want to know specifically 1) what was Louisbourg's population and what was the gender ratio in town; 2) where were the inhabitants from; 3) what religion did they profess and 4) what languages did they speak?

Gender & Population

Throughout Louisbourg's 45-year history there was always an imbalance in the sexes, with males greatly outnumbering females. This is as one would expect, for Louisbourg began as a pioneer settlement (typically with few women) and then developed into a garrison town and busy seaport, both of which functions called for large numbers of unmarried men. n In the 1720s, adult males outnumbered adult females eight or ten to one. The gap decreased somewhat as the years went by, but even leaving out the military population, the ratio of adult males to females was never lower than three to ones [note1]. One of the impacts of this imbalance in the sexes was that women married younger at Louisbourg (average age at time of first marriage was 19.9) and men older (average was 29.2) than was the case elsewhere in New France. In the French settlements along the St. Lawrence River the comparable averages were 22.0 and 27.7 [note 2].

As for actual population totals, the following table summarizes some of the available data.

men (heads of household)
Servants (men & women)
domestiques (males)
servantes (females)
Women (heads/wives)
Habitants newly arrived
Households of governor and
Civilian Total
Total Population






There is no single document to tell us where the people of Louisbourg were from. There are many census, but only three of them list the places of origin for Louisbourg's population, and even then the place of birth in given only for the individuals who are identified as 'habitants' (heads of household). so such information is provided on the origins of the vast majority of the population: the hundreds of servants, fishermen and soldiers. Nor does the census data tell us about the birthplaces of wives. 'widows and single women who were heads of household are identified, but not ordinary married women.

The first Louisbourg census to include a 'Place of Birth' column was that of 1724 [note 3]. In that year the cenus-takers recorded that the town had a permanent civilian population of 890 persons. Of that total, 113 were identified by name and place of origin On the census of 1726, [note 4]. Louisbourg's civilian population was given as 951, of which 153 were listed as "habitants" with an identifiable place of origin. Eight years later, in 1734, [note 5] the town's population had grown to 1116, 163 of whom were listed by name. '`hat the town's population was in 1744 is not known, but it was probably around 2,000 civilian men, women and children. That estimate is roughly halfway between the recorded population of 1463 for the year 1737 and the total of 2690 for the year 1752 [note 6]. Keep in mind, however, that none of these figures include totals for the garrison, or for fishermen and others who might have been in town on only a seasonal basis.

Figure 1: Places of Origin of Louisbourg's 'Habitants', 1724, 1726 & 1734

Note: Most Normandy/Brittany individuals come from the Bay of St-Malo; Southwest France largely means Gascony and Beam; Midwest France consists of southern Brittany, Poitou, Aunts, Angoumois, Saintonge and parts of Guyenne.

In spite of their limitations, the three Louisbourg census - 1724, 1725 and 1734 - are of interest in that they provide data on the origins of the town's principal inhabitants during one 10-year period. In particular, the data underlines that as Louisbourg grew over time, it attracted fishing proprietors, merchants, artisans, cabaret owners and so on from a wide variety of regions in France, New France, and even foreign countries. Looking ahead into the 1740s and 1750s, though the data isn't there from census material, it is safe to say that locally-born inhabitants would have come to dominate increasingly.

Though the graphs of Figure 1 are largely self-explanatory, there are a few points worth making about the data they summarize. First, nearly everyone within the "Southwest Frances category came from the largely Basque, coastal region near the Spanish border. These individuals tended to be from St-Jean-de-Luz, Hendaye, Bayonne and Bidart. Second, about half of the people from "Midwest France" were from mayor urban centres: Bordeaux, Nantes, La Rochelle and Rochefort. The rest were from smaller towns and villages in Poitou and in the Saintonge, Armagnac and Perigord regions. Third - not surprisingly nearly everyone in the "Ile de Frances category came from Paris. Fourth, almost everyone from "Brittany/Normandy" was from a coastal settlement; St-Malo was the most common place of origin. Fifth, within the !'New France" category, in 1734 there were ten heads of household in Louisbourg who were born in Acadia, eight from Placentia, and two born on the colony of Ile Royale itself. Sixth, the mother Frances category includes individuals from all over the rest of France, from Picardy to Lyon and from Toulon to Champagne. One town that stood out on each census was Limoges. There were never any fewer than six 'habitants' in Louisbourg who hailed originally from Limoges. Seventh, the "Foreign" category in 1734 included three people from Switzerland and two each from Belgium, Flanders, and German states. But remember: this list of foreigners is only for individuals who were heads of household; there were others in town as soldiers, servants or in some other capacity.

Keeping in mind that the three census documents analysed above reveal only the places of birth of the 'habitants' category, it is important to use other sources to obtain an image of the rest of the Louisbourg population. On a 1752 listing of 199 of Ile Royale's ordinary fishermen, it is recorded that 48.7 per cent of the pêcheurs came from the southwest (largely Basque) corner of France, while 37.6 per cent were from [airman and Breton ports along the Gulf of St-Malo [note 7]. If one can assume that these two relatively small areas produced most of Ile Royale's and Louisbourg's ordinary fishermen throughout the colony's history, then we get a quite different picture than that provided by the 'habitants' on the census.

Marriage records are another source that must be considered. As part of the priest's writing up of each wedding he had to include the place of birth for each bride and groom. One virtue or such records is that a woman's place of origin is not subsumed under her husband's, as is usually the case in an 18th century census. A weakness, on the other hand, is that wedding data reveals nothing about people who are unmarried or already married when they come to live in Louisbourg. Another flaw is that a roll-up of marriage data over several decades does not offer a 'snapshot' of the town at any particular point in time. Nonetheless, it is useful to compare the origins of Louisbourg brides and grooms with the census data already presented. using Barbara Schmeisser's tabulations, [note 8] I have come up with the graphs on the next page.

Figure 2: Places of Origin of Louisbourg's Brides and Grooms 1722-45 and 1749-58

Brides, 1722-45:

a] New France 83.6%
b] Normandy/Brittany 5.8%
c] Southwest France 2.3%
d] Midwest France 4.7%
e] Other France 2.3%
f] Ile de France 0%
g] Foreign 1.2%

Brides, 1749-58:

a] New France 59.2%
b] Midwest France 13.9%
c] Normandy/Brittany 13.2%
d] Southwest France 5.9%
e] Other France 3.8%
f] Foreign 3.1%
g] Ile de France .7%

Grooms, 1722-45:

a] Normandy/Brittany 31%
b] Other France 21.7%
c] New France 16.3%
d] Southwest France 13.8%
e] Midwest France 8.4%
f] Ile de France 5.4%
g] Ile de France 2.9%

Grooms, 1749-58:

a] Other France 24.8%
b] Normandy/Brittany 22.5%
c] New France 21.2%
d] Southwest France 12.4%
e] Midwest France 11.4%
f] Foreign 4.9%
g] Foreign 3.4%

The two brides' graphs present a dramatically different picture from that obtained from the census data on Louisbourg's heads of households. (Compare with Fig. 1) Unlike the men of the town, the women of Louisbourg were predominately from the New World. Demographic pressures led most girls born in the colony to wed while still in their teens. By way of contrast, the grooms' graphs are similar to those for the 'habitants'. An exception is that there is a lower percentage of grooms from "Midwest France" and a higher percentage from "Other Frances".

A close look at all available parish records (marriages, baptisms and burials) for the periods 1722-45 and 1749-53 yields further insight into the origins and ethnic background of Louisbourg's civilian population. The limitation with the parish records as a source is that they have a "hit or miss" quality. Practicing Roman Catholics who happen to have married, had a child baptized or died while at Louisbourg are mentioned in this source, but we have no way of knowing how many other inhabitants (or transients) went unrecorded. Nonetheless, the parish records do provide us with an indication of the minimum number of individual in Louisbourg from different backgrounds. There are, for instance, references to a handful of Protestants from English, Irish or Scottish backgrounds who converted to Catholicism. There is also mention, over a period of decades and usually in the form of an adolescent's baptism, of dozens of blacks. These were generally slaves sent to the colony from the Antilles. Adult blacks who were already practicing Catholics had less likelihood to turn up in the parish records, unless they gave birth or married. There were even a few free blacks in Louisbourg, at least during the 1750s. In 1753, Jean-Baptiste Cupidon purchased his beloved's freedom in order to Barry her [note 9].

While blacks were the most common type of slave, a few North American Indians also ended up in Louisbourg as slaves. These seem to have been Pawnee Indians, for they are identified as "Panis" in the documents [note 10]. As for the native people from the Atlantic region, the :Mi'qmaqs, were rarely seen in town. They generally stayed in the southern part of the island, and inland around the Bras d'Or Lakes. Nonetheless, "the occasional baptism of a native child, the entry into domestic service of a young Mi'qmaq girl, and the infrequent visits of their scouts or chiefs," testifies that Mi'qmaqs did sometimes cone to Louisbourg [note 11].

Of the many non-French minorities at Louisbourg, the group that may have fitted in the easiest were the Irish Catholics. They had both religion and a distrust of the English in common. Some forty to fifty Irish names turn up in the Louisbourg parish records. Lost were servants, but there were a few with craftsmen's skills. There were even a few Irish priests who came to serve on Ile Royale. In 1750, no fewer than eight Irish families sailing en route from Newfoundland to Halifax, jumped ship and sought refuge in Louisbourg. The freedom to practice their faith, Roman Catholicism, seems to have been the appeal [note 12].

Of course Louisbourg was not just a community of fishermen and merchants, tradespeople and servants. As a fortified stronghold and important garrison town it also had a sizeable military population. Soldiers formed anywhere from one-quarter to one-half of the fortress' total population, depending on the time period examined. Unfortunately, it is usually difficult to ascertain where these ordinary enlisted men cane from, other than the fact that they were recruited in France. For the period 1720-45, a period in which there might have been a total of well over a thousand soldiers serving in Louisbourg, Allan Greer was able to determine the birthplaces for only 75 soldiers of the Compagnies Franches [note 13]. Of those 75 men Freer was able to identify, three were born outside France: one in Acadia, one in Switzerland and one in Ireland.

Figure 3: Origins of Compagnies Franches Soldiers, 1720-45

The presence of a few n foreigners - the Irishman and the Swiss - fighting on the side of the French should come as no surprise. It was common in the 18th century for armies to recruit and accept troops however and from wherever they could get them, provided they met certain height and health standards. There were many Irishmen and Scats in French regiments, and even more Germans in British ones. The word 'mercenary' was then a descriptive term, not a pejorative.

One foreign mercenary regiment that found itself at Louisbourg in the service of the French kin& was the Swiss-based Karrer Regiment. They served in the fortress between 1722 and 1745, with up to as many as 150 men, or about 20 per cent of the entire garrison at that time [note 14]. The Karrer troops were known collectively as "les Suisses", yet many, perhaps even a majority, were actually Germans Many, if not most, were also Protestant. This made for an interesting irony: Here was Louisbourg -a French Catholic stronghold - defended in part by a good many German and Swiss Protestants [note 15].

The Karrer Regiment did not return to Louisbourg in 1749, when the colony of Ile Royale passed back under French jurisdiction according to the terms of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748). Yet that did not mean that there were no more non-French soldiers in the town. According to a detailed troop roll drawn up in 1752 that listed the approximately 1000 Compagnies Franches soldiers in the garrison at that time, [note 16] there were 53 foreigners serving in the garrison, or about five per cent of the total military population. me origin of these men was as follows:

Spanish - 21
Catalogne - 1
Portuguese - 1
German - 7
Prussian - 2
Austrian - 2
Brabant - 3
Flemish - 1
Dutch - 1
Swiss - 1
Irish - 1
Saxon - 1
Italian - 1
Piedmont - 2
Neapolitan - 1
Genoa - 1
Hungarian - 1
Luxembourg - 1
Barbare ( Barbary Coast ?) - 1
Savoyard - 3

The Spaniards would seem to have been numerous enough to form something of a sub-culture within the garrison. Similarly, the different Germanic-speaking individuals may also have been able occasionally to use their language and perhaps even keep alive other aspects of their original culture.

The impression of Louisbourg's military population would therefore be the following: It was always predominately French-born, but in the period up to 1745 there was a large Swiss and German minority (as high as about 20 per cent). During the early 1750s there was a five per cent scattering of non-French soldiers.


There can be no doubt that Louisbourg was officially and overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. Overwhelmingly because the vast majority of the town's inhabitants, were Roman Catholics. Officially because the context of the time was one in which the French state lent its full support to its national church (known as the Gallican church), Just as the church gave the same support back to the monarchy. The king named all French bishops, including the one for New France, paid their salaries, and had them take an oath of loyalty. me only religious ceremonies and celebrations that were permitted to be held in public were those associated with Roman Catholicism. Furthermore, only practicing Catholics could hold public posts. The partnership between church and state was succinctly expressed by historian Only Frégault: Me men of the State were Catholics, the men of the Church served the Stated [note 17].

While most Louisbourgeois were Roman Catholic - nominally if not devoutly _ there were exceptions. 'lost noticeably, there were the German and Swiss soldiers of the Karrer Regiment. We have no way of knowing exactly how many of the Karrer troops were Protestants, but there were enough to cause occasional difficulties within a town that was supposed to be exclusively Catholic. sin 1724, Governor Saint-Ovide warned the minister of marine that France's Mi'qmaq allies regarded the Protestant troops 'as suspects.' Three years later, the governor complained that the Karrer officers refused to lead their soldiers in the fete-Dieu (Corpus Christi) procession in the town" [note 18].

There were a few other Protestants in Louisbourg beside the soldiers in the Karrer Regiment. The names of several individuals - originally from England, Scotland or flew England - turned up in baptismal records when they converted to Catholicism. There is even a reference to a Jewish conversion [note 19].


Aside from French, which was obviously the dominant language in town, there was Basque, Breton, German, Swiss German, Spanish, English, Irish and occasionally Mi'qmaq spoken in Louisbourg. There were also a few people who, on occasion, could have had opportunities to speak Proven~cal, Dutch, Italian, and Portuguese [note 20].

The largest single, non-French language community consisted of several hundred fishermen and a few merchants who spoke Basque. The Recollet priests who served the parish were repeatedly asked to bring over a Basque-speaking priest from southwest France, but this they never did [note 21]. 'then unilingual Basques had to give evidence in court cases, interpreters were used to translate their testimony.

How many of the people from Brittany spoke Breton, a Celtic language said to be more akin to Welsh than to any other language, is unknown. The reason we don't know is because there is no record of Bretons demanding to have their language spoken. This is likely because most Bretons spoke French in addition to Breton, and also because the parish priests were all from Brittany to begin with, so some of them at least would have been able to speak their ancient Celtic tongue.

The German and Swiss German language communities were comprised of soldiers and, in some cases, their wives. German-speakers were most numerous during the 1740s when the Karrer Regiment numbered some 150 men. While much smaller, there continued to be a German presence on the island in the 1750s. There was even a "Village des Allemands" established on the Mira River at that time. Its inhabitants were mostly German Catholics who had abandoned the new settlement on mainland Nova Scotia at Lunenburg [note 22].

Spanish was likely only spoken to any great extent during the 1750s, when there were 21 Spainards in the garrison at the same time. the other languages mentioned above were likely used relatively rarely.


So who were the people of Louisbourg, aside from being predominately French and Roman Catholic?

They were a mix of men, women and children, with males largely outnumbering females. Among the fishing population they were typically from either the Norman/Breton coastline along the Gulf of St-Malo or the Basque region of southwest France. Looking at census data on heads of households, eighty per cent were from France. A clear majority of the brides, on the other hand, were colonial-born (Placentia, Canada, Acadia, or Ile Royale). In terms of ethnicity, there were a few hundred Basques and Germans, several dozen Irish and perhaps a similar number of people of African descent, and a scattering of Spanish, English and Scottish. As for religion, the population was overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, yet there were more than a few Protestants, especially during the 1730s and 1740s when the Karrer Regiment was in garrison. For language, there were many in the fishery who spoke Basque, and perhaps others who used Breton. Among the soldiers - again during the 1730s and 1740s - there were a lot of German and Swiss German speakers. In the 1750s Spanish was probably the most common Second language in the garrison.

All in all, French stronghold that it was, the seaport community of 18th century Louisbourg was home to a wide range of minority populations. Some differed from the majority in terms of ethnicity, others in their religion, and still others in terms of language.


1. A.J.B. Johnston, Religion in Life at Louisbourg, 1713-1758 (Kingston and Montreal, 1984), 5.

2. Ibid., p.122-4; for figures on other regions in New France see Hubert Charbonneau, Vie et sort de nos ancêtres: Etude demographique (Montreal, 1975) 158-64; Gisa Hynes, Some Aspects of the Demography of Port Royal, 16501755," Acadiensis, 3, no. 1 (Autumn 1973): 3-17.

3. Archives Nationales (Paris), Outre Her, G1, 465, pièce 57, Recensement ... 1724.

4. Ibib., piece 68, Recensement... 1725.

5. Ibid., piece 69, Recensement... 1734.

6. J.S. McLennan, Louisbourg from its foundation to its fall, 1713-1758 (London: MacMillan, 1913), Appendix III, 371-2.

7. B.A. Balcom, The Cod Fishery of Isle Royale, 1713-1758, (Ottawa, 1984), 55-6; A.J.~. Johnston, "The Fishermen of Eighteenth-Century Cape Breton: Numbers and Origins Nova Scotia Historical Review Vol. 9, No. 1 (1989), 62-72.

8. Barbara Schmeisser, The Population of Louisbourg, 1713-1758. (Ottawa: Parks Canada, 1976) passim.

9. A.N., Outre Mer, G3, 2041-suite, pièce 78, 1 mars 1753.

10. Some works that look at the enslavement of North American Indians are the following: Barbara Olexer, The Enslavement of the American Indian; and J.C. Hamilton, "The Pants - Canadian Indian Slavery, " Proceedings of the Canadian Institute blew Series, [lo. 1 (Feb. 1897) Vol. 1, Part 1, 19-27.

11. Johnston, Religion in Life..., 8-9.

12. Ibid., 8; A.A. MacKenzie, The Irish in Cape Breton (Antigonish, 1979).

13. Allan Greer, The Soldiers of Isle Royale, 1720-1745 History and Archaeology No. 23 (Ottawa, 1979), 30-1.

14. Ibid., 13-23; see also Margaret Fortier, The Ile Royale Garrison, 1713-45 Microfiche Report (Ottawa, 1981 ) .

15. This "irony" seemed to bother the French's Mi'qmaq allies. See Johnston, Religion in Life..., 7-3. 84

16. The troop roll in question is the "Signallement général des troupes..." drawn up by Michel Le Courtois de Surlaville. National Archives of Canada, MG18, F30, Dossier 1.

17. Guy Frégault, Le XVIIIe siècle Canadian: Etudes (Montreal, 1968), 148.

18. Johnston, Religion in Life..., S.

19. Canton Du Boscq de Beaumont, ea., Les derniers Yours de l'Acadie (1748-1758), Correspondances et memoir (Geneva, 1975), 63.

20. Christopher Moore, "Harbour Life and Quay Activities, in Street Life and Public Activities in Louisbourg: Four Studies for Animators Manuscript Report No. 317. (Ottawa, 1977)

21. Johnston, Religion in Life..., 47-8.

22. W.P. Bell, The "Foreign Protestants" and the Settlement of Nova Scotia. The history of a Piece of Arrested British Policy in the Eighteenth Century (Toronto, 1961), 375-77.


Eighteenth-century Louisbourg is generally thought of in strictly secular terms. Images of it as a fortress, garrison town, naval port, fishing base or as a bustling trading and transshipment centre come quickly to mind. Much less often do people think of Louisbourg in a religious context, as a community with several chapels, three quite different religious groups and several thousand inhabitants, each with his or her own unique spiritual needs. From routine prayers to fundamental questions about the meaning of life and salvation, the lives of the people of Louisbourg were largely shaped and directed by their Roman Catholic faith.

The Religious

(i) The Récollets de Bretagne

The spiritual welfare of the people of Louisbourg was in the hands of Récollet friars. From the date of the town's founding in 1713 to its final fall in 1758, Récollets served the Louisbourg community as curds (parish priests) and chaplains. In both capacities their goal was the same: to direct the behaviour and consciences of their charges so as to lead them toward morally acceptable behaviour in this world and salvation in the next.

During the 1740s there were normally four Récollets in Louisbourg, a curé and three chaplains (one each for the troops in the barracks, for the sick in the hospital and for the detachment posted to the - Royal Battery).

The history of the Récollets began in the 16th century when they developed as a distinct branch within the Franciscan order (or Ordre des Frères Mineurs). Right from the beginning they were mendicants who patterned their lives as closely as possible on that of the order's 13th century founder, St. Francis of Assisi.

The very name, Récollet, was given to them because of their attempt to harken back to the original Franciscan spirit. By the time of the founding of Isle Royale, the convents of the Récollets in France were grouped into different administrative units called provinces, each of which had its own superior or Ministre provincial.

Until 1731 there were two provincials giving attention to Isle Royale, those of the Récollets de Paris and the Récollets de Bretagne. Following a decision in 1717, the Paris Récollets served Port Dauphin (Englishtown) and Port Toulouse (St. Peter's), and the Bretagne Récollets provided the curds and chaplains of Louisbourg and its nearby outports. The Paris Récollets withdrew from the colony in 1731 and their rivals from the province of Bretagne assumed responsibility for every parish on the island.

(ii) The Frères de la Charité

In the 18th century charity to the poor, education of the young, and health care for the sick and disabled were areas generally left to the church. As a populous town, Louisbourg had obvious requirements in the area of public welfare. Among the most important was the need for suitable hospital care for its residents and transient population. The order selected by the Ministry of the Marine to take charge of Louisbourg's major health care needs was a well-known hospital order, the Frères de la Charité de l'Ordre de Saint-Jean-de-Dieu.

The Frères de la Charité were mendicants dedicated to the care of the sick and infirm. Founded in Spain in the mid-16th century by Saint-Jean-de Dieu, the order spread through France and Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries. Each brother took four vows, those of poverty, chastity, obedience and hospitality. Collectively, they were regarded by their contemporaries as conscientious and skilled.

At Louisbourg the Frères de la Charité were initially in charge of a rudimentary hospital on the north shore of the harbour. When a larger and more sophisticated Hôpital du Roi was completed in 1730 on a centrally-located town block, the brothers moved in and began to run it. With its own apothecary, bakery, chapel, kitchen, laundry and morgue, the operation of the 100-bed hospital could be both complex and demanding. The day-to-day tasks were in the hands of several brothers and their servants and slaves. During the 1740s there were generally five Frères de la Charité in Louisbourg: the superior, a surgeon, a dispenser, a nurse and a sacristan.

(iii) The Soeurs de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame

The third religious group which served at Louisbourg was the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. They came more than a decade after either the Récollets or the Frères de la Charité and they came not from France but from Canada. Founded by Marguerite Bourgecys in the 17th century, the Soeurs de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame were non-cloistered nuns who took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as well as a vow to teach girls. In 1731 there were sisters in 12 different missions in New France, excluding the mother-house in Montreal.

The first sister (Soeur de la Conception) came to Louisbourg in 1727, at the request of the Bishop of Québec but in defiance of the superior of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. Six years later she was recalled to the mother-house and replaced by three new sisters. Two more sisters and a novice joined them in 1734. Two sisters returned to Canada in late 1744 and another died in 1745. During the remaining years of the mission there were generally three Soeurs de la Congrégation serving at Louisbourg.

Most of the period (1727-45 and 1749-58) that the Soeurs de la Congrégation were established at Louisbourg the sisters endured severe financial harships, hardships brought on largely by the purchase of an excessively expensive property on Block 20. Financial difficulties and sheer bad luck combined to make the story of the sisters' stay on Isle Royale as much a tale of adversity as accomplishment.

The best years for the Louisbourg mission were likely those from 1742 to 1744. Compared with the hardships the sisters had known in the 1730s and would experience again in the 1750s, conditions during that brief period were close to ideal. There were six sisters in the community, their large house on Block 20 was nearly, if not already, paid for and they were receiving a steady income of 1,600 livres a year from the estate of the late Governor de Forant.

The girls taught by the Soeurs de la Congregation fell into two categories: boarders (pensionnaires) and day students (externes). Both groups existed at Louisbourg, apparently with the day students greatly outnumbering those who lived in the very simply furnished rooms of the Block 20 residence. The sisters followed the same basic approach with both day students and boarders, alternating periods devoted to reading and writing with times set aside for study or manual work. Whatever the activity, it was nearly always characterized by a strong religious content.

The Church Calendar

As part of the diocese of the Bishop of Québec, the colony of Isle Royale would have followed, until 1745, the church calendar set down by Bishop Saint-Vallier in 1694. There were 37 holy days of obligation on that calendar, all of which, in the Bishop's mind, were to be dedicated to mass-going, prayers and pious behaviour. The addition of 52 Sundays to the feast days meant that theoretically there was one-quarter of the year given over to devotion rather than to work and other temporal pursuits. In recognition of the fact that Isle Royale's prosperity depended largely on its fishery, Bishop Saint-Vallier authorized, in 1716, departures from the diocesan calendar during the months when fishing activity was at its peak. To the men who went to sea, but not to those who worked ashore, the bishop gave special permission to fish on several of the June, July and August fêtes. For the remaining summer holy days, those considered to be more important, fishing was also permitted but only if the men attended mass before setting sail.

A similar concern for the practical requirements of life in a new colony manifested itself years later in connection with the work on the fortifications. The building season on Isle Royale was short enough to begin with so when local officials were confronted with a pressing need to make progress on the fortifications, they ordered construction work to continue on Sundays and fêtes. Though there is no indication whether or not the bishop was aware of such departures from the church calendar at Louisbourg, he likely would have understood and approved.

The Church as an Institution

Important as religion was in personal and social terms, the church as an institution had a much less pronounced impact on Isle Royale society. The situation on the island was quite different from that in Canada, particularly at Québec.

To begin with, there was no clerical representation on the Conseil Supérieur, as there was in Canada. Second, there was no major church edifice in the colonial capital, Louisbourg. One was proposed in the 1720s, but never built. The most impressive and architecturally significant buildings in the town belonged to the king and were dedicated to temporal functions. The town's parish church was always 90 located in simple chapels: first the Récollet Chappelle de Sainte-Claire and then the Chapelle de Saint-Louis in the barracks. Third, the people of Isle Royale paid no compulsory tithe. In France, the common rate was around 1/12 or 1/13; in Canada, it was 1/26; but at Louisbourg contributions to the church were strictly voluntary. Fourth, and finally, none of the bishops of the diocese of Québec were ever to visit Isle Royale. Instead they named individual religious on the island as their vicars-general (grands-vicaires).

During the 18th century France had a vast overseas empire. with possessions in North America, South America, Africa, India and both the West and East Indies. The overseas colonies, as well as the French navy. came under the jurisdiction of the Minister of the Marine. Here is a partial list of those ministers.

1669-1683 - Jean-Baptist Colbert (the first Minister of the Marine) ... ... ...

1699-1715 - Jérôme Phélypeaux. Comte de Pontchartrain

1715-1718 - Conseil de Marine

1718-1722 - Joseph T.-B. Fleariau. Comte d'Armenonville

1722-1723 - Charles Jean-Baptist Fleuriau. d'Armenonville. Comte de Morville

1723-1749 - Jean Frédéric Phélypeaux, Comte de Maurepas

1749-1754 - Antoine-Louis Rouillé. Comte de Jouy

1754-1757 - Jean-Baptist de Machault. d'Arnouville

1757 - François-Marie de Moras

1757-1758 - Claude-Louis. Marquis de Massiac

Technically. the colony of Isle Royale (which included the two islands of Isle Royale and Isle Saint-Jean) was a part of the larger colony of New France. Thus. in theory, Isle Royale came under the jurisdiction of the Governor-General and Intendant of New France, both of whom resided at Québec. In practice, however, the island was too distant from Québec to be administered effectively from there. As a result, royal officials in the colony corresponded directly with the Minister of the Marine. On all important matters, including approval of proposed budgets and fortifications plans, the local officials wrote the minister asking for advice and direction.


Royal Officials at Louisbourg

The two principal officials on Isle Royale were the governor and commissaire-ordonnateur. Together, they shared responsibility for the administration of the colony. Details on their roles, responsibilities and place in Louisbourg society are as follows:


- king's representative in the colony; special place in the chapel, at ceremonies or processions, birthday saluted, etc.
- duties: promote religion and morality, oversee the security of the colony (external affairs, garrison matters, fortifications, Mi'qmaq relations)
- subordinate to Governor- General of New France
- but direct communication with the Minister
- often a commandant, with all the rights but not the status of governor
- salary and allowance (by 1740s)
- 10,200 livres


- represented civil authority
- duties: promote religion and morality, held responsibility for justice, finance and stores provisions, administered Hôpital du Roi, to promote economy and agriculture
- subordinate to Intendant of New France
- but direct communication to the Minister
- less prestige than governor; nonetheless in a very important and prestigious position; special chapel seat, prominent role in ceremonies or processions, birthday saluted, etc.
- different levels - commissaire ordinaire lower than commissaire général
- salary and allowance (by 1740s)
- 7,800 livres


1714-17 - Phillipe Pasteur de

1717-39 - Joseph de Monbeton de Brouillan, dit

1739-40 - Isaac-Louis DE FORANT

1740-44 - Jean-Baptist Louis Le

1745 - Antoine le Moyne de

1749-51 - Charles DESHERBIERS.
Sieur de la Raliére

1751-54 - Jean-Louis. Comte de
RAYMOND et Seigneur d'Oye

1754-58 - Chevalier Jean Louis
Augustin de Boschenry de DRUCOUR


1714-18 - Pierre-Auguste de

1718-33 - Jacques-Ange Lenormant

1733-39 - Sébastian-François-Ange

1739-48 - François BIGOT

1749-58 - Jacques PREVOST de la Croix

The governors and commissaires-ordonnateurs of Isle Royale carried out their duties with the assistance of many lesser officials. Looking after military affairs were the staff officers (état major) and the captains of the various companies in the garrison. (See the material in "Louisbourg as a Fortress"). Beneath the commissaire-ordonnateur were the many clerks and writers who handled his official correspondence, the colony's budget, the king's storehouse. as well as various offices dealing with supplies and provisions.


By the 1740s there were four courts in Louisbourg. Two of them handled cases involving civil and criminal law, the third ruled on maritime law, while the fourth was reserved for serious military crimes.

Civil and Criminal Law For the first few years of its history, Louisbourg had no formalized court system. However, once the town was selected in 1717 to become the capital of the colony the Minister of the Marine promptly established a judical system.

The first court which was created was the Conseil Supérieur.

Conseil Supérieur - established in 1717
- for 17 years it was the only civil and criminal court in town
- with the creation of the Bailliage court in 1734, the Conseil Supérieur became a court of appeal or higher court
- after 1726 sessions of the Conseil were held on the ground floor of the King's Bastion Barracks
- members: Governor-General (never attended), Intendant (never attended), commissaire-ordonnateur (presided over the sessions and summarized at the end), governor, lieutenant de roi, four councillors (usually wealthy merchants and senior royal officials)
- also present at all sessions were a prosecutor, clerk and usher
- met on Saturday mornings, though if necessary sessions could continue in the afternoon.

As Louisbourg grew in size and complexity during the 1720s and early 1730s it became obvious that a second court was called for, to handle the more routine civil and criminal cases of the town and to serve as a lower court for more serious crimes. This court was known as the Bailliage.

Bailliage - established in 1734

- handled civil and criminal cases
- was a lower court to the Conseil Supérieur, for cases which were appealed; some Bailliage judgements. needless to say, were not appealed and so did not pass to the Conseil
- also handled routine matters such as registering wills. conducting inventories after death
- judge from 1734 until his death in 1743 was Joseph Lartigue
- sessions were usually held in the house of the presiding judge
- acting judge following Lartigue's death was Michel Hertel de Cournoyer
- in addition to the judge there was a prosecutor, clerk and usher.

Maritime Law

As Louisbourg was an important fishing and commercial centre. it was essential that there be a court there to regulate the many laws and ordinances concerning trade. fishing and navigation. The court which handled cases concerning infractions of these laws and regulations was the Amirauté.

Amirauté - established in 1717

- not a royal court like the Conseil Supérieur and the Bailliage. but rather subordinate to the Admiral of France
- in addition to resolving disputes concerning maritime law. this court registered the number of ships built and sold in the colony and issued permits and ordinances
- sessions were held on Wednesday& and Saturdays in the house of the presiding judge
- judge. whose title was lieutenant-général. was Louis Levasseur during the 1740s (Levasseur lived on Lot A of Block 23)
- other officials were a prosecutor, clerk and usher

Military Law

Most military justice was of the summary kind. To illustrate, a soldier who made a mess or a disturbance in a barracks was simply punished without any court procedure. Depending on what it was that a soldier did, and whether or not it was his first, second or third offence, soldiers guilty of some minor infraction might be imprisioned for a few days or given some form of public corporal.punishment (like being made to ride the wooden horse).

Serious military crimes such as desertion or treason, however, were tried before a formal court martial court known as the Conseil de Guerre.

Conseil de Guerre 

- did not have regular sittings; only convened when there was a serious military crime

- members: automatic members were the governor, commissaire-ordonnateur and lieutenant de roi; four other judges were chosen from among the senior officers of the garrison

- prosecutor was the town major (major de place); in the 1740s that person was Jean-François Eurry de la Pérelle, whose house was on Block 17 (where the reproduction sales outlet is now)

- Karrer soldiers were exempted from being tried by this Conseil de Guerre; by the terms of Colonel Karrer's contract, Swiss soldiers were to be tried by their own officers

- if soldiers were found guilty of a serious crime by the Conseil de Guerre they were usually either executed, sent to serve for life on the galleys of France or pardoned. Pardons were generally only given if there had been a number of soldiers involved (such as in a desertion by 8-10 men). Some might be executed to serve as examples, while the others could be pardoned.

To conclude this section of Justice at Louisbourg it is necessary to discuss briefly the use in some criminal cases of judicial torture and, if it came to that. of executions.

Executions and the Use of Judicial Torture

At different times in Louisbourg's history there was both an interrogator (questionnaire) and an executioner (exécuteur des hautes oeuvres) in the town. On a number of occasions. however, there was only one or the other.

The interrogator's job was two fold: To obtain confessions of guilt from the accused and to uncover information on possible accomplices. Torture was sometimes applied to obtain this information, but supposedly only in careful and prescribed fashion (such as with a hot poker).

The weakness of this approach was, of course, that an innocent man might confess guilt to avoid punishment while a guilty man might be able to withstand the torture and claim that he was innocent. This weakness was recognized by justice officials in the lath century so the recommendation was that judicial torture be used only where the evidence of guilt was overwhelming.

Once an individual was found guilty of some crime he was punished accordingly. For instance. he might be executed (with a compulsory public admission of his guilt beforehand), banished from the colony, sent to the galleys of France or branded on the hand or shoulder.

Whatever the punishment. it was to be carried out in a public place. The basic idea was that the severe punishment of people guilty of theft or murder would be a deterrent to those individuals who might otherwise be tempted to embark on a life of crime.


Visitors to the Fortress of Louisbourg frequently remark that the town has a European "feel" to it, that many of its buildings look as if they might have been lifted from France. The material in this section will help you to answer their questions about the layout of the town and the buildings we have reconstructed.

A Planned Town

When the first settlers arrived at Louisbourg (then known as Havre à l'Anglois) in 1713, they were allowed to establish themselves almost wherever they wanted along the shore. Using local wood and other materials, the first houses and buildings were built piquet style (that is, with upright timbers closely spaced), as it was a quick and simple construction technique with which the inhabitants had been familiar in Placentia.

Once Louisbourg was selected to become the administrative centre for Isle Royale, however, the town was no longer left to develop as its inhabitants chose. Rather, a carefully laid-out town plan (with 45 blocks) was drawn up for the settlement. To carry out the plan it became necessary to relocate many of the early settlers who had built homes along the quay. Not many suffered in the move because most received larger lots to compensate them for the cost and inconvenience of relocation. In a few cases, exceptions were made allowing people to maintain properties outside of the regular grid system (for instance, for Joseph Lartigue outside Block 1 and the owners of land on the Isle du Quay and Pres qu'Isle du Quay).

Features of the Louisbourg town plan might be summarized as follows:

- initially the town was laid out in 45 blocks, plus exceptions like the Isle du Quay

- 11 of those 45 blocks were eliminated when it was decided to continue the fortifications around the entire town; originally the blocks had been to extend well out on Rochefort Point

- town was not zoned in the modern sense but there were clusters of related buildings. For instance, the quayside blocks contained many storehouses, inns and taverns. Block 1 was reserved exclusively for major royal buildings. Most of the other blocks were a mixture of shops, homes and warehouses

- most buildings fronted on the edge of their property, facing the street. Yards were on the interior of the blocks

- there were specific Louisbourg ordinances and traditional French legal customs (Coutume de Paris) concerning where one could build, the heights at which signs hung, etc.

- some streets have pavé (cobblestone walkway) along the sides, mainly as an aid for drainage. Some of the original pavé is now visible in the reconstruction.

- Rue Toulouse, the main thoroughfare of the town, was the widest street.

The Buildings

The buildings of 18th century Louisbourg fell into two main categories: those constructed at royal expense and those built by private individuals As a general rule, the structures erected with royal funds were more substantial and more expensive than private dwellings. Rubblestone walls, slate roofs, ornamental fleurs-de-lis and cutstone quoins and surrounds were all indications of a King's building. Private residences and storehouses were not only less imposing but they also often did not reveal the influence of an architect. Shelter from the elements was their prime concern, though for those who could afford it, status, privacy and security were also considerations.

As people visit the reconstruction, they are often struck by the variety of building styles and how different 18th century construction was from the 20th century approach. Beginning on the next page you will find a quick summary of the main points you should know.

i) Building Types:


-upright posts placed in a prepared trench or driven into the ground; held together by braces.

-cracks between the posts caulked with moss, clay, earth or straw, often with a lime and sand roughcast mortar finish (crépi).

-Examples: Fauxbourg House, Rodrigue Storehouse, De Gannes House (where the vertical timbers are covered with planking).


- based on the heavy timber or half-timber tradition, meaning buildings with heavy framed walls of horizontal and vertical wooden members joined by wooden pegs.

- usually the frame was erected on a foundation.

- space between the timbers was filled with piques posts or rubblestone.

- Examples: Lartigue, Rodrigue and Carrerot House and L'Epée Royale.


-completely of rubblestone with a foundation.

-because of cost involved, relatively few private individuals built houses or storehouses of stone. Government officials, on the other hand, preferred to build masonry structures.

-Examples: Magasin Général, Engineer's Residence, Bakery. foundations of the masonry buildings were generally shallow, often only three feet. average wall thickness was two feet at the base, tapering as one went up.

ii) Mortar:

Its manufacture

-the essential raw material was limestone obtained from Port Dauphin (English/own), Mira and Sydney area quarries.

-limestone was broken and burned in lime kilns (like the one near the Lartigue House) to produce quicklime.

-in slaking pits water was added to the quicklime to produce slake. This was allowed to mature in other pits to produce a lime putty.

-for mortar, one part lime was mixed with two parts sand from locaI beaches.


-the local limestone contained traces of sandstone, which weakened the mortar made from it.

-there was not enough care taken to leach out the salt from the sea sand that was used. As a result, the mortar was subject to greater than normal cracking during the freeze-thaw cycle.

-because of the problems with the mortar, wooden sheathings (revêtment) (horizontal bevelled boards and planks) were introduced to protect some masonry walls and buildings (for instance, along the quay wall).

iii) Paint

-there were three main types of paint used in the 18th century: earth-based, oil-based and water-based paints.

-in the earth-based paints ochre was used as a pigment, with colours ranging from yellow to brownish red depending on the iron oxide content.

-oil-based paints (like linseed oil and white lead) were most commonly used on building exteriors.

-lime whitewash was a typical water-based paint.

-the only private dwelling known to have been painted is the Duhaget House; the evidence does not say whether it was the entire building or only door and window frames which are painted.

-in painting the reconstructed buildings we have used all these basic paint types.

iv) Doors

-doors commonly opened inward.

-emboiture door: tongue and groove softwood construction held together by horizontal hardwood emboitures at top and bottom; mortice and tenon construction.

-batten door was less expensive and consisted of horizontal nailers nailed near the top and bottom of the door, perhaps a third added for extra strength.

-in the 18th century boards and planks were acquired locally or imported from New England.

-after 1749 some sawmills were established, i.e. two on the Mira.

-for the reconstruction, tongued and grooved planks are purchased from Quebec and mainland Nova Scotia.

v) Shutters

-used as a security measure.

-also provided privacy and insulation.

vi) Windows

-most popular was the French double casement, which opened inward; sometimes it extended to near the floor (see examples in the Carrerot and De la Plagne houses).

-English style, double hung, upward opening window was also used (such as in the De la Pérelle House).

-window frames were produced at Louisbourg in the 18th century.

-pane sizes were small, a result of traditional production methods of the period. Panes were held in place by mastic (an 18th century type of putty) and glued paper.

-location of windows was governed by the Custom of Paris.

-as for dormer windows, there were three types: gabled, tripped or shed types.

vii) Roofs

- for sheathing, laths or bevelled boards were commonly used.

- for the outer layer, there were: shingles, which were either split on Isle Royale or imported from New England

- in the 20th century Nova Scotia pine shingles are used.

- horizontal boards (locally produced).

- vertical boards (locally produced).

- sod (locally produced).

- wood slabs (locally produced).

- slate shingles (imported from France in the 18th century today brought in from New England).

- there were roofs with gabled ends (Rodrigue House), tripped ends (DuHaget House) and in accoyeau style (shaped used for drainage).

viii) Chimney Constructions

- brick cap (as in the De la Valliére House); bricks were obtained locally or imported from New England.

- cut stone cap (as in the Carrerot House); cut stone was imported from France.

- brick chimney (as on the Hôtel de la Marine).

- rubblestone chimney (see the Engineer's residence); rubblestone was obtained locally.

For the reconstruction bricks have been acquired from L.E. Shaw Ltd., Lantz, Nova Scotia. Cut stone has been quarried at Wallace, Nova Scotia with original stone being re-used wherever possible. As in the 18th century, rubblestone is still obtained locally.


Let's begin with the most obvious aspect.


In the 18th century, France's monetary system was based on the livre. The livre was a theoretical value since there was no single coin called by that name or worth that much. In comparison with contemporary English currency, the livre was the equivalent of approximately 1/20 of a pound sterling (or in other words, a shilling).

The livre was divided into sols and deniers, as follows:

In most documents these denominations were written in abbreviated form, as follows:

There were coins for various values of sols and deniers. And, of course, there were many coins for values in excess of one livre, such as the écu and louts d'or.

Unlike the colonists in Canada, where card and paper money were often used, the inhabitants of Louisbourg generally paid for goods and services with specie (coins) or barter. In addition to French coins, Spanish and Portueguese coins also had a wide circulation at Louisbourg.

Salaries and Wages

As in our modern society, so in 18th century Louisbourg there was a wide range in what people were paid for the jobs they performed. Here are a few sample annual incomes:


Commandant (Duquesnel)
Commissaire-ordonnateur (Bigot)
Controller (Antoine Sabatier)
Ecrivain principal (Prévost)
Capitaines de compagnie (like DeGannes
and Duhaget)
Capitaine de port (Morpain)
Garde-magasin (André Carrerot)
Maitre-canonnier (François Lessenne)
Surgeon (Bertin)
Missionary to the Indians
Missionary to the Acadiens
Fishermen (out to sea)
Sergeant in the Compagnies Franches
Corporal in the Compagnies Franches
Soldiers (Military pay)


9 000 livres
2 400 livres
1 800 livres
900 livres

1 080 livres
1 000 livres
800 livres
600 livres
600 livres
500 livres
400 livres
350 livres
290-300 livres
160-360 livres
156 livres
72 livres
30-60 livres
18 livres


2 400 livres
300 livres
200 livres


Cost of Goods

Prices fluctuated according to the laws of supply and demand. Since many commodities were imported, prices tended to increase after the main shipping season (May to October) had ended. Similarly, a commodity like firewood varied in price according to the season. In October 1735 cordwood cost 12 to 13 livres; by December of that same year the price had risen to 18 to 20 livres.

Here are some items, with their prices, taken from a 1737 import list:


Fisherman's boots (1 pair) - 15 livres

Linen pants (1 pair) - 3 livres 10 sols

wool blanket (1) - 12 livres

shoes (adult) - 3-4 livres

shoes (child) - 1 livre

shirt (1, common) - 3 livres


salmon (1, salted) - 45 sols

flour (approximately 112 pounds) - 16 livres

apples (1 barrique) - 30 livres

ham (approximately 112 pounds) - 60 livres

butter (1 lb.) - 10 sols

chocolate (1 pound) - 3 livres

biscuit (approximately 112 pounds) - 16 livres

wine (1 bottle, Bordeaux) - 1 livre

cheese (approximately 112 pounds) - 60 livres

molasses (1 barrique) - 50 livres


horse (1) - 300 livres

cow (1) - 60 livres

pig (1) - 24 livres

sheep (1) - 10 livres

lamb (1) - 6 livres

chicken (1) - 1 livre


slave (1) - 300 livres

armchair (1, well-finished) - 80 livres

musket (1) - 25 livres

pewter (1 pound) - 1 livre 16 sols


The usual starting point for a discussion of women in 18th-century Louisbourg is demographics. That's because women there were greatly outnumbered by men. Throughout Louisbourg's 45-year history there was always an imbalance in the sexes, with males comprising much the larger share of the population. This is as one would expect, for Louisbourg began as a pioneer settlement (with few women) and then developed into a garrison town and busy seaport, both of which functions called for large numbers of unmarried men. n In the 1720s, adult males outnumbered adult females eight or ten to one. The gap decreased somewhat as the years went by, but even leaving out the military population, the ratio of adult males to females was never lower than three to one." (Johnston, Religion in Life...)

That being said - that there were many more men than women in 18th-century Louisbourg - there is .much more that could be added about the role (or roles) of women in 18th-century Louisbourg. For simplicity's sake we will confine our remarks in this summary note to the fundamental spheres of female activity in the colony.

Wives and Mothers

These were the traditional twin roles for women. Of particular note in the context of 18th-century Louisbourg, in light of the male-female ratio, was the impact that the relative shortage of women had on marriage in the colony. Women at Louisbourg married younger (average age at time of first marriage was 19.9) and men older (average was 29.2) than was the case elsewhere in lie w France. In the French settlements along the St. Lawrence River the comparable average ages were 22.0 and 27.7. Louisbourg's youngest bride was a 13-year old; there were a couple of 14-year olds; several 15-year olds; and a great many aged from 16 to 19. The husbands of these young women typically ranged between 22 and 36 years old at the time of the marriage. Obviously, there was a wide age difference between most couples, and there were a good many of what we would today call teenage mothers.

Another impact of the "shortage"" of marriageable women in Louisbourg was that there were more opportunities for upward social mobility than was usually the case in Ancien Regime society. In the Louisbourg context, women from all social levels found that it was easier than normal to marry someone from a higher social rank. So servants sometimes married tradesmen, artisans' daughters could wed into merchant families and young women from well-to-do merchant backgrounds occasionally found husbands who were noble military officers.


There were several hundred servants in 18th-century Louisbourg, both men and women. Female servants were known as servantes, males as domestiques. Judging by the census of 1752, there were nearly five times as many male servants in the town as there were female (366 to 71).

There is not as much information as one would like to have concerning the females who toiled as servants in Louisbourg households. Indeed, generally speaking, there were little more than passing references to anyone in domestic service. We know, for instance, that in 1749 Governor Desherbiers had eight servants. Francois Grabeuil headed the staff, but all we know about the others was that his wife was known "la grabeuil" and she was the "femme de charge." Desherbiers also had a "maitre d'hotel", a "valet de chambre", a cook, and three other ordinary servants. All, except "la grabeuil", were male.

In another 1749 household, that of Commissaire-Ordonnateur Jacques Drevost, the domestic staff numbered eleven. Those servants consisted first and foremost of the "famille de francois durivand", made up of Francois himself, "Madame son epouse", a son, a daughter, a "femme de chambre" who bore the same family name, and a woman identified as his niece. Then came a cook (a man), a female servant, a "valet de chambre", two "domestiques", and a "negresse".

Sometimes with servants anonymity is not the problem, but actual identity is. Louisbourg's 1749 census list gives both first and last name for several dozen Louisbourg servantes. Tracing those names in the archives, however, is not easy. Take Marie Pinet, mentioned as a servant in the Villejouin household. There is not a single parish record entry for simply Marie Pinet, but there are many for Marie-Angelique, Marie-Jeanne, Marie-Anne and Marie-Josephe Pinet. One of these could be the woman we seek, or then again not. Similarly, the census entry for the widow de Couagne's household lists Marie Corporon as her servant. This could be Marie-Madeleine, Marie-Charlotte, Marie-Jeanne, or Marie-Josephe Corporon.

Frustrating though such identity hunts can be, they do lead to an obvious point that animators might like to make with visitors. A clear majority of female names in the French world in the 18th century incorporated Marie into them, in combination with another "accpetable" name. I say acceptable because the church directed parents to pick the first names - "Christian" names - for their children from a specified list. All names had either been specifically mentioned in the Bible or were judged to be acceptable designations from pre-Christian antiquity. Thanks to the influence of the church, more girls, gentry and servants alike, were christened with Marie than any other name.

In Business

Up until now we have talked about women in terms of their stereotypical roles as wives, mothers and servants. The evidence from 18th-century Louisbourg also provides us with many examples of women in business. In fact, in a great many businesses. There were women running fishing properties (as habitantes pécheurs) as well as inns and taverns, and there were also many women making their livelihoods from some skill, such as being a seamstress.

Looking strictly at the women who lived and worked within the area of the fortress that has been reconstructed, we find several women managing businesses there. There was Jeanne Galbarette, who with the help of her third husband, Georges Desroches, operated a combined fishing operation and auberge in the Fauxbourg area. (Remember, the property and business were hers, not his. He married into the business, not the other way around.) There were also quite a few widows in Louisbourg who operated a range of businesses. Madame Grandchamps, for instance, ran a waterfront tavern after the death of her husband. Almost next door was Marie Brunet (widow of ,Nicolas Pugnant dit Destouches), who continued to run the bakery begun by her husband after the latter's death in 1741. Then there was the widow Chevalier, who derived her income through a combination of seamstress skills and taking in boarders (such as the missionaries to the Mi'qmaqs).

These were only some of the many resourceful women who lived and worked in 18th-century Louisbourg.

In Religion

Up until about the second half of the 20th century it was common for a small proportion of women in all western societies to take a religious vocation. Thus it comes as no surprise that there were nuns (or sisters) at Louisbourg. Louisbourg's religieuses were members of the Montreal-based Congregation of Notre-Dame, which was a non-cloistered community dedicated to educating young girls in reading, writing and needlework. Depending on the year, there usually varied between three and six nuns living and working in the Louisbourg convent.

The preceding notes have been provided to give simply a brief summary on women in Louisbourg. For details on any particular individual - like Madame DeCannes or Maruerite Therese Carrerot - you are referred to the appropriate manual.


More Than 100 Gardens When the French arrived in Louisbourg they found that the soil and climate would not allow them to grow everything they vented. The soil vas very poor. Good soil often had to be brought in from elsewhere on the island and mixed with existing soil to build up beds. The poor soil and the short summer was not conducive to growing the quality and variety of herbs and vegetables people were used to in France. Instead they confined themselves to small kitchen gardens known as potagers. These potager gardens combined vegetables and herbs which were used for culinary and medicinal purposes as well as for dyes. Town plans show that there were more than 100 such gardens within the walls of the Fortress. In those plots people grew a range of herbs and vegetables, all the time keeping the emphasis on practicality.

Louisbourg was dependent on outside sources for much of its food supplies. Since these supply lines were not always reliable, any food that could be produced by an individual was a welcome supplement in summer and a definite necessity in winter. For this reason root crops and various herbs were popular. They grew quickly during the summer and were easily stored over the winter. It was uncommon to see flowers grown strictly for decorative purposes. However, many useful herbs flowered and were beautiful as well as practical.

Typical vegetables were cabbages, turnips, carrots, beans and peas. As for herbs, cooks relied on them to give flavor to soups, stews and other dishes. They also used some herbs for medicinal purposes. Mint, parsley, sage and thyme were common herbs. A few of the herbs brought by Europeans to the New World grow wild on Cape Breton. These include chives, caraway, chicory, wild parsnips and angelica.

A garden tended to reflect the lifestyle and status of the property owner. Several of the gardens at Louisbourg were quite elaborate. They had wide, gravelled pathways and a symmetrical arrangement of beds. A sundial or an urn often gave the garden design a central focus. Through careful planning, gardeners achieved attractive colour combinations. In other gardens the emphasis vas placed on function more than beauty. Although not as formal, these gardens still reflected the basic French gardening principles.

While servants connected with a household might do some gardening, other civilians were sometimes hired specifically as gardeners. There were also a few professional gardeners brought over from France for major projects.

Since there were no chemical fertilizers or pesticides in the 18th century, we practice organic gardening in our 20th-century gardens at the Fortress.


Many of the standard animal breeds of today had not yet been developed during the Louisbourg era. Genetic experimentation and careful breeding beginning in the late 18th century would lead to the development of breeds as we know them today. The French in the 18th century seemed to place great emphasis on the colour of most animals. For example, black cattle were highly regarded for milk and work, while brown ones were supposed to be the best for work, though they tended to be melancholy.

Most animals came from New England, Quebec and Acadia. Horses, however, did come directly from France (some also came from New England and Quebec). Animals would arrive "on the hoof" aboard ships. Usually they were kept as long as they were producing (milk, eggs, etc.), then they would be slaughtered in the fall or early winter.

Today, we select animals that are the same size and colour as the descriptions of 18th-century animals. An exception is our Canadian horse (purchased in 1990 in Québec) which is descended directly from 18th-century French stock.


One of the liveliest and most evocative aspects of the animation program involves music. We are fortunate at the Fortress in having talented musicians on staff, an assortment of instruments, and a range of musical styles and approaches from which to choose.

Instruments On Site


For on-site interpretation we use reproduction Baroque style wooden recorders. The soprano recorder is the most common, though we also have an alto recorder. The most notable difference is that the alto is larger and offers notes from a lower octave.


The drums used in on-site interpretation are the same as those in the military program. The sole difference is the colour. The tambourine is much like the modern instrument except that the skin is not synthetic and the jangles are of copper.


Our hurdy-gurdy is a reproduction based on the instrument located in the King's Bastion Barracks (Officers Quarters). It was built by Daniel Thonon of St. Marc-sur-Richelieu, Québec, in 1989.


The harpsichord is a reproduction 18th-century French style. The instrument maker is Yves Beaupré of Montreal. It was reproduced in 1990.


The violin is a reproduction of an 18th-century Stradivarius. The most striking difference between this and a modern violin is that the neck of the reproduction is considerably thicker. Also, the bow of the 18th century is different. The violin was made by Otis Thomas of St. Anns, Cape Breton.


The style of the pochette or kit violin reflects that of the 18th century. The reproduction was made by Johannes Sturm of Grand Anse, Cape Breton.


This reproduction baroque guitar was made by Otis Thomas of St. Anns.

The Recorder (La Flute À Bec)

The recorder is a woodwind instrument with seven finger-holes and a thumb hole. It is comprised of two or three pieces and is endblown through a whistle mouthpiece.

The recorder probably had its origins as an art instrument in Italy in the 14th century. It has been known by several names including the "fipple flute", the "English flute", and the "common flute".

During the Renaissance (1430-1600) the recorder was primarily a consort instrument. It came to be used in ensembles and as a solo instrument during the Baroque Period.

During the 18th century the recorder was replaced by the more expressive transverse (side-blown) flute. Its popularity returned during the early 20th century as a school instrument.

Drum (Le Tambour)

The drum is a percussion instrument with a skin head stretched over a frame of wood, metal, earthenware or bone. It is known in almost every age and culture.

Drums are among the earliest instruments. They are represented in the art of ancient Egypt, Assyria, India, and Persia. They were known to the Greeks and Romans. Small kettledrums and tabors of Arabian and Saracen origin came to Europe during the 13th century crusades.

The side (snare) drum, so called because the original military instrument was slung to the side, consists of a cylindrical shell of wood covered at each end with a head of calfskin. Across the lower head are stretched snares, eight or more gut strings whose vibrations gives the drum its characteristic crisp timbre.

Frame Drum / Tambourine

A frame drum consists of a frame or hoop with one or two heads (or skins) stretched over it. The tambourine is a frame drum with one head and hung with jingles.

The tambourine has a long ancestry and seems to have been used in most parts of the world from ancient times. It became popular throughout Europe during the Middle Ages and though associated with wandering showmen it rose to the ranks of court ensemble.

By the early 19th century it was established in the orchestra as the need arose for special effects of a Spanish or Gypsy character.


The harpsichord is a stringed instrument distinguished from the piano by the fact that piano strings are struck as a result of striking the keys while on a harpsichord striking the keys produces the action of plucking.

The heart of its mechanism is the Jack, a slender slip of wood which stands on the back of each key. The top of the jack carries a plectrum of quill or leather in a pivoted tongue; when the key is depressed, the jack rises and the plectrum is forced past the string, plucking it (a release mechanism permits the jack to return without plucking the string again. A piece of cloth in a slot next to the tongue damps the string's vibrations and silences it. A padded bar - the jackrail - prevents the jack from flying out of the instrument when the key is struck.

Many harpsichords have at least two sets of strings, one a normal pitch and one at an octave above. A typical 18th-century Northern European harpsichord has two manuals, three sets of strings, three registers and a manual coupler.

The earliest known reference to a harpsichord is from 1397 and the instrument remained in use until the late 18th century. It fell into disuse by the early 19th century, while its modern revival dates from the 1880's.

The Hurdy-Gurdy (La Vielle)

The hurdy-gurdy is a stringed instrument bowed mechanically, with three main elements: a set of melody and drone strings; a resin-coated wooden wheel which acts like a bow, and a keyboard with tangents that bear on the strings when depressed.

The hurdy-gurdy is shaped like a squat fiddle and was known by a number of names including the organistrum and symphonia.

Dating back to the 12th century, the hurdy-gurdy was used in the teaching and performance of religious music during the Middle Ages. It became established as a popular minstrel instrument although its social standing varied. In the 17th century it vas a beggar's instrument. In the 18th century, when 'rusticity' was in vogue, it saw an upsurge in popularity among the French aristocracy. The hurdy-gurdy has survived in parts of Europe as a folk instrument.

Persona of the Hurdy-Gurdy Player:

The only hurdy-gurdy mentioned in the Louisbourg documentation belonged to Charles Yves Duval, a joiner and wood carver who lived in the house of Louis Levasseur on Rue D'Orleans in Block 23.

Levasseur, a member of the Superior Council and chief judge of the Admiralty Court, hired Duval to work on his impressive house, one of the largest in the town.

Duval had an apartment on the ground floor-of the Levasseur residence. A small room joining the apartment served as a boutique where he apparently sold building materials including paints and hardware.

Duval had come to Ile Royale alone to practice his trade, leaving a wife and children in Granville, in Normandy.

Duval may well have made his own hurdy-gurdy for he vas a skilled craftsman accustomed to working with wood. He had, for instance, made an armoire for Captain Degannes valued at 12 livres.

The Violin

The violin family was developed in the early 16th century. Although it is believed to have originated in Northern Italy, it is difficult to identify the original inventor.

The earliest violin was an amalgamation of features of three existing instruments; the lira da braccio, the rebec and of the Renaissance fiddle. From the lira da braccio it adopted its body shape while from the rebec it acquired its peg box and tuning. The sound box and sound post were adopted from the Renaissance fiddle.

The modern violin came into prominence during the period 1600-175O when the master builders of Crimean, Italy, especially Amati and Stradivaria, perfected their craft. By the end of the Baroque period (1750) the violin had attained its present high stature.

The Violin in Louisbourg:

Based on the evidence, the violin was the most popular instrument in 18th-century Louisbourg. As early as 1718 Louisbourg merchant Jean Chevalier purchased a violin with its bow and 12 assorted strings from Claude Morin, a Louisbourg innkeeper.

Judging by Louisbourg and the communities along the St. Lawrence River, violins were common instruments, for various stores are well supplied with packages of strings for violins. In 1754 alone, 24 violins were imported into Louisbourg for sale.

The violin was a popular instrument because it was relatively inexpensive and thus was available to people from all social backgrounds.

Moreover, violins could be purchased at sales of estates. In 1741, the estate of Elie Thesson de la Fleurie contained a violin which sold for 5 livres. Five livres represented approximately two days wages for a fisherman.

New violins of modest quality were also available for sale. In 1731 Louisbourg fishing proprietor Marie Anne Perré‚ sent her 14-year old son Antoine to a boarding school in St. Servant on the coast of Brittany. Two years later Antoine bought a violin and strings for only 5 livres.

There is also evidence that women owned violins. When Margueritte Desroches married Julien Bennett in 1732, she brought into the marriage as part of her possessions a violin valued at 22 livres.

Persona of the Violin Player:

During the period from 1713-1758 hundreds of king's vessels and merchant vessels called at Louisbourg and there were musicians among the crews. Jacques Brulay was one such musician.

Brulay had come to Ile Royale from Martinique in 1741 on the 25-ton vessel L'Espérance. Employed as a cargo manager on his small vessel, Brulay wanted to sell L'Espérance's cargo on behalf of the owner, M. Latapy of Martinique. Brulay was well read for there were 21 books included among his shipboard goods, ranging from literature to law and commerce to science, navigation and religion.

He had a keen interest in music for he also had a violin, two bows, and "a case filled with papers and lists of music". As a street musician in the reconstruction he will merely be continuing on with his shipboard activity of accompanying folk songs on the violin.

The Pochette

The pochette is a small unfretted fiddle. It usually has four strings though some versions have three . The pochette was developed in the 16th century from the rebec, a medieval fiddle.

There are two main types of pochette, one being pear-shaped with a vaulted back, while the second is violin shaped with a slightly arched back and with a long neck.

The term pochette or poche implies that the instrument can be carried in the pocket. The German term, tangmeistergeige, refers to its use by dancing masters. In Italy it vas known as a sordine while the English term is kit.

The instrument vas played by all social levels. Both popular tunes and violin pieces were played as little music was composed specifically for the pochette.

The Pochette Players:

We are aware of a least three dancing masters in Louisbourg: Simon Rondel, Decoudray Feuillet, and Pierre Boziac. All three would be appropriate personas for the pochette player.

A resident of the town since the 1720's, Simon Rondel, his wife, and three children lived in block 36 by 1734. Rondel had been away from Louisbourg from 1729 to 1732.

Decoudray Feuillet and his wife operated a tavern in Louisbourg although by the summer of 1754 he left his wife in Louisbourg and went to New York to teach music and dancing.

Pierre Boziac was both a drum major and a dancing master in the 1750's. At 6 livres per month, his lessons could only be afforded by the parents of considerable means.

The Baroque Guitar

The earliest references to the guitar comes from an early l5th-century Italian source.

The most important function of the guitar throughout its history has been as a chordal instrument, accompanying the voice and playing in ensembles.

In the 17th and early 18th centuries the baroque guitar was known as the "Spanish" guitar. This particular style of guitar carried five pairs (courses) of gut strings, though earlier guitars had four pairs (or courses).

The baroque guitar is of a similar shape to the modern acoustic guitar though much smaller. The common string length was 65 cm. Its tuning is similar to that of a modern 12-string guitar excepting that it doesn't have the low "E" strings.


Block 1

Artillery Storehouse & Forge (1-4)

The artillery storehouse extends from Rue du Petit Estang to the Quay. It is a single-storey, masonry building with a slate roof and dirt floor. At the south end, separated by a partition wall, is a forge. The building was completed by 1736 and was used to store materials for gun carriages. It soon proved unsuitable, however, since the roof leaked, and because it was lower than street level, it was constantly being inundated by run off. The New Englanders did not think much of this building, and though the French used it during the second period, it was abandoned because of dampness by 1754. Two years later it burnt along with the bakery.

King's Bakery (1-3)

Bread for the troops garrisoned in Louisbourg was supplied by the King's Bakery which was located in Block 1, the area reserved for government use. The building was constructed in 1731-1732 to replace a bakery in the basement of the King's Bastion barracks which often flooded and always was damp. Equipped with two ovens, the bakery produced loaves weighing six livres each.

During the English occupation (1745-1749) the bakery was used as a gunners barracks. When Louisbourg was returned to the French, they found the bakery in poor condition, and requested that a new one be constructed. Permission was denied and two ovens were added. On the night of the 29th-30th of September, l756, the bakery caught fire and burned to the ground.

Four bakers were employed in the bakery. They lived upstairs, received King's rations, and were paid an annual salary of 180 livres. Four extra bakers were required in 1744 to supply the prisoners brought to Louisbourg after the capture of Canso.

Armoury (1-3)

The armoury is located upstairs over the bakery. This area was used for storing weapons; it was designed to house 3,000 guns. It replaced an earlier armoury in the room above the passageway in the barracks. The small forge below the armoury was used by the armourer to maintain and make minor repairs to the weapons.

Engineer's Laundry and Stables (1-2)

The shed is divided into two sections. One side was used as a laundry and, as closely as can be determined, the other side was used to house livestock. Documents reveal the open side was covered with piques. The floor is still debatable and could have been of packed earth or wood.

Most interesting here are the original features such as the foundation including the post footings, the casing of the well to ground level, the fireplace base, the cauldron base, and a drain which runs through the base of the wall into the street (Rue Royalle).

Engineer's House (1-1)

This building, along with the adjacent stable, was constructed in 1732 according to a design by Etienne Verrier. The original engineer's house, a wooden building, was considered by Verrier to be unsatisfactory. He sought and won approval to construct this larger residence, for 28,948 livres (roughly four times the estimate). The house was regarded as one of the most desirable residences in Louisbourg, the envy of several persons including the governor. The engineers were responsible for the overall design and construction of the fortress. The basic conformation of the town was laid out by Verville, but it was Verrier, his sons, and assistant engineer, Boucher, who designed and completed the work including such features as the Royal Battery, Dauphin Gate, and Frederic Gate.

Ettienne Verrier was born in Aix-en-Provence in 1683. He entered the corps of engineers in 1707. Except for a brief tour in Southeast Asia in 1720, he spent 17 years in Rochefort, France, before his arrival in Louisbourg in 1724. The following year he became Chief Engineer, replacing Verville.

He married Héléne Papin in 1709, by whom he had at least three sons and one daughter. Verrier spent most of his 21 years at Louisbourg without his wife. She, along with his daughter, lived in Louisbourg from 1732 to 1735; but returned, for health reasons, to LaRochelle. His sons remained in Louisbourg.

Further information on the family can be found in the Engineer's manual.

Old Storehouses - Ancien Magasin (1-6)

This was the first government warehouse constructed in Block 1. It is a simple masonry building with a wood-shingled roof and packed earth floor. It was used for a short time by the stone cutters, but by 1725 was used to store provisions Once the King's storehouse was completed, this building was used to store artillery. After 1736, the Hangard d'Artillerie took over this function, and it is thought that the building was absorbed into the Engineer's House complex.

King's Storehouse (1-5)

The King's Storehouse was the central receiving depot for all government materials arriving in Louisbourg. The building came under the jurisdiction of the commissaire-ordonnateur. Supplies which were usually kept in the King's storehouse ranged from flour, butter and lard, molasses, biscuits, vegetables, and salt to uniforms, ropes, and tools. These were arranged on racks or wooden palettes and covered by tin or lead or placed in bins and barrels or cupboards to help preserve the goods from dampness and rats.

André Carrerot was the garde-magasin, or Chief Clerk, from at least 1733-1745. His home is built in Block 2 on the corner of Rue Royalle and Rue Toulouse.

Block 2

Hôtel de la Marine (2-A1)

The Hôtel de la Marine is a two masonry structure built between 1741 and 1745 and owned by Joseph Lartigue who used it as a warehouse. In 1743 this building was rented to Pierre Lorant, a 35 year old fisherman, who lived with his wife and three children. He operated a cabaret which was frequented by the fishermen, merchants, and soldiers. In 1744 the building no longer served as a cabaret. Instead, English prisoners were housed there during the summer months.

Pierre Lorant was born in 1710 in Rouville, Normandy. When he first came to Isle Royale, he lived in Laurembec (Lorraine) before moving to Louisbourg. In 1739, at the age of 29, he married Marie-Louise Granden. They had seven children, but only three were born at the time they rented the Hôtel de la Marine. After the capture of the fortress in 1745, the family returned to France. In 1749, when the family returned to Louisbourg, they lived in a residence in Block 41 which they had purchased in 1743. Lorant died in Louisbourg in 1755 at the age of 45.

L'Epée Royale (2-B1)- or Jean Seigneur Inn

The Seigneur Inn was a one and a half storey building of charpente construction with piques fill, built about 1720. The family lived in the building and provided lodging, food and drink to guests. The inventory suggests that the family occupied the ground floor while the guests slept upstairs, possibly in the magasin.

Jean Seigneur operated this inn on Rue Toulouse from the 1720s to 1745. He was a native of Lisieut, France and had married Marie Carparon, an Acadian from Port Royal. When he died in March 1745, he was 58 years old. His wife had died in 1735 at the age of 49. Two daughters predeceased him on April 15, 1733 during the period of the smallpox epidemic in Louisbourg. During the 1740s, his daughter Francoise, who was 21 years old, was living at home; two others were married and living elsewhere in town.

Seigneur was a respected member of the community and frequently took part in the settlement of estates and communautés left after death, assessing goods and properties and sometimes acting as guardian for the children.

Benoist House (2-C1)

Pierre Benoist, an officer with the Compagnies Franches, owned this property in Block 2 from 1720 to 1758. The inventory taken after his wife's death in 1733 was impressive, including an extensive wardrobe and an 18 year old slave. Benoist's piques house was badly damaged in the first siege and was replaced by a two-storey masonry structure in 1753.

In 1745 Benoist was the commondant at Port Toulouse and possibly his family was there with him. At that time, his family consisted of his second wife, Anne Jacau, their five children, and a daughter by his first marriage.

Carrerot Property (2-D1, 2-D3)

André‚ Carrerot, the garde-magasin, was occupying his charpente house on the corner of Rue Royalle and Rue Toulouse in 1744. With him was his wife, Marie Cheron, and 10 of their surviving children, aged one to 18. Another daughter, Marguerite, had married Jacques Prévost in February. Prévost returned to Louisbourg as commissaire-ordonnateur in 1749, and elevated Carrerot to the position of écrivain principal before Carrerot's death in that same year.

Grandchamp Inn and House (2-Ll,2-Ml)

Julian Auger dit Grandchamp owned two adjacent properties in Block 2, a piques inn and a piques house bounded by the Hôtel de la Marine. In 1744 Auger's widow, Marie Thérèse Petit, was living there and operating the inn. She returned to Louisbourg in 1749 and continued to operate the inn until her death in 1753.

Destouches House (2-L1)

A relatively new two-storey masonry house stood on the Pugnant dit Destouches property in 1744. The structure had been built in 1738 to replace a piques dwelling which was burnt in a 1737 fire. Nicolas Pugnant dit Detouches, a master baker, who came from Acadia as a soldier in 1713, had died in 1740. In 1744, the house was occupied by his widow, Marie Brunet, and possibly by a 21 year old son. Four other children had died by 1744, and two were married and living elsewhere in the town.

Residence of Commissaire-Ordonnateur (2-G1)

An independent official residence for the commissaire-ordonnateur was not part of the original plan for Louisbourg. He was to live in the north wing of the King's Bastion barracks. The second commissaire ordonnateur, deMésy, altered this plan, however, by building a house in Block 2. His son and successor, Le Normant de Mésy, continued to reside in Block 2, and was successful in having his property purchased by the King as an official residence which served each succeeding commissaire-ordonnateur. François Bigot was resident there in 1744.

The appearance of the house in 1744 reflects the building's history. In 1736 major alterations had taken place when the building was greatly enlarged and a passageway made to provide access to the yard in the adjoining property. (This house burnt in 1737.)

Toothing stones were left on the west wall to allow future bonding if a new structure was ever erected.

An apartment and offices for the commissaire-ordonnateur were situated in the house. Administration offices, the Treasury, and the office of the Court Clerk were among the offices located in this building at different times in its history. Prior to 1739 the Superior Council often met here. There is no direct evidence to indicate which offices were there in 1744.

François Bigot came from France (1703-1778). Both his father and grandfather held important positions in France. He arrived in Louisbourg in 1739 in the position of commissaire-ordonnateur. As such he held responsibility for pay, supply and justice. From 1749 to 1758 he was the Intendant of all New France, and lived in Québec.

Stables (2-F1)

In 1744 stables serving the commissaire-ordonnateuris residence stood on the property on the corner of the Rue St. Louis and Rue Royalle. The land had become part of the commissaire-ordonnateur's official property in 1736-37 and stables had be‚n constructed in 1739.

Dugas Property (2-E1)

In 1722-23 Joseph Dugas, an Acadian carpenter, built a duplex house on Rue Royalle. He and Dominique Detcheverry, a blacksmith, shared the house and property until 1728 when Dugas became the sole owner. By 1744 the house had been converted to a single dwelling which possibly housed Dugas' widow, Marguerite Richard, her second husband, Charles St. Etienne de la Tour who was an officer, and six unmarried girls - two daughters of Dugas, two of de la Tour, and 8 year-old twins of Marguerite Richard and de la Tour.

Block 16

Michel LeNeuf de la Vallière Property (16D-1, 16D-2, 16D-3)

This property, containing a large one and one half house and two warehouses, came into the possession of the de la Vallière family in 1736. The family was of noble Scottish origin before moving to France in the 14th century. By the 1740s the head of the Louisbourg branch was military officer Louis LeNeuf de la Valliére (1713-87). who was born at Placentia when his father was garrisoned there. The other members of the household in the summer of 1744 were de la Vallière's pregnant wife, a year old daughter and several of the officer's brothers and sisters. In the spring of 1744 de la Vallière participated in the taking of Canso and then was sent to France carrying confidential reports. During the siege the following year, he was in command of a company posted to the Maurepas Bastion.

De la Vallière returned to Isle Royale and his house during the 1750s. Much later in his career he was placed in command of French troops at Cayenne, French Guiana.

The stone pavé floors in the warehouses are from the original 18th century structures.

De la Plagne (16E-1)

Until 1738 the governor's garden was located on this property. A drunker soldier labouring in that garden tumbled into a well and drowned one afternoon in 1725. In 1738 company captain Pierre-Paul d'Espiet de la Plagne inherited the property from his uncle. The following year de la Plagne married Marie-Charlotte DeLort, daughter of wealthy merchant Guillaume DeLort. That connection with DeLort combined with de la Plagne's family ties to Governor Saint-Ovide ensured that the officer moved only in the highest social circles. During the 1745 siege de la Plagne served near the Princess Demi-Bastion. At the time of the capitulation in 1745 de la Plagne, his wife, their four children and probably de la Plagne's younger brother, also an officer, were living in the house.

De la Plagne did not return to Louisbourg in 1749, and the house was later sold.

Loppinot Property (16C-1)

These are the ruins of the house of Jean Chrysostome Loppinot, an officer in the Compagnies Franches de la Marine. When excavated, archaeologists discovered foundations and a partial cellar with a stone pavé floor and a stone lined drain running out under the door and under the cobblestones on the street.

In 1744 Loppinot was an assistant to the town major and, as was the case with many other officers, involved in trade. He lived here with his wife, 8 children, a slave and her son, and a servant. Three of Loppinot's sons became officers, and two of his daughters married officers. His eldest son went to Boston in 1756 ostensibly to learn English, but was imprisoned as a spy and later sent to England.

Loppinot was reliable, friendly with his superiors, and a typical example of the many officers who invested in the fishery and commerce of Isle Royale.

Fizel Property (16B-2)

These are the ruins of the home of Julien Fizel. The house was apparently destroyed in a fire that swept the centre of Louisbourg in 1762. At that time, a number of houses were pulled down to prevent the fire from spreading. Fizel's house seems to have been both burnt and pulled down. Excavation by archaeologists uncovered most of the walls lying in the street or in the full basement, which was filled with debris from the fire and two completely collapsed chimneys and fireplaces. The Fizel house site has provided information for numerous architectural details not discovered in excavations of houses allowed to fall into ruin or looted for stone and brick.

Fizel was a man of wide-ranging interests, as were most successful bourgeois merchants of Louisbourg. He ran a substantial inn on this property, and rented other buildings in town. He bought and sold ships. owned a fishing property in the Fauxbourg area and had land up the coast where he raised sheep and cattle for the lucrative local market. Fizel did not limit his interests to business affairs. He also served as a militia captain. In this capacity he was tragically killed -- mistaken for an Englishman. presumably while outside the town walls, during the nervous spring of 1757 when the colony feared an English attack. He left his pregnant wife and at least 10 children well provided for since he was debt free and had an estate valued at 52,000 livres.

Block 17

Rodrigue Property (17A-1-17A-2)

Michel Rodrigue, who rented this property from his neighbour Michel de Gannes, was a successful merchant. Born in Acadia, Rodrigue and his father were very active during the 1730s in the Louisbourg to Québec trade route. Each year products from France and the West Indies were carried up the St. Lawrence and flour, grain, peas and biscuits brought back to Isle Royale. After 1737 Rodrigue made the trip less frequently. As a ship owner of some importance, he was then able to hire captains to take his ships there. In the 1740s he moved to his house and built the adjacent vertical log storehouse. Some of the goods in which he dealt can be seen there.

In 1738 Rodrigue married Marguerite Lartigue, a daughter of Judge and Superior Council member Joseph Lartigue. By 1745 they had five children. In addition, two of Rodrigue's brothers as well as a black slave and a Mi'qmaq servant, lived in the house. During the siege Michel Rodrigue served as a militia captain.

An interesting feature of this building is that its end walls are commonly owned and maintained.

DeGannes de Falaise Property (17A-3)

The owner of this house, Michel de Gannes de Falaise (1702-1752), was born in Port Royal to a high-ranking officer in the Compagnies Franches. Two of his brothers went into the priesthood but Michel followed his father's example and embarked on a military career. By age 28 he was captain of his own company. A few months after that appointment he married Elizabeth de Catalogne, daughter of a fellow officer and engineer who left his name to the modern village of Catalone where he had property. On his mother's side, Michel de Gannes was related to his de la Valliére neighbours down the street.

In the summer of 1744 there were six children living in the house ranging in age from a few months to 12 years. Before his marriage DeGannes fathered a child of Marianne Carrerot, a neighbouring widow who claimed that the officer had made a promise of marriage. The civil court ruled that de Gannes was to pay child support.

During the 1745 siege de Gannes served at the Pièce de la Grave and Island Batteries. On his return from France in 1749 he was named town major, a position his father had held in Acadia. Three years later he was named King's lieutenant at Trois-Rivières, but was unable to take the post. He died in October 1752 and was buried beneath the floor of the Chapelle de St. Louis in the Barracks.

The house is furnished according to de Gannes' inventory taken after his death.

De la Perelle Property (17-B1, 17-B2)

During the 1740s Jean-François Eurry de la Pérelle (ca. 1691-1747?) held the important post of town major. In that capacity he was responsible for assigning and monitoring virtually all garrison activities in Louisbourg. Fluent in English, he carried additional duties as an interpreter for the governor. Unlike other officers at Louisbourg, de la Pérelle seems to have been more interested in his family estate in France than in local commerce. Aside from his military duties his life centered around his wife, daughter of a Québec financier, and his eight children. At least two sons went on to military careers.

The storehouse beside the residence was rented as a prison in 1744 for Englishmen captured at Canso. The inconvience of living so close to the prisoners was perhaps the reason why accommodations at another location in town was provided for de la Pérelle that summer at royal expense.

A stable and garden are in the back yard.

Duhaget Property (17C-1)

This house, built by military officer Robert Duhaget (ca. 1702-1757), was one of the largest private dwellings in Louisbourg. Erected in the same year that Duhaget married, the residence may have been made particularly commodious in the hope of a large family. The marriage proved to be childless and from 1741 a portion of the house was rented as lodgings and government offices.

Born in the south of France, Duhaget spent nearly three decades of his life as an officer in the harsh climate of Louisbourg. His career was characterized by regular promotions and occasional involvement in merchant trade. After serving as the town major for four years he returned to France in broken health in late 1757, where he died shortly after his arrival.

Woodlot (17D-1)

Firewood was a necessity of life on Isle Royale. To establish a central storage area for their supplies, royal officials expropriated this lot and built a high piques fence and gate to guarantee security. During the 1740s the annual wood purchase was 620 cords, costing nearly 10,000 livres in royal funds. Wood for the bakery, officers' rooms, guard posts, batteries, barracks and royal offices was paid for out of that allocation.

The small vertical log building may have lodged a cooper and a clerk from the King's Storehouse.

Ice House (17 E-l)

This intriguing structure. an inverted cone, was an 18th century attempt at refrigeration. Inside is a pit which during the winter was filled with ice which was then covered with straw. Once the warm weather came; the door. located at the northern side, could be opened only before dawn or after dark so that the ice within would not melt. While there is no indication as to whether or not this one worked, the intent was to supply ice and keep fresh meat and other perishables as long as possible. It was damaged during the 1745 siege.

"Block 46"

In the 18th century this area was not referred to as "Block 46". That is a name given to the area by Park officials as a convenient designation.

Lime Kiln (46-2)

Wood-fired kilos like this one were necessary to produce lime, the essential ingredient in 18th century mortar. After limestone was burned and reduced to quicklime, it was slaked in adjacent pits, and later mixed with sand to make the mortar used in masonry construction. At Louisbourg, the salt in the beach sand which was used prevented the mortar from hardening properly.

Joseph Lartigue complained that the fumes from this kiln were detrimental to his health and the fire a danger to his buildings. The kiln was destroyed in the 1745 siege.

Lartigue Property (46-1)

This house was one of the most admired in town. Its owner, Joseph Lartigue (c.1683-1743), was a merchant, member of the Superior Council and judge of the lower civil court. As judge, sessions of the lower court were generally held in his residence. Lartigue came to Louisbourg from Placentia, Newfoundland in 1713 and established his home here. Presumably because of his status in the community, he was not forced to relocate as were other citizens when Louisbourg was organized into town blocks in 1719.

He had at least 12 children, one of whom married Louisbourg merchant Michel Rodrigue. After Lartigue's death his sons carried on in business. The family sailed to France in 1745 and all but one daughter returned to the colony in 1749. Madame Lartigue lived on until 1763, one of the few colonists to have witnessed both the foundation and fall of Louisbourg.

Block 3

Some of the earliest buildings in Louisbourg were constructed in this block: a bakery, an early hospital, and the convent house and chapel of the Récollets. The Récollet chapel served as Louisbourg's parish church until replaced in the 1730s by the chapel in the King's Bastion barracks. Adjacent to the friars' residence was the lot set aside for the town's parish church, which was never built.

Two buildings have been reconstructed in this block; the house of Jean La Grange, surgeon major of Louisbourg and his son-in-law and successor Jean Bertin, and the house and storehouse of the Beaus‚jour family, who ran a tavern shown as "Le Billard" on one 18th century plan.

Block 4

After 1720 this block assumed a decidedly commercial role in the life of the town. All of the block's inhabitants engaged in trade. A variety of shops, warehouses and merchant houses attested to the vitality of Louisbourg commerce and the wealth of some of those who participated in it. The Delort family was conspicuously wealthy; Louis Delort left an estate of almost 90,000 livres when he died in 1753. The other properties belonged to merchants Claude Morin, Blaize Cassagnolles and Bernard Detcheverry, and to Maurice Santier, a butcher and innkeeper.

Isle du Quay

Although it had some of the first buildings built in Louisbourg, the Isle du Quay developed almost accidentally. The intent had been to have completely open quay frontage, but Royal officials later modified their plans.

The Isle du Quay was a commercial area. There were a few residents like merchant and fishing proprietor Nicolas Baron and the widow Chevalier, a dressmaker. but most of the buildings were the storehouses of merchants and shop owners who lived elsewhere in town. Toward the end of the colony's existence part of this area was used for coal storage.

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