The Historical Site of "La Grave"

La Grave, Havre-Aubert


"Listen, in the dawn silence, to the voices of the past, but mostly listen to the despairing cries of the Acadians fleeing the neighboring region to escape the victorious English"


Acadian refugies who went to the Madeleine Islands had come from Prince Edward Island, Cape Briton, St. Pierre and Miquelon. In 1761 they began arriving on Madeleine Island seeking refuge. In 1765, other families settled at Havre-Aubert where they worked for Richard Gridley. Of the twenty two men who worked for Gridley, seventeen were Acadians and five were French Canadians who had taken the Oath of Allegiance on August 31, 1765. Of these pioneers some settled at Havre-aux-Maisons. Others moved to Cap-aux-Meules, La Grande Echourie, L'Etang du Nord and La Grande Entree. In 1789, other families came from Saint-Pierre and Miquelon under the leadership of their abbe, Jean-Baptiste Allain. Together they began the true colonisation of the Islands. In 1792, a group of 40 families consisting of 250 persons left St. Pierre & Miquelon for these Islands. This time the migration was caused by the French Revolution. Isaac Coffin was granted the Iles de la Madeleie Islands in 1798, and he forced the Madelinots to pay rent on lands that they had cleared with their own hands and occupied for more than twenty five years. This feudal domination along with the merchants' exploitation of the fishermen, created a climate of misery and injustice; which explains the Islanders' continued emigration to new lands. Emigrating Madelinots founded several villages on Quebec's Lower North Shore: Blanc-Sabion (1854). Havre Saint-Pierre, Natashquan (1855), and Sept-Iles (1872). Only in 1895 did a Quebec law allow the Madelinots to buy back their lands from the grant holder. Freed from colonial oppression, they began to overcome their difficulties and work towards self-sufficiency.

"La Grave"

They landed on La Grave pebble beach and the surnames of the 22 pioneer families still populate the islands today. Some of the names are Arsenault, Nadeau, Cormier, LeBlanc, Petitpas, Cyr, Gautier, Bourque, Pelletier, Poirier and Boudreau. 95% of the people on the Islands speak French. The community of La Grave is on Havre-Aubert.

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