Hidden Treasures In The Tusket Islands

Article No: 89

Hidden Treasures In The Tusket Islands

At the time of the Expulsion of the Acadians, many of them were sent to France. In 1772, a census was taken of them, in which we read that the d'Entremont family and the Landry family "were the richest in Acadia." In Pubnico, both families were closely linked together in commerce, being also intermarried. Marguerite Landry, among others had married Jacques d'Entremont, the oldest brother of Joseph, Paul and Benoni who settled in Pubnico on their return from exile; she was the daughter of René Landry, "Engineer of his Majesty and Captain of the King's troops in Acadia, where he possessed a very large track of land."

Apprehending the Expulsion, these people hid in the Tusket Islands some of their treasures, consisting of money, silverware, utensils, clothing, peltry. We learn about this from the letters that the members of the family in exile in France wrote to the d'Entremonts of Pubnico. Although before the Expulsion, there is no account of this having taken place, we learn from one of these letters that Jacques d'Entremont, husband of Marguerite Landry, had showed to his brother Joseph one of the places where these treasures belonging to his father-in-law, René Landry, had been hidden.

It is said that it was "dans le Cabanaux" (in the Shanty) also "proche le Cabanaux" (close to the Shanty) "under the root of an uprooted tree that can be seen from the south-west of the Cabanaux." There is in Tusket Bay, more precisely on the shore of Comeau's Hill, in what the old people used to call "la Baie des Chicanes" (Goose Bay) a region known formerly as "Le Cabaneau." It is indeed an ideal place to hide treasures, being close to the entrance of the bay and to the reef called "Black Ledge" on marine charts, on top of a cliff extending into the ocean, from where one can flee easily without being noticed.

The members of the Landry family who were in Cherbourg, France, were living in poverty, while in Tusket Bay were lying treasures that belonged to them. They were to make efforts to have them sent to France.

The occasion presented itself in 1772 when Basile Boudrot came to Acadia. He was originally from Port Royal, born in 1739. He had been sent with his family to Cherbourg, where he married in 1764 Magdelene d'Entremont, originally from Pubnico, daughter of Charles d'Entremont and of (another) Marguerite Landry, and cousin of the d'Entremont brothers of Pubnico. Basile's father, Pierre Boudrot, is said to be "a navigator, doing business for himself," while his son, Basile, "navigated with his father ... going now and then fishing for fresh fish."

It was in April when he left with a letter from Marguerite Landry for her brothers-in-law in Pubnico, asking them to send her the money which had been hidden at the "Cabanaux." On his way to Acadia, Basile opened the letter and went right straight to the spot indicated where the money had been hidden and unearthed "1004 pieces of money." Then he went to Pubnico and told the d'Entremont bothers that their relatives in France were well provided for, having received money from "the town-hall and a quarter out of two vessels." Thus, he was going to keep the money. It is obvious that he did not give them Marguerite's letter. He left Pubnico on May 7 and disappeared forever. In a letter, we read that some captains from Cherbourg had seen him several times "in America" without saying exactly where.

A few days after Basile had left, Benoni d'Entremont wrote to his sister-in-law Marguerite Landry and told her about the visit that he and his brothers had received from Basile Boudrot. Marguerite answered April 20, 1773, telling of the letter she had entrusted him with and of the lies he had told of her being well provided for, and this the whole story of Basile's "prevarication" came to light.

Basile Boudrot did not find or did not take everything that had been hidden at the "Cabanaux." It is in her letter that Marguerite makes us known about the "Cabanaux," where other items had also been hidden.

In the course of the year 1773, before this letter reached Pubnico, the clothing was found and sold by auction for the sum of 31 "pieces." Out of this amount, Benoni, the following year, in one of his trips to St. Pierre et Miquelon (see sketch No. 77) brought 774 French pounds, which he gave to the Pastor of the place, who saw to it that it reached Marguerite Landry safely. In 1796, there was still a certain amount of that money in the hands of the d'Entremont brothers of Pubnico. Seeing no way to send it to France, it was divided among the relatives living in Pubnico; as a matter of fact, Marguerite Landry was already dead at this date and her only surviving son had gone to Louisiana.

All that is left of those treasures are a few silver teaspoons which have been kept since then in the so-called "Benoni's house," the first house made of boards in West Pubnico, still standing. Marguerite Landry, in her letter written in 1775, tells Benoni of the peltry which was left in the Cabanaux (which, by the way, had already been found, but they were all rotten), adding that he could keep the silverware as a reward for his trouble. In reality, there has been in this house for a very long time six teaspoons, although right now there are only three of which are authentic. Some years ago, I submitted those spoons to the Nova Scotia College of Art, in Halifax, when I was told that three of them are of the first half of the 18th century, being French or French Canadian. With regard to the others, I was told that they were made by the gold and silversmith Adam Rose, a Scotchamn, who worked in Halifax between 1831 and 1840. That means that an unscrupulous visitor one day substituted surreptitiously three "modern" spoons for the original ones which had belonged to the Landry family.

And so, once again, more precious items of out past left Pubncio, just as so, so many other historical treasures have vanished forever from our midst, due to some collectors having no moral principles.

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