Grand-Pré National Historic Site
Yesterday we found a bit of time for exploring. Grand-Pré has been on my bucket list since we first saw it with Darrell & Charlotte Nelson,
aka Nova Scotia's best tour guides!!
This site is a park, visitors centre and museum commemorating this area of Nova Scotia as an Acadian settlement from 1682-1755, and the British deportation of the
Acadian people beginning in 1755.
Acadian people beginning in 1755.
The visitor's center was fascinating. They had very nice historical explanations and artifacts. This area has fertile farmlands. The Acadians were attracted by the tidal marshes, these the Indians were not using. They employed dyke-building techniques that are still in use today. They were able to make over 1,000 acres of marshland productive.
This is an Aboiteau. The aboiteau was constructed to allow water from the marshland to escape, without allowing the water from the ocean to come back in. They were built from trees that the people felled, hollowed out and put the "gate" in at the end. The gate could swing forward and up, but not backward. Thus keeping the ocean water in the ocean. Great engineering! These went right through the dikes.
They had to leave the land for a period of time while the water from rain, snow etc. ran through it and in time desalinated the soil to make it productive. They grew a lot of salt grass for their animals in these areas.
There were beautiful carvings depicting life.
One of the items on display in the visitor's center was these glass beads, used in trading.
One of Laurence's ancestor's was Montauk Indian. They were the "bankers" for east coast.
I can't help wondering if in addition to wampum they also used glass beads like this.
These "haystacks" are made from salt grass. They were built on a raised platform, thus keeping the hay out of the water and allowing aeration from both the top and the bottom.
When winter arrived and the land was frozen, the people could get out onto the land with their wagons to bring the hay in to feed their animals.
Although the animals did not gain weight on salt grass, they also did not get ill.
I can't help but think that with the salt grass, you wouldn't have to have salt blocks for the animals.
1755 ~ The Expulsion
In 1755 the British Governor of Nova Scotia asked the Acadians, who had been neutral for decades, to sign an oath of allegiance. This would require them to take up arms against the French and give up Catholicism. The Acadians refused, so the British ordered all the Acadians to be expelled. At least 10,000 Acadians were rounded up, put on ships and sent to Louisiana, England, France etc. The British wanted to ensure that the Acadians would not return. They separated families, some were brutal, others were not. Many died. Ships sunk, had disease and so forth. In time many of the Acadians were able to make their way back to Canada. This was an ugly time for the Acadians. In some ways it reminded me of what happened to my own ancestors when they were driven from Kirtland, Ohio, to Missouri, to Illinois, to Salt Lake valley.
This is a statue of Evangeline that was put in place in 1920. The church is not the original, but is a Memorial to the Acadian people and their sacrifices. Inside is a museum of beautiful artwork.
When the people were expelled, their lands and homes were burned to the ground. This was to ensure that they would not return. Mankind can be so cruel to their fellow travelers in this life!
When the British were finished. The only thing that remained were the dykelands and a row of willow trees.
The Grand-Pre area with it's museums, beauty and history is a tribute to the strength and tenacity of the Acadian people.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This beautiful stained glass window was installed in the Memorial Church in 1985.
I wish my picture were better. It depicts the horror of having some family members in overloaded long-boats, others left on the shore. All with their lives in tatters. They were allowed to take with them their household goods that they could carry and their money.
Was this well
here in 1755?
This cross stands at the approximate site of the church cemetery.
There are over 400 individuals buried in this area.
The grounds are so beautiful and well kept.
This statue just breaks my heart.
It symbolizes the deportation of the thousands of Acadians from their ancestral homeland.
So many families were forcibly uprooted and sent into exile, facing an unknown future in foreign lands.
This story would have a very, very sad ending, if this earth-life were the end of everything.
Fortunately, our Father in Heaven has a wonderful plan for each of us.
Through the priesthood power, the power and authority to act in the name of God
for the salvation of humankind, we can all be reunited in the eternities.
Laurence and I are privileged to serve in one of the Lord's temples here in Nova Scotia.
In these temples people are sealed together as husband and wife and families for eternity.
What a blessing to be able to help people, both those here on earth and those deceased,
have that opportunity.