m. ABT 1678
Facts and Events
The Most Famous Acadian of Them All
Joseph Gaurhept Broussard, also known as Beausoleil, (1702 - 1765) was a leader of the Acadian people in Acadia; later Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. After the loss of Acadia to the British, he eventually led the first group of Acadians to southern Louisiana in present-day United States.
Broussard was born in Port Royal, Nova Scotia in 1702. He lived much of his life along the Petitcodiac River in New Brunswick with his wife Agnes and their eleven children.
In the 1740s, he began participating in conflicts between the French and the British.S2 After the construction of Fort Beausejour in 1751, Broussard lent aid to the garrison there. He became the leader of an armed resistance following the expulsion of the Acadians, leading assaults against the British on several occasions between 1755 and 1758 as part of the forces of Charles Deschamps de Boishébert et de Raffetot.S2
After arming a ship in 1758, Broussard traveled through the upper Bay of Fundy region where he attacked the British. His ship was seized in November 1758. He was then forced to flee, travelling first to the Miramichi and later to Fort Edward. Finally captured by the British forces in 1762, he was imprisoned with other Acadians in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Released in 1764, Broussard was permitted to travel with several other Acadians to Dominica. Unable to adapt to the climate, he led the group to settle in Louisiana.S3
He was among the first 200 Acadians to arrive in Louisiana on February 27, 1765 aboard the Santo Domingo.S3 On April 8, 1765, he was appointed militia captain and commander of the "Acadians of the Atakapas" in St. Martinville, La.S2 Not long after his arrival, Joseph Broussard died in St. Martinville at the presumed age of 63. The exact date of his death is unknown, but it is assumed to have been on or around October 20, 1765. Many of his descendants live in southern Louisiana and Nova Scotia.
The Cajun music group BeauSoleil is named after him.
Depiction of Joseph Broussard in Robert Dafford Mural
"The Arrival of the Acadians in Louisiana" by Robert Dafford, measures 12 x 30 feet. It's figures represent actual documented Acadian refugees who arrived in Louisiana from about 1764 to 1788 and who settled in different parts of the state. Some models are direct descendants of the figures they portray. This mural is twinned with one in Nantes, France, also painted by Robert Dafford, which depicts the departure of Louisiana-bound Acadians from the port of Nantes in 1785.S10
Arsenault reported that, after so long a journey and so many battles, Joseph Broussard finally fell victim to one of the many plagues that swept through the camps of the Acadian refugees. He died on October 20, 1765, and was buried at what is now the site of the Town of Broussard.S7
From Acadians Who Found Refuge in Louisiana
Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil, age 63, a widower, whom French authorities in New Orleans named capitaine commandant des Acadiens aux Atakapas, or commander of the Acadians at Atakapas, came with four unmarried children--twins Francois and Francoise, age 19, Claude, age 17, and Amand, age 15. Joseph did not remarry and also died in the epidemic of 1765. Four of his sons settled at Atakapas, three of whom produced families of their own.
Born c1702, haute rivière, Port-Royal; son of Francois BROUSSARD & Catherine RICHARD; brother of Alexandre dit Beausoleil; in Acadian census, 1703, Port-Royal, unnamed, with parents & siblings; brought before Annapolis Council, 1724, for assault against fellow colonist Louis THIBAULT & for consorting with Indians, & briefly imprisoned; married, age 23, Agnès, called Nanette, THIBODEAUX, daughter of Michel THIBODEAUX & Agnès DUGAS of Chepoudy, & sister of brother Alexandre's wife Marguerite, 11 Sep 1725, Port-Royal; brought before Annapolis Council again, 1726, this time accused of fathering an illegitimate child, imprisoned for refusing to provide for the child's care; settled Village-des-Beausoleil, upper Petitcoudiac, near present-day Moncton, NB, c1730; participated in Acadian resistance against British rule, King George's War, 1744-48, including French raid on British forces at Grand-Pré 31 Jan 1747; held by the British in forts Cumberland (formerly Beauséjour) & Lawrence (formerly Beaubassin), Aug-Oct 1755; probably escaped from Fort Lawrence with 85 other Acadians, 1 Oct 1755; a leader of the Acadian resistance in present-day southeastern NB, Oct 1755-Nov 1761; surrendered to British authorities, Fort Cumberland, 16 Nov 1759, but did not come in until Nov 1761; held at Georges Island, Halifax, as prisoner of war, 1762; held at Fort Edward (formerly Pigiguit) as prisoner of war, 1762-63; arrested Windsor (formerly Pigiguit) 1763 for illegal communication with French authorities, convicted by governor's council in Halifax, & held prisoner under close confinement at Georges Island, Halifax, until 1764; leader of exiles from Halifax to LA via St.-Domingue, late 1764-early 1765; arrived LA Feb 1765, age 63, a widower; secured in New Orleans a land & cattle deal from Jean-Antoine-Bernard DAUTERIVE, major cattle rancher in the Atakapas District, for his people, 4 Apr 1765, signed by 7 other leaders of his party, including brother Alexandre, son Victor, & nephew Jean-Baptiste; appointed Capitaine Commandant des Acadiens aux Atakapas by acting-governor AUBRY, 8 Apr 1765; died Atakapas, buried "at place called Beausoleil" 20 Oct 1765, age 63; depicted front & center in Dafford Mural, Acadian Memorial, St. Martinville; the most famous Acadian of them all.S8
In late February 1765, a group of about 200 Acadian refugees from detention camps at Halifax arrived in Louisiana via St. Domingue [Haiti] led by Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil. The arrival of this group was reported in a letter dated February 25, 1765, by Aubry [The Acadian Miracle by Dudley J. LeBlanc, p. 318], which read in part:
"Two hundred Acadian men, women and children, repelled by the climate of San Domingo, have just disembarked here and will actually die from want if they do not receive succor..."
This group wanted to go to the Upper Mississippi Valley (Illinois), but they were sent to the Attakapas District.S9