Larry’s River Festival Savalette
Captain Savalette was a fisherman from St. Jean De Luz, France, who used the shores and islands of Tor Bay to carry out his viable fishery by catching and drying his fish here during the 1500s and 1600s. He carried on his trade for many years from 1565 onward. Savalette used the Sugar islands Near Cole Harbour to prepare his fish for transport before setting out for France. It is said that Captain Savalette made 42 voyages to these parts and hosted many European fishermen and traders who stopped by for advice, and more importantly, some rest. Among the well-known visitors were Samuel de Champlain, Marc LesCarbot, and Nicholas Denys. Visitors were so well received and treated by Savalette and his men, that much was written about their hospitality and knowledge of these dangerous waters and they provided valuable information that became used in the mapping of this region. Therefore, Port Savalette, later to be named Tor Bay, has a rich history of hospitality that can be traced to the days of Capitaine Savalette, after whom our Festival has been named.
Every Year the Acadians celebrate Festival Savalette August 5th-8th every year.
Monika Duersch an artist formally from Germany moved to Whitehead, a community not far from Larry’s River in 2001. Monika heard about the project to paint the rocks in Larry’s River through a friend. She applied for the job by sending in a little rock along with her resume as an example of her skills. She was hired to do the job along with Charlotte Pitts a former resident of Larry’s River. Jude Avery, a resident of Larry’s River drove them around the community to the important places. They also went to museums to see what other Acadian artist had painted from their way of life. Jude gave Monika & Charlotte topics, for example “Meeting of Champlain and Savalette”, but left the designing to them. Monika would pass in her sketches of ideas to Jude; he agreed or asked for some minor changes. She stayed close to the style of the Acadian artists and “harmonized” it with Charlotte’s abilities. Charlotte is completely self-taught and she needed some assistance with perspective and other little things. Monika graduated as a Graphic, Commercial Artist & Designer at Peter Atzbach Graphic Arts& Design School. For the first while they worked very close together to give the whole project a harmonic and fitting style leaning on the old depicting stories of Acadian life and on historic facts. The Acadian Society provided them with books and literature to help them. Monika & Charlotte started the project in the fall of 2007. They had to start late in the year because the rocks had to be set up and sand blasted. Raymond Delorey, a resident and local business man did the sand blasting. They painted long into the cold time of the year, and Raymond set up heaters and had to fix their tents plenty of times. They got ripped and carried away by the storms and bad weather. The project was put on hold until the Municipality took it over and reinstated the project in 2010. The Municipality couldn’t place any heaters this year to keep the rocks warm enough so that the paint would bond to it, so she had to stop in the middle of the painting and has to wait till the spring to finish it. The new rock will be depicting the map of Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick with its Acadian settlements, as well as some nature scenes about the main food sources the first settlers had (rabbit, deer and fish). It will also show the methods by which the settlers
arrived again (wagon, boat and on foot).
Rock #1 French Expeditions Aimed At Settling North America:
In 1603, Henry IV, King of France, granted Pierre Dugas, Sieur de Monts, the right to colonize lands in North America between the 40th and 60th degree north latitude. Along with the right to colonize that extensive region, his company was given a fur trade monopoly for Acadia, an area which now comprises most of the present day Maritime Provinces and part of Maine. Samuel de Champlain was sent to accompany de Mont’s expedition to colonize New France in 1604 and 1605, serving as geographer and cartographer for this group of colonists. They were to lay claim to the area for King Henry IV by establishing a physical presence here. The value of the fur trade was more of an accidental find by fisherman who came to the shores of North America to catch fish found in abundance here. While ashore drying and curing their fish for transport back to France, they met and befriended the Mi’Kmaq natives who traded furs, especially beaver belts, with their European friends, for pots, ans and other European goods for personal use. Upon bringing these furs back to Frances, they discovered a ready and valuable market in the King’s palace an among the nobility for the stylish clothing made with the furs. As this made North America an even more valuable piece of real estate, it became important to establish permanent trading posts here.
Rock #2 Settlement of I’Acadie 1604/1605:
Arriving in 1604, the French settlers built a fort on a small island names Ile Ste Croix at the mouth of the Ste. Croix River, which separates present day New Brunswick and Maine. After a disastrous winter, where 35 of the 79 men died of scurvy and/or exposure, they crossed the Bay of Fundy the following spring and established the first permanent settlement at Port Royal. Built in the summer of 1605, I’ Habitation consisted of several buildings grouped in French fashion in a four sided arrangement around a central courtyard. This new community was designed with permanency and self-sufficiency in mind based on its configuration and composition. In it were living accommodations for the working class, gentry and artians. All the required support for community survival was intefrated into this physical plan. A blacksmith shop, a sail loft and workshop, a kitchen, dining room, trading post, apothecary and chapel were the key components of the Habitation while infirmary stalls were built for the sick close to the chimneys for warmth. The Acadians quickly befriended the nature Mi’Kmaq and this alliance became the most meaningful and trusted friendship they could have established. It was the Mi’kmaq under their chief, Membertou, who taught the Acadians how to survive in this new enivronment. They were shown how and what to hunt, cook , how to grow healthy crops, how to fish and how to use their remedies when sick. So valued was this friendship that Membertou and many of his people converted to Catholicism and were treated as very special guests whenever they visited the Habitiation for special occasions and events. The Order of Good Cheer was the first social blub established in North America and served as a means to keep up the morale of the men during the long, harsh winter months. Individuals were chosen to organize and prepare a social evening every week where good, music, prayers and games were the focus of the event.Chief Membertou was always invited to attend an given a very special place to sit at the head of the table.
Rock #3: Samuel de Champlain Meets Captain Savalette on Shores of Tor Bay:
French cartographer and geographer, Samuel de Chaplain met Basque fisherman and fishery entrepreneur, Captain Savalette on the north shores of Tor Bay in 1607. According to authenticated records, Champlain and a group of explorers, including writer, Marc Lescarbot met Captin Savalette of St. Jean de Luz, France, in the bay in 1607 on their way to Port Royal. They were treated with great hospitality as guests of Savalette who so impressed Champlain with his knowledge of the dangerous waters of the bay and surrounding area, that Champlain name the north dhores Port Savalette. The area is believed to be somewhere between present day Charlos Cove and Port Felix. Savalette informed them that he was on his 42nd visit to this bay. The Basque captain used the shores of the bay and the islands (later known as the Sugar Islands) situated at the mouth on a rock in 1949 b the Government of Canada at the urging of local historian, Dr. J.C. Jost and is situated approximatley where Savalette and Champlain met. The plaque is still present on this original site between Charlos Cove and Cole Harbour. Locals claim that the anchor to Savalette’s boat can still be seen on the bottom of our bay. An annual Festival in his name was begun in August 2005.
Rock #4: Acadian Dyke Building Along Bay of Fundy:
The first settlers of Port Royal must have been aware of the extraordinary fertility of the immense salt marshes that surrounded them. The height of the wild grasses along would have been a clear sign of very productive soil. Until the movement of water through the flat, wet marshlands was controlled, the fertility would remain untapped. Not only would the ground be too damp for cultivation, but the salt content would prevent the growth of essential crops like wheat and barley. This became even more evident as they moved further into the Valley region as far as Minas Basin and Grand Pre. The area became known as “L’ Acadie” and the French speaking settlers became known as “Acadians”. There are a few versions of the origin of this term with the most likely being a derivation of the Mi’Kmaq term “algaty’ meaning a camp or settlement or “akade’ a place where something abounds. The “Acadians” began to develop their own identity from the 1630′s onward, having grown more and more independent from France and becoming very good at adapting their lifestyles to their new environment. Their dyke building skills, which they brought with them from France, were now being put to good use in an attempt t reclaim rich fertile lands that were flooded by the Bay of Fundy tides. Choosing to settle on the lowlands rather than clear the forests on higher ground, families, neighbors and friends worked together to build dykes like only they could fashion. The dykes many of which are still standing after all these years, reclaimed rich farmlands from the Bay of Fundy’s highest tides. No other group that colonized North America developed settlements based on the reclamation of salt marshes or perfected the techniques of dyke-building. The term “aboiteaux”, which designates the wooden clapper valve that controlled the flow of salt water on the marshes, has no equivalent word in English or modern French. It is inextricably linked to a specific cultural context. By the end of the 17th century, the Acadians were very proficient builds of dykes and aboiteaux. Team work was necessary in order to build and maintain the dykes. Beginning with smaller dykes, the Acadians eventually built larger ones that spanned much of the area around Minas Basin.
Rock #5 Grand Pre:
The Grand Pre (large meadow) settlement began in 1682 when a few families from Port Royal moved there. It is situated near the shores of Minas Basin, an inlet that empties into the Bay of Fundy. By 1707, the population had grown to 580 people, mostly from the Port Royal and Beaubassin areas because life here was safe without threat or interference due to its isolation. A large system of dykes and abiteaux were constructed to reclaim the rich meadows flooded by the powerful and extraordinarily high Fundy ties. The entire region became known as “le Bassin des Mines” due to its copper mines, and was the site of great population growth throughout the first half of the 18th century. Grand Pre, and the area around it, became a busy hub of activity during this time and I’Eglise St. Charles became the centre of their lives. This great “meadowland” produced rich crops of wheat, rye, peas, and oats and supported large herds of cattle while the nearby rivers provided a variety of fresh fish for consumption. By 1750 the popluation of this area was 2450 with some 200 homes, a gristmill, a windmill and a sawmill. The community was thriving without outside interference and able to make its own decisions while the people lived as “True neutrals”. The Grand Pre area was quickly becoming the new “coeur de l’ Acadie”. Little did these people know what lay in store for them on September 5, 1755.
Rock #6 The Great Upheaval 1755-1763:
With the founding of Halifax in 1749 as a British naval base, the Acadians became the target of concern and possible displacement. Demands on them to accept and sign an “oath of allegiance” to the British crown were made several times but the Acadians refused, unless two clauses of concern to them were changed: 1) they would not have to take up arms against the French or the Mi’kmaq in the event of conflict and 2) they would not have to abandon the practice of their Catholic faith. In summary, they wished to remain, “neutrals” and live in peace in their communities. The Bristish of Halifax did not know how to deal with this hastily put forward a”Deportation Order” as an answer to this dilemma. On September 5th, 1755, Colonel Winslow, on orders from Governor Lawrence of Halifax, had all the men and boys of the Grand Pre area assemble in St. Charles Church to be read a message from the Governor. Once in the church, the doors were locked and the Deportation Declaration was read. It stated that all families would be loaded together on ships anchored in Minas Basin and transported to the New England colonies where their governors were awaiting them and would treat them well. The reality was very different from the Declaration. Men were assembled and under the careful eyes of different from the Declaration. Men were assembled and under the careful eyes of military guards were led to Horton’s Landing for a small boat shuttle to anchored ships for departure. Families separated and torn apart by this poorly organized procedure, were cramped into small holds of ships and sent mostly to colonies where governors either knew nothing of their arrival, refused to accept them or both. Rampant sickness caused by exposure, poor diet and unhealthy living conditions in the ship’s cramped quarters caused the deaths of many of these unfortunate exiles.
Rock #7 The Scattering of a People:
Over the next eight years or until the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the Great Upheaval continued in what has become known as the first act of “ethnic cleansing” in North America. In an ill-conceived and desperate plan to quickly dispose of the Acadians of l’Acadie, a long and complicated network of deportations with numerous drop off locations in many areas of the world was put in place. Between 1755 and 1763, some 10,000 to 12,000 Acadians were taken from their homelands and transported to areas such as New England, St. Pierre et Miquelon, France, England and the Caribbean Islands, often with Disastrous results. Their homes and properties were ordered confiscated and destroyed and no one was given permission to remain. Many who managed to escape the Deportation by fleeing into the woods were later captured or died of exposure. A small number did succeed in making their way to freedom in Northern New Brunswick and Quebec. The captives were imprisoned in some of the fortresses and prisons that existed in various parts of what is now known as the Minas Basin, Isthmus of Chignecto and Halifax areas, which included Fort Beausejour, Fort Edward, George’s Island in Halifax Harbour and Armdale. It is reported that as many as 2,000 prisoners were held on George’s Island, many of whom made their way to Chezzetcook after 1763. With the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the Deportation process came to an end, but many displaced Acadians continued their search for a safe and hostpiable new homeland. In 1765, many Acadians left Nova Scotia by ship and after stop-overs in the Carubbean Islands, made their way to Louisiana. Then in 1785, thirty years after the deportation began, approximately 1,600 Acadians sailed from France in seven ships, bound for Louisiana, where they were given land along the bayous to inhabit. The decsendents of both these groups are now known as “Cajuns”a, shortened version of the word “Acadians”, with a Louisiana southern drawl. The “Cadiens” or “Cajuns” of Louisiana have developed their own unique culture through their experiences and intermingling in their new southern homeland. Today, they and the Acadians of the Maritimes are desperately trying to hold on to their language and culture and are forever proud of their ancestry. New lines of communications opened between the two groups, especially following the 2004 World Congress of Acadians and their solidarity after more than 250 years of separation is amazing. This was clearly evidenced during the 2004 celebrations here in Larry’s River, when one of North America’s best known Acadian music bands, Blou joined together with one of North America’s top Cajun singer/musician, Waylon Thibodeaux for a fantastic show under the Big Top tent. These local celebrations were organized and coordinated by la Societe des Acadiens de la Region de Tor Baie.
Rock #8 The Resettlement:
The Deportation began in 1755 and ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763. This treaty not only ended what was perhaps the greatest human atrocity committed in British North America but it also gave Acadians the right to return to their homeland. Freedom was granted to those who had escaped and survived this upheaval as prisoners of war. The return of thousands of displaced souls was almost as difficult and perilous as the eviction. Many began their return from as far away as the southern colonies of Georgia and the Carolinas, on foot in ox drawn carts (charrettes) and by boat, all hoping they were returning to their homeland as they remembered it. Many never survived the trek home and for those who did, they discovered that their rights and freedoms were conditional. They could not return to their Grand Pre homes for they had been destroyed and their lands were now inhabited by British subjects. As well, their newly chosen communities were controlled in size and location. The result was that new villages, often founded by extended families were established along the east coast of New Brunswick, many parts of Prince Edward Island and in isolated areas of Nova Scotia from the southern to northern extremities of the province far removed from the Bristish colonial capital of Halifax. Many others left the province to settle in Louisiana, Quebec and St. Pierre et Miquelon, while others returned to France. The Map of l’ Acadie as it applies to the Maritimes today looks very different than it did pre 1755. The largest number of Acadians in the Maritimes is now found in New Brunswick.
Rock #9: Chezzetcook, Tracadie and Harve Boucher:
Many of the Acadians who escaped or survived the Great Upheaval of 1755 to 1763, either died of exposure or were captured and imprisoned as “Prisoners of War”.