...100 years after the arrival of the Acadians
in the Poitou, what remained of the colony established on the heather between
Archigny and The Puye?
These two excerpts of texts of that time try to answer that question.
Excerpt of a transcription, by Monique Hivert The
Faucheux, of the handwritten notes of Rameau de Saint-Père in
....It was not without a certain emotion that I saw the first houses that had sheltered these poor immigrant wretches.
Before me lay a perfectly straight endless avenue,
30 feet wide and bordered on each side by a ditch and a hawthorn hedge. There
was a long narrow house with a slate roof containing 4 or 5 rooms on each
bank at a distance of 10 to 12 meters from the ditch, these houses customarily
faced one the other, so that one had the well and the other the oven which
they mutually shared. There were locations which lacked a companion house,
probably because all intended construction was not completed due to the
successive departures of the Acadians. The largest number of the houses were
located on the right bank. The first houses were built on the left bank of
stone and earth, but as one moves away from The Puye they are built entirely
of earth except for a foundation wall made of stone; and except for recent
restoration, and the new construction that has been added to several existing
All these houses are surrounded with two or three small plots of land which are enclosed by ditches and hedges and on which there are fruit and young elm shade trees, etc. One of these plots an enclosed meadow maintained so that it is drained to side ditches and is fertilized each year. The rest is well cultivated gardens, and often planted with fruit trees. There are various trees, elms, sapwood, poplars _ a big number of this last species of Italy planted in front of the house along the side drainage ditches, but those which do not do well and small are planted on the sides of the ditches that border the main road that makes up the Acadian Way.
A large number of these houses has in its courtyard, a small pool, Pavement of the worst roadways _ behind the homes are small planted fields that surround the houses with large wide spaces, where one does not see any tree and which is still is a heather shrub _ Every concession was composed of 175 boisselées or 17.5 hectares _
The original old houses are generally in poor condition and appearance, although the walls in earth are intact and well preserved.
Extracted of " Travel in France " Berger-Levrault on 1901
The whole region is typically sprinkled with farming dwellings. A long and straight road, skirts the fertile open land, we find it leads to a home called Basse_Chaussée. This big path crosses the colony of the Acadians.
And the failure of this attempt at settlement is self-explanatory. At that time, the plain was arid earth, covered with a spiny yellow flowering shrub. One didn't know the chalky nature of the soil, the land was therefore especially fruitless in the eyes of people that had reclaimed the forests of Nova Scotia at the rich fertile farmland. However, the climate is mild. Here it is, in a garden, of the laurels in the ground.
Wide corridors, muddy in winter, covered with grass in summer divided the land: It was, doubtless, the limits of the concessions given to the Acadians.
Acadia is a hamlet of about ten houses built on the sides of the road; a small piece of open land remained like witness to the original state of the ground. There is there a beautiful new farm, next to a rustic home whose walls are a mixture of earth and heather twigs _ forcibly compacted to become hard as stone. These dwellings, that don't resemble anything like others of the country, were constructed by the refugees like their thatched cottages of Acadia. One of them is shown on the map under the name of Romain d'Aigle. The owner, named Dumonteil, allowed me to visit. It is, he tells me that he is the grandson of this Roman, but knew nothing of its Cajun origin! The origin was toldvto him by a mining engineer of the mines who searching for evidence of the Acadians and found the acts of land distribution in the archives of Châtellerault.
The sacristan of Archigny, Mr. Daigle is another descendant of the Acadian Romain Daigle.
Several of these houses are abandoned and they now serve barns; open cracks that occur are plugged with the common masonry, because the art heather-adobe construction has been lost. In summary, the memory of this exodus is erased; however the Acadian Line, where I find the Acadians houses, I stand out as descendant of the immigrants.
But in the entire region, one would not meet twenty people conscious of their heritage
Bob Mc Bride (mars2000)