| Morlaix is at the bottom of a deep
valley where two rivers (Keffleut, Jarlot) merge to form the estuary of
Dossen ... an area subject to the tides (though not as bad as at the Bay
of Fundy). The city was for the dukes of Brittany (1196-1515) and then
the French kings (1516-1589). It was a commercial center, the most
important port of lower Brittany, and attracted many foreign families.
When the Acadians arrived, it was a pretty prosperous town of almost 10,000
people. Its chief export was sailcloth, then fabric (for sheets),
leather, and tobacco. In 1763, 384 Acadians arrived from Penryn &
They debarked from 2 ships at
Léon Quay, in the middle of town, by mid-June 1763. The group
consisted of 77 families. At first, they stayed in temporary vacant
barracks. Gradually they integrated into Morlaix, in the parishes
of St. Melaine, St. Mathieu, and especially St. Martin of the Fields (St.
Martin des Champs). In St. Martin, many of them lived on Rue Bourret.
Besides helping them with lodging,
the municipal officers of Morlaix helped the Acadians find work.
They also allowed the Acadian children to sign up for school without paying.
Once they got off the boat, they received 6 sols a day in a sort of welfare.
In July 1763, 3 Acadians (Joseph
Simon Granger, Honore LeBlanc, Joseph Trahan) from Morlaix went to Belle
Isle en Mer to scout the proposed settlement. Though the idea
was debated, in October 1765, 55 families (179 people) of the 77 Acadian
families at Morlaix migrated to Belle Isle. They were led by Father
Le Loutre. He had been in prison on Jersey Island since 1756.
The Duke of Choiseul put him in charge of convincing them to move and to
set up the settlement. Le Loutre was from Morlaix, born there Nov.
In early 1764, Choiseul managed
to convince 22 Acadian families to attempt a settlement at Guyana.
Even the pastor of St. Mathieu in Morlaix, Father Coquart (a former missionary
in Acadia) wanted to go. Although money was spend planning the project,
the Acadians were wary of the tropical migration and it was eventually
The 20 +/- families who had
stayed at Morlaix were joined a few years later by 45 of Belle Isle settlers
A couple of Acadians of Morlaix
would later feel the impact of the French Revolution. Anne LeBlanc
(nee LePrince), 80, and her 38 year old daughter were guillotined at Brest
because they let a priest (who hadn't pledged the oath) stay in their home.
Jean Baptiste Hebert was a part-time
resident of Morlaix. He was known as a "pirate" who seized ships
for the king. Other Acadians who sailed on pirate ships included
J. LeBlanc, P. Trahan, M. Blanchard served on the Comte de Giochen. Francois Rene Granger, after spending 7 months in an English prison,
showed up at Dunkerque as a lieutenant. He later served as captain
of the pirate ships Union, Sans Peur, Terrible, and Insatiable.
Another Acadian, Jean Jacques
Granger, was guillotined at Bordeaux in 1763 because he had 7 proscribed
Girondin deputies aboard his ship. (From Nantes to Louisiana,