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If one wants to trace the Landrys as an Acadian family, one starts with René Landry (b.1618), which is what I did in an earlier work of mine, "The Landrys of Old Acadia." In this work I begin with one of René's descendants, Jean Baptiste (b.1712) [#11221]1 who came to Cape Breton in 1751.
A monumental event in the early history of Nova Scotia, indeed of Canada, was the The Deportation of the Acadians as occurred at Grand Pré in 1755 -- and, it was indeed a monumental event; but, in fact, the deportation of the Acadians located on the English territory of peninsular Nova Scotia took place in a number of places2 and over a number of years, 1755-63. My point here, however, is that the first Landrys who came to Cape Breton, came voluntarily, and, came before the deportations took place. Prior to 1755, the French Acadian population was under considerable pressure (coming as much from the French authorities as from the English) to move off their long occupied lands which stretched along the Bay of Fundy (Baie Française) from Port Royal (Annapolis Royal) and up along the head of the bay at Beaubassin (handy present day Amherst). (See map.) The French authorities at Cape Breton were anxious to see these French Acadian farmers come to Cape Breton; the problem, however, was that there is precious little in the way of good farming lands in Cape Breton, certainly nothing that compares with the productive capacity of the original Acadian homelands, today's Annapolis Valley. In any event, and for whatever reason, a number of French Acadian families determined to leave Acadia prior to 1755, a branch of the Landry clan was one such family.
"From 1750, till the year of the Expulsion the threats and inducements of the French agents [Abbé Le Loutre being the principal one] were having their effect and the Acadians in large numbers left the colony, and Cobequid in common with the other places suffered loss in population. Some went to Cape Breton, St. John River, and to the Isthmus, but the largest number went via Tatamagouche to St. John's Island [Prince Edward Island]. In August 1750, it was reported from Port La Joye (Charlottetown) that the Acadians were arriving daily and that there were seven hundred persons on rations. But they did not go willingly. The Governor of Isle St. Jean, himself writing of the inhabitants of Cobequid said, 'they leave their homes with great regret and they began to move their luggage only when the savages compelled them.' This is cogent evidence that coercive methods were being used by the French, quite impervious to the suffering they were inflicting upon those of their race and religion. Many reached the Island in a state of virtual starvation and their condition there was little better."3
Sixty-two year old Jean-Baptiste Landry with three of his sons (38 year old Jean-Baptiste, 35 year old Joseph5, and 27 year old Alexis) and a battery of 15 grand children, come to Cape Breton, Riviêre dux Habitants, during August, 1751. I don't know when these Landrys left Riviêre dux Habitants; but I do know that they did not stay long at this first place.
"An out-mission of Port Toulouse [St. Peter's] was La Rivière Magistégouak, which was later called River Inhabitants. La Rocque's report of 1752 says that Sieur Guillaume Benoist had a saw-mill there. The population was composed of thirty-one Acadians, all of whom had been there less than a year, with the exception of Benoist, who had been in the colony three years They were settled at, or near, the mouth of the river, and its inundations prevented any cultivation of the soil."6
It is a very difficult job to trace up these Landrys which had first come into Cape Breton in 1749, indeed, likely for a great number of them, it will be impossible; for, unfortunately, the "parish records for the whole of Isle Madame were lost when the presbytery in Arichat was destroyed by fire in 1838."7
On working up from the original Landrys that came to Cape Breton in 1751, what I figure, is this:
That of the four sons of Jean Baptiste [#11221] (Jean [#11221], Joseph [#11221], Charles [#112213] and Pierre [#11221]) two remained in Cape Breton 8, they being Charles [#112213] and Pierre [#112214]. Charles had three sons, but I do not know their names. Pierre had at least one son named Paul [#1122141].
Joseph [#11222] and his family eventually were to be found in Miquelon; but, it is likely, that at least one of his sons, Alexander [#112221], came back and settled at Petit Des Grat.
Alexis [#11224], the third brother to have come to Cape Breton, in 1751, is, the one to whom most Cape Breton Landrys might trace their roots. Alexis had four sons: John [#112241], Peter [#112242], Joseph [#112243] and David [#112244]. These boys apparently settled in Arichat.
Thus, the Landrys of Cape Breton, it is likely, came down through the following lines: