Joseph Broussard

Joseph Broussard

Joseph Broussard, known as "Beausoleil". An

portrait by Herb Roe.
Nickname(s) Beausoleil
Born 1702
Port Royal, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia
Died 1765 (aged 6263)
St. Martinville, Louisiana
Buried at Unknown location near St. Martinville, Louisiana
Rank Militia captain

Father Rale's War

King George's War

Father Le Loutre's War

French and Indian War

Other work Led Acadians to Louisiana. Militia captain of the Acadians of the Atakapas[1]

Joseph Broussard (1702–1765), also known as Beausoleil, was a leader of the Acadian people in Acadia; later Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick. Broussard organized a Mi'kmaq and Acadian militias against the British through King George's War, Father Le Loutre's War and during the French and Indian War. After the loss of Acadia to the British, he eventually led the first group of Acadians to southern Louisiana in present-day United States. His name is sometimes presented as Joseph Gaurhept Broussard; this is likely the result of a transcription error.[2] Broussard is widely regarded as a hero and an important historical figure by both Acadians and Cajuns.


Broussard was born in Port Royal, Nova Scotia, in 1702. He lived much of his life at Le Cran (present-day Stoney Creek, Albert County, New Brunswick), along the Petitcodiac River with his wife Agnes and their eleven children.

During Father Rale's War, Broussard participated in a raid on Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia (1724).[3]

King George's War

During King George's War, under the leadership of French priest Jean-Louis Le Loutre, Broussard began actively resisting the British occupation of Acadia. Broussard's forces often included Mi'kmaq allies in their resistance against the British. In 1747 he participated in and was later charged for his involvement with the Battle of Grand Pré. (see History of the Acadians)[1]

Father Le Loutre's War

During Father Le Loutre's War, after the construction of Fort Beausejour in 1751, Broussard joined Jean-Louis Le Loutre at Beausejour. In an effort to stop the British movement into Acadia, in 1749 Broussard was involved in one of the first raids on Dartmouth, Nova Scotia which resulted in the deaths of five British settlers.[4] The following year, Broussard was in the Battle at Chignecto and then shortly afterward he led sixty Mi'kmaq and Acadians to attack Dartmouth again, in what would be known as the "Dartmouth Massacre" (1751). Broussard and the others killed twenty British civilians and took more prisoners.[5] Cornwallis temporarily abandoned plans to settle Dartmouth.[6]

In late April 1754, Beausoleil and a large band of Mi'kmaq and Acadians left Chignecto for Lawrencetown. They arrived in mid-May and in the night opened fired on the village. Beausoleil killed and scalped four British settlers and two soldiers. By August, as the raids continued, the residents and soldiers were withdrawn to Halifax.[7]

Capture of French ships Alcide and Lys off Newfoundland. The ships were carrying war supplies for Acadians and Mi'kmaq

In the Action of 8 June 1755, a naval battle off Cape Race, Newfoundland, on board the French ships Alcide and Lys were found 10,000 scalping knives for Acadians and Indians serving under Chief Jean-Baptiste Cope and Acadian Beausoleil as they continue to fight Father Le Loutre's War.[8]

Broussard was also active in the fight against Lieutenant Colonel Robert Monckton in the Battle of Beausejour.[9]

French and Indian War

With Le Loutre imprisoned after the Battle of Beausejour, Broussard became the leader of an armed resistance during the expulsion of the Acadians (17551764), 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.[1] 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 imprisoned at Fort Edward in 1762. Finally, he was transferred and imprisoned with other Acadians in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Arrival at Louisiana

Released in 1764, Broussard was deported by the British, along with his family and several other Acadians, to Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti).[10] Unable to adapt to the climate, he led the group to settle in Louisiana.[11]

He was among the first 200 Acadians to arrive in Louisiana on February 27, 1765, aboard the Santo Domingo.[12] On April 8, 1765, he was appointed militia captain and commander of the "Acadians of the Atakapas" in St. Martinville, La.[1] 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 about October 20, 1765. Many of his descendants live in southern Louisiana and Nova Scotia.


Broussard's 21st-century descendants include the families from Mississippi Port Neches and Rayne,Louisiana including Sidney Joseph Broussard and family- Célestine "Tina" Knowles (née Beyincé), her two daughters Beyoncé and Solange, and also her two grandchildren Daniel and Blue.[13]

Modern cultural references

The Cajun music group BeauSoleil is named after him.

He is a character in the novel Banished from Our Home: The Acadian Diary of Angelique Richard, Grand-Pre, Acadia, 1755 (2004) by Sharon Stewart.

A dramatized, historically inaccurate version of Beausoleil is featured in the Acadian novel Pélagie-la-Charette, by Antonine Maillet.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 "History:1755-Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil (c. 1702-1765)". Retrieved 2009-03-14.
  2. "Middle Name or Clerical Error?: Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil and 'Gaurhept', Shane K. Bernard". Retrieved 2012-06-28.
  3. James Laxer, The Acadians: In Search of a Homeland, Anchor Canada Press, p. 103
  4. John Grenier (2008). The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. p.150
  5. John Grenier (2008). The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. p.160
  6. John Grenier (2008). The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. p.161
  7. Diane Marshall. Heroes of the Acadian Resistance. Formac. 2011. p. 110-111
  8. Thomas H. Raddall. Halifax: Warden of the North. Nimbus. 1993. (originally 1948)p. 45
  9. John Grenier (2008). The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. p.171
  10. Shane K. Bernard. "Cajuns and their Acadian ancestors: a young reader's history", 2008, University Press of Mississippi, p. 31, ISBN 978-1-934110-78-2
  11. C. A. Pincombe and E. W. Larracy, Resurgo: The History of Moncton, Volume 1, 1990, Moncton, p. 30 ISBN 0969463405
  12. "Broussard named for early settler Valsin Broussard"
  13. "A Peek into Blue Ivy Carter's Past". The Huffington Post. AOL. January 12, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2012.

Further reading

External links

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