Up to the first decades of the 20th century, the village and parish were at the heart of Acadian community life. Most people were born, live and die without ever stepping outside the parish and village boundaries. These organizations were the foundation of identity, and it was by them and for them that the majority of local institutions, including the church and the school, were established. In fact, trade, education and religion were at that time essentially centred around those structures.

Just as is the case with the Acadian home, the village is composed of a variety of people and trades and services. Tradesmen and craftsmen endeavored, throught their products and services, to make the daily lif of their neighbours easier. From the 1800s on, tradesmen were in greater number and some of these tradesmen, like the blacksmith, had been present already for several years. Others, such as teachers and doctors, weren’t always available, in some cases for a number of years. The same may be said about public infrastructures which were then rather few in number. Beyond the post office, bridges and wharves were, quite often, the only significant signs of the presence of go Read More
Up to the first decades of the 20th century, the village and parish were at the heart of Acadian community life. Most people were born, live and die without ever stepping outside the parish and village boundaries. These organizations were the foundation of identity, and it was by them and for them that the majority of local institutions, including the church and the school, were established. In fact, trade, education and religion were at that time essentially centred around those structures.

Just as is the case with the Acadian home, the village is composed of a variety of people and trades and services. Tradesmen and craftsmen endeavored, throught their products and services, to make the daily lif of their neighbours easier. From the 1800s on, tradesmen were in greater number and some of these tradesmen, like the blacksmith, had been present already for several years. Others, such as teachers and doctors, weren’t always available, in some cases for a number of years. The same may be said about public infrastructures which were then rather few in number. Beyond the post office, bridges and wharves were, quite often, the only significant signs of the presence of government.

To round out our exploration of Acadian daily life between the late 18th and early 20th century, we must highlight the importance of their village, its main components and its most prevalent tradesmen and craftsmen.

© Village Historique Acadien, Province of New Brunswick, 2003. All Rights Reserved.

Aside from religious infrastructure and the fabric, Acadian communities of yesteryear were not very organized. In a majority of cases, various levels of government were not visibly present in villages and there was no question, except perhaps in Shediac as early as 1903, of a mayor or municipal council before the second half of the 20th century. Hences, indeed, the frequent leadership of the priest of of the local elites in setting up large-scale projects.

Towards the end of the 19th century, and especially around the beginning of the 20th century, several Acadian communities nonetheless built themselves church halls. in many instances, the community centres were mainly built to temporarily fill the need for a church which had been lost by fire. For several months, even several years, mass was celebrated and religious activities held there. later on, when the new temple was finished, the halls would host special events, political reunions and even theatre performances.

Until the beginning of the 20th century, the occasional bridge, the few wharves and the numerous lighthouses found in Acadian regions were often the only Read More
Aside from religious infrastructure and the fabric, Acadian communities of yesteryear were not very organized. In a majority of cases, various levels of government were not visibly present in villages and there was no question, except perhaps in Shediac as early as 1903, of a mayor or municipal council before the second half of the 20th century. Hences, indeed, the frequent leadership of the priest of of the local elites in setting up large-scale projects.

Towards the end of the 19th century, and especially around the beginning of the 20th century, several Acadian communities nonetheless built themselves church halls. in many instances, the community centres were mainly built to temporarily fill the need for a church which had been lost by fire. For several months, even several years, mass was celebrated and religious activities held there. later on, when the new temple was finished, the halls would host special events, political reunions and even theatre performances.

Until the beginning of the 20th century, the occasional bridge, the few wharves and the numerous lighthouses found in Acadian regions were often the only significant presence of the provincial and federal governments. In certain cases they were owned by private businesses and were not necessarily accessible by the general public. The post office, as a separate building, was also quite rare in Acadian villages. More often then not, this service was offered on the premises of a buisness, such as a general store or a hotel, or even in a private home.

In face, a special case like the lobster hatchery in Chiasson Office (near Shippagan), a short-lived experiment by the Department of Fisheries, as a "federal building", was rare concrete evidence of the federal government’s presence in an Acadian community,

© Village Historique Acadien, Province of New Brunswick, 2003. All Rights Reserved.

The various goverments have little presence in Acadian communities. Quite often, only infrastructures such as a bridge remind of their contribution.

Village Historique Acadien
2002
© Village Historique Acadien, Province of New Brunswick, 2003. All Rights Reserved.


Until the early 20th century, most wharves were owned by private firms. Very often, fishermen did not have access to a public wharf.

Village Historique Acadien
c. 1900
© Village Historique Acadien, Province of New Brunswick, 2003. All Rights Reserved.


From the 1870s, under the guidance of the Catholic clergy, convent were built in several villages. As with most community buildings of the time, their construction was financed by various activities such as bazaars and amateur shows.

PANB
c. 1900
P38-209
© PANB


In the absence of a trown hall or municipal buildings practically until the 1950s, chanceries unofficially served as administrative centers in most Acadian Villages.

PANB
c. 1900-1923
© PANB


Around the early 1900s, parish halls start to appear in Acadian communities. They are used for social and cultural events and for public meetings. In some cases, these facilities were even used for worship while awaiting the completion of construction work on the church.

CEA (coll. Évangéline)
c. 1961
E20455
© CEA


Through the years, many individuals took on large importance in the Acadian communities. In some cases, these people, leaders of social, religious or economic affairs, fulfils essential everyday needs and contributed in defining the parameters of the evolution of their village.

Of course, those communities being predominately Catholic, the missionary of resident priest would be foremost in their leadership role. More then a mere representative of the Church, this figure, generally the best-educated in the area, was often the instigator of important projects such as the establishment of a school or a cheese factory, for example. By the end of the 19th century, the doctor and the teacher joined in the endeavours, together with other professionals and businessmen who were becoming more and more frequently found in Acadian villages.

It was not uncommon, however, for Acadian communities to be deprives of the services of one or the other of these influential persons until the early 20th century. Such was the case with the doctor, for instance, whose absence was often compensated by travelling or resident healers, and midwives. Indeed, most Acadians born before the Read More
Through the years, many individuals took on large importance in the Acadian communities. In some cases, these people, leaders of social, religious or economic affairs, fulfils essential everyday needs and contributed in defining the parameters of the evolution of their village.

Of course, those communities being predominately Catholic, the missionary of resident priest would be foremost in their leadership role. More then a mere representative of the Church, this figure, generally the best-educated in the area, was often the instigator of important projects such as the establishment of a school or a cheese factory, for example. By the end of the 19th century, the doctor and the teacher joined in the endeavours, together with other professionals and businessmen who were becoming more and more frequently found in Acadian villages.

It was not uncommon, however, for Acadian communities to be deprives of the services of one or the other of these influential persons until the early 20th century. Such was the case with the doctor, for instance, whose absence was often compensated by travelling or resident healers, and midwives. Indeed, most Acadians born before the first decades of the 20th century were brought into the world with the help of a midwife, who was a genuine specialist in childbirth.

Some of those figures, such as the justice of the peace of the postmaster. were appointed by one or the other of the governments they represented. others, like the fiddler or the storyteller, were not really official offices. But their roles were nonetheless crucial to the life of their community. Through their musical or verbal talents, the provided Acadians a means of fully enjoying the few moments of leisure allowed in the year, or of relaxing after a hard day’s work.

© Village Historique Acadien, Province of New Brunswick, 2003. All Rights Reserved.

The fiddler is practically essential to every village. He is a the heart of all celebrations which he livens up to the rhythm of his rousing music of of his nostalgic melodies.

Village Historique Acadien

© Village Historique Acadien, Province of New Brunswick, 2003. All Rights Reserved.


While Christian charity dictates a kind reception for the beggar, in many instances his visit is also appreciated because he brings along news from neighboring villages.

Village Historique Acadien

© Village Historique Acadien, Province of New Brunswick, 2003. All Rights Reserved.


The missionary cannot spend his whole time in one village, but Acadians may count on his dedicated services when he is present.

Village Historique Acadien
c. 1996
© Village Historique Acadien, Province of New Brunswick, 2003. All Rights Reserved.


The justice of the peace was for a long time the main representative of law and government in the Acadian village. He takes care of the registration of deeds, of sales contracts, etc. Generally, this office is held by merchants and businessmen.

Village Historique Acadien
2002
© Village Historique Acadien, Province of New Brunswick, 2003. All Rights Reserved.


Built close to anceint meadows, the Village Historique Acadien is certainly the ideal means of getting acquianted with Acadian history and culture. Relying on a large collection of buildings and artifacts, its staff of interpreters presents the evolution of the Acadian community of New Brunswick between the late 18th and the early 20th centuries. The restoration or rebuilding of strutures, the designing of costumes, and the carrying out of trades all bear winess to a painstaking effort to recreate the life of Acadians of old.

Please follow this link to the exhibit to view an interactive map of the Village Historique Acadien.
Built close to anceint meadows, the Village Historique Acadien is certainly the ideal means of getting acquianted with Acadian history and culture. Relying on a large collection of buildings and artifacts, its staff of interpreters presents the evolution of the Acadian community of New Brunswick between the late 18th and the early 20th centuries. The restoration or rebuilding of strutures, the designing of costumes, and the carrying out of trades all bear winess to a painstaking effort to recreate the life of Acadians of old.

Please follow this link to the exhibit to view an interactive map of the Village Historique Acadien.

© Village Historique Acadien, Province of New Brunswick, 2003. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • describe the few municipal services that Acadia had and compare to today;
  • identify some important figures in an Acadian village and explain their importance.

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