The Farmers' Bank of Rustico
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Acadians on PEI


Period     1758-1860


La Belle Alliance

In 1816, the remaining Acadian families living in Malpeque came to an agreement with the English proprietor of Lot 17, Colonel Harry Compton, and purchased 6000 acres of swampy lowland for the sum of £625. The Acadians called the new settlement Belle Alliance, perhaps in honour of the agreement with the English landowner, and by the next year founded the parish of Miscouche in the same area.


Agriculture was the primary industry for the Acadians living in Miscouche. The Acadians were accomplished farmers and were experienced at cultivating the marsh hay that grew so prodigiously in lowlands and tidal regions.


The school at Miscouche was one of six Acadian schools operating on St. John's Island when the English government began subsidizing and keeping record of education in 1830. Few regulations on education existed at the time, except that Acadian schoolmasters had to be Catholic and certified by a local priest. The majority of Acadian schoolmasters taught their classes in French during the early period.

Joseph F. Gaudet, a teacher at the school in Miscouche, was given high praise by the English inspector John MacNeill in 1845 for his ability to teach classes in both French and English. Inspector MacNeill suggested that Joseph F. Gaudet be entitled to receive a combined teaching allowance for effectively teaching both Acadian and English curriculum, and had the following to report regarding Acadian schools in the area:

"In these, as in all the Acadian Schools on the Island, except that on Lot 17 (Miscouche),... instruction is principally, or altogether, conveyed in the French language. A few read English, learning it through the medium of translations; they are useful Schools, being the only class which this part of the population support, who still retain a prejudice against educating their children at a mere English school".

The Acadian schools would come under more scrutiny in later years; by 1854 the English authorities introduced amendments requiring English lessons in reading, writing and arithmetic.

Acadian teacher at desk, circa 1850

School Teacher. circa 1850

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