February 21st, 1923

The Register,

Wednesday Evening, February 21, 1923

An Acadian To The Front

New Brunswick’s new Premier, Hon. Peter J. Veniot, illustrates the rise of the Acadians in the Maritime Provinces, and his selection is one of time’s revenges for the sorrowful episode of 1755 when the race was deported from Nova Scotia after the refusal to take the oath of allegiance to the British King. Premier Veniot has been a member of the Legislature off and on for nearly thirty years, and his six years in former Premier Foster’s Cabinet as Minister of Public Works have been marked by bold and resourceful administration. Mr. Veniot lives at Bathurst, on the Bay de Chaleur, but was born at Richibucto, on the Northumberland Strait side of the Province. He has been an insurance broker when not too much occupied with his public duties.

The Acadians of New Brunswick shared the hardships of the members of their race. Some of the Acadian settlements of the Province were founded by men who escaped deportation and settled in the wilderness, along the Rivers Peticodiac, Memramcook, Richibucto and Miramichi, and along Chaleur Bay.

In 1766 the Acadian exiles in Massachusetts assembled in Boston and decided to return to their native land. All who were fit to travel, numbering about 900 men, women and children, according to Dr. Arthur G. Doughty, in his book, "The Acadian Exiles," marched through the wilderness along the Atlantic coast and across New Brunswick to the isthmus of Chignecto. "Many perished by the way, overcome by the burden and fatigue of a journey which lasted over four months. But at last the weary pilgrims approached their destination. And near the site of the present village of Coverdale, in Albert county, New Brunswick, they were attracted to a small farmhouse by the crowing of a cock in the early dawn. To their unspeakable joy they found the house inhabited by a family of their own race. Here they halted for a few days, making inquiry concerning their old friends. Then they tramped on in different directions. Everywhere on the isthmus the scene was changed. The old familiar farm building shad disappeared or were occupied by strangers of an alien tongue, and even the names of places were known no more. At length, on the western shores of the present counties of Digby and Yarmouth, they found a home, and there today live the descendants of these pilgrims.

"For miles their neat villages skirt the shores of the ocean and the banks of the streams. For a century and a half they have lived in peace, cultivating their saltmarsh lands and fresh-water meadows, preserving the simple manners, customs and language of their ancestors. They form a community apart – a hermit community. But they are useful citizens, good farmers, hardy fishermen and sailors."