Monday, July 23, 2007
Her story begins in what is now called Nova Scotia, in French, it is Nouvelle Ecosse meaning New Scotland.
The year was 1604, & a settlement Acadie/Acadia was begun. These Acadians farmed & expanded their settlement & lived in peace & harmony with the Indians of the MICMAC tribes, who incidentally 300years later gained renown for their ability to work high steel, having no fear of heights.
Quite separate from other settlements the population grew to maybe 15,000 in the next 140years. They had no quarrel with the French, & remained neutral in any conflict between them & the British. When the Acadians refused to take sides with the British against the French in 1755 is when the tragedy of Evangeline begins. The British decided to break up the settlements of Acadia by exiling them. Thus the GREAT EXPULSION began. The British did not simply exile these peaceful people but forcibly separated husband & wife, brother & sister. Evangeline, promised in marriage to one of my ancestors, was torn from her true love. The British loaded these people on ships & off loaded them in diverse ports up & down the Eastern coast, & up accessible river ports.
Some of these people ended up in Louisiana, later to become “Cajuns”, from Acadians.
Evangeline wandered throughout the land, always hoping to reunite with her betrothed.
As an older woman, never having stopped her search, she ended up in Philadelphia nursing the poor. During an epidemic in the city as she was caring for the destitute sick, she finally found her lover who died in her arms.
I have personally been to many places that have taken up “Evangeline” as a personification of the Acadians, in Nova Scotia & New Brunswick.
In 1845, the mostly forgotten history of the Acadians was revived by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, when he started writing the poem EVANGELINE, A Tale Of Acadie.
As this is “Ladies Night” at my place, I wish to honor all special ladies with this tale, & especially Evangeline, who you may notice, is one of the Lifetime Achievement Award