TRACADIE, Antigonish County
 

A settlement east of Antigonish.

According to Dr. Silas Rand, the Micmac name was "Tulugadik" or "Tulukaddy" or "Telegadik"
meaning "the settlement,"  "place of residence" or "camping ground" and these became Anglicized
to Tracadie.

About 1774 a group of Acadians settled in the Tracadie district.  Tradition relates that
Pierre Benoit and Charles Delore were the first permanent settlers at Tracadie.  Benoit, who
built a log house on the eastern point of the harbour called "La Point du Cimetiere," had acted
as a pilot for Governor Edward Cornwallis in 1749 when he was cruising along the coast
looking for Chebucto (now Halifax) Harbour.

John Joseph Gerrior (Beaullieu) led a successful attack against the captain and crew of the ship
bearing the Acadians into exile.  The Acadians sailed the captured vessel to St. John River where
they escaped into the forest.  Eventually he settled with his family at Tracadie.

Rev. D. J. Rankin in his "History of the County of Antigonish, Nova Scotia" stated that the
names of the first settlers in Tracadie were Bariault, Begin, Benoit, Cote, Delore, Deslauriers,
Dugas, Fougere, Girouard, Matthley, Pareau and Petipas.

In 1787 men of the following surnames received land grants at Tracadie with Joseph Barris
and others, and Peter Benois and others -- Barrio, Bennois, Bonnevie, Deloriez, Forgere,
Giroire, Gothro, Mayet, Mills, Petipas.

In 1790 grants were made to Paul Benois and others of the following surnames -- Balong,
Bonvie, Brazon, De Coast, De Loriez, Du Hamill, Landrie, Leblanc, Pero, Randagau, Richards,
Saculan and Wedge. Some had been born in Quebec, others in France but the majority were
Acadians who had returned after the expulsion.

Begin and Cote were from Quebec via Bay Chaleurs, Matthley and Fougere probably from
the Jersey Islands, Petipas by way of Merigomish.  Charles and John DeLorey were born in
Canada, but settled in Tracadie before 1779.

Captain Joseph Gerrior (grandson of John Joseph Gerrior) is reputed to have built the first
frame house in Tracadie which was used as the first school house in the community.

Father Manseau established a school in 1816.  A public school was being taught in 1828 at
Tracadie for twenty-five children by Michael Dunphy.  At this period T. C. Haliburton stated
that most of the Acadians in the Tracadie district wre employed during the summer in the fishery
or carrying goods by coasting vessels and in the winter by shipbuilding or making hoops and staves.

It was in the East Tracadie district (later called Barrios Beach) that the first Acadian exiles
landed after travelling from St. Pierre and Miquelon to Arichat and thence to Tracadie.

The "Back Settlement of Tracadie" (where the lots were to the rear of the first grants) became
the Avonside School section and was made a border section with Guysborough County.
Many of the pupils were negroes from the Old Tracadie Road district.  It was consolidated
with Tracadie in 1959.

After the American Revolution a group of Loyalist negroes consisting of seventy-one men,
fifty women and fifty-one children, were settled at Tracadie.  There Thomas Brownspriggs and
seventy-four others were given a grant of 3,000 acres of land at "Trackady" in 1787.  For a time
the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (Church of England) maintained a negro school
at Tracadie.  Mr. Thomas Brownspriggs acted as schoolmaster there from about 1788 to 1792.

The Rev. Charles Weeks, Anglican missionary at Guysborough, reported that there were
twenty-three negro families at Tracadie in 1808.  Mr. Dempsey Jourdan, who was appointed
as S. P. G. schoolmaster there in 1818 gave religious instruction to the children and read prayers
and printed sermons to the inhabitants on Sundays.

On September 2, 1803, Father Amable Richard, a priest from Orleans was appointed the first
pastor of St. Peter's Parish at Tracadie and of the attached missions of Pomquet and Havre Boucher.
When Bishop Plessis of Quebec visited Tracadie in August, 1812, there were forty-three heads
of families.  In May, 1815, Father Antoine Manseau took charge of Tracadie and its two missions,
but he returned to Quebec in the summer of 1817.  The harvest having been a failure in 1816 and
the people of Tracadie were threatened by famine in the spring, and the House of Assembly had
to provide seed.  The cornerstone of the present St. Peter's Church was laid on June 29, 1861,
by Bishop McIntyre of Charlottetown.

The third priest at Tracadie was Father Vincent de Paul, a Frenchman who had come to America
to fund a Trappist Monastery.  Early in 1819 Father Vincent bought a tract of three hundred acres
where by June 1821, he had finished a little house to serve as a temporary Monastery for
prospective postulants.  The first three postulants of Father Vincent's new community of religious
women were Anne Cote,  Marie Landry and Marie-Olive Doiron who were established as
Sisters of the Third Order of La Trappe and at first instructed Indian girls.  They had many
boarders in their Convent Notre Dame de Grace at Tracadie.

The Trappist Monastery of Petit Clairvaux was established in 1825 in what is now the village
of Monastery, with a community of two priests and five Brothers from France.  In 1876 the
Monastery was raised to the dignity of an Abbey by Pius IX and affiliated with
La Grande Trappe, France.  In 1886, there were in the community at Petit Clairvaux eleven
religious, fourteen novices, one oblate and twenty choir brothers.  They were excellent farmers
and operated grist mills, shingle and board mills which benefited the people in the district.

On October 3, 1892, a fire destroyed the Monastery buildings except for the mills, barns and
livestock.  The new Monastery was not complete when all the buildings were consumed by
another fire in 1897.  This led to the closing of Petit Clairvaux and the transfer of the
Community to Rhode Island.

In 1903 a group of monks from Brittany, fearing that the Trappists might be expelled from
France re-established the Monastery at Petit Clairvaux.  They were recalled in July, 1919,
because so many of the Order had been killed during World War I that their services were
urgently needed in France.

Later an Augustine Monastery was organized there which conducted a junior preparatory
seminary for candidates at the Mission and retreats for laymen.  The Augustinians came from
Germany to the old Trappist Monastery in 1938 to escape Nazi persecutions.  They rebuilt the
Monastery and farmed and lumbered on the eight hundred acre property.  In 1947 there were
eight Augustinian Fathers and eighteen brothers and candidates under the jurisdiction of
Prior R. F. Peter.  In 1963 they celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of their arrival in Nova Scotia.

There was a way office under the name of "Big Tracadie" from 1834 to 1864 and a post office
after 1864.  William Gerrior was postmaster in 1871 and in 1914 Angus McMillan was the
Postmaster at Tracadie.

In 1898 it was a farming settlement with four stores and one church and a population of 220.
The present inhabitants carry on mixed farming, lumbering and the lobster fishery.
The population in 1956 was 425.