Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Payzant Family in Nova Scotia

by Bernice Frizzle, 1985

Louis Payzant, founder of the Payzant family in North America, was a French Huguenot of the landed gentry in Caen, Normandy, France, who, after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, received his English citizenship on the Isle of Jersey and came with his family, servants and worldly goods to establish himself in the New World.
Upon his arrival in Halifax, he was directed to the new Foreign Protestant settlement at Lunenburg, where he arrived prior to July 15, 1753. By the spring of 1756 Louis had established a well-stocked trading post on Covey's Island in Mahone Bay, had partly completed his permanent dwelling, and was living there with his household.
During the French and Indian war, in a struggle for control of North America, Indians from the St. John River area were ordered to attack the English settlers and destroy their homes. Perhaps learning of the booty at Covey's Island the post became a prime target.
On the fearful night of May 8th hearing sounds outside his home and thinking the disturbance might be caused by revellers from Lunenburg, Mr. Payzant opened the door to investigate. He raised his gun and gave a warning shot. Light from the room behind revealed a company of grim, howling savages with upraised tomahawks ready to perform their horrendous deed. Before the eyes of his horrified wife and children not only did they massacre Louis but they killed several male servants, a serving woman and child, and also a young boy from nearby Rous's Island whom they had used as a guide.
After plundering, pillaging and burning the buildings, they carried Mrs. Payzant, who was pregnant with Lisette, and her four fatherless children by canoe on a 900 mile trip to the French fortified city of Quebec.
With hope of a reward, the Indians stopped on their journey at St. Anne’s, a Jesuit mission station (now Fredericton), on the St. John's River. Here in exchange for the children they received a generous ransom in beads. Mrs. Payzant was taken to Quebec.
Traditional stories claim that she implored General Montcalm to find her children and return them safely to her, and it was through her efforts that her wishes were granted. Several months later all members of the reunited family were treated kindly by both the military and civic leaders. The Jesuits supervised the education of the three boys, John received instruction in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, and was presented with a small revolving study table capable of holding three text books. Still in existence, it is owned by one of his descendants.
The Payzant family were held prisoners until the city fell to the English at the historic Battle of the Plains of Abraham on 13 Sept 1759. Although General Wolfe was the victor, both he and General Montcalm lost their lives in the conflict that gave North America to British rule.
When Marie with her family returned to Nova Scotia she received in 1760 a 500-acre grant from the Crown at the time of the founding of the township of Falmouth, Hants County.


Anonymous said...

Louis is my 5th ggrandfather. I have have a debate about this Payzant massacre witha native Canadian. Amazing how that person said it was not the natives' fault. They were made to do it by the French.

Anonymous said...

Louis is my 5th Great Grandfather. God bless Louis Payzant!

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