PETIT DE GRAT: The author of a new book set partially in Isle Madame was happy to return to the home of her father and ancestors.
On October 25, the Isle Madame Historical Society sponsored a book launch and reading by Simone Poirier-Bures at the Petit de Grat branch of Eastern counties regional library.
Threads in the Acadian Fabric tells the story of the author’s paternal family, her line of ancestors that stretches back nine generations to the first Poirier who arrived from France and settled in Port Royal in the 1640s.
Poirier-Bures follows her nine father-grandfathers from Port Royal, to Beaubassin, to Port Toulouse, through their fugitive years during the Deportation of the Acadians, then to Isle Madame, and finally to Halifax, where the 10th generation of her family line was born.
The first part of the book focuses on the four generations who lived, suffered, and thrived in old Acadie until 1755, when the Deportation began.
“The last of those four was a Charles Poirier, and his wife Marguerite Veinot and they were the ones who were caught up during that period, and just before the deportations began on the mainland, they moved to Port Toulouse [St. Peter’s] which was French territory because people suspected there was a war coming,” Poirier-Bures explained.
“They… managed to escape the soldiers after Louisburg fell and they went in search of all the others.”
The second section focuses on the next five generations who lived on Isle Madame, where they became fishermen, boat builders and sea captains.
In addition to examining her ancestor who helped found the Parish of Arichat in 1786, the author also recounts her ancestor Pierre Poirier who moved to D’Escousse from Arichat.
“Then there were four generations, not counting my father, who were in D’Escousse,” Poirier-Bures noted. “They were fishermen and boat builders, then the last two were sea captains, they were master mariners. That section talks all about the vessels that the first two built, they were fishing vessels. Then the two captains, the vessels they owned, where they sailed and what the golden age of sail was like in Isle Madame.”
The last section narrates the life of her father Arthur Poirier (1890-1964), a veteran of World War I, who was born in D’Escousse, moved to the United States, then moved back to Nova Scotia, and participated in the Antigonish Movement.
The author said it was very important for her to return to Isle Madame.
“Today would be my father’s 128th birthday and so it seems especially special for me to be here reading in the place where he was born, grew up, where he loved the land and on his birthday,” Poirier-Bures added.
Simone Poirier-Bures is the author of two works of fiction, Candyman and Nicole, both of which have Acadian themes. Her memoir of Greece, That Shining Place, won the Evelyn Richardson Award. Her essays and stories have appeared in dozens of literary magazines and anthologies in Canada, the United States, England, and Australia.