Ephrem Boudreau was born in River Bourgeois in 1905. After his classical studies from 1922 to 1928 at the seminary at Trois Riviere, he spent three years at agricultural school at Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatiere. Here he earned bachelors’ degrees in arts and one in agricultural science. In addition, he acquired a diploma in Social Sciences from l’Universite de Laval in 1935.
In 1980, he published in Editions d’Acadie, Moncton, the history of the trappists in Nova Scotia (1823-1919) entitled Le Petit Clairvaux. He also authored Riviere Bourgeois from which this history is taken and translated.
In 1860, Rameau de Saint-Pierre, from France, and one of our first historians, visited l’Acadie. He stopped at Rivière-Bourgeois during his voyage and left the following comments:
“The parish of Rivère-Bourgeois is approximately [a half] mile from St. Peter’s: 800 Catholics and around 200 Irishman and Scotsmen. On a hill, M. Courtraud [priest at L’Ardoise] bought 500 acres of land (100 Louis). The Acadians will be able to come to an understanding because there are lands belonging to people who sell them; there will soon be a dozen families…
“River Bourgeois has no Acadians within [a half] mile to the west, up to four miles to the east because River Tillard, False Bay, Grand Anse, and St. Peter’s are populated by Irish and Scots, Protestants or Catholics.”
When Rameau de Saint-Père made his visit, the parish of River Bourgeois consisted of two congregations, River Bourgeois and St. Peter’s because the latter had not yet been recognized as a parish.
Acadians, especially the Pâtés and the McPhees (these people were Acadian despite their Scottish name), had settled all of what was considered River Bourgeois including False Bay.
And so, the Acadians were settled in an area of some four miles from False Bay to the west to the Fond-du-Bras. Rameau was correct when he stated that St. Peter’s, River Tillard and Grand Anse were occupied only by the Irish and the Scots with the exception of River Tillard where presently live Landrys, Boudreaus and Bourques.
It is interesting to note the evolution of family names in a parish through the decades. In this regard, observe the changes that have taken place since the birth of the parish.
The following names are among the oldest in the parish: Boucher, Bourg (Bourque), Dugas, Fougère, Landry, Richard, Samson.
When Rameau de Saint-Père visited Rivière-Bourgeois in 1860, his notes record the following names: Bourg (Bourque), Dugas, LeBlanc, Pâté, Petitipas, Poirier, Robichaud.
Rameau de Saint-Père confirmed at that time that the family name Dugas was the oldest there. A half century later, the names Petitpas, Poirier and Robichaud no longer existed in the parish.
Between 1860 and 1890, the population of River Bourgeois was around 700 according to the historians Rameau, Lauvrière, and Bourinot. Le Hutchinson’s Directory 1864-1865 cites the following names:
Bissett, George H., merchant
Boyd, Donald, merchant
Branger, Jean, teacher
Carrie, Henri, merchant
MacLean, James, merchant
MacPherson, Steven, teacher
Robertson, Joseph, blacksmith
Robertson, Pierre, blacksmith
Urquart, William, merchant