In the parish of River Bourgeois, there was only one resident doctor early in the century.
The doctors were in St. Peter’s. There was Dr. Bissett, son of “Old Bissett” from River Bourgeois, next came “Old MacDonald,” after him it was “Young Dr. MacDonald” (Doctor Jack), and finally Dr. Joseph-Henri Digout son of Eugène Digout of River Bourgeois. He died in 1978.
For Acadians the name MacDonald was pronounced Micdanel.
Before the telephone, if someone needed a doctor, one would have to get someone to go to get the doctor and then to bring him back to St. Peter’s. With the advent of the automobile, about the same time the telephone lines were being installed, the availability of the doctor was greatly improved.
Before the era of the car, the doctor often and in all seasons, winter and summer, made long journeys by horse and carriage – 10, 15, or 20 miles sometimes – to tend to the sick or to make deliveries at childbirth.
In the past, it was said that a certain Marie Du Guast (Dugas) was a doctor. This was surprising since it was not until much later that women studied medicine and became practicing physicians.
She was just a wise woman who lived in River Bourgeois before Dr. De la Villegué and in the same place. It is right that two worthy parishioners Victor Digout (1882-1977) and Joseph (Joe P.) Bourque (1889-1975) also be recognized.
Stores at the entrance to River Bourgeois, included those owned by George Bissett (Le Vieux Bizette), who was probably from Jersey and owned three stores near the entrance to the River.
This house which has stood since 1977 found it itself between the church and the riverbank.
“Old Bizzette” possessed one or more schooners. Like most of the merchants at that time, he employed Acadians as crewmen on the schooners as they fished in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. He completely exploited them. These crewmen were at his mercy. Their labour was paid for in food or some other necessity.
One of his schooners had a seven-man crew. On their return from one of their fishing trips “Old Bizzette” discovered that one of the tubs had been broken. It was impossible to know who had caused this accident. The seven fishermen stuck together, no one wanted to say who had broken the tub and refused to denounce the victim of this mischance. Then he said to his son George, a clerk in the store: “Mark seven pots.” The crew had to pay for seven pots instead of the single tub that had been broken.
William LeVesconte arrived after “Old Bizzette” and already had two stores. One was still in existence around 1920-1922. He was located, like his predecessors, at the foot of “church Hill,” near the water and built on stilts. Docité Landry, who lived at Bord-du-Su, was a clerk there for a long time until its closure.
The Carré brothers were from Jersey and English people called them Curry or Carrie.
Henri Carré had his store on the west side of the entrance (to the harbor). It was called ”Henri’s Store.” This location was later a lobster cannery.