Interesting people and things

On October 5, 1782, the British military vessel Little Jack, engaged in a battle at sea with two American privateer ships in waters off Petit de Grat.

In 1913 the population of the Richmond County was 13,273, then down to 11,000 in 1960, and up slightly to 12,734 in 1973. As of 2006 the population was 9,740.

In 1803 the population of West Arichat was 126; by 1811 it had reached 293. As the economic prosperity on Isle Madame began to peak, the population of West Arichat surged to 1,435 in 1860 and to 1,586 in 1881, but by 1901 it had shrunk to 1,046 and to 1,050 in 1911. Through 1962 and 1991 the population held relatively steady at 910 and 1,004 respectively, but by 1996 had sunk to 441.

In 1752 Pichon found 230 souls around Port Toulouse not counting the King’s officers and soldiers. In 2001 the population of St. Peter’s was 2,634.

L’Ardoise: in 1752 Pichon found 61 people there. By Denaut’s 1803 statistics there were 52 adults and 43 children. 1811: 183; 1838: 873; 1861: 1,495; 1871: 1,675; 1881: 1,966; 1891: 2,091; 1901: 2,150

In 1752 the population at Petit de Grat was 137, and continued to grow through 1811: 274; and 1861: 1,875. But by 1901 the number of inhabitants had shrunk to 668. By 1911 the population of 850 (including Little Anse) began to show signs of recovery, and this has continued: 1946: 1,150; 1962: 1,669 – 328 families; 1980s: 554 families.

The 1911 census grand total of 1600 for all of the north side of Isle Madame; 1991: north side: population 713.

2006: Louisdale: 1770

The earliest population numbers for Arichat are from 1771 recording 174 residents. In 1803 Arichat had a population of 331. By the 1811 census the number had swelled to 475.

By 1832 the population of Arichat peaked at 2,000 and did not dip below this level until 1870. The census of 1901 shows 1,435 while the 1911 census is at 1,500.

Little Jack

On October 5, 1781 the Little Jack was making its way to Quebec and had arrived at the eastern end of the Gut of Canso. Captain Peter Richard Tonge commanded the Jack, a tiny, full-rigged ship of 160 tons carrying 10 nine-pounders and 4 six-pounders. Captain Tonge was a seaman of considerable experience and a capable officer. Taken completely by surprise, Tonge was confronted by two rebel privateers. Outmanned and outgunned, Tonge had no choice but to try to outrun his pursuers. He made for Petit de Grat inlet only twelve miles from the Gut of Canso, but the American privateers followed. .

Tonge developed a desperate strategy. He anchored the Little Jack where the channel was most narrow and using a spring cable the ship was pulled around so that she blocked the channel thus forcing the Americans to enter one at a time. The battle was joined and although the Little Jack held her own, she was still overwhelmed by the superior firepower of the privateers.

Tonge’s next move was to land a nine-pounder cannon. It was no easy task to maneuver such a large gun out of the ship and haul it to higher ground, but they did and the advantage shifted to the Little Jack. She proceeded to drive one of the privateers out to sea and pounded the other’s main mast, sails, and rigging until she surrendered. Tonge set the American sailors free, repaired their ship and took it in tow to Quebec where she sold for 103 pounds.