Jean-Vincent d'Abbadie de Saint-Castin

Jean-Vincent d'Abbadie de Saint-Castin (1652–1707) was a French military officer serving in Acadia and an Abenaki chief. He is the father of two prominent sons who were also military leaders in Acadia: Bernard-Anselme and Joseph. He is the namesake of Castine, Maine. He died at Pau, France, in 1707.[1]

Saint-Castin
BaronDeStCastin1881byWill H Lowe Wilson Museum Archives.jpg
Will H Lowe: Baron De St Castin, fantasy portrait 1881
Born1652
Escout, Béarn, France
Died1707 (aged 54–55)
AllegianceFrance, Abenaki
Battles/wars

King Philip's War (1675-1676)

King William's War

Other workrepresentative

The American singer Beyoncé is also a direct descendant of Saint-Castin.

Early lifeEdit

Saint-Castin was born at Escout, Béarn, France, to Jean Jacques D'Abbadie and Isabeau DeBéarn Bonasse,[2] the youngest of three sons. Little is known of his early years other than he lost his mother in infancy and his father before his teens. He left for Canada at the age of thirteen as an ensign in the army, as was suitable for the youngest son of a noble.[citation needed]

He was likely part of Alexandre de Prouville's campaign against the Iroqois in 1666 although his name does not appear in surviving records until 1670 when he was part of the repossession of Acadia by the French. In the Penobscot River area he gained his knowledge of the Penobscot and was eventually adopted into a local tribe.

In 1674, along with the governor of Acadia, Castin was taken to Boston as a prisoner in the Dutch-led conquest of Acadia, who renamed the colony New Holland. After he returned from Boston, Governor Frontenac gave Castin the task of allying the Abenaki with the French and recaptured the former capital of Acadia, Fort Pentagouet the following year (1675) during King Philips War. He took this role seriously and, while he became the third Baron de Saint-Castin on the death of his elder brother that year, he appears to have devoted his time to becoming an Abenaki.

During King William's War, after Benjamin Church successfully defended a group of English settlers at Falmouth, Maine in the fall of 1689, Castin returned to the village in May 1690 with over 400 soldiers and destroyed the village.[3]

Polygamist or Multiple Wives and Numerous ChildrenEdit

Saint-Castin seems to have married at least one[4] and possibly two different daughters of Penobscot chief, Madokawando, as described by French Acadian Governor de Menneval, December 1, 1687: "...being in the forest with them, since 1665, and having with him two daughters of the chief of these [Indians] by whom he has many children."[5] Menneval suggests polygamy and some recent historians have upheld this view, at least insofar as Saint-Castin having married more than one daughter of Madockawando.[6]

Writing a brief account of Saint-Castin within a decade of Menneval’s account, Baron de Lahonton makes a point of countering rumours that Saint-Castin was a polygamist: “He has several daughters, who are, all of them, married very handsomely to Frenchmen… He has never changed his wife, by which means he meant to give the savages to understand, that God does not love inconstant folks.”[7] Lahanton’s itinerary, as he recorded it, did not take him to the Penobscot region. If Lahonton met Saint-Castin in person, it would have been far from Saint-Castin’s home (perhaps in Quebec). By the mid sixteen-nineties, Lahonton had returned to Europe and written his account. Thus the “several daughters” already married by this time would seem to precede Castin's marriage in Penobscot in 1684, said to have been blessed by a Jesuit missionary.[1] The woman Saint-Castin married in 1684 may have been a teen bride named Pidianske or Pidiwamiska or Marie-Mathilde or one of the former may have been changed to the latter as a baptismal name, or these names may refer to at least “two distinct women.”[1]

Earlier childrenEdit

At least one of the “several daughters” referred to by Baron de Lahonton may have been born as early as 1671.[8] This daughter or an unidentified sister may have married a Frenchman with the last name Meunier.[9][10]

Later childrenEdit

Two sons became scions of the Saint-Castin name:, Bernard-Anselm (ca.1689 per Canada Biog. in French) and Joseph (ca.1690). Another son named Jean-Pierre died in Quebec while still a minor. Two of Saint-Castin's daughters, Thérèse and Anastasie, are said to have married on the same day, December 4, 1707.[1]

Shifting Allegiances, A Secret Treasure, and Final Return to FranceEdit

In 1700, the governor of Massachusetts wrote to England describing a conversation with John Alden in which Alden characterized Saint-Castin as a friend and correspondent who was always eager to trade and "professes great kindness to the English and speaks English." Alden stated Saint-Castin had recently told him "he hoped he should shortly come under the King of England's government, for that he would much rather be a subject of England than a slave to France." Saint-Castin was also quoted as saying the border with New France should be the St. Croix River.[11] A much later message, in 1750, from the Boston council to one of Castin's sons, seems to give some support the idea that Castin was friendly, or at least could be shrewd in matters relative to Boston, as it refers to Saint-Castin's "good affection to us."[12]

In 1701, Saint-Castin returned to France to answer charges of disloyalty that stemmed directly from Alden’s characterization, and also to secure his baronial inheritance in France through court lawsuits. He died in France in 1707.

At some point prior to departure, Saint-Castin seems to have buried a large treasure of silver coins on a bank of the Bagaduce River, but without telling family or friends. (Or, if he told someone, they were unable to locate or take advantage, for whatever reason.) The buried treasure was not discovered until Anglophone inhabitants of Penobscot stumbled upon it almost 150 years later.

DescendantsEdit

In 1714, Saint-Castin’s son, Bernard-Anselme sailed to France with his wife Marie-Charlotte Damours de Chauffours and daughter. He sought to prove his legitimacy and secure his inheritance and baronial title. He subsequently died in 1720 and his wife and children remained in France.[1]

Continuity of the Saint-Castin name in the Penobscot region falls to Saint-Castin’s son Joseph. Joseph is referred to simply as “Casteen” in correspondence from 1725.[13] As late as 1750, Joseph was corresponding with Lt. Gov. Spencer Phips, the adopted son of the former governor—and sometimes-nemesis of Castin—William Phips.[14]

On September 4, 1707, his daughter, Anastasie, married a descendant of Acadian governors, the namesake son of Alexandre Le Borgne de Belle-Isle and grandson of Emmanuel Le Borgne. That same day, another daughter, Marie-Thérèse, was wed to Philippe Mius d’Entremont, the namesake grandson of Philippe Mius d’Entremont.[1] Anastasie was reported as living with her husband near Port-Royal (Annapolis) in 1725.[15] Another daughter was said to still be living on Mount Desert Island in 1735.[1]:xix

American singer Beyoncé is a direct descendant of Saint-Castin,[16] and other descendants exist as well.


LegacyEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

Endnotes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "ABBADIE DE SAINT-CASTIN, JEAN-VINCENT D', Baron de Saint-Castin". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. 2. University of Toronto/Université Laval. 2003. Retrieved 2019-06-16.
  2. ^ Proceedings of the Royal Society of Canada, Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Royal Society of Canada. May 1895. p. 86. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  3. ^ Church, Benjamin; Church, Thomas; Drake, Samuel Gardner (1852). The History of the Great Indian War of 1675 and 1676, Commonly Called Philip's War: Also, the Old French and Indian Wars, from 1689 to 1704. S. Andrus. pp. 175–176.
  4. ^ Baxter, James Phinney, ed. (1897). The Baxter Manuscripts. 5. Portland, Maine: Maine Historical Society. pp. 121.
  5. ^ Prins, Harald E. L.; McBride, Bunny (2007). Asticou's Island Domain: Wabanaki People at Mount Desert Island 1500–2000 (PDF). Acadia National Park Ethnographic Overview and Assessment. 1. Boston: National Park Service. p. 175.
  6. ^ Prins, Harald E. L.; McBride, Bunny (2007). Asticou's Island Domain: Wabanaki People at Mount Desert Island 1500–2000 (PDF). Acadia National Park Ethnographic Overview and Assessment. 1. Boston: National Park Service. pp. xvii. [Castin] marries two of Madockawando’s daughters and has many Métis children.
  7. ^ Lahontan, Louis Armand de Lom d'Arce (1905) [1703]. Thwaites, Reuben Gold (ed.). New voyages to North-America. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co. pp. 329.
  8. ^ Prins, Harald E. L.; McBride, Bunny (2007). Asticou's Island Domain: Wabanaki People at Mount Desert Island 1500–2000 (PDF). Acadia National Park Ethnographic Overview and Assessment. 1. Boston: National Park Service. pp. 159, note 92.
  9. ^ Prins, Harald E. L.; McBride, Bunny (2007). Asticou's Island Domain: Wabanaki People at Mount Desert Island 1500–2000 (PDF). Acadia National Park Ethnographic Overview and Assessment. 1. Boston: National Park Service. pp. 191–192.
  10. ^ Headlam, Cecil, ed. (1913). Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 21, 1702–1703. British History Online. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. Retrieved 2019-06-17. For 1793, see entries for March 31, April, 1, April 5, May 1, and May 10. Note there is some contradictory information between this and the previous source, and the previous source has a Paul Meunier still living in 1735.
  11. ^ Baxter, James Phinney, ed. (1907). The Baxter Manuscripts. 10. Portland, Maine: Maine Historical Society. pp. 58.
  12. ^ Baxter, James Phinney, ed. (1907). The Baxter Manuscripts. 10. Portland, Maine: Maine Historical Society. pp. 123.
  13. ^ Baxter, James Phinney, ed. (1907). The Baxter Manuscripts. 10. Portland, Maine: Maine Historical Society. pp. 313.
  14. ^ Baxter, James Phinney, ed. (1908). The Baxter Manuscripts. 12. Portland, Maine: Maine Historical Society. pp. 121–127.
  15. ^ Baxter, James Phinney, ed. (1907). The Baxter Manuscripts. 10. Portland, Maine: Maine Historical Society. pp. 300.
  16. ^ "Ancestry of Beyoncé".
  17. ^ Bibliography / Bibliography: Dictionary of Acadians (Godbout); Genealogical Dictionary of Acadian Families (White); Knights of St. Louis in Canada; Memoirs (Société généalogique canadienne-française); Website; Treaty of genealogy (René Jetté)
  18. ^ Bibliographie/Bibliography: Dictionnaire des Acadiens (Godbout); Dictionnaire généalogique des familles acadiennes (White); Une figure légendaire
  19. ^ Bibliographie/Bibliography: Dictionnaire généalogique des familles acadiennes (White); Une figure légendaire
  20. ^ Bibliographie/Bibliography: Une figure légendaire
  21. ^ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes. France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.

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