French settlers, sponsored by the Comte Saint-Pierre, establish a community along the shores of the bay, which they call Havre Saint-Pierre. It grows becomes the largest Acadian settlement on Île Saint-Jean, with a church in the community of Saint-Pierre at the mouth of the Bay, but also suffers from at least two extensive forest fires. The Acadians are deported by the British in 1758, with more than half perishing at sea on the way to France.
The Acadian Bell
The Saint-Pierre du Nord church was erected in the early 1720s, where the Cairns farmhouse stands today, with the first baptismal records in 1724. The church bell was cast in France in 1723 although it's not known when it arrived and was installed.
With the advance notice the Acadians of Île Saint-Jean had prior to deportation, they had time to bury the church bell, where it remained for over 100 years until a farmer dug it up. The cracked bell was given to the Acadian community in Rollo Bay, who sent it to New York State for recasting. The recast bell hungs in St. Alexis Catholic Church for over 130 years until the church closed in 2015; today it is displayed at École La-Belle-Cloche in Rollo Bay.
The parish records made it back to France and can now be seen at the Acadian Museum in Miscouche. The graves of Saint-Pierre residents remain, unmarked, on the Cairns property.
Photo right: Barbara Rousseau, with thanks to Judy Chaisson of Comité acadien et francophone de l'Est (C.A.F.E.) and École La-Belle-Cloche.