FALMOUTH HOUSE SHOULD HAVE BEEN PRESERVED (October 14/08)

As I’ve mentioned in this column previously, after the expulsion of the Acadians some of their homes and outbuildings were left standing, despite a concerted effort by the military to destroy them. Most of the Acadian homesteads in Kings County were burned to the ground. In his history of Kings County, Arthur W. H. Eaton writes that “two hundred and six houses and two hundred and thirty-seven barns were burned at Canard, Habitant and Pereau, and forty-nine houses and thirty-nine barns at Gaspereau. Burned at the same time were eleven mills and at Grand Pre, the Acadian church.

The destruction of Acadian homesteads in Kings County may have been complete; but around the Windsor area a number of Acadian homesteads were left standing. L. S. Loomer, in his history of Windsor, writes that while Acadian building in what are now the townships of Horton and Cornwallis were destroyed, “those at Pesegitk and Ste. Croix valleys were not burned.”

It is also believed that Acadian buildings outside the main settlement area in Kings County were still standing after the expulsion. In previous columns I wrote about two houses that according to folklore can be traced back to the Acadians. One is the Dimock House in Pereau, which in 1988 was subject to an archaeological survey to determine its origin. While the Dimock House is indeed ancient, no definite conclusions were reached on its Acadian origin.

Another building believed to have Acadian roots is the so called Falmouth House, which once stood by the Baptist Church in Falmouth. This house may have been constructed around 1766 by Acadians held prisoner at Fort Edward. However, historical writer Regis Brun of Moncton told me via e-mail that the building is possibly “the house of an Acadian tenant in Falmouth, (and was) built around 1766-68.

If the Falmouth House still stood today it would be one of the oldest buildings in this area. In 1970 the building was hauled to Grand Pre, apparently by Parks Canada, and it stood for a few years in the park by the blacksmith shop. Brun tells me it was studied by “so called experts” and deemed “not Acadian and not relevant.” The house was taken apart and burned in 1974.

Parks Canada apparently had determined that the Falmouth House was built no earlier than the first quarter of the 19th century; between 1800 and 1825, in other words. Mr. Brun suggests otherwise, as I mentioned above, and folklore agrees with him.

There’s no doubt Parks Canada acted hastily when it came to the Falmouth House, and it should have been preserved. Perhaps with a thorough and less hasty examination, an Acadian connection with Falmouth House would have been established.

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