Family Celebrates History
It began in 1981 when Dick Thibodeau from Maine began to search his Acadian ancestors and came across a map of the Pisiguit area dating to the 1700s. He followed a curve in the map along what is now called the St. Croix River in Windsor, Nova Scotia which was said to be the Thibodeau Village settlement. This curve in the river brought him to the home of the Shaw family. Interested in the story of the Thibodeau(x) family, the Shaws welcomed Dick into their home and began what has now become a deep friendship of over 30 years. Sara Beanland, a direct descendant of Arnold Shaw, the original planter who came into the land in the 1760’s has become an Archeologist who is leading a dig on this Thibodeau Village site. It is believed that it was the home of Pierre Thibodeau Sr., the first Thibodeau to come to Nova Scotia from France in the 1600s.
This summer, Sara Beanlands and her company Boreas Heritage Consulting Inc. have begun a multi-year dig on this property in Poplar Grove to learn more about the Thibodeau family that lived on the land and the Acadian life. Sara invited the Thibodeau(x) family from around the United States and Canada to participate in this dig, and they came from all over! Dick Thibodeau and his wife Therese were present along with members of the Thibodeau(x) family from California, Texas, Maine, Arkansas, Florida and New Brunswick and the Thibodeau family that hosted the 2004 Congres’ de Mondail from Clare, Nova Scotia came to dig. There were several representatives from Louisiana as well including Don Thibodeaux from Baton Rouge , Irving and Doris Thibodeaux from Mermentau, Louisiana; in addition to Kathy Sonnier Mier who is the sister of the late Cajun artist Floyd Sonnier.
The Thibodeau(x) family, although separated by distance and time came together like happy children in the land of their ancestors. It was an experience that is hard to put into words, and from this Thibodeaux descendant, I personally will never forget the gift that the Shaw family and Sara Beanlands have given to us. It is an unspeakable feeling to walk on the land that you know your ancestors lived on, but it is quite emotional to dig up a piece of pottery and to be the first person to touch it since the Thibodeau family did in the 1700s.
The Thibodeau dig at Poplar Grove is also bringing together the Archeological community in Nova Scotia. Parks Canada Senior Archeologist Charles Burke was on hand several times during the week to assist as well as Rob Ferguson, who held that position for the previous thirty-five years. Students from local Canadian Universities were also on hand to do field studies and assist.
During the week, many pieces of pottery and artifacts were found. All the pieces discovered will go into the Nova Scotia Museum and anything metal will go into conservation. Some pieces from a dig that Sara Beanlands did on the first Thibodeau Village site back in 2004 are on display at the Acadian History Museum in Erath, Louisiana along with more information about the location of the site and the families connected to Thibodeau Village.
Thibodeaux Family Member
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