Mi'kmaq History and People: The second wave of Benoits

By J Benwah

je'sn penwa
Thunder Cloud

Pjila'si (welcome),

There is a second prominent group of Benoit's in Newfoundland of Mi'kmaq ancestry - The four Benoit brothers: Luc, Paul, George and Isaac. They were children of Boniface Benoit, Jr. and Madeline Marie Manet. They are also descendants of Martin Dit-La Briere Benoist who came to Port Royal with his Mi'kmaq wife Marie Chaussegros back in 1671.(I believe Marie to have been born a Mi'kmaw in the Port Royal area and her family may or may not have travelled to Europe).

In 1948, Thomas White from St. George's contributed to a series of ten articles that appeared in the French newspaper L'Evenangeline in Moncton, New Brunswick called Les Acadians De Terre-Neuve and mentions the four brothers of whom three were married to three Leblanc sisters. They came from the Margaree area of Cape Breton.

Luc Benoit and wife Helene Leblanc settled in Indian Head, Marche's Point (known as Point a Luc),Ship Cove and Barachois Brook. His second marriage was to Catherine Jesso, daughter of Alexis Jesseau and Ann Mary Lejeune.

Paul Benoit and wife Victoria Leblanc first settled in Bay St. George. Their descendants can be found in the Flat Bay and Baie D'Espoir area.

George Benoit and wife Saraphie Leblanc first settled in the St. Georges area and are also found in the Baie D'Espoir area.

Isaac Benoit's widow who remarried Germain Leblanc and children settled in St. George's Bay. Isaac's descendants can also be found in the Codroy Valley area. Isaac's son Thomas Benjamin Benoit can be found on census and land records in the area.

The brothers are sons of Boniface Benoit and Madeline Manet. According to family tradition, Mi'kmaq ancestry also comes from Boniface Benoit, whose ancestors came from the Port Royal area- in Mi'kmaq territory. Family tradition and research also confirms that Boniface's mother Marie Boucher (married to Boniface Benoit, Sr.) is of Mi'kmaq descent. Marie's parents were Marie Ann Lalonde and Honore Boucher, Marie's grandparents were Judith Petitpas and Bernard Lalonde. Marie's great grandmother Marie Therese is a documented Mi'kmaw (she married Claude Petitpas). Stephen White with the University of Moncton confirms this documentation.

The Mi'kmaq-Maliseet Institute at the University of New Brunswick, records the birth of Boniface Benoit, Jr.'s sister Lydivine (known as Louise) as being born on May 13, 1767 and baptized on August 25, 1767. Her Parents were Boniface Benoit and Marie Joseph Boucher. The baptism found in the register at St. Pierre aux Liens, Caraquet was recorded by Rev. C.F. Bailly. The Godparents were Germain Lejeune and Isabelle. It notes that the Mi'kmaq baptism took place at Petite Bras D'or, Cape Breton. Here surname is spelt Benoirt, an obvious spelling error.

Well known genealogist and researcher Dorothy Anger published a book for the now defunct Bay St. George Mi'kmaq Band in 1986. It describes the Mi'kmaq connections to these Benoits in great detail. It also shows the Conne River connections. I am fourth and fifth cousins with the families at the Conne River Reserve.

In his book "Newfoundland and its Untrodden Ways", J.G. Millaic lists the following Mi'kmaq trappers and their hunting area:

I am a descendant of Luc Benoit, Sr. and Helen Leblanc. Their son Michel "Mic" Benoit married Desiree Laisne. An interesting point is that Michel later moved to the Baie Chaluer area in New Brunswick with Annie, widow of John "Jack-Moses" Benoit. She is thought to be a Prado or Kendall from the Port au Port Peninsula.

The Benoit children intermarried with other Mi'kmaq families and settled all over Baie St-George, Port au Port du Peninsule, Baie de Iles, Baie D'Espoir and beyond. We are some of their proud descendants. Wantaqo'ti, (peace).

The photo attached is of my great grandfather Joseph Benoit, Sr. (known as Joe-Mic) who married Ellen Dannois (who is Mi'kmaw through the Marche and Lucas lines) Joseph is a son of Michel (Mic) Benoit and Desiree Laisne (also Mi'kmaw through her mother Nathalie "Sarah" Marche-who connects back to the Young's) Michel is a son of Luc Benoit and Helen Leblanc.

The second photo is of my grandfather John Alfred Benoit, son of Jean Edward Benoit (known as Johnny-Mic). Johnny Mic is brother to Joseph Benoit, Sr.

Compiled by Jasen S. Benwah

Local Mi'kmaq Researcher

Cape St. George, NL.(Ktaqamkuk)

Wantaqo'ti, (peace).archer

Stephenville, NL.

As appeared in The Georgian Newspaper, Feb 3, 2004


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