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5. HANGING OF TWO ACADIANS AND THREE INDIANS IN BOSTON

Yarmouth Vanguard, 31 Jan. 1989.


Captain Joseph Decoy, from Cape Breton, used to trade in Boston with his vessel. This was in the 1720’s. On one of his trips he took with him his son, who was detained in Boston for a reason which is not given. On his way back, he stopped at Merliguesh, now Lunenburg, and told the Acadians and the Indians what had happened. He told them that the only way that his son could be redeemed would be to seize one of the many vessels from Boston and vicinity fishing on the coasts of Nova Scotia and offer it in ransom for his son. This was September 4, 1726 (new style).


They did not have to wait long. The very next day, Captain Samuel Daly, of Plymouth, Massachusetts, on a fishing voyage, put with his sloop into Merliguesh Harbour to fetch fresh water. John Roberts, one of the crew, went on shore where he met some Frenchmen and some Indians. Among the group was Philippe Mius d’Entremont, Jr., son of the Baron Philippe Mius d’Entremont, Sr., and of Magdeleine Hélie. He shook hands with him and they spoke of the peace which had just been signed between the English and the Indians. John Roberts took Philippe Mius d’Entremont Jr., and his son Jacques with him when he went back to the sloop. In the meantime, Daly invited another Acadian, Jean-Baptiste Guidry, to do likewise, which he did with his son of the same name. This was Jean- Baptiste Guidry (now written Jeddry), 42 years old, the son of Claude Guidry and of Marguerite Petitpas. He had married Madeleine Mius, the daughter of Philippe Mius d’Entremont, Jr., and of Marie, his Indian wife.


After a friendly conversation, Daly asked his guests down into his cabin to drink. In the meantime, Jean-Baptiste Guidry, Jr., went ashore. He was soon followed by Daly, his mate and the three members of the crew, plus Philippe Mius d’Entremont, Jr., and his son Jacques. Jean-Baptiste Guidry, Sr., refused to go, saying that he would call his son to come and get him, which he did in French, so thought Daly and his men.


The son came back to the sloop with some Indians. As soon as they got aboard, they took down the English ensign, which Jean-Baptiste Guidry, Sr. girded about his waist, and tucked a pistol into it. That is when the members of the crew on shore were told to ask for quarter. Immediately, Daly went to Mrs. Guidry, “the mother of Baptiste”, says one version, thus, Marguerite Petitpas. He begged her to come on board with him and intercede with his son to restore his sloop. She finally consented to go.


Others followed, so that on board, at a time, there were the five men of the sloop, Jean-Baptiste Guidry, his son, his mother, Philippe Mius d’Entremont, his son Jacques and six Indians. Mrs. Guidry did not succeed in her plea, on the contrary. The Indians, at this time, even threatened the crew with their hatchets. John Roberts testified that “Philip Mews” and an Indian, by the name of John Missel, took hold of him and trussed him into the forecastle. “Philip Mews spoke some English – asked him to drink a dram and Eat Cold Victuals.” It is then that Jacques Mius struck him and “told him he would kill him and cut his head off – called him a son of a B.” He stole from him, among other things, his gold ring.


Jean-Baptiste Guidry, Sr., seems to have taken charge of the situation. He soon ordered Daly to come to sail. This was just before 8 o’clock in the evening. It is not clear what happened to Philippe Mius d’Entremont, Jr., his son and Mrs. Guidry, because the next day they were not in the sloop; there were only Jean-Baptiste Guidry, Sr., his son and six Indians, apart from the five members of the crew. Most probably they left in the evening or during the night to take Mrs. Guidry home, maybe with the intention to come back next day to help Jean-Baptiste Guidry, Sr.


It is not stated how far they sailed. Daly and his men watched for the first opportunity to rise upon their captors. It so happened that they found one the very next day. Jean-Baptiste Guidry, Sr., went down into the cabin with three Indians, leaving the three others with his son to guard the prisoners. But Daly managed to shut the cabin door upon them and to master the son and the three Indians who were on deck. He then fired into the cabin. The three Indians jumped into the sea, while Jean-Baptiste, Jr. was kept at bay. And so finally Daly was in full charge of his sloop.


Daly left immediately for Boston with his five prisoners, the two Guidrys and the three Indians, whose names we have, viz., Jacques, Philippe and Jean Missel, put probably for Michel; they could have been brothers. In Boston, they were all found guilty of piracy on the high seas, for which the penalty prescribed by the law was to be hung by the neck till death follows. The trial had taken place October 15th (new style). And thus those two Acadians and three Indians from Merliguesh were hung in Boston on Nov. 13 of the same year, 1726.


The narrator, Dr. Benjamin Colman, from whom we hold this story from his Memoirs, along with the Supreme Court of Suffolk County, in Boston, blames the French for this conspiracy, rather than the Indians who “complained that the French misled them into such villainous practices.” Then he adds: “The good providence of God … took vengeance of them for their treachery and villainy; and our government wisely hung them up … as they well deserved to die by the laws of all nations.”

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