The year 2003 is proving to be an exciting one for many Benoit descendants in Tracadie, Nova Scotia as the parish of Saint Peter's celebrates its' Bicentennial. The parish had its official beginning in 1803, but even before that patriarchs of the Benoit, Begin, Cote, Fougere, Dougas, Bariault, Petitpas and Matthey families met to pray together, even though a priest was not there to administer the sacraments and say Mass. Prayers would be led by one of the men of the settlement. This meeting would have been in French instead of the English we are using.
Our people in Tracadie persevered in the faith through the years. In 1790, there were more than thirty Acadian families. In 1803, when Bishop Denaut made an official visit to this area he confirmed 514 Acadians from the villages of Pomquet, Tracadie and Harbor au Boucher (Havre Boucher). This visit also saw the official establishment of our parish which would include as its missions Pomquet and Harbor au Boucher. A priest had been found to live in Tracadie. The priest was Father Pichard who was to come from Quebec.
Benoit's have been involved in the life of the parish since Pierre Benoit came here as one of the first white settlers over 200 years ago. According to the Parish Register of Tracadie, Pierre Benoit died in 1811 at the age of 82 years. From there, it seems the trail leads to Jean-Baptiste Benoit who married Celeste Doiron; Paul Benoit who married Judith Rogers; John Benoit (my great grandfather) who married Marcelline DeYoung in Cambridge, Massachusetts; John Thomas Benoit (my grandfather) who married Margaret Anne DeYoung; and William Francis Benoit (my father) who married Jessie Elizabeth Delorey in Tracadie. Next year, 2004...the Benoits will be playing host to many of our cousins from all over Canada and the United States. It is proving to be a very exciting time for the organizers...much like finding an old trunk in grandmothers' attic and opening it to reveal the treasures within.
For reunion information, visit http://www.tracadie.ednet.ns.ca