Sunday, December 7, 2008

An Interesting Bit of Islands History

The Coming of the Families - Part 1

Captain Philip-Franklin Callbeck (Colbeck) and his wife, Mary Burke and together with their seven children, lived on the Magdalen Islands. The children were Jean-François (John-Francis), Sophie, Eulalie, Eugenie, George, Isaac and Anne.

According to S.R.-D. Gaudet, Callbeck who was a Magistrate or a Justice of the Peace, would put in writing, to Father Plessis, a pressing request to obtain the presence of a resident priest permanently on the Islands and would recommend to the Bishop, the brothers Louis and Firmin Boudreau, would accomplish certain pastoral tasks, in the absence of a missionary.

A company was established on the islands in 1805, with Captain Callbeck, Lieutenant Benoît Boudreau and teacher Édouard Noël. It is interesting on its own that Captain Callbeck was the Magdalen Islands agent and nephew of Sir Admiral Isaac Coffin, and who presumably had a gentle heart for the French speaking population of the islands.

In 1806, Sir Isaac came to the islands, on his first and only visit during his concession of the islands, came to unsuccessfully deport the Acadians from Saint Pierre & Miquelon, who had been on the islands since 1792. According to Chantal Naud’s book, Îles-de-la-Madeleine 1793-1993 Deux siècles d’Histoire, he did this under the pretext that these inhabitants were of the France French culture because they came from the French islands of North America and therefore were enemies of the King. Apparently, he also changed his agents at this same time, because when he left the islands, he left orders and recommendations for his new agent, Louis Boudreau, who became the official agent of the islands at this time.

What is also even more interesting to note, is the genealogy of Callbeck’s wife, Mary Burke. Her father, William the 1st was also the father of William the 2nd, who was the father of William the 3rd, who was the father of Thomas Leboeuf, the Burke who married Emily McLean in Saint Luke’s in Grindstone, in 1854. Thomas’s mother was Margaret Dingwell from Fortune Bay, PEI. Thomas was believed to be the first Burke to live on the Magdalen Islands. Indeed, he is the Burke to bring the name to the islands, but Mary was actually the first Burke of the same family to live here, more the a half a century before.

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