Sunday, August 08, 2004

Congrès brings long-distance families together

Congrès brings long-distance families together. Report on the Thibodeaux reunion, which included a party at the Shaw homestead--a family descended from the New England planters who settled on Thibodeaux land after Le Grand Derangement.
"It's a great feeling," said Dorothy Thibodeaux Boudreaux, a native of Church Point and resident of Houston. "It feels like we're home."
That sentiment, was shared, ironically, by a Shaw descendent.
Despite the lyrical sounds of various French and English accents, the one voice that captured everyone's attention was that of Sara Beanlands, a Shaw descendant with no Acadian heritage, who delivered a lecture on her famil's farm.

Beanlands' farm lies in the area once known as Pisiquid, land that was once a Thibodeaux farm. Samples from the house's beams and foundation are currently being date-tested to see if the structure was once a Thibodeaux house, Beanlands said.

She invited the Thibodeauxs to visit the farm, view the home's old beams and foundation and an excavation site that uncovered Acadian artifacts believed to date back to 1749. Dozens of Thibodeauxs took her up on the offer and the Shaws graciously opened their home.

"Welcome to the Shaw ancestral land," Beanlands said on Tuesday, enthusiastic to share her historical findings with people equally interested. "This is really about the land because only you and the Shaws have inhabited this land.

"Welcome home," she finished.

Archaeologists have been excavating other Acadian sites in the area. We visited the Saint-Famille cemetery on a visit to the Pisiquid area last year.
Walking back to the farmhouse, the Thibodeauxs passed a small historical marker that Beanlands erected for the occasion. It simply stated that the Shaw land was settled by "Pierre Thibodeau and Anne Bourg in 1690."

"We put it up yesterday," she said with a smile.

"But it's going to stay for a long time."

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