Short Excerpt

Published January 1, 2022 by A.J.B. Johnston

One of life’s great pleasures—up there with wine and cheese and a warm baguette—is hearing from readers who are enjoying one of your books.That happened to me yesterday, when a reader of Ancient Land, New Land reached out to tell me how much she was enjoying different aspects of the latest book Jesse Francis and I have authored, about Skmaqn—Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst on PEI. The book is published by Acorn Press.

Out of privacy concerns I’ll not reveal the reader’s identity (other than to say it was my sister). I shall call her Elinor rather than keep saying the reader.

One part of the story Elinor found especially interesting was that of Robert Potier Dubuisson, who came to play a major role in the administration of the French colony of Île Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island) for more than 20 years.

Here, from page 32 of the book, is how the story of Dubuisson begins:

“Dubuisson grew up in the British colony of New York, where his father, Jean-Baptiste Poitiers (Potier) du Buisson, was an organist on Staten Island. The boy Dubuisson became fluent in Dutch and English, as well as French, which his parents spoke at home. Around 1699, when Robert was 16, the family moved to New France where the father became an organist in a Montreal church. Young Robert went to work at a variety of clerical government jobs associated with the Marine department, the part of the French government that had responsibility for both the navy and overseas colonies. Sometimes Dubuisson was employed as an interpreter as well. Robert married, but his wife died a year into their marriage, two weeks after giving birth to a baby girl. In 1719, in his late twenties, Robert moved into the position of controller of the king’s stores. He must have impressed his superiors, because three years later, he was promoted to a weighty responsibility.”

That appointment was as the sub-delegate of the intendant of New France for Île Saint-Jean. To learn the rest of Dubuisson’s story, and a whole lot more about the Mi’kmaq, Acadians and British please turn to the book.

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