Roger Quessy 2970
- Born: 1646, Ireland 2969
- Marriage: Marie Francoise Poirier in 1668 in Beaubassin, Acadie, Canada 2969
- Died: 1 Dec 1733, Beaubassin, Acadie, Canada aged 87
When Roger Caissie first appeared on the 1671 census of Port Royal, Acadia, his name was spelled Kuessy. Depending on who was doing the recording, priest or scribe, variant spellings were Quessy, Caissy, Caissie, and Casey. The story that has come down to us is that Roger was an Irish prisoner of the British who escaped while at Port Royal. There is another theory that he came to Acadia with Sir Temple who had been given a large grant of land and was recruiting people to work on it. There is no list of Temple's settlers, however, and it cannot be proven that this story is true. In 1671, Roger was among the 300 or so white settlers in Acadia. Roger, Marie-Françoise, his wife, and Marie, their first child, appear on the 1671 Acadian Census as residents in Port Royal. Roger is listed on the 1671 census as "laboureur". He had no land of his own but he had three heads of cattle and two sheep.
Roger Caissie married Marie Françoise Poirier in 1668 at Port-Royal. Marie-Françoise was the daughter of Jehan Poirier and Jeanne Chabrat, and she had one brother, Michel. Her father, who had arrived in Acadia in 1641 aboard the Le Saint-Francois, had died about 1656, perhaps as a victim in the raid on the settlement by Major Sedgwick of Boston. Her mother had remarried Antoine Gougeon and had one daughter named Henriette. In the days of large families, Marie Francoise had only one brother and a half-sister, all born in Port-Royal. This family was among the first permanent settlers of Acadia.
Roger and Marie-Francoise originally lived in Port Royal, but became one of the earliest settlers at Beaubassin, a community founded by Jacques Bourgeois around 1672. In 1676, Michel LeNeuf, Sieur de LaValliere, a gentleman from Trois-Rivieres received a seigneurial concession at Beaubassin and invited new settlers to establish there. Jacques Bourgeois, a surgeon who had arrived on the same ship as Jehan Poirier, had already settled in that area in 1672. Roger and his brother-in-law Michel Poirier probably went to Beaubassin earlier with Jacques. In 1684 there was a case of witchcraft at Beaubassin and one witness stated that in 1678, he was sleeping at Roger Caissie's house. At Beaubassin, Roger and Marie settled on what became known as Butte La Roger (Roger's Knoll). It is in Aulac, a small town relatively near the modern town of Amherst, NS, near the New Brunswick border. Roger introduced fruit trees into Beaubassin and on the 1698 Acadian census, he is listed as possessing 30 out of 32 fruit trees (apples, pears and plums) in the community.
While on an inspection tour of Acadia in 1686, Mr. de Meulles, went by Beaubassin, which he described as follows: "On small hills, surrounded by immense prairies, twenty-two houses, each having three or four adjoining buildings, twelve to fifteen heads of cattle and as many pigs and sheep". The prairies were, in his opinion, vast enough to support one hundred thousand heads of cattle. A census was taken that year and it shows that Beaubassin had a population of 127. All the inhabitants were of French extraction except two: Roger Caissie, Irish, and Emmanuel Miranda, a Portuguese, who like Roger had married an Acadian.
Roger was considered a well-to-do inhabitant at Beaubassin. An analysis of the community of the 1680 by Myriam Marceau (L'Etranger qui Dérange) states that when taken as a clan, the Caissie and the Poirier were the fourth in importance in terms of possessions. In 1693, Roger had 26 heads of cattle, 32 sheep, 34 pigs and three guns. In 1698, two years after a raid by Colonel Church when most of Beaubassin was destroyed, he had 17 heads of cattle, 20 sheep and 12 pigs, and he had thirty of the thirty one fruit trees in the area. Obviously, in 1696, Roger had managed to hide a portion of his herd in the surrounding woods. It may be significant to consider also that by then, his son Jean had married and Roger had probably helped him out with some of his herd. If both are taken together, the total is almost at the level of 1693.
His known children are: Marie (1669) Jean (1676) Pierre (1678) Guillaume (1680) Michel (1684) Madeleine (1688) Marie (1697). Some authors add a Marie Anne (1699), but that appears to be an error. Because of the rather long time between some of the births, it would not be so improbable to think that there were other pregnancies or perhaps children who died at a very early age. The fact that two children have the same name is not uncommon among Acadians in those days. It was not unusual to name a new born after an older child who had married and left home. This is the case of the eldest Marie, who, by 1697 had married Toussaint Doucet.
Vincent Caissie relates the following interesting information about Roger and Francoise:
"Perhaps the best documents to tell us what kind of a man was Roger and what kind of relationship existed between him and Marie-Francoise, are the depositions made by witnesses at the trial of Roger Campagna who had been accused of sorcery. There were four accusations but only one directly concerns the Caissie's. Campagna was single, 45 years old in 1684, and on Easter Sunday of that year went calling on Roger to seek Marie's hand in marriage; she was 16 years old. Roger answered that his wife was away on that day and that he should return another day when she was there. The next day Campagna came over, and when he was seen approaching with his gun he was met at the door by Marie-Francoise. The deposition of Roger and Francoise state that Roger had gone asleep on his bed when Campagna was seen approaching, and that Marie had gone upstairs. There followed a dispute between Marie-Francoise and Campagna where sharp words were exchanged and threats made by Campagna. One of the most interesting comment in Marie-Francoise's deposition later was one in which she claims that Campagna had said "I have been told that you would be the cause of this marriage not taking place". That was in answer to a statement by Marie-Francoise that what "Roger had promised yesterday, today she was un-promising it." First, it is not believable that Roger would have gone to bed, much less fallen asleep while this was going on. Marie, as was shown later, was not at all afraid to face Campagna and, in my view would not have willingly gone upstairs leaving her mother alone to face a man with a gun. I rather think that Marie-Francoise, on seeing Campagna approaching, would have told both Roger and Marie to disappear while she took care of the bachelor. Now that would make Roger anything but a fearless individual, unless he had by then become accustomed to Marie-Francoise's total domination of the household, and had more to fear from Marie-Francoise's temper than from Campagna. The two comments quoted in the previous paragraph, would tend to confirm that in the village, Francoise was seen as the 'boss'. Francoise's 'un-promising' and the general tone of the deposition would support this theory." (From The Caissie Family in Acadia by Vincent Caissie).
As told to Brian Lloyd French from Ronnie Gilles Leblanc, Caissie opened a trading post/blacksmith/tavern at Butte La Roger in the later 1600's. There is a story about his wife having gone to a fortune teller who told her that her husband was going to leave her. So, she left first. I wonder if this separation could account for the space in years between the last child, Marie born 1699 and her nearest eldest sister, Madeleine, born 1688?
On the census of 1714, Roger, Francoise and the youngest child, Marie, were living together at Beaubassin. The sons are also there, except for Guillaume who had gone to Riviere du Nord in the Province of Quebec where he had died about 1711. The 1714 census is the last documentation of Francoise, wife of Roger. In 1715, a document listed the inhabitants of Checanectou who were present on proclaiming King George at Beaubassin. On the list were Le vieux Roger and Pierre Roger. This was obviously Roger Caissie and his son, Pierre. That is the last reference that we find about Roger. In 1730, at the signing of the oath of allegiance, they are absent and presumed dead. There is no documentary proof of their passing.
Au recencement de 1671, en Acadie avec sa femme et sa fille Marie. Sa déposition lors du procès de sorcellerie de Jean Campagna nous informe que Roger Kessy était irlandais de nation. L'un des premiers colons de Beaubassin, l'ancêtre des Caissie a donné son prénom à une colline, la butte à Roger, où il s'est établi. Arriva en acadie vers 1665. Selon Bona Arseneau, Roger serait celui qui a apporté les premiers arbres fruitiers à Beaubassin de Port-Royal.
Selon Bona Arseneau: "Jeune réfugié irlandais arrivé à Port-Royal vers 1665. Plusieurs de ses descendants, notamment en Louisianne, portent le nom de Roger". Toujours selon Bona Arseneau, il est né en 1651.
Roger married Marie Francoise Poirier, daughter of Jehan Poirier and Jeanne Chebrat, in 1668 in Beaubassin, Acadie, Canada.2969 (Marie Francoise Poirier was born in 1649 in Port Royal, Acadia and died in 1713 in Beaubassin, Acadie, Canada.)