Jean-Vincent d'Abbadie de Saint-Castin
Jean-Vincent d'Abbadie de Saint-Castin (1652–1707) was a French military officer serving in Acadia and an Abenaki chief. He is the father of two prominent sons who were also military leaders in Acadia: Bernard-Anselme and Joseph. He is the namesake of Castine, Maine. He died at Pau, France, in 1707.
Will H Lowe: Baron De St Castin, fantasy portrait 1881
Escout, Béarn, France
|Died||1707 (aged 54–55)|
King Philip's War (1675-1676)
Castin was born at Escout, Béarn, France, to Jean Jacques D'Abbadie and Isabeau DeBearn Bonasse, the youngest of three sons. Little is known of his early years other than he lost his mother in infancy and his father before his teens. He left for Canada at the age of thirteen as an ensign in the army, as was suitable for the youngest son of a noble.
He was likely part of Alexandre de Prouville's campaign against the Iroqois in 1666 although his name does not appear in surviving records until 1670 when he was part of the repossession of Acadia by the French. In the Penobscot River area he gained his knowledge of the Penobscot and was eventually adopted into a local tribe.
In 1674, along with the governor of Acadia, Castin was taken to Boston as a prisoner in the Dutch-led conquest of Acadia, who renamed the colony New Holland. After he returned from Boston, Governor Frontenac gave Castin the task of allying the Abenaki with the French and recaptured the former capital of Acadia, Fort Pentagouet the following year (1675) during King Philips War. He took this role seriously and, while he became the third Baron de Saint-Castin on the death of his elder brother that year, he appears to have devoted his time to becoming an Abenaki.
During King William's War, after Benjamin Church successfully defended a group of English settlers at Falmouth, Maine in the fall of 1689, Castin returned to the village in May 1690 with over 400 soldiers and destroyed the village.
Polygamist or Multiple Wives and Numerous Children
Castin seems to have married at least one and possibly two different daughters of Penobscot chief, Madokawando, as described by French Acadian Governor de Menneval, December 1, 1687: "...being in the forest with them, since 1665, and having with him two daughters of the chief of these [Indians] by whom he has many children." Menneval suggests polygamy and some recent historians have upheld this view, at least insofar as Castin having married more than one daughter of Madockawando.
Writing a brief account of Castin within a decade of Menneval’s account, Baron de Lahonton makes a point of countering rumors that Castin was a polygamist: “He has several daughters, who are, all of them, married very handsomely to Frenchmen… He has never changed his wife, by which means he meant to give the savages to understand, that God does not love inconstant folks.” Lahanton’s itinerary, as he recorded it, did not take him to the Penobscot region. If Lahonton met Castin in person, it would have been far from Castin’s home (perhaps in Quebec). By the mid sixteen-nineties, Lahonton had returned to Europe and written his account. Thus the “several daughters” already married by this time would seem to precede Castin's marriage in Penobscot in 1684, said to have been blessed by a Jesuit missionary. The woman Castin married in 1684 may have been a teen bride named Pidianske or Pidiwamiska or Marie-Mathilde or one of the former may have been changed to the latter as a baptismal name, or these names may refer to at least “two distinct women.”
At least one of the “several daughters” referred to by Baron de Lahonton may have been born as early as 1671. This daughter or an unidentified sister may have married a Frenchman with the last name Meunier.
Two sons became scions of the Castin name:, Bernard-Anselm (ca.1689 per Canada Biog. in French) and Joseph (ca.1690). Another son named Jean-Pierre died in Quebec while still a minor. Two of Castin's daughters, Thérèse and Anastasie, are said to have married on the same day, December 4, 1707.
Shifting Allegiances, A Secret Treasure, and Final Return to France
In 1700, the governor of Massachusetts wrote to England describing a conversation with John Alden in which Alden characterized Castin as a friend and correspondent who was always eager to trade and "professes great kindness to the English and speaks English." Alden stated the Castin had recently told him "he hoped he should shortly come under the King of England's government, for that he would much rather be a subject of England than a slave to France." Castin was also quoted as saying the border with New France should be the St. Croix River. A much later message, in 1750, from the Boston council to one of Castin's sons, seems to give some support the idea that Castin was friendly, or at least could be shrewd in matters relative to Boston, as it refers to Castin's "good affection to us."
In 1701, Castin returned to France to answer charges of disloyalty that stemmed directly from Alden’s characterization, and also to secure his baronial inheritance in France through court lawsuits. He died in France in 1707.
At some point prior to departure, Castin seems to have buried a large treasure of silver coins on a bank of the Bagaduce river, but without telling family or friends. (Or, if he told someone, they were unable to locate or take advantage, for whatever reason.) The buried treasure was not discovered until Anglophone inhabitants of Penobscot stumbled upon it almost 150 years later.
In 1714, Castin’s son, Bernard-Anselm sailed to France with his wife Marie-Charlotte Damours de Chauffours and daughter. He sought to prove his legitimacy and secure his inheritance and baronial title. He subsequently died in 1720 and his wife and children remained in France.
Continuity of the Castin name in the Penobscot region falls to Castin’s son Joseph. Joseph is referred to simply as “Casteen” in correspondence from 1725. As late as 1750, Joseph was corresponding with Lt. Gov. Spencer Phips, the adopted son of the former governor—and sometimes-nemesis of Castin—William Phips.
A record from 1725, mentions an unidentified “one of Casteen’s daughters” Anastasie de St-Castine married to a Frenchman with the last name Bellisle Alexandre Leborgne de Bellisle and living near Port-Royal (Annapolis). Another daughter was said to still be living on Mount Desert Island in 1735.:xix
An Anthropology Dig Suggesting Alternate Death
While there are no *Legitimate Sources or *Documentation to Prove that the Baron died in France; there is a Mountain of Evidence to suggest otherwise.
According to Tradition; it is Claimed that the Baron left France in Early 1707 to return to his Family; who were under Threat from multiple Fronts. As a Loving & Devoted Father; he returned to his Children in their time of Distress.
It is said that he proclaimed: "I will not Raise Arms against my Brothers" as his reason for Leaving his Legal Battle France . Presumably his Siblings were threatening to use Force and Murder; which was Appalling to his sensibilities.
Many of his Children met him in Port Royal to welcome him Home. Among them was a Daughter named Marie Theresa; commonly known as "Princess Theresa". She is the Mother of "Chief Joseph Orono"; who famously told General Washington "I will not Raise Arms against my Brothers" and instead "I will pursue Peace through the Calumet". An echo of the Words of the Baron.
According to Tradition; the Baron and his Daughter Marie Theresa were in Port Royal at the time of the 1707 Attack; and were killed there.
Other Oral Tradition says that he died in France. Other than certain *Dictionaries repeating this oft quoted Oral Tradition; there is no *Evidence or *Proof or even a *Grave to support this Assertion.
However; there has arisen *Evidence and *Proof of the Tradition which maintains that he died in Port Royal in 1707, alongside his Daughter, Marie Theresa:
In 1899–1900 Frank Hamilton Cushing, a famous anthropologist from the Smithsonian, while conducting a dig on Campbell Island, just off Deer Island Maine, uncovered a French skeleton in armor. The weapons and items were identical to those of a French officer of the Carignan-Salières regiment. A halberd, sword, blunderbuss and other weapons were recovered. A tomahawk was found with a Maltese cross etched on it. The remains were found buried next to a Native American woman. They were repatriated to the Penobscot Nation; because it is Claimed and Accepted that these are the remains of the Baron and his Daughter.
Supporting this Agreement; is the fact that the Symbol on the Tomahawk is the Royal Seal of Madockawando; as well as there being no other Personage that it could possibly be. No alternative Personage is Offered.
|Ancestors of Jean-Vincent d'Abbadie de Saint-Castin|
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882) poem "The Baron of St. Castine".
- Namesake of Castine, Maine
- Namesake of Castine Way, Dalhousie University
- The Chase of Saint-Castin and Other Stories of the French in the New World by Mary Hartwell Catherwood (historic fiction)
- "ABBADIE DE SAINT-CASTIN, JEAN-VINCENT D', Baron de Saint-Castin". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. 2. University of Toronto/Université Laval. 2003. Retrieved 2019-06-16.
- Proceedings of the Royal Society of Canada, Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Royal Society of Canada. May 1895. p. 86. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
- Church, Benjamin; Church, Thomas; Drake, Samuel Gardner (1852). The History of the Great Indian War of 1675 and 1676, Commonly Called Philip's War: Also, the Old French and Indian Wars, from 1689 to 1704. S. Andrus. pp. 175–176.
- Baxter, James Phinney, ed. (1897). The Baxter Manuscripts. 5. Portland, Maine: Maine Historical Society. p. 121.
- Prins, Harald E. L.; McBride, Bunny (2007). Asticou's Island Domain: Wabanaki People at Mount Desert Island 1500–2000 (PDF). Acadia National Park Ethnographic Overview and Assessment. 1. Boston: National Park Service. p. 175.
- Prins, Harald E. L.; McBride, Bunny (2007). Asticou's Island Domain: Wabanaki People at Mount Desert Island 1500–2000 (PDF). Acadia National Park Ethnographic Overview and Assessment. 1. Boston: National Park Service. pp. xvii.
[Castin] marries two of Madockawando’s daughters and has many Métis children.
- Lahontan, Louis Armand de Lom d'Arce (1905) . Thwaites, Reuben Gold (ed.). New voyages to North-America. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co. p. 329.
- Prins, Harald E. L.; McBride, Bunny (2007). Asticou's Island Domain: Wabanaki People at Mount Desert Island 1500–2000 (PDF). Acadia National Park Ethnographic Overview and Assessment. 1. Boston: National Park Service. pp. 159, note 92.
- Prins, Harald E. L.; McBride, Bunny (2007). Asticou's Island Domain: Wabanaki People at Mount Desert Island 1500–2000 (PDF). Acadia National Park Ethnographic Overview and Assessment. 1. Boston: National Park Service. pp. 191–192.
- Headlam, Cecil, ed. (1913). Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 21, 1702–1703. British History Online. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. Retrieved 2019-06-17. For 1793, see entries for March 31, April, 1, April 5, May 1, and May 10. Note there is some contradictory information between this and the previous source, and the previous source has a Paul Meunier still living in 1735.
- Baxter, James Phinney, ed. (1907). The Baxter Manuscripts. 10. Portland, Maine: Maine Historical Society. p. 58.
- Baxter, James Phinney, ed. (1907). The Baxter Manuscripts. 10. Portland, Maine: Maine Historical Society. p. 123.
- Baxter, James Phinney, ed. (1907). The Baxter Manuscripts. 10. Portland, Maine: Maine Historical Society. p. 313.
- Baxter, James Phinney, ed. (1908). The Baxter Manuscripts. 12. Portland, Maine: Maine Historical Society. pp. 121–127.
- Baxter, James Phinney, ed. (1907). The Baxter Manuscripts. 10. Portland, Maine: Maine Historical Society. p. 300.
- Bibliography / Bibliography: Dictionary of Acadians (Godbout); Genealogical Dictionary of Acadian Families (White); Knights of St. Louis in Canada; Memoirs (Société généalogique canadienne-française); Website; Treaty of genealogy (René Jetté)
- Bibliographie/Bibliography: Dictionnaire des Acadiens (Godbout); Dictionnaire généalogique des familles acadiennes (White); Une figure légendaire
- Bibliographie/Bibliography: Dictionnaire généalogique des familles acadiennes (White); Une figure légendaire
- Bibliographie/Bibliography: Une figure légendaire
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes. France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.
- Robert Le Blant, Une Figure légendaire de l’histoire acadienne : Le baron de Saint-Castin (Dax: P. Pradeu, 1934)
- Pierre Daviault, Le Baron de Saint-Castin, chef abénaquis (Montréal: Éditions de l’AC-F, 1939);
- Aline S. Taylor, The French Baron of Pentagouet: Baron St. Castin and the Struggle for Empire in Early New England (Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1998);
- Marjolaine Saint-Pierre, Saint-Castin : Baron français, chef amérindien, 1652–1707 (Sillery, Quebec: Septentrion, 1999).
- Stanwood, Owen. Unlikely Imperialist: The Baron of Saint-Castin and the Transformation of the Northeastern Borderlands. French Colonial History, Volume 5, 2004, pp. 43–61
- Saint Castin, New Dominion Monthly. 1869
- The Baron of Castine - Longfellow
- Salagnac, Georges Cerbelaud (1979) . "Abbadie de Saint-Castin, Jean-Vincent d', Baron de Saint-Castin". In Hayne, David (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. II (1701–1740) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
. Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. 1900. p. 368.