Project Description



Martin Benoit, born in 1643 in LaRochelle France, arrived in Port Royal around 1671. Around 1672, he married Marie Chaussegros, one of the five women who arrived in Port Royal in 1671 from Rochefort, France. The couple lived at Port Royal until 1708 when they settled at Pisiguit (Windsor, NS). Clement Benoit was born in 1677, one of ten children born to this couple.

Clement Benoit married Anne Babin and they had 9 children, including Guillaume (William) born 1707 in Port Royal. Clement passed away on 23 Jun 1748 in Pisguit, Nova Scotia.

Guillaume married Marie-Josephe Gauterot in Grand Pre in 1729. In 1748, Guillaume left with his family for Ile Royale in 1748 resulting in his avoiding the deportation in 1755 at Grand Pre. Some of his brothers and sisters were not so fortunate. Ile Royale existed as a French colony from 1723 until 1763 with the fortress of Louisburg as its cornerstone. According to the 1752 census by Sieur La Roque, Guillaume Benoit 46 years of age, his wife Marie-Josephe Gautrot 50 years of age and six children were at Riviere aux Habitants (River Inhabitants) in 1751. They have been in the colony for 3 years and have a sawmill on an island in the river. They have four boys and two girls; Pierre, aged 22 years, Michel aged 20 years, Judict aged 18 years, Boniface aged 15 years, Simon aged 13 years and Genevieve aged 9 years.

Guillaume’s eldest son Pierre, born in Pisiquit in 1729, is considered the founder of Tracadie. He married Victoire Dugas at Petit Bras d’Or in 1760. There were no priest to perform the marriage ceremony, so they married by community consent. Then the marriage was re-validated by the first avaiable priest, which was Rev. Charles-Francois Bailly in Arichat in 1771. After their marriage validation, they moved to Tracadie in 1772. Pierre Benoit died April 18, 1811 in Tracadie.

Pierre’s brothers, Boniface and Michel, in later years settled in nearby Harbour au Bouchie.. The descendants of all three brothers are found throughout Antigonish County and beyond. The fourth brother, Simon, settled in D’Escousse, Cape Breton.

Boniface Benoit and his wife Marie Josephe Boucher married in 1766 and they were early settlers at Petit Bras d’Or. Their marriage was revalidated and their children baptised by Fr. Bailly in 1771. In 1768, Boniface Benoit was on a list of names of people who had made improvements on land of which they had no title. Boniface later settled at Harbour au Bouchie and died there on August 30, 1811.

The Benoit surname survives to this day but many Benoit’s who moved to the Boston states in the later part of the 1800’s adopted Bennett as an anglicized variation to improve employment opportunities.