July 19, 2010

Doucet family recognizes historical ancestor

By Juliana L'Heureux

A Franco-American Doucette memorial to honor the family's first ancestor is planned on Aug. 15, in Castine, Maine, at Our Lady of Good Hope Church.

Members of the Doucette Family Organization named Les Doucet du Monde (Doucets of the World) welcome relatives and history enthusiasts to attend the ceremony planned to memorialize Germain Doucet, Sier de La Verdue, who was their North American founder and a French military officer.

Doucet will be recognized by the family association for his historic leadership as the commanding officer of the French military post at Fort Pentagoet. The fort was located at the western end of the colonial French colony of Acadia, near Castine.

A plaque will be dedicated at a ceremony after the Mass of the Feast of the Assumption. Father Scott Marow will preside at the ceremony.

Norman Doucette of Winchester, Mass., is helping to organize the ceremony. He learned about the history of his family's first ancestor after visiting the website www.germaindoucet.com/home. He says the spelling of the Doucet name changed to Doucette, probably around 1856 when it was inscribed in the Sainte-Anne-du-Ruisseau parish register in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia.

In 1987, an archaeological portrait of the Acadian Frontier including reference to his ancestor Doucet was published titled "The French at Pentagoet 1635-1674." It was a joint project by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission and the New Brunswick Canada Museum.

Carol and his wife Eldine edit the family's newsletter. They live in Louisiana.  He is writing a biography of Germain Doucet who was born in 1595 in an area of France called Couperoue en Brye. In 1632 he arrived in Acadia with Isaac de Razilly (1587-1635), who was the French
 lieutenant governor of Acadia from 1632-35, when he unexpectedly died. Their purpose for going to Acadia was to reclaim Port Royal which was occupied by the British.

Doucet was among 300 "homes d'elite" or hand-picked men authorized by the French government to reclaim the Acadian French settlements north of Pemaquid. Reclaiming Acadia and ordering the British out of the territory was agreed to as part of the March 29, 1632, Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

After Razilly's death, Doucet joined his friend Charles de Menou d'Aulnay (1604-1650), who eventually succeeded Razilly as governor of Acadia. Doucet was given the responsibility of accompanying British settlers from 
Port Royal back to England if they chose to leave. He used this opportunity to go to France where he recruited French settlers to return with him to Port Royal. Doucet returned to Port Royal with his wife and children. Although his wife's name is unknown, his children were a son
 named Pierre and a daughter Louise-Marguerite or Marguerite-Louise-Judith.

In 1645, Doucet became the commanding officer of Fort Pentagoet, a French stronghold and trading post. The Doucette family believes the location of the memorial plaque they will present is on or near the site of Fort Pentagoet.

The Aug.15th ceremony date in Castine was requested for the memorial dedication because Our Lady of the Assumption is the patron saint of the Acadians.

Doucet served at Fort Pentagoet during a time of relative peace, but the fort was nevertheless attacked in1654, by Major Robert Sedgewick, of Boston. Doucet and his men resisted the attack for 16 days but were outnumbered. Doucet and his wife were taken prisoner after the surrender. Although they were ordered to return to France, no evidence exists of them leaving, according to a genealogy report written for Doucet du Monde, by Stephen White, an Acadian genealogist.

Information about the Castine event is available at the website www.doucetfamily.org

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