Thomas Albert

Son of Vital Albert and Marie Smyth of Saint-Hilaire, Thomas was the brother of Mary Jane (1881-1914), who was a nun teaching at the Saint-Basile Convent. Thomas studied at the College de Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière and in 1900, he received the Prince of Wales Medal.

After his theological studies were finished at the Grand Seminaire de Montreal, he was ordained a priest in Chatham by Bishop Barry in 1905. He studied in Rome and obtained Doctorates in Canon Law and Theology. He was parish priest in Shippagan from 1909 to 1920, and in Grand Falls from 1920 to 1924. He is the author of the book L'Histoire du Madawaska published in 1920. Source

L’abbé Thomas Albert (1879-1924): historien du Madawaska”, Revue de la Société historique du Madawaska, Le Brayon, Vol. VIII, No. 1 (January-March 1980), pp. 5-13.

Thomas Albert
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Maliseet Hospitality

Our ancestors tell us that the Maliseets warmly welcomed the first families who arrived in the Madawaska region in 1785. Rev. Thomas Albert refers to the dignified and articulate Chief François-Xavier as a benefactor and protector of the newcomers. How can we explain this great generosity of the "Madawaskaks" toward strangers? And can we believe this openness when we learn that some 20 years earlier, these native people, feeling threatened by an increasing number of hunters and merchants taking advantage of the resources of the area, had complained to the Quebec government who then banned hunting (by the Canadians) in this Maliseet territory in 1765. A few theories exist as to the evolution of attitudes and mentalities between 1765 and 1785.

  • The fact that two half brothers, Pierre Duperré and Pierre Lizotte had resided in the Maliseet village probably in 1783-1784, could have helped to prepare for the arrival of the first settlers. After their stay, the two “Pierre’s” went downriver to Sainte Anne des Pays Bas near Fredericton and returned in 1785 with the founders of the Madawaska colony. As acquaintances of the Maliseets, they could have played an intermediary role.
  • It could also have been that the “Madawaskaks” already knew the leaders of these Acadians asking for hospitality. In fact, Joseph Daigle, Louis and Michel Mercure and a few others, had often traveled through the area while carrying mail between Halifax and Quebec. If they petitioned for lands in the Upper St. John Valley, it is that they knew beforehand, that they could count on the Maliseets’ hospitality.
  • The diplomacy of the Madawaska pioneers, as well as their status of poor exiles, humbly and respectfully requesting to settle in the area, could have influenced the attitudes of the first inhabitants. Let us admit that it is hard to distinguish fact from fiction in all this especially when we learn that in the first year, the new settlers need the protection of a newly created militia. A petition dated July 16, 1789 shows that difficulties arose when some merchants from Kennebec began to trade in spirits in the territory, and gave bad advice to the Aboriginals. It is certain that the importance of the "Madoueskak" village declined at the end of the 18th century, as the Tobique Reserve was officially established in 1801.
G. Desjardins
Université de Moncton campus d'Edmundston Société Historique du Madawaska Ville d'Edmundston Patrimoine Canadien