Attack at Jeddore
The Attack at Jeddore (Isidore) happened on April 21, 1753 off Jeddore, Nova Scotia during Father Le Loutre’s War. The Mi’kmaq killed nine of the British delegates and spared the life of the French-speaking translator Anthony Casteel, who wrote one of the few Captivity narratives that exist from Acadia and Nova Scotia.
Despite the British Conquest of Acadia in 1710, Nova Scotia remained primarily occupied by Catholic Acadians and Mi'kmaq. By the time Cornwallis had arrived in Halifax, there was a long history of the Wabanaki Confederacy (which included the Mi'kmaq) protecting their land by killing British civilians along the New England/ Acadia border in Maine (See the Northeast Coast Campaigns 1688, 1703, 1723, 1724, 1745, 1746, 1747).  On 22 November 1752, after several years of fighting, the leader of the Shubenacadie Mi’kmaq village under the chief Jean-Baptiste Cope reached a peace agreement with Nova Scotia Governor Peregrine Hopson in Halifax. Cope did not speak on behalf off all the Mi’kmaq people. Most of the other Mi’kmaq people, even those in his local community, denounced the treaty.
The Attack at Mocodome occurred on February 21, 1753 when two English died and six or seven Mi'kmaq. Both sides blamed each other for the incident. In response, Cope requested time, political support, and presents to distribute to his compatriots as tokens of British respect. In response to Cope’s invitation, a delegation of 9 soldiers and one translator left Halifax in a sloop under the command of Bannerman to sail east to meet a group of Mi’kmaq leaders that Cope had assembled. They planned to exchange presents and advance the negotiations for an expansion of the peace.
On the night of April 20, the British delegation met Jean-Baptiste Cope at the mouth of a river at Jeddore, in which there was a Mi’kmaq village up stream. They slept overnight and the next day four Mi’kmaq men and one woman, Cope not among them, came to the ship. They invited Captain Bannerman to come to get provisions from the village. The captain followed their directions, and sailed up stream into an ambush.
A team of warriors seized the delegation and took it to the Mi’kmaq village on the bank of the river. Casteel reported the Mi’kmaq killed Captain James Bannerman and the other eight British in front of him. He reported that he watched the warriors cure and mount the scalps of his companions. (One month later at Chignecto, Le Loutre paid Mi’kmaq warriors 1800 livres for eighteen British scalps.) Chief Étienne Bâtard was among the Mi'kmaq and is reported to have helped save Casteel.
Casteel reported that Cope burned the treaty that was signed less than six months earlier. The Mi'kmaq ransomed Anthony Casteel to the French and let him off at Port Toulouse, where the Mi'kmaq sank the schooner after looting it.
According to historian Geoffery Plank, this incident reminded the British that individuals were not always what they seemed:
- A Mi’kmaq leader offering peace might in fact be an agent of the French Empire. A dutiful messenger and interpreter might be an ally of the Mi’kmaq or the French. An invitation to negotiations, or any offer of assistance, might be a ploy, and lead to a fatal ambush. Casteel helped confirm the Nova Scotia Council in their belief that the Mi’kmaq resistance was continuing to work closely with the French military, Catholic missionaries, and the Acadians.
Despite the collapse of peace on the eastern shore, the British did not formally renounce the Treaty of 1752 until 1756, when Lawrence declared another bounty for the scalps of Mi’kmaq men. Even more fuel was given to the conflict when the British decided in May 1753 to unilaterally establish Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
- See Diary of Anthony Casteel
- Gentleman's Magazine. Vol 44. 1753, p. 444
- Tod Scott. Mi'kmaw Armed Resistance to British Expansion in Northern New England (1676-1781). Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society Journal. Vol. 19, 2016. pp. 1-18
- John Reid.“Amerindian Power in the Early Modern Northeast: A Reappraisal.” in Essays on Northeastern North America: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008) ; Grenier, John. The Far Reaches of Empire. War in Nova Scotia, 1710–1760. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2008.
- Wicken, p.185
- Plank, p. 57
- Plank, p. 5
- Plank, p. 57
- According to Atkins in History of Halifax City, "On the 12th of April, 1753, Glaude Gisigash, an Indian who styled himself Governor of LaHave, appeared before the Council, and having declared his intention of making peace, terms of amity were drawn up and signed by the Governor and the Indian Chief, on the part of himself and his people. The terms were the same as those made with Major Cope, and it was arranged that some of his tribe should come up and ratify the treaty."
- Plank, p. 57
- Bannerman's property was adjacent to Richard Bulkeley (governor), who purchased Bannerman's property upon his death.
- Plank, p. 58
- Plank, 1996, p.33-34
- Whitehead, p. 137; Patterson, 1994, p. 135
- Plank, p. 66
- Patterson, 1994, p. 138
- Wicken, p.188
- Murdoch, Beamish. A History of Nova Scotia, Or Acadia. Vol 2. LaVergne: BiblioBazaar, 2009. pp. 166–167
- Patterson, Stephen E. 1744–1763: Colonial Wars and Aboriginal Peoples. In Phillip Buckner and John Reid (eds.) The Atlantic Region to Conderation: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1994. pp. 125–155
- Patterson, Stephen E. "Indian-White Relations in Nova Scotia, 1749–61: A Study in Political Interaction." Buckner, P, Campbell, G. and Frank, D. (eds). The Acadiensis Reader Vol 1: Atlantic Canada Before Confederation. 1998. pp. 105–106.
- Geoffrey Plank, “The Two Majors Cope: the boundaries of Nationality in Mid-18th Century Nova Scotia”, Acadiensis, XXV, 2 (Spring 1996), pp. 18–40.
- Plank, Geoffrey. "The Changing Country of Anthony Casteel : Language, Religion, Geography, Political Loyalty, and Nationality in Mid-Eighteenth Century Nova Scotia." Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 27 (1998): 53–74.
- Wicken, William. Mi'kmaq Treaties on Trial: History, Land, and Donald Marshall Junior. University of Toronto Press. 2002.
- Whitehead, Ruth. The Oldman Told Us.