Jean-Vincent d'Abbadie de Saint-Castin

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BaronDeStCastin1881byWill H Lowe Wilson Museum Archives.jpg
Will H Lowe: Baron De St Castin, fantasy portrait 1881
Born 1652
Escout, Béarn, France
Died 1707 (aged 54–55)
Allegiance France, Abenaki

King Philip's War (1675-1676)

King William's War

Other work representative

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 the former capital of Acadia, Castine, Maine.

He was immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882) who wrote "The Baron of St. Castine".[1]


Jean-Vincent was born at Escout, Béarn, France, the youngest of three sons in his noble family. 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, a suitable pursuit for the younger son of a noble.

He was likely part of Alexandre de Prouville's brutal 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, Castine 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 Saint-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.[2]

He married a Native American woman, the daughter of the Penobscot chief, Madokawando.

He died at Pau, France, in 1707.

Anthropology dig[edit]

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.

To identify these remains, they were brought to the attention of the Smithsonian. They responded that while there was ample proof or evidence that suggested it might be the Baron, it didn't matter; either way the remains were to be repatrioted to the Penobscot Nation.

Chief Madockawando's stronghold was across the reach on the hill overlooking Walker Pond. Chief Madockawando was the father-in-law of the Baron Jean-Vincent who married his daughter, Matilde.


See also[edit]



  1. ^ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes. France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.
  2. ^ The history of the great Indian war of 1675 and 1676, commonly called Philip ... by Benjamin Church, Thomas Church, Samuel Gardner Drake, pp175-176


External links[edit]