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Admiral Digby Museum


Accession number: 1979.22
Category: Art
Object type: Wooden
Date: before 1979
Materials: Wood
Measurements: 101 cm L x 67 cm W x 8 cm Thick
Signature: S. Outhouse
Marks/Label: Front Bottom Right Corner: Signature "S.Outhouse" Back mid lower right side: "Stand Off" Stamped in the back bottom right corner: "Wood Sculpturing; by; Stephen L. Outhouse; ???? Brighton; Digby County, N.S.; ?????
Narrative: This carving made by Steven Outhouse depicts the final stand of Madame La Tour in 1645. Francoise Marie Jacquelin was caught in the middle of a civil war over Acadia fought between her husband, Charles de Saint-Etienne, Sieur de La Tour, and Charles de Menou, Sieur d’Aulany de Charnisay. Both claimed the right to govern the French colony; each wanted to control the valuable fur trade. The French monarchy split the colony: d’Aulany governed the eastern half while La Tour governed the western half from his fort at modern-day St. John, New Brunswick. Francoise had to travel to France on two separate occasions, 1642 and 1643, to defend La Tour to the court; in 1642, she was able to convince the court to clear the charges raised against him by d’Aulany. Upon her return, Francoise could not debark at Fort La Tour; d’Aulany had blockaded the harbour since her departure. She travelled to Boston where she met her husband who had managed to slip out. They were able to secure four ships and supplies to return to the colony and drive d’Aulany’s ships out. In 1643, Francoise was not as successful in France; she was told she could not leave Paris until La Tour returned to answer the charges against him. The resourceful Mme. La Tour managed to sneak over to London where she found a ship that agreed to take her home. Once again, however d’Aulany interfered and forced her ship to dock in Boston. Francoise had just missed meeting her husband’s returning entourage after a trip for supplies. She was forced to remain in Massachusetts for two months. By Francoise’s return to Fort La Tour in December of 1644, d’Aulany had grown more powerful; he now controlled the posts at Pentagouet and Cape Sable as well as the village of Port Royal and the Metis settlement of La Have; Fort La Tour was the last remaining post. The fort was running desperately low on supplies and La Tour felt that January would be a safe time to travel to Boston for supplies; d’Aulany was unlikely to attack in the cold winter months. He left Francoise in charge during his absence. D’Aulany, however, heard that La Tour had left the fort. He chose to attack; in the spring of 1645, d’Aulany’s men set up cannon on the beach by the fort and moved his ship in close. The garrison rejected d’Aulany’s encouragement to surrender. The ensuing battle lasted between one and three days, according to differing accounts. Although the garrison was heavily outnumbered and outgunned, they fought well. D’Aulany elected to delay the final assault until the morning of the final day. After the fort parapet fell, Francoise, ‘La Commandante’, led the charge against d’Aulany’s men. She only yielded when d’Aulany promised the lives of the surviving men would be spared. He immediately relented ordering all surviving defenders to be hanged that day. Francoise was forced to watch and afterwards was imprisoned. She fell ill shortly after and died three weeks after the fall of the fort. La Tour was unaware of the battle at Fort La Tour; he continued to negotiate in Boston for supplies and troops. He only heard the news of his wife’s death and the fall of the fort two months after the battle. La Tour proceeded to procure a ship to take him back to Acadia. When they reached Cape Sable, he captured the ship and sailed it up to Quebec. He stayed for four years until d’Aulany’s death. Upon hearing the news, La Tour sailed for France and was proclaimed protector of Acadia. He returned and married d’Aulany’s widow, Jeanne Moutin. La Tour died in 1663. [Source: MacDonald, M.A. Fortune & La Tour: The Civil War in Acadia. Halifax: Nimbus Publishers, 2000.]

Madame Latour is standing in front of a large built-in fireplace; she is yielding a rifle/musket against a soldier; there is one soldier laying on the floor with a chair toppled over on him; one soldier standing next to him reaching for the rifle and one soldier sitting on the floor attempting to get to his feet; There is a broom leaning against the fireplace and a low stool sitting on the hearth; there are dishes on the table and on a floor-to-ceiling cabinet which is behind the soldiers.