Acorn Press/Three Rivers Roma Inc.
I wrote this historical monograph in the late seventies after several years of research, during which I became adept at translating 18th century handwritten French documents from the archives in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and Fortress Louisbourg, Nova Scotia.
It traces the fortunes of Jean Pierre Roma, a French businessman and a dreamer of grandiose dreams, who founded a settlement in 1732 in Trois Rivières (near present-day Brudenell in Prince Edward Island, then known as Isle St. Jean). It was a short-lived settlement. After the first fall of Louisbourg in 1745, it was burned to the ground by New Englanders, the destruction witnessed by Roma and two of his children from their hiding place in the trees.
I was hooked by this man: by his perfectionism, impatience and hard work, by his passionate involvement in his little outpost in the wilderness. He went to the French West Indies after the demise of Trois Rivières, although I was never able to find out where he died or was buried. This was pre-Internet days, remember!
The handsome reissue by Acorn Press/Three Rivers Roma Inc. in 2005 was an unexpected bonus. The book was launched at Government House in Charlottetown that summer.
If you’re in PEI in the summer, I’d recommend a visit to the reconstruction of the site near Brudenell, complete with volunteers in period costumes who make a little-known period of Island history come alive.
(French Translation by: Maude Desjardins)