“The Payzants of Edmonton”
by Allen Jess, May 2006
In Edmonton’s river valley an antique ‘penny farthing’ is kept in the city’s Artifacts Centre and identified by Accession No. 67-505-191. The owner of this bicycle was John Madison Payzant; he was a direct descendant of Louis Payzant and Marie Anne Noget who arrived in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, 253 years ago.
In 1753 this French Huguenot family sailed from the Island of Jersey, British Channel Islands, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and on to Lunenburg. Linda G. Layton has researched this family in her book A Passion for Survival: The True Story of Marie Anne and Louis Payzant in Eighteenth-century Nova Scotia, published in 2003. On Payzant’s Island (today known as Covey’s Island) — an island of approximately 108 acres just offshore from the Nova Scotia mainland in Mahone Bay — Louis Payzant set up a trading post. Louis, Marie Anne, and their children, Phillip, Mary, John, and Louis, lived there for over two years until the night of May 8, 1756 when the Maliseet came to the island, and murdered Louis and three other people. Then they burned the accommodation, and took Marie Anne and the four children captive. The Payzant 1000–kilometre canoe trip began. The children were dropped off at Sainte Anne’s (near Fredericton) and their mother was taken to Quebec City where her fifth child, Louise Catherine (always known as Lisette), was born on December 26, 1756. The four children eventually joined their mother in Quebec City in 1757. One of the boys, John, witnessed the Battle of the Plains of Abraham on September 13, 1759. The family spent a bitter winter there before returning to Nova Scotia in 1760 and receiving a Crown land grant of 500 acres in Falmouth Township in the Annapolis Valley.
A legend from the Island with the Bloody Hand [print] is part of the Payzant story —