The 1758 Acadian deportation on Île-Saint-Jean scattered the Acadian population as far as France, the West Indies and Louisiana. Among Acadian families who avoided deportation, many found their way to refugee camps near the Restigouche and Miramichi rivers, but a select few managed to stay on the Island.
However, several families came back to settle on the Island in the following years. This required a certain adaptation to a new life in an English-speaking colony under a British and Protestant government. Acadian families faced a big challenge in acquiring land, as they could not reclaim possession of the land that they had once owned.
The Island had been divided into 67 lots (or districts) under British rule. These lots were assigned to British influential men, and these men were given the responsibility of bringing in settlers as tenants to work on the land. Therefore, Acadian families who wanted to get established as farmers had to lease land from these large landowners.
This land system proved to be challenging for Acadians, as well as for settlers from Scotland, Ireland and England. At times, when they were unable to pay rent, Acadian families were forced to abandon their land and start clearing again elsewhere, or even leave the Island. At this point, the Acadian population was scattered into small groups from one tip of the Island to the other.
Acadians managed to make a living by farming and fishing, but also they also worked as loggers, navigators, and carpenters. Mostly illiterate people, they were truly their own community on the Island due to their Francophone and Catholic identity. In fact, most Acadians would marry within their own cultural group.
Other Islanders perceived them as hard workers who seem cheerful and content with their lot. However, they also viewed them as a class of inferior and uneducated people who clung to their old traditions.
Things begin to change for the Acadian community in the early 1800s with the opening of a few schools. Young men started entering the teaching profession. In 1854, a young man from Tignish by the name of Stanislaus F. Perry was elected to the Island Legislative Assembly. This moment was an indication that Island Acadians were beginning to emerge from isolation and starting to participate in public life.