DOUCET, AMABLE, office holder; b. 23 April 1737 in Annapolis Royal, N.S., second son and third child of Pierre Doucet and Marie-Josèphe Robichaud; d. 21 June 1806 in Grosses Coques, N.S.
Eighteen-year-old Amable Doucet was deported to Massachusetts with his parents and siblings in 1755 [see Charles Lawrence*]. The family was allocated to the town of Newbury and is listed there in 1756, 1758, and 1760. Amable, his father, and eldest brother were among the five Acadian men at Newbury in 1758 capable of work.
Apparently during his exile in New England, Amable was betrothed to a relative, Marie Doucet, daughter of François Doucet and Marguerite Petitot, dit Saint-Sceine (Sincennes), and sister of Pierre*. Subsequently, while Amable’s own family removed to Quebec, Amable and Marie decided, as did her family, to go back to Nova Scotia. In 1764 the British authorities had informed Governor Montagu Wilmot* that Acadians who took the oath of allegiance should be allowed to return to their native land, and in 1767 the Nova Scotia government specifically set aside lands for an Acadian settlement on St Mary’s Bay. According to traditional accounts, though they vary as to the exact date, it was about 1770 that François Doucet’s family went from Salem, Mass., to what was later called Pointe-de-l’Église (Church Point); church records show, however, that Amable Doucet, at least, was back in Nova Scotia by 21 Sept. 1769.
In early 1774 Marie Doucet died, leaving Amable with two children. Her burial place at Pointe à Major was later chosen as the site for the first Acadian cemetery in the area. Amable married secondly, on 18 Oct. 1774, Marie-Gertrude Gaudet, daughter of Joseph Gaudet and Gertrude Le Blanc; they were to have ten children, the youngest of whom would marry François-Lambert Bourneuf*.
On 14 May 1772 Amable Doucet had been granted 350 acres at what is now Comeauville, and in 1801 he received part of 21,300 acres allotted to a group of Acadians of the St Mary’s Bay region. Over the years he was involved in numerous other land transactions. At some point he settled at Grosses Coques.
Doucet played a significant role in local Acadian religious life. Extant parish records show that he conditionally baptized children and officiated at marriages during the sometimes long periods when no missionary was available [see Joseph-Mathurin Bourg*]. Doucet also enjoyed the confidence of his compatriots in other community matters. Several petitions, addressed to both religious and civic authorities, show that he was foremost among his fellow citizens. His name and signature come first in these documents, which regard such diverse matters as grants of land, parish boundaries, the securing of a French royalist priest, and the site of the parish church. A petition of 1 March 1790 by Doucet and several others requesting that Pierre Le Blanc* receive land omitted from his allotment displays a fairness that merits much respect.
On 6 April 1792 Doucet was appointed town clerk for Clare Township by the Annapolis County Court of Sessions, and on 3 Sept. 1793 he became a justice of the peace. He was the first Acadian to be appointed magistrate in Nova Scotia after the expulsion; however, his maternal grandfather, Prudent Robichaux, had served in a similar capacity at Annapolis Royal from 1727. As the only Acadian magistrate in the county, Doucet affixed his signature to many legal transactions, but he was involved in few extraordinary matters. On 28 Feb. 1803 he presided over a special general sessions at his home in Grosses Coques, where a person was found guilty of petty larceny and sentenced to be flogged. Doucet’s participation in this proceeding and the fact that by his will, dated 17 June 1806, he bequeathed to his wife a black slave named Jérôme may be taken to signify that his ideas were generally no more progressive than those of his time.
ANQ-Q, ZQ-60 (photocopies at CÉA). Arch. of the Diocese of Bathurst (Bathurst, N.B.), Caraquet, Reg. des baptêmes, mariages et sépultures, 1768–73. Arch. of the Diocese of Yarmouth (Yarmouth, N.S.), Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal), Reg. des baptêmes, mariages et sépultures, II (1727–55) (mfm. at CÉA). CÉA, Fonds Placide Gaudet, 1.23-15, 1.24-6, 1.24-32, 1.24-34, 1.88-9, 1.88-10, 1.88-12; Extraits des reg. de la Pointe-de-l’Église, N.-É. (transcripts); “Généalogies acadiennes,” 1435-1, 1435-2; “Notes généalogiques sur les familles acadiennes, c.1600–1900,” dossier Doucet-2: f.41; Fonds H.-J. Hébert, dossier Mass. Mass., Dept. of the State Secretary, Arch. Division (Boston), Mass. arch., 23: 350; 24: 368. PANS, RG 20A, 2 (photocopies at CÉA).
Nova Scotia archives, II: a calendar of two letter-books and one commission-book in the possession of the government of Nova Scotia, 1713–1741, ed. A. McK. MacMechan (Halifax, 1900), 172. Donat Robichaud, Les Robichaud: histoire et généalogie (Bathurst, ), 151–52. Tanguay, Dictionnaire, 3: 438. P.-M. Dagnaud, Les Français du sud-ouest de la Nouvelle-Écosse . . . (Besançon, France, 1905), 24–25. [J.-]A. Deveau, La ville française (Québec, 1968), 123, 186, 189. [Élie LeBlanc], Église Saint-Bernard: commencée en 1910, complétée en 1942, diocèse de Yarmouth ([Yarmouth, 1942]), 31. I. W. Wilson, A geography and history of the county of Digby, Nova Scotia (Halifax, 1900; repr. Belleville, Ont., 1975), 40, 58, 97–98, 109, 136, 227, 243, 430. C.-J. d’Entremont, “Amable Doucet, écuyer du roi,” Le Courrier de la Nouvelle-Écosse (Yarmouth), 16 mars 1978: 10; “Les ‘terres françaises’ de East Ferry: Amable Doucet avait un testament,” Le Courrier de la Nouvelle-Écosse, 9 mars 1978: 1. [Placide Gaudet], “La construction d’une église à la baie Sainte-Marie,” Le Moniteur acadien (Shédiac, N.-B.), 26 juill. 1889: ; “Grande démonstration religieuse dans le premier cimetière acadien de la baie Ste-Marie,” L’Évangéline (Weymouth Bridge, N.-É.), 8 sept. 1892: ; “Imposante démonstration religieuse,” L’Évangéline, 16 juill. 1891: ; “Premiers habitants de la baie Ste-Marie,” L’Évangéline, 2 juill. 1891: ; “Les premiers missionnaires de la baie Ste-Marie . . . ,” L’Évangéline, 6 août 1891: .