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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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DELESDERNIER, JOHN MARK CRANK (1754-1843)

DELESDERNIER, JOHN MARK CRANK, collector of customs, high sheriff, 1786-93, JP, and businessman; b. Pessequid (Windsor, N.S.), c1754, s/o Gideon Delesdernier and Madelon Martin; m. c1783, Elizabeth Atkinson, of Cumberland Co., N.S.; d. Como, Lower Canada, 7 Jul 1843.

J. Mark C. Delesdernier was the son of Swiss Protestant parents who came to Nova Scotia soon after their marriage in London, England, in 1750. He grew up speaking both French and English, and because he spent seven years working in "Indian affairs" in Nova Scotia, had "ease and fluency" in the Micmac language as well. He was also "perfectly expert in the Indian way of fishing, hunting, and calling in game."

In 1784, Delesdernier was appointed as the first Northumberland County collector of import and export duties, at a time when the coast of the county extended from Baie Verte (near Port Elgin) to the Quebec border. Upon the departure of Benjamin Marston in 1786 he became the acting sheriff of the county. He was bonded for the position in 1788 and occupied it until 1793. In 1794 he was appointed a justice of the peace.

While residing on the Miramichi, "Dineer," as his surname was pronounced locally, farmed, traded in furs and fish, and did land surveying. Patrick Campbell was favorably impressed by him when he visited the river in 1791, describing him as "a smart, lively, sensible little man." He was trusted by the other settlers, often acting as their spokesman or carrying letters and petitions to Fredericton on their behalf.

Delesdernier and his family left the Miramichi in 1796 for St Anne de Bellevue, Lower Canada. Several years afterwards, they settled permanently at Pointe-à-Cavagnal (later Como and Como-Est) in Vaudreuil County. He died there in 1843, at eighty-nine years of age. His wife, Elizabeth Atkinson, lived until 1850. A daughter, Mary Delesdernier, was the wife of François-Xavier Desjardins, a Quebec 'patriote', towards whose cause the Delesderniers were stoutly opposed in 1837.

Sources

[d] Royle / DCB (re. François-Xavier Desjardins); Advocate 3 Sep 1913; Fraser (D); PANB (sheriffs' bonds); Spray (ENC)


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