BOURNEUF, FRANÇOIS-LAMBERT, sailor, school-teacher, farmer, merchant, shipbuilder, and politician; b. 20 Oct. 1787 at Rénéville, France (department of Manche), son of François Bourneuf and Michelle Énolle; d. 16 May 1871 at Grosses Coques, St Mary’s Bay, N.S.
In 1808, after three years’ service in the French imperial navy, François-Lambert Bourneuf signed on with the frigate Furieuse, trading to the French West Indies. During a voyage in 1809 he was taken prisoner by the English, and brought to Halifax. He managed to escape in 1812, after two attempts. Bourneuf then became a school-teacher at Pombcoup (Pubnico), N.S. He later went to St Mary’s Bay, where on 20 May 1813, before Father Jean-Mandé Sigogne*, he took the oath of allegiance to the British crown. He taught for another year and then turned his attention to farming. In November 1815 he was again at sea as second in command on a schooner. Two years later he bought his own schooner and began to sail the trading route between Saint John, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. By 1830 Bourneuf was also doing well as a shipbuilder; from 1830 to 1855 he built some 30 vessels.
In the Nova Scotia elections of 1843 Bourneuf entered politics as a reform candidate and was elected MLA for Digby County, N.S.; his mandate was renewed in the elections of 1847, 1851, and 1855. In the same period he was appointed a member of the first schools commission for Clare (Church Point), N.S.; his name also appears among the first magistrates of that county.
In November 1855 the firm of Allison and Spur of Saint John, N.B., with which Bourneuf did business and for which he built ships, was forced by a series of bankruptcy actions to close its doors. The closure reduced Bourneuf’s firm to bankruptcy – an experience from which neither Bourneuf nor his business ever recovered.
In 1859 at the end of his fourth term as MLA for Digby, Bourneuf retired from both provincial and municipal politics. He then began to write his memoirs, which he never completed.
In 1818 François-Lambert Bourneuf had married Marie Doucet, by whom he had ten children.
Archives acadiennes, Université de Moncton, Fonds de Placide Gaudet, 43–24; Mémoire de François-Lambert Bourneuf. Beck, Government of Nova Scotia. Alphonse Deveau, La ville française (Québec, 1968), 189, 202, 245–66. I. W. Wilson, A geography and history of the county of Digby, Nova Scotia (Halifax, 1900), 319–30. “François Lambert Bourneuf,” Le Petit Courrier (West Pubnico, N.S.), 18 mars–10 juin 1948. “Francois Lambert Bourneuf,” L’Évangéline (Moncton, N.B.), 10 déc. 1891–2 juin 1892. J. W. Comeau, “François Lambert Bourneuf,” N.S. Hist. Soc. Coll., XXVII (1947), 147–72.