ÉNAULT (Esnault, Hénaut) DE BARBAUCANNES (Barbocant), PHILIPPE, physician and prominent early settler in Acadia; b. at Saumur, France, in 1651; d. after 1708.
About 1676 Énault was hired as an employee of Nicolas Denys* at Nipisiguit (Bathurst, N.B.) where Richard Denys* de Fronsac was in charge. Here he practised medicine and appears to have been used by Denys as a supervisor in both fishing and farming activities. Soon after his arrival he built a house on the southern shore of the Nipisiguit river at its mouth.
Recruiting employees of his own, Énault engaged in fishing on a large scale and also developed a trade in furs with the Micmac Indians living in the area. He did not neglect his land, however; we know that he had some cattle, and Father Chrestien Le Clercq* tells us that he farmed “with success and [harvested] wheat beyond what [was] necessary for the support of his family.” To grind his wheat he built a grist mill operated by water power. Le Clercq, an early missionary in the region, speaks well of Énault, of his successful colonizing, and of the support Énault gave him in his missionary endeavours.
In 1689, Énault received a grant from the crown covering a league on either side of the mouth of the Nipisiguit river and measuring some two leagues in depth. With this he was given the freedom to trade with the Indians, to hunt, and to fish. Difficulties soon arose, however, for on 26 May 1690 Jean Gobin, a Quebec merchant, was given a large seigneurial grant on the Nipisiguit which included Énault’s grant. Gobin ceded the land to Richard Denys two days later. The latter evidently pressed for the removal of Énault from his land. On 29 Aug. 1691, after they had taken their case before the Conseil Souverain, Denys and Énault reached an agreement whereby the latter would retain his land and pay Denys 100 sols rent every two years. Two years later, in August 1693, Énault received a seigneurial grant on the Pocmouche river, north of the Miramichi. The two grants on the Nipisiguit and the Pocmouche were confirmed by the Conseil Souverain in 1703 and 1705 respectively.
After Énault’s death – he was still alive in 1708 – his several children, by a Micmac woman whom he had married about 1679, abandoned the lands and went to live with the Indians. With time, Énault’s property rights lapsed.
Le Clercq, New relation of Gaspesia (Ganong). Jug. et délib., III, 553–55; IV, 835–37; V, 143–44. Ord. comm. (P.-G. Roy), II, 196–97. “Richard Denys, sieur de Fronsac, and his settlements in northern New Brunswick,” Historical-geographical documents relating to New Brunswick, ed. W. F. Ganong, 4, N.B. Hist. Soc. Coll., [III], no.7 (1907), 7–54. P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions, IV, 40–46; Inv. ins. Cons. souv., 80, 105. Ganong, “Historic sites in New Brunswick,” 300–1, 304, 309.