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LANDRY, ISRAËL-J.-D. (baptized Jean-Misaël Maynard), teacher, musician, music dealer, and newspaperman; b. 1 Dec. 1843 in Dorchester (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu), Lower Canada, eldest son of Jean-Misaël Maynard, a farmer, and Constance Bélanger; m. 16 Nov. 1869 Ellen (Ella) McGourty in Saint John, N.B., and they had one son, who died in infancy, and one daughter; d. there 22 April 1910.
Why Israël-J.-D. Landry changed his baptismal name remains a mystery. Nor is anything known about his education, though it is possible that he studied at the Petit Séminaire de Montréal, where an Israël Ménard was enrolled in 1857–58. He was referred to as “Mr. Landry from Montreal” when he went to Prince Edward Island in the early 1860s to work with Father George-Antoine Bellecourt* in Rustico.
Landry spent two years in Rustico. Bellecourt, with whom he boarded, described him as “an unassuming young man, practising his religion faithfully, and devoutly Christian.” Interested in the Acadians’ attempt to maintain their own language, Landry devoted much time to this effort. Bellecourt placed him in charge of a secondary school for training Acadian schoolmasters. In addition to the regular program he taught music and singing, and he also acted as organist and choirmaster. His musical activities were well received on the Island, particularly his work with a band of young players which performed at special events in Charlottetown. Subsequently, he lived for a short time in Chatham, N.B., where he taught music and served as organist at St Michael’s Pro-Cathedral. In March 1867 he also prepared and printed the prospectus for a French-language newspaper.
Landry then moved to Shediac, which, unlike Chatham, was the heart of a francophone area, well served by communications, and close to the College of St Joseph in Memramcook, the centre of Acadian intellectual life. There, on 8 July 1867, under the style “Israel J. D. Landry, editor-owner,” he produced the initial issue of Le Moniteur acadien, the first French-language newspaper in the Maritimes. It set itself the goals of uplifting the Acadians, often accused of apathy in matters of education, by instructing them in current events and their past history, and of defending them against disparagement and injustice. Above all, it sought to unite them “from Madawaska to Cape Breton” and to encourage them to preserve their language, their religion, and their “pious and civil” customs.
Landry also became involved in politics and offered as a Conservative candidate for Westmorland in the federal election of September 1867. He was defeated by Albert James Smith*, 2,216 to 454, a result he attributed to “the most blatant injustice and the most execrable corruption.” He had suspended publication of his newspaper for financial reasons, and early the following year he sold it to his printer, F.-X.-N.-Norbert Lussier. Although he had published it for only a few months, he had established an instrument that, particularly in the hands of Ferdinand Robidoux and his family, was to be an important force in the Acadian renaissance of the late 19th century.
Having taken up residence in Saint John, Landry served as organist and choirmaster at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception until his death. He opened a large music store on King Street, in which he handled both instruments and printed music. He also published music, including some of his own compositions, and distributed the monthly publication known as Landry’s Musical Journal. His Mass No.2, for four voices with organ accompaniment, was dedicated to Bishop John Sweeny of Saint John. He took an active interest in the political life of the city and for a time he served as French consul there.
Israël-J.-D. Landry’s firm, Landry and Company, published numerous musical scores, including that of his own Mass No.2 in B for four voices with organ accompaniment (Saint John, N.B., n.d.). A list of these publications appears in Landry and Company, Landry’s select catalogue of the best and most popular songs and pieces published . . . (Saint John, n.d.), a copy of which is preserved in the N.B. Museum.
ANQ-M, CE4-10, 2 déc. 1843. Arch. of the Diocese of Saint John, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Saint John), reg. of marriages, 16 Nov. 1869. Centre d’Études Acadiennes, Univ. de Moncton, N.-B., Fonds [F.-] E. Rameau de Saint-Père, 2.1-8. PANB, RS315, A1, 19, no.297. St Mary’s Cemetery (Saint John), Burial records and tombstone inscriptions. Le Moniteur acadien, 1867–68; 28 April 1910: 2. Saint John Globe, 23 April 1910: 4; 25 April 1910: 7. Georges Arsenault, The Island Acadians, 1720–1980, trans. Sally Ross (Charlottetown, 1989). J.-H. Blanchard, Les Acadiens de l’île Saint-Jean: conférence donnée lors du congrès pédagogique des instituteurs acadiens tenu à Miscouche en 1920 (s.l., 1921). Clément Cormier, “Le centenaire du Moniteur acadien,” Soc. Hist. Acadienne, Cahiers (Moncton), 2 (1966–68): 226–32. DAF (Dufresne et al.). “The founding of Le Moniteur acadien,” ed. Naomi Griffiths, Acadiensis (Fredericton), 2 (1972–73), no.2: 80–90. Maurault, Le collège de Montréal (Dansereau; 1967), 271. J. M. Reardon, George Anthony Belcourt, pioneer Catholic missionary of the northwest, 1803–1874; his life and times (St Paul, Minn., 1955). M. S. Spigelman, “The Acadian renaissance and the development of Acadien-Canadien relations, 1864–1912, ‘des frères trop longtemps séparés’”