James Blackhall was born in 1792 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. In 1813, James arrives in Canada, more precisely in Halifax, looking for a better future. As a member of the Thorn Salter Company’s workforce, he was sent to Newcastle, New Brunswick, then in 1819 to Miscou and to the Dalhousie area where he is now in business on his own. This commercial endeavor in Dalhousie is a failure and in 1822 he arrives in Caraquet.
In 1822, James builds a “saltbox” type house (two stories in front and one storey at the rear) in Caraquet, which according to popular tradition would be the first of this type in the region. In 1826, he married Mary Sennett, an Irish Catholic, and from this marriage seven children were born.
Being educated and of British origin, it was easy for James to obtain important positions of power in the village of Caraquet. From 1824 to 1857, James Blackhall was justice of the peace, school trustee, harbor master, customs officer, commissioner of roads, tax collector, fish and barrels inspector, member of the Health Commission, parish clerk and assessor.
Upon his death in 1857, his oldest son, James George Canning, inherits his father’s property as well as all his public offices. James married Eliza Doran and from this marriage were born eight children. We may mention that in 1861 he is appointed militia captain and in charge of recruiting a camp of militiamen in the area. In addition, he will be coroner, tax collector and signals agent.
Moreover, during the Caraquet riots in 1875, Blackhall was the interpreter during the preliminary hearings and a witness at the trial. He displayed a bias which clearly showed his position. In addition, in another matter, he was accused of fraud, being suspected of not having remitted the entire sum of the tax he had collected.
At his death in 1910, the house became the property of his wife Eliza. She died in turn in 1930 and the house was bought by the Lacroix family who had been leasing land from the Blackhall farm for a number of years. This is the house where Donat Lacroix, a renowned Acadian singer-songwriter, was born. The house passed on to Julien Thériault and was finally purchased by a company, Rocca Group, who intended to use it for commercial development.
Thus, in order to preserve this heritage building, the Village Historique Acadien purchasedit in 1975 for the symbolic sum of one dollar from Rocca Group Ltd.
- Construction integrated to the slope of the land
- Front and rear dormer windows lighting the stairway
- Two entrances on the main façade
- Two stone walls in the kitchen