A Blupete Biography Page


Isaac Deschamps
(1722-1801).

Likely of Swiss extraction, Isaac Deschamps, it seems, came to Halifax the year it was founded, 1749. He either knew the merchant Joshua Maugher before coming to Nova Scotia or formed a relationship with him shortly thereafter. Thus, we see, in 1754, where Deschamps was in charge of the truckhouse owned by Maugher and located at Piziquid (Windsor). At Piziquid trades were made with the local Acadians and with the Indians; in exchange for fire-arms, ammunition, cloth, blankets, pots, knives, and alike; Maugher and Deschamps took in furs. Deschamps also became a valuable connection for Captain Murray at Fort Edward, in that Deschamps, being Swiss, could speak and write both English and French.1

Isaac Deschamps was well liked, right at the start. He was obviously very accommodating to those who were in power, as he was to receive throughout the years numerous preferments. In 1760, with the French power in America finally broken and the Indians coming under English control, Deschamps was to be the "truckmaster" for the trade at Fort Edward (Windsor) and justice of the peace for Kings County; the following year, a judge of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas and judge of probate for Kings. In 1759, Deschamps became the first member of the Nova Scotia Assembly to represent the new county of Annapolis. All along he kept up at his commercial activities including entering into contracts with the military for certain of its supplies.

Deschamps, in the ensuing years, received increasingly more important and far ranging duties in the administration of provincial affairs; such that, in 1783, he was named to Council (the chief executive body in the cabinet form of government). In addition, not at all strange in those days, he was appointed the acting (he lacked formal legal training) chief justice in 1785.2

After a long and busy life, Isaac Deschamps was to die at Windsor in 1801, at the age of 79.3

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FOOTNOTES:

[1] It was Deschamps who translated into French the citation to convene the Acadians, in preparation for their capture and deportation, drafted in 1755 by Murray. (See Gaudet.)

[2] See, "The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia and Its Judges - 1754-1978" (The N. S. Bar. Soc., 1978)

[3] I know little of the Deschamps family. From the DCB we learn that he had married, for a second time, Sarah Ellis, at Halifax, on 17th October, 1758.

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Peter Landry
(1999)