How To Use This Site

The goal of this site is to provide you with an experience of historical research. Like the other sites of the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project, this one is mainly made up of primary sources. The material is organized in thematic sections, along with chronological sections based on the events in Jerome’s life and the development of the legend surrounding him.

The sources to which you have access on this site are authentic documents from the time. They have been retranscribed and digitized but the content is identical to the original documents. Even the typographical errors and spelling mistakes have been kept! You will therefore discover these documents in the same way historians do, while avoiding the sometimes difficult problem of deciphering the handwriting of the time. It is therefore possible to do detective work by examining, comparing and analyzing the various documents in order to discover the real story behind Jerome’s silence. You will find out how he was cared for during the half-century he lived in Clare and how this man has remained etched in the collective memory of the Acadian population of Nova Scotia.


The Jerome: Mystery Man of Baie Sainte-Marie site is divided into seven main sections. The title of each section is found in the horizontal bar located beneath the site title. The sections are: Home, Contexts, Discovery, Aftermath, Theories, Interpretations and Archives. Each title is a clickable button, and by selecting one or another you can navigate freely from one section to another. The button for the section you are in will be darker than the others.

When you click one of the section titles its contents will appear on the left of your screen. In the centre will appear either an introductory text or the list of documents relevant to that section. For example, if you click the Home button you will see the following menu on the left: “Welcome,” “How To Use This Site,” “Teachers’ Guide,” “About This Site” and “Feedback.” Since you are currently reading “How To Use This Site,” this title appears in bold.

If you click another section on the main menu (in the horizontal bar), such as Discovery, the menu at the left will indicate “A Castaway at Sandy Cove,” etc. Clicking on “A Castaway at Sandy Cove” will replace the text in the centre of the screen with a list of sources to consult. In turn, clicking on the name of a source will cause it to appear, once again in the centre of the screen. At the beginning of the text you will notice the icon “About this Source.” Click on this icon for an explanation of the nature and origin of the document in question. This icon is provided for all sources.


This site gives you access to a wide range of primary sources, principally from newspapers and government records of the time. To make your task easier, we have undertaken some research for you, the results of which (glossary, biographies, etc.) appear in the Contexts section.

This information can be useful, but you should devote most of your efforts to studying the original documents. You can access them in two ways. First, the Discovery and Aftermath sections group together documents according to the different periods of Jerome’s life, as defined primarily on the basis of the families who took him in. By reading for yourself the newspaper articles and administrative documents, and examing the accounts of those who knew him, you can make hypotheses about Jerome’s life among these generous strangers who gave him a home. Secondly, you can access the complete range of sources chosen for this site via the Archives section, which is organized according to the types of documents present. These include newspaper articles, petitions by municipal authorities, personal letters, photographs from the time, and so on.

Since his death in 1912, the legend surrounding Jerome has remained firmly rooted in the collective memory of Acadians. One of the goals of this site is to get you to ponder the “mystery” of this permanence. In the Theories section, you can trace the various hypotheses that official authorities and journalists, and those who knew Jerome, have come up with to explain his origins. Here we invite you to explore the creative works (songs, a film, a stage play, etc.) that the story of Jerome has continued to inspire right up to the present.

Finally, at the end of your journey you will have the opportunity to read articles in the Interpretations section that were specially prepared for this project by four specialists in the history of Jerome and his influence on the Acadian community in Nova Scotia. We invite you to compare your solution of the mystery of Jerome with those of the specialists. However, before you can access their solutions, you must ask your teacher (or the team at Great Canadian Mysteries) for the password. After all, to preserve a sense of mystery, we can’t reveal everything!