L'Oignon-Intelligencer started out originally as two separate publications: The New Bern Intelligencer, founded by John Robinson, and L'Oignon, founded by Fergus Fraser. After the untimely departure of Mr. Robinson from the colonies, the Intelligencer premises, stock, and subscription lists were purchased by Mr. Fraser, joining the two publications.
Fergus has trouble providing for his family – with only one hand, he is unable to perform the chores expected of men, and refuses to do "women's work" — and struggles with a feeling of uselessness while his wife, Marsali, bears the burden of doing most of the physical labor of the household.
In October 1773, their fourth child is born a dwarf. They love him and name him Henri-Christian, but some of the residents of Fraser's Ridge believe that the child's condition is a punishment for his parents' sins. Fergus is ashamed of not being able to protect his family properly and provide for them and makes an attempt to take his own life, but Jamie stops him in time.
Jamie has the idea for Fergus and his family to move away and start a printing business, as Fergus had some experience printing with Jamie in Edinburgh and would be able to work in that role. In 1774, when news comes that a printing premises has been vacated in New Bern, Fergus and his family move. They soon start publishing a weekly newspaper titled L'Oignon.
In the spring of 1775, with the departure of Mr. Robinson — owner of The New Bern Intelligencer — a member of the local Committee of Safety and a member of the Royal Council approach Fergus in regards to purchasing the publication. Both men have an eye to what they want published and, both being satisfied with Fergus's response to the proposal, provide him the funds to purchase Mr. Robinson's former publication. Thus L'Oignon becomes L'Oignon-Intelligencer.
In September 1778, Fergus and Marsali receive threats in the form of letters. On September 18, their Philadelphian printshop burns down and their youngest son Henri-Christian dies while trying to escape the flames.
In late November, Fergus and his family arrive in Savannah intending to retrieve Jamie's printing press and resume their publication. A month later, the British army invades the city, and it isn't safe for Fergus to resume publication of L'Oignon-Intelligencer.
In early 1779, Fergus, Marsali and their daughters Joan and Félicité settle in Wilmington to resume publication of the newspaper. Their eldest, Germain, returns to Fraser's Ridge with his grandparents.