Pierre de Guast sailed to Acadia in 1604 where he explored much of the Baie Francoise (Bay of Fundy) along with Samuel de Champlain. One of the documented stops during this time was Cape d’Or (Golden Cape) in Cumberland County, where they explored an area that was to have had copper mines. Also referenced in Champlain’s diaries were areas such as Isle Haute, Cape Chignecto, Partridge Island and Advocate Harbour. This began the Acadian heritage in Cumberland County which would culminate with the beginning of the expulsion on July 28, 1755.

Jacques Bourgeois, a former surgeon and farmer, is credited as being first to settle in Beaubassin soon after 1671. His mission was to establish better fur trading activity with the natives, and to set up farming in the Chignectou area, at the bottom of the Bay of Fundy At this time he was fifty years old, and well established with ten children. With the help of his sons, Charles and Germain, along with Pierre Arsenault, they recruited Acadian colonists from Port-Royal. A few years later, Michel LeNeuf de la Vallière, was granted about one thousand square miles of land in this area. He arrived at Beaubassin by the Baie Verte, the Chignectou isthmus, and renamed Chignectou, Beaubassin. During la Vallière's regime, from 1678 to 1684, Beaubassin was the capital of Acadia, and the only village which had contact with the government. By 1685, there were 22 houses in Beaubassin, and finally, in 1686, the area was constituted into a parish. It is in this year that a priest, Father Claude Trouvé, of Quebec, built Beaubassin's first church.

Beaubassin was perhaps the Acadian area most wreaked by havoc for many years before deportation. Because the borders of this region were never definitively determined, the Acadians held that Beaubassin belonged to them and the English held it was theirs. In 1696 and again in 1704, Beaubassin was attacked and burned by New England mercenaries under the command of Benjamin Church. Each time the Acadians returned within three days and proceeded to rebuild Beaubassin. After 1704 things were reasonably peaceful until 1750. Territorial disputes between France and England concerning the limits of Acadia again became an important issue. The dispute escalated with the arrival at Beaubassin of British expeditionary forces under Major Charles Lawrence in April 1750. They landed near the village, which was being burned on orders of the French priest Abbe LeLoutre.

At the time of the deportation, in 1755, the Acadians of Beaubassin were the first to be taken as prisoners, on August 10th, 1755. A large portion of the inhabitants of this region hid in the forests on the advice of their priest, Father LeGuerne, who was warned in advance of the English attack. Two thirds of the population of Beaubassin therefore escaped the deportation. On October 27th, 1755, 1900 Acadians from Beaubassin were put in ten vessels and sailed down the Bay of Fundy.


Villages that remain in Cumberland County today, that were a part of the Beaubassin region include Fort Lawrence (Beaubassin), LaButte, LaPlanches, and Veskok, which today make up parts of Amherst,
also Minudie, Maccan, Nappan, River Hebert and Wallace.

 

 

 

© Rick Arsenault - My Acadian History
2004 - Present