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.