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A History of the County of Yarmouth, N.S.
Chapter II. Introductory Historical Facts. Earliest References

It would be foreign from the direct object of this work to give any detailed account of the general history of Nova Scotia. It may be with safety assumed that any one who would be sufficiently interested in this paper to read it carefully, will not haye neglected the larger subject of the whole. Still, a rapid

REVIEW OF SOME PERTINENT GENERAL FACTS may not be entirely out of place, as leading to the main object which we have in view.

Passing by the undoubted, but half mythical excursions to this Continent, of the Northmen; the first well authenticated knowledge of the new world was made known by Sebastian Cabot in 1498. But, beyond the fact of his discovery of Newfoundland, little or nothing was done until Gilbert took more formal possession in 1583. The earliest attempt at the colonization of Nova Scotia was made by the Marquis de la Roche under Henry IV. of France in 1598. But a more definite attempt was made by De Monts in the year 1604, the narrative of whose voyage is most interesting, on many accounts. In 1621 Acadia (or “Cadia” or “Acadie” as with varying limitations that term was applied by the French) together with other extensive territories was granted by James the First to Sir William Alexander; and it was he who gave to Acadia the name Nova Scotia.

Alexander afterwards conveyed the whole Province to Claude de la Tour. In his time further French settlements were made: and to some of his descendants in this County, the D’Entremonts of Pubnico, we shall make some extended reference. Many and violent were the changes that the first settlers of this Province had to submit to, from ever varying masters, and contending owners of the soil. At one time England, and another France, ruled them; until by the Treaty of Utrecht, Nova Scotia was finally ceded to England. At this time the inhabitants were almost exclusively Indians and French; there was but a mere handful of English descent. The able-bodied warriors among the Indians were computed at about 3000. All the French did not exceed 18,000; and altogether, they were not many more than the inhabitants of this County now number.

REFERENCES TO THIS COUNTY BEFORE 1759, in which year the name of Yarmouth (in the first general grant) was given-to it, are few, but distinct, although simply incidental. Yarmouth does not figure very largely in the early history of the Province; neither are the names of such localities as can be identified, often mentioned by old writers. Still, our forked Cape clothed to its summit with primeval forest, must have formed a very prominent object; and must have been well known to such “Ancient Mariners” as coasted along our shores from the forts on the Saint John River, Cumberland Basin, Minas Basin, and Annapolis Basin on their voyages to Le Heve, Canseau, and La Belle France.

The first notice that we have, has a singular value, inasmuch as it gives us the origin of, and the reason for naming the Seal Islands and Cap Fourchu. De Monts was accompanied in his expedition by Samuel Le Sieur Champlain, who appears to have been the chronicler of the expedition, as well as to have had the command of one of the ships. They reached Le Heve in May 1604. After spending a month there, they coasted along the south-west, doubled Cape Sable and entered the Bay of “Fundi,” which was then called La Baie Francaise. After crossing a bay (probably “Lobster”) which runs in two or three leagues to the northward, they came to some islands, four or five leagues distant from Cape Sable. Here they found abundance of seals, and very appropriately named them the “Seal Islands” (Isles aux Loups Marins). Thence they went on to a Cape which Champlain named Poet Fotjkchu “in as much as," he says, “its figure is so;” that is “forked.” He also describes it being five or six leagues distant from the Seal Islands. Speaking of the harbour he says: “It is very good for vessels, as regards its entrance; but further up it is almost all dry at low tide, with the exception of the course of a small river, all surrounded by meadows, which renders the place very agreeable.” It is certainly a highly flattering account of our mud flats to describe them as meadows, and as rendering the place very agreeable. No doubt, to a casual visitor in the spring of the year and when as yet the long fresh green eel grass was undisturbed and serried by the keels of vessels and the hoe of the clam digger, it would present a much more pleasing object than it does now; although it requires some exercise of imagination to speak of the flats as “Meadows.” Had Champlain been at the time describing Chebogue harbour, or even Chegoggin River, which is within the range of the probable, as some have thought he must, this delightful picture might have been approximately true.

Nine years after this, in 1613, when De la Saussage was on his way from Penobscot to France, after his capture by the English, he called at Grand Manan, Long Island, Cap Fourchu and Port Montou. But it is not stated either by Champlain, or by Saussage, whether there were any inhabitants here. It is extremely unlikely that there were.

Jean de Laite in his work “The New World,” published in 1633, describing Oadia or Acadia, says: “It is of a triangular form, and stretches from east to west between the harbours of Campseau and Cap Fourcliu.” He then describes the Cape and the Seal Islands in very nearly the words of Champlain, from whom his account is plainly copied. He calls Lobster Bay, however, “La Baie Courante;” and the Tusket Islands “Isles aux Tangueux” or Gannet Islands.

In 1630 Sir William Alexander gave to La Tour and his son “all the Country, Coasts and islands from the cape and river of Ingogon near unto the Cloven Cape in New Scotland called the Coast and Country accadye, following the coast and islands of the said Country towards the east unto the ‘Port De lat tour.’ It is difficult not to believe that, Ingogon and the “Cloven Cape” (the first translation we meet with of Cap Fourchu) are not Chegoggin and Yarmouth Cape. No two other places of similar names lie as closely together; nor are any two other points to be found affording contiguous starting places from which, sailing east, to arrive at Port La Tour.

With regard to the expedition sent out from Boston in 1664, when Port Royal capitulated, it is recorded that among the places taken possession of were Penobscot, Saint John, Port Royal, La Have, Port Le Tour, Cape Sable and Cap Fourchu. With the exception of the last mentioned place, all the others were forts of some importance. The taking of the Cap may be in connection with a fort here of which no record remains; or, as is more likely, it may have been taken possession of, only as au important strategic point. Villabon writing in 1699 fully forty years later, does not include it in the list of forts.

On August 9th, 1656, Cromwell granted to La Tour and others “the Country and Territory called Acadia from Meligueschb (Meliguash near Lunenburg) as far as Lettebe (?); thence as far as Cape Sable; thence as far as Cape Forchue; thence as far as Port Royal, etc., etc.”

By a census taken in 1671, Poboncom is said to be near the “Tousquet (Tusket) Isles.”

In 1707 (Dec.) M. D. Goutins, in a letter to the French minister, speaks of a wreck near Cap Fourchu, which had been visited by three of the sons of Le Sieur de Pobomcoup. Those were sons of the first D’Entremont of Pubnico.

M. Beauharnois, Governor of Canada, in a letter to the French king dated October 10, 1731, says Acadie, according to its ancient limits should only be that part of the large peninsula, which is comprised and bounded by a straight line from Cape Camceau to Cap Fourchu.

In the month of December, 1735, the brigantine “Baltimore” put into Chebogue harbour (called in one place Jebogue and in another Tibogue) having only one woman on hoard when found. All other persons who had been on board were supposed either to have been lost, or murdered by the Indians. Eight dead bodies were found on the shores of the Tusket Islands; but nothing was ever satisfactorily brought to light. The impression prevailed that there were convicts on board, of whom the woman was one ; that they had risen against the crew, and had all perished in their endeavour to land. An extensive correspondence on the subject followed between Governor Armstrong and Mr. St. Ovide, (Governor of Louisburg), the Duke of Newcastle, the Lords of Trade, Governor Belcher of Mass., the D’Entremonts of Pubnico, and the Cape Sable Indians. The vessel was taken to Annapolis and remained there as late as 1742 for want of a. claimant.

In the autumn of 1739 Landre and eight others, French inhabitants of Annapolis, removed to Thebogue; built some kind of houses and lived there for the winter. Objection having been made to their occupancy, they petitioned for leave to remain; which petition was granted; but they were forbid to dyke or claim any lands.

The unsettled state of affairs in 1748 required all persons removing from one place to another,, to obtain passports. On April the 23rd of that year, we find it recorded that Governor Mascarene granted a passport for the shallop “Maria Joseph,” Chas. Boudrot master, in which were Ambrosia Melangon, Honore Bourg (Bourque), Marguer-ette Pommicoup (“Margaret of Pubnico,” — evidently a D’Entremont) and Marguerette La Maclague, passengers, to proceed from Annapolis to Tibogue, Pommicoup River, Baccareux Passage, and Cape Sable, but not beyond.

Those are I believe all the references which have been presented in known writings, to any and every place in the County of Yarmouth, before the French Acadian expulsion. They are few, but we may value them, none the less on that account. It will have been noticed that the D’Entremonts have been frequently referred to, as persons of some note; but still not sufficiently influential to have been spared at the general deportation of 1755.

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