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A History of the County of Yarmouth, N.S.
Chapter III. Aboriginal Inhabitants. Indian Relics. French Settlers and Settlements

IT is impossible to say when this County was first visited or peopled, if we may use that expression, by INDIANS.

As far back as any facts are recorded (witness the corruption of the Indian “Isagogin” into “Ingogen”), their presence is traceable. But, whether there were any considerable numbers of them is equally indeterminate. Nor can we tell whether of the two tribes by whom the Province generally was inhabited, viz.: the Milicetes and the Mic Macs, was the one that penetrated west; or, if there were members of both tribes.- Go where we will, however, throughout the County, there are traces of their former presence in the names of Lakes, Bivers, Coves, Harbours and Points. The following verses on the Indian names in the Province, are interesting in themselves; and also from the circumstance that they are from the facile pen of our citizen Mr. Richard Huntington:—

The memory of the Red Man,
How can it pass away,
While their names of music linger,
On each mount, and stream, and hay?
While Mvsotodoboit’s waters
Roll sparkling to the main;
While falls the laughing sunbeam
On Chegogin’s fields of grain.

While floats our country’s banner
O’er Chebucto’s glorious wave;
And the frowning cliffs of Scatarib
The trampling surges brave; .
While breezy Aspotogon
Lifts high its summit blue,
And sparkles on its winding way
The gentle Sissibou.

While Escasojti’s fountains
Pour down their crystal tide;
While inqanisn’s mountains
Lift high their forms of pride;
Or while on Mabou’s river
The boatman plies his oar,
Or the billows burst in thunder
On Chicaben’s rock-girt shore.

The memory of the Red Man,
It lingers like a spell
On many a storm-swept headland,
On many a leafy dell;
Where Tvsket’s thousand islets
Like emeralds stud the deep;
Where Blomidon a sentry grin
His endless watch doth keep.

It dwells round Catalone’s blue lake,
Mid leafy forests hid —
Round fair Discouse, and the rushing tides
Of the turbid Pisiquid.
And it lends, Chebogue, a touching grace,
To thy softly flowing river,
As we sadly think of the gentle race
That has passed away forever.

But those names that remain are nearly all that remain. Sixty years ago, in the memory of the late Abram Lent, they were sufficiently numerous to meet their friend and pastor, the late Abbe Sigogne at Saint Anne’s Chapel, Eel1 Brook, in a body of a hundred and fifty at a time. I have endeavoured to collect and preserve those names and their meanings, as far as possible. But the results are not very satisfactory. There are now resident, and that only occasionally about thirty Indians in the County; but if we except an occasional excursion to town to sell their baskets, we see but little of them, and that; little serves to convince us that before long, we shall see less.

The only substantial Indian relics that remain, are a considerable number of arrow and spear heads, and several tomahawks or hatchets, the materials of which are both flint and slate. There are also several pieces of flint about the size of the end of a man’s thumb, rounded on one side and hollow on the other. These it is thought were used for cutting wood. Most of those implements were found in 1863 at Kempt in a hillock or mound of ten feet long, five feet broad, and raised about four feet above the surrounding surface. The spot was visited at the time by a gentleman f who recorded his opinion that the spot marked the site of an ancient Indian burying place. He accounted for the absence of 'human bones from decay; the bodies having in all probability been buried near to the surface. The most noticeable feature about those remains is the excellence of their finish. But the spot where Indian relics have been found in the greatest number is in the vicinity of Mr. Charles E. Brown’s property at Milton. Similar remains have also been found at the Wedge. By the kindness of Dr.. Joseph Bond and Charles E. Brown, Esq., the remains found at Kempt, together with a collection of those found at Milton, have been deposited- in the County Museum founded in 1872 by L. E. Baker, Esq.

Generally speaking the Indians have a name for being peaceable and inoffensive; but like all whose minds are untrained, they are liable to sudden outbursts of passion. When thwarted in their wishes they have been known to commit outrage and destroy property. It is a well authenticated fact, that about the year 1772 John and Benjamin Barnard were visited in rather an unpleasant manner by a drunken Indian. They kept a store on Fish Point, on the west side of the harbour, and when they refused to supply him with drink, which article, contrary to the then common practice, they never sold,-he set fire to the store that night, and everything was destroyed. But the disposition of the Indians to the settlers may be traced in their subsequent conduct in this affair. The tribe determined to punish him, it is said by death; but the Barnards interceded for him, and his life was spared.

There are misty stories afloat about the annoyance the wives and children of the first settlers had to submit to from untimely and unwelcome visits from the children of the forest. But with the exception of the before mentioned act of violence, the worst effects of .their excursions appear to have been mothers frightened for their frightened children, and their scanty meal bags levied upon by self-invited guests. But on the other hand, if they did black mail the settlers’ pantries, they supplied their larders; for they frequently brought them game of all kinds, as well as fresh fish which were very abundant. And, it is no unauthenticated tradition, that during that terrible first winter, the Indians supplied the new comers with eels and the flesh of the moose, to the extent of saving their lives.

More than a hundred years ago, there was at Milton on the site of Mr. William Burrill’s house, a permanent Indian encampment, or rather settlement. Their wigwams were covered with skins. At that time the spot must have suited them admirably; being at once in the woods and in the immediate vicinity of water, fresh and salt. To this Indian rendezvous, were the settlers’ children in the habit of going, nor is there any tradition even, of their being violent. I have here appended a careful list of the principal


We leave the condition of the Indian or aboriginal inhabitants, for those who came next after them,

THE FRENCH ACADIANS, of whom there were several settlements before and at the time of the extradition. We have little but conjecture to guide us, as to when those settlements were made, but we may safely conclude that there were no Acadians established here before 1656, the date of the grant of this district by Cromwell to La Tour. But objection having been made to Landia and his company settling at Chebogue in 1739, shows that already a well understood ownership of the land there situate existed, apart from the implied existence of dyked marsh lands in that locality.

There is but little known of the Chegoggin settlement. The fact, however, is well authenticated, and may even yet be attested by the still visible cellars of the old French houses. The site was afterwards taken up as a farm, by the first John Killam about the year 1766; the chapel and burial ground being on the west side of the river, opposite the gold crusher. It was from this settlement that a girl having strayed to gather berries, found on her returu that all her family had been carried away. She fled to the Indians for safety; and, in after years, when her family returned, she could not persuade herself to leave the people with whom she had cast in her lot. A very few still living recollect having seen her, as an old woman coming to town with the Indians.

The Chebogue settlement suffered in the same way as Chegoggin. This was the most important settlement in the County, and was situate on both sides of the river, near to the end of Wyman’s road. Here, as in the case of other villages, traces of former abodes of peace may yet be seen.

On the eastern side of the river, on Durkee’s farm, were the Cemetery and Chapel. The visible traces are being greatly lessened; and I cannot forbear quoting the words of one who loved to dwell upon such scenes, and gather up reminiscences respecting them: “The little village covering the southern slope of the eminence on the west bank of the river, near the point where the running dyke now leaves the upland, must have been a delightful situation. Forty-five years ago (1803) when first I knew it, it was a sequestered spot, encompassed with a young spruce grove which had sprung up since its abandonment; but many of the cellars, the fallen walls of the potato gardens, and the neglected and unpruned apple trees, offered themselves to the observation of even a casual passer-by. It was a spot well calculated to arrest the attention of the contemplative traveller,—to awaken pensive recollections,—and carry the mind back to the simple and primitive scenes of which that area had been the theatre, and those ancient trees the witnesses.”

Passing by the Eel Brook and Tusket Acadians, of whom really nothing is known before the extradition, we notice the Lake Vaughan settlement, around the stern and sanguinary facts of which there is a romantic interest. It has heen thought that this Acadian village was later than those already mentioned, that in fact, it was a place of refuge to which the inhabitants of Tusket and Eel Lake fled, when they learnt the intentions of the government. It lies about fifteen miles in the interior,— a beautiful spot. The settlement, which was between Mr. John Reynard’s and the bridge was compact and populous, as the number and contiguity of the cellars till lately testified. The last few years, however, have served to almost entirely remove every trace of their whereabouts. Their pursuers tracked them; and the tradition is, that a boat despatched from an armed vessel at the mouth of the river, ascended the Tusket and its chain of lakes in search of the refugees. They were piloted by an Indian, who played them false. When within a mile or so of the village at a narrow part of lake Vaughan, where the river is contracted to the width of twenty or thirty yards, a strong ambuscade had been placed; and when sufficiently near, so complete was the attack, their assailants by the first volley, killed or wounded the whole party. This transient victory protected them for the time, but finally they were nearly all captured and exiled. Those who escaped took to the woods, and associated with the Indians. The vessel here referred to, was probably that which was placed at the service of Major Prebble, who was instructed to put into Cape Sable and some of the adjacent harbours, on his way to Boston.

The only remaining Acadian Settlement to be noticed is that at Pubnico, or Pobomcon as it was called by the French; a name which was given to a gentleman of Normandy, with the title' of Baron, by Charles de la Tour de St. Etienne, “Lord of Cape Sable and Lieut, of the King in Acadie.” This gentleman, the Baron of Pobomcon, as he was called, was Philip D’Entremont. La Tour made him his Major General; and subsequently successive alliances united the two families.

So far, on both sides, this respectable family are connected with the French Noblesse. Notwithstanding, this fact did not procure them any immunity; nor did it serve to secure their property, which was at that time considerable. Their lands extended from Cape Sable to Port Royal, all along the coast and for several miles back. They were carried to Walpole, in the neighbourhood of Boston, where they remained for about eleven years: from whence we shall notice their return at the right time and place.

The ancestral home of the D’Entremonts was Cherbourg; where several of them fled in 1755, and where, in all probability their descendants are still living.

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