Port Lomeron or Chebogue

Article No: 4

Port Lomeron or Chebogue

There was once on the right bank of Chebogue River, at a place that used to be called "Indian Point", then "Point Crocker", and on today's maps "Crocker Hill", a heap of rocks which, it was said, could have been the remains of a monument built in memory of some great Indian chief. During the course of the Second World War, the Canadian army used this site as a firing range, and thus this relic of the past disappeared. If Wyman Road, coming from Yarmouth, were to be extended in a straight line, it would end at about that place, which stood above the cliff, before the descent towards the river. These premises are now occupied by H.V. Anthony Greenhouses Limited.

I would be very surprised if this "heap of rocks" would have been a monument built in memory of an Indian chief; if so, it would be the only example that we would have of such a dedication by the Indians in this part of the country. Furthermore, it does not seem that it could have been a tomb of an Indian over which was erected a monument, because, as Marc Lescarbot, who was here in 1606-07, tells us, the Indians living in southwestern Nova Scotia buried their dead "on a secluded island" towards Cape Sable, adding that "those islands which they use as cemeteries are kept secret among them."

Very old authors talk about a "fort" at "Theboc", the Indian name for what is now Chebogue. They call it "Fort Lomeron", giving even to the place the name of "Port Lomeron". David Lomeron, who was from La Rochelle, France, came to Acadia every year from 1614 to 1623, except in 1622, the year he got married. He acted as agent for two of his rich uncles who dealt in the fish and pelt business. He traded first in Port Royal with Biencourt, one of the pioneers of Acadia. But in 1618, Biencourt moved to "Theboc", to be closer to the rich fishing grounds; also to the most frequented hunting regions. That is when "Theboc" became a trading post. And as a fort of some sort was always erected for protection wherever a trading post was established, the one at "Theboc" took the name of Lomeron, and it is then that the place itself was known for a time as "Port Lomeron".

In 1628, the Kirkes took possession of the fort in the name of the King of England. In 1632 after the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, it was restored to Frances in the hands of de Razilly.

Where was it located precisely? It is not said anywhere. Rude and indifferent as it might have been, its remains must have stayed visible for some time and even for a long time. My belief is that the famous "heap of rocks" on to pf that cliff, where H.V. Anthony Greenhouses Ltd. Is established, was what remained of Fort Lomeron up to half a century ago.

If we are sure that there were white men here in 1618, we can be quite certain also that there were some here even ten years before, and even earlier. It could be that Chebogue was the third foundation in Acadia; St. Croix Island, between New Brunswick and Maine, established in 1604, was the first, although it did not last. The next year Port Royal was founded. In 1606 or 1607, if there was not a permanent settlement at Chebogue at least it must have been frequented by the pioneers. Champlain in his 1607 map puts here a few buildings; he even tells us that on July 21 of the previous year, 1606, a search party landed at two leagues from Cape Forchu, surely at Chebogue.

Chebogue was very important to the Indians, far more than Yarmouth Harbour, which is "almost wholly dry at low tide", says Champlain. That is why when old authors or documents refer to Cape Forchu it applies about always to Chebogue, instead of Yarmouth Harbour. On account of its vast meadows and its proximity to the abundance of fish, sea-birds and wild life, it was a choice camping ground for the Indians. Even though Rev. Silas Rand, in his dictionary of the Micmac language says that the place-name was originally "utkobok", meaning "cold water" or "living water" which origin most authors have adopted, Father Sigogne, on his part, who was well versed in the Micmac language, thinks that it is derived rather form a word which means "large meadow", "grand pre" in French, which is much more appropriate to its natural features and much more in harmony with the word "theuben", the first spelling that we have of the word, dating back to 1631, and to the word "theboc" that the pioneers learned from the Indians themselves.

It could be that the great Micmac Chief Henry Membertou lived here. It is at this place called "Cape Forchu" that we find his oldest son Louis, when, in 1613, he received with open arms Father Masse and feasted him at a banquet in which the main course was a moose. He had become "sagamo" or chief of his tribe after his father died, September 11, 1611. Because Henry Membertou had been baptised he was buried in sacred ground at Port Royal where there is a sign near the Habitation which reads that here "the Aged and Friendly Micmac Chief Membertou was buried.' The reader will recall that we commemorated the 375th anniversary of his death two years and a half ago, especially at Annapolis Royal. Thus the "heap of rocks" on the bank of Chebogue River could not have been erected on the grave of the great Micmac Chief Henry Membertou.

Even though the French had given to the place the name of "Port Lomeron", the original Micmac name was too much anchored in the mind of the Indians to lose its identity. That is why it lasted up to this day but written in different documents as Tebok, Tgepoc, Thebauque, Theboc, Thebok, Thiebee, Tibogue and Tkebock. With the arrival here in 1761 of the first English settlers, the orthography Chebogue was given to the ancient Indian name and it has been like that ever since.

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