Lobster Bay: Its Place Names of Yesteryear
The territory which is covered here lies between Tusket River on the west, the Argyles on the east, the Tusket-Belleville region on the north and Lobster Bay on the south. These names were given mostly by the French people who once lived in this section of Yarmouth County, some of them having always figured on official maps, others having been adopted lately and others known only through tradition. The origin of most of them is unknown. The list that follows does not necessarily cover all the place-names given in this section by local people.
A - L'ILE A BILL (Bill's Island), a name given to "Green Point," on the right-hand side of the Tusket River, facing the low stretch of road that links Tusket to Hubbard's Point. Note that what the map gives here and, many times, elsewhere as a "Point" was often known in the past as an "island", because at high tide it was surrounded by water, and may still be.
B - DETROITE, the place where the Tusket River is at its narrowest point, the map giving here "The Narrows." "Etroit" in French means "narrow." The local French people always pronounce this word in the feminine, "etroite."
C- CHEMIN DES TAPANS (Tapans Road), which is the cross-road that links Hubbard's Point to Hihgway 3. The name dates back to the time that François Lalande, alias Melanson, dit Sisco, was living on this road. "Tapan" (whose spelling might be rather "Tapant") must have been the nickname of a man or of a family. The hill at Hubbard's Point, from where it starts, was LA BUTTE DES TAPANS (Tapans Road).
D - L'ILE A VINEAUX (Flakes Island), now known as "Flick Island," which might be a corruption of the word "flake." Half a mile south of this island is "Butter Island;" according to Judge Vincent Pothier, in one of his sketches, one of these two islands seems to have been known as "Lent Island" or "Little La Tour Island," called "Little" to distinguish it from L'ILE LA TOUT [sic for "LA TOUR"], now "Robert's Island." See further, the letter U. Here, abreast with "Flick Island," close to the shore of Hubbard's Point, there is "Cow Island," known also as LA POINT A CAILLOCHE (Cailloche Point). There would have been an Indian living here by the name of "Cailloche." The same name was given by local people to a woman known in the church registers simply by the name of "Marie-Anne," once "Marie-Anne Feu" ("feu" in French meaning "fire"). As a newly born baby, she was found one morinig in a basket at the door of Joseph LeBlanc, dit Guelou, of Abram's River, who brought her up. She married in 1841 Charles Hubbard, of Hubbard's Point, when in the church registers her mother is called "Élene."
E - CHEMIN A JEPH, pronounced "Jeff," for Joseph Hubbard (1801-1891), who lived on this road, now "Hubbard's Point Road." --See W.
F - CURBBESSHO CREEK, which is consipicuous [sic] looking towards Abram's River from the bridge or "aboiteau" (see GG) at the foot of St. Ann's church, on Highway 3. The Indian name may refer to a beaver dam. It must have been an important landmark, as the name is often mentioned in old deeds.
G - PACCADICHE (Pronounced Paccadish), at the low ground south and south-east of the church at Sainte-Anne-du-Ruisseau. This name was given by the Indians to a prairie which existed all along here many years ago. At high tide, it became all covered with water, making of Rocco Point and island. Rev. Silas Rand, in his "A Micmac Dictionary" (1902), gives to the word "pakadoo" the meaning of "I bite it off," so that "packadish" would mean that our Rocco Point, was bitten off here from the mainland by the rising water. Not too many years ago, people still called "Paccadiche" the low section south-east, of the church where the "Le Club Acadien" hall now stands, on Highway 3.
H - L'ILE AUX RENARDS (Fox Island), which is now rather an extension of the mainland.
I,1 - LE BARACHOIS (The Sand Bar). The word is used by the Acadians mainly to designate a small stretch of water separated from the sea by a sand-bar having a narrow gorge. This name is still made use of by local people.
I,2 - CHEMIN DU MECAUQUE (Swampy Ground Road), linking Hubbard's Point to Abram's River, for which the Dept. of Transportation could not find any better way to indicate it but by this road-sign: McCOOK ROAD! --which is a constant laughing stock of the whole district.
J - CHEMIN DES GASSON (Gassons' Road). "Gasson" was a nickname given to Jean-Baptiste Muise, son of Joseph, born in 1799, married to Marie-Anne Boutier (now Boucher), who had a large family. (Erroneously, the road-sign here reads GARCON). In later years, the road was known as CHEMIN DES CHANGES CABANES, "changing Cabanes," which was a name given to Alexandre Muis, grandson of the so-called Gasson, because, while on fishing trips, he wanted every night change bunk or "cot" with another fisherman [sic]. Another name yet, CHEMIN A BIN DEBOUT, "bin deboute," sic, for "bien debout" (well standing), nickname given to William Muise, son of Julien, who lived on this road.
K - WEST POINT, according to a map of 1798, based on a grant of 1774, although this location is rather the east point.
L - LA POINTE A ROCCO (Rocco Point). This is a corruption of the English word "Rocky Point" which was given at first to this peninsula.
M - LITTLE SLUICE, taken from the 1798 map. This name disappeared for time from the map; it resurfaced not long ago.
N -WIEZIGOMSHEESH COVE, according to the 1798 map. This district, just like the "Widgegum Islands" (see R and S), was very much frequented by the Indians.
O - GREAT SLUICE, according to the same map. The map now gives "Big Sluice," to distinguish it from "Little Sluice" (see M).
P - INDIAN CAMP COVE, being a part of the Indian territory mentioned above. A great amount of oyster shells have been discovered here and at the southern tip of Rocco Point (see L). The 1798 map calls this place "Point McKenon's Island." See further at "U" what is said of this section of Robert's Island.
Q - EEL RIVER, according to the 1798 map.
R - GREAT ISLAND, according to the same map.
S - LITTLE ISLAND, according to the same map. Both places taken together are indicated here as "Widgegum Islands," a name very well known to the Acadians, although it appeared on official maps but lately. The work is written also "Wirgigone" and "Vigigomme."
T - LA GRAND PASSE (The Great Passage), which name given by the early Acadians, which has always appeared thus, in its French form, in official maps.
U - ILE LA TOUR (La Tour Island), now Robert's Island". Charles de La Tour had a trading post here, rather north of the island probably. This section of the island at the time of the Acadians was always known as "Ouikmakagan," where they had a settlement before the Expulsion, of which the remains were still perceptible not too many years ago. Still some fifty years ago, there were French people who would always refer to Robert's Island as "Ile La Tour." The island has also been called by the Acadians NON PRISON (No Prison), because, at the time of the Expulsion, they hid here, avoiding, for a time at least, to be captured and become prisoners.
V - This part of "Eel Lake" used to be known, and is still by some people, as LE BAS DU LAC (The Lower Lake), as the lake itself was known as LE LAC. Likewise, LE HAUT DU LAC (The Upper Lake) was the name given exclusively to "Belleville."
W - POINT A JEPH (pronounced Jeff) on the east side of Indian Bay. It is considered a "point," because what we have at the letter X that follows was considered an "island." George Brown ("Yarmouth, N.S.", p. 430) erroneously gives here "Jeffrey's Point," while "Jeph" stands for Joseph Hubbard, mentioned at E. Here, Jean Muise, son of François on his return from exile, established himself. From here, he moved to "Machoudiak," now Quinan, being one of its founders, settling in the section known as "Pipe City."
X - L'ILE A GILLIS (Gillis Island). In the church registers, the name is spelled "Gilly." This was François Gilly, a Frenchman, who settled in this vicinity in the 1780's. He moved to St. Mary's Bay at the time of Father Sigogne, and settled in Grossses Coques, on the property of Julien Blin. (See sketches No. 37 and No. 38). This "island" is now united to the previous POINTE A JEPH, being separated from it only at very high tides.
Y - THREE POINT COVE, according to the 1798 map.
Z - SHAD COVE, according to the same map.
- SQUAW CAP COVE, according to the same map. This name would still be in use.
BB - LA PASSE AUX CHATS (Cat's Passage), a name which is still in use.
CC - CHEMIN DES BOULEAUX (Birch Tree Road). This road is not much in use any more; the main road is the one west of it.
DD - LA CREMALLERE. This French word means "pot-hanger" or "chimney-hook." This name, which is still mentioned now and then by local people, may come from the fact that this tongue of land or peninsula seems to have its eastern shore notched as were the chimney-hooks to hold the utensils at different heights from the fire.
EE - LES BIQUETTE (Les Biguettes). This name, given to the farthest point north of Morris Island, comes from the fact that lived here Cyrille Moulaison, son of Joseph, whose nickname was "Biguette."
FF - ILE A SQUIRE (Squire's Island). This island belonged for some time to Benoni d'Entremont, of West Pubnico, who was known as "Squire" after he was named Justice of the Peace.
GG - L'ABOITEAU, which is and old French word, used practically only by the Acadians, to designate a "lift lock." This one could have been built by the Acadians as soon as they returned from exile over 200 years ago. It prevented the water from flowing in the marsh field where salt hay was being cut; but it could be lifted at will. It served also as a bridge. The dam here, indicated on previous maps, was demolished by the ice around 1960. See F above for the "aboiteau" on the Abram's River.
HH - LA CORVETTE. The "corvette" is a warship, known especially as an armed escort ship. It is not known why the name was given to this point of land in Morris Island. This point was also called LES TATO (The Tatos), which stands for "Tatore' ", a nickname given to Simon Doctrove' Muise, son of Louis, born in 1818; LES TATO, meaning the members of his family. Helen Creighton, "Bluenose Magic" (The Ryerson Press, Toronto - 1968), p. 47, says that these people believed in witchcraft.
II - L'ILE DE LA VEUVE (The Widow's Island), a name given to "Fox Island," for an unknown reason.
JJ - POINTE DES BEN (Bens Pointe), a name which has always been given to "Muise Point" by the French people, because it was occupied by Benjamin Muise, son of François and brother to Jean (see W), on his return to exile and by his children.
KK - SHEEP POINT, as it was known for a long time.
LL - TETE A MILLIE (Millie's Head). She was born in 1851, baptised Marie Émilie, daughter of Archange Muise, called "Hacre", married in 1874 to Joseph Moulaison who died in 1882, at 29. She died in Yarmouth in 1915.
MM - LA ROCHE DU DIABLE (The Devil's Rock), a name still often made use of, but of unknown origin.
NN - HALL OVER. There was a bridge here or small causeway. Dories had to be "hauled over" from East River the The Basin or vice versa. The land north of this was called THE NEW PLACE.
OO - LA TETE A MOUDE (Moude's Head), which is given on the map as "Muise Head". South-west of it, the map gives "Muise Head Island"; the Acadians, when they mention LA TETE A MOUDE, sometimes refer to the island. It was linked by a bridge to another small island west of it. "Hog Island," east of it, is a translation of the French ILE A COCHON.
PP - THE TITTLE is a name that dates way back in time and which is still very well known. It stands for the far point of Surette's Island. The map gives erroneously the name as "Tittle" and "Outer Sheep." Note that "Outer Sheep Island" is still known locally as L'ILE AUX BREBIS (Sheep Island). --Surette's Island was known formerly as "Far Point Island." We find also in deeds "Pierrepont Island," Pierrepont being an English family name.
QQ - LES GROUS (The Big). "Gros" (big) is pronounced locally "grou," given here in plural. It is the name given by local people to this section.
RR - ILE A SAUGE - or- ILE A BRCK (Wilson's Island). --See sketch No. 18.
SS - ILE A DABOU (Dabou Island). "Dabou" was the nickname given to Marc Muise (1814-1896), son of Firmin. He had a large family, whose members were very well known, that which gave the island a certain prestige. Its official name is "Eatall", out of which the Acadians made "étoile" (star), a name that our map has adopted.
TT - ILE A FRISSEE (Frissee Island), the only name practically by which the French people know "Bar Island." "Frise" means "curled." The name might stand for a place where curling (of some sort) used to take place.
UU - ILE AUX AGNEAUX (Lamb Island), a name that the map copied from the French.
VV - WIGUECHICHE or WIGICOUCHICHE, stood for "Jones Island". Being the easiest to reach by sea of all the islands of Lobster Bay, it is not surprising if the name occurs in old deeds and if it was well known as "The Punk." We find also "Wilson's Point." More recently the map gives "West Money Island," to distinguish it from "East Money Island" that follows.
XX - ILE A SAM (Sam Island), now "East Money Island."
YY - ILE AUX GROSEILLES, "Gooseberry Island," as translated form the French.
ZZ - BAIE DES CHICANES (Chicaneries Bay), now "Goose Bay."
A - BARBE-ACADIE, our "Western Bar Island."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Rev. d'Entremont, who has been writing heritage columns primarily about Acadian heritage, will write the final column in this series on Nov. 27 . After 100 columns, he's taking a well deserved break.