Description of Historic Place
The Lower Petitcodiac River, located between New Brunswick’s Albert and Westmorland counties, empties into Shepody (Chipoudie) Bay and runs along former Acadian villages that now make up part of the Village of Memramcook.
The Lower Petitcodiac River was designated a Local Historic Place for its historical significance during the settlement of the greater Memramcook area before and after the Deportation. Navigable at high tide, it later allowed for the development of industries that contributed greatly to the prosperity of the Acadian villages located on the eastern bank.
The first Acadians to settle in Memramcook came up the Bay of Fundy and Shepody Bay and landed on the banks of the Lower Petitcodiac River, near the former village of Beaumont on the eastern bank and Blanchard’s Village (today Hillsborough) on the western bank. Since it fills with water twice a day, this waterway allowed Acadian settlers to travel and get fresh supplies with their ships and launches.
History teaches us that during the unfortunate events of the Deportation, the Acadians of the Lower Petitcodiac River saw the British soldiers coming up the river to burn their villages and destroy their harvests and livestock.
During the latter part of the 18th century, Acadians came back to settle along the marshes on the eastern bank of the Lower Petitcodiac River, in villages later known as Beaumont, Boudreau Village, Belliveau Village, Pré-d’en-Haut and Gautreau Village.
The Lower Petitcodiac River is also important in the field of industry. During the 18th century, several industries developed along the lower section of the Petitcodiac River, providing Acadians in that area with a certain level of prosperity. Wharfs were built at Boudreau Village, Gautreau Village and Belliveau Village; the latter is still functional to this day. These wharfs facilitated such industries and careers as the transport of stone from the local quarries, shad fishing (known locally as "agate"), coastal tradeing, scow captains, etc.
Toward the end of the 19th century and the turn of the 20th century, goods were transported to Moncton by sailing ship on the Petitcodiac River, so the lower part of this river witnessed a great deal of maritime traffic.
Source: Village of Memramcook - Municipal Building - Historic Places files, "Cours inférieur de la rivière Petitcodiac"
The character-defining elements that describe the Lower Petitcodiac River include:
- the tidal bore that develops at the mouth of the Petitcodiac River and initiates the reverse flow of the river twice a day;
- the Belliveau Village wharf and the remains of other old wharfs on the banks of the Petitcodiac;
- the functional aboiteaux (wooden sluice gate irrigation systems), opening into the river;
- the remains of the former Beaumont Quarry located next to the river;
- the marshes along the river, protected by dykes that are still maintained;
- limited shad fishing by certain individuals.