Place Names.

From the foregoing it may be seen that the physical evidences at Tatamagouche of the half-century of French occupation are so few and slight that unless one were aware of them, they would be passed unnoticed. And so many of those who through the long years at Tatamagouche have cultivated the very fields first cleared by the French, or the school children who have played over their nameless graves, did so in ignorance of the story of the Acadians at Tatamagouche . But in the place names, that have survived, there comes to us a constant reminder of those times and when a people of another race and of another language lived and toiled in a land which is now ours.

The word Tatamagouche while not of French origin, was preserved by them in the form in which they caught it from the Micmacs and in spite of attempts of DesBarres and of others to replace it with the name, Southampton, has survived in nearly its original form as used by the Micmacs to designate the geographical feature of the meeting of two waters. It is to the French, then, that we are indebted for its preservation. Later in the Nineteenth Century when there seems to have been craze to modernize place names, Cobequid became Truro; CajjeBogwek, River John and Remsheg, Wallace and so forth. From their fate Tatamagouche happily escaped. The word in Indian was "Takumegooch", which was changed to "Tatumegooch", by the French , who in their custom caught and recorded the Indian "k" as "t". The "och" in Indian was a locative ending meaning the "place where" and the word as a whole meant "the place where the waters run across each other".* There is little doubt that it refers to the meeting of the French and the Waugh’s Rivers at Campbell’s where the current of the French River at falling tide flows across the waters of Waugh’s River. The small doubt as to its original application arises from the fact that after the junction of these waters, they enter Tatamagouche Bay itself, not at its head, but at some distance therefrom and at right angles to its general course. This is an unusual geographical feature which the Indians would be sure to notice and designate by a place name. Old traditions at Tatamagouche have always had it applicable to the meeting of the Rivers and not of the Rivers and the Bay, and this it seems, is as it should be.

*For this explanation of the origin and the meaning of the word Tatamagouche, I am indebted to the late Professor W. F. Ganong, Ph.D. of Smith College.