The first non-native people to visit this area were Champlain and Demonts who sailed up the Bay of Fundy into Shepody Bay in 1604. According to legend, Jacques Cartier, while sailing up the coast of the Bay of Fundy exclaimed "Chapeau Dieu", or cap of God, when he saw the peak of Shepody Mountain break through the fog around its base. Below this mountain, the Acadian settlement of Chipody would be founded.
The first settlers in Albert County arrived in 1698 from the Annapolis area of Nova Scotia. They were French settlers organized by Pierre Thibodeau, a 67 year old man who wanted to start a new settlement. He chose the area at the base of Shepody Mountain, because of its large fertile marshes, waterways full of fish, and forests full of game. Guillaume Blanchard followed Thibodeau the following year and started a settlement farther north along the Petitcodiac River at what is now Hillsborough. In fact all future Acadian settlements in the area, including those in Moncton and Memramcook, were started because of the first settlement established by Pierre Thibodeau at Shepody.
The settlers had a hard life in the first few years, clearing land, growing crops, building homes and barns, and finding food. They preserved their food for the winter by digging earth cellars to keep the food cool, as well as by drying and salting meat using salt from evaporated sea water. They also used mill stones to grind the wheat that they grew into flour and used the flour to make bread. In order to keep tide water off of the marsh land, the settlers built dykes to hold the water back. Once the tide water could not flood the marsh it was safe to use the land for farming.
The community also built a Catholic Church, the first in Albert County, in Hopewell Hill. There was also reported to be another log cabin Church in 1747 at Harvey Bank across the marsh from the Hopewell Hill Church.
In the following years, the settlements grew as the young families had more children and as more families moved to the area. A 1734 census records shows 65 families in the area and just 16 years later, in 1750, the number of families had risen to 160. The communities would not grow much larger, however, as these Acadians would be expelled from the area in 1755.
The lands on which the Acadians lived had been handed back and forth by the French and English many times. In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht gave control of Acadia to the Queen of England. Tensions between France and England were still high, France had built a fort, named Louisbourg, on the one piece of Acadia it still controlled, Cape Breton. England answered by building Fort Halifax. The Governor at Boston worried that the Acadians would rebel so he ordered them to swear an oath of allegiance. The Acadians refused because they, as Roman Catholics, could not swear an oath to the King of England, who was also the head of the Church of England. Finally, the Acadians relented and swore an oath of allegiance, under the condition that they not be asked to take up arms against other French citizens or their Indian allies. The government in Boston was also worried that the Acadians controlled the best farm land in North America and would not help defend Halifax and the thirteen American colonies, should the French attack through Acadia. Unfortunately, a priest named Jean-Louis LeLoutre and members of the French army in Quebec began to encourage the Acadians and their native allies to rebel.
Following a raid led by de Villiers in 1747, Governor Cornwallis decided to drive the French from this area because they might rebel. In 1754, Governor Lawrence wrote to Governor Shirley that he believed the French would rebel and that they should be removed. On May 23rd a force left Boston under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Monckton to attack Fort Beausejour. Vergor assembled a force to defend the fort which the English attacked on June 13th. The French, rather than attack the English before they arrived at the fort, decided to wait in the fort and fight them there. The Acadians of the area had fled to the fort to escape the English soldiers. The French got no reinforcements from Fort Louisbourg so they surrendered on June 15th. Fort Bay Verte also quickly surrendered, and the fighting ceased.
There were about 100 Acadians in Hopewell Hill in August of 1755 when English soldiers, led by Major Frye, were sent to the area to remove the French.
Many of the young men hid in the hills, while the older people and Indians fought the English. Twenty men were lost on both sides and buried on the mountain or the lowlands. Fourteen English soldiers were buried on the marsh in Hopewell. Most of the buildings in the settlement were burnt by the English. Legend has it that the church bell was rung to alert the Acadians working on the marsh that the English were coming. Another story tells that the church bell was buried with all of the Acadians' valuable possessions inside of it.
Major Frye next led an attack on the Hillsborough area settlement. He faced so much resistance from Charles Des Champs de Boishebert and his group of men, supplemented by men who had fled the raid in Shepody, that the first attack was not successful. Twenty-one soldiers were killed, and the English were forced to retreat to their ship. A second attempt forced the Acadians to flee from their homes, the English then burned the homes and crops in the area. In March of 1758, Major Frye led another attack on the Acadians of Shepody who had rebuilt their homes and planted crops again after the first attack in 1755.
Settlers were needed to farm the land after the Expulsion, so the land was first offered to the English soldiers. During this time Joseph Brossard, whom the Acadians called Beausoleil, son of one of the settlers from Pierre Thibodeau's settlement, began to engage in privateering or pirating, of British vessels in the Bay of Fundy. He also began to rally the remaining Acadians, who were still in the area after the expulsion, to attack the British. The Acadians caused so much trouble that the soldiers did not want the land. Eventually, Brossard and his men were captured and either forced into exile or forced to swear an oath not to attack British interests in the area. Most of the Acadians left the area, but some did remain and were still here when the next wave of new settlers arrived. Next a Proclamation for New Englanders to settle here was issued by Governor Lawrence. This would lead to the arrival of the German settlers.