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The European history of the site begins with the granting of a seigneury to Richard Denys in 1672. Richard, the son of the famous Nicholas Denys, established a permanent settlement on the island now called Beaubears.
The name French Fort Cove originated during the era of the expulsion of the Acadians from the region by the British in 1755. Charles Dechamps de Boishebert, a Quebec born adventurer and soldier, was sent to Acadia by the Governor of Quebec to assist the Acadians. He gathered hundreds of refugees at Beaubears Island (a corruption of the name Ile de Boishebert). To protect them, a battery was established at Kethro's Lookout overlooking the Miramichi River thus giving the park its name. The battery turned back a naval assault by the British in 1758. This was the same British expedition which burned an Acadian church at the mouth of the Miramichi thus giving the community of Burnt Church its name. However, Quebec was attacked by Wolfe the following year and Boishebert was recalled to help defend the city. Without his leadership, the Miramichi Acadian community fell on hard times and the area was taken by the British in 1760.
In 1765, William Davidson, a Scotch entrepreneur, received a large grant from the British Crown to establish a fishery and promote British settlement in the area. The American Revolutionary War and the poor, thin soils of the area retarded settlement, but Davidson did manage to establish a salmon fishery and shipbuilding industry. His grave can be found at the Enclosure.
The 19th. century was a golden age for the Miramichi as shipbuilding, lumbering and fishing became major industries. French Fort Cove shared in this industrial growth as a lumber mill, a gristmill and Abram's Shipyard were built on the site. The large chimney at the entrance to the park is all that remains of the Buckley Lumber Mill which burned in 1922. Charles Fish opened a quarry in the Cove in 1884. Remnants of the quarrying can still be found in the park.