The Passamaquoddies Meeting the French June 1604

In late June of 1604, Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons sailed into the Passamaquoddy Bay as far as the Passamaquoddy village of Quonasquamcook, present day St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada. When the people of the Passamaquoddy Nation first noticed the billowing sails of Dugua’s ship, they were reminded of the stories of the giant bird with white wings that according to legend said, caused the great storms and gales by flapping its wings. However, upon further examination, they could see human beings walking on the deck of Dugua’s ship. Chief Esauqueet immediately prepared for war. He selected three canoes and with the bravest of his warriors, paddled out toward the ship. The captain of the ship invited them aboard by motions of his hands. They went and were used well.

This would be the first time alcohol was given to the Passamaquoddy. The captain made a toast to the health of the King of France and as Dugua and Chief Esauqueet raised their glasses, a big cannon on the ship fired three times. The Passamaquoddy people who were watching from the shore jumped into their canoes and made ready for war. When the crew of the ship saw what was happening, they notified Chief Esauqueet and the Chief knew at once what they meant. He stood on the rail of the ship and called out “Mena gotch kole ya gap” meaning “Be easy, we are alright”. Relations were good so Pierre Dugua ordered ashore three boatloads of tools, axes, knives, cooking utensils and vegetable seeds. Pierre Dugua had with him a Roman Catholic missionary and at that time, Chief Esauqueet and many of his people were introduced to Christianity. The word “Esauqueet” means, “His power penetrates the big trees”. At that time, the title of Chief was held for life and was handed down through the family. The Esauqueet family held the title for many years. When Esauqueet died the title of Chief went to one of that family, Agoumett. Later, Agoumett was cruelly murdered after being decoyed into the Fort at Pemaquid, Maine. The next Chief still from the same family was Bah Gidwett whose Christian name was Jean Baptiste Neptune. His successors were Francis Joseph Neptune, John Francis Neptune, Lewy Francis Neptune, Solomon Francis Neptune, Newell Francis Neptune, Sabattus Joseph Neptune and William Neptune.