Both France and Great Britain sent explorers to North America. The French laid their claims based on waterways, building forts at strategic places where they could control travel. The British mapped their claims by latitude and longitude. The two systems came into conflict here in these valleys, playing out in a series of three wilderness wars - King Williams', Queen Ann's and King George's -- leading up to the French and Indian (Seven Years') War.
Thousands of soldiers, and their Indian allies, battled back and forth along the waterway for five years before the British finally won the war and, with it, title to all French holdings in Canada. Some of those soldiers stayed here to settle the land. Others used their officer's training to good advantage when the War for Independence began fifteen years later.