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The area was first settled by Europeans in 1784 when a military fortification, Fort Hughes (later renamed Fort Gaspareaux), was established to guard the upper Saint John River against American attack during the Revolutionary War. The settlement that grew around it became known as "Ramouctou". In 1831, after completion of the Grand Trunk Railway and its bridge across the river at Oromocto, a new town site on higher ground about one kilometre away from Ramouctou began to develop. It was named "Oromocto" after Chief Joseph Oromocto of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière First Nation who had been influential in securing British support for construction of this railway link between Canada East and Canada West. In 1851 it became part of Sunbury County but lost its status as an incorporated village when that county's government ceased operation in 1974.