The county of Hants was established June 17, 1781, on territory taken from Kings County and consisted of the townships of Windsor, Falmouth and Newport. The name Hants is an old abbreviation for the English county of Hampshire, from the Old English name Hantescire. The Mi’kmaq were the first people of Hants County, having arrived several thousand years ago. They were semi-nomadic and hunted, fished and gathered to make their living. They made their encampments along the rivers at the “head of the tide” where the fishing was easy.
Because the surname “Hebert” looks so much like “Herbert”, it is frequently misspelled, and when I first saw reference to the Herbert River in Hants County, Nova Scotia, what came to mind was the Bear River at Digby, Nova Scotia. It appears as “Hebert R” (probably for early explorer Louis Hebert) on Lescarbot’s 1609 map. By 1720, “Hebert R” had become “Beare R”.