Madawaska County (2011 population 33,422), also known as the "New Brunswick Panhandle", is located in northwestern New Brunswick, Canada. Over 90% of the county's population speaks French. Its Francophone population are known as "Brayons." Forestry is the major industry in the county.
The first inhabitants of what is now called Madawaska County were the Maliseet or Wolastoqiyik, who occupied and used the land along the Saint John River Valley north to the St. Lawrence River and south to the Penobscot River. There is debate concerning the true origin of the word "Madawaska". The earliest European settlers were from Quebec. The area was the focus of the bloodless Aroostook War, a border dispute led by businessman and political activist John Baker.
The earliest settlers of the Upper Saint John River Valley can be clearly verified with http://www.upperstjohn.com/visits/Saint-Vallier1686.htm and http://www.upperstjohn.com/1820/madawaska.htm
The second link displays census results taken in 1820 of the Madawaska region where most families had originated from Quebec.