N49° Amherst's Micmac name was Nemcheboogwek meaning 'going up rising ground', in reference to the higher land to the east of the Tantramar Marshes.
The Acadians who settled here as early as 1672 called the village Les Planches. The village was later renamed Amherst by Colonel Joseph Morse in honour of Lord Amherst, the commander-in-chief of the British Army in North America during the Seven Years' War.
The town was first settled in 1764 by immigrants from Yorkshire following the expulsion of the Acadians. These settlers were joined by United Empire Loyalists (Loyalists who fled the American colonies during the American Revolution). A mill was built on the current townsite, and the residents moved there to be closer to work.