Here you will find useful information on the communities that
make up our home of East Hants. This material is of public record,
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history of European settlement of Enfield, covers a period of
over 175 years.
Grants of land around what is now Enfield, were given after
1760. The first was given to Benjamin Franklin, a parcel of
land on the side of the Shubenacadie River opposite the main
part of the present village. A Mr. Hall was hired by Franklin
to take charge of the grant, and to operate a Wayside Inn.
The Grand Lake East area was the location of another grant,
1100 acres that was given to a man by the name of Uniacke. Several
men, of the name McDonell, now own this land. Another grant
of land was given to Jacob Horne Sr., a German who enlisted
in the 42nd Highland Regiment. Horne; being familiar with the
coast of Nova Scotia, accompanied General Wolfe as a pilot,
fighting under him at Quebec in 1759.
Jacob's son, Andrew Horne was the first settler in Enfield
district, clearing a farm in the wilderness near the lock at
Enfield became a village comparatively late in the history of
Nova Scotia, it does not appear in any early census of the province.
Early people living in the area were probably listed under Nine
Mile River, Douglas or 'The Crossing'.
It is recorded that Enfield was named at a public meeting, called
at Malcolm's Pottery in 1862. Thomas Donaldson, suggested the
name after his hometown Enfield, in the Connecticut River Valley.
It was previously known as 'The Crossing'.
The population of Enfield increased due to the work on the Shubenacadie
Canal and the Railway to Truro.
The first school was built at Horne Settlement, and serviced
young and old alike. Among some of the schoolteachers was Miss
Hansen who came out of the state of Maine, with others who were
interested in investing in the Shubenacadie Canal. Later a school
was built at Enfield and the school in Horne Settlement was
done away with.
Enfield, Elmsdale owes it early settlement and growth
to the canal and railroad. Before the demand for workers
brought in new families, there were only scattered, lonely
farms along the river. William Read was granted 200 acres
of land in 1785 at the confluence of the Wokomeak (Nine
Mile River) and the Shubenacadie. In the same year Phillip
Fisher, of the Hussein Regiment of Col. DeSeitz, received
a grant of land halfway between Elmsdale and Enfield.
Except for a slight relationship with the 84th Highlanders,
little more is known of William Read. Phillip Fisher on
the other hand has remained in history. By the 1820's
his son's had homes from the Ox Bow on the river near
Elmsdale for a mile or so along what was called for decades
"The Fisher Road". Four son's rest today in
a neglected grove behind a modern lumber mill on Hwy #2.,
while the last descendant of Phillip, Albert Fisher, who
died in 1913, is buried in Elmsdale Cemetery.
Later families to the Elmsdale district were Logans, Frasers,
and MacDonalds. Logan settled across the Shubenacadie
River while the Fraser and MacDonald families at first
were joint occupants of the Tremain "Brick House".
(Charles Tremain, a brick maker built a fine brick home
near the Shubenacadie River; this property was named "Elmsdale
Farm" in an indenture made in 1818.)
Alexander Fraser built the first house in the village
proper in 1852. Still standing about a 100 yards from
the railway crossing; the home features a glassed in porch
across its Cape Cod exterior. Over the next 6 or so years,
more buildings appeared including a hotel, and a boarding
Brick makers (Robert L. Miller), potters, tanners
(Daniel, John McDonald), leatherworkers (Alexander Dunbar,
Alexander Gilbert, James Rae, Daniel Duncan McKenzie),
shoemakers (James Stirling), carriage and sleigh builders
(John Cameron Fisher and John Fisher of 'Fisher &
Son'), blacksmith, railway hands, carpenters and clerks
all found employment on the two mile stretch between Enfield
and Elmsdale. Not to mention those who worked in the woods,
on the farms, and always, the housewives who cleaned,
churned, cooked, wove, spun, quilted, hooked, bore and
In 1895 after Mr. Robert L. Miller retired from
his brickyard, he gave the drying yard to the young people
of the village for use as a tennis court for over 30 years!
Until the line was extended the Nova Scotia Railway
ran between Truro Crossing (now Lantz) and Halifax. Since
the former had no roundhouse the train had an engine at
each end, nicknamed "Joe Howe" and "Grasshopper".
Saloons were located near the railway stations to "benefit
the traveling public" to the frustration and despair
of the members of the growing Sons Of Temperance Movement.
The road from Nine Mile River (Wokomeak) met the
Enfield road near Elmsdale railway station, then continued
over the tracks for about a half a mile, crossed the wooden
bridge over the Shubenacadie River to join the Post Road
running from Halifax to Truro. This T formation was changed
in 1932 when a new highway, parallel to the railway, was
laid from Elmsdale to Lantz. This spoiled Elmsdale's favorite
picnic spot, "Putty Point". Here the course
of the river was diverted. Traces of the original riverbed
can be seen curving from the railway bridge around the
site of the Canadian Legion Hall on the other side of
brothers named Lantz moved from Queens County to Milford shortly
after 1890. They established a lumber mill near the railroad and
built both a siding and a brickyard. The area in which they settled
was given the name Lantz Siding in 1902.
The Miller brothers bought the brickyard soon after and
renamed it Elmsdale brick. In 1908, the brickyard was again sold,
but to N.S. Clay Workers this time. The new owners built a 175-foot
chimney and 2 weeks after it was built, it fell down into the
steam boiler. It took a year to rebuild the chimney; during this
time the plant was not in operation.
In 1930 L.E. Shaw bought the Brick Co., upon purchase he
had 100 feet of the 175-foot chimney removed- this chimney remains
standing to this day. At first, the Brick Co. operated during
the six summer months only and employed about 30-40 people. Today
is operated all year round and employs a much larger number.
The L.E. Shaw Brick Company has obviously exerted a strong
influence in this community, for not only are many homes built
from L.E. Shaw bricks, but also a brick rink was built in 1948.
Some of the other services available to people living in Lantz
1945- first brick Elementary school in Nova Scotia
1957- Christ Church of England
1967- L.E. Shaw Memorial Swimming Pool
1972- Sewer and Water installed
It might be interesting to note that Lantz expanded
into 3 subdivisions in the decade from 1965- 1975.
1785-1858 this area of Hants County was known as Shubenacadie
in the township of Douglas. Later in 1858 the Nova Scotia Railroad
went through and the community was given the name of Wickwire
Station, honoring the Wickwire family. After 12 years in 1870,
a meeting, to have the name changed, was held in the old Drill
shed. (A drill shed was built in Milford in 1862-63. It was here
that the young men of the area trained to fight against the participants
in the Fenian Raids.) After discussion, John Wardrop suggested
the name 'Milford'. The community felt this was an appropriate
name, seeing that a lumber mill was erected near the fording place
on the river. The new name was accepted and remains to this day.
The word "Station" added to the name Milford was suggested
by Mr. Edgar Scott. However, since 1914, the Post Office has been
called Milford Station; this name came to prevent confusion in
the postal system. There are other Milford communities in other
locations in Nova Scotia.
Farming and lumbering were among the first industries in
this community. The first steam mill on the Shubenacadie River,
owned and operated by Amos Woodworth, was located to the left
of the present bridge.
The original Milford Bridge was located approx. 3/4 of a
mile from the present bridge towards the Wardope property. Remnants
of the old bridge can still be seen when the water is low.
Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia are a branch of the Algonquin tribes. The
early French kept these local place names for us and spelled,
pronounced them according to the French system. So the SEGUBUNAKADE
of the Mi'kmaq became to the Acadians CHIGABENAKADY; then SHEBENACCADIE
and later SHUBENACADIE. Although the name SHIPOUDIE was also used
at one time.
The Mi'kmaq SEBUNAKADIE means, "abounding in ground
nuts" or "place where the red potato grows"; and
refers to the prized, edible root which was plentiful along the
banks of the river.
The first European building erected in Shubenacadie was probably
the Mass House, which was set on the land now belonging to Herman
Jurlink. Joseph De LaLoutre, who came from France as missionary
to the Mikmaq in 1740, built the original French church
here. The church was dedicated to Ste. Anne and is located not
far from the bank of the Shubenacadie River and about half a mile
from the centre of the village.
An interesting note; in 1755, a year before the expulsion,
the French and Mi'kmaq rallied against the English killing 30
of them in an attempt to save the church. Later on around 1770
the English Government in Halifax was trying to win back the favour
of the Mi'kmaq, and built a new church on the old site. This church
is mentioned in documents as existing late as 1830.
The French had a settlement here before the English; five
years after their expulsion the British came. There were three
brothers named Ellis, who were from Londonderry, Ireland. Thomas
Ellis settled on the right bank of the river on the back road
leading from Miller's brickyard to Stewiacke. Another brother
Henry settled in Upper Stewiacke, while the third James settled
on the left bank of the river where the Mass House stood. This
was in 1760. Shortly after this and in early 1800 other settlers
moved in; particularly after the American Revolution, a number
of United Empire Loyalists arrived receiving various grants of
land in or near Shubenacadie. Some of these were - James and Peter
Etter, Lt. Col. Frederick Hamilton, Joseph Moore, Thomas Andrews,
Robert, Alexander, and Donald MacDonald, Jacob and David Withrow,
James and Thomas Parker, Paul Woodworth, John and Richard Cunningham,
John and William Wallace, William, James and Alex Nelson, Andrew
Belcher, John Anislie, Rev. William King, John McPhee, Henry Leck,
Napier Christie and many others.
Shubenacadie had the same pattern of settlement, with farms
along the river owned by emigrants from the North of Ireland or
New England. Moores, Woodworths, Ellises, Nelsons, and Williams,
who were content to till the land in comparative isolation until
a focal point drew the community together. This arose with the
building of a covered bridge across the Shubenacadie River in
1841 and the opening of the post road. Then with the coming of
the Nova Scotia Railway and the building of a station, Shubenacadie
became a village instead of "The District of Shubenacadie".
Shubenacadie had a daily mail service. Besides the aforementioned
industries a tannery and carriage shop provided work for many
inhabitants while five shoe makers and a tailor helped keep them
clothed and shod. Shubenacadie had two hotels, The International
Hotel run by James M. Nelson, and The Union Hotel, the proprietor
Archibald Nelson. Charles Boggs, John Lynch and J.A. Gass had
general stores, whilst Andrew Kirkpatrick was postmaster as well
as storekeeper. The Rev. James McLean was the Presbyterian Minister,
Duncan McLean, M.D. the village doctor. For those of the Wesleyan
persuasion the R.E. Crane served their spiritual need; while the
Rev. Father Peter Danaher, of St. Benard's parish at Enfield ministered
to the Roman Catholics. No saloonkeepers are listed in the N.S.
directory so we can assume that here the Sons Of Temperance tilled
more fertile ground than at Enfield or Elmsdale.
soldiers of the 84th Regiment began settlement in the Gore area
about 1785. In the laying out of land grants for Kennetcook and
for the Douglas Township, there was a triangular piece of land,
located about four miles south- east of the Kennetcook River in
the central part of Nova Scotia. This land was referred to as
'The Gore'. The name Gore has two possible derivations- one source
says that Gore was named after Sir Charles Stephen Gore (Deputy
Quartermaster General in Canada during the rebellion of 1837.);
a second source suggests that Mrs. Catherine Gore (a cousin to
the wife of Sir John Wentworth, former Governor of Nova Scotia)
may have had some connection with the name of the Gore section
of Hants County.
Early Church services at Gore were held in a barn, however
several churches were built in the 1800's.
William MacKay was one of the early teachers in 1837. A
schoolhouse was begun in West Gore in 1865 and a school was completed
in East Gore in 1872.
Postal Way Offices were in operation at Gore in the years
1832- 42, and onwards from 1848. At West Gore a Way Office was
established in 1861.
The old courthouse, standing on 'Judgment Hill' for 90 years,
was destroyed by fire on July 22, 1956. It had served as the courthouse
at East Hants; but its rather isolated position caused it to be
Antimony mines at West Gore began operations about 1884
under the supervision of the Dominion Antimony Mines Ltd. This
operation lasted until 1917; Antimony was shipped to Wales where
it was used to strengthen lead. Farming was and still is another
basic industry of the area.
earliest dwellers in Maitland were the Mi'kmaq. Rivers and Bays
being their main highways, they naturally had an encampment at
the mouth of the largest river in the peninsula. They gave this
area the name "TwitNoock" (due-weed-om-nook); meaning
' the tide runs out fast '. The river they called the "Saa-Gaa-Bun-Akady",
that is ' the place where the Saagaabun or Miccuac potatoe grows'.
France was the first foreign nation to colonize the land;
they called it Acadia. The Acadians settled here into a quiet
farming life on the fertile lands around, planting fruit trees
and building dykes. Some of these dykes can still be seen today.
The first settler in the surroundings of Maitland after
the expulsion of the Acadians was John Ranes (later called Rines)
from Mass. His first house was on this side of the foundry site,
built over an old French cellar. Later he built another house
opposite the 'spring'.
January 30th, 1771 was the date of the first grant in the
middle of the present village. This belonged to New Englanders,
Wm. Putnam and his stepfather Luke Upham. This grant included
land from the Mr. Pressley place to the Salter Grant and was divided
between the Putnam's Caleb and William.
The Whiddens came from Truro in 1795 to engage in shipbuilding.
William Frieze of Providence, Rhode Island was married to Abigail,
Mr. David Whidden's daughter. Disbanded soldiers from the American
Revolution settled areas close to Maitland.
In 1831 there were eleven houses in the village, four of
which were licensed taverns.
Without a doubt, history remembers Maitland for its shipbuilding
era. From 1843- 1893, ships were built and sent all over the world
to carry on trade. The most famous of these was the W.D. Lawrence;
built in 1874, and weighing in at 2459 tons. The largest ship
of its kind ever built, laid out on the grass to be built, the
keel of the ship measured two hundred, forty-four feet and nine
The builder of the great ship William Lawrence died on December
8th, 1886 after seeing the world upon his vessel. Soon after his
death the shipbuilding industry died as well.
Township comprised the communities of Noel, Selma, Maitland and
surrounding districts. The first pastor of that Township was Rev.
Thomas S. Crowe, born in Scotland in 1786, and the founder of
the Crowe families on this shore.
Noel, facing on the Cobequid Bay still shows signs of its
Acadian origin. Here a few old French willows still stand, and
the outlines of the dykes, which the English and Scottish settlers
never could maintain as efficiently as the French; are plainly
visible along the marches.
The earliest of the French settlers, so the old legend runs,
landed at that spot, after a stormy passage, on Christmas day.
The forest reached almost down to the tide line. Its protection
was welcome after their arrival on dry land, and so they named
the spot Noel, the French word for Christmas; to this day the
name is used.
Some recognizable names to the Noel area include Anthony
(the first Anthony came to Pictou on the Hector, and then to Selma.
The Anthony property has since been donated to the Provincial
government, and in 1966 it was converted to a provincial park.),
and McKeil (who came first to Pictou with the United Empire Loyalists.).
Other early names were MacAskill, O'Neill, Dalrymple, Faulkner
(a blacksmith), and McKenzie.
The first school in the settlement was a small one-room
building. In 1876, with the expanding population, a new two-room
school was built, which continued in use until Hants schools consolidated
in 1962. After that the children traveled to Maitland
is located along the upper courses of the Herbert and Meander
Rivers in central Nova Scotia. It takes its name from Rawdon Township;
which was set up in 1784 and named in honour of Lord Rawdon, a
British military officer during the American Revolutionary War.
John Bond was one of the principal early settlers, when he arrived
on the land in 1788; he cleared fifty acres and erected two consecutive
gristmills. The original settlers were mostly veterans of the
American War of Independence.
A schoolhouse was built in the middle district before November
1812. Dubois Smith was hired to teach in the south district in
Postal Way Offices were established at Rawdon in 1832, Upper
Rawdon in 1848, and at South Rawdon in 1855.
Gold was mined at Rawdon Gold Mines in the late 19th
century. A public hall/ meetinghouse was built inn 1886. In June
of 1888 the entire settlement of East Rawdon Gold Mines, consisting
of thirty buildings was destroyed by fire. Mining operations ceased
researching for this community, little was found from our main
source of information, here is a summary of what we did find however.)
The name Tenecape, contrary to popular belief, is not credited
to be of Mi'Kmaq origin. Older residents there say it came from
the fact that there were ten capes or points of land jutting out
into the water, and that early settlers referred to it as "Tencapes".
This in Minas Shore dialect became "Tenecape".
The East Walton people attended church in Tenecape, and
their dead are buried in Tenecape Cemetery.
Early schoolhouses once stood in both villages. But with
the consolidation of schools along the shore, these buildings
were closed and put to other uses.
The people living along this section go to Walton for groceries.
East Walton and Tenecape are strictly farming communities and
no stores are operated there even today.
The Stephens family developed Tenecape lumber mills, well
known around Hants County. William (Billy) Stephens started the
business and his son Willie carried it on. William F. Stephens
had two sons, Colin and Harold; who eventually inherited the business.
Harold operated the mill while Colin did the woods work.
lies halfway between the source of the Kennetcook river and the
tidal water. This village is situated on the old trail from the
Acadian village in Noel to Halifax. Kennetcook is derived from
an Indian name, KUNNEYKOOK, meaning "The Place Ahead"
or "The Place Close at Hand".
The first settlers were disbanded members of the 84th of Foot
Royal Highland Regiment, they did not stay in great numbers however.
The slow settlement of the area was due to the areas isolation
and that the ex-soldiers storehouse was located in Stanley, miles
Some of the family names who were among the first to stay in Kennetcook
include: Barron, Ettinger, McCulloch.
Early industry included farming, lumber, and dairy.
Kennetcook was once considered the capital of East Hants whereas
the Municipal Council at one time held its annual sessions here
during the third week of January in Anthony's Hall. As well, Kennetcook
was connected to the larger centre by train service to Windsor
and Truro and by bus service via the shore to Truro.
In 1919, a branch office of the Bank of Nova Scotia was opened.
The bank originally used rooms in the Kennetcook Hotel with one
teller and a manager.
The Chronicle Herald of October 22, 1958 had an article on the
first "Folk School" in the province. This school was
an experiment in residential adult education held in Kennetcook
in 1948. The purpose of the school was to bring groups of men
and women together to gain a better view of the possibilities
of life in rural Nova Scotia.
Not only was the folk school idea applied to rural people, but
also Mikmaq of the Maritime Provinces had a folk school
held in Kennetcook in 1958. This native folk school was the first
of its kind in Canada. Its purpose was to help the Mikmaq
to find their own social leaders. The school, grew out of courses
designed to help develop social leaders among the Indian population.
The intention was to develop leadership qualities and to make
the students aware of the needs existing in their community. There
were more than 36 students elected from 21 Mikmaq communities
throughout the Maritimes.