“Every town in the Annapolis Valley has its claim to fame,” a speaker once noted at a local service club. “Canning and Windsor as great shipping and ship building ports, Wolfville and its University, Berwick and apples, and Kentville for hanging two innocent men and naming a hill after one of them.”

The speaker was referring to Joe Bell Hill, better known as Gallows Hill today, where a legal execution took place in 1826. There’s evidence that a man named Powell not Bell was hanged on Gallows Hill, but Joe Bell is part of Kentville’s folklore and always will be.

Kentville is not the only town with a grisly memorial of its past; however, it has more than a couple of public executions as its “claim to fame.” Beginning with the Micmacs, continuing with the Acadians and Planters, Kentville has a varied and interesting history. This history has a light and a dark side and Kentville history buff Louis Comeau prepared several trivia quizzes that take note of both. As promised in last week’s column, here they are:

An Easy Quiz

  1. What was the Cornwallis River’s earlier name?
    Horton/Grand Habitant/Les Mines.
  2. What was Kentville previously called?
    Hortonville/Horton Corner/ Terry Creek.
  3. What was the old nickname for Kentville?
    Sleepy Hollow/Moccasin Hollow/Devil’s Half Acre/Little Hamlet.
  4. What is the shortest street in town?
    D’Ell/Highland View/Condon.
  5. How many newspapers were published in Kentville?
  6. If you visited the Centennial Building, what would you be there for?
    A game of hockey/A Friday night bingo game/Hardware supplies/None of these/All of these.
  7. What was the Dennison Diversion?
    A decoy maneuver used by the British at the Battle of Moccasin Hollow/An early scheme to divert Mill Brook so a mill could be built/Park Street, which replaced west Main Street as the main thoroughfare.


  1. Grand Habitant.
  2. Horton Corner.
  3. Devil’s Half Acre.
  4. Highland View, located off Highland Avenue.
  5. Five – The Advertiser, Western Chronicle, Wedge, Orchardist, New Star.
  6. All of these. The fire hall, arena and Calkin’s hardware store were called centennial buildings.
  7. Park Street.

A Tougher Quiz

  1. How did Klondyke Ward make his fortune?
    He supplied lumber and supplies to Yukon miners/He staked a claim and struck it rich/He ran a saloon.
  2. How long the Red Store Grocery stay in operation?
    100 years/132 years /164 years/None of these.
  3. In what year did the Red Store open?
  4. Did a curling team from Kentville win the Canadian championship, the Brier?
  5. Who was Kentville’s first Mayor?
    R.S. Masters/J.P. Chipman/J.W. King/H.B. Webster/None of these.
  6. When was the last public execution in Kentville?
  7. Why did the Roman Catholics build their church on Chapel Hill in 1842?
    No land available in town/Chapel Hill was an ideal location/The Irish Catholics weren’t permitted to build in the town limits.
  8. When did the Duke of Kent visit Kentville?


  1. Ward struck it rich.
  2. 132 years.
  3. 1828.
  4. Yes.
  5. J.W. King.
  6. 1904.
  7. In that period Irish Catholics weren’t permitted to build in town.
  8. 1794.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s