“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
- What was the Cornwallis River’s earlier name?
Horton/Grand Habitant/Les Mines.
- What was Kentville previously called?
Hortonville/Horton Corner/ Terry Creek.
- What was the old nickname for Kentville?
Sleepy Hollow/Moccasin Hollow/Devil’s Half Acre/Little Hamlet.
- What is the shortest street in town?
- How many newspapers were published in Kentville?
- 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.
- 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.
- Grand Habitant.
- Horton Corner.
- Devil’s Half Acre.
- Highland View, located off Highland Avenue.
- Five – The Advertiser, Western Chronicle, Wedge, Orchardist, New Star.
- All of these. The fire hall, arena and Calkin’s hardware store were called centennial buildings.
- Park Street.
A Tougher Quiz
- 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.
- How long the Red Store Grocery stay in operation?
100 years/132 years /164 years/None of these.
- In what year did the Red Store open?
- Did a curling team from Kentville win the Canadian championship, the Brier?
- Who was Kentville’s first Mayor?
R.S. Masters/J.P. Chipman/J.W. King/H.B. Webster/None of these.
- When was the last public execution in Kentville?
- 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.
- When did the Duke of Kent visit Kentville?
- Ward struck it rich.
- 132 years.
- J.W. King.
- In that period Irish Catholics weren’t permitted to build in town.