In the column saluting one of Kentville’s most prominent citizens, Dr. Willis B. Moore, I remarked that it was unusual so few people remembered him today.
While I meant that there was no “official” remembrance of one of the Annapolis Valley’s more eminent practitioners, several readers took me literally, calling to say they certainly remembered Dr. Moore.
One caller was Bev Eaton of Kentville who said Moore was his first physician. Eaton was four or five years old when he went to Dr. Moore’s Main Street office in the early 20s. He clearly recalls his office, Dr. Moore’s “great beard” and the large mounted head of a moose (which Dr. Moore probably bagged himself since he was a renowned hunter). “The best chair in the office was always occupied by Dr. Moore’s dog,” Eaton said. The dog likely was Dr. Moore’s favorite hunting companion, the animal that posed with Moore in the A. L. Hardy photograph.
Another caller -“please leave my name out” – who comes from an old Kentville railroad family and has lived in the town all her life, also remembers Dr. Moore. This caller, 84 years young, was treated by Dr. Moore when she was a girl. Like Mr. Eaton, she also remembers the mounted moose head in Dr. Moore’s office. Reminiscing about Kentville and a variety store called Wheatley’s, the caller said Dr. Moore’s office was situated on the south side of Main Street; her description would place Dr. Moore’s office next to the old Advertiser building (now a pub) on the site of what was once Joseph’s Restaurant.
From The 1890s
During the 70s The Advertiser ran a series pages from old Valley newspapers of the mid-to-late 19th century. Following are excerpts from these pages, the first an example of how fearless (or foolish) newspaper editors apparently were in the old days.
From the editorial page of the Western Chronicle, 1879, apparently regarding a long-running dispute about the legalities of a dam on the Gaspereau River: “Mr. W. H. … again comes to the fore to defend his abortion of a fish way at Gaspereau. His language is that of a blackguard, (and is) simply blatant, loud-mouthed boasting, a disgrace to the Department whose confidence he abuses.”
From the same issue, dated January 15, a report that in 1878 Kings County farmers exported a grand total of 224,518 bushels of potatoes valued at $138,744. Most of the crop was shipped out of the port of Canning.
We take electric power for granted most of the time but as you will see from the following, it was a novelty in 1893. From the Western Chronicle‘s December 6 issue: “Next Sunday evening, Dec. 10, St. James Church, Kentville, will be lighted for the first time with the electric light. Special offerings will be taken up both at the morning and evening services to defray the cost of the introduction. Suitable fixtures have been ordered from Toronto.”
Driven insane by an unprovoked beating, a young farm worker wandered around Kings County posing as the proprietor of a local business, reports the October 25, 1893, issue of the Western Chronicle and Valley Scribe. As well as describing the attack on the farm boy, the newspaper report reveals that the old name for Gallows Hill, the prominent rise of land on Kentville’s southern boundary, was Joe Bell Hill. Bell was either the man who owned a house at the bottom of the hill or the person hanged for murder on its peak.