READERS ENJOY COLUMNS – ESPECIALLY HISTORICAL (November 13/98)

The telephone calls, comments, letters and the occasional fax tell me that readers enjoy this column, especially the pieces on local history.

Now that I’ve puffed myself up a bit – with thanks, by the way, to everyone who expressed appreciation of this column – it’s time to catch up on the mail and see what readers have been saying.

On the Cornwallis Valley Railway piece, John Harvie, Hantsport, writes that he was very interested in the article on the old line. Mr. Harvie said his grandfather, Edmund, was an engineer on the line. Edmund lived in Kingsport during his tenure as an engineer with the C.V.R., later moving to Kentville when he began employment with the DAR, also as an engineer.

Mr. Harvie mentioned his mother’s cousin, Neville Prescott, who was the station agent in Centreville for many years. “I think it might be nice to mention some of the names of the people who had to do with this old railway,” Mr. Harvie concluded.

(Taking Mr. Harvie’s hint, I contacted Leon Barron who gave me the names of a number of local people who worked on the C.V.R. The first C.V.R. conductor was Gus Dickie, Kingsport. Elijah Borden was the first station agent in Kingsport. Leon said that Mr. Borden also operated a hotel in Kingsport but he couldn’t recall its name or location. Other C.V.R. station agents were Grant Townsend and Charley Kenny.)

The Ford Crossing on the C.V. R. line: I mentioned that no one could tell me why the crossing was so named, but a telephone call from Dr. Horace Foley cleared up this mini-mystery. The crossing was named for the Nathan Ford house which sat next to the railroad track. Many readers will remember Dr. Foley, Canning, who practised in Kings County for decades and is now retired.

A fax was received from John Cochrane with several items on the C.V. R. line. Mr. Cochrane writes that the spur to Weston was known as the North Mountain Railway. A map of the entire line – “the map being 20 feet or more” – is (or used to be) in the Registry of Deeds at Kentville, Mr. Cochrane says.

Mr. Cochrane adds a note that will be of interest to railroad buffs. In the Registry of Deeds, for example, is a “detailed map showing the disposition of every inch of the C.V.R. to adjacent landowners… and the names of each of the purchasers.”

The land for the C.V.R.’s right of way was obtained through the provincial Railway Act. Mr. Cochrane attached some of the applicable legislation that was used to expropriate land for the C.V.R., which is of interest because it reveals the political and legal shuffling that took place to allow the railroads to proceed.

Snig, the old Nova Scotia woodsworkers term, is a legitimate word, as was established in an October column; however, there was some doubt about the legitimacy of sneg, which appeared to be a mispronunciation of snig and is also used in the lumber woods.

But thanks to Gordon Callender, Picton, Ontario, we learn that sneg is also an actual word and is not of Nova Scotia coinage. Mr. Callender writes that he found snig and sneg in the 1928 Webster’s Dictionary. According to that dictionary, sneg is both a noun and a verb, is of obscure Scottish origin and means to cut; based on this, it’s likely sneg (and snig) were brought to Nova Scotia by Scottish settlers. Snig is also given as being of Scottish origin in the old dictionary.

 

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