READERS INSPIRE MANY HISTORY COLUMNS (January 19/01)

Occasionally someone will ask where I get the ideas or inspiration for columns on local history. Usually I answer, “From people like you.” Readers often give me historical tidbits that inspire columns.

Another comment I hear often is, “I must be difficult coming up with a different column every week.” Not really. This area is rich in historical lore. Starting with the Acadians, I have centuries of local history to dig into. And as I said above, people who read this column often provide leads and supply little-known facts and folklore about local history that’s worth preserving.

As for you giving me ideas for columns, let me tell you about some of the reader-inspired topics I’ll be covering here in the new year.

Church Street farmer George Woodworth recently told me about several Acadian sites on his property. George said there were remains of Acadian dykes near his outbuildings on Church street and on his dykeland property north of the Canard River. He discovered an old sluice which he said was in surprisingly excellent condition despite being centuries old.

The Acadian sites on Woodworth’s farm will be discussed in this column next spring – after the snow disappears and Mr. Woodworth can show me where the old dykeing can still be seen. I believe Mr. Woodworth’s farmland, the orchards and dykeland, once held a number of Acadian homesteads and this will be checked out and reported on.

Mr. Woodworth also inspired a future column on another Acadian site. Readers will recall that on a couple of occasions I’ve mentioned the so-called “windmill hill” a slight hill or rise of land on the Canard dykes off Church Street. It is believed that this was the site of an Acadian grist mill operated by wind power.

Mr. Woodworth mentioned that an “archaeological dig” is in the works at the site. I’m checking this out. I’ll have a column on the Acadian windmill and include other possible mill sites that readers have mentioned lately.

The story of what happened to the Acadians after the expulsion has never fully been told. Thanks to a reader, Lucie LeBlanc Consentino, I have some interesting history on the fate of many Acadians after the dispersal. Ms. Consentino’s material will be the topic in a column next week.

As recently as last week I mentioned, as I often have, Kentville historian and collector, Louis Comeau. As I’ve said before and will say again, Mr. Comeau has a valuable and possibly unique database of historical material on Kentville and the immediate area that should be recognized and perhaps made available for public consumption.

On more than one occasion Mr. Comeau has provided inspiration and information for columns on local history. In a column coming up in the next [week], I’ll have the contents of a letter that Comeau wrote to Kentville’s town council. In the letter Comeau suggests a new street in Kentville should be named for a man who operated two early hotels in the town, one of which was famous in its day, I believe for entertaining royalty. The letter contains some little-known history on Kentville’s early days and readers will find it interesting.

Readers comments, telephone calls, letters and e-mail submissions are appreciated and most welcome. Thank you, everyone.

 

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