When I ran an e-mail note from John and Sue Corbett asking about the old Canaan Road I expected no more than a little feedback from readers. However, from all the telephone calls and e-mail I received, people are curious about the road and there’s a lot of interest in it.
Several readers mentioned that the boundary lines of their property is the Canaan Road or the Canaan Line. These properties are on the South Mountain and may have been the original grants that were made when the Canaan Road was first laid.
Thanks to readers, in addition to now having lots of info about the Canaan Road, I also have several reference sources. Everyone who contacted me supplied valuable information; however, I’m particularly indebted to Marie Bishop, Kendall Best, Angus Corcoran, Richard and Bill Skinner and Carroll Kinsman for providing informative details on the road.
Marie Bishop tells me that while working on her book, The Pioneers of Canaan, she spent three years researching and found little information on the Canaan Road. After her book was published, Marie said, an old map showing the Canaan Road came to light and was added in a sheet of letterhead size to some editions of her book. The map came from a book called A History of Horton through Maps and Documents by Douglas Eagles.
Marie Bishop tells me that the Canaan Road “appears to have run from Gaspereau to New Albany and did go up the South Mountain.” Following this hint, I looked into local histories that covered South Mountain areas from Gaspereau to Aylesford. The following quotes from these books and from e-mail messages paint an interesting of the old road.
“I cannot give you a source but in the back of my mind is the recollection that the Canaan Road was surveyed, perhaps by the military, and marked as an alternative to the Annapolis Valley route from Halifax to Annapolis. It was never completed in its entirety although there were sections that were built and in fact form part of the present day highway system.” Via e-mail from Carroll Kinsman who adds that the Canaan Road was the southern boundary of most of the farms in Morristown.
Also via e-mail from Kendall Best who quoted A History of Prospect by Olive H. Lloyd: “As we understand by history handed down by word of mouth, this trail (Canaan Road) was blazed by the English or French…. The trail commenced near the town of Annapolis and continues through Kings County…. It continues in an easterly direction and crosses the township line… east to Tupper Lake (and) continues on and crosses the Beech Hill road near the New Ross Road at Casey’s Corner, then continues easterly to or near Windsor.”
“One of the early roads is the Canaan Road which border Morristown on the south and runs across the top of the South Mountain. Legend has it that this was a military road between Halifax and Annapolis but further research shows that this was probably only on paper and the actual road was only built from Annapolis to Prospect, Kings County.” – Morristown – Factorydale, Past and Present.
“Another early road was the Canaan Road, which ran along the crest of the South Mountain, south of Morristown, Factorydale, Harmony and ended near Tremont. It was originally built by soldiers as part of a military road between Windsor and Annapolis. By the 1920s most of the road had fallen into disuse. Only sections of it are still maintained to serve the several settlements along its route which have all but disappeared. – A History of Aylesford and District by John and Twila Decoste.