THE OLD DYKES, DYKELANDS OF KINGSPORT (November 22/02)

One of the regular readers of this column, Dr. Frederick A. J. Mathew of Halifax writes from time to time with comments and information on the history of this area. In a recent letter, Dr. Mathews wrote about the old dykes and dykelands at Kingsport (a topic of which I’m unfamiliar) and told me about some of the happenings in that area in the 19th and early 20th century.

Dr. Mathews suggests that his letter might interest of readers who perhaps may have historical information about Kingsport’s dykes that “were to be found south of the road leading to Indian Point (now called Pier road) and south to the Thompson Creek, now only referred to as ‘the creek’.”

Readers who might wish to expand on the topics in Dr. Mathew’s letter are invited to contact me at 902-678-4591 or via email at edwingcoleman@gmail.com.

Following are excerpts from Dr. Mathews letter with notes on Kingsport people and references to various natural calamities that affected this area.

“1869. The infamous Saxby Gale broke the dykes of Grand Pre, Wolfville, Wellington dyke, (and) made a true island out of Nova Scotia by uniting waters of the Minas Basin with the Northumberland Strait and made a true island out of Long Island with the creation of Boot Island

“June 4, 1894: A fearful electrical storm passed over the province. In Kings County the storm lasted about an hour; the wind was unusually high, the fiercest ever known in the County, and the rain mingled with hail was heavy. Ornamental trees were uprooted, orchards were badly damaged, barns were blown down; windows were broken and in some cases cattle were killed by falling trees.

“1902: The western end of the Kingsport dyke was built up and extended directly to the bank of the Habitant (Canning) River high water line.”

In 1906, Dr. Mathews writes, there was heavy flooding on dykelands in the Kingsport area. As a result of the flooding some properties were threatened and Dr. Mathews recalls that at least one house had to be moved out of the way of the flood. “Due to the approaching waters the home built by Capt. Isaac F. Masters, on the north side of the road leading to Indian Point, was moved to the north side of Loomer Hill (now labelled Longspell Road). This house was eventually purchased by Elijah I. Loomer (1852-1928) the Kingsport Customs Officer.”

Mathews says that Capt. Masters built his home on his marriage in 1850 to Martha Newcomb and the property was the north border of the Kingsport dykelands.

In a footnote on the Kingsport dykelands, Dr. Mathews notes that in 1857 they were allotted to some of the families associated with the area from the time of the Planters, the Palmeters, Loomers and Bigelows, “farmers of Kingsport and Medford.”

Historic Sources

In last week’s column, I referred to several books as sources of information on the old Canaan Road. I’ve had a couple of calls asking if these books are for sale anywhere. The Pioneers of Canaan by Marie Bishop and the Morristown-Factorydale history are available at the Kings Historical Society museum in Kentville. The Aylesford and district history by John and Twila DeCoste can be found in your local library (the Kentville library has a copy) and possibly Olive Lloyd’s Prospect history as well. I’ve seen copies of the Aylesford history at the Odd Book in Wolfville. Douglas Eagles’ Horton history is out of print and is difficult to find.

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