PLACE NAMES THAT HAVE VANISHED (April 23/04)

A long-time county resident says he is a bit disturbed because the municipality insists on placing his home in Scots Bay. “I don’t live in Scots Bay,” he says. “I live in the community of Scots Bay Road.”

He’s quite correct about that. There is or once was a community known as Scots Bay Road and some people living in this area still think of it as such. A map of Kings County circa 1920 indicates Scots Bay Road and Scots Bay were separate communities. Charles Bruce Fergusson’s Place-Names and Places of Nova Scotia acknowledges this as well; but while he lumps Scots Bay and Scots Bay Road under one heading, he gives the 1956 population for each community as if they were separate entities.

Scots Bay Road is just one example of many Kings County place-names that have vanished from county records, and exist today only on older maps, in historical records and in that nebulous thing known as oral history.

Where, for example, is Hamilton’s Corner? Even though it’s mentioned in Eaton’s Kings County history and it’s only a few minutes drive north of Kentville’s town limits, you probably never heard of it. Bet you know a place called Jawbone Corner though. Who hasn’t heard the story of how the jawbone of a whale was used as a gatepost on a gate at the corner. Jawbone Corner and Hamilton’s Corner are one and the same. Oddly, Eaton says the area was first called Jawbone Corner (or simply The Whalebone) and later was changed to Hamilton’s Corner after a Planter grantee. Why Hamilton was forgotten and the jawbone of the whale replaced him as a place-name no one knows.

Okay, another place-name test. These communities, Randville, Sunnyside and Jackson’s Mills, are only a few minutes drive from Kentville. Some of you probably know that Sunnyside was once the name of a community between New Minas and Greenwich and it exists now only as the name of a road; but what about the others?

Well, if you’ve driven over Borden Street, the road between Canning and Sheffield Mills you had to pass through the long gone community of Randville. The community name probably disappeared when the government closed the Randville school and amalgamated it with the Canning school. Jackson’s Mills is the old name for Coldbrook, according to an 1864-65 Nova Scotia directory. In Memories of Coldbrook, Marie Bishop writes that one Isaac Jackson came to Coldbrook in 1861 and established a lumber mill; he may have given the area its earlier name.

No more tests. Here are some community place-names that have disappeared with the contemporary name in brackets. Bass Creek (Medford); Middle Pereau (Delhaven); Upper Horton (Wolfville); Oaklyn (Lockhartville); Fisher’s Corner (Grafton); Bull’s Corner and Pineo Village (Waterville); Five Points (White Rock) Shingle Brook and Givan’s Wharf (Harbourville); Buckley’s Corner (Grafton).

In her Kentville history, Mabel Nichols gives the town’s early name as Horton Corner so we can add this to our list of vanished place-names. Gone too is the place name of Atlanta, which is behind and just west of Sheffield Mills. Long gone are the South Mountain communities behind Gaspereau of Union Street, Albert Mines, Etna and Vesuvius. Also vanished as place-names are the communities of Brooklyn Corner north of Coldbrook, Condon Settlement south of Cambridge, New Ross Road and immediately north of Kentville, Pine Woods.

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