LOOKING FOR THE ELUSIVE SIX ROD ROAD (January 14/05)

In 1950 The Advertiser published a history of Habitant, written by Ira L. Cox, remembered as a local historian who penned articles about the early days of northern Kings County. In his history Mr. Cox traced early land grants in this area, noting that originally the area “seemed to be divided among four individuals” with the surnames of Loomer, Cox, MacKenzie and Wickwire.

Describing these grants, Cox has the distinction of being the only historian I could discover who acknowledged the existence of a mysterious Kings County road. Several years ago I mentioned in this column that a great road was conceived connecting the Minas Basin with points farther west and with Bay of Fundy ports.

The Six Rod Road is part of the oral folklore of Kings County. Old-timers still talk about it, and there are references in property deeds and various legal documents; there’s even the likelihood that some of the great road was laid and is extant today, incorporated in some cases in existing roads or remaining as overgrown trails skirting various communities or running through private property.

But despite the folklore and some written evidence indicating that parts of the Six Rod Road were probably constructed, no official records have been found confirming there was such a highway, or when it was planned and started, and by whom. For example, local historian Leon Barron has scanned countless government documents and sessional papers of the 19th and early 20th century and has yet to find mention of the road.

As I said, Ira L. Cox is the first historian I could find who mentions the road. In describing the four original Habitant land grants, Cox writes that the six rod road marks the northern boundaries of them. “These grants of lands extended from the (Habitant) river on the south,” Cox writes, “to what is still known as the six-rod-highway, on the north.”

I first heard of the Six Rod Road from Leon Barron and after mentioning it a couple of times in this column (column 1, column2, column3), I’ve come up with various tidbits of information. I suppose it isn’t important to put together a history of the road since it was only one of various insignificant byways and trails that were once in use here. However, as an old friend used to say about seemingly trivial things, it would be “nice to know.”

I’d like to hear from any readers aware of folklore or documentation regarding the road. In the meanwhile, here’s some of the information I’ve collected to date:

From Leon Barron, folklore passed on from people of his father’s generation that the road’s terminal was Kingsport and it purpose was both military and commercial. This folklore has it that the road would connect the Minas Basin with Bay of Fundy ports.

From Barron and Lewis Hazel that some of the Rabbit Square Road and the road called the Dill Branch, both roughly north or north-west of Canning, are part of the Six Rod Road. Hazel, who worked on Kings County roads and has an intimate knowledge of some of the older tracts, told me the Six Rod Road was supposed to have run west to Annapolis.

From Mildred Elliott that the deed to their property mentions the road in describing the boundaries of their land. From Blaine North that the driveway of his property near Canning is part of the Six Rod Road; the old road ran through his property, North says, and traces are still visible.

 

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