SKETCHES OF TWO FENIAN RAID VOLUNTEERS (March 15/11)

In a [January] column I listed 15 Kings County natives who served in the local militia during the Fenian scare in the 1860s. The list came from a Nova Scotian born collector of military artifacts and history who now lives in British Columbia.

In the column I asked readers to contact me if anyone in the list of militia volunteers was an ancestor, hoping they could tell me what became of them. Some of the volunteers were awarded medals and given grants of land for their service. In some cases, the grants were for land in other provinces which could mean they may be long forgotten by relatives who still lived here.

However, this isn’t the case with two Fenian volunteers. I’m pleased to report that I have thumbnail sketches of two Kings County natives who served in the militia during the Fenian period and the have family here. I have Randy Rockwell of Waterville to thank for these sketches. Rockwell is writing a history of Waterville. During his research he came across the names of Nathan Best and Foster Parrish of Waterville and he provided the following information on them.

“Nathan Best was the son of Richard Tritten Best who was one of the first families to settle in the Waterville area in the 1820’s. Nathan is listed as a carpenter living on Brooklyn Street in Grafton in the Hutchinson’s directory of 1864-65. He purchased land in Waterville in 1870 and built the house that Carl and Barb Best have lived in for the past 50 years. Nathan was a well known carpenter and sold and installed metal ceilings, like the one in Carl and Barb’s home. Nathan died on January 4th, 1918.

“Nathan Best had a son named Harris R. Best who was for many years one of Kentville’s leading building contractors and chief of the fire department. He built hundreds of homes, businesses, a number of DAR stations and public buildings. Harris was also a member of the Hiawatha Lodge IOOF for 52 years, a mason and a member of the Kentville Baptist Church Choir.

“Foster Parrish’s name can be found on the old Church map of Kings County in South Waterville. Foster’s great grandson and great great grandson still live and farm this parcel of land. When I contacted his great grandson Harold Parrish, he knew nothing about his ancestors’ experience in the militia or a medal.”

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