A KENTVILLE HOUSE WITH ACADIAN CONNECTIONS (October 17/11)

Remarking on possible Acadian homesteads around Kentville and New Minas in his Kings County history, Arthur W. H. Eaton notes that one George Terry built a house “over a French cellar,” located on what was once the Post Road. This property at 229 Main Street in Kentville, the Terry-Young House, was designated a heritage property in 1995.

It’s uncertain if George Terry actually built this house at 229 Main Street, but evidence gathered from deed searches indicates he likely did. This would make the house nearly 200 years old, establishing it as one of the oldest homes in Kentville.

Early in the 1990s efforts were made to determine the history of this old residence and chronicle its Planter and possible Acadian lineage. The search was instigated by Elizabeth Tarrant-Young around 1992, culminating in the house being designated as a provincial Heritage Property in 1995.

The deed search mentioned above was conducted by a local historian, Heather Davidson. Ms. Davidson determined that the Main Street property was part of a farm lot first deeded to John Bishop Jr. in 1761. Over the years the property changed hands several times. In 1819, George Terry purchased a small section of the property and is believed to have built the house that now stands there. As mentioned by Arthur W. H. Eaton, the house was constructed on the remains of an Acadian cellar. The cellar, described in several reports as a fieldstone “curved Acadian cellar,” is part of the east side basement of the house.

In the report she prepared for the Department of Tourism and Culture, Heather Davidson’s deed search doesn’t mention any Acadian connection with the Terry-Young house. When she profiles the various owners of the property since 1761, however, Eaton’s reference to the Acadian cellar is quoted. Eaton may have been speculating about the origin of the cellar but it isn’t likely. According to several sources, Eaton had a hands on approach to the history of Kings County; that is, he often walked the land once occupied by the Acadians, doing a few “digs,” and was able first hand to pinpoint old homesteads.

We have to assume Eaton was correct about the Acadian origin of the basement wall in the Terry-Young house. This makes the house unique and it probably was one of several factors that lead to it being declared a heritage property.

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