Like many people, I often wonder how street names originated and why once common place names disappear. Let’s take Lanzy Road immediately north of Kentville which runs west from Nichols Avenue/Road to Aldershot Road and a community name associated with it, Landsey Corner. How did people arrive at Lanzy as a road name and why did Landsey Corner disappear from usage? And what’s the connection between Lanzy and Landsey? The following column attempts to answer these questions.
On October 9, in 1913, The Advertiser carried a notice advertising an auction sale at Landsey Corner near Kentville. The sale would be held at the residence of Mrs. Eb. Landsey.
When I read the advertisement (which came from the archives of Kentville historian Louis Comeau) I assumed Landsey Corner was one of those place names “near Kentville” that for one reason or another had long gone out of local usage. The reference to the sale site as Landsey Corner, without any explanation as to where it was other than near Kentville, establishes that it was a recognized community name. I figured as well that it was an estate sale and Mrs. Eb. Landsey was a widow.
It was obvious also from the advertisement’s content that Eb. Landsey – we have to assume it was the late Eb. Landsey – had been a prosperous farmer. Listed in the advertisement were farm implements “comprising ploughs, harrows, mowing machines (and) garden tools.” Household furniture and effects were also being auctioned. On the block as well were the farm’s livestock which consisted of three horses, three cows and a pair of working oxen along with harness and wagons.
The advertisement in The Advertiser was significant in several ways. Gary Young has been researching the early landowners and roads in various areas north and northeast of Kentville – Aldershot, Pine Woods, Oakdene Avenue, Campbell Road and Middle Dyke Road, for example. The newspaper clipping helped to confirm what he’d discovered about the Landseys who were African Nova Scotians and early residents of land immediately north of Kentville, especially along what became known as Lanzy Road.
The Eb. Landsey mentioned in the auction sale was Ebenezar Landsey (1851-1913) whose ancestors, among other possibilities, may have been with the Loyalists that arrived here around the time of the American Revolution. Lanzy Road (also spelled Lanzie in municipal records) is named after his relatives. The Landsey farm was situated about where Lanzy Road, Campbell Road, Upper Church Street and Oakdene Avenue converge on Nichols Avenue/Road. This is the area that was once known as Landsey Corner. Ebenezar Landsey died early in 1913, hence the dissolving of his estate via the action sale. His widow apparently departed from this area shortly after Ebenezar’s death.
The Landsey family, writes Gary Young, was among the first inhabitants of African descent living in the area north of Kentville known as Pine Woods. The road on which many Landseys lived – Lanzy Road – was once known as Shadow Street. Young writes that Landsey is found today only in the name of a road, and that by the 1920s male Landseys either had died or had moved out of the area.
As suggested by the auction advertisement, Landsey was successful as a farmer, a livelihood curtailed when new roads were put in. Today the highway cuts through what was once the Landsey property. Much of Landsey’s land was expropriated when road changes were made around his farm. The changes provided a direct route north to communities, farm lands and the Minas Basin, eliminating the huge twist in Upper Church Street.
Now you know some of the story about Lanzy Road and Landsey Corner. What I haven’t gone into is the Landsey connection with some of the early settlers who were granted land in areas north of Kentville, the Chipmans and Belchers for example, the latter a slave owner. That, as they say, is another story and it’s a complicated one.