It would likely take years of research to dig up and document the historical connections of a unique confluence of roads in Kings County. At this confluence, Upper Church Street, Lanzy Road, Campbell Road, and Oakdene Avenue converge on Highway 341 just north of Kentville. At that point, if two vehicles were driving from the north and from the south on Highway 341, and vehicles on the roads were driving to the highway, it’s possible that all six could meet head on.
All the roads mentioned, including the highway, are historical to some degree. There are Planter and Mi’kmaq connections; at least one of the roads is of Acadian origin and another has connections with Black Nova Scotians.
Let’s look first at Highway 341: Running south to Kentville, the highway becomes Nichols Road and then Nichols Avenue until it junctures with Cornwallis Street. Heading north, the highway was once part of Church Street – until circa 1930 when the province decided to cut Church Street off and ran the highway straight north to Upper Dyke and Canard, crossing Church Street on the way. All of the acreage around Nichols Avenue/Road and Highway 341 is land frequented by the Acadians and were grants to the Planters after the expulsion; this includes all of the land around Campbell Road, Lanzy Road, and Oakdene Avenue.
In his meticulous searching of old deeds, a Kentville native now living in the Bahamas found indications that Nichols Avenue/Road, Oakdene Avenue, and Campbell Road were “probably second generation, constructed to connect Cornwallis Township land grants to wood lots.” Gary Young said that Nichols Avenue/Road was laid out in the 1850s as an extension of Cornwallis Street (Cornwallis Road as it is identified in some deeds).
Nichols Avenue/Road becomes Highway 341 and as mentioned in my preamble, it is joined just beyond Kentville by Lanzy Road, Campbell Road, and Oakdene Avenue. Lanzy Road is associated with a Black Nova Scotia family, the Landseys. Samuel Landsey was deeded land around the mouth of Lanzy Road by William Chipman, a descendant of the original Chipman grantee. Landsey was a prominent farmer in the Lanzy Road area (Landsey became Lanzy over the years) and any history of Black families in Kings County would be incomplete without his biography.
Church Street is one of the most historic roads in Kings County. Obviously named by Planter descendants for the churches on it, it’s almost certain there was an Acadian church there as well. Running from the uplands towards Minas Basin, the road must originally have been a Mi’kmaq trail that the Acadians adopted.
As mentioned, the land around Campbell Road and Oakdene Avenue were Planter grant lands. Over the years this land was divided and subdivided, making it difficult for researcher such as Gary Young to trace ownership of the various pieces. Young writes that Campbell Road was referred to by various names in 19th century deeds, East Road, for example. The road is named after a Scottish family that farmed along what originally was a rough tract.
Like Oakdene Avenue, Campbell Road connects with Belcher Street, and for a reason. Writing in various Kings County newspapers in the late 1890s, Edmond Cogswell refers to Belcher Street as the old trail. Running parallel to the Cornwallis River, Belcher Street undoubtedly was a Mi’kmaq trail used to reach Minas Basin fishing grounds. Perhaps Oakdene Avenue and Campbell Road (and Middle Dyke Road) originally were side trails the Mi’kmaq blazed to reach hunting grounds.
But getting back to where I started, with that unique confluence of roads; note that from this point you can drive or walk in any direction and into Kings County history, the history of the Mi’kmaqs, the Acadians, the Blacks, the Planters and other earlycomers (if there is such a word) to Kings County.