PINEO VILLAGE – THE STORY OF DISAPPEARING PLACE NAMES (January 21/21)

In 1864 the population of Pineo’s Village was in the neighborhood of 30 and most of its citizens made a living on the farm.

Never heard of Pineo’s Village? Well, Hutchinson’s Nova Scotia Directory for 1864-65 has it listed as a community in Kings County. We assume that to be listed in the Directory, Pineo Village must have been a substantial, well-recognized community. A blacksmith, two shoemakers, several carpenters and millers, and a Justice of the Peace resided in the community; as well, there was the mid-19th century equivalent of a post office – a resident, Arawnah (?) Randall, is listed as its way office keeper.

I’ve brought up Pineo Village as one of those curious examples of old Annapolis Valley place names that have mysteriously vanished off the map, existed only on paper (in deeds, for example) or have merged with nearby larger communities. I have in mind Horton Corner, the early name for Kentville, the sleepy little village that, once it prospered, became the bustling shire town of Kings County and changed its name. Then there’s Jackson’s Mill, said to be an earlier unofficial name for Coldbrook but probably existing only on paper. There are also curiosities like Brooklyn Corner, mentioned as a community in old deeds and shown on maps, but existing today mainly in the minds of people who have long memories.

Historical detectives, such as Garnet Misner of Chipman Brook, find that deeds and other documents they research often indicate the existence of place names now long gone. Amazingly, as well as finding long forgotten placenames, Misner’s research has often revealed the location of old Valley roads – Acadian and Planter – that time and land practices have wiped out.

In conversation with Misner recently, I mentioned being puzzled about the location of Pineo Village and that possibly it was connected somehow with Kentville. According to historical writers, Kentville, or the area by the town bridge, was referred to as Pineo’s Place by the Mi’kmaq. I questioned this, however, wondering if generations ago, given the times and racist attitudes, if anyone would record a Mi’kmaq place name.

Speculating on Pineo Village, Misner wondered if it might have been located near Berwick. The Pineo name was prominent there at one time – at least it was in one of the old graveyards in the Berwick area, Misner said. In the old directory, the Pineo name was prominent in the listing of residents of Pineo Village, a clue perhaps to how the village got its name.

Misner made another interesting observation while we were talking. In effect, he said some names of roads and places originated from the surnames of the first person(s) farming or settling on a trail or a piece of land. Pineo Village may be one of those places, but offhand I can’t think of other examples.

Anyway, if you are looking for the location of communities such as Pineo Village that have vanished – Randville, Condon Settlement, and Atlanta come to mind – then look at old documents such as the Church maps. You may be surprised by how many once prosperous communities, or at least their names, have disappeared.

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