I’ve always wondered if Christmas was as important a religious celebration in earlier times as it is nowadays.

In an entry from the 1835 diary of Deacon Elihu Woodworth, for example, we find no mention of Christmas whatsoever. Woodworth’s diary for 1835-1836, a publication of the Wolfville Historical Society, contains an appendix mentioning Elihu had a close association with the Presbyterian-Covenanter Church and was its chief administrative officer.

In other words, while Woodworth was obviously was a man of deep religious convictions, we find in his diary for December 25, 1835, that he spent the day butchering a cow. “Dec. 25. Soft weather. Cut up 510 lbs. beef,” the diary entry reads. No mention is made of Christmas in the December 24 or December 26 entries either.

In the diary of Adolphus Gaetz, 1855-1873, (a Public Archives of Nova Scotia publication) we also find Christmas being totally ignored. However, the Woodworth and Gaetz diaries are not typical records of Christmas celebrations. Glimpses of Christmas in earlier days can be found in two works by Wolfville historian, James Doyle Davison. From Davison’s work on Handley Chipman, for example, we find the following:

“… towards the end of the 18th century, the proprietor of the household that included several servants would recognize the occasion (Christmas) in a special way,” Davison wrote of British customs. Of our Planters, however, Davison notes that while they paid little attention to Christmas, it was customary to celebrate it at home “with an extra helping at dinner.”

Davison gives us another view of Christmas in his book on Eliza Ann Chipman, Eliza of Pleasant Valley. Mr. Davison writes that Alice “passed the Christmas month without any reference to an observation or special celebration.” He then follows with an excellent overview of early Christmas celebrations here and touches on its German origin and the origin of Christmas cards and Christmas trees.

Davison Quotes Dr. John Burgess Calkin, who wrote extensively on Christmas customs in Kings County in the 19th century. Davison’s source most likely was Eaton’s Kings County history. Eaton quotes Calkin extensively, especially regarding Yuletide customs, and here we find that turkeys, geese “or perchance a young pig” were the main fare on Christmas Day.

In the history of Greenwich (Greenwich Times, published 1968) we find that Christmas was a special time for the early settlers of this area. However, the observations on early Christmas customs in this area appear to have been taken from Eaton’s Kings County (whom as we know was quoting Calkin) so nothing new can be found there.

If you wonder what Christmas was like in your grandfather’s day, I refer you to Glen Hancock’s wonderful book, My Real Name is Charley. Most of us seniors will remember the Christmases that Glen writes about. The long-awaited adventure with Dad to find and cut the Christmas tree, the school plays, home-made fruit cake, the goose (turkeys weren’t “in” yet) for Christmas dinner, which seemed to take forever to rend and roast.

And one more glimpse of Christmas in earlier days, this from Leslie Eugene Dennison. Writing about Yuletide celebrations in the 1870s, Dennison recalled a memorable Christmas when he received his first pair of steel skates. Until then, he said, all his skates had been wooden with steel runners and straps.


The Canard River dyke system has been in existence in one form or another for more than 300 years, Advertiser columnist Brent Fox said in a November talk at the Kings Historical Society. But while the Canard dykes have a “secure future as a living, working artefact of our heritage and agricultural industry,” Fox said we often seem unaware of their existence and their impact on this area.

Fox noted that we take many of our local roads for granted, not realising they resulted from the dykeing work of the Acadians. “We take Highway 359 to Hall’s Harbour for granted; and Highway 341 to Upper Dyke, the Middle Dyke road between Chipman’s Corner and Upper Canard, Highway 358 between Port Williams… and Canning, and the road between Starr’s Point and Lower Canard,” he said.

All of these highways either pass over or near the aboiteaux and cross dykes “the Acadian built more than a quarter of a millennium ago.”

Fox suggested there should be interpretation sites on the roads over the Canard dykelands. Such sites would define our Acadian heritage and the Acadian influence on our landscape and environment.

In his address, Fox traced the history of the Canard River system from the time of the Acadians. “The Acadians constructed the first dykes on the system across Sheffield Creek (a tributary flowing in from the north) and across the Canard River itself,” he said. “The system, culminating with the Wellington Dyke at the mouth of the river, is about five or six miles long, extending from north of Starr’s Point to north-east of Camp Aldershot.”

At one time the Canard dykes were a “large tidal marsh or lake, depending on the height of the tide.” Over the years the tides washed valuable soils into the marsh, soils, Fox said, “that would eventually be useful for agriculture once they could be reclaimed.”

The first efforts by the Acadians, who arrived here in the 1680s, included cross dykes “upon which the whole system would be based,” Fox said. “Called aboiteaux, these go across the flow to cut off the tide waters while letting water out at low tide,. They were, in effect, dams, of which the Wellington Dyke is the remaining working vestige.”

In a second phase the Acadians began a more ambitious project on the Canard River in the area we know as Middle dyke road.

“The new Middle Dyke doubled the previous tillable acreage,” Fox said. From the Middle Dyke the Acadians built running dykes that spread east. “On the north bank they bowed quite close to the watercourse. On the south bank they erected a similar… structure, the Long Dyke.

“Behind the Long Dyke the Acadians had a windmill. So prior to the construction of the fourth Canard aboiteau, or Grand Dyke, boats could come up to the windmill to unload grain and onload flour.”

With the Middle Dyke work completed the Acadians began the biggest project of their era, Fox said. This was the Grand Dyke, which when fisnished would protect about two-thirds of the river valley, almost 2,000 acres, from the salt tides.

“All this was done with hand tools,” Fox said, “and one can only imagine the enormous organisation that was needed….”

The remaining structures are a monument to their efforts, Fox concluded.


The Acadians are said to have operated two mills in Kings County but apparently little is known about them. Various sources that refer to the mills are vague as to their location and source of power, noting only that they may have been tidal water or wind driven.

Much more is known about the mills operated by the settlers that followed the Acadians. From what I’ve read, there must have been dozens of mills in this area alone; it appears that every major community had one, water driven at first, then steam and gas engine powered until the arrival of electricity.

According to Eaton’s history, a village immediately north of Kentville, Steam Mill, had the first steam-driven mill in the county This mill was operating before 1849. In Kentville and along the upper reaches of the Cornwallis River and its tributaries there were a succession of water-powered mills; one of the first on the Cornwallis was built by the Marchant family around 1840.

Recently I talked with Fen Wood whose family took over the Marchant mill over 100 years ago. Fen still lives at the mill site on Lovett Road in Coldbrook. The mill was located on a bend in the river immediately behind his residence. From about 1850 to 1898 the mill was operated by Nathan west; in 1898 the mill was purchased by Fen’s father, John.

“It was a water mill at first when Dad got it,” Fen recalls. “We had two water wheels and later a 25 horse gas engine was added. We didn’t have enough of a head, only six to eight feet, to operate only solely on water power, so we ran the water wheel and gas engine together.”

Fen recalls working at the mill after school as early as age 12 or 13 in the early 1920s. “We were a saw and planing mill at first, ” Fen recalls. We didn’t run too big a business but we made moulding, sheathing, siding and all that kind of stuff.”

Later the Woods began threshing grain at the mill. “We just ran the threshing mill at harvest time in the fall when the grain was on. In those days everything came in on horse and wagon, horse and wagon team, in late summer.”

Fen was in his teens when his father took steps to ensure the mill would no longer be at the mercy of Cornwallis River water levels. “When power came through in the 30s we hooked up to it and installed an electric motor.”

After graduating from university most of Fen’s working life was spent at the mill. He was in university when his father was hurt in an accident at the mill. This happened in the late 30s and Fen and his brother Don took over the operation. “Dad could still work but he wasn’t at full capacity after the accident,” Fen said, “so it was up to Don and me to keep the mill going.”

Woods Mill was one of the last lumber and threshing mills in operation on the Cornwallis River, and it probably ranks as one of the mills longest in operation in this area – over 130 years. Fen Wood shut the mill down 25 years ago. Most of the original mill property is still in his family but few traces of the old mill remain.

After the mill closed Fen worked in the woods “for a while” before retiring. At 89 he’s still active in the Kentville Gyro Club where he’s a 50-year member.

EARLY TRAVEL WRITERS FROM 1890 TO THE 1950s (November 30/01)

One of Nova Scotia’s better-known natives, Will R. Bird, is noted as the author of numerous books with historical themes.

Bird is perhaps less known as a travel writer – that is, if his two books about exploring the province can truly be called travel writing. In these books – Off-Trail in Nova Scotia and This is Nova Scotia – Bird explored the lesser known byways of the province in the early 1950s, digging out its history and collecting quaint anecdotes and local lore.

If you’ve never read these books, I recommend you put them on your Christmas list. Bird captures the essence of the long settled areas he visited, and in the seaside communities especially he has faithfully projected their marine flavour.

Will R. Bird wasn’t the first to write books about exploring Nova Scotia, however. Nearly two decades before Birds’ books appeared, Ryerson Press published Down in Nova Scotia by Clara Dennis. This book, and I believe another by Ms. Dennis in the same vein, explores the remote regions of the province. Like Bird does later, Dennis retells local legends, interviews colourful characters and gives short historical accounts of various communities.

If you compare the Dennis and Bird books, you’ll note immediatly how the latter appears to copy the format and style of the former. They are much alike, perhaps because the authors had the same publisher. Bird’s books are better known and are still in print as paperbacks. Dennis was also a native Nova Scotian (and perhaps connected with the daily newspaper Dennis family). Her book(s) are no longer in print that I know of but can be found in local used book stores.

Even earlier, another famous Maritimes writer, Charles G. D. Roberts, authored articles that were similar in content to the Dennis and Bird books. Roberts is best noted as a poet and the author of nature study books; he is less known as a writer of history and it’s difficult to imagine that Sir Charles would stoop to churning out prose of a commercial nature aimed at the tourist trade.

However, this is precisely what Roberts did in the Canadian Guide-Book in 1891. At the time Roberts was professor of English Literature in King’s College, Windsor, a position he held from 1885 until 1895. He had already made his mark as a poet and had at least two volumes of poetry published before he researched and wrote the 1891 edition of the Canadian Guide-Book. I called it a tourist book and it was all of this and a bit more; the subtitle claiming it was a tourist and sportsman’s guide to eastern Canada and Newfoundland.

Roberts’ work in this publication may have inspired Dennis and Bird. I have several copies of pages from the Guide for this area and like Dennis and Bird, Roberts mentions a bit of local history. Otherwise, the Guide was meant to be something a tourist carried and read before he set out to explore the countryside. The language is plain for the most part, but on occasion Roberts indulges in some fancy and poetic prose.

The Wolfville of 1890, for example, is “embowered in apple-orchards, and ranged on a sunny slope facing the marshes, the Blue basin and Blomidon.” The Cornwallis Valley has “deep alluvial soil of quenchless fertility’ and its climate, “the sparkle of sea air.” In Kentville, there is a “brawling amber brook,” and “everywhere is close to everywhere else.”


Sometime between 1830 and 1850 my great grandfather David Coleman, along with two or three brothers, emigrated to New Brunswick from the county of Cork, Ireland. From New Brunswick David and at least one brother, James (and possibly a brother John) went to Nova Scotia, settling here in Kings County. David farmed in the Huntington Point and Centreville area all of his life and is buried somewhere in the County. He was of the Catholic faith when he arrived in Kings County, but after a family squabble over religion he left the church.

Most of the Colemans listed in the Kentville directory can trace their ancestry to David and his brother or brothers. Until recently, however, David Coleman has been a sort of mystery man. I began to look for information on him years ago but for the most part it was a fruitless search. It seemed for a long time that while David lived and prospered here, no record of his life existed other than what was passed on by word of mouth.

I’d like to tell readers about my search for David Coleman, if for no other reason than to make similar searches for others easier. When I began my search I learned that the Kings County Historical Society has recorded every gravestone existing in Kings County cemeteries. The readings, which were done in 1980 and again in 1990, may be accessed at the courthouse museum in Kentville. The cemetery records are also available on disk.

I began my search with the tombstone records but it was a dead end. Either my great grandfather had no stone or it had fallen down and deteriorated or had been destroyed. Whatever the reason, there is no record of him in the Society’s tombstone records. My next step was to read the massive collection of obituary notices that are filed at the museum. These are indexed and are an excellent resource for anyone looking for their ancestors.

Unfortunately no record of David Coleman existed in the obituary files either. However, on computer in the family history section of the museum are records from the census of 1871 and 1901. It was here that I found my first reference to David Coleman and a list of the children by his second wife, Frances Goodwin. My grandfather’s marriage record in the computer database confirmed that this David was indeed my great grandfather. The marriage records should be checked when searching for ancestors since they often list the parents of the bride and groom and have other information that may be valuable.

The Ambrose Church map of Kings County was also consulted in my search. This map shows roads and the name and occupation of the people who live along them. I found David Coleman here, living on the road to Hall’s Harbour in 1872 when the Church map of Kings County was completed. I also consulted the various old directories and almanacs that are on file at Acadia University. These books usually list residents of communities and like the Church maps, give their occupation.

Eventually I extended my search to the Internet and I recommend that you do so as well. At I found a group devoted to the Coleman surname. I posted a message about my great grandfather, and asked for help. I figured this was a longshot and was dumbfounded when a message came from Florida about my great-grandfather, my great-great-grandfather and other 19th-century relatives.


In 1932 newspaperman Leslie Eugene Dennison was asked to reminisce about the early days in his hometown of Kentville. The result was a detailed article about life in this area in the late 19th century that was serialised in The Advertiser. In an earlier column, I took readers on the street tour that Dennison made of Kentville as he remembered it in the 1870s. In this column, we travel with Dennison as he describes a quaint Kentville in a time when apparently there were oxen, family cows and farms in what is now the downtown business core.

“Kentville sixty years ago was a small county village. Its inhabitants were chiefly the descendants if the first settlers, with a few families of railroad officials and workers from the Old Country.” (Comment: Many of Kentville’s early leading families were connected with the railroad and in a sense, the railroad made the town.)

“Ox teams were common in the streets, with cordwood in the winter, or hay and produce in the fall. A ‘speculator’ would load a car of potatoes for market, or a schooner or brig would load at Port Williams or Canning. Many Kentville families kept a cow, pastured in the summer in nearby meadows. They would get hay from the farmers for the winter. Families in the fall laid in the winter’s supply of cordwood and vegetables.

“If I remember aright, John Quierole (Johnny Queerall to us boys) had the first meat market in town. It was on Main Street, opposite Robert Masters’ drug store across the street from the former Advertiser office.” (Comment: The “nearby meadows” mentioned above were probably located along the Cornwallis River. “Cordwood” was probably the main source of winter fuel in the period before Cape Breton coal was available.)

“Some of the older men, including my great uncle, William Forsythe of Coldbrook, still wore their trousers buttoned across the front, as man-of-wars do now. High collars and cravats were in vogue. Some of the older ladies wore shawls and poke bonnets. Prince Alberts and tall hats were the Sunday attire of the older men. I remember well the furore created when John P. Chipman wore a ‘pepper-and-salt’ business suit to church.”

Mr. Dennison continues his account with a description of clothing worn by boys and girls in the 1870s. Can a reader tell us more about the unusual garments he mentions – “cow’s breakfast”, “clouds,” etc.

“Boys wore ‘cow’s breakfasts’ in summer, generally made at home if living on farms. The girls wore sunbonnets tied under their chins. In winter young women and girls wore bright-colored ‘clouds’ and ‘fascinators.’

“In winter boys generally wore ‘reefers’ and a woolen scarf around their necks, woolen mittens, and ‘long boots’ in some cases made by Kentville shoemakers. Angus Johnson and later Dennis McCarthy were makers of comfortable footwear. Boots and shoes were ‘pegged’ and sewn by ‘waxed ends’ with a pig’s bristle split and end of thread passed through a needle. Stitching by machine came later. Glengarry caps in fall and winter were worn by the boys. The ones with red pompoms were much sought after. Barry Calkin and Fred Terry had caps that were the envy of us smaller boys.”

As he continues his narrative, Dennison describes the winter activities of boys and girls in the 1870s. This will be the topic of a future column.



Dan Conlin, curator of the [Maritime] Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax, e-mailed me recently with an update on the wreck found in Wolfville harbour. And from a Halifax reader, Dr. Frederick A. J. Mathews, comes information about shipbuilder Ebenezar Cox and some facts about early shipbuilding on the Cornwallis River.

Readers will recall that in a previous column on the investigation of the Wolfville harbour wreck I ran an interview with a reader who suggested it was a mud scow that sank about 60 years ago. Mr. Conlin tells me that findings by the marine archaeologists who surveyed the wreck preclude this possibility.

“The two underwater archaeologists Willis Stevens and Ryan Harris are certain this vessel was not a barge or scow,” Conlin writes. “(The person who suggested the wreck was a scow) had a good detailed memory of a flat-bottomed, square shaped scow and these timbers were curved with fine bow lines and a tapering stern. The planking is also different from scow and barge construction.”

The search for the wreck’s identity continues, Conlin said. “On the bright side, we can chalk up the knowledge of these unrelated wrecks, the 18-ton schooner wreck in 1878 and the mud scow wrecked in 1939, as useful information turned up in the search for the identity of these timbers.”

I received several letters from Mr. Mathews regarding the Cox family including the shipbuilder, Ebenezar. Mr. Mathews included some genealogy with his letters which may be of interest to anyone researching the Cox family.

In one letter Mr. Mathews writes that he has a “listing of vessels built on the Cornwallis River at Kentville in the 19th century.” These vessels were the 200 ton brig Mason’s Daughter, built in 1813 by Handley Chipman, and in 1846 a barque called the Kent, tonnage unknown, built by James Edward Dewolf.

I’m curious to know Mr. Mathews source of information; that is, if it can from a source other than Eaton’s Kings County history.

“Years ago,” Mathews writes, “I came across mention of a grist mill that was built and operated at Kentville on the Cornwallis River.” I’ve seen several references to mills on the Cornwallis and on tributaries of the river (including an Acadian mill) but have nothing concrete as far as dates and names go. Hopefully Mr. Mathews will recall where he found his reference when I contact him.

As I mentioned in a recent column, I’m collecting information on the Cornwallis River with the hopes of preparing a history that looks back at least 250 years. This will be posted on my website and a hard copy will be offered to libraries and historical groups. I hope that reader who have information about the early days of the river will contact me. Anything and everything will be useful. A letter mentioning the river, a story about the Cornwallis that was passed on by a grandparent, even photographs and postcards that can be copied will help fill out the river’s story.

And speaking of rivers, here’s a question about the Gaspereau River bridge at Whiter Rock. Was it once known as the Eagles Bridge?

To read more about the Cornwallis see the historical columns on my website. E-mail address:


In my opinion, no finer history of the Dominion Atlantic Railway than Marguerite Woodworth’s 1937 work has ever been written.

It is to Woodworth’s excellent book that we turn this week to look at a man who left his mark on the D.A.R. and the Annapolis Valley. This was George E. Graham who became general manager of the D.A.R., three years after it was acquired by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Graham arrived in Kentville in November 1915 and proceeded to take over a railway system that had become obsolete and was badly in need of modernising.

One of the first things Woodworth mentions about Graham is that prior to becoming general manager of the D.A.R. he had never east of Montreal. Graham, Woodworth said, “was quite unfamiliar with the topography of the country, its people, and of local conditions.”

Realising these factors were important in the operation of the railway, Graham immediately set out remedy his shortcomings. “Graham left no stone unturned to remedy this omission,” Woodworth says. “In a remarkably short time he had gained a knowledge of Nova Scotia and Scotians that is seldom met with among the people themselves.” Graham steeped himself in the history of the province and its famous landmarks and says Woodworth, “even wrote a short history of Nova Scotia.” A history, by the way, that “lies forgotten in the railway archives.”

As general manager of the D.A.R., Graham left his mark on the Annapolis Valley. Before Graham’s time, an act passed by the Nova Scotia legislature had set aside Grand Pre as historical grounds and a memorial to the Acadians. Long a Mecca of Acadians and American tourists the area offered visitors no more than “rolling dykelands and a row of old French willows” until Graham convinced the D.A.R. to purchase the site and establish a memorial park. Graham undoubtedly realised the park would attract visitors and the D.A.R. would benefit from increased tourism traffic. This proved to be, and while he may have had commercial motives, we can still thank Graham for the lasting Acadian memorial that resulted from his efforts.

When Graham became general manager of the D.A.R. there was no major hotel at Digby, a popular destination with American tourists. Graham convinced the D.A.R. to purchase and remodel the Pines hotel which had been closed for some time. The Pines was “renovated and newly equipped, new cottages were built around it and in 1918 it opened its doors to visitors.” The hotel was immediately successful and Graham turned his attention to Kentville, which had long been lacking major tourist accommodations and “stood badly in need of a good hotel.”

To remedy this situation the D.A.R. at Graham’s prompting purchased the old Aberdeen Hotel in 1919. “The old structure was repaired… new equipment installed, the grounds were landscaped and the hotel rechristened the Cornwallis Inn,” Woodworth writes.

Graham later was instrumental in building a new Pines Hotel in Digby. Soon he was pushing for the building of a larger and more modern hotel in Kentville; the result was the 100-room Cornwallis Inn which opened in 1930 offering “service and comfort equal to the best hotels on the continent.”

Woodworth praises Graham for his involvement in community affairs as well. His “personal contribution to the development of the community… is no less noteworthy,” she writes, saluting him for leadership and farsightedness.


In the book In Search of Ireland the author, H. V. Morton, quotes a man from Killarney as saying, “We Irish, we’re an aggressive, superstitious lot an’ we’re blamed for many things.”

Anyone familiar with the Irish riots in the early days of railway building in the province might agree that some Irishmen are indeed aggressive. And superstitious as well, given the large body of Irish folklore about fairies and leprechauns.

You might even agree that in the past two or three hundred years the Irish can be “blamed for many things.” Lately, I read, for example, that without stretching facts much, one can blame the Irish for the popularity of Halloween in some parts of the world. A recent article in a religious publication, an article tracing the pagan roots of Halloween, said in effect that the Irish were responsible for the rapidly growing popularity of the event in Europe.

“Following the potato famine in the 19th century,” the article reads, “Irish immigrants took Halloween and its customs to the United States. From there it has returned to Europe in the past few years.”

The article went on to say that the growing popularity of Halloween in countries such as France is “not viewed favorably by all.” In France, Halloween is being attacked as a custom with pagan roots that presents a danger to established religions. An editorial in the newspaper Le Monde said that “Halloween, which coincides with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (November 1 and 2) and could even replace them, is making shopkeepers happy and panicking churchmen.”

What prompted the anti-Halloween article in the church publication is the recent upsurge in popularity of this event in Europe. “Formerly viewed as an American holiday, the article said, “Halloween has spread around the world, becoming popular with both children and adults.”

France has wholeheartedly embraced Halloween, said the article, and nearly one-third of French households celebrated the event last year. In Italy, Halloween is described in the article as “a current fad… a boom that is sweeping the country. From Germany, the article quotes a leading newspaper which states that more German citizens than ever before do not want to miss out on the gruesome fun of Halloween. Halloween has established a foothold in Japan as well where “pumpkin parades with thousands of participants have been held in Tokyo.”

And yes, the Irish apparently started it all.

Halloween’s roots go back before Christianity, to the era when ancient Celts inhabited Ireland and Britain. The Celts divided the year into two seasons, the dark winter months and the light summer months. On the full moon nearest November 1 the Celts celebrated the festival of Samhain, meaning summer’s end. During this festival, the Celts believed that the veil between the human and supernatural world parted and both good and evil spirits roamed the world.

It is said that it was Irish monks who, weary of fighting pagan customs, combined celebrations such as the festival of Samhain into church festivities. This may explain why Halloween remained with the common people in Ireland as a harmless custom. And why when the great wave of Irish immigrants arrived here, Halloween came to Canada and the United States.


“You and Leon Barron and others have done a remarkable job of finding information about the Kingsport ship designer and builder Ebenezar Cox,” writes Wolfville historian L.S. Loomer in a letter to this columnist. “Sometimes, however, luck succeeds amazingly where much hard digging finds bits, pieces and frustration.”

Mr. Loomer was leading up to an amazing discovery he had made in old newspaper files, or actually microfilm files of newspapers nearly 100 years old. The discovery was an interview with Ebenezar Cox when he was 75 years old, an interview originally published in the Middleton Outlook and reprinted in the Wolfville Acadian on February 26, 1904.

Cox, along with his grandfather Ebenezar Bigelow, was one of the master builders in the days of sailing ships. Operating in Kingsport, Cox is credited with building and designing some of the finest sailing ships in Canada. For approximately a 30-year period beginning in 1864 Cox designed or supervised the building of an assortment of schooners, brigs and barquentines. Like Bigelow before him, the Cox name was synonymous with shipbuilding and there was no finer in Canada.

Ebenezar Cox is said to have built and designed a total of 30 sailing ships but apparently there wasn’t a complete list and no one was sure of the order in which they came off the ways. Mr. Loomer notes that the Cox interview contained a list of “all 30 of the vessels designed and built by Ebenezar Cox” and the order in which they were constructed. The list was made up by Cox himself for the newspaper reporter who conducted the interview and contains valuable information about the shipbuilder’s career.

“Ebenezar Cox began shipbuilding in 1864 in partnership with his brother William A. Cox and Joseph Woodworth at the site of the later steamship wharf in Kingsport, ” Mr. Loomer’s letter continues. “Their first vessel was the Diadem, schooner, 158 tons, owned by Captain J. Jaline, who was also her sailing master. Diadem was abandoned at sea en route from the West Indies on her first voyage. the second vessel was the Oak Point (the old name of Kingsport) brig, 266 tons, 1865.

“The partnership was dissolved. Woodworth proceeded alone as owner of the shipyard with Ebenezar Cox as designer and master builder. William Cox left the firm. Under this arrangement three vessels were built.”

Loomer list the three vessels and their fates, and the additional vessels built by Woodworth in partnership with New Yorker Charles Barteaux (whose names is given various spellings by marine historians). Loomer lists all the vessels built by the new partners, all apparently taken from the Cox interview, and the vessels completed by later shipyard owners P. R. Creighton and C. R. Burgess with the Cox as the master builder/designer.

The Ebenezar Cox interview is a great find and undoubtedly will be acclaimed by marine historians. And made use of I hope by the people currently working on rejuvenating Kingsport.

Mr. Loomer is to be congratulated on his discovery. He is noted locally for his ongoing diligent research into old newspaper files, records and journals and he has often come up with material that has enriched local history. His efforts this time have resulted in discovery of a valuable piece of shipbuilding history.