In 1816 one Isaiah Smith sent a petition to the government asking for aid in establishing a stage coach run from Halifax to Windsor.

At the time there were only two good roads in the province. Termed “great roads,” one ran from Halifax to Truro, the other from Halifax to Windsor and on to the Halfway River near Hantsport. These roads were full of ruts, holes and wash-outs and during spring and fall were almost impassable. Lesser roads were in much worse condition.

Smith’s petition for aid was granted by government and he was awarded 100 pounds, provided he run the stagecoach service for one year. In his petition, Smith said he would provide two coaches, sleighs for winter and 12 horses. Apparently, he was prepared to run his coach service even if the government refused aid. Well before he received the government grant, Smith had purchased his equipment and was advertising an upcoming stagecoach service in the newspapers.

Isaiah Smith began his first run on the 14th of February in 1816. At 2 p.m. that day the first coach left Halifax. The coach accommodated six passengers at a charge of six dollars each and carried small parcels at a reasonable rate. The inaugural run of some 45 miles took nine hours.

Initially, the coach from Halifax to Windsor ran once a week. In the spring a semi-weekly service began. In a paper read before the Nova Scotia Historical Society in 1936, R. D. Evans reported that in May a twice weekly run was started, the coaches now carrying eight passengers. “Quick service” (!) was maintained, Evans said, “by a change of horses every 15 miles.”

Thus began the first stage coach service in Nova Scotia; apparently, it was so popular that one “Mr. Todd” immediately began a competing run from Halifax to Windsor. In 1828 another competing line opened, the Western Stage Coach Company, which ran three times weekly in summer and two or three times a week in winter. By this time the run from Halifax into the Valley had been extended as far as Annapolis.

Imagine hopping on a stage coach in Halifax in 1828 and taking at least 16 hours to reach Annapolis. What do we do it in today, well under three hours at the very least via the 101? R. D. Evans said that the Western Stage Coach Company was committed to a 16-hour run but “this was an absurd provision which had to be ignored in actual practice.” The run, he said, was closer to 20 hours.

Until the railroad arrived, the stage coach lines were the only “existing connectors” and Evans put it between the main towns and villages in the Annapolis Valley. From Halifax the stage coach lines eventually ran in all directions – to Truro, Pictou, the South Shore and to Yarmouth. In the meanwhile, roads were slowly improved but they were still hazardous in winter and spring and would continue to be so until long after the automobile’s arrival.



The Acadians have been described as an innocent, peaceful and ill-used people, most historians agreeing that their expulsion was cruel and unnecessary. If you look at early accounts of the post-expulsion period, however, you get a slightly different view.

In Henry Youle Hind’s book, which I quoted from last week, there are various accounts of clashes between Acadians and the militia. As mentioned before, the book was supposed to be a history of an old burial ground in Windsor, but Hind covers a lot of Kings County history around the expulsion period. If you take his accounts as gospel, then it appears the Acadians were more militant and less peaceful than they’ve been portrayed.

A few quotes from Hind’s work illustrate this point. Hind sympathised with the Acadians, noting that the history of their deportation has “not been yet been fully or truthfully told.” It is a “heartrending story when the details are gathered and fitted together,” Hind writes, and then goes on depict some Acadians as dangerous to the health of the young Planter settlements around Minas Basin.

“The minutes-of-council… states that it had recently been discovered that the ‘said Acadians had collected and concealed in secret places in Kings County, in this province, a considerable quantity of ammunition for small arms.’ This shows the necessity which existed for ample precautions.”

Hind writes that “on account of the (hostile) Indians and Acadians,” it was necessary to build a blockhouse in Piziquid or Windsor to protect settlers in the townships of Horton, Cornwallis, Newport and Falmouth. He later writes that it was difficult to keep enough soldiers in the area to protect the new settlers and “many who arrived soon returned to their homes in New England, Rhode Island and New Jersey in consequence of the fear of the Indians and wandering Acadians.”

Such was this fear that the government found it “indispensably necessary for the safety and security of the settlers to send 130 Acadians from Kings County to Halifax under a guard of the militia of the county.” This was in 1762 when the new colony of Planters was still flexing its wings. Shortly after the forced march to Halifax of the 130 Acadians, martial law was declared in the province, and every healthy male was called up to serve in the militia.

What, you may ask, were 130 Acadians, some of whom apparently were able bodied men, doing in the province long after the expulsion? There’s another tale to be told here, one in which male Acadians were held as prisoners at Fort Edward in Windsor and forced to work as labourers.

Actually Hind writes that 320 Acadians were held at Fort Edward “nearly seven years after the expatriation movement in 1755.” Most were women and children, Hind says. He hints at some hanky panky when it came to “victualing” the Acadians held hostage at Fort Edward; several hundred more Acadians than were actually held at Fort Edward being shown on a food list, for example.


“It must suffice for the purpose of this brief retrospect, to state that large numbers of the Acadians… escaped to the woods and joined their allies, and in numerous instances family connections, the Indians, taking with them many cattle. Each year their strength was increased by accessions from those who stealthily returned from the New England or southern provinces, or by refugees who have fled to the woods in the devastated region about Grand Pre, the rivers Canard and Habitant…

“The duties of the troops from the close of 1755 to 1765 were arduous and painful. The Acadians and the Indians appear to have been hunted down as a necessary, though distressing, precautionary measure.

“Those of the Acadians who were not killed were kept as prisoners when taken, many of them voluntarily surrendering in order to escape starvation.”

You won’t find these post-expulsion glimpses of the Acadians in popular history books such as Eaton’s Kings County history, Will R. Bird’s Done at Grand Pre or the history of Grand Pre by Herbin.

In fact, I took these quotes from a most unusual source, a book you’d never expect would have any history of early Kings County or of the Acadians. Before I tell you what that book is called and where you can obtain it, here’s another fascinating tidbit from it about this area:

“The forests were rich in fur-bearing animals and moose. The rivers teemed with fish, and the sea was alive with many species of marine animals not found at this day in the Basin of Mines, or only discovered at rare intervals.

“In 1766 the Indians alone bought into… the Trader’s store at Cornwallis (Kings County) 1000 Beaver, 50 Otters, 80 Fishers, 300 Martins, 300 Mink, 100 Muskrats (and) 50 Bear skins.

“In the Canard River alone, the Rev. Hugh Graham records an average of 85,000 shad taken each year, beginning with 1787. The number he gives as subjoined: 1787, upwards of 100,000; 1788, 100,000; 1789 about 70,000; 1790 about 70,000 (for a) Canard River yearly average (of) 85,000. In the Habitant (Canning) River, 1789, 120,000; 1790, 70,000. The average annual catch of shad in Cornwallis this period amounted to about 135,000 barrels.”

So where did I find this detailed historical data, which while mundane is interesting?

In 1889 one Henry Youle Hind took it upon himself to write a Sketch of the Old Parish Burying Ground with the aim of seeking to preserve the same. His work was reprinted in 1989 under the title An Early History of Windsor, Nova Scotia.

As you can see from the quotes I’ve taken from Hind’s book, it’s much more than a Windsor history. In fact, it’s also more than a sketch of an early Windsor cemetery. Hind writes about the Acadians, the Mi’kmaq and the Planters in Hants and Kings County and there are glimpses you won’t find in other historical books about thepost-expulsionn period. Where, for example, will you find that the 1784 “muster” (or census) taken in the Kings County townships of Horton and Cornwallis found there were “91 men, 37 women, 44 children above 10 years, 27 children under 10 years (and) 37 servants” for a total of 237 persons.

Hind’s book is found in local libraries and can be purchased from the West Hants Historical Society.


In an October 15 column, I mentioned that a 1914 map indicated the existence of a community near Canning called North Corner. Later, Canning historian Ivan Smith wrote that he had a 1928 map showing a place called “Norths” in the area where Wilf Carter’s family once lived. Smith said he wondered what this name meant until he saw the October 15 column. “Your column clears this up,” Smith wrote, “assuming that the location ‘Norths’ agrees with the location of ‘North Corner’ you referred to.”

I quoted Mr. Smith in a follow-up column on October 29, noting that his e-mail letter appeared to solve a mystery. Actually, as I found later, I made a wrong assumption. Norths and Norths Corner (North’s Corner) are not the same place. Leon Barron, who grew up in the area, tells me that Norths where Wilf Carter briefly lived and North’s Corner are separate places about two miles apart on the same road.

Neither Norths nor North’s Corner were recognised as communities, Barron says. “Community” being used here in the sense of a place having a school, recognised boundaries and so on. However, Norths and North’s Corner were place-names since they are shown prominently on the 1914 map and on the 1928 map. Most people think of North’s Corner as being part of Woodside, Barron said, adding that “Norths is basically Upper Pereau.”

Leon Barron also told me that North’s Corner is shown as an address in today’s telephone book. Look up Ms. Bessie North in the Canning section, Leon suggested, and you’ll find that it gives her residence as North’s Corner. Which I did, finding that Leon was right. I also called Ms. North and asked her if she knew anything about the origin of North’s Corner. She explained that her family has lived on the corner, in the house she now occupies, for over 100 years. Over the years, Ms. North said, three families of Norths have occupied the house, which was built by her great-grandfather, Silas Patterson, over a century ago. She added that Patterson was one of the top carpenters in his day and built houses that are still standing in Port Williams and Wolfville.

Finally, I looked up Norths and North’s Corner in the bible of place-names, Charles Bruce Fergusson’s Place-Names and Places of Nova Scotia. North’s Corner isn’t in this book, probably being too small to rate a listing even though it was important enough to show on the 1914 map.

It’s a different story with Norths, which is listed in the Fergusson book, and it appears that it was once an important community. Fergusson writes that this “rural area is located about three miles north of Canning,” and it was “probably named for the North family who were early residents.” Fergusson adds that settlement began in this area shortly after Cornwallis township was granted to the New England emigrants in 1761, making it one of the earliest communities in Kings County.

Apparently, both the Norths and North’s Corner place-names originated from the concentration of North families in these areas. One wonders why Norths disappeared as a place-name and today is called Pereau or Pereau Road while North’s Corner is still in use, if only as an address.


The Mitchell Map has been described as the “most important map in North American history;” and unless you’re really into history, your comment on reading this likely will be, “I never heard of it before.”

This was my reaction when I came across mention of the map on Ivan Smith’s website, the Nova Scotia History Index. Mr. Smith undoubtedly has one of the most extensive Maritimes history sites on the web today. While Smith’s main interest appears to be anything related to our early industries, he delves into many little-known aspects of provincial history. As well as the history of early power and telephone companies in Nova Scotia, for example, one can find postings on such diversified topics as the Saxby Gale, Prince Henry Sinclair, the 1929 earthquake, Oak Island and so on.

Getting back to the little-known Mitchell Map, the important role it has played in North American history is explained on Smith’s website and other related sites. The map was produced by Dr. John Mitchell, a distinguished physician and scientists who was born in Virginia and emigrated to England in 1746. Mitchell produced his first draft in 1750 and it was first printed in 1755.

As is explained on the web, Mitchell was worried about the French expansion in North America and “concerned that the British protect their interests there.” He was commissioned by the Board of Trade and Plantations to produce a map defining British claims in North America. Apparently, Mitchell studied the histories of all the colonies in order to produce a map that argued for British control of most of the continent. He spent five years studying “much manuscript and documentary information,” using the most trustworthy sources available including the records of the Board of Trade and the British Admiralty. The result was a detailed and precise map that was “universally accepted as the best depiction of North America from its first appearance through to the end of the century.”

Why is the Mitchell map so important? To put it the map in perspective, here are a few quotes I’ve selected from websites Ivan Smith has linked to his History Index: “The most comprehensive map of North America produced during the Colonial Era, it represented the various territorial claims made by not only the competing British and French empires but also by the various British colonies.

“It has accordingly served, as recently as 1932, in legal disputes between eastern states. More importantly, it was the map on which the boundaries of the new United States were defined by American and British negotiators in Paris in 1782-83; in that capacity, it has continued to be of importance right up to the 1980s US-Canadian dispute over the Gulf of Maine fisheries.”

“The Mitchell map was used as the primary political document of America, called upon whenever a border dispute came up. When the negotiations to end the (American) Revolution were concluded in Paris in 1783, it was Mitchell’s map upon which the border between Canada and the United States was described and it was used subsequently in numerous border disputes right into the early 20th century. The map became in effect the official map of North America during the last half of the 18th century and even into the 19th.”

For a look at the map that “made North America,” follow the link [look for 1755 February 13] found on Ivan Smith’s History Index.


They could have called it the handy, dandy little historical paperback for history buffs at a few dollars. Or even titled it Kings County history in a nutshell for history nuts.

Thankfully I wasn’t around when staff of the Kings County Museum selected a name for the historical booklet they published earlier this year, so these titles weren’t considered. They called the booklet Historic Kings County, subtitling it, A look at the history of Kings County through pictures and stories.

This was an appropriate title (and subtitle) for the booklet since it describes the contents perfectly. Frankly, you won’t find a better historical reference on Kings County anywhere today. Andrew Clinch of the Kings Historical Society spoke of it as offering “both a look back at the past, and a valued keepsake for the future.” As well, he called it a “pictorial history,” and this best explains what the booklet is all about.

Basically, Historic Kings County is a collection of old-time photographs and historical sketches of over 30 Kings County communities. Besides the community sketches, there are many historical articles and countless old-time photographs from grandpa’s time and beyond.

Well, I shouldn’t say “countless old-time photographs.” I just took a minute to count them and there are about 100 old prints in all, many of them taken by the county’s most famous photographer, A. L. Hardy. There’s a thumbnail sketch of Hardy’s career as well and a story about the subject in one of his better-known photographs. This is the photograph Hardy took of folk hero David Costley, the “bear man of Nova Scotia” who was recognised by Queen Victoria for his exploits. Which, by the way, consisted mainly of supplying bearskins for the hats worn by Buckingham Palace guards.

As mentioned, Costley’s story in digested form can be found in the booklet. You’ll also find short articles on our Acadian heritage, on dykes and those mysterious hay staddles, the legends associated with Cape Blomidon, county shipbuilding, and so on. There are easily some 40 plus historical vignettes, all with interesting tidbits on the origin of our county communities.

Getting back to the photographs, if you like looking at old-time scenes you’ll be delightful with the pictures presented in the booklet. Thanks to the digital scanning by Larry Keddy, the photographs in the booklet, even those over 100 years old, are sharp. The majority of the photographs are from the late 19th and early 20th century.

What also amazing about Historic Kings County is the price. As I mentioned, it’s amazingly low For three dollars you get one of the best historical references on Kings County in print today. Copies of the booklet are available at the Kings County Museum, Cornwallis Street, Kentville.


In last week’s column, I wrote about the infamous John Gorham, leader of a mixed band of New Englanders, half-breeds and Mohawks that in the 18th century fought against the Mi’kmaq in the wilds of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Apparently, Gorham and his band roamed through the Annapolis Valley on several occasions. In fact, a clash between Gorham’s Rangers and the French and their Mi’kmaq allies in a hollow on the western outskirts of Kentville may have been the source of a massacre legend.

The hollow where the clash is said to have taken place has several names. In local folklore, it’s known variously as Moccasin Hollow, Bloody Hollow, Bloody Gully, Bloody Run and Golden Hollow. A noted Kings County historian, the late Ernest Eaton, dubbed the event that gave the hollows it macabre titles the “Legend of Bloody Hollow.” The event has also been called the “Moccasin Hollow Massacre.” Various historians, among them Edmund Cogswell, in an 1895 newspaper paper article, Murdock in his history of Nova Scotia, A. W. H. Eaton in his Kings County history, 1910, Leslie Eugene Dennison, in a 1932 newspaper article, and Mabel Nichols in her Kentville history, 1986, refer to the clash that took place in the hollow.

In his Kings County history, A. W. H. Eaton writes that in 1752 a company of British soldiers, possibly under the command of Colonel John Gorham and Major Erasmus James Phillips were ambushed “by a party of French and Indians” in Moccasin Hollow “and were cruelly slain.”

In investigating the “massacre,” Ernest Eaton pointed out a couple of errors in A. W. H. Eaton’s account. First, the 1752 date is wrong and the clash took place in 1747. It’s likely that it wasn’t British soldiers but Gorham Rangers under Gorham and Phillips that were ambushed. Ernest Eaton also says that contrary to what A. W. H. Eaton wrote, it’s probable that the French and Indians got the worst of the clash. Given the frontier reputation of Gorham and Phillips, Ernest Eaton said, it is more likely that they turned the tables on the would-be ambushers and surprised them instead.

“The Indian’s fear of the spot suggests they may have got the worst of the encounter, ” Eaton wrote in a paper on the clash, which is available at the Kings County Museum. He also points out that the clash at the most was of a minor nature, despite what some local historians have written. It’s also possible, Ernest Eaton said, that people may have confused the Moccasin Hollow clash with the Noble massacre at Grand Pre. Some of the folklore about the Grand Pre incident and the Moccasin Hollow clash are identical.

Anyway, it appears that Gorham’s infamous Rangers and Gorham himself were involved in the Moccasin Hollow incident; and like it or not, Capt. John Gorham has a minuscule role in Kentville’s history.


Does anyone recall the controversy that arose six years ago when a proposal was made to name a road between Bedford and Sackville the Capt. John Gorham Boulevard?

As you may recall, the proposal was quickly panned. As human rights activist and historian Dr. Daniel Paul publicly pointed out, honouring a man who enforced “colonial scalping proclamations” was shocking. Dr. Paul was supported on his stand by editorial writers of various provincial newspapers.

Eventually, the controversy fizzled out and the proposal to honour Gorham was quietly dropped. But not without a few voices being raised in his defence.

During the discussions about the propriety of honouring a historical figure with an atrocious past, however, little was revealed about Gorham’s character and the times he lived in. Dr. Paul tells us, for example, that Gorham led a ragtag group of “mostly Mohawk warriors… with a sprinkling of whites and half-breeds,” the so-called Gorham’s Rangers. Paul wrote about the atrocities perpetrated by the Rangers on the Mi’kmaq and Acadians. Gorham himself is portrayed as a shadowy, evil figure and we learn little else of substance about him.

Gorham was active in a time when treacherous acts of all sorts were taking place, and it has been argued that he was simply a man of his time. Gorham had served under Col. Arthur Noble, for example, and had left Noble’s regiment a few days before the Grand Pre massacre of Noble and his soldiers. Previously, Gorham was with Noble during the assault on Louisbourg.

It has also been suggested that forces such as Gorham’s Rangers were necessary during frontier days in Nova Scotia since settlers were ill-equipped to handle the constant harassment by the Mi’kmaq. Writing in 1839 on the settlement of Halifax, T. B. Atkins puts the use of Gorham’s Rangers in perspective.

“During the Indian hostilities (1749 – 17– ) opposition of the part of the colonists was altogether of a defensive nature. The regular troops, as well as the undisciplined militia, proving unfit for such warfare, it was found necessary to employ the New England (Gorham) Rangers. These were private troops – volunteers from the interior of Massachusetts and New Hampshire – accustomed to Indian warfare.”

John Gorham was the fourth generation of his family in North America to serve in the military. He arrived in Nova Scotia in 1744, accompanying a military force from New England that was sent to relieve the besieged garrison at Annapolis Royal. Gorham had with him 50 picked Indians, said to be Mohawks according to some historians but most likely a mixed group as stated by Daniel Paul.

Gorham’s Rangers immediately proved their worth as a fighting force. Applying unorthodox tactics, or as one historian put it, “methods not commonly employed by British regulars, including the applied use of terror,” the Rangers shifted the military balance in favour of the British.

After taking part in the siege of Louisbourg, Gorham returned to Nova Scotia with an even large force of Rangers, some 100 in all, and proceeded to strike out against the Mi’kmaq. It is to Gorham’s detriment that he vigorously pursued a career as a bounty hunter, preying in some instances on helpless Mi’kmaq. Daniel Paul reports that in one instance, Gorham and his Rangers brought in 25 scalps to Halifax and not all were Mi’kmaq.

Unbelievably, Gorham was honoured by the government for his war on the Mi’kmaq. His career reached its apex in 1749 when he was appointed to the governing body of the province, the Nova Scotia Council.



One of my recent columns prompted a letter that solved a mystery, while another letter concerning this column raised a few questions that may never be answered.

In the October 15 column, I wrote that a 1914 map indicated the existence of a community near Canning called North Corner. This caught the eye of Canning historian Ivan Smith who wrote recently via e-mail that this column “clears up a minor mystery” about North Corner.

Ivan Smith says there is a map “showing the location of Wilf Carter’s home when he lived here (now owned by Mark Parent). This online map is based on a 1928 topographic map; the name ‘Norths’ shows clearly at the location where Wilf lived.

“I noticed this a year ago, and have been wondering what this name meant. Your column clears this up. I’m assuming that the location ‘Norths’ on the 1928 map agrees with the location ‘North Corner’ you referred to.”

I mentioned in this column that the 1914 map indicates Church Street apparently in earlier times was recognised as a community. Ivan Smith writes that “this recognition was given legal form at least once. Chapter 104 of the 1922 Acts of the Nova Scotia Legislature authorised the ‘inhabitants of Upper Church Street’ to form the Upper Church Street Electric Light Commission ‘to supply themselves with Electric Lights’.”

A postscript here. Church Street, is listed in C. Bruce Fergusson’s Place-Names and Places of Nova Scotia. According to Fergusson, the community had a school as early as 1836, and a postal way station was established there in 1855.

In an e-mail letter, David Webster asks if the hollow I referred to in the October 8 column – an area Acadians avoiding the expulsion used as a hideout – is one he’s familiar with. “Your description,” Webster writes, “sounds a lot like a hollow that is several hundreds paces magnetic South of the south-west corner of the reservoir that supplies water to somewhere in New Minas.”

Mr. Webster writes that he and his wife discovered the hollow some 30 years ago and have gone back to it quite a few times. I wrote in the October 8 column that oral history has long linked the hollow and the Acadians. However, Webster says, “I am aware of no folklore associated with the hollow.”

Mr. Webster also asks if it makes sense that Acadians attempting to avoid expulsion would use the hollow as a hideout. “If you wanted to hide in the woods, and keep a lookout for possible French ships, would you pick a steep-sided hollow with a narrow passage at each end (tailor-made for ambush), that was far from navigable waters, not close to a look-off, close enough to trails/roads for your smoke to be detected …? Those who did would surely not last two years.”

On the folklore about Acadians forts or stone houses in this area, Webster believes the historical basis for them is the “Old Stone House” at Poplar Grove. In a letter to this paper (as yet unpublished) Mr. Webster wrote that my October 8 column “about an all-Acadian fort has added more twists to the confused and conflicting folklore about the ‘French fort’, ‘Stone House’ or ‘Priest’s House’ variously located at Glenmont, south of New Minas on a hilltop, in Greenwich and now south of New Minas in a hollow.”

All these versions are dubious, Webster says. He suggests that the “probably correct basis for these legends” is the Old Stone House at Poplar Grove “that was rescued from oblivion by Sherman Hines.”

Mr. Webster adds that this house, which was built in 1699 by the French, is marked on a 1756 map as a fortified church.


There were various mills in the Acadian settlements of Grand Pre, New Minas, Gaspereau and Canard and historians have long speculated on where they once stood. Obviously, most of the Acadian mills would have been water driven, which helps narrow the search for possible sites; however local folklore mentions at least one windmill in these settlements. Historian/botanist John Erskine writes, for example, that there was an Acadian mill on the Canard Dykes just off Church Street that was driven by wind power.

Erskine says that a clearing on the dykes north of Church Street was “at one time called Windmill Field.” There, Erskine said, were “many stones scattered around” which may have been the “foundation of the windmill of which nothing else remains but the name.” There’s also a prominent rise in this area which local folklore says was the windmill site.

Erskine believes that there were at least two Acadian mills in New Minas. “At the foot of Jones Road,” he writes, “is the Griffin House beside a small tumbling brook. Here at one time a set of blacksmith’s tools were found, and beside it a series of gristmills have been swept away since Acadian times.” In his Kings County history, A. W. H. Eaton places a mill near the same site; “Not far off there was a mill,” Eaton says when referring to the Griffin house.

Erskine also places a mill, possibly of Acadian origin on Elderkin Brook, which runs out of the Research Station ravine, under #1 highway between Kentville and New Minas and empties into the Cornwallis River. “There used to be a tidal mill, working on the principal opposite to that of the aboiteau of the dykes,” Erskine notes. It isn’t certain that this mill was Acadian, Erskine says, “but on the west side of the road beside the mill-race are seven species of trees and shrubs associated with the Acadians.” This is feeble evidence, Erskine says, “but millers needed to live near their mills and usually they left some of the Acadian flora behind.”

Sheffield Mills gets it name from being the mill site established by a family named Sheffield. However, the Acadians may have had a mill well before the Planters arrived. Erskine says that before the Sheffields, “two or three New England names” operated mills on the site. “The oldest name of all, ‘Montique’, may have been an Acadian monticule, meaning the small knoll on which the early mill stood.” Bruce Fergusson (Place-Name and Places of Nova Scotia) confirms the Acadian connection with Sheffield Mills, saying it was at one time called Mills Montique.

Looking elsewhere in Kings County, Erskine suggests there were many Acadian mills in the Gaspereau Valley. These mills were mainly located on the south side of the valley. Here, says Erskine, various brooks drain the South Mountain and all are of “satisfactory size for Acadian mills.”

However, determining which brooks had Acadian mills is difficult, Erskine says. “Millstones (found on these brooks) do not help because Acadians and Planters alike bought their millstones from New England.” Instead, he suggests that we look for flora the Acadians left behind as the surest evidence of their mill sites.