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South Colchester Communities

In this section, various historic events were gathered on the communities of South Colchester by the Nova Scotia Archives and Records Managment and related here, accordingly. Please select from the following list to read the Community of your choice.

Alton

Brentwood

Brookfield

Burnside

Cloverdale

Coldstream

Eastville

Forest Glen

Fort Ellis

Gays River

Glenbervie

Halfway Brook

Hilden

Lanesville

Meadowvale

Middle Stewiacke

Miller

Newton Mills

Otterbrook

Pleasant Valley

Smithfield

South Branch

Southvale

Stewiacke
Cross Roads

Stewiacke East

 

West
St. Andrews

 

Wittenburg

Alton
This rural area located about a mile south of Shortts Lake in central Nova Scotia.  Land in this area was laid out for Captain Robert Bethell and Corporal Patrick Foy of the Kings Orange Rangers in 1799. In 1821 a grant of land was made to William Polly, who evidently settled here, for the place came to be known as Pollys Bog.  In 1880, this name was changed to Alton by an Act of the Provincial Assembly.  Possibly it was named after Alton, Hampshire, England. Population in 1956 was 150.

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Brentwood
This rural area is located about a mile east of Shortts Lake in central Nova Scotia.  The original name, “Grahams Siding”, was probably given to the place in honour of a resident about the time the Intercolonial Railway was built in 1858.  In 1903 the name was changed to Brentwood, by act of the Legislature.  It may have been named after Brentwood, England.  In the 1870’s, the Graham brothers’ mill was located here and there were several Brentons in the area whose name may have prompted the place name.  At the time, “Alma” was the name used to designate the locality.  The land was granted to John Oughterson in 1812 and to John Witham and George W. Oughterson in 1821. John Oughterson, a Colchester County settler since 1767, never settled on his land, and part of it was regranted to John Witham, a Halifax merchant.  His son, George Washington Oughterson, settled here in the late 18th century and died in 1839. Population in 1956 was 107.

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Brookfield
This village is located about three miles north-east of Shortts Lake in central Nova Scotia.  The name was given by the early settlers from a brook running through their meadow.  The Indian name was Bankwenopskw, “we hunt him amongst rocks”.  William Hamilton of Armagh, Ireland and Daniel Moore were two of the earliest settlers in 1784.  John Archibald and William Downing came later.  John Hamilton settled here about 1793.   Population in 1956 was 807. Click here to visit the Elders Transcript Project website for more information about Brookfield.

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Burnside
This rural area is located on the Upper Pembroke River, in the eastern corner of the county, in central Nova Scotia.  “Burn” is a Scottish term meaning “a brook or rivulet” hence the name is descriptive.  Another early name was Odin after one of the Norse Gods.  The earliest grants in the area were made to Charles B. Blaikie, a native of Colchester district, and William Johnson, a native of Massachusetts, who settled in Stewiacke about 1785. Population in 1956 was 89.   

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Cloverdale
This community is located about five miles south-east of Shortts Lake in central Nova Scotia.  Its name was prompted by one of the natural features of the valley.  John Richardson emigrated from England in 1815 and was settled here by the time he received his grant of land in 1818.  Other grantees were: Adam and James Johnson in 1820, and John Witham in 1821.  In the 1870’s there were only four families living here, two of them being Johnsons. 

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Coldstream
This community is located in the southern part of the county, between the St. Andrew’s and Gays River.  It was named after Coldstream, Berwickshire, Scotland by Reverend Robert Blackwood, the Presbyterian minister at Gays River.  The Campbell family were early settlers in the late 18th century.  Grants of land were made to: Robert Fields, George Campbell junior and senior, Benjamin Campbell in 1812, Joseph and Moses Andrew in 1828. 

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Eastville
This is the eastern-most settlement in Colchester County and is situated on the Upper Stewiacke River.  It was so named by the inhabitants prior to 1866, and the name is descriptive.  Part of the village site was included in the 1783 Upper Stewiacke grant, and part was granted to Reverend Daniel Cock and John Logan in 1786.  Edward Fisher settled about 1831 on land at Upper Stewiakce adjoining the Cock and Logan grant.  

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Forest Glen
This settlement is located about four miles east of Shortts Lake.  The name is descriptive, and was given to the place by the inhabitants in March of 1858.  A lot of 300 acres was laid out for William Aikens on the old road between Brookfield and Middle Stewiacke, in the north part of Forest Glen.  In 1812, he died and his widow sold the land to John Pearson, who obtained a grant for it in 1814.  A house was built on the lot before April 1812 by either Aikens or Pearson, probably the former.  William Downing obtained a grant in 1812 which included the settlement and probably settled about that time since a nearby brook was named “Downings Brook”.   

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Fort Ellis
This community is located on the north side of the confluence of the Stewiacke and Shubenacadie Rivers, in central Nova Scotia.  A fort was built here in October, 1761 and named after Honorable Henry Ellis, Captain General and Governor-in-Chief of Nova Scotia.  From this the community takes its name.  The fort was abandoned and going to ruin by 1767.  Probably the first white settlement was begun by the French early in the eighteenth century.  By 1750 Vil Hebert, named for Pierre Hebert, a resident, was a small village.  The land here was part of a grant given to Governor Montague Wilmot.  It was purchased by Sir Alexander Inglis Cochrane in 1814 and sold by his executors to Charles W. Tremaine on November 1, 1833, at which time there was a farmhouse, dairy, two barns, and several outhouses on the property.  In 1841, the estate was purchased by James and Thomas Fulton. Population in 1956 was 110.

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Gays River
This community is located on Gays River, six miles south-south-east of Shubenacadie.  The First Nation's name was Wisunawon, “Beaver eastor”.  Gays River is said to have derived its name from a traveler by the name of Gay having camped on its bank for a night on his way from Halifax to Pictou before anyone had settled there.  First settlement began about 1780 with Daniel and William McHeffy, George Moore, William Cook, and Robert Blades.  Richard Mahaffy received a grant on the north side of the river on October 4, 1787.  Lots of land were surveyed for Peter and James Hawthorns and George Moore in April 1806.  On February 25, 1812, Elizabeth Moore was granted 500 acres and Samuel Moore was granted 250 acres.  George Hunter received a 200 acre grant on November 8, 1827. Population in 1956 was 104. 

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Glenbervie
This settlement is located on the Pembroke River, in the Upper Stewiacke Valley.  Two names are used in reference to this place.  Pembroke, the older name was given before 1866, probably for Pembroke, Wales.  “Glenbervie”, a name which originated after 1873, may have been given for Bervie, Kincardineshire, Scotland, with “Glen” meaning a secluded valley, added to make the name partly descriptive. John Cummings obtained a survey of land here in 1785.  Robert Deyarmond moved here soon after 1790 and received a grant of the land he had improved in 1811.  Matthew Johnson was settled and improving land by 1816 when his grant was made. 

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Halfway Brook
This settlement is located about three miles north-east of Middle Stewiacke, in the Upper Stewiacke valley.  Halfway Brook which gives it its name, is so called because it is roughly halfway between Middle and Upper Stewiacke.  The settlement is part of the Upper Stewiacke grant, but to the west, lots of land were granted to Alexander Miller of Truro in 1813 and Mary McLaughlin in 1816.  

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Hilden
This settlement is located about four miles south of Truro.  At the time that the Intercolonial Railway began operation in December 1858, the settlement was called “Halifax Road”.  A railway station was built and about that time a meeting was called to name the place.  “Clarksville” was suggested in honour of an old family.  The majority decided on “Johnstons Crossing” in honour of a man who had his farm on the baseline road which crossed the Halifax road at the railway.  In the 1870’s, “Clarksville” was used in reference to the western part of the settlement and “Johnstons Crossing” referred to the eastern half.  By act of the Provincial Legislature in 1895, the name of the settlement known as “Slabtown”, “Clarksville” and “Johnstons Crossing” was changed to Hilden, possibly after Hilden, near Belfast Ireland. Population in 1956 was 523. 

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Lanesville
This place is designated as a locality and is about three miles west of Crosskill Lake.  It was so named after early settlers named Lane.  In the 1870’s the only buildings were Mr. F. B. Tupper’s house and saw mill.  The earliest grant of land was made to Benjamin Sibley in 1854.  Other grants were made to: Shelometh Sibley in 1874, James Irwin in 1877, James Pool in 1877, William Gibson in 1878, Jeffry Burgess in 1822, and William H. Andrews in 1889. 

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Meadowvale
This settlement is located on the South Branch Stewiacke River.  It was so named before 1866, probably because of its proximity to the south meadow of the middle Stewiacke River valley.  Robert Taylor and John Blair owned land in this area before William Grant’s land was laid off in 1792.  Settlement probably began in the 1790’s and the village was evidently part of the Goshen settlement until it was renamed. Population in 1956 was 104.    

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Middle Stewiacke
This settlement is located on the Stewiacke River in central Nova Scotia.  It is situated about mid-way between the old settlements in the upper valley and the one around Fort Ellis, which prompted the name, “Middle” Stewiacke.  The land in the area was granted in 1786 to William Kennedy, who moved here from Truro in 1780.  Timothy Putnam, Simeon Whidden, David Fisher and his son John Parr Fisher, who were settled here by 1786.  James Archibald, who came to Nova Scotia in 1762, was also a pioneer on land east of Simeon Whidden.  In 1781, Samuel Teas from Ireland, settled on the south side of the river opposite Kennedy.  Simeon Whidden arrived about 1782.  James Rutherford, who came to Nova Scotia in 1773, settled here about 1801. Population in 1956 was 214. 

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Miller
Miller, or Miller Siding, as it is also called, is situated about three miles south of the confluence of the Stewiacke and Shubenacadie Rivers in central Nova Scotia.  It was so named for Miller who lived here at the time that a siding was constructed on the Intercolonial, now Canadian National, Railway line, hence “Miller Siding”.  The site is part of a grant made to Thomas Ellis Junior and Senior, George, John, and James Ellis, and John Turner in 1812.  A 500-acres lot east of here on the St. Andrews River had been in their possession since 1789 and was granted to Thomas Ellis.  This family formed the settlement in this area.  The Intercolonial Railway was completed as far as Stewiacke in November 1858 and opened for traffic to Truro on December 15, 1858.   

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Newton Mills
This settlement is located about four miles east of Upper Stewiacke, on the south side of the Stewiacke River.  Newton Brook was so named by Reverend James Smith, possibly in honour of an early settler. Population in 1956 was 148. 

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Otterbrook
This rural area is located on the brook of the same name, in the Upper Stewiacke Valley.  This brook was probably so named when early settlers found otters there.  The settlement which grew up took the name of the brook. Two of the early settlers were Richard Upham who came in 1785 and Hugh Dunlap who settled here in 1807. Population in 1956 was 104. 

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Pleasant Valley
This community is located about a mile north east of Shortts Lake.  Its name is descriptive.  John and Jesse Gourley, William Falkner, and John Oughterson received grants of land south of the Truro Township line, around Shortts Lake in 1812.  John McKilligan came here from Scotland about 1810 and obtained an order of survey for 250 acres, on the west side of the lake, on which he settled.  About 1819, Jonathan Archibald of Truro purchased and "...settled upon a piece of land ten miles from the village of Truro in a place that was then only beginning to settle”.  He completed the saw mill on the premises, added a grist mill, and was erecting a shilling mill in July 1821.  The land, however, was unfit for farming, and he desired a grant of land at Greenfield.  Robert Johnson was schoolmaster here in 1846. Population in 1956 was: Lower Pleasant Valley 53; Upper Pleasant Valley 88.

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Smithfield
This place is about a mile south of Dick Pike Lake, near Middle Stewiacke.  It was originally known as Whidden Settlemnet.  It was probably called “Smithfield” after James Smith, an early grantee.  Settlement was begun here in the 1820’s and 1830’s by David Whidden, Samuel Pryke and Richard Pryke.  David Whidden came about 1825. In 1900 there were about seventeen people in the settlement and in 1934, the last person moved out, leaving a deserted village. 

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South Branch
This settlement is located on the South Stewiacke River in central Nova Scotia.  The river was once called the South Branch of the Stewiacke River, and from this the settlement got its name.  In 1786, large blocks of land were granted to John Hanglen and John Archibald.  A mill was built here by James Dickie and William Putnam sometime between 1781 and 1793.  Much of the remaining land in the area was granted in 1813 to: John Archibald, John Archibald 4th, Samuel Davis and James Nelson. 

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Southvale
This settlement is located about two miles south of the point where the South Branch flows into the Stewiacke River in central Nova Scotia. The name was prompted by the location in the south meadow of the South Branch Stewiacke River.  In the early 19th century it was called Goshen, a name given by Robert Morrison facetiously, it being a somewhat rocky district.  A grist mill was erected here in 1790 by William Putnam.  In 1815, he and William Putnam Smith obtained grants of land in the area.  Robert Taylor and John Blair were in possession of land at the time that William Grant obtained a large tract in 1792.  Moses Wright settled here about 1826. 

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Stewiacke Cross Roads
This rural area is located about two miles east of Upper Stewiacke on the Stewiacke River.  The cross-roads referred to in the place-name is that of the road from the Upper Musquodoboit valley and the roads along both sides of the Stewiacke river which meet here.  The land was part of the large tract granted to fifty people in 1782 and settled by some of them within the next few years.  Matthew Johnson, who reputedly built the first house in Upper Stewiacke late in 1783, was driven from his home by a flood in 1792 and settled at Cross Roads. The population of Cross Roads in 1956 was 76. 

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Stewiacke East
This rural area is located on the lower Stewiacke River and is so called because it is the eastern part of the main population area in the Lower Stewiacke valley.  In the 1870’s it was called “Lower Stewiacke” and in 1901, “Lower East Stewiacke” was in use.  Arthur Goold of Halifax was one of the earliest grantees here in 1765, but he probably never improved the grant.  Anthony Marshall received a grant in 1767 and was probably one of the earliest settlers.  Captain George Von Put also received a grant here in 1785. Population in 1956 was 144.

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West St. Andrews
This rural area is located on the St. Andrews River, about four miles north of the Colchester-Halifax county line.  It was once known as Milltown.  St. Andrews was the old name for Wittenburg, and Milltown eventually became known as West St. Andrews, retaining the name when St. Andrews became Wittenburg.  The oldest grant was made to Thomas Woodworth Sr., in 1787, on what was then called Wilmot River.  Ephraim Wright purchased land here sometime before October 1806, and petitioned for a grant of more land, which he received in 1812.  William and Robert Wallace also obtained grants here in 1812.  Eventually Milltown consisted of five families: Cottons, Wallaces, Sibleys, and two Ramsay families. Population in 1956 was 64. 

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Wittenburg
This rural area is located about halfway between the Stewiacke and Musquodoboit Rivers about two miles north of the Halifax-Colchester County line.  It was once called St. Andrew’s supposedly because an early explorer camped there on St. Andrew’s Day.  About 1885, the name Wittenburg was suggested by Reverend E. T. Miller because the church resembled that on which Martin Luther nailed his thesis.  During World War One the German name seemed to denote a lack of patriotism, and a request to change the name of the district of Wittenburg was changed to Mapleville by Provincial statues in 1917.  Ephraim Wright was one of the first settlers at St. Andrew’s soon after his marriage in 1805. Population in 1956 was 66. 

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