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A History of the County of Yarmouth, N.S.
Chapter IX. Opening up of the County by-roads. Public Worship. First Ministers. Chebogue Church raised

THE decision of the question as to who were the possessors of the soil, and where that soil was, the raising of mills for different purposes, together with the very gradual extension of the fishing trade, gave an impulse to a matter of vital importance, viz :


Good roads, as no nation ever knew better than the ancient Romans, are the very marrow of the prosperity and progress of a Country. No doubt but travelling from place to place, in the first instance, must have been at once wearisome and dangerous; both of which are illustrated in Sealed Landers’ long journeys to and from Crocker’s Point, by way of Chebogue Point, and the absence of any kind of road from Chebogue to Argyle, necessitating a journey through treacherous waters in an open boat, as when John and Mrs. McKinnon lost their lives.

“Roads there were none. The rugged and rocky beach formed the only path over which the poorer people could carry, on their shoulders, a little modicum of corn, when they could get it, to Landers’ grist mill at Milton, which, with a saw mill erected over the eame dam, was one of the earliest attempts at improvement. The few who possessed boats made use of the water as their highway, and the only other mode of communication for several years were crooked and muddy foot-tracks, winding around stuflips and over roots, ascending every hill that could he found, not, as one might be led to imagine, for the sake of descending it on the other side, but to avoid the impassable swaflips which, in spite of this precaution, would now and then present a complete obstruction to the wayfarer’s progress. The intercourse between Yarmouth and Chebogue was carried on by following an Indian foot-path, marked out by blazed trees.”

And up till a certain point of time, there was little to induce, and nothing to compel the settlers to make public roads, or to do more than simply clear the approaches to their several dwellings. But I think that when once the Township was allotted, there were new reasons for fresh activity in improving the means of travel. No one, until now, knew where or what his lot would be; and they appear to have felt that before the question of ownership was settled, they could not, with any justice or prudence, incur the expense of making highways.

But the very next year after, viz., in 1768, there was very considerable activity at least in surveying, if not in actual work. Roads have to be surveyed before they are built. The first road that was laid out in this County, was one with which all who live in the Town are very familiar. It ran from the head of the Salt Pond at Chegoggin to Milton Bridge, and on south through the present Town, past the Sand-beach and Cove, to the corner of Hilton’s road, sending off a branch to Bunker’s Island (so called from the brothers Bunker, who owned it); and afterwards continued from Hilton’s corner to Rocky Nook, now called Rockville; but of this extension there is no record.

But, although the first to he laid out, this was neither the most important nor the first to he made. It was only & country road. The second that was laid out claimed precedence, for it was called

“THE HIGHWAY IN THE TOWN OP YARMOUTH,” and extended from William Curtis’ house, which stood on the west side of the road, exactly opposite the old poor-house, down the west side of the Chebogue river, past the Chebogue Burying Ground and Rocky Nook to Chebogue Point. This was designed to be the great thoroughfare of the County. So man proposes; but God disposes. It is not exactly so.

The next road that was laid out was on the east side of Chebogue harbour, and extended from Pinkney’s point to Durkee’s Island; and the two following were respectively that from Moody’s to Gowen’s corner, and Wyman’s road, extending from central Chebogue to Hibbard’s corner. All those roads were .laid out in one year, viz. 1768; and I believe we have stated the true reason for the impetus which such work received. There was nothing more done in this way till 1772, when Lovitt’s road, as far as the dyke, was laid out. And in the same year, that on the west side of Yarmouth harbour from the head of the Salt Pond at Chegoggin to Fish Point, was surveyed. About the same time the cross road from Hilton’s corner at the Cove (Indian “Walnaic”), to the1 old Chebogue Meeting House, was laid out.

Allusion is made in an early Record to a road existing in 1774 between the old poor-house and what is now called Arcadia, going as far as the bridge. All that is here stated, together with the laying out of a road across Bunker’s Island in 1778, and that on the east side of Chebogue River from Durkee’s Island to Arcadia, comprises the whole of the work, either surveyed or done, during the first twenty years of the settlement.

As for Argyle, it is doubtful whether for many years after this there were any roads worthy of the name. That district, never having been granted as a whole, but many of its most valuable lands given away to men who never saw them, suffered all the disadvantages of absenteeism and the want of combined interest. It is in no spirit of neglect that the Township of Argyle has no fuller notice in those and all other topics; but simply from the circum3 stance that where records and facts are wanting, details cannot be written.


The extraction and former homes of the majority of the new settlers, is a sufficient ground for expecting them to have been men of strong religious views. They were nearly all New Englanders; and so, with very rare exceptions, Congregationalists.

Amongst the first settlers there were many who' preached. Two of those were Ebenezer Moulton, who is described as having been “the first who preached in Yarmouth and Mr. Samuel Wood, who resided at Chebogue. Mr. Moulton was of the Baptist persuasion; and whilst Mr. Wood appears to have preached at Chebogue, Mr. Monlton preached at Cape Forcliue. He lived near to what is now corrupted into Elder Head, from the circumstance that he, an Elder, lived in the neighbourhood. He came from Brainfield, Mass., in 1761, whither he returned in 1773.

Mr. Frost, who came to Argyle in or about 1762, was in the habit of preaching at Chebogue.

Mr. Nehemiah Porter, who-came from Ipswich in 1767, remained here till about 1771, when he returned to Massachusetts; and in the year 1765 the Rev. Jonathan Scott, for twenty years pastor of the Congregational church, arrived.

To these may he added the name of Aaron Bancroft, who came from Reading in Massachusetts in 1780, and to which he returned in 1783. This gentleman was the father of the well known American historian. From the same place another prominent citizen, Samuel Sheldon Poole, had come in 1775.

This looks like a formidable company of Preachers for a very small population; but in all probability there was this likeness to the Apostle in all of them, “they laboured with their own hands.”

For the first, five years, stated religious meetings were held in the several localities in different private houses. At length, on the 22nd day of July, 1766,


designed for the worship of Almighty God in the Township of Yarmouth, was raised at Chebogue. The building was framed, boarded and roofed by subscription, and in this state it was used for seveu years. At length, in 1773 the outside was finished, and pews and seats erected in the lower part. Eighteen years after the raising of this structure,5 the meeting house in Cape Forchue Society was erected. The raising of the frame was begun on the 27th, and was completed on the 28th of July, 1784. The finishing of this house was'slow.- There was no glass in it till 1790; and in 1791, there were no seats in it, excepting rough boards laid down loosely, no pews, and no pulpit, f The principle upon which, necessarily, work of this kind was done, was essentially “pay and go.” There were no banks to discount; nor was the principle of mortgaging practicable.

The former of those two buildings was taken down in 1820, another, more commodious, having been erected during the same year, a few hundred yards from its site. Since then, a third, still more commodious, has been erected. The difficulties under which the first building was erected, may be partially realized by reflecting for a moment on the condition in which for years the worshippers were glad to use it. And as one evidence of our temporal prosperity, I suppose it is not saying too much to affirm that many individual descendants of the first settlers could now alone build and complete, outside and inside, comfortably and even elegantly, such a structure, much more easily than could their forefathers, with all their united efforts. The reader has here a view of the Tabernacle, the Congregational place of worship in the Town, and further reference to which is elsewhere made.

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