Saturday, October 31, 2009


We had a Halloween dinner at a friend's house in Annapolis Royal this evening. I could talk about the kids having fun or how nice it is to see people interacting with neighbours but in this post the pictures say much more than I ever could. There is something about these images which gives me a creepy Legend of Sleepy Hollow" sort of feeling. Happy Halloween.

All for now,

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fanlights of Annapolis Royal

I have wanted to make a series of posts about interesting local architectural features for a while. In the Annapolis Royal region we are lucky to have a wide variety of styles and features to draw upon. One of these features which always catches my eye is a fanlight. I am not sure if it is the roundness of a fanlight on a building which is all straight lines and angles or the cheerful rising sun effect which appeals to me more. Whichever it is, I am happy to post this selection of Annapolis Royal fanlights.

Quite simply, a fanlight is a semi-circular or semi-eliptical window with mullions radiating out from the center to divide the glass into a fan like shape. Some of the more elaborate variety of fanlights include sections of glass which make the window look somewhat like a rising sun. This type of decoration can be found on top of doors and windows or entirely on their own. Most commonly, fanlights are found as a decorative element over the front door of a house. This was usually done to allow more light into the entry hallway. As you can see in this selection of windows, there is some difference in how the fanlights are assembled and where they are placed. You will also note that they have been used in wood, stone and brick buildings.

All for now,

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Disecting a Sunset

When it comes to sunsets the late fall is my favorite time of year in Annapolis Royal. When I am leaving work the sky over the Annapolis Basin is often awash with reds, oranges purples and yellows. Since my family was running late tonight, we decided that a trip to our local Chinese take-out restaurant was in order. When I stepped out of the car I noticed that there was a particularly interesting sunset.

While I am an admitted fan of our sunsets, let me see if I can go a bit deeper with this image. This is after all a heritage blog. Today's image shows the location where the Allains River meets the Annapolis River with the North Mountain in the background. The confluence of these rivers has witnessed many of the events which have formed Nova Scotia as we now know it. This spot was a particularly important area for the Mi'kmaq and their ancestors. Archaeological records have shown that these river systems were used by the Mi'Kmaq for thousands of years. With their typical high sided canoes, the Mi'kmaq used these inland waterways to travel throughout the area they called Kespukwitk. This particular location was also used as a seasonal location to hunt and fish.

By turning directly to my right I would be looking at Fort Anne. In fact, the dark land at the front of the photograph is part of the fort grounds. It is in this area that the inhabitants of the Port Royal Habitation in the early 1600s kept their wheat fields. This is actually where the French were tending their fields when the British Samuel Argall arrived from Virginia in 1613 to destroy the Habitation. This site has been host to battles between groups of French settlers claiming ownership of Acadie, as well as numerous contests between the French and British. Allains River was often used as a way to gather troops behind the fort in an attempt to lay siege from the less defensible landward side. This is also the site of the 1710 battle which gave Port Royal and later mainland Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to the British.

In a non military perspective, it is from this location that the Acadian people began to develop. The headland to the left of the photograph is the modern incarnation of a dyke which was established by the Acadians several hundred years ago. From this spot we can see the areas along the Annapolis River where Acadians reclaimed fertile land along the shore of the North Mountain. It is here that Acadians start to develop a cultural identity which is not that of either the French or the British.

From here you could have seen the Loyalists as they arrived as refugees from the American Revolution. You would have seen them come off their boats to an uncertain fate in a community which was not ready for such an influx of people. Among the people arriving at this time were a group of Black Loyalists who had already endured unimaginable hardships to come even get to Annapolis Royal. From here you could also see the coming of the Golden Age of Sail in the late nineteenth century. In an economy which was dominated by shipping intertests, Annapolis County ships would have made their way to ports all around the world. It would have been a common site to see schooners, barques and a variety of other sailing vessels making their way to the wharves in Annapolis Royal and Granville Ferry.

I was actually standing on the remains of the old rail bed for the Dominion Atlantic Railway when I took this picture. This is part of the extension which was pushed through to Digby in 1891. Locally, this section was called the missing link. The only reminder of this railway is the old iron railway bridge which is found a little way to the left of this image. During the latter half of the nineteenth century the railway worked with the shipping industry to bring unprecedented prosperity to Annapolis Royal. A quick walk around town will show that much of our impressive architecture dates to this period.

Annapolis Royal is an interesting community for many reasons. Personally, I love the fact that the stunning physical beauty of our community often holds a treasure trove of historical information.

All for now,

Monday, October 26, 2009

Corbitt's Barquentine

Believe it or not, the age of sail had its own soundtrack. Depending on the task at hand, groups of sailors could be heard lustily singing shanties. Each job had its own song and rhythm so that repetitive tasks could be done in an efficient manner. There was a song for hauling ropes, one for turning the capstan and even a few for relaxing with a pint of rum. These songs often follow a call and response form with a shantyman leading the other sailors.

The ship featured in the shanty transcribed at the bottom of this post is an Annapolis Royal vessel called the George E. Corbitt. This vessel of 450 tons was built in Digby in 1874 and she sailed under the Corbitt house flag for a total of fifteen voyages. The firm of AW Corbitt and Son operated from a building located on the lower part of St George Street. For those familiar with Annapolis Royal's geography, King's Theatre can currently be found in the location once occupied by AW Corbitt and Son.

The shanty itself was written by Tom Reynolds of Port Lorne. I like this particular shanty as it gives a good feel for many of the events which the sailors would have to endure. From storms, loading the ship and the discipline of the mate to cleaning the deck and a drunken spree this shanty touches on many aspects of a sailor's life. Locally, one of Reynolds' shipmates, Charles Boudreau of Victoria Beach, is credited with preserving this shanty. The version of the shanty appearing in this post can be found in Age of Sail in Annapolis County 1760-1925 by Peggy Armstrong and Marguerite Wagner.

The image in this post is not the George E. Corbitt nor is this the Corbitt wharf. I have used this image is used to illustrate the form of a barquentine. This vessel is tied to the government wharf (the predecessor of the current wharf in Annapolis Royal) which was located beside the Corbitt wharf. The Corbitt wharf would be found just to the left of this image.

All for now,

Corbitt's Barquentine

Come all you brave Annapolis boys
All I'll tell you what I've seen
on a voyage to Demerarra
in a fancy Barquentine
The thirieth day of August in 1883
The Eva Johnson took our lines
And towed us out to sea.

The two mates picked their watches
And unto us did say
If you don't know your duty, boys
She's the hottest out of the Bay
O Lord, O Lord what have I done?
So bitterly did I scream
That I should be shanghaied on board
Of Corbitt's Barquentine.

The rising sun next morning
Shone on six seamen bold,
And one big dog named Rover
Made seven hands all told
The dog was the chum of the second mate
And when his work was done,
Instead of going forward
He would lie aft in the sun.

I think they were connected
if rightly I may guess,
For neither one spoke English
But they both said yaw for yes.
The wind is to the westward now
She heads across the "Stream"
The angry waves are rolling over
Corbitt's Barquentine.

Our Captain on the quarter
While thirteen days pass by
A sail ahead to windward
One morning did espy.
Now mind your helm carefully
Don't let her swing about
And if the wind holds steady
We soon shall make her out.

It proved to be the Myrtle
With three long days of start
And with a fair and lively breeze
that drove her like a dart.
But now we exchange signals
She's to leeward on our beam
She dips her colours gracefully
to Corbitt's Barquentine.

Oh now we're shoving lumber
And the sweat like rain does pour
Awaiting for eight bells to strike
So we can get on shore.
We then go up to Taggard's Bay
Upon some drunken spree
Or else we're off a-dancin'
At some foreign "Dignatee".

But if our friends could see us
You bet that we'd be shy
For we have sweethearts fore and aft
Although they're on the sly.
Down come a yeller gal
Dressed up like a queen
Inquiring for the steward
of Corbitt's Barquentine.

Now we're loading sugar
and for Boston we are bound
We'll take our sand and canvas
And we'll wash ans scrub her down
And after that is finished
To painting we will go
We are in the hopes when this is done
We'll get our watch below.

Old Neptune he has favoured us
With a fair and lovely breeze
And like a thing endorsed with life
She bounds across the seas.
Old Scotty caught a dolphin
turned yellow, red and green
the blood lies spattered on the deck
of Corbitt's Barquentine.

Now under a goose wing tops'l
With a double reefed mains'l
With head toward the Nor'ard, boys
she rides a furious gale.
If Honest Tom was with us now
To hear those wild winds blow
He'd wish to God that he was out
Of Corbitt's Gundalow.

Our course being west, norwest my boys
If I remember right
With everything all sheeted home
She heads for Boston light.
The sun upon the State House dome
So brightly does it gleam
It glitters forth a welcome
to Corbitt's Barquentine.

Now we sight Nova Scotia's shores
With out-stretched hands exclaim
Like William Tell, "Ye crags and peaks
I'm with you once again",
Then up along the Granville shore
Majestically we sail
We pass Goat Island on our lee
All through the rain and hail.

And now we lay at anchor
Abreast this gay old town,
We'll run aloft St George's cross
and reef the Tory crown.
The people are remarking here
it is their only theme,
There lies the George E. Corbitt
She's a hansome Barquentine.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Meet the Ghosts of the Sinclair Inn - Part 2

It seems to me that way back in July I made a post about the theoretical side of the Ghosts of the Sinclair Inn. At that time, I mentioned that I would follow up with a post about how we got the ghosts out of theory and into the museum. Well, despite the fact that the museum has recently closed for the season, I really should add another chapter to that post. For those who have missed the earlier post, it can be found at this link.

One of the issues that we encountered at the Sinclair Inn Museum is that we have a lot of human history to deal with in our interpretive program. Not only has this building been the site of events like the first meeting of the Masonic Lodge in Canada, but it has stood through our community's formative events of the previous three centuries. As you could imagine, it took some time to decide on what sort of interpretation we wanted to use. Once we had decided on the type of technology we wanted to use in telling our stories, we hired Ern Dick of Granville Ferry to make the Ghosts of the Sinclair Inn project a reality.

The process began, as many do in the museum world, with research. Ern's partner John Kirby was brought in to research and script monologues for 10 ghosts. The ghosts were to represent some of the different personalities historically associated with the museum. In their presentations, each ghost would discuss their relationship with the building but they would also discuss life in Annapolis Royal while they were alive. In this way we could tell 300 years worth of stories using the different cultural filters of the people who lived in the building. Each of the ghosts was entitled to have the biases or opinions which they may have held in their lifetime. Audience reaction to these opinions has sometimes been interesting. I have seen at least one one set of visitors get upset when one of the ghosts dismissively remarks about "the Frenchies running all over the place". I personally see these occasions as opportunities to open a discussion with our visitors about how we interpret history.

With scripts in hand, Ern moved on to enlisting local actors and costumers to play the roles and costumers dress the ghosts. None of the actors used in the filming of the ghosts were professionals. A decision was made early on that overly polished performances would not give the feeling that we were looking for. What we were hoping to achieve was a feeling that this was a regular person talking to you rather than an actor playing a role. Direction for the actors was provided by Nova Scotia playwright and director J. Frederick Brown.

Since the completion of this story will take a bit more writing, I am going to break off at this point. In an upcoming post, I will discuss the filming and installation of the ghosts.

All for now,

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Getting Plastered at the O'Dell House

Heritage buildings have their share of quirks. Ghosts and paranormal activity aside, older buildings take a bit of extra care from a physical standpoint. Currently, we are in the process of giving the O'Dell House Museum a bit of needed attention. Over the past five years we have had the opportunity to work on a number of the rooms in the museum. We have fixed cracks, secured plaster walls, replaced wallpaper and painted. One of our fundamental working principles is that any of the work we do does not destroy or obscure building's original features. In the 1870s period section of the house we have also tried to restore original features like wood grained doors and trim which had been painted over in previous incarnations of the building. We have also been very careful that any of our modern touches can be undone if this is necessary in the future.

Over the past week, Nathan Sarty and I have been working in the Museum's former ballroom. Since our second floor rooms are used as contemporary exhibit space rather than as a period house, our decor is decidedly neutral. When we are finished, the room will have the same off white wall colour as the remainder of the exhibit rooms. Today's photograph shows Nathan applying plaster to a crack in the wall.

All for now,

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Documenting Granville Ferry

I realized earlier this weekend that I have been somewhat negligent. Usually, I am quick to snap a photograph or two if there is anything interesting happening across the water from the O'Dell House Museum. I never cease to be amazed when I look across at the village of Granville Ferry. Whether it is the sunset, the tides, the cloud formations or just the pastoral beauty of the village I almost always find something beautiful. Thus, I was a bit surprised when I realized that I had only taken a handful of pictures which show this year's display of autumn colours. While not all of my images will end up getting posted, I will try to make sure that I do my best to keep documenting the community.

The second image in today's post is a bit of an oddball but it is also related to documenting the view of Granville Ferry. Annapolis Royal is located about one hour from the Greenwood airforce base. As such, it is not uncommon to have some sort of military aircraft circling above the town. A little over a week ago I heard a Hercules airplane circling over the town. Since this is fairly common I normally would not pay attention but this plane was flying lower than usual. As the plane circled over Granville Ferry, I saw five specks fall out the back. This was a "just when you thought you had seen it all" moment for me. Soon there were five red parachutes gracefully descending onto the rifle range on the North Mountain behind Granville Ferry. Another couple of passes brought more jumpers out of the plane. All told, there were at least 20 jumpers and a couple of drops which must have been for equipment. While the parachutes are a bit difficult to make out in this photograph, there are five of them hanging in the air above the village.

All for now,

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fannie's Recipes Part 8

Today feels like a good day to post another entry from Fannie O'Dell's recipe book. One of the things I enjoy about this handwritten book from the 1880s is the use of interesting historic ingredients. Today's recipe has two such ingredients. By "milk sour" I assume that she was using what is now commonly called buttermilk. In her time, this would have been naturally soured milk as opposed to the artificially soured buttermilk we find at the store today. Sour milk would have been readily available since most houses would have kept a milk cow or two. These cows would have produced milk for cheese, butter and whatever else the household needed. I can still remember stories of my great grandmother in Guysborough County who took her excess butter into town to sell.

The ingredient which I really like in this recipe is "1/2 cup of suet". I can think of very few modern recipes which call for suet to be used. Most modern mincemeat recipes even call for alternatives to suet. Personally, I think that I would opt for the butter.

As always, let me know if you try this recipe. Since I have only made one recipe in this cookbook, I make no promises as to their taste but I would be interested to see how they turn out. By the way, today's photograph was taken on my trip to the Annapolis County Exhibition this summer.

Ginger-Bread Pudding
3 cups flour
1 cup milk sour - if sweet use cream of tartar
1/2 cup suet or butter
1 tablespoon soda
1 tablespoon molasses
Currants & Raisins

steam 1 1/2 hours

All for now,

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's all in the Can!

If you have not figured this out yet, I am a participant in a fairly wide variety of heritage activities. In my public life I tend to get involved in an almost overwhelming number of heritage events. I thought about listing all of the odd heritage activities I take part in but a job description makes for very dull reading for everyone other than the person who has the job. If anyone would like to see part of the range of my heritage activities just flip through some of the older posts in this blog. Heritage makes its way into my private life as well. My wife and I own a 210 year old house which we are very slowly trying to save from its vinyl prison. Since food is quite often a part of my thoughts, I have been trying to plant heirloom fruit trees around our property. On the same food related note is the topic of today's post; canning.

I have been overjoyed to see the resurgence in home canning in the past few years. The reasons for the rebirth of this activity seem to range from belt tightening due to economic circumstances to people wanting to make a smaller environmental footprint. No matter what the reason, I am happy to see people canning. Growing up, canning was always a part of our yearly routines. I knew that strawberry jam season would be followed by peaches, pears, tomatoes and pumpkins all making their way into jars. To be clear, I am talking about growing up in the 1970s and 1980s not the 1890s or 1920s. Canning was something which was an expected part of the year and everybody in the family chipped in.

Today, I am still an avid canner. Minutes ago I finished my first batch of tomatoes for the year. The last group of bottles are in the boiling watter canner as I am writing this. I can hear the popping of sealer lids (perhaps my favorite sound) in the background. Tomorrow morning the bottles will go down to the basement where they will join this year's jams, pickles, chutneys and other preserves. Some time in the middle of the winter these cans will reemerge and give me the chance to remember warmer days.

The obvious question is why bother? In Canada we are able to purchase virtually anything we need at the store. Well, In addition to being able to control what my family is eating and eating locally grown produce, I like the heritage aspect of canning. This is an activity which was once passed down from family member to family member due to necessity. If you wanted to survive the winter you needed to preserve enough food in the summer. Today, that collected wisdom has been passed to our generation. I feel a responsibility to pass this knowledge to my children. Personally, I also take great satisfaction in finishing a batch of preserves. After all of the mess and fuss is over I enjoy seeing the wonderfully coloured bottles lined up on the shelf. I am glad that I do not need to survive off of my canning activities but I also am not willing to let this important part of our cultural legacy fade away.

All for now,

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Home from my Trip

Just a short post today. I am back at the keyboard after a slightly extended Thanksgiving trip to PEI. For some reason every trip I take to PEI, and there have literally been dozens through the years, seems to get extended due to strange circumstances. This time it was a combination of a child with an upset stomach and the ferry being cancelled due to strong winds on the Northumberland Strait. No matter, after a short but enjoyable trip I am back home in the Annapolis Royal area. When I have time to collect my thoughts on this trip I may make another post about it. There are some thoughts about PEI built heritage in relation to what we do in Annapolis County but they may need to simmer for a while longer.

I have two photographs to share today. The first is the Panmure Island lighthouse which is close to the spot where we spent our weekend. With a bit of time on our hands, we had the chance to make friends with the four friendly horses who live near the lighthouse. The second image is an intriguing sign I saw as we were waiting on the ferry which runs between PEI and Nova Scotia. Literally the notice has something to do with lowering the lifeboat into the water. Taken in a lighter vein, this sign is probably good advice to most people.

All for now,

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Day After the AGM

Ahh, the morning after the Annapolis Heritage Society Annual General Meeting. For me, I always have a great lightness of being the day after the AGM. I can probably best describe it as similar to the feeling I would get when I was finished writing my university exams. In this case, it is not so much freedom from school for the summer but happiness at having been able to gather together all of the information, print the reports, organize the agenda, get the food prepared, and make my way through the meeting without looking any more foolish than normal. Since the AGM is normally such a heavy day of preparations the next day almost by nature has a lighter feeling.

Now, imagine my dismay that my relaxed morning was broken up by fire sirens and flashing lights. As I do fairly frequently, I started my morning at the Sinclair Inn Museum where I can get an update on the site from our interpreter Ken Maher. After chatting with Ken for a few minutes I made my way back to the O'Dell House Museum. No sooner had I arrived at the O'Dell House than I heard the town's fire siren. For those of you who do not live in the area I should probably explain the siren. Whenever there is a need for the volunteer fire department (fire, car accident, etc.) there is a very loud siren which rings to alert the community. Day or night the siren can be heard throughout the town and nearby countryside. Since the firefighters all have pagers this is extra precaution but it is an interesting facet of local life. I should also mention what great respect I have for our local firefighters. These volunteers willingly come from their jobs, houses or beds to help others. Like all firefighters, their work sometimes puts their health and safety in danger. They deserve a great thanks for the work that they do.

Now, like most residents, I always get a slight feeling of anxiety when I hear the siren. Knowing that there is more than likely a problem somewhere in the community. This time the sirens on the trucks seemed much closer than usual. Being the curious sort, I stepped out in front of the O'Dell House to see if I could see where the trucks were and I saw a collection of them pulled up in front of the Sinclair Inn. The firefighters were already starting to pull hoses across the road toward the museum. With my heart quickly moving toward my mouth, I started up the street. When I got to the museum I realized that it was not the museum but the laundromat behind the museum where there was a problem. Apparently, lint in one of the driers had ignited and caused a fire. Thankfully, the firefighters got the problem under control quickly.

As a reminder of what happens when fires do not get put out quickly, I have included an archival image from Annapolis Royal's Great Fire in 1921. Approximately 1/3 of the downtown core of the community was destroyed in this fire. Ironically, Graham Johnson, the topic of the presentation at last night's AGM, was the architect who designed many of the buildings in Annapolis Royal after the 1921 fire.

All for now,

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Morning Milk

From 1910 to 1922, the Sinclair Inn Museum building was owned by Bill Edwards (Big Bill to his friends). At this time the name Sinclair Inn had long passed into disuse and the building was known as the Farmer's Hotel. More than any of the building's other owners, Edwards was a bit of a showman. This is the man who owned the famed Jack the monkey and Pat the horse who could shake hands. One of the other things Edwards did to attract people to his building was to have a chalk board on the side of the building. Each day he would write quotes, sayings or thoughts of the day on the board. This board was called Morning Milk.

Those of you who have been walking up St George Street in Annapolis Royal in the past two months may have noticed that a modern version of the Morning Milk board has appeared on the side of the Sinclair Inn Museum. Made by Ken Maher who works at the museum, this board has been used in much the same way as the original. With a seemingly endless supply of quotes, Ken has been keeping pedestrians entertained with things written on the board. As it was in Big Bill Edwards time, if we can get you to stop and read, we have a better chance of getting you through the door.

The men sitting on the bench in the archival image are essentially sitting in the location where the Morning Milk board was found. Since this picture was taken in 1930 (eight years after Edwards sold the building) the panel had disappeared. It is nice to see that the tradition of having a bench in this location was carried on into the next owners. Our plan for next summer is to have our own version of the "liar's bench" appear at the side of the museum.

All for now,

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fruit of the Valley

Well, it looks like we are well into another fall harvest season in the Annapolis Valley. This is one of my favorite times of year in Nova Scotia. The air has become a little bit crisp, the tourists have a bit more time to stop and chat and the colours in the foliage on the North Mountain are approaching their peak. To top things off, this is a wonderful time in Nova Scotia since our finest local produce is very much in season.

While grapes, wine grapes in particular, may the fashionable new crop for Valley farmers, this has not always been the case. In fact, if you were to take an informal poll of people living outside Nova Scotia, I am going to suggest that grapes would not yet be the crop that is most closely associated with the Annapolis Valley. Since the latter part of the nineteenth century the Annapolis Valley has been very closely associated with apples.

From the 1880s to the 1930s, much of this provinces's export economy relied on the apple harvest. With Britain as a primary market, ships would leave Nova Scotia's shores with holds filled with barrels of apples. Literally millions of bushels were exported. Other fruit was turned into juice, cider (soft and hard) or dehydrated. All of this production not only supported farmers, shippers, and the apple marketers but cooperages, shipbuilders and the railways were among the other groups who benefited. While the quality of the fruit was usually high, let's not fool ourselves into thinking that these were always the finest apples. For a time, British importers would open barrels of our apples to make sure that there was good fruit throughout the barrel. Some enterprising souls had discovered that if they packed good apples on the top and bottom of a barrel that they could fill the middle with less desirable fruit.

Much of the culture of the Valley still revolves around apples. To give a handful of examples, we have the Apple Blossom Festival, Ciderfest in Bridgetown and Berwick the Apple Capital. Drive down almost any country road or into any farm market and you will find apples for sale. There are apples to be eaten raw, cooking apples, cider apples and drop apples which local hunters use to lure deer. To many a local, Annapolis Valley champaign has nothing to do with grapes.

Today's image shows a former part of the apple infrastructure in Nova Scotia. This photograph, taken about 1900, shows a group of apple packers in front of a warehouse on the Annapolis Royal waterfront. Owned by the New England and Acadia Steamship Company, this warehouse had walls filled with sawdust to provide insulation against the winter winds. For ease of shipping, this structure stood at the end of a pier which extended into the Annapolis Basin. today it it reduced to logs and rocks but the remains of this pier can still be seen on the waterfront.

All for now,

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Molly Muise and the Mi'Kmaq

The first human inhabitants of what we now know as Nova Scotia were the ancestors of the Mi'Kmaq. The original territory of the Mi'Kmaq included the current maritime provinces, and the Gaspe penninsula. Later on this range was extende into Newfoundland and New England. Archaeological evidence shows that these people were living in our region, known to them as Kespukwitk, more than eleven thousand years ago. Originally a semi-nomadic people, the Mi'Kmaq used the shores of the Annapolis Basin and the Bay of Fundy as seasonal hunting and fishing locations. Seals, lobster, porpoise and shellfish were among the species which were harvested in this area. The abundance of white ash on the North Mountain was also useful in the production of traditional woven baskets. Archaeology has also shown that these people made extensive use of the inland water systems. When part of the Mersey River was drained a few years ago, evidence was unearthed which showed that eel weirs had been used in the same location for thousands of years.

Our photograph today, taken circa 1880, is one of the earliest known photographic images of a member of the Mi'kmaq. Molly Miuse was born about 1810 to Joseph and Nancy (Malagash) Muise. In this photograph she is seen wearing the traditional peaked cap with a double curve design. The name Muise is an interesting one as it provides evidence for the long term relationship between the Mi'Kmaq and the French/Acadians. The story of how the Mi'Kmaq assisted the French at the early settlement of Port Royal is well known. Without their help the small group at the Habitation would have not survived the winter of 1605-06. This relationship was extended into a long term political alliance with the Mi'Kmaq siding with the French against the British. The name Muise shows us that not all alliances were political. This name originates with the French Philippe Muis de Pobomcoup who married Therese de Saint-Castin in 1707. Therese was the daugher of Vincent, Baron de Saint-Castin and his Abenaki wife Marie Pidicwanmikwe. Pobomcoup's children marry into both the Acadian and Mi'Kmaq communities. Today the name Muise or Meuse can be both Acadian and Mi'Kmaq.

All for now,