Fieldstone Fences: Part 3

Just as now, dotted in among the every day life were a few things to look forward to – such as the Horseback Race from Halifax to Pence’s Inn (opposite Bell Park) run in 1834. While they were waiting for the first horses to come in sight, some of the old stories would be told.

One of Darby’s boys would tell how his dad remembered the day the Governor, Sir John Kent, was driving past on his way to Windsor when he overtook a wagonload of hay. The driver was enjoying a sleep. In attempting to pass the wagon, the rig overturned in the ditch and Sir John was tossed out in the mud. He received a good shaking up and a rude reminder of the shape of one of his Post Roads. Darby had always said that’s why repairs to the road were immediate.

Another story that always got a laugh was about the stage coach. When the Stage Company began to run a coach from Annapolis to/from Halifax, it made stage-watching a bit more interesting. One morning, those watching did a double take. With its canvas curtains flapping in the wind, it slowed down enough for the people to get a good look at what was written on its doors – WESTERN MAIL, NEW YORK AND HOBOKEN. It was one of the second-hand coaches the company had bought for the run, and it caused one of the men to say, “Boy, that one sure took the wrong turn”.

Much as we would like to stay with our first settlers, we must move on. In doing this we know that those who first enter the records are also the first to go from them because the next 20 years had brought changes.

The next three decades belonged to the children of our first settlers. George Hobson finished growing up in the house of Andrew Hawes at the turn of the road. Years after, when the house and land belonged to him in 1853, he bought a small piece of land opposite the house and built a Blacksmith Shop.

The Lacys moved to Sackville to farm. George sold most of his land on the main Post Road (Etter Road) to Joseph Britton and Hopewell Bowen in 1838. This land was from opposite Peter Rent’s (on the Etter Road) down the hill and out to West Lake. Joseph Britton did take part in the Township while he was here, but Bowen tread so lightly during his time here he left no imprint at all.

By the 1840’s Darby McDonald’s family had all left the area. Jeremiah, the son who had charge of selling off all Darby’s land on behalf of the family, was living in St. Croix. He had already sold most of the land leading down from the top of the hill next to the old Lunn-Skinner farm to the Meeting House to Daniel Etter. The rest of the land going in on the road to East Uniacke and all of Darby’s old grant in East Uniacke was sold to James Beddo. Remember James? He’s the young man that William Skinner took to work on his farm. In 1839, he had married Susan Ann Fitzmaurice. He was now living on a farm of his own in along the East Road (Charles McKenzie land).

Joseph Britton was on his way to live in Falmouth. He sold his land just across from Peter Rent’s (on the Etter Road) reaching down to across the road from the Union Church.

It really doesn’t matter in which order the seven sons of Daniel Etter left the home of their father up the lane in back of the Meeting House. By the middle of the 1850’s we could find them all within hailing distance of each other on both sides of the Post Road.

The Fitzmaurice Inn was sold to Steven Harvie in 1856. John Fitzmaurice had died at his beloved Homestead Farm in 1837. John’s family took their own paths but it was son Thomas who would, like his dad, go into the Inn business. Thomas built the big Hotel in Bedford, known later as Seldon’s Inn. It was also Thomas who began the well known Fitzmaurice families of Bedford.

We’ve mentioned James Beddo a couple of times, but not the part he had in re-arranging the real estate along the Post Road (Etter Road) and into East Uniacke. James was smart, a good neighbour, and a good listener. It was from all of that listening that he came to believe that John Pryor of Halifax enjoyed lending money for the land out this way.

This belief was re-enforced when he had no trouble getting money from John Pryor to buy a farm of his own. It might have been alright if he had stopped there. But no, James had visions of becoming a land speculator. It is almost impossible to find land transactions from the beginning of the Etter Road (Post Road) down to the little church and into the old Darby McDonald land grants in East Uniacke that do not have his name on them – either buying or selling – from the 1840’s to the 1850’s.

How long Beddoes had planned to play real estate is unknown. He was going along like a house on fire, but he went to the Pryor well once too often. While owing Pryor large sums of money, Pryor died. Now, while John may have been a soft touch, not so were his Executors and they caught James Beddo right in the middle of all his plans.

When they called in all the money owing to the Estate, James had to settle for the arrangements they were willing to make with him. Beddo could sell the land bought with Pryor’s money, but they would now hold the deeds in their hands. As each piece of land was sold and the money turned over, the Executors would release the deeds one by one. Thus ended James Beddo’s dreams. He went back to work his land on his East Road farm content to be the farmer he had started out to be. James Beddo died in 1885. It is sad that of his three children – 2 daughters and 1 son – none were even in the province by then.