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Section 2

Its People and Institutions as I knew them about Sixty Years ago.


March 10, 1897

The Landscape.

My days in hasty fight of three score years,
In pilgrim passage through this vale of tears;
While here Time’s panorama moves around,
Have witnessed changes, wondrous, vast, profound.
Ah Ned! When you and I were wee small boys,
And played contented with our home made toys;
The fields where now these busy scenes abound,
With tall and stately trees were richly crowned;
And then from "Curry’s Corner," east and west,
Were narrow fields and woodlands all the rest;
While in the verdant meadow in the rear,
Beside the stream, huge elms did appear;
And bowing alders kissed the whispering brook,
Where speckled troutlets took the baited hook,
And stumps like ghosts and goblins, black and gray,
Were stationed in the fields, and long the way,
To timid travelers, and the simple child,
Assuming forms and freaks grotesquely wild,
I’ve seen them oft, and trembled at the sight,
In pastures where I sought the cows at night;
And trembling, homeward ran with quickened place,
And heard their rustling footsteps in the chase.
Like those who fell the trees, they’ve had their day,
And one by one, like them, have passed away,
And richer, sweeter, joyous scenes prevail;
The wealth and pride of Berwick’s hill and dale.

NOTES; - Men made London but God made Berwick; the one is great and wicked, with a spice of goodness; the other is not sinless, but simple and beautiful and its chief glory is the handiwork of the Creator. In its natural and wilderness state, when houseless and roadless, and the undisturbed home of birds and bears, and ere the echo of the woodsman'’ axe was heard, it must have been beautiful for situation and the joy of heaven. Its prospect is grand. It crowns the highest land in the kings and Annapolis valley. The Cornwallis river, coming down the North Mountain, flows though it to the east; and the Annapolis river from the mountain top in the South, goes west. The traveler going north or south goes up the mountains; and east and west, goes down to the sea. The intervales with their rich alluvial soil, and lofty trees of ash and elm, and the uplands studded with rich timber and woodlands, together with the bracing breezes of winter, the balmy breath of spring, the genial warmth of summer, and the variegated glory of autumn, were the attractions which must have influenced our fathers in the early years of the present century to make these grand acres of God their homs. They chose wisely, better perhaps than they dreamed; and now their children and their children’s children, and the strangers within its gates, remembering their toil and their hardships, should with gratitude honor their wisdom and memory.

Berwick and all the adjacent district was early known as Pleasant Valley. The old cross roads as a very early date appear on the old provincial maps as Currie’s Corner, and on later maps as Condon’s Corner, (I write Condon as spelt on the maps which was then the authorized orthography.) Subsequently, for a few years they were known as Davison’s Corner. Sometime in the fifties the Village was given its present name at a public meeting of the citizens. The late Dr. S. T. Rand, secretary of a representive meeting of the leading Baptists of Nova Scotia held in Berwick, relative to the permanent establishment of what is now Acadia Seminary, after giving a statement of the preliminary business, wrote: -

"The following are the resolutions passed in committee."":-

"1st. – It is recommended that the Institution be called the "Berwick Female Academy.""

"MEMO.- The learned and unlearned are hereby advised that the decree of the people that named the place where the Institution is intended to be located, decided the pronunciation of the name, as was meet and right, and it is pronounced Burr-wick, and not Berrick."

I will also give the closing resolution:-

"4th.- The committee advise that Deacon Abel Parker’s offer be accepted viz: to give for a "site" 20 acres of land adjoining the road which passes his house, for the sum of two hundred and sixty pounds, (he subscribing one hundred pounds towards the object)."

Previous to this meeting the school had been established and was reported as very prosperous, and it would have remained there, where it should have been, away from the unhappy surroundings of the other Institutions where it is now located, if it had not been, as is too well known, for selfish personal scheming. In selecting this site the committee said: "It is a beautiful site for a building of any kind. All it lacks is a grove of beautiful spruces to the North and West and it will not require the skill of a magician to "scare up" even this."