Section 7

BERWICK

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

D. O. PARKER.

April 14th, 1897


MRS. CURRY.

This gracious lady in her store sold sugar barleys sweet,
To her the children loved to go, they often got a treat;
She got a beau, he got a wife, and changed her name to Bath,
Then sold her home, her stock in trade, and took an absent path.
Hers was a place of great renown,
Where all the people came to town.
In early days her house was made
The great emporium of trade;
And then this town of rising fame,
Was honored with its merchant’s name;
For "Curry’s Corner," far and wide,
Was then the people’s boast and pride.
Its four great roads of brush and logs,
King George had built through woods and bogs;
These were the people’s great highway,
One northward pointed to the Bay;
Three miles, perchance, might journey then,
One southward went a mile away,
Its full extent through forest lay;
And cross the road in great parade,
Unnumbered logs were closely laid.
To Halifax another went,
Through wilderness of great extent,
In spite of logs and heaps of brush,
To keep the wheels above the slush,
There oft was seen upon that road,
Stuck fast in mud, the heavy load.
The fourth and last, it pointed west.
With logs and brush was like the rest,
Here to this famous mart of trade,
All people came in great parade;
A-foot came some with bag or sack,
And others on the old nag’s back,
Slow hobbling on his spavined legs,
Brought butter, socks, and yarn and eggs.
These bartered at a humble price,
They took their pay in salt and spice;
Some saleratus for the bread,
An ounce of snuff, a reel of thread,
Tobacco pipes and trouting hooks,
And pencils, slates and reading books,
And needles, pins and calicoes,
And ribbons for their bonnet bows,
A pocket of tobacco "figs,"
And grease perfumed to oil their wigs;
For in those days the boys and girls,
Used oil of bears to dress their curls.

PHILIP FOSTER.

Philip Foster and his wife,
Lived a still and peaceful life:
Quite remote their cottage stood,
Circled by the growing wood,
Neatly built of native logs,
Lulled by music of the frogs;-
Nova Scotia’s nightingales,
Singing in the ponds and vales.-
Through the woods, without a road,
Neighbors reached the neat abode,
Where their toil and frugal care,
Made their lives a constant prayer;
Leaving when their work was done
Golden acres to their son.

NOTES.- Mrs. Curry was a widow and her store was a room in the southwest corner of the house of the late Joseph Ells. There was no other store then nearer than Kentville, Aylesford and Buckley’s Corner. At the time of her marriage she sold her house and business to Mr. Samuel Sharp and he again sold it to a Mr. Borden, who about 1846 sold it to Mr. Benjamin Eaton and Joseph Ells. Mr. Eaton subsequently retired from the firm and moved from the village. The old Valley road went as far as the foot of the Mountain and crossed the Cornwallis river near the Valley meeting house on the dam of a mill pond. There was no direct road to Somerset. In 1842 the road was opened up to Harborville. Mrs. Curry used in her house the first room paper in West Cornwallis and Mr. David Shaw the first domestic carpet.

On two occasions I found my way by a foot-path to Mr. Foster’s log mansion. The first was to borrow a hetchell for combing the hemp from the tow, for in those days the flax with its delicate blossoms graced the stumpy fields of Berwick, and was beaten and broken by our fathers and combed and made ready for the distaff by our mothers and spun on the small treadle wheel and finely bleached and woven into domestic linen.

"The words of king Lemuel that his mother taught him," two thousand five hundred years ago are not a very imperfect picture of our mothers of sixty years ago. "She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hands to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household. – She maketh fine linen and selleth it. – Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness."


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