An Historical Landmark

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An Historical Landmark
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AN HISTORICAL LANDMARK. The Old French Cross Re-erected by the Acadians on the Shores of the Bay of Fundy and Its’ History. (Halifax Herald.) At the last meeting of the Nova Scotia Historical Society the president brought to the of the members certain papers that had been sent him in connection with a place called French Cross on the shore of the Bay of Fundy within the limits of the present township of Aylesford. The attempt to arrest the Acadians in 1755 was not so successful at Annapolis as it was at Minas and Piziquid (Horton and Windsor). Many of the Acadians escaped to the woods. A large party of them fled up the Annapolis River beyond what is now the western line of Aylesford and there encamped. After a short stay they crossed the mountain and spent the winter on the shore of the bay at the place since known as French Cross (latterly called Morden) where many of them died and were buried. The place takes its name from a cross which they erected at the edge of a bluff or point before leaving for the northern side of the Bay of Chignecto in the spring to settle among the French inhabitants of that place. The cross stood from 1755 till after 1820, but in the meantime the soil had washed away from the bluff and at the present moment the spot where the cross stood is a bare ledge of rocks some feet out from the shore. In August last A NEW CROSS WAS ERECTED on the shore as near as possible to where the old one stood. This was done by the joint efforts of Messrs. Orpen, Fall and Jones, three public-spirited inhabitants of the place. Mr. Orpen, who is 81 years of age, and who was familiar with the place as early as 1815, when the old cross was standing, and for many years afterwards, pointed out the spot where the old cross stood. The new cross was erected with some ceremony. Mr. Fall delivered an oration in presence of most of the inhabitants, of whom some thirty in number (half of whom appear by their names to have been of the gentler sex), have signed a certificate of the facts connected with the ceremony. Mr. Orpen has authenticated his knowledge of the site of the old cross in an affidavit sworn to before Mr. Fall, who is a J. P. for the county. On motion it was Resolved, To place the papers on the fyles of the society, and the secretary was requested to write to Mr. Orpen, acknowledging receipt of the papers, and tendering the thanks of the society to the persons who interested themselves in obtaining and forwarding the documents. We append the papers referred to: 'To all whom these presents shall come. Sworn statement of John K. Orpen, French Cross, Aylesford, Nova Scotia. Victoria, by the grace of God, Queen. Be it known that I, John E. Orpen, of French Cross, Aylesford, Kings, Nova Scotia, living of sound mind and memory do now, in my eighty-first year, make and swear to the following statement for the perpetuation of a fact known to me, and which may be of local and historicel value to other persons after my decease. In the year 1815 I first came across the North Mountain from the valley with my brothers to this place (French Cross) for the purpose of fishing. I saw on the point a cross about seven feet high, which was called, by everybody the French Cross, and it was a matter of common knowledge that this cross was erected by the exiled Acadians when they were driven from Port Royal (now Annapolis). It was a matter of common knowledge that the Acadians, driven from Annapolis in the fall of 1755, came up the valley of Aylesford and encamped there for a month or so, and then crossed the mountain to this place and encamped there until spring, when they crossed the Bay of Fundy to Fort Cumberland. During the winter many died, it is said of fever and starvation, and they were buried where they erected the cross. The cross stood close by the shore on the extreme point of land, but the waves have now washed the spot bare and the place where the cross stood stands out a few feet from the shore in a ledge of rocks. I have seen the cross since 1815 dozens of times. In 1820 the cross still stood in the same place, but after that year I was absent for several years and when I came back the cross was gone. All this I affirm to be strictly true. August 25th, 1887. (Signed) JOHN E. ORPEN. Witness—GEO. H. FALLS. FRENCH CROSS, ALYESFORD, Aug. 25th, A. D. 1887. There personally appeared the above named John E. Orpen and solemnly swore the time statement subscribed by him to be true, before me. GEO. H. FALLS, J. P. FRENCH CROSS, KINGS CO., August 31, 1887.—We, the undersigned, hereby certify that on this day and in our presence, a CROSS made by John E. Orpen, painted by George H. Fall and lettered by Thomas was erected on the bluff where the cross set up by the exiled Acadians formerly stood. A short address was delivered at the ceremony by George H. Fall. (Signed) J. E. Orpen, Jessie Kirkpatrick, F. A. MacKenzie. Mamie L’Minnuss, Charles P. Warner, Wallace Dempsey, Mrs. S. Redgate, Murray Mackenzie, Mrs. A.G. Kirkpatrick, Eva Mackenzie, Mis. M. A. Patterson, Anna C. Fall, Miss Annie McCormac, Emma L. Fall, Miss Katie Redgate, Winnie B. Orpen, Mrs. C. D. Blair, Odessa Dempsey, Miss Lulu Cloud Blair, Amos. Went, Frank Fairfield Blair, Wallace D. Clarke, Mills Orpen, Eddie A. Burke, Mrs. M. Redgate, Eleamon A. Clarke, Alice H.Orpen, Maggie McCormac, Henry Smith.