The Inland of Kings: from St. John to Hatfield's Point

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The Inland of Kings: from St. John to Hatfield's Point
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THE INLAND BAY OF KINGS, FROM ST. JOHN TO HATFIELD’S POINT. Interesting Description of the Bay, the People, the Stopping Places, the Traffic and Old Times and Old People-What Steam has Done to Open the Country. Belleisle bay, like the Kennebeccasis, Washademoak, and Grand Lake, flows into the St. John River in a south-westerly direction, its position on the maps being nearly parallel to that of the Bay of Fundy. The entrance to the bay is nearly hidden by Hog Island, which lies at its mouth and the high promontories on either side, beyond which it extends a distance of 12 to 14 miles and maintains a uniform width of about one mile. A great many years ago the steamer Maiden plied between Belleisle Point and Indian-town, and later the Colonel Fremont, but for a long period the bay was without steam communication with the seaboard until the Bellisle was placed on the route in 1885. The mouth of the Belleisle is opposite the parish of Lower Greenwich, on the St. John, and the distance from this city to HATFIELD’S POINT, THE HEAD OF NAVIGATION, is about 40 miles. Between Kennebeccasis bay and river, on the southeast, and the Long Reach and Belleisle bay on the northwest, the peninsular point of Kingston extends a distance of more than 30 miles, preserving a uniform breadth of five to six miles. Kingston, formerly the shire town of Kings County, is beautifully situated on Kingston creek, about five miles from its entrance into the bay, and a few miles distant there is a remarkable lake, the Peckwauket, which occupies an extinct crater and is surrounded by volcanic rocks. This lake has been frequently visited and described by eminent scientists attached to Canadian universities and from abroad. The shores of the Belleisle, like those of the Kennebeccasis, were settled by the loyalists soon after their landing at St. John in 1783, and their descendants, in many instances, still occupy the acres that were granted to their ancestors more than a century ago. Hatfield's Point, at the head of navigation, was originally settled by the French. Its first English settlers were Thomas Spragg and Caleb Davis, loyalists, who planted themselves here in 1783-84. In the old graveyard at the Point, where an English church was erected many years ago, but of which scarcely a vestige remains, they lie interred, with many of their descendants. John Davis, son of Caleb Davis, was the first English child born at the Point, and his son, Z. Davis, is now among its most respected residents. Hatfield’s Point is a charming village of about 200 inhabitants. Its principal street runs PARALLEL TO THE SHORE OF THE BAY, and is shaded by Lombardy poplars; the houses are all attractive in appearance and surrounded by pleasant gardens. The village contains two stores, a steam saw mill, a Baptist church and a public hall. Property here, and all along the shores of the bay, has increased about 20 per cent, in value within the past three years, on account of the facilities afforded by the steamer for reaching a market. A substantial wharf has recently been erected here to which a channel has been dredged by the dominion government, so that the conveniences for shipping cattle and merchandize are equal to those afforded at any other point on the inland waters of the province. Proceeding toward St. John from Hatfield’s Point, Kierstead town is passed, which is situated in the center of a fine farming district, and has a venerable Baptist church, and a grist mill owned by Isaiah Kierstead. At Long Point, a short distance below, John F. Ganong has a general store; a fine Baptist church, and a temperance hall has been recently erected, and the place boasts of a blacksmith and a shoemaker. Downey’s landing, nearly opposite Long Point, NOW KNOWN AS DOWNEY’S WHARF, through the loyal exertions of Messrs. Taylor, Pugsley and White, M.P.P.’s, has a fine wharf, 55 feet face, 55 feet back and 25 feet shore, which is the second wharf on the Belleisle, and was erected by G. W. Palmer, at a cost of $650. Downey’s has a store kept by John F. Lake and a F. C. B. church, B. Nobles, pastor. Between Downey’s and Tennant's coves there is to be observed some of the most picturesque scenery on the bay. There are Jenkins’ and Brown’s Coves, the valley of Kingston creek, some magnificent hills and an island, the peculiar formation of which has hardly a parallel. Tennant’s cove was settled by the loyalists, and is one of the oldest hamlets in Kings Co. It has a Baptist church, a wheelwright’s shop run by Alfred Worden, and among the principal inhabitants of its vicinity are Mr. Tennant, Isaac VanWart, Daniel Vanwart, James Toole, James Baxter, Gabriel Vanwart, Valentine Vanwart, Ed. Toole., J. E. Jones, David Mills and Robert Pickett. As the steamer proceeded down the bay, the reporter was told by one of the passengers how he had heard from Mrs. Mary Brittain, wife of William Brittain, one of the early loyalist settlers of Tennant’s Cove, of her EXPERIENCES PREVIOUS TO THEIR DEPARTURE from the revolted colonies. She had walked in blood to her ankles, and had been stripped to her waist before a regiment of soldiers, to compel her to disclose the place where her husband was hiding. They died within 11 hours of each other, and were buried in one grave, at Tennant’s Cove. And Mr. Downey, of Downey’s wharf, told him how, in the old time, his father often rowed to St. John, in a small boat, with produce, turning up his boat on the beach for shelter when night overtook him. Another told how, when the first steamer went up the St. John, and her whistle was heard echoing among the hills in the nighttime, it was decided by the ruralists that the judgment day was at hand, but an old lady dispelled their fears by declaring that it was impossible for the judgment day to come in the night. When the Malden made her first trip up the Belleisle she was accompanied by a brass band. The music was thought to be that of Gabriel’s band, but an old philosopher decided that when that baud arrived it would play a different tune than wait for the wagon. The steamer Belleisle has done much to foster the agricultural resources of this section of Kings County, which of late has shown that in its fields and woods it has sources of wealth which await nothing but intelligent development.