These are just random notes, but hopefully they
will be of interest to you.
Thanks to Mrs. Kay Conrad for preparing and donating this information.
The community which we now know as Mineville was originally called Salmon
Hole, named, of course, for the succulent fish that abounded in the river.
At the farthest end of the road was the home of William and Eliza (Stevens)
Shaw. It was a flat-roofed two storey house. Their barn was at the end of
what is now known (quite fancifully) as Candy Mountain road. In my childhood
this was a rocky, forested slope, where we were always cautioned to be on
the alert for bears. The only structure was a small very basic 'summer
camp' belonging to my Uncle Jim, the eldest son of William and Eliza. His
permanent home was in Marlborough Woods in Halifax. William was a
descendant of Loyalist stock and in future years we may be able to determine
what part the 82nd Regiment played in his parents' life. His wife Eliza ,
was a native of Musquodoboit Harbour and her brother and sister also were
Salmon Hole residents.
The Shaws had a family of 4 boys and 8 girls.
Bill, as he was best known, was a very small man with a shock of black hair
and bright blue eyes. To support his family, he daily walked to work at
Montague to labour with pick and shovel in the gold mines. He was an
inventive man and keenly interested in the local environment.
The house was well placed in a.picturesque setting with level fields leading
down to the edge of the river.
When I was a child, I often accompanied my mother as she walked up through
Birch Hill to visit her widowed father. When we stayed overnight, I would
be awake, missing the sound of the ocean and listening to the rushing sound
of the brook which had once powered a mill belonging to James Crook on the
A rough wagon road ran from the Shaw property eastward, past Snow's Lake and
Goose Lake to the Crowell Road.
Traveling out the road to the main highway, one came to the properties
belonging to the Crook family, who would have to be acknowledged as the
entrepreneurs of Salmon Hole. Our first records of land transactions with
William Crook of LaHave are dated 1806. This family established sawmills and
later a gristmill, as well. It was later, in 1866, that one of the four
William Crooks discovered gold in the Shanghai area and later the family
operated a stamp mill.
In the later decades of the 19th century, they were shareholders in the
local telephone company.
Alex Crook and his wife Margaret (Mitchell) ran the Post Office in the house
where the Bolhuis family now live. Many members of this family are buried
in the overgrown and neglected graveyard just northeast of the Iron Bridge.
Out beyond the Crook home, on a point of land, Senator William MacDuff built
a summer home. He and his family spent may holiday weekends and vacation
days beside the river. Some of his descendants still own land and maintain
homes in modern day Mineville.
Across the bridge, we find the brook which once powered the Crook mills.
And, at the corner of Bell Road (originally Bell Street) there is a house
which half a century ago belonged to Dr. Colwell. Later the van Tassell
family lived there.
This road joined Salmon Hole with the Prestons and near the foot of Lake
Echo, on the map of 1865, we find the home of Ben Diehl. The spelling here
would indicate Dutch ancestory and Mrs Diehl was a "woman of colour" as the
oldtimers expressed it. He, himself, was widely renowned as a music master
possessed of a fine singing voice.
Bell Street in the 20's was a rough, winding wagon road with thickly wooded
sides. My mother and her sisters would walk over there to pick berries. I
still can feel the dread of falling into one of the abandoned mine shafts,
which were overgrown with underbrush and covered only with loose and rotten
boards. Even the anticipation of blueberry pie did little to comfort me.
Opposite Bell Street was the home of the Wiseman family, descendants of the
first Lawrencetown school teacher. In later years, Andrew Murphy lived
here. Some of his descendants made their home nearby.
On the next farm the Corkum family lived. Freeman and Mary Ann Corkum had
come up from Lunenburg. It is interesting to speculate whether the name
Freeman might have come into use from the European countries where some of
our German ancestors bought their freedom from serfdom. The Corkum parents
were buried in the little Methodist cemetery (beside the #20 Fire Hall), but
there are no markers for their graves.
Freeman Jr. married a widow from Three Fathom Harbour, who had lost her
husband at sea. Bertha married Charles Shaw, a son of William and they made
their home in the States. Frank married Olive Conrad, oldest daughter of
Charles Tupper and Hattie (Myra). They lived on Conrad Road. She died
young in childbirth. John Corkum spent many years on Sable Island. The
Mineville School was established in the lafter part of the 19th century.
Previous to that names of Mineville children appear in the Birch Hill school
records. The school at Mineville remained in use well into the 20th
century. It would seem that Andrew Murphy married twice, his second wife
being Agnes Monavan. Of his children, Ernest, Grace, Laura and Donald were
best known to me. Ernest and his wife Margaret (Forbes?) lived in a small
house next to the schoolhouse. Their children were Margaret, John, Joseph,
Patrick and Lillian. Lillian and her husband Bob Perry ran a small
convenience store in Upper Lawrencetown.
Donald served in the R.C. N. during the war years and he and his wife Nina
(Edwards) lived just a little farther out the road. They had twin
daughters, Doreen and Donna, also Shirley and Sharon.
Grace Murphy married Alfred Coombes and lived jut up the road from her
parents' home. Her daughter Carol married Alden Webber and lives almost on
the site of the old Ernest Murphy home. Another Coombes daughter, Doris was
a career schoolteacher.