November 16th, 1938

Wednesday Evening, November 16, 1938

A Brief Review Of The Early History Of Berwick

Only a Very Few of the Dwellings Now Standing Were In Evidence 75 Years Ago, According to A. W. Borden, One of Berwick’s Oldest Citizens.

Berwick, seventy-five years ago, was not what might be termed a pretentious community, according to a description supplied by Mr. Arthur Borden of this town, who has passed his eighty-fourth birthday and remembers very well the people who lived here in those days and the location of their homes. In seventy-five years the town has developed into a thriving and prosperous business section with excellent prospects for future expansion. In fact Mr. Borden saw quite a difference when he returned to Berwick in 1896 after an absence of twenty years, five of which he spent in Canard and fifteen in the United States. He relates that there were only two streets, Main and Commercial, and that a large portion of the town was woods, pasture and swamp.

In 1863 Commercial Street was a narrow road with only six houses; a general store and the Baptist Church (which is still standing). The general store and house belonging to a Mr. Davidson stood on the southwest corner of Commercial and Main Streets and a little farther south was located the Baptist Church. Just beyond were two houses, one on each side of the road, that of Dr. H. C. Masters, physician and farmer, and across the road that of Mr. Dudley Woodworth, who lived in the house now owned by Mr. Craig Caldwell. Mr. Borden recalls an interesting incident about Dr. Masters when Mr. Charles Norwood, Sr., visited him one day and the doctor asked him if he would like to accompany him to Harborville where he was going to extract a tooth. Mr. Norwood asked him if he was going over there for twenty-five cents (the customary fee for extraction). The good-hearted doctor retorted. "Yes, damn it, do you suppose I want the woman to suffer with the toothache?"

From the Dudley Woodworth house to the railway there was nothing but tillage and pasture lands with scattering alders. To the south of the railroad the land was mostly alder swamp. Near where Mr. W. I. Huntley lives stood an unoccupied house and about half an acre of cleared land surrounded by woods. This house was later destroyed by fire. The house where Mr. Grant Nichols resides was then owned by a Mr. Boehner. At the northeast corner of Commercial Street and the post road lived Mr. William Le, who was a farmer and a mason. On the west side woods extended from the post road to the railroad.

Between 1865 and 1870 several houses were erected on Commercial Street. The one now occupied by Mr. Albert Dennison was built about that time and Mr. Nelson Chute erected the one now owned and occupied by Mr. Boyd Dakin. On the opposite side of the road Mr. Edwin Nichols built the house owned by the Simms Company and the barn which was recently torn down was used as a tannery. A store was built at the corner of Commercial Street and the railroad by Mr. S. J. Nichols which was later destroyed by fire. The only other house standing at that time was the present Dr. Bethune property which was erected by Mr. George Lydiard, who was at that time station agent.

In 1865 a sawmill was set up by Mr. F. A. Clark on what is now called Mill Street near where the Lloyd house now stands. Just east of this was established a shingle mill, the second floor of which was used as a clothes-pin factory. A short lane (now known as Foster Street) was laid out running from the railroad as far north as the McNeil property. The only other house on the street was that now occupied by Mr. N. B. Morton, which was erected by Mr. F. A. Clark.

Main Street was more thickly populated with about fifteen houses. At the eastern end lived Mr. James Morse, father of Mr. A. L. Morse. West from this was the property of Mr. A. J. Parker, farmer and lumberman, father of Mr. F. A. Parker. Mr. Harding Parker lived in Mr. Farrell’s house. He was not only a farmer but manufactured brick and had three kilns in the hollow near where Maple Avenue joins Main Street. John Parker, who was a farmer and magistrate, resided where Mayor E. S. Illsley now lives and near where the creamery stands was located the schoolhouse, which was later removed to the old school site. Mr. H. E. Jefferson had a house and shoemaking shop on the property now owned by Mr. Haley. He employed five or six men in his shop. Mr. Enoch Collins owned the house now occupied by Brenton Corkum. Across the street was the Methodist Church and next to it a blacksmith shop owned by Mr. G. W. Eaton, who also owned the house now occupied by Mr. Boyd. The house on the northeast corner of the road was owned by Mr. Joseph Ellis, who was a wheelwright and also the undertaker.

A Brief Review Of The Early History Of Berwick

(Continued from page 1.)

On the northwest corner of Main Street and the Somerset road lived Mr. John Shaw, who was a tinsmith and also expert at orcharding. On the south side of the road was located the Baptist parsonage, now the property of Mr. Waldo Lovelace. Deacon William Webster owned the house now occupied by Mr. Gaul and Mr. A. J. McLeod owned that in which Edwin Pineo lives. The house in which Miss Handred resides, corner of Main and Foster Streets, was owned by Mr. Edward Foster. Across the road stood the Methodist parsonage. Mr. Caldwell, a tanner, resided where Mr. Charles Collins lives and the last house on the road was that of Mr. Mayhew Beckwith, now known as the McKenzie property.

During the fall and winter of 1869 construction work on the Windsor and Annapolis railway was started and Mr. Borden with a team worked all that winter on same. It was in 1872, that the camp grounds were started and great crowds attended. Mr. Borden’s father sent him to the grounds to assist in digging a well and he remembers quite well that in digging it they uncovered several pockets of gas which was so strong that they could only work in the well for short periods. It was afterwards filled in.

Another incident, of those early days was the revival which swept the Valley during the winter of 1874 under the ministry of Rev. Isaiah Wallace. On one Sunday forty-nine converts were baptized in the Cornwallis River, just below the bridge.