Geology and Genealogy in St. David Parish

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Geology & St. David Parish

Geology has played an all-encompassing role in the history of settlement of St., David Parish. Here are the reasons.

If you look at a map of Passamaquoddy Bay and the St. Croix, it is easy to find a nearly straight line from offshore through the gap separating Lubec, ME from Campobello Island, continuing up past Eastport and Deer Island, and continuing near the US shore and up the St. Croix's estuary, finally reaching land where Gallop Stream enters Oak Bay at its upper end. The fault line continues northwards, but becomes less visible to the observer.
See Topographic Map of St. David here (opens in new window)
This fault line, still active, dates back to the period when the coasts of North Africa and North America were pulling apart. It formed a line of weakness that created the original St. Croix River, no doubt long before the comparatively recent ice ages.
Incidentally, Spoon Island in the middle of Oak Bay is rock totally different from the rocks on either side of it. It dates from the Jurrasic, in the Age of Dinosaurs, while the rocks to east and west of it are older.
This fault line remains active, and earthquakes of considerable size occur along it regularly. At least one has occurred at the mouth of Pagan Cove in the first decade of the 20th century. A much larger quacke occurred a little to the south, in Passamaquoddy Bay 3 Mar. 1904 at 10.04 at Lat. 45.00 67.20 W. mag. 5.9. Several quakes above. 3.7 occurred along this fault line in the last century.
Because of the fault line, the sea made a long indentation into the land here, up to the top end of Oak Bay, making that a natural 'jumping off' location for settlement. Above there the fault line follows GALLOP STREAM northwards, creating two ridges on either side: the one to the west is ST. DAVID RIDGE, and the one to the east is now called TOWER HILL (after settler William Towers).
The natural route for early roads, to avoid stream crossings and to reach good farm lands, was up the ridges, and that is exactly what the two early roads into St. David Parish did.
The first and most important road to St. David Ridge was along the BACK ROAD (used to be called the BAY WOODS ROAD, locally), and from there along the crest of the ridge.
The first and most important road to Tower Hill became known as the TOWER HILL ROAD, now Highway 755. Feeder roads then left these two 'geology-driven' roadways.
The ridges provided much of the better farmlands. They were wide and flat, so wells dug down found sufficient water. However in the 20th century, the deeper drilled wells met with more mixed results due to the highly fractured rock of this parish. (That is due to it being just north of the line where North Africa banged into North America, like a massive front end auto collision).
Several of the streams in St. David Parish, including Sawyer Brook, have small amounts of placer gold in them, 'colours' as one would say. The same goes for the Waweig River just to the East. This placer gold has been known for more than a century, but it is not in commercial quantities.
Another aspect of geology affecting settlement is that the glacial gravel moraines around Oak Bay proved very useful for construction, and in the 20th century have been of commercial importance. They do make a hideous eyesore of devastation, however.