Summer Trip to Nova Scotia in 2018
While I had taken a bit of a hiatus from genealogy, I was presented with an opportunity to check something off Dad’s bucket list. In the summer of 2018, the Locke Family Association was slated to have their first ever international reunion by traveling to Nova Scotia and visiting Lockeport, a town founded/settled by descendants of our common ancestor, Capt. John LOCKE (1627-1696).
My direct LOCKE line had not been in Nova Scotia, but I knew that my great-grandmother, Eva Maud ANTHONY (1883-1960), who married John F. LOCKE (1879-1917) in Boston, Massachusetts, was born in Nova Scotia. While I had always surmised that my ANTHONY line from Nova Scotia were tied to the colonial ANTHONY line of Rhode Island, I had not connected the dots. But, a little closer to home was a story told throughout the years about my grandfather, John Floyd LOCKE (1907-1965). When John was a boy of nine years old, his father died in 1917. His mother, Eva Maud ANTHONY, was living in Boston and left with five children, four daughters and a son. She sent her son to live with her parents and brother in Kennetcook, Nova Scotia. I knew the parents names were James William ANTHONY and Eunice Davison RINES while the brother was Edgar who married Aunt Mae. Edgar became like a second father to John. As I began my research, I found John living with James, Eunice, Edgar, and Mae in the Canadian 1921 census. By the 1930 US census, John was in Greenwich, Connecticut living with a maternal aunt Helen, the widow of Eva’s brother William ANTHONY. The story was that John had been sent to Greenwich to help his uncle, who had become ill, continue to build houses. In fact, his sister Verna had also been sent to help Helen with her three children, but by 1930 Verna was married and living in the neighboring city of Stamford, Connecticut.
So, now there was a trip being planned. Dad had always wanted to see where his father had spent a number of years during his youth. Where was the family buried? Did Edgar and Mae have any children? Was anything from Grandpa’s time there still standing? Do we have any distant cousins still living in the area?
I spent many nights building out that portion of my family tree on ancestry.com, having added the international subscription. William, Eva (Maud), and Edgar had a lot of siblings, and, it would appear a large number of nephews and nieces. I even found the logical link back to Rhode Island making us related to Susan B. Anthony (she is my fifth cousin-thrice removed).
But I needed to make a connection to the living. I reached out to the East Hants Historical Society and hit gold! One of their volunteers had the surname ANTHONY. While we are related much further back, he and the director got me contact information for an ANTHONY descendant of likely James and Eunice still living in Kennetcook! They also pointed me to an article about the farmland which showed that it had been donated to the county for the construction of a new school in the 1950s, the present day Hants North Rural High School.
The trip was coming together. I arranged for Dad and I to take a drive out to Kennetcook (we left the ladies to enjoy shopping in Halifax) that Friday. We stopped at the East Hants Historical Society first, reviewed some of the available materials there and took lots of pictures, including a photo of Edgar and Mae in front of the Kennetcook Hotel. What an amazing collection curated by folks that are truly passionate about preserving their local history! Dad and I then continued the drive to Kennetcook, had lunch at a little restaurant in town called Snappers before meeting up with Craig ANTHONY who lived next to the church/cemetery on land that was part of the old farmland of James William ANTHONY (1837-1923), between the church and the new school.
We started by chatting with Craig’s wife who let me take pictures of the James and Eunice ANTHONY’s Holy Bible which listed all their children, including Craig’s grandfather, Clarence Owen ANTHONY (1867-1931). That made Craig (pictured in the cap) and Dad second cousins.
Craig was a wealth of information as we chatted at his private Blast from the Past Museum located a little closer to the downtown crossroads. Craig was ten years old when Uncle Edgar (the youngest sibling of Clarence, William, and Eva) passed away in 1954. Craig jogged Dad’s memory as he told the story of “Locke” arriving late to the funeral. They were lowering the casket into the ground, but stopped, raised the casket back up, and opened it so that “Locke” could say goodbye to Uncle Edgar. Craig also confirmed that Edgar and Mae had not had any children.
Craig also told us that the original farmhouse had been moved downtown, purchased by another ANTHONY relative (Craig was unsure how they were related), and had built the home for Edgar and Mae. Craig’s daughter now lived in that home situated next to Craig’s home. The original farmhouse was now occupied by a descendant of that other ANTHONY relative. The tractor that was used to move the original farmhouse was actually in Craig’s museum (forgot to get a picture of that). In fact, when the farmhouse had arrived next to the new foundation, it fell and miraculously landed on that new foundation. Apparently that was a good thing, because trying to move it again was unlikely to happen. Another amazing incident that Craig had witnessed. While the current occupants of that farmhouse were away, Craig assured us taking a bunch of pictures of the outside would be just fine.
After a trip and festivities with the Locke Family Association in Halifax and Lockeport, we returned to Kennetcook on Monday with our wives and visited with a relative of Aunt Helen (William’s wife) in Upper Kennetcook. Dad got to catch up with her as they chatted about the various relatives who had come to Connecticut to visit over the years. We returned to downtown Kennetcook to again have lunch at Snapper’s. We met with Craig, his wife, and daughter taking pictures of the home that Mae lived in and ran a small gift shop out of the front called “The Friendly Gift Shop” (got a picture of that sign still in the garage). We found out that Mae used to be a cook at the Kennetcook Hotel (now an office building) that was supported by the rail line that was removed from town in the 1980’s. Dad told the story that his mother went on a baking bread spree after returning from Nova Scotia, having learned from Aunt Mae.
Of course with Kennetcook Cemetery being right next door to Craig’s home, I took pictures of every Anthony headstone I could find on both Friday and Monday (of course there is a limit to my family’s patience). I now have pictures of the high school where the farmhouse used to stand, pictures of Craig’s home, the neighboring home Edgar and Mae lived in, and the original farmhouse. And, of course, that picture of Craig and my father that I will always treasure, a pair of second cousins who did not know about each other but chatted and chatted like old friends/family do.
Hello Mr. Locke, I read your article about Nova Scotia with great interest. I moved to Kennetcook as a toddler in 1947 and my first home( while our permanent home was being built) was the Anthony farmhouse located where the high school now stands. My “forever” home is located across the road from Craig Anthony’s home. I am slightly younger than Craig but we remain friends to this day. Edgar and Mae were like grandparents to me as my MacAskill grandparents died when I was very young. I now live near Toronto, Ontario but I visit Kennetcook as often as possible. My sister lives in our family home across the road from Craig. I likely have a photo of Marsden Anthony’s old tractor from Craig’s collection if you want me to email it to you. Please let me know your wish. Thank-you for a trip down memory lane. Dawn