History of Kingsburg
if you're interested in historical photos of kingsburg, please scroll down to the end of this page - there are many!
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Kingsburg in the sixties - note the salt shakes and all of the old barns!
This is the original land grant that designated Kingsburg
GEORGE THE THIRD by the Grace of god, of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defenderof the Faith and so forth.
TO all to whom these Presents shall come, greeting
Know Ye that we of our Special Grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion, have given and granted and by these Presents, for Us, our Heirs and Successors do give and grant unto John Moseman two Shares, Leonard Hartle two shares, Peter Knack four shares, Christian Hartman One Share & John Keyser one share containing One hundred and thirty five acres& is abutted & bounded as follows beginning at a Stake & Stones………….. containing in all the aforesaid Shares Thirteen hundred & fifty ACRES,…… the whole of say lots Situate lying & being in Kingsburg & Township of Lunenburg
the fifth day of July A.D. 1787
A correction was provided to the story of Upper and Lower Kingsburg noted below. Carole Anne Mosher clarifies that since we are talking about the entire Kingsburg, Upper & Lower, a clarification must be made that the first Mosher settled here earlier around 1753-1754 from Germany. This family member of the Moshers settled in Kingsburg in 1753/54 in Moshers Bay 8 generations ago. Jacob Mosher arrived from Germany on the Ship Speedwell . He later purchased the house next door to Carole Anne and Monty Mosher where their son Jimmy Mosher and family lived after their Uncle and Aunt, Jason and Annie Mosher passed away. Jason was Jacobs Mosher's son. This house is now owned and inhabited by Debora Walsh.
by Denis Falvey
The Fishery and the French
The first chart of the La Have (La Heve) area, including the area that became Upper and Lower Kingsburg, was prepared by Samuel de Champlain in 1604.
In his notes he states:
On the 8th of the same month, we sighted Cape de la Heve, to the east of which is a bay, containing several islands covered with fir trees. On the main land are oaks, elms and birches.
No mention is made of settling the area. Having roughly mapped the area Champlain then sailed on west and north to explore western Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy.
By 1604, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, and Basque fishermen had been plying their trade in North America for a century or more, principally off the shores of Newfoundland and on the Grand Banks. They would sail out in the spring, fish for the summer, and return home before the autumnal gales.
The commercial drive for this was of course to supply fish, mostly cod, to home markets. The English tended to dry fish on flakes ashore, making one trip a year, while the French, who possessed extensive access to salt, would cure fish at sea, allowing them to make two trips a year.
When Champlain charted the mouth of the La Have River in 1604, he showed an Indigenous and European presence on the Riverport/Kingsburg peninsula (see red circle in Figure 1). This was likely an indication of fishery activity rather than of permanent settlement.
It is also possible that this presence consisted of a place for New England fishermen to dry their catch, especially given the relative distances between New England and Nova Scotia, on the one hand, and Europe and the Grand Banks on the other. They may still have been French from New England in the earlier part of the seventeenth century, but given the geopolitical realities of the time, it is more likely they were English or Dutch.
Finally, there is a strong possibility that Champlain’s European presence consisted of Basque whalers, who had been plying their skill off the coast of Nova Scotia for a very long time.
It certainly wasn’t a permanent French settlement of the character Champlain was planning, because the immigration of French had not yet happened in Nova Scotia. There had been French settlements in Canada by Jacques Cartier (1534-43), in Florida by Jean Ribault and René Goulaine de Laudonnière (1562-67), on Sable Island by the marquis de la Roche (1597-1602), and at Tadoussac by Pierre de Chauvin (1599-1600). All of them failed abysmally for one reason or another.
When Samuel Champlain and Pierre de Gua de Monts explored Acadia in 1604 they settled at Île St, Croix at the mouth of the St. Croix river in present day New Brunswick on the Bay of Fundy. This settlement didn’t go well, and the next year they moved across the Fundy to Port Royal near present day Annapolis.
It wasn’t until 1632 that Governor Izaac de Razilly moved the capital from Port Royal to La Have. His interest was in sea-borne trade not farming, which is what drove his choice of location, the South Shore of Nova Scotia being much closer than Fundy to the inshore and Grand Banks fishery. De Razilly died in 1635 leaving his subordinates, Charles de Menou D’Aulnay and Charles La Tour, in charge. D’Aulnay almost immediately moved the capital back to Port Royal and began fighting a civil war with La Tour who was already established there.
There certainly was permanent French settler activity in the La Have and River Port area in 1632, but it is extremely unlikely that permanent French settlements would have been depicted in the Kingsburg area on Champlain’s1604 chart.
As a result of D’Aulnay’s move to Port Royal, the presence of the French on the South Shore of Nova Scotia was diminished, so that at the time of the Expulsion of Acadians in 1755-64, there was only one partly Acadian family found living in the Merlagash (Lunenburg) area for whom the Expulsion applied.
It is of course true that, long before Champlain sighted Le Heve, the Mi’Kmaq used the land in Kingsburg, probably for summer fishing and to escape inland heat. We know now that they too had been immigrants in the past. Their forefathers had passed into, or invaded, North America via the land bridge between Asia and Alaska, what is now the Bering Strait, roughly 15,000 years ago, about the same time that agriculture, domestication, and civilization were getting a start in the Fertile Crescent.
This was the same time as the disappearance of large mammals in North America, probably as a result of human hunting. The lack of big mammals like horses and cattle to provide transportation, mechanical power and food was particularly consequential. This, together with a relative paucity of domesticable plants and a north south axis to the continent interfering with spread of domestication, ensured the peoples of North America would not develop the densities of population necessary for the development of writing, advanced bureaucratic and social structures, technology, and immunity to crowd diseases.
The result was that Europeans invaded North America in their turn, rather than a Mi’Kmaq invasion of Europe. Because humans are innately curious, cooperative and competitive, civilization spreads.
In 1575 Cunrath Moser (1575-) was born in Arbon, Thugau Canton, Switzerland (the red marker in Figure 2). The age his parents lived through had seen Martin Luther post his Ninety Five Theses triggering the Protestant Reformation, and Huldrych Zwingli’s Reformation of Switzerland, which pitted Catholic canton against Protestant with consequent battles and bloodshed.
Cunrath was born eighty-three years after Christopher Columbus sighted the Bahamas under authority of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, and in the year Tycho Brahe was granted the island of Hveen by the King of Denmark. Here, Tycho made astronomical observations useful to navigators, but which eventually resulted in Copernicus’s heresy that the earth orbits the sun in an impermanent universe. This was much at variance with classical philosophy and Catholic orthodoxy, and the cause of considerable social upheaval.
Cunrath’s son Adam (1603-?) was born in the same year Elizabeth I died, ending the Tudor era that had seen early expansion of English power into North America. He was one year old when Champlain sailed into the mouth of the La Have River on the south coast of Nova Scotia, as part of the establishment of France’s North American power under Henry IV. And he was twenty-nine years old when de Razilly settled Fort Point on the La Have.
Cunrath’s grandson, and Adam’s son, Geoerg (1652-?), like his father and grandfather, lived his life, and had his family, in Arbon, even as Isaac Newton was solidifying Copernicus’ ideas by revolutionizing physics and astronomy. Four years before Adam was born, as a result of the Peace of Westphalia, Switzerland was recognized as a country independent of the Holy Roman Empire, and began its long history of armed neutrality. But religious intolerance, upheaval, and bloodshed in Switzerland continued throughout his life and that of his son Jakob (1685-?).
Jakob’s son Hans Jacob (1711-3 Feb1779) was born in Bern, Switzerland, two years before the Treaty of Utrecht that saw the French cede Nova Scotia to Britain. Why Jakob moved to Bern is unknown, but it would have set a family precedent for relocating home, one that Hans Jacob took to the extreme of emigrating to North America in 1751.
Why did Hans Jacob move to Nova Scotia?
Like most things in life, his personal reasons were likely complex, but the move was undoubtedly triggered by some proximate cause. Perhaps he was fleeing religious persecution. Perhaps the opportunity for scratching out a living became too onerous or precarious in Switzerland. Perhaps he dreamed of adventure, bored with the potential in Bern. Perhaps he was fleeing military service, some other threat, or pursuing some other dream.
Certainly the idea of journeying to North America had been made more commonplace, as a result of the astronomical and technological developments in the times of his immediate forebears. It is also possible that another relative had previously immigrated to Nova Scotia, and of course his father had moved the family from Arbon to Bern. But the proximate cause of the move was British policy.
The British Board of Trade, under its president Lord Halifax and with the support of the Crown, had advertised throughout German-speaking Europe for Protestants to settle in Nova Scotia, which was then populated by Mi’Kmaq and some 10,000 Frenchmen. The settlers came mostly from what is now southwest Germany and northern Switzerland; Montbélard, Bern, Zurich, Swabia, Württemberg, the Palatinate, and north to Hesse-Kassel. This was in part because the British commander of Halifax, Edward Cornwallis, had been impressed by the ability of the Swiss and German settlers of 1749 to cope with the business of settling a wilderness in the face of Mi’Kmaq opposition.
Southwest Germany and northern Switzerland had seen a flood of emigration to North America for a number of reasons. After the practical disintegration of the Holy Roman Empire, southwest Germany was a crazy patchwork of tiny principalities, with all that entailed in interference with trade, and dissemination of cultural and technological developments. In addition these microstates were segregated as Catholic and at least two forms of Protestantism. Wars and internecine strife over many decades had caused tremendous hardships in this whole area of Europe, both in direct damage and in the necessity of forced military service.
The result was a huge outflow of more than 100,000 Protestant emigrants to North America in the middle quarters of the eighteenth century, a small rivulet of which, about 2,500, was diverted to Nova Scotia in the early 1750s.
Britain wanted foreign immigrants because the mercantilism of the day viewed the New World principally as a source of resources. These resources were to be accessed through labour that could not be provided by England’s existing population, which was generally less than required to feed the country and also process the materials from colonies. Loyalty to the British Crown was mandatory, but Britain had had a German King since George I ascended the throne in 1714. Finally, the British were both Protestant and in command of North America. Thus mostly German Protestants emigrated, or at least people posing as Protestants.
What we know for sure is that on or shortly before Tuesday, 18 May 1751, 40-year-old Hans Jacob forsook his home and life as a blacksmith in Bern, walked his family onto the 190-ton ship Speedwell, at Rotterdam, and never saw Europe again.
His family at the time consisted of his 37-year-old wife Anna Maria Julianna (nee Zuilflower) (1714-28 April 1771), 19-year old daughter Anna Christina Margaretha Catherine (Christina) (1732-14 Feb 1823), 14-year-old son Samuel (1737-1811), 11-year-old son Jacob (1740-25 Sept 1824), seven-year-old son Johann Heinrich (Henry) (1744-1827), and two-year-old son Matthias (1749-1834). Daughter Judith was born in Upper Kingsburg on August 1, 1754.
Hans Jacob was also accompanied on the Speedwell by Peter Moser, a farmer from Bern, and most likely a relative, given the number of ‘Peters’ that appeared in Hans Jacob’s subsequent family tree.
No doubt stories similar to the Mosers could be told concerning Johann Leonard Hirtle and Johannes Mossman, who, as we shall see, were both granted land in Kingsburg adjacent to the Moser family. Together these three families constituted what became known as Upper Kingsburg.
The settlers were promised free passage, about 50 acres of land, and one year of provisions, as well as some articles such as grindstones, animals, etc. The Board of Trade got surety of economic prosperity, its president got a city named after him, the Crown got loyal subjects and labour to build Halifax as a counter to the French in Louisburg, and the settlers got a new life of their own making.
Lord Edward Cornwallis founded Halifax in 1749 on behalf of George II, King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire.
Over the next few years the settlers sorted themselves in his mind into two categories, those who didn’t complain much and worked hard, and those who complained and slacked. The Swiss were decidedly in the former category, the English in the latter. He therefore pressed the British authorities to provide additional Swiss and Germanic settlers.
When Cornwallis landed in the future Halifax in 1749, the Mi’Kmaq responded very negatively to a further presence of Europeans on their land, and basically told the British to leave. Hostilities inevitably followed, with atrocities on both sides reflecting what could only be described as a race war for both parties.
There is today appropriate angst over Edward Cornwallis placing a bounty on Mi’Kmaq scalps, and indeed over colonialism in general. It should however be noted that scalping was introduced by the Mi’Kmaq, perhaps under the influence of the French. Other than the horror of the means employed, the situation was as with any war—people killed each other over land.
But for our purposes here, the British Officer John Knox summed up the situation faced by the settlers in Nova Scotia as follows: “In the year 1757 we were said to be Masters of the province of Nova Scotia, or Acadia, which, however, was only an imaginary possession.” He went on to say that the settlers at several sites, including Lunenburg, “…could not be reputed in any other light than as prisoners.”
European superiority in arms and lethal germs won the war, but the peace that settled on the land was punctuated with continued violence until support from the French dried up after 1759. From that time on the Mi’Kmaq treated the British less violently, the settlers started to become what would eventually be called Canadian, and the British were progressively ignored over the next two centuries.
As a result of hostilities, until 1759 the settlers in Kingsburg would have been under threat of attack. There is an oral tradition that the Mosers lived above their animals, both to benefit from the radiant and rising heat from the animals in the winter and so that the animals would provide warning of attack. In other words, they lived in the loft of a barn.
Brian MacKay Lyons, in excavations of the foundation of one of the early houses at Moser’s settlement, discovered a clay-lined conduit. This waterproofed cavern could have been for drainage, or it may have been for storage of gunpowder. The site is on a locally elevated and dry knoll and there is no other local example of this technique being used for drainage.
But if it was for powder then who put it there? Did the settlers build over a defensive site possibly erected by the French after 1632, or did they fortify themselves from scratch in this way? Did they use stone cut for fortifications, possibly brought as ballast from Europe, to build foundations?
Whatever the answers, over the next 200 years Mosher’s Settlement prospered and grew, until children moved away in the early to mid-20th Century. In more recent years Brian Mackay Lyons has re-imagined Mosher’s as an Acadian settlement that it likely never was, but it is again a hive of activity.
It is a compelling reverie to imagine what actually met the Kingsburg settlers when they stepped ashore on that first day. Was it foggy? Were there hostile eyes in the forest? Did they regret having left their homes in Europe, or were they elated at being shed of their previous trials and tribulations, even in the face of new ones?
In the early days, food was coming from supplies provided by the British and from gardens in Lunenburg, but it had to be fetched; a priority must have been clearing sufficient land to plant crops, and to erect buildings in which to house their as yet undelivered animals and themselves. And there was no Gow’s or Canadian Tire store at which to get equipment. If they needed a shovel, a broom, or a comb they had to make it for themselves, do without, or wait months for the article to—maybe—arrive from Halifax or Europe.
They had to learn to fish the Atlantic, and build boats with which to do so. How did they learn to do this? It is certainly not difficult to imagine the frustratingly slow and agonizingly difficult progress they must have experienced in just staying alive.
Yet there was a strong sense of community, both locally in Kingsburg and in Lunenburg, as evidenced by events preceded by a letter written by the commanding officer in Lunenburg, Colonel Lawrence, to the Lords of Trade in Halifax:
The inhabitants of Lunenburg are much reformed; that spirit of mutiny and violence which possessed them so strongly in the beginning is now in a manner subsided, the agreeable situation of their settlement and the hopes of the live stock that the Governor has desired your Lordships to grant them next Spring has produced in them more orderly behaviour.
To Lawrence’s embarrassment, two weeks later, in mid December, a Lieutenant Adams arrived in Halifax to report that the settlers in Lunenburg were in rebellion!
This was a real problem for the authorities in Halifax. If word got out it could stimulate hostile measures from the Mi’Kmaq and/or French. Quickly the two provincial sloops, previously laid up for winter, were put back into service and 200 soldiers were dispatched under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Moncton to deal with the situation. Despite the show of force he was directed to actually use force as a last resort, considering the delicate position the authorities perceived themselves to be in.
The matter that upset the settlers was a rumour concerning promised supplies and a particular letter, of which no one seemed to know the location. The actions of rebellion consisted of locking a particular settler up in the blockhouse of Lunenburg in direct and personal physical defiance of Col. Lawrence. There were shots fired, resulting in a couple of wounded settlers, when settlers tried to take possession of the blockhouse.
The crux of the matter was a widely held belief of the settlers that they had been cheated by the British authorities of so many of the things they believed they had been promised, the letter they sought being in their minds vindication of their suspicions.
The problem the British authorities had after the air was cleared was that all the settlers were complicit; it was hard to single out any one person for punishment. The ensuing investigation showed that certain beliefs concerning the letter, which was the point of incitement, were the result of terror and threat.
As might be expected in such circumstances the resulting trial of one settler named Hoffman was a stitch up that returned a verdict of “Guilty of Misdemeanors”, a charge that had not been laid. The punishment was a fine of £100 and imprisonment for one year, which stretched to two and a half years because Hoffman was unable to pay the fine.
The Grand Jury also recommend a case against 15 other settlers, one of whom was Jacob Moser. One assumes that this was a relative of the Mosers at Kingsburg, or perhaps either Hans Jacob Sen. or Jr. himself. Interestingly, many of the grievances of the settlers were subsequently met and additional lands granted, even to the putative perpetrators. So the sense of community must have been very strong indeed, both in the minds of the settlers and of the authorities.
Travel from Kingsburg to Riverport was by shanks mare, even in the time of Ava Mosher, my mother. She told of her family and the Schnares, who also lived in Upper Kingsburg, walking from Upper Kingsburg to Riverport on Sunday for service, and then walking back for Sunday school in the afternoon. This was mostly by the post road up past Tony Congdon’s. But every now and then she and her brother Walter, and their Father Gus Mosher, would walk to Bayport and take the ferry, Mascot, from there to Lunenburg. Apparently a quarter would finance Christmas presents for a large family, with oranges being a significant treat.
In later years there were ox carts for transport, but there doesn’t seem to have been much use made of horses or horse drawn vehicles, although Hans Jacob did will a horse to one of his children, and there were carriages in use.
The Mosers were certainly industrious! After passing each of the last two drumlins leading down to Moser’s settlement there were small ponds. These were partially filled in using material taken from the adjoining hill, leaving the hills deeply gashed with less steep roads; this could only have been done by pick and shovel in a group effort.
One wonders if the roads were any better then than they are now!
The Mosers were also frugal and acquisitive. Mosher’s Settlement was once known as the Bank of Lunenburg, with many enterprises getting their financing from Mosers.
J. Christopher Young published a number of overview maps of the land grants for the Lunenburg County area. Since the division of land within Lunenburg created lots too small to allow a family to be self-sufficient, additional lots of land were granted to the east of the town, known as the Garden Lots.
Throughout 1753-54 lots of land of 30 acres more or less were laid out around Lunenburg in a regular pattern (See Fig 3). The fact that the lots were 30 acres rather than the promised 50 acres seems not to have bothered the settlers, likely because of the planned granting of 300-acre lots shown in Figure 4.
The original plan of lots in ‘Kings Bergh’ as it was then titled was registered in 1760, with the comment that it was first drawn in 1753. The thirteen lots and additional grants that made up Kingsburg were as follows:
1. Matheas Weynman
2. In. Geo. Dahn
3. Joh. Morash
4. Casper Zinck
5. Casper Zinck
6. Peter Craner
7. Christopher Harnish
8. Henry Drexler & Leonhard Hirtle ½ each
9. Casper Haien
10. Samuel Keyser
11 Jacob Moser Sen
12. Samuel Mozer
13. Jacob Moser Jun
The additional grants were:
- Leonhard Hirtle a tract of land of 30 acres more or less lying between Kings Berg, Jacob Moser land, and Rose Bay
- John Mossman a tract of land 30 acres more or less lying between Kings Berg, Jacob Moser land, and Rose Bay adjoining to Hirtle’s land
- To Jacob Moser and family a point or tract of 100 acres, land …
- To the settlers of Kingsburg is given them by Colonel Sutherland for a common a tract of land called Rose Head.
In recent years signs have been erected in Upper and Lower Kingsburg indicating that these settlements were established in 1787. This falsehood has no basis in fact.
Getting Around Kingsburg
Having settled on the Kingsburg 30-acre lot grants the immigrants of course started to name places in their community. Names change over the years, but the following tour gives a picture of what the significant local names were in the early to mid-20th Century. The tour starts at Shady Rest on the Kingsburg road (once known as the Rose Bay road) and continues along the coast clockwise to the banks of the La Have just before Five Houses.
First of all, the name Kingsburg has nothing whatever to do with the German city Königsberg, but was chosen to honour the English King.
Starting at Shady Rest, Lower Kingsburg consisted of Rose Head, starting with the Lettabach on the southwest side of Rose Bay, and 30-acre lots numbered 1 through 10. Upper Kingsburg consisted of the Mosher, Hirtle and Mossman grants, including lots numbered 11 through 13 of the 30-acre-lot grants. The small road on the east side of Lakeview cemetery is the boundary between the two.
The beach in Lower Kingsburg was and is called the Kingsburg Beach and borders on Kings Bay, the settlement having been built on the shores of King’s Lake. The headland just beyond Kingsburg Beach is the Hell, or Point Enrage, which at low tide extends almost half way across Hartling Bay (Hirtle’s Bay) as Hell reef. Just before the Hell was a public breakwater, accessed over the road along the back of the beach.
The cove to the west of the Hell was known as Kreps Cove, because lobsters were and are plentiful there. The eroded drumlin just to the west of the Hell was called the Beach Hill, with the bank itself called the Consul Banks.
The beach below the Consul Banks and stretching west to the next headland, Gaff Point, was called Hirtle’s Beach, because it lay on the edge of the grant to Leonard Hirtle. The lake next to the Beach Hill on the west side was called Hirtle’s Lake.
The lake just behind Hirtle’s Beach and to the west of Hirtle’s Lake was called Romkey’s Pond, after the family that bought out one of the early Mosers. The eroded Drumlin to the west of Romkey’s Pond was called the Old House Bank, because according to oral history there had been a very early structure erected there.
Between the Old House Bank and Gaff Point to the west lay two lakes, the smaller and more easterly one called the Lilly Pond and the larger one called Mosher’s Lake; the spit of land separating the lakes is called the Big Eck, with a smaller spit of land into Mosher’s lake being called the Little Eck. Mosher’s lake is now open to the ocean on the La Have side, and has been mapped as so in the past, but was a proper lake in my lifetime.
The cape to the west of Hirtle’s Beach is called Gaff Point, and the bay enclosed by the Hell, Hirtle’s Beach and Gaff Point is called Hartling Bay or sometimes Hirtle’s Bay. The headland where Hirtle’s beach ends just before Gaff is called the Head. There are two small bays on Gaff, on the La Have side, one called Sandy Cove and the other Gravel Cove, the latter being closer to the Shore.
Continuing along on the La Have side of Gaff Point is Mosher’s Shore, also called The Shore and referred to by Upper Kingsburgers as “the back shore”. Today Brian MacKay Lyons calls this the Shoback, evidently to connote ‘shore back’, but he is the only one to ever so name Mosher’s Settlement.
The Shore is from where settlers in Upper Kingsburg fished. There were shacks for storage, a skid way and a ‘donkey engine’ for hauling boats out of the sea, and a public breakwater accessed by the road to Mosher’s Settlement just above the Shore. The Shore stretched northwest from the fishing shacks along the mouth of the La Have as a gravel beach to the slate cliffs mostly below the Shaubach, a 300-acre lot grant owned by Casper Shaubach.
Just before the cliffs, a stream flows into the ocean. This was once the site of a lumber mill constructed by my grandfather, Gus Mosher, but it seems the stream may not have been up to commercial use. About here, there is also a large rock, called simply enough The Big Rock. A few dozen yards into the slate after the Shore, there is a formation that results in a geyser of water and spray at certain tides.
Some few hundred feet past the start of the slate cliffs, there is a steep and dramatic cleft in the rock through which a small stream flows. Called The Dief Kling, it is a great place for a dip in the ocean following an arduous trek through the Shaubach forests or steep climb along the slate cliffs, and also provided a good blind for hunting ducks.
Original access to Kingsburg was almost certainly by water. This is suggested by the original site of the Moser settlement above the Shore, but also makes sense given the violence of Mi’Kmaq hostility toward settlement.
Many of the roads in Lunenburg County wind along the coastline, which would be natural for people engaged in subsistence living based on farming and fishing. The road through Rose Bay into Lower Kingsburg is one such road, and was likely first cut by the settlers under the direction of Col. Lawrence.
The road into Upper Kingsburg is a bit different in origin. As you drive into Upper Kingsburg through the woods, the land on the right, or to the north and northeast, is part of the 300-acre lot grants, while the land to the left toward the ocean is part of the Kingsburg 30-acre lot grants. The baselines for 300-acre lots were also cut as roads at time of survey, and tended to be straight.
In 1864, the Province of Nova Scotia formed a select committee to “…consider the subject of procuring county and general maps of the Province by detailed surveys.”
Ambrose Finson Church was contracted to survey the 18 counties in Nova Scotia in exquisite detail between 1864 and 1888. He overlaid the public roads on the map, and marked the approximate location of existing houses together with the name of the principal householder. The road into Lower Kingsburg was then much as it is today, but the road into Upper Kingsburg used to divide into two roads, at the bottom of what is known as The Vinegar Hill.
The now unused road ran straight back to the banks of the La Have along the 300-acre-lot grants, then turned sharply left, or south and southwest, and descended to Moser’s settlement. The other access to Moser’s settlement was along the current road.
Why two roads?
The road that used to be along the banks of the La Have, branching off the baseline road of the 300-acre-lot grants beside the Shaubach lot, was at the top of a very high, eroded, drumlin bank. It makes sense that the settlers would make a road from this point along the La Have, because all the better land for a road would have then been heavily forested.
But there is little doubt that any road along the banks would have slid into the ocean many years ago. In any case, the steep hill was probably not a favourite with the settlers. They seem to have quite sensibly chosen to travel over other family member’s lower lands in the most ergonomic manner, at least once the land was cleared.
Church’s work was done at the behest of the Legislature of Nova Scotia, was supported by funds from the Legislature, and depicts with a double line the roads then in common usage, with no side roads indicated. There is a limited legend on the map stating the meaning of symbols but the logical conclusion is that these roads were what were considered the public roads of the time.
Living in Upper Kingsburg – Personal Memories and Oral Tradition
The oldest houses in Upper Kingsburg are nothing more than foundations now, or not even that. Brian MacKay Lyons has preserved one of the last to crumble into the ground, but as a child I used to play in that house. Then there were still curtains in the windows and dishes about. On a fine summer day the atmosphere was decidedly idyllic, if somewhat eerie.
In living memory fishing from The Shore was still important to life in Upper Kingsburg. The men would set out at 3:00 AM to fish the inshore, returning at about noon or so to see to their animals and make and mend at home. During the mowing season the boats were laid up, as they were again in the winter.
The fish were cleaned and the offal thrown into a gurry barrel by the skid way. In the winter, the boats were hauled up the skid way and into each owner’s shack. This was accomplished using a small donkey engine housed in one of the fishing shacks, but was originally done using a windlass that still existed in my brother Richard’s lifetime. Each fisherman had a shack to store gear and their boat, while behind the shacks were net yards for drying and repairing nets. The fish were eaten—fresh, salted, dried, or smoked—or sold.
Lobsters were plentiful, and easily caught using a hand pot off the government breakwater. My Mom, Ava, learned to swim off the breakwater when she took a tumble in after a hand pot! Of course, lobster was poor people food back then, God only knows why.
Salt cod was boiled and served with boiled potatoes and fried onions, rendered salt pork bites, called scrunchions, and lots of butter. This was called house bankin’, at least by my grandfather, Gus Mosher, ostensibly because it ‘sticks to your ribs’ and keeps you warm like the leaves banked against foundations in the winter.
Smoked fish was not to my taste as a child, but today I would love to try what they produced. Sadly, Albert Oxner’s smoke house burnt down before the chance could occur.
Vegetables were grown in small gardens, or ‘pieces’ of the land if they were bigger gardens. One of the best meals every year was Dutch mess or hodge podge, composed of newly harvested, peas, green and yellow beans, broad beans, carrots, and small, new potatoes. These were boiled and served on a huge platter, liberally doused with a mixture of sour cream and salted butter.
Given the rapaciousness of deer today, I often wondered how the settlers managed to have any food grow at all. When that question was put to Norman Mossman he coyly indicated that any deer invading the garden piece became supper!
Each house churned butter in Upper Kingsburg, although Maggie Mosher was the only one still doing this when I was a child. Maggie lived with husband Milton and daughters Marion, Margaret, and Mona, at the sharp corner after coming down The Vinegar Hill: all the children were born at Simon Mosher’s house at Mosher’s Settlement. My brother Richard relates that my grandmother, Nettie Mosher (nee Hirtle) made butter without a churn in later days.
Cream was usually available from Elsie Fraser, who lived with husband Clarence and sons George and Charles, where Ali MacKay Lyons now lives. Two dishes I detested as a child, but my parents, sister and brother loved, were fresh lettuce with cream and cucumbers in cream.
Eggs were to be had from the hen house and the chickens were also a source of meat: most people had a henhouse that housed a few chickens. I remember my grandmother’s chicken coop days being ended with the chickens becoming a feast for the whole Gus Mosher family.
Fall was the time for butchering meat. This was eaten fresh of course, but as there were no freezers the bulk of it had to be salted, also called corned, or smoked. Lunenburg sausage and Lunenburg pudding were the specialties of butchering: the latter can be eaten as a pâté, or fried up as scrapple, while the former has a wonderful coriander accent.
Bottling was also the way to deal with excess vegetables, although root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, turnip, etc. could be stored in cellars covered in sawdust. Beans could be dried, and then baked throughout the year.
In the early days, flax was grown in Upper Kingsburg, with the flax pit being located just on David Copp’s land, in the valley between two drumlins, which is still a wet area today. The flax was then made into linen, which in turn provided bed sheets and clothing. Wool was to be had from sheep of course, and leather from cattle and deer, but I have not heard of anyone tanning leather in Upper Kingsburg.
Gus Mosher had a blacksmith shop, following in the footsteps of his great, great, great, grandfather Hans Jacob. This seems to have been mostly for forming nails and fasteners and maintaining the iron-shod wheels of ox wagons. I remember playing in it as a child and realizing how a bellows works.
Bedtime was early, and the main meal was at noon. All cooking was done on a wood stove, summer and winter, which was also usually the only source of heat in winter. The bedrooms were very cold in the winter, as there was no heat source and no insulation. The bedclothes consisted of a couple of sheets covered by a big bag of sheep’s wool, with ticking to keep the wool from bunching up in one corner—lack of central heating was not a problem, but comfort could be overtaken by a full bladder!
The necessities of life involved either a trip to the outhouse or use of a chamber pot kept under the bed.
Staying personally clean involved boiling water on the kitchen wood stove and having what today would be called a sitz bath in a big tub, usually once a week. Clothing was washed in the same tub (although not at the same time!), scrubbed on a washing board, and hung out to dry on clothe lines held up in the middle by a long pole, the clothes being attached with wooden pins.
Every summer the fields had to be harvested. Initially this was done by sickle and scythe, but bringing in the hay was accomplished using oxen, hay rakes, hayforks, and hay wagons, all of which were homemade. The hay was then stored in the lofts of barns, being forked by hand both up for storage and later down for use as feed. Barns also had stalls for wintering animals and for milking cows, and invariably there were barn swallows and cats.
Entertainment consisted of reading, usually mail or the Bible, communing with Nature, and whatever music could be had. Organs were often to be found in a parlour, and occasionally a fiddle would be brought out. And of course everyone could sing…even if they couldn’t.
Barn raisings were a community event, sometimes accompanied by liquid refreshments—sometimes resulting in less than plumb barns!
As to alcohol, it seems to have been available, Robbie Mosher’s house being known locally as the party house. Homemade wine could be had, as well as rum, presumably from Caribbean trade, but I haven’t heard of anyone having an actual still. Interestingly, when I was a young kid, booze could be had 24/7 in Riverport if you knew to whom to speak.
Finding a mate would seem to have been a challenge, in as much as the next-door neighbour was usually a fair bit distant, and probably related to you. Inevitably there were first cousins who married, but the family trees could never be described as family sticks; the Moshers, Hirtles, and Mossmans have thousands of twigs each to their family trees in Lunenburg Co. On the other hand, there aren’t too many people from the county who don’t have a relative from one or the other (or all) of these families.
Local Lingua Franca
There are a number of phrases and names used locally that might puzzle people who did not grow up in the area. Most of these phrases arise from archaic German and local corruption of English, with some of then having been mentioned already such as Letabuch, Dief Kling and house bankin’.
Here are a few more: perhaps others can add to the list.
Sauerkraut — pickled cabbage
Turnip kraut — pickled turnip
Solomon Gundy — pickled herring
Scrunchions — rendered salt pork fat cubes
Dutch mess (hodge podge) — fresh boiled veggies, smothered in sour cream and butter
House bankin’ — salt cod and potatoes with onions and scrunchions
Gott im Himmel — Oh my God, or literally, God in Heaven
Hundt — dog
Smoikle — cuddle
Fressen — eat
Obstrackalous — cranky, difficult
Contrary — hard to get along with
Goin’ off — heading into town
Comin’ with — accompanying someone goin’ off, e.g. “I’m goin’ off. You comin’ with?”
Kreps — Lobster
Kling — sounding
Bach — stream
Kretzing — arguing, also a cat sharpening its claws
Knuttle — turd
Butzer — kitty cat
Närrisch — foolish
Ach du lieber Himmel — Oh for the love of Heaven
Groß Lundt — short lots in the Shaubach, literally big land
Husch krapp Deutsche — shoo you mad German
Churches, Education, and Graveyards
As far as I know, there was never any church in either Kingsburg, at least until later years when one was moved to the Hell and renovated as a dwelling (presumably the first church in Hell!). There were, however, three churches in Rose Bay, just before Riverport.
There was a school in Lower Kingsburg that dates to the early years of the 1800s, and was funded by subscription by the residents of the Kingsburgs. The little school in Upper Kingsburg at the bottom of Vinegar Hill dates from probably 1864, when Charles Tupper’s Government began to fund public schools.
The settlers wanted their children taught in German, but the British authorities insisted that they be taught in English. This bilingual argument persisted into the modern age: when Centre School was built and the feeder schools were closed, Centre had to offer German courses. An example of why this argument was important is Norman Mossman relating that his grandmother spoke only German.
An interesting factoid is that the settlers apparently taught themselves English partly through comparing passages in both their German Bibles and English versions of the same.
There is a research article in the Public Archives of Nova Scotia about the schools, but unfortunately I didn’t copy this in 1978 when I was doing the above research. I will try to add this to the web site later.
It is not known for sure where the first generation of settlers were buried in Upper Kingsburg. There is an old Mosher graveyard just overlooking Hartling Bay on the landward part of the Old House Bank drumlin, but no stone for Hans Jacob and his wife. There is another Mosher graveyard just below our house, which, according to ground penetrating radar, has at least nineteen graves, but has only four stones, and again, there is none for Hans Jacob.
The foregoing article gives a factual basis for the settling of the Kingsburgs, with applicable references, as well as some personal reminiscences about life in Upper Kingsburg. But perhaps others could elaborate on the churches and graveyards, as well as expand the local lingua franca. I also haven’t mentioned clothing, as I have no clue what people wore.
Denis Falvey, with the assistance of Richard Falvey
25 July, 2017
 Mather DesBrisay’s History of the County of Lunenburg (1895) was poorly informed by primary sources and is consequently riddled with errors, although pleasantly chatty. Winthrop Bell’s The Foreign Protestants and the Settlement of Nova Scotia (1961) is a far more scholarly and accurate account of the history of Lunenburg County.
 Full Text of“Voyages of Smauel de Champlain, 1604-1618”, p. 27
 Fisher, D H: Champlain’s Dream. Vintage Canada 2009, pg. 110.
 Salt was principally acquired by evaporation from salt pans, or salines, in the Languedoc region of France. Some of the techniques used to trap seawater there were adapted to keep it out of the marshes around Grand Pré in Nova Scotia.
In the 17th century, British fishing vessels began to bring passengers who fished from small boats in Newfoundland …
Meanwhile, New England fishermen had increased their fishing in Nova Scotia …
 The gentle slope of Hirtle’s and Kingsburg beachs may have provided advantages for beaching dead whales.
 Fisher, D H: Champlain’s Dream. Vintage Canada 2009, pg. 112.
Acadia has its origins in the explorations of Giovanni da Verrazzano, an Italian explorer serving the king of France. In 1524-25 he explored the Atlantic coast of North America and gave the name "Archadia", or “Arcadia” in Italian, to a region near the present-day American state of Delaware. In 1566, the cartographer Bolongnini Zaltieri gave a similar name, "Larcadia," to an area far to the northeast that was to become Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The 1524 notes of Portuguese explorer Estêvão Gomes also included Newfoundland as part of the area he called “Arcadie”
It is known that Nicholas Denys and his brother Simon, who had come over with de Razilly, in 1632, set up a "wood working plant" near present-day Riverport, Nova Scotia.
 Bell, W: The Foreign Protestants and the Settlement of Nova Scotia, p 402-404.
The French census of 1683, for example, showed a few people at LaHeve and Merliguaiche.
…by 1753 only one family remained in Merligash, an Indian, or partly Indian…
 The name is spelt in several ways, including Moser, Mauser, and Mosher, the latter dating from about the First World War.
Another Jacob Moser was listed as a passenger on the ship Alderney or Nancy in 1750.
 Bell, W: The Foreign Protestants and the Settlement of Nova Scotia, Figure 2.
 Bell, W: The Foreign Protestants and the Settlement of Nova Scotia, p. 9.
 Tongue in cheek, perhaps the English felt a German on the throne was enough, and so sent German immigrants to the colonies.
There is some evidence that Hans Jacob may have been Jewish posing as Protestant. There is a ‘chalice’ passed down through the family that is more likely a Seder cup, the author’s great grandfather wore a ‘skull cap’ or yarmulke, and Ashkenazi DNA is present in the family. However, Jews had been mostly hounded out of Switzerland by 1751, and were confined to a couple of towns neither of which was Bern.
 There is some discrepancy concerning the actual sailing date of Speedwell in 1751, the date used here coming form a letter of the Rotterdam merchant John Dick, contracted to transport German immigrants to Nova Scotia.
 Bell, W: The Foreign Protestants and the Settlement of Nova Scotia, p. 178, describes the ‘snow’ as an antiquated rig consisting of “… two masts carrying yards and square sails, like a brig, plus a smaller mast carrying a fore-and-aft sail and stepped immediately abaft the mainmast.” This differed from a barque in that there was no space for staysails between the auxiliary mast and the mainmast.
The Speedwell was a snow of 190 tons. She had set sail at Rotterdam and arrived at Halifax on July 21st, 1751. Two hundred and twelve persons disembarked after having been at sea for approximately two and half months; seventeen persons had died on route. Bell points out that the passengers were often put on the vessels for upwards to two weeks before the ship sailed, usually, because the agent (in this case John Dick) didn't have any other place to put them, and, there was always the fear of losing them to one of the competitors. Also, it should be pointed out, that these desperate people would not be allowed by the port officials at Halifax to immediately disembark but would often have to continue to stay aboard the vessels for a number of days while those in officialdom went about their checks and re-checks.
 Mosher family tree information comes principally from the Canon Harris Collection of Lunenburg families, which are notes scribbled by Canon Harris, organized by parents and children, in the mid nineteenth century and now held on microfiche at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS. Interestingly, the WikiTree listing of Hans Jacob Mosher at https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Mosher-451 makes a clear blunder in listing his children. Hans Jacob did not have two sons named Johan Jacob, but did have a son named Jacob who was granted lot No. 13 in the Kings Berg Moser grant. This Jacob still has descendants living in both Upper and Lower Kingsburg, viz. Lamont Mosher (eighth generation) and children, as well as Catherine Falvey (seventh generation) in Lower Kingsburg, Richard and Denis Falvey (seventh generation) and Kerry Seif (eighth generation) in Upper Kingsburg. This assertion is based on connecting living memory with the work of Cannon Harris, as well as the entries made in Hans Jacob’s original German Bible, currently held by Brian Mosher.
Johanes Hirtle: a farmer from Württemburg berthed on the Pearl in 1751.
John Leonard Hirtle was born in 1734 in Germany. He emigrated in 1751. Aboard the "Pearl." He died on 7 Dec 1809 in First South, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. He was buried on 9 Dec 1809. He resided in South Kingsburg, Nova Scotia.
There are no Hirtles still living in Kingsburg, but my grandmother, Nettie Hirtle, married Gus Mosher, so the Falveys are also direct descendants of John Leonard Hirtle.
Johann Mossman was born in 1737 in Biglen, Bern Canton, Switzerland; he married Anna Elizabeth Klassen (1735-) on 15 Jan, 1760 at the Church of England in Lunenburg Co. Norman Mossman, direct descendent of John, continues the Mossman tradition of farming Upper Kingsburg, while he, his daughter and grand daughter continue to live in Upper Kingsburg. Norman is the eighth generation of Mossmans to live in Upper Kingsburg. No doubt there are other direct descendants of the original settlers still living in the Kingsburgs.
 The King’s association with Lüneburg is the source of the name of Lunenburg, just as that with Brunswick led to the naming of New Brunswick.
 Anticipating a future trivial pursuit on the foreign Protestants, here is an interesting factoid. The foreign Protestants were of course mostly German speaking, or Deutsch, so they were inevitable called ‘Dutchy’, although for almost all of them their only attachment to Dutch was the port from which they had sailed. Nonetheless, a number of them eventually settled on the west bank of the isthmus of Halifax, some resettling there after a time in Lunenburg. This area of farms just beyond the peninsula inevitable became know as Dutch Village, the same site through which Dutch Village Rd, passes today.
 Like a number of less than savoury ideas in recent times, scalping was imported from the States.
 The Europeans had no more right to be in North America than the Mi’Kmaq had to exclude them, and neither side has any reason to be proud of their behaviour Both colonialism and isolationism are toxic manifestations of xenophobia and racism. This was a conflict between, on the one hand, a civilization based on thousands of years of agriculture and domestication with its technological, cultural, and immunological consequences, and on the other hand a hunter/gather civilization with little agriculture, technology, or defense from crowd diseases. Such conflicts have never ended well for the hunter gather civilization.
 Knox, J: An Historical Journal of the Campaigns in North America for the Years 1757, 1758, 1759 and 1760. Toronto Champlain Society, Vol. 2, p 443.
 Bell, W: The Foreign Protestants and the Settlement of Nova Scotia, p 514.
 It is wrong to assert that the Europeans were or are in any way superior to the Mi’Kmaq. As Jared Diamond has capably shown in Guns Germs and Steel, the differences between Europeans and conquered peoples has more to do with the original superior suite of crops and mammals available to be domesticated in Eurasia, as well as the east-west axis of Eurasia that favoured translation of agricultural technology. These two factors are responsible for consequent differences in ages and maturities of civilizations between continents. Where domestication of plants and animals is possible population density grows exponentially, fostering and allowing writing, technology, and crowd diseases. Note that 95 percent of indigenous Americans were wiped out by European crowd diseases, such as smallpox, acquired from domestication of animals and promoted by crowded living conditions made possible by agriculture. Guns, writing, and social/political organization achieved the rest, none of which have to do with individual superiority. Given the same suite of domesticable flora and fauna, indigenous peoples in North America would have achieved just as much civilization as Eurasians, as has been demonstrated several times in the world. Civilization is like real estate in that it has mostly to do with location: it has nothing to do with differential intellect or innate superiority.
 Bell, W: The Foreign Protestants and the Settlement of Nova Scotia, p 515.
Moreau stated that the number massacred by Indians in the Lunenburg district during this war was thirty-two.
 Bell, W: The Foreign Protestants and the Settlement of Nova Scotia, p 450.
 Settlers had all been armed for militia duty.
 Here is early evidence of the uselessness and destructive influences of torture.
 In more recent times the citizens of Upper Kingsburg had a communal approach to snowfalls. Each family would shovel out a few hundred feet of the road past their house. Interestingly, people in cities like Halifax are still responsible for clearing the walk by their house, the duty being discharged by paying taxes.
 DesBrisay, M: History of the County of Lunenburg, p. 130.
 Young, J. Christopher. 2003. Maps Associated With Lunenburg County Family History. Published by the author. All grant maps here are taken from that book, and may be viewed at https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Lunenburg_land_distribution
 Bell, W: The Foreign Protestants and the Settlement of Nova Scotia, p 468. Bell comments that the winter of 1754 was a particularly mild one.
 This is noteworthy because almost everything else does seem to have bothered them—to the point of actual insurrection over a non-existent letter.
 Spelled as shown despite the document being titled Kings Bergh.
 The document includes a reference to Bk. 1 Pg. 95.
 Upper and Lower have no social implication: Lower Kingsburg was settled on relatively flat land, while Upper Kingsburg is quite hilly. It would have been natural to go ‘up’ to the Moser, Mossman, and Hirtle lands. In recent years there seems to be some odd aversion to the name Lower Kingsburg.
 Lettabuch is probably a version of ‘little brook’, being a guttural rendering of ‘little’ and the German word for ‘brook’.
 Kreps being the German word for cancer or crab.
 The possessive case was intended, and is appropriate as there was only one Hirtle head of family starting out.
 Gus Mosher spoke to Richard Falvey about an old house at the base of the Old House Bank, and Walter Mosher, uncle of the author, also commented on its existence in a 1978 letter to the author, again attributing the information to his father Gus Mosher. This may have been the site of the European presence depicted on Champlain’s map. I remember there were still raspberries growing on the back of Hirtle’s beach beside the Old House Bank where we used to swim.
 David Copp, owner of land on the La Have in Upper Kingsburg, has posited that the status of the isthmus to Gaff Point is correlated with the rate of deposition of material eroded from the drumlin inland from the Shore. It is a plausible theory that erosion from these banks provides the material that constitutes the unstable isthmus to Gaff Point. Erosion is a catastrophic process, with nothing apparent happening for decades followed by dramatic subsidence, which fits the sometimes-there-sometimes-not character of the isthmus on the La Have side of Hirtle’s Beach.
 This also adds some confusion as the Shaubach is several hundred yards further along the coast toward Riverport. On the other hand, names do change over time, and Brian has as much right to name his home as anyone.
 Originally this land was granted to Leonard Urich, however this was subsequently re-granted to Casper Shaubach. There is also the tradition that Shaubach is a corruption of ‘clear brook’ or ‘big brook’.
 Dief Kling is likely a guttural corruption of the word ‘deep’ and the German word ‘Kling’ for ‘sounding’.
 Letter to Col Sutherland, on 10 February, 1754
… things continue to go so well, particularly the article of cutting roads for laying out the farm lots.
 Inland roads, which tend to wind excessively were built by local labour paid an hourly wage—the more turns in the road the longer it took to build, the longer the locals had income.
 Journal and votes of the House of Assembly for the province of Nova Scotia : Journal and proceedings of the House of Assembly of the province of Nova Scotia, Session 1864, p. 117
 The public nature of the roads is further attested by a) the need for petition to allow fencing across the road in order to avoid the previous practice of fencing both sides of the road, b) by deed reference to the ‘public’ road along the 300-acre lots into Upper Kingsburg and others, and c) by the public nature of the breakwater. A court decided part of that road was not public in 1978, but courts cannot extinguish public roads. Anyone who wants to argue the case can find ample evidence in support of the public character of the roads. As a child, and then as a young adult driving the land of Upper Kingsburg, I was made well aware of what was considered public and what private by the previous generations.
 Go up in smoke may be more accurate: as memory serves, a grass fire of my mother’s got out of control.
 One of our dogs also once managed to make its way into the gurry barrel, which resulted in a temporary deterioration in its prospects for comfort.
 I have an enduring memory of Robbie Mosher coming home from the Shore one morning, his fingers hooked into the gills of a large fish (haddock, halibut?) intended for his dinner.
 The recipes for Lunenburg dishes mentioned here, as well as many other Lunenburg specialties, can be had from The Dutch Oven, still available in stores of Lunenburg and produced by the Fisherman’s Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.