PJ’s Bennett Roots

A super soggy Friday morning. Last night the area of Nova Scotia where we are was inundated with close to 120mm of rain, that is somewhere around five inches for you yanks. Several roads had washed out and new ruts and grooves were deeply etched in the dirt roads leading out of camp. The morning had us enwrapped in a foggy blanket with mist eerily moving among the trees. We took Cali for a hike down the trail towards Borden Brook then closed her in her giant dog house and set off to search for PJ’s roots.

PJ had done quite a bit of amateur genealogy online and we had a fair amount of information on the Bennett family history in the area here at Scott’s Bay or Scots Bay depending on who you ask. The debate has continued for centuries over whether the community was named for a lost boatload of Scotsmen or a Captain named Scott. But I digress. Pam’s mother’s family all originated out of Scots Bay and then her father moved to Maine in the early 1900s where Carole was born. We determined the names of both sets of great grandparents and set off from Blomidon Park around the large promontory that leads around to Scots Bay. The fastest route had washed out overnight, so we passed through more of the most absolutely stunning green countryside of Nova Scotia to reach our destination a half hour away.

We stopped in the charming little outpost of Canning and had somosas at a little coffee house while using their internet in our search. We are once again on the Bay of Fundy only this time on the Nova Scotia side. We are only about 30 miles away from Hopewell Rocks where we first visited the bay yet it is an almost four hour drive as you have to do a large loop of several hundred kilometers up towards PEI then around through Truro to get here from there. The tide was medium high as we headed out with the boats sitting high in the water.

We reached Scott’s Bay and pulled into the cemetery at the old Baptist Church. This is the only non-residential building in the sleepy little coastal village. No store, no gas station. When I asked the camp ranger about asking at the post office she just laughed. Not much has changed over time. Many names of the original settlers are still prominent in town, Bennett, Huntley, Corkum, Rand and Tuppers. We found the graves of PJ’s great grandparents and visited a while. One great grandmother had remarried after her husband died and we couldn’t locate her site. We wandered around looking with PJ reflecting on her history before heading down to sit awhile at the local beach.

Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother left front and Grandmother Hilda standing center

Great Aunt standing left, Grandfather Sidney sitting on step, Grandmother Hilda standing center , PJs Aunt Lynn center front and PJs mom Carole bottom right

Rockhounds were diligently poking around the rocks along the dropping tide line searching for amethysts and crystal rocks that wash down to the sea from the surrounding bluffs. Similar to geodes, many are filled with sparkling gems if you know what to look for. I asked an older couple walking along the beach about it and that’s how we met Malcolm the Milkman. He was enjoying the sunny morning walking the beach with his lovely wife Sue. He retired after thirty some years delivering milk in Scott’s Bay. He told us about the Bennett house along the main route out of town. He said that was all he knew but if we wanted to know more, the man to see was Jerry H., a descendent of one of the more influential early settlers. This was the same advice the camp ranger had given me last night. Malcolm, being the milkman, knew exactly where Jerry lived, so we were off to see if Jerry might have a little more family history in his archives.

Scott’s Bay

We felt a little odd just knocking on the door uninvited but we figured what was the worst that could happen. When we arrived, Jerry was there and after a moment of being perplexed by us strange folks showing up on his porch, he shared what he knew and answered what questions he could. There are two Bennett houses up on Route 385, one was PJ’s great grandfather Harris’ and the other was his brother Manson’s. Jerry said to connect on Facebook and he could hunt up more history for us later. We thanked him for being so accommodating and headed up Route 385.

Both houses are still in really good shape. One had recently sold and was being updated by the new owners and a young couple was out doing projects and upkeep on Harris’ homestead on the opposite side of the road. PJ hopped out for a picture and asked the gal if it was okay. She was amused by us and said shoot away. We had a good look from the road then turned around and got a drive by shot of Manson’s since an older couple was out on the porch giving us the look over. Pretty cool seeing where things all got started with the Bennetts.

PJs great grandfather Harris Manson Bennett’s home, the Bennett house.

His Brother Manson’s home across the road.

Our next stop was Bennett’s Bay a few miles further down the road. The rain had wreaked havoc on the road and we could only get close to the end of the track where PJ walked down and took a few photos. The Fundy tide was out so at this hour, Bennett’s Bay was dry rocks. PJ snuck by a no trespassing sign to have a look then it was time to head back to set Cali free. But not before having another stop at the Look Off to take in the view of the bay. Areas that were under water on the way up were now mud flats and rocky basins. The boats from this morning were sitting on the mud ocean floor. Cool stuff for nerds like me.

Bennett’s Bay

View of the split from Bennett’s Bay

A long day out. When we got back and let Cali out, she yelped. She has pulled something in her left shoulder neck area and it hurts to move in certain ways. We took her on a hike down the Woodland Trail hoping some motion might ease her tightness but it didn’t seem to have any effect one way or the other. Poor dear. We’ll let her rest up and heal. With the nice weather, the campground had filled up some. It’s a nice park, the sites are well spaced with plenty of room between neighbors. The mosquitoes had us in before dark.

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