A Brief History of Early Summerville Nova Scotia

Last updated on Feb 5.2017

Photos are following the text.
You are invited to submit any pictures that you may have of early Summerville.

E mail me by clicking here. 

Summerville was first settled in 1784 by Captain John Grant.
He was a battle-scarred United Empire Loyalist who came originally from Strathspray, Scotland.
His land grand was 3000 acres but was soon divided into 9 lots and sold to various people.
Captain John Grant died in Summerville in 1792 at the age of 64.
Prior to John Grant settling this area there is some evidence of Acadians living in the area.
The Grant homestead was on what now is called Loyal Hill. The Grant family kept control of most of this land for almost 100 years.
Michael Bergen Grant, the great grandson of John Grant bought the property at a public auction in 1866.
Shortly after that he established a gypsum quarry and a repair wharf. However in 1877 he leased this land to Daniel Hobart of Dennysville Maine and Edward Dimock of Windsor Nova Scotia. In later years these two gained full control of the land.
Daniel Hobart was the US Consul for the town of Windsor and Edward Dimock was already well established in the gypsum business in the Windsor area.
Daniel Hobart kept control of this property until 1888 when it was sold. It appeared that Daniel was suffering financial losses.
This could have been because the easy to reach gypsum at the quarry was becoming hard to find and it would take a great deal of money to dig the remaining gypsum from the quarry.
The wooden ship repair business was also in decline at this time.
The land has gone through quite a few hands since this time.
These original nine properties have since been subdivided into many smaller lots as we know the area today.
Many of the ancestors of the first owners are still living in the area.
Shipbuilding was another important industry of the area in the mid 1800's. Captain George Armstrong being the principal builder. His shipyard was located next to what became the government wharf.
Once the area became established as a community it was know as Black Rock because of a rock just off shore from the place where the government wharf was to be built.
During the mid 19th century the principal means of outside transportation was by water.
Summerville was the terminus for many ferries. The earliest of these were row boats only went across the Avon River to Hantsport where rail connections could be made.
Later ones sailed to Windsor with stops on the way at Card's Beach, Burlington and Newport Landing.
The Musgrove family was involved in this from of transport for many years. There best know ferry being the Maggie Van.
Around 1880 the Avon River Steam Ferries began.
The first being the 15 ton Pinafore. In 1888 the Pinafore was followed by the much larger Avon which had a registered weight of 45 tons.
In 1910 the Avon was replaced by the best know ferry of this area , the Rotundus with a registered weight of 66 tons. She served the area for 27 years.
At this time road transportation made replacing her impractical.

The early residents of Summerville recognized the importance of an education. The first school was built in 1853.
This school served the community until around 1871 when a new building was erected.
The third school was built in 1883 and this building is still standing.
It was as a school until 1966 when the Dr. Arthur Hines School was built.
After many modifications it  is now the Summerville Volunteer Fire Dept. fire station and hall.



I have been trying to acquire some old pictures of Summerville as it used to be and
I was rewarded for my efforts.
Thanks to Cyril Marsters of Summerville I now have a few pictures to add.
I hope there will be many more to follow

Luella (Mrs. LeRoy) Sanford with Stanton Sanford and her youngest daughter, Hilda Conway
This picture was taken on Mrs. Sanford's 104th birthday.
Nova Scotia's Oldest Citizen Passes Away at 111
SANFORD, Luella Mary - lll, White Roc Kings Co.,  formerly of Summerville, Hants Co., passed away June 15, 2000, at home. Born May 18, 1889 in Upper Canard, she has a daughter of the late James and- Melissa (Lynch) MacRae. She graduated from the Wolfville High School in 1905 and the Provincial Normal College in l911 and was thought to be the oldest living graduate of both institutions. She taught school in Nova Scotia and Manitoba. She married Lerov Sanford in 1914 and lived on the family farm until she was I02 when she went to live with her daughter in White Rock. She was a member of the Kempt United Baptist Church in Sunmewllle. Surviving are her daughters Helen McDonough of Falmouth; Annabelle Pick of White Rock; sons, Stanton (Jaqueline) Terence "Ted" (Florence), all of Summerville. Charles Francis "Frank"  (Jean) of Maitland, Hants Co.; son in law, James Conwav of Windsor; daughter in law, Violet Sanford of  Halifax;  numerous grandchildren. great grandchildren and great great chillier. She was predecease by her husband, Leroy, daughter, Hilda Conway; son, Alfred: Brothers Alfred, Stanton, Normin and Allister; sisters Bertha Bonner, Alice Simkin, Helen and Hildi MacRae; three grandchildren; several half sisters and brothers. No visitation bv request. 
Funeral service 2:30 p.m. Sunday June 18 in Kempt United Baptist Church, Summerville, Hants Co., Rev. Garnet Parker officiating and assisted by Rev. Fran Woodside. Private family committal service in Loyal Hill Cemetery, Summerville. Donations may be made to Kempt United Baptist Church Summerville, V.O.N., Kings Branch or a charity of your choice. 
Arrangements entrusted to J. Wilson Allen Funeral Home, Summerville.
To view a collection of Edith Mosher's pictures and
pictures of the Marster family as well as some
general Summerville pictures.
Click here

The Loyal Hill United Baptist Church
Built in 1862 and was torn down in 1969 when the United Church in Summerville was acquired.
This church was later replaced with a new church
Thanks to Cyril Masters
The Summerville area was served for many years by 
three different steam ferries
These ships were the S.S. Pinafore, the S.S Avon and 
 the S.S. Rotundus
The Rotundus probably being the best known and 
served the area the longest
S.S. Avon

Although some thought she was an unstable craft she sailed the Summerville to Windsor run from 1888 to 1910 when she was replaced by the S.S. Rotundus

Thanks to Cyril Masters

The Rotundus Arrives

Captain Charles Terfry and
Captain Frederick A. Marsters was the mate

Thanks to Cyril Masters
S.S. Rotundus
Sailed from Summerville to Windsor 
daily in season from 1910 to 1935
Thanks to Cyril Masters
The Rotundus laying at the 
Summerville Government Wharf at low water
Thanks to Cyril Masters
The Rotundus laying at the
Summerville Government Wharf at low water. 
The S.S. Avon is seen at the head of the wharf. 
The Avon sailed the Summerville to Windsor run
until 1910.
Thanks to Cyril Masters
The Rotundus's sailing schedule. 
There was no room for error because of the
extremely high tides on the Avon River
raising to almost 50 feet on a spring tide
Thanks to Cyril Masters
The end of an era
Thanks to Cyril Masters
Summerville Government Wharf
Thanks to Cyril Masters
This is an interesting old house. It is located in Kempt, the next community up the shore but was at one time 
the freight shed on the end of the Summerville Wharf.
It was in a number of different locations
before it was placed here.
It can be seen at the end of the wharf
in the picture above
One of many sailing schooners that were stripped and converted to gypsum barges tied to the
Block (Hobart) Wharf.

Many of these were left abandoned on the nearby 
beach when the quarry closed down
Their remains can still be seen today

Summerville in it's prime had two very active wharfs

Thanks to Cyril Masters
Ship repair was a good business in Summerville. 
Caulking a ship at Hobart's Wharf around 1909
The is the Hamburg which ended it's day 
on the beash next to the old wharf.
Thanks to Cyril Masters
Four masted barque Kings County, built in 1890 at Kingsport being refitted at Summerville, 1909
Barque Hamburg 1895
This was one of the sailing ships that ended
up on the beach after being converted to
a barge. These are shown below. 
The Avon House

This building was the first hotel in Summerville.
It was owned and run by Leonard Marsters.
There was an old warehouse located near the 
shipyard where he worked.
He didn't like to eat cold lunches and since the warehouse had a stove, he bought it. This was around 1870.
 Soon others figured he had a good idea.
From that point it developed into a hotel and dining room.
He ran the Avon House until 1915 
when he sold it to Earl Lake.
It burned to the ground around 1920.
All that remains of it today is the concrete front step.

Big Creek as it was many years ago
Thanks to Cyril Masters
The Ogilvie Homestead, Summerville
Built by Samuel Nunn in 1835 and removed in 1985
  Thanks to Sharon Ogilvie
Hobart's Quarry today.
This once was a very busy place.
Gypsum was mined from the Grant property
from around 1800 to well into the next century.
The gypsum was taken from here to the nearby
wharf via a tunnel that ran under the road.
Hobart's Quarry in 1895. The tunnel was just being build at this time.
These are the remains of the old sailing vessels 
(Hamburg) that were converted to gypsum barges 
and later abandoned on the beach near 
the Hobart Wharf.
Thanks to Mark Kean
It's hard to believe that these were once
grand sailing vessels that sailed the world over.
Thanks to Mark Kean
I want to thank Mark Kean for these pictures.
He is formally of Kempt Shore and has been living 
in Thunder Bay ON for the past 25 years.
These next three pictures were taken of the old ship hulls
in 1981.
As you can see there is much more of them visible at that time.
Thanks to Mark Kean
Thanks to Mark Kean
Thanks to Mark Kean
This picture was sent to me by George Fuller of Winnipeg
The picture is of his father taken in front of my home on
Marsters Road around the 1930's.
George Fuller is the great, great grand son of Richard Card, born 1810, and he lived in Summerville.
Thanks to George Fuller
The oldest boy is George's father (Mike) the youngest is Malcolm, and the other is George (all Fuller's).
Thanks to George Fuller
Click here to read about Capt. Thomas Card life.
It includes many details of his sailing career
Thanks to George Fuller
The Passing of Capt. Thomas Card
Thanks to George Fuller
Capt. Ralph Fuller taken in 1928.
At this time Capt. Fuller lived in 
Our house in Summerville from 1921 to 1937.
Thanks to George Fuller
After living in Summerville from 1921 to 1937
Capt. Fuller moved to this house across the river in Hantsport
Thanks to George Fuller
This picture was taken in 1956 by George Fuller and shows the Fuller House in Hantsport with Summerville in the background.
 Thanks to George Fuller
The home of Capt. Thomas A. Card's son
Douglas taken in 1952. This house is still 
Thanks to Pauline Sanford
Pauline Card (Sanford) taken in front of 
the above house. 
This picture waa taken in 1952.
Pauline is the grand daughter of 
Capt. Thomas Card
Thanks to Pauline Sanford

 Everett Burgess standing along side 
Thomas Card, son of Abigail (Annie) Card and William Burgess.

This picture was submitted by 
Terre Schlagel of Elk Grove, CA 


This post card to George Fuller was submitted by
Barbara Gosse of Illinois, The sender is Ralph Fuller, Feb. 18, 1909. This was sent to her Gr.Gr.Gr. Grandmother, Abigail A.(Card) Burgess, in 1909, when she was out in
California visiting her sister, Manetta.

Terre Schlagel of Elk Grove, CA also sent 
me a copy of the same post card.

Click on the Image for a larger view
Thanks to Jim Ward President Stanley Sport Aviation Association.
On June 25 1943 a Hudson Bomber crashed in Summerville.
Click here to read the newspaper article.
Click on this image for a larger view in a new window
Click on this image for a larger view in a new window
This series of pictures of the air crash was submitted by Janine Legere and are from the Edith Mosher collection, They were edits by George Fuller, Winnipeg MN.
Click on this image for a larger view in a new window
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This picture was submitted by George W Fuller, Winnipeg
These girls were the daughters of Capt. Charles Jerimiah Card, and they are Georg's 1st cousins from Summerville. He believe that Robina was married to Warren E. HARVEY of Summerville, and they both may be burried in Summerville.

To view a collection of Edith Mosher's pictures and
pictures of the Marster family as well as some
general Summerville pictures.
Click here


Photo contributors
Cyril Masters Summerville, Nova Scotia
Mark Kean Thunder Bay, Ontario
George Fuller Winnipeg, Manitoba
Pauline Sanford Center Burlington, Nova Scotia
Janine Legere Lower Burlington, Nova Scotia
Roy Marsters Lynn, MA. USA

Other Summerville Web Sites

Visit our Home in Summerville Nova Scotia. This house was built in 1873.
Our 1873 Home in Summerville Nova Scotia
Take a tour around Summerville
A short tour Around Summerville NS
Take a tour of the 19'th century homes in Summerville
A  Picture Tour of the
Old Houses of Summerville NS
A Nova Scotia Snow Storm Hits Summerville
A Nova Scotia Snow Storm Hits Summerville
Hants County Cruisers Car Club Car Shows
Hants County Cruisers Car Club Antique Car Shows
Lilies From the Valley
A Vast selection of Oriental and Asiatic previously cut commercially grown bulbs ready for shipment anywhere in Canada
Ed's Etching are well worth the vist
Ed's Marble Etchings
Peterson's Campground
Home of The Annual Kempt Shore 
Bluegrass and Oldtime Music Festival
Come and enjoy the music and get one of the best 
camping deals in Nova Scotia
View the  The Quarry Park at Kempt Shore
One of Sally and Buddy's favorite places
Read about Capt. Thomas Card life.
It includes many details of his sailing career


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