Stories under the Ground

[slideshow]This past week, I took a tour of the archaeological dig in Stanhope. The site is on one of my favourite hiking paths within the National Park, the Farmlands Trail which is 2.5 km. I have walked the trail many times, but this time we had a Parks Canada guide and a local historian join us, and they told us the story of the land as we walked toward the site of the dig.

The locals who knew the history of the area identified the possible locations of some of the original homes that are now only sunken spots in the forest. They had thought when they started this particular dig, it would be a pre-1758 Acadian home, but once they found the tableware pieces of a particular creamware style, they knew it was a British home. Creamware was a British ceramic popular between the 1760s and 1840s.

The smoking gun, as they refer to it, was the New Brunswick Regiment (copper-alloy) button recovered from the soil. They already knew that Stephen Bovyer’s son was a volunteer in the regiment. The Bovyer family is well documented in the history book written by the Stanhope Women’s Institute, Stanhope, The Sands of Time. Bovyer was a Loyalist from Rhode Island who moved to the Island in the late 1700s to look after Sir James Montgomery’s lot of land which was Lot 34. There is a possibility that this site was the location of the house of David Lawson who was part of the original Scottish settlement around 1770 and later occupied by the family of Stephen Bovyer.

This story is likely our first not directly related to Clyde River, but I include it as an inspiration for us to think about what historical clues may lay underneath our soil the next time you are digging a foundation or tilling a field or garden. Maybe you have in your collection some artefacts you have found over the years which you held onto out of curiosity. If you find or have found something of interest, we welcome you to contact Emily Bryant or me, and we could help connect you to a historian who may be able to identify the object. We could discover yet another story about the history of Clyde River or connect an actual treasure to a story that is already documented.

I talked to someone who owns a farm in Clyde River this past week, and she says they are still trying to find a buried treasure of gold on their property. Well, maybe we won’t find gold, but maybe some golden stories.