(Le Chemin du Lac)
(Please note that “Chemin du Lac” means the region through which runs the road as well as the road itself).
Le Chemin du Lac is that road which branches off route 103 at Pubnico Head and which you must follow to reach Great Pubnico Lake, a distance of about four miles. There was a time when the territory surrounding this lake, as well as the land along the road, was very much a part of the economy of the Pubnicos, especially that of West Pubnico. Many of the people living in this general area had obtained grants of land from the provincial government where in winter they would go cut their firewood or the lumber needed to build their fishing vessels. On this side of the lake, before you came to the “Landing”, you would find such concessions granted to Cyrille Duon (the way it used to be spelt), Jacques d’Entremont, Dominique d’Entremont, François d’Entremont. Across the lake, toward its northeast shore, other lots had been given to Guillaume d’Entremont, Cyriacque d’Entremont, André d’Entremont, Pierre Duon. Then again, around the two Madashack Lakes, there was some land granted to Joseph d’Entremont. (Many of these have changed names since then). There were just as many lots belonging to the English of Pubnico Head where grants had been given to John Larkin, John Carland, Jeremiah Murphy, Walter Larkin, James Larkin, David Larkin, Benjamin Larkin, Benjamin Goodwin, Ben Hamilton and others.
Paul Joe d’Entremont’s saw.At the exact point where this Lake Road meets the lake, still called the “Landing”, stood for many years a sawmill whose first owner seems to have been a certain Sutherland, probably from Argyle. It changed hands many times in the course of its history. It would seem that after Sutherland the next proprietors were two sons of Mathurin d’Entremont, Leo and Lin, who in turn sold it to three men from West Pubnico, namely David d’Entremont, Alfred Bourque and Philippe Doucet. Its last owner was Bill Seely of Argyle.
Le Chemin du Lac was also known for its blueberry grounds. On entering the road, on the left, was first the spot known as “l’Habitation des Sauvages”, although by then there were no Indians living there. A little further up, on the opposite side of the road, was the Rocky Hill with good picking all around. Not too far from this spot and on the same side of the road, an old road led to the “Ridge à Jones”. A bit further up again, on the same side, was quite an extensive tract of land, good blueberry grounds, adjacent to the main Indian settlement. On the left side of the road next to the Indian settlement, one would take a rough road leading to a hill by a dam where some Americans had prepared a swampy piece of land, called a bog, for the cultivation of cranberries.Picking blueberries. (In French, this was known as “La butte à dam”). Coming nearer to the lake and still on the left side of the road was another good picking area by the Robbins family. So, all in all, there was quite a wide choice of picking spaces. At the time, say fifty or sixty years ago, it was here where most of the children of West Pubnico, on fine days, would be spending the last four or five weeks of their summer holidays, many of them to help buy the school books they would need come September.
But to us young boys, what made le Chemin du Lac a special place was the fact that Indians lived there. It was not a big village, maybe not a village at all. Just a few small and humble dwellings harbouring a few families. That was all. Where did these Indians come from and since when were they living here? Nobody seemed to know. One thing we now know, is that they were here long before the coming of the white people, and long before the founding of Pubnico by sieur Philippe d’Entremont in 1653.
Then as now, they belonged to the Micmac family (Micmac: from the word Miggaamack), a branch of a larger family known as the Algonquins who at the time of the colonisation of Canada were settled along the shores of the Ottawa river and the Saint-Lawrence River. The principal Indian family of le Chemin du Lac, during the 19th century at least, seems to have been the Gloades, or Glodes, which name according to our local historian Father Clarence d’Entremont should read “Claude”. On going through the records of the parish of West Pubnico one may find at least four members of this family buried in the parish cemetery. They are:
One may still find the name Gloade in the village of Millbrook, near Truro, Nova Scotia. For example, we know that the stained windows and the Stations of the Cross in their new church built in 1986 were painted by a certain James Gloade of that village. (One may also find the name Pictou).
(The Micmacs of Nova Scotia are divided into different groups. One of these groups, known as the Acadia Band, numbers about 600 people, men, women and children, and comprises five distinct reserves, which are: the Gold River Reserve in Lunenburg County; one in Queens County known as the Wild Cat Band; another in the same county called the Pond Hawks; still another in Queens County called the Midway; and finally the one in Yarmouth which numbers 75 persons. These details taken from Le Courrier de la Nouvelle-Écosse, September 19, 1990, edition, as given by Deborah Robinson, chief of the Acadia Band).
Of course, there are many more Indian Reserves in Nova Scotia, the largest one being at Askasoni, Cape Breton, which numbers some 3000 people. The total Micmac population of the Atlantic Provinces is said to be in the vicinity of 30,000.
There seems to be some confusion as to the identity of the man who was regarded as the immediate ancestor of the present day Gloades of western Nova Scotia. In his notes, Father d’Entremont gives him the name Samuel, or Matthew, stating that he was born in 1829 and that he died in 1913 at the age of 84. His wife was Victoire Mery, daughter of Joseph Mery. She was born on the 25th of April, 1834, and died December 2, 1918. She is the Indian lady who could make such beautiful baskets. We always spoke of the Old Johnnie Gloade and the Young Johnnie Gloade, his son. Could it be that Samuel, or Matthew, was Old Johnnie’s father?
At any rate, according to Father d’Entremont, Samuel and Victoire had the following family:
Jim, who on May 11th, 1976, married Marie Gloade, daughter of Pierre Gloade.
Pierre, born March 29th, 1863.
Victoire Jeanne, born September 7th, 1875.
Christine, who died at a very young age.
Marie Anne Catherine, who on August 28th, 1886, married William James Carty, son of Etienne (Stephen) Carty and Marie Elizabeth Charles. Marie Anne Catherine died March 16th, 1930 at the age of 70.
John Newell, who on April 19th, 1919, married Marguerite Anne Robbins, daughter of Henry Robbins. This family of the one we used to call Young Johnnie later moved to Yarmouth where John died in 1959. At the death of his wife in 1966 there were still six children living, who were:
Other Indians Living Here
A – Joe Pictou: he was the son of John Pictou and Mary Muise, says Father d’Entremont, and he was born at North Range, Annapolis County. Joe Pictou was the last Indian to make his home in le Chemin du Lac. He died in Yarmouth where he spent the last years of his life. He was not married. Two things can be said in favour of Joe Pictou: he was the best wood cutter in the surroundings, and he had the reputation of being a very honest man.
B – Matthew Francis: Matthew, whoever he was, had a very beautiful daughter who came to be known as “The Lady of The Lake”. She married a rich American.
C – John Francis: he was the son of Matthew.
D – Stephen Bartlett: Stephen lived to be 108 years old. We do not know the date of his birth, nor that of his death.
E – Two Young Indian Girls also lived in this settlement in the early twenties, one by the name of Annie Pictou, the other named Annie Bartlett, but more often called Wabii. We do not know if they were related to the other Indian families.
There were other people also making their homes in this little village for many of these years, but they were not Indians. These would include:
a) John and Dennis Mery who were really of French descent, from France. Their ancestor was Jean-Marie Blanchard who came to this country in the early part of the 19th Century. According to Father d’Entremont again, he first settled in Abbott’s Harbour, then moved to the Lake Road. The name Mery was given to the Family by the English from the name “Marie” (Jean-Marie). The English also wrote it Murray.
b) There was also a man living by himself whose name was Eleazer Seeley, and of course the Carty’s and the Robbins already mentioned.
(It will be noted that some of the names given here are spelled the French way. This is because some of these people were baptized at St. Peter’s Church in West Pubnico where the pastor was generally French and he wrote the names in his own language, as Jean for John, Etienne for Stephen, etc.)
Le Chemin du Lac, that is the road itself, is still where it has been for over two hundred years, but there is nothing else remaining that would remind anyone of what it stood for. The little Indian village, with its people and its humble dwellings, is no more. Likewise, the sawmill. Now that electricity and oil have become the combustive agents of the day, the cutting and gathering of firewood is a thing of the past. One may still go picking blueberries individually and for home consumption, but it is no more an industry. We hope that these scattered notes, assembled as best it could be done, will serve to preserve at least a small portion of the total picture that used to be. This story should have been written fifty years ago when there were still people who remembered these things.
Today le Chemin du Lac serves one purpose and one purpose only. People have to use it to get to the forty odd cottages that line the shores of the lake, here and there, most of which belong to families of West Pubnico.