Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pokiok Beyond The Ponds: Part Two

N.B. Once again I am deeply grateful to Vintage Photo & Frame Limited who have given me permission to use the above photo in my post. 

During an interview sometime before his death in 1895 , Thomas Cunard , a prominent citizen of Indiantown , related to a journalist from The Daily Telegraph the beginnings of this vibrant community as well as that of the immediately surrounding area.

"'Indiantown consisted of half a dozen or a dozen houses and shops and these were approachable only by foot paths twisting among the rocks and thickets that abounded everywhere. Caleb MERRITT kept a liquor store on the site of the house on Bridge Street, formerly occupied by the late Robert CUNARD. Robert COMBLY lived near by and burned lime at a place called the Devil's Hole on the Strait Shore. John WIGGINS kept a general store on the ground now occupied by Horncastle & Co.'s hardware store; John LEE run a cooper shop on the corner of Main and Bridge streets now occupied by C.B. PIDGEON. A man named GLASIER had a house on the site of D.D. Glasier & Sons office. William EAGLES tennanted a cooper shop at the corner of Bridge and Hammond streets, now owned by Robert WATSON. James REYNOLDS kept a tavern on the ground recently occupied by Warings foundry. James EAGLES lived near by and Shubal STEVENS not far away, was engaged in coopering and fishing.' The only other residents of Indiantown at this time that Mr. Cunard remembered was Israel MERRITT and a Mr. HOYT. There was only one house at Lovitt's Point, now known as Pleasant Point and only one at Robertson's Point, now known as Pokiok and that was owned by Robert ROBERTSON who was engaged in burning lime. The only house between Indiantown and the corner of Main and Mill streets stood at Orange corner. There was no road between St. John and Indiantown. Communication was kept up by a foot path around Fort Howe. "

Given the "folksy" character of my blog , I usually steer clear of historical documents as such ...... in this case , however , I have decided to call upon its testimony to Pokiok's past. From the above statement we learn that a certain Robert Robertson built a house at Robertson's Point in Pokiok where he was engaged in quarrying limestone and lime-burning. Other contemporary newspaper articles of that period attest that Robertson's main zone of exploitation was the limestone-rich shoreline of Greenhead which business he would eventually sell to his fellow Scot and future brother-in-law , Joseph Armstrong in the late 1830s or early 1840s. Subsequent to the sale of his enterprise Robertson went into the grocery and provisions trade in Indiantown.

  By now you have probably guessed where I'm going with all this ........ so I'll come clean ! Based on historical evidence , local heresay and the sound logic we might impute to a shrewd businessman .... I contend that the house in the above photo is standing on the idyllic site where Robertson erected his home or is "essentially" the same house , although modified at regular intervals over the years .... site strategically and conveniently situated on a promontory overlooking the "apple of his eye" across the Narrows  ....... Greenhead !! Local tradition would seem to back this up as I still remember old Charlie Gibbons ( one of the local elders ) referring to the house as the "old club beyond the ponds" while telling my Dad that it was the oldest building in the area. I might add that , although born in Nova Scotia , Charlie appears in the 1891 census as being 11 years of age and living in Pokiok ... which gives some weight to our contention. And to boot .... Cunard's testimony puts Robertson's house at Robertson's Point. The house in the photo sits about 200 yards upriver from said point that bears his name!!! 
He also gave his name to a lake in Pokiok as well as a park/square in Indiantown ! Not too bad for a wee guy from Perthshire , Scotland. Quite a legacy ! 

The more deeply I plunge into the sea of childhood memories surrounding this precise "haunt" from my youth , the more I realize that I need both more time and page-space so as to do justice to my subject matter and not overtax my readers' patience. So I shall bring this post to a close for now with a promise that Part Three will follow shortly. It's already baking in the oven !           


  1. waiting for part 3

  2. would that be where horseshoe canyon came from I know they took out lime from it you could still see the tracks in the 50's