Lake Annis
Yarmouth Nova Scotia Canada
Lake Annis History by Jim Vickery in 1963.
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The following seemed humorous to one of the collaborators as he was either a spectator or a victim. They all happened in the early 1900’s.

Three or four of us were spending a weekend at the Killam cottage. Clarence Hood was one of the Forty who bad to catch the early morning suburban on Monday. He did not wake up until the train blew for the Lake Annis crossing. Grabbing his clothes he ran down the patch from the house to the track in his pyjamas, and arrived in tine to be seen by the engineer who managed to get the train stopped about opposite the resent McLeod property and Clarence was able to follow on the tracks and climb aboard, In those days we were all known to the trainmen who obliged whenever possible.

The next incident was perhaps a bit more painful, Edgar Vickery was riding out from Dave Saunders's mill with Dolph Burridge on the trolley which carried loads of lumber and ran on log rails. Dolph had a large bulldog which was following the horses and running back and forth. For some reason he began to bark and Edgar imitated him, not thinking that there would, be consequences. Just after the trolley stopped in the lumber-yard, the bulldog rushed out from behind a pile of lumber and grabbed Edgar by the leg, biting right through his rubber boot and throwing him to the ground. Dolph had to use his horsewhip to make the dog let go and allow the victim to get up.

With Harry Hamilton rowing the punt, E.J.Vickery and son went for a day’s fishing down river. Luinch was eaten in the boat just below Lanigan’s Falls. This was in the days when a thermos bottle was rather a novelty.Mr.Vickery asked Harry if he would like a cup of hot tea, while in the act of filling the top which was used as a cup. Harry of course said ‘yes' and reached for the tea. The look which came over his face when he grabbed the scalding hot top was worth seeing. He thought he was being fooled never having seen a thermos bottle before. The upshot was that Mr.Vickery gave him one on the next trip to Lake Annis.


In writing any historical sketch there are always odd items of interest, or at least that may be of interest to some of the older generation who have longer memories. The following night fit into this category.

On several occasions small fires have been set along the railway track by a sperk from the engine, many years back one burned quite a few acres on the south side of the McLeod road before it was extinguished. Harold Lewis and Edgar Vickery who were then in their teens, planned to ride to Yarmouth that day on their bicycles. They tried to get through the fire which was burning on both sides of the road, with wet handkerchiefs tied over their faces. This did not work and they were driven back and bad to go to town by the lake George route.

There was a fire out at Saunder’s Mill in 1932, which burned several of the buildings. No details of this catastrophe scorn to be available.

In the heyday of the summer colony, members of the train crew or one of the postal clerks or expressmon, would throw off a copy of that day’s Halifax paper, whether the train stopped or not. It was quickly picked up, scanned and passed along to someone else to read. 

Some will remember the occasional torchlight procession through the village to liven things up. The torches were made from cat-o-nine tails soaked in kerosene. 

There was once a visit to the Stinger family in the Joe Clark house during the hours of darkness, when some mysterious person played the organ, bringing down the wrath of Mr. Stinger and forcing the quick exit of the intruders.

The excellent facilities for bathing in the cove in the north east corner were mentioned in the story of the take. This was also the permanent watering place for the Cosser cows and horses; and some of us have found it en excellent place to wash a car as you could drive right into the water.

A word might be said about “haying”. Both Cossar families and Harry Hamilton had to have hay for their cattle. The operation certainly could not be considered large but it surely tied up the manpower in the village when in progress, as many of us can remember.


Probably no community survives without its tragedies. Such things are most unfortunate and Lake Anna has not been without them.

The first of which little is known, is the drowning of a man named Tedford in the lake. This was in the very early days of the settlement.

One summer party of young girls were spending a week-end in the Fan Allen cottage (No.19), when Bertie Harding, daughter of W. L. Harding died of complications following a swim in the cold water of the lake. Mrs. Dave Saunders who had a beautiful. voice, eased her passing by singing softly to her.’ This was about 1907 or 1908.

A little boy belonging to Ern Crosby was burned to death when his clothes caught fire. This happened when the family was living in the McGray house, No.25 and now the property of Babe Swan Miller.

One summer when the annual Mission School Picnic was being held, in Lake Annis, one of the young girls swam out towards a raft after eating a hearty meal. She took a cramp and was unable to reach the raft. The men who rescued her worked in vain for hours trying to resusitate the body.

In 1933 on a beautiful sunny day, the Killam family were celebrating a birthday with a family reunion. Douglas with his wife Florence and little baby Peter, were visiting at home for the first time. As dinner was being prepared and Florence busy with the baby, Douglas decided to take a dip in the lake -alas never to return to his family.. It is thought that he suffered a heart attack.


In June 1947 one of the few cases of a person lost in the woodé in the Lake Annie area occurred.

The following is a slightly condensed version of the story as told by Christopher Nolan himself.

Chris who was then only 15 years old went out to the mill with Willard Hewey, intending to get an evening’s fishing in the lake Edwards brook. This time they agreed to fish going up the stream as there was a canoe in Lake Edwards that they planned to carry out. Chris found the fish biting at the head of the old mill pond so stayed there while Willard went up-stream. Willard reached the lake before dark and sat down to wait for Chris who failed to arrive. As it got darker Willard felt sure that Chris had decided to head for home, so picked up the canoe and talking the path which parallels the stream some fifty yards from it, set out for the village. Unfortunately, by the time Chris got to the lake it was pitch dark and too early for the moon to be up. He made several attempts to find the path without result so finally sat down to wait for the moon to rise.

When the moon came up Chris made another valiant attempt using it as a beacon but was apparently some 15 or 20 degrees off coarse from the direction he should have taken. Time passed and he realized that he was lost. He decided however to keep travelling and eventually came to a small lake which turned out to be Clearwater, a little over a mile south of Lake Edwards and about the same distance south—east of the village.

About this time, in stepping into a clearing, he came upon a bull moose. In telling of it later he said he wasn’t sure who was the more scared - he or the moose. In any case he didn’t wait to find out, but dropped fishing rod and tackle bag and climbed the nearest tree as fast as possible. The moose took off into the woods, so after staying a while to make sure the coast was clear, he came down and kept on walking and arrived at the shores of a meadow which he recognized as belonging to Merle Crosby.

The stream at this point is wide and deep so he decided to spend the rest of the night there as it was after midnight by that time. He made a bed of ferns with the hope of getting some sleep. This was not to be, as some beavers nearby were building a dam and kept slapping the water with their tails, loud enough to keep anyone awake.

At first light he headed upstream to the falls where you can, cross on the rocks and then directly through the woods arriving back home about 6.30 a.m. Grandma Vickery told him to let the villagers know he was home as they were about to organize a search party.

Lnter that day he found that Willard had taken Ivan Gaudet and gone back over the stream as far as Lake Edwards, thinking that he might have slipped and fallen in the water. By that time Chris would have been in the Clearwater vicinity. The R.C.M.P. had been notified and with the villagers and some of the early arrivals at Camp Mooswa, a search party was just about ready to start out.

Apparently Chris suffered no ill effects in spite of being hungry end tired. He said that the worst thing was loosing his three trout and his fly book in which was a ten dollar bill in addition to the flies.


Telephones are such common things today that one does not give much thought to the matter. In a place like Lake Annis, more or less cut off from the rest of the world at times, a connection by phone can be quite important.

The first telephone in the village was at Harry Hamilton’s.  It was formerly a branch line from the Pleasant Valley system and later from the Carleton exchange. When the call was for someone at Camp Mooswa a horn was blown and a messenger would come over. This was a difficult matter if Thyrza was the only one around to blow the horn.

The telephone was moved from the Hamiltin house to Elmer’ s and eventually to Mildred’s and of course each user paid his own toll as the call was made. For the past six years subscriptions have been taken up from the summer visitors to pay for the service.

In 1962 three phones were installed in the cottages served by Shady Lane - the Cains, Crowolls & Sadie Green. Others who are accustomed to staying over a month have had one put in adding more to the party line.

There have been a nunber of emergencies over the years when the one public phone was found invaluable.

While on the matter of telephones it might be interesting to state that electricity was first brought to the village in 1948, and by degrees everyone has had it installed.

A rather interesting letter has been preserved in the Master Edition which reads as follows
The Eminent Canadian


Traveller, Writer and &itertainor

The Foremost Exponent of Canadian Literature

Yarmouth, N.S., Aug. 10, 1928.

My Dear Mrs. Vickery,

I am spending a few days in Yarmouth County and am wondering if the summer colony of Lake Annis would care to have me give them an evening of Canadian Literature from Canadian writers?

There might be two or three musical numbers interspersed.

My fee is $15.00 and should your people decide yes, they may get me at Dr. Hawkins in South Ohio. The evening to be early next week.

Walter McRaye.


The Kritosophian Society of Yarmouth is a well-known organization and any tale of Lake Annis should include some mention of the many meetings that have been held, here during the summer season. Quite a number of the colony have been, or are at present members.

There are records of meetings for over fifty years back being held at one or other of the cottages; and every year for the last ten or more.

The hostesses, all members of the Society, have been Mrs. S. A. Crowell and her daughter May; Mrs. J. B. Killam and Mrs. E. J. Vickery; and in later years Mrs. Clem Crowell. and Mrs.. J. E. Goudey.

Meetings were usually convened in the morning with a picnic lunch at noon, and finished in the afternoon in plenty of time for the members to get home before supper.


It would never do to end this story without adding some further information about Merle Crosby already mentioned several times, as he has been such an active member of the community.

His home is about a mile from the village, not far from the Lake Jessie railway crossing (not shown on the sketch)

The barn was built first in l906 by his father Alvin Crosby, who was a stone mason and worked with Ern Bain and Sam Pitman; the house shortly after, probably1908.

Alvin Crosby owned 525 acres of land which he bought from Thomas Crosby, the property extending from Gerdner’s Mill to the take Annis meadow.

Alvin died at the age of 44 leaving his wife, who was formerly Nina Banks of Annapolis, with three small children, She later married John Savary.

Merle who had been living out on the mill property for nine years, took over the property in 1938. He has a mill across the road from the house which keeps bin busy most of the time.

Even when you think a job is finished something else occurs to you and you wonder why it was missed the first time.

In speaking of the station which was built In 1904, the writer well remembers an incident that caused a bit of consternation in three families. Douglas Killam, Clarence Hood and Edgar Vickery thought it would be very smart to be the first three to carve their initials in the nice red bench that went from end to end of the building. The J.D.K., C.K.H., aid E.J.V, were soon detected and reported to the head office in Kentville, probably by the section men who had some responsibility for the upkeep. The three families concerned received letters which dealt with the desecration in no uncertain terms and insisted that they be puttied in and covered up with new raint. This was of course done as ordered. Those who remember the station well will know that eventually the walls and bench were entirely covered with both writing and carving. Not an unusual thing to happen in a public building of this type.

The saying “George Washington slept here” made the writer think when talking about the various cottages, and on reviewing the situation discovered that he had slept in ten of them aid the attic of the Vickery Garage to boot. This of course goes back to 1900 when the first night in the village was spent St George Cossars. E. J. Vickery and his son spent several days at the Cossars when his cottage was going through the first stages of erection. There is of course a legitimate reason for changing beds so many times.

Outside of the cottages little or no mention has been made of any other type of buildings besides Matel. Day’s studio and the S.A • Crowell cookhouse. It might be as well for the sake of posterity to say something about garages or storage buildings. Dave Saunders had a small garage Just north of his barn where he kept his Rambler Runabout. A. P. Stoneman and E.J. Vickery built garages and there was one beside the Moody house that was probably erected for Dr. Soloan’ s car. The, barn at Mooswa was built by Charlie Grantham to stable his horse when they drove to take Annie. There were storage sheds mostly for wood with the McGray, Harzy Lewis and Sobn Kilts houses, and Eisner Cossar bad a small barn near his house in addition to the larger one moved over from the Vickery lot.,

Breaking into cottages and stealing would seem to be a rare occurence in Lake .Annis. The writer does however remember an incident which happened about 1904. Harry Hamilton reported that a shotgun was missing from the cottage of E.J. Vickery and there was evidence of forced entry.  Accompanied by James MacMillan, a well- known Provincial Constable of the time, E. J. Senior and E.J. Junior, went to Hectanooga and visited the home of Sam Labrador where they found the gun standing in the corner. The final outcome is rather hazy but there is no recollection of any legal proceedings - probably Jim’s tongue lashing and threat of penitentiary for a further misdemeanor of the kind ended the affair.

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