The first settlement in the area of this community was made by Ephrim Cook,
who came from Kingston, New York. He had come to these shores, as other
Americans had done, to spend the fishing season here, long before he settled
permanently in 1762. He settled on the eastern side of the Chebogue Harbor
and built his home not far from Cooks Beach (which was named in his honor).
The house was built from materials he brought over from New York on his
ships. He also built fish stands, and a store house for storing trade goods
on the knoll today known as "Store Hill". He cured and salted fish and
shipped to the West Indies. He was known as the founder of the fishing
trade in the country.
Captain Cook's grant included acres of wooded area, such as Big Island
and Little River Point (which became Pinkney's Point), and acres of the
largest marshland in the area. Captain Cook died in 1821, at the age of
84, and was buried on his farmland at Lower Melbourne, but his headstone
is in the Town Point Cemetery.
In 1777, John Pinkney came to Nova Scotia, also from New York State.
At 44 he married Captain Cook's daughter, Louisa, and settled on the clear
upland of Cooks Beach. This was known as Pinkney's Land, which was changed
from Little River Point to Pinkney's Point in honor of John Pinkney. He
built a very large house, big enough to hold more than one family, which
it sometimes did. John had 6 daughters and 3 sons. The daughters married
and moved away, the eldest son became a sea captain, and the youngest one
remained on the farm. The fishing trade was still in progress at the beach,
Pinkney having some vessels of his own. When John died, all land, house,
barn, sheds, tool shop and blacksmith shop passed on to his son, Gilbert.
At twenty Gilbert married Matilda Weston and they had four sons and
one daughter. Three of their sons went to sea, and the youngest died at
19. Their daughter married and moved away. On what is known as the "Sands",
the original cellars of the Pinkney "Villa" are still visible. In 1852,
Gilbert sold the first piece of land on the farther wooded point to Nathan
Weston, and Weston built a home there. Today it is the DeViller home and
the oldest one on Pinkney's Point. Other people bought land from Gilbert
Pinkney as time went on, until finally he moved away and no other Pinkney
remained on the Point. Their graves are found in the Arcadia and Town Point
Cemeteries. Then, in 1856, for whatever reasons, all lands known as Pinkney's
Point, south of Carrying Place Creek, were sold at public auction to the
Prosper Surette from Wedgeport, for the amount of $8,180.00. Surette
moved with his wife and twelve children, (seven sons and five daughters)
into the Pinkney homestead. On the large area of upland Surette farmed,
raised cattle and sheep, gathered both fresh and saltmarsh hay, fished
and had vessels engaged in the fishing trade. The Surettes were known as
farmers and sheep herdsman. At that time money was not necessarily the
only commodity, for a man's wealth was measured in the amount of land and
stock he owned. Goods which were not made or raised at home were obtained
by trading farm produce--butter, cheese, wool, and so on, for tea, sugar,
molasses, etc. They raised many sheep from which they used the wool to
make their clothes, socks, mittens, underwear; after it had been washed,
carded, spun, dyed and knitted or woven into cloth.
The Surette sons married girls from surrounding communities. The oldest
son, Michael, moved into the Westons house, and the others built their
own, which are still standing today, and in them live Prosper Surettes
descendants. Surette divided the Point and his land among his sons, each
getting a share while his daughters received half shares, a cow or money.
The sons hewed their own homes out of their inherited strips of land. They
continued to raise large flocks of sheep and farmed, though some went to
work on fishing vessels. The youngest Surette son, Doctorve, was a boat
builder and owned a vessel, the "Evenie". Around 1894 there were about
11 homes on the Point , and each Sunday the children would go visit their
parents up the road, where the grandmother would prepare a huge meal for
them, which was the traditional "Boiled Dinner". Before the Surette children
built a school house, around the year 1895, one of the son's wives, Marie
(Colin) Surette, taught the few children in her own home, how to read and
write. The school that they built lasted up until approximately fifty years
ago when another one was built. This second one became the home of Allan
Surette, after consolidation came into affect, and all the children went
to Arcadia School.
The Surette children also built the church about 80 years ago. Before
that the same Marie (Colin) Surette would hold prayers in her home on Sundays.
This continued up until the time they built a very small chapel which has
since been enlarged to its present size. Having their own church in the
community made quite a difference from the days when they had to journey
all the way to Wedgeport for every Sunday, Holiday, Baptism, Funeral, etc.
The trip took mostly all day. One of Prosper Surette's oldest living grand-daughters
recalls a few of these journeys, including, one, the day of her wedding,
and another, the funeral of her grandmother, Catherine. When the huge house
was abandoned by the old folks, it was torn down and the material from
it was used to build two houses, those of Michael Saulnier and Theophile
Surette. When they could no longer live alone on the old homestead, the
Surettes moved up on the Point with their children and their grandchildren.
No other house had or has been built on the "Sands". Old records show that
more than one son was required to take care of his parents for about 6
months at a time for as long as they lived, and provided them with the
essentials of life which were food, clothing, tobacco, and medical care
when necessary. Most of the time both grandfather and grandmother would
sit in rocking chairs and smoke their corn cob pipes.
In 1898 Prosper died at the age of 90 years, leaving 104 grandchildren
and 168 great- grandchildren. Eleven of his children are still living,
the youngest having predeceased him by only a couple of years. As the population
grew the land was redivided, sold, and more people went to work in the
fish factories, one of which was located on Reef Island at one time. Others
worked in shipyards, learned the fishing trade, went to sea as far as the
Grand Banks, took part in the rum- running trade, and built their own fishing
boats. Pinkney's Point has been a fishing village, mostly lobster fishing,
for the best part of the Twentieth Century. Up until the establishment
of rural mail delivery, which came about in the late 1970s, , the DeViller's
house served as the local post office. The populated area of Pinkney's
Point, which is itself only slightly over a mile long, went from a dozen
or so houses around the early 1900's to almost 60 at the beginning of 1970.
It has a population of approximately 250, a community hall, two boat-building
enterprises, commercial fish buyers, two wharves, one new to replace the
one which was destroyed by fire in December of 1967.