The Legend of Mary
Mary's Point is a point of land that sticks out into Chignecto Bay near what is now the village of Harvey.
The point was named in honour of a young native girl named Mary who lived on the point. In the early 1700's, the Indians from this area used this point of land as a campground near their village. There was also an Acadian settlement nearby and the two groups got along quite well together. They traded with each other and there was some intermarriage.
The expulsion of the Acadians occurred in this area around 1754. The English took over the land and forced the Acadians to leave. At the time of the expulsion, Fawn was a young Indian girl who had fallen in love with a young man from the Acadian settlement. She secretly met him on the banks above the beach, where he told her that English raiding parties were coming up the coast, burning settlements as they came, and that he and his family were fleeing to Dorchester. He told Fawn that he would return to marry her and they would build a cabin on the beach to raise their children. The next day, the English raiders arrived. Fawn and her family hid in the woods, as the English burnt down their house. Fawn never heard from the man again. He may have drowned on the trip to Dorchester, or his family may have been captured and forced in to exile, but soon after he left, she discovered that she was pregnant. Fawn decided that if she didn't have the young Acadian, at least she would have his child. She then went to tell her mother her secret. In 1755, Fawn, with her mother to help her, gave birth to a young girl named Mary. Because Mary was Metis, half French and half Indian, neither of the two communities would accept her, as there was still some prejudice between them. Fortunately, Mary's mother and grandparents made her feel loved and accepted, which kept her from feeling like an outcast.
The family lived outside of the Indian village, on the beach at Mary's Point, so they were quite self sufficient. Mary learned from her mother and grandparents about catching fish in a weir and using salt to preserve the fish, trapping animals and cleaning the pelts, cooking, cleaning, and how to sew clothing. The little money they had for supplies came from taking fish and pelts to the trading post.
When Mary was eleven, her grandmother died, and at the age of twelve she suffered another loss. A lone Indian who had recently been widowed arrived by canoe. He fell in love with Fawn, who had never married and had long been lonely, and asked her if she would like to return with him to meet his people and get married. Fawn's father agreed because he knew the man and respected his family. When Fawn left with the man to meet his family, she never returned, and Mary was left in the care of her aging grandfather.
At the age of sixteen, Mary was left to live on her own, when her grandfather passed away. Around the same time, a group of English settlers came to fill the land left vacant after the expulsion of the French. When the land was divided up by the English, a man named James was given a plot of land which included the piece on which Mary's cabin stood. Mary, with the help of an old Indian interpreter, was able to make James understand her situation. Fortunately, James was very kind to Mary and allowed her to stay on the land. Mary continued to fish and hunt, with the help of James while he worked clearing the land for farming, together they split the profits from the pelts that were sold. One day a shrewd man named Thomas arrived. He saw that James had furs ready to be sold, so he offered James a drink of rum and when James was under the influence of rum, Thomas tricked him into selling him the furs, and his property, for thirty pounds and a horse. James accepted the offer but insisted that Mary must get her share. Thomas advised that James not return to see Mary but to leave her share at the trading post as credit, so that she could buy supplies later.
While waiting for James to return, Mary went to the Indian village. There she met an Indian brave, named Peter, who took a fancy to her and offered to walk her home. He returned the next day and offered to take her to the trading post to find out what had happened to James. They found out that James had sold the property and when they returned home, Thomas was there waiting for them. He told them that James was gone and offered to let Mary stay in her cabin and he would pay her for her work. Soon, the nearby Indians shunned Mary for living with the English settlers.
A few years later, after Thomas had left, Mary returned to living off the land, as she had done earlier in her life. As the English settlement increased, the settlers decided that they wanted Mary to move. A group of four men went to ask Mary to leave and soon tensions mounted as Mary refused. The men prepared to remove Mary by force when suddenly, James and Peter appeared out of nowhere to help Mary. They got Mary to agree to leave if the men would pay her five pounds a year for the next four years. James and Peter then helped Mary build a new cabin on the beach further down the Eastern shore. Then James left Peter and Mary; it was the last time she would see him alive. Peter decided to stay with Mary at the cabin, he took a job at a lumber camp in the winter but returned to help Mary hunt and farm every spring.
After many years had passed, Mary, who was now an old woman, got word that James was very ill. She went to see him, but by the time she arrived, he had already died. Mary was very saddened over the loss of this man who had been such a kind friend to her. On her return trip to her home, Mary stopped to visit some of her Indian friends at Indian Point. She did not return home though, as her body was later found washed up on the beach. What happened to her we will never know.