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Soldier’s piece of paradise


Published on August 25, 2017

Barronsfield Cemetery marks the life a man who fought on the Plains of Abraham

Between a red mailbox and a neighbouring small bungalow on the Barronsfield Road rests a long-forgotten soldier.
He is hard to find if you are driving along the old Cumberland County highway near River Hebert and impossible to see even from the detailed street-level images displayed in Google maps of the area.
But if you slow down and look across the field, you will notice the chain-linked fence surrounding and, surrounded by, what appears to be a field of daisies on the edge of a stand of evergreens.
Among the flowers, marked by worn headstones, lies the grave of Edward Barron, settler, warrior, hero to some and enemy to others.
In a hand-written document stored at the nearby Minudie School Museum, Barron’s life is summarized in a brief timeline with the source listed as the Public Record Office in Great Britain.
Born in England in 1720, Barron was already 35-years-old when he enlisted for the French and Indian War in North America, part of the Seven Year War being fought between France and England.
He fought during the capture of Louisburg, Cape Breton, and was commissioned personally by General James Wolfe to fight in Quebec and in the pivotal Battle of the Plains of Abraham. He was part of the British force that captured Martinique in the West Indies and then seized the main garrison during the Battle of Havana.
A hardened veteran of the Kings Royal Rifle Corp, his reward would be a peaceful patch of earth known today as Barronsfield. It would become his final resting place in 1800.
The greenery of the pastures, the brown muddy banks of the River Hebert revealed and then hidden as the Bay of Fundy tides roll back and forth; Edward worked these fields and even defended his right to them with ‘a number of guns, a barrel of gunpowder’ when the American Revolution’s sights became too far-reaching in 1776, as the timeline suggests.
Next to Barron’s grave is the grave of his wife, Ann, who died nine years earlier. Three others would later be buried in the small cemetery.
For more than 200 years, husband and wife have rested in quiet circumstance.
In documents stored at the Nova Scotia Archives, Barron, who had spent his military life fighting against the French, would later employ many to help work the fields and dykes. Archive documents list names and payments made for work.
Today, many of the last names of French descent, like Bourgeois and Leblanc, are commonplace in this region.

GETTING THERE:
Taking Highway 2 from Amherst, turn west onto route 302 to Upper Nappan, then turn right onto Route 242 in Maccan to River Hebert. After crossing the bridge in River Hebert, take your first right onto the Barronsfield Road.
The Barronsfield Cemetery will be on the left after civic number 4963. If you come to a red mailbox with civic number 5036 on the opposite side, you’ve gone too far (it’s that easy to miss it).

TIP:
After visiting the Barronsfield Cemetery, drive the extra five minutes to the community of Minudie where two churches and a school house built in the 1800s offer free-admission to artifacts, displays and history of the area, including Acadian artifacts and more details about Edward Barron.