Baxter’s Harbour

The third destination on the find-all-the-places-with-harbour-in-the-name road trip is Baxter’s Harbour: which is a cove with a waterfall… and not really a harbour. It was likely once a fishing community but little is left from those days.

Baxters Harbour is named after another interesting family. In this case, it is the… *drum roll* Baxter family from Alstead, New Hampshire.

Our story starts in Alstead, New Hampshire with Simon Baxter, a ship’s captain and devout Loyalist. He married Prudence (Fox) and had eight children.

Simon starts showing up in New Hampshire legal documentation around the time of the American Revolutionary War. He was a Loyalist and seemingly loved to get into trouble with American authorities. First, there were fights for which he was placed under house arrest. Next, he openly proclaimed he was a Tory and began to “conspire” against the “traitorous” American authorities. He refused to stay on his farm and quickly became a fugitive… often barely escaping attempts to hang him for treason.

To make a really long story short, at the end of the war, Baxter and his sons (William and Joseph) were hiding in New York when they were told they needed to leave the country. Given his Loyalist status, Baxter petitioned the General Assembly for a land grant and was awarded 2,000 acres of land in New Brunswick and another 3,000 acres for his services in the French War. His sons also received 500 acres each. The entire family moved to New Brunswick.

Simon’s son, William, also appears in legal documentation during the Revolutionary War. He protected his father, helped him escape jail on numerous occasions, and even whipped a man (while 16) for turning his father into authorities. By the time the family arrived in New Brunswick in 1782, William was 22-years old and (I assume) had received a medical degree while living in New York. Rather than staying with his family, he ended up in Cornwallis (again I assume) because this is where his 500-acre land grant was. Here he set-up a medical practice and became one of the first doctors in Nova Scotia and initially the only medical practitioner for the entire county.

In historical records, William’s personality is described as being just as colourful as his father’s. He married twice, had 9 children, and died in 1832 at the age of 72. In 1803, William bought land on the North Mountain, which one of his sons, John B. Baxter, settled on. This is the area now known as “Baxter’s Harbour.”

The area is very beautiful and the community now consists of mostly summer homes and vacation rentals. The tiny harbour has a waterfall and caves that can be explored when the tide is out. Up the hill is a small community centre and a quiet church with a graveyard.

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