Grand Lake Meadows
 


 

 

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Grand Lake Meadows, courtesy of Duncan Campbell
Grand Lake Meadows, courtesy of Duncan Campbell
Grasses of the Grand Lake Meadows, courtesy of Duncan Campbell
Grasses of the Grand Lake Meadows, courtesy of Duncan Campbell
Interval Land, Grand Lake Meadows, courtesy of Richard Goodick
Interval Land, Grand Lake Meadows, courtesy of Richard Goodick
Jemseg River and farm in background, Grand Lake Meadows, courtesy of Ian Varty
Jemseg River and farm in background, Grand Lake Meadows, courtesy of Ian Varty
Colonials
 
The Acadians, and the pre-Loyalist settlers a few miles further up river, noted and commented on the landscape of the Grand Lake Meadows but there is no evidence either group actually settled the area. However with the arrival of the Loyalists after 1783, some brave souls attracted by the relative ease of clearing land in the flood plain opted to make their permanent homes in the lower portion of the Meadows.
 
Initially this must have seemed feasible to them but two record high freshets in the 1790s were enough to discourage them totally, and seemingly without exception they moved to higher places at Upper Gagetown and Jemseg and even farther afield. Today it may still be possible to locate sites where there were houses; when the land is ploughed for agriculture purposes sometimes a rock foundation appears, and the amount of ceramic shards and other artifacts suggests it was used for more than a few months.
 
The intervale lands between Grand Lake and the St. John River were not heavily wooded and were enriched yearly by the annual spring floods. Consequently lush grass grew there and from early on it was valued for hay for the livestock. Generally each highland farm had one or two lots of interval land for this purpose, and until the mid twentieth century hay barns could be seen on each one of them. Hay was stored there in the summer and retrieved by the sled-load in winter when the stores of highland hay were depleted. The skeletons of a very few of these barns can still be seen.