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Origins of Name. Excerpt taken from nslps.com
The origin of the name "Burntcoat" or "Burncoat", as the community is sometimes named, is unknown. The derivation of the spelling of the name is also unclear. Today the village on the west side of the Noel Bay is named Burntcoat, however, the Acadians named the village on the east side of the Noel Bay "Pointe Brull" (i.e., Burnt Point or Burnt Coast). Perhaps the Protestant settlers who came after the exodus of the Acadians from the Insert non-formatted text here community confused the names for the east and west side of the Noel Bay and thought the west side of the Bay was "Pointe Brull".
The Acadian name for west side of the Noel Bay (i.e., present day Burntcoat) was "Pointe Cloche", indicating a chapel was likely located on the west side of the bay at Noel, Nova Scotia
With or without the T has been the topic of many kitchen table discussions.
History of Burntcoat , Hants Co., Written by Lucy Crowe
Burntcoat is situated along the Cobequid Bay- at the head of Minas Basin- on the Maitland-Walton highway, turning North at the Cross roads in Noel (which faces the Bay) for one and one half miles, then turn West for two miles, then due South, joining the Maitland-Walton highway at Minasville.
The Bay Creek extends up through Marshland, which is almost surrounded by woods and shrubs. When the tides are high, the sea covers the marsh, giving it the appearance of a lake; and at these times it is indeed picturesque.
In 1909, a dyke was built across the Creek by the land owners of the marsh with the hope of producing English hay. But the upkeep of the dyke against the turbulent tides and the ice flows was greater than the value of production, as the soil proved unsuitable for anything but natural salt hay.
A brook flows into the farther end of the Creek, through woodland, and is known as the “Tommy Hunter Brook”, and hours of enjoyment are spent during Spring and Summer months fishing for trout.
The first settlers in Burntcoat were Faulkners. They were of English and Scottish descent and migrated from New Hampshire in early Colonial days. Thomas Faulkner and family, consisting of eight sons and several daughters, came to Nova Scotia after the Acadians were expelled in 1755. He built a boat and with oxen hauled it forty miles to the ocean and with his family and a man by the name of Myron, sailed up the Bay of Fundy, and landed at Masstown on the North side of Cobequid Bay, and took possession of vacated French farms in what is now known as Little Dyke.
William Faulkner was the first light house keeper from when the land was bought. Next was Matthew Smith of Selma.
A picture of the light house is shown. It was built on Burntcoat Head in 1858, and Nathan Smith was the first keeper of the light. He was succeeded by Prescott Mosher, who remained in charge for several years.
The next long term resident was William Y. Faulkner.
In 1912, the buildings were left on an Island, as the years takes its toll on land along the banks of our shores. The strip of land connecting the mainland and the light house became narrower each year. With the result, one autumn morning in 1912, the light keeper, William Young Faulkner, came across with this horse and wagon. With no time to spare to save his life, as the narrow lane went tumbling soon after he crossed- an accident, when a boy, left a crippled leg which made it difficult for him to climb; however, he lashed ladders together and tied them securely at the top. In that way, he could slowly and painfully go up and down the steep bank of forty feet to bring up food supplies until a temporary bridge was strung across the gap.
In 1913, that light house was torn down and replace by this building on the near mainland. The tower is seventy six feet high. It has a fixed white light, visible fourteen miles.
In 1916, William Y. Faulkner became ill and passed away in his new light house. Temporary light keepers were in charge until 1918 when William Burton Faulkner, great grandson of William Faulkner (from whom the land for the light house was bought) then took over the duties until, after completing thirty one years of service, he retired on a small pension in 1949 and his son, Erwin, then became light keeper.
In 1950, electronic lights were installed and it is only when there is a power failure that the white light is used.
The tower of the old building had five oil lamps with reflectors. This meant filling the lamps and polishing them chimneys and large reflectors each morning. The day time shades were made of heavy unbleached cotton; these also had to be washed and pressed often.
In 1893 a cheese factory was built in East Noel on the Densmore Brook; milk was sent from the farms to be processed into cheese. Some years later, this was discontinued and the building was remodeled into a dwelling. The dam across the brook with its waterfall, rushing into the Bay has broken away and nothing now remains to show the factory ever existed. In winter, the pond proved an attractive place for skating. Skates were made to clamp over the soles and heels of boots with leather straps to hold them in place.
Since the Cobequid Bay ship building was over, and the forests almost completely depleted of timber, the dairy industry came into the picture. In 1916, the Bay View Creamery in Selma was organized and opened for business. Farmers began improving their herds and sent the cream to Selma to be manufactured into butter. The success of the enterprise is shown by more fertile farms and improvements in houses and farms, as well as fine herds of graded and pure bred Cattle of Ayshire, Holstein and Guernsey stock on many farms along the shores of Hants Co. Labor saving devices for the farms and homes have been steadily improving the past fifty years. Each year sees new methods in farming and houses, barns and poultry houses becoming modernized. Since 1923, Maitland-Noel telephone Co. has given us telephone service and in 1937, the Avon Power Co. extended the power lines through our community. Now all our homes are enjoying the privileges of electricity- a far cry from the days of the early settlers depending in the evening on light from the fireplace and hand-dipped tallow candles. Years later, lights were furnished by kerosene lamps and lanterns.
Many changes have taken place during the past Century and interesting stories are told of the often harrowing experiences of the older generations. Each year sees memorable events to be written in the pages of history in this little farming hamlet by the sea.
The local story of how Burntcoat got its name is passed down to each generation as follows: The Faulkner brothers were clearing a piece of land and had set fire to the limbs and brush. They soon after proceeed to their homes for dinner and during their absence, the fire spread rapidly. On their return, they found – to their dismay- that the tree on which one of the men had hung their coat, had caught fire and both tree and coat burned. Thereafter, the settlement was known as Burntcoat.
A variation on the story goes like this. The Faulkner brothers were clearing brush, they stopped and went home for dinner. They returned and found a tree on fire. One of the brothers left his lit pipe in the pocket of his coat and burned both coat and tree. Hence Burncoat.
Burncoat is spelled with and without a "T" in the name. The Lighthouse Preservation Society records indicate that the name was given by Acadian Settlers.