From The Scrapbook By Rev. Bill Randall


Sept. 1996

By Dr. Bill Randall

Oromocto Lake Tour

Did you ever stop to think how the month’s which have R’s in them are the colder months, but wasn’t the first day of September beautiful! For me, it was especially beautiful for I fulfilled a dream – I had a full tour of Oromocto Lake, second largest lake in New Brunswick. The dream had been in my mind for years, but the Piercy family reunion in August brought it to reality when Clayton Piercy said he would be more than happy to give me such a tour. Clayton has a passionate love for Oromocto Lake having been born close to it and swam in it, fished in it, skated on it, skied on it, snowmobiled on it and in it, for he has broken through the ice, and he cuts holes in it where he fishes from his portable shack in the winter. Clayton told me he knew every rock in the lake, but he wasn’t sociable enough to introduce me to any of them. We just passed by them casually!

I’ll try to give you a somewhat detailed account of our trip.

We left Swan’s shore at about 8 A.M., the beautiful September first morning. Took a south course around Caribou Point where early settlers had seen six caribou: on by Ship Island, pretty much a home for ospreys who are so numerous that their manure is killing the natural pines. We circled somewhat easterly around Green Point toward Harbor Island Cove, where we would like to have recovered the jug of spirituous refreshment which had been purposely buried, but lost, by the Swans in 1931. It should be quite potent now having cured and chilled in the mud for 85 years. Also near a tree on the shore there’s a pipe wrench left behind by Don Messer and his companions, but we didn’t find that either. Went through the only safe passage at the Jaws, into the Basin. It takes a knowledgeable boat person to find the right passage at the Jaws. Inside the Basin we saw a deer and I signed the guest book in Clayton’s cozy little hunting camp. We noted where the outlet begins the journey of the Oromocto River to the St. John. In Rutherford Cove we stepped ashore to see the fading remains of the Ed and Ben Smith lumber camp and boat landing, it takes one’s memory back more than sixty years. Coming out of Rutherford Cove there’s a point of land which many years ago provided an angry father an opportunity to shoot across a 700 yard cove to take down an Indian who had stolen the daughter from Tracy. The point where the Indian was shot was Indian Point and the Cove to the west, Indian Cove. Next travelling squarely west you go around Norway Point, a dangerous place with the rocks and equally dangerous for snowmobiles as the Lake here has a series of springs which never allows the water to completely freeze. Clayton and his family survived a near tragedy when their snowmobiles broke through the ice. Clayton speaks of Blackberry Cove or Round Cove where in 1949 he saw seven moose as a family group swimming across Round Cove, three bulls, two cows and two calves. The mothers would swim circles around their calves to encourage and protect them.

Out around Kelly’s Island, now a peninsula, but back in the days when the outlet was dammed, it was an island and the site of the Dexter Company logging operations. In 1927 the Dexter’s built a beautiful log home, the fireplace of which is still standing completely erect, it was somewhat reinforced by Oromocto neighbors in 1947. The area of the Island called the Neck is a super picnicking spot with hundreds of yards of pure white sand. Why would anyone race to the beaches of Prince Edward Island when they can go to Kelly’s Island?

We passed by Shield’s Brook, an unusual brook because of a mineral content which makes it inhospitable for fish, Whittaker’s Cove, the sad place where the Whittaker and Shaw boys were drowned. Orr’s Point and Orr’s Brook, the reason for the Orr name is not determined. We stopped at the beautiful Ranger camp, built by the New Brunswick government, but not widely used. By the mouth of Kedron. Brook to a site where Ed and Ben Smith had a lumber operation in 1940, the depression of the original root cellar is conspicuous and strangely, no trees have taken over the campsite. We passed by Rocky cove – it seemed to me like all the coves were rocky – on by Round Cove and Spruce Island, Pine island, where a Forestry Spray plane crashed, by Birch Island, another lake-bottom spring which in winter rarely freezes; by the boat landing which comes in from Brockway; South. End Brook, described by the late Harry Cleghom as the best fishing place of his boyhood; on by Birch Point, by the entrance of the McFarland Brook; by the Black Hollow Brook; by Clark’s Cove, now called Simms Cove; Solomon’s Brook; Jack’s Brook; and by the Girl Guide lodge.

By this time, about 12:30 p.m., we decided we had better eat our lunch so we went over to Ship island and there on the south-end level ledge we soaked up the warm sun and visited with a couple of paddle boaters who had given up the trip from Swan’s shore to Kelly’s Island. After lunch it remained only to go into Dead Brook Cove, Charlie Brigg’s Cove, along by the Jamieson Shore where many beautiful homes and cottages have been built, then along by Sam Hoyt’s (or White Cove). And thus, our excursion returned to Swan’s Shore.

For those of you who are familiar with the 27 miles of shoreline this may be a bit boring, but for me who had only been on the lake twice before, (once with Chester Cleghorn to fish in the Charlie Brigg’s Cove, and once with Doug Speedy across to the outlet), it was a beautiful and memorable experience. I had heard older people speak of these places, but now, thanks to Clayton Piercy, I can remember being at these places.

Source: Rev. Bill Randall’s “From The Scrapbook Vol. One.”

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