More historic documents
about Nova Scotia railways
To all to whom these presents may come I, Avard Longley of the Province of Nova Scotia, Esquire, duly appointed Commissioner for the construction and management of Railways in the said Province,
Whereas by the eleventh section of Chapter seventy Revised Statutes of Nova Scotia it is enacted as follows:– "The Commissioners or Contractors are authorized to enter upon and take possession of any land required for the track of the Railways or for stations and they shall lay off the same by metes and bounds and record a description and plan thereof in the registry of deeds for the County in which the lands are situated and the same shall operate as a dedication to the public of such lands; the lands so taken shall not be less than four rods nor more than six rods in breadth for the track exclusive of slopes of excavations and of embankments except where it may be deemed advisable to alter the line or level of any public or private carriage road or divert any stream or river in which case it shall be competent for the Commissioners to take such further quantity as may be found necessary for such purposes, also at each station a sufficient extent for depot and other station purposes, provided always that excepting at the terminal or junction of the Railways the quantity so appropriated shall not exceed five acres.
Note: "...the lands so taken shall not be less than four rods nor more than six rods in breadth for the track..." In the old Imperial system of measure, a rod was a unit widely used for centuries for measuring length or distance, especially for lengths or distances associated with legal descriptions of parcels of land. For centuries, the width of rights-of-way for government roads and highways had been standardized at two rods for the least important roads, four rods for most roads between communities, and six rods for the most important highways such as those built for military purposes.
One rod was equal to 16½ feet [5.029 m]
Thus four rods was a width equal to 66 feet [20.12 m]
and six rods was a width equal to 99 feet [30.18 m]
And Whereas the said Commissioner has entered into a contract for the construction of an extension of the existing railway from Truro to the waters of Pictou Harbor and under the provisions of said Chapter and of the Act passed in the Session of 1864 entitled "An Act to authorize the construction of a further section of the Provincial railway" – has caused to be laid off by metes and bounds certain lands required for the track of the railway and for stations and has entered upon and taken possession of the said lands under the authority of the statutes aforesaid...
Now I the said Avard Longley as such Railway Commissioner duly constituted and appointed do hereby declare and make known that the lands so laid off and described have been duly laid off under my direction as such Commissioner as aforesaid by metes and bounds and that the same by virtue of the said statutes and of the recording of these presents in the Registry of Deeds for the County of Pictou will be and such lands and every part and portion thereof shall be and are henceforth forever dedicated to the public and have become the property of the said Province for the use of and purpose aforesaid – the compensation to be made to the proprietors od such lands and the mode of computing and paying for the same being pointed out and provided for in and by the said statutes.
In witness whereof I the said Commissioner of Railways have hereunto my hand and seal subscribed and set forth this fifth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty six.
This right-of-way, acquired in 1865-1866 for the Pictou Extension of the Nova Scotia Railway, is still in use today (2013) as the main line track of the Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway between Truro and New Glasgow.
Avard Longley (1823-1884) was a successful farmer and merchant in Paradise, Annapolis County. Late in 1864 he was appointed Commissioner of Railways for Nova Scotia, a post he occupied until 1869. Under his direction, railway lines were constructed between Truro and New Glasgow, and between Windsor and Annapolis. He was a prominent orchardist and a pioneer in the important Annapolis Valley apple industry. In 1863 he was one of the founders of the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association...