Grand Manan: Jewel of the Sea — Excerpt
Grand Manan: Jewel of the Sea — Excerpt: “More Than A Doctor
‘Dr. John Faxon was the first medical doctor on Grand Manan, arriving in 1808 from the United States. He settled at Seal Cove and one of his favorite hobbies was walking, which he enjoyed when visiting the sick or just as his own personal exercise.
This physician seemed to have an enterprising spirit and was somewhat of an engineer. Noticing the natural land sea wall that separated Seal Cove from the Bay of Fundy waters, he set about finding able bodied workers to cut a passage through this barrier to the sea.
Because of the organized efforts of Dr. Faxon, Seal Cove fishermen now enjoy a beautiful high water harbour.
Dr. Faxon was accompanied by an interesting character by the name of John Tar. Mr. Tar claimed he had sailed under the command of Captain John Paul Jones, the famous American sea fighter. The swarthy sailor continuously went on wild sprees and enjoyed singing of his previous adventures.
One stormy night, Dr. Faxon could no longer stand the conduct or language of John Tar, so he put him out of his home. As he attempted to make his way to a neighbour’s, John Tar fell over a cliff and was killed. The place where the old sailor met his violent death is still called Tar’s Cove.
Dr. Faxon continued his enterprising ways and by 1811 had launched the first full rigged ship built on Grand Manan. When the war of 1812 broke out, Dr. Faxon very hastily returned to the United States and his property went to local residents.
The impact of the island’s first doctor is still enjoyed today by local fishermen, photographers and artists when high tides enter Seal Cove.'”
My family used to have the large old house next to the Provincial schoolhouse in Seal Cove. It was coming off its foundation, a large round presumably salty beach cobble in the thin concrete wall led to it cracking, and we were told the former 12 room house of plaster and lath, was twisting in the winter winds on the hill, out as it were, in the open. Finally the decision was to paint or not to paint, we are the Province, and we had it taken down. It might have had some historical importance and later monies might have aided another attempt at repair. Someone said they played basketball in it! They say you can still hear a “down east” Yankee accent in Seal Cove.