Welcome to the City of Dartmouth. This is a history blog, and a vessel for whatever I’ve found over the years that is Dartmouth related. It’s an attempt to catalog it all, and to put it all into one place so that it isn’t lost to the sands of time. It’s incomplete, and very much a (perpetual, it seems) work in progress. I’ve done my best to link to sources for what is posted here, some of the photos and maps have been downloaded over the years from various online sources and so if there is no source listed, I’m probably not sure where it’s from. Some of what is contained here is my own work (mostly photographic or cartographic reinterpretations and remixes), and it is offered to the commons alongside everything else. A lot of the impetus for this site was “amalgamation”, what I consider a municipal coup of …

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More time is spent describing Dartmouth here than in many other similar books of its kind, yet another instance of 1756 being given as the date of Dartmouth’s “destruction” at the hands of the Mi’kmaq. The timing of 1756 in regards to the delay of the institution of representative government at Halifax until 1758, and the requirement of a population of 50 families in order to qualify for a representative in the legislature, has always struck me as curious. Earlier events, such as the arrival and settlement of various “wastrels” as well as the “King’s bad bargains” has led me to question whether it was the Mi’kmaq who were involved in the “destruction of Dartmouth” at all, but instead whether it was settlers dressed up as Indians (a technique seen later during the Tea Party). I’m not sure how far those intent on advancing their position would go, whether it …

A Plan of National Colonization Read More…

PREMIER MEETS WITH MUNICIPAL LEADERS Premier John Savage said today his government is committed to working co-operatively with Nova Scotia municipal leaders in building a dynamic provincial economy. The premier met this morning with the executive of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and stressed the need for even greater cooperation between the two levels of government. “Both levels of government want to see the economy grow and jobs created. We can best accomplish that by putting aside differences and working co-operatively towards a more prosperous Nova Scotia.” Premier Savage said he was aware of municipal concerns arising from the provincial government’s efforts to get it’s financial house in order. “All levels of government must share the responsibility of getting spending under control. Gone are the days when we can solve problems simply by going to the bank and borrowing money.” Premier Savage told the municipal leaders that Ottawa budget …

Premier meets with municipal leaders Read More…

COMMUNITY SERVICES–MUNICIPAL ASSISTANCE Community Services Minister Jim Smith said today that he was hopeful that the new Halifax Regional Municipality would accept the offer to takeover delivery of all municipal social assistance programs on April 1, 1996. “It’s a good deal for the new municipality. At a time of federal budget cutting this plan fixes the municipal costs at predictable levels.” The pilot program will offer greater efficiency through full-service offices. “Right now someone needing assistance in Dartmouth travels to Young Street in Halifax for provincial family benefits and to the West End Mall for employment and training services. In the new system the client will be able to access all services in one location often in their own neighbourhood,” said the minister. Other changes include standardized food allowances, and a new emphasis on job training and work experience. “We have to look at people’s abilities and potential as soon …

Community Services, Municipal Assistance Read More…

MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS–REGIONAL MUNICIPALITIES BILL INTRODUCED Nova Scotia municipalities who are considering amalgamation will soon have a legislative framework in place. Municipal Affairs Minister Sandy Jolly introduced a Regional Municipalities Bill in the Legislature today. “This new legislation will be used only when requested by municipalities,” said the minister. “It’s voluntary. It’s there when they choose to use it.” The Regional Municipalities Bill is made up of two divisions. The first contains definitions, a description on how the regional legislation is activated, and an outline of the rules to change municipal units to regional municipalities. The second division contains provisions dealing with the organization, powers and responsibilities of a regional municipality. The majority of what is contained in this bill is taken from the Halifax Regional Municipality Act. The minister outlined the process for future amalgamations. First, she said, there must be a study requested by one or more councils in …

Regional Municipalities Bill Introduced Read More…

Since few of these old newspapers are properly scanned with OCR, being multiple columns of faded text, I’ve done my best to transcribe what seemed to be the most interesting parts of this edition. It contains a number of references to the Stamp Act as well as news from the other colonies, one being a letter from Benjamin Franklin’s son William. The Nova Scotia Gazette: Containing the freshest Intelligence, foreign and domestic. From Thursday, November 21, to Thursday November 28, 1765. Price six pence single. Thoughts on Various subjects: Party is the madness of many for the gain of a few. To endeavor to work upon the vulgar with fine sense, is like attempting to hew blocks with a razor. A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday. …

Nova Scotia Gazette, Nov 21 1765. Read More…

DARTMOUTH, Halifax County: This city is located on the east side of Halifax Harbour. A [Mi’kmaq] name was Boonamoogwaddy, “Tomcod ground.” The English name may have been given in honor of William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth, Colonial Secretary 1772-75, but it was probably named for the Devonshire port of Dartmouth. In August, 1750, the Alderney arrived in Halifax (Chebucto) Harbour with 353 settlers on board. On August 23 the Council resolved to settle them across the Harbour from Halifax. Before the end of 1750, a blockhouse and small military post had been built. In 1751 the settlers suffered from an [Indigenous] attack. After the American Revolution an oil factory was set up and operated by a Nantucket Whaling Company about 1785 to 1792. They built a meeting-house about 1787, and their little village near the factory became known as Quaker Town because most of the people were Quakers. Later most …

Place Names and Places of Nova Scotia (in Dartmouth Township) Read More…

“The spirited Conduct and Debates of the Halifax House of Representatives in opposing Measures of His Majesty’s Council we offer to our Readers, as we are persuaded that the Spirit of Liberty wherever breathed, is agreeable to the Citizens of these States. On the thirteenth of May, 1790, the above quotation appeared in a Boston newspaper. There followed an extract from the Journal of the Nova Scotia Assembly for the twenty-seventh of March of the same year. It was the representative branch of the sixth Nova Scotia Assembly that was credited with this “Spirit of Liberty”. This House, the first Nova Scotian legislature in which the United Empire Loyalists were represented, had been elected in 1785 and was now in its fifth session. The previous four had witnessed a gradually increasing hostility between House and Council, which reached a climax in 1790. The debates that called forth the Boston editor’s …

Nova Scotian “Sparks of Liberty” Read More…

“The monopoly of the General Mining Association was a source of great irritation to the people of Nova Scotia, and the events leading to what was then known as “the breaking of the Duke of York’s lease” form one of the most interesting chapters of the development of responsible government in Nova Scotia. After a fight extending over many years, the General Mining Association, in 1857, surrendered its claim to all the mines and minerals of the Province, and was given an exclusive right to all the coal seams in certain specified areas situated in the Sydney, Pictou, and Cumberland fields: coinciding more or less exactly with the areas owned by the Acadia Coal Company at the Albion Mines; the areas operated by the Dominion Coal Company at Springhill Mines; and the areas operated in the Sydney coalfield by the Dominion Coal Company and the Nova Scotia Steel & Coal …

The coal-fields and coal industry of eastern Canada: a general survey and description Read More…

“This letter will give you some gleanings from Halifax — the most English of the provincial cities. It was founded in 1749, by the Lords of the Board of Trade, and named after the President, Gen. Montague, Earl of Halifax. It has ever since been the capital of Nova Scotia, — robbing that honor from Annapolis. Thirteen transports brought from England 2576 emigrants, the nucleus of the present population, which counts about 40,000 souls. The sloop of war Sphinx led the way, bearing Colonel the Honorable Edward Cornwallis as Captain General and Governor of Nova Scotia. He afterwards presented a sword to Gen. Washington at Yorktown, a circumstance which will never be forgotten. His name is more pleasantly linked with Cornwallis County, the garden of the province. Immediately upon landing, the town was laid out in squares, with streets sixty feet wide. A fence of upright pickets or palisades enclosed …

Coit correspondence of 1871 Read More…

“Prisons played a role in the system almost from the founding of Halifax. According to contemporary accounts the first British settlers in the town included numerous ‘vagabonds’ and assorted criminals. These were the remnants of the three thousand discharged soldiers and sailors, ‘the King’s bad bargains,’ introduced to the colony by Governor Cornwallis in 1749. An influx of former indentured servants from Newfoundland and Virginia, whom some officials viewed as wastrels, helped swell the towns population to about five thousand in 1755. (Executive council minutes, 22 Dec. 1752, PANS RG1, vol. 186,276, and 27 June 1754, vol. 187, 77-9; W.S. MacNutt “The Atlantic Provinces: The Emergence of Colonail Society” [Toronto: McClelland and Stewart 1965] 53-4; T.H. Raddall “Halifax: Warden of the North” rev. ed. [Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1971]) Such economic and social dislocation contributed to the crime and poverty noted by observers, as did wartime conditions and the transient …

From Bridewell to Federal Penitentiary: Prisons and Punishment in Nova Scotia before 1880 Read More…

Chapter X. Section 162: Tenure in Burgage. Tenure in burgage is, where in an ancient borough the king is lord, and they who have tenements within the borough hold of the king their tenements at a certain rent by the year. And such tenure is but tenure in socage. Section 164. And it is to wit, that the ancient towns called boroughs are the most ancient towns in England; and from these towns come the burgesses of parliament, when the king has summoned his parliament. Every borough incorporate that had a bishop within time of memory, is a city, albeit the bishopric be dissolved; as Westminster had of late a bishop, and therefore it yet remains a city. The burgh of Cambridge, an ancient city, as it appears by a judicial accord (which is to be preferred before all others) where mos civitatis Cantabrigiae is found by the oath of …

A Readable Edition of Coke Upon Littleton Read More…

Mr. Bright: “Sir, about a month ago—on the 15th of May last—I presented a petition to the House from the representatives of the colony of Nova Scotia, and I now rise for the purpose of calling attention to that petition, and to statements made in it, and of proposing what appears to me to be a judicious course in regard to it. The Resolution which I have given Notice of consists of two parts—first, the statement of a fact which is easily proved; and, secondly, a statement of the mode in which the Government would do wisely to meet the difficult questions which have arisen. I am sorry to see that the right hon. Gentleman who has charge in this House of colonial affairs is not here; but in the course of my argument he may come upon that Bench. The petition which I presented to the House makes what …

Nova Scotia—British North American Confederation Read More…

This contains the most charitable and interesting sections of the book. Many of these vintage titles I’ve found contain so much that is superfluous or offensive that I try to be selective, not to paint a pretty picture, but to find anything that approached a realization of the gravity of the situation. I don’t think these excerpts represent the totality of the opinion at the time, or the prevalent opinion, so don’t take them as broadly representative. An interesting connection I noticed was what I think is a reference to Cain and Abel, below (“And when they shall have passed away, and their very name is forgotten by our children, will not the voice of our brother’s blood cry unto God from the ground? And in the Day of Judgment when all past actions will be brought to light, and the despised [Indigenous person] will stand on a level with …

A short statement of facts relating to the history, manners, customs, language, and literature of the [Mi’kmaq] tribe Read More…

“F: Village Dartmouth ou monte un bivac de 60 homes “Bivac“: “Term borrowed from German. Extraordinary guard which is made at night in the open air for the safety of a camp, a detachment, a post. Sleep at the bivac.” Rough translation: Dartmouth village, a camp made up of 60 men. “Plan de la baye et des ports de Chibouctou” 1751. https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b53089566v

One of the only representations I’ve seen of an island that supposedly existed in Dartmouth Cove, that is mentioned by Martin in the Story of Dartmouth on page 31: “There is an old tradition that in this part of Mill Cove, a small island used to exist. It is mentioned in a footnote to the History of Dartmouth by Harry Piers, who got the particulars from George Shiels, a lifelong resident who died about 1900. The latter stated that until the island had been washed away by the sea in the early part of the last century, it had been situated north of Mott’s Wharf. (Mott’s wharf ran out from the middle of the present Hazelhurst railway trestle, or about halfway between Evergreen point and Parker’s wharf). As the island disappeared under the action of the sea, according to Mr. Shiels, numerous wooden coffins containing skeletons could be seen. He …

Carte de la baye de Chibouctou Read More…

“THE AUTHOR’S APOLOGY: This little messenger, presented to the public, is a collection of information gained from many of the oldest members of the Churches in the Association, where records were imperfectly kept, and, in many instances, none whatever. I am aware that every person who attempts a work of this kind is left open for public comment or criticism. And as I make not the faintest attempt to literary attainments, I must claim your sympathy. My simple aim is to place in the hands of every [Black] Baptist in Nova Scotia a copy of this little book, in order if possible to give them some idea of how it came about that there should be a Church built by one who had so shortly escaped from the ranks of slavery, fled from the house of bondage, and could attract so much attention and sympathy from a British public, as …

A brief history of the [Black] Baptists of Nova Scotia and their first organization as churches Read More…

“With the outbreak of the American Revolution, colonial leaders asserted their claims to the lands beyond the Alleghenies. Congress in its treaty plan of September, 1776, anticipated the acquisition of Canada, Nova Scotia, Florida, and all other British possessions on the North American continent.” “Congress’s special committee to consider foreign affairs issued its initial report on February 23, 1779. This report delineated a northern line running from Nova Scotia to Lake Nipissing, then west to the Missisippi.” “Clearly the critical decision for peace would be made in London because Britain alone could offer the essential concessions. The battle of Yorktown in October, 1781, convinced the ministry of Lord North that it could no longer continue the war in America. Still Lord North, backed by the king, refused to yield to American rebels. North resigned in March, 1782… Lord Rockingham and the earl of Shelburne, both moderates in their views towards …

The Illinois Country and the Treaty of Paris of 1783 Read More…

“The constitution of Nova Scotia is a representative provincial government. The Lieutenant-Governor, who is subordinate to the Governor-General of British North America, is commander within the province; and the supreme civil as well as military authority under him, is a council of twelve members, of whom the bishop and chief justice are members ex officio, and the rest appointed by the Crown. The legislative assembly consists of a body of forty-one members, elected by 40s. freeholders. It is elected, like the British House of Commons, for seven years, but may be prorogued or dissolved by the Lieutenant-Governor. It meets every year, and all money bills must originate in this assembly; other bills require the consent of the Governor and council before they become law. For the purposes of election, Nova Scotia is divided into ten counties. The counties have two members each, and the other representatives are returned by the …

Statistics Relative to Nova Scotia in 1851 Read More…

Dartmouth: 1478 Males, 1668 Females, Total population 3,155. Number of families 559, 492 Married, 1057 Single, 119 Widows. Deaf: M: 2, Blind: M: 2, F: 1. Cannot Read Above 15 years of Age: M: 214, F: 246 Cannot Write Above 15 years of Age: M: 228, F: 287 [Black] persons included in population: 197 [Indigenous people] not included in population: 34 By Origin: Dartmouth: Total Population: 3155, “Natives”: 2628, England: 107, Wales: 2, Scotland: 78, Ireland: 205, Guernsey: 1, Jersey: 4, Canada: 13, New Brunswick: 29, Newfoundland: 18, Prince Edward Island: 2, West Indies: 10, United States of America: 45, France: 1, Italy: 1, Other peoples in the Mediterranean: 7, Germany: 2, East Indies: 1, All other places: 1. By Religion: Church of England: 1115, Church of Rome: 807, Church of Scotland: 118, Presbyterian Church of L.P.: 414, Baptists: 408, Wesleyan Methodists: 168, Congregationalists: 8, Universalists: 98, Sandemanians: 10, Bible …

Census, Township of Dartmouth, 1861 Read More…