During the 1770s, the weekly newspaper of Halifax kept Dartmouthians informed of the growing discontent in the American colonies leading up to the Revolution. Captain Preston, involved in the so-called Boston massacre of 1770, was soon to have his name applied to a new township here. Another connection is, that one of the East Indian Company ships, raided by the “Boston Tea-Party” of 1773, was called the “Dartmouth”.
When the British army under Lord Howe abandoned Boston, and sailed to Halifax with hundreds of refugees in 1776, there were more troopships on our side of the harbor. Records of the 65th Regiment in April of that year contain orders that,
“Soldiers are not to go on shore on the Dartmouth side with their arms, unless under the command of a Captain.
“Whenever weather permits, officers will air their men on the Dartmouth side, taking care that the soldiers do not commit depredations”.
Among the pre-Loyalists who came to Dartmouth at this period were Edward Foster, master blacksmith of Boston, and his son Edward. When the British cavalry were defending Boston, the Fosters were credited with making a number of horseshoes with erect prongs, fitted over the neck of horses to wound the attacking rebels. For this, they were proscribed and banished.
The Fosters settled at northend Mill Cove, where they established a large iron-works. In 1783 along with Samuel Greenwood, they were granted 1,000 acres adjoining the land of Gerisham Tufts. With it went another 200 acres, formerly laid out for Captain George Forthingham, of the 40th Regt., and also a 350 acre lot which had been originally assigned to William Magee.
Many of these 1750 grantees evidently were neglecting their Dartmouth holdings, because in 1779 the Government issued a proclamation threatening prosecution “to plunderers, particularly French-Acadians, who have cut down and carried away timber and grass growing on granted lands on the east side of the harbor without any leave from the proprietors”.
James Quin, mentioned on page 82, seems to have complied with conditions of a Crown grant. At least he built a house. Part of his land extended easterly to Lake Banook. When he died, there was a Court application for his estate made in 1773 by a sister Catherine O’Brien. The declaration of Mrs. O’Brien was that the woman alias Mrs. Quin, had carried away most of the household articles, but that she had no right to Quin’s property.