Most of the material In the Halifax weekly newspaper comprises advertisements and clippings from Old Country journals. Local items are largely limited to movements of ships. Incidents hereabouts had to be very exceptional to be published. A death or a marriage notice would often appear, but never a birth. Even to report that a person was ill, or had broken a leg, was regarded as a trespass on privacy. As a consequence, news from Dartmouth is very scant.
In winter of 1780, however, there was printed an unusually long account of a misfortune to William Cooper whose location would be near the lower end of the present Queen Street. The following is a transcript from the Nova Scotia Gazette:
“On Monday the 17th January, a direful fire broke out at the house of Mr. Wm. Cowper at Dartmouth, owing to the insufficiency of the chimney, it being built with clay, wood and straw, and notwithstanding his utmost efforts to put a stop to the conflagration, it communicated itself to the building in all parts and consumed his furniture, wearing apparel and such provisions that he had laid in for the comfort of life at the beginning of winter; but now by the melancholy accident, himself and family are reduced to the utmost extremity of getting immediate support and thereby are become real objects of charity worthy of the benevolence of all good people”.