From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin:
In the summer of 1827, Engineer Hall reported that “800 tons of granite stone have been removed from the Quarry to Dartmouth Lake. A commodious line of road is now completed from the head of Dartmouth Lake parallel with the Canal. By this road, the Lock Stone will be conveyed”.
This must also; mean the laying out of Maitland Street, because the terminus of the Canal was at first intended to be located on the shore there.
In July 1827, a fine ship of 344 tons named the “Halifax” was launched at Lowden’s in Mill Cove. The newspaper account stated that “a numerous concourse of people collected on the high ground near the shipyard, and a great many small boats filled with spectators gave the scene a very animated and pleasing effect”.
The gaiety that morning suddenly changed to gloom because of a fatal accident to Joseph Moreland, prominent townsman whose activities have been recorded in this book. He was a ship carpenter. As was customary, the launching was celebrated with i discharge of cannon. One shot had been set off when Mr. Moreland commenced ramming down the second charge. By accident the gun was fired. The unfortunate man had both his arms blown off to the elbows. Within a few hours, he died.
On the very spot where this ship was launched, a Halifax resident had a narrow escape from death a few evenings afterwards. He had just emerged from a dip off the shore, when a huge shark shot violently in on the beach where the bather had just lately stood. The monster was about 12 feet long.
In August, the second annual regatta took place on the harbor. Dartmouth won the 5-oared rowing race, and a $45 prize, in a boat called “Britannia”, built by Mr. Coleman. The crew were Philip Brown, Daniel Cogill, George Bowse, Philip Shears and William Fultz, steersman. (They look like Eastern Passage names).
In September, the Canal colony was increased by about 100 persons when the brig “Corsair” arrived from Greenock with 44 masons and stonecutters. Some brought their families.
On September 25, the Rev. James Morrison landed in Dartmouth. He was a missionary sent out by a Society established in Glasgow to further the interests of the Kirk of Scotland.
The Acadian Recorder has a long account of a banquet held in September at Warren’s Inn by Officers of the 3rd Regiment Halifax Militia, with the dinner “being handsomely provided and the wines excellent”. The bugles of the Rifle Brigade were present and their music “swelled proudly” at the entertainment.
On the morning of September 16, a vivid lightning storm passed over this district. At Port Wallace, Timothy Kennedy was instantly killed when a bolt struck the hut where the victim lay in his bunk alongside two others. Everyone in the encampment was more or less affected by the shock. A woman was knocked senseless as she stood on the floor. Two children in the same hut were likewise struck and somewhat scorched about the chest.
Many customs of bygone days, taken for granted at the time, would never be preserved for this generation but for that trait of human nature which urges a person to register complaints against what he regards as public nuisances. On the slow-going team-boat, for instance, it seems to have been the practice of some passengers during trips, to catch and gut the odd mess of mackerel from the thousands of such fish that came schooling into the harbor in spring and autumn.
This aroused the indignation of other commuters who protested to the Magistrates—the only governing body at that time. Or else, they wrote the newspapers, as did the undersigned in a letter to the “Acadian Recorder” on October 20, 1827:
“Sir, It has fallen to my lot to cross the ferry from Dartmouth to Halifax in the Team Boat during the fall run of mackerel. I have frequently seen the deck covered with fish, and splitting and salting carried on with as much facility as at any fishing establishments along the shore. From the “delicate” manner this complaint was canvassed by the Magistrates last Spring, I am disposed to think the public will be compelled at last to take other steps to regain their rights on the above ferry. Yours etc., A. F.”
In the next issue, another writer defended the practice, and praised Captain Findlay who “always renders the voyage as commodious as possible. If he has sometimes permitted passengers to amuse and exercise themselves with hauling in a mackerel, it is more proof of his desire to accommodate”.
In a Provincial census taken in the year 1827, returns showed that the Township of Dartmouth had 150 families, containing 405 males, 411 females, 93 male servants, and 51 female servants. Total population of Township 960.
Some households were large. Youths learning trades were apprenticed to their masters and lived with them. Robert Lowden, the shipbuilder, was listed as having 11 hired laborers under his roof. John Skerry had 13 in his household, six of whom were probably employed as ferrymen.
Also in the Township were 58 horses, 195 horned cattle, 162 sheep and 130 swine. On 504 acres of land under cultivation, there were raised that year 74 bushels of wheat, 921 bushels of other grain, 301 tons of hay and 8,480 bushels of potatoes. (There was no separate census for the town-plot.)