1836

From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin:

Among the petitions before the House of Assembly when they met in late January 1836, was a memorial from colored people of Dartmouth asking financial aid to help them establish a school for their children. It was signed by Jeremiah Page, Louis Cassity, Daniel Fendal, George Gibson, Samuel Wood, John Garo, William Andel, Robert Tynes, Nim Carter, Henry Clark, Daniel Gross and John Franklyn.

The petition of Jeremiah Page humbly sheweth that there are many colored persons residing in the Town Plot of Dartmouth and in its immediate vicinity. That they have among them as many as 40 children and they are entirely without the means of giving them schooling.

That the school which receives the aid of the public allowance in this place, is already so numerously attended that in all probability there would not be room in it for memorialists, children, if they had the means of sending them.

That the memorialists are willing to do all in their power, but without aid from your honorable House, they have no prospect of ever being able to support a school among them; and their little ones will consequently not be taught sufficiently to read the Bible.

A general election was held in December of 1836, when Joseph Howe was elected for the first time to the House of Assembly. Some credit for the commencement of the public career of the great Reformer might properly be claimed on the eastern side of the harbor, for his name had been put forward in the previous summer, first by a meeting of freeholders at Musquodoboit, and later at Lawrencetown.

Dartmouthians voted at the County Court House in Halifax, where the poll opened on December 5th and continued for three days. Later it. moved to St. Margaret’s Bay, and finally closed at Musquodoboit on December 20th.

Candidates usually appeared daily at the hustings, and on opening day, or during a lull in voting, made campaign speeches to the cheers of supporters, or the jeers of opponents. As the vote progressed, tail-enders would resign. What with open voting, political arguments and liquor drinking, it is small wonder that there were frequent fist fights at those prolonged elections.

Howe’s successful partner in the County was William Annand. Hugh Bell and Thomas Forrester were elected for the Town. The two losers in the County were William Lawson, who had sat thirty years in the Assembly, and Henry A. Gladwin of Middle Musquodoboit, who had been nominated by John Skerry of Dartmouth.

In this election, Halifax was divided from Colchester and Pictou districts, as these had just been made separate Counties.