From The Story of Dartmouth, by Dr. John P. Martin:
In 1848 we note that this year marks an epoch in Nova Scotia history, because it was then that the Province attained complete Responsible Government. (See plaque in the corridor of Province House commemorating this accomplishment of Howe, Uniacke and others of the Reform Party.)
Foreign news that year conveyed the intelligence that King Louis Philippe, who was once in Dartmouth (p. 95), had been driven from the throne of France by another Revolution.
In our own country, preparations went on for the proposed Halifax to Quebec railroad; and also for the construction of a telegraph line to the New Brunswick border. One section of the Railway Commissioners’ report dealing with their surveys in and around Halifax, must have made Dartmouthians leap with delight. The report noted:
The best site for a railway terminus is on the opposite shore at Dartmouth. The distance from Quebec to the latter is four miles shorter than to the Halifax side. One great advantage is that its shore line is as yet comparatively free from wharves and commercial establishments, and an extensive terminus can be formed there at less expense and inconvenience than on the Halifax side ….
Another interesting 1848 document dealing with a local matter, is a ferry record showing the rates of ferriage in effect at that time. Commutation tickets were quoted by the year, the fares being payable on January 1st and July 1st. Ten days’ grace was allowed at each half year.
£15 per annum passed man and wife, unmarried children, servants, constant inmates (not boarders), with all horses, carts, carriages, sleighs, sleds, owned by the proprietor, laden with his own goods, and driven by persons entitled to free passage.
The price was scaled down for one horse, cart or carriage; and scaled further if no cart used, but only a driving-carriage.
The list is lengthy and diversified. The rate for a foot-passenger was £2 10s per year. One rate was quoted for a family with children. The same rate applied if no children, but a horse might be substituted. Dogs not in harness, or in sportsmen’s carts, cost one penny. Clergymen passed free on Sundays. Disorderly persons excluded from ticket privileges.
One of the crying needs of the steamboats was an adequate supply of fresh water. No doubt that necessity had something to do with the recent formation of the Dartmouth Water Company, some of whose incorporators were likewise ferry directors.
About that time the latter must have hit upon the plan of tapping the flooded pit of John Cleverdon’s old mine at the foot of Fairy Hill, for there was an Act of the Legislature passed in the session of 1848, “empowering the Commissioners of Dartmouth Common to dispose of the abandoned pit and the use of the water, to any Company, for 21 years”.
Or perhaps the idea was suggested by Charles W. Fairbanks who at that time, was the civil engineer in charge of the laying of pipes from Long Lake to bring in the first fresh water supply to the City of Halifax. Mr. Fairbanks was then only 26 years of age, and a resident of Dartmouth.