1884

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

In 1884, Dartmouth along with other centres adopted Standard Time of the 60th meridian. Timepieces were advanced 14 minutes before noon on March 1st. Louis D. Robinson resigned as Principal of Schools, and was succeeded by H. S. Congdon. William Mac-Kenzie became Chief of the two-man police force, in place of Robert Lehan.

Construction of the railway bridge at the Narrows began that spring. M. J. Hogan of Quebec was the contractor for the timber and trestle work shown on page 74. The Starr Manufacturing Company under the supervision of John Forbes, made the 200-foot swinging drawbridge. Duncan Waddell did the stone work. One of his divers, Edward Whebby, recently returned from Honolulu, was the first casualty. After working in 20 fathoms of water, he complained of being unwell and died within a few hours.

On Dartmouth side, the first sod for the railway was turned at Stairs’ wharf on July 1st. Hundreds of navvies and scores of teams were employed as the work progressed. By September they were evidently in the vicinity of the Mill Cove, for a report of that date said that the cutting down of the banks revealed the presence of human bones. At one place a coffin was unearthed with a cannon ball on top. Nothing remained inside but the skull and some mouldering bones, a heavy gold ring and a few coins. One was an Irish penny dated 1781. To the south of Old Ferry wharf, shown on page 29, were found two skeletons, one skull measuring 26 inches, and the large thigh bones showed that there were giants in those days. The other skull had the teeth nearly intact, one being filled with gold.

Bones are being turned out in every direction to the eastward of the town-plot, which was known as the plague graveyard when the [Indigenous people] died in large numbers owing to the scurvy being brought among them by the French, and also by the deaths of French discoverers who died there in hundreds previous to the settlement of Halifax, said the report.