From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: On Wednesday, March 11, 1807, Christian Bartlin and Alexander McDonald were drowned by the oversetting of their boat as they were returning home from Halifax. (This man may have been a son of Christian Bartlin who died here in 1792). In that same year 1807, ferryman … Read more


From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: The spring of the year 1806 was one of exceptional drought. Pumps and wells were bailed to the dregs. The woods were like tinder. To aggravate the situation, destructive forest fires raged in the rural areas of Dartmouth. On Thursday evening, May 29th, the cottage on … Read more

Ochterloney Street, No. 7 Highway

preston road map

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: The names of Ochterloney and Quarrell (now Queen) were commemorated by streets in downtown Dartmouth. The extension of the first named thoroughfare marked the beginnings of the present no. 7 highway. From the old town-plot boundary, it veered to the north beyond Pine Street. Opposite the … Read more



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


From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: During the 1770s, the weekly newspaper of Halifax kept Dartmouthians informed of the growing discontent in the American colonies leading up to the Revolution. Captain Preston, involved in the so-called Boston massacre of 1770, was soon to have his name applied to a new township here. … Read more


gibbet dartmouth
Gibbet seen at what was once “Gibbet Point” in Dartmouth https://cityofdartmouth.ca/dartmouth-shore-in-the-harbour-of-halifax-nova-scotia/

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

By 1761, the Mi’kmaq raids were at an end. After peace was made with the French in 1763, no more casualties seem to have occurred.

The year 1765 must have brought considerable excitement to Dartmouth, for it was in the month of May that hangings occurred. A search through the Supreme Court files, however, shows that six men were sent to the gallows that spring. Mr. Mullane omitted the name of John Evans. All six gave their occupation as sailors, perhaps merchant seamen.

Driscoll and Lawlor, convicted of murdering a man and a woman at Halifax on April 25, were sentenced to hang on May 20. The charge against Donnelly, Taylor, Smith and Evans was, “that on April 26, 1765, between 11 and 12 in the night, they did by force of arms feloniously break and enter the dwelling-house of Adam Prester at Dartmouth, and steal 20 pounds in gold and silver money and one silver buckle and some linen to the value of 10 shillings”.

Chief Justice Belcher presided. The four accused were convicted and sentenced to hang on May 28. Each man in turn begged the Court to be allowed the benefit of clergy, but was refused.

Adam Prester’s house was on the outskirts of the town-plot. Deed books show that in 1765 he owned lots 1 and 16 in Block “E”. There is no other record of executions in Dartmouth, so far as known, either before or since the above-mentioned.

At least, nothing of that nature befell a party of 30 under the command of Captain William Owen, private secretary to Governor Campbell, who went over the well-known water route from here to the Bay of Fundy in September of 1767. His diary of the trip is most interesting. At Mill Creek, he “impressed a Dutchman with two horses and two trucks to transport their gig and small boats over the portage to the nether Dartmouth Lake”. (This was probably one of the Germans). His descriptions of Lake Banook, and of the islands in Lake MicMac are very accurate. Portobello is also noted.

The number of animals and-of people in Dartmouth about this time is recorded in the census returns for 1767, which give the town a total population of 39. This includes 30 adults, 8 children and 1 [Black] man. There are 14 horses, 6 cows and 4 pigs.


From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: The first Nova Scotia election was held in 1758*. In that year, inhabitants of the various settlements went to the polls and named representatives to the first House of Assembly at Halifax. It has met regularly ever since. Previously, the laws had been made by a … Read more


From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: From Volume I of Knox History Journal we learned by a perusal of the diary of Major Robert Rogers that his famous Rogers’ Rangers were quartered at Dartmouth for a time during the 7-Years’ War. According to the record they had been stationed at Fort William … Read more


From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: Initially there were about 30 men at the Eastern Battery at Imperoyal, but in the autumn of 1755, military records tell us that a considerable number of soldiers spent the winter on this side of the water. These were none other than the troops of Colonel John Winslow, … Read more


dartmouth map old ferry portland land grants

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: During 1754, gangs of soldiers are busily engaged cutting a road from Dartmouth to the new settlement at Lawrencetown. (This is probably the beginnings of Old Ferry Road from Parker’s wharf over the Cameron Street hill to Cole Harbor, by a route which no doubt avoided … Read more


From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: More local activity is inferred from a Halifax newspaper of January 1753 which informs us that Mr. G. Gerrish, blacksmith, has finished a crank for a new sawmill erecting at Dartmouth, which weighs nearly 17 cwt. The mill to go by wind and to carry 18 … Read more


From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: Furnished in the minutes of Cornwallis’ Council for February 3, 1752, is when John Connor was given exclusive rights to operate a ferry service. The preamble points out that great inconvenience attends the inhabitants of Halifax and Dartmouth for want of a constant ferryboat. Henry Wynne … Read more


From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: According to Harry Piers’ pamphlet on early blockhouses, the timber for the one at Dartmouth was prepared in Halifax. Governor Cornwallis employed French inhabitants squaring logs for that purpose during the winter of 1749-1750. The first mention of ours, is on February 23, 1751, when the … Read more


dartmouth royal instructions 1749

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: After the Treaty of Utrecht, the first recorded proposal for a settlement on the Dartmouth side from British officials originated with Captain Thomas Coram of London in 1718. One of the districts selected for establishing colonists was “northeast of the harbor of Chebucto”. Massachusetts influence opposed … Read more


Dartmouth land grant map

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: Even before Dartmouth was settled, the authorities at Halifax planned for a sawmill and a guardhouse to be constructed on the eastern side of the harbor. It was Major Gilman who erected the sawmill at Dartmouth Cove. It was likely situated on the stream which flowed from the Dartmouth … Read more

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