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


“Woodside” was the name of a beautiful rural estate, commanding a full view of the harbor, which was laid out about 1830 for Hon. John E. Fairbanks. The description of these highly ornamental grounds occupies a whole page in Mrs. Lawson’s History of Dartmouth. His private duck-pond was across the main road in that filled-in oval running westerly from the present base-ball park. The old Fairbanks dwelling is still used as a recreation hall. All that residential section of South Woodside commenced developing when the “Company” houses were constructed in 1886. The first sugar refinery, composed largely of brick, was erected in 1884, and destroyed by fire in 1912. The present building occupies much of the old site. There has been no sugar refined at this plant since June 1942. The stoppage was caused by world conditions during the war.

Along the railway track nearly to the boundary of the Nova Scotia Hospital, the hollowed-out bank indicates the situation of the old pottery works, and mill for the manufacture of chocolate and cocoa started in the 1830’s by Henry Y. Mott. If is said that the Mott family were among the first to make chocolates in what is now Canada. The Mott homestead was built on the present location of the new brick building just south of the main Nova Scotia Hospital. About 1909, the Grant family moved the house where it now stands next south of St. Alban’s Church.

The first record of another new hotel in Dartmouth is noted in newspapers of 1830 when on January 9 there is an account of a distinguished party in town. The report says:

Rear Admiral Sir Charles Ogle, the Lord Bishop of Nova Scotia, and Hon. Michael Wallace, the Treasurer of the Province, visited the Canal yesterday, and afterwards dined together at Medley’s Hotel in Dartmouth, where a sumptuous fare was provided in handsome style for them.

Medley’s Hotel was at the present Central Apartments on 59 Queen Street, owned at that time by Hon. Mr. Wallace. It outlasted all the other local inns of the 19th century.

In April 1830, a Boarding and Day School was opened in a large wooden house at the northeast corner of Commercial and Portland Streets. The announcement reads:

Mrs. Pratt, from London, most respectfully announces to the inhabitants of Halifax and Dartmouth, that she intends opening a Boarding and Day Seminary for young ladies, at the house of Mr. Lowe, opposite the Steam Boat wharf.

In May, word came from Charles R. Fairbanks in London that he had been successful in obtaining a loan of £20,000 from the British Government. In addition, £27,000 worth of shares of Canal stock had been purchased by private subscription.

It is of interest to record here that Dartmouth received considerably publicity as a result of Mr. Fairbanks’ visit. Famous men in the House of Lords who debated the Shubenacadie Canal Bill, included Lord Durham and the Duke of Wellington. The former was firmly opposed to the measure, while the latter seemed to be favorable to the loan.

The newspapers about this time had many more items concerning Dartmouth, than ever before. The Canal cottages were no doubt along Ochterloney Street for the convenience of workmen at the new Circular Dam and the new Locks near the Starr Works, as the following newspaper item suggests:

DARTMOUTH—Several new houses have been erected this spring. Others are being repaired and enlarged. A few rods above the Church, a new village has arisen almost spontaneously in the wilderness. The Dartmouth Canal Locks are progressing rapidly, and on a working day a visitor may see in miniature, some of the wonders of art which we hear of from other countries.

The poetry of “Albyn” continued to appear in Joseph Howe’s newspaper. Early in 1830, he wrote a 15-verse rhapsody, entitled SPRING’S WAKE. We quote two verses:

Birds from the East and West Know their appointed time, Thrice welcome, ev’ry aerial guest, Come to repair its ruined nest, Or sport on beds of thyme. The field-fare, in a flock, Have spread their pilgrim wings The ravens round Cole-Harbor croak, And geese that come ‘like clouds of smoke’, There stay their travellings. SPRING’S WAKE

The first casualty on the “Sir Charles Ogle” occurred in April. A young man in the employ, descended into the boiler for the purpose of cleaning it out, without first ascertaining if the fixed air had escaped. The result was instantly fatal.

Trouble soon developed on the Steam Boat, for in July she ceased running for a time. This is inferred from a complaint in the papers by a Halifax resident who went down to the Halifax dock with a group intent on a trip in the Steam Boat. After trying for two days, they had to “cross in one of Findlay’s barges”. At Dartmouth they found 14 or 15 teams laden with produce which had been detained on that side for several days, and at their own expense.

Meantime Joseph Findlay at the Old Ferry Inn, was taking every opportunity to encourage travelers to use his route. His card of July 1830, announced:

Joseph Findlay begs leave to return his sincere acknowledgements to the public, for the many marks of their kindness shewn him since he commenced his establishment at the Lower Ferry, Dartmouth, and likewise informs them that he has erected a convenient BATHING HOUSE near his wharf, where the water is pure. Adults can be accommodated at 3d each and children half price. Tea and Refreshments as usual.

There was no regatta on the harbor that summer. Other matters engaged public attention. On Sunday, August 1, a barque arrived at Saint John, N.B., with Dublin newspapers announcing the death of George IV. Halifax got the news on Wednesday night’s stage-coach from Annapolis.

The Legislature was consequently dissolved, and the Province plunged into the heat of a general election, for this was the year of the famous “Brandy Dispute”.

The brilliant S. G. W. Archibald, of Truro, led the poll in Halifax County, which then extended to Pictou. He subsequently became Speaker of the new House. Our fellow townsman and late member, Lawrence Hartshorne, was not re-elected.

Of particular interest at that time was the circumstance that of the two European Sovereigns who had just ascended Thrones, at least one, and probably both, had trod the soil of Dartmouth. They were King Louis Phillippe of France, and William IV of England.

The former visited Preston, and the latter was on this station in command of H. M. S. “Pegasus” forty-odd years previously. It will be recalled that the fort at Eastern Battery was re-named after Prince William when he became the Duke of Clarence.

Proof that Dartmouth was used as the main route of no. 2 Highway is shown by an occurrence in August of 1830. The Eastern Stage Coach, due on a Saturday evening, did not get to Dartmouth until Sunday morning, owing to accidents on the road. Davidson, the driver, complained afterward, that they had reached here just as the 8 o’clock ferry was docking. Despite his pleas to Captain Hunter that he carried English mail for H.M.S. “Pallas”, which was on the eve of sailing, the driver and his passengers were compelled to wait for nearly an hour while the Steam Boat crew went off to breakfast.

All the lands of the late Jonathan Tremain were advertised to be sold at auction that summer. Included was his country seat, already mentioned. His 12-acre field, containing a house, a garden and a wharf on the waterfront, was purchased by Joseph Hamilton of Halifax. Hence the Hamilton fields.

An old plan of the field shows that there was a proposed thoroughfare called “King William Street”, which was to extend from Canal Street to Maitland. It was to run parallel with Portland Street, about half way to the shore.

The northwest section of this field [, where now stands the Dartmouth Medical Centre, was acquired by William Foster, son of Edward Foster. The Foster deed of 1830, described the property as being “120 feet on Canal Street and 138 feet on the road to Creighton’s Ferry”. Foster’s corner was a landmark of last century. For many years they operated a tobacco factory at this spot, manufacturing plug tobacco.

There was also for sale a 50-acre Tremain lot bordering Dartmouth Common on what is now the upper side of Victoria Road extending from about Brightwood Avenue to Boland Road. A plan of the area shows that School Street divides the property which has one lone house standing near the present southeast corner of Slayter Street and Gladstone Avenue. The description says that the land was “partly improved, but mostly studded with a growth of spruce, birch, beech and oak trees”.

The plan divides the land on the southern side of School Street into four oblong-shaped lots of about five acres each, while four others on the opposite side contain about seven acres. The whole of the estate, which comprised a great part of the present golf greens, was called “Abbeville” probably after Mrs. Tremain whose Christian name was Abigail.

A name that was prominent in real estate holdings in Dartmouth for over a century was that of Allan McDonald. There were three generations of them. The first Allan carried on a tobacco and cigar manufactory along with a stock of general merchandise including liquors, at 48 Bedford Row in Halifax. The building which now stands at no. 78 is perhaps the same one.

Allan McDonald’s name first appears on property deeds in 1830, when he bought 50 acres of land from John Elliott at Russell’s Lake; and eight additional acres from Nathaniel Russell. Hence McDonald’s Lake. Older maps name it Morris’ Lake. In course of time a flour mill and snuff mill were erected there.

The newly elected Provincial Legislature convened in November. They heard more ferry complaints. A petition, signed by several Dartmouthians was sent in by Peter Donaldson, asking permission to run a competitive ferry from his wharf on the shore below the present no. 11 Commercial Street.

The petitioners stated that the fare was now four pence instead of 3p as formerly charged on Skerry’s boats. Furthermore the Magistrates had recently made a regulation forbidding any landings within a certain distance of the Steam Boat wharf. As a consequence, passengers on Findlay’s boats from Halifax, had to be landed in the Cove. The petition was refused.

Deaths in 1830 included Thomas Barrons, a Canal workman, killed by falling 20 feet from the top of Lock no. 6, (the Channel). In September, James Purvis and Patrick Riley were drowned from one of Findlay’s small ferries while crossing from Halifax to Dartmouth in a violent wind and rain.

Dr. James Boggs died at Halifax in his 91st year. At Lake Loon, Mary Ann Morris, daughter of Hon. Charles Morris, died aged 20; and at Preston, Miss Eleanor Simpson, aged 42. At Warren’s Hotel, Dartmouth, died Jeane, wife of Capt. Richard Gethen, 96th Regt., leaving a young family.

Marriages that year included a fashionable one at Mount Edward by the Rev. M. B. DesBrisay, of Frances Mary Brinley, daughter of the late W. B. Brinley, Esq., to William Lawson, junior. Other nuptials performed by the same Minister were those of Sarah Rogers, daughter of John Rogers, to Thomas Medley; and Mary Ann Marvin to Joseph Robinson.

Rev. James Morrison officiated at the weddings of Mrs. Jane Bell to John Meagher; Elizabeth Green to George Irvin; and Jane Albro to James Hall, Esq. The last named was a brother to Engineer Francis Hall, the husband of Mary Albro.

The first Roman Catholic marriage was recorded in October 1830, when Captain Michael Dormandy was united to Mrs. Mary Shortell, by Rev. James Dunphy of the new St. Peter’s Church.

Baptisms that year were Rebecca, child of Rose and Wm. Walker, schoolmaster; Ann, child of Dorothy and Thos. Marvin, shipbuilder; Edward, child of Eliza and Chas. Allen, shipbuilder.

Many rural members of the Legislature remained in Halifax for Christmas in 1830, for the House sat through the holidays to finish up business, and finally prorogued in mid-January of 1831. A bonus of £250 yearly until 1834 was voted the Eastern Stage Coach. The Steam Boat got a grant of £190.

The Company’s petition stated that they now had a valuable steamboat and enlarged wharf accommodation. The year’s expenses had exceeded £4,000, making the total outlay to date over £12,000. From this investment, shareholders had never received a shilling of dividends. Appended to the petition were lengthy sheets filled with signatures, or symbols, of Company supporters both in Halifax and Dartmouth.

Despite all this backing, the ferry service was unsatisfactory because the “Sir Charles Ogle” gave considerable trouble, and sometimes had to cease running. Salt water, which was used in her boiler, kept clogging the tubes. Frequently fires had to be drawn, in order to clean out the crusting of salt. During three weeks in the early winter of 1831, she was laid up for ten days. Teams arriving with country produce, were put to the necessity either of selling their supplies at a loss in Dartmouth, or of driving around the Basin to Halifax market.


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

The year 1824 witnessed the first curling matches on Dartmouth Lake. The game was introduced hereabouts by Sir Houston Stewart, Captain of H.M.S. Menai, then on this station.

The Legislature that spring voted the largest sum yet for the road from Dartmouth to Fletcher’s. The amount was £200. Another noteworthy fact is that from then on, this highway was under the category of Great Roads of the Province.

The section from Graham’s Corner was cut through land which was part of Christian Bartlin’s grant, but in 1824 was evidently owned by Joseph Moreland, husband of Susannah Bartlin. Moreland complained to the House of Assembly that he was left with two triangular pieces of property, open to the new highway, from which people were plundering his wood. Being a poor man with a large family, he requested £5 compensation for fencing. He then lived near the foot of Queen Street, and was listed as a carpenter.

The era of wooden shipbuilding, which lasted over a century, began to develop about this time. The shipyard of John Chappell, established prior to that of Alexander Lyle, is thought to have been on the shore where now stand the Dartmouth Shipyard cradles. The first record of a ship being built there is in December 1823 when Chappell’s launched a brig named the “Sir James Kempt” for the Halifax firm of Collins and Allison.

Theophilus Chamberlain, the man who laid out the township of Preston for the Loyalists, died at his Salmon River home that summer in his 88th year. He is buried in Crain’s Hill Cemetery.

Another death occurred at Colin Grove where Mrs. Stephen Collins passed away after a long illness. She was 47.

An inquest was held in August on the body of Peter Skerry, who left his home one evening in a delirium, and was found next day in an enclosure near Creighton’s Ferry. The verdict was that he “died by the Visitation of God”. Another inquest was on a Swede found drowned near the Team Boat wharf. He had been selling fish there the previous day, and it was supposed that he fell overboard in attempting to board his boat at night.

Dartmouthians disembarking from the ferries on the morning of Nov. 13, 1824, witnessed the sight of a bald-headed middle-aged man named John Crutch, sidling and ducking in the pillory at the market square. He had been convicted of a serious offense. Anticipating the usual one-hour barrage of hard vegetables, the prisoner had an armor of boards under his coat, and links of stovepipe under his sleeves and trouser legs. Most of the missiles from jeering spectators went whizzing at his head, which was the only vulnerable part of this ostracized Achilles.

There is no record of any schoolmaster in Dartmouth after the term of Daniel Sutherland, until the spring of 1824 when William Walker came to our village. He taught during 1824-1825, but got no Government grant, receiving remuneration from tuition fees which amounted to only £40 that year.

Married in December 1824, were Mr. Stephen Elliot to Miss Jane Augusta Collins, daughter of Stephen Collins of Colin Grove.

In New York that year, died John Reeves, the former Dartmouth miller. At the N. S. Archives there is an excellent painting of Reeves’ Mill as it then stood on the bank of the stream at the foot of Jamieson Street, a few rods west of Windmill Road. The picture shows the waters from Albro Lake rushing along through the mill race to turn the water-wheel for the mill power. John Reeves’ downtown field at the southwest corner of Victoria Road and Queen Street was sold about that time to Edward Warren, who later erected an Inn there.

Although this image below is titled “Davis’s Mill” and was later known as “Crawhtorne’s Mill”, it is the same location as described above as being the location of Reeve’s Mill (near the foot of Jamieson Street, a few rods west of Windmill Road). The view is obscured today, but the location remains.



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

Lyle’s historic shipyard was located just south of the present Shipyards, on that stretch of shore below the railway line paralleling Cunard Street. Besides owning water lots there, Lyle purchased from Samuel Cunard the triangular piece of land now bounded by Prince, South and the waterfront. Lyle’s shipyard started about 1823.

The era of wooden shipbuilding, which lasted over a century, began to develop about this time. The shipyard of John Chappell, established prior to that of Alexander Lyle, is thought to have been on the shore where now stand the Dartmouth Shipyard cradles. The first record of a ship being built there is in December 1823 when Chappell’s launched a brig named the “Sir James Kempt” for the Halifax firm of Collins and Allison.

Jonathan Tremaine acquired the triangular block “M” at Green and King Streets, just below “Poplar Hill”. This had been the property of Samuel Starbuck, senior. But Tremaine’s residence is thought to have been in square block “E”, because he was re-granted land at the northeast corner of Portland and Wentworth in 1796, and purchased the remaining lots and buildings in that block from the Starbucks. According to Tremaine genealogy, Jonathan died in 1823 at Dartmouth where he had “a country seat.”

The first news of any consequence to be recorded in 1823 was somewhat tragic in its nature. In the deep snow of mid-January, Francis Smith and a 13 year-old son, exhausted by cold and fatigue, perished while returning to their farm on lonely Preston highway after a day’s trudge from Musquodoboit. The bodies, buried in the drifts, were not found for three days. The unfortunate father and son were only a quarter-mile from their door.

The Steam Boat Company again petitioned the Legislature for financial aid, and obtained a subsidy of £200. In that year the sum of £40 was voted for “altering and improving the road from Dartmouth to Fletcher’s”. This phraseology and grant, suggest that the section from Graham’s Corner was about to be opened up, no doubt during that summer.

In May 1823, another of the town’s early builders passed away, Jonathan Tremain, prominent Halifax merchant and promoter of a harbor bridge, died “at his country seat in Dartmouth”. He was 82.

The newspapers of October 31, 1823, reported that some fine ripe strawberries on exhibition at Halifax, had been gathered in Mr. Wallace’s garden at Dartmouth. These were probably picked on his Queen Street property, as he had previously sold the field, Block B, to John Skerry for £250.

Down at Eastern Passage that year, died Jacob Horn at the remarkable age of 101. He was among the last veterans of the Seven Years’ War, having fought under General Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham in 1759. After the peace, he is said to have traveled from Quebec to Halifax on snowshoes, and later received grants of escheated land at the Passage.

Hornes Settlement seen here in Eastern Passage, likely named after Jacob Horn. Source: “Peninsula and harbour of Halifax”, 1808. https://cityofdartmouth.ca/peninsula-and-harbour-of-halifax/


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

During the winter of 1917-1918 block after block of residential and commercial Dartmouth presented the appearance of a battered war-town, with most windows in nearly every house and shop boarded up and blanketed with tar-paper covering.

One dwelling at 50 Pleasant St., near Burton’s Hill, remained that way for years afterward. Heaps of broken glass and debris shoveled and swept into downtown gutters, froze solidly and stayed there until spring.

Not until late summer was all the drifted explosion-rubble cleaned out of corner-catchpits. Hundreds of townsfolk and visitors that year hiked out to Albro’s Lake to take snap-shots of the twisted “Mont Blanc” cannon and the ploughed-up turf on Pine Hill.

In mid-January school-children got back to their studies but were again placed on part-time sessions, because Central and Park school buildings were no longer habitable and never used afterwards for classes.

The ruins of the wooden rink were removed, and preparations made to construct the present Park School on the site. North of this point, the Town advertised for sale 19 building lots of slate rock land banked with berry-bushes. On Synott’s Hill was erected a steel-supported lighthouse 140 feet high.

Postmaster W. H. Sterns died that winter, and was succeeded by Clifford R. Mosher, a local young man who had lost a leg in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The Dartmouth Relief Commission, in charge of A. C. Johnston, was established in the old Reading Room.

There was also set up a Claims’ Court to deal with applications for Explosion damages, under E. M. Walker and R. H. Murray. The Parker house at “Beechwood” was converted into a convalescent hospital.

The Telephone Company removed to the new building on Wentworth Street, from former cramped quarters in the present Cunard Coal office. Halifax Shipyards acquired the whole plant of the Chebucto Marine Railway at the Slip.

The first supervised playgrounds were started that summer on the Common field.

In October, a deadly epidemic of influenza broke out and carried off many prominent townsfolk. Schools, theaters, restaurants, pool-rooms and the like, were closed for a period.

In other public places such as ferry waiting-rooms and large stores, the number of people allowed to congregate was limited to ten.

Over in Europe, the Central Powers were successively collapsing, and in our neighborhood the ban on darkened windows and street lights was now lifted. When the armistice was signed on a Monday morning in November, Dartmouth got the news about 4.30 a.m., by means of four signal-guns fired from Citadel Hill.

Hundreds forsook their usual occupations and flocked over to the City where they joined the jubilant crowds surging along Barrington Street, or milling around bulletin boards of the three daily newspapers.

At Dartmouth, the Town Council immediately convened and made plans to commemorate the historical event. In the afternoon, services of thanksgiving were held in the various churches, and at night an impromptu procession was organized.

It was one of the longest ever held, consisting of bugle bands, Firemen, Axe and Ladder men, Boy Scouts, Church Lads’ Brigade and other organizations followed by hundreds of citizens on foot, in carriages or in gaily decorated automobiles. John Z. Lahey (“Red Jack”), mounted on a white horse, was Marshall. The town was ablaze with bonfires long into the night.

Tuesday was a Dominion-wide holiday. Thanksgiving services were again held in the churches in accordance with a proclamation of the Governor-General. At noon a mass meeting of all denominations gathered in front of the new Post Office where prayers were offered by Monsignor Charles Underwood of Saint Peter’s Church, and by Rev. W. B. Bezanson of King Street Baptist Church. Dr. A. H. MacKay delivered the oration.

On December 9th, Dartmouth was honored by an official visit from His Excellency the Duke of Devonshire, then Governor-General of Canada. From the beflagged ferryboat the procession party proceeded under a high archway at the corner of Portland and Water Streets, then through another arch of ladders erected by the firemen at Wentworth and Queen Streets. All along the route were lines of waving school children. At Greenvale School an official welcome was tendered and a civic address read by Town Clerk Alfred Elliot.

Dartmouth’s death-list for 1918 was unusually high as a result of explosion injuries and the prevalence of influenza. The epidemic took notable Dartmouthian Thomas Mott, brother of John P. Mott, at the age of 89. 

It has been estimated that about 500 Dartmouthians including a score of nursing Sisters, went overseas in World War I, participating in perilous activities on sea, on land and in the air. Of these, nearly 100 made the supreme sacrifice. Others returned home gassed, maimed or crippled for life.

Children of present and future generations should be taught continually to observe Remembrance Day with the proper spirit and appreciation, and ever to bear in mind that the freedom they now enjoy was purchased at an appalling sacrifice of human lives.


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

In 1916 more local boys enlisted with the 85th Highlanders, the 64th, the 112th and 219th Battalions. One platoon of the last mentioned composed exclusively of Dartmouthians and those of the suburbs, used the old wooden Rink for drill purposes. In February, St. James Church was packed with 85th members at a special Sunday service. Wounded men from the seat of war kept returning home and were accorded a warm welcome by the Returned Soldiers local committee. Many were badly gassed.

Farmers from the eastern sections protested to the City Council about the location of the new market building. They stated that it would be a hardship on those who were accustomed to leave their teams in Dartmouth. Now these small traders would be obliged to carry their produce up the steep Halifax hills.

The Dartmouth Land Company advertised a 180-lot subdivision at Crichton Park Annex, which was “bound to be a profitable investment now that a bridge at the Narrows was assured.” St. Peter’s congregation purchased the former Dustan house and land at “Eastwood”. The new Post Office was taken over from the Public Works Department. James Renner was appointed caretaker.

The Imperial Oil Company acquired an extensive tract of land near Woodside and made preparations to erect a million dollar plant. Real Estate in the vicinity was in big demand. Every available property was bonded. A large 3-masted schooner was launched at Williams’ Shipyard. Near Oland’s Brewery the French Cable Company constructed a new wharf and warehouse.

A half-holiday was declared in mid-September when all Dartmouth organizations united in holding a monster Fair on the Common field in aid of the British Seamen’s Relief Fund. Over $2,000 was realized. A. C. Johnston was Chairman. James Burchell was Secretary.

Daylight Saving Time was adopted that summer. Some 15 automobile owners took out $8 taxi licenses and operated at the cab-stand in spare time.

The 1916 necrology list (other than war casualties) included Mrs. J. Lester Griffin 94, Cornelius Herman 88, Mrs. C. A. Creighton 87, Deacon Charles Smith [Black] 80, Steve Williams (truckman), Joshua Short, Mrs. Henry Findlay, Mrs. Jol Carter, Mrs. William Patterson and Mrs. James Settle.


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

In 1914 the whole world commenced to turn topsy-turvy. Our first upset occurred on January 28th, when wooden Greenvale School with its valuable museum specimens and library books was completely destroyed by fire. We got another shock in May when the “Empress of Ireland” sunk in the St. Lawrence with several prominent personages.

The crowded school situation was now greatly aggravated. In this expediency, most pupils were put on part time in Central and Park Schools. Other classes were set up in Christ Church Parish Hall and in the Merson building on Dundas Street. Plans were then made to erect new schools, and contracts were subsequently awarded to Rhodes Curry and Co., for the construction of fireproof structures at Greenvale and at Hawthorne.

Meanwhile the work of demolishing and removing buildings on the new Post Office site was rapidly progressing. The track of the Eastern railroad was well beyond Musquodoboit Harbor. Halifax and Dartmouth Boards of Trade now collaborated to urge upon the Federal Government the necessity of a harbor bridge so that freight from Dartmouth and the eastern sections of the County could go by rail directly across to Halifax. A bridge would also be the means of extending the Halifax tram lines to Dartmouth and to Cow Bay beach for summer tourist trade.

All these projects made life in Dartmouth look pretty rosy in the early summer of 1914. Boating, swimming, bathing, baseball, tennis and other outdoor activities were expanding, as more and more growing girls and boys emulated their oldsters. The lakes were alive with all sorts of craft. Shirt-waisted ladies and straw-hatted men of all ages reappeared in the usual summer garb. Seldom did we see a military or a naval uniform in Dartmouth, except when some local boy like George Myers came into port on HMCS ‘‘Canada” or the ‘Niobe” which then comprised the whole Canadian Navy on the Atlantic coast. Over the years, most of us had received training in cadet corps. Some afterwards joined various Halifax volunteer regiments for summer drill and encampment. Others attended Naval College, but probably very few contemplated a military career.

The Brightwood Golf Club under President I. W. Vidito opened a 9-hole golf course with a grand celebration in July. Unaware of any impending peril, the Banook Club Committee went ahead with plans for a Natal Day celebration (which was never held), and already had ordered the regular supply of fireworks.

Then the deluge of blood commenced in Europe.

The heir to the Austrian throne was assassinated. Germany flew to arms to assist her ally; declared war on Russia and France, and invaded Belgium. On August 4th, Britain declared war against Germany. Everybody was aroused to action.

At Dartmouth, sailors from a French trawler on the Marine slip paraded the streets with the Union Jack and Tricolor, alternately singing “God Save the King” and the “Marsellaise”. Troops from the volunteer regiments of Halifax manned the various port outposts and vulnerable points east of Dartmouth. Eastern Passage was closed to shipping. All the sources of our water supply system were heavily guarded. Scores of local boys were either already in the ranks, or on their way to Valcartier to join the First Canadian Contingent. Rumors were rife of enemy submarines.

Big transatlantic liners including the “Mauretania” and the “Cedric” raced for refuge into Halifax harbor, and anchored within shouting distance of the ferry route. Meat, flour and other produce took a sharp rise. The local Red Cross Society commenced to collect money and clothing for war purposes. The Canadian Patriotic Fund, to assist the families of men in the services, was organized. The Committee who canvassed in Dartmouth comprised Mayor Williams, Town Clerk Elliot, J. W. Allison, James Burchell, E. M. Walker, A. C. Pyke, James Tobin, Dr. F. W. Stevens, Leo Graham. The Acadia Sugar Refinery subscribed $10,000, and the Town Council voted $2,500. In Europe the German army was sweeping onward.

In the autumn Dartmouth joined with other centres in an extensive campaign for funds, food and clothing for the relief of sufferers in devastated Belgium. The local chairman was ex-Mayor A. C. Johnston, grandson of a former Premier. About 150 crates and barrels of food, clothing, boots, groceries and the like, were packed and added to the tons of similar material at Halifax where it was loaded aboard ships chartered by the Nova Scotia Government, and sent forward as a contribution of the people of this Province.

Meantime Dartmouth boys were continuing to rally to the colors, many of them enlisting with the well-known 25th Battalion then recruiting at Halifax. In Dartmouth the Home Defence Guards were organized and commenced drilling in the Dartmouth Rink under Captains H. D. Creighton, Dr. F. W. Stevens and J. Lorn Allan.

The Eastern Railway to Dean Settlement was completed that year, and on December 21st brought in its first load of passengers. They were disembarked at Woodside because the Government had not yet taken over the new road from the contractors.


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

The exodus of young people and sometimes of whole families, out of Dartmouth which had been going on since the 1890s, seems to have been halted about this time. This is indicated by school statistics. The total registration of pupils at the turn of the century hovered around the 1200 mark. In the year 1905 the figure was 1279, but by 1912 it had dropped to the low mark of 1084. The attendance picked up in 1913 when the annual enrolment stood at 1105. At last the tide had turned. It will be remembered that during these latter years the great development at the Halifax Ocean Terminals was well under way, bringing workmen and their families back to our district. On this side of the harbor, reconstruction of the Sugar Refinery brought increased trade to merchants in Dartmouth.

In 1913 the Ferry Commission erected the present station house at Halifax, replacing the small low building which stood on the southern side of the main gates. A new Post Office for Dartmouth was also on the Federal Government program. The proposal was to rebuild on the old site (present N.S. Light and Power office), but many townsfolk had been long agitating for the demolition of the Colored Barracks, and other old buildings fronting Quarrell Street. This location was decided upon, after President J. Walter Allison of the Board of Trade had interviewed Premier Borden at Ottawa in 1913.

More dwellings were erected in parts of Austenville that year, also on Hawthorne Street, Pleasant Street, and on Prince Albert Road south of F. S. Mitchell’s residence which had been built in 1909. The remainder of Eaton’s field (formerly Stanford’s) was still in its primitive state as far as Robert McElmon’s premises. The new North End Mission (Emmanuel) Church was opened in March.

The shipyard of Mayor E. F. Williams at the foot of Church Street was still flourishing in 1913. That summer he launched some half dozen small patrol boats for the Dominion Government. Dr. A. H. MacKay of the Board of Trade reported that his Bridge Committee had interviewed Federal Government engineers and the latter were then making estimates as to the cost of a bridge at the Narrows. Eugene Nichols succeeded Watson L. Bishop as Superintendent of Streets, after 21 years service. Mr. Bishop’s system of macadamizing had given Dartmouth some of the finest streets in the Province.

Since the turn of the century amateur baseball teams like the Casazos, Centrals, North Stars, St. Peter’s, Red Sox, DBCA, Woodside and Mount Amelias had attracted large crowds to the unfenced Chebucto Grounds for league games on summer evenings. The hat was passed around to defray cost of equipment. In winter the same enthusiasm was exhibited at the old Rink in the senior and junior hockey league games. In autumn there were generally four or five tug of war tournaments and athletic contests. The Boggshire boys, who were now young men, held their 15th annual regatta off the Slip in 1913. It was to be the last. Dartmouth celebrated its Natal Day on Thursday, August 14th. It also was the last for a while.

At this time, war was rumbling in the Balkans and in Mexico. Newspapers in parts of Canada, occasionally editorialized on the “German peril”; in other parts, the idea was ridiculed. All of it seemed very foreign to the carefree youths of Dartmouth who were then far more interested in battles of big-league baseball teams.


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

The Dartmouth Patriot newspaper removed from 85 Portland Street in 1912, and located at the present 48 Commercial Street in the building then vacated by C. E. Peveril when he closed out his 20-year old butcher business. John E. Walker also abandoned his father’s grocery establishment which had been started many years before by H. C. Walker at the present premises of E. S. Dickie on Portland Street.

Construction work in 1912 included rebuilding of the Sugar Refinery where 400 men were employed. Remodeling of the Baptist Church on King Street comprised a new vestry and Sunday School section. Their first parsonage was also built as a dwelling at northwest corner of Tulip and Pine Streets. Another house was erected at the northwest corner of Tulip and Maple; and a few more Ropework cottages were built on Dawson Street. Contractor Charles Short erected for his father-in-law Edward Stanley, the double dwelling at 26-28 King Street. Otherwise there was not much new work in the building line, probably on account of the large number of older houses already up for sale or to be let.

The Dartmouth Development Company bought up a few properties in downtown Dartmouth. Many others were on the market. Mrs. John Hunt, widow of the iceman, who then occupied Manor Hill, offered the residence, stable, coach house and nearly 40 acres of land, both adjacent and in the vicinity of Oathill Lake.

At 29 King Street that year, died Mrs. Thomas Hill, last of the family of Judge Charles R. Fairbanks, Canal Secretary. Paul Farrell, brother of Dominick and native of Dartmouth, whose former grocery and bar still stands at 66 Ochterloney Street, died at Halifax aged 86. Mrs. Farrell’s flower garden flourished on the present location of Masonic Hall, and on part of Wentworth Street.

Mrs. Farrell’s flower garden, as mentioned above.


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

During the first decade of the 1900s and up to the outbreak of World War I, there was a continual exodus of young people, particularly school-teachers, to the Canadian Northwest. Those who did not heed Horace Greeley’s advice, usually found employment locally or in Halifax. By this time there were many more female commuters on the ferry. At every trip, it was the custom of the male passengers to pop into the Reading Room and glimpse the morning papers while waiting for the boat. Then at the sound of the ferry-bell, they made a mad rush out of the door.

Some eight or ten hackmen with open carriages, made a small living at the cab-stand nearby. Low-slung ice-carts, returning empty at noon or night, had the rear step loaded with homeward-bound hitch-hikers. The few automobiles that passed through Dartmouth during the early part of that decade, were at first derided and even dreaded, for these chugging machines with their dust-coated and goggled drivers often caused runaway accidents. By 1910 cars were becoming fairly numerous. As there was no such thing as STOP signs, drivers were obliged to sound their horns at every corner. Failure to do this, drew a ten dollar fine in Police Courts.

Bathing spots at the lakes like Birch Cove, “Bull Rock” and Port Wallace Locks continued to be patronized by men and boys. After the Banook clubhouse was built, scores of canoes appeared on the fresh water surfaces. Billy McPhee, at the present Mic-Mac location, had boats for hire and made scheduled motor-boat trips up and down from Second Lake where whole families camped during the summer. Swimming was forbidden in Maynard’s Lake because it was a source of supply for the Nova Scotia Hospital.

Sunday bathers at Cow Bay beach kept increasing greatly after the turn of the century. The numerous wagons and four-horse teams returning to Halifax in the evening, created clouds of dust which literally coated houses on downtown Portland Street. (The watering-cart did not function on Sundays.)

McNab’s Island was another Sunday mecca for bathers and also for beer-drinkers. There were plenty of suitable spots for private picnics and beaching of row-boats, and plenty of ale for five cents a pint at the forts in the years up to 1905 when the Imperial regiments were garrisoned at Halifax.

The annual Sunday School picnic to Findlay’s Grounds on “the Island” was the one event in the lives of most youngsters to which they looked forward from one summer to the next. The march from the church, the band, the boat-trip, the Mauger’s Beach lighthouse, the rural surroundings, the smell of spruce, the creaking of swings, the welcome odor of dinner cooking, the cramming of food, the foot-races, the whir of the wheel of fortune, or the staccato tones of the agile young man calling figures through the strains of Buchanan’s Orchestra on the dance floor—all revive fond memories oJ those peaceful pre-war years with their comfortable sensation ol security, never to be known or understood by post-war generations

Such were some of the features of life hereabouts in the era preceding the coming of autos. Much of the energy of youth was there applied to things afloat. Their yachts, boats and boat-houses had to be repaired, and watched at every change of weather. On a summer evening, cushion-seated pleasure craft occupied by young couples, fairly dotted the Dockyard part of the harbor where British warships lay at anchor halfway across to Black Rock. Usually the naval band played nightly on the deck. Enterprising John Forsyth in his advertisement of a house to let on Fairbanks Street in the spring of 1905, mentioned as an inducement that the tenant would enjoy free band concerts all summer.

In 1910 the Consumers Cordage Company financed the expense of cutting a new street from the head of Crathorne’s Pond through the Brodie property to the Ropeworks gate. Seven more blocks c permanent sidewalks were laid downtown. Dartmouth installed it own street lighting plant by leasing telephone poles and erecting about 100 new ones. The Royal Bank came to Dartmouth when the organization absorbed all the branches of the Union Bank of Halifax

In the month of May, Hailey’s comet returned on schedule, and was the centre of attraction in the northern sky for nearly a week on fine evenings. Dartmouth firemen competed in a tournament at Truro on that Town’s 150th anniversary. Natal Day on Thursday, August 4th was fine in the morning, but the rowing races at the lakes were held in the rain.

The nine-year reign of King Edward VII ended with his death that spring. His successor, George V, was known in this port from the days of his service in the British Navy. In those years, he occasionally came to our side of the harbor on fishing and hunting excursions. Another death in England was that of wealthy Dominick Farrell, who lived there in retirement. At her Dartmouth home, died Mrs. J. W. Turner (Eliza Foster), who was 88 years of age and widow of James Turner, one time Mayor of Dartmouth.


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

January of 1898 was very cold and snowy, resulting in the worst harbor freeze-up since 1875. Mill Cove and a wide area off the cradles of the Shipyard provided a hockey and skating surface for about ten days. Often boys would venture out to the middle of the harbor where a channel was kept open by running intermittent trips of the ferry throughout the day and night. By the first of February all three boats had their paddle-wheels so badly damaged that they abandoned the ice-battle. For the next three days, a tugboat performed a slow and uncertain pedestrian service, but vehicular traffic was at a complete standstill. Many Halifax families ^ent without milk.

Newspaper comment on the hockey situation that winter was that the Chebucto seniors were not doing so well, while on the other hand the Chebucto juniors were gaining a considerable reputation. Organized some eight years previously, they had by this time won their 110th game without a single defeat. Their line-up consisted of Robert Cameron, goal; Fred Granger, point; Austin Kane, cover-point; Ernest Lahey, left wing; Jack Allen, right wing; George Young, rover; Harry “Nig” Young, centre. (Harry was the Captain.)

Older residents will recall the five verses written in praise of these boys in the “Atlantic Weekly” which commenced:

Oh “Niff” you are a dandy, And Lahey’s just the same;

Granger, he’s a good one, And plays a roarin’ game.

Cameron as a goal man, He simply can’t be beat;

A cyclone couldn’t stop him, Or knock him off his feet.

At the Arbor Day exercises of May 1898, a tree was planted at Greenvale School to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Town’s incorporation, In that year also, the Province declared that henceforth Dominion Day was to be a school holiday.

The belated ferry “Chebucto” successfully crossed the Atlantic in June and arrived on the 27th. Ferry officials wanted no repetition of the “Annex” disaster, and moored the boat at Richmond Refinery.

On Natal Day of 1898 was held the first Trades’ Procession, and its success surpassed all expectations. All sorts of decorated floats were in the* long moving lim\ the most antique being the two-wheel-«‘d 18(>4 delivery truck of E. M. Walker, driven by elderly James Pynes. I he bicycle parade, the aquatic sports and the illuminations were carried out under ideal weather conditions. In that year the Town grant was $150, and the Ferry $300.

At least four Dartmouth boys participated in the Spanish-Amer-ican war of 1898. They were George Colter of Tulip Street, Ferdinand Gray, Harry Tobin and Vincent Tobin, sons of Arthur Tobin owner of “Brookhouse”.

A mystery of the sea, in the shape of a sailing vessel found bottom-up off Liscomb, was towed in to our side of the harbor that summer. The derelict proved to be the “James M. Seaman” laden with deal from Florida for Boston. After the ship was righted, she was housed-over and beached to be used as a granary for Matheson’s gristmill. The ribs of this sturdy three-master may still be seen on the shore at the foot of Canal Street.

The fatal collision between the French liner “La Bourgoyne” and the iron sailing ship “Cromartyshire” off Sable Island in July brought a $30,000 job to Dartmouth. The latter vessel was tied up for some months at Evans’ wharf where about 350 workmen got employment removing and renewing her damaged bow plates.

Construction work in 1898 included the erection of the Handley House which later became the “Thorndyke” and afterwards the “Belmont” Hotel. The contractor was A. G. Gates. The same man built a dwelling for Town Clerk Elliot on land bought from the Mott estate at the northwest corner of Pleasant Street and St. George’s Lane, then described as “Cross Lane”.

F. C. Bauld built the large house at 61 Queen Street for elderly Judge Johnston, and also rebuilt the premises next north of the Royal Bank for C. E. Peveril, the butcher. At 27 Prince Street a two-storey residence was erected for William Patterson, shipwright. At 34 Thistle Street, Lewis Colter built the first house in the Simmonds subdivision, and Lester Corkum built another at 23 Rose Street. D. M. Thompson advertised 37 lots of another subdivision in the vicinity of the street bearing his name.

These are the three teams of E. M. Walker taken outside his store after the first Natal Day procession of Thursday, August 4th, 1898. The Londonderry cart of James Tynes was the typical Delivery wagon of earlier days, and was most convenient for the handling of barrels of molasses, sugar and flour as demonstrated. H.R. Walker 9with straw hat) stands alongside. Frank Farquharson has the gray horse with modern delivery wagon, and Douglas DeYoung is driving the double team. The mare on the left was Walker’s carriage horse. The animals were stabled in the barn behind the residence shown in background. (Frank Farquharson still remembers the names of all these horses.)
This is the Chebucto junior hockey team. Back row, left to right: Robert Cameron, Fred Granger, Wm. Patterson,, manager, Sheridan Burchell (spare), George Young. Front row: Harry Murphy (spare), Harry “Nig” Young, Ernest Lahey. The mascot is Charlie Patterson, son of William. The two regular players missing in the picture are Austin Kane and Jack Allen.
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