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 Henry, and proceeded from there to the port of New York: June 1757—. . . sailed with 100 vessels bound to Halifax, where we soon arrived and according to orders, I encamped on the Dartmouth side of the harbour. . . . The Rangers were …

1757 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, who had just returned from their job of expelling the Acadians. Winslow’s diary of November 1755 says that “My 54 non-commissioned officers and privates are at Dartmouth”. In the same records is a memo signed by Henry Dobson stating that Lieut. Billings and Ensign Barrel, …

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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 the outlet at Maynard’s Lake.) Of all the fortifications built to protect the harbor of Halifax in early times, one of the first was constructed as the Eastern Battery. Engineer John Brewse was in charge, and he had seven heavy cannon mounted there by October …

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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 saws.

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 of Halifax, and William Manthorne of Block “B”, lot no. 4, took over the service the following December. There were 53 families with a total population of 193 within the town of Dartmouth, according to statistics of 1752. (This might possibly include the township). In …

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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 Governor orders a “Sergeant and ten or twelve men of the military of Dartmouth, should mount guard at night in the blockhouse, and that they should be visited from time to time by the lieutenant”. But the blockhouse evidently did not afford much protection when …

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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 this plan as being detrimental to their fisheries. When Hon. Edward Cornwallis set out to settle Halifax in 1749, he carried a complete plan of the harbor, the Basin and the surrounding shores, which had been previously surveyed by British Admiral Durell. The latter’s information …

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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 Lakes (later, the Shubenacadie Canal), but the exact site is difficult to ascertain. The land laid out for the sawmill appears under the name of Ezekiel Gilman in records of the time. The boundary of the plot began on the stream, at a spot about thirty …

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From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: Dartmouth, long before the European explorers and colonizing forces, had a 7,000 year history of occupation by the Mi’kmaq people. The Mi’kmaq annual cycle of seasonal movement; living in dispersed interior camps during the winter, and larger coastal communities during the summer; meant there were no permanent communities in the Euro-centric sense, but Dartmouth was clearly a place frequented by Mi’kmaq people for a very long time. Whether it was the Springtime smelt spawning in March; the harvesting of spawning herring, gathering eggs and hunting geese in April; the Summer months …

Before 1750, Pre-English Settlement More…