“The [Indigenous people] had appeared in the neighborhood of the town for several weeks, but intelligence had been received that they had commenced hostilities, by the capture of twenty persons at Canso… On the last day of September they made an attack on the sawmill at Dartmouth, then under the charge of Major Gilman. Six of his men had been sent out to cut wood without arms. The [Indigenous people] laid in ambush, killed four and carried off one, and the other escaped and gave the alarm, and a detachment of rangers was sent after the [Indigenous people], who having overtaken them, cut off the heads of two [Indigenous people] and scalped one. (This affair is mentioned in a letter from a gentleman in Halifax to Boston, dated October 2nd as follows: “About seven o’clock on Saturday morning before, as several of Major Gilman’s workmen with one soldier, unarmed, were …

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“The beauty and the safety of this (Halifax) harbor attracted the notice of speculators at a very early period, and many applications were at different times made, for a grant of land in its vicinity. The famous projector, Captain Coram, was engaged in 1718, in a scheme for settling here; and a petition was presented by Sir Alexander Cairn, James Douglas, and Joshua Gee, in behalf of themselves and others, praying for a grant upon the sea coast, five leagues S.W. and five leagues N.W. of Chebucto, upon condition of building a town, improving the country around it, be raising hemp, making pitch, tar and turpentine, and of settling two hundred families upon it within three years. This petition received a favorable report from the Lords of Trade; but as it was opposed by the Massachusetts’s agents, on account of a clause restricting the fishery, it was rejected by the …

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“Dartmouth was founded-in 1750, but in 1756 it was destroyed by the [Indigenous people]. In 1784 it was again settled by emigrants from Nantucket, most of whom removed in 1798. Since that time its population has gradually increased. The townships of this county-are Halifax, Dartmouth, Laurencetown (sic) and Preston. The first of these has two representatives in the Assembly.” Dawson, J.W. “A hand book of the geography and natural history of the province of Nova Scotia” Pictou [N.S.] : J. Dawson, 1848. https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.37346/34?r=0&s=1

Duc d’Anville arrived at Chebucto, 10 Sept 1746 Halifax founded, 21 June 1749 [Indigenous people] attacked 6 men at Maj. Gilman’s saw-mill, Dartmouth Cove, killing 4, 30 Sept 1749 Saw-mill let to Capt. Wm. Clapham, 1750 Alderney arrived from Europe with 353 settlers, Aug. 1750 Town of Dartmouth laid out for the Alderney emigrants, Autumn 1750 Order issued relative to guard at Dartmouth, 31 Dec. 1750 Sergeant and 10 or 12 men ordered to mount guard during the nights at the Blockhouse, Dartmouth, 23 Feb. 1751 [Indigenous people] attacked Dartmouth, killing a number of the inhabitants, 13 May, 1751 German emigrants arrived at Halifax and were employed in picketing the back of Dartmouth, July 1751 Ferry established between Dartmouth and Halifax, John Connor, ferryman, 3 Feb. 1752 Mill at Dartmouth sold to Maj. Ezekiel Gilman, June 1752 Population of Dartmouth 193, or 53 families, July 1752 Advertisement ordered for the …

Chronological Table of Dartmouth, Preston, and Lawrencetown Read More…

“As I was waiting in silence for right direction, and feeling the Divine presence near, it opened to me , that as my prospect of going to Nova Scotia remained weighty, my best way was to take a passage by water, from this place, if I could obtain it. I knew not that this was likely to be had; but, on going to the door soon after, a man came to me and queried, whence I came, and whither I was going. I told him I came from near Philadelphia, and was going to Dartmouth, in Nova Scotia, if I could get there; that I had been advised to go by water, but knew not how to get a passage. He then informed me of a vessel bound for that place, which was to sail the next day. My companion having walked out, and the man being willing to go …

A Journal of the Life, Travels, Religious Exercises and Labours in the Work of the Ministry of Joshua Evans, Late of Newton Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey Read More…

“Across the harbour from Halifax were the settlements of Dartmouth and Preston, already economically dominated by the capital. Dartmouth had been settled in 1784 by twenty families from Nantucket. The men had been engaged in whaling, as had the men of Barrington, but the enterprise had suffered a financial disaster in 1792, and most of the original inhabitants had moved to Milford in South Wales. Preston had been settled in 1784 by Loyalists, disbanded soldiers, and freed [Black] slaves. Only the Loyalists had remained. The [Black people] were industrious, gaining a living by supplying butter, eggs, and poultry to Halifax, but most of them had taken advantage of the offer in 1791, extended by the British government, to resettle them in the newly purchased Colony of Sierra Leone. Of the other group of settlers Haliburton notes that “the disbanded soldiers were prone to idleness and intemperance, and when they had …

The Geography of Haliburton’s Nova Scotia Read More…

“Isaac Deschamps and James Brenton, puisne judges of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court [NSSC], had, charged the colonial Assembly in April 1790, committed “divers illegal, partial, and corrupt acts” such as to justify “Impeachment” for “High Crimes and Misdemeanours.”‘ These words come from the preamble to a list of seven “articles of impeachment” passed by the Nova Scotia Assembly on 5-7 April 1790. The seven articles, distilled from thirteen draft articles which had been introduced on 10 March, listed ten cases in which the judges were alleged to have acted incompetently or partially, or both, and also included accusations that they had lied to the Lieutenant-Governor’s Council of Twelve when it had conducted an inquiry into some of the allegations two and a half years earlier. The “trial” of the judges on these articles of impeachment took place before the Committee of the Privy Council for Trade and Plantations in …

The Impeachment of the Judges of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, 1787-1793: Colonial Judges, Loyalist Lawyers, and the Colonial Assembly Read More…

Bye-Laws of St. Johns lodge, 21, Auburn, North Carolina, 1772 Letter from Rev J.W. Weeks, Chaplain, Dartmouth, 1794 Freemasons. “Catalogue of ancient masonic documents in possession of Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia, A.F. and A.M.Report of Special Committee on Arrangement of Masonic Documents, classed as Grand Lodge and Subordinate Lodges.” [Halifax, N.S.? : s.n.], 1890 https://hdl.handle.net/2027/aeu.ark:/13960/t9475cw5f

Crown Land Grants are an invaluable historical resource, and you can learn a lot about how Dartmouth developed by following the patterns from the subdivision of these tracts. https://novascotia.ca/natr/land/grantmap.asp?fbclid=IwAR0mjbyLGcHoUf7YIgk06mXbjKQyqdT6SHjtKTp5SNSRkVrXRpeN2dE6uxs The map itself is a 1940s era base-map and so you’ll see the original configuration of many once rural now suburban roads. Beyond the Land Grant Map Index, individual grants also have records of their own, and sometimes maps to go along with them. Included here is a map from Seth Coleman in 1790 – who was Clerk of the Dartmouth Meeting of Friends (The Quaker Fellowship). He owned the land that today stretches from Ochterloney Street to Church Street along the Dartmouth shore. This area was once littered with shipyards and later served as the terminus for one of our early ferries.

“…About the year 1797, John Skerry began running a public ferry, and continued so employed until after the advent of the steam-boat company. He was familiarly known as “Skipper” Skerry, and a few of the oldest inhabitants still remember the man and speak of him in words of praise. The Dartmouth terminus of his ferry was directly at the foot of Ochterloney Street, and the Halifax landing was at the Market Slip. He occupied the building, which stood, on the south-east corner of Ochterloney and Water (Alderney Drive) Streets, and there kept a small bar. The second lot from the north-west corner of Quarrel (Queen) and Water (Alderney Drive) Streets, likewise belonged to him, together with the water-lot immediately in the rear. His ferrymen, previous to leaving the landing, cried “Over! Over!”, and then blew a conch as a signal of departure. The boats were large. They were either sailed …

Ferryman John Skerry Read More…