“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 …

History of Halifax City Read More…

In Mr. Bromley’s Appeal on behalf of the [Indigenous people], printed in Nova Scotia, in 1820 p.24 he says:— “One of the chiefs, who took up his abode with me a few weeks ago, appeared much agitated while he related the circumstance of the white people having obtained a grant of the burying-ground of his ancestors, whose bones they had lately ploughed up; and this to an [Indigenous person] is a species of sacrilege which he never can forgive. I am also acquainted with a particular part of the province of Nova Scotia, where a most ancient burying-ground of the [Indigenous people] is now in the possession of the white people; who, however, out of courtesy, still allow them to bury their dead there.” Mr. Bromley adds, “While reading over this part of my manuscript to a friend, a “native of this country, he assured me” that the white people …

An account of the aborigines of Nova Scotia called the [Mi’kmaq] Read More…

“East side of Bedford Basin The winding shore above the narrows has many picturesque points and coves to recommend it to the lover of natural scenery. It has also historical associations, but not, perhaps, of such prominence as that of the western side. High hills, clad with pine and spruce, rise conspicuously above the sparkling waters, affording wide views of the city and harbor of Halifax. Tuft’s Cove, which was named after Gerisham Tufts, who belonged to a family extensively known in the United States, was the first to obtain a grant of the land surrounding this cove. The impression prevailed that he belonged to New England and came to Halifax early in the settlement of the town. The land above the Tufts property was granted to Ezekiel Gilman. He was one of the two army majors, retired, that accompanied the first settlers to Halifax. Leonard Lochman, after whom Lockman …

Footprints Around and About Bedford Basin Read More…

“Township of Dartmouth Opposite the Town of Halifax, the Town called Dartmouth was laid out in the Year 1749; but in the war of 1756, the [Indigenous people] collected in great force on the basin of Minas, ascended the Shubenacadie in their canoes, and in the night surprised the guard, and killed, scalped, or carried away the most of the settlers; from which period the settlement went to decline, and was almost derelict until the year 1784, when a number of families were encouraged to settle there from Nantucket, to carry on the whale fishery. The town was then laid out in a new form, and cultivation and business revived with spirit and activity, and very encouraging expectations were formed of success in the whale fishery by all concerned in it, until these enterprising people were persuaded, by liberal encouragement, to quit this Country, and remove to Whitehaven in England, …

Instructions under the direction of the Secretary of State for the Colonial Department Read More…

For a few years the government of Nova Scotia was vested solely in a governor, who had command of the garrison stationed at the fort of Annapolis, known as Port Royal in the days of the French regime. In 1719 a commission was issued to Governor Phillips, who was authorized to appoint a council of not less than twelve persons, all of whom held office during pleasure. The governor, in his instructions, was ordered neither to augment nor diminish the number of the said council, nor suspend any of the members thereof, without good and sufficient cause… This council had advisory and judicial functions, but its legislative authority was of a very limited scope. Consequently the year 1758 is the commencement of a new epoch in the constitutional history of Nova Scotia. We find then from that time a civil government duly organized as in other English colonies of America, …

The Constitution of the Legislative Council of Nova Scotia Read More…

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…

“Soon after the first unfriendly attempt upon our chartered privileges, a congress of delegates from nine colonies was assembled at New-York in October, 1765, at the recommendation of Massachusetts, and they digested a bill of rights, in which the sole power of taxation was declared to reside in their own colonial legislatures. This was preparatory to a more extensive and general association of the colonies, which took place in September, 1774, and laid the foundations of our independence and permanent glory. The more serious claims of the British parliament, and the impending oppressions of the British Crown at thislast critical period, induced the twelve colonies, which were spread over this vast continent from Nova Scotia to Georgia, to an interchange of opinions and views, and to unite in sending delegates to Philadelphia, “with authority and direction to meet and consult together for the common welfare.” In pursuance of their authority, …

“…from Nova Scotia to Georgia” Read More…

After piecing together several Crown land grant maps, you can see the path of the Old Annapolis Road much more clearly. Open the image in a new tab, to see it in more detail. Below you’ll find a few representations of the road as a contiguous route, as opposed to what is left recorded on the Crown Land Grant maps. (You can find find the individual Crown Land Grant maps here: https://novascotia.ca/natr/land/grantmap.asp) One of the first representations of the Old Annapolis Road, “Road markt out by Gov. Parr’s orders in 1784” One of the last representations of the Old Annapolis Road: Fifteen years later, by 1927 (perhaps because it wasn’t fit for automobile travel), the Old Annapolis Road disappears.

“Disaster is frequently the parent of legislation. In surveying the long history of Nova Scotia, we find this saying particularly true.” “The first recorded instance of illness in Nova Scotia is the account of Champlain of an outbreak of scurvy at Port Royal in 1606. His group of settlers had spent the winter of 1605 at St. Croix Island, where, of a group of seventy-nine, forty-four died of scurvy. In Port Royal in the following year twelve of forty-five died.” “Of all the epidemics, that of smallpox carried with it the greatest destruction and terror. In 1694 an epidemic was present among the [Indigenous people] of Acadia, but we have no knowledge of the number dying as a result. We may be sure it was large, however…” “There was again an outbreak in Acadia in 1709 where there is evidence to suggest that the disease was of the haemorrhagic type. …

The Development of Public Health in Nova Scotia Read More…

“Writing in the posthumously published final version of his historical chronicle of early Halifax town, lawyer-archivist Thomas Beamish Akins condemned the infamous 1820 state trial, R. v. Wilkie, in these memorable words: An anonymous pamphlet was published from the press of A.H. [Anthony Henry] Holland, charging the magistrates of the town with malpractices, which caused much excitement. It was discovered to have been written by Mr. William Wilkie, of Halifax. He was indicted for libel, tried at the Easter term of the Supreme Court [17 April 1820] and sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labor in the House of Correction [Bridewell]. This was esteemed a most tyrannical and cruel proceeding on the part of the government. The pamphlet was a very paltry offence, such as at the present day [1839] would be passed over with contempt. Wilkie, though not a person of much esteem, yet being a member of …

Sedition in Nova Scotia: R. v. Wilkie (1820) and the Incontestable Illegality of Seditious Libel before R. v. Howe (1835) Read More…

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 …

1824 Read More…

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”. …

1823 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: Old Ferry Inn. Farmers stabled horses here, and sailed to Halifax with produce. Road in foreground extended easterly to the Passage. This sketch was made about 1820. See also:

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: This is what the old Church looked like about 1890. Commenced in 1829, the steeple and attached glebe house were not erected until some years later. The vertical dark line in the picket fence at the Chapel Lane entrance is a turnstile. There is another barely discernible at the northwest corner of the Church. From there, a path led to Ochterloney St. Turnstiles were common sights, because gardens had to be protected from marauding cattle. The trees were planted in Father Geary’s time, and solicitously watched over by Thomas Gentles, senior, whose house was to the left of the picture. Just left of the telephone pole, is seen a diamond-shaped glass case surmounting a shorter post. Inside the case was an ordinary kerosene lamp. That constituted our street lighting system. This church was demolished in 1920.

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: Some idea of the appearance of Dartmouth may be gathered from the following unusually long description published in the Acadian Recorder, October 31, 1829: “DARTMOUTH—On Monday, the frame of a new Catholic chapel was raised in this delightfully situated little village. The caulking of the Steam Boat was nearly completed, and she appears ready for her machinery; piles are driving, and repairs making at the wharf intended for her use. Considerable animation seemed to pervade every quarter, which made the town appear very attractive. We are glad to witness indications of improvement in Dartmouth; we agree that it will increase rapidly in size and value. Independent of its being the outlet for the Shubenacadie Canal, it has many attractions which must operate favorably on her circumstances according as Halifax improves. With a south west aspect; sheltered from keen north and east winds …

1829 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: At the beginning of 1828, readers of the “Nova Scotian” learned that the paper had a new editor. He was Joseph Howe, a talented young man, then about 25 years of age. The first Dartmouth activity to record, occurred in the predawn of January 4th, when local firemen and the team-boat crew were aroused to help fight a big fire on Duke St., in Halifax. Our new hand-engine rendered valuable assistance. The first Commissioners “for repairing and keeping the streets of Dartmouth” were appointed by the Legislature in the session of 1828. They were Samuel Albro, Hugh Hartshorne and E. H. Lowe. Their jurisdiction extended a distance of one mile north, east and south of the Steam Boat wharf. In the road grants that year, the sum of £15 was voted for the road from Dartmouth to Sackville; and £250 “to …

1828 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: In the summer of 1827, Engineer Hall reported that “800 tons of granite stone have been removed from the Quarry to Dartmouth Lake. A commodious line of road is now completed from the head of Dartmouth Lake parallel with the Canal. By this road, the Lock Stone will be conveyed”. This must also; mean the laying out of Maitland Street, because the terminus of the Canal was at first intended to be located on the shore there. In July 1827, a fine ship of 344 tons named the “Halifax” was launched at Lowden’s in Mill Cove. The newspaper account stated that “a numerous concourse of people collected on the high ground near the shipyard, and a great many small boats filled with spectators gave the scene a very animated and pleasing effect”. The gaiety that morning suddenly changed to gloom because …

1827 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: Christ Church at Dartmouth was consecrated by Bishop Inglis on Sunday, August 21, in the presence of a numerous gathering including Hon. Michael Wallace, Chief Justice Archibald and “other respectable individuals”. As the Rev. Charles Ingles had gone to Sydney in 1825, the parish was without a resident rector until Rev. Edward L. Benwell, an Englishman, came to Dartmouth in December of 1826. The first regatta on Halifax harbor was held in the summer of 1826 as part of the program arranged for the visit of Lord Dalhousie. All the warships in the harbor and numerous small craft were bedecked in colors for the occasion. The prize for first-class sailing boats was won by Admiral Lake, who steered the craft himself. The fishermen’s races, however, pulling over the long course around George’s Island, created much more interest. Besides the rowing contests, …

1826 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: One of the worst conflagrations of early Dartmouth occurred in June 1825, when fire broke out on the premises of Edward Langley in the vicinity of Church and Commercial Streets. In an outbuilding adjoining his barns and residence, there were about 300 pounds of freshly burnt lime in storage. A fall of rain leaking into a cask, created spontaneous heat that burst into flame and quickly spread to the hayloft nearby. As the fire-brigade could not obtain sufficient water, the wardens ordered the Langley residence pulled down, which was soon accomplished, thus halting progress of the blaze. Navy men from H. M. S. Menai, anchored in the harbor, hustled over with buckets and rendered valuable assistance. (One of the officers of the “Menai” was Lieut. William Canning, son of the famous British statesman. It is quite possible that he was among those …

1825 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: The first Fire Department of Dartmouth was organized on September 21, 1822, and comprised the following citizens: Captain William Allen, Sec’y E. H. Lowe, Lieut. James Coleman, Henry Yetter, James Allen, Andrew Malcom, John Tapper, George Coleman, and Benjamin Elliot. Membership was limited to nine men. Dartmouth, a rising village could now boast a fire-engine, a Board of Firewards and a new engine-house. This building stood on Queen Street near Wentworth, and was about the size of a modern single garage. Meetings were held on the first Monday of the month, at sundown. In winter, one member per month was chosen by lot to keep snow shoveled from the entrance.

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: The teacher at Dartmouth in 1820-1821 was Daniel Sutherland, who taught at least from November until May. The trustees then were John Skerry, William Allen and Joseph Moreland. Canon Vernon’s History of Christ Church states that the reports of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, contain the name of Mrs. Mary Munn, who was paid £5 per annum as schoolmistress at Dartmouth commencing from 1821. This lady, who was familiarly referred to as “Ma Munn”, is thought to have been the widow of James Munn, builder of the windmill and of Quaker houses. The £5 would be the contribution of the S. P. G. Kxcept for indigent cases, school expenses were collected from Inhabitants, according to their means. In March 1821, Team-Boat directors made another move to vvt John Skerry out of the ferry business by inviting him to …

1821 Read More…