Dominion Disallowance of Provincial Legislation in Canada

Federal disallowance of Provincial Legislation has been a significant aspect of the Canada’s system of “federalism”, allowing the central government to nullify provincial acts deemed contrary to federal interests. This power, unique to Canada, contrasts with the American federal system, reflecting a “differing approach” to federalism. From 1867 to 1935, the Dominion government disallowed at least 114 provincial acts and territorial ordinances, highlighting its considerable powers over provincial legislation.

The process of disallowance involved the submission of provincial acts to the governor-general, with the governor-general in council having the authority to disallow them, typically based on recommendations from the Ministry of Justice, in the same way colonies previous to Confederation would submit their legislation through Lieuitenant Governors to the Crown. Disallowance had to occur within one year of receiving the act. While the British government couldn’t directly interfere with provincial acts after confederation, it could express its concerns to the Dominion government instead, as could other foreign governments.

The reasons for disallowance varied widely, including conflicts with federal legislation, exceeding provincial powers outlined in the British North America Act, violation of treaty rights, or infringement on individual rights and property. The subjects of disallowed acts ranged from immigration and banking to mining and liquor regulation, indicating the Dominion’s broad oversight.

Historically, the frequency of disallowance fluctuated, with peaks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries followed by a decline in recent years. Initially, the crown and its Federal government, themselves involved in a parent-child relationship, viewed a strong central government as necessary, akin to a parent-child relationship with provinces. Where that leaves “the people” is clear.

Evolving interpretations of “Canadian federalism” have more recently emphasized provincial rights and autonomy, more in keeping with the American meaning of the term. Decisions by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and advocacy for provincial rights led to a shift in attitudes toward disallowance. Provinces began to assert their legislative independence, advocating for minimal federal interference. By the early 20th century, calls for disallowance were expected to be justified by clear attempts to infringe on federal jurisdiction.


“Although there is a federal form of government in both the Dominion of Canada. and the United States, there are striking differences in the two types of federalism. Some of these differences are to be found in fundamentals, such as the basis upon which the powers of government are divided in the two countries. Less striking, but nevertheless significant, are still other points of variance. Among these is the power which the dominion government has to disallow legislative acts of the provinces. Just why the fathers of the Canadian federation thought this power should be given to the central government is not clear. The fact remains, however, that in the years from 1867 to 1935, at least 114 provincial acts and territorial ordinances were set aside. It is important to note that these acts were dis- allowed by executive officers of the dominion government. Executive officers of the national government in the United States do not possess similar powers where state legislation is concerned.”

“A survey of the law-making efforts of provincial legislatures which have been set aside by the dominion government indicates that the central government has interfered with some of the most important fields in which provincial legislation might be enacted.”

“The frequency with which the dominion’s power of disallowance has been used has varied considerably at different periods in Canada’s history. In the years from 1867 through 1895, no less than 72 acts and ordinances were set aside. In the years from 1896 through 1920, a period of almost equal length, 37 provincial acts and ordinances were annulled. From 1920 to 1935, only five acts passed by provincial legislatures fell before the disapproval of the dominion government. In the first period mentioned, the greatest number of acts to be disallowed in one province was 26, in Manitoba. British Columbia, with 20, was a close second. Seven ordinances (as distinct from legislative acts) were set aside in the Northwest Territory, while in Ontario and Nova Scotia six acts in each province were disallowed. The remainder of the 72 can be accounted for by the disallowance of four statutes in Quebec, two in Prince Edward Island, and one in New Brunswick. In the second period, British Columbia headed the list with 22, while Manitoba and Saskatchewan had three each. Ontario and Quebec each had one act annulled. Seven ordinances were set aside, five in the Yukon Territory and two in the Northwest Territory. Since 1920, legislative acts in only three provinces have been disallowed. Three were annulled in Nova Scotia and one each in Alberta and British Columbia.”

“To many Americans, it is, of course, striking that the central government in a federation should possess this degree of control over certain types of legislation enacted by the member units in that federal organization. In the Canada of 1864-66, however, there were many who, like J. A. Macdonald, wished to see a strong central government created. They believed that the war between the states to the south of them was due, in part, to weakness at the center. That the dominion government should be able to disallow provincial legislation did not seem strange to them.”

Heneman, H. J. (1937). Dominion Disallowance of Provincial Legislation in Canada. The American Political Science Review, 31(1), 92–96. https://doi.org/10.2307/1948049

Note by the Commissioner on the Sources of Land Titles in Maine

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The development of that political jurisdiction and sovereignty, which at the end of more than two centuries ripened into State Independence in 1820, is so peculiar and interesting, and the sources of land titles in Maine are so obscure as to justify a reference to some of the more important links in the intricate historical chain.

In 1493, Alexander VI, Pope of Rome, issued a bull, granting the New World, which Columbus was discovered during the preceding year by the sovereigns of Spain and Portugal. Under this title, Spain laid claim to the entire North American Coast from Cape Florida to Cape Breton, as part of its territory of Bacalaos. It has even been claimed that between 1566 and 1588, Spain took the fortified possession of Maine as a part of its grant at Pemaquid, but such possession, if effected, was abandoned before the end of the sixteenth century.

Although in that age, a Papal bull was usually regarded by British nations as a sufficient title to heathen lands, both France and England protested against the exclusion of so many Christian Princes from this wholesale grant. England, becoming Protestant, did not hesitate to plead against the bull, its legal maxim “Prescriptio sine possessione haud valebat,” [The prescription was not valid without possession] and in 1588, Drake decided the issue by his victory over the Danish Armada in the British Channel.

In 1495–6, three years after the discovery of the Western Hemisphere, Henry VII, King of England issued a commission to John Cabot and his sons “to seek out, discover, and find whatsoever Isles, Countries, Regions, or Provinces of the Heathens and infidels” hitherto unknown to all Christians; and, as vassals of the King, to hold same by his authority. (1) Under this commission, the rising Venetians discovered the Western continent more than a year before Columbus saw it, and the American coast, at least as far as Nova Scotia to Labrador. (2) (3)

In 1502, the same king commissioned Hugh Eliot and Thomas Ashurst to discover and take possession of the islands and continents in America; “and in his name and for his use, as his vassals, to enter upon, doss, conquer, govern, and hold any Mainland or Islands by them discovered.” (2)

In 1524, Francis I, King of France, said that he should like to see the clause in Adam’s will, which made the American continent the exclusive possession of his brothers of Spain and Portugal, is said to have sent out Verrazzano, a Florentine corsair, who, as has generally been believed, explored the entire coast from 30° to 50° North Latitude, and named the whole region New France. (1)

In 1534, King Francis commissioned Jacques Quartier [or Cartier] to discover and take possession of Canada; “his successive voyages, within the six years following, opened the whole region of St. Lawrence and laid the foundation of French dominion on this continent.” (1) (2)

In 1574, a petition had been presented to Elizabeth, Queen of England, to allow of the discovery of lands in America “fatally reserved to England and for the honor of Her Majesty,” and, in 1578, she gave a royal commission to Sir Humphrey Gilbert, “for planting our people in America,” authorizing himself, his heirs, and assigning them to discover’, occupy and possess such remote “heathen lands not actually possessed of any Christian prince or people, as should seem good to him or them,” and in 1584, after Gilbert’s death, she renewed the grant to Sir Walter Raleigh, his half-brother.

Under this commission, Raleigh made an unsuccessful attempt to plant an English colony in Virginia, a name afterwards extended to the whole North Coast of America in honor of the “Virgin” Queen. (3)

On November 8, 1603, Henry IV, King of France, granted Sieur de Monts, a Protestant gentleman of the King’s Bedchamber, a royal patent conferring the possession of and sovereignty of the country between latitudes 40° and 46° (from Philadelphia as far north as Katahdin and Montreal). Samuel Champlain, geographer to the King, accompanied De Monts on his voyage, landing at the site of Liverpool, N.S., a region already known as “Acadia,” May 6, 1604, but establishing their first colony of gentlemen, priests, ministers, vagabonds, and ruffians, “the best and the meanest of France,” at Neutral Island, in the St. Croix River, where they passed the winter of 1604-5. After carefully exploring the entire coast of Maine and giving names to Mt. Desert and the Isle au Haut, they abandoned its shores in 1606.(4)

“But the noble efforts of Raleigh had not passed out of thought.” (5) On the last day of March, 1605 (0. S.), Captain George Waymouth sailed from the
Downs in the Arc-angel, a ship which had been fitted out by Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Governor of Plymouth, in England (to whom Waymouth on his return gave the three Maine Indians whom he kidnapped), and the Earls of Southampton and Arundel, and anchored off the coast of Maine, May 17, probably under Monhegan Island, whence he visited the mainland and from the anchorage in “Pentecost Harbor” (probably George’s Island Harbor, possibly Boothbay) explored “that most excellent and beneficial River of Sagadahoc,” and afterwards, as some have supposed, the Penobscot, returning the same season to England. (6) (7)

Early the next spring, an association of English gentlemen, prominent among whom was Gorges, obtained from James I, King of Great Britain, a grant of all that part of North America between latitudes 34° and 45° (from South Carolina to New Brunswick) “extending from the sea on the east between those parallels of latitude west, one hundred English miles inland, and the Islands within one hundred miles of the shore, to be holden by them as a corporation, and to their success in the same, and to their assigns, in free and common socage, not in capite, nor by knights’ sevice; but after the form of the royal manor of East Greenwich, in the county of Kent, for the advancement of the Christian religion and the good of God; and to replenish the deserts with people, which would be led by laws and magistrates.” (1)

By the Royal Patent, which passed the seals on April 10, 1606, the grantees were, at their own desire, incorporated into two Companies under one Council of Government, wherein Richard Hakluyt, Somers and their associates, of London, formed the London Company, Dr. First Colony of Virginia; and Lord John Popham, Chief Justice of England, Raleigh Gilbert, George Popham, Sir Ferdinand D Gorges, and others of Plymouth, in the County of Devon, and their associates, formed the Plymouth Colony, or the Second Commonwealth of Virginia. The first colony was permitted to begin a plantation anywhere South of Latitude 41° and the Second Colony anywhere North of 38°, provided that the Colony last planted should not settle within one hundred miles of the other. The government was ordained as a general “Council of Virginia,” consisting of thirteen men appointed by the crown, residing in England, with paramount jurisdiction, to be exercised according to such arrangements as should be given them under the royal sign manual; and two subordinate councils, each of thirteen members, living in America, named in the same way. The first settlement was affected by the London Company of South Virginia at Jamestown, in Virginia, April 26, 1607. (2)

On the last day of the next month, two ships “The Gift of God,” commanded by George Popham, brother of the Lord Chief Justice, and “The Mary and John,” composed by Raleigh Gilbert, son of Sir Humphrey and nephew of Sir Walter Raleigh, sailed from Plymouth with the Plymouth Company of North Virginia, arriving at Monhegan Island, August 8, at Stage Island, August 11, and landing at the site of Fort Popham, at the mouth of the Kennebec, August 18, 1607, where, with Popham for their President and Gilbert for their Admiral, the Colony built a thirty-ton vessel “The Virginia of Sagadahoc” and passed the winter. But they experienced So many misfortunes and discourages in the death of their president, the loss of their fort, storehouse and magazine, and the hostility of the natives, that the settlement was abandoned in the spring, some of the company returning to England, while Some, as there is reason to believe, may have gone to Virginia, and others probable to Monhegan and Pemaquid. (3) (4)

During the next twelve years, settlements were attempted at various points on the coast of Maine, at Mt. Desert, in 1613, by Suassaye, agent of Madame de Guercheville, a French Roman Catholic lady who had procured of De Monts a Surender of his patent, and had obtained a Charter from the French King at Monhegan, in 1614, by Captain John Smith, ex-president of the Commonwealth Council of Virginia Who gave to New England the name which was confirmed by Charles I, when Prince of Wales, by Sir Richard Hawkins, President of the Plymouth Colony in October 1615, -at Saco, by Richard Vines and his companions, whom Gorges hired to remain during the winter of 1617, and others. (5)

The General Court of Massachusetts, by a resolution of July 6, 1787, granted to ”Monsieur and Madame de Gregsire, all such parts and parcels of the island of Mount Desert, and other islands, and tracts of land particularly described in the grant or patent of his late most Christian majesty, Lewis XIV, in April 1691, to Monsieur de la Motte Cadillac, grandfather of said Madame de Gregoire, which now remain the property of this commonwealth,” not so much on account of any legal claim, “the legal title to the lands having been by Iong lapse of possession lost to said heir at law,” but as an “act of the most liberal justice” and “through the liberality and generality of this Court, which are not hereafter to be drawn into precedent.” (6) Perhaps the inlet between Mt. Desert and Gouldsborough may thus have derived the name “Frenchman’s Bay.”

In September 1619, the Leyden Pilgrims who had been in Holland since 1608, obtained a patent from the London or South Virginia Company under which they founded the first permanent Colony in New England, at Plymouth, Massachusetts, Dec. 11, 1620. (0. S.)

While the Pilgrims were on their way under their South Virginia patent, King James, on petition of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, granted to the North Virginia Company a new separate patent dated Nov. 3, 1620, and known as the great Charter of New England, conferring in fee simple all the North American continent and islands between the parallels of 40° and 48°, “throughout the mainland from sea to sea” (from the Bay of Chaleur as far south as Philadelphia). The patentees were forty noblemen, knights, and gentlemen of England, chief of whom were the Duke of Lenox, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Francis Popham, son’ of the late Chief Justice, and Raleigh Gilbert; they were styled “The council established at Plymouth in the County of Devon for planting, ruling, and governing New England in America.” (1)

Whatever may have been the original design of the Pilgrims when they embarked In the Mayflower at Plymouth, their captain landed them nearly a degree north of the extreme limit of the South Virginia patent under which they had sailed, so that the colony found itself from the start within the jurisdiction of the Great Charter of New England.

But Gorges, Chief Manager of the Council, courteously obtained the new colony a Charter issued June 1, 1621, and enlarged in 1630, on which all the legal titles of the “Old Colony” are based. (2)

On February 2, 1619, John Pierce, a London clothier, and his associates obtained a grant. “in the northern part of what was called New England.”

On Feb. 12, 1620, Thomas Weston was sent to the Pilgrims at Leyden, in Holland, to inform them of the fact and to induce them to go there, which, it is stated, they were inclined to do so for “the hope of present profit to be made by the fishing that was found in that country.”

It is recorded in the transactions of the directors of the Virginia Company that prior to June 1, 1621, John Pierce had a grant indorsed by Sir T. Gorges and had seated thereupon a company within the limits of the Northern Plantations. This colony settled in and about Muscongus, north of New Harbor of Pemaquid. This grant of 1619, located prior to February 1620 and settled before 1621, was the root of the Muscongus grant and ended in the Waldo Patent. (3)

But the authority of the Council for the affairs of New England was too remote to be referred to by the Pilgrims. Therefore, they came into a voluntary and solemn compact, dated Nov. 11, 1621, to obey the laws, which should be made by their own common consent, and for this purpose, they assumed the title of a body politic, and proceeded to a division of the land. Under this compact, or at least without other authority, John Billington, one of the original companies of the Mayflower, was executed at Plymlouth in 1630 for the murder of one Newcomin. (4) (5)

On August 10, 1622, the Council granted Gorges and Mason a patent conveying all the country between the Merrimac and Kennebec to the farthest head of said rivers, and many miles inland, with all the islands and islets within five leagues of the shore which “they intend to call the province of Maine,”

On March 19, 1627-8, the Plymouth Council, through the friendly instrumentality of Gorges and the Earl of Warwick, granted to Sir Henry Roswell, John Endicott, and others, the territory, afterwards called the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, in New England, “between the great River Merimeck and the Charles River, in the bottom of a certain bay, called Massachusetts Bay; and within three English miles to the Northward of the River Merimeck or to the Northward of any and every part thereof from the Atlantic and Western Sea and Ocean on the East Part, to the South Sea, on the West part.” (6)

To give full effect to this patent, a Royal Charter was obtained on March 4, 1628-9, by which it was erected into a colony, under the name of Massachusetts Bay, and Endicott and his associates were incorporated into a government, with the power to choose a governor, deputy governor, and assistants, annually and forever. (7)

Endicott’s colony of Puritans arrived at Salem in 1628, but the authority of the corporation was exercised under a form of government agreed upon in London on April 30 1629, whereby the sole power was delegated from time to time to thirteen of such residents on the plantation “as should be reputed the most wise, honest, expert, and discreet.” (1)

Gorges claimed that in the Royal Patent to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, it was expressly conditioned that the grant should contain nothing to prejudice his son Robert, who in 1622 had obtained, under the Great New England Charter, the patent of a tract extending ten miles along Massachusetts Bay. But the Massachusetts agents claimed that this grant was “void in law,”  and the colony was advised “to take possession of the chief part thereof,”  which was forthwith done. (2)

In January 1629, before the Puritan colony had been organized upon the shores of Massachusetts, the Pilgrims had received from the Plymouth Council of Gorges an advantageous grant on the Kennebec, since called the Kennebec or Plymouth Patent, comprising a territory of about 1,500,000 acres, fifteen miles in width on each side of the Kennebec River, between Woolwich and Cornville. This grant was sold by the Pilgrim Colony in 1661 for £400 sterling to four persons. In 1753, the lands passed to a company, and were thenceforward known as the Kennebec Purchase. (3)

As early as 1624, Gorges had been called to the bar of the House of Collons to defend the Plymouth Council against the charge of misuse of its charter, and was required to deliver the patent forthwith to the House.

This Gorges declined to do because he had no authority to deliver the patent without the consent of the Council and because it was not in fact in his custody. But the House, in its presentation of grievances to King James, put the Plymouth Patent at the head of the list. Nevertheless, the King refused to recall it.

The next year, James I died. His successor, Charles I, married the daughter of the French King, and stipulated in the marriage treaty to cede Acadia to France.

In 1635, D’Aulney, under Razillai, in behalf of France, took possession of Penobscot [Castine] and drove out the English who had a trading house there. (4)

The north-eastern portion of the Plymouth patent was claimed by the French King. as part of Acadia, and Gorges was again summoned to defend it—this time before the King and his Council.

As soon as the French claim had been disposed of, the Commons again moved the crown for a dissolution of the charter, which the King refused to grant. (5)

On June 7, 1635, the Plymouth Council surrendered to Charles I the Great Charter of New England, which had been granted by James I in 1620, having divided all the territory that had not been deeded by the Council into eight Royal Provinces, four of which were in Maine, and the others in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. Gorges obtained Western Maine, being all the territory between the Piscataqua and the Kennebec, more than one-sixth of the present area of the state.

The Council also petitioned King Charles to revoke the Massachusetts Bay Charter alleging that it had been obtained surreptitiously and was held wrongfully, that a portion of their territory rightfully belonged to Robert Gorges, son of Sir Ferdinando, who, when the governor took actual possession of it, and that the Massachusetts Bay the colonists claimed to be absolute masters of the continent from sea to sea, a distance of more than a thousand leagues. Judgement was given that the franchises of Massachusetts Bay should be seized into the King’s hands, but in the confusion of the times it was never carried into execution.

On April 28, 1634, the King had appointed eleven of his Privy Councillors, Lords Commissioners of all his American plantations, and soon afterwards he made Sir Ferdinando Gorges Governor General over the whole of New England. (6) The same year or the next, he sent over his nephew, William Gorges, as Governor of his lands in Western Maine, which he called “New Somersetshire.” Governor William Gorges
opened a court at Saco as the shire town on March 28, 1636, which was the first organized government established within the present state of Maine.

At this time, there were six permanent settlements within the province: at Agamentic (now York),  at the Piscataqua settlement from Kittery Point to Newichawannock and the Northern Isles of Shoals; at Black Point, in Scarboro; at the Lygonian Plantation, or Casco, now Portland and vicinity; and at the Pejepscot settlements, on the lower Androscoggin, besides the Kennebec patent, which was under the jurisdiction of the Pilgrims. (1)

It was not, however, until April 3, 1639, that Sir Ferdinando Gorges obtained from King Charles, in a Provincial Charter of his Territory, described “all that Parte, Purpart, and Porcon of the Mayne Lande of New England aforesaid, beginning at the entrance of Pascatway Harbor,” extending up that river and through Newichawannock and Salmon Fall rivers, “north-westward, one hundred and twenty miles, and then overland to the utmost northerly end of the line first mentioned, including the north half of the Isles of Shoals;”… “also all the islands and inlets within five leagues of the Mayne, along the coasts between the said rivers Pascatway and Sagadahock, all of which said Parte, Purpart, or Porcon of the Mayne Lande wee doe for us Our heirs and successors create and incorporate into our province or county. And wee doe name, ordeyne, and appoynt that the Porcon of the Mayne Lande and Premises aforesaid shall forever hereafter be called and named THE PROVINCE OR COUNTIE OF MAYNE.” (2)

By this memorable charter, Gorges was made Lord Palatine of a princely domain extending northerly to the mouth of the Dead River and northwesterly to Umbagog Lake, the only instance of a purely feudal possession on this continent: a charter containing more extensive powers than were ever granted by the English crown to any other subject.

Under this Charter, which made the Lord Palatine, his heirs, and assigns absolute Lords Proprietors of the Province, subject only to the supreme dominion, faith, and allegiance due to the crown and certain revenues payable thereto, with the power to erect Courts of justice, and in concurrence with a majority of the freeholders, assembled in legislation, to establish laws extending to life or members, the colony was organized March 10, 1640, by the appointment of Thomas Gorges, cousin to Sir Ferdinando, Deputy Governor, Richard Vines, five other councillors, and the first General Court for the preservation of justice throughout his province, was opened at Saco on June 25 1640. The province was divided by the Kennebunk River into two counties, “East and West,” the former gradually acquiring the name “York” with its shire to at Agamenticus, and the latter the name of “Somerset,” or ‘New Somerset,” with Saco for its shire. (3)

Prior to the surrender of its charter, the Plymouth Council in England had issued twelve land patents within the limits of Maine, in addition to the two already mentioned, viz:

In 1630.
To Lewis and Bonythan on the north side of the Saco River, four miles along the
coast and eight miles inland.
To Oldham and Vines, a similar tract in Biddeford, on the south side of the Saco.
The Muscongus Grant, a territory thirty miles square between the Muscongus and
Penobscot Rivers, aftenvards known as the Waldo patent.
The Lygonia Patent, ending from Kennebunk to Harpswell and forty miles
inland, including rights to soil and government.

In 1631.
The Black Point Patent in Scarboro’, to Cammock, 1,500 acres on the sea coast, on
the east side of the Black Point River;
The Pejypscot Patent on the North Side of the Androscoggin River, to Bradshaw;
The Agamenticus Patent, to Godfrey and others at York, 12,000 acres;
Richmond’s Island and 1,500 acres on the inainland at Spurwink, in Scarboro’, to
Bagnall;
Cape Porpoise (Kennebunk Port),  2,000 acres on the south side, to Stratton.

In 1632.
The Treiawney and Goodyear Patent “between Black Point and the River and Bay of Casco,” including the ancient town of Falmouth (Portland and vicinity), Cape Elizabeth and a part of Gorham.

The Pemaquid Patent at Bristol, between the Muscongus and Damariscotta Rivers, 12,000 acres along the seacoast and up the river, besides all three leagues of islands into the ocean, with powers of government. The Way and Purchas Patent on the lower Androscoggin, reaching Casco Bay,
The whole, embracing the entire seaboard from the New Hampshire line to the Penobscot (save the coast between Sagadahoc and Damariscotta, a tract of five leagues, including the Sheepscot plantation and the Islands, and the most even of those small strip was claimed under the Kennebec Patent. Some of these grants conflicted with each other. (1)

On April 10, 1641, Sir Ferdinando Gorge’s, by a special charter of incorporation, was erected Agamenticus into a “borough,” and by a second charter dated March I, 1642, incorporated it with a territory of twenty-one square miles into a city called Gorgeana, with a charter that allowed no appeal to England. Under this charter, in 1644, a woman was tried, convicted, and executed in Gorgeana for the murder of her husband. (2)

Encouraged by the success of Republicanism in England, Sir Alexander Rigby, a member of the Long Parliament, purchased the Lygonia Patent, taking an assignment of the charter on April 7, 1643, and claimed exclusive jurisdiction thereunder from Kennebunk to Harpswell, but agreed to submit his claim to the Magistrates of Massachusetts Bay, who, in June 1645, dismissed the case, advising the disputants to live in peace until a decision comes from the proper authority.

In March 1646, the Earl of Warwick, whom the House of Commons in 1642 had appointed Governor General and High Admiral of all the American Plantations, and sixteen Commissioners (of whom John Pym and Oliver Cromwell were two) decided that Rigby was “the lawful owner and proprietor, in fee-simple, of the Province of Lygonia, being a tract of land forty miles square, lies on the south side of the river. Sagadahock and adjoining the great ocean, or sea, called Mare del Nort,” and directed the Governor of Massachusetts Bay, in case of resistance, to afford Rigby’s officers all suitable assistance. This restricted Gorges to the Kennebunk River on the East: (3)

The next year, Sir Ferdinando Gorges died in England while in arms for King Charles I against the Parliamentary forces.

At the death of the Gorges, the present area of Maine embraced four great political
sections:
First,—the restricted Province of Gorges, extending from the New Hampshire Line
to the Kennebunk River, and one hundred and twenty miles into the interior.
Second,—Lygonia, extending forty miles east from the Kennebunk River, and forty
miles inland, including Harpswell and the Islands of Casco Bay.
Third,—the Sagadahoc Territory, extending from the Kennebec River to the Penobscot, including several detached settlements, the chief of which was the Pemaquid Patent; and
Foul’th,— The region between Penobscot Bay and the Passamaquoddy or St. Croix
River was, at the time, in substantial possession of the French and claimed by them as part of Acadia. (4)

Discouraged by the dismemberment of the province and the death of the Lord Palatine, followed in less than two years by the execution of the King, the people of Wells, Gorgeana and Kittery held a consultation at Gorgeana in July, 1649, where they formed themselves into this “Social Compact:” — “We, with our free and consent, do bind ourselves in a body political and combination, to see these parts of the Country and province regulated, according to such laws as have formerly been exercised, and such others as shall be thought meet, but not repugnant to the fundamental laws of our native country.” (5)

Two years later, the General Court of Massachusetts Bay put forth a new claim. King Charles’ Charter of 1622–9 embraced “all the lands within the space of three English miles, to the northward of the River Merrimeck, or to the northward of any and every part thereof,” meaning, as had always been supposed, three miles beyond the river, but the colonial government now contended that their charter conveyed all the territory south of the line drawn due east across the country from point three miles north of the shore of the Merrimac to the same latitude on the Maine coast.

At the May session, 1652, the claim was embodied in a Legislative Resolve, and commissioners were appointed to procure “suitable artists (1) and assistants” to take a true observation of the latitude and to make the Survey, which they accomplished in August. 1, 1652, fixing the source of the Merrimac at Lat. 43° 40′ 12″, and at the October session their report was accepted, and the jurisdiction of Massachusetts was declared to extend as far north and east as a line drawn due east from a point three miles north of the head waters of the Merrimac in Lat. 43° 43′ 12″, “touching the southernmost bend of the River Presumpscot, and touching the coast at Goose Rock” (on the line which still divides the towns of Falmouth and Cumberland) “and terminating at Split Rock, on the northern point of Upper Clapboard” (Sturdivant’s) “Island, in Casco Bay, about three miles eastward of the Casco Peninsula” (Stover’s Point). (2)

The authorities of Massachusetts Bay at once proceeded to enforce their claim as fast as practicable upon the inhabitants of the Province of Maine and of Lygonia, South of 43° 43′ 12″, Luckidly for them, Edward Rigby, son and heir of Sir Alexander who had died in 1650, was pleased, at this juncture, to address the leaders of Lygonia a letter, dated London, July 19, 1652, notifying them that he conceived that all political power derived from his father expired at his death and commanding them to desist and abstain from the full exercise thereof, thus extinguishing the Lygonia government of which Saco had made the shire. (3)

In November 1652, a commission was appointed by the General Council of Massachusetts Bay was opened at Kittery, which had been incorporated into a town under the Government of Gorges five years before. and the inhabitants were persuaded to acknowledge their subjection to the government of Massachusetts Bay in New England.

Proceeding to Gorgeana, which had been erected into a borough by Sir Ferdinando Gorges in 1641, and chartered by him as a city in March 1642, abolished its charter and named it York, being the second town incorporated into the state. The next year, Wells, Saco, and Cape Porpoise (now Kennebunkport) were incorporated as towns by the Massachusetts Bay Commissioners. In July. 1658, Scarboro’ and Falmouth were incorporated out of the Lygonia territory and declared to be a part of Yorkshire. On October 27, 1658, the towns of York, Kittery, Wells, Saco, and Cape Porpoise were presented their memorial to “Lord Cromwell,” expressive of their satisfaction in the new government as administered by Massachusetts Bay, with a request for its uninterrupted continuance. (4)

At the restoration, in 1660, Ferdinando Gorges, grandson of the Lord Palatine, made claim to the Province of Maine, appealing to King Charles II in Council and to Parliament. (5)

Although the Committee of Parliament reported in favor of Gorges, it was not until January 11, 1664, that he obtained from the King an order to the Governor and Council of Massachusetts Bay forthwith to restore to him his province, or without delay assign their reasons for withholding it, and on June 11, 1664, the King addressed them a letter communicating his decision. But, notwithstanding, neither the King nor the Parliament of Charles II had any sympathy with the Massachusetts authorities, and In spite of the defects in that colony’s title, the General Council didn’t succeed in delaying final judgment for twenty years. (6)

But as early as March 12, 1664, the King granted to his brother James, Duke of York and Albany (afterwards King James II), all the Dutch territory on the Hudson River, including Long Island, together with the whole region between the St. Croix and Pemaquid, “thence to the Kennebeck and so upwards, to the ruler of Canada Northward.”

This grant was known as “The Duke of York’s Property,” “The Territory of Sagadahock, New Castle, and “The County of Cornwall.”! It was an encroachment upon the Kennebec Patent, the Pemaquid Patent, the Muscongus Patent, and others. Col. Nichols assumed the government of the ducal province as Deputy Governor under his Royal Highness, on Sept. 5, 1665, possession was taken of the Sheepscot plantation as the shire of the New County of Cornwall, the plantation being named Dartmouth or New Dartmouth . (1)

By 1670, the “Province of Maine” had been substantially reduced to the subjection of Massachusetts Bay; the interior regulations of Yorkshire had been perfected by the establishment of courts and the appointment of magistrates, commissioners, and judges, chief of whom was Thomas Danforth.

But the French, who were in full possession of Nova Scotia (including New Brunswick) and the territory west as far as the Penobscot River, boldly claimed jurisdiction over the rest of the Duke of York’s Patent, even to the Kennebec. In this aspect of affairs, both Massachusetts Bay and Duke’s colonists had reason to apprehend the sale or resignation of his entire Eastern patent to the French.

“To contravene a measure so much apprehended, the General Council in May, 1671, suspecting the accuracy of the survey of 1651,” determined to have a revision of their Northern line, which was accordingly made by Mountjoy of Falmouth in 1672, who found it six minutes further north, at 43° 49′ 12″, crossing the Kennebec near Bath, and terminating at White Head Island in Penobscot Bay. This new line, “run more suitable to the exigency,” added to the Massachusetts Bay Charter an extensive seaboard, also Arrowsic, Parker’s, and George’s Islands, with Monhegan, Matinicus, Damariscove and, in fact, all the other islands along the coast, and even the principal settlement at Pemaquid, “but happily, not embracing Dartmouth, the seat of the Duke’s Government.”

Encouraged by the recapture of the fort at New York by the Dutch armor On June 30, 1673, the General Court of Massachusetts Bay sanctioned Mountjoy’s Survey and in October 1673, proceeded to erect the easternmost section of the readjusted patent beyond Sagadahoc into a new county. In May 1674, a court was opened at Pemaquid, which was made the shire of the “County of Devonshire,” extending from Sagadahoc to Georges’ River.

But by a treaty of peace signed on February 9, 1674, Holland had already restored the Province of New York to the English, and on June 22, 1674, King Charles granted to the Duke of York a new patent comprising all the territories embraced in that of 1664. The Duke thereupon commissioned Sir Edmund Andros, Governor of both provinces, New York and Sagadahock, and Andros assumed the government in October. (2)

In 1676, Gorges and Mason, in their complaint against Massachusetts Bay, they had instituted in 1659, succeeded in persuading the King to serve legal notice of the charges against the Massachusetts Bay authorities and to require the appearance of its agents in defense.

Toward the end of the year, the Massachusetts agents appeared before a committee of the Privy Council, who gave a decision substantially extinguishing the claims of Massachusetts Bay to Maine, but leaving the rightful ownership of the province undetermined.

In consequence of this decision, the authorities of Massachusetts Bay employed John Usher, a Boston trader then in England, in behalf of the Colony, purchased all his interest in the Province. May 6, 1677, Ferdinando Gorges gave Usher an assignment of THE PROVINCE OF MAYNE for £1,250 sterling, with all “royalties, jurisdictions, ecclesiastical, civil, admiral, and military;— the privileges, governments, and liberties” that had been granted to Sir Ferdinando Gorges by charter of King Charles I, April 3, 1639, covenanting that “Usher should stand seized of an absolute, perfect, and independent estate of and in the said County Palatine,” excepting the grants made by the original proprietor or his agents. (3)

The purchase of Maine by the colony of Massachusetts Bay displeased Charles II who was himself, at the time, in a treaty with Gorges for its purchase for his natural son, the Duke of Monmouth (afterwards executed by Charles’ brother James), and he remonstrated with the colonial government on their conduct, and Even required the colony’s agents to assist it to the crown upon payment of the purchase money; to this demand, little attention was paid, and at the October session, the General Court resolved to keep the province. Accordingly, in February 1680, it was determined to assume the Royal Charter granted to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and to frame a civil administration over the province in conformity with its provisions,” consisting of a standing Council of eight members appointed by the Massachusetts Bay Board of Colony Assistants and a House of Deputies chosen by the towns in the province, with a President chosen by the Board of Assistants: (1)

Thomas Danforth of Cambridge, Deputy Governor of Massachusetts Bay, was chosen President of Maine and at once entered upon his duties, proclaiming his authority at York in March, and at Fort Loyal at Casco Neck in Falmouth (now Portland) on September 2, 1680, where President Danforth and his two assistants gave the name of North Yarmouth to a new plantation adjoining Falmouth on the east, eighth town incorporated in Maine. (2)

But the charter of Massachusetts Bay was now so violently assailed that in 1683, the The General Court directed its agents in England to resign to the crown the title deeds of Maine provided that the colonial conflict could be saved. Their proposition was not acceptable, for a writ of quo warranto has already been brought before the court of King’s Bench on July 20, and was served on the Governor of Massachusetts Bay in October, 1683. This not proving sufficient, a writ of scire facias was sued out of the Chancery Court at Whiteball in June 1684, under which the Royal Charter was granted to the Colony of Massachusetts Bay by Charles I in 1628 was promptly adjudged to be forfeited, and the liberties of the colonies were seized by the crown. (3)

The infamous Col. Kirke was immediately appointed by Charles II, Governor of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, New Hampshire, and Maine, but before his embarkation from England, the Duke of York succeeded to the throne as James II, Feb. 16. 1685, and was publicly proclaimed in York in April. He was not inclined to renew the appointment of Kirke, but commissioned Joseph Dudley, a native of Massachusetts, as President of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island, with fifteen mandamus councillors appointed by the Crown to assist him.

The last General Court under the Massachusetts Bay Court of Charles I organized May 12, 1686, but was dissolved by President Dudley on May 20. (4)

Within five months, he was superseded by Sir Edmund Andros, who arrived in Boston on December 20, 1686, and on the same day published his commission. He has been for eight years the Ducal Governor of New York and Sagadabock, and was now made captain-general and governor-in-chief of all of New England. (5)

On April 18, 1689, a revolution took place in Boston, and the populace seized and imprisoned Governor Andros and a bunch of his partisans, and Andros was finally induced to surrender the keys of government and the command of the fortifications.

A general convention of the people was assembled on April 20, and a meeting of the General Court was called in Boston on May 22, which determined to resume the government according to charter rights, a resolution was called into effect on May 24, 1689.

Two days later, news arrived from England that James II had abdicated the British throne December 12, 1688, and that William and Mary had been proclaimed King and Queen, February 16, 1689. Danforth was re-elected President of Maine and continued to govern the province of Maine under the provisions of the Charter to Gorges until May 6, 1692.

Finally, the Province of Massachusetts Bay, the Pilgrim Colony of Plymouth, the Province of Maine, together with Sagadabock and Acadia (or Nova Scotia, including New Brunswick) were all incorporated into the Royal Province of Massachusetts Bay by the charter of William and Mary, which received royal sanction on October 7 1691, and took effect May 6, 1692. But Nova Scotia (with New Brunswick) was soon after being relinquished by Massachusetts to the entire exclusive dominion of the British crown.

The present state of Maine, at the time of this consolidation, consisted of three principal divisions:


I— The original ”Province of Maine” granted by Charles I to Sir Ferdinando Gorges in 1639, extending from the New Hampshire line to the Sagadahock’ or Kennebeck and one hundred and twenty miles into the interior, which his grandson Ferdinando Gorges was sold to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1677.
II.—The Province of Sagadabock, between the Kennebeck River and Nova Scotia, and extending “Northward to the River of Canada,” or latitude 48°, embracing not only the second principle in the eight great divisions of 1635, lying between the Kennebeck River and Pernaquid, but the ducal province of James II (as Duke of York) includes the rest of the whole territory between Pemaquid and St. Croix which had reverted to the crown on his abdication in 1688.
III.— The territory north of the original grant to Gorges, between the Northern limit of his patent and the Canada Line. (1)

As the Palatine Province of Maine was limited to one hundred and twenty miles from the sea, it may be asked how the Colony of Massachusetts Bay could, either by its purchase from Gorges or, under the charter of William and Mary, acquire title to that feasible territory in the north-western corner of the present State of Maine, between the northerly line of Gorges’ Province and the Canadian boundary, as conceded by the treaty of independence. Perhaps no better answer can be readily given than that of the learned attorney General of Massachusetts; in the first year of this century; the question “is not of much consequence.” (2)

The Provincial Charter of Massachusetts Bay continued to be the foundation and ordinance of civil government in Massachusetts and Maine for eighty-eight years, until the adoption of a Republican Constitution by the parent nation on October 25, 1780 (N.S.)

With the consolidation of 1692, the ephemeral counties of Somerset, Cornwall and Devonshire, and for seventy-eight years thereafter, the County of York, which was created by Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Lord Palatine of the Province of Maine in 1610, and the first volume of whose records begins with the court opened at Saco, June 25, under the charter of Charles I, embraced the whole of Maine until November 2, 1760, when the counties of Cumberland and Lincoln were created by an act of the Provincial Legislature.

The formation of a Republican Constitution by the people of Massachusetts Bay and the recognition of that Commonwealth as an independent state within three years afterward seem to have inspired in the inhabitants of Maine a desire for separation. Indeed, as early as 1778, the Continental Congress had divided the United States into three districts, the Southern, Middle, and Northern, the last embracing the three Eastern counties of York, Cumberland, and Lincoln, which thus acquired a distinctive name, “THE DISTRICT OF MAlNE,” which it retained until the separation. Twelve years later, the First Federal Congress re-established the same division under the National Constitution.

Very soon after the acknowledgment of independence, separation began to be generally agitated throughout the district, and in September 1785, a notice appeared in The Falmouth Gazette, a paper that had made its appearance on New Year’s Day, calling a conference at Messrs. Smith and Dean’s Meeting House in Falmouth on October 5th to consider the proposal to erect the three eastern counties into a separate Government. Accordingly, thirty-five delegates appeared from twenty of the principal towns of each of the counties and organized a convention where William Gorham, of Gorham, was chosen President and Stephen Longfellow, Jr., of Gorham, Secretary. The convention voted to call another convention at the same place. on January 4, 1786, to consider the expediency and means of forming a separate state.


Governor Bowdoin, in his speech to the General Court, October 20, 1785, of his Council, deprecated the movement, and the General Council, in their reply, concurred in his views. The Convention, however, assembled and appointed a committee of nine whose report, stating the grievances and inconveniences under which the district labored, was signed by the President and sent to every town and settlement in Maine, and the Convention appointed another Convention to be held at the same place on September 6 1786; it was also voted to request the towns and plantations at their next March meetings to choose delegates and to certify the number of votes for and against the choice.

A convention, consisting of thirty-one members, was accordingly assembled and a committee to petition the General Court that the District of Maine be erected into a separate state and adjourned to January 3, 1787. On its re-assembling, the Convention found that of the ninety-three towns and plantations in Maine, only forty had been represented in any Convention, and of those only thirty-two had returned their votes; that was the whole number of votes returned was only 994, of which 645 were in favor of separation and 349 were opposed. Finally, the Convention, by a majority of two, directed the Committee to present or retain the petition, at their discretion, and adjourned from time to time until September, 1788, when it ejected the non-attendance of its members. The Committee finally decided to present the petition in 1788, and it was only referred to a committee of the General Court, which was the end of the agitation for nearly thirty years.

At the close of the war of 1812–15, the subject was revived, and at the January session of General Court in 1816, petitions were presented from forty-nine Maine towns in their corporate capacity, and individuals in many others, in favor of separation, wherein the Legislature directed town and plantation meetings to be held on the question throughout the district on May 20.

At the June session, it was found that out of the total number of 37,828 legal voters Only 16,891 had voted, of whom 10,393 favored separation and 6,501 opposed it. Thereupon, the Legislature of Massachusetts called for a second vote from the district in September and authorized each town to choose delegates to a convention to be held at Brunswick on the last Monday in September, which should count the votes, and if five-ninths of the votes returned were in favor of separation, they should also form a Constitution, but not otherwise.

A Convention of 185 delegates assembled and elected William King, of Bath, President, but of the 23,316 votes cast, only 11,969, a majority of less than five ninths, were for separation. Nevertheless, the Convention appointed a committee to frame a constitution and another to apply to Congress for admission into the Union and then adjourned to December.

But the General Court, convening in the meantime, dissolved the Convention. Still, the agitation continued, and at the May session of 1819, petitions for separation were presented from about seventy towns. By an act passed June 19, the General Court directed the voters of Maine to vote on the question July 24, and if the majority in favor of separation should exceed 1,500, the governor was authorized to proclaim the result and to direct the towns at the September election to choose delegates to a constitutional convention.

On August 24, Governor Brooks made the proclamation that separation had been carried out by the requisite majority of 9,959 to 7,132, and issued his call for a convention. The delegates chosen for the next month assembled at the convention in Portland on October 11 and organized by electing William King, President, and Robert C. Vose, Secretary.

The Convention completed the proposed Constitution on October 29 and adjourned to January 5, 1820, after submitting it to the people in town meetings to be held in December 6,1819.

On re-assembling, the Convention found that the Constitution had been adopted by
a large majority and announced the result to the people of Maine, as did Governor Brooks in his message to the General Court of Massachusetts. The Convention also applied to Congress for admission, which was granted by the Act of March 3, 1820, and Maine became an independent state of the Union on March 15, 1820.

During its connection with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, six new counties were included within the District of Maine, viz.—

Hancock and Washington, May 2, 1790, by act of June 25, 1789;
Kennebec, April 1, 1799; —February 21, 1799;
Oxford, —March 4, 1805;
Somerset, June 1, 1809;— March 1, 1809;
Penobscot, April 1, 1816;— February 15, 1816.

Since its independent existence, seven other counties have been organized in Maine. viz:-
Waldo, July 4, 1827, by act of February 7, 1827;
Franklin, May 9, 1838;  “March 20, 1838;
Piscataquis, May 1, 1838; March 23, 1838;
Aroostook, May 2, 1839; “”March 16, 1839;
Androscoggin, “.. March 18, 1854; March 31, 1854.”
Sagadahoc, April 5, 1854.” “April 4, 1854;
Knox, April 1, 1860,”… March 5, 1860;
being in all sixteen counties.

In conclusion, it may be said that private land titles in Maine are derived from six principal sources.

I— Possession.
II— Indian deeds.
III— The patent of the French King Louis XIV, in 1603, to Monsieur de la Motte Cadillac; substantially confirmed by a resolution of the General Court of Massachusetts Bay passed on July 6, 1787. 
IV— The Great Charter of New England, granted by James I, King of Great Britain, to the North Virginia or Plymouth Colony, issued November 3, 1620; through divers grants made by the Plymouth Council before the signing of its Charter in 1635, viz: between 1622 and 1632.
V— The Provincial Charter granted by Charles T., King of Great Britain, to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, April 3, 1639; through various grants from Gorges prior to the sale of his charter by his grandson Ferdinando Gorges to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1677, and through grants directly from the Colony of Massachusetts ‘Bay and the Province and State of Massachusetts after said sale.
VI— The Royal Charter issued by Charles I to the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, March 4, 1628; through grants directly from the colony after its assertion of a claim, thereunder to Latitude 43° 43′ 12″ and to 43° 49′ 12″ in 1652 and 1673.

The political sovereignty and authority of government in Maine is derived of course, directly from the act of Congress admitting Maine into the Union, passed March 3, 1820, and the consent of Massachusetts expressed in the act of its General Court passed June 19, 1819. The independence of Massachusetts itself rests on the Declaration of the Continental Congress, adopted on July 4, 1776. The Province of Massachusetts Bay, which sent its delegates to the Congress was chartered by William and Mary on October 7, 1691, which charter is, roughly speaking, the basis of the government of the States of Massachusetts and Maine.
Yet the germs of the State of Maine are to be found in the. grant of James I to the North Virginia or Plymonth Colony, issued November 3, 1620, and to the Pilgrim Colony of Massachusetts, dated June 1, 1621, and what is known as the Warwick Patent to the Pilgrim’s issued in 1629–30; in the two grants of his son Charles T, one to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, dated April 3, 1639, and purchased by Massachusetts Bay in 1677; the other to the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, March 4, 1628–9; in the extinction conquest of the claim maintained by France to the eastern part of Maine until the capture of Canada by the British government in 1759, and in terms of the Treaty of Independence of September 3, 1783, by which Great Britain conceded to the United States a boundary that includes within the limits of the District of Illinois a portion of territory in the Northwest extending beyond the terms of any prior grant from the British Crown, but which was curtailed on the Northeast by releasing to Great Britain its territory northerly of the river St. John, in the settlement of the Northeastern boundary in 1842. 

Legislature of the State of Maine. “The Revised Statutes of the State of Maine, Passed August 29, 1883, and Taking Effect January 1,1884.”, Portland, Loring, Short & Harmon and William M. Marks. 1884. https://lldc.mainelegislature.org/Open/RS/RS1883/RS1883_f0005-0017_Land_Titles.pdf

Map of halifax and Dartmouth 1887

There’s a few Dartmouth references included here: (187) L. Sterns & Son, dry goods, carpets, floor oil cloths, etc., Water St., Dartmouth, (205) Hospital for Insane, Dartmouth (206) Dartmouth Town Hall, (207) Exhibition building, Dartmouth, (218) Public School, Dartmouth.

Wharves noted include Chebucto Marine Railway Co with repairing slips south of Boggs Street, J. Cammel and Lawler south of Portland Street at Water Street, Dartmouth Steam Ferry Co at Portland, Waddell and Walker between Ochterloney and North, and Symonds at Church Street.

“Map of Halifax and Dartmouth 1887”, https://archives.novascotia.ca/maps/archives/?ID=1058&Page=202012414

“The history of Kings County, Nova Scotia, heart of the Acadian land”

Governor Cornwallis initiated courts of justice based on English common law in 1749, leading to the establishment of County Courts and a General Court. This book asserts that in January 1757 (as do others), Nova Scotia took its first steps in transitioning from being ruled solely by the Governor and Council to establishing a Representative Assembly, comprising twelve members for the province and additional representatives for various townships, including Dartmouth. Members and voters were required to be Protestant, above twenty-one years old, and possess a freehold estate in their district. The first Assembly convened in October 1758 (this time without a representative for Dartmouth), followed by adjustments to representation in subsequent years.

Over time, the judicial system evolved, with the introduction of Circuit Courts and changes in court jurisdictions. The New England town meeting model influenced local governance, coexisting with courts to address various civic matters, including poor relief. Dartmouth held town meetings until its incorporation as a town. The narrative also explores the growth of Baptist communities, the role of the clergy, and the social and political dynamics during the American War. Additionally, it mentions the formation of Light Infantry companies and the challenges faced by Governor Legge in maintaining loyalty during the conflict.

Following this overview, the subsequent text comprises brief biographies of prominent figures and families who are connected to Dartmouth in some capacity.


“Until January, 1757, the Governor and Council ruled alone in Nova Scotia, at that time, after long debate, it was decided that a Representative Assembly should be created, and that there should be elected for the province at large, until counties should be formed, twelve members, besides four for the township of Halifax, two for the township of Lunenburg and one each for the townships of Dartmouth, Lawrencetown (both in Halifax County), Annapolis Royal, and Cumberland. The bounds of these townships were described, and it was resolved that when twenty-five qualified electors should be settled at Piziquid, Minas, Cobequid, or any other district that might in the future be erected into a township, any one of these places should be entitled to send one representative to the Assembly and should likewise have the right to vote in the election of representatives for the province at large.

Members and voters must not be “Popish recusants”, nor be under the age of twenty-one years, and each must have a freehold estate in the district he represented or voted for. The first Assembly met in Halifax on Monday, October 2, 1758, when nineteen members—six “esquires”, and thirteen “gentlemen”, were sworn in. At a meeting of the Council in August, 1759, soon after the dissolution of the second session of the first Assembly, the Council fixed the representation of the township of Halifax at four members, and of Lunenburg, Annapolis, Horton, and Cumberland, at two each. For the newly formed counties of Halifax, Lunenburg, Annapolis, King’s, and Cumberland, there were to be two each.”

County Government, Public Officials:

“When Governor Cornwallis came to Nova Scotia in 1749, one of his earliest acts was the erection and commissioning of courts of justice for the carrying out of the principles of English common law. In pursuance of his orders from the crown he at once erected three courts, a Court of General Sessions, a County Court, having jurisdiction over the whole province, and a General Court or Court of Assize and General Jail Delivery, in which the Governor and Council for the time being, sat at judges. In 1752, the County Court was abolished, and a Court of Common Pleas similar to the Superior Courts of Common Pleas of New England erected in its place. In 1754, Jonathan Belcher, Esq., was appointed the first Chief Justice of the province, and the General Court was supplanted by a Supreme Court, in which the Chief Justice was the sole judge.

In 1829 Judge Haliburton wrote: “There is no separate Court of Common Pleas for the Province, but there are courts in each county, bearing the same appellation and resembling it in many of its powers. These courts when first constituted had power to issue both mesne and final process to any part of the Province, and had a concurrent jurisdiction with the Supreme Court in all civil causes. They were held in the several counties by Magistrates, or such other persons as were best qualified to fill the situation of judges, but there was no salary attached to the office, and fees, similar in their nature, but smaller in amount than those received by the Judges of the Supreme Court, were the only remuneration given them for their trouble. As the King’s bench was rising in reputation, from the ability and learning of its Judges, these courts fell into disuse, and few causes of difficulty or importance were tried in them. It was even found necessary to limit their jurisdiction, and they were restrained from issuing mesne process out of the county in which they sat.

The exigencies of the country requiring them to be put into a more efficient state, a law was passed in 1824 for dividing the Province into three districts or circuits and the Governor was empowered to appoint a professional man to each circuit, as first Justice of the several courts of Common Pleas within the District, and also as President of the courts of sessions. In 1774 an act of the Legislature was passed, first establishing the circuits of the Supreme Court. At Halifax the terms were fourteen days, liberty, however, being allowed for longer terms if the number of cases to be tried demanded an extension of time. No less than eighteen or twenty acts of the legislature relative to the times of holding the courts in the province, were passed between 1760 and 1840. In 1824 an act was passed changing the constitution of the courts of Common Pleas, and dividing the province into three Judicial Districts: the Eastern District, to comprise the county of Sydney, the districts of Pictou and Colchester, and the county of Cumberland; the Middle District, the counties of Hants, King’s, Lunenburg, and Queens; the Western District, the counties of Annapolis and Shelburne. In 1841, by an act of the legislature, the Inferior Courts of Common Pleas were abolished and the administration of law was generally improved.

With the advent of the New England planters to the county, came the introduction of New England’s time honoured institution, the Town Meeting.

[An institution on the radar of those in Dartmouth long before being enacted in law in Dartmouth township, a practice which continued for the first few decades of its existence as an incorporated Town. Martin indicates the last of the “old style” (New England) Town meetings in Dartmouth was held in 1902].

“The New England town meeting was and still is”, says Charles Francis Adams, “the political expressions of the town”, and many writers have spoken of the influence the institution has had in developing and conserving that spirit of independence and sense of liberty which have been characteristic of the New England colonies and colonies sprung from New England. In all the New England settlements in Nova Scotia, the Town Meeting was from the first, in conjunction with the Court of Sessions, the source of local government. The Court of Sessions was composed of the magistrates or justices of the peace, the chairman of which was the Gustos Botulorum, and its secretary, the Clerk of the Peace. By this court, the constables, assessors, surveyors of highways, school commissioners, pound keepers, fence viewers, and trustees of school lands, were appointed. In the Town Meeting the rate-payers met to discuss freely all local affairs, not the least important matter under its jurisdiction being always the relief and support of the poor and the appointment of overseers and a clerk of overseers for carrying out the provisions for the needy the Town Meeting made. For many years it was customary for certain rate-payers to “bid off” one or more poor men, women, or children, for stipulated sums to be paid weekly by the town. In these cases, where it was possible, the rate-payers made the poor whom they bid off, useful in their homes [“parties in need of domestic servants will now have no difficulty in supplying themselves.”]; for such service, and for the sum they received, giving the unfortunates, board, lodging, and clothes. Many persons also, who became town charges were “farmed out” to men who made their living wholly or in part by boarding them. See also “The Great Awakening in Nova Scotia, 1776-1809”, Armstrong, Maurice Whitman] .

Up to 1790, and how much later we do not know, the Town Meetings of Cornwallis were held in the Meeting-House, but after that they were held in some other convenient place. In 1839 an act was passed to enable the inhabitants of Cornwallis to provide a public Town House for the holding of elections in that township. For this building the township was to be assessed in a sum not to exceed two hundred pounds. In 1879 the three townships of the county were united in a central government, and the Town Meeting and Court of Sessions became things of the past. In place of the three townships now arose the Municipality of King’s County, the sole governing body of which is the Municipal Council. Under this new system the county is divided into fourteen wards, twelve of which elect one councillor each, and two, two councillors, for a term of two years. The Council as a whole then elects a Warden, who corresponds to the Custos Rotulorum, of the old Court of Sessions, and whatever other officers it was the duty of the Court of Sessions to elect. Under the Municipality’s control thus came all the interests that formerly pertained to both the Town Meeting and the Court of Sessions. The change of the county to a Municipality was affected at a meeting held at the court house on Tuesday, January 13, 1879, pursuant to a notice by the then Sheriff, John Marshall Caldwell.”

“Before 1888 the only towns in the Province incorporated, besides Halifax, were Dartmouth, Pictou, Windsor, New Glasgow, Sydney, North Sydney, and Kentville.”

“Barristers and Attorneys in King’s County: … James Ratchford De Wolf (long Medical Superintendent of the Insane Hospital at Dartmouth, N. S.)”

“The next rector of Aylesford was the Rev. Richard Avery, son of John and Elizabeth (Simmons) Avery, who was bom at Southampton, England, and educated there, at Warminster, and at Oxford, his brothers, the Rev. John S. Avery, M. A., and the Rev. William Avery, B. A., being chiefly his tutors. Passing the Clerical Board of the S. P. G. in London, Mr. Avery was sent out as a Deacon to Nova Scotia, and by Bishop John Inglis was given the curacy of Lunenburg. In the spring of 1842 he was called as assistant to St. Paul’s Church, Halifax, and Christ Church, Dartmouth”

“In 1827, the Rev. George Struthers, also of the Established Church of Scotland, who afterwards (the Rev. John Martin of Halifax officiating), January 28, 1830, married Mr. Forsyth’s eldest daughter, Mary, and the Rev. Morrison were sent from Scotland by the Lay Association as missionaries to Nova Scotia. At once Mr. Struthers came to Horton, Mr. Morrison going to Dartmouth, which place he afterwards left for Bermuda.”

“The Baptist body in Nova Scotia had its birth in a general religious Revival, and its growth may largely be traced through later similar revivals. Of these revivals King’s County has had always its share, and out of them have come undoubtedly a great deal of deep, continuing religious life.

In 1809 the members of the Cornwallis Baptist Church numbered sixty-five, in 1810 fifty-six, in 1811 sixty-three, in 1812 seventy-three, in 1813 sixty-five, in 1814 sixty-eight, and in 1820 a hundred and twenty-four.

Mr. Manning’s pastorate of the Church lasted until his death, which occurred, as we have said, on the 12th of January, 1851. In 1847, on account of his failing health, the Rev. Abram Spurr Hunt, a young graduate of Acadia College of 1844 (and master of arts of 1851), was chosen to assist him. “When Mr. Manning died Mr. Hunt succeeded to the pastorate, and in this office remained until November, 1867, when he resigned and removed to Dartmouth, the well known suburb of Halifax.”

“On the breaking out of the American War in 1775, Light Infantry companies were ordered by the Governor to be formed in the various townships of King’s and other counties. The number of the King’s County contingent was to be fifty men at Cornwallis, fifty at Horton, and fifty at Windsor, Newport, and Falmouth, together. Fearing sympathy on the part of the Nova Scotians who had come from New England with their rebellious kinsmen in the New England colonies, Governor Legge further ordered that all grown men in the several townships should take an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. … Among the men sent from England to govern the province of Nova Scotia during nearly a century and a quarter, not one ever showed such ill-temper as Governor Legge, the incumbent of the governorship at the outbreak of the war. His charges of disloyalty towards England included, not only the inhabitants of the province who had recently come from New England, but the staunchest members of the Council at Halifax as well. As early as January, 1776, he writes disparaging letters concerning the New England settlers to the British Secretary of State. A law has been passed, he says, to raise fresh militia troops, and he has been endeavouring to arm the people, but he has just been informed from Annapolis and King’s counties that the people in general refuse to be enrolled. Though Governor Campbell ‘s report to Lord Hillsborough in 1770 had stated that he did not discover in the people of Nova Scotia any of that “licentious principle” with which the neighbouring colonies were infected, it is a well known fact that in Cumberland, in 1776, the greatest disaffection towards England did prevail. That it would have been perfectly natural if the people of the midland counties of Nova Scotia had sympathized with New England in her protest against the abuse of power on the part of the British Government from which she had long suffered must be freely admitted, that among the inhabitants of Annapolis, King’s, and Hants such sympathy was outwardly shown, remains yet to be proved.

It is a well known fact that the King’s Orange Rangers, a Loyalist corps raised in Orange County, New York, through the efforts of Lieut.-Col. John Bayard in 1776 and ’77, in October, 1778, were sent to reinforce the King’s troops in Nova Scotia, and that until the disbandment of the corps in 1783 they were employed chiefly in garrison duty in Halifax. The statement of the writer of the manuscript in question is that in King’s County symptoms of rebellion strongly showed themselves, one of these being that certain King’s County people were even preparing to raise a liberty pole. This seditious spirit in King’s being reported to the government at Halifax by Major Samuel Starr, a detachment of the Orange Rangers stationed at Eastern Battery, Halifax, was ordered to Cornwallis, under command of Major Samuel Vetch Bayard.”


Biographies:

“JAMES Fillis AVERY, M. D. Dr. James Fillis Avery, son of Cap.t. Samuel and Mary (Fillis) Avery, was born in Horton, May 22, 1794, and for three years studied medicine with Dr. Almon in Halifax. He then went to Edinburgh, where he graduated in 1821. After graduation he spent six months in the Hospital of the Royal Guard at Paris, under the superintendence of the noted Baron Larrey, the first Napoleon’s principal medical adviser. Dr. Avery practised medicine in Halifax and also founded there, in George Street, the noted drug firm, which for many years he personally conducted. From this firm, in time, sprang the firms of Messrs. Brown Brothers, and Brown and “Webb. In later life he retired from business, and for some time travelled in Europe. He was an early governor of Dalhousie College, was an elder in St. Matthew’s Presbyterian Church, on Pleasant Street, and was interested in many philanthropic institutions. Among the business enterprises that he took substantial interest in was the Shubenacadie Canal, from Dartmouth to the Bay of Fundy. The first (and probably only) vessel that ever went through that canal, it is said, was called for him. The Avery. For many years, until his death. Dr. Avery’s residence was on South Street, adjoining that of Mr. George Herbert Starr, who had married his niece, Rebecca (Allison) Sawers. Dr. Avery died unmarried, universally respected, Nov. 28, 1887, and was buried near his parents at Grand Pre.

ALFRED CHIPMAN COGSWELL, D. D. S. Alfred Chipman Cogswell, son of Winckworth Allen and Caroline Eliza (Barnaby) Cogswell, was born in Upper Dyke village, Cornwallis, July 17, 1834. He married, Oct. 8, 1858, Sarah A., dau. of Col. Oliver and Sarah A. Parker, born in Bangor, Me., Oct. 10,1830, and had two sons. His residence for many years was in Halifax and in Dartmouth. Dr. Cogswell studied for two years at Acadia College, and then on account of ill health abandoned his college course. His studies in dentistry were later pursued in Portland, Me., and his first practice was in Wakefield, Mass. In 1859 he removed to Halifax, N. S., where he formed a partnership with Dr. Lawrence B. Van Buskirk. Some years later he graduated as D. D. S. at the College of Dentistry in Philadelphia. For many years Dr. Cogswell was a successful and skillful practitioner in Halifax, where he was also an elder in St. Matthew’s Presbyterian Church. The younger of his sons, Arthur W., in 1884 received the degree of M. D., and was appointed Surgeon of the Halifax Provincial and City Hospital.

HON. THOMAS ANDREW STRANGE DeWOLF, M. E. G. Hon. Thomas Andrew Strange DeWolf, M. P. P., M. E. C, fourth son of Judge Elisha and Margaret (Ratchford) DeWolf, born April 19, 1795, married December 30, 1817, or March 26, 1818, his first cousin, Nancy, daughter of Col. James and Mary (Crane) Ratchford, born June 1, 1798. Mr. DeWolf represented the County of Kings from 1837 until 1848. He was made a member of H. M.(first) Executive Council, February 10, 1838, and was subsequently Collector of Customs. When a qualification bill authorizing the election of non-resident members was introduced in the legislature as a government measure, he resigned from the Executive Council. He died at “Wolfville, September 21, 1878 ; his widow died at Dartmouth, March 10, 1883. Hon. T. A. S. DeWolf had fourteen children, the most important of whom was James Ratchford DeWolf, M. D., L. R. C. S. E. and L. M., of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh.

THE REV. ABEAM SPURR HUNT, M. A. Eev. Abram Spurr Hunt, though not a native of King’s County, was for many years, as Rev. Edward Manning’s immediate successor, pastor of the Cornwallis First Baptist Church. He was born at Clements, Annapolis county, April 7, 1814, grad. at Acadia in 1844 (its second class), and on the 10th of Nov. of that year, was ordained over the newly formed Baptist Church at Dartmouth, N. S. In 1844 also, he married Catharine Johnstone, eldest surviving daughter of Lewis Johnston, M. D., and niece of Hon. Judge James William Johnstone, and in 1846, removed to Wolfville, where for a winter he studied theology under the Rev. Dr. Crawley. In 1847 he became assistant pastor to Rev. Edward Manning at Cornwallis, and in 1851, at Mr. Manning’s death, succeeded to the pastorate. Until 1867 he continued pastor of the Cornwallis Church, his ministry being in every sense a successful one. His field of labour, however, was so wide and his duties so arduous that at last he was obliged to seek an easier parish. When he determined to remove from Cornwallis, the Dartmouth Church recalled him, and to that Church he continued to minister till his death, which occurred, October 23, 1877. In 1870 he was also made Superintendent of Education for the Province, and the duties of this office he also discharged until his death. Mr. Hunt’s children were: Eliza Theresa, married as his 2nd wife, to the Hon. Judge Alfred William Savary, of Annapolis, so well known as a jurist and historian (see among other writings, the Calnek-Savary “History of Annapolis,” and the “Savary Family”); Lewis Gibson, M. D., D. C. L., of London, England ; James Johnstone, D. C. L., Barrister of Halifax; Aubrey Spurr; Ella Maud, m. to the Rev. Arthur Crawley Chute, D. D., Professor in Acadia University ; Rev. Ralph M., a clergyman, who died young, deeply lamented. Mrs. Abram Spurr Hunt, a woman of high breeding and exalted Christian character, survived her husband between seventeen and eighteen years. She died in Dartmouth, Halifax, May 29, 1895.

MAJOR GEORGE ELEANA MORTON Major George Eleana Morton was one of King’s County’s most excellent and enterprising sons. He was a son of Hon. John and Anne (Cogswell) Morton, was born at Upper Dyke village, Cornwallis, March 25, 1811, and was one of the pupils of the Rev. William Forsyth. Going to Halifax at about eighteen years of age he entered a drug store on Granville Street, which business he afterward purchased. In 1852 he erected the stone building at the corner of Granville and George Streets, long known as “Morton’s Comer,” where for many years he conducted a wholesale and retail drug business, at that time the largest in the province. He was the first business man in Halifax to send out a commercial traveller. About 1870 he closed his drug business and opened a book and periodical store, and a lending library of current literature. He retired from business in 1888, and died as the result of an accident, Mar. 12, 1892, and was buried in Dartmouth. Mr. Morton was a man of great intelligence, and of distinctly literary tastes, and his contributions to the press, both in prose and verse, were numerous. In 1852 he published, in conjunction with Miss Mary J. Katzmann, The Provincial, a monthly magazine. Later he published a satirical magazine called Banter. In 1875 he wrote and published the first “Guide to Halifax,” and in 1883, a “Guide to Cape Breton.” His newspaper articles appeared chiefly in the Guardian, the British Colonist, and other newspapers. He was unusually well read in English literature, and his writings contain many quotations from classical authors. He was an accomplished letter writer, and for many years kept up an interesting correspondence with friends abroad, especially with his cousin. Dr. Charles Cogswell. He was one of the original members of the N. S. Historical Society, and was always actively interested in the work of that Society. In religion he was a Presbyterian, his membership being in St. Matthew’s Church. In politics a Conservative, he was for many years a personal friend of Messrs. Johnstone, Tupper, Parker, Holmes, Marshall, and other Conservative leaders. He was an ardent supporter of confederation, and had great faith in the future of the Dominion. Nov. 23, 1859, he was appointed 1st Lieut, in the 2nd Queen’s Halifax Regt. ; Sept. 23, 1862, he was appointed Captain. On the reorganization of the militia by the Dominion Government he was retired with the rank of Major. He was one of the promoters of the N. S. Telegraph Company, was original shareholder of the N. S. Sugar Refinery, and shortly after the discovery of gold in 1860, became interested in gold-mining. He held mining claims at Waverly, Montagu, Elmsdale, and Lawrencetown. George Elkana Morton married in Halifax, in March, 1849, Martha Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Christian Conrad Casper and Martha (Prescott) Katzmann, bom Apr. 2, 1823, died Apr. 6, 1899. He had children: Annie, born Dec. 13, 1850, died Mar. 29, 1855; Charles Cogswell, born Aug. 14, 1852, married Apr. 27, 1905, Winifred, daughter of Leonard and Lucy Leadley, of Dartmouth, N.S., and now resides in Kentville. For the Katzmann Family, see the Prescott Family Sketch.”

“Of the Bishop families of Horton many members have occupied positions of trust and many have attained prominence in the communities where they lived. Such have been … Watson Bishop, of Dartmouth, N. S., Superintendent of Water Works for that town”

“THE KEMPTON FAMILY The Rev. Samuel Bradford Kempton, D. D., now of Dartmouth, N. S., but for many years the honoured third pastor of the Cornwallis First Baptist Church, in succession to the Rev. Abram Spurr Hunt, is the son of Stephen and Olivia Harlowe (Locke) Kempton, and was b. at Milton, Queen’s county, Nov. 2, 1834. He received his early education at Milton Academy, and in 1857 entered Horton Academy. In 1862 he graduated, B. A., at Acadia University. He then spent a year at Acadia under the instruction of Rev. John Mockett Cramp, D. D., in post-graduate work. In 1833 he was ordained pastor of Third Horton Baptist Church, and in 1867 became pastor of the First Cornwallis Baptist Church. In that position he remained until 1893, when he removed to Dartmouth, as pastor of the Dartmouth Baptist Church. Dr. Kempton received his M. A., from Acadia University in 1872, and the honorary degree of D. D. in 1894. Prom 1878 to 1907 he was one of the governors of Acadia, and in 1882 was appointed a member of the Senate of the University. His ministry at Cornwallis was laborious and faithful, he had six preaching stations and was obliged to travel many miles every week. He married in Horton, Oct. 1, 1867, Eliza Allison, dau. of Abraham and Nancy Rebecca (Allison) Seaman, and had two children : Rev. Austin Tremaise, b. Feb. 6, 1870, m. June 7,1893, Charlotte H. Freeman; William Bradford, b. May 29, 1885, d. July 17, 1893. Of these sons, Rev. Austin Tremaise Kempton graduated at Acadia University in 1891, and received his M. A. in course in 1894. He was ordained to the Baptist ministry at Milton, Queen’s county, N. S., in 1891, later studied at Newton Theological Seminary, and has since held pastorates in Sharon, Boston, Pitchburg and Lunenburg, Mass. He has also been a successful lecturer, his lectures on the “Acadian Country” having done much to make the charms of King’s County known throughout New England.

Of one, at least, of the Orpin grantees, and the family from which he sprang, a writer in the Halifax Herald of January 25, 1899, gave the following interesting account: Among the enterprising pioneers who first came to this part of the country to make of the wilderness a fruitful field, was Joseph Moore Orpin and his wife, Anna Johnson Orpin. Mr. Orpin ‘s father, Edward Orpin, was one of the founders of the city of Halifax. He first took up land on the Dartmouth side of the harbor, and employed men to subdue and clear it of a forest of trees and a heavy crop of stone.

One day while he was on his way with a lad, sixteen years old, named Etherton, carrying dinner to the men working on his land, he was surprised and captured by the [Mi’kmaq]. They compelled silence and began their march with their captives in the direction of Shubenacadie. They had not gone far when one of the [Mi’kmaq] gave the boy a heavy blow, felling him to the ground. Instantly his crown was scalped and he was left for dead. After travelling some distance, Mr. Orpin found that one of his shoes was unbuckled. He stopped and pointed it out to the [Mi’kmaq] walking behind him. As he stooped down to buckle it the [Mi’kmaq] stepped ahead of him. Orpin saw his chance, caught up a hemlock knot, and as quick as lightning gave the [indigenous man] a blow which brought him to the ground. He had confidence in his own fleetness of foot. Instantly he was flying for liberty.

As soon as the [Mi’kmaq] in advance discovered the trick, and recovered from their surprise, they gave him chase. But Orpin was too fleet for them. He escaped and reached home in safety. Strange to relate the boy returned to the city soaked from head to foot in his own blood. The doctors of the city did what they could to heal his scalp wound. They succeeded only in part. Directed by them a silversmith made a silver plate, which the young fellow wore over his unhealed wound. After a time he returned to England.

In the same year Mr. Orpin had still another adventure with the [indigenous] neighbors of the young colony. On this occasion, too, he was on his way to the place where his men were at work, carrying them their dinners. Again he was seized by the skulking [Mi’kmaq] , and hurried away toward Shubenacadie. After reaching one of the lakes, the [Mi’kmaq] stopped to take a meal. For a special treat, Mr. Orpin was carrying a bottle of rum to his men with their dinners. At the lake the [Mi’kmaq] drank the whole of it, and it made them helplessly drunk. This was good fortune for the captive. He reached Halifax again with the scalp safe on his head. This last experience made him more cautious for a long time. The stony ground in Dartmouth, and his trouble with the [Mi’kmaq], induced him to give up his Dartmouth lot and commence anew on the Halifax side of the harbor. Some years later, he went to the North West Arm. He never returned. Diligent and thorough search was made for him; but he could not be found. The belief at the time was the [Mi’kmaq] caught him again and took secret revenge on him in torturing him to death at their leisure.”

“…the Katzmann family of Halifax county demands notice. Lieut. Christian Conrad Casper Katzmann, b. in Eimbeck, Hanover, Prussia, Aug. 18, 1780, came to Annapolis Royal, N. S., as ensign (he is also called adjutant, 3rd Battalion) of H. M. 60th Regt. He m. (1) in Annapolis Royal (by Rev. John Millidge), June 11, 1818, Eliza Georgina Fraser (who had a sister, Mrs. Robinson, and a brother, James Fraser, Jr., Postmaster at Augusta, Georgia), who d. shortly before April 5, 1819. He m. (2), April 6, 1822, by Bishop Inglis, Martha, dau. of John and Catharine (Cleverley) Prescott, of Maroon Hall, Preston, Halifax county, and retiring from the army, bought Maroon Hall. His children by his 2nd marriage were Martha Elizabeth, b. April 2,1823, m. to George Eleana Morton ; Mary Jane (the authoress), b. Jan. 15, 1828, m. to William Lawson, of Halifax; Anna Prescott, b. Sept. 25, 1832, d. unm.. May 31, 1876. Lieut. Katzmann and his family are buried in Dartmouth, N.S. Mr. and Mrs. John Prescott are probably buried at Preston.”

“THE PYKE FAMILY The Pyke family in King’s County is descended from John Pyke, who came to Halifax with Governor Cornwallis in 1749, it is said as his private secretary, and was killed by Indians in Dartmouth, in August of the next year. His wife was Anne Scroope, b. in 1716, her grandfather or his brother, it is believed, being a baronet in Lincolnshire. Precisely how long before he came to Halifax John Pyke married, it is impossible to say, but his son (and only child, so far as is known), John George, was born in England in 1743. After her first husband’s death, Anne (Scroope) Pyke was married to Richard Wenman, another of the company that came with the Cornwallis fleet, and to her second husband she bore three daughters: Susanna, married to Hon. Benjamin Green, Treasurer of the Province; a daughter m. to Captain Howe, of the Army; another daughter m. to Captain Pringle of the army. Mrs. Anne Wenman died May 21, 1792 ; her husband, Richard Wenman, was buried Sept. 30, 1781.”

Eaton, Arthur Wentworth Hamilton. The history of Kings County, Nova Scotia, heart of the Acadian land. Salem, Mass., The Salem press company, 1910. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/10025852/

Local Government in Nova Scotia

The local government history of Nova Scotia reflects a circuitous progression, from central control to increasing local autonomy and back again to centralized control. From its inception in 1605 with Port Royal, local governance was essentially an extension of central government, lacking elected councils or municipal institutions. Annapolis Royal saw early attempts at local government with the establishment of a civil council in 1720 and a general court in 1721. Halifax’s founding in 1749 marked a shift, with the establishment of Quarter Sessions, allowing for local governance with administrative and judicial functions. The system was influenced by both the Virginia and New England-style systems, with Quarter Sessions and an Inferior Court of Common Pleas.

New England settlers in Halifax demanded greater local self-government, leading to conflicts and eventual incorporation of Halifax in 1841 after a push by figures like Joseph Howe. Despite earlier attempts at incorporation, Halifax faced disallowance due to resistance from the Legislative Council. Meanwhile, outside Halifax, the Quarter Sessions system persisted until 1879 when county incorporation became compulsory, replacing the old system with elected municipal councils. Towns also sought incorporation, Dartmouth being the first in 1873, with eight towns incorporated by 1888.

Towns had to meet population and area requirements for incorporation, with mayors and councillors elected for two-year terms. The councils had broad powers, including taxation and infrastructure development. By 1954, Nova Scotia comprised 18 counties, 24 rural municipalities, 39 incorporated towns, and 2 cities, each with its own local government structure, independent of county or district authority. By 1961 Dartmouth became the third incorporated city.

Functions of local government expanded over time, responding to social and economic changes. Traditional roles included regulation and service provision, such as supporting the poor, maintaining roads, and education. However, more modern demands led to the development of new services like community planning, housing, and recreation.

Financially, municipalities initially relied on property taxes but faced challenges due to increased demands and inflation. Provincial assistance, through grants and shared responsibilities, became essential, especially during times of war and economic downturns. Tax rental agreements and conditional grants help fund services like education and social assistance, reflecting a shift towards greater Provincial and Federal involvement.

Since the 1996 amalgamation, which unilaterally consolidated several local entities into one unit, local government in Nova Scotia has undergone significant restructuring. The dissolution of distinct municipalities has reshaped the landscape, upending established institutions, the concept of local government itself and the constitutional frameworks upon which it relied.


Background:
Although there were no parliamentary institutions of any kind in the area during the French regime, local government of one sort or another has existed in Nova Scotia from the founding of Port Royal in 1605. It began not with elected municipal councils, nor with incorporated towns and cities, not even with the Court of Sessions or the Quarter Sessions. In its beginning it was essentially an extension of the arm of the central government.

…central administration at Annapolis Royal was modified and a measure of local government was provided. At Annapolis Royal a civil council was established in 1720 and a general court in 1721. The Acadians continued to choose their own deputies annually; Acadians acted as collectors of quit rents, notaries, herdsmen and overseers; and one Acadian (notwithstanding the difficulty over oaths of office) was commissioned justice of the peace in 1727. At Canso from 1720 there were justices of the peace, who were also usually captains of the militia there. Moreover, during his visits to Canso, Lieutenant-Governor Armstrong gave at least a semblance of local government to the place, by consulting the justices of the peace and a committee of the people there. “the least appearance of a Civil Government:’ he wrote, “being much more agreeable to Inhabitants than that of a Martial.”

Quarter Sessions:
With the founding of Halifax by more than 2500 people from the Old Country in 1749, the seat of government was transferred to it from Annapolis Royal, and soon a system of local government by Quarter Sessions was established in the new capital. This system had been in operation in England for a long time; it was now transplanted in Nova Scotia. The Court of Quarter Sessions, composed of Justices of the Peace appointed by the Governor and Council, enabled the central government to extend its influence into local affairs. The Quarter Sessions had administrative as well as judicial functions; these included the appointment of local officers; licensing of taverns; control over weights and measures; fixing of certain prices; levying of poor and county rates; and control over roads and bridges, prisons and hospitals, and other public works.

The first Justices of the Peace for the Township of Halifax were commissioned on July 18, 1749. In December of the same year justices of the County Court were appointed, and a commission of the peace for the appointment of justices of the town and county of Halifax was issued. The justices of the County Court took their oath of office on December 27, 1749. and the County Court met for the first time on January 2, 1750. Although the first records of the Quarter Sessions are not now available (few being extant prior to 1766), it is likely that the Quarter Sessions first met on the same day as the County Court. Thus it seems quite clear that the Quarter Sessions were established at Halifax early in 1750. A year later the people were given a direct voice in choosing certain minor town officers. On January 14, 1751 the Governor and Council ordered that the town and suburbs of Halifax were to be divided into eight wards, and that the inhabitants were to be empowered annually to choose eight town overseers, one town clerk, sixteen constables and eight scavengers, for managing such prudential affairs of the town as should be committed to their care by the Governor and Council. For several years the annual election of constables was the only part of local government in which the people directly participated, and this was afterwards taken over by the Quarter Sessions.

If settlers from Old England founded Halifax, people from New England soon constituted the most important element in the new town. They quickly arrived in considerable numbers, in order to take advantage of the opportunities in trade or of the privileges accorded to settlers. Jealousy soon arose between the New World and the Old World settlers. with those from New England insisting upon a greater measure of local self-government and upon the adoption of practices to which they had previously been accustomed. At the outset the government had been modelled after that of Virginia, and accordingly, a County Court, meeting monthly, had been established. By March 2, 1752, however, a change was made in line with New England practice. The County Court became an Inferior Court of Common Pleas, meeting not monthly, but quarterly, on the first Tuesday in March, the first Tuesday in June, the first Tuesday in September, and the first Tuesday in December. As the justices of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas were also Justices of the Peace, the Quarter Sessions opened the same day as the Inferior Court, and the same Jurymen attended both courts.

For a few years, until a House of Assembly was established in 1758, the Governor and the Council of Twelve at Halifax enjoyed a monopoly of power and patronage. At the first session of the Legislature, however, the Assembly (more than half of whose members were of New England origin) initiated legislation to provide a municipal council for Halifax. Rather than agree to this bill, the Council now prepared a bill of its own for erecting Halifax into a parish, with power to provide for its own poor. A conference between the two houses was held, and a compromise seemed to be reached; yet, when the Assembly embodied this agreement in a bill for choosing town officers for the town and suburbs of Halifax and for prescribing their duty, the Council continued to procrastinate. It apparently resented the Assembly’s initiative and early in the following year it rejected the bill on the ground that it was contrary to His Majesty’s instructions. It is clear that when machinery was provided in 1759 for township government in Halifax victory lay with the Council.

Strange to say, this machinery was provided by a bill entitled “An Act for Preventing Trespasses” [extended to Dartmouth in 1818 “An act to extend the provisions of c15 of 1761 relating to Trespasses, to the Town of Pictou and the Town Plot of Dartmouth, 1818 c23“, see also “For regulating the Dartmouth Common, 1841 c52“, “An Act for Preventing Trespasses“] which was introduced in the Legislative Council and afterwards amended by the Assembly and by the Council. It empowered a joint committee of the Council and Assembly to nominate four suitable overseers of the poor, two clerks of the market, two fence viewers, two hog-reeves, and four surveyors of highways for the town of Halifax to serve until the autumn when the Grand Jury should nominate, and their Court of Sessions should appoint their successors. Thereafter annual selections were to be made in this manner. This machinery became the model for township government in Nova Scotia until 1765, when the mode of appointing town officers was modified. At that time the Grand Jury, selected by lot, was empowered to nominate two or more persons for each office, and the Court of Sessions was empowered to choose and appoint the officers from these nominees. Subsequently, in 1811, it was arranged that the number nominated was to be as the justices in sessions might direct, “as the numbers before limited by law were found insufficient.”

The New England Form of Township Government:
For a brief period the New England form of township government, with the direct democracy of the town meeting, was in operation in part of Nova Scotia. It was introduced at the beginning of a substantial wave of New England migration in 1760. In an attempt to fill up land recently vacated by the Acadians or never previously occupied, the authorities had promised New Englanders central and local institutions similar to their own. Between 1760 and 1765 approximately 8,000 New Englanders migrated to the agricultural townships in the Annapolis Valley, along Minas Basin and across the Isthmus of Chignecto, and to the townships for fishermen and lumbermen along the South Shore. Those who arrived in 1760, accustomed to choosing their own officers and managing their own affairs, immediately inaugurated the same sort of township government in Nova Scotia. A provincial statute was passed to enable proprietors to divide their lands, and they appointed their own committee for this purpose until His Majesty disallowed the Act in 1761. [1760 c3, “An ACT, To Explain An Act, made and passed in the Twenty Third Year of His Majesty’s Reign, entitled, “An Act to enable Proprietors to divide their lands held in common and undivided”]

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1760 c3, “An ACT, To Explain An Act, made and passed in the Twenty Third Year of His Majesty’s Reign, entitled, “An Act to enable Proprietors to divide their lands held in common and undivided”

The Extension of the Quarter Sessions:
The local autonomy and the direct democracy characteristic of township government in the new settlements were soon replaced by the extension of central authority and by the adoption of the principle of indirect rather than direct election. The British and Virginian way of Quarter Sessions prevailed over the New England style of township government.

In 1759 the province was divided into the five counties of Halifax, Annapolis, Kings, Lunenburg and Cumberland. Two years later, after His Majesty disallowed the act passed to enable proprietors to divide their lands, committees for that purpose were appointed by the Governor and Council. In the same year the judicial organization of Quarter Sessions and Inferior Court of Common Pleas that already existed in Halifax County was extended to Lunenburg, Kings and Annapolis Counties, and provision was made for the nomination of surveyors of highways by the Grand Jury at the General Sessions of the Peace. This mode of appointment was soon expanded to include all town officers that were chosen prior to the Act of 1765. It left the choice of the officers exclusively to the Grand Jury; but by the Act of 1765 the Grand Jury could only nominate two or more persons for each office, and then the Court of Quarter Sessions those and appointed the officers from those nominees. The central government regained control over the associated proprietors of the township by a statute prescribing that township lands could be apportioned and divided into individual shares, only after a writ had been obtained for that purpose from the Supreme Court. The provost marshal or his deputy, to whom this writ was to be addressed, had to act by inquisition of a jury in the presence of two Justices of the Peace. As new counties and districts were created, the Quarter Sessions extended into them. This system of local government by Quarter Sessions was the general mode in Nova Scotia for more than a century

Personnel In the Quarter Sessions:
In the Court of Quarter Sessions the sheriff, an appointee of the Crown, was the executive officer. Prior to 1778 there had been one provost marshal for the whole province; but thereafter there was a sheriff for each county. Until 1849 the county sheriff was chosen and appointed by the Governor and Council from a list of three names prepared by the Chief Justice or the presiding Justice. An amendment in 1849 provided for the list of three names to be made by the Chief Justice and a puisne judge for, if the Chief Justice were absent, by two puisne judges, acting with two members of the Executive Council. The Justices of the Peace were also appointed by the Crown, and they held office during the pleasure of the Crown. The Grand Jury was a select few who represented the people. It was composed of residents having freehold property of a yearly value of £10 or personal of £100. Each year the sheriff prepared a list of those qualified to serve, and at a stated time the required number of names was drawn from the box.

The Incorporation of Halifax:

[There have been at least three previous attempts to incorporate Halifax: one in 1758, as noted earlier in the Quarter Sessions section, another in 1785, and a third in 1814. However, each of these endeavors faced disallowance, either from the Legislature or the Legislative Council. In later historical accounts of Joseph Howe, one aspect that has notably been removed is his involvement in the push to incorporate Halifax. This involvement primarily revolved around his confrontation with the magistrates, which, within the framework of the existing Quarter Sessions system, represented the closest semblance to a municipal institution we would recognize today.]


Abuses crept into the system, and there were criticisms of its operation in Halifax. Grand Jury after Grand Jury attacked it; there were complaints of unfair assessment, of inefficiency and neglect in the collecting of poor, and county rates, and of other forms of maladministration. The Grand Jury appealed to the Lieutenant-Governor to remedy the situation, and he requested the House of Assembly to do so. Early in 1835 a letter signed “The People”, but written by George Thompson, charging the magistrates of Halifax with misconduct, was published by Joseph Howe in The Nova Scotian. Howe was then prosecuted for criminal libel; he defended himself in a famous trial, the outcome of which was a triumphant acquittal, establishing the freedom of the press and foreshadowing reform in local government. The cry for incorporation grew more insistent. Eventually the old system was swept from Halifax, with the incorporation of the city in 1841. By the charter of that year Halifax was endowed with municipal privileges and securities. This development in local affairs took place seven years before responsible government was won in the wider field of provincial politics in 1848.

An Interlude:
Outside the city of Halifax, the system of local government by Quarter Sessions persisted relatively undisturbed for over thirty more years. In 1850, however, there was an attempt to divide Halifax County into townships and to provide each of its townships with an elected warden and councillors, who were to assume the administrative powers previously exercised by the Justices of the Peace. But a bill to achieve these ends met the disapproval of the Colonial Secretary.

In 1855-56 two provincial statutes provided machinery for the creation of municipal government in counties desiring it by majority vote. The Act of 1855 applied to the Counties of Yarmouth, Annapolis, Kings and Queens; that of 1856 to all the other counties. These acts were permissive not compulsory. They remained on the statute book until 1879, but the fear of heavier county rates prevented any County from adopting the principle of incorporation during those years.

Another Act of 1856 permitted the voluntary incorporation of townships. The municipal council of each township was to consist of five councillors, one of whom was to be the presiding officer, under the name of town reeve. It was to have power similar to that of a county council over roads, poor relief, assessment, and other matters. Only one township-Yarmouth-took advantage of this legislation and ventured upon the experiment of municipal incorporation; and it abandoned it by a majority vote of the electors, after a three years’ trial, in 1858.

As time passed, however, the larger communities sought more amenities. In order to provide them, they began to request incorporation. Thus the towns seemed more eager than the counties to obtain the privileges of self government, and especially the privileges of assessing for local purposes and of borrowing money. Prior to 1888 eight towns were incorporated. These were Dartmouth, (1873), Pictou (1874), New Glasgow (1875), Windsor (1878), North Sydney (1885), Sydney (1885), and Kentville (1886), each of which was incorporated by special Act.

A New System: Elected Municipal Councils:
By the County Incorporation Act of 1879, the incorporation of counties was made compulsory, and the old system of local government by the Quarter Sessions was at last swept away. Its principal object was to compel the Counties to tax themselves directly to keep up their roads and bridges. It provided for the incorporation of every county and sessional district in the province. Each municipal council was to consist of a warden and councillors, with the warden being chosen by the councillors. From the enactment of this statute to 1892, councillors sat for one year; since 1892, however, their term has been three years. Six of the eighteen counties are divided into two districts, making in all twenty-four rural municipalities. These are divided into polling districts, each of which is entitled according to population to at least one representative in the council. The councils have power to assess for specified purposes, including education, the support of the poor, prevention of disease, administration of justice, court house and jail, protection from fires, and so forth.

The Towns Incorporation Act of Nova Scotia was passed in 1888, revised in 1895, and embodied in the consolidation of 1900 and the revised statutes of 1954. It requires a majority vote of the ratepayers of the town in support of incorporation before it can be granted. It also requires a certain population within a specified area-in 1954 a population of over 1500 within an area of not more than 640 acres was required for any new incorporation. A mayor and not less than six councillors are elected for each town. The mayor and councillors generally hold office for two years; but one-half of the council usually retires each year. The mayor and the councillors are eligible for re-election.

The council has power to assess, collect, and appropriate all sums of money required by the town for erecting, acquiring, improving and furnishing buildings for public schools, fire department, police office, lockups, town hall or other town purpose: streets, sewers, water, town courts, police, support of the poor, salaries, and other town purposes. It appoints town officers, excepting the stipendiary magistrate. Every part of the province is contained within a city, or a town or a rural municipality. The province is divided into eighteen counties. Twelve of the counties constitute separate municipalities; and the remaining six counties are divided into two districts or municipalities each making a total of twenty-four rural municipalities. In addition, there are thirty nine incorporated towns and three cities: Halifax (1841), Sydney (1904), and Dartmouth (1961.)

Each town or city is geographically but not politically part of a county or district, and except for joint expenditures is independent of it.

Local Government in Nova Scotia:
Local government as we know it, has arisen to meet the needs of the people. but it is something more than an agency designed to provide services and to regulate private interests for the public welfare. It has a theoretical foundation as well as a practical responsibility. It is closely linked with the democratic philosophy. Consequently it must be considered not only for its efficiency but also for its place in the democratic process. Local government contributes to the strength of democratic institutions; being close to the people it makes government more responsive to local needs and enables the citizen to participate actively in the affairs of the community. It also serves as a training ground in governmental practices and procedures for those who may later serve the province or the nation.

Structure:
The basic structure of the present system of local government in Nova Scotia must now be outlined. it rests upon the County Incorporation Act of 1879. the Towns Incorporation Act of 1888, and the special Acts by which the three cities were incorporated. It has some relationship to the earlier system of local government by Quarter Sessions, in that the Act of 1879 provided for the compulsory creation of 24 rural Municipalities, based on the boundaries of the Counties and Sessional Districts. Twelve of the eighteen Counties became separate Municipalities, while the remaining six were divided into two Municipalities each. Today there are 66 municipal units: 24 rural municipalities, 39 towns and three cities. These types of municipal units are similar in certain essentials. They are self-governing. Local matters are decided and local services are provided by elected bodies directly representative of the citizens. In addition, they have School Boards, which are chosen partly by the local Council and partly by the Governor-in-Council of the Province. But there are a number of differences. Although for administrative and electoral purposes all rural Municipalities are divided into districts, not all towns are divided into wards. Generally each district in a rural municipality elects one councillor, but some choose two, and a few return three each. In 1959 each of the 24 rural municipalities had from 4 to 24 districts, with from 8 to 26 councillors-a total of 323 districts, with 361 councillors. From late in 1961, however, the Municipality of the County of Halifax has 27 districts and 27 councillors. instead of 22 districts and 26 councillors as heretofore. Municipal councillors are elected for three-year terms.

On the other band, towns may be divided into wards (or electoral purposes, although such divisions are not compulsory. Thus, in 1959, only 11 of the 40 incorporated towns were divided into wards. According to the Towns Incorporation Act, each town must elect at least 6 councillors, each for a two-year term, with half of them retiring each year. If the town is divided into 3 wards, one councillor may be elected (rom each ward per year. Six of the towns are divided into three wards each. New Waterford, North Sydney and Sydney Mines, however, have 8 councillors and 4 wards each, while Glace Bay has 12 councillors and 6 wards. The eleventh 1959 town was Dartmouth, which then had 4 wards and 8 councillors; it has since been incorporated as a city.

Another difference is seen in the way in which Wardens and Mayors are chosen. The Warden of a Municipal Council is chosen by the councillors from among themselves, whereas the Mayor of a Town or a City is elected at large. The Mayor of Halifax, who is elected for a one-year term, may not immediately re-offer after having served for three consecutive years. The Mayor of Sydney is elected at large for a two year term, as is the Mayor of Dartmouth.
The three cities are divided into wards. Halifax now has seven wards; Sydney has six; and Dartmouth has seven. Halifax elects two aldermen for each ward on three-year terms, half being elected each year. Sydney elects a council of 12, half elected each year from six wards for a two-year term. Dartmouth has two aldermen for each of seven wards, half of them elected each year, each elected for a two-year term.

Villages may provide themselves with additional local services, administered by themselves rather than by the Municipal Council. This may be done under the Village Service Act or by special legislation, by incorporating village or service commissions for that purpose. Such villages and service commissions do not constitute separate municipal unit~; only the commissions are incorporated; and the village ratepayers still remain part of the municipality. Under the Village Service Act, the commissioners may provide street lighting, fire protection, sewers, water works. streets, roads, sidewalks, police, garbage disposal, parks, and village buildings. Service commissions incorporated by special legislation may provide fire protection, street lighting, or other services. At the end of 1960 there were 16 village commissions, incorporated under the Village Service Act, in operation, and about 20 service commissions incorporated by special Acts of the Legislature.

Within towns and cities there are a few instances of a similar nature. For example, in the City of Halifax the water utility is operated by an independent body; and in the towns of Bridgewater and Glace Bay water and electric services are provided in the same way.

The school boards of the cities, towns and municipalities are in no case elective, (except (or the. Town of Berwick,) but are appointed partly by the local councils and partly by the Governor-in-Council. Within rural municipalities prior to 1956 school trustees, incorporated, and operating for the provision of school facilities under the Education Act, had power to borrow money and to impose taxation. Since then, however, the dominant control over education in the rural municipalities has passed to the Municipal School Boards. Although school trustees still exist in the rural municipalities, they act generally only as a local agent for the Municipal School Board and they no longer have power to levy taxation or to borrow money. There are no school trustees within any town or city.

Certain joint services required by municipal and urban units-such as court houses, jails, and welfare homes, or offices for the sheriff, registrar of probate, and registrar of deeds are provided by rural municipalities for themselves and for the towns and cities within their limits. They are paid for, under a Joint Expenditure scheme, by which each unit pays a proportion of the cost.

Although each of the three cities in the province has a Mayor and a Council, Halifax has adopted a variation on the basic Mayor-Council theme, a form of the Council-Manager plan. It has not only a Mayor and a Council, but also a manager or executive director of all civic departments who is appointed by the Council.

Functions:
There has been an expansion in the functions of local government. In the old days the dominant idea was that government should only control and regulate the activities of citizens in the common interest. Two things, however, have caused substantial increases in municipal expenditures. One is the fact that social and economic changes in a rapidly moving world have created a demand not only for new services but also Cor higher and more expensive standards for those services that were previously provided by municipalities. The second is the effect of inflation upon all costs, municipal or otherwise.

The day of “the little red school house”, with one teacher for eight or ten grades, is about over. Instead we have large regional schools in central locations, costing sums of money which only a few years ago would have been regarded as astronomical, both to build and to operate, with fleets of buses to convey to school those pupils who live more than a mile or so away from it.

Another instance of the change in circumstances and in attitude is seen in the subject of transportation. The automobile and the motor truck have made paved streets desirable, if not necessary; the car driver and the truck driver of this generation regard them as necessary; the driver of the horse and wagon of the previous generation would have said that they were all very fine, but he couldn’t afford them.

Community planning, now universally regarded as necessary, is a comparatively recent development. Slum clearance and low rental housing provided by the municipality, with the co-operation of other levels of government, are now being undertaken. They were almost unheard of a few years ago.

All of these developments have created financial problems for the municipal governments. There has been an expansion of their work and of their outlay. This has resulted not only in the tax levy of Nova Scotian municipalities having been multiplied by four in less than twenty years, but also in assistance from the provincial government in two ways. One form of assistance is given by cash grants, some amounts being earmarked as direct aid for specific projects, and others being general grants without specified purposes.

The traditional functions of local government included both regulatory activities and certain services provided for citizens. Municipalities have always had a good deal to do with protecting persons and property, and the Municipal Acts all contain long lists of the specific kinds of regulation with which Councils may deal. For municipalities they range from regulating the firing of guns, the management of log booms, and the restraining of domestic fowl from going at large, to controlling brush burning, “abating all public nuisances,” and licensing “hack-men, waggoners and cart-men.” For towns and cities, they include regulating halls “for preventing accidents therein”; making building by-laws; fixing closing hours for shops; licensing restaurants and trades, gasoline pumps and swinging sign-boards; and preventing “unusual noises” and loitering. All of these regulations imply some curbing of freedom in the common interest. and failure to comply with them may involve legal proceedings and penalties. Of the traditional services the most important were the support of the poor, roads, and education.

Recent developments have produced changes even in the field of regulation, as well as in the sphere of services. There are now “truck-men” in addition to “hack-men waggoners and cart-men.” “Automatic machines” have been added to the list of licensed games. Towns and cities have had to be given power to control parking and, in many cases, to install parking meters. In general, however, the lists of kinds of regulation have remained much the same. Certain phases of law enforcement, including court houses, jails, or lock-ups, besides police and other personnel, are also the responsibility of municipalities.

If social and economic changes have affected the regulatory functions of municipal governments, they have greatly increased the demands of people and tremendously expanded the social services. The community is called upon to do many things to improve the health, the welfare and the comfort of its citizens. Local government is therefore concerned with the improvement of the social, cultural and recreational environment in a wide variety of ways. These include adult education, public libraries, traffic police for schools, public concerts and plays, auditoriums, parks and playgrounds, swimming-pools and rinks, health clinics, juvenile courts, housing and slum clearance. There is a growing consciousness of the need for community planning and for zoning. Urbanization and suburbanization, and the emergence of metropolitan areas, have their attendant problems. These raise questions as to whether they are to be dealt with by annexation, by the co-operation of two or more units in matters of mutual concern, or by other means.

Although Nova Scotia passed its first planning Act as early as 1912, municipalities for a variety of reasons proceeded slowly with the work of planning. The Act was completely revised in 1939. Amendments passed in 1956 provided for planning on a regional rather than on a strictly municipal basis. Interest in the field of planning is increasing and a beginning has been made in regional planning with the formation of three Metropolitan Planning Commissions (to August 31,1961). These are (1) the Richmond Inverness Metropolitan Planning Commission, including the Town of Port Hawkesbury and the adjoining southern portion of Richmond and Inverness Counties; (2) the East River Valley Planning Commission, including the Towns of New Glasgow, Stellarton Trenton and Westville, and the adjoining area of the County of Pictou; and (3) the North Side Metropolitan Planning Commission, including the Towns of North Sydney and Sydney Mines and the adjoining area of the County of Cape Breton. Subdivision regulations to enable better control by Planning Boards over subdividing have been enacted for eleven municipal units. The number of municipal units having zoning by-laws is increasing. In the field of housing and urban redevelopment, the City of Halifax began construction of low rental housing about ten years ago, and it has recently completed a survey for slum clearance and embarked upon this project.

Finance:
When municipalities were created, they were obliged to collect money to pay for the services which they provided, including roads and bridges, education and the support of the poor. For those purposes they had to resort to the direct taxation of real and personal property. It was their aversion to this sort of taxation which delayed the establishment of municipal self-government.

For some time there was criticism of the new system in some of the municipalities. But generally they seemed to get along fairly well with the revenue from taxation on real and personal property. The services they provided were neither elaborate nor expensive, though they were reasonably adequate for the demands of the day. By the County Incorporation Act of 1879 the management of the road and bridge service was transferred to the municipal councils instituted by the Act. At that time the Provincial Government reduced its expenditure on this service and left it up to the new municipal councils to maintain the former standards by supplementing that amount out of their own revenues. Eventually this dual control proved impracticable; in 1907 the Province reassumed the expenditure of all provincial moneys for roads. For another ten years the municipal councils continued to look after the statute labour on the highways, and then they lost that control when this was ended. The coming of the automobile had created the need for change. Greatly improved highways were necessary, and the Province began to assume responsibility for this service. At the outset the Province asked the rural municipalities to make a contribution towards the cost of highways based on a fixed rate of taxation on their assessments. This provided about $250,000. In 1961, however, for highways of the standard now in existence the Legislature has appropriated $15,000,000 for maintenance and improvement, to be raised by taxation, and an additional $16,000,000 for construction, to be raised by borrowing.

If the coming of the automobile caused a change, other changes were made by the depression of the thirties and by the second World War. The depression led to a greater measure of planned regulation and to a continuing drive for a more adequate system of social services. During the war municipalities did very little in the way of capital construction or expansion of services. It would have been regarded as unpatriotic to enter the money market to borrow money j that was left for the Dominion in order to ensure necessary financing for the war. It would also have been regarded as unpatriotic to enter the labour market or to purchase material; those also were reserved for war purposes. Consequently, when the war ended municipalities found it necessary to undertake the immediate replacement of some of their capital assets. The attitude of people had also changed. No longer were they satisfied with the type of service previously provided by municipalities; they now wanted better services sometimes much better services, and handsomer buildings, including finer buildings to accommodate a larger school population. They wanted all the streets in the municipality to be paved. With the construction of many new houses, there was also a corresponding increase in the demand for water, sewer and other services which these require.

Along with new demands went higher costs. Inflation had arrived, and seemed to be here to stay. Everything the municipalities bought or built cost a great deal more than it would have cost before the war. But if costs had changed, so had the attitude of the people. All this meant that the municipalities had to provide increasingly large sums of money, and they declared that they were unable to do so from the traditional taxes on real and personal property. If these services were to be provided then the Provincial or the Federal Government would have to help.

Even earlier, as we have seen, the Province had assumed responsibility for highways. There had also been increasing Provincial participation in school administration from 1864-65, when a free school system, supported by compulsory assessment, bad been established in Nova Scotia. Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1962 require the Province to pay over $23,000,000 towards the cost of education.

The system of unconditional or unspecified grants made by the Province to the municipalities is of quite recent origin. It also arose during and because of the war. Prior to 1942 the municipalities had the right to levy a tax on income, though it had not been used a great deal in Nova Scotia. Then as the Dominion required large sums of money for war purposes, an agreement was made in 1942 between the Province and the Dominion, under which the Province for itself and for the municipalities withdrew from the income tax field so as to leave it to the Dominion alone. This was the first of what are sometimes called “tax rental agreements.” Under that 1942 agreement, the Dominion made certain payments to the Province. In order to compensate the municipalities for their potential loss because the income tax had been taken from them, the Province made cert.1.in grants to them. The major part of the grants now being paid by the Province to its cities, towns and rural municipalities is based on population. The total of these grants for 1961 is approximately $1,000,000.

Grants for specified purposes are also being paid by the Province to the municipalities in a number of fields. Those for education have already been mentioned. Another example is social assistance (formerly called “poor relief”) in which the Province and the Dominion together pay a total of two-thirds of the cost, provided certain standards are met and certain specifications are followed. Similar assistance is made to the county homes, as long as the stipulated standards are maintained. In the operation of county mental hospitals (formerly called “local asylums”), the Province pays one-half the cost, if the required standards are met. The public health scheme under which free hospital care is now provided to the general public has relieved the municipal units of practically their entire expenditure for this purpose.

Notwithstanding the greatly increased participation by the Province in these services, the municipalities have also expended increasingly large sums upon them. Their disbursements on education rose from a little over $3,000,000 in 1943 to a net total of approximately $16,600,000 in 1959. Their total tax levy increased from $8,306,543 in 1942 to $13,620,650 in 1949, and then to $31,626,165 in 1959. Their total general revenue, excluding joint expenditure boards and district or area rates, was $41,560,135 in 1959. Of that amount, about $31,000,000 was raised by taxation, while sums of $2,132,245 and $3,530,607 were received from the Federal and Provincial Governments, respectively.

It is clear, from the increased levy by the municipalities and from the increased participation by the Province and the Dominion, that the cost of providing the public with what were formerly known as municipal services has shown a very great increase indeed.

“Local Government in Nova Scotia”, Fergusson, C. Bruce. 1961. The Institute of Public Affairs, Dalhousie University. https://dalspace.library.dal.ca/handle/10222/11024

Nova Scotia’s cry for home rule

“Having spent much time in Nova Scotia, I am often asked—Why does that province wish to sever connection with the Dominion, and what means her cry of “Repeal and Reciprocity”? And some of my friends are not a little shocked that, at a time when the question of Imperial Federation is so much discussed, our nearest kinsfolk on the American continent should be agitating for what at the first glance looks like separation, though it is far from being so intended. Imperial Federation is indeed a grand scheme, or will be when it attains the dignity of a scheme. At present it seems little better than a vague, but decidedly alluring, dream. And it is likely so to remain unless, among other safeguards, each unit which makes up the mass is allowed such a measure of self-government as shall secure it against possible harsh treatment on the part of any other unit which happens to be stronger.

Why the inhabitants of the Acadian peninsula want repeal of the union with Canada, and reciprocity with the United States and other countries, I propose in the following article to show.

When Nova Scotia, in 1867, entered the Confederation her debt amounted to some 8,000,000 or 9,000,000 dollars. Today her share of the rapidly increasing Dominion Debt, which during the last eighteen years has advanced from 96,000,000 to 281,000,000 dollars, is fully 28,000,000 dollars (Ottawa says 40,000,000 dollars), a burden far too heavy for her altered circumstances. And to-day the Dominion’s annual expenditure, which at the time of Confederation was 13,000,000 dollars, and in the last year of Liberal Government (1878) 23,000,000 dollars, has, to the dismay of Canada’s wisest statesmen, already reached 35,000,000 dollars, and ere the close of the present year is expected to touch 38,000,000 dollars. Of this charge Nova Scotia pays a tenth, if not a seventh, and of her contribution a large portion is spent outside her borders and in ways which benefit her not at all. “Previous to the Union,” her Premier, Mr. Fielding, tells us, “Nova Scotia had the lowest tariff, and was in the best financial condition of any of the provinces.” Today she has the highest tariff, since she pays some three dollars more on every hundred dollars’ worth of imported dutiable goods than her fellow provinces, and is, the same high authority assures us, in the worst financial condition. The reason is not far to seek. Not only does she, with the most liberal hand, subscribe to fill the common Treasury, but for her own needs she gets back the smallest proportional share, the allowance meted out to the seven principal provinces being somewhat as follows

Per head
Ontario$1.49 3/4
New Brunswick1.50 to 1.95
Prince Edward Island1.65
Quebec2.10 3/4
Manitoba7.50
British Columbia20.00
Nova Scotia0.98 to 1.18 3/4

While on the subject of monetary payments, it would scarcely be out of place to instance another grievance. When the Inter- national Fisheries Commission, which sat at Halifax in 1877, paid the Ottowan Tory Government, in November 1878, the five-and-a-half million dollars indemnity for the injury sustained by the fishermen of the Dominion, Nova Scotia, which had suffered most, received no share. Newfoundland was more fortunate. She was outside the Confederation; thus there was no excuse for withholding her portion. As the “grand old island” (to quote Captain Kennedy) keeps an attentive eye on the doings of her near neighbors, she is likely to remain outside.

The improvements, such as they are, made in Nova Scotia by the Ottawan Government, Mr. Fraser, a member of the local Parliament, assures us, are not paid for out of the taxes levied in the province, but are charged to the National Debt. It is to be hoped the improvements are of a lasting and beneficial character, so that the prospect of getting out of debt again may be less desperate than in the case of sundry other undertakings. For instance, the Halifax Chronicle of June 11, tells us that 500,000 dollars have been spent in establishing a sugar refinery at Richmond, a suburb of Halifax, every cent of which is lost; ‘ also that 350,000 dollars have been sunk in a cotton-mill hard by which is probably worth ten cents in the dollar, and has never yet paid a dividend. To keep life in these and other bantling industries, the Ottowan Government imposes pretty stiff duties on imported sugar and cotton, whether to commemorate the throwing away of the 850,000 dollars and other enormous sums on similar undertakings elsewhere, or to give cause for a new reading (by substitution of the word Protectionists) of a sneering old proverb anent the wisdom of our ancestors, I know not.

Among other efforts, some colonists, foolishly relying on that spirit of private enterprise which it seems to be the paternal mission of Protection to thwart, once sought to rival Crosse and Blackwell by setting up a pickle factory. The vegetables were cheap and plentiful enough, but the duty on imported glass bottles was sufficient to cause the infant industry to die that premature death to which most of the infant industries seem doomed whose misfortune it is to be Protection’s foster children.

Let us examine awhile this matter of Protection, which has so much to do with Nova Scotia’s discontent, and see whether it be true, as some of our friends so confidently and at times so flippantly assure us, that the doctrines taught by Cobden, Bright, and others are all wrong, and that we had much better return to that halcyon period when commerce lived in shackles and cheap bread was not. Abler pens than mine have exhausted the subject as regards Europe and the United States; therefore I will chiefly confine myself, because I can speak as an eye-witness, to the question as it affects the Acadian peninsula. And it may not a little astonish “fair traders” to learn that the condition to which Nova Scotia is reduced is that which all sound political economists would expect, that she is indeed an existing ‘awful example,’ some 2,500 miles away, of the hideous folly of reverting to Protectionist principles. Her taxation is swollen some 150 per cent, and the tariff, being purposely framed to bar out foreign trade as much as possible, does her serious injury; albeit Protectionists on her side of the Atlantic labour with a zeal worthy a better cause (though fruitlessly, I am glad to say, for Acadians are not mostly fools to make her people believe that an imported article which formerly came in free, or with only a 10 per cent, duty charged, is no dearer now when a 25 to 35 per cent, duty is paid. And, as the last report of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce declares, Protection presses especially hard upon a people who are chiefly fishermen, agriculturists, miners, and farmers. “Repeal,” says the Chronicle of May 12, “would mean closer trade relations with all our natural markets,” to wit, New England, the West Indies, and other places, with which, says another writer, “the province is bound together socially, commercially, and geographically.” These trade relations, so far from being cultivated, are, as I will still further show, distinctly discouraged. And one effect of this unduly heavy, taxation, unequal distribution of its proceeds, and enforced isolation is to cause more favoured provinces to flourish at Nova Scotia’s expense.

I spoke just now of altered circumstances. Let us glance at these. To do so is not to wander from the subject of Protection, as will at once appear. Halifax’s two miles or so of fine wharves are doing far less business than of yore, and have so decreased in value that, as the Attorney-General, Mr. Longley, says, those which once could not be purchased for 50,000 dollars now will not sell for 20,000 dollars. One wharf, the Chronicle tells us, which fifteen years ago for 40,000 dollars, was bought in last year by one of the banks for 22,000 dollars. Another was sold some years since at 25,000 dollars, and a few weeks ago was bought in for less than half that sum. Meanwhile the polo ground, which occupies an excellent situation on that high tableland which in better times will form part of the city’s centre, was sold some years ago for 16,000 dollars, and recently bought for $7,000 dollars. Shops, too, may be had at far less price than their cost of erection could they but meet with purchasers, are altogether between 300 and 400 houses in the once prosperous capital are for sale. Many families are without their grown-up sons, who are driven to seek a livelihood in other lands; and, owing to the constant exodus, the population, which between 1861 and 187 1 increased over 17 per cent., is acknowledged, even by those who would fain shut their eyes to tell-tale statistics, to have grown during the succeeding decade at a much slower rate. If Nova Scotia be as prosperous as some would have us believe, how is it that every year thousands of her youth of both sexes and all conditions leave her shores? The exodus is sometimes, apparently for political reasons, denied, though the inhabitants of the province are well aware not only of its existence but of its magnitude. There are, the Attorney-General tells us, more Nova Scotians in Boston than in Halifax. New England contains a vast number. And, on the other hand, in summer the New Englanders gladly crowd into verdant Nova Scotia, driven by the tremendous heat of their own country to the more salubrious and enjoyable climate of this ail-but island. An Ontarian in Nova Scotia, adds Mr. Longley, might be exhibited as a curiosity. Yet between the natural allies is raised the protective barrier. A Nova Scotian Q.C., Mr. Thomson, shows that the Assessment Rolls of many districts have steadily decreased, those of four leading counties, representing the four leading industries of coal- mining, farming, ship-building, and lumbering, which in 1868 amounted to a little below 1 1 1/3 million dollars, having fallen in 1884 to less than 8^ millions.’ Every way the province suffers.

Were return made to the 10 per cent, ante- Confederation tariff, and were the taxes raised in Nova Scotia spent in Nova Scotia, there would, says a veteran member of the Provincial Liberal Government, Mr. Morrison, be money enough to build every projected railway, make our road and bridge service efficient, and still have a large surplus for other purposes.’ As it is, railway enterprise halts, and roads and bridges are falling out of repair. Meanwhile, Nova Scotia is forced to consume Canadian flour, and to pay 60 cents in conveyance on the same amount thereof, as, before Confederation, she paid 10 cents to the nearer United States. In exchange for this dearer flour, distant Canada is supposed to buy Nova Scotian coal. Needless to say, distant Canada finds it as a rule more convenient to draw her “black diamonds ” from neighboring Pennsylvania. That Ontario at least should do so is inevitable. Her natural markets are not the maritime provinces, but the states of New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Those of Manitoba and the North-West are Dakota, Minnesota, and Michigan; while those of British Columbia are Idaho, Washington Territory, Oregon, and coalless California. When the trade relations between these states and provinces are hindered, the injury is mutual. But the provinces suffer most, for, when protecting themselves against the outside world, the United Sates were too wise to allow any individual state to protect itself against any other individual state. Thus they have an enormous country, compact of shape, and posessed of almost every variety of climate and of products, enjoying absolute Free Trade within its wide borders. It is as if international Free Trade prevailed throughout Europe, to the exclusion only of other continents. This most telling fact, however, the advocates of Protection over here, when exhorting us to let our small group of islands follow America’s example and bar out the rest of the world, seem entirely to overlook. The Dominion, although it, too, has Free Trade within its borders, differs from the United States in being a long straggling string of provinces, designed by nature rather to be gathered into three or four groups, and possessing too little variety of climate and products to justify imitation of her great neighbour’s somewhat unsuccessful attempt at independence of other nations. The United States by Free Trade with other countries would enjoy greatly increased prosperity. So also would Canada prosper were she but to throw open her ports and gates. In the case of Nova Scotia, Protetction is nothing less than a curse. Visitors to Canada —the tourists, I mean, who take a month’s or six weeks’ run across to the Dominion, are introduced to one set of people, make a mental note (for later use) of their opinions, give a hurried look round, and then return home to add yet another to the list of valuable books upon foreign countries and the colonies—are often invited to admire the progress the upper provinces have made, and are gravely assured that ‘Protection has done much for Canada.’ Much to make or much to mar? It is not the marring, however, which is implied. Of the making, how much has been done by individual energy, and in spite of Protection, and how much by the forced contributions of other provinces?

Protection, being as mischievous as it is foolish, has, wherever introduced, given rise to smuggling, thereby creating and fostering a dishonest calling. Was there ever delusion that was not harmful? Now, as there is no great Chinese wall built up between the two sections of friendly English-speaking races which people the United States and the Canadian Dominion, the boundary-line must exist in official imagination, except indeed where some custom house or other barrier has risen, some lake or stream traces the border, or where (if it still exists) the long lane cut through the primeval forest marks the forty-ninth latitudinal parallel. It almost follows that as this boundary-line is some three or four thousand miles in length, it can scarcely serve its intended purpose as a hindrance to free trading between two kindred nations. In other words, smuggling flourishes apace. Needless to add, every smuggler, whether American or Canadian, is a staunch Protectionist. It is manifestly to the interest of his pocket so to be. As for his scruples of conscience, they are too microscopic a quantity, even if they have any existence, to be worth consideration. But Nova Scotia, like Prince Edward Island, nowhere touches the United States frontier. Therefore she has not one quarter of the splendid chance for smuggling, and consequent cheaper sale of, and larger profit on, dutiable articles of Cousin Jonathan’s manufacture, which the more favorably situated provinces take, it is rumored, such frequent opportunities to enjoy. Which fact doubtless adds to her embarrassment. And the longer she is bound against her will and against her interests in this unnatural bondage the more desperate becomes her condition. “Wait till the West is more settled !” cry the Protectionists. “Wait till the Canadian Pacific Railway gets into full running order ! See how Nova Scotia’s trade will flourish then, and how the West will deal with her!” Vain dream! Have Federationists ever realized the fact that by rail Montreal (Que.) is 859 miles from Halifax? If Ontario, which is yet further, is too remote to trade much with Nova Scotia, are the very much more distant North-West and British Columbia likely to do so? If there were no other impediment, there would still be the one item, in this huge straggling country, of cost of transport. No ! it is impossible to create artificial trade or artificial markets. the oft-derided plan of ‘making people virtuous by Act of Parliament” (is) absurd.

After what I have said of the tariff”, I trust that Nova Scotia’s cry for Reciprocity may not sound amiss in British Free Trade ears. To us, it is a word retrogressive of meaning, synonymous with Retaliation. To a country severely suffering from Protection’s blighting influence, Reciprocity, on the contrary, appears distinctly progressive, tends towards trade freedom, and has a sense identical with our term Commercial Treaty. Reciprocity with the United States to Nova Scotia would mean trade-resuscitation. The experiment has already been tried; and reference to statistics of the past will show with what success. The Reciprocity Treaty, which lasted fourteen years, came into operation in 1854. The previous year—English currency was then in use—the exports of Nova Scotia were a trifle below £280,000. The succeeding year, 1855, they were over £481,000. The imports were in 1853 nearly £416,000; in 1855, over £780,000.

At the time of Confederation (1867) the province was importing 14,000,000 dollars’ worth of goods. She now imports 8,000,000 dollars’ worth. During these fourteen prosperous years the Halifax Assessment Roll advanced from about 10 1/2 million dollars to 17 1/4 millions, since which time it has steadily declined. No wonder the Attorney-General, when speaking of those years, should say, “The period then was one of the golden days in the history of Nova Scotia, when fortunes were accumulated, farms increased in value, and prosperity abounded.” Is it, then, surprising that the provincials, with that crowning sorrow born of remembrance of happier things, should be resolutely striving to bring them back?

To those among us who are bitten with Fair Trade notions, I would earnestly recommend a prolonged residence in the Dominion, the maritime provinces perhaps especially. Those, too, who waste time and sentiment in deploring the (imaginary) harm done to a country by free imports, might derive much comfort from studying there the very real injury inflicted by trying the experiment of heavily taxed imports. It would be safe to wager that the hostility to Free Trade would soon be relegated to the society of last year’s snows.

Those who think the repeal cry in Nova Scotia is indicative of disloyalty make a great mistake. The question is being agitated in reasonable and dignified language. Indeed, the Repeal speeches in the Provincial Parliament have been at once so moderate in tone and sound in argument, that they might well command admiration in our own House. They are ably supplemented by a flood of correspondence in the Halifax Chronicle and elsewhere. Thus it is clear there is no deterioration in the race which two years before the mother country passed a measure of Catholic Emancipation.

Nor is humour wanting to give pleasing variety to the discussion, as is made manifest when Mr. Mack, M.P.P., reminds the House that, as that man is considered a patriot who makes two blades of grass to grow where but one grew before, those who were instrumental in achieving Confederation must have been especially patriotic, since grass is now abundant—in the city streets. The Halifax Chamber of Commerce maintains that those are ‘ cruel and unjust laws ‘ which restrict trade between ‘natural customers,’ and truly says that commercial ‘relations between British Colonies should be free. “There are,” says Mr. Roche, M.P.P., “no more loyal people within the wide compass of the British Empire than the Repeal party of Nova Scotia.” Elsewhere he reminds his fellow-provincials that Nova Scotia was true when Canada was in rebellion.

For things cannot last as they are. The instinct of self-preservation teaches revolt against them. The better to realize the situation, let us imagine ourselves in Nova Scotia’s place. Suppose this straggling Europe to be united like the Dominion with little local governments elsewhere, but with an all-controlling and very despotic central power situated hundreds of miles away—say to Vienna. Suppose that by-and-by the Viennese decided, in the imaginary interests of Austro-Hungary to adopt a rigorous system of Protection, and to impose it upon the rest of Europe. Suppose the inhabitants of the British Isles, on account of their superior wealth and energy, to be specially selected for taxation for the benefit of Austro-Hungary and adjacent countries. Suppose them to become aware of their consequent impoverishment, to feel its injustice, and to strive, year after year, constantly and vainly, to convince Vienna of the un-soundness of her economic views, and, still more, of the sacred right of each individual member of the European community to control its own affairs, political and commercial. And, finally, suppose them, conscious at last that the choice lay between gradual ruin and timely secession, to prefer the latter alternative, and to try to reach it by peaceable and legitimate means. They would only be taking the course followed by Nova Scotia now. Should we not, looking on, say, from the neighbouring continents of Asia or Africa, think they were justified in so doing ? Should we not indeed despise them were they indifferent to their country’s decay, and did they not make every reasonable effort to free her and themselves from what had grown to be an intolerable bondage ?

The grievance of the Nova Scotians, then, being so genuine, and their spirit so constitutional, the case surely merits a patient hearing.”

Fellows, E. C., “Nova Scotia’s cry for home rule”. [S.l. : s.n., 1886?]. https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.18052

Acadia Sugar Refinery

Acadia Sugar Refinery under construction, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. 1883. https://archives.novascotia.ca/notman/archives/?ID=215

Acadia Sugar Refinery under construction, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. 1883. https://archives.novascotia.ca/notman/archives/?ID=216

Acadia Sugar Refinery under construction, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. 1883. https://archives.novascotia.ca/notman/archives/?ID=217

Acadia Sugar Refinery under construction, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. 1883. https://archives.novascotia.ca/notman/archives/?ID=218

Acadia Sugar Refinery under construction, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. 1883. https://archives.novascotia.ca/notman/archives/?ID=219

Acadia Sugar Refinery under construction, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. 1883. https://archives.novascotia.ca/notman/archives/?ID=223

Acadia Sugar Refinery under construction, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. 1883. https://archives.novascotia.ca/notman/archives/?ID=234

Acadia Sugar Refinery under construction, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. 1883. https://archives.novascotia.ca/notman/archives/?ID=236

Acadia Sugar Refinery, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, after the fire. February 1912. https://archives.novascotia.ca/notman/archives/?ID=324

Acadia Sugar Refinery, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, after the fire. February 1912. https://archives.novascotia.ca/notman/archives/?ID=324

Acadia Sugar Refinery, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. https://archives.novascotia.ca/notman/archives/?ID=858

Acadia Sugar Refinery, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. (?) 1912-1927. https://archives.novascotia.ca/notman/archives/?ID=858

Acadia Sugar Refinery. Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. After 1912 fire, before 1927. https://archives.novascotia.ca/notman/archives/?ID=871

Acadia Sugar Refinery Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. https://archives.novascotia.ca/notman/archives/?ID=873

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

THIS IS THE FIRST WOODSIDE REFINERY. It was projected by an English Company under the Presidency of George G. Dustin, who came from Scotland to live in the Fairbanks house about 1863. Completion of the Refinery came in 1881. All this time Mr. Dustin kept appealing for adequate sugar tariff protection.

A brief history of the [black] Baptists of Nova Scotia and their first organization as churches

banook baptism black history

This “authors apology” perfectly describes how I feel about Dartmouth specifically and Nova Scotia in general as it relates to all of the people, so I had to include it. Anything that seemed to relate to Dartmouth I’ve included here as follows:


“THE AUTHOR’S APOLOGY: This little messenger, presented to the public, is a collection of information gained from many of the oldest members of the Churches in the Association, where records were imperfectly kept, and, in many instances, none whatever. I am aware that every person who attempts a work of this kind is left open for public comment or criticism. And as I make not the faintest attempt to literary attainments, I must claim your sympathy.


My simple aim is to place in the hands of every [black] Baptist in Nova Scotia a copy of this little book, in order if possible to give them some idea of how it came about that there should be a Church built by one who had so shortly escaped from the ranks of slavery, fled from the house of bondage, and could attract so much attention and sympathy from a British public, as the subject of our little book— Rev. Richard Preston— born in Virginia, a slave.”


“As far back as 1785, one hundred and ninety-four [black] persons arrived here from St. Augustine, who were joined by another arrival of over four hundred, seven years later; and about the same time a similar number were landed at Shelburne.

Many of these people embraced religion in the United States, under adverse circumstances, and were glad to know that they had a part in the Saviour’s sufferings, which assisted them to endure their own. They were given grants of land by the Government a few miles from the city to cultivate for their support. Those who had trades, such as carpenters, blacksmiths, and coopers, remained, and readily got work in the city at fair remuneration. These were troublesome times between the provinces and the United States, and as loyalists were arriving constantly the [black] people would correspondingly increase. Mr. Burton, who was better known by the [black] brethren as Father Burton, had established a Baptist church in the city, wherein they found a home, on Barrington Street, just were the present Aberdeen building now stand. They were spiritually cared for by this servant of God. As time increased so did these people; and little settlements were formed at Preston, Dartmouth, Cherry brook. Loon Lake, Beech Hill, Campbell Road, Musquodoboit Road, Fall River, and at Hammond Plains. At all of these places Father Burton preached, baptized, married, and buried his flock, as he called them. Having proved himself so wise an administrator of justice that the civil authorities gave him entire control of these people whilst he remained their pastor.”


“THE AFRICAN BAPTIST CHURCH, CORNWALLIS ST.
Organized April 14th 1832, With Branches at Dartmouth, Preston, Beech Hill, Hammond Plains.
Resolved, That the said Rev. Richard Preston be now received and acknowledged as minister of the said African Baptist Church; Resolved further, That the officers of said Church be as follows:
…Dartmouth — Pastor: Rev. R. Preston. Deacon: Samuel Jones. Elder: Jeremiah Page.
The above branches, viz., Dartmouth, Preston, Beech Hill, and Hammond Plains, were organized into independent churches as soon as their membership increased.”


“PRESENT OFFICERS OF THE ABOVE CHURCHES — 1895.
…Dartmouth — Pastorless. Licentiate: Jas. Borden. Deacons: A. Green, J. Tynes, C. Smith, D. Lee, W. Riley, T. Tynes. Councillors: R. Tynes, sen’r, A. Brown, J. Bauld, R. Tynes, jun’r, R. C. Tynes. Treasurer: D. Lee. Clerk: F. J. Bauld.”


A baptism being held near what is today Birch Cove, on First Lake (Lake Banook) https://cityofdartmouth.ca/dartmouth-lake-church/

“DARTMOUTH CHURCH, (Organized in 1844. June 9th.)

Rev. R. Preston, Pastor; S. Jones, Deacon; Jeremiah Page, Elder.

Members names: J. Gerrow, T. Robinson, S. Gibson, G. Gibson, K. Gordon, J. Johnson, D. Franklyn, E. Franklyn, E. Brown, E. Bowers, R. Tynes, M. Woods, J. Symonds, M. A. Symonds, M. Thomas, E. Connix, C. Johnson, T. Cox, Mrs. Gilmore, Mr. Page.

Those who joined after the organization, date omitted, but previous to 1850: L. Gross, L. Williams, S. Morton, M. Goffigan, R. Spriggs, C. Brown, M. Green, J. Quinn, Mar. Green, D. Gross, H. Ross, M. A. Brothers, E. Rollins, E. Lee, P. Brown, A. Carter, G. Carter, T. Carter, I. Peters, M. A. Butler, T. Parker, J. Graves, J. Cassidy, T. Tynes, sr., Jas. Brown, A. Brown, W. Sparks.

Present members: R. Tynes, sr., R. Tynes, jr., T. Tynes, jr., G. Tynes, H. Tynes, R. E. Tynes, A. Brown, F. Reilly, sr., J. Dean, G. Middleton, J. Bauld, A. Willis, M. Jenkins. R. Bauld, F. Reilly, jr., Wm. Sparks ; Sisters : R. Jenkins, M. Tynes, A. Tynes, M. Smith, M. Bauld, L. Lee, C, Smith, J. Johnson, M. Middleton, M. Bauld, S. Lee, T. Brown, II. Brown, A. Brown, Mar, Tynes, E. Cuff, A. Smith, Sarah Lee, A. Lee, M. Bundy, M. Bowden, Eva Green, A. Kane, M, Reilly, H. Burns, M. J. Bauld, M. E. Bauld, Mrs. Henderson, E. Reilly, J. Johnson.

The church at present has no settled pastor. Bro. Borden, licentiate, has been supplying with much acceptance. The brethren so manages that a unity of spirit is kept up, which is the grand success of any church. When a good thing is suggested by any of the members, there is a general taking hold of by all. They agree with the idea that there are diversities of gifts, and readily give way when the superior presents itself. Dr. Kempton, pastor of the Dartmouth church, often preaches to them, and other city pastors. This christian recognition is very stimulating and highly appreciated by the brethren. Father Burton in his day preached to those people, but few of the present generation remember him. Father Preston, who succeeded him, preached to them for a number of years. An aged brother not long ago informed the writer that he elicited large congregations when it was made known he was to preach. On one occasion a large skeptical crowd had assembled, when several of the respectable ruffians agreed not to allow him to preach, and for fear of creating a fracas his brethren thought best to postpone the meeting. Said he we will go outside, as the grace of God gives me sufficient power over men and devils, hence I fear neither. At first they thought to have matters their own way, but after he got to work and prayed for the power of the Holy Spirit, both saint and sinners were rejoicing, all was perfect peace. Tears were shed in abundance from strong men, courage failed them; and many who for the first time heard him, felt themselves in need of a Saviour; from this broke out a large reformation. At the close of the meeting some of those very men came forward and acknowledged their guilt, and asked for prayers; and not long after some were baptized, and lived consistent members all through life’s journey. Father Thomas pastored these people until 1879. Although there had been a division in the church, he stuck to the few who held to their first love. After his death the church united, and Father Smithers became their pastor, which charge he held until his death; when he was succeeded by Rev. F. R. Langford, who held the charge until 1892; when in 1886, under his ministrations, 20 were baptized; in 1887, 5; in 1888, 6; in 1891, 1; in 1892, 5; and in 1893, 1. The Brother’s work was arduous, and covered a considerable amount of ground. The field is a good one, as the people are active, intelligent and observing.

The greatest drawback to the growth of the church is the distance from the town, the travelling in stormy weather being unpleasant. Another draw-back is the continual drain on the membership, through the tide of emigration, which is always on the move; and were it not for tho interest taken by those who remain at home, the doors would be necessarily closed. Brother Borden, the present supply, is a licentiate who is very acceptable to the church, and it is to be hoped that under his labours, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit’s power, the church will increase in numbers and influence, and live in delighted expectations of being crowned with spiritual glory by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”


“MARRIAGES PERFORMED BY REV F. R. LANGFORD, . WEYMOUTH.
Dartmouth : — Sept. 29th, 1885, Jas. Brown to M. Tynes; Nov. 14th, 1893, H. Kane to Ag. Brown ; Aug. 17th, 1887, F. J. Bauld to M. Lee ; A. Tynes to L. Berryman ; A. Brown to Ruth Wise ; T. Tynes to M. Medley.”


“Wedding of Miss Mary Borden and Mr. Richard Tynes, Dartmouth, 1898”, https://archives.novascotia.ca/halifax/archives/?ID=85

McKerrow, P. E. (Peter E.), 1841?-1906; Bill, I. E. (Ingram E.), 1805-1891. “A brief history of the coloured Baptists of Nova Scotia and their first organization as churches” [Halifax N.S.? : s.n.] https://archive.org/details/cihm_25950/page/n11/mode/2up

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