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

History of Halifax City Read More…

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

The Development of Public Health in Nova Scotia Read More…

“By 1799, only three hospitals continued to function in the city: the hospital for the Maroons at Dartmouth, the naval hospital, and the poor house hospital.” “It appears from the archival records that the manufacturing of coffins proved to be a significant source of revenue for the institution, supplying coffins for the use of the town, the Cholera Hospital, the Richmond and Melville Island Hospitals, Dartmouth Hospital, Waterloo Hospital, the Bank Head Hospital, as well as the City Home. In the account books recorded on October 21, 1827, the sum of £15.s5 was received by the poorhouse for 61 coffins supplied to the Bank Head Hospital. In August 1834, 101 large coffins and 15 small coffins were made and sold to the town of Halifax and the cholera hospital bringing in a revenue of £32.s6.d6. Another £13.s0.d0 was received in December 1847 for 26 coffins supplied to the Richmond and …

The treatment of Halifax’s poor house dead during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Read More…

Is Dartmouth different? In the 19th century it certainly was. From the Reports of the London Vaccine Institution, we have a contribution from July 28th, 1823 about Dartmouthian and Quaker Seth Coleman and how he tended to the people of Preston (and Dartmouth at large) who had smallpox. In 1814, when the “medical gentleman of the town of Halifax were not to be induced to cross the harbour”, Seth Coleman stepped in and saved the lives of at least 423 people, including 285 Black refugees and 59 Mi’kmaq. Coleman regretted the racial prejudice expressed by most colonists and Nova Scotian officials, declaring “My feelings have been often hurt at the expressions of people who are ignorant of (the refugees’) situations.” An experience corroborated in ‘The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832’ by Alan Taylor and ‘The Blacks in Canada: A History’ By Robin William Winks.

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: A major change in educational arrangements was made by an Act of the Legislature in, 1908 when all districts outside the boundaries of Dartmouth were separated from the Town, as far as school accommodation was concerned. Ever since incorporation in 1873, Dartmouth had provided for the education of pupils living in the vicinity of Tufts’ Cove, of Cole Harbor Road and of Woodside. Residents of these places then paid school taxes to the Town, and general taxes to the County. The new Act authorized the organization of the Woodside-Tufts’ Cove School Section, having its own Board of Trustees. The County subsequently purchased from the Town of Dartmouth the two school buildings in these areas. The price paid was $7,435. Down at the ferry, some sweeping changes were made in commutation tickets. For instance, the family ticket of $3 per month was …

1908 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: In February 1902 the last of the old-style “Town meetings” was held. The question discussed that night was the purchase of Daniel Donovan’s pasture-land which drained into Lake Lamont. On a show of hands, the proposal was rejected by a vote of 42 to 27. Within the next few weeks, legislation was obtained providing that in future all such matters must be decided by a plebiscite. In 1902 a frightful epidemic of smallpox struck at Dartmouth. The dreadful disease raged from February until the end of June. It began in Halifax. Twenty-three cases broke out in various parts of the Town, and one death resulted. Watchmen in sentry-boxes maintained a 24-hour vigil outside each yellow-flagged house. Dr. Joseph Doyle of Halifax, whose services were engaged, devoted full time to the task. He had his own quarters, and kept himself isolated from …

1902 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: In the winter of 1882 the dreaded smallpox made its appearance in the home of ex-Councillor Maurice Downey. One of his sons and a maid named Catherine O’Neil unexpectedly contracted the disease. Both died. Despite the fact that the Federal Government was now extending railway tracks from North Street to Cornwallis Street, and buying up Halifax waterfront property for a grain elevator and piers at Deep Water, Dartmouth people persisted in their efforts to obtain railway connection. At an expense of $101.24 they sent Warden John Y. Payzant and Councillor Benjamin Russell to Ottawa for another attempt. Upon their return these delegates reported that there was no prospect whatever of any government assistance in the matter. Backward weather that April recalled to old residents the hard winter of 1816-1817 when Bedford Basin froze so solidly that the ice was passable for …

1882 Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: A packet-boat from England which arrived on Saturday, May 21, 1814, brought the most welcome news in 20 years to Governor Nicholas D’Anseville still in exile at Woodlawn. Napoleon had abdicated; and the Bourbon King Louis XVIII was being restored! Mrs. Lawson, in her History of Dartmouth, says that the enthusiasm and excitement of the old Governor knew no bounds. Dressing himself in the old royalist uniform with the white hat of the Bourbons, he abandoned his customary dignity, and marched up and down the road during one whole afternoon, shouting “Vive La France”. In the autumn of 1814, smallpox broke out in an alarming manner in the village of Dartmouth. Dr. Samuel Head, prominent Halifax auctioneer, recommended Seth Coleman as a man competent to render the inhabitants medical aid, because “He has long been in the habit of assisting people …

1814 Read More…