History of Nova Scotia
with special attention given to
Communications and Transportation

Chapter 6
1 January 1780   to   31 December 1819

Students are not as intimidated by the online materials as they sometimes are by large, heavy, printed reference works... It was not unusual at all for my fourth-grade son to have a research project every nine weeks and to be asked to provide at least two Internet sources for each one of his research papers.  So I think the online resources encourage students to get involved in doing research and creating history reports of their own, because it can be so much more accessible...

The online version gives you a number of options that you don't have with print. To our mind, that extends the value of the work.  It becomes a simple matter now to search through every word of the six-volume print edition and find things that might be difficult to locate if you were just trying to find them by title.

It gives you enormously increased access to the content...

—Source: "The Lone Star State Crosses a New Frontier: Conversation with Douglas Barnett," assistant director and managing editor of the New Handbook of Texas.
Humanities, July/August 2001

The Handbook of Texas Online:

1780 May 15

Spy Sent to Halifax

George Washington was a skilled manager of intelligence.  He utilized agents behind enemy lines, recruited both Tory and Patriot sources, interrogated travelers for intelligence information, and launched scores of agents on both intelligence and counterintelligence missions.  He was adept at deception operations and tradecraft and was a skilled propagandist.  He also practiced sound operational security.

As an intelligence manager, Washington insisted that the terms of an agent's employment and his instructions be precise and in writing, composing many letters of instruction himself.  He emphasized his desire for receiving written, rather than verbal, reports.  He demanded repeatedly that intelligence reports be expedited, reminding his officers of those bits of intelligence he had received which had become valueless because of delay in getting them to him.  He also recognized the need for developing many different sources so that their reports could be cross-checked, and so that the compromise of one source would not cut off the flow of intelligence from an important area.

Washington sought and obtained a "secret service fund" from the Continental Congress, and expressed preference for specie, preferably gold: "I have always found a difficulty in procuring intelligence by means of paper money, and I perceive it increases."  In accounting for the sums in his journals, he did not identify the recipients: "The names of persons who are employed within the Enemy's lines or who may fall within their power cannot be inserted."

He instructed his generals to "leave no stone unturned, nor do not stick to expense" in gathering intelligence, and urged that those employed for intelligence purposes be those "upon whose firmness and fidelity we may safely rely"...

On May 15, 1780, General Washington instructed General Heath to send intelligence agents into Canada.  He asked that they be those "upon whose firmness and fidelity we may safely rely," and that they collect "exact" information about Halifax in support of a French requirement for information on the British defense works there.  Washington suggested that qualified draftsmen be sent.  James Bowdoin, who was later to become the first president of the American Academy of Arts and Science, fulfilled the intelligence mission, providing detailed plans of Halifax harbor, including specific military works and even water depths.

Intelligence in the War of Independence: Personalities
A publication of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

1780 May 15

The "Reduction" of Halifax

George Washington to James Bowdoin, May 15, 1780

Head Quarters, Morris Town, May 15th 1780.
Dear Sir: I take the liberty to transmit to your care a Letter for Major General Heath under a flying Seal.  From an apprehension that he might have left Boston before it arrived and the importance of the objects to which it extends I am induced to use this freedom.  If the General has not returned to the Army, I would request the favor of you to have the Letter sealed after perusing it, and delivered to him; and if he has that you will have the goodness to consider it as addressed to yourself and to assist me in the several interesting points to which it goes.  It may be of infinite importance to obtain the information required, and I should hope it may be done.  Our very good Friends and Allies have it much at heart, and view the reduction of Hallifax as a matter of great consequence, as being the Arsenal of support to the Enemy's fleet in these seas and in the West Indies.   very sincerely congratulate you on this prospect of succour from his Most Christian Majesty, which equally demonstrates his wisdom and his great regard for us.  Your own good understanding I am convinced, will lead you at once to see the propriety of secrecy upon the occasion and you will be pleased to consider the communication as confidential.  I shall be happy, and our interest and character as a Nation indispensably require it, that our exertions may be proportioned to this fresh instance of magnanimity and generosity the part of our Ally.  I confess I have my fears on this head, as we have now from the pernicious system of short inlistments, nothing left us but the Skeleton of an Army, and are under great embarrassments with respect to our finance.  Every friend to America should give his most active support to these important Objects...
(signed) G. Washington

Bowdoin replied (May 31, 1780) with full information and an accurate map of Halifax harbor. Bowdoin's letter is in the Washington Papers.  This information Washington briefed in an undated memorandum filed at the end of May, 1780, in the Washington Papers.
Footnote 58 in Volume 18 of The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799, 39 volumes, John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1931-1944; reprint, New York: Greenwood Press, 1970

In  this  context,  reduction  means
subduing or conquering or capturing
(a town, fortress, etc.)

The original of this document
is among George Washington's papers
now held by the U.S. Library of Congress

May 15, 1780: Letter from George Washington to James Bowdoin
Letter, George Washington to James Bowdoin, May 15, 1780
Source: George Washington Papers at the U.S. Library of Congress
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library
View this letter in high resolution (630 kby)
Source: The George Washington papers at the U.S. Library of Congress
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

James Bowdoin (1726-1790) was a revolutionary leader and former governor (1785-1787) of Massachusetts.  Bowdoin's home was in Boston, on Beacon Street near the corner of Bowdoin Street.

1780 May 19

Daytime Darkness

On this day, complete darkness falls over Eastern Canada and New England about 2pm. The cause is never explained.
[National Post, 19 May 2000]

The great dark day of May 19, 1780, in New England, is described as follows:
"In some places, the darkness was so great, that persons could not see to read common print in the open air, for several hours together: but I believe this was not generally the case. The extent of this darkness was very remarkable."
An Account of a Very Uncommon Darkness in the States of New England, May 19, 1780, by Samuel Williams, pages 234-235 in volume one of "Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences: to the End of the Year 1783," published 1785 in Boston by Adams and Nourse

The 19th day of May, 1780, was unprecedented in New England for its great darkness. The sun was visible a little while in the morning, but was soon obscured by clouds. For some days previous the air had been filed with smoke, arising, it was supposed, from extensive fires, somewhere raging in the woods. Prevailing westerly winds had spread the smoke over a very great extent of country. On the morning of the 19th, the wind, though variable, was principally from the eastward, and brought with it a dense fog from the ocean. This meeting and mingling with the clouds and smoke formed a mass almost impervious to light. The darkness became noticeable a little before eleven o'clock, and rapidly increased. Domestic fowls went to roost, and cattle collected around the barn yards, as at the approach of night. About noon it became necessary to light candles, and these were needed through the remainder of the day, thought he darkness was greatest from twelve to one o'clock. The darkness of the evening was scarcely less remarkable than that of the day...
The Great Darkness of May 19, 1780 excerpted from Chapter 12,
History of Hampton (New Hampshire) by Joseph Dow, published 1893 by the Salem Press

It was darkest in northeastern Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire and southwestern Maine, but it got dusky through most of New England and as far away as New York. At Morristown, New Jersey, Gen. George Washington noted it in his diary. In the darkest area, people had to take their midday meals by candlelight. A Massachusetts resident noted, "In some places, the darkness was so great that persons could not see to read common print in the open air."  In New Hampshire, wrote one person, "A sheet of white paper held within a few inches of the eyes was equally invisible with the blackest velvet..." A definitive answer came in 2007. In the International Journal of Wildland Fire, Erin R. McMurry of the University of Missouri forestry department and co-authors combined written accounts with fire-scar evidence from Algonquin Provincial Park in eastern Ontario to document a massive wildfire in the spring of 1780 as the "likely source of the infamous Dark Day of 1780."
May 19, 1780: Darkness at Noon Enshrouds New England Wired, 19 May 2008

The Dark Day of May 19, 1780

The Wayback Machine has archived copies of
The Dark Day of May 19, 1780

Archived: 2002 July 24

Archived: 2003 May 17

Archived: 2004 April 28

Archived: 2005 July 19

These links were accessed and found to be valid on 23 March 2010.

1780 June 14

Halifax Fortifications "Very Strong"

Much Attention Paid to Its Security

George Washington

To the Honble James Bowdoin, Esqr, Boston
Head Quarters, Springfield, State of N. Jersey, June 14th 1780.
D. Sir: I have received Your Two favours of the 29th and 31st of last Month, with the plan referred to, and have to return You my warmest thanks for the same and for your very kind and polite attention to my request.  The plan and table of reference are very intelligible and satisfactory, and convey a clear idea of many points, about which I was uninformed before.  These may be of great use, and from the manner and the person, the accounts were obtained with respect to the Fortifications, I have no doubt of their accuracy as to these, at the time to which they relate.  The place [Halifax] appears to be very strong and to have had much attention paid to it's security latterly.  I am in hopes from the measures General Heath has taken, that he will be able to procure intelligence of it's improvements and force to a late period...
(signed) G. Washington

June 14, 1780: Letter, George Washington to James Bowdoin
Letter, George Washington to James Bowdoin, June 14, 1780
Source: George Washington Papers at the U.S. Library of Congress
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

View this letter in high resolution (499 kby)
Source: The George Washington papers at the U.S. Library of Congress
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

1780 September 25

American Spy Reveals
Halifax Military Installations
To General Washington

John Allan sends maps of Halifax Harbour

September 1780: Plan of the Harbour of Halifax with the Town Fortifications
Plan of the Harbour of Halifax with
the Town Fortifications &c round it
Source: George Washington Papers at the U.S. Library of Congress
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

The originals of these documents
are among George Washington's papers
now held by the U.S. Library of Congress

September 1780: Sheet 1, Map of Halifax Harbour with Fortifications
Sheet 1, Map of Halifax Harbour with Fortifications, September 1780
Source: George Washington Papers at the U.S. Library of Congress
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library
View sheet 1 in high resolution (360 kby)
Source:   http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mgw/mgw4/071/0200/0252.jpg

September 1780: Sheet 2, Map of Halifax Harbour with Fortifications
Sheet 2, Map of Halifax Harbour with Fortifications, September 1780
Source: George Washington Papers at the U.S. Library of Congress
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library
View sheet 2 in high resolution (209 kby)
Source:   http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mgw/mgw4/071/0200/0253.jpg

1781 May 29

Naval Battle off Cape Sable, Nova Scotia

American: Frigate Alliance, Captain John Barry, 36 guns
British: Sloops of War Atalanta, 16 guns, and Trepassey, 14 guns

The Alliance, a veteran of the Battle of Flamborough Head, under her new Captain John Barry, was returning from a diplomatic mission wherein Washington's aide John Laurens was transported to France when it sighted the English sloops Atalanta and Trepassey. The Alliance was the larger vessel by far, with more and bigger guns. However, her crew had previously been depleted for prizes on the cruise to France. The replacements recruited in Lorient, France, included many ruffians and rogues with no love of America. They had already mutinied on this return cruise, being beaten down and flogged. Furthermore, two prizes, the privateers Mars and Minerva had recently been taken and their prize crewing had depleted Alliance substantially. She was little fit for battle, yet battle was at hand.

As the combatants closed, things did not improve for Alliance as what wind there was suddenly dropped away, leaving Alliance becalmed. However, unlike the Alliance and most large warships, the smaller English Sloops were equipped with sweeps, long oars for emergency use, and these were put to good use by the English Captains. Using this alternative means of propulsion they soon came up on the Alliance, maneuvering under her quarter where her great guns could not bear. There the English ships raked the Alliance, causing many casualties and wounding her Captain in the shoulder, sending him for a time below decks unconscious.

Just as all must have seemed lost to the American crew, providence gave them a wind. Her sails once more filled to give her mobility, the Alliance turned upon her attackers. The great guns, now given a target, roared against the frail hulls of the sloops Being at close range and over gunned they could neither flee nor fight. Soon enough both struck their colors and surrendered, having suffered 11 men killed inluding one Captain and 25 wounded. The Alliance, taking her new prizes along, then completed her voyage, returning to Boston without further incident ... It is not overstatement to say that the Battle of Cape Sable, though small in size, was an important victory for the new American Nation...

Battles of the American Revolution

Entry: "Alliance" in Dictionary of American Fighting Ships, Vol. A, 1991
Navy Department, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Naval History Division, Washington, D.C.

Also see:

1781 August 28

Americans Raid Annapolis Royal

On this day, Annapolis Royal — located at the western end of Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley — was captured and sacked by American privateers. They took the men prisoner and plundered the town.
[Halifax Daily News, 28 Aug. 1999 and 28 Aug. 2001]
[National Post, 28 August 1999]
[Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 28 August 2002]

sack – to plunder a city, town, etc.,
usually by the soldiers of a victorious army, or by pirates

plunder – to rob a place of goods, valuables, etc.,
by forcible means, especially as done in war

1782 July 1

Americans Raid Lunenburg

On this day, American privateers sacked the town of Lunenburg, on Nova Scotia's south shore.
— Halifax Sunday Daily News, 1 July 2001

Historic plaque: 1782 Sack of Lunenburg

1783 January 30

Birth of Richard Smith

Richard Smith was born on this day at Tipton, Staffordshire, England.  On his arrival at Pictou in the early summer of 1827 Smith settled his large colony of men and machinery at a site seven miles up the East River which he named Albion Mines (now Stellarton) where small-scale coal operations had existed for about 20 years.  The nearby leaseholders agreed to sell to the General Mining Association, and under Smith's supervision brickworks, buildings, wharves, coke ovens, a sawmill, and a foundry were built, and track was laid for a horse-drawn railway.

People prominent in coal mining in Nova Scotia

1783 March 10

Last Exchange of Cannon Fire of the American Revolution

On March 10, 1783, while cruising from Havana northward, Captains John Barry of Philadelphia on the Alliance and John Green of New York on the Duc de Lauzon, both men in the Continental Navy, encountered the British frigates Alarm and Sybil, off the east coast of Florida somewhere between Palm Beach and Cape Canaveral. Barry and Green exchanged gunfire with the British, but then the Americans fled from the larger frigates and managed to escape. This minor naval engagement was the last exchange of cannon fire of the American Revolution.
The Revolutionary War in Florida

1783 September 3

The Paris Peace Treaty

Great Britain Officially Recognizes the
Independence of the United States

The text of the Paris Peace Treaty
3 September 1783

Article One

His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent states, that he treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.

Article Two

And that all disputes which might arise in future on the subject of the boundaries of the said United States may be prevented, it is hereby agreed and declared, that the following are and shall be their boundaries, viz.; from the northwest angle of Nova Scotia, viz., that angle which is formed by a line drawn due north from the source of St. Croix River to the highlands; along the said highlands which divide those rivers that empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence, from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to the northwesternmost head of Connecticut River; thence down along the middle of that river to the forty-fifth degree of north latitude; from thence by a line due west on said latitude until it strikes the river Iroquois or Cataraquy; thence along the middle of said river into Lake Ontario; through the middle of said lake until it strikes the communication by water between that lake and Lake Erie; thence along the middle of said communication into Lake Erie, through the middle of said lake until it arrives at the water communication between that lake and Lake Huron; thence along the middle of said water communication into Lake Huron, thence through the middle of said lake to the water communication between that lake and Lake Superior; thence through Lake Superior northward of the Isles Royal and Phelipeaux to the Long Lake; thence through the middle of said Long Lake and the water communication between it and the Lake of the Woods, to the said Lake of the Woods; thence through the said lake to the most northwesternmost point thereof, and from thence on a due west course to the river Mississippi; thence by a line to be drawn along the middle of the said river Mississippi until it shall intersect the northernmost part of the thirty-first degree of north latitude, South, by a line to be drawn due east from the determination of the line last mentioned in the latitude of thirty-one degrees of the equator, to the middle of the river Apalachicola or Catahouche; thence along the middle thereof to its junction with the Flint River, thence straight to the head of Saint Mary's River; and thence down along the middle of Saint Mary's River to the Atlantic Ocean; east, by a line to be drawn along the middle of the river Saint Croix, from its mouth in the Bay of Fundy to its source, and from its source directly north to the aforesaid highlands which divide the rivers that fall into the Atlantic Ocean from those which fall into the river Saint Lawrence; comprehending all islands within twenty leagues of any part of the shores of the United States, and lying between lines to be drawn due east from the points where the aforesaid boundaries between Nova Scotia on the one part and East Florida on the other shall, respectively, touch the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, excepting such islands as now are or heretofore have been within the limits of the said province of Nova Scotia...

The complete text of the 1783 Paris Peace Treaty is available at

1783 October 10

United States Refugees Land in Queens County

In 1783, at the end of the American Revolution, a new town, originally called Guysboro or Guysborough (not the town of similar name on Canso Strait) was laid out along the west side of Port Mouton Harbour (in modern Queens County) Nova Scotia.

On the 10th of October, 1783, about 125 men from the British Legion, along with 175 women and children, arrived in Port Mouton. Just a week later, 70 African American Loyalists landed, followed by the entire staff of the British base in New York.

Altogether, almost 2400 people struggled to survive on the rocky shore of Port Mouton Bay that winter. Many people died of exposure and disease that winter, and are buried in and around the small overgrown cemetery that can be seen there today.

Most of the settlers decided to leave Port Mouton in the spring. As they were leaving in May 1784, a fire swept through the town, destroying almost all of the dwellings and their contents.

An archaeological exploration in the summer of 2001 identified five old foundations and recorded hundreds of metres of stone walls made by the settlers in the northern part of the former town.

[Liverpool Advance, 21 November 2001]

1784 February 25

Jonathan Eddy petitions the Continental Congress

A petition dated Boston, February 25, 1784, of Jonathan Eddy and others. It was referred to the Committee of the States to report thereon to Congress. The indorsement continues: "read in Committee July 26th 1784 and...ordered to lie."
Papers of the Continental Congress Wednesday, May 12, 1784

1784 June 18

New Brunswick is Separated from Nova Scotia

On this day, the territory now known as New Brunswick was separated from Nova Scotia and was organized as a separate colony with its own government, by decree of King George III, after 14,000 United Empire Loyalists arrived from the United States after the American War of Independence.
[Halifax Daily News, 18 June 2001]

It is well known that New Brunswick was created in 1784 by the partition of Nova Scotia, but the exact day of separation is difficult to define. This is because there were many steps involved in establishing New Brunswick, beginning with the deliberations of the Privy Council in London in May and June, and ending with the arrival of the first governor, Thomas Carleton, at Saint John in November. New Brunswick was created by an executive decision of King George III and the Privy Council, not by the British Parliament; there was no "New Brunswick Act". The Privy Council formally proposed the partition on May 10, 1784 and held various discussions leading up to its final order-in-council of June 18, 1784.
Key Dates in the Creation of New Brunswick, Canada

...His Majesty having taken the same into His Royal Consideration has thought it proper that the Province of Nova Scotia should be divided into two parts...
Order in Council Separating New Brunswick from Nova Scotia, 18 June 1784

Thomas Carleton was received by the King on July 9, 1784, his Commission or Warrant was signed by Lord Sydney on August 2nd, but the Great Seal [of Great Britain] was not impressed upon it until August 16th. His Instructions, consisting of no less than 96 Clauses, were dated just two days later, having been approved by his Majesty in Council July 28th...
The Birth of a Province (New Brunswick): Pertinent Historic Dates in the Bicentennial Year: 1984 by C. Alexander Pincombe, New Brunswick Bicentennial Office, 1980
See:   http://webhome.idirect.com/~cpwalsh/nb/birth.htm

Commission Appointing Thomas Carleton First Governor of New Brunswick, 16 August 1784

1784 September 11

P.E.I Annexed to Nova Scotia

On this day, the territory now known as Prince Edward Island was annexed to Nova Scotia.
[National Post, 11 September 1999]

This was accomplished by an official document which reduced the status of the chief Executive of Prince Edward Island to that of a Lieutenant-Governor subordinate to the Governor-in-Chief of Nova Scotia. The official document was the Commission of John Parr dated Sept. 11th, 1784, which is preserved in the Public Archives of Canada. As it turned out, this reduction in rank of the top official in P.E.I. turned out to be "only in theory," according to Murray Beck. It had little practical effect.
[The Government of Nova Scotia, by J.M. Beck, University of Toronto Press, 1957]

1785 March 28

Continental Congress Considers the Plight
of Refugees from Nova Scotia

Monday, March 28, 1785
Congress assembled. Present, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina; and from the State of Massachusetts, Mr. [Rufus] King, and from Georgia, Mr. [William] Houstoun...

The Committee consisting of Messrs. [William] Ellery, [James] Monroe, [Jacob] Read, [Hugh] Williamson and [Richard Dobbs] Speight to whom was referred the petition of Jonathan Eddy and others, refugees from Nova Scotia, setting [forth] that on accounts of their opposition to British measures they were exiled from their habitation and proscribed by their enemies, their houses were burned and their stock and other personal property wasted and destroyed and considerable rewards offered for the heads of the most active among them, that ever since their misfortune they have been inhabitants of the United States and have served the cause of America in the field or in such other way as their abilities permitted — That they now find themselves destitute of a home for their retirement, of property for their support and of all hope of assistance but from the justice and humanity of Congress; and pray that the may receive some compensation for their losses. Whereupon your Committee submit the following resolution —

That Jonathan Eddy and other refugees from Nova Scotia on account of their attachment to the interest of the United States be recommended to the humanity & particular attention of the several states in which they respectively reside and that they be [informed that whenever Congress can consistently make grants of land they will reward in this way as far as may be consistent such refugees from Nova Scotia, as may be disposed to live in the Western Country.]

[Note: This report, in the writing of William Ellery, except the part in brackets which is in the writing of Hugh Williamson, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 19, II, folio 197. It was read this day (March 28) and the resolve passed April 13.]

Source: Journal of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

March 28, 1785: Jonathan Eddy and other refugees from Nova Scotia
Source: Journal of the Continental Congress, March 28, 1785
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

Continental Congress
April 13th, 1785

Congress assembled. Present, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pensylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina; and from the state of Georgia, Mr. [William] Houstoun.

On the report of a committee, consisting of Mr. [William] Ellery, Mr. [James] Monroe, Mr. [Jacob] Read, Mr. [Hugh] Williamson and Mr. [Richard Dobbs] Spaight, to whom was referred a petition of Jonathan Eddy, and other refugees of Nova Scotia,

Resolved, That Jonathan Eddy, and other refugees from Nova Scotia, on account of their attachment to the interest of the United States, be recommended to the humanity and particular attention of the several states in which they respectively reside; and that they be informed, that whenever Congress can consistently make grants of land, they will reward, in this way, as far as may be consistent, such refugees from Nova Scotia, as may be disposed to live in the Western country.

Source: Journal of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

Continental Congress
April 21st, 1785

The petition of John Allan, Supt. of Indian Affairs, Eastern Department, praying compensation for services and expences, was referred to the Board of Treasury to report. [Note: The Board reported June 7, 1785. The petition, dated April 20, 1785, is in No. 42, I, folio 79.]
Source: Journal of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

Continental Congress
June 6th, 1785

Board of Treasury, June 6th 1785.
The Board of Treasury to whom was referred the petition of John Allan Esq. late Superintendant of Indian affairs for the eastern department, Report.

That in the opinion of the Board, the Commission held by John Allan Esq. late Superintendant of Indian affairs for the eastern department, under the authority of Congress, can only be considered as a civil commission, and therefore that his claim for the emoluments granted to officers in the military line of the United States cannot be admitted.

With respect to the claims made by the Petitioner for his wages as Superintendant of Indian affairs from the 3d of June, 1783, till his dismission, and that the sum due on the certificate granted to him under the administration of the late Superintendant of finance, on the 4th June, 1783, should be discharged. The Board considering the pretensions of Mr Allan, as founded on the same basis with other civil officers of the United States submit to the consideration of Congress the following Resolve,

That the sum of eight hundred and seventy dollars 45/90 be paid to John Allan late Superintendant of Indian affairs June 13, passed for the Eastern department being the amount of his salary from the 3d June, 1783, till the 1st May, 1784, the time he received intelligence of his dismission from service.

That the Registers certificate given to John Allan Postponed 13 June; 17 June assigned the 4th. June, 1783, for three thousand four hundred and ninety four dollars being the balance due him for past services to that period be paid and cancelled out of the requisition for the year 1784.

[Note: This report is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 138, 1, folio 75. Allan's petition is in No. 42, I, folio 79.]

Source: Journal of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

Continental Congress
June 13th, 1785

On the report of the board of treasury, to whom was referred a petition of John Allan, late superintendant of Indian Affairs for the eastern department,

Resolved, (by nine states) That the sum of eight hundred and seventy dollars, and 45/90 of a dollar, be paid to John Allan, late superintendent of Indian affairs for the eastern department, being the amount of his salary from the 3d of June, 1783, until the 1st of May, 1784, the time he received intelligence of his dismission from service.
Source: Journal of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

Continental Congress
July 7th, 1785

On this day was read a letter of John Allan, dated June 29, 1785, forwarding a speech of the Micmac and Penobscot Indians at Passamaquoddy in November 1783, and a wampum belt. [Note: A copy of the speech had been forwarded to Congress December 25, 1783. Allan's letter is in No. 58, folio 71.]
Source: Journal of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

Continental Congress Pays John Allan $3494.00
September 29th, 1785

Congress assembled. Present, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia; and from the State of Delaware, Mr. [John] Vining; from Maryland, Mr. [William] Hindman; and from North Carolina, Mr. [William] Cumming...

On a report from the board of treasury, to whom was referred a petition of John Allan, esqr. late superintendent of Indian Affairs for the eastern department,

Resolved, That three thousand four hundred and ninety four dollars be paid to Mr. John Allan, out of the requisition for the year 1784, in full of the balance due to him on the fourth day of June, 1783, for his services to that time, and that the register's certificate, given for that balance, be taken up and cancelled.

Source: Journal of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

1785 September 1

Capital of Cape Breton

On this day, Sydney is declared the capital of Cape Breton.
[Halifax Daily News, 1 September 2001]


Old Annapolis Road

The trail now known as The Old Annapolis Road, between Halifax and Annapolis Royal, via New Ross, was located on the ground.


H.M.S. Bounty

In 1786, a vessel by the name of Bethia, built at Hull on the east coast of England in 1784, made a voyage from London to Nova Scotia. She was owned by R. Dale; her captain was P. Ellis, and changed later in the year to Blair. A vessel of this name and description was purchased by the British Admiralty, refitted and renamed Bounty.
[Spurgeon G. Roscoe, in a letter printed in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 13 December 1999. In the 1960s, Mr. Roscoe was the radio officer in the replica Bounty built for making the movie Mutiny on the Bounty, with Marlon Brando acting the part of Fletcher Christian. Mr. Roscoe believes the original Bounty, commanded by Captain Bligh, was the refitted Bethia.]

1787 November 21

Birth of S. Cunard

Samuel Cunard, oldest son of Abraham and Margaret Cunard, was born on Brunswick Street in Halifax on this day. The Cunard family was descended from one Thomas Kunders, a German Quaker, who had emigrated from Europe to Philadelphia in 1683, in search of religious freedom. In subsequent generations and various records, spelling variations such as Cunrad, Conrad, and Cunard appear in the family name. Abraham Cunard moved to Halifax in 1780.

1790 January 9

Nova Scotia Ship Seized at Boston

United States Congress
January 9th, 1790

"A petition of Christopher Saddler, of Nova Scotia, in the dominion of Great Britain, mariner, was presented to the House, and read, praying to be relieved from the forfeiture of his vessel and cargo, which have been seized in the port of Boston, for a violation of the impost law of the United States; of which law the petitioner was wholly ignorant.
Ordered, That the said petition do lie on the table."
Nova Scotia: January 9th, 1790, Petition of Christopher Saddler
Source: Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1789-1873
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

1791 November 3

A Court of Law in Nova Scotia

United States Congress
November 3rd, 1791

"A petition of William Howe, of Shrewsbury, in the State of Massachusetts, was presented to the House and read, praying that, as he became an American citizen at the commencement of the late war with Great Britain, entered into the service of the United States, and has continued to be a citizen thereof since that time, he may be relieved against the operation of certain proceedings of a court of law in Nova Scotia, under the dominion of Great Britain, which has been lately had against him, contrary, as he conceives, to the provisions contained in the fourth article of the treaty of peace between the United States and Great Britain.
Ordered, That the said petition be referred to the Secretary of State, with instruction to examine the same, and report his opinion thereupon to the House."

Source: Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1789-1873
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

1792 May 12

Governor Sir John Wentworth arrives in Halifax

...As for Nova Scotia politics, in this older Maritime province at first reflected the problems of absorbing a large Loyalist element that threatened to swamp the existing pre-Loyalist population.  To the pre-Loyalist "native Nova Scotians" (so they would term themselves), the newcomers were merely "New York office-grabbers" who expected only the best as they scrambled to safety.  To the Loyalists, the self-styled native inhabitants were little more than Yankees who had never faced or fought the American Revolution, yet still pretended to all the hard-earned benefits of British allegiance.  Undoubtedly there was sore rivalry for jobs and positions along with mutual prejudice.  But in many respects pre-Loyalists and Loyalists in Nova Scotia were much the same people, in their American seaboard origins, their life-styles and Protestant faiths, and in their common concerns with farming, fishing and shipping.  In short, the two groups settled down quite readily together in society, and thus ultimately in politics besides.  In the process, however, there were clashes between Loyalist opposition forces in the Nova Scotian Assembly and the pre-Loyalist old-guard in the Council – which indeed led to the Assembly securing the right to bring in money bills, and even to impeach Supreme Court judges for corruption and incompetence.  Being a Loyalist did not mean you could not attack abusers of the King's law!

Nonetheless, reformism among Loyalists rather faded after one of their own became Governor of Nova Scotia in 1792: Sir John Wentworth, previously a Governor of New Hampshire, who held his new place in Halifax on to 1808, when Sir George Prevost briefly succeeded him before the War of 1812.  Wentworth was well practised in the art of patronage, and free-handedly put relatives and Loyalist friends into his Council or in other official posts.  Yet this urbane and capable governor both kept control and his own popularity, despite renewed troubles with the Assembly from about 1802.  William Cottnam Tonge, an English naval officer in charge of shipping regulations, had entered the elected house and there organized countryside support against Wentworth and the ruling Halifax group, the "Council of Twelve" (so-called), which sharply challenged their oligarchic power.  In many respects the rural opposition front that Tonge built up was a classic case of "country" versus "town" interests.  But it broke down when in 1807 Wentworth had its leader dismissed from his naval office and removed the country magistrates who had authorized local, pro-Tonge meetings.  Moreover, Wentworth's own public hold, and the loyal conservatism of wartime Nova Scotia, allowed him to get away with such legal but overbearing acts.  Oligarchy continued to run Nova Scotia, where parties beyond mere town-versus-country factions would still take years to develop.  In truth, a chastened but co-operative Assembly now built Wentworth a fine stone Government House, and voted a stately new Province House for the legislature as well.

Such sizeable expenditures as these at the capital marked the fact that wartimes were good times in Nova Scotia generally: in farming and fishing, in supplying the military, and in sending provisions, saltfish and lumber to West Indies markets.  Convoys massed at Halifax harbour for escort from its naval base to Europe; while under British naval protection Nova Scotian ships reached into Mediterranean trade.  Without doubt there were also dangers of enemy attack; but in 1805 Britain's decisive sea-victory at Trafalgar off Spain shattered the main French fleet and its Spanish allies, rendering the high seas safe from all but scattered raiders.  Meanwhile, too, Halifax defences had been much strengthened under Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, a younger soldier son of George III, and later the father of Queen Victoria.  Formerly in charge of the Quebec garrison, Edward from 1794 was commander-in-chief for Nova Scotia and its Atlantic approaches.  And there he worked vigorously (and lavishly) to build up Halifax, the imperial stronghold; in public edifices as well as in the armaments and the stone ramparts of a newly massive Halifax Citadel.  He even introduced a semaphore telegraph system.  In effect, Prince Edward ministered to the Halifax and Nova Scotian war boom, that continued long after his own departure in 1800.  Assuredly, not just Halifax but all the province, enjoyed extensive ocean commerce behind the British naval shield.

At the same time, there was increasing settlement in Nova Scotia, largely of Scottish clansmen come from Argyll or Perth, Ross or Sutherland.  They still found their way across the wartime Atlantic because of their desperate need to escape starvation-farming in the Highlands, where the thin land was inadequate for an expanding population, and big landlords were "clearing" their estates, replacing tenant crofters with more profitable sheep.  The Highlanders, Gaelic-speaking Catholics and Protestants, came to Picton and Antigonish, or opened farms on rugged Cape Breton Island, not unlike the Highlands in its own stark beauty.  Even by 1803 there were probably up to 10,000 Scots in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, while the island alone held some 6,000 by 1815.  A high birthrate helped: Cape Breton might be a rigorous land of pioneer hardships, but for poor croft-tillers accustomed to still worse at home, it offered health, room and their own acres – a good recipe for growth.  Moreover, returning Acadians also settled stretches on the western shores of Cape Breton, as well as establishing new fishing villages at empty harbours around the southern end of mainland Nova Scotia...

—  Source: Chapter 5: The Moulding of British North America: 1791-1815
Canada: A Celebration of Our Heritage, by J.M.S. Careless

Sir John Wentworth biography Wikipedia

Sir John Wentworth biography by Peter Landry

Sir John Wentworth historic plaque Halifax

Sir John Wentworth DCBO

William Cottnam Tonge DCBO

Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn DCBO

People prominent in Nova Scotia hstory

1792 November 21

Refugees from Nova Scotia

United States Congress
November 21st, 1792

"A petition of Thomas Faulkner and Edward Faulkner was presented to the House and read, praying that compensation may be made to them out of the unappropriated lands in the Western Country, for the quantity to which they are entitled, as refugees from Nova Scotia, under a resolution of the late Congress, of the thirteenth of April, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-five.
Ordered, That the said petition be referred to the Secretary of War, with instruction to examine the same, and report his opinion thereupon to the House."

Source: Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1789-1873
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

1792 December 19

Original Grant of Tancook Island

NOVA SCOTIA, George the Third, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith and so forth:

To All is whom the Presents shall come Greeting:

Know ye, that we, of our official grace, certain knowledge and mere motion have given and granted; and by these presents for us, our Heirs and Successors, do give and grant unto John Henry Fleiger and George Grant all those certain three several Islands situate, lying and being in Mahone Bay within the County of Lunenberg in the Province of Nova Scotia aforesaid and called and known by the name of Great Tancook, Little Tancook and Star Islands, containing in the whole six hundred and sixty acres of land being the same formerly granted to Patrick Sutherland, Esquire, and lately escheated for nonperformance of the conditions of the Grant to the said Patrick Sutherland; that is to say unto the said John Henry Fleiger, the western part of Great Tancook Island bounded as follows:

Beginning at the mouth of a small rivulet...

Given under the Great Seal of our Province of Nova Scotia, Witness our Trusty and Well-Beloved John Wentworth, Est., our Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief in and over our said Province this Seventeenth day of December in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety two, and in the Thirty Third year of our Reign.

Nova Scotia, Halifax
J. Wentworth, Nova Scotia
Registered the 19th, December, 1792, J.M. Freke Bulkeley, Register.
Audited the 19th December, 1792, Halifax, Wm. Frow.
Signed in Council, J.M.Freke Bulkeley, Secretary of Province.
By Command of his Excellency the Lieutenant Governor.
J.M. Freke Bulkeley, Secretary of the Province.

History of Tancook Island

Complete text of the Original Grant of Tancook Island

1794 January 8

William Lawrence, a Refugee from Nova Scotia

United States Congress
January 8th, 1794

"A petition of William Lawrence, a refugee from Nova Scotia, and now residing in the county of Hampshire, in the State of Massachusetts, was presented to the House and read, praying compensation for losses and injuries sustained in his person and property, by adhering to the American cause, during the late war.

Ordered, That the said petition be referred to Mr. Greenup, Mr. Coit, Mr. Peleg Wadsworth, Mr. Tredwell, and Mr. Cadwalader; that they do examine the matter thereof, and report the same, with their opinion thereupon, to the House."

Source: Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1789-1873
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

Note: There is little doubt that this is the same William Lawrence who signed the Petition to George Washington, February 8th, 1776: "...The Inhabitants of Nova Scotia, and in particular those of the County of Cumberland have been under the Greatest Axiety and Apprehension..."

1794 April 1

Simeon Chester and William Lawrence...

United States Congress
April 1st, 1794

"Mr. Greenup, from the committee to whom were referred the petitions of Thomas Faulkner, Edward Faulkner, Simeon Chester, William Laurance (sic), and Joseph Green, and others, refugees from Nova Scotia and Canada, made a report; which was read, and ordered to be committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next [April 3rd]."

Source: Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1789-1873
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

Note: There is no doubt that Simeon Chester and William Lawrence are the same people who signed the Petition to George Washington, February 8th, 1776: "...The Inhabitants of Nova Scotia, and in particular those of the County of Cumberland have been under the Greatest Axiety and Apprehension..."


Birth of J.G. Bennett

James Gordon Bennett was born at New Mill, Keith, in Banffshire, Scotland. "The year of his birth is frequently misstated; the name-plate placed on his coffin by his family gave it as 1795, but the month was unknown." He read the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin when it was published in Scotland in 1817; it inspired an ardent desire to visit the new world.

He had, however, formed no definite plan, until one day on an Aberdeen street, he met a friend who informed him that he was about to sail for Halifax. Bennett decided to embark with his friend, and they set sail together on 6 April 1819.

Bennett reached Halifax after a four-week voyage. On his arrival in the city of twelve thousand, having no other means of support, he resorted to teaching. It is believed he was hired to teach school at Cole Harbour, a village an hour's walk east of Dartmouth. Shortly thereafter, he made his way to Boston. "Without friends, money, or work," he didn't have enough to eat, "and was at one time rescued from two days of starvation by finding a shilling on the ground."

On 6 May 1835, Bennett published the first issue of the New York Herald, a four-page daily newspaper which sold for $3 a year or one cent a copy. The printing was done under contract, and Bennett was the sole employee — "editor, reporter, proof-reader, folder, and cashier." His office, furnished mostly with boards laid across packing crates, was in the basement of No. 20 Wall Street.

Bennett's Herald was astonishingly successful. In the issue of 20 October 1841, the newspaper "boasted an annual revenue of $130,000." In the 1860s, "annual profits approached $400,000". Abraham Lincoln read it every day he was in Washington. Bennett was the sole owner. Under Bennett's direction, the Herald became known for aggressively pursuing news stories. (In 1869, the Herald sent Henry Morton Stanley to Central Africa to find the missionary David Livingstone.)

The New York Herald, which later became the Herald-Tribune, is considered one of the great newspapers in U.S. history. It continued as an important newspaper for more than a century, until it expired suddenly at 5pm on 16 August 1966.

Bennett's knowledge of Nova Scotia was a factor in his becoming deeply involved in early electric telegraph operations hereabouts, and without Bennett the remarkable 1849 pony express would not have existed. "The Herald was the first newspaper to make lavish use of the telegraph" for gathering news.

[The quotes are from James Gordon Bennett, in the Dictionary of American Biography, edited by Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1930.  Additional information is excerpted from James Gordon Bennett: Editor-In-Chief of the New York Herald, in the United States Magazine, 1856; from The James Gordon Bennetts, Father and Son, Proprietors of the New York Herald, by Don C. Seitz, the Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1928; and from Bennett's New York Herald and the Rise of the Popular Press, ISBN 0815624611, by James L. Crouthamel, Syracuse University Press, 1989.]

1795 January 5

Prisoners from Nova Scotia

United States Congress
January 5th, 1795

A memorial of Thomas Dannery, Consul of the French Republic, residing in the town of Boston, in the State of Massachusetts, in behalf of a number of French citizens, late inhabitants of Saint Petre and Miquelon, was presented to the House and read, praying a remission of the tonnage duties accruing on sundry shallops and small schooners, which were employed to convey the said French citizens to the said town of Boston, from Halifax and Shelburne, in the province of Nova Scotia, where they were sent as prisoners, by the British Army, in the course of the late war.
Ordered, That the said memorial be referred to Mr. Samuel Smith, Mr. Lyman, and Mr. Van Cortlandt; that they do examine the matter thereof, and report the same, with their opinion thereupon, to the House."

Source: Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1789-1873
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

1795 January 16

Foreign Bottom Seized

United States Congress
January 16th, 1795

"A petition of William Martin, of North Yarmouth, in the State of Massachusetts, was presented to the House and read, praying relief in the case of the Schooner Fox, the property of an inhabitant of Nova Scotia, concerned in trade with the petitioner, which was seized by the Collector for the District of Portland, in the said State, as a foreign bottom, under thirty tons burthen, importing articles from a foreign port, subject to the payment of impost duties, contrary to the revenue laws of the United States."

Source: Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1789-1873
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

1796 February 22

Refugees from Nova Scotia

United States Congress
February 22nd, 1796

"A petition of Noah Miller, in behalf of himself, Joshua Lamb, David Gay, Martin Brooks, and Carpenter Bradford, refugees from Nova Scotia, was presented to the House and read, praying compensation for losses and injuries sustained in their persons and property by adhering to the American cause, during the late war.
Ordered, That the said petition be referred to the Committee of the Whole House to whom are committed the reports of committees on the petitions of sundry refugees from Canada and Nova Scotia."

Source: Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1789-1873
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

1796 April 22

Condemned by a Nova Scotia Court

United States Congress
April 22nd, 1796

"A memorial of Samuel Clarkson and others, merchants of the city of Philadelphia, praying relief, in the case of the cargo of the brig called the Sea Nymph, an American bottom, which was captured by a British frigate, and condemned by a degree of the Court of Vice Admiralty of the province of Nova Scotia, some time in the month of November last."

Source: Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1789-1873
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

1796 December 12

United States Congress
December 12th, 1796

"Ordered, That the several reports of committees of the nineteenth of February, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three, the first of April, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four, and the fifteenth of February, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-six, on sundry petitions of refugees from Canada and Nova Scotia, be committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next.
A petition of James Craford, of the county of Washington, in the State of New York, a refugee from Nova Scotia, was presented to the House and read, praying compensation for services rendered, and injuries sustained in his person and property, in adhering to the American cause, during the late war.
Ordered, That the said petition be referred to the Committee of the Whole House last appointed."
Source: Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 1789-1873
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

1796 February 29

Proclamation of the
Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation

Signed at London November 19, 1794
Ratified by the United States August 14, 1795
Ratified by Great Britain October 28, 1795
Ratifications exchanged at London October 28, 1795
Proclaimed February 29, 1796.

Also known as the Jay Treaty

His Britannick Majesty and the United States of America, being desirous by a Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation to terminate their Differences in such a manner, as without reference to the Merits of Their respective Complaints and Pretensions, may be the best calculated to produce mutual satisfaction and good understanding: And also to regulate the Commerce and Navigation between Their respective Countries, Territories and People, in such a manner as to render the same reciprocally beneficial and satisfactory...

Article 1

There shall be a firm inviolable and universal Peace, and a true and sincere Friendship between His Britannick Majesty, His Heirs and Successors, and the United States of America; and between their respective Countries, Territories, Cities, Towns and People of every Degree, without Exception of Persons or Places.

Article 2

His Majesty will withdraw all His Troops and Garrisons from all Posts and Places within the Boundary Lines assigned by the Treaty of Peace to the United States. This Evacuation shall take place on or before the first Day of June One thousand seven hundred and ninety six...

Article 3

It is agreed that it shall at all Times be free to His Majesty's Subjects, and to the Citizens of the United States, and also to the Indians dwelling on either side of the said Boundary Line freely to pass and repass by Land, or Inland Navigation, into the respective Territories and Countries of the Two Parties on the Continent of America (the Country within the Limits of the Hudson's Bay Company only excepted) and to navigate all the Lakes, Rivers, and waters thereof, and freely to carry on trade and commerce with each other. But it is understood, that this Article does not extend to the admission of Vessels of the United States into the Sea Ports, Harbours, Bays, or Creeks of His Majesty's said Territories; nor into such parts of the Rivers in His Majesty's said Territories as are between the mouth thereof, and the highest Port of Entry from the Sea, except in small vessels trading bona fide between Montreal and Quebec, under such regulations as shall be established to prevent the possibility of any Frauds in this respect. Nor to the admission of British vessels from the Sea into the Rivers of the United States, beyond the highest Ports of Entry for Foreign Vessels from the Sea. The River Mississippi, shall however, according to the Treaty of Peace be entirely open to both Parties...

Article 5

...One Commissioner shall be named by His Majesty, and one by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and Consent of the Senate thereof, and the said two Commissioners shall agree on the choice of a third, or, if they cannot so agree, They shall each propose one Person, and of the two names so proposed one shall be drawn by Lot, in the presence of the two original Commissioners. And the three Commissioners so appointed shall be Sworn impartially to examine and decide the said question according to such Evidence as shall respectively be laid before Them on the part of the British Government and of the United States. The said Commissioners shall meet at Halifax and shall have power to adjourn to such other place or places as they shall think fit. They shall have power to appoint a Secretary, and to employ such Surveyors or other Persons as they shall judge necessary. The said Commissioners shall by a Declaration under their Hands and Seals, decide what River is the River St. Croix intended by the Treaty...

Article 17

It is agreed that, in all Cases where Vessels shall be captured or detained on just suspicion of having on board Enemy's property or of carrying to the Enemy, any of the articles which are Contraband of war; The said Vessel shall be brought to the nearest or most convenient Port, and if any property of an Enemy, should be found on board such Vessel, that part only which belongs to the Enemy shall be made prize, and the Vessel shall be at liberty to proceed with the remainder without any Impediment. And it is agreed that all proper measures shall be taken to prevent delay, in deciding the Cases of Ships or Cargoes so brought in for adjudication, and in the payment or recovery of any Indemnification adjudged or agreed to be paid to the masters or owners of such Ships.

Article 18

In order to regulate what is in future to be esteemed Contraband of war, it is agreed that under the said Denomination shall be comprized all Arms and Implements serving for the purposes of war by Land or Sea; such as Cannon, Muskets, Mortars, Petards, Bombs, Grenades Carcasses, Saucisses, Carriages for Cannon, Musket rests, Bandoliers, Gunpowder, Match, Saltpetre, Ball, Pikes, Swords, Headpieces Cuirasses Halberts Lances Javelins, Horsefurniture, Holsters, Belts and, generally all other Implements of war, as also Timber for Ship building, Tar or Rosin, Copper in Sheets, Sails, Hemp, and Cordage, and generally whatever may serve directly to the equipment of Vessels, unwrought Iron and Fir planks only excepted, and all the above articles are hereby declared to be just objects of Confiscation, whenever they are attempted to be carried to an Enemy...

Article 19

And that more abundant Care may be taken for the security of the respective Subjects and Citizens of the Contracting Parties, and to prevent their suffering Injuries by the Men of war, or Privateers of either Party, all Commanders of Ships of war and Privateers and all others the said Subjects and Citizens shall forbear doing any Damage to those of the other party, or committing any Outrage against them, and if they act to the contrary, they shall be punished, and shall also be bound in their Persons and Estates to make satisfaction and reparation for all Damages, and the interest thereof, of whatever nature the said Damages may be...

Article 20

It is further agreed that both the said Contracting Parties, shall not only refuse to receive any Pirates into any of their Ports, Havens, or Towns, or permit any of their Inhabitants to receive, protect, harbour conceal or assist them in any manner, but will bring to condign punishment all such Inhabitants as shall be guilty of such Acts or offences. And all their Ships with the Goods or Merchandizes taken by them and brought into the port of either of the said Parties, shall be seized, as far as they can be discovered and shall be restored to the owners or their Factors or Agents duly deputed and authorized in writing by them (proper Evidence being first given in the Court of Admiralty for proving the property,) even in case such effects should have passed into other hands by Sale, if it be proved that the Buyers knew or had good reason to believe, or suspect that they had been piratically taken.

Article 21

It is likewise agreed that the Subjects and Citizens of the Two Nations, shall not do any acts of Hostility or Violence against each other, nor accept Commissions or Instructions so to act from any Foreign Prince or State, Enemies to the other party, nor shall the Enemies of one of the parties be permitted to invite or endeavour to enlist in their military service any of the Subjects or Citizens of the other party; and the Laws against all such Offences and Aggressions shall be punctually executed. And if any Subject or Citizen of the said Parties respectively shall accept any Foreign Commission or Letters of Marque for Arming any Vessel to act as a Privateer against the other party, and be taken by the other party, it is hereby declared to be lawful for the said party to treat and punish the said Subject or Citizen, having such Commission or Letters of Marque as a Pirate.

Article 23

The Ships of war of each of the Contracting Parties, shall at all times be hospitably received in the Ports of the other, their Officers and Crews paying due respect to the Laws and Government of the Country. The officers shall be treated with that respect, which is due to the Commissions which they bear. And if any Insult should be offered to them by any of the Inhabitants, all offenders in this respect shall be punished as Disturbers of the Peace and Amity between the Two Countries...

Article 28

It is agreed that the first Ten Articles of this Treaty shall be permanent and that the subsequent Articles except the Twelfth shall be limited in their duration to Twelve years to be computed from the Day on which the Ratifications of this Treaty shall be exchanged...


1797 May 2

Birth of Abraham Gesner

In 1797, Abraham Gesner was born about two kilometres north-east of present-day downtown Kentville, Kings County, Nova Scotia. He became an important geologist and inventor, noted for his geological mapping and exploration of Nova Scotia, and for the discovery of an early process for the distillation of kerosene from crude petroleum.

Kerosene, (also known as paraffin oil or coal oil) is a flammable pale-yellow or white oily liquid with a characteristic not-unpleasant odour.

In the last half of the nineteenth century, kerosene's main market was as a fuel for lighting purposes. Because of its widespread use in lamps for illumination, for half a century – from about 1860 until about 1910 – kerosene was the major refinery product in North America. (From about 1900, the market demand for kerosene began to decline as electric lighting displaced kerosene lamps for illumination, and by 1910 the outlook was becoming worrying for those in the business. Then, in a remarkable stroke of luck for oil refinery owners, the automobile made gasoline an important refinery product at precisely the time when electric lighting was whittling away the use of kerosene.) John Davison Rockefeller's fortune was almost entirely based on kerosene during the first three decades of the Standard Oil Company ("S.O." is pronounced Esso).

In the late twentieth century and early twenty-first centuries, kerosene is the main component used in making fuel for jet engines for aircraft and electric power generation; it is also widely used as a heating fuel, a cleaning solvent, and as a thinner in paints and insecticide emulsions.

[Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1975, and other sources.]

In the  first  decade  of the  21st century,
world-wide  production  and  consumption  of
kerosene exceeded 130,000,000,000 litres annually.
(On average, about 15,000,000 litres each hour of every day)

Abraham Gesner Memorial Plaque
Abraham Gesner Memorial Plaque
Photographed 10 September 2002 beside Middle Dyke Road, Kings County, Nova Scotia
(about two kilometres north-east of present-day downtown Kentville).

Historic plaque: Abraham Gesner

People prominent in Nova Scotia hstory

1797 November 23

La Tribune Wrecked

Joe Cracker Rescues Shipwrecked Sailors

On 24 November 1997, Herring Cove residents marked the 200th anniversary of a 13-year-old boy's bravery.  About 80 people gathered at the headland overlooking the mouth of Halifax Harbour, with the wind whipping at their backs and the fog horn sounding, to hear the story of Joe Cracker.  The local orphan braved high seas to rescue sailors from the wreck of the frigate HMS La Tribune on November 23, 1797, when nobody else was willing to chance the waves.  "He jumped into a skiff, and at the risk of his own life, rowed out to Tribune and managed to bring in two of the 12 survivors that were hanging in the rigging," David Flemming, president of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, told the crowd.  "His efforts either shamed or encouraged those who were also on the shore.  They put out in larger boats, and, over the next little while, managed to rescue all that were left on the vessel."

The day before Cracker's heroic effort, La Tribune — under the command of Capt. Scory Barker — went aground at low tide on Big Thrumcap shoal off the southeast end of McNabs Island about one o'clock in the afternoon, after Barker decided not to take on a local pilot.  Barker had La Tribune's 44 cannon tossed overboard so she would float free with the rising tide.  "Unfortunately, he threw them over on the lee side of the vessel, and as the wind came up to gale force, the ship was battered against the guns," said Flemming.  She floated free by 9 pm, but by then, there was a hole in La Tribune, and her rudder was useless.  An hour later, she was aground again just off Herring Cove.  She went down to the bottom fast in 20 metres of frigid water.  "More than half of her complement of nearly 250 were lost immediately," said Flemming.  "And the other 100 clung to life in the rigging of the foremast and the mainmast."  Throughout the night, Herring Cove residents built fires on the nearby shore and called to the stranded men.  But the seas were too high to mount a rescue.  "By the morning, only about a dozen survivors were left on the ship."

For his rescue efforts, Cracker was offered a midshipman's position in the Royal Navy. "He served on the quarter-deck for some time, but it turned out that he wasn't really cut out to be an officer in His Majesty's navy," said Flemming.  "He came back to the cove, fished for a while, and then disappears from history."

[Halifax Daily News, 24 November 1997]

HMS Tribune Memorial Plaque

Painting of H.M.S. Tribune under full sail
The largest marine shipwreck tragedy in Halifax Harbour was the sinking of the Tribune in 1797 on the granite rocks at the entrance to Herring Cove.  238 men lost their lives and only and a handful were saved by the bravery of a 13 year old boy, Joseph Shortt, who lived in Herring Cove.  The cannons from the ship are thought to lie south of McNabs Island on bedrock.

Painting of HMS Tribune under full sail
Painting of HMS Tribune under full sail
Source: The bottom of Halifax Harbour, 1995, Geological Survey of Canada


Semaphore Telegraph at Halifax

According to W.D. Fowlie, in a paper read before the Nova Scotia Historical Society on 3 December 1976, "One of Canada's communications pioneers was Edward, Duke of Kent, the father of Queen Victoria, who commanded the garrison in Halifax from 1794 to 1800. Under his direction, semaphore telegraph stations were erected to provide rapid communication between the outlying forts at York Redoubt, McNab's Island, George's Island, Halifax Citadel, and Prince Edward's country residence at Birch Cove, where he lived with his beloved Julie St. Laurent."  (The circular music room, part of that estate, still stands on the shore of Bedford Basin.)

1798 April 20

Birth of William E. Logan

William Edmond Logan was born on this day at at Montreal, Lower Canada. At the age of 16 he was sent with his older brother Hart to high school in Edinburgh, Scotland.  In 1816 he registered as a medical student at Edinburgh University where his subjects included logic, mathematics, and chemistry.  In 1831 Logan moved to Swansea, Wales, where he was appointed manager at the Forest Copper Works, Morriston, a copper smelting and coal mining establishment in which his uncle had invested a substantial sum of money.  His prime task was to set up a proper system of accounts but Logan soon realized that a continuous supply of coal for the smelters had to be guaranteed, and that this could only be done with the help of accurate maps of coal seams from which reserves could be determined.  Existing geological maps of Wales were highly generalized with too little detail to make them useful.  Logan therefore set out to make field observations and to plot them on the available topographic maps of South Wales, recording the continuity of seams and the succession of rocks.  His data included subsurface information from miners, and subsequently from drill cores.  By these means he constructed, for the first time, true-scale horizontal cross-sections upon which the underground occurrence of the coal seams was mapped.  The results allowed predictions about the depths of mines and the discovery of coal seams that were not exposed at the surface.  In 1835 the Geological Survey of Great Britain was initiated and when its first director, Sir Henry Thomas de la Beche, saw Logan's maps for South Wales he adopted them, because "the work on this district [was] of an order so greatly superior to that usual with geologists."  Logan's contribution is still recognized in that modern revisions of the geological maps for South Wales bear his name as an original co-author.

Logan's employment in Swansea ended in 1838 with his uncle's death but he continued to live there and to make geological maps of South Wales.  In July 1841 the Natural History Society of Montreal and the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec petitioned the first united parliament of Upper and Lower Canada to allocate an amount not exceeding £1500 sterling to defray the probable expense of carrying out a geological survey of Canada.  Logan was immediately interested in the position of provincial geologist and requested the support of several eminent British geologists in his application.  The reputation Logan had acquired from his skilful mapping of the geology of South Wales, and the fact that he was a native Canadian, obtained him the appointment in the spring of 1842 at an annual salary of £500, just half of what he had been receiving in Wales.  To justify the continued existence of the survey, Logan immediately started a search for an obviously valuable mineral resource, coal.  In the summer of 1843 he compiled a detailed section of the coal-bearing strata near Joggins, Nova Scotia...

People prominent in coal mining in Nova Scotia

1802 January 3

300 Scottish Immigrants Arrive at Sydney

On this day, three hundred Scottish Highlanders arrived at Sydney, Nova Scotia.  By 1783, economic conditions in the Scottish Highlands, exacerbated by overpopulation in crofting communities and the failure of the 1782 harvest, prompted many to leave their homeland and emigrate to North America.  The 1802 landing of the Highland settlers in Sydney was the first direct voyage of emigrants from Scotland to Canada.  After 1815, Scottish immigration increased in numbers, and by 1870, some 170,000 Scots had crossed the Atlantic, roughly 14% of the total British migration of this period.  Many present-day Nova Scotians can trace their roots to these first immigrants and pride in their Scottish heritage remains strong. histori.ca
— On This Day (in History), National Post, 3 January 2008

1803 August 6

Birth of Samuel Edison Jr.

On this day, Samuel Edison Jr. was born at Digby, Nova Scotia; he died at Vienna, near Aylmer, Ontario, on 27 March 1865. Thomas Alva was one of his children. Samuel Jr.'s grandfather (Thomas Alva's great-grandfather) John Edison, was a prosperous Tory at the time of the American Revolution, who fled the United States and settled in Digby in 1783. Samuel Jr. was seven years old when the Edisons migrated from Digby to Upper Canada in 1810. There Samuel Jr. became involved in the 1837 Rebellion and fled Canada for Melan, Ohio, where Thomas Alva was born in 1847.

1803 October 20

Halifax Town Clock Begins Operation

Still Running 200 Years Later

On this day, the Town Clock in Halifax officially began regular operation. The clock, located in its own tower on the eastern side of Citadel Hill, was a project of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. It cost £500, and was built by the House of Vulliamy of London. Vulliamy was named clockmaker to King William IV in the early 1800s. The clock continues running to this day.
— Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 18 October 2003

Benjamin Vulliamy (1747 - 1811) was Clock Maker to King George III. His son, Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy (1780 - 1854) was Clock Maker to King George IV, King William IV and Queen Victoria. Both were prominent members of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers of London, founded in 1631 under a Royal Charter by King Charles I.

Reference: The Vulliamy Clockmakers (book) by D.G. Vulliamy, 50 pages, twelve b&w and eight colour illustrations, published in January 2003 by the Antiquarian Horological Society, East Sussex, England. Includes chapters on Justin Vulliamy, Benjamin Vulliamy and Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy.

1804 December 13

Birth of J. Howe

Famed Nova Scotia journalist and politician Joseph Howe was born on this day in Halifax. Among his many other accomplishments, Howe was chairman of the board of directors (using modern terminology) of the Nova Scotia Electric Telegraph Company, which in 1849 built the first electric telegraph line in Nova Scotia, between Halifax and Amherst.
— Halifax Daily News, 13 December 1999

1806 May 3

Halifax Ships Interdicted

On this day, His Majesty's ships on the Halifax Station were interdicted from entering harbour in the United States.
— Halifax Daily News, 3 May 2000

1809 April 24

Halifax Fire Insurance Company

On this day, the Halifax Fire Insurance Company opened for business.
— Halifax Daily News, 24 April 2000

1809 November 23

First Piracy Trial

On this day, Edward Jordan was hanged in Halifax, and his tarred and chained corpse hung on a gibbet at the entrance to Halifax Harbour. He had been convicted in Canada's first piracy trial, of seizing a ship that was previously his property.
— Windsor, Ontario Star, 30 November 1999

Edward Jordan wasn't a Haligonian, but he created a stir when he showed up in the fall of 1809. The black-bearded Irishman booked passage from Quebec to Halifax on the schooner Three Sisters. Off Cape Canso, Jordan decided he'd rather be captain than passenger. Aided by the ship's mate and his wife, Jordan killed two crewmen and took over the ship. The captain, John Stairs, escaped by grabbing a hatch cover and jumping overboard. Stairs survived many hours in the freezing water and was picked up by a passing American ship. A British warship found the Three Sisters in a Newfoundland cove and Jordan was brought to Halifax for trial. Convicted of murder and piracy, he was hanged on November 23 near the foot of present-day Inglis Street.
— Halifax Mail-Star, 21 June 1999

Reference: Edward Jordan Wikipedia

An interesting trial of Edward Jordan and Margaret his wife who were tried at Halifax, N.S. November 15th, 1809, for the horrid crime of piracy and murder, committed on board the schooner Three Sisters, Captain John Stairs, on their passage from Perce to Halifax with a particular account of the execution of said Jordan
Edward Jordan printed at 75 State Street, Boston, 1809
Reprinted Boston 1970 ISBN 0665452187
— Source: Bibliography on Piracy

Report Of The Trial Of Edward Jordan, And Margaret Jordan His Wife, For Piracy and Murder, At Halifax Compiled From Official Documents And Notes Of The Trials By C.R. Fairbanks and A.W. Coch, 1810
— Source: Google cache

1810 September 29

Birth of Hugh Allan

Hugh Allan was born on this day at Saltcoats (Strathclyde), Scotland.  In 1852, Hugh Allan, now living in Montreal, entered a tender for operating a line of ocean-going steamships, which the government of Canada (then consisting of the two areas known as Upper and Lower Canada) had decided should be established to meet the growing commercial needs of the colony, which the government was willing to support with a substantial annual subsidy.  In 1854 Hugh Allan and his brother Andrew, with other Canadian partners, incorporated the Montreal Ocean Steamship Company (popularly known as the Allan Line).  Beginning in 1854, and continuing into the early 1900s, the Allan Line operated regularly-scheduled ocean liners carrying passengers in the summer between Liverpool - Quebec - Montreal, and in the winter, when ice closed the St. Lawrence river route to Montreal, Liverpool - Halifax - Portland, Maine.  In 1876 he borrowed $300,000 from the Merchants' Bank to support his Vale Coal, Iron and Manufacturing Company which owned and operated a large coal mine and a railway in Pictou County, Nova Scotia.  The Allan line was bought out by Canadian Pacific in 1909.

People prominent in coal mining in Nova Scotia


First Mail Service Yarmouth - Digby

Slowly, a road between Yarmouth and Digby had been emerging. It consisted of intermittent sections between small settlements, varying from blazed paths that a horse could follow, to rough roads which were little more than a path which had been cleared to a width sufficient for a wagon to pass. Year by year, as these rough local roads grew longer, they connected to provide the beginning of a continuous route over greater distances. In 1812, a regular mail service was begun between Yarmouth and Digby. The mail courier, Jesse Wyman, made the trip once a week on horseback. He was paid £40 a year, raised by public subscription.

1812 April 4

U.S. Embargo Leads to War

On this day, James Madison, President of the United States, slapped a 90-day embargo on trade with England. His intent was to take some of the pressure off of American merchant ships, which were being attacked by British ships maintaining a blockade against Napoleon. Madison's embargo was a factor in the outbreak of the War of 1812.
[National Post, 4 April 2000]


How a 19th Century Halifax Judge
Made the World's Paintings Safe from Plunder
(Nazi or Otherwise)
by Establishing the Rules Governing
The Art of War

The legal precedent that demands art plundered by the Nazis be returned to its rightful owners — and which in 2000 has sent galleries across the country digging through their vaults in search of paintings that could spark bad publicity or even lawsuits — was set in a Halifax courtroom two centuries ago. "It really was a groundbreaking decision," says Bernard Riordon, director of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. "This was the first time that anyone had said that artworks should not be considered war booty and that rightful owners need to be respected. The judgment has been a precedent for nations around the world since 1813."

That case involved a pair of 17th-century paintings, two wild and rugged landscapes of the Italian countryside by Salvator Rosa that can now be seen in the European gallery at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Rather dark and characterized by blasted trees and mountainous settings, their lineage proves more interesting than the paintings themselves.

Their tale goes back to the War of 1812. A French vessel called the Marquis de Somerueles was on her way from Italy with a hold filled with prints, paintings and statuary destined for the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the oldest art gallery in the U.S. A British ship captured the Marquis on the high seas and took her to Halifax, where the cargo was confiscated.

The paintings were deemed prizes of war. The Pennsylvania Academy at once tried to get them back, even offering to buy them again for $500. A petition by the academy for their release came before the Honorable Sir Alexander Croke, justice of the court of Vice Admiralty in Halifax, in 1813.

A patron of the arts himself, Croke was sympathetic. In his ruling, he said "the arts and sciences are admitted amongst all civilized nations, as forming an exception to the severe rights of warfare, and as entitled to favour and protection. They are considered not as the peculium of this or of that nation, but as the property of mankind at large, and as belonging to the common interests of the whole species."

And so the paintings, albeit water damaged, were sent to Pennsylvania. The United States was so appreciative of Justice Croke's enlightened decision that in 1952, the Rosa paintings were given back to Nova Scotia. In a nice twist, the paintings were put on display at the Nova Scotia Archives on the Dalhousie campus, which was originally part of Croke's estate.

As well, many of Croke's concerns were repeated in the provisions of The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict in 1954.

Talk of war booty is a hot issue of late, since the National Gallery of Art in Ottawa posted 110 artworks on its Web site because their ownership history — especially between 1933 and 1945 — is unclear. The issue was even explored on television's The West Wing, when a Jewish visitor touring the White House fainted at the sight of a lost family treasure.

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has 2,500 works in its 9,000-strong collection which were created before 1945. Of those, 50 need to be researched in greater depth to determine wartime ownership. Riordon says in time that number will be pared down further and those works posted on their own Web site. "Our records are open," says Riordon. "If a rightful owner comes forward, we will recognize them."

[Halifax Daily News, 11 January 2001]

Biography of Sir Alexander Croke (1758-1843)

National Gallery of Canada website

Provenance Research Project
These pages present the National Gallery of Canada's continuing research on the provenance (history of ownership) of works in its collection during the period from 1933 to 1945, that is, from the rise to power of the Nazi Party to its defeat...

Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict
Done at the Hague, 14 May 1954
Entered in force: 7 August 1956

Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 14 May 1954
The Hague, 26 March 1999

Review of the 1954 Convention and the adoption of the Second Protocol thereto (26 March 1999)

Convention (IV) Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land
Signed at The Hague, 18 October 1907
Entry Into Force: 26 January 1910

Convention (III) Relative to the Opening of Hostilities
Entry into Force: 26 January 1910

Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes
Entry into Force: 26 January 1910
His Majesty the German Emperor, King of Prussia
the President of the United States of America
the President of the Argentine Republic;
His Majesty the Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, etc., and Apostolic King of Hungary
His Majesty the King of the Belgians
the President of the Republic of Bolivia
the President of the Republic of the United States of Brazil
His Royal Highness the Prince of Bulgaria
the President of the Republic of Chile
His Majesty the Emperor of China
the President of the Republic of Colombia
the Provisional Governor of the Republic of Cuba
His Majesty the King of Denmark
the President of the Dominican Republic
the President of the Republic of Ecuador
His Majesty the King of Spain
the President of the French Republic
His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Emperor of India
His Majesty the King of the Hellenes
the President of the Republic of Guatemala
the President of the Republic of Haiti
His Majesty the King of Italy
His Majesty the Emperor of Japan
His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Duke of Nassau
the President of the United States of Mexico
His Royal Highness the Prince of Montenegro
the President of the Republic of Nicaragua
His Majesty the King of Norway
the President of the Republic of Panama
the President of the Republic of Paraguay
Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands
the President of the Republic of Peru
His Imperial Majesty the Shah of Persia
His Majesty the King of Roumania
His Majesty the Emperor of All the Russias
the President of the Republic of Salvador
His Majesty the King of Servia
His Majesty the King of Siam
His Majesty the King of Sweden
the Swiss Federal Council
His Majesty the Emperor of the Ottomans
the President of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay
the President of the United States of Venezuela...

Conventions and Agreements of a Standard-Setting Nature adopted under the auspices of UNESCO solely or jointly with other International Organizations

1813 July 2

Cunard Shipping Company

The Halifax Weekly Chronicle of July 2, 1813, contained an advertisement for a new company, A. Cunard and Son, agents for vessels loading for London and the West Indies. Thus began the world-famous Cunard shipping line. Cunard developed efficient methods for loading and unloading cargo. By the time he was 27 years old, his ships were carrying the mail between Newfoundland, Bermuda, and Boston. Soon his fleet numbered forty ships.
Source: Samuel Cunard: Merchant Prince of the Oceans, 1787-1865


The Star Spangled Banner

In 1814 a British Fleet sailed from Bermuda, to attack and burn Washington; then attacked Fort McHenry in Baltimore.  During that engagement, Francis Scott Key wrote the words of the Star Spangled Banner, as a temporary detainee on one of the British warships.  The fleet's voyage ended in Halifax, where slaves rescued from the Chesapeake area were promptly set free (an event strongly opposed by Key, a dedicated pro-slavery advocate).
    Source:    http://bermuda-online.org/canada.htm


The Castine Fund

From the British Canadian attack on New England during the War of 1812-14 came the lucrative Halifax-based Castine Fund of 1814, based on income from British possession of the US Customs port of Castine (now in Maine, then in Massachusetts), a major beneficiary of which was Dalhousie College — now Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

1816 February 14

First Scheduled Stage

Nova Scotia's first scheduled stage coach departed Halifax at 2 pm for Windsor, carrying six passengers at a fare of six dollars each. The 45 mile trip took nine hours. Each passenger was allowed baggage up to 10 pounds 4.5 kg. The owner and driver was Isaiah Smith. The stage accomodated six inside passengers, and whatever number could find room on top with the baggage. This service ran once a week until May 1816, when the schedule was increased to two round trips a week, with space for eight passengers inside. Horses were changed every 15 miles 24 kilometres. The service was well patronized, and by the end of August 1816 Smith reduced the one-way fare to $4.50.

1816 June 5

The Year Without a Summer Begins

On this day, the "Year Without a Summer" began in North America, after the eruption of volcanoes in the Caribbean and South Pacific threw sun-blocking gases into the atmosphere. When these gases reached the Great Lakes region on 5 June 1816, the temperature dropped from 30°C to 5°C within a few hours. The next day, 25 cm of snow fell in New England.
[National Post, 6 June 2000]

NOAA — The Year Without a Summer

The amazing weather of 1816 is well documented in the diaries and memoirs of those who endured it. From May through September, an unprecedented series of cold spells chilled the northeastern United States and adjoining Canadian provinces, causing a backward spring, a cold summer, and an early fall ... In early June, a cold front was approaching that would bring disaster. Following the passage of the front, temperatures tumbled dramatically under the onslaught of Arctic air. At noon on June 5, the temperature at Wiliiamstown was 83°F. By 7am on the 6th, it had dropped to 45°F — the highest temperature recorded for the day. All across central New England, early morning temperatures were the highest recorded for the day.

From June 6th to 9th, severe frost occurred every night from Canada to Virginia. Ice was reported near Philadelphia and "every green herb was killed, and vegetables of every description very much injured." In northern Vermont, the ice was an inch thick on standing water while elsewhere in the state icicles were to be seen a foot long ... corn and other vegetables were killed to the ground, and upon the high lands the leaves of the trees withered and fell off."

The culmination of this remarkable cold wave came early on the 11th of June: At Williamstown, Virginia, the observer noted, "Heavy frost — vegetables killed — at 5 o'clock temperature 30.5°F." (-0.8°C); Overall, frost killed almost all the corn in New England, the main food staple, as well as most garden vegetables.

There were two snowfalls. The first on the 6th, brought relatively light snow to the highlands of western and northern New York State and most of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The second occurred during the night of June 7-8, following the passage of a second cold front. It brought moderate to heavy snow to northern New England...

The Year Without a Summer Climate in the Northern Hemisphere following the Tambora eruption — The volcano Tambora, on the Island of Sumbawa, Indonesia, erupted on April 5, 1815. This event was probably the largest eruption to have occurred in recorded history ... an estimated sulphuric acid output of 100,000,000 tonnes ...

1816, Year Without Summer — Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

1816: A Year Without a Summer — The Vermont Weather Book, Vermont Historical Society

Volcanic Activity and Environmental Change

1816 — The Weather Notebook, Mount Washington Observatory, New Hampshire

The Year Without a Summer; 1816
One of the most peculiar weather patterns that the northern hemisphere has seen...

The Year Without a Summer

1816 July 1

Halifax - Pictou Stage Line Begins

The first trip departed, of a new weekly stage service Halifax - Truro - Pictou, organized by Ezra Witter of Truro. Witter himself drove the Halifax - Truro section, and Jacob Lynds drove the Truro - Pictou leg. The end-to-end time was usually two to two and a half days. In later years this route became an essential link in Samuel Cunard's transportation empire.


John Elliott Woolford's Surveys:
The Roads from Halifax to Windsor and Truro

Sheet 1 : "Surveys of the Roads from Halifax to Windsor and from Halifax to Truro"
Sheet 2 : Mile 0 to Mile 6: Halifax to Prince's Lodge
Sheet 3 : Mile 7 to Mile 12: Bedford Basin, Bedford and Sackville
Sheet 4 : Mile 13 to Mile 17: Sackville
Sheet 5 : Mile 18 to Mile 22: Sackville
Sheet 6 : Mile 23 to Mile 27: Sackville and Mount Uniacke
Sheet 7 : Mile 28 to Mile 32: Cameron's Lake to Ardoise Hill
Sheet 8 : Mile 33 to Mile 38: Newport Road and St. Croix
Sheet 9 : Mile 39 to Mile 43: St. Andrew's Bridge to road to Falmouth
Sheet 10 : Mile 44: Windsor


Colonel James Robertson Arnold

James Robertson Arnold was one of the two sons of the American Revolutionary War patriot Benedict Arnold. Born in the Thirteen Colonies, James Robertson was exiled to Canada with his father and family when very young and educated at King's College School in Windsor, Nova Scotia. He wanted to avenge his father's humiliation in the United States, so he joined the British Army. He sailed from Halifax and was the first Royal Engineer to fortify, in 1816, the new HM Dockyard in Bermuda against any invasion threat from USA. His success was such that he was posted to Halifax in 1818 to do the same thing for the Citadel.

1819 March 18

Avon River Bridge Lottery

On this day, the Nova Scotia Legislature passed a Lottery Act to raise £9,000 to help pay for the construction of a bridge over the Avon River at Windsor.
[Halifax Daily News, 18 March 2000]

1819 June 10

Birth of E.D. Davison

Edward Doran Davison, founder of the Davison lumber business, was born was born in Mill Village, Queens County, on this day. Mr. Davison was elected by the Liberals to the Provincial Parliament as a member for Queens County in 1854. During the last pre-Confederation decade, he was present in the house during the prominent days of Johnstone, Howe and Young. Though he was defeated for re-election by Sir Charles Tupper, Mr. Davison did not relinquish his involvement in politics. He continued, until his death, to be a strong supporter and influential Liberal in both Lunenburg and Queens counties. In 1865, Mr. Davison moved to Bridgewater in Lunenburg County, after destructive forest fires ravaged most of Queens County. He first bought out the Glenwood mill property, then principally owned by Captain Whyman. This became the beginning of an empire known as E. D. Davison and Sons. In 1868, Mr. Davison built his second mill, located on the LaHave River about one quarter mile below his first mill. After his second mill he continued to purchase property and old mill sites. Over the years he acquired, the Sumerside (Dayspring) property, the mills at Alpena, Cook's mills and Silver's Falls, widening his business into Mill Village and Port Medway. At the time of his death Mr. Davison had earned the proud distinction of having the largest lumber business in the province and one of the largest in Canada.
[Bridgewater Bulletin, 10 February 1999]

Also see: "Success of Lumber King grew with Bridgewater"

The Wayback Machine has archived copies of
Success of Lumber King grew with Bridgewater

Archived: 1999 October 08

Archived: 1999 November 10

Archived: 2000 April 23

Archived: 2000 August 24

Archived: 2001 July 16

Archived: 2001 December 21

These links were accessed and found to be valid on 23 March 2010.

1819 November 30

Birth of C.W. Field

Cyrus West Field was born on this day in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.  In 1854, he became one of the founding shareholders of the New York, Newfoundland, and London Telegraph Company, which completed the first electric telegraph line between St. John's, Newfoundland, and New York.  The route of this line passed across eastern Nova Scotia, from Amherst through New Glasgow, Antigonish, across the Strait of Canso by a wire stretched from Cape Porcupine to a mast at MacKean's Point, thence through Baddeck and Ingonish, across the Cabot Strait by underwater cable to Cape Ray, at the western tip of Newfoundland, and by overhead line across Newfoundland.  On 9 November 1856, messages were transmitted by electric telegraph for the first time all the way between St. John's, Newfoundland, and New York City, over the line built across Newfoundland by the NYN&L Telegraph Company.  This line was destined to become an essential part of the first electric telegraph link between London, England, and North America.  Cyrus W. Field was also deeply involved in the early telegraph cables laid between Europe (Ireland) and North America (Newfoundland) under the Atlantic Ocean.
Cyrus W. Field
Cyrus W. Field

Cyrus West Field PBS WGBH

Cyrus W. Field — Paper Merchant Atlantic-Cable.com

Many good photographs of C.W. Field Atlantic-Cable.com

Cyrus West Field Wikipedia

Cyrus West Field Soylent Communications NNDB

Atlantic Cables of 1858, 1865, and 1866

1819 December 16

Birth of James William Carmichael

James William Carmichael was born on this day in New Glasgow, Pictou County, Nova Scotia.  In the 1850s and 1860s he built more than a dozen wooden-hull sailing ships at his own shipyardnear New Glasgow.  His ships conducted an extensive trade in supplies from Pictou County to the lumber camps of the Miramichi River, New Brunswick, and during the period of operation of the Reciprocity Treaty with the United States (1854-66) they also transported coal from the Pictou coal mines to American markets.  Although the building and use of wooden ships declined in the 1870s, Carmichael remained active.  One of his first entries into a non-mercantile field was his acquisition of an extensive lease of coal-producing areas after the abrogation of the monopoly of the General Mining Association in 1857.  Carmichael's major involvement with industry was with the Acadia Iron Foundry, founded by his brother-in-law Isaac Matheson in 1867.  The firm, later I. Matheson and Company, became a prominent manufacturer of boilers.  When the Nova Scotia Steel Company was formed in 1883, Carmichael invested $10,000, and the following year his son, James Matheson Carmichael, became a director.

People prominent in coal mining in Nova Scotia

“The Impact of the General Mining Association on the Nova Scotia Coal Industry, 1826-1850” by Marilyn Gerriets, Acadiensis, XXI, 1 (Autumn 1991), pages 54-84

Go To:   History of Telegraph and Telephone Companies in Nova Scotia

Go To:   History of Railway Companies in Nova Scotia

Go To:   History of Electric Power Companies in Nova Scotia

Go To:   History of Automobiles in Nova Scotia

Go To:   Nova Scotia History, Chapter One

Go To:   Nova Scotia in the War of 1812

Go To:   Nova Scotia Historical Biographies

Go To:   Proclamations: Land Grants in Nova Scotia 1757, '58, '59

Go To:   Statutes of Nova Scotia, 1805, edited by Richard John Uniacke

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