Sunday, 25 May 2014

Seeking Information

I hope you have been enjoying my blog. It is a joy to write these posts on the history of my hometown. I am grateful for the large number of views since I started writing a few weeks ago. Now, I need your help... Please send me information on the following Dartmouth history/archaeology topics:
  • Corner cannons
  • First Nations campsites
  • 1700s Dartmouth
  • Colonial fortifications (blockhouses, palisades, forts, etc.)
  • Artifacts you've found gardening (as long as you are not a treasure hunter)
  • Historic stuff from your house that you'd like to show me
  • Paddling  (especially Banook Canoe Club) and hockey history
  • Starr Manufacturing and other Dartmouth industries
  • Awesome  old Dartmouth things I need to learn about 
  • Experts with whom I should consult
  • Jobs for the writer of this awesome blog! 
Is this a bollard? Do you have information on this? Water Street, Chester, NS. Photo taken by David Jones, May 25, 2014.
Is this the "circular dam" at Sullivan's Pond?
Do you own a Heritage Property in Dartmouth? Tell me about it!


  1. Interesting article on small cemetery on Geary Street, Dartmouth. See p. 6–7 It talks about the Mi'kmaw remains there and the efforts to look after the space properly. Check it out.

    1. Thank you, Terry! I posted that link within my Walking Tour post which can be accessed at

  2. One thing that interests me a great deal is that there were landless Acadian "refugees", former "prisoners of war", living apparently in what we would call refugee camps, along the shore from Dartmouth to (perhaps) Hartlen Point from 1762 to about 1784 or so.

    In the summer of 1762, the last remaining Acadians who could be rounded-up in the Province were taken to Halifax, loaded on five ships, and deported to Boston. However, the Massachusetts Governor refused permission for them to come ashore, and ordered the ships back to Halifax, where they arrived in September, 1762.

    From that time, and for a number of years thereafter, these Acadians survived as landless refugees, taking shelter in various places, but the Dartmouth shore through Eastern Passage being one of the main locations.

    A few clues about where these Acadian refugees were located come from the Register of Abbé Bailly, who travelled around to the numerous groupings of Acadian and Mi'kmaq Catholics during this period: Registre de l'abbé Charles-François Bailly, 1768 à 1773 (Caraquet), transcribed under the direction de Stephen A. White, Moncton, 1978, 221 pp. The register can be consulted online at this URL:

    By examination of this document, a list can be made of the locations and dates near Halifax where Abbé Bailly recorded meeting with the Acadians:

    a. Halifax (July 21, 1768; June 2-4, 1769; July 6, 1769; Oct. 27 – Dec. 25, 1770; Nov. 29 – Dec. 1, 1771; Apr. 29, 1772)

    b. Windsor = Pisiguid = Sainte Famille (July 12, 1768; Aug. 28 – Sep. 4, 1768; April 30 – May 14, 1769; Jan. 12 & Mar. 3, 1771)

    c. Birch Cove = between Fort Sackville and Halifax (April 21, 1772; also mentions a birth that took place there prior to a baptism performed in Eastern Passage on Sep. 28, 1770)

    d. Chezzetcook = Chegetkouk (July 23-24, 1768; June 14-25, 1769; Mar. 25-30, 1772)

    e. Eastern Shore = Côte-de-l'Est (August 14, 1768; Oct. 14, 1770)

    f. Dartmouth (Abbé Bailly doesn't explicitly go there, but he mentions several births that took place there in the period 1770 – 1771)

    g. Eastern Passage = Pointe-du-Passage = Pointe-de-l'Est-Passage (Sep. 28 – Oct. 1, 1770)

    h. Pointe-du-Diable (July 8-10, 1769)

    1. Thank you for providing an excellent starting point for including Acadian stories in this Dartmouth History Blog, Terry.
      "Many of these 1750 grantees evidently were neglecting their Dartmouth holdings, because in 17779 the Government issued a proclamation threatening prosecution to 'plunderers, particularly French-Acadians, who have cut down and carried away timber and grass growing on granted lands on the east side of the harbor without any leave from the proprietors'" (Story of Dartmouth, page 93).

    2. Excellent reference! Thanks. I hadn't noticed that one before. Maybe that was the impetus for the Acadians to vacate that area. Until now, I couldn't find anything particular about when they may have vacated, although I had some circumstantial evidence that it might have been prior to 1784.

  3. Birch Cove is of curious and passing interest in that Murdock, A History of Nova Scotia or Acadie, Vol. 2, 1866, p. 407, mentions "September 21, 1761, Council resolves that Acadian prisoners are to be employed in making the road from Halifax to Fort Sackville". Could it be that, 10 years later, some the Acadians who had located there to work on that road in 1761 were still living in that vicinity, due to its familiarity and contacts they had made there?

    Anyway, of more immediate concern to Dartmouth history are Eastern Passage and Pointe-du-Diable. It seems likely that Pointe-de-l'Est-Passage is where the Eastern Battery (renamed Fort Clarence in 1798) was constructed in 1754, (repaired in 1762, for which some Acadian prisoners may have supplied labour) and perhaps where the military victualization was carried-out to the prisoners residing nearby. Pointe-du-Diable is more enigmatic. It is a location that I have not found on any map. The only explanation I have for this toponym is that it may have been the name for the point of land nearest to Devils Island (where the row of x’s emanates from on the map ). This point is not named on most maps; sometimes it is called Hartlen Point—but usually that name is assigned to the next point further along the coast to the southeast. A WWII fortification was built there, known as Devil’s Battery, but a few fleeting references (so far unsubstantiable) call it Devil’s Point Battery.

    There was some "victualization" offered to these quasi-prisioners, doled out from Eastern Battery (later called "Fort Clarence"). They also attempted to get some small jobs from the residents of Dartmouth, such as cleaning and housework for the women, and yard work for the men. The main community of “Dartmouth” was centred back then in the area known today as Woodside (before the creation of Quakertown in what we NOW think of as downtown Dartmouth in 1785).

    1. I like your line of thinking for Pointe-du-Diable. Wouldn't it be nice to find a map that answers all of our quirky research questions! Just a thought: If you could find nearby place names that suggested either an old man (grandfather) or an old woman (grandmother) you could then try to figure out if there was a Mi'kmaq naming influence that was contorted into a French of English spirit sort of name (in this case, a devil).
      Now, I disagree with the notion that pre-Quaker Dartmouth was located in Woodside. I have 1750s documentary evidence (many of my maps, but not all, come from you Terry - I thank you again - you are ultra helpful) that pins the first downtown Dartmouth as today's downtown Dartmouth. With the arrival of the Quakers, I will admit that the street grid was slightly altered (but in the same area). The Eastern Battery, although I don't think you're saying this, did not represent the first settlement of Dartmouth and today's Woodside (unfortified in the 1750s) was too dangerous for the town's settlers.

    2. Ok, "Woodside" may not be the accurate name for where the early concentration of Dartmouth settlers were found from 1750-1785. To be honest, it isn't clear in my own mind what exact geographical area "Woodside" covers even today. But my point is that the bulk of the Dartmouth settlement in 1750-1785 was south of Old Ferry Road, and much less of it north of that road.

    3. Looks like some new geneological updates do indicate the location:

  4. There is a bollard? similar to your picture on the corner of Erskine and Donnelly Street, it has letters and number on it, I think was once told it was a town marker. It is outside the property of 51 Erskine.