- What was Yorkshire 2000?
- Yorkshire 2000 – A Huge Success
- The Legacy: Publications and Ongoing Studies
- The Legacy: Plaques and Memorials
- Family Information
- Ships Information
- To continue Yorkshire Heritage Discussions
- Early Settlement of Tantramar
- Yorkshire genealogy in Chignecto
- Yorkshire genealogy in England
- Links to the Tantramar Region
- Links to Tourism Information
- Links to the Wesley websites
What was Yorkshire 2000?
The Tantramar Heritage Trust was pleased to be the host for Yorkshire 2000, a gathering of the descendants of Yorkshire settlers who immigrated from northern England to Nova Scotia (which at the time included present day New Brunswick) during the period 1772-1775.
Yorkshire 2000 was a celebration of this historic event 225 years after the immigration. It was held August 3-10, 2000, centered on the campus of Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB, Canada, with events held throughout the New Brunswick/Nova Scotia border area.
Researchers indicate that some 2000 people from Yorkshire England emigrated to Nova Scotia in the early years of the settlement. Of that number, apparently, approximately 1000 settled in the general area of the Isthmus of Chignecto (Smith, 1992).
Of particular interest is the migration which took place during the decade of the 1770s. Kincade states:
In recent on-line discussion related to the Yorkshire settlers, Bing Geldart, a former president of the New Brunswick Genealogy Society, stated: “I can’t deny there is and has been little acknowledgment by Historical and Genealogical groups that there even was a Yorkshire Migration. [The Migration] was one of the few, if not the only, influx of settlers to come here at their own expense and in the main to PURCHASE their lands vs an original grant from government. [The Yorkshire settlers] are also credited with preventing the inclusion of Nova Scotia as the 14th member State of the Union.”
In his guide to written history of the Maritimes, Ian Ross Robertson (1994) states: “The three major immigrant groups aside from the Loyalists were the English, Irish, and Scots. Of the three, the English have been least studied. Perhaps because of the assumption that they constituted a national, cultural, or racial norm from which others deviated, it has been difficult to gain acceptance for the notion that the English are ‘ethnic’ in the sense that the Irish, the Scots, and innumerable other groups are.”
PROPOSAL DETAILS (Still Unfolding):
Recently, an idea was presented to the Nova Scotia (email@example.com) and New Brunswick (New Brunswick@northwest.com) e-mail genealogy discussion lists, for a GATHERING, in the year 2000, of descendants of the Yorkshire Migration of the 1700s.
The original suggestion, made in May 1997, was that the GATHERING 2000 be focused on the Yorkshire settlement of the Chignecto region — the geographic area around the present Nova Scotia/New Brunswick border.
In proposing the idea, Don Chapman said: “I have been thinking for some time that there ought to be some sort of a celebration of the Yorkshire settlers who immigrated to the Chignecto region in the period 1774/76. The image I have in mind is a GATHERING of people who are interested in this historical event, and more importantly, of people who are descended from these settlers. The subsequent inter-weaving of these families forms an interesting historical tapestry, the whole of which is much more than the sum of the parts. I see the possibility of a celebration, the core of which is a genealogy of the region.
“I imagine such an event in conjunction with the turn of the new century — 225 years after the Yorkshire immigration. Several tens of thousand of people might spend, say, a week in the area of Amherst, Nova Scotia, Sackville, New Brunswick, in the summer of the year 2000. I can visualize large and colourful meeting tents on the Fort Lawrence ridge and around Fort Beausejour, colourful banners snapping in the wind. People browsing historical and genealogical displays, finding familiar family links and discovering many links not previously known. I can imagine historical displays and reenactments of events such as Eddy’s 1776 attack on the garrison, or the arrival of the passengers of the Albion. I can imagine owners of local properties in the region learning about and setting up displays regarding the history of their particular piece of land. I could imagine bus tours to local sites of interest.”
Suggested Date: Several days round the Canadian holiday weekend, the first week of August, 2000.
It has been suggested that the GATHERING celebrate all Yorkshire immigration to Nova Scotia. Since it is not always clear as to where Yorkshire immigrants located, this idea seems to have merit, although the core of the activities (see below) might well be centred in the “region” of the Chignecto.
It has been suggested that the YORKSHIRE 2000 GATHERING be a multi-community, multi-venue event, most of it locally-organized and developed, under the broad organizing theme of a GATHERING. At the same time, it would have the flavor of a HOMECOMING. Many events have been suggested:
• Displays by individuals, organizations, and institutions
POSSIBLE INSTITUTIONAL INVOLVEMENTS:
Individuals and families should be encouraged to participate in their own right. The following organizations also could have key roles:
Genealogy Association of Nova Scotia
1. An electronic discussion list has been established for purposes of promoting the idea of the YORKSHIRE 2000 GATHERING, for sharing ideas and information, and for supporting organization of the event.
2. We are looking for an individual or committee of people who live in the Chignecto region, who will act as a steering and organizational committee. There have been some initial expressions of interest, and some people from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have offered to play support roles. A number of people who live in areas outside the Chignecto, but who are connected by e-mail and ancestry, have offered volunteer support for the development of this event. These individuals and more are participants in the York2000 discussion list.
3. There has been some very preliminary indication that the Federal Government of Canada may be funding ventures around the celebration of the turn of the century. We would anticipate seeking such funding and are looking for individuals who would provide leadership in seeking such financial resources.
4. We need some institutional “hosts.” Most likely candidates are Mount Allison University and communities of the regions, key would be Sackville and Amherst.
• Increased historical awareness among the public in the region and abroad
A HISTORY OF FORT LAWRENCE. By Gladys Trenholm, Miep Norden, and Josephine Trenholm, Sherwood Printing, Ltd., Edmonton, 1985.
CANADIAN HISTORY: A READER’S GUIDE. Edited by M. Brook Taylor, University of Toronto Press, 1994. Includes, The Maritime Colonies, 1784 to Confederation, by Ian Ross Robertson.
HERE STAYS GOOD YORKSHIRE. By Will R. Bird, The Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1945.
HIS MAJESTY’S YANKEES. By Thomas H. Raddall, Doubleday, Doran & Co., New York, 1942.
JUDGMENT GLENN. By Will R. Bird, The Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1947.
NOVA SCOTIA IMMIGRANTS TO 1867. By Leonard H. Smith Jr. and Norma H. Smith. (1992), repr. Balto., 1994.
VOYAGERS TO THE WEST: A PASSAGE IN THE PEOPLING OF AMERICA ON THE EVE OF THE REVOLUTION. By Bernard Bailyn, New York, 1987.
Don Chapman, Mission B.C.
Yorkshire 2000 – A Huge Success
Approximately 3000 people participated in the wide ranging events of Yorkshire 2000 held August 3-10, 2000. The Tantramar Heritage Trust and the greater Tantramar region, hosted the event that celebrated 225 Years of Yorkshire Heritage in our region. The Yorkshire Immigration (1772-1775) was one of the five founding groups (Aboriginals, Acadians, Planters, Yorkshires, Loyalists) of this region and it has had a major impact on the development of the Town of Sackville and the surrounding areas. Responding to a 1771 plea from Nova Scotia’s Lieutenant Governor, Michael Francklin, over 1000 Yorkshire folks boarded vessels that departed from northern England during the four year period (1772-75)- most bound for Fort Cumberland (Fort Beausejour).The celebration of this historic event was more than three years in planning. In the fall of 1998, the Local Arrangements Committee first put out a call for Yorkshire descendants to gather on the Tantramar in the year 2000. Thereafter word of the gathering spread far and wide and was greatly facilitated by the internet. The host organization, Tantramar Heritage Trust, and the planning committee can be justifiably proud of the resounding success of the event and of the commitment given by so many individuals, donors, sponsors and agencies. We are especially grateful for the support received from the Town of Sackville and the spirit and friendliness that the community displayed to our Yorkshire 2000 guests.The week long Yorkshire 2000 event had a homecoming focus with family gatherings, evening concerts, a two day Yorkshire Conference (Immigration and Impact), displays, exhibits, re-enactments, theatrical presentations including dramatic readings, genealogy research centre, tours, workshops, book and craft fairs, church services, historical lectures, parade of families, ships gatherings and much, much more.The event was centered on the campus of Mount Allison University, with events and activities throughout the New Brunswick – Nova Scotia Border area. Seven hundred and five (705) families actually registered at the Yorkshire 2000 office accounting for over 1500 people. However, in looking at the myriad of events organized under the Yorkshire 2000 banner a conservative estimate of 3000 people participated in all aspects of the gathering. Approximate numbers for the major elements of the event were as follows:
|Family Reunions (30 families)
Academic (Yorkshire) Conference
Bus Tours (daily- 3 tours)
Concerts in the Park
Craft Display & Sale
Cumberland County Museum exhibits
Curling Club Dance
Displays (Windsor Hall)
Fog Forest Gallery – Yorkshire exhibit
Fort Beausejour NHS – Yorkshire Exhibit
Genealogy Research Centre
Historic House Tours
Keillor House Museum
Lectures (late PM historical Lectures)
Leaving a Legacy:
– Plenary Session
– Re-dedication of William Chapman Memorial
Marshfire Theatre – Yorkshire play
Methodist (United) Church Services:
– Sackville United
– Amherst Trinity-St. Stephen’s
– River Philip Camp Service
– Dorchester United
Owen’s Art Gallery – Yorkshire Exhibit
Parade of Families
Re- enactment at Fort Beausejour NHS
Voices from the Beginning
Wreath Laying- Oxford
– (no numbers available)
402 Heritage Day Camp held for local children
200+ – no precise numbers available
|Participants were from every Province in Canada (30 families from British Columbia alone), throughout the United States, several from Yorkshire, England and long distance travelers – the Bulmer family from Christchurch, New Zealand. To honour our New Zealand “cousins” the New Zealand flag was proudly placed between the NB and NS flags on the stage at Opening Ceremonies.
The week was filled with many memorial experiences and it is difficult to single out individual events for special mention. Certainly the Genealogy Research Centre, so capably organized by Bing Geldart and the SE Branch of the NB Genealogy Society, was an amazing resource centre and the highlight for many participants. Opening Ceremonies – in the picturesque treed centre courtyard of Mount Allison’s campus- was magical with beautiful weather, the participation of Lt. Gov Marilyn Trenholme-Council and many dignitaries culminating with the Yorkshire 2000 song sung by Ron Trenholm and Rachael McLean. Who will ever forget the Tantramar’s MLA Peter Mesheau and his portrayal of Lt. Gov. Michael Francklin at the re-enactment at Fort Beausejour or the spirit and size of the crowd (despite miserable weather) at the Parade of Families. Many participants of the Yorkshire Conference said it was the best conference that they had ever attended and full credit goes to Paul Bogaard and his committee for organizing and attracting such an excellent lineup of presenters. Exhibits organized by Fort Beausejour NHS, Cumberland County Museum, Owens Art Gallery and Keillor House were professionally presented and well received. Unfortunately some very excellent events such as Voices From The Beginning (dramatic readings of Letters Home) had lower than expected attendance possibly due to scheduling. On the other hand Marshfire Theatre’s Great Big Mosquito Show sold out every night and had a waiting list. Workshops, bus tours, house tours, special publications and book fair, art exhibits, displays, and special church services all contributed immensely to the wide range of activities enjoyed by participants.Yorkshire 2000 more than met the expectations of the planning committee and has already left a huge legacy with an increased interest in early settlement history. The Board of the Tantramar Heritage Trust has established a Yorkshire 2000 Legacy Committee and will be working towards; publishing the proceedings of the Yorkshire Conference, establishment of a Yorkshire Studies Group at Mount Allison University, placement of plaques and monuments, and other aspects of legacy.
The Trust’s motto “preserving our past for the future” was very aptly realized with the hosting of the Yorkshire 2000 gathering. The event was a huge success with words of praise from many participants and from the community at large. The Trust alone could not have undertaken such a monumental project and we are greatly indebted to dozens of volunteers, corporate sponsors, corporate and individual donors, the federal Millennium Bureau and especially our many partner agencies. We are also deeply indebted to our office staff: Phyllis Stopps (part- time) and our two summer students: Kelly Donaher and Scott Drover. Thank you all.Article for The White Fence newsletter, issue #12, November 2000.
The Legacy: Publications and Ongoing Studies
A Yorkshire 2000 Legacy Committee, under the direction of the board of the Tantramar Heritage Trust, worked on a series of projects as a legacy to the Yorkshire 2000 gathering. One of these was the publication of Yorkshire Immigrants to Atlantic Canada, papers from the Yorkshire 2000 Conference, edited by Paul Bogaard. This book is still in print and can be ordered from the Tantramar Heritage Trust.
The Legacy: Plaques and Memorials
Steps have already been taken to place historical markers preserving the memory of the Yorkshire settlers. The Yorkshire 2000 Legacy Committee under the Board of the Tantramar Heritage Trust have sponsored the following projects as a legacy of the Yorkshire 2000 gathering held August 3-10, 2000.
William Chapman Memorial Cairn
The William Chapman Memorial cairn in Point de Bute Cemetery, Point de Bute was completely restored and the bronze plaque cleaned in July 2000. The work was done by the Trust via a donation from the Chapman family. The cairn was rededicated during the Chapman family reunion held August 8, 2000 during the Yorkshire 2000 celebrations. The photo on the left shows the unveiling of the restored cairn.
Further information on William Chapman is here.
Comments at Re-Dedication of William Chapman Monument
August 8, 2000, Point de Bute, New Brunswick
Welcome to all Chapman descendants, cousins and other relatives, as well as interested visitors. We have come together today to honour our mutual ancestry and to respectfully recognize the lives of those relatives who have gone before us.
I know that among you, there are many who well might be able to speak more authoritatively than we about the circumstance of the migration of our forbearers. To a greater or lesser extent, much of what we may say in the following short comments was learned at the feet of some of you, or by dint of your own efforts at reconstructing the family story.
If Steve or I don’t get it quite right, please be gentle in your correctives Talking here today is an apprenticeship of sorts for us…..
This is a special place for the Chapman family descendants.
The Point de Bute Methodist Cemetery is a place which represents a bridge between our Yorkshire past and our sense of our family in North America and beyond.
This is a real place, one which is tangibly and authoritatively linked to all descendants of William & Mary Chapman, of Hawnby Yorkshire. You will find some of this history acknowledged on the stones in front of you and in the gates through which you passed. In a few moments, Steve will draw your attention to some of these particulars.
I am going to talk briefly about the circumstances in which our ancestors came to be in this area. Steve will talk a bit about the circumstances after their arrival.
In my comments, I would like to touch briefly on two primary themes:
1. The mythical notion that earlier times were more simple times, and
2. The fact that our family ancestors — like most people who migrated to North America, including many still today — clearly were economic migrants.
I am going to try to draw a verbal image of the circumstances which surrounded William and his wife Mary, and their family, as they decided to make such a dramatic change in their life situation.
We think that today we live in a time of rapid change. It certainly feels that way sometimes, and perhaps we do.
However, when I look at the circumstances of William and Mary, as they decided, well on in life, to uproot their family, I cannot help but wonder about the turmoil they must have felt in their own time. In the spring of 1774, when the sea voyage actually took place, William, a Yeoman farmer, was 44 years old. Mary was 41. They had been married almost 20 years. One presumes that they had lived in the same location, certainly the same rural community, Hawnby, for the years of their married life. The youngest of their nine children was a 3-year-old girl, Ann. The eldest was 19-year-old William Jr. Think for a moment about the fact that in the year or two prior to the event itself, they must well have talked at length about their prospects and their move. I know that one or two of you gathered here today have been age 44 and age 41, and have had had children of your own. Imagine the discussions as they tried to decide what to do about their situation.
On the face of it, except for the variations in the seasons and the years, one might well ask why a family of 11 would choose to make such a dangerous and uncertain change.
Well…they did live in turbulent times. As we look at it today, perhaps the most benign appearing of the changes was the religious turmoil of the times. Religious adherence was central to our ancestors’ lives, and not long before their migration, they had decided to take a new and unconventional religious path. The Chapman family had taken up with the dissenting Wesleys, in the cause of the new Methodism — a more grass-roots incarnation of the dominant Church. Early Methodism had an evangelical-emotional appeal. It was a popular movement, but also involved the new adherents in some level of persecution, and no doubt, periods of private questioning as well. The existing Church would not allow the Wesleys to preach in their buildings, so meeting took place in the open.
Speakers and listeners were often pelted with stones.
For at least the century prior to the 1774 migration, the economic circumstances of our Chapman ancestors had been in a state of flux. Robert C. Allen, in his book, “Enclosure and the Yeoman,” (1992), states that, “Yeoman agriculture was eliminated as large estates embarked on a long-term policy of land acquisition towards the end of the seventeenth century. The aim of this policy,” Allen tells us, was to increase farm size for financial reasons. The chance to economize on labour meant that large farms were more profitable than small farms…. Farmers were anxious to lease several small farms to make a large farm if they could keep the gains. Landowners wanted to amalgamate farms, since a 1000-acre estate yielded more rent if it were divided into four 250-acre farms than if it were divided into twenty 50-acre farms [p.86]. It is clear from the passenger lists which indicated rent increases being a problem, that William and Mary and many others had finally reached the end of their rope in terms of their efforts to earn a livelihood under such circumstances.
The technology of the steam engine was invented in the decade prior to our ancestor’s migration. Partly as a result of the agricultural changes above, a migration to English cities had begun, where the economic hardships of the 19th Century industrial revolution were already on the horizon. Although one cannot be too sure what our ancestors may have understood of this, we might assume that they had a similar general unease to that which we may feel today, as the new information industries take over from the older manufacturing industries in our own time, and as well-paying jobs move “off shore.” We may or may not be directly involved in the change, but the sense of change is all about us, and we watch with a wary eye.
If that were not enough, in the region of the world to which William and Mary were planning to move — here where we stand today — the situation was perhaps even more fluid. As William and Mary decided to migrate and were organizing for the trip, a short sailing trip away from the Chignecto, the Boston Tea party took place. Revolution was brewing in the colonies, and what was then Nova Scotia was no less a colony than any of the others. William and May well may have known that Acadian settlers in the area to which they were headed had been expelled twenty years earlier, but that many had returned. They would certainly have been aware that the ever-exotic and unpredictable “Indians” were still present in large numbers. Imagine what little they understood of these people.
On making casual inquiries into the prospects for the region, they also might have heard that the Fort Cumberland area was far from markets, and that both the selling of produce and obtaining of materials would be no easy matter. In fact, at the time, the local economy was very poor, although the publicity of Governor Franklin painted a more rosy image. In fact, it is hard to say what our ancestors may have known of these things prior to their boarding the Albion in the port of Hull in the spring of 1774, but upon their arrival, they were soon to be absolutely immersed in all of this turbulence.
Further encouragement for the journey of our Chapmans apparently came from the captain of the vessel Albion. Nathanial Smith, one of their 180 fellow passengers, in a letter to a relative, tells that prior to embarking, the captain of the Albion indicated to his passengers that his optimistic estimate was that likely only 1/3 would survive the journey. While his prediction fortunately for many of us did not come true, more than a handful of people did die on the journey, and apparently there was much sea sickness and small pox. In the face of such circumstances, either these ancestors of ours were very sturdy folk, or one can assume that the economic and social prospects in England must have been very difficult indeed.
In fact, William and Mary were accompanied to this land of new opportunity by one of William’s older brothers, *Lancelot — who was five years William’s senior — and Lancelot’s wife, Frances, and six of their nine children. In circumstance such as I have outlined for you, it is not surprising that folks would have sought to travel with extended family. They likely would have lent support to one another. We know little of the particulars of Lancelot and his wife and children, but what we do know is that they all appear to have returned to England – most likely quite soon after arrival. We do not even know if Lancelot and Frances moved beyond their initial arrival in Halifax. Records indicate that Lancelot and Frances died in Cold Kirby, not far from Hawnby, in the early 1800s. It appears that not all found the “better livelihood” they were seeking in the new land.
*Genealogical research subsequent to the remarks above does not support the notion that William and
Lancelot were siblings, although, based on Surname and the proximity in which they lived in Yorkshire,
they well may have been related in some fashion. Only one member of the family of Lancelot remained in North America.
Article on the original dedication of the William Chapman Memorial in 1939
A Stroll Back to 1774: William Chapman monument unveiled
The following is an address given by Dr. G.J. Trueman, president of Mount Allison University on Oct. 15, at the unveiling of a monument of William Chapman, who came to this country from Yorkshire, England, in 1774. The story was taken from The Sackville Tribune-Post, Oct. 19, 1939.
In 1771 Governor Francklyn went to Yorkshire to seek settlers for Nova Scotia. While in 1755 Fort Beausejour was taken, yet it was not until after 1760 that things became quiet enough to encourage settlement. Numbers of families from New England, who were themselves tenants of new England landlords, and many of whom were acquainted with Nova Scotia from previous war days, were encouraged to leave their homes and come in large numbers to Nova Scotia. These came mainly in 1762, 1763 and 1764 and settled largely in the Annapolis Valley, the Upper Saint John River, and on the Isthmus of Chignecto. Before 1771 a number of these had gone back to New England, dissatisfied with the country, and there they remained. There were also on the Isthmus a number of English settlers who had been connected with general work of the Forts, both Lawrence and Fort Beausejour, and there were some soldiers such as Majors Dickson and Goodwin and others whose descendants are still living on the Isthmus.
It was only natural that the men from New England would be more or less in sympathy with their brothers at home who, from 1765 on, had been increasingly dissatisfied with the British government. As is well known, when the Rebellion finally broke out in New England, there was considerable trouble on the Isthmus and in 1776 a strong effort was made by the rebels to take the fort and make this country a part of what has since become the United States. No doubt therefore, the British authorities were anxious to bring the country a number of settlers directly from England, who would not be disturbed by the local difficulties which caused the revolutionary war on this continent. Most Englishmen who came to this country were from Yorkshire, although a number were earlier of Scottish descent. With the exception of a few mechanics and tradesmen, all were farmers who had been on farms owned by landlords, and who came to this country to buy land of their own and till the soil. They left that part of the country no doubt for motives similar to those which led them into the Yorkshire valleys a century or more before. They were a determined and ambitious people, not any too willing to accept the dictates of their landlords, and determined to lead free, successful lives.
There has come down to us, recorded in the ship’s papers in the case of many of the families, the reasons why they left Yorkshire. The two most frequently given are on account of advance of rent and to seek a better livelihood.
We do not know the exact number of people who came from Yorkshire, but we know that among the first who came was Charles Dixon, who left for posterity complete records of his reasons for leaving Yorkshire, of the voyage over, and of his early experiences in this country. Mr. Dixon sailed from Liverpool on the Duke of York in the spring of 1772 and he bought over 2000 acres of land in Sackville on the 8th of June of that year. All of the land had been granted before the Yorkshire people came, so that in practically every case they had to buy from the other settlers. In 1773, 1774, and 1775, many more Yorkshire families, sailing from various ports, Hull being the favourite, came over. By the last of June, 1774, nine vessels had come into Halifax, carrying from 100 to 200 passengers each. At least one of the vessels went to Boston and passengers reshipped from there. The usual method of travel, however, was direct to Halifax where the women and children with the household furniture were transferred to schooners and sailed up the Bay of Fundy, landing at Fort Cumberland. The men frequently walked across country to Windsor and from there went by boat to Parrsboro and along the region now known as the Boar’s Back to River Hebert. Here they were met by boats at Minudie and from there carried to Fort Cumberland.
It is impossible to trace all of the families who came to this part of the country, but the following family names are representatives of those who settled in Amherst, Sackville, and Westmorland.
Amherst and vicinity: Black, Freeze, Robinson, Lusby, Oxley, Foster, Brown, Lodge, Ripley, Shipley, Pipes, Coates, Harrison, Fenwick.
Westmorland Point, Point de Bute, and Fort Lawrence: Keillor, Siddall, Wells, Lowerison, Trueman, Chapman, Donkin, Read, Carter, King, Trenholm, Dobson, and Smith.
Sackville and vicinity: Dixon, Bowser, Atkinson, Anderson, Bulmer, Harper, Patterson, Fawcett, Richardson, Humphrey, Cornforth, and Wry.
William Chapman came to Nova Scotia in the spring of 1774 bringing with him his wife and family of eight children, four sons and four daughters. He purchased a large block of land, near Point de Bute Corner, with the marsh adjoining, and settled at once on the property. This is a part of the grant on which we are now standing and the home remained in the Chapman family until a few decades ago, when it was sold to John Robinson, whose son, Fred, occupies it at the present time. William Chapman came from Hawnby, a beautiful hilly country on the high moor, some 30 miles from York, and about three miles from Helmsley, an interesting old town in the heart of the moor country. John Wesley spent some little time preaching in Yorkshire and gathered large numbers to his standard. In 1770 a small, stone Wesleyan church was built in Hawnby and this still stands and is in good repair. No doubt the Chapmans as well as many of the other Yorkshire families attended this church. When in Yorkshire a year ago, I visited a beautiful old inn with flagstone floor, leaded glass windows and thatched roof. This inn is over two centuries old and has been in the hands of the Ainsley family all that time. It is not more than three or four miles from the old Chapman home and I felt sure I was following the example of many of the old Yorkshire settlers when I drank a glass of beer with the present day farmers. Lord Faversham, who by the way is a son-in-law of Lord Halifax, is much interested in all his tenants, and encourages Mr. Ainsley to keep up the old inn even though a new building has been erected nearby.
The first Methodist church in the country now called Canada was built in 1788 on the land given to John Wesley by William Chapman. The old deed with the signature of Mr. Chapman has been placed in the Beausejour Museum, and with it many pictures of the country and old letters written shortly after the arrival of the Yorkshire men, may be seen by any interested.
Colonel Henry Chapman followed William Chapman on the old farm and of his five sons each measured six feet or over and all were well built in proportion and were outstanding men. Two of his sons, Joseph and Stephen, were among the volunteers of the war of 1812; both lived to be over 80 years of age. Joseph Chapman was the third of the name to live on the old farm and it was he who greatly enlarged the old cemetery in which we are standing by donating a considerable piece of land and bringing the cemetery to its present dimensions.
Apparently there was very little communication between the Chapmans who remained in England and those who came to this country. In 1789, however, a letter was received by William Trueman, of “Prospect” in Point de Bute, written to him by James Chapman, one of the relatives who remained in Hawnby. I am going to quote briefly from this as it gives you some idea of the old stock that came to this country:
“Dear Friends: What shall I say to you? How shall I be thankful enough that I have once more heard of my dear old friends in Nova Scotia. When John Trueman let me see your letter it caused tears of gratitude to flow from my eyes to hear that you were all alive….There has just been a conference at Leeds and good old Mr. Wesley was there among the, very healthy and strong, through 86 years of age. At our Hawnby Love Feast I had Mr. Swinburn and his wife two nights at my house. They seem to be people who have religion truly at heart and both earnestly desired me to remember them both to you in kind love. Pray give our find loves to our old friends, your father and mother, and tell your Father when I see my Tooth drawers (plyers) then I think of him, for he made them. My dear friends, farewell, ours and our family’s kind love to you and all your family, and also all the Chapman Families.
There is also an interesting reference to the Chapmans in a letter written from Yorkshire on January 15, 1881:
“Mr. Chapman – Sir: You will no doubt be surprised to receive a letter from an unknown relative. We were much pleased to learn that you had made inquiries about the Chapman family after so long a silence. We often heard father speak of Uncle William, who left Hawnby Hall for America and could not get any letter answered. Most of the Chapman family have passed away since he left. We have the four grandchildren left belonging to Thomas Chapman, brother of your grandfather. Your grandfather has been dead 80 years and your father has been dead 45 years. We should be glad to see you or any of the Chapman family if you could take a tour and see the place where your ancestors lived. The house and farm are still int eh family and should be glad to accommodate you if you should come over, and we shall be glad to hear all the news about the family who lived and died in America.”
In 1880 a search was made in the Church of England records in Hawnby for the Chapman name and the following is a brief report made by the rector of that day:
“I have examined the register and found frequent mention of the name of Chapman of Hawnby Hall, viz March 22, 1761 – John, son of William Chapman, Hawnby Hall, baptized Feb. 3, 1763 – Thomas Chapman, Hawnby Hall, baptized Feb. 3, 1763 – Thomas chapman, of the Hall, died aged 75 years: It would seem that the foregoing William chapman ws the son of Thomas Chapman and the man who landed in Halifax in 1774. About the latter date a family by the name of Barr came to reside at the Hall.
In 1920 a descendant of William Chapman visited Hawnby and wrote me a letter describing conditions there. The man in question was Dr. James Howard Robinson from Northfield, Minnesota. Mr. Robinson was a grandson of Edward Chapman, who went from Point de Bute to the United States as a young man and spent a long and successful life in that country, always retaining his British citizenship. I met James Howard Robinson first in Montreal where he occupied an important position in one of our colleges. He was a charming man with many of the graces and qualities which characterize the Chapman family, and was keenly interested to learn about his grandfather’s people in Nova Scotia. I quote form his letter a description of Hawnby and a reference to Hawnby Hall, where the Chapmans lived so long:
“I found a John Robert Chapman living at Hawnby, and I visited the place formerly known as Hawnby Hall, located a quarter of a mile west of the little village. It is now known as ‘Home Farm,’ and is occupied by a family named Coates. The walls are four feet thick, and there is yet the old kitchen with big fireplace and roof beams and stone flags on the floor. The people about seem to think that Hawnby Hall used hundreds of years ago to be a nunnery or something of that sort. There are numerous foundations about the present farm house that would seem to indicate a much larger structure than exists at present. I visited the Barrs, a family who occupied the house after the Chapmans left. In the village is the old Methodist church, with builders’ plate date 1770. I was told that John Wesley preached there once when on his way to Newcastle. Our ancestors probably worshipped in the building, which was comparatively new when they left.”
In order to bring this little sketch up to date I should say that I visited Hawnby, Helmsely, and Billsdale in 1931 and again in 1938. I was delighted with the rugged, beautiful country and yet I felt that the Yorkshiremen came to a much better country agriculturally when they left the narrow valleys and high moor of that beautiful land to settle on the Isthmus of Chignecto. This summer I wrote to a friend whom I had made over there telling him that Dr. J. Clarence Webster was about to visit Scotland and would be honoured by the University of Edinburgh. I also referred to the fact that Dr. Webster was a direct descendant of William Chapman, who in 1774 had left Hawnby for the new world. A few weeks after I was surprised to get a larger Yorkshire daily in which my letter was quoted and a column given to the history of the Chapman family. After listing some of the men of the name in England who had gone out from Hawnby to make a name for themselves, the writers spoke of the one man of that name who still lived in that beautiful little village and referred to him in the highest terms. In his description of Mr. Chapman the writer referred to his geniality, his fine character, his love of sports, and to the fact that he was the sort of person whom everybody respected and liked. It seemed he was a great cricket player, one of the best in Yorkshire, and if he had cared to leave his business to make a specialty of it, it was stated he would have been one of the best in England.
It is a great satisfaction to me, as one who has always been interested in the Yorkshire families and has followed their history closely, to see this monument erected. This is just another of the many good things that we have wanted to see done, but would not have had the initiative to accomplish had it not been for Dr. J. Clarence Webster, who, although he has spent a great part of his life in another land, will be remembered in this province long after most of us are forgotten, for his patient and untiring research into our local history and his successful efforts in erecting museums and memorials. The descendants of William Chapman, those who bear the Chapman name, as well as large numbers who are the descendants of the daughters of the family, have made great settlers in this new country and as the country has developed, have adjusted themselves to changing conditions. They have been successful as farmers, as mechanics, as businessmen, as statesmen, as clergymen, as doctors, lawyers, educators. Wherever they have been they have been almost to a man, men of fine character, of abounding energy, ability, and outstanding in their community. We are certainly under great obligation to those who have made the erection of this monument possible and enabled us thus, to pay our respects directly to William Chapman and indirectly to others of the Yorkshire group and to all those pioneers who through hard work, sacrifice, and strict adherence to high principles of religion and patriotism, have laid a foundation in this country upon which those who follow may safely build.
During Yorkshire 2000 on August 8, the Chapman family will re-dedicate the monument which has been rebuilt.