Signposts Along Tantramar’s Past

(with emphasis on the YORKSHIRE SETTLERS and focussing on
the Sackville/Aulac/Fort Lawrence area)(A partial listing of significant dates and events)

1612 –
Biencourt and Father Baird come to “Chignecto” to trade, which continues off and on.

1672 –
J. Bourgeois and his five children’s families settle on what became the village of Beaubassin (now Fort Lawrence).

1676 –
Sieur La Valliere, with full seigneurial rights, settles on “Isle La Valliere” – now Tongue’s Island at the mouth of the Missaquash River.

by 1686 –
French (Acadian) settlements at Butte a Roger, Pont a Buot, Tantemar, etc. . . . dykes and aboiteau now allow 42 families to grow oats, barley, rye plus flax, hemp, vegetables and livestock . . . and engage in some trade.

1713 –
Treaty of Utrecht assigns “Acadia” to Great Britain . . . nevertheless “neutral” Acadians grow to 3,000-4,000 settlers on the Chignecto Isthmus by the 1750’s.

1749 –
Major Lawrence attempts to put an English landing party ashore at Beaubassin but is rebuffed by the French.

1750 – Sept –
Major Lawrence with reinforcements lands at Beaubassin and cionstructs “Fort Lawrence” from prefab materials.
– The Village of Beaubassin is ordered burned bu Priest Abbe Le Loutre as the Acadian inhabitants retreat to the Beausejour ridge on the north side of the Missaquash River.

1753 –
Le Loutre begins construction of a major aboiteau on the Aulac River.

1755, June 16 –
Col. Moncton attacks and takes Fort Beausejour and renames it Fort Cumberland . . . later that summer British forces commenced the “expulsion” of the Acadians from the area.

1758 –
Nova Scotia Provincial Legislative Assembly established (19 members met on October 2, 1758) thus the legislature in Halifax is the oldest in the Dominion of Canada.

1758 –
Governor Lawrence issued a proclamation inviting New Englanders to come to Nova Scotia and settle on vacated Acadian lands and take up free land grants.

1759 –
“Bloody Bridge” massacre – five British soldiers were ambushed and scalped in Upper de Butte by French and Indians – also a British provision vessel was boarded seized by French and Indians. Increased emphasis on attracting English settlers.

1759 –
Capture of Quebec – ended all hopes that Acadians may be able to repossess their lands – thus guerilla warfare ended leading to a greater sense of security for potential settlers.

1760 –
Many New England soldiers at Forts Beausejour (Cumberland) and Lawrence, their enlistments expired, returned home. Governor Lawrence encouraged them to stay and to take up land grants – some did. (Troop, Tongue, Huston, others).

– First English settlement since the expulsion in 1755.
– 25 families arrive from New England (Rhode Island) – including the names: Tower, Young, Estabrooks, Cole, King, Finney, Briggs, Seaman, Robinson, Davis, Brownell, Casey, Ward and others.

1762 –
First Town meeting was held (20 July 1762) in the home of Mrs. Charity Bishop who kept an Inn at Fort Cumberland. On 29 July 1762, first steps taken towards municipal government – the name of Sackville was chosen for the Township in honour of Lord George Sackville (1716-1785), commander of the British Forces.

1763 –
Baptists arrived – 13 Baptists from Swansea, Massachusetts headed by Nathan Mason arrived and established a church – the first of it’s denomination in Canada. Most of the 13 returned to Massachusetts in 1771, but the Church and it’s influence remained.

1763 –
The Townships of Cumberland, Amherst and Sackville are laid out each containing approximately 100,000 acres.

1762-63 –
Additional waves of immigrants from New England: some family names were: Ayer, Ward, Eddy, Oulton, Tingley, Richardson and others.

1765 –
First land grant for Sackville township, 32,250 acres, all to New England people (family of 6 with 7 head of cattle got 1 1/2 shares or 750 acres.

Sackville in 1767 – 349 persons (343 were New Englanders)
Cumberland in 1763 – 35 families
Amherst in 1763 – 30 families

1767 –
Sackville secured the right to send a member to Legislature in Halifax (Sackville had a population of 80 families at the time and only needed a settlement of 25 qualified electors to send one representative).

1771 –
Governor Franklin at the request of the Duke of Rutland, went to Yorkshire, England, to seek immigrants for Nova Scotia.

over 1000 people immigrated to Nova Scotia over this period- the majority of whom settled in the Chignecto Isthmus. The Yorkshiremen came with money to purchase lands that had earlier been granted to New Englanders.

1772 –
Ship Duke of Yorke left Liverpool on 16 March with 62 passengers on board, including Charles Dixon – arriving at Fort Cumberland on 21 May 1772.

1773-75 –
Additional vessels arrived with the largest number coming in 1774 when 9 passenger vessels carried settlers from old England to Nova Scotia.

Yorkshire Families (partial listing) Settling At:

Amherst: Black, Freeze, Robinson, Lusby (actually from Lincolnshire), Oxley, Foster and others.

Nappan, Maccan: Brown, Ripley, Shepley, Pipes, Coates, Harrison, Fenwick & others.

Westmorland Point, Point de Bute and Fort Lawrence: Keilor, Siddall, Wells, Smith, Lowerson, Truemen, Chapman, Donkin, Read, Carter, King, Trenholm, Dobson and others.

Sackville: Dixon, Bowser, Atkinson, Anderson, Bulmer, Harper, Patterson, Fawcett, Richardson, Humphrey, Wry, and others.

1776 – November – Eddy Rebellion –
Yorkshiremen – loyal to the British crown were instrumental in quelling the uprising by “new Englanders” lead by Col. Jonathan Eddy.

1783-84 –
United Empire Loyalists came to the Province – among those who settled in the Isthmus were families of: Fowler, Knapp, Palmer, Purdy, Pugsley.

Suggested Reading:
The Chignecto Isthmus and Its First Settlers – Howard Trueman, 1902
History of Sackville – W.C. Milner, 1934 (reprinted 1994)
Tamped Clay and Saltmarsh Hay – R Cunningham and J Prince, 1976
A History of Fort Lawrence – G Trenholm, M Norden, J Trenholm, 1985
The Chignecto Connexion – P Penner, 1990
Here Stays Good Yorkshire- Will R Bird, 1945
A Century at Chignecto – Will R Bird, 1928
Planters and Pioneers – E C Wright,1978

Al Smith & Colin MacKinnon, 11 Aug 95 for Atlantic Waterfowl Celebration – Bus Tours –
(Early Settlement Tour) – 1995