Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB
September 22, 1892


Contributions to the History of Charlotte County and the Border Towns.


[Benjamin Rand, Ph. D.]

In April, 1759, Major Dennison, Messrs. Jonathan Harris, Joseph Otis and James Fuller, from Connecticut, and John Hicks, from Rhode Island, arrived in Halifax as agents of people in those colonies who propose settling on the lands bordering on the Basin of Minas.  In May, the agents, having visited the lands, returned to Halifax, and the four representatives from Connecticut entered into an agreement, on behalf of 330 signers, to settle a township of Mines [sic], joining on the river Gaspereaux.  All the propositions were agreed to by the governor in council, on Thursday, 17th of May, 1759; and the forms of grants were accordingly prepared.  Other agents visited the province in the following year, and the tide of New England emigration undoubtedly set toward Nova Scotia in 1760.

The manner and circumstances of the departure of the people from New England are difficult to determine.  Nothing indeed is more surprising than the failure on the part of the more important New England historians to discover and note such a large and widely extended emigration.  Diaries on the part of the emigrants are also rare.  One of the best now in existence is probably that kept by Henry Evens, of Sudbury, Mass., who arranged in 1760 for the settlement of a township at Annapolis.  The general facts of the migration, can, however, be more readily ascertained.  New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut furnished the larger proportion of the emigrants.  Portsmouth, Boston, Newport and New London were the chief ports of departure.  The townships of Annapolis, Horton, Cornwallis, Falmouth and Liverpool in Nova Scotia received most of the settlers who arrived during the year 1760.  The tide of migration continued, and each succeeding year saw large additions to the population of the various townships.  A very definite idea of its extent prior to the year 1762 may be obtained from a manuscript in the land office at Halifax which contains a description of the several townships drawn up by order of the lieutenant governor, Jonathan Belcher.  This document is signed by Charles Morris, and is dated Jan. 9, 1762.  The following table in it presents in a summary the state of the settlements at the beginning of the year 1762.

  Families. Inhabitants. Cleared Upland in Gross Acres. Marsh Acres.
Town of Halifax,   2500 70  
Chester, 30 150 Town lots only Town lots only
Lunenburg, 300 1400 2000  
Liverpool, 90 504 Town lots Town lots
Barrington, 20 180 200  
Yarmouth, 20 100   500
Granville, 30 140 1000 1500
Annapolis, 60 240 1200 1600
Cornwallis, 115 600 2000 3000
Horton, 150 900 3000 5000
Falmouth, 80 350 3000 2500
Newport, 60 240 600 1000
Onslow, 50 160 70 1400
Truro, 53 120 100 1500
Cumberland, 35 100 600 18000
Sackville, 25 60 200 12000
Amherst,     300 15000
Other places,     300 23000
  1,118 7,794 14,640 86,000

Halifax was settled by the English in 1749, and Lunenburg by the Germans in 1753; the remaining names in this list are those of the old townships’ which received their settlement from the New England emigration.  ‘A general return of the several townships in the province of Nova Scotia the first day of January, 1767,’ in possession of the Nova Scotia Historical Society, is the next and most authoritative document to reveal the state of the early settlements as affected by the continued arrival of the people from New England.  This manuscript originally contained the names of the heads of families in all the townships, but unfortunately some of the leaves have been destroyed.  The following table compiled from it will, however, present by contrast with the preceding figures the progress of population prior to 1767, and likewise the proportion of New Englanders in the total population.




Total Inhabitants.

Halifax, 1351 3022
Chester, 175 231
Lunenburg, 25 1468
Liverpool, 594 634
Barrington, 365 376
Yarmouth, 351 379
Granville, 350 383
Annapolis, 370 513
Falmouth, 200 292
Newport, 242 279
Truro, 137 245
Cumberland, 269 334
Sackville, (N. B.) 343 349
Amherst, 137 245
Canso, 73 519
Maugerville, (N. B.) 235 261
Hopewell, (N. B.) 62 159
St. John's Isl'd, (P. E. I.) 70 519
Cape Breton, 170 707
Other places, 188 917
  6,913 13,374

The population of Nova Scotia in 1759 may be approximately reckoned between 3000 and 4000.  Halifax and Lunenburg were then the only two places of considerable size.  In 1762 the population amounted in round numbers to 8000, an increase of about 5000 persons due to the New England emigration.  During that period the people from New England had established 14 new townships in Acadia (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.)  In 1767 the total number of inhabitants was 13,374, of whom 6,913 were as above classed as Americans.  Between 1767 and 1772 the number of people in Acadia had increased, in round numbers, from 13,000 to 17,000.  A portion of this increase was doubtless due to the return of the exiled Acadians, but the larger share of it arose from the continuance of the New England emigration.  The importance of this immigration is, however, not to be correctly judged by a mere estimate of its numbers.  As the New England people were the first in large numbers to settle Acadia, so likewise their influence entered largely into the formation of its civil, social and religious institutions.

1There are apparent errors in transcription here, which cannot be rectified for want of time to refer them to the writer of the article.  The blanks, however, will not affect the general showing.-Ed.

Addition: Article XXXVI contains the following addition to this one: "Dr. Rand sends us the following supplementary note:-

In the provincial building, at Halifax, historical information may be obtained from the legislative library, the Nova Scotia historical library, the record office, and the land office.  The libraries of the legislature and the historical society have the same librarian.  The record office, however, is at present under separate jurisdiction, and its archives contain the manuscript of 1762 and the ‘general return’ of 1767 referred to in my recent article on the New England emigration.  The return compiled from this ‘General Return of the several Townships in the Province of Nova Scotia, the first day of January, 1767,’ is here repeated in a changed and corrected form:



Total persons in each township.

Amherst, 29 123
Annapolis, 370 513
Barrington, 365 376
Blandford, 11 95
Breton, Island of 170 707
Canso, 73 519
Chester, 175 231
Cornwallis, 697 727
Cumberland, 269 334
Dartmouth, 8 39
Dublin, 60 107
Falmouth, 200 292
Granville, 350 383
Halifax and environs, 1351 3022
Hopewell, 62 159
Horton, 617 634
Lawrence Town, 5 15
Liverpool, 594 634
Londonderry, 10 148
Lunenburg, 25 1468
Maugerville, 235 261
Monkton, 7 60
Newport, 242 279
Onslow, 137 245
Sackville, 343 349
St. John's, Island of 70 519
Truro,   301
Wilmot, 19 40
Windsor, 48 243
Yarmouth, 351 379
   St. John's River,    
   and Cape Sable, 20 172
  6,913 13,374