Harvie, of Nova Scotia

Harvies' of Scotland and Nova Scotia

John Harvie (1730-1822)

        John Harvie was baptised on 31 May 1730. He was born on a farm named Highlees situated high in the hills beyond the town of Dalry in Aryshire, Scotland. The Harvie family lived in this area of Scotland from at least the fifteenth century. John was fourth born in a family of six boys and four girls. His father Andrew was dead before 1744. Correspondence between John Harvie in Nova Scotia and family members in Scotland establish his mother Janet (nee Spier) was still alive in 1784 at the age of eighty-five years 1. Prior to leaving Scotland his trade was that of wright (a builder or building repairer). In Nova Scotia he was a farmer with interests in gypsum mining.
        John Harvie and some other family members emigrated initially from Scotland to America. In May 1760 he arrived in the sloop Sally from Rhode Island, New England at Avondale (Newport Landing) in Hants County, Nova Scotia in a family group with his uncle James Harvie, his uncle’s children Margaret, James Jr., Archibald, and one other who was undoubtably another daughter of his uncle. They came to take up vacant lands in an area to be known as the Newport Grant that previously had been occupied for 75 years by the Acadians (French settlers) who were expelled by the British in 1755 1, 4.
        From first permanent settlement by the French in 1604 until the Treaty of Utrecht in 1712 Nova Scotia had been part of one vast French colony called Acadia. However in the bitter European-based French-English rivalry for colonial dominance between 1712 and 1755 all of mainland Acadia came under British domination and in 1755 the Acadians were rounded up by British troops and unceremoniously shipped off and unloaded in small groups at hundreds of ports along the eastern seaboard and southern areas of the current-day United States. During their years of occupation the Acadian pioneers had cleared the forested lands and established farms and reclaimed the flood-prone marsh-lands from inundation by the ocean tides by constructing networks of dyke and canal systems.
       After the French and Indian War the strategic importance of Nova Scotia to British interests became better appreciated and in 1759 Governor Lawrence of Nova Scotia issued a proclamation in New England offering these vacant lands around the Minas Basin free of payment to planters - an Elizabethan term used for settlers. The intent was to replace French-speaking influence in the region with English-speaking. The government paid the cost of the settlers passage from New England to Nova Scotia.
        John Harvie was one of the first arrivals of this group, numbering approximately 8000, who emigrated to Nova Scotia between 1760 and 1766 - referred to today as New England Planters or Pre-Loyalists. John, together with his uncle James, and his uncle's two sons James Jr. and Archibald, were grantees in the Newport Grant that in total comprised 58,000 acres of land on the east side of the Pisiquid River (now the Avon). When they arrived in May 1760 the land was still unsurveyed so the settlers had to over-winter in the harsh environment without the benefit of being able to construct a permanent dwelling on land of their own. During this period some members of the small community ran short on staple foods. However the Harvie name is not among those on a government ration list from 20 December 1761 to 30 April 1762 for handouts of Indian corn so it is possible the family group may have better provided for themselves than some of their fellow settlers. 6. After their first spring and summer in Nova Scotia family records for October 1760 record that John and James Harvie "boated" thirty bushels of potatoes 1.
        The actual Newport Crown Land Grant was not made until 21 July 1761. In the ballot held on 18 Feb 1762 John Harvie drew Newport Farm Lot E 2nd Division No. 3. The first reference to John Harvie in the Township Meeting Records is 12 August 1760 when he was appointed Proprietor’s Clerk. On the same date he was appointed 3rd Committeeman in place of Benjamin Sanford. Records show he was named assessor for Newport on 1 April 1789 and served as a Newport juror in October 1789. He was one of the Newport jurors at his Majesty’s Inferior Court of Common Pleas at the April 1796 session held in Windsor, Nova Scotia 5. Land conveyance records show a very considerable number of land purchases by him from other Newport grantees in the early years and few sales as he built up his holdings.
         Margaret, the daughter of John Harvie’s uncle James, married Barzillai Mosher and had ten children. John Harvie, and his two cousins James and Archibald, together fathered a total of twenty-nine children comprising the first Nova Scotian born generation to bear the Harvie surname. In subsequent generations some of their descendants adopted Harvey as their surname spelling. There were many large families ranging up to twenty-one children in number. At the 1871 census of Hants County the Harvie/Harvey surname was surpassed in number only by that of "Smith" 7.
       John Harvie married on 27 Oct 1763 in Newport, Hants County (1st) Experience Powers - born abt.1742 and died 14 May 1777. They had seven children. He married (2nd) Alice Wilcox, the widow of his cousin James Harvie, and had three more children. The fourth born of his ten children was Andrew Harvie  2, 3.
       In his will dated 25 Jan 1816, John Harvie bequeathed all his lands south of the Kennetcook River to son Andrew 8. This included the property known as Roseway Farm situated at Avondale (now Newport Landing). On 28 May 1841 Andrew sold  to his son Daniel Lockhart, the tenth born of his twelve children, the portion on which the homestead was erected for £500 and the balance for £300 to another son James  9. It was in this house, built originally in the 1770s by their great-grandfather on portion 1A of the 1st Division of the Newport Grant 6, that the five children of the two marriages of Daniel Lockhart Harvie (1811-1851) would have been born between 1843 and 1851. After Daniel's death this property, with a present day address of 221 Avondale Road, was owned by his brother James and then by his son Lt. Colonel Weston Harvie who had no children. It was sold to a member of the Parker family in the early 1900s and as at the 1998 date of this article, expanded in area, was still in the ownership of a descendant of that family.

1    Robert Paton Harvey, John Harvie (1730-1822) of Newport, Nova Scotia: Three Generations of  Descendants, The Nova Scotia Historical Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 4,  1976.
2    Ibid pp. 8-10.
3    Rev. McLeod Harvey,  From Old Scotia to New Scotia - A Family of Harveys, Windsor, Hants Journal Press (ca. 1945),  pp.12-13.
4    Brenda Dunn,  The Acadians of Minas,  National Parks Canada (1985).
5    John Duncanson, Newport, a Rhode Island Township in Nova Scotia,  Mica Publ. (1985) pp.242, 251.
6    Ibid
7    Harvies Bulletin, 1988 issue of the newsletter of:  The Harvie Family Association of Hants County.
8    Hants Co. Court of Probate,  probate of  will  dated 11 Oct 1822.
9    Hants Co. Registry of Deeds, Volume 26, Doc. 66, 67, pp. 78-9.

Compiled by J. G. Raymond, Brisbane, Australia - 1998