South Shore; Seasoned Timbers (Excerpt)

Volume 2

         Some historic buildings
         from Nova Scotia's
         South Shore

Halifax, N. S.
The Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia


   The South Shore is an odd name for the two hundred mile section of
Nova Scotia's Atlantic Coast running roughly from Halifax to Yarmouth,
since its extension from the capital is known always as the Eastern Shore. 
The South Shore is one deeply indented by coves and wide, island filled 
bays, making the distance in sea miles far longer than that of Highway 
Number 103 or even Number 3, the old post road.

   Long before the South Shore was settled, it was known to French and 
New England fishermen. In the eighteenth century the fisheries were 
held in as high governmental regard as offshore oil drilling is today. This 
solicitude and the apparently inexhaustable supply of fish gave rise to 
Prospect and the seaward settlements of St. Margaret's Bay with which 
this book begins.

   The neat farmsteads nearer the head of the bay are a reminder that the 
area was once a colony of the neighbouring county of Lunenburg.

   Lunenburg County, at a time of growing uniformity, remains richly 
itself. There is no need to read a signpost, for soft r's tell the visitor he 
has arrived. And while Lunenburgers no longer "verk on de wessels", 
there is still an accent, a turn of speech, and as Winthrop Bell in his superb 
study The "Foreign Protestants" and the Settlement of Nova Scotia would 
have it, a turn of mind as well.

   From the beginning, the Lunenburger strove for self-sufficiency. From 
Petite Riviere to Borgel Point Lunenburg dishes, be they hodge podge 
or solomon gundy, are made from the produce of the farm or the fish caught 
by the shore. A visiting Presbyterian divine noted in the seventeen nine-
ties that Lunenburgers "are an industrious people and economists for 
saving. They may be said to work hard and live hard and their victuals 
is something peculiar to themselves".

   How did these industrious, thrifty people set down their roots on the 
South Shore?

   Government inducements to industry are not new to this province. 
Halifax, the first British settlement in Nova Scotia, began with a plan of 
"encouragements", though almost immediately it was found that out of 
the hundreds who accepted free land and provisions, only the handful of 
Swiss provided much industry. Quick to learn, the Governor specified 
that future settlers should be "Foreign Protestants". So in 1751 and 1752 
boatloads of Rhinelanders emigrated to frontier Nova Scotia, induced by 
the generous conditions offered by the British government. In Halifax 
they became acclimatized, amongst other things learning to build frame 
houses New England fashion.



   In 1753 the "Foreign Protestants" were settled on the most fertile 
land of the province's Atlantic coast. The Lunenburg settlers, like Ger-
man settlers in Pennsylvania, were soon dubbed "Dutch", a corruption of 
the German Deutsch, an appelation not strictly correct, since a number of 
families like the Sperrys and Uelisches were Swiss, while twenty 
percent of the group were French speaking from Montbeliard.

   Lunenburgers were farmers long before they became seamen. Their 
perseverance cleared farms which supplied Halifax with vegetables, cat-
tle and cordword and themselves with hard cash. The trade in cordwood 
persisted into the third quarter of the nineteenth century and had an effect 
on their houses. As "economists for saving", they appreciated the insul-
ation of wooden walls, keeping small windows and narrow exterior door-
ways long after their Queens County neighbours had adopted larger glass 
panes and stylish sidelights.

   On entering Queens County one could say with reason that one had 
crossed a Massachusetts border. Indeed from 1691 Massachusetts con-
tended that the government of Nova Scotia should be in the hands of the 
Commonwealth. Hundreds of Queens County residents claim correctly 
to be Mayflower descendents. And if Liverpool and Barrington, Shel-
burne County, have a Cape Cod look about them, a visit to Eastham and 
Chatham, Massachusetts, to see Doane Rock, Cohoon's Hollow and the 
carefully preserved Atwood House will help to explain why.

   In 1758-60 the Massachusetts men (who also established a township 
at Chester) required two principal inducements to settle on the South 
Shore. The first was an acceptable form of civil government and the sec-
ond that townships of 100,000 acres be granted to shareholding groups 
of settlers called Proprietors.

   The lessons of successful settlement were partly forgotten in the emer-
gency peacetime founding of Shelburne in 1783. As a refugee camp for 
New York Loyalists and a demobilization centre for British soldiers who 
had served in the Revolutionary War, it became a boomtown unable to 
sustain its population. Some Loyalists slipped away to neighbouring set-
tlements, others went on to New Brunswick taking their houses with them.

   Beyond Cape Sable lies Pubnico, once the Acadian Baronnie de 
Pombcoup granted in 1651 to Phillipe Mius D'Entremont. Beyond Pub-
nico again are the Argyles and the handsome Acadian built church at Eel 
Brook. Then for the purpose of this book the South Shore ends - at Tus-
ket where Shelburne Loyalists of New York Dutch extraction found a home.



   Few of the South Shore's earliest houses have survived in their origin-
al form. The houses in these pages fall largely into the "second house" 
category. We have Judge Haliburton's word for it. In 1846 he wrote, 
"the houses I have frequented during the circuits were either enlarged, 
remodelled or rebuilt".



Listing of Houses Profiled

Pg  Location                                                                Pics
12  Prospect, Halifax Co.                                                   2
14  Captain Simeon's Bark House, French Village, Halifax Co.                1
16  Redmond House, Glen Margaret, Halifax Co.                               1
18  Foster Chittick House, Glen Margaret, Halifax Co.                       1
20  Dawson House, Glen Margaret, Halifax Co.                                1
22  Crook's House, Peggy's Cove, Halifax Co.                                1
24  The MacLean - Reardon House, Hubbards, Halifax Co.                      1
26  William Murphy House, North West Cove, Lunenburg Co.                    2
28  The Blockhouse, Chester, Lunenburg Co.                                  2
30  "The Sheet Anchor", Chester, Lunenburg Co.                              1
32  Napean Eisenhaur House, Middle River near Chester Basin, Lunenburg Co.  1
34  "Rosebank Cottage", Ross Farm, New Ross, Lunenburg Co.                  1
36  Morley's Blacksmith Shop, New Ross, Lunenburg Co.                       1
38  Strum - Stewart House, Martin's River, Lunenburg Co.                    2
40  "Lanzlot", Oakland, Lunenburg Co.                                       1
42  Dana Sweeny Antiques, Mahone Bay, Lunenburg Co.                         1
44  "Longacres", Mahone Bay, Lunenburg Co.                                  5
48  Bezanson's TV Repair, Mahone Bay, Lunenburg Co.                         1
50  Dalton - Eisenhaur House, Blockhouse, Lunenburg Co.                     3
54  St. John's Anglican Church, Lunenburg                                   1  
56  Romkey House, 82 Pelham Street, Lunenburg                               1
58  Allan R. Morash House, 43 York Street, Lunenburg                        2
60  James D. Eisenhaur House, Falkland Street, Lunenburg                    1
62  Lincoln Street Houses, Lunenburg                                        3
66  Waterfront Buildings, Lunenburg                                         1
68  Myra House, Garden Lots, Lunenburg Co.                                  1
70  Captain Crouse - Dalgleish House, Jubilee Road, Bridgewater             1
72  William McKean House, Conquwerall Bank, Lunenburg Co.                   1
74  Isaac Romkey House, Crescent Beach, Lunenburg Co.                       1
76  Doran - Davidson House, Mill Village, Queens Co.                        5
80  Robie Mack House, Mill Village, Queens Co.                              1
82  Seely's Hall, Port Medway, Queens Co.                                   1
84  Old Baptist Mission House, Port Medway, Queens Co.                      1
86  Perkins House, Liverpool                                                1
88  Dexter's Tavern, 5 Riverside Drive, Liverpool                           1
90  Captain Bartlett Bradford Cottage, 16 Main Street, Liverpool            1
92  Jabish Snow House, 112 Main Street, Liverpool                           1
94  Matthew McClearn House, 82 Main Street, Liverpool                       1
96  Doctor Farish House, 144 Main Street, Liverpool                         1
98  Jonathan Crowell House, 64 Payzant Steet, Liverpool                     1
100 Queens County Courthouse, Church at Court Street, Liverpool             1
102 The Rectory of Trinity Church, Liverpool                                4
106 Sheriff Mulhall House, 419 Main Street, Liverpool                       1
108 Jabez Freeman House, East Street, Milton, Queens Co.                    1
110 Charles Harlow House, West Street, Milton, Queens Co.                   1
112 Abner Harlow House, West Street, Milton, Queens Co.                     2
114 Benjamin Kempton House, West Street, Milton, Queens Co.                 1
116 Carding Mill, South Brookfield, Queens Co.                              1
118 Ross - Thomson House, Charlotte Lane, Shelburne                         4
122 Shakespear - MacLean House, Shelburne                                   2
124 Ryer - Davis (Joseph Bell) House, Shelburne                             2
126 Locke Houses, Lockeport, Shelburne Co.                                  4
130 Maria Doane Leach House, Coffinscroft, Shelburne Co.                    1
132 Benjamin Doane House, Coffinscroft, Shelburne Co.                       1
134 Meeting House, Barrington, Shelburne Co.                                1
136 Robertson - Banks House, Barrington Passage, Shelburne Co.              1
138 Lee Hubbard House, Charlesville, Shelburne Co.                          1
140 Colman Crowell House, Lower East Pubnico, Yarmouth Co.                  1
142 D'Entremont House, Lower West Pubnico, Yarmouth Co.                     1
144 Raynard House, Glenwood, Yarmouth Co.                                   1
146 William Ricker House, Roberts Island, Yarmouth Co.                      1
148 Lent House, Tusket, Yarmouth Co.

If you would like a lookup on any of the buildings listed above, in the book "South Shore; Seasoned Timbers (Vol. 2)",
e-mail Natalie Verge at [email protected].