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Prince Henry Sinclair Sets Sail For Nova Scotia

June 11, 1397

Prince Henry Sinclair, Baron of Roslin, Earl of Orkney, and Lord of Shetland, set sail for Nova Scotia. He is reputed to have “discovered” that land in June of 1398, almost a hundred years before Columbus. Legend abounds with Henry Sinclair. He has been associated with the Templars and its supposed lost treasure.   He is supposed to have decided to build a settlement in this new land, however, war in Scotland took his time and ultimately his life. The knowledge of their secret land was passed from father to son. When the English threatened their Roslin castle, the Sinclairs supposedly brought their treasure to Nova Scotia. The Oak Island pit was excavated in 1436. For the next hundred years, it was improved upon until the head of the Clan Sinclair left Scotland forever, disappearing from history.

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Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Samuel De Champlain

July 6, 1607

Samuel De Champlain was the first officially recognized European visitor. He found here an iron cross, covered in moss, thus proving he was not the first Christian in the region.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Acadian Settlement

March 13, 1670

Acadian settlement in the Minas Basin region.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

John Bourg & Francis Arseneau

July 20, 1730

John Bourg and Francis Arseneau, two Acadian boatmen, operated a ferry service across the Bay of Fundy from Partridge Island.

Du Vivier

July 21, 1744

Du Vivier, undertook to capture all Acadia, marched a small force from Chignecto to Partridge Island, where they were embarked for Minas.

Mavin, a Quebec officer

July 21, 1745

Mavin, a Quebec officer, used the Partridge Island route on his way to Annapolis. That same year, a small force from New England captured Louisburg. A 1959 historical novel, “The Young Titan” by F. Van Wyk Mason recounts this siege and capture.

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Coulon DeVilliers

December 1, 1747

In December, Coulon DeVilliers, one of Ramesay’s Officers, on his way to dislodge the garrison at Minas, came to Partridge Island with 300 troops, but were unable to cross because of ice.  They then walked the long way around.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

James Noble Shannon

July 22, 1750

James Noble Shannon, born in Boston.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Acadians Expelled

July 23, 1755

Acadians expelled.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

New England Planters Arrive

July 23, 1760

Between 1760 and 1766, New England Planters arrived in the area.  Records show marriage of one of the original families descendants, of whom still reside in the area.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

An inn, tavern, store….

July 24, 1764

An inn, tavern, store, blockhouse, school, and church were built at Partridge Island in February of 1764.  Military records reveal that with permission from Governor Wilmot through Major Hamilton, a local British commander, Acadians Francois Arsenault and Jean Bourg, were allowed to continue operating a shallop as a ferryboat. (yes, the same ones who were operating it in 1730.  So, not all Acadians were expelled).

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Oldest Dated Timber

July 24, 1768

Oldest dated timber in Ottawa House construction.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

First Permanent Residents Of Partridge Island

July 24, 1770

Jonathon Crane and James Noble Shannon became the first permanent residents of Partridge Island.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

The Partridge Island Grant

July 25, 1776

The Partridge Island Grant was awarded to John Avery, John Lockhart, and Jacob Bacon, on condition that they operate a ferry from Partridge Island to Windsor, mainly for the benefit of the military.  The Lockhart Family History states that John Lockhart did so. Later in the year, Asa and Abijiah Scott, along with Jacob Hurd, bought John Avery’s half of the Grant and operated the ferry.  A New England privateer seized the schooner used as a ferry in November of the same year.  Later at Advocate, Colonel Michael Francklin recaptured Scott’s schooner, but the privateer, described as an 8-gun schooner full of men,  escaped!

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Last Updated: March 13, 2018

First Land Grants Given In Parrsboro Area

November 9, 1776

First land grants given in Parrsboro area. Two Thousand acres to John Avery, Jacob, Jr., and John Lockhart. Col. Eddy leads rebellion at Fort Cumberland (Amherst area) and blocks Parrsboro Pass with troops. November 9th – Rebels capture ferryboat, together with Partridge Island, with privateer vessel of eight guns and full of men. November 15th – Ratchford’s sloop of 80 tons moved 300 men from Windsor to Fort Cumberland, and Eddy’s Rebellion was put down. Commodore, Sir George Collier, says he does not think Halifax is in danger, unless more support comes from New England, because the road (from Windsor) is too bad to carry cannons and the English are in control of the sea.  He sends the warship Vulture to Partridge Island to put the run to the rebels.

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Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Rebel Privateer At Spencer’s Island

March 21, 1777

Report to Governor: “It is reported that a Rebel Privateer is now at Spencer’s Island, perhaps waiting for transports bound from Windsor to Halifax.  Capt Camplote tells me in consequence of prospect, can escort be sent to Annapolis, that an armed vessel is there to protect them.” Horton, March 21st – Petition asking for armed naval vessels in the Basin for protection. Signed Silas Crane. Armed Schooners, “Loyal Nova Scotia” and “Rainbow”, patrol in Bay of Fundy regions. Silas Crane Jr., bought lots #1 and 1A, at Partridge Island from Jacob Bacon.  Another historian states that he also bought John Lockhart’s town lot. Silas began a new ferry service using a forty-two ton sloop, as a packet, and continued this service until his death in April 1792. Note: A sloop is a shallow draft, schooner-like vessel with open holds and often, no cabins.

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Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Silas & Mary Crane

April 16, 1778

April 16th – Silas and Mary Crane establish a home and ferry service at Partridge Island. August 9th & 10th – Privateers came up the Cornwallis River and burned and looted homes.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Philadelphia Grant of 1779

July 25, 1779

Philadelphia Grant of 1779, made by Governor Francis Legge, names the following on the site map of the grant:  Silas Crane, Jr., (originally No. 1 to Jacob Bacon),  James N. Shannon (originally No. 2 to John Lockhart),  and James Ratchford, Sr., (originally No. 3 Jacob Bacon), as the principal holders with one parcel (originally No. 4 John Avery) being ceded (sold?) by Jonathon Crane to James Rathford, and three very small parcels from the original grant being retained (apparently) by John Avery and Jacob Bacon.  Three other adjoining parcels of land are listed on the grant map, inland of those bordering the shoreline, all of which were granted to John Lockhart. The precise measurements are difficult to determine, as some of the distances are listed as “174 perches”  or “171 perches”, an Anglo Saxon unit of measurement, which was cited in a law known as the Composition of Yards and Perches (Compositio ulnarum et perticarum), some time between 1266 and 1303, but has not survived to today.  No precise equivalent of distance has, as yet, been determined. Note: The name Philadelphia survives to this date as Philadelphia Street in the current town of Parrsboro.

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Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Privateers Attempt Raids

July 26, 1780

In June, a privateer from Machias, Maine, attempts raid on Shannon Store at Partridge Island Settlement.  Three of the raiders were killed, and remainder captured, along with their vessel. Later in the same month, another privateer made a raid.  Fortunately this was a small one, and as the landing party of 8 men was busy looting a home, they were surrounded by a small group of soldiers under a Lieutenant Wheaton.  Three of the privateer’s men, including their Captain, were killed and the rest on land were captured.  Their vessel escaped, although British naval ships sought it.

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Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Battle of Blomidon

May 21, 1781

May 21st – Battle of Blomidon – This is the raid that contains an element of humour.  Initially, the privateer entering the area in a shallop, described as “bristling with guns”, and towing two whale boats, captured a small schooner loaded with goods for British posts on the Saint John River. Lt. Colonel Jonathan Crane and Captain William Bishop confronted this group with about 30 militiamen in an old schooner armed with a single six-pound brass cannon.  Unfortunately, they had set out in such a rush, that they had not checked their powder supply, and it was the schooner that ran out of gunpowder, and with her rigging in tatters, was forced to surrender. Fortunately, Lt. Belcher soon arrived in the armed sloop Success, and in a spirited battle off Cape Split, he defeated the raider whose crew escaped ashore in the whaleboats. Lt. Belcher captured five of them the next day.  Belcher now pursued and recaptured the schooner and that night Colonel Crane was able to free his men and retake his ship. This was a feat that was to be of enormous help to him in his later political career. This same year, Captain Thomas Wm. Moore arrived at Partridge Island. He had purchased lot No. 6 from Jacob Hurd and there he built his home, the interior of which he had plastered with ‘plaster of Paris’ obtained at Windsor, thus earning it the name of ‘Whitehall’.   The name survives today as Whitehall Road.  He also purchased lot…

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Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Governor Parr’s Visit

July 26, 1784

Governor Parr visited area and township later named in his honour.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

James Ratchford & New Church

July 11, 1786

July 11th –  First official reference to James Ratchford at Partridge Island. July 20th – Parrsborough declared a Parish and construction of new church began.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

William Moore & James Ratchford

July 26, 1788

William Moore and James Ratchford take over original land grant at Partridge Island. James Ratchford gets official control over ferry service.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Bishop Inglis Visits

July 27, 1789

Bishop Inglis uses ferry to visit church at Partridge Island.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Silas Crane Jr., Dies.

July 27, 1792

Silas Crane Jr., ferry captain, dies.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Mill Village

July 28, 1800

Mill Village (former name of Parrsboro town site) began after a gristmill was built there by Josiah Davison. Note:  Descendants of the Davison family still reside in Parrsboro.

J. Ratchford & J. Shannon

July 28, 1803

J. Ratchford and J. Shannon given license to “Inspect and Search” American vessels in the Minas Basin.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

War Declared

June 18, 1812

June – War declared between Great Britain and the United States. Col. James Ratchford calls out Militia at Partridge Island. Blockhouses at Fort Edward (Windsor) and Partridge Island were improved and provisioned for war.  Two brass naval cannons were brought as part of the armament for Partridge Island Fort. Brig “Parrsboro” built at Partridge Island. Records of this vessel are the earliest yet found of any ship building on the North side of the Minas Basin.

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Last Updated: March 13, 2018

New Ferry Service

July 29, 1813

New ferry “Friends” begins Minas Basin service.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Capt. Stickney

July 30, 1815

Capt. Stickney, known to be master of rival ferry between Parrsboro, Windsor, and Horton.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

First Petition Of Parrsborough

July 30, 1819

First Petition of Parrsborough residents to join Cumberland County, or form its own county.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Col. Jonathan Crane

July 30, 1820

Col. Jonathan Crane died.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Founding Merchant Of Partridge Island Died

July 30, 1822

James Noble Shannon, founding merchant of Partridge Island, died. Note: James Shannon lies buried in the old Partridge Island burying ground.  A decaying cairn marks the site of the old Partridge Island Burying Ground, a few minutes walk from Ottawa House.   The only grave left visible is James Shannon’s.

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Last Updated: March 13, 2018

First Store In Mill Village

July 31, 1826

James DeWolfe began a store in Mill Village.  At that time, there were only five houses in present town site.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Maid of the Mist & Western Stage Coach Company

August 1, 1833

Maid of the Mist, (nicknamed Fundy Fog), was the first steamer to enter the Minas Basin. Western Stage Coach Company advertises for connecting service with steamboat ferry from Windsor, Parrsborough, and Saint John.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Petition Of John Fisher

August 1, 1834

Petition of John Fisher for license to operate Stage Coach from Parrsboro to Amherst.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Founder Of Parrsboro Dies

August 1, 1836

James Ratchford, Esq., considered founder of Parrsboro, dies.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

The Parrsborough Shore & Ferry In Operation

August 1, 1840

The Parrsborough Shore becomes part of Cumberland County. Packet “Amethyst”, Ratchford & Company ferry, in operation on Minas Basin service.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Drought And Weevil Infestation

August 2, 1848

Parrsboro experienced a devastating drought and weevil infestation.  It snowed in every month that year.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Joseph Howe Elected

May 31, 1851

Joseph Howe elected to represent Cumberland County. May 31st – Joseph Howe appoints a Mr. Roop to be lighthouse keeper at Parrsboro.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Capt. James Merriam

August 3, 1854

Jack Easy, operated by Capt. James Merriam, one of several sailing ferries operating on the Basin. Note: The Merriam name will resurface, some say in infamy, many years later in the time line of Parrsboro.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Charles Tupper Defeats Joseph Howe

August 3, 1855

Charles Tupper defeats Joseph Howe in Cumberland. Note: Charles Tupper and Joseph Howe were both present at the Ottawa House on election night.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Steamboat Wharf

August 3, 1856

Charles Tupper gets money for steamboat wharf at Partridge Island. Note: Referred to at the time as “Tupper’s Folly”, the remains of this pier are still visible at low tide.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Maid of Erin

August 3, 1857

Maid of Erin, running as steam packet, from Windsor, Partridge Island, and Saint John.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Postmaster’s Salary

August 4, 1860

Postmaster’s salary for Parrsboro set at $127.18. Government offers $1600 per year for 4 years to operate a steamboat service three times per week between Parrsboro, Hantsport, Five Islands, Londonderry, Maitland, Petite, Kempt, and Windsor.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Government Offers

August 4, 1861

Government offers $4000 per year for steamboat service from Windsor to Saint John and Annapolis, and $3000 per year for the Minas Basin.  Population of Cumberland County was 20,000, while that of King’s County was 17,460.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Charles Tupper Becomes Premier

August 4, 1864

Charles Tupper becomes Premier of Nova Scotia. Free schools established in Nova Scotia.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

The Saxby Gale

October 5, 1869

October 4th & 5th – The “Saxby Gale”, which by local oral tradition, was the storm that created the bar that now connects Partridge Island with the mainland. Note:  Named after Lt. Stephen Martin Saxby, a naval instructor who predicted unusually high tides and a storm surge.  It also breached dykes and flooded large portions of the Tantramar Marsh.

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Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Sir Charles Tupper Buys Ottawa House

August 5, 1871

Sir Charles Tupper buys Ottawa House property as a summer home and commences renovations.  He names the building Ottawa House By-the-Sea in honour of Confederation.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Abijah Scott

July 26, 1872

Abijah Scott claimed ferryboat destroyed by American privateers.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Amazon Found Abandoned

August 5, 1872

The Spencer’s Island brig Amazon, renamed the Mary Celeste, was found abandoned at sea for no apparent reason.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

First Run Of The Railway

August 5, 1873

July 1st – First run of the Springhill & Parrsboro Railway.  This is also the first surviving written record of the Parrsboro Cornet Band.  It was  mentioned in the newspaper article as being on hand to greet the train as it arrived. In this first year of railroad operations to Parrsboro, there were 900 ships loaded with coal.

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Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Skating Rink Built

August 6, 1878

Skating rink built at a cost of $1,500. One third of the tonnage shipped from Nova Scotia, shipped from Parrsboro.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

First Telegraph

March 28, 1879

March 28th – First telegraph from Parrsboro sent.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Ottawa House Sold

August 7, 1884

Sir Charles Tupper sells Ottawa House to the Cumberland Railway and Coal Company.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Town Of Parrsboro Incorporated

July 15, 1889

July 15th – Town Of Parrsboro incorporated. September 7th – First Town Council met.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Telephone Service

August 7, 1891

First telephone service in Parrsboro.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Parrsboro’s Census & Boat Works

August 7, 1892

Parrsboro’s census was 1909 with 347 families.  Records indicate that the birth rate was astonishing. Parrsboro Boat Works build the three largest tern schooners ever launched in N.S.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Electric Light Plant

August 8, 1897

Parrsboro became first town to operate its own electric light plant. Population:  2,000

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Parrsboro 2nd For Tonnage Shipped

August 8, 1900

Parrsboro was 2nd only to Halifax for tonnage shipped.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Ottawa House Bought

August 10, 1910

Dominion Steel Company buys Ottawa House.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Post Office Moved

August 10, 1913

Post Office moved from Howard Lane building to new brick building on Main Street.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Schooner Launched

August 10, 1916

Schooner “Minas Queen” was launched.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Atlantic Makes Forced Landing

July 5, 1919

July 5th – Handley-Page aircraft Atlantic made forced landing at Parrsboro, crashing as it attempted to land on the race track. October 9th – During ‘the summer of the Handley-Page’, the Atlanticwas repaired and left for New York.   Due to the crash of the Handley-Page, Parrsboro is now a sister community to Greenport, NY.   Many aviation records were set during these flights, e.g., first Airmail between Canada and U.S.A. Note: The navigator’s seat from the Atlantic is on display at the Museum.

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Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Last Large Sailing Vessel Launched

August 11, 1920

Whitebelle is the last large sailing vessel launched in Parrsboro.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Ottawa House, A Fine Hotel

August 11, 1923

Capt. Carl Merriam buys Ottawa House, running it as a fine hotel.  He erects a dance hall beside Ottawa House, which some of the material is still in use as the floor of the dining room of the Ottawa House today. Note: Be sure to see and learn more of Capt Merriam in “Our Stories”

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Last Updated: March 13, 2018

M.V. Kipawo First Arrived

April 1, 1926

April 1st – M.V. Kipawo first arrived in Parrsboro to begin her long career as ferryboat between Parrsboro and Annapolis Valley. The Seaman family buys Ottawa House and continues running it as a hotel.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

An Unexpected Stop

August 13, 1942

A Hudson bomber, on a training mission out of Debert, makes an unexpected stop on top of the aboiteau* in Parrsboro. *A labor-intensive method in which earthen dykes are constructed to stop high tides from inundating marshland.

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Last Updated: March 13, 2018

James and Lottie Wheaton

August 14, 1948

James and Lottie Wheaton buy Ottawa House, building its reputation as a hotel to new heights. Lottie’s interest in the history of the area prompts her to start a museum in the old adjacent schoolhouse, and is still commemorated in the schoolhouse display in today’s museum.

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Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Partridge Island School

August 15, 1956

Partridge Island School recognized as the oldest school in Canada. Note:  It was demolished less than two years later, as the Department of Roads widened West Bay Rd.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Parrsboro Train Makes Last Trip

June 14, 1958

June 14th – Parrsboro train makes last trip.  No celebration by citizens, or band on hand to mark the occasion.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Mr. Kitchener Tracey

August 16, 1962

Mr. Kitchener Tracey buys Ottawa House and continues to run it as a hotel.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Peter & Winnie McCaig

August 17, 1974

Peter & Winnie McCaig buy Ottawa House.  They continue the hotel tradition for six years.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Parrsborough Shore Historical Society

August 17, 1977

Parrsborough Shore Historical Society founded.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Department of Lands & Forests

August 18, 1980

Department Of Lands & Forests buy Ottawa House.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Ottawa House Museum

August 18, 1981

The Parrsborough Shore Historical Society begins Ottawa House Museum.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

M.V. Kipawo Comes Home

August 18, 1982

M.V. Kipawo comes home after nearly a 40 year absence.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

M.V. Kipawo Moved

August 18, 1984

M.V. Kipawo moved to present site at Lower Main Street and becomes a permanent theater.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

Dinosaur Fossils Found

August 18, 1986

World’s smallest dinosaur fossils found near Parrsboro.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018

100th Anniversary Of Incorporation

August 19, 1989

Town celebrates 100th Anniversary of Incorporation.

Last Updated: April 5, 2018

Fundy Geological Museum Opens

December 19, 1993

December – Fundy Geological Museum opens.

Last Updated: March 13, 2018
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