Hantsport: From the Bustling Shipbuilding Town of the 1800’s to the Town of Industry that it is Today

Horton Journal of Canadian History - Volume II - 2001 Hantsport: From the Bustling Shipbuilding Town of the 1800’s to the Town of Industry that it is Today By Morgan Dunbar The town of Hantsport celebrated the 100th anniversary of its incorporation in 1995. From that there has been an increased interest of the history of the town. Hantsport started in 1790 when a British soldier wanted to expand what he had out of Falmouth. The land that he acquired was in what Hantsport is today. (Robertson, 9) From there, the town became "fifth among the world’s shipbuilding centers." (Chittick, 10) Today, "the Town of Hantsport encompasses approximately one square mile of the area of Hants County." (Mister Webpage) Ezra Churchill started the shipbuilding industry during the time of the Napoleonic Wars when colonial timber and colonial vessels were in demand. Ezra Churchill was a farmer in Hantsport at this time, but he had the sea in his blood and he began building ships. He built...
Read More

Hantsport Hotel

After James Wall sold his hotel that was located on the lower end of William Street to  George Churchill in 1890, he then purchased land on the corner of William & Station Street where he built a smaller one he named the Hantsport Hotel.   James Wall died on September 21st, 1899. His son, Mortimer, became the manager of the Hotel. Mort, as he was known by the traveling public, was born in Hantsport in 1874. He married in 1893, Jennie Bell Yeaton, a daughter of George H.  Yeaton.       For fifty years he served the public as the genial proprietor of Wall’s Hotel. He participated in the various organizations in Town. He also had civic interests; in 1905 he was elected to the Town Council, and placed on the school board. He also served as Fire Chief from 1923-1925.     In the Civic Elections of 1925 Mort Wall was elected as Mayor for the Town of Hantsport, a position he held for four years. His greatest accomplishment came while he was Mayor of...
Read More

The Memories of an Old Soldier

THE MEMORIES OF AN OLD SOLDIER PASSCHENDALE 1917 One bright sunny morning on February 16, 1916 a Group of men, some from Kings University, Halifax, and myself were drilled on the streets of Hantsport, N.S. for about three months. On May 31st. of the same year we were transported to the Army Camp at Alder- shot, Kentville, N.S. for advanced training. At Aldershot we were joined by the 193rd. Battalion, the 185th. and 219th. Battalions to form the Nova Scotia Highland Brigade. After further Training we left the Camp at Aldershot and proceeded to Halifax, N.S. about October 12, 1916. At Halifax we embarked on the S.S. Olympic. This grand old ship made many successful crossings across the Atlantic. We were tied up at Pier 21 all night on Board Ship, and in the morning we proceeded to the Bedford Basin where we anchored and waited for the rest of the Con- voy. This inland Basin shaped of water was a Haven for all types of Ships through two World Wars. It was in this...
Read More

Hantsport Memorial Scholarship Foundation

50th ANNIVERSARY REPORT - November 2014 Did you ever wonder what happens to the collection taken at the Remembrance Day service on November 11th? Well here is the answer- it is given to the Hantsport Memorial Scholarship Foundation. On April 30th, 1962, there were sixteen persons assembled with the Mayor, D.M Freeman acting as the Chairman of a meeting. The following list of Officers was elected at this meeting - Chairman - J. L. Harvie, Secretary - K. M. Hyson and Treasurer - A.L. Harlow. This was the beginning of the Foundation. There were fifteen names who were able to be identified and they are as follows : J.L. Harvie, D. Cuvilier, John Morse, Rev. Gordon Pyke, Merrill Hyson, A.L. Harlow, Evangeline Phillips, Carl Peach, John Folker, Jr., Donald Davison, J.A. Allard, Eugene Dukeshire, Mayor D. M. Freeman, Harold Burden and Rev. Blanchard. J.L. Harvie (John) is an active member of the Foundation still today at the age of 91. At that...
Read More

St. Andrew’s Anglican Church – Hantsport, Nova Scotia

Some notes on time past by B. H. Gregg - September 1978   “I am but a stranger here, Heaven is my home.” This was a hymn sung during our first service in St. Andrew’s Church. It was evensong. My mother, sister, and I had arrived from England by sea the previous afternoon. I have compiled, from the minute book of the Annual Meeting, a list of rectors, wardens, etc., up to 1978. Prior to 1939, the Rector of St. Andrew’s was the Rev. Morris Taylor (retired), the father of Mrs. Duncan Campbell and Miss Ethel Taylor. Rev. M. Taylor came to Hantsport in 1930 from Weymouth North. In earlier days, he had been an officer of the Army in India and his father a Governor of the Punjab. Rev. Morris Taylor died at the age of 92 on the 25th of January, 1959. On January 26, India became independent. The Rev. John Sherren of Falmouth (Hantsport was a Mission Church) was in charge of St. Andrew’s during the late 1930s until 1940 when he...
Read More

History of Hantsport Memorial Community Centre

Originally printed in "The Graduate" - Hantsport High School Yearbook, 1974   HISTORY OF HANTSPORT MEMORIAL COMMUNITY CENTRE PREFACE In preparing this report we were greatly aided by Mr. Ben Alexander. We would like to express our thanks to him for the kind use of his records and his memory. After this report had been printed, we discovered an omission: the fact that Mr. Jerry McElhiney served as Sports Director in 1967. Now we are afraid that there may be others we have not noticed and possibly there are errors in events and dates. If you find one, count yourself lucky that you can remember. So often we have heard, “I didn't know that”, as someone read a portion of our report and surprisingly, many of the younger and newer townspeople do not know the history and development of our Community Centre. This is our reason for writing this report and we proudly present it here. Leland Harive '74 Karen McDonald '74 Lorraine Smith '74 Karen Wilcox '74 PRESIDENTS OF HANTSPORT MEMORIAL COMMUNITY CENTRE J. J. Jodrey 1948-1956 R....
Read More

Tribute to the Valor and Worth of Wm. Hall, who won the V.C. in Crimean War

Published in the "Hantsport Advance" - 1904 Tribute to the Valor and Worth of Wm. Hall, Who Won the V. C. in Crimean War _____ During the early part of last month the death of Wm. Hall, a brave colored hero, who won the Victoria Cross in the Crimean War, occurred at his home in Avonport. On Sunday, Sept. 25th, a memorial service for this brave man was held in the Brooklyn Baptist Church, where a large number was present to listen to Rev. Mr. Knott's tribute to the valor and worth of the Nova Scotian negro. An unexpected element of sadness was added to the occasion by the death of Mary Hall, sister of the late William Hall, V.C., the pastor coming from the grave of the sister to preach the memorial sermon of the brother. Mr. Knott chose as his text, II Tim. ch. 4, verse 7, and spoke as follows: There passed away to his rest on August 25th, 1904, a man whose history...
Read More

Riverbank Cemetery – Interesting Facts

Although Riverbank Cemetery was established in 1835 it did not become the main burying ground until 1840. Up to that time there had been burial grounds in Mt. Denson, Lockhartville and also a couple of private burying grounds. The first portion of land, which is now the Riverbank Cemetery, originally belonged to Edward Barker and James Mitchner. The late Ezra Churchill purchased this land and as time went on the land changed hands several times. Dr. E. L. Brown of Wolfville bought the land and found he had bought a cemetery! In 1885 the Cemetery officially became a part of the town when the Townspeople were able to subscribe enough money to purchase the land from Dr. Brown with a right of way and a road there to . In 1886 an additional piece of land was added as a gift from Messer’s George and J. W. Churchill. The first burial in the cemetery was when Ezra Mitchner,  son of Capt. Michael Mitchner was buried there March 2, 1835 . The second...
Read More

Francis da Silva

Editor's Note: The following essay appears to have been written about 1980. Author unknown. A copy was recently contributed to the Hantsport & Area Historical Society by Daryl Langille. FRANCIS SILVER Francis Silver, from Portugal, came to Hantsport, Nova Scotia, while still in his teens on board one of the sailing ships belonging to the Churchill ship-yards of Hantsport. He was to spend the rest of his working life with the Senator Ezra Churchill family as their handyman and gardener. It was probably due to the fact that the Churchills were active members of the Baptist Church that encouraged Francis to become a member also, as his name is recorded on the list of church members for 1861. His name was put down as Francis Greenwood but the Greenwood has been marked out and Silver written above it. The church had been organized for thirty-one years by this time and this date 1861 marked the beginning of the third minute book. The second...
Read More

Jessie and Elmira Borden

Jessie (1899-1994) and Elmira (1896-1976) Borden were daughters of J. Edward Borden, the town undertaker,  and his wife Alberta Newcombe. In 1949, after a twenty-five year career as a hospital dietician in the United States, Jessie Borden returned to live with her father and sister in Hantsport. It was about this time that she began to learn weaving as a hobby. Jessie and Elmira started producing place-mats, handbags, aprons and scarves. They turned their hobby into a small business, at one time having two looms set up in the front room and selling items from their home on Main Street.   They enjoyed travelling, posing here together in 1973 for a souvenir photo taken in Lucerne, Switzerland. In October 1980 Jessie Borden was featured in a CBC Halifax Television production about Hantsport and shared her wealth of knowledge about the town's history. References: Hantsport & Area Historical Society collections The Hants Journal - 17 Dec 1980 CBC Archives - Toronto 2018...
Read More