Duncanson Sawmill – Hants Border

Photo MP210_7_1 courtesy Maritime Museum of the Atlantic4 Stephen Duncanson (back row, far right) wearing a leather apron, owner of the Hants Border sawmill with his 18-man crew. Notice the two men (back row, 3rd from left and front row, 2nd from right) wearing a padded protector on their left shoulder. This indicates their job as deal pilers. The photos were taken about 1901. In the 1901 Census of Canada, Stephen Duncanson gave his occupation as farmer. In 1911 his occupation is listed as engineer and in 1935, at the time of his death, his occupation is given as merchant – groceries. He purchased the 10 acre property in 1879 from William Beckwith.2 Photo MP210_7_2 courtesy Maritime Museum of the Atlantic4 Interior view of Duncanson’s Hants Border Mill shows six of the crew: left, the setter and dogger riding the log carriage, centre, the sawyer ‘in his stylish cardigan jacket’ and behind him the cantor and, far right, two boys easing logs...
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Tracing the History of Your House

Many families may have lived in the same house over the years, sharing the joys and tragedies of family life. Are you curious who they were and perhaps what their experiences were? Who built your house and when? Who were the previous owners and residents?  The Hantsport & Area Historical Society may be able to help with trained volunteers using resources like Property Online1 which allows access to historical deeds and property records. In combination with genealogical research an interesting profile can be developed as the following example illustrates. The McDade Heritage Centre was contacted by the current owners of the house at 11 Willow Street in Hantsport, Will and Jane Kerr. They knew a little about the history of their property; that it once was the parsonage for the Baptist Church and that it may have been a boarding house at one time. They noted several odd occurrences and thought the house might be haunted. In June 2021 the house was...
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Growing up Black – Verna Irene States

In her remarkable 2001 book "invisible shadows : a Black woman's life in Nova Scotia", the late Verna (States) Thomas writes about her experiences growing up in Mount Denson, leaving home and moving to Preston where she later married and raised a family, and also her awakening to the experiences of other Black Nova Scotians; "how they climbed out of the bondage of slavery, isloation, exploitation, and neglect and what effect that process continues to have on those who live in the province today". 1 Col. Henry Denny Denson Mount Denson was named for the manor built by Colonel Henry Denny Denson. Born about 1715 in Ireland he was in Nova Scotia by 1760 receiving a grant for 2000 acres and bought an additional 2250 acres making him one of Falmouth Township's largest landowners. "Denson realized a substantial income through the breeding and raising of livestock. He was a militia officer from the founding of Falmouth and road commissioner and collector of impost...
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Margaret Dickie, the woman and her diary

Margaret Dickie played a significant role in her community throughout all stages of her life. Not only does she represent her own benevolence, but that of Hantsport women in general. Through her diary it is clear that the work she and other women put into their community and loved ones required commitment and courage, even if it wasn’t recognized as such at the time. Margaret was born to Samuel and Sarah (Brothers) Dickie on July 4th, 1827 at Halfway River (now known as Hantsport).  She was very active in her community, participating in many clubs and events. Margaret had many  interests including sewing, knitting, singing, poetry, and writing. Her love of writing is evident in her diary where she wrote accounts of her day-to-day life. This diary starts in 1847 (when she was age 20) and continues roughly until February 1st, 1869 with some breaks in between. Not only is this diary valuable in detailing the life of Margaret Dickie, but it also gives insight...
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Hantsport Post Office

The first Post Office was a box on a tree on the side of the Post Road, two miles out of the settlement. If letters were important, then the sender waited for the stage coach to come along, on its way to or from Halifax and Yarmouth. Much shipping mail was sent that way and received. 1 "Hantsport passed from an isolated village officially in 1849 when it was established as a postal way office as part of the provincial system. Indeed a directory of Nova Scotia post offices published in 1850 (London) listed Hantsport by name. Within four years it was upgraded to a full post office stop (6 July 1853) with D.G. Harris as the first Post Master. He was succeeded in 1855 by Nathan T. Harris who was to serve until Confederation. The earliest Hantsport postmark located is dated 1856." 2 The Post Office kept by Nathan Harris was on Main Street, the first Telegraph Office was on the...
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75th Anniversary Dick Beazley Memorial Six-Mile Race

Richard Paul (Dick) Beazley was born on June 19th, 1911 in Hantsport, Nova Scotia, the son of Gabriel Beazley and Blanche Wambolt. His older brother Fred was an aspiring runner who had competed in the Halifax Herald and Evening Mail Modified Marathon. On October 23rd, 1926 Fred invited Dick to train with him so that he could judge his pace during practice. When Fred returned home at the end of his run, Dick was waiting for him. Dick had outpaced his brother for the entire run! This made Fred decide to give up on running and encourage his younger brother to train and pursue running instead.  In 1927, at the age of 16, Dick Beazley won his first road race. The race was 8 miles, from Hantsport to Windsor. That same year, he was included in the list of runners in a news article promoting the upcoming Halifax Herald and Evening Mail Modified Marathon. This would be the first time...
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Bishopville Daisy Club

In 1960 the women of Bishopville met together and formed the Daisy Club. At the first meeting in February the following officers were elected: President, Georgia Sheffield; Treasurer, Ida Frizzle, and Secretary, Sadie Payzant. Over the years they made quilts, did knitting, had card parties, dances, and pie sales to raise money. (1) 1976 Walk-a-Thon (2) They bought the school for a Community hall. Over the years they have been there to help those who were ill or in need. Little Red Schoolhouse - Bishopville Community Hall 2021 2008 (3) 2015 (4) The Club received a legacy from the Estate of the Late Hedley Bishop. This was used for church renovations, cemetery fence, etc. Bishopville Cemetery 2021 Present members include: Joan Starratt, Barb Rowlings, Ida Frizzel, Tina Sheffield, Betty Smith, Mary Harvey, Eileen Strickland, Jessie Burgess, Kathleen Miner, Pearl Myles, Sadie Payzant, Georgia Sheffield. (1) A group of families stand in front of the old church all dressed up for a picnic - ca 1930Bishopville Baptist Church...
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Everyone loves a parade!

This week we were saddened to learn of the passing of Graham Campbell. His mother Jean Murray was born in Hantsport, the daughter of D.W. and Emma Murray. Graham’s true work and labour of love was found in his 55 year affiliation with the many organizations of the Masonic Order. Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia, Masonic Lodge Truro 43, Philae Shriners Halifax Clown Unit, Royal Arch Chapter in Truro and Central Shrine Club. As a young boy, during his summer months in Hantsport, he participated in his first parade as a clown and later in life further enhanced his skills as “Beeper” the Clown at the Northeast Clown Institute in Plymouth, MA. His work with the Shriners Clown Unit was his true passion. He was very well known throughout Nova Scotia and would never miss a parade. Graham loved to make people happy, especially the little ones, whose smiles fueled his joy for life. Whether it was through Beeper in parades and...
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Frank Edward Newcomb – A Hantsport Hero of World War II

Chief Petty Officer Frank Edward Newcomb of Hantsport served in the R.C.N. in World War II. He was born in Hantsport on April 21, 1904, son of Jedidiah Henry and Margaret (Davison) Newcomb. His grandfather was Jedidiah Ells Newcomb who came to Hantsport in 1860 from Cornwallis. On March 20, 1862, he married Rhoda Churchill, daughter of Ezra and Ann (Davison) Churchill. Ezra Churchill owned the Churchill Ship Yard. Frank grew up in Hantsport; the Newcomb home was on the riverbank just above the wharf with a good view of the Avon River. The house is still there, used as an office for Minas Basin Pulp and Power Company, only now facing on Prince Street. When Frank was in High School in 1919 the FAVONIAN, the last sailing vessel to be built at Hantsport, was under construction and Frank tended the steam box used for bending the planks around the curves of the hull. He kept the fire going in the...
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Masquerade Ice Carnival – 1884

On the evening of Thursday, March 20th, a most brilliant assembly met on the ice and enjoyed themselves greatly. As will be seen by the list, the masqueraders were of unusual number. The costumes were very fine, with much variety of character. LADIES Mrs. Arthur Graham-Brigand's Daughter. Mrs. Walter Davison-Spanish Girl. Mrs. R_ Michnar-Brigand's WifeMrs. Fred Brown-Mother Goose.Mrs. Harry Lawrence-Witch of Endor.Mrs. A Porter-Turkish Lady.Mrs _ Coalfleet-Old Mother Hubbard.Mrs. J_ Lawrence-Spanish Signora.Miss Anna Andrews-Fisherman's Wife.Miss Anna Manning-Toy Girl.Miss _ Porter-Giantess.Miss _ Porter-Girl of the Period.Miss Vara Lawrence-True Blue.Miss Lizzie Graham-Swiss Girl.Miss E_ Porter-"K.O.A." Miss Laura Eaton, Miss Bessie Carmichael-Twins. Miss Agnes Anderson-Fisherman's Daughter.Miss Minnie Anderson-Daisy Dean. Miss Belle Coffin-Fraud. Miss Bessie Salter-2 A.M.Miss Ethel Newcomb-Lady of the present day. Miss Rebecca Davison-Erin go bragh.Miss Netta Churchill-Indian Girl.Miss May Smith-Nurse Maid. Miss Kathleen Davison-Morning. Miss Ella A. Smith-Lady Washington.Miss _ F_-Summer.Miss Laura Pierce-Dolly Varden.Miss Laura Folker-Mrs. Doosenberg.Miss A_ Martin-Grace Darling.Miss Susie P. Elder-AEsthette Craze.Miss Amy Jones-Woodland Nymph.Miss A_ Folker-Diamond Dyes.Miss _ Smith. Windsor-Squaw.Miss...
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