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A History of the County of Yarmouth, N.S.
Chapter XI. Fresh Arrivals. Memorial for a Re-adjustment of County limits. Colonial troubles of 1775. Politics of the period

BEFORE we digressed into the Township of Argyle, we had brought up the several threads of Yarmouth Township progress, till about 1771-2, embracing a period of ten years. Following up the important question of the introduction of


we cannot expect that after the division of the Township, the influx of new settlers would continue to flow so very markedly. There was little to induce them from the land point of view, for that was all taken up; and new comers had to purchase.

It is true that in many cases, land sold, very cheaply. In one instance one settler bought from another, a whole right, or share for £10 0s. 0d.; and in another instance, “a full share or right of 666 acres, together with the house and barn and cleared land was sold for £18 8s. 8d. Still, families continued to arrive, and within the next ten years several, in the language of the Government Committee, “pitched and settled” in Yarmouth, some of whom exercised considerable influence in their time. Such were Miner Huntington and Samuel Sheldon Poole, both of whom will receive further notice.

It will be remembered, that at this time, Yarmouth Township was part of Queen’s County; Liverpool being the County Town; and there all Law Courts were held, Records lodged, and everything done that pertained to public business. We need not wonder then, that although yet young in years and weak in numbers, the inhabitants of Yarmouth should have desired the advantages of a County Town. Accordingly on July 4th, 1774, they sought the independence of their County. They addressed a petition to the Governor in Council, which I here append:

“The petition of the Inhabitants of the Township of Yarmouth, humbly showeth that we the subscribers do set forth the difficulties your suppliants labour under, on account of our lying so far distant from our County Town, viz., Liverpool—and, do supplicate your excellency and the Honourable his Majesty’s Council to extricate us out of our trouble, and let us off from Liverpool, that we may enjoy the privelege of a County: including the Township of Barrington, and extending to the northward on the sea coast until it meet with the County of Annapolis Royal. The reason of our supplicating your Excellency and the Hon’ble Counoil to be set off from Liverpool as a separate County is as follows? the distance and difficulty of the way; the way being embarrassed with lakes and rivers which renders it also most impossible for us under our present circumstances to git a road to Liverpool; so that we never had any benefit of the Court held at Liverpool nor Gaol; nor doth your supplicants ever expect any benefit from thence hereafter by reason of the difficultys above  stated.

"Thefefore, we do supplicate your Excellency and the Honourable Council, that we may be relieved from paying taxes to Liverpool, to build and support Court House, etc., Gaol and other County charges. Also,

“your supplicants do request that we may have the privilege of a County Town in Yarmouth; that being, as we think, the most sentrical for the same.”

[Signed] John Crawley, Ephraim Cook, and 46 others.

I have spared the reader a large part of this prolix narration,—the very length of which must have operated unfavourably with the Council. The prayer was not granted: but I think we may trace the subsequent appointment of Mr. John Crawley and Benj. Barnard as Justices of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas, to be held at Yarmouth,—at which time also Joseph Crawley was appointed Clerk of the said Court—to its influence. The petition was presented on July the fourth; and the Justices were appointed on the 27th of November of the same year. This is the only answer, I believe, their petition ever received, until the County of Shelburne, with Shelburne as the County Town, was set off in 1784.

To the discomforts of the inhabitants of Yarmouth, for the time being, must be added their uncomfortable nearness to the most deeply


the unhappy troubles between which and the Mother Country, began to develop themselves in the year 1775. The Governor and Council were in considerable difficulty and danger, arising from various causes and emanating from unexpected quarters; and, as some kind of guarantee, they published an order requiring all persons to take the oath of allegiance. The complaints against Justice Frost and Major Jeremiah Frost were preferred on the 23rd of August; and the order on allegiance was promulged on the 26th. Although they had been resident in Yarmouth for years; we find at this juncture, Seth Barnes, George Ring, John Barnard, James Kelley and Stephen Blaney taking the oaths to Government.* There is no ground for considering them to have been suspected; but probably they took that step as a matter of personal security and private advantage, inasmuch as a great deal of their business lay with those Colonies; as well as in compliance with a public requirement. During the course of the year things became, to say .the least, unpleasant to the residents on this western shore. On the fifteenth of December, James Monk, Marshal of the Provincial Court of Vice Admiralty, declared that, among other depredations committed by two armed schooners sent out by Congress with eighty men in each, “the said schooners went to Cape Forchue, and there landed their men and made prisoners of the inhabitants, and took a brig bound for Nantucket by orders of the American Congress to Machias with prisoners which had come to Cape Forchue contrary to the orders from Congress and was supposed to be run away with the cargo, and afterwards released the inhabitants except two or three officers of the Militia.” The construction of the sentences composing this declaration is somewhat difficult to analyze; but the thing intended to be set forth is plain enough.

The disturbance between the Colonies and the Mother Country proved very trying; and several inhabitants of Yarmouth on the same day (Dec. 15th) presented a


to the Governor and Council setting forth and professing their loyalty to the King; that they are almost all of New England, where they have many relations; that two armed vessels, with pirates of that country, had lately invaded their town, and taken away some officers of light infantry; that they were acquainted if they would not oppose them, they should be unmolested; that they were unable to defend themselves, and therefore requested permission either to go to New England, or to come to Halifax, or else to' remain neutral.

The reply of the Council was plain, and not to be either mistaken or avoided. They were “unanimously of opinion that the request and proposition of the memorialists could neither be received or admitted, a neutrality being utterly absurd and inconsistent with the duty of subjects, who, are always bound by the laws to take arms in defence of Government, and oppose and repel all hostile attempts and invasions; that the duty they owe as subjects cannot be dispensed with, and that they must be obedient to the laws of the Province. In the mean time every possible measure will be taken for their aid and protection. And it was resolved that application be made to the Admiral for a ship of war to be stationed at port Roseway in such a manner as will best protect the inhabitants of that part of the coast;"

During the season of 1776, several DEPREDATIONS

were made along the shore; and, in accordance with the resolution of Council of Dec. 15th in the preceding year, it was determined (Oct. 16th) to send fifty men to Yarmouth, and to place two armed vessels on the coast. It is not to be doubted, but that the body of the New England settlers here were loyal, notwithstanding the signs of incipient disloyalty already noticed. But, without question, some had divided affections; others were for the American party; others again, having regard for interest, tried to belong to both. The Township of Yarmouth has the notoriety of her first member, Malachy Salter, having been arrested for treasonable correspondence. He was required to give one thousand pounds security for his good behaviour. But we have also the satisfaction of knowing that he was acquitted.3 Although it was determined to send fifty men westward in October, 1776, for some reason they were not sent. And two years afterwards, November, 1778, it having appeared that intercourse was kept with the rebels by way of Yarmouth and other places, it was resolved to ask for fifty men “to prevent such intercourse, and to protect the coast from any further insults or depredations.” But I doubt, although this was also resolved, whether they ever came. Be that as it may, no very serious loss or damage can be shown to have been .sustained by this County. On the contrary, several families foreseeing hostilities, and not caring to engage in them, left the New England States, and settled here about this time.

THE POLITICS OF THIS COUNTY were certainly far from being of an exciting kind during the first twenty years. After the settlement of fifty residents, a member could be sent to represent their interests in the House of Assembly, The first commission to send a member was issued in 1765; and, in the following year, our first member, Malachy Salter, of doubtful memory, “took the oaths and his seat.” He also represented this Township in the next Parliament, in which he took his seat on the 9th of June, 1772. This gentleman never resided in Yarmouth, and beyond the facts already mentioned, we know nothing of him.

Our second member was John Crawley, who is spoken of in the memorial to have a separate County set off, as “our member.” But having failed to take his seat, it was declared vacant in June, 1775, by the Assembly.

The third Township member was James Monk, Esquire. He, like Mr. Salter, was a non-resident. Such men were probably most accessible; but they could not, in the nature of things, be very deeply interested. As a proof of this, he lost his seat in the session of 1776 through non-attendance. He did one little piece of business, the first for this Township by any of its members. On November 2, 1775, he brought in a bill for establishing the times for the holding an Inferior Court of Common Pleas at Yarmouth “in Queens.” The issue has been already stated.

Writs were issued in 1777 and 1778 for the election of a member; but none was returned till October 9, 1780, when Mr. Bichard Cuningham, also a non-resident, took the usual oaths and his seat, as our fourth representative.

The fifth member for this Township was Samuel Sheldon Poole, a man who was well known in his time. He represented Yarmouth, with the slight exceptions of the elections in 1800 of Nathan Utley, and that of Samuel Marshall in 1812, for fifty years. He was a native of Reading in Mass. He had been educated at Harvard, and was originally intended for the ministry. He came to Yarmouth in 1775, and, being a man of more than ordinary education, he soon made himself felt in a variety of ways. He was in the habit for many years of preaching at Chebogue. In 1785 he was made a Justice of the Peace. He continued to represent Yarmouth long after his physical strength was equal to the task. He is said to have been a man of quick temper, of great integrity, of great simplicity of manner, and of an unblemished moral character. Many amusing stories, more or less true, are yet remembered by the older generations, illustrating the several features of his character. He was styled by Sir James Kempt, at whose official dinners great attention was shown to Mr. Poole, as early-as 1826, “the father of the house.” He lived to be eighty-five years of age, and died in the year 1835 in the communion of the Church of England, and was buried in the old Church Yard.

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