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A History of the County of Yarmouth, N.S.
Chapter XVI. The Story of Yarmouth Shipping Enterprise. Anthony Landers. Ease of the Methodist body. The Free Baptists. Rise and Progress of Sunday Schools

“Who, in frail barques, the ocean surge defied
And trained the race that live upon the wave?
What shore so distant where they hare not died?
In every sea they found a watery grave.
Honour, for ever, to the true and brave
Who seaward led their Sons with spirits high,
Bearing the red cross flag their fathers gave;
Long as the billows flout the arching sky
They’ll seaward hear it still, to venture or to die.”

OUR reference to the loss of vessels connected with this County in the war of 1812-1814, together with the first visit in 1808 of a man whose early enterprise is worthy of a public memorial, lead us to


a subject ever fresh and interesting, and to some extent an illustration of the saying that truth is stranger than fiction. The narrative is necessarily one more of the Township than of the County; and again, in a smaller circle, of the Town, rather than of the Township.

By a tradition, with which even the children are familiar, in the year of settlement, there was one Schooner belonging to the party named the “Pompey.” The 25 tons of 1761 gave place a century later, 1861, to 149 vessels of 89,713 tons. Great as the ratio of this increase is, it pales before that of the next ten years; for in 1871 the tonnage was upwards of ninety thousand: equal to the whole of the British shipping in the time of Henry the Seventh; and equal to the shipping of the port of London, in the reign of Charles the Second. And great as the increase of the century ending 1861 was; the fourteen years which have since elapsed, have served to swell that increase by two hundred per cent. And should the same ratio be maintained throughout the century ending 1961, the tonnage will have increased to upwards of 420,000: a presumption which, with the blessing of heaven, without which, prosperity is an evil, experience renders reasonable. For this increase has not been spasmodic; nor has it been characterized by great or retrogressive fluctuations. With very few exceptions, from the year of settlement down to the present, every succeeding year shows a marked and steady advance. There may be traces of the truth of the theory that there is a great depression every ten years; but, for the more part, progress and increase is the watchword. In the years 1843-4, there was a falling off both in numbers and tonnage. But frequently the number of vessels registered without reference to tbe tonnage would mislead. Thus, in 1839 there were 120 vessels, whose aggregate was 10,000 tons. In 1859, twenty years afterwards, there were but 123 vessels with a tonnage, however, amounting to 35,000, showing an increase of only three vessels, hut at the same time of 25,000 tons. The explanation is, that, in the mean time, a very different class of vessels had come into existence, engaged in a very different trade. Before 1820 there were but one or two vessels which crossed the Atlantic; but by the year 1850, those that left Yarmouth seldom returned, in the sense of carrying freight to or from the Port. There is another sense however, in which they never return: and it is a melancholy fact, the details of which are before us, that up till the present time there have been 600 vessels lost out of Yarmouth—in nearly 100 of which there was loss of all hands.

The names of Bobbins, Lovitt, Baker, Byerson, Moses, Killam, Dennis and Doane, Goudey, Moody, and very many others, tell us of the successful extension of our foreign shipping interests. But to none of them, however largely they may have contributed towards the building up and extending of that department, belongs the honour of having, so to speak, originated the foreign trade of the Port. That honour belongs to a man whose name does not appear in our lists— ANTHONY LANDERS, a native of Sunderland, England, whose spirited and extensive operations in ship building, merited a more successful issue. Mr. Landers first arrived in Yarmouth in 1808, on board a Dutch galliott of 101 tons, named the “Badger,” which he loaded with a cargo of timber for Sunderland. On his return he bought two grants of land, to facilitate his future operations. The first vessel he built was a brig of 250 tons named the “Peter Waldo.” She was launched at Plymouth. He afterwards built another brig( at Plymouth named the “Bittern,” which he also loaded with timber for the English market. Oh his return voyage, having on board the weights and measures for the Township of Yarmouth, together with some of the best Northumberland sheep, and a Northumberland bull and cow, he was taken off Halifax by the “Tezel,” an American privateer, belonging to Providence, R. I. They offered him and his crew the long boat; hut Captain Landers refused to leave his ship. When the privateer and her prize arrived at Providence, the authorities received him kindly, but kept his vessel. He stated his scheme about improving the stock; and they gave him some of their best breeds, which they afterwards sent to him at Yarmouth.

When the war was over, he bought an American vessel, which had been taken by a Liverpool privateer. Her name had been the “Factor,” which he changed to the “Bittern,” and all that remains of her lies in the Yarmouth harbour. He sailed some time in this vessel between Yarmouth and England. In the year 1818 he brought out all his furniture and other effects, including improved farming implements, together with a competent man, the late George W. Brown, to carry on the farm.

In 1819 he built the barque “Zebulun,” 300 tons; in 1821 the “Waldo,” 250 tons; the “Thales,” at Tusket, 260 tons; and at Salmon River, the “Ugonia,” 260 tons. In 1825 he built the “Thetis,” 300 tons; and, at Milton, the barque “Hebron.” In 1830 he built the barque “Dove,” and the brig “Rhoda,” each 275 tons. If the circumstances be all taken into account, it must be confessed that he was a far more than ordinarily spirited and enterprising man: and he may justly, I conceive, be called the Father, if not the Founder of our foreign trade, which is the main source of the continued and increasing prosperity of Yarmouth.

But fickle as she is said to be, Fortune was more than usually so with this man. In the year 1833, he went to reside1 in England; and, I have heen credibly informed, that a few years ago, a number of Yarmouth men being in Liverpool, subscribed among them to furnish him with a coat. He became beggared in the initiating and prosecuting of an enterprise, in which thousands are now becoming rich. I have transferred from the Herald,


which have belonged to Yarmouth at different periods.

The uncommon prosperity of our people in shipping affairs frequently excites wonder and enquiry. But in this case, however we may fail to trace all the

CAUSES OF SUCCESS, there are many which lie upon the surface, plain and obvious to all who will note them. Besides the traditions of the place, and impressions dating from early childhood, we may trace the elements of prosperity in the constant application of the principle of mutual assistance which holds out encouragement, by promising advancement to the deserving; a co-operative spirit widely applied to every department of the business; a practical study of marine law ;3 a close observation of the most approved methods of ship building, and of conducting insurance matters; extensive knowledge of foreign ports; personal acquaintance with the most reliable agents; captains in charge whose characters are soon well known, and who are interested as part owners; scrupulous regard to foreign credit; quick intelligence and unconquerable enterprize; and, above all, the protecting band of an auspicious Providence, whose blessing accompanies and gives success to human efforts, and so brings those vessels from time to time unto the haven where they would be.

As an illustration of tbe tentative maritime spirit of the people, I think it to the purpose to present the reader with the following extract from “A Lecture on the Screw Propeller,” delivered before the Yarmouth Literary Society, 12th January, 1841, by James C. Farish, M. D.:—

“It is now seven years since Mr. John Patch, an ingenious shipwright of this place, having been long convinced from his observations upon the means in use for propelling vessels—from an oar to a paddle wheel—that there might still be something invented more efficient than any of these, in the spring of 1834 completed a Screw which he had been some time contriving for that purpose. He was then residing at Kelley’s Cove, in this County, and was observed for some months to have been privately engaged at work in the store and in the boats off the wharves. At length he communicated his secret to Captain Robert Kelley, but not until be had alone made sufficient trials of his machine. Captain Kelley assisted him, and they two, by the simple working of a crank, sent their boat ahead at the rate of five or six knots, without oars or sails.

“During that summer he was sailing up St. John harbour in a little schooner of twenty-five tons, in company with ten or twelve other vessels, when it fell dead calm. He got out his Screw over the quarter, and he and Capt. Silas Kelley (the only persons on board) by the same simple power, a crank, soon left the rest of the fleet astern, wondering by what means he had got ahead of them, without sweeps or any other visible assistance.

“Having perfected his discovery, and made such trials as satisfied himself and his confidential friends, Mr. Patch in July, 1834, at Captain R. Kelley’s suggestion, proceeded to Washington to take out a patent for his invention; but everything that he met with bad the effect of discouraging him, and at last he abandoned his purpose. As Mr. Patch spoke freely of his invention, and as the Screw Propeller appeared within a year or two after this date, it seems reasonable to suppose that others profited by his labours. If not the original inventor, an original inventor he certainly was.”

Intimately connected with the matter of Shipping, is that of


Before 1830, there were neither lights nor whistles, beacons nor breakwaters in the County. In 1820, the Governor in Council was memoralized to cause the outer Seal Island to be settled, and a light placed thereon. Nothing was done in that way however, till 1830, in which year the lighthouse was established. In 1839 the Yarmouth lighthouse was built, and it was first lighted on the 15th of January, 1840. The bell which had been fixed in the same neighbourhood was removed for the fog whistle, which was first used in February, 1869. Since 1870 a whistle has also been placed on the Seal Island ; and those safeguards, together with the light on Pubnico beach, placed there in 1854; that on the Fish Island in the Tusket River, placed there in 1864; the beacon in the Yarmouth Harbour lighted on February 16th, 1874; together with that on White Head Island at the mouth of the Argyle Harbour, well nigh supply everything except skill and care on the part of navigators, for the safe conduct of shipping.

Another work of moment to the County ultimately, although to the port primarily, is the breakwater in the Yarmouth Harbour, a work which was done in 1873 at a cost of $11,000. It is a substantial work 2,800 feet long, 22 feet wide, with an average height of seven feet, and is designed to arrest the strong tendency created by the action of the high tides and westerly winds, to obstruct, and finally destroy, the Harbour.

It is hard to determine how much is due to the late Anthony Landers; hut among other things with which he may he credited, is the introduction and advancement of


The now thriving settlement of Hebron was very largely Mr. Landers’ property. He there built and resided in what he named “Hebron House,” in which he began to hold meetings in the year 1810; and seven years afterwards he built a chapel at Hebron, which however was never finished, and which has long since disappeared. He also procured the services from Conference of the first Methodist Minister in the County, the Bev. Mr. Alder, a talented man who died in 1873 in Gibraltar, in which Diocese, in connection with the Church of England, he had become Registrar and Surrogate. For several years Mr, Landers hoarded Mr. Alder and paid his expenses. Since that time the Methodist body has greatly increased. They have four modern places of worship in the Town and vicinity of Wesley Church at Milton, which was built about ten years ago, when the society abandoned their less convenient chapel, which had been used since 1839; Providence Church in the south end of the Town, which also supplanted an earlier structure; a smaller building at Arcadia ; and another at Brooklyn. They have also a fifth place of worship at the thriving settlement at Darling’s Lake. The reader has here a view of Providence Church which is situate at the south end of the Town.

In this connection, as a religious matter, the history of the Free Baptist body may be touched upon. In the year 1819 the Bev. Jacob B. Norton came to Yarmouth from the State of Massachusetts. He belonged to the Society known as the Christian Band. About the same time, the Rev. Asa McGray went to Barrington from the same State. He belonged to the Freewill Baptist body. They each succeeded in gaining adherents to their respective Societies. In June, 1837, ministers and delegates of both bodies met on Cape Sable Island and organized the Free Christian Baptist Denomination, as an amalgamation of both; and finally, in 1866, this body agreed to be known by the name of Free Baptists. There are I believe eleven Free Baptist churches in this County, possessing over a dozen meeting houses, and served by four resident ministers, besides occasional assistance.

Closely connected with public worship, is the matter of Sunday Schools. It is evident that any number of children brought together to be taught gives the idea of a School; and, that a number of children brought together to be taught on Sundays, completes the general idea of a Sunday School. But although it would be impossible to go back to the time in the Christian era when children were not brought together to be taught on Sundays, this would hardly be the sense in which that expression has come to be understood.

After careful and extended enquiries on the subject, I believe that the first Sunday School proper in this County was opened in Lower Chebogue by the Rev. Abel Cutler in 1817; Mr. John S. Miller establishing a similar institution, which was more of the nature of a Prayer Meeting however, about*%ie same time or a little after, in Nehemiah Patch’s loft. The next was opened in the old Milton school house, which stood on the site-of the late Herbert Huntington’s house, about the year 1823. Then in 1827 another was commenced in the old Methodist Chapel, which lasted till 1834, when it lapsed. In January of 1835 the Rev. Alfred Gilpin opened one in the old Trinity Church; an offshoot from which established itself at Upper Chebogue, now Arcadia, in the fall of the same year. All those Schools had been conducted on the Union principle: but, in the month of August, 1836, the Methodist element withdrew from the Trinity Church school, and formed a denominational school. About the same time, Mr. Joseph Ellis, who had been prominently concerned with nearly all those institutions, opened one in his own house: and, shortly afterwards, another was commenced by the Baptists. After this period, they continued to spring up everywhere; until now there is no section in the County where there is not one.

The first structure raised in the County for Sunday School purposes was that which was erected by the Episcopalians in 1840, and was the same building which now stands, newly restored, on the site of the old Parish Church.

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