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A History of the County of Yarmouth, N.S.
Chapter XX. Celebration of the Centennial Anniversary of the Settlement of Yarmouth

WITH more or less definiteness, as the materials would yield to a natural disposition, we have seen the County through a hundred years. It is a mark of virtue, and of gratitude, to be mindful of birthdays, and to commemorate them. We need not wonder then that when the 9th of June, 1861, dawned, it was to find no one uninterested who called Yarmouth “Home.” And any sketch of her history that overlooked that day and its proceedings would very justly be considered defective. We have therefore thought this to he the most fitting place wherein to insert that notice, which all have a right to expect, of the CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF THE SETTLEMENT OF YARMOUTH.

The notice here given is the substance of that which was published in the papers of the day, the Herald and the Tribune, as many readers will no doubt remember:—

The one hundredth anniversary of the settlement of Yarmouth fell on Sunday the 9th of June, and it was determined to celebrate the event on Monday the 10th. It was a day long to be remembered. Business was wholly suspended, and everybody was bent on keeping high holiday. In the churches, on Sunday, appropriate reference was made by the officiating Clergymen to the Centenary and the Celebration. The memorable day was ushered in by the booming of cannon at short intervals. At 4 o’clock the “Callithumpian Band,” numbering forty or fifty spirited young fellows.

in fantastic costumes, on horseback and in vehicles similarly adorned, formed in procession on the Parade, and went through their “programme” by marching first to the northern and then to the southern extremity of the Town, to the musio of tin trumpets; after which they returned to the starting point and dispersed. The Town presented an animated appearance. Every flag was displayed. A beautiful arch of foliage and flowers spanned the street in front of the Brick Store and at other points, festoons of evergreens and lines of flags overhung the streets. From an early hour people were pouring from all parts of the country, which, for miles distant must have been well nigh deserted.

At 8 o’clock the Artillery Company fired a salute of twenty-five guns y and at 9 the Rifles marched to the same ground, the “head quarters” of the celebration, fired a salute, and afterwards performed various exercises in the military art.

At 1 o’clock the multitude assembled on and around the Parade, where a salute was fired by the Artillery, interspersed with volleys by the Rifles, after which the Grand Procession was formed in the following order:—

Grand Marshal (E. W. B. Moody, Esq.) with the High Sheriff and other gentlemen as Assistant Marshals, on horseback; old inhabitants and officers of militia in carriages; Yarmouth Volunteer Artillery in uniform, commanded by Captain Edward Heustig; Yarmouth Brass Band in uniform; Fife and Drum Company; Yarmouth Rifle Volunteer Company in uniform, commanded hy Captain Rowley; Hebron Rifle Company in uniform, commanded by Captain J. W. Crosby; the three Engine Companies, in their numerical order, in uniform, with their engines handsomely decorated and drawn by horses; a Boat rigged as a brigantine, on wheels, drawn by horses; private carriages and citizens.

The procession marched first to Cann’s Hill, Milton, where a salute was fired by the Military Companies, and returned to the Parade. The Military here formed in line in front of the Sunday School children, who, led by Mr. Bailey, sang the National Anthem, and “Home, Sweet Home.” Captain Rowley then proposed three cheers for the Queen—when three times three were given. Three cheers were also given for the Volunteers, and three more for the old Militia officers.

The procession then re-formed and proceeding down Main Street, up Argyle Street, through Forbes and Richan Streets, re-entered Main Street. On Church Hill the Military Companies fired another salute, and the procession once more returned to the Parade, where a final salute was fired. It was now past 4 o’clock, and the external display and ceremonies were at length to give place to the more intellectual exercises of the day.

At the western side of the tent a platform had been erected for the speakers. Dr. Joseph B. Bond, (Chairman of the Committee of Arrangements) took the chair, and Dr. G. J. Farish, by the request of the Chairman, read the following address.

"Fellow Townsmen,—While I deeply feel the honour of being selected hy the Committee to address you on this great solemnity, I am far from insensible to the difficulty of doing justice to the occasion. You are this day celebrating the settlement of your Township by the English, at the close of its first century. A ceremony is now for the first time being performed, which no living man has ever witnessed before, — and which no one now living can reasonably expect to see repeated. To express all the feelings and sentiments that spring up at such a time, — to give them shape and form and voice—is beyond individual power. But I feel encouraged by knowing that in every sensation that pervades this vast assemblage, I can fully sympathize. For, if I view it as a British audience, I can proudly say I am a British subject. Are you natives of Nova Scotia? So am X. Are you men of Yarmouth? So am I. Do you trace your descent from the Old Inhabitants? My father, my grandfather, and my great grandfather spent the best portion of their days in promoting the welfare of this my native Town. In all then that fills your hearts this day mine too overflows.

‘There is a land, of every land the pride,
Beloved by Heaven o’er all the world beside;
There is a spot of earth supremely blessed,
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest.
Where shall that land that spot of earth be found?
Art thou a man? a patriot? look around!
Oh, thou shalt find, howe’er thy footsteps roam,
That land thy Country, and that spot, thy Home.

“Many may deem such festivals as these, this resuscitation of by-gone events, as too fanciful, too trifling to suit the prosaic money-making spirit of the age. ‘The present,’ they say, ‘the present is the only important point; what is gone, is gone, and we have no more to do with it.’ ‘What advantage is it?’ they say, ‘What’s to be made out of it?’ They are perfectly indifferent to all hut the present and everything that does not promise present profit. In this, I think, they are not right.

“One hundred years ago your forefathers left their loved and happy homes in New England to plant on this soil the flag that waves shove you; for you must recollect that all the Northern States were then British, no cause for dissatisfaction having yet arisen in the hearts of the Colonists towards the Mother country. All who epoke the English language on this Continent, or in any other portion of the globe, were then British subjects. To that flag which they brought with them, flying from the mast-head of the little ‘ Pompey,’ your fathers adhered through good report and evil report,—and although many inducements were held out to them during the stormy times of the Revolution, to join in the separation, they always stood firmly to those colors, which, I believe, you, their descendants, are less inclined at this day to give up, than during any previous period of our history.

“And these Old Fathers! where are they? at rest in their peaceful graves. A goodly host of them are sleeping actually within sound of my voice, and yet they hear neither me nor the voices of their great-great-, grandchildren who to-day so sweetly raised their notes in supplication to the Giver of all good for a blessing upon our noble Queen. Not even did they hear the sharp crack of the rifles, nor the heavy booming of the cannon that shook the very ground in which they lie, and above which their grass-grown graves now scarcely can be seen. And yet the recollection of them has not entirely vanished from the memory of some of us. Many a venerable form which now sleeps quietly there, unconscious of all this uproar and rejoicing, is as familiar to my mind as are the faces of their sons and grandsons whom I now see before me.

“And all the eventful history that this day recalls to our memories, as if it were the occurrence of some dozen years ago, toot place a century since. A century! who can realize the time ? The longest life seldom reaches so far back; memory almost never. And it is a century which has been infinitely more eventful than any other equal portion of time since the Apostolic age. One hundred years ago steam and electricity, the great civilizers of the present age, were scarcely known even to the philosophers of the day. Cook had not yet sailed on his first voyage of discovery round the world. Australia, New Zealand, and the Isles of the Pacific were almost wholly unknown to geographers. George the Third had but just ascended the throne; he reigned sixty years, and died before the memory of most of the present assembly.

“The population of Great Britain was then not half as large as that of the American States at present; and the whole number of British snbjects in North America was less than three millions. There was no such nation as the United States then, and instead of it only a few feeble unimportant English Colonies struggling with poverty, and still alarmed by constant incursions of the unchequered savages. Canada and Louisiana had just been wrested from the French; and Wolfe and Montcalm had but lately fallen in deadly strife before Quebec. A hundred years ago, and the scenes in the bloody French Revolution had not been enacted. Louis the 16th and the hapless Maria Antoinette were yet to fall beneath the axe of the guillotine. Napoleon, Wellington and Nelson were unborn ; and the names of Austerlitz, Waterloo and Trafalgar, were yet to be written on the page of history.

“And, to come to the subject which to-day more particularly claims our attention,—one hundred years ago, yesterday morning, there was not, excepting the roaming savage, a single individual residing in the Township, nor a single tree cut down where is now assembled this vast concourse of people, the largest assemblage ever collected together in Yarmouth; and not one ton of shipping was owned where now we count our forty thousands. Alas! that of those whose landing we this day celebrate, not one living soul of all is left to join with us in mutual congratulations, and thankfulness to the Giver of all good for the innumerable blessings we now enjoy, and grateful praises to that benevolent Being to whom alone all the glory is due. The primeval rocks indeed remain, and here and there a sturdy tree of the olden time may still stretch forth the same branches which sheltered your fathers from the summer’s sun. The waters of the placid harbour still glide gently by us, as when upon its surface the shallops of your old forefathers first sailed along the unfrequented shore, — but not a man or woman — not a human being that then floated upon its surface is alive to look upon their numerous, prosperous, and happy progeny, assembled here to day.

"Where are the lands our fathers kept
A hundred years ago?
The homes in which they sweetly slept
A hundred years ago?
By other men,
They knew not then,
Their lands are tilled,
Their homes are filled;—
Yet nature, then, was just as gay,
And bright the sun shone as to-day,
A hundred years ago.”

Dr. Parish was followed in animated, appropriate, and eloquent speeches by Chas. B. Owen, Esq., Mr. T. M. Lewis, Bey. Gt. Christie, and Hon. Joseph Howe.

In the evening the Town was brilliantly illuminated, and there was a fine display of fireworks on the Parade. The number who took part in, or witnessed the Celebration has been variously estimated from 6,000 to 8,000. There was no accident of any kind. But the great feature of the Celebration—that which deserves to be regarded with the most pride— was, that amid all the enthusiasm of the occasion, there was no sign of misconduct among a throng by far the largest ever collected in Yarmouth.

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