The Treaty of UTRECHT
in 1713 marked the British defeat of the French. During the troubled years until 1755 in ACADIA
, the colony of Nova Scotia under British rule, the French settlers who refused to give allegiance were expelled under the direction of Gov Charles LAWRENCE
. To settle the vacant lands, particularly along the shores of the Bay of Fundy, Lawrence offered New Englanders free lands and passage. In 1760 about 1800 people, mostly Connecticut and Rhode Island farmers, took up their prearranged grants, to become Planters, an Elizabethan name for those who "planted" colonies. Several vessels had brought settlers and their movables to Cornwallis and Horton and Falmouth Townships in extensive King's County. Each grantee received 500 acres of diversified lands, including a section in the Town Plot, where a blockhouse for defence and spaces for a school and for the first minister were located.
The terms of settlement promised religious freedom, except to Roman Catholics, but the Church of England initially had advantages and gave leadership for schooling youths. Most of the settlers were Congregationalists.
Though used to governing through town meetings, for several years the Planters were denied local rule, retained by the governor and council at Halifax. An assembly allowed county and township representatives to gather at the capital, but local officers were chosen at Halifax. The new settlers, occupied with immediate needs, accepted this. Most of them stayed and bettered themselves, many becoming leaders.
Old Meeting House
Located in Barrington, NS, this meeting house was built in 1765 and was of a type commonly used by New England Congregationalists (photo by Lany Turner).
JAMES D. DAVISON