A 19TH Century Canadian Time Capsule

1744 – WAR between France and England declared. The French in Cape Breton knew about the declaration of war before the English in Nova Scotia and were able to capture the English fort at Canseau with the aid of Natives.

At the same time 300 Natives led by a French Priest took up arms against Annapolis. The priest attempted to trick the Governor into surrender on threat of reinforcements from Louisburg – to no avail. These Natives departed the scene, but shortly afterwards the French troops that had taken Canseau moved on Annapolis. With the arrival of these forces, the Native force returned to assist the French against the fort.

The French Commander, DuVivier attempted in vain to take the fort for four weeks before English reinforcements, consisting of four companies of soldiers from Massachusetts arrived. Du Vivier offered a large reward to every Native that stormed the ramparts, however they didn’t respond to this prodding – and the battle ended with the French sailing away.

Not confident that the French wouldn’t try again, the Fort’s women and children were sent to Boston.
(1744-48): The government of Massachusetts, namely Governor Shirley, offered a reward of 100 pounds for scalping or capturing a Native, and 50 pounds for their women or children -scalped or captured.

The Governor raised 4000 men, under the command of General Pepperal to take the French fort at Louisburg, commanded by Duchambon.

Additionally, England sent Commodore Warren from the “West India Station” with a small fleet to assist in the attack on Louisburg.

The siege lasted 49 days, resulting in the surrender of Duchambon, Cape Breton, and the Island of St. John’s (now called Prince Edward Island). (1744-48): France responded by sending a large Fleet to take Louisburg, Annapolis, and Boston.

However, the stormy voyage was ill-fated and over a thousand men died crossing the Atlantic from fever. On arrival at Chebucto Harbor(Halifax), the Admiral – Duke D’Anville, died.

The second in command was delirious with the fever and thought himself a prisoner, which resulted in his suicide by sword.

The remaining men landed and camped by the inner harbour(Bedford Basin), but even more died there from illness than at sea. Matters were worsened by Micmacs who visited the camp for supplies and ammunition, spreading the infection to the point of destroying a third of their tribe. The surviving French men returned to France demoralized.

1744-48: France made yet another attempt at sending 30 vessels to recover Cape Breton, but they were defeated at sea.

1748 When peace was declared, Cape Breton was returned to the French.

June 8th, 1749 English Colony established at Chebucto Harbor (Halifax) – More than 3000 men with their families, under the Governorship of Cornwallis.

Finally, they named the Colony in honour of the Earl of Halifax who had taken great interest in the welfare of the colony. he (Cornwallis) appointed several gentlemen to assist him in government.

The settlers cleared away the woods as quickly as possible, built a large wooden house for the governor, and warehouses for their stores and provisions; and laid out the ground into streets. Doors and window frames were procured from Boston, and they worked so well, that by the time winter came, they had put up a sufficient number of rough houses and huts to shelter five thousand people from the rigor of the weather.

During the winter (1749), the settlers finished the insides of the houses, cut timber for firewood, and explored the countryside. The Acadians at Pesiquid (now Windsor), sent the new colony some cattle and sheep, along with 50 men to assist in building a road between Pesiquid and Halifax. Fort Massey was built to keep the colony safe from Indians.

As the colony grew, the French government decided to lay claim to Nova Scotia once again, despite the treaty they had signed when England had taken Nova Scotia from them. The French sent word to the Acadians and Indians to harass the English as much as possible.