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Our Colourful Past

Our Colourful Past

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The Village of Chester, approximately fifty miles west of the capital city of Halifax on Nova Scotia's south shore, is situated on a tree-clustered peninsula overlooking beautiful Mahone Bay and its many islands.

The Township of Chester is an area which encompasses one hundred thousand acres and stretches from Hubbards to Martin's River. The area was first settled in the middle of the eighteenth century, although there is some evidence that the French used this part of the Atlantic Coast as a fishing outpost well before 1750. 

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New Ross Freighters

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Today, the trip from Chester Basin to New Ross is complete in just a matter of minutes. With modern methods of transportation you can travel the world in mere hours. But not so long ago, even the shortest of trips took days to complete.

A round trip from Chester Basin to New Ross, perhaps the most important land link for both communities, took an average of three days. The trips were made by the locally renowned New Ross Freighters, also known as the Teamsters. Chester Basin was a key entry point from the sea inland to New Ross and to other points along the way.

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History of Chester Basin

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In 1760, Chester Basin, in what is now Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia,  began as a settlement with the arrival of New Englanders (1760-1783), and grew with the arrival of disbanded British soldiers (1804-1816), and later (1820s-1860s), families from the Foreign Protestants group who initially came to Lunenburg in 1753.  Prior to its settlement, groups of Mi'kmaw, a tribe of the Wabenaki Confederacy living mainly along the mid-eastern coast of the Atlantic Ocean, used the area as a summer fishing location.

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History of Blandford

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Jim Snowdon, Maritime History, March 30, 1983.

This paper is primarily concerned with the history of Blandford during the years 1931 – 1961. The village of Blandford is situated on the southwestern side of the Aspotogan Peninsula in the county of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. It is bounded on the northwest by Deep Cove and on the northeast by Bayswater. Its houses are spread out for a distance of five and a half miles along the coast of Mahone Bay and are never more than a few hundred feet from the ocean. For convenience, the people in this area divided this stretch into Upper and Lower Blandford.

In order to look at those years in proper perspective one should have some knowledge of Blandford's beginnings. The first European settlers to come to Blandford were the Irish in 1750. Although Governor Francklin's census of 1767 records the actual settlement in detail, there is no further reference to these people 1 . In 1807 German settlers purchased land in Blandford, from the Cochran brothers, which had been divided into 'farm lots' 2 .

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Chester Race Week

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Since the sea gives Chester its character, sailing naturally occupies a position of importance here. Yacht racing has been a major summer sport in Chester for well over 150 years. Its roots are firmly planted in the mid 19th century when the fishermen raced each other to markets in Halifax or New England.

As sailors and fishermen have been wont to do since time immemorial, they loved to get together and talk shop. Sailing races for pleasure and bragging rights was inevitable. As the gatherings and races occurred more regularly, the Annual Fishermen's Regatta was born. The regatta was a show case for locally built boats of different designs, as well as for sailing skills.

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If Not For A Rouge Ruse

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The brave and ingenious "red coat defence" of the Village of Chester in 1782 by Capt. Prescott is portrayed during a modern re-enactment. Photo courtesy Chester Municipal Heritage Society.

Candlelight licked the walls of the small dining quarters as a young man, hidden in shadows cast by the devilish flames dancing about, listened intently through a crack in the door in anticipation of the next verbal salvo.

 For more than an hour the three American privateer captains, experienced sailors and very worthy adversaries, had been on the offensive. Oh, they had most assuredly been pleasant enough, but they also walked aloof with a certain sense of arrogance.

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Research Your Roots

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Since Champlain first arrived in 1604, Nova Scotia has welcomed people from all over the world. As a result, Nova Scotia genealogy is deep and diverse. As well as our native Mi'kmaq ancestry, Nova Scotia's founding cultures include Acadian, English, German, African Nova Scotian, Scottish, Irish, and yes, even Americans. Twenty-five million people in North America can trace their families back to Nova Scotia during the past 400 years. Are you one of them?

researchyourroots

To find out if your roots started growing in Nova Scotia, click the 'Research Your Roots' button. This will re-direct your search to the Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics website www.novascotiagenealogy.com

 

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