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June 17, 1954

N. E. Planters and Tupper Geneology


Dr. Eaton, in his History of Kings County states: "The Tupper family is by all means one of the most remarkable families the County has ever had, persons bearing the name or having Tupper blood, having risen to the highest positions in Canada or elsewhere."

The Tupper family began with Thomas Tupper who was born in Sandwich, Eng., and settled in Sandwich, Cape Cod, Mass., and erected the first house there in 1637. Besides holding important government offices, he was a missionary to the Indians and a member of the War Council. Though the land belonged to the "Redskins" by virtue of original habitation, it took a lot of sympathy and Christian charity to espouse their cause in those days when it was said, "the only good Indian was a dead one."

His great grandson, Eliakim, Jr., was the Cornwallis grantee, and his grandson, Rev. Charles Tupper, a Baptist Clergyman was for many years the most prominent minister of any denomination. For sixty years, he labored in the ministry, holding pastorates in three Maritime Provinces and finally at Aylesford. He was not educated at any college, but by his own efforts, gained sufficient acquaintance with several languages, to be able to read the Bible in them. It was during the Amherst pastorate, that his most distinguished son, the Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Tupper, was born in 1821, to become one of the Fathers of Confederation, Premier of Nova Scotia (1864-67), Prime Minister of Canada in 1896, and to assume many other political duties and receive many of the highest honors during his long career.

Sir Charles was educated at Horton Academy and received an Honorary degree, DCL from Acadia College. He went to the University of Edinburgh, graduated as an MD in 1843, and became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons. He practised for a number of years at Amherst with eminent success, taking no part in public matters. Then came the moment the turning point in fortune’s fickle favor – when Joseph Howe came to Cumberland County (where he had been elected three years previously) as a candidate for the Provincial Assembly in the election of 1855, and Dr. Tupper was persuaded to oppose him in the Conservative interest.

Just as we associate the names of Wolfe and Montcalm, two great military rivals, so the names of Sir Charles Tupper and Hon. Joseph Howe, remind us of a great political rivalry. Both are numbered among the intellectual giants of the Builders of the Dominion of Canada. Both were men of brilliant abilities and powerful oratorical force. Howe was greatly influenced by his Loyalist father, a printer, who inherited the Puritan love of freedom, and he entered the fray with all the prestige of popular Liberal leadership and a great reputation as an orator and politician. His true career began in 1835. In that year, as publisher of The Nova Scotian, he was indicted for libel on account of a published letter pointing out the corrupt condition of affairs in the government at Halifax. As no lawyer could be found to conduct his case, he borrowed books on libel from his legal friends and shut himself up for two weeks for thorough study. On the day of his trial, he addressed the jury for six hours with a power never before heard in a Nova Scotia court room. The freedom of the press was at stake and he was advocating a great righteous cause. In the short space of ten minutes, the jury brought in a verdict of "not guilty". It was a magnificant triumph; the people rejoiced in it and a new day broke for Nova Scotia. He had been educating the people for some years through the press, and now he felt called upon to carry his reform measures to the floor of the House of Assembly. Thus he became the great "Patriot and Reformer" who won the victory for responsible government. He had sublime confidence in the future of Canada and began to advocate vast railway enterprises, but in the fateful election of 1855, he "met his Waterloo". Thereafter, his star began to wane, though he will always be remembered and honored for his great service to his native province and incidentally, to the whole free world.

Dr. Tupper’s platform was conciliation for sectarian issues and the building of necessary railways by the government rather than private enterprise. The first won for him the Roman Catholic vote, and the second neutralized the energetic transportation policy of Howe. He became Premier of Nova Scotia in 1864, and by his initiative, the N. S. School law was passed. Even in these enlightened times, taxation in the interest of education has strong opposition, so it is little wonder that the measure was so unpopular that it had a serious influence in defeating the government in the next election. Sir Charles Tupper was knighted for his Imperial service in negotiating a treaty with Washington (USA), in connection with a fisheries dispute and for his able diplomacy in other cases.

Another notable member of the Tupper family, was Dr. Silas Tertius Rand, DD, DCL, "one of the most distinguished scholars, the Dominion of Canada has produced". He was born at Brooklyn Street, six miles west of Kentville, in 1810, son of Silas and Deborah (Tupper) Rand. He studied at Horton Academy and like his grandfather, Rev. Charles T., gave himself devotedly to the study of languages. He possessed a marvelous memory and had dramatic power in public speaking. He was admitted to the ministry, but like his first N. E. ancestor, was deeply interested in missionary work among the Indians, to which cause he gave his life for over twenty years. He was a devoted student of native Indian philology and legend lore, including the fabulous legend of Glooscap, the Indian demigod. He translated into Micmac almost the entire Bible and published many books on Micmac subjects. Before his death in 1889, he published a dictionary of more than 40,000 words of the Micmac language.

A cousin, Dr. Theodore Harding Rand, was also outstanding in the field of education. He had a leading part in the preparation of the free School Act and established the "Journal of Education" when he became the first Superintendent of Education for the Province. He resigned to accept the chair of Education and History in his Alma Mater (Acadia) and a few years later, became Vice-Chancellor of McMaster University. His "Treasury of Canadian Verse" is a lasting literary monument to his name.

The Hon J. Lorimer Ilsley, Chief justice of Nova Scotia, an for many years the honored Minister of Finance in the Federal Parliament, a native of Somerset, Kings County, inherited "Tupper" blood, through his maternal great-grandmother, Mary Tupper Craig, cousin of Sir Charles.