next The Epidemic of 1860 previous The Loyalists
There are 51 names on the tax roll for 1792. These names include
only heads of families and their sons who were over 21 years old.
Many of the names such as Walker, Spinney, Robinson, Brown, Dugan, Van
Buskirk, Ogilvie and many more can still be found in the area that was
the township at that time. These names have been in every census
since then indicating that they have lived there continuously since it's
The table on the right shows how the population changed in the early years.
These figures are taken from the church register of St. Mary's Anglican
It is difficult to write about this period and not too many people have succeeded. Everyone has a tendency to imbue past eras with current morals and ideals. They recast history in contemporary terms. Much of the literature of any period is tainted by attempts to propagate some ideal or system so it's easy to fall into a trap of writing less than correct summations
This contains at once valuable information and misinformation. Notice how he confuses the village of Aylesford, which was the leading town of the area in 1936, with the township of Aylesford. There are no indications that the village of Aylesford even existed before 1868 and the coming of the railroad. No graveyards are dated before that time. Auburn was not an outpost of the village of Aylesford as this passage would suggest. It seems clear that the Kingston and Auburn areas were settled early and the Morden Road was their supply route and led to a port at what was at that time was called French Cross but later became Morden. There's an entry in the Kings County Marriage Records dated 19 Nov 1885 for a Henry Bennett which states that he was born in 1850 at French Cross, This indicates to me that the name was still in use as late as 1850. My opinion is the name was changed about 1853 when a building boom occurred, for example the Anglican church was build about then. Morden as a supply route became less and less significant after 1868 and the coming of the railroad."The township of Aylesford was settled by United Empire Loyalists in 1784, although the first grant was made in 1778 to Major Charles Dickson. The village was named after the fourth Earl of Aylesford, Lord of the Bedchamber to King George the third. Near Aylesford Bishop Charles Inglis had a residence called Claremont in which he resided in summer from about 1789. St. Mary's Church, as [sic s/b at] Auburn, formerly Lower Aylesford, was built in 1790 and it's walls are plastered with powdered mussel shells left by the Acadians at French Cross. The door frames and windows of the church were brought from Halifax on horses and the hand made nails were carried in fifteen pound packages by soldiers from Halifax, who walked the entire distance. There are three large gilt balls on the church spire. One fell to the ground 40 years ago [That would make it 1896] and was found to contain a record of all details relating to the building of the church from the names of those employed to the number of nails used. The record was copied, then replaced in the ball and returned to the spire."
There is a small group of parochial people in the Annapolis Valley who are either motivated by a religious fanaticism which rivals anything the southern United States has to offer or by academic pomposity. Everyone needs someone to look down on and for these people that's a challenge of no small proportion. In the 1980s an incident arose which attracted their attention. Books were written and stories were circulated about incestuous relationships among ignorant mountain clans, stories recalling the stories of feuds among the clans in the Ozarks. These were promoted by others avidly eager for gain or for 15 minutes of fame on the talk show circuit. This is an indication of how myth and superstition combined with the lure of money can suddenly explode and seemingly wipe out any consciousness of two hundred years of history.
Nevertheless very informative accounts exist. A book called "A History of Aylesford and District" written by John A. Decoste and Twila L Robar-Decoste was published in 1986 and it contains the most complete and detailed account of the area that I have seen.
The population of Morden is given in MacAlpine's Nova Scotia Directory
for 1868 as containing 35% of the township population, more than any other
single town. It lists the leading citizens as containing the following:
Henry VB Farnsworth
Thomas Farnsworth &
Comptroller of Customs
Way office Keeper and
Commissioner of Schools
Justice of the Peace
That's fairly impressive. An innkeeper,
three merchants, three master mariners indicating three permanently resident
sailing ships and an assortment of other functionaries. The population
to support this establishment must have centered around the port.
In the Public Works Journal for 1895 discussing the Morden Wharf it is
stated that the population had dwindled to one quarter of it's former self
and at that time it was still dwindling.
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The Epidemic of 1860
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