Seventy years ago in 1951, my grandmother Millicent (1895-1982) Granny-Lin finally got the cottage she had always wanted. My grandfather Sydenham (1887-1975)The Priest had it built for her on the waterfront of Shediac Bay in New Brunswick.
Truly a dream come true, she aptly named it “Iona Cottage” for “I own a cottage”!
The person who designed their simple cottage somehow knew exactly what they wanted. A small eating nook off the kitchen led into the living room with a fireplace and the three small bedrooms branched off from there. A simple door leading to the patio enticed family and guests outside to enjoy the view of the Bay.
Just around the corner from Iona Cottage stands St. Martin’s-in-the-Woods Anglican Church built almost 200 years ago by Millicent’s great grandfather, and the founder of Shediac, William Hanington. There is a huge monument beside the church where he and some of his family are buried. On Sunday mornings during their summers, Millicent and Sydenham would stroll down the lane to church. Sydenham was an Anglican priest and would sometimes hold the summer church services thereby giving the local priest a break.
Millicent grew up in Montreal as the youngest of six girls. Her pharmacist father moved the family from Shediac to Montreal in 1890 to study medicine at McGill…at the age of 45! During the summer breaks, the family returned “home” to Shediac. After completing his degree in 1894, Dr. Hanington Pharmacist then Doctor and family remained in Montreal where he set up a practice… but they always spent their summer holidays in Shediac.
Millicent and Sydenham hosted many summer family gatherings at their Shediac cottage over the years. There are numerous photos taken on the patio in front of the impressive red brick chimney. An endless assortment of Millicent’s sisters (and sometimes their husbands) would line up along the side of the house enjoying the sun and cool breeze off the water. A few photos have captured some of the bravest taking an icy cold dip in the bay.
In July 2015, my sister and I took a “sister pilgrimage” trip to the New Brunswick area, and finding Iona Cottage was the top priority. We recognized it immediately even although the light yellow cottage from our memories had been painted a lovely country blue. The surrounding grounds looked immaculate and a quick peek in the window assured us that it was well loved inside and out. What a terrible disappointment when no one answered our knock at the door. We snapped a few photos of house and garden (and us!) for our travel album and to share with the rest of the family.
Upon my return home, I wrote a short story about our “sister pilgrimage” and published it on the Genealogy Ensemble website Sister Pilgrimage. A year ago, the current owners of Iona Cottage read my story and contacted me by email. They are the fourth owners (since 2018) and are thrilled to share my scanned copies of the old photos of their cottage.
How surprising to learn that they already had a copy of my favourite photo… a gift from their neighbour. It captured four-year old me in front of Iona Cottage during the summer of 1961 when I visited with my mother shortly before she died of cancer that November.
My only other stay at Iona Cottage was some twenty years later when my cousin and I flew into Moncton to spend a long weekend with our grandmother. In an era before highways, two lane roads between Quebec and New Brunswick made the drive impossibly long, which might explain the lack of visits over the years
Recently my cousin unearthed a real treasure in his inherited boxes of memorabilia – an envelope marked: “Blueprints – Iona Cottage”. I took a quick look before sending them off to the current owners and to my utter amazement I saw that MY FATHER had drawn up the plans for his in-law’s cottage! I had no idea. What a joy for me to see his handwritten notes in the lower right-hand corner…and no wonder the cottage was so perfect for Millicent and Sydenham.
Charlotte Haines (1773-1851) was only ten years old when the breakaway 13 colonies won the War of Independence in April 1783. Those residing in the new United States of America, who had remained loyal to the British Crown, were persecuted and forced out of their homes and their belongings seized. Chaos reigned everywhere and families were torn apart.
One fateful day around this time, young Charlotte sneaked away to visit her British Loyalist cousins, against the expressed wishes of her American Patriot stepfatheri. Upon her return, standing outside the front door, he refused her entry back into the family home.
Charlotte was my three-times great-grandmother. Her daughter Margaret Ann Peters married Daniel Hanington and their son James Peters Hanington was my grandmother’s father.
The British government came to the aid of these Loyalists and arranged for transportation for those who wished to leave the new America. Charlotte’s grandparents, Gilbert and Anna Pugsley, rescued young Charlotte and her brother David. Together they sailed from New York for ten days on the “Jason”ii, with 124 other “refugees” as part of the final large scale evacuation and landed in New Brunswick (then still part of Nova Scotia) in October 1783…just in time for the brutally cold winter.
Charlotte has been the favourite subject of a couple of books and several folktales. She warranted her own chapter in “Pioneer Profiles of New Brunswick Settlers”iii and is the main character in a children’s book titled “Charlotte”iv. One folktale claimed that she was the first Loyalist to set foot ashore (not true) and in doing so, she lost her “slipper” in the mud (possibly). The matching slipper (unlikely) was donated to the New Brunswick Museum years later, however, it looks somewhat too big and stylish for a ten-year old girl. But they make wonderful stories and fully recognize young Charlotte as one of the first “petticoat pioneers” of New Brunswick.
Fourteen thousand Loyalists established a new settlement in 1783 along the St. John River and shortly afterwards they petitioned for their own colony. In 1784, Great Britain granted their request and divided Nova Scotia into two — New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The Loyalists, who made up 90 percent of the population of New Brunswick, became a separate colony with its capital, Fredericton, 90 miles upriver from Saint John.
The Loyalists and their children were entitled to free land once they provided the necessary proof. Charlotte, as the biological daughter of John Haines, a Loyalist on record, appears in 1786 documentation as one of the grantees of 84 lots on Long Island, Queen’s County, along with several other prominent Loyalists – although she was only 13 at the time. I can imagine her grandfather Pugsley nodding discreetly in her direction as he looked after her interests.
For their first three years, the British provided the Loyalists with a few simple tools, blankets, material for clothing and seeds for wheat, peas, corn and potatoes. The rations of basic food supplied by the British supplemented the abundance of game and fish available to them in the forest and streams. Most lived in tents on dirt floors until they were able to build primitive log cabins. Tree by tree, stump by stump, the fertile uplands were cleared to widen the fields making them ready for crops.
The Loyalists kept meaningful social contacts through various community events. Neighbours organized “frolics” whereby the men would work together to clear land, move rocks, build a barn or complete some other task which proved impossible for one or two people. At the same time, the women prepared meals and the children had a chance to play with friends. Women also held their own frolics to make quilts, card wool or shell corn. These Loyalist neighbours were dependent on one another in times of sickness, accidents and childbirth and supported one another at gatherings for weddings, funerals and church services.
Perhaps Charlotte met her future husband at one of these popular frolics. At 17, Charlotte married William Peters (also from a United Empire Loyalist family) in 1791 in Gagetown. Soon afterwards, the happy couple moved downriver, settled in Hampstead and built a home where the St. John River widens to a magnificent view.
At that time, there existed only ten miles of roadway in the whole province and another 20 years would pass before there would be an 82-mile long road linking Fredericton and Saint John. However, in the meantime, the river served as a “highway” enabling the transport of passengers and necessary goods between the two cities.
When the steamboats first chugged noisily up the river in 1816, William decided to compete with them and he built a 100-foot long side wheeler powered by 12 horses walking up and down the deck and propelling the boat along.
William actively pursued his interest in politics, and as the first representative of Queen’s County in the New Brunswick Legislature, he spent a lot of time in Fredericton (50 miles away) attending the sessions of Parliament.
Meanwhile, back home, Charlotte managed their entire land-holding on her own. Eventually they had 15 children, five sons and ten daughters. She bore her last child at 50 years old according to the baptismal certificate. They all survived except their son John who drowned at 21 attempting to save another man’s life.
Not only did she clothe, feed and care for them all (including the servants) but also provided much of their early education as well. On Saturday evenings in the summer, the fiddlers would play rollicking tunes and the tapping of dancing feet could be heard in big houses and cabins alike. When winter shut down the fields, and with food plentifully stored in the cellar, the spinning wheels would begin to hum during those coldest months.
By the time William died in 1836, they had recently relocated to Woodstock (100 miles upriver from Hampstead) with two of their younger children, James and Caroline. Their older children were married with homes of their own scattered along the St. John River Valley. Around this time, she wrote a letterv to her daughter Susan, Mrs. Thomas Tilley:
I take my pen to address a few lines to you to inquire after the health of you and all of your family. The grate distance we are from you prevents me from hearing. You heard of the death of your Father at Woodstock.
Charlotte described William’s death in some detail and then continued:
I hop [sic] this may find you all well. I am not well. My head troubles me very much. There is not one day that it don’t ake [sic] so that I cant hardly stir. My cough is something better. James and Caroline is well and harty [sic] and quite contented hear. I like the place and if your Father has lived and been hear to see to it we might have made a good living. It is pleasant and a good place for business but we must try to due the best we can. The place is out of repair and soon would have been a common if we had not come hear. I should be glad if my friends was near to us. I don’t know as ever I shall see you all again. I thought to have gon [sic]to see you all before I came up hear but I was so sick that I could not go down to see you. James and Caroline wishes to be remembered to you and all the family. I desire to be remembered to Thomas and the children and tel them I should be glad to see them and you. Give my love to all inquiring friends and except a share for yourself. This from you afectionet [sic] Mother, Charlotte Peters
Although she had her share of aches and pains at that time, she lived another 15 years and ultimately enjoyed the blessing of 111 grandchildren.
She had a powerful influence over all her family for she believed that their heritage carried a great responsibility to others. When the grandchildren would visit, her graceful hands were always busy winding yarn or knitting a sock while patiently answering their questions and reciting passages from the bible.
One of her grandchildren, Samuel Leonard Tilley, later known as Sir Leonard, served as Premier of New Brunswick and went on to became one of the Fathers of Confederation.
A common tale states that Tilley proposed the term “Dominion” in Canada’s name, at the London conference in 1866, which he gleaned from Psalm 72:8 – “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth”. Ultimately, as Minister of Finance in the federal government, he was also instrumental in seeing the transcontinental railway completed.vi
Young Charlotte Haines might have felt all alone in the world at age ten but, when she died 68 years later, the epitaph on her tombstone proclaimed her legacy: “…Lamented by a large circle of descendants and friends by whom she was universally beloved and respected.”
iCharlotte’s mother, Miss Pugsley, died when she was very young. Charlotte’s father remarried Sarah Haight before he died. Then Sarah remarried Stephen Haviland who was Charlotte’s stepmother’s husband (step step father?)
Millicent’s one indulgence in later life was watching “Hockey Night in Canada” on television. She was a committed fan and watched every game without fail. One night during the game, Sydenham, her husband, felt light headed and fainted. She gave him a gentle slap to wake him up, got him to swallow a couple of aspirins and warned him with: “Don’t you dare die during my hockey game!”
The birth of this sixth daughter, Millicent, in 1895, could have been in celebration of James Peters Hanington ’s graduation from McGill Medical School a year earlier, at the ripe old age of 49. Millicent (my grandmother) was the baby of this family of girls, and eventually looked after all her sisters in their old age.
The Hanington family had strong roots in Shediac, New Brunswick, given that William Hanington (Millicent’s great grandfather) founded the town in 1784. Millicent grew up spending the summers at her father’s cottage in Shediac Cape and soon after she married, she bought her own summer cottage there and named it “Iona Cottage”. The family story told was that she was so thrilled, that the name was really code for “I own a cottage”!
Sydenham Bagg Lindsay, an Anglican priest in Montreal, actively pursued Millicent with marriage proposals until she finally accepted him ….on the condition that he look after all her sisters as well. Poor guy got six women for the price of one! Two of her sisters, however, were married and only three were spinsters.
Married in 1918, Millicent was a young bride of 23 years and Sydenham, a frail young man of 29. She led a demanding life as a full time minister’s wife in addition to having four children of her own. Their first child was born in 1920, a frail little girl called Mary Thorpe who strengthened as she grew and was talented in art and theatre. In 1923, their son, Paul, was born, a jolly little fellow who was to be their life long tower of strength. In 1926, their daughter Ann (my mother) appeared, a sweet tranquil baby, who was to become a marvellous mother. Finally, in 1930, came Katharin, a whirlwind if there ever was one. 
Millicent’s lively spirit and sense of humour carried her through many a trial. As they moved from parish to parish, her fame preceded her. Her superb cooking kept the whole family well and strong, including their parents and all her sisters! There are photos galore of a dozen or so family members around her Sunday table. When Sunday lunch after church became too much for her to manage, the family began a new tradition of eating Sunday lunch regularly at Murray’s Restaurant, which she thought was the closest thing to her own cooking.
She kept an eye on her mother and her sisters as they aged and needed attention. In 1950, her mother died in her 99th year and Millicent missed her terribly the rest of her life.
With the strain of WWII, parish duties and his family, Sydenham’s health suffered. As his strength waned so did that of his daughter, Ann, who had developed Hodgkin’s disease. Both parents suffered through her illness and death and the problems that beset her grieving husband and their four children.
Seven years after Sydenham died in 1975, Millicent felt ill and didn’t know why. She had leukemia. Six weeks later she died, still the gallant lively Spirit she’d always been.
 Personal recollections in a telephone interview October 2013 – with Katharin Lindsay Welch. (her youngest daughter)
Personal recollections in a telephone interview October 2013 – with Katharin Lindsay Welch. (her youngest daughter)
 Personal recollections by Mary Thorpe Kerr – Victoria, BC – 1993
Early Sunday morning, dressed in our special t-shirts, we left in plenty of time for the morning church service at St Martin’s-in-the-Woods. The greeter welcomed us warmly, and we asked if there might be any Haningtons at church that day. She beckoned down the aisle to her husband who then introduced himself as Allen Hanington. Overjoyed, we threw our arms around our surprised distant cousin and snapped a commemorative photo. And so our journey began.
My 3x great grandfather, William Hanington, was the first English settler in Shediac, New Brunswick, in 1785. He was an amazing fellow who emigrated from England at the age of twenty-six, built a whole community, set up lumber exports, built ships, married a PEI girl and had a family of thirteen. Later in life, in 1823, he donated a piece of land and built St Martin’s-in-the-Woods Anglican Church, where he was buried in 1838.
This past July, my sister and I decided to go on a one week “sister pilgrimage” to explore our family history in Shediac from 230 years ago. We ordered our specialized t-shirts and planned our family-and-friends-fun-filled trip to the Maritimes. A very special trip for us both. We hadn’t travelled together before and my sister, recently widowed, was embracing a “carpe diem” attitude.
Peggy’s Cove was our first tourist attraction and we enjoyed a stroll around the lighthouse and its spectacular rocks overlooking the ocean. The quaint little shops were charming and the local afternoon tea was delicious.
On our way to Shediac, NB, we visited my sister’s friend Helen who was new to the area and provided us with a hearty lunch. We checked into our B&B in Shediac, and set off to explore the delightful little town. On the waterfront, we climbed onto the famous giant lobster to pose for the ultimate tourist photo. Afterwards, while strolling along the boardwalk, we came upon a historical monument dedicated to our 2x great grandfather Daniel Hanington, a famous politician in his time. What a terrific surprise!
Hopewell Rocks was our second tourist attraction with its incredible change in tides. That morning, we walked along the “beach”. Then we lunched nearby at the Apple Blossom Café, run by three retired schoolteacher spinster sisters. What a hoot they were! After lunch, we returned to find high tide had completely transformed the whole bay. Amazing!
The next morning, our GPS helped us find our way to tiny Clairville, NB, to visit my friends Carol and Bruce. Their cozy place was beautifully perched up on a hill overlooking a vast field. After a tour of their house and garden, we had a delicious lunch and then set out for Charlottetown, PEI.
While driving across the spectacular Confederation Bridge, it was difficult to imagine how William and his Indian guides paddled across the Northumberland Strait in 1792 to claim his bride in Summerside, PEI (then known as Ile-St.Jean).
We checked into our B&B in Charlottetown and headed off to meet Anne of Green Gables, our third tourist attraction. Luckily for us, there weren’t many visitors that day and she was able to personally fill us in on all the latest town gossip.
On our last day, we visited our mother’s best childhood friend. who is living with her son and family just outside Charlottetown. Our mother passed away when we were very young, and “Auntie Jean” has been a precious source of their childhood tales. It was such a thrill to see her again.
Later on that Sunday after the morning service at St Martin’s-in-the-Woods, we visited with Allen’s charming sister Lillian, the family historian who knew our exact location in the Hanington family tree!
And just down the lane from the church, off Hanington Street, was our grandmother’s summer cottage. Our grandfather, Canon Lindsay, would fill in as their pastor from time to time over the summers and several people at church that morning remembered him fondly.
Finally, as we drove down the driveway to visit with Allen and his wife Willa, there they were sitting on the porch swing waiting to welcome us into their home. The afternoon flew by with lemonade and homemade treats and eventually we bid farewell to our cousins with heartfelt promises to keep in touch.
PS The August 2015 family newsletter, the Hanington Herald, just arrived by mail! Included in the comments from the President’s Desk (that would be our cousin Allen!), it says: “We just experienced a lovely visit from the Anglin sisters; Lucy (Montreal) and Margaret (Ottawa) who were visiting in the area and attended morning service at St Martin’s-in-the-Woods Anglican Church on Sunday, July 5th 2015. We had a very nice visit on Sunday afternoon. They are descendents of Daniel Hanington.”
Gertrude Thorpe Davidson (Mrs. James P. Hanington) – 1852-1950
The local newspaper in Saint John, New Brunswick, hit the jackpot when they interviewed 96-year old Mrs. James Peter Hanington in July 1948. “”I always said I would not be old till I was 90’ said the charming silver-haired lady, with the sparkling dark eyes who was recalling her girlhood days in Saint John”. From a remarkable retentive memory, Mrs. Hanington described events of many decades ago as though they were only yesterday, but was fully aware of and concerned about today’s issues.
One of her fondest memories included waltzing on skates to a live band with a gong sounding every half hour signalling the skaters to reverse direction. She also recalled attending not-so-very interesting lectures at the Mechanics’ Institute with her girlfriends enabling them to meet the boys at those gatherings.
Entertaining was done in the home and was a simple matter due to the availability of affordable domestic help. A cook’s wages were only $6 a month! The great expanse of her memories included a small playmate telling her of Lincoln’s death, the street lamplighter with his ladder going from lamp to lamp and the thrill of her first ride on a passenger train from Moncton to Saint John.
Gertrude Davidson (my great grandmother), born in Saint John, NB, in April 1852, was the daughter of William and Mary Ann (Thorpe) Davidson. Her father was a prominent lumber merchant and the grandson of the first settler on the Miramichi, who came out from Scotland at the age of 20. Gertrude’s earliest memories of her native city of Saint John were centered about the Davidson home at 98 Germain Street, the fine brick building her father erected for his family and to which she moved at the age of five.
Her father had been confident when the Great Fire of 1877 was at its height that the slate roof and brick walls of his home would be ample protection. He was wrong.
When forced to leave, her father had locked the door to keep out the thieves. But fire proved a more thorough villain and all treasures were lost.
Gertrude saw the spire of Trinity Church fall that terrible day and was very anxious about the safety of the people. However, blessed with a wonderful sense of humour, Gertrude commented on the strange attire of the people who attended a church service in the Victoria rink after the fire. They had obviously escaped without their Sunday best!
As much as she loved Saint John, she moved her family to Montreal in 1890, when her husband, a successful local pharmacist, decided to go to McGill University Medical School at the age of 44. Her seventh daughter (my grandmother) was born in Montreal in 1895, when Gertrude was already 42 years old. While in Montreal, she raised her family, supported her husband’s new medical career, entertained frequently in her home and was an active member of St. John the Evangelist Church. She was very well respected in the community and enjoyed a large circle of friends.
During her long life, Gertrude had had her full share of illnesses and ailments but her knitting needles were always busy…and without the need of eyeglasses! Perhaps being married to a Pharmacist turned Doctor had its fringe benefits!
 The Evening Times-Globe, Saint John, New Brunswick – July 7, 1948.
 The Evening Times-Globe, Saint John, New Brunswick – July 7, 1948.
 The Evening Times-Globe, Saint John, New Brunswick – July 7, 1948
James Peters Hanington (my great-grandfather), and his older brother, Thomas, could make emulsions, ointments, pills or potions for just about anything that ailed you. They were partners in “Hanington Bros., Chemists” in Saint John, New Brunswick. Today, they would be better known as pharmacists. According to several testimonials in the 1884 Almanac and Receipt (recipes) Book, they were extremely helpful in alleviating all kinds of their customers’ health problems. Here’s an example:
Dear Sirs, Gondola Point, Clifton, Kings Co. 1878
Having been troubled for years with pains in my side and severe cough, I was tempted to try a bottle of your “JPH Cough Mixture”, and also a bottle of your “Penetrating Liniment”. I found immediate relief. I have used two more bottles since, and am now perfectly well. Returning you my sincere thanks for your cheap and valuable medicine.
Florence D. McCarthy
In 1890, the partnership was dissolved. Thomas became the local Postmaster and James moved his pregnant wife and four daughters to Montreal, Quebec, where he was enrolled in Medical School at McGill University. He was one of few of his eleven siblings to leave the province, where his grandfather was known as the first English speaking settler and founder of Shediac, New Brunswick.
The first family home in Montreal, Quebec, was at 278 St. Urbain Street. The family grew to include two more daughters, one born in 1891, shortly after their arrival in Montreal and another born four years later in 1895. Six girls! The last one born, when her mother was 43 years old, was my grandmother, Millicent. Could she have been the result of a special celebration once James had finally completed medical school at the ripe old age of 49?
James graduated from McGill Medical School in 1894, having completed his four year degree, which included First Class Honours in Medical Jurisprudence in his third year.
A few years later, he moved his family to 699 Sherbrooke Street, corner of Park Avenue, which was a larger home to accommodate his growing family as well as his Physician and Surgeon’s office. His office hours “8 to 10 a.m., 3 to 4 p.m., 7 to 8 p.m.” were even listed in the directory! He was a prominent doctor in Montreal for several years.
Although he settled in Montreal, he did, however, keep a lovely old home in Shediac, New Brunswick, called “Burn Thorpe” where his family would gather in the summers and meet up with their cousins.
 Hanington Bros’. ALMANAC and RECEIPT BOOK, 1884, Published by Hanington Bros., Chemists, Saint John, NB
“Just open the window, Dan, and they’ll hear you clear to Fredericton!” Daniel Hanington was nicknamed “Roaring Dan” by his fellow politicians in Moncton, because he had such a deep, booming voice. Although he thought of himself as a farmer, Daniel’s greatest interest was really politics.
Daniel was elected to the Legislative Assembly as Member for Westmoreland County (south eastern part of New Brunswick) in 1834. He served in either the Lower or Upper House until he died 55 years later, spanning the terms of 12 Lieutenant Governors.  According to the Saint John DAILY SUN, he “was a courteous, genial gentleman of the old school, respected by all who knew him… His election to the presidency of the Legislative Council in February, 1883, was a fitting crown to a long and successful political career, and he brought to the performance of the duties of this office an amount of political experience and a familiarity with public affairs in which he was absolutely without a rival among provincial public men.” 
Daniel was born to William Hanington and Mary Darby (the first English settlers in Shediac, New Brunswick) in 1804, and was educated at the Sackville Grammar School. He actually was a farmer as well as comptroller of customs at the port of Shediac, New Brunswick, for more than forty years. He retired from that post in 1880, at the age of 76.
His wife, Margaret Ann Peters (1811-1887), was the daughter of William Peters and Charlotte Haines, both having arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick, as youngsters with their families along with several other Empire Loyalists in 1783. Charlotte came with an aunt and uncle and never saw her parents again. She lost her little handmade slipper in the mud when she disembarked and the remaining slipper is in the Museum in Saint John.
When their children were growing up, Daniel refused two departmental offers, because the duties of the office would compel him to be away from home much of the time. He preferred the country life, and to oversee the education and training of his children. Indeed, they raised a truly remarkable family. All nine sons were first-class businessmen, including another successful politician like himself, a lumber merchant, a broker, a rector, a barrister, a chemist and druggist (my great great grandfather – James Peters Hanington), a civil engineer, a chief surgeon and a comptroller of customs. It was also noted that the three daughters had also “done well”, which I am guessing in those days meant they married men with family money and lucrative careers!
In 1881, Daniel and Margaret Ann celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary, with nine of their twelve children (one son died as an infant). At that time, the grand total of their children and their immediate families came to 73 people and over half of them were at the party!
Daniel Hanington and his wife, Margaret Ann Peters
 as told by Mary Thorpe Lindsay Kerr (his great grand-daughter).
 The Canadian Biographical Dictionary 1881. Lieut-Col. Hon. Daniel Hanington, M.L.C., Shediac, NB
 DAILY SUN, Saint John, New Brunswick – newspaper
The property was described as “a commodious estate upon the outskirts of the thriving town of Halifax, in the Colony of Nova Scotia”. Imagine William’s surprise to arrive in Halifax to discover that “outskirts” meant a 200-mile hike through thick forest and deep snow!
My great-great-great grandfather, William Hanington, was born in London, England, in 1759. He was the son of a fish dealer, trained as an apprentice to the Fishmonger’s Company and became a freeman in 1782. In 1784, this adventurous young man purchased land in Nova Scotia from an army officer, Joseph Williams, who had been given a 5,000 acre grant as a reward for services.
After the initial shock upon arrival, he and his friend, Mr. Roberts, found an Indian guide, loaded all their worldly belongings onto a hand sled, trudged through the snow, slept in the open and finally arrived in bitterly cold Shediac in March 1785. Mr. Roberts was so discouraged that he immediately returned to Halifax and sailed back to England on the first available ship!
William, however, was made of sturdier stuff and was delighted with it all. There was a good size stream flowing into the bay and he had never seen such giant trees! He was astute enough to see the lucrative possibilities for trade in lumber, fish, and furs.
Seven years after his arrival, at the age of 33, he hired a couple of Indian guides to paddle a canoe over to Ile St. Jean (now known as Prince Edward Island) where he heard there were other English settlers. While riding along in an oxcart through St. Eleanor’s (now known as Summerside), he spotted a young lady (age 18) named Mary Darby, feeding chickens in her father’s yard. It was love at first sight, he proposed to her on the spot and she accepted. They married and paddled back to Shediac where they raised a large family of 13 children. Three years later, missing the companionship of another woman, she persuaded her sister Elizabeth and husband John Welling to come over from Ile St. Jean and settle on their land – becoming the second English family in Shediac.
Within the next five years, William had eight families on his property of about one hundred acres of cleared land. He opened a general store and dealt in fish, fur and lumber. The furs and timber he shipped to England and the fish to Halifax and the West Indies. He imported English goods from Halifax and West Indies products, mainly sugar, molasses and rum from St. Pierre. He also bartered with the friendly Indians for furs and helped them clear land. Before long, a considerable village clustered about the Hanington Store – including a post office and a tavern. William remained the leading light of the community and acted as the Collector of Customs of the port, supervisor of roads and as Justice of the Quorum (magistrate) in which capacity he married many couples. To top it all off, in 1800, just fifteen years after his arrival from England, this remarkable young man opened a shipyard at Cocagne and built several vessels there.
Until 1823, there was no church, and William being a religious man, conducted service in his home every Sunday. So William donated land and lumber, and oversaw the completion of St Martin-in-the-Wood, the first Protestant church. In 1838, age 79, it only seemed fitting that William was buried in the cemetery there in the shadow of the church he founded. A huge memorial of native freestone, complete with a secret compartment, still stands.
On this 259th anniversary of the Acadian deportation, those researching their Acadian heritage might find the research guide, Acadians of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland of interest. It consists of Acadian Parish Registers under the French and British regimes in addition to the modern-day period under Confederation.
2014 Acadian Congress
The Acadian Congress takes place August 8 to 24, 2014. The map below indicates the areas where many of the Congress activities will take place.
“Then uprose their commander, and spake from the steps of the altar. Holding aloft in his hands, with its seals, the royal commission. “You are convened this day,” he said, “by his Majesty’s orders… Painful the task is I do, which to you I know must be grievous. Yet must I bow and obey, and deliver the will of our monarch; Namely, that all your lands, and dwellings, and cattle of all kinds, forfeited be to the crown; and that you yourselves from this province be transported to other lands. God grant you may dwell there. Ever as faithful subjects, a happy and peaceable people! “
“Prisoners, now I declare you; for such is his Majesty’s pleasure!”
Silent a moment they stood in speechless wonder, and then arose louder and ever louder a wail of sorrow and anger. “
Source: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Évangélineand other selected poems– Penguin Books, 1988.