Spirits to Sustain Us, Acorns to Restore Us

We are living in strange times. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to re-consider our values and has sent many in search of ‘the good life.’ We are looking for ways to live better, to live healthier, and to live longer. This is hardly a new preoccupation for human contemplation and experimentation.

Loyalist Borderlands on Campobello Island: The Ordeal of Gillam Butler, Part Two

To fully grasp the kind of place that Gillam Butler lived, it is useful to imagine New Brunswick’s southwesterly edge, including the Fundy Isles, as a kind of loyalist borderland. The fishing outports of mainland Charlotte County, Grand Manan, Deer and Campobello islands have long been sites to congregate in Indigenous trading networks, transatlantic commerce, and European imperial warfare.

Radical German Loyalism in the American Revolution

It is terribly easy for scholars to ‘miss the forest for the trees.’ About a month ago, I emerged from my den of research to give a biographical presentation about Christopher Sauer III. At the end of my talk, I was caught off guard by an obvious, down-to-earth question. “Why,” my sensible classmate asked me, “was a German so loyal to the British cause in the American Revolution?”

Named in Freedom: Children in the Book of Negroes

Often, we can only guess at what children of the past experienced in their young lives as it was not usual for them create documents of their own.  This was poignantly true for the children of the African Diaspora during the eighteenth century.  A record as basic as a name, however, can offer a way into an historical culture.

Revolutionary Palaeography

There has been a surge of interest in historical handwriting in the past month as people volunteer their time to help institutions with crowd-sourced transcription projects such as Transcribe from the Nova Scotia Archives and the volunteer initiative from the

Geo-Historical Sleuthing: New Jersey Edition

How do you go about locating where a person lived 240 years ago in a place you’ve never been?  This was my situation when I started researching New Brunswick loyalist, Gasper Maybee, who was originally from Bergen County, New Jersey.  Through using a series of modern and historical maps, first-hand accounts, and some very helpful local expertise, I was able to pinpoint the area where he grew up and inherited land.

A Tree Grows in Planter Nova Scotia

First brought to Nova Scotia as a young shoot in 1786, the “Bishop Pear Tree” still stands—gnarled but solid—near the edge of the Ken-Wo Golf Club in New Minas, Nova Scotia.  The young tree was carried from Connecticut by Peter Bishop Jr. returning with his new wife to Nova Scotia, two hundred and thirty-four years ago.

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