ON THE ‘NET – NOVA SCOTIA HISTORICAL TRIVIA (January 23/98)

In this column a year ago I mentioned the reams of Nova Scotia history to be found on the Internet. Most of this information is posted on the ‘net by people who want to share their interest in history with others. One such person is retired Canning school teacher, Ivan Smith. Mr. Smith has written volumes about local history and since I first mentioned his efforts a year ago, he has continued researching and posting his finds on the Internet.

In addition to supplying ‘net addicts with a wealth of information – about such things as the history of Valley telephone companies and electric utilities, for example – Mr. Smith has also provided links (connections) to other historical sources. I checked Mr. Smith’s ‘net site recently and discovered a link called Nova Scotia Historic Notes which was compiled by Tourism Nova Scotia. This site contains mostly what I call historic trivia; in other words, interesting (and sometimes odd) tidbits from our past about events having no great impact on the course of history.

Here’s one example: The first North American documented sighting of a UFO occurred in New Minas on October 12, 1786.

The Historic Notes site and other links from Ivan Smith’s history page contain other trivia as entertaining and as curious as this old UFO report. For readers not on the Internet, here’s some of the more interesting stuff that I found.

Until 1841 anyone committing a criminal offense in Nova Scotia could have their ears cut off.

At one time Kings County was larger than it is today and incorporated much of Hants County (and may have extended across the Bay of Fundy to parts of New Brunswick, if my memory of old-time history serves me). This was the case until June 17, 1871, when Hants County was created. Hants County, reads the ‘net site, is a “curious redundancy.” Hants is short for “Hampshire” and “shire” is the equivalent of county.

New Zealand’s Scottish culture was established by Nova Scotia’s Rev. Norman McLeod with 200 families in 1851 at Waipu. (An interesting bit of ‘net trivia about Nova Scotia’s connection with New Zealand, but it contains a slight inaccuracy. McLeod was born in Scotland in 1780, emigrated to Pictou in 1817 and later lead his religious followers to New Zealand).

One of Canada’s first automobiles was manufactured at Hopewell, Nova Scotia, in 1898 and named “The Victorian.”

Royal Doulton’s famous dinner pattern, “Blossom Time,” depicts the famous May Blossoms of the Annapolis Valley. (Tourism Nova Scotia should add that the Blossom Time pattern was invented by a Kentville native, Robert Palmeter).

The opening of the Windsor Branch Railway took place on June 3, 1856, and ran from Windsor to Windsor Junction. This was the oldest constituent of the Dominion Atlantic Railway.

On June 2, 1398: The possible landing of Prince Henry Sinclair at Chedabucto Bay in Nova Scotia. (Sinclair is believed to have been the first European explorer to reach these shores, beating Columbus by almost 100 years).

The Micmacs were North America’s first native Americans to receive a European education at French schools from 1633 to 1653. A Micmac was the first native American in North America to return from Europe as a teacher.

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