KINGS COUNTY ONCE KING-SIZED (January 30/98)

I mentioned in last week’s column on historical trivia that Kings County incorporated most of Hants County before 1871 and erroneously said it may have included parts of New Brunswick in its boundaries. The date was a typo (mine) and should have read 1781.

In history buff Leon Barron’s possession is a copy of a map showing the original size of Kings County. This map indicates that while Kings County didn’t reach into present day New Brunswick, it did extend across the Bay of Fundy to include part of what is now Cumberland County and also part of Colchester County; the original boundary of Kings County extended as far as Springhill.

There’s no doubt that Kings County was once king-sized. In fact Kings was one of the five original counties in Nova Scotia, which according to Barron’s map were laid out in 1759. The other original counties were Annapolis, Cumberland, Halifax and Lunenburg.

My memory didn’t serve me well at all when I wrote that Kings County may at one time have extended as far as New Brunswick. I was confusing this with the fact that Nova Scotia’s original grant included part of New Brunswick, what is now Prince Edward Island, the Gaspe and a portion of northern Maine. The grant by James 1 to Sir William Alexander in 1621 also included the full rights to all metals, minerals, mines, quarries, woods, marshes, waters and fisheries.

Imagine the furor if Nova Scotia should seek, through international courts, the return of its original territory. A ridiculous idea, of course, but such an action has been suggested, and not with tongue in cheek. A full page article that appeared in a provincial daily newspaper years ago argued that Nova Scotia actually might have a case.

Getting back to Kings County and the original five divisions of Nova Scotia, readers might be interested in knowing when other nearby counties were formed. Digby County, once part of the original Annapolis County, came into existence in 1837. Queens, Shelburne and Yarmouth Counties, once part of Lunenburg County, were created in 1762, 1784 and 1836 respectively.

For trivia nuts, here are the dates when other counties in the province were created: Colchester, Pictou, Inverness and Richmond, 1835; Antigonish, 1784; Guysborough, 1836; Victoria, 1851; Cape Breton, 1820.

More Oxymora

In reply to my request for oxymoron examples from readers, here are a few submissions: Flat busted, awful good, spendthrift, a dull roar, dry beer, student teacher, mobile home, random order, tight slacks, original copy, recorded live. Then there’s the classic Shakespeare oxymoron, “parting is such sweet sorrow.”

Boot Revisited

Author Douglas Eagles, Sarnia, writes to comment on the Boot Island columns (column 1, column 2) which ran last fall. Mr. Eagles spent some of his youth here and in 1977 he published a genealogical history of Long Island. This book, which has several references to Boot Island, is out of print but is available in the library at Acadia University.

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