History buffs and trivia nuts are well aware that Kings County was one of the five original divisions of Nova Scotia. In other words, there were only five counties at one time; the other original counties were Annapolis, Cumberland, Halifax and Lunenburg.
If you aren’t aware of the five original counties, you may find it confusing when reading some early historical records. Recently a friend was reading what he thought was a book on the early history of Hants County and of Windsor in particular. He found a surprising number of references to Kings County areas – the Canard and Cornwallis River district, for example. He was bewildered until I mentioned the early division of Nova Scotia and that Hants probably didn’t exist as a separate entity in the period the history discussed.
The book the friend was reading, Henry Yould Hinds’ 1889 work on Windsor, contains a number of references to Kings County in the Acadian period. These references would be confusing if the reader wasn’t aware that Kings County was immense at one time and included a great portion of what is now Hants County.
Keep the original five counties in mind when reading historical accounts in any period before the 18th century. The original five counties were split up beginning in 1762 when Queens County, once part of Lunenburg, was set up as a separate district. Digby County, once part of Annapolis County, came into existence in 1837; Yarmouth and Shelburne Counties, also once part of Lunenburg County, were formed in 1836 and 1784 respectively.
History buffs interested in the Annapolis Valley should keep the above dates in mind when reading local histories of Kings and Hants as well, especially the historian’s bible, Eaton’s Kings County history. Eaton’s magnificent work was first published in 1910; following are other historical books and papers with their publication dates.
A History and Geography of Kings County, M. G. Ferguson and M. McLellan, 1967. Place-Names of Kings County, Watson Kirkconnell, 1971. Bits of History of Canning, I. Cox, 1940.
Genealogical History of Long Island (North Grand Pre), Kings County, Nova Scotia, Douglas E. Eagles, 1997. A History of Horton Township, Kings County, 1975.
A History of Prospect in the County of Kings, Nova Scotia, Olive H. Lloyd, 1975. A History of Bishopsville, Kings County, Nova Scotia, 1710-1974, A. Phillips, 1974. A History of Greenwich, Edythe Quinn, 1968.
Historical Sketch of Church of St. John, 1810-1960, and the Parish of Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, 1760-1960, J. E. Rand, 1960. Grist from the Mills: A History of Sheffield Mills, Women’s Institute of Nova Scotia, 1967. The Port Remembers: The History of Port Williams, 1976.
Henry Yould Hind’s book, while it claims to be a Windsor history, is a “must read” for anyone interested in Kings County history and the period when Kings included Hants County. You should look upon Hind’s book as a companion piece to Eaton.
I haven’t seen Hind’s book in local stores but it is available from the West Hants Historical Society. Also available from the Society are histories of communities, Hantsport and Falmouth, for example, that are near or on the Kings/Hants border.