“TRECOTHIC” – THE SEARCH FOR A MYSTERY WORD (April 12/02)

The title of the section – “The Trecothic Property – was intriguing. I found it in W. C. Milner’s book, The Basin of Minas and its Early Settlers, and the word “trecothic” puzzled me; what did it mean?

According to the title page, Milner’s history ran as a series in the old Wolfville newspaper, The Acadian, before being bound up in book form. This is one of the most interesting histories I’ve ever come across and I’d like to know more about the author. I read the book decades ago at the library and attempts to purchase a copy have been unsuccessful.

Anyway, back to that section with the intriguing heading about the Trecothic property. “The Trecothic property has quite an interesting history,” Milner wrote. “In 1759, four years after the expulsion of the Acadians, the government issued a grant of the township of Horton, 100,000 acres, extending from the Pisiquid to the Habitant River.”

This massive grant was surrendered. Milner said, and a second grant was issued in 1761 “over practically the same territory.” This apparently was the Horton township, which was subdivided into lots and settled by Planters.

I should explain here that I had photocopied sections of Milner’s book and any further explanation of the “Trecothic Property” was not in them. I assumed at first that Trecothic was a geological term or had some connection with paleontological eras – a silly assumption as I later discovered. I couldn’t find the word in the Oxford Dictionary or the encyclopaedia; and as is becoming more common today when looking for information, I then went to Internet search engines.

I believe it’s safe to state that nowadays anything you want to know has been posted by someone on the Internet. I can’t say that when I entered “Trecothic” in the Ask Jeeves search engine that I immediately had an explanation for the word. But by a roundabout route Ask Jeeves eventually lead me to information that explained Trecothic and added to my historical knowledge of this area.

When I posted Trecothic on Jeeves the Trecothic Creek and Windsor Railway of Hants County came up. I inquired at this site and an immediate reply from Glenn Wallis lead me in another direction, a historical search. Mr. Wallis wrote that Trecothic Creek was “named after a military person and landowner.”

I can’t tell you how many historical websites I looked at and how many links I followed before I found that someone named Trecothic had received the original Horton township grant, or what became the grant, of some 100,000 acres in 1759. You won’t find mention of Trecothic in your history books. In his Kings County history, for example, A. W. H. Eaton gives detail after detail on the settlement of local townships but fails to mention that one Trecothic held the original grant.

On the Internet, however, an obscure New England site gives details on the settlement of the Horton township, confirming that a gentleman named Trecothic did indeed exist. Here are two quotes from the site regarding division of land in the Horton township: “In 1873, Medeline Eleanor Edmonstone, heiress to the Trecothic estate, conveyed to Thomas Bolton and others the property she inherited.” And: “In 1774 Joseph Gray mortgaged 74 lots to Barlow Trecothic for 770 pounds, nine shillings. Mr. Foster mortgaged his lots to Mr. Trecothic, who thereby became their owner.”

None of this tells us who Trecothic was but I hope to have more on him in a future column.

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