A HISTORY OF THE TRECOTHIC LAND (May 3/02)

“As you can tell I’ve had occasion to examine the Trecothic/Trecothick land in Horton Township in some detail,” Kentville lawyer Geoffrey Muttart said in a recent letter commenting on my April 12 column.

Mr. Muttart’s letter included his findings at the Registry of Deeds on the Trecothic land. This is a detailed history of various transactions involving the Trecothic property from 1767 to 1966. Horton Township is one of two original divisions of land in this area; and in tracing ownership of a piece of it through two centuries, Mr. Muttart sheds some interesting light on local history.

“In 1767, Joseph Gray mortgaged to Barlow Trecothic 400 acres of upland in Horton Township… together with other lands,” Muttart writes at the beginning of his account. “I believe some of the other lands were at Windsor.”

In 1774, Muttart continues, Gray mortgaged to Trecothick “74 Third Division Farm Lots in Horton Township as collateral for a debt.” Both mortgages must have been foreclosed, Muttart says, explaining how Trecothick obtained ownership of land in the Horton Township. Joseph Gray is undoubtedly the Joseph Gerrish Gray mentioned in Eaton’s Kings County history. Eaton writes that Gray is one of the “Halifax men” who had “influence with the government” and was given free land in Horton.

Continuing the account, Muttart said that in 1774 the four spinster daughters of the deceased James Trecothic conveyed land at Windsor and “all other lands tenements and hereditaments in Nova Scotia” to Baronet Barlow Trecothic, Sir Archibald Edmonstone, Neil Benjamin Edmonstone and Rev. John Hodgson. Mr. Muttart said he could find nothing in the Registry that show how James Trecothic obtained land in Kings County. Further, he says that Baronet Trecothic is not the same Barlow Trecothic who dealt with Joseph Gray.

On the deaths of Baronet Trecothic in 1862, Hodgson in 1870 and Sir Archibald Edmonstone in 1871, Neil Benjamin Edmonstone became sole owner of the Trecothic land. On his death in 1872 the property passed to his wife. In turn, she conveyed the property to Thomas Bolton, Rev. Charles Welland Edmonstone, George Harris Hodgson and Harry Wilmot Lee. In yet another twist in this convoluted record of land transactions, these gentlemen in turn sold a farm in Wolfville and apparently the remainder of the Trecothic land in Kings and the Windsor area to John Wesley Elderkin and James Lovett Bishop in 1877.

The story becomes even more complicated and I’ll let Mr. Muttart tell it: “Third Division farm lots in Horton Township appear to have been treated as part of the conveyance to Elderkin and Bishop; in 1885 they conveyed four such lots… on Gaspereau Lake plus three others to Brenton H. Dodge (a merchant from Kentville who was active in the timber trade). Elderkin and Bishop also conveyed what was described as Trecothic land in Horton Township to a land surveyor… Archibald Bishop.”

By 1901 most of the Trecothic lands that weren’t farms were owned by the Nova Scotia Electric Light Co. Ltd (later changed to the Nova Scotia Light and Power Company and eventually NS Power Inc). This company, which was formed in 1899 to generate hydroelectricity and carry on a general lumbering, also acquired the lumbering business of S. P. Benjamin Ltd. at White Rock and about 30,000 acres of land in the west part of Horton Township and Lunenburg County.

In 1952, NS Power sold the Trecothic lands to Minas Basin Pulp and Power Co. Ltd., who in turn conveyed the land to Scott Paper Co. in 1966.

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