When I wrote about the early history of this area recently I expected readers to point out that Kings County once was several times larger than it is now. In other words, my early glimpses of Kings County were actually sketches of what now are several counties.
Kings County was one of the original five divisions of Nova Scotia and it sprawled along the Valley floor west to Annapolis County, also one of the original divisions; the county then went easterly to take in what is now Hants County, and across Minas Basin to take in Parrsboro. Lunenburg County, another original division, was the border on the south side, and Halifax County, also an original divison, was the other border.
The boundaries of Kings, Halifax, Lunenburg, Cumberland and Annapolis County were set circa 1759. In August of 1759, the Governor and Council of Nova Scotia decided that calling one of the five areas Kings County would express loyalty to King George. One of the maps I have shows the province divided into the five divisions with Kings extending north across the Bay of Fundy, or more properly, across Minas Channel.
Kings County would remain giant-size for just over two decades. In 1871 the residents of the most easterly area of Kings County asked the government to create a separate county; in their petition to government, the residents said in effect that the shiretown of Kings was too distant for them to conduct municipal business, pay taxes, etc. Besides, it was inconvenient having to cross the Avon River, the residents on its easterly side being at the mercy of the tides. A separate county was thus created, named it is believed after a county in England called South Hampton or Hampshire and abbreviated to Hants.
While Kings County was declared a county in 1759, its actual borders were rather nebulous and not clearly defined. It wasn’t until after Hants County was created from part of Kings County that the government made an effort to clearly define the lines that separated Kings from Hants and kings from Annapolis County. The township of Parrsboro was cut off from Kings County in 1840.
As one of the original divisions of the province, Annapolis County, like Kings, was also massive. As Kings went, so went Annapolis County. In 1833 the residents of Annapolis County petitioned the government to divide the area into two distinct districts. Eventually, the government complied, in 1837 dividing the area into Annapolis and Digby County.
Halifax County was eventually whittled away as well. In 1835, Halifax County was divided. In that year the counties of Colchester and Pictou were created out of sections of what had been Halifax County. The other original county was divided as well, Queens County created circa 1762 from part of Lunenburg County.