History of the New England Planters
The New England Planters were settlers from the New England colonies (which are 6 states in the northeastern corner of the United States: Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont). After the Acadian Expulsion in 1755, the lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia, Charles Lawrence, sent invitations to these people to populate the lands left by the French with British settlers.
Planters were the first group of English immigrants in Canada that did not descend from Great Britain. Out of 8000 who took the offer for land between 1759 and 1768, most of the Planters were fishermen or farmers. The farmers tended to settle in areas with prosperous land (such as Annapolis Valley and southern parts of New Brunswick, which at the time were a part of Nova Scotia). The fishermen chose to populate areas in the South Shore of Nova Scotia mainly because they were already fishing in our waters from New England. Both the farmers and fishermen were given 1000 acres of land with no rent for the first 10 years of settlement.
In 1760, these settlers started to create a community that was called “Barrington Township” by the lieutenant governor, Charles Lawrence. Some of the ones granted land in the Barrington Township were: Archelaus Smith, Joshua Nickerson, Judah Crowell, Heman Kenney, and Warren Anson Kendrick, which are now the ancestors of many of the inhabitants in this area.
One of the greatest creations the 50 Planter families brought to the Barrington Township was “The Old Meeting House”, which is the oldest non-conformist house of worship in the whole country of Canada. This building has survived from the year 1765 to the present day and is currently being used as a museum.
Lifestyle of the Planters
Most of the Planters worked as either farmers or fishermen. The more educated went on to careers in medicine. Other occupations included traders and those who worked at mills and warehouses, and builders to help the Barrington Township thrive. Women were not usually workers, although they did occasionally work on the farms and always prepared food, spun wool, made clothing, maintained the household and looked after their large families.
The Planter families were not wealthy and wore simple clothing. Their fabric was mostly linen, sometimes wool or cotton, but rarely did they use silk.
Woman’s clothing was designed to be modified during their pregnancy. The arms of the dress were the only fitted part, while the front was pinned/tied and the waist could be sized. Other then Sundays, the women wore woolseys for both a petticoat and apron; and a loose jacket worn like a bedgown. Sundays, they wore their most expensive materials, such as silk calicoes with long ruffles.
The men, except for Sundays, wore home-made checkered shirts and during the winter season, they wore linsey-woolsey shirts, breeches, stockings and shoes. When summer came along, they wore long trousers that came down around to their feet. When Sundays arrived, they wore their finest cloth or linen and ruffled shirts.
“Planter” refers to a colonist who took up land in new settlements; this term was used during the Elizabethan Era. It is also used to describe people recruited by public and/or private agencies to occupy areas under the control of the British Empire.
New England Planters were also referred to as “Pre-Loyalists”, because they came from the same area as the Loyalists.
The American Revolution
The Planters decided during the American Revolution to remain neutral due to a bad economy and geographic isolation. After the 13 colonies won the war, the ones who remained loyal to Great Britain (Loyalists) moved to land under British command. A lot of the Loyalists moved to Nova Scotia and affected the Planter influence on the area.
Did you know…
Did you know that two Canadian Prime Ministers, Sir Charles Tupper and Sir Robert Borden were of Planter descent?
Did you know that there were 13 original townships in Charles Lawrence’s plan for Nova Scotia? They are: Amherst, Annapolis, Barrington, Cornwallis, Cumberland, Falmouth, Granville, Horton, Liverpool, Onslow, Sackville, Tinmouth, and Yarmouth.
Did you know that the Planters are descendants from the Pilgrims that sailed on the Mayflower?
Did you know that during summer months, both the Planter women and men did not wear stockings or shoes? They just walked around barefoot.
Some of the Planter Names:
Adams, Albro, Atwood, Atkinson, Baker, Banks, Barss, Borden, Cahoon, Chipman, Clark, Clements, Coffin, Covel, Crosby, Crowell, Denison, Deschamps, Doane, Folger, Gardner, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harding, Hicks, Homer, Hopkins, Katzmann, Kendrick, Kenney, King, Knowels, Longley, McGray, McNutt, Morris, Newell, Nickerson, Osborne, Pinkham, Porter, Rand, Reynolds, Sargent, Saunders, Sears, Smith, Snow, Swain, Vinson, Walker, West, Wilmot, Wilson, Wood, Worthen