In the recently published book “Gilbert Seaman Diary 1875-1885″ by the Amherst Township Historical Society, is an item recorded by Gilbert Seaman of Minudie, Cumb. Co., Nova Scotia. For reference see page 142 of the Diary.
In this item, Gilbert Seaman states that Edward Barron who later was a resident of Minudie, Cumb. Co., N.S. was formerly attached to General Wolfe’s army, who while at Levis awaiting his ascent to the Plains of Abraham and his attack on Quebec appointed Mr. Barron to a position in his army by a certificate under his signature. This certificate was for many years in the possession of the Seaman family.
This became known at the Archive Department in Ottawa, who said they were destitute of the signature of General Wolfe, their beggary was successful and so the Seaman family gave the certificate up to the Public Archives of Canada.
A descendant of Ensign Edward Barron, who purchased a copy of the “Gilbert Seaman Diary” on reading it through, saw this item about his ancestor and wrote to the National Archives of Canada about the certificate signed by General Wolfe and given to Ensign Edward Barron. Hibbert S. Baker, the descendant who wrote to the National Archives of Canada, received from them a photo copy of the certificate with General Wolfe’s signature.
The certificate given by General Wolfe to Ensign Edward Barron contains the following statements: – “By James Wolfe Esq.,” Colonel of the sixty seventh Regiment of Foot, Major General and Commander in Chief of his Majesty’s Forces, on the River St. Lawrence to Edward Barron, Gentleman.
By virtue of the Power and Authority to me given by his Majesty, I do hereby institute and appoint you to be Ensign in that company whereof (not legible) is Captain in the second Battalion of his Majesty’s sixtieth Regiment of Royal Americans, Whereof Jeffery Amherst Esq. is Colonel.
You are therefore carefully and diligently to discharge the duty of Ensign, by exercising and well disciplining both the inferior officers and soldiers of that Company, and you are to observe and follow such order and directions from time to time as you shall receive from his Majesty, myself, or any other superior officer according to the rules and discipline of war.
Given at Point Levi, this fourth day of Sept. 1759, the thirty-third year of our Sovereign Lord George the Second, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith & etc.
By Command of the General – James Wolfe.
I, Hervey Smyth, witness.
Entered in the Office of (name not legible) Esq., Commissary General of Witness.
Commissary of Masting at Quebec.
(Source: The Citizen, Saturday, January 7, 1989, Page Three – A Touch of Cumberland History – A story of historical interest in county)
Formal schooling was introduced into Acadia by Capuchin friars at La Have in 1633. Later on most of the education to be had in Acadian Settlements consisted of the instruction from the catechism by the parish priest on Sundays and feast days.
Not many buildings had been constructed for the purpose and the few existing schools were taught in churches, meeting houses and private homes. Mathar Byles Des Brisay in his History of the County of Lunenburg writes of the period as follows:
In the days when common schools such as are now established were unknown and when the education of the children of the province depended on a large extent upon the efforts of various religious bodies, there were to be found in different districts industrious and painstaking men and woman employed and devoted to providing education for the young.
Today the country side in Minudie is a quiet and serene setting of what once used to be a center of a thriving commercial agricultural and industrial enterprise. Yet so it was in the past, first as a busy and prosperous Acadian Village then, after the dark interval of conquest, expulsion and win, it prospered once again under the benevolent landlordship of Amos Seaman, the Grindstone King.
In the early 1840′s Amos Seaman built a school for his children and those of his tenants. Amos was a zealot where education was concerned, having lacked formal schooling himself. After their marriage his wife Jane taught him to read and write. All their sons were sent to college and their daughters to American finishing schools.
The Minudie school houses design resembles the typical, one room school house plan. The school room dimensions are about 24 x 28 ft. with a ten foot post. There are three windows each side and a single door in the end gable with one window on either side of it, a design which was to remain virtually unaltered for seventy years. The school sits between two churches which were also built by Seaman. The bells for both churches and schools were brought from Ireland in 1848. Records are not clear whether, at this time, either a new school house was built, or a bell tower, incorporating a glazed ventilation hatch was added to the original structure.
On the east side of the school is the United Church. It is said that after a meeting with Rev. Nathaniel Gunnison, founder of the Unitarian Church in Boston, Amos was so impressed that he became himself a Unitarian. The church that he built in the 1830′s was to be Unitarian but was intended to be used by all Protestant denominations that had need for it. A clause in Amos’ will stated that if it ever became the sole property of one denomination it was to revert to his estate.
To the west of the old school house stands the Catholic Church. When Amos first came to Minudie he stayed with an Acadian ferryman and his wife, who treated him with great kindness and encouraged him to attend church with them. So when in later years a new catholic church was required, Amos now a wealthy man, out of love for the Acadians and respect for their faith contributed a quarter of the cost of the building – a sum of 400 pounds.
Today the Seaman family cemetery is a reminder of Amos’ legendary past the Grindstone King who’s generosity and benevolence can still be felt and seen in the Minudie community. Perhaps Amos’s aspirations have come true, as his inscription tells of his dream to be remembered forever.
For further information about the municipal heritage program please contact Heather Harkness: Heritage Researcher at E.B. Fullerton Building, Upper Nappan, P.O. Box 428, Amherst, N.S. B4H 3Z5. Phone (902)667-2313 or Fax (902)667-1352
(Source: The Citizen, Saturday, August 2, 1997, – Cumberland County’s Built Heritage – King Seaman School Museum)