Southampton land grant

“Know Ye that we of Special Grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion, have given and granted, and by these Presents, for us, our Heirs, and Successors, do give and grant unto:

William Pipes, the younger; Johnathan Pipes; James Metcalfe; George Boss; Francis Boss; William Brown; John Harrison, the younger; Matthew Fenwick; Thomas Harrison; John Atkinson; Thomas Lumley; Luke Harrison; Matthew Lodge; James Brown; Samuel Freeman, the elder; John Terris; Thomas Coates – each and every one of them a tract of land containing five hundred acres situated lying and being on the River Maccan founded according to the Annexed Plan and containing the whole ten thousand acres of land.” This was the Southampton Land Grant, initially surveyed February 20, 1784 and not distributed until February 15, 1785. The grant extended between what it now Athol and East Southampton.

The grantees all hailed from Yorkshire, England and came over to Nova Scotia by invitation from the Canadian Government. Following the Expulsion of the Acadians (1755) there was plenty of land, both cleared and uncleared, available for settlers throughout Nova Scotia. As the petition states, each immigrant was given a 500-acre lot on which to farm and build a house.

Historical records indicate that the Yorkshire Migration began in 1744 when several ships left Hull, England for North America. The ship “Albion” sailed to Fort Cumberland from England, carrying the first Yorkshire settlers to come to this area. Many names found on the Southampton petition were also indicated on the “Albion” passenger list: Thomas Lumley and his family obtained lot number eight while Thomas Harrison, a tailor by trade, drew lot number twelve. Rumour has it that the rest of the Harrison family made the same crossing on a lumber vessel and eventually landed at Barronsfield, near River Hebert.

There were several land transactions made between land owners within the first few years that the Grant was issued. Matthew Lodge, a house carpenter from England, hoped to become a wealthy land owner in Nova Scotia. Between the years of 1785 and 1804, Mr. Lodge made five land transactions, including the sale of his land grant number six, which he had originally obtained in 1785. Many grantees did not even reach Southampton to claim their land. One such owner, William Brown, sold his land grant number fifteen to Matthew Lodge after he (Mr. Brown) had established himself on Cape Breton Island.

Two previous articles within The Citizen have featured houses that are located on lands that once belonged to the Southampton Land Grant: the Blenkhorn Homestead (NO.9) and the Moses Harrison House (NO.12). These particular houses were doubt built twenty years following the issuing of this Grant.

It has been part of my job as Heritage researcher this summer, to study the houses involved with the Original Grant. The end results have been beneficial for both me personally as well as the County and I have enjoyed the research very much.

(Source: The Citizen, Saturday, July 25, 1992, Page 3 – A Touch of Cumberland History – Southampton land grant)