Nova Scotia Archives

African Nova Scotians

in the Age of Slavery and Abolition


Sign from the Stag Inn, Preston

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This sign welcomed visitors to the Stag Inn for many years. The inn was built between about 1835 and 1840. Ex-army captain Captain William Chearnley wrote the verse and had the sign made for the first owner, George Dear. Chearnley was an enthusiastic hunter and sports fisherman. His regiment had been stationed at Halifax; it left in 1833 but Chearnley remained until his death in 1871.

The inn's second owner was William Dear, who changed the name on the sign to his own. Frederick Cozzens visited the inn on a June day during the late 1850s. He described it as a "little, weather-beaten house", with strawberry banks in bloom and surrounded by a rocky lawn "rescued by the labor of a quarter century." Cozzens and his local travelling companion changed their horse for William Dear's pony and trap, in order to do a day's sightseeing to Chezzetcook about 11 miles away. Afterward, "A savory odor of frying bacon and eggs stole forth from the door as we sat, in the calm summer air, upon the stone fence." (Frederic S. Cozzens, Acadia; or, A Month With The Blue Noses (New York, 1859)

The sign was acquired by the Nova Scotia Museum in 1936.

Date: [1840s or 1850s]

Credit: History Collection, Nova Scotia Museum

Reference no.: Nova Scotia Museum acc. no. 34-211