Nova Scotia Archives

Footprints in the Sand

Pre‐1867 Government Records for Sable Island


The Public Works and Services series of the Treasury Papers (RG 31) consists of records outlining the interests and responsibilities of the Public Works and Services Board of the Provincial Government. The series has been broken down into several subject categories, including one for Sable Island:

The Provincial Government, through the Board of Works and The Commissioners for the Settling of Isle Sable, took great interest in Sable Island and in safeguarding its potential trade and investment. These records include accounts of voyages to and from the Island, shipwrecks on its shore, the lighthouses, settlement and settlers, and descriptions of the Island and its ecology. Records demonstrate several ways the Government generated revenue from the Island, including the salvage of shipwrecks (appeals from shipwrecked crews are also included), and the sale of such products as oil, skins, cranberries and horses. Records include accounts of settlers and officials on Sable Island (Edward and William Hodgson), agreements between the Commissioners and ships’ captains or Masters (Joseph Darby, William Cook), receipts and lists of supplies and services, wages for labourers, and funds set aside for the support of the settlement.

see full series description