Nova Scotia Archives

Township Records at the Nova Scotia Archives

Journal of Rev. John Seccombe

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Sharp-eyed Internet visitors will notice a problem with the dates in the Rev. Mr. Seccombe's diary — he cites both 1759 and 1761, sometimes with obvious erasures. We don't know who did this or why, but the correct year is 1761, as explained by C. Bruce Fergusson, in the Report of the Board of Trustees of the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, 1958, p. 18.

"This Journal was written not in 1759 but in 1761. Previously, however, the earlier date was accepted, and excerpts from the Journal purporting to be for the year 1759 were published in M.B. DesBrisay's History of the County of Lunenburg and in other publications. Actually the dates in the Journal have been changed in five places from 1761 to 1759; but not changed in two other cases, where the year is shown as 1761. Alterations have been made on pages 1, 2, 10, 16 and 26; but not on page 8, where "Monday 24 Augt 1761" may be seen, or on page 29, where "28 Decr 1761" may be read. The first entry in the Journal, under the heading "July 1759" is "30 Thursday"; but in 1759, the last Thursday in July was the 26th; in 1760 it was the 31st; and in 1761 is was the 30th.

In a pamphlet entitled "History and Genealogy of the Houghton Family", which was published at Halifax in 1896, it is stated that Capt. Timothy Houghton, his wife and family, left Boston, Mass., on July 30th, 1759, and arrived at Chester on August 4th, and that the Rev. Mr. Seccombe was with them. It is clear from Mr. Seccombe's Journal that the Houghton family and he did sail from Boston together, but the correct year was 1761, not 1759. Three children accompanied the Houghtons to Nova Scotia; their third child was born at Boston on March 13th, 1760. This fact alone makes the year 1759 impossible for the events recorded in Seccombe's Journal. So too does Mr. Seccombe's entry for October 26, describing how the King's accession was celebrated in Halifax — for the coronation occurred on September 22, 1761.

There were settlers at Chester before the Rev. Mr. Seccombe's arrival there, as is evident from his Journal. Settlement was commenced in the year 1760, when thirty families migrated from New England, according to Charles Morris, Surveyor General of Nova Scotia at that time."

Date: 30 July - 31 December 1761

Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 vol. 797C no. 5