This past August, I was fortunate enough to have my dad and youngest sister come for a visit. It really was a special treat since I don’t get to see them very often, and they have only ever been up to visit me a total of three times in the past twenty or so years. (South Dakota is a long way from Nova Scotia, after all.) Anyway, while they were here, we, of course, did some sight-seeing. One of the places we visited was Ross Farm Museum. This is a living heritage farm, where interpreters dress in period clothing and perform tasks that would have been part of everyday life back when the farm was established by Captain William Ross in 1816.
Captain Wiliam Ross was originally from Cork, Ireland and became a member of the 16th Regiment of Foot during the Napoleonic Wars. It was during the War of 1812 that Lieutenant Ross and his family moved to Coteau-du-Lac, Quebec. From there, he transferred to the Nova Scotia Fencibles and received a captaincy. The Nova Scotia Fencibles were under orders at that time for Halifax to be disbanded. The Earl of Dalhousie, Governor of Nova Scotia, persuaded Captain Ross to take charge of a group of 172 former soldiers (My story brain wonders if one of them could have been a banished Wickham?) with the purpose of clearing forest and establishing a settlement at Sherbrooke (now named New Ross) in Lunenburg County. The men were given land grants and three years of provisions for undertaking the task. Captain Ross received 800 acres, and it is on this land where you will find Ross Farm which is now part of the Nova Scotia Museum.
Below are some of the pictures that I took when visiting with my father in August as well as a couple from when my husband took me there for their Christmas in the Country in early December.
Sadly, Captain Ross never got to spend much time at Rosebank Cottage. One night, when trying to locate where a road from the settlement to Halifax should be made, he was caught in an autumn rainstorm and spent the night with only a soggy log for his pillow. This exposure to the elements caused him to become very ill, and eventually, he succumbed to a violent disease in the spring of 1822 at the age of 39, leaving behind his wife and six young children. The farm remained in the care of Captain Ross’s family and descendants until it was transferred to the Province of Nova Scotia in 1970.
A couple of things before you go:
First, if you would like to see more pictures of the farm, you can find them here on the Ross Farm Museum website.If you like pictures as much as I do, I would recommend taking a look since their pictures are better than mine and span the seasons.
Second, one of the sources that I read while trying to refresh my memory about the story the wagon driver told us as we toured the farm can be found here. It is called a History of the County of Lunenburg and was published in 1895. I found this source particularly enjoyable since it was written so close to when the events took place.