EAST COAST HERITAGE VIGNETTE – THE NEW BRUNSWICK FENIAN RAID OF 1866 – The Fenians were an Irish Republican organization based in the United States. Their mission was to pressure the U.K. into withdrawing its stronghold back in Ireland. So in April of 1866; directly after the U.S. Civil War, a plot was hatched by the Fenians to capture New Brunswick. About 1000 armed Fenians arrived in the Eastport – Calais area of Maine intending to invade Campobello Island. The British, wanting to end the threat, immediately sent a half dozen Warships and about 700 British Regulars into the area. In short, the Fenians seeing this display of British military strength, skedaddled from the area ending the threat to New Brunswick. This whole event led to New Brunswick joining Confederation shortly thereafter. And now you know …..
East Coast Slang
EAST COAST HERITAGE VIGNETTE – NOVA SCOTIA PRIVATEERING DURING THE WAR OF 1812 – In June of 1812; the Americans had declared War on England. This period in history greatly affected the East Coast as it put all of our shipping ventures at risk. Let me tell you about a schooner known as the “Liverpool Packet”. It was purchased(in 1811) by a Mr. Enos Collins of Halifax to serve the Nova Scotia Coastal Trade. It had been in service as a former slave runner out of Baltimore Md. It would then sail out of Liverpool, Nova Scotia.
When war broke out; the astute Enos received a “Letter of Marque” from the British Admiralty. This document would make the schooner a legal Pirate Ship. He then heavily armed the boat, crewed it with about 45 sailors and hired Joseph Barrs as it’s Captain. Mr. Barrs came from a seafaring family in Liverpool NS and was already experienced in Privateering. The Packet would lie in wait in the waters off the Coast of Cape Cod to capture ships and cargo destined for Boston or New York. These ships would be sailed to the Halifax harbour where the cargo would then be auctioned off and profits split between the Crew and Enos. The Packet would capture 30 ships before it was finally seized by the Americans and Barrs would be jailed in New Hampshire. The ship was kept in service by the Americans for a short period and would be recaptured by the British. The Packet found its way back to Enos and was refitted with a new captain at it’s helm.(Captain Barrs was still incarcerated) The mighty schooner would go on to capture about 20 more ships; before the War ended in 1814. The old Packet then resumed service as a coastal trader on the East Coast.
Mr. Barrs retired from privateering and settled his family in Kentville NS; where he lived a genteel lif until his demise in1824. Enos invested his profits from his privateering days very wisely. One venture was in banking that would later become the CIBC Bank. He purchased a huge estate; in south end Halifax, that he called Gorsebrook. This property is now the Saint Mary’s University Campus. He died in 1871 and is buried in the Camp Hill Cemetery in Halifax NS. Upon his death; he was reputedly the richest man in Canada! Not too bad for an old Pirate from Liverpool, NS. And now you know …
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