August 9th, 1922

Berwick Register, August 9, 1922

The Nova Scotian Skipper

(A. H. Chute in Blackwoods)

Shipbuilding was indigenous to the soil of the Bluenose country. They, the New Englanders and the Scandinavians, were the only people who could farm, cut timber, build a ship, load her with their own produce, and sail to the ends of the seven seas. Those were wonderful days for Nova Scotia, when in answering the call of the sea her sons followed their true vocation. At the same time that Donald MacKay, by his incomparable clippers, was adding lustre to his birthplace, Samuel Cunard, a native of Halifax, was sending out from his home city the first of the trans-Atlantic packets, whose house-flag in later day was destined to lead the world. Everywhere there was the presage of a glorious future. Joseph Howe, Canada’s orator of that heroic age, said, "I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, and my hair may be white with age before this prophecy is realized, but I tell you the day will come when Nova Scotia, small as she is, will maintain half a million men upon the sea."

This irresistible turning of the seadogs to the ocean is illustrated in a tale my grandfather was wont to tell. Away back on the South Mountain in Nova Scotia was an old farmer named Schofield. These boys grew up on their inland farm, far from the sight or sound of the ocean. Before them stretched out the Gaspereau and Cornwallis Valleys, fragrant with sixty miles of apple blossoms in the springtime, crimson and gold in the autumn. Across their farthest sky-line the grim North Mountain raised an impenetrable barrier between their sheltered agricultural pursuits and the blue of the maritime world. Not one of these six sons ever saw the sea till he grew up. But as soon as each lad came to responsible years, he shouldered his pack and left for the nearest port in search of a ship.

My grandfather, who was the clergyman in that vast parish between the mountains came one day to the Schofield home to find the old man alone and in tears. His last son, Orlando, a boy of sixteen, had departed.

As a ship was being built in one of the Nova Scotian shipyards, the small boys of the village were forever clambering over the frame. Every young dare devil wanted to climb aloft and place his cap on the top-mast ball. Thus long before they went to sea, they came to know a ship in all her parts, from stem to stern, from keel to truck.

When a new ship sailed on her maiden voyage one of these small boys generally managed to go with her. And before many years the same small boy, grown into manhood, would be standing in the place of the master.

The Nova Scotian captains represented in a rare degree, the ideal union of strength and intelligence. In their bodies was the iron of a pioneer stock, while their minds were sedulously cultivated. This cultivation of the mind was the key to their rapid promotion. No seamen ever got their master’s papers earlier than they.

In the village of Grand Pre, just off Minas Basin, there were at one time twenty able-bodied seamen attending the village school, sitting side by side with the village children. These young seamen had some ashore for the winter, and under the teacher, Mr. Somerville, they were engaged in wrestling with Bowditch’s "Seamanship" and the Royal Readers. This village school in Grand Pre was typical of many others.

Why did the Bluenose skipper leave the sea? Because of the passing of the sailing-ship is commonly given as the reason, but that is superficial. The same men who gained our renown in sail would have gained us an equal renown in steam.

The Bluenose skippers and the Yankee captains alike turned from their maritime empire because they lost the vision of the sea. The railroads, the prairie farms, and the wealth of an opening West allured them, and they turned their backs upon blue water.

August 9, 1922


Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, and widely known scientist and investigator, died at his home on Beinn Bhreagh Mountain, Baddeck, C. B., on Wednesday, aged 75 years. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1847, Dr. Alexander Graham Bell came to Canada in 1870 and later in 1872 he settled in Boston, where he was called to the chair of vocal physiology at Boston University, there introducing the system of visible speaking invented by his father, Alexander Melville Bell.

The family settled at Tutela Heights, Brantford, Ont., and it was there that young Bell carried out his experiments with telephony. He used a human ear in his investigatory work.

In 1876 demonstrations on an exceedingly small scale were made at the Tutela Heights home. It was on August 5th of that year that a few personal friends were invited to take part in the first public exposition.

The receiver was located by the river back and between the house and this point there was a coil representing five miles of wire. First of all some squeaking sounds were heard and finally a human voice could be faintly discerned. Other similar tests were carried out at this time.