Leora (Webster) Cross


July 1, 1954

N. E. Planters And Borden Genealogy


A noted landmark of Kings County, situated at Grand Pre, is the house of Perry Borden, founder of the Borden family in Kings County, the devisee of a grant of land from his father, Samuel Borden, a Horton grantee and one of the surveyors appointed by the N. S. Government to lay out the land for the N. E. Planters.

This landmark, erected about 1800, was purchased as a Community Centre for Grand Pre by Sn Robt. L. Borden, Prime Minister of Canada, 1911 to 1920. He was the son of Andrew Borden and grandson of Perry Borden Jr. His mother was Eunice Laird, of Scottish descent, a woman of very strong character and very ambitious for her children.

While reviewing the life history of this eminent statesman, I had the conviction that a wise and kindly Providence had been preparing him from childhood for the great role he was destined to play as Prime Minister of Canada, during the terrible years of the First World War.

At the age of nine, he enrolled at Acadia Villa Seminary – generally known as "Patterson’s School for Boys". (I had an intimate acquaintance with this institution while a teacher at the Public School at Hortonville). Mr. Patterson was an excellent disciplinarian, and daily impressed upon his pupils the need and value of truthfulness, self-control, manliness and industry. He always kept a fine staff of teachers. One of them, named Hamilton, of fine idealism and culture, had a very beneficient influence on young Borden, whom Mr. Patterson installed in Hamilton’s place when he left the school. Then under fifteen years of age, he continued to exercise his duties as instructor for three years, while pursuing the education he had hoped to obtain at a University.

In the meantime, Mr. Hamilton had taken charge of an elite school in New Jersey, and invited young Borden to become his assistant as "Professor of Classics and Mathematics". After a year in this position, he left to study law in Halifax, and after four years as "Articled Clerk", became a member of the Bar in 1878. Two years later, while in partnership with J. P. (later Judge) Chipman in Kentville, he was often opposed in Counsel, by Col. W. E. Roscoe, KC, both able lawyers and indefatigable workers. He soon returned to Halifax and became associated with Hibbert Tupper, son of Sir Charles Tupper, and others.

He was very happy in the legal profession, so it was with much reluctance that he consented to enter the political arena under the Liberal Conservative banner in 1896. (He could not go along with the Liberal Party on their "Repeal" campaign which continued for twenty years after Confederation.) At first, he flatly refused, having had no experience in platform speaking or political organization, but after only four years in Parliament, when the Conservatives were again defeated, he agreed under great pressure to accept the leadership of the Opposition party, when Sir Charles Tupper resigned. Though along in years, Sir Charles had been an inspiration to his followers through his untiring industry, ken vigilance and high sense of public duty.

At that time, the Liberal Conservative party was at the lowest ebb of its fortunes, while Sir Wilfred Laurier, Prime Minister, then approaching the zenith of his power and influence, was right in his element in Parliament. He had an attractive and magnetic personality which, combined with an inspiring eloquence in both French and English, gave him a supreme place in the affection and respect of his party.

But this is a world of change, and in the efflux of time, this strong government was defeated on the Reciprocity issue of 1911 – Free trade with the U. S. Throughout the campaign there was a great galaxy of speakers, pro and con. Mr. Borden made a patriotic appeal to the electorate, "for the preservation of our heritage, for the maintenance of our commercial and political freedom and for the permanence of Canada as an autonomous nation within the British Empire".

(As the result of the election became known, I remember one of my uncles, a Liberal, expressing the opinion that " Canada made a great mistake in not voting for Reciprocity". I believe he would think differently if he were alive today.)

Then came the great war – the Conscription issue – and Union Government to secure a more efficient and vigorous prosecution of the war. The physical strain for the Prime Minister and his Cabinet was sometimes almost beyond endurance.

For his unselfish devotion to duty during this great but trying period of our history, Sir Robert L. Borden has earned an enduring place which is being recognized today when a monument is being constructed at Grand Pre to commemorate the centennial of his birth on the 26th of this month of June. Also arrangements have been made for a statue a statue of Sir Robert to be placed on the Parliament ground at Ottawa.

The Honourable Sir Frederick Borden, KCMG, son of Dr. Jonathan Borden, of Canard Street, Cornwallis, and cousin of Sir Robert Borden, was Minister of Militia and Defence in the Laurier administration. He was knighted for his services to the Empire in connection with the Boer War in which his only son, Lieut. Harold L. Borden, was killed. To commemorate this supreme sacrifice, a monument was erected in the centre of Canning, where his mother, Lady Borden, still resides.

There are other worthy descendants of the New England Planters, who have made their mark in the world, but with this effort my articles are concluded.