About the Cornwallis Ships
About the Cornwallis Ships








Samuel Harris




Edward Cook




Elias Perriman








Andrew Dewar




Richard Ladd




John Dutchman


Fair Lady


Isaac Forster




John Barker


Merry Jacks


Giles Granger




Samuel Williamson



Sloop of War





Thomas Adams




Thomas Cornish


Cornwallis arrived in his ship, the Sphinx, before the passenger ships. He notes in a report to the Lords of Trade that the passenger ships from England appeared off the harbour in Halifax on 27 June 1749. By the first of July they were all docked in Halifax harbour, and by 24 July 1749 he is able to report on how they are settling in and getting lots assigned.

Another passenger ship arrived on 30 August 1749 to join the ones covered in these lists. I haven't yet discovered the name of this ship. Cornwallis writes about it, saying, "the ship from Liverpool arrived .... with 116 settlers, they have already cleared a spot for their Houses, two streets being added for them". He mentions the ship had a passage of 9 weeks and arrived without one person sick on board. (Akins, Nova Scotia Documents, p 585, p587)

In addition, at least one store ship - the Duke of Bedford - and likely others accompanied the ships carrying the settlers.

As soon as their passengers had disembarked, the Brotherhood, London, Winchelsea, Wilmington, and Merry Jacks were sent up to Louisbourg to pick up settlers there who wished to move to Halifax, as well as the Louisbourg garrison under Peregrine Thomas Hopson (Louisbourg was about to be handed back to the French according to the terms of Aix la Chappelle).

By 20 August 1749, the Alexander had already left Halifax for its return journey to England. The Beaufort was held in Halifax until at least mid-October 1749, as Cornwallis held his Governing Council meetings on it. The other ships seem to have left sometime in between as the Lords of Trade, in a letter to Cornwallis from Whitehall, dated 16 October 1749, acknowledge the return of the transports and note that it was "sooner than expected" (Akins, Nova Scotia Documents, p 589.).

The Wilmington was the largest of the ships

You will note on the Cornwallis lists the special categories to track "male servants" and "female servants", and many indeed did bring servants over with them. As well, you see people whose trades were among the necessary ones in an established urban centre - wigmaker, goldsmith, tobaccanist, gardener - but who would be unprepared for carving out a clearing in the Canadian bush of our time, let alone theirs.

It would appear from Cornwallis's letters back to England that measures had to be taken to prevent many of these from trying to scamper off, even in the relatively golden days of summer, and he was unable to secure general cooperation from the population in getting their help to put up a barricade against Indian attack. In the settler's defence, they may have had their minds set on constructing habitation for the coming winter, since they were prevented from leaving.

Still, the Lords of Trade seem to have decided that perhaps a hardier breed of settler would be required. On 8 June 1750, they wrote to Cornwallis, "The Alderney, a Ship of 504 tons, and the Nancy**, a Brigantine of 150 tons, will sail from the River, the former in four or five, the latter in 10 days, with about 480 settlers., the exact number you will know by a list which will be taken when they are all on board, and sent you by Mr. Kilby. We have not accepted as we did last year, all who offered, but such only as we have reason to think from their character or employment will be useful settlers." (Akins, Nova Scotia Documents, p 612.).

When the lists were created in handwriting, it was no doubt a good deal of work and so the scribes used abbreviations a lot. The abbreviations were not consistent, nor for that matter was the spelling in general. In typing out the lists, the following standardisations were drawn up from the internal logic of the lists. For the occupations, in most instances, it was simply a matter of locating the variations used in spelling, and choosing from among them one recognised by our dictionaries today. For the "Regiments, etc" comment line, other examples were relied upon within the lists themselves, and the best and fullest term chosen as the standard for the lists - e.g. Edinburgh Regiment - instead of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Regt.

Alexander - instead of Alexr.
Andrew - instead of Andw.
Benjamin - instead of Benjm., Benjamn.
Charles - instead of Chas.
Edward - instead of Edwd.
Frederick - instead of Fredk.
George - instead of Geo.
James - instead of Jas.
Michael - instead of Michl.
Patrick - instead of Patk.
Richard - instead of Richd.
Robert - instead of Robt.
Thomas - instead of Thos.
William - instead of Willm., Wm.

Occupations ("Quality")
Apothecary's Mate - instead of Apothecarie's Mate
Carpenter's Crew - instead of Carpenters Crew
Chemist - instead of Chymist
Carpenter - instead of Carp'ter
Commissary - instead of Commissory
Gardener - instead of Gardner, Gardiner
Glazier - instead of Glasier
Husbandman - instead of Husb'man
Joiner - instead of Joyner
Labourer - instead of Laborer
Pewterer - instead of Peuterer
Periwigmaker - instead of Perriwigmaker, Perriwig maker, Periwig maker, Peruke maker
Quartermaster - instead of Quarter Master, Quarter master
Shipwright - instead of Ship wright, shipright
Surgeon's mate - instead of Surgeons mate
Tailor - instead of Taylor
Upholsterer - instead of Upholster

Register Comment ("Regiment, Ships, & c"):
1st Regiment Foot Guards - instead of 1st Regt. Foot Gds.
2nd Regiment Foot Guards - instead of 2d Regt. Foot Gds.
3rd Regiment Foot Guards - instead of 3d Regt. Foot Guards, 3d Reg. Foot Gds.
Albany Sloop - instead of Albany
Barfleur - instead of Barflour
Beaufort Privateer - instead of Beaufort
Boyne Privateer - instead of Boyne
Colonel Frazer's - instead of Frazer's
Colonel Holmes's - instead of Colo. Holmes, Holmes', Holme's, Col. Holmes's
Colonel Shirley's Artificers - instead of Shirley's
Colonel Waldo's - instead of Colo. Waldo's, Col. Waldo's
Cornwall's - instead of Cornwall, Cornwal's
Duke of Bolton's - instead of Duke Bolton's
Duke of Montague's Dragoons - instead of Dk. Montagues's Dgs., D. of Montague's
Edinburgh Regiment - instead of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Regt.
Furnace Sloop - instead of Furnace, "Furnace, Sloop"
General Churchill's - instead of Churchill's, Genl. Churchill's
General Richbell's - instead of Richbell's, Genl. Richbell's, Richbell
General Sibourg's - instead of Genl. Sibourgs
General St Clair's - instead of General S. Clair's
Grampus Sloop - instead of Grampus
Greyhound - instead of Grayhound
Hardwick Privateer - instead of Hardwick, Hardwicke Privateer
H.R.H. Reg. Dragoons - instead of H.R.H. Reg. Dgs.
Jordan's Marines - instead of Jordans
La Fore's is probably the same as Leforey's, but each was left because this would require some research to be certain
Lord Cholmondeley's - instead of Ld. Cholmondeley's, Cholmondeley's, G. Cholmondeley's
Lord H. Beauclerk's - instead of Lord H. Beauclerk, Lord H Beauclerk's
Lord Jno. Murray's - instead of Ld. Jno. Murray's
Lord Sempill's instead of Sempel's
Lord Torrington's - instead of Torrington
Mary Galley - instead of Mary, Galley
Merchant Service - instead of Mercht. Service, Merchts. Service
Nassau - instead of Nassaw
Prince Frederick - instead of P. Frederick
Salamander Privateer - instead of Salamander
Sir Robert Rich's - instead of Sr. Robert Rich's
Train of Artillery - instead of Train Arty., Train Artillery
Victualling Office - instead of Victueling office
Warburton's - instead of Warberton's

Massaging the military associations was done with the aid of "John D. Millan, A List of the General, and Field Officers: A List of Officers, etc., London, (printed for) J. Millan, 1754, pp 68-69."

Of Mr Brewse on the Baltimore, note:
Referred to in some books as Bruce. Cornwallis writes to Lords Commissioners for Trades and Plantations on 24 July 1749, "... Copy of a Plan for the town with a line of defence, offered me by Mr Brewse I send enclosed...". Akins, Nova Scotia Documents, p 565. In a letter to the Duke of Bedford, dated 20 August 1749, Cornwallis refers to Bruce as an Engineer: "The Plan of the Town by Mr. Brewse one of the Engineers is enclosed N.2 by which your Grace will see...." Akins, Nova Scotia Documents, p 577.

This electronic version of the lists is released to the public domain.
Randal Oulton, December 1997.

The quotes are from:
Akins, Thomas Beamish, editor, "List of the Settlers Who Came Out with Governor Cornwallis to Chebucto, in June 1749". In "Selections from the Public Documents of the Province of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS: Charles Annand, 1869, pp 506-557. Reprint, Cottonport, Louisiana: Polyanthos, 1973 under the title "Acadia and Nova Scotia: Documents Relating to the Acadian French and the First British Colonisation of the Province, 1714-1758".

The lists were keyed in from lists reprinted from public documents (the original Mess Book of the Settlers) in the above book. A thesaurus of terms was compiled as noted above and applied to make data sorting and searching for research easier. The typing was then proofed record by record.

A partial list of some of the same people can be found on microfiche from the National Archives: Ref: Colonial Office 221, N.S., A Series, MG11, List of Emigrants 1748-1749, Vol. 44, p. 15, Reel C-9125, National Archives of Canada.

George T. Bates compiled a "Didn't" list: a list of settlers whose names appear on the Cornwallis lists, but whose names didn't appear on any further lists of settlers, including:
1) Distribution of the House Lots 8 August 1749
2) Census List of July 1752

3) St Paul's Parish Registers 21 June 1749 to 31 Dec 1760

A few of these he indicates as being deceased - most of these are presumed to have scampered down to New England.

** Nancy (no passenger list yet discovered)

Ship: Nancy
May - August 1750
Ship Master:
George Stone
Ship Type:

Size: 150 tons



John D. Millan, A List of the General, and Field Officers: A List of Officers, etc., London, (printed for) J. Millan, 1754, pp 68-69.;
Copy of the Mess Book of the Settlers, found in: Akins, Thomas Beamish, editor, "List of the Settlers Who Came Out with Governor Cornwallis to Chebucto, in June 1749". In "Selections from the Public Documents of the Province of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS: Charles Annand, 1869, pp 506-557. Reprint, Cottonport, Louisiana: Polyanthos, 1973 under the title "Acadia and Nova Scotia: Documents Relating to the Acadian French and the First British Colonisation of the Province, 1714-1758", p 531-537.
George T. Bates, The Great Exodus of 1749, in Collections of The Nova Scotia Historical Society, Volume 28, 1973..

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