Etched in stone

The sto­ries be­hind 10 note­wor­thy tomb­stones in Kings County


Just as the in­scrip­tions etched in stone even­tu­ally wear with the aid of weather and time, the names im­mor­tal­ized by grave mark­ers or memo­rial trib­utes fade from me­mory with each pass­ing gen­er­a­tion un­til the sto­ries be­hind the stones are no longer fa­mil­iar to vis­i­tors strolling through the rows upon rows of stones lin­ing ceme­ter­ies.

Ev­ery stone has a story, some more well-known than oth­ers.

All pho­tos by Ash­ley Thomp­son Nova Sco­tia’s first Vic­to­ria Cross re­cip­i­ent

1827 – 1904

Hantsport Bap­tist Church

A memo­rial cairn mark­ing the fi­nal rest­ing place of Nova Sco­tia’s first Vic­to­ria Cross re­cip­i­ent stands near the Hantsport Bap­tist Church. Wil­liam Hall was not only the first Nova Sco­tian to re­ceive the Bri­tish Em­pire’s most pres­ti­gious award for brav­ery, he was also the first Vic­to­ria Cross re­cip­i­ent of African de­scent. A Mar­itime Mu­seum of the At­lantic ar­ti­cle en­ti­tled “Wil­liam Hall, VC” states he was born in Hor­ton and spent sev­eral years work­ing in the ship­yards of Hantsport be­fore even­tu­ally en­list­ing in the Bri­tish Royal Navy.

The in­scrip­tion on Hall’s memo­rial in Hantsport traces his Vic­to­ria Cross dis­tinc­tion back to his ser­vice with HMS Shan­non on Nov. 16, 1857.

“Hall was part of a crew un­der com­mand of a lieu­tenant which placed a 24-pounder gun near the an­gle of the Shah Nu­jjiff at Luc­know. When all but the lieu­tenant and Hall were either killed or wounded, Hall, with ut­ter dis­re­gard for life, kept load­ing and fir­ing the gun un­til the wall had been breached and the re­lief of Luc­know had been as­sured,” the mon­u­ment reads.

Hall re­turned to Avon­port to farm and live with his sis­ters fol­low­ing his time in the ser­vice, and was orig­i­nally buried with­out mil­i­tary hon­ours in an un­marked grave af­ter suc­cumb­ing to paral­y­sis in 1904. A lo­cal le­gion move­ment launched in 1937 even­tu­ally re­sulted in Hall be­ing re­buried at the Hantsport Bap­tist Church prop­erty, in a rest­ing place rec­og­niz­ing the heroic ef­forts of the his­toric Vic­to­ria Cross re­cip­i­ent. first woman to grad­u­ate from Dal­housie

1857 to 1935 Corn­wal­lis Re­formed Pres­by­te­rian Covenan­ter Church

Ceme­tery in Grafton

A Dal­housie Univer­sity li­brary ar­ti­cle de­voted to Mar­garet True­man (nee New­combe) lists the Grafton na­tive as the first fe­male grad­u­ate of the Hal­i­faxbased post- se­condary in­sti­tu­tion.

Then in her late 20s, True­man ob­tained her first de­gree in April 1885. She held a pro­vin­cial teach­ing li­cense prior to en­rolling in the Bach­e­lor of Arts pro­gram, and won prizes in English lit­er­a­ture, his­tory, Ger­man and po­lit­i­cal econ­omy while study­ing at Dal­housie.

She would go on to earn a Mas­ters of Art His­tory from Dal­housie in 1911, and later be­came the prin­ci­pal of the Hal­i­fax Ladies Col­lege. She re­tired at 61 and moved back to the An­napo­lis Val­ley, where she died of pneu­mo­nia in 1935.

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