Nova Sco­tia’s Christ­mas tree to Bos­ton show­cases spe­cial re­la­tion­ship

The Amherst News - - COMMUNITY - Wal­ter Jones Walt Jones col­umns ap­pear weekly in the Amherst News

It will soon be time to send our an­nual Christ­mas tree to Bos­ton as thanks for their help in the 1917 Hal­i­fax ex­plo­sion.

Did you ever won­der why Bos­ton was so quick o the mark to send hu­man­i­tar­ian aid to Hal­i­fax? ey sent box­cars full of pro­vi­sions and vol­un­teers ar­rived as well.

e an­swer, as I see it, was that we Nova Sco­tians, in­clud­ing Hal­i­fax were fam­ily.

In the late 1860s Nova Sco­tia and all of the Mar­itimes ex­pe­ri­enced a pe­riod of re­ces­sion. Ac­cord­ing to the news of that time we were ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a change from the age of wood, wind and sail to iron, coal and rail.

e Mar­itimes did very well trad­ing with the New Eng­land States be­fore and dur­ing the Civil War. e United States re­scinded their treaty of rec­i­proc­ity af­ter the Civil War, and trade took a nose­dive.

New Brunswick had a bor­der in com­mon with Maine and they tended to mi­grate there. We had closer ties with Bos­ton and it was eas­ier to get to Bos­ton. Twenty dol­lars bought you a rst class ticket on a Cu­nard Liner or it was $2 by train.

Peo­ple who mi­grated from Nova Sco­tia to Bos­ton were by and large skilled work­ers, ships car­pen­ters, cabi­net mak­ers, black smiths, shoe mak­ers and so on.

e bor­der be­fore the Sec­ond World War was sim­ply ig­nored by peo­ple from the Mar­itimes and they moved freely back and forth with lit­tle has­sle from au­thor­i­ties. Bos­ton ex­pe­ri­enced a spurt of growth af­ter the civil war go­ing from 175,000 to Walt’s World more than 400,000.

is was due in no small part to the Nova Sco­tia in uence.

Dur­ing this time, Nova Sco­tia’s saw and ham­mer peo­ple, made up over 20 per cent of the house builders in Bos­ton.

We in Amherst can tes­tify to their skill in house build­ing, since ships car­pen­ters also shaped our town. Two ex­am­ples that I came upon were Ed­ward Kennedy, a Demo­crat, and a hol­ster for the tram com­pany and Ben­jamin Campbell, a Repub­li­can and sur­geon, who went on to be a se­na­tor.

Nova Sco­tia im­mi­grants were fast be­com­ing the dom­i­nate force in mid­dle class Bos­ton, and as we know the mid­dle class dom­i­nate the benev­o­lent so­ci­eties. So when the ex­plo­sion hit it was nat­u­ral for Bos­ton, with its close so­cial and eco­nomic ties to our prov­ince, to be the rst o the mark and be the ones who gave us the big­gest hu­man­i­tar­ian aid.

As I said we are fam­ily.

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