DSC01426 - Ross Farm
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Approaching the main part of the farm. On the right is the Ross Barn (1893), on the left is the Farm Workshop (1870), and in back is Rose Bank Cottage (1817).
Lord Dalhousie, the Governor of Nova Scotia at the time was convinced that settlements should be established in the forested interior of the province. He had William Ross, a native of County Cork in Ireland, and a lieutenant in the 16th Regiment of Infantry, to accept a captaincy in the Nova Scotia Fencibles, and to undertake the settlement of the remnants of the latter regiment on the lands of Sherbrooke (later called New Ross).
In August, 1816, Captain Ross, his wife Mary and four children, and 172 disbanded soldiers established this settlement for his men. He built a small log house overlooking Lake Lawson, and the following year, with axe and whip saw, he built the frame house which still stands. He named his new home Rosebank.
The government provided rations of food and rum to the new settlers, and tools were divided as follows:
1. one axe, one hoe, and one whip saw for every man, one hand saw, chisel, draw knife and auger for every five men, and a fair proportion of nails, hammers, gimlets and spades for all.
2. seed potatoes, turnip seed, red and white clover seed, shovels, garden rakes, Dutch bake ovens, fishing nets, rope, lead, cork, trout hooks, twine, wax and thread.
Rations for the first settlers were discontinued in 1818, and for later comers in 1820. By this time many of the people had abandoned their lands and left the district, but those who remained became firmly established on the land.
Captain Ross did not live long to enjoy the fruits of his labor. In the fall of 1821, he attempted to blaze a route for a proposed road to Halifax. He was overtaken by a severe storm, became gravely ill, and died in Halifax on May 2, 1822. Mary Ross was left with six young children to face life in a raw pioneer settlement. The problems she and her family faced were similar to those experienced by many throughout the rural areas of Nova Scotia, but while most of these have disappeared forever in the mists of time, the day to day life of the Ross family was faithfully recorded in the journals of the 2nd son Edward J. Ross.