''A Remarkable Blind Man''

April 5, 2018

 

 

"George Gracie is described in Marion Robertson's KINGS BOUNTY A HISTORY OF EARLY SHELBURNE NOVA SCOTIA. Halifax. The Nova Scotia Museum 1983, as a ''remarkable blind man''. He was one of the founders of a Whalefishing Company formed in 1784 - which unfortunately ceased operation in 1789 - due to the economy of the times and the decision of the British Government not to extend special considerations to the colonies.

 

George owned a brig which was in the whaling trade. He also shared ownership with Henry Negust in the schooner EXPERIMENT which was built in Shelburne for trade with the West Indies. His ship GOOD INTENT was a ''prize'' purchased by him from a privateer and he had shares in the well known privateer Brig NELSON. The latter was manned by Shelburne men.

 

George Gracie was elected a representative for Shelburne County in the House of Assembly in 1798. George Gracie was appointed vice-president of the committee formed to build St. John's Kirk. The new church was dedicated July 4, 1805. George was buried a few months later beside the church. His large flat granite gravestone is now difficult to read: ''Sacred to the memory of George Gracie Esquire, a respectable member of the House of Assembly, who was drowned on his passage from Shelburne to Halifax on Friday the 22Nov A.D. 1805. Aged 58 years.''

 

Simeon Perkins of Liverpool wrote in his diary 28 Nov 1805..." Last Friday Evening George Gracie Esq & Capt Davis being passengers in Duncan Nichols Schooner Coming through the Ragged Islands in the evening by Some accident fell overboard and were drowned. The body of Mr. Gracie was floating on the Water his head being under Capt Davis was Sunk and the Schooner returned to Shelburne.''

 

Archibald Cunningham, Register of Deeds, Shelburne was more specific in his notes stating George and Captain Davis were leaning against the rail of the schooner when it broke and the two fell overboard. He added ''a great loss to Shelburne''

 

George died intestate. The Estate papers A#142 show an inventory of 2458 pounds 18 shilling and 8,5 pence. His real estate included the home which is a provincially registered heritage property. [present day, Coopers Inn]. Note the expenses charged to the estate include his widow's, Anna Maria's mourning clothes and sundry expenses owed to her father Samuel Campbell [with the date July 1808]. Later Deeds show two children George William and Mary Agnes Blair Gracie. {Are these children by a previous marriage marriage - there is no mention of them in the estate papers except there are various transactions by George Gracie and it is possible his son George is a partner in the George Gracie Company.}

 

Note there are pages of inventory [not copied] which include both store merchandise and home furnishings.

 

Note: The water lot in the inventory was sold to the Rev Matthew Dripps in 1824. The Gracie and Dripps home are close to each other and remain on Dock Street as fine examples of Georgian Architecture "

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance Policy

 

 

Insurance Policy for sugar laden on the brig Good Intent, taken out by George Gracie, merchant and signed by nine subscribers and showing the amount subscribed by each. 4, Sept 1805

 

Source: Nova Scotia Archives

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Copy of] letter from Jas Courtney to Archibald Cunningham, on arriving at Shelburne (Port Roseway).

 

''My reason for not writing ere this was on our arrival here dark woods and dismal Rocks Cover'd the ground (which belonged to the Associated Loyalists) on my first going on shore after travelling five or six hours, returned quite discouraged, and yet had in the Course of my Ramble knocked down two brace of Partridges and one Hare, next time went further [and] still returned dissatisfied. I tho't Hunger look'd every wretch in the face that could not hunt or shoot for his subsistence [......] boasted Land of Cannan my stay here shall be very [short] but I will first look at the Fishery we went & [return]ed well satisfied. Providence in the Article has been exceeding bountifull, fish never was more plenty nor easeyer come at, than from this place. Great numbers of Vessells from different places of New England are here fishing, which by the by was infamous in the Peace Makers to allow.
We have got our town Lotts which is just large for a good House and Small Garden, and [ ]. Since the Trees are cut / good down the Ground looks [ ] and is exceeding/, far preferable to any about Halifax [and] I think equal to any I have seen in the Province, if [ ] Encouragement is given by Government it will in a [ ] time be a fine Settlement; the Harbour is one the [ ] and best in the World exceeding easey of access and [ ]ly secure when in - so that had I wrote you at first [I should] have given a poor and ver unjust account of it, for [I am no]w determined to stay and think to do exceeding well. General Patterson has been with us, and promises every [ ] in his power - The Governor likewise did set [ ] intention of visiting, but on the passage was taken [ ] obliged to return, yet sent a very genteel letter being Sorry [ ] ing it at juncture in his power to see a place which [ ] to be the first in the Province. I have enjoyed my [ ] likewise all our little family which join in [ ] and Believe me to be yours Sincerely.''

 

 

Source: Nova Scotia Archives

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