Celebrating Planters 250 years with a feast

Rose Willigar
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Emily Johnson-Smith sets tables at the Ottawa House By-the-Sea Museum last Saturday for the New England Planters supper held at the museum. Rose Willigar - The Citizen

PARRSBORO – It was turkey, potatoes, turnip, carrots, onions, molasses, brown sugar, homemade bread and apple crisp drizzled with cream on the menu at the Ottawa House By-the-Sea Museum last Saturday with the Planter 250 anniversary celebration.

“We kept things as traditional as we could,” Susan Clarke, museum manager, said. The museum had Planter workshops throughout the summer at the museum where people could go and make traditional clothing worn by their Planter ancestors.

Plans for this event had been in the works since last January and, according to Clarke, everyone (staff at the museum) had been diligently working to ensure the supper and planter celebrations went smoothly.

“Along with the supper we will have Charles Thompson making a presentation on planter agriculture, Ed Gilbert on local planter descendants, Con Byers on general arrival overview, and Harriett McCready on general background and history of her Yorke planter descendants,” Clarke said.

The New England Planters were settlers from the New England colonies who responded to invitations by the lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia (Charles Lawrence) to settle on lands left vacant due to the Acadian Expulsion of 1755. Eight thousand Planters, largely farmers and fishermen, arrived from 1759 to 1768 to take up the offer. The Planters, who were the first major group of English-speaking immigrants to Canada who did not come directly from Great Britain, settled mainly on the rich farmland of the Annapolis Valley and in the southern counties of what is now New Brunswick but was then part of Nova Scotia.

In addition to the workshops and the supper, there was also a Planter church service at the Baptist Church in Parrsboro on Sunday with a music concert plus skit that evening, also at the Baptist Church.

Organizations: Ottawa House, Sea Museum, Baptist Church New England Planters Planter church

Geographic location: PARRSBORO, Nova Scotia, New England Canada Great Britain Annapolis Valley New Brunswick

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