Chapter 6


Chapter 6 – Brier Island

Chapter 7 – A Generation of Seagoers

Chapter 8 – Merchants in Yarmouth

Chapter 9 – New Generations

Brier Island Cemetry

On Brier Island

The “h” shaped Brier Island is the western-most land belonging to Nova Scotia, located at the end of Long Island, which is adjacent to Digby Neck. Initially, the Native Indians used the island as a base for food. (The Island was probably named after Bryher Island in the Isles of Scilly, located 30 miles off Land’s End, Cornwall, England.)
The first European to settle on the island was Joshua Welch in 1763, and the second family was the Morrells in 1769. They were the island’s pioneers: “they lived in log cabins by the sea and did some farming” (Wilson, 38). Robert and Moses Morrell’s names had originally been included on a “Patent” list on July 22 and August 1, 1783 in New York, among 56 grantees of land in New Edinburgh, near Weymouth.

In the late 1700s the ship building industry was booming. The Government paid a subsidy on new ships built in 1786-89. Elisha Payson built the first vessel on Brier Island in 1783, the 120 ton shallop Heroine. The 100 ton Essequibo was finished shortly after by Jesse Harris. Evan Powell built for Elisha Payson, Sr., the 70 ton Sally Ann. It was the first vessel built in Freeport (Wilson, p.275). Evan Powell was a local landowner who had come from Wales.

In 1789, the first school house on Brier Island was built; it was 20 × 20 feet. The structure was washed away in a storm in 1976. Previously, the Andrew Coggins residence, on Church Street had been used as a school. The Coggins house was still standing in 1989. The school teacher Samuel Hood was dismissed in 1846.

Around 1803 a light house was constructed. It was stated in the Assembly at Halifax “That the establishment of a light house on Brier Island at the north west entrance of St. Mary’s Bay, would be of greatest utility to the trade in this province, and also of the province of New Brunswick” (Wilson, 115). Also in 1803, the Road around the harbour of Brier Island was … surveyed by “Benjamin Lawrence, Deputy Sheriff and Deputy Surveyor”. The road had been completed to North Point in 1800.

There were 79 houses and one store in 1819, mostly built out of logs. Today there possibly are buildings standing on Brier Island which were constructed of logs during the Loyalist settlement but were covered over with siding, much like the 1817 farm house at New Ross which has shingles over four inch planks (“deals”), or the Quaker Whalers Museum of 1785 in Dartmouth. Timber-frame construction gave way to easier stud framing during the 1830s.

Horton Academy, which would later became Acadia University, was started by the Baptists in 1828 at Wolfville. Ethel and Margaret had four generations of their descendants attend this institution for education:
1= Ralph H. and Mary B. Davis;
2= Alice, Samuel Bancroft, William Burrell, Elsie, and Mary Davis;
3= Frank, Ralph, and Dick Davis;
4= Loran and Ruth Davis.

Family of late Banny Davis at Acadia University Alumni “Hall of Fame” dinner, 1989, honouring 1930 Acadia Varsity basketball team. Left to right: Ralph, Dick, Orris, Frank and Rod. (Photo by John Horton, Wolfville.)

On April 21, 1837, Digby County was formed by dividing Annapolis county. In 1839, the town on the Brier Island side of the Grand Passage became known as “Westport”.

“Acadia” in The Canadian Encyclopedia
Fullerton, “History of Digby Neck”
Green Head (Shea), Westport Baptist Church Hymnal History from 1809
Powell, Scrap Book: Digby Town and Municipality
Shea, “The rock formations of Digby Neck”
Wilson, Geography and History of County of Digby

Widow Margaret Hubbard Davis

Margaret had been trained well by her strong-willed mother Catherine Hubbard. Margaret taught her daughters needlework, lacemaking, knitting, spinning, and weaving. Her herb and root garden provided medicines, she could set broken bones, and she was a midwife. Most settlements had someone with similar skills, a “Granny Woman”: “if bones were broken, or there were bad cuts or bruises to be treated, they acted as surgeons, and likewise in the case of disease, or at the birth of children. In fact they were the doctors” (Greenwood, 42). Westport didn’t have a physician until 1838.

Margaret may have been able to read and write, but in German only. Both she and her mother signed their names with an X.
Margaret, or her mother, may have owned a leather-bound book, printed in Germany in 1760. It is written in the old German language, about the life and teachings of the religious leader Hartmann, circa 1534. Bill Davis gave it to Frank Davis.

“This book belongs to Johan Georg Lammle” hand written on inside left cover page, in old German script. (translated by Heidi Grundke)

At the time of Ethel’s death, his widow Margaret was 37 years old. She stated that after her husband died: “I was then left with nine children, two died in infancy”.

On January 31, 1801 a government commission reporting on the land question in the Digby area declared that new deeds should be issued. Lands granted to Loyalists that had not been improved by their owners, could be repossessed by the government. “When news of this event reached Digby and was conveyed triumphantly, to every hamlet and village, a heavy burden was lifted from the public mind” (Wilson, 111).

Margaret mortgaged the homestead. David Welch, yeoman and Justice of the Peace for Westport until his death in 1864, loaned 31 pounds 5s, to widow Margaret Davis on August 17, 1802. The loan was secured by her 100 acre homestead on lot no. 4, valued at 60 pounds. The money was to be repaid next year, with lawful interest of 5 shillings. The land would be lost to Welch if she did not pay back the loan.

Daniel Welch applied for compensation for lost land on November 26, 1805. His father Joshua had been living on the island with Morrell when their lands had been granted to the Loyalists. Some of the Loyalists may have given up their granted land to the original settlers in exchange for other land. It appears that the two lots of land marked No. 6 owned by the late Roger Pye were given to the two original pioneer families: the south lot to Welsh, and the triangle lot to Morrell, because later these lots were owned by the descendants of the named families.

Some lots on Central and South Brier Island, (Map detail rotated with south-east on top. Note two triangle properties: Lot # 4, “late Michl Echenny”, and Lot # 6, “Roger Pye”. )

Two weeks later, the Davis homestead land was extended to include a 200 acre back triangle meadow lot which the deed said “Ethel Davis had purchased” from her mother. The homestead tripled in value two days before Christmas, to 184 pounds, 18s, 4p, and Margaret Davis had more land to mortgage. The result was the indenture in the deed book: 1805, Dec. 4, Margaret Davis received from David Welch an additional amount of money: 87 pounds 9 shillings 2 pence, secured by the same land, lot # 4.

Margaret had her five year old son “Frederic Hubbard” baptized on 9 December, 1806; a year later. The two mortgages were discharged on December 23, 1806.

Margaret Davis sold the long 100 acre lot no. 4 to Wm. Bailey for 150 pounds, also on December 23, 1806. The narrow lot # 4 bordered on the harbour; it contained a house possibly built for her mother, some outhouses, other buildings, an orchard, and a garden. Bailey sold the long lot 4 to Franklin Potter, a cooper, for 195 pounds in 1813 (Deed 6- 322), and Potter sold the south half to Haycock (Deed 6- 323) two months later. ( Franklin’s father Joseph Potter had been a soldier under Col. Johnathan Bailey in the Battle of Ticonderaga in 1758, and had promoted the operation of the first iron mine at Clementsport. )

Margaret later left her “homestead” on the 200 acre “back Meadow Land” to her sons in her will. The widow Davis did not have to leave her “homestead,” even though the land sold was “now in the population of Margaret Davis”. Her home was located in a corner of triangle lot # 4. ( Lester Pugh had built a shed in the same place around 1960. )

Margaret Davis’s official ownership of the 200.acre triangle lot # 4 was never recorded in the deed book. In 1810, when the back triangle lot 6 was divided between two Morrill men “After leaving out the division a certain piece in the form of a triangle bounded by Loutits Lot on the north west side and Muckelhennys lots on the south east …” , the lot was described as being adjacent to the “Muckelhenny” lot, and not the Davis lot (Deed 6-145). The two triangular lots 4 and 6 would have been located between lots 4 and 3, beginning about twenty rods back from the waterfront. However, a later document officially identifies Margaret Davis as the owner of late McElhenney’s back “meadowland” lot.

In 1816 the summer did not come due to a cloud of volcanic ash. Crops were frozen and sheared sheep died of the cold. In 1817, Margaret Davis again had to mortgage part of her 200 acres triangle lot # 4, this time to John Durkee, her son-in-law married to Hannah Davis. The land included back meadow land, and was bounded by land of Franklin Potter on the south-west (long lot 4); on the west by Moses Morrell, triangle lot 6, and by the Bay of Fundy. This second mortgage was apparently also discharged, as Margaret still owned the land in her will.

The two large triangle lots # 6 and # 4 did not join at the same point.
Map detail oriented with North at top of map.

The widow Davis had lost her access to the harbour when she sold the long lot 4 to Bailey. Her triangle lot stopped at a point more than 28 rods from the shore, so her family did not have rights to the harbour from the road. They had to either walk along Potter’s long lot 4 to the road; or cross the south end of Bailey’s lot 3, to get to the highway along the harbour.

Davis properties indicated on 1967 plan

In 1821, Margaret’s son Jacob Davis purchased land “coming to a point by lands of Franklin Potter”. She may have misunderstood the boundary lines, as two fortnight later the deputy Sherriff and a Jury were summoned. On July 19, 1821, Wm. Bailey

“Received from Margaret Davis, Widow and Relict of Ethel Davis, the sum of seven pounds ten shillings in full compensation as well for the Value of the Land, as for all other damages sustained by me in consequence of a road, twenty eight rods in length and one in breadth, having been laid out, through my land, from the dwelling house of the said Margaret Davis to the highway on Brier Island, by the Deputy Sherriff and a jury duly summoned for that purpose.”

. . . “Witness Edward Harris; Received Payment: William Bailey; G. C. Jones, Dy Regr.; Recorded 1838, Dec.3 on oath of Edw. Harris” (Deed 14-215).

The deed for Davis road was recorded in December of 1838 (Deed 14-215). There was a seventeen year delay in officially recording this deed. In 1991 the road is located north of the government breakwater and on the south side of the Westport harbour. It is an access lane between “the whale watcher’s House” and another small house to the north: it goes up a small rise and dissolves into a field beyond the small house.

Davis Lane in 1991, as seen from the harbour. Old long lot # 4 extending back to Pond Cove, south, on the left, and long lot # 3, extending north past the graves to the Bay of Fundy, on the right.

Hubbard Davis paid Margaret Davis ten shillings for the right to use her roadway “to the waterfront” in 1836. However, his mother did not have access to the harbour from the large triangle lot. 4. This document was a witnessed receipt, and did not allow access from the highway to the harbour. Davis Road only went to the highway.

Davis, C. Margaret, “Will” and “Codicil”
Davis, C. Margaret “Paper dictated Before Her Death”, 1858.
Digby County Deeds
Greenwood, History of Freeport N.S.: 1786-1810
Land Deed Book at Weymouth, searched by Don Welch
Map “Grand Passage, Bryar Island”
Port Roseway Association Documents, “The Perrys”
Wilson, Geography and History of County of Digby

Walk to Halifax

Maude S. Brown wrote to Clara Caie about a common ancestor that had walked to Halifax. Dated June 18, 1944, the story had been remembered for over 100 years. [ Clara’s great grandmother was the first child of Ethal Davis. ]

“My grandmother Brown and my great grandmother Durkee related to me many times this account of great-great-grandmother Davis’ courageous trip to Halifax to obtain a proof of her rightful claim to her lands and that of her sister’s, Mrs. Klingsher on Long Island.”

“...Her right to her large farm was disputed by a man named Hatch . ...” and could not be settled locally. The deed could not be found, as it had never been issued. As in the Welch land claim, settlers were learning about “squatters rights”. The land on Long Island had possibly been neglected for twenty years. A man named John Hatch had been one of the first settlers in Weymouth.

On March 28, 1828, at four o’clock in the morning, Margaret was rowed by a neighbour across Grand Passage to Freeport, and then possibly up St. Mary’s Bay. At Clementsport she stayed with the Ditmars.

[ They were German Loyalists from Queens Borough, Long Island, New York, near an area called the “Dutch Kills” (channels of water). Douwe Ditmar in 1789 and others oversaw a bridge constructed over Allan’s Creek near Annapolis as part of a road to Shelburne. Douwe Ditmar’s son Isaac was born in 1748; John Ditmar’s daughter Catherine married Reverend Israel Potter Jr., grandson of the iron mine promoter. ]

[ The old Church of England in Clementsport, originally Lutheran, was built by Dutch, Hessian, and other German Loyalists. The Ditmars, Potters and Klingsociers were the original German Loyalist settlers of Clements in 1784. Douwe Ditmar was “the Bridge Builder” for Clements and played the music for the Lutheran church. ]

During her night at the Ditmars, Margaret got a note to show strangers. Letters were sent ahead by messenger to explain her purpose, because she could not read English. From Clements, she may have gone into Annapolis Royal with the Ditmars to settle the claim. However, because the land claim could not be settled there she had to go to the next higher level as her widowed mother had done. She started walking to Halifax, through Albany Cross, Dalhousie, New Ross, Sherwood, and Pockwock. In the Brier Island library, a handwritten manuscript of the history of Brier Island, written by a lady teacher, mentions a modern Joan of Arc who had walked to Halifax. (possibly “The Pioneers of Brier Island”, by M.A. Archibald, ~ 1930’s, )

Margaret walked along paths in the woods on a poorly used trail. The road between Halifax and Annapolis, first surveyed in 1774, and later re-surveyed and “cut out” in January 1816 by John Harris, had never been completed for wagon travel, but was used mainly for mail delivery by horseback. Parts of the road were settled by soldiers and farmers, but the land was poor. Eventually Margaret went past Hammond’s Plain and into Halifax.

Her daughter Sarah Stayner was operating a boarding house in Halifax. [Sarah is buried in the old burying ground at Barrington and Spring Garden.]
Margaret probably met her sister Christine Klingshear and may have visited the “little Dutch Church” The church had just become Anglican the year before. [p.77, Naftel]

oldest Lutheran church in Canada ( 1756 German meeting house )

In 1828, and 2008, buildings existing in Halifax: the Province Building, Old Town Clock, Halifax Banking Company, Collins Bank, St.George’s round Anglican church, “little Dutch church” [ German Lutheran meeting house ], St. Paul’s Anglican church, Henry house, Jeffrey house, Royal Artillery Park barracks, and Prince of Wales tower. A wooden fort on citadel hill was replaced by stone in 1828.

Views of Halifax circa 1819. “The National School at Halifax”, by Joseph Partridge. View of the Grand Parade looking southwest [S.E.] ( in: Cuthbertson, Loyalist Governors )

The two Hubbard sisters went to see the Lieutenant Governor. Sir James Kemp could speak her German language and believed her verbal claim to the land. He issued a grant for the lands she claimed, dated May 3, 1828. When Hatch, a thick-set man, arrived on horseback claiming unfair treatment in coarse words, the Governor sent him away.

View of Halifax circa 1819. “Perspective view of the Province Building from the N.E.”, drawn and etched by J.E. Woolford (in Cuthbertson, Johnny Bluenose)

(in: N.S. Symbols, brochure, 2008, and in: Sparling, Great Expectations )

The two widows: Margaret and her sister, paid a total of 36 shillings for the deed to the 761 acres. This grant was issued on condition that the lots be improved within five years, with progress shown within two years from the new date of issue. Landowners were obliged to grow hemp for rope, or flax for linen on some of the cleared land.

The deed was given to the Yarmouth County Museum by Frank Davis in 1990’s.

Margaret rested at her daughter’s boarding house before returning to Westport, arriving eight weeks after she had departed.

Located on the waterfront of Westport in 2008, a sign “Heroes in Petticoats” tells of her trek to Halifax. Illustrated are: Brier Island Properties map, photo of Christiana Margaret Davis & husband’s gravestone, NS map of route, and period dress.

  • Archibald, Margaret A. “The Pioneers of Brier Island”, ~ 1930’s, reprinted in Life on Brier Island, by Caroline B. Norwood ( Norwood Publishing, P.O. Box 1192, Westport, NS, B0V 1H0, 1995 ). [M.A. Archibald was a grand daughter of Cap.Sam. B. Davis]
  • Cuthbertson, Brian Johnny Bluenose at the Polls, Formac Publishing, Halifax, 1994.
  • Cuthbertson, Brian C. The Loyalist Governor, Petheric Press, Halifax, 1983.
  • Naftel, W. D., Prince Edward’s Legacy, Formac, Halifax, 2005.
  • Sparling, Mary: “Great Expectations, The European Vision in Nova Scotia 1749- 1848”, Art Gallery, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1980.
  • Williams, P. B. (Queen’s University), “A Local Sense of Place: Halifax’s Little Dutch Church”, Canadian Journal of Communication, Vol. 31, No. 1 (2006). [ ]
  • Province of Nova Scotia “Symbols”, brochure, c.2008, Richard Hurlburt, MLA Yarmouth.


On September 6, 1855 Margaret made a will, leaving the large 200 acre back triangular lot #4, “back Meadow Land, and the road leading to the Shore”, to be shared by Ethel and Hubbard.

Lot #25 on Long Island was also to be shared:

“Sixthly – I will and bequeath to my sons Ethel and Hubbard Davis the one half of farm lots No. 4 and half of No. 25 on Long Island – but if those who have it in possession will pay then the expenses of the Grant and the interest thereon, it is my wish to let them have it, otherwise it remains to them the said Ethel and Hubbard Davis.”

Margaret recorded her life story to her youngest son and his family on January 17, 1858. The statement was witnessed by “B. P. L., M. E. L., Mr. H. Davis, wife and family”. “BPL” was Byron Parker Ladd, “MEL” was his wife Mary Elizabeth (Davis) Ladd; “Mr. H. Davis, [and] wife” were Hubbard and Azuba, “family” was Mary Ladd, Hannah, Emiline (age 23), Sarah (age 20) and the three boys: Ben (age 22), Jacob (age 18), and Sam (age 15). They all listened to their grandmother tell her story in her German accent. Her other two daughters, Hannah Durkee and Sarah Davis; and two sons, Ethel II, and Jacob were not present.

On February 2, 1858 Margaret added to her will: “to Ethel: – a small lot on the south side of Little pond; and to Hubbard: – [her] homestead, adjoining Hubbard’s”. In her will, Margaret mentions in total three sons: Ethel, Hubbard, and Jacob; and three daughters: Amelia Rust, Hannah Merea Durkee, and Sarah; as well as her son-in-law Samuel Bancroft.

Two weeks later she died, on February 14, 1858, aged 94. She was buried up the hill near her husband, and her name added to his gravestone. Although Margaret had been known by her middle name, her gravestone was engraved Christiana M. Davis, with her first name and only the initial of her middle name. A small stone marked “C.M.D.” is nearby, but has been moved.

It is possible that a family gravestone was erected ca. 1864-68, when a Mr. Kinsella or another salesman came to sell gravestones (Bull).

Bull, Sandy Cove, p. 70
Davis, C. Margaret , “Will” and “Codicil”
Davis, C. Margaret, “Paper dictated Before Her Death”
Outhouse, D.E., Chapter XIII, p.137-139, Glimpses of the Past from Long and Brier Islands, Yarmouth, NS. 1998.

Stone marking graves of Ethel & Margaret.

(Traced from a photo by Dick Davis)

Hubbard Davis

On November 27, 1827 Hubbard Davis, the youngest son of Margaret and the late Ethel, married Azuba McGrey, the daughter of Reverend Asa McGrey, buried at Cape Sable Island.

Silhouettes of Azuba and Hubbard Davis

Hubbard and Azuba had their first child, Samuel Bancroft Davis, on October 8, 1828. He was named after Hubbard’s sister Margaret’s husband, Samuel Bancroft, the Baptist minister. A framed silhouette of Sam’l is marked 1 year 11 months. The baby died on September 16, 1830, possibly from drowning after a fall into a well (Mary Clulee). Some houses had their wells located inside.

The second child born to Azuba Davis was Mary Elizabeth Davis, born on July 21, 1830. The third child was Hannah, born 1832; followed by Emley in 1834, Bengeman in 1836, Sarah in 1838, Jacob in 1840, and lastly, the second Samuel Bancroft Davis on April 9, 1843. Sam’s grandmother, C. Margaret Hubbard Davis, was 78 years old when he was born.


On May 10, 1821, Hubbard’s brother Jacob Davis, aged 27, purchased five acres of land from Moses Morrell, “coming to a point by lands of Franklin Potter”. The land did not border on Franklin Potter’s lot, otherwise the deed would have read “coming to a point at lands of Franklin Potter (Original Deed). Later Jacob joined his sister Elizabeth in Ontario. Elizabeth had married James McDormand and moved to Ontario ca. 1830.

On June 4 1827, Hubbard’s brother-in-law Samuel Bancroft, age 38, purchased an acre of land from Wm. Bailey, Senior, Gentleman, and wife Phebe, for 50 pounds (Deed 9-274). The Bancroft lot is described: “The Lines from the front to the rear running the same Course with the Widow Davis’s line including the Spot on Which House and Shop abovementioned now Stands”. The lot was located between Jacob Davis’s 5 acre triangle lot and the harbour. The Bancroft lot was more than five rods wide and 30 rods long, making an acre.

The home of Hubbard Davis, the second house north of Davis Lane. ( photo taken by Ralph Davis, July 1991. )

Initially, Hubbard and Azuba may have lived at his mother’s house. Hubbard purchased a house on a half acre lot located on the highway along the harbour, north of George Laffoley, on November 17, 1830. The home was bought two months after his son died. One year later, 1831, his older brother Ethel Davis II purchased the adjacent 1 1/4 acre lot to the north, adjacent also to his sister’s lot and his mother’s homestead. In 1832 Hubbard purchased part of his brother Ethel II’s lot. Hubbard’s lot was “in the lean by Jacob Davis” (Annapolis County Deeds). This quarter acre strip between the brothers homes allowed easier access from: the highway along the harbour, to: the large family farm; it may have contained an old original access lane.
He is said to have “accommodated travelers” around 1835 (Wilson, 157).

C. Margaret Davis’ house is marked “Mrs. Davis” at the bottom of this map.
( H. F. Walling, Topographical Township Map of Digby County, Nova Scotia, { Halifax, A. F. Church & Co., 1864, Mar. 04. } )

Hubbard Davis purchased land from his oldest brother Jacob around September 5, 1836: this must have been the five acre triangle (Original deed 8-67: 1826).

Ethel and Hubbard Davis then purchased two acres of land from a William Bailey Jr. for 160 pounds on Jan. 6, 1840, the year that William Bailey Sr. died at 93. (Deed 15-335). The lot was six rods wide at the highway and extended up the hill towards the burial ground. A right-of-way was proposed between the lots of Bailey and Davis along the south side; but was moved to the north side, between lots of Davis and Rice in December 1841 (Deed 16-295). This “new lane” went from the highway at the harbour, up the hill past Reverend Wellington Jacksons’ home on Moses Rice’s land. Another “old burial ground road” ran up the hill from the highway to where Ethel Davis was buried in 1801 (Don Welch).

In 1990, the lower end of the lot was occupied by a general store. Up the hill from the store is the Baptist vestry building. The lot ends nearly across from the Baptist church.

The first census in 1838 recorded that Brier Island had seventy-one families, totaling 415 people. Ethel Davis lived next to Hubbard Davis, and both were fishermen/farmers. Adjacent Ethel was John Sutherland, L.H.Keeper, and next to Hubbard was Geo. Lefferby, mariner.

Adjacent John Sutherland was listed Reverend W. Jackson and a female above 14 years of age. The widow Margaret Davis was not listed but probably lived near “Rvd. W. Jackson”. Jackson may have stayed in Margaret (Davis) Bancroft’s house. Jacob Davis, age 44, was not listed; he had moved to Niagara, Ont. In the fall of 1839, Jackson was living nearer the church, on the north side of the lane that leads up to the graveyard, in a house on land owned by Moses Rice (Deed 15-35).

In the second Island census of 1861, the home of Hubbard Davis was recorded as having 7 occupants:

1-Male, married age: 50- 60 yrs Hubbard
1-Female, married age 50- 60 yrs Azuba
2-Males, single    
  1 age 15- 20 yrs Sam’l
  1 age 20- 30 yrs Jacob
3-Females age: 20- 30 yrs
  2 single Mary & Emiline

    1 widowed Hannah Rice

The census lists brothers Ethel and Hubbard Davis as still living next door to each other, as it did 23 years previously in the census of 1838. Next to Hubbard is still George Laffoley, but Ethel also has a new neighbour, Michael Glavin. Hubbard’s son, Ben Davis is living with his wife between Burney Morrell and Thomas Webber. Byron P. Ladd and wife Mary Elizabeth Davis, live between Daniel Bayley and John D. Davis, son of Ethel Davis, II.

A list of Westport residents in 1866-67, the year of Canada’s confederation, includes four Davises: Ethel Davis, fisherman; Ethel Davis, mariner; Hubbard Davis, fisherman; and Jacob Davis, fisherman.

Hubbard’s oldest daughter Mary Elizabeth Davis married Byron Parker Ladd of Westport, in June of 1853. Mary Elizabeth Davis shared land on Brier Island containing water and slip privileges with her uncle Ethel Davis, II (Record of lease, Frank Davis). Although they moved to Yarmouth, her husband Byron Ladd operated a store on this land. The store was located on the harbour side of the highway, at the south end of Westport town, north of the bridge, at the foot of the lane running up the hill past the Baptist church to the burial ground. It was sold by Hubbard Davis to Bernard Harvey and E. C. Bowers. Bower’s grand-parents had been loyalists in South Carolina, New York, and Shelburne. Bowers became full owner, but he became a blind invalid and required a nurse, and it was later sold to Robicheau.

The store existed in 1990 as R.E. Robicheau Ltd, on the south corner of: water street, and the road going up the hill past the church, to the graveyard. It purchased some of its goods from descendants of its previous owner: John Clulee, owner of R.H. Davis & Co. Ltd. The general store was located on a long wharf, as shown on a 1991 map.

The 1864 map located the Davis homestead. It may have been possible to see the white gravestone of Ethel Davis from the homestead, between the house of B. Morrill and the Episcopalian Methodist church. The Baptist church could be seen between the homes of Ben and Jacob Davis near the Methodist Church; and between J. Davis and J. M. Porter, near the Baptist Church.

Annapolis County Deeds
Brier Island Brochure
Census 1871, Brier Island
Census 1838, Brier Island
Census 1861, Brier Island
Hutchinson’s Nova Scotia Directory, 1989
Land Deed Book at Weymouth, searched by Don Welch
Powell, Scrap Book: Digby Town and Municipality
Sandy, Search on Davis, Bailey, Clark Payson and Welch
Wilson, Geography and History of County of Digby


Hubbard owned all 64 shares of a 45.2 foot schooner, built in 1860 at Westport, called the Ulrica. He operated the shipping vessels: Sarah L. Hall, Brig. Minnahaha, and Schooner Ulrica, as seen from an 1877 account from Ladd, Porter Co. of Yarmouth.
A business directory on the Map of 1864 lists 43 businessmen in Westport. H. J. Davis is Cooper and shipowner. E. Davis, Jr. cooper; J. Davis, mariner; Benjamin Davis, Master Mariner; M. E. Glavin, Cooper.

brig. Mary E. Ladd, was built in 1861, for Hubbard Davis.
sailing ship. ~ Metegan, NS ? {seen in: loose-leaf book of ships, Yar.County Museum.

Hubbard was appointed Justice of the Peace for Westport on May 11, 1864, replacing David Welch, deceased.
In 1871, the census records that Hubbard Davis, a farmer aged 69, owned 100 acres of land, making him one of the largest landowners on the island. J. Harris was the only one owning the same amount of land.

Hubbard Davis’ statement of account with Ladd, Porter & Co. [1877].

The census also records that Hubbard had in the previous year produced 25 bushels of potatoes, 25 bushels of turnips, and 7 tons of hay. His 100 acre lot contained a dwelling house, two stores, and two barns. His one dozen sheep produced 40 pounds of wool. His six man fishing vessel produced: 300 quintels of cod; 50 quintels of mixed haddock, hake, cod; 100 barrels of herring; and 3 Bbl. halibut.

Davis Gravestones on Brier Island
“Memorandum for Council”, 1864
Shipping Register, Port 21, Digby
Sandy Davis, Search on Davis, Bailey, Clark Payson and Welch
Walling, Topographical Township Map of Digby County


Hubbard’s wife Azuba died just before Christmas in 1871, aged 67, at Westport. Hubbard buried her just down the hill from his parents. Her gravestone is in the cemetery next to his own.
Headstones traced from photos by Dick (W.R.) Davis

Photo of Hubbard Davis
Hubbard died at Westport on September 11, 1883. His children Ben and Hanna Rice had been appointed as executors of his will. He left half of his ownership in schooner Ulrica, the lot of land on which Jacob’s house stood, and half of his cooperage to son Jacob. Benjamin and Samuel were each given one third of the “sand bed” lot of land, $900 and a cow. All the sheep “of his mark” went to his daughter Sarah, and $100 went to his daughter Mary, wife of Byron Ladd.

His 100 acre homestead — half of the 200 acre triangle lot 4 that had been left him by his mother, Margaret Davis – was left to his daughters Sarah and Hannah Rice at Westport, with the provision that “should my daughters die without issue, then the property is to be equally divided between my heirs.”

This land passed to Jacob Davis, who sold it to Ray Repoole in 1916. In 1990 the land at the back of long lot 4, around Gull Rock farm, was owned by Nature Conservancy. The land at the back of triangle lot 4 is owned by D. B. Kenney, who owns a fish packing plant, the largest industry on the island.

Descendants Of Hubbard Davis

5* Frederick Hubbard DAVIS, b.Westport, 1801, Oct. 14, Bpt.Anglican. 1806, Dec. 9. d.and bd.:Westport, 1883, Sep. 11, m. 1827, Nov. 27: Azuba McGREY, b. 1804, d. 1871, Dec. 12,

Raised sheep, farmed and fished, owned schooner Ulrica. Justice of Peace, Westport.

Children born Brier Island:

1x Samuel Bancroft DAVIS, b. 1828, Oct. 8, d. 1830, Sep. 16
2. Mary Elizabeth DAVIS, b. 1830, Jul. 21, d. 1926; m.Byron Parker LADD. [ MaryDavis I, of three generations ].
3. Hannah DAVIS, b. 1832, May 24, m. 1852, Dec. 28: Tileson Rice
4. Emiline DAVIS, b. 1834, Feb. 8, d. 1927, Nov. 20; m. 1861, Mar. 21: John Leonard
5. Benjamin DAVIS b. 1836, Apr. 19, d. 1912. m. Victoria A. Nesbitt
6. Sarah DAVIS, b. 1838, Jun. 14, d. 1905, Mar. 4
7. Jacob DAVIS, b. 1840, May 25, d. 1918, Sep. 26; m3. Grace WELCH
8* Samuel Bancroft DAVIS, b. 1843, Apr. 9, d. 1917; m. Alice BAILEY

4. Mary Elizabeth Davis, Westport, 1830, Jul. 21- 1926, Jun. 14; m. 1853, Jun. 27: Byron Parker LADD, of Westport; to Yarmouth. [ MaryDavis I, of three generations ].

1. Frances LADD, b. 1856, d. 1906
2. Frederick Arthur LADD, b. 1859, d. 1937, m.Grace F. Brown [her letters published: Quite a Curiosity ]
3. Mary “Minnie” LADD, b. 1862, m. 1888: Charles Pratt of Boston
4. Frank LADD, b. 1865, d. 1873 Yarmouth

4. Hanna DAVIS, b. 1852, m. 1852, Dec. 28: Tileson R. Rice, son of Aaron and Ann Payson Rice.

1. Sarah RICE

4. Emiline DAVIS, b. 1834, Feb. 8, d. 1927, Nov. 20; m. 1861, Mar.21: John Leonard. She lived on Gull Rock Road. Later lived with Repoole on Davis Lane, Westport.

4. Benjamin Davis, Sea Captain, b.Westport, 1836, Apr. 19. d. 1912, Aug. 9. bd.Yarmouth

m.West Indies: 1860, Jul. 7: Victoria Albertina Nesbitt, b. 1843, Jul. 30, d. 1914, Apr. 15, bd.Yarmouth, daughter of owner of slave plantation in West Indies. Address: Fairmont and Prescott St., Yarmouth. Victoria Davis was bedridden for years.

1. Sophia K. Davis, 1886, Sep. 30. Yarmouth. d. 1916, Jul. 21
2. Grace Davis, b. 1869, died infant
3. Walter Nisbet Davis., b. 1873 m. Laura, ch: 1 adopted son
4. Frank Ladd Davis, 1874- 1919, m.Daisey Benham
5. Victoria Davis, m.Robert Dexter b. 1883, d. 1971, MA.

4. Jacob GC. DAVIS, sea Captain, b.Westport, 1840, May 25, d. 1918, Sep. 26, bd.Westport.

m1.Cecelia Pack, daughter of Edmund James and Caroline Payson Pack.

1. Caroline “Carey” A. DAVIS 1867, Apr. 28-, m. Kelly
2. Herbert F. DAVIS 1870, d. 1940, bd.Westport.
3. Fred B. Davis 1875, drowned at age 19
4. Grace Lee Davis, 1883, May 13-, m.Ralph Edgerton WELCH

m2. Mary Jane Southern, daughter of Beamin Suthern;

m3. Mary 1850- 1926

4* Samuel Bancroft DAVIS, Sea Captain; b.Westport. 1843, Apr. 9 (See Chapter 7)

3. Frederick Arthur LADD, b. 1859 m. Grace F.Brown

1. Katherine LADD., taught music, Yarmouth; unmarried
2. Forrest A.LADD, RCMP, no issue

3. Minnie LADD b. 1862, m. Pratt

1. Don PRATT
2. Girtrude PRATT

3. Frank Ladd Davis, Yarmouth 1874, Nov. 17 – Yarmouth 1919, Apr. 1

m. Daisey Benham, Lockeport, 1872, May 9 – Yarmouth 1954, Mar. 27

1. Helen Victoria Davis, 1903, Jul. 15- , address Prescott St., Yarmouth. no issue.

3. Victoria Davis, m.Robert Dexter

1. Richard
2. Walter Dexter
2. Frank Dexter

3. Grace Lee Davis, 1883, May 13-, m. Ralph Edgerton WELCH, 1876, Nov. 19- 1944, Nov. 4, son of Daniel and Carolyn Haycock Welch

1. Leona Dorothy WELCH, 1906, Oct.06-, m.Higgins, 2 sons
2. Margaret Elaine WELCH, 1910, Nov. 11-, m.Glen M. Robertson. VW-car dealer, Halifax.

Nichols, Louise {edited} Quite a Curiosity – The Sea Letters of Grace F. Ladd, (NimbusPubl., Halifax, 1959)

Lineage of Azuba McGrey

7. Asa McGray, Reverend.

insert image of Asa, in colour.

6. ?
Frederick Mcgray, (JOHN7, ANGUS8, JOHN9) b.24 July, 1778, Yarmouth Cty., d.15.Nov.1866. Yar.Cty., m. Thomasine Kinney, ca.1800, daughter of NATHAN KINNEY and SARAH NICKERSON.

i. ELIZABETH5 MCGRAY, b. October 01, 1801.

ii. AZUBA MCGRAY, b. December 22, 1803; d. December 12, 1871, Westport, Digby Co., N.S..

5. Azuba McGray (Magray) b.1803,Dec.22; d. December 12, 1871, Westport, Digby Co., N.S. m.1827 Frederic Hubbard Davis