The Wallace and Area Museum hosts exciting and informative events throughout the season. The museum’s schedule tries to balance the needs of the community with education and the preservation of area history. Some events are fixed each year, such as Francis Grant Day, The Mary Kennedy Tea and the Annual Flea Market and Family Fun Day. Others are scheduled on a monthly or weekly basis, including children’s programming, demonstrations, lectures, openings or special exhibitions. Follow our web site for details or contact us by e-mail with questions.
May 27: Dandelion Festival in Wallace
June 4: Opening of The United Empire Loyalists of Remsheg exhibition at the Wallace Museum
Wallace and Area Museum, 2017
Who were the United Empire Loyalists?
The name was an honourary title, given to refugees of the American Revolution. The Loyalists came form all walks of life: some were the families of British soldiers. Others were clerks and clergymen, lawyers and labourers, Indigenous peoples and slaves. Many were farmers and craftsmen. They had little in common except their opposition to the Revolution.
Historians estimate that 250,000 citizens of the thirteen colonies opposed the Revolution. Almost 35,000 refugees emigrated to the Maritimes. Some of these loyal subjects would one day settle down in this very area, then known as Remsheg.
The world they left behind…
As the American Revolution drew to a close those who remained loyal to the British Crown found themselves legally and socially persecuted, their property stolen, their lives at risk. Thousands lived in fear. Many rebel colonies already had laws in effect that persecuted Loyalists. In New Jersey, for example:
“Anyone teaching, speaking or writing acknowledged loyalty to the king or [who] suggested he might rule New Jersey [should] suffer death without benefit of clergy.”
For the Loyalists the only safe harbour was New York. Even then, it was safe only until the British left.
The Remsheg land grant
We are pleased to have in our collection the original hand-drawn land grant donated to the museum by the Dotten family in 2008. The map was signed in 1785 by Governor John Parr in Halifax. Under the provisions of this grant, Loyalist refugees received land, tools and supplies to equip them for life in their new settlements.
Exhibit fast facts:
- The American Revolution took place between 1776 and 1783.
- After the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, 460 refugees from Westchester County, New York arrived on the Thetis and Nicholas and Jane a Fort Cumberland on July 15, 1783.
- Loyalist settlers who emigrated to this area drew lots for land in Remsheg (now called Wallace) and Cobequid (now called Wentworth and Westchester).
- The Davison-Kennedy House and this museum were built on one such property, part of the Remsheg grant originally owned by Jacob Veal (lot number 75).
June 13: Annual General Meeting, Wallace and Area Museum Society
June 21: National Aboriginal Day
July 9: Francis Grant Day
The Wallace and Area Museum’s annual Francis Grant Day is a special event for the residents of Wallace and area – a day to celebrate the life of a famous citizen. Francis Grant (1904-1987) was a business owner, writer and community historian. Throughout his life he did much to preserve the local stories, folklore, tales and tragedies of the region. He was modest but determined, dedicated to learning, research and the recording of local history. Grant was born in Wallace on December 12, 1904 to Wylie and Annie (Charman) Grant. He was the oldest of seven children, including one sister, Gertrude, and five brothers: Henry, Roy, Herb, John and Fred.
Francis Grant received his education at the Wallace School. Following graduation in 1922, he went “West” to try his fortune. After a brief period, Grant returned to Wallace where he studied to be a telegraph operator at the Wallace Railway Station. However, he soon left Wallace again for western Canada, where he worked for seven years in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.
Most people remember Grant as a shopkeeper. He, with his brother John, operated Grant’s General Store in Wallace. Others remember him for his community work, his early years as a railway telegrapher or for his service in the Army during the Second World War.
Between 1957 and 1974 Francis Grant self-published five books of poetry on his own small press. He painstakingly set his type by hand and printed each book, volume by volume. Lancelot Press published two collections of his short stories in 1979 and 1983. Most of Grant’s narrative poetry and short stories are about the sea and those who sailed schooners, barques and brigs around the world – tales of tragedy, courage, treachery and heroic rescue.
Grant’s work continues to be relevant in contemporary literature, as many young people become newly acquainted with his legacy of stories and poems.
Our volunteer readers for Francis Grant Day, 2017: Richard Baker, Heber Colbourne, Thelma Colbourne, Noah Doucette, Ira Drysdale, Kathleen MacNutt, Charlotte Lou Moody, Doris Purdy, Ralph Waugh
July 5: Tea in the Garden, Wednesday afternoons during July and August. Local author readings on Wednesdays in July with Sara Jewell, Laurie Glenn Norris, Linda Little and Prudy White.
Laurie Glenn Norris
July 22/23: Loyalist Reenactment, 84th Regiment of Foot-2nd Battalion
July 29: Annual Flea Market and Family Fun Day
August 2: Annual Mary Kennedy Tea
The life of Mary Davison Kennedy 1879-1964
Mary Davison Kennedy was the mother of the museum’s benefactor, John A. Kennedy. Her grandfather, James B. Davison, purchased this property in 1837 and went on to build one of the largest shipyards in Wallace. Mary was born in this house, the only child of Robert and Mary Davison, and lived here most of her life. As a young woman Mary studied music in Boston and lived in Montreal and Toronto. It was during a visit to her aunt in Montreal that she met her husband, Michael Kennedy, a widower with a small son. Mary returned to Wallace each summer with her stepson and their son John, who was born in 1907. Each time, after completing one of her life challenges, she returned to her home at Wallace Bridge. After her father Robert passed away, due to certain stresses in her marriage and her mother’s need to have her at home, Mary decided to stay on in Wallace and sent her stepson back to Montreal to live with his father.
Mary was beautiful and talented; in her possessions, we can see evidence that she was well-read and very conscious of fashion. The hat and dress collection in the museum are mostly items that belonged to Mary, a product of her extended visits to Montreal and Toronto. Mary, like her family before her, saved the everyday objects of her life. These became the basis for our museum’s remarkable collection.
Mary appreciated art, pictures, paintings and photographs; she even collected and displayed magazine covers on her walls. Her love of flowers and gardens was also shared by her son John and is reflected in the museum’s beautiful surroundings.
August 5 from 1-3 pm: Children’s Day
August 9 from 1-4 pm: Art in the Garden
August 13 from 1-3 pm Youth Art Class
August 15 – September 13: Annual Remsheg Rug Hookers’ Exhibition
August 17: Remsheg Rug Hookers’ Annual Hook-In
August 19 from 1-3 pm: Children’s Day
August 24 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm: Paint Nite with Louise Cloutier
August 30: Remsheg Rug Hooker’s Exhibition curator’s talk. Demonstration with Sonia Collis
September 8 from 1:30-4 pm: Knitter’s Tea
September 27 from 2-4 pm: Afternoon tea and curator’s talk on Our Heritage Gardens. Exhibit continued until October 20.
October 3 from 9 to 11:30 am: Wallace Elementary School visit
Born in Philipsburg, Westchester County, New York, Ensign James Dotten joined the Light Troop of Westchester Chasseurs, loyal to the British forces, in New York in 1777. James served approximately three months under Colonel James Delancey, then under Major Baremore until Colonel Hatfield took command. In 1780 James Dotten was promoted to Sergeant under Colonel Hatfield until 1781, when he was promoted to Ensign. He remained at that rank until 1793 when the Westchester Chasseurs disbanded. Ensign Dotten was granted Town Lot number 238 in Fanningboro, North Wallace, as part of the Remsheg Grant in 1784. Fanningboro is known as “the town that never was”, because most Loyalists granted lands in Remsheg chose to live on and work their acreage in Wallace and area, rather than settle on their three-acre town lots in Fanningboro.
October 11 from 9 to 11:30 am: Tatamagouche Elementary School visit
October 13 from 2-4 pm: Reading by Janet Maybee form her book Aftershock: The Halifax Explosion and the Persecution of Pilot Francis Mackey (Nimbus 2016). Winner of the Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award. Janet will also present a visual commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion.
October 24: Hallowe’en Walk in the Dark (rain date: Thursday, October 26)
The 84th Regiment of Foot, Second Battalion
Our special guests at the Wallace Museum, July 21 to 23, 2017