Annapolis Heritage Society | Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

Richard Oliver to Granville in 1774 — a Yorkshire Settler

by Ina Oliver

The Yorkshire Settlers were a group of people who came to Nova Scotia in 1774-1775 from Yorkshire, England. They came from an area forty miles west of Scarborough and south of the North Yorkshire Moors… an area inhabited by the Vikings, the Saxons, the Normans and the Romans. All their villages appeared in the Doomsday Book in 1086. Most of the settlers were farmers and they appear to have been educated, as they signed documents and built schools and churches.

It is interesting to note that the most common reason given on the ship passenger lists for leaving England was “seeks better employment”. Reasons given by some of the settlers were: “farm being over-rented” (John Robinson), “rents having been raised” (Robert Wilson), “on account of high cost of provisions” (John Jacques), and “farmer turned off his farm, it being made into a larger one” (William Gilliatt).

The thirteen families who came from the Yorkshire area and settled in Annapolis County were: Bath, Clark, Gilliatt, Halliday, Hawkesworth, Hudson, Jacques, Jefferson, Mills, Milner, Oliver, Robinson, L. Wilson, and R. Wilson. (Books on all these families have been published and are available at our shop in the O’Dell House Museum.)

The Oliver family came from the village of Weaverthorpe. Richard Oliver, the ancestor, was a farmer and came to Nova Scotia at the age of 19, on the “Thomas and William” or “Prince George” (his name appeared on both passenger lists), while his family remained in England. Richard Oliver married Christianna Halliday in 1781. Christianna and her family had been passengers to Nova Scotia on the same ship as Richard.

Descendants of the Olivers and Hallidays are mostly located in the area of the township known for many years as the “Bay Shore”, stretching from Young’s Cove in the east to DeLaps’s Cove in the west, including Parker’s Cove, Hillsburn and Litchfield. According to Ian Lawrence’s research, virtually everyone born in these villages after 1950 can claim descent from the Olivers and the Hallidays.

Area families who are in some way related to the descendants of Richard Oliver include the names Armstrong, Anderson, Atwell, Baltzor, Bent, Chute, Clayton, Corkum, Daniels, Everett, Feener, Ford, Goss, Graham, Gregory, Guest, Hamilton, Lewis, Longmire, Parker, Rowter, Sarty, and Vidito, just to mention a few.