This file is part of the Nova Scotia Genealogy Resources Page.

In October, 1761 a group of about 300 mostly Presbyterian immigrants came from Northern Ireland to settle land along the Minas Basin. As no passenger lists or similar records have survived, it has been virtually impossible to trace these men back to their roots in Ireland -- until now!

Under the headline Nova Scotia, the Belfast News Letter of March 11, 1762 [issue 2564] [p. 3] published a report from "a committee of the people arrived in this province from the Kingdom of Ireland last summer". The report extolled the virtues of the Nova Scotia land and climate. It was dated at Halifax November 16, 1761.

Most significantly, this report not only names the settlers but also specifies what County and Parish in Ireland they were originally from. I have cross-referenced this list against the 1770 census and include that information here.

The original census returns can be found in NSARM  RG 1 v. 443 (Mfm# 13580). They were also published in PANS 1934 Annual Report.

Name Parish in Ireland County Residence in 1770
Barnhill, John Lake Donegal Londonderry/Onslow
Clark, John Tamlaught Finleggan Derry
Cochran, Daniel Derrykeychen Antrim
Crawford, Joseph near Rathmelton Donegal
Henderson, William Rathmullan Donegal
Mahon, John Rosses Donegal Londonderry
McClean, Anthony near Letter Kenny Donegal Londonderry
McNutt, Benjamin Bar. Killmacrene, Mauagh Donegal
McNutt, John Tullyachnish Derry
McNutt, William Mavagh Donegal Onslow
Moore, William Fahan Donegal
Morrison, John Ry Tollaghebegly Donegal Londonderry
Patton, Mark Fosghan Vael Derry Cumberland
Ross, Andrew Belreshain Antrim
Smith, Robert Cahery, Drummacose Londonderry
Spencer, Robert Clanda Horky Donegal Londonderry

The Irish place names are spelled the same as in the newspaper announcement (which may not be the correct/modern spelling).
There were two men named John Mahon, apparently living as neighbors. The first named was identified in the returns as "John Mahon, Esq."
There was a John Barnhill enumerated in Londonderry and another in Onslow.

Allan E. Marble's book Deaths Burials and Probate of Nova Scotians 1749 to 1799, from Primary Sources v. 2 (Halifax: GANS, 1990) lists the following deaths. Further research is required to determine if they are from the above group of Irish immigrants.

Benjamin McNutt, gentleman, died 21 Sept. 1798 at Shelburne
William Moore died 5 Sept. 1797 at Halifax
Robert Smith, mariner, died 24 Sept. 1787 at Halifax

Lisa (Gilbert) Soo informs me that there were apparently two men named John Morrison living in Colchester county in the 1760's .

One John Morrison was born in Londonderry, New Hampshire in 1725 or 1726, moved to Peterborough where his father died, served in the Louisburg campaign, and in 1760, went to Truro, N.S. In 1767-68, he moved to Londonderry, N.S., and served as a representative in the assembly as of 1770.

More information can be found in:
Thomas Miller Historical and Genealogical Record of the First Settlers of Colchester County. (1873) pp. 164-5 
Leonard A. Morrison The History of the Morison or Morrison Family, A Complete History of the Morison Settlers of Londonderry, N.H. of 1719, and their Descendants (1880).

It is not clear what happened to the John Morrison from the above passenger list. It is possible that he may have left Nova Scotia, as apparently did many of his fellow passengers.

Last Modified: April 23, 2004