Fonds MS-4-92 - Bigelow family fonds

Photograph of Officers and Executive of the Halifax Curling Club, 1929-1930 Letter from Carrie (granddaughter) Letter from Caroline Button (Bigalow) Letters from Jean Bigelow (granddaughter) Letter from M.H. Beatrice Bigelow (granddaughter) Plan of the Brig. Oak Point Plan of the Brig. Fred Clarke Plan of the Brig. Spring Bird Plan of the Schooner Eagle Plan of the Schooner Ransom Photograph of Daniel Bigelow (1777-1863) Photograph of Canning Harbour and Halle Bigelow's boat, Mabel B. Property plan for Canning Property plan for Canning Photograph of the Barque Nova Scotia Unsigned draft of will Letter to Scott Letter from Isobel Post to John (Jack) Bigelow Letter from Isobel and Roy Post to John (Jack) Bigelow Letter from Isobel to John (Jack) Bigelow Letter from Scott Sidney Bigelow to his father and mother Letter from Scott Sidney Bigelow to his father and mother Letter from Clara Bigelow to mother Letter from Clara Bigelow to mother Letter from Scott Sidney Bigelow to his father Letter from Clara Bigelow to mother Letter from Scott Sidney Bigelow to his father Letter from John Emerson Bigelow to his son Scott Sidney Bigelow Letter fragment from medium ("Spirit Mother") Diary entries The brave old rock (handwritten copy of poem) Letter from Hannah to John Letter from John Bigelow Medical Report from the Nova Scotia Sanatorium regarding Mr. John Bigelow Easter Postcard to Cousin Carrie from Waite Bigelow Christmas Greeting Postcard from Waite Bigelow Letter from Halle Bigelow (son) Reply to a letter from Halle Bigelow (son), letter was not sent Memoir of religious experiences, 1848-1851 Letters from Owen Bigelow Photograph of wharf under construction

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Bigelow family fonds

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  • Architectural drawing
  • Graphic material
  • Technical drawing
  • Textual record

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  • 1865-1976 (Creation)

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Physical description

1.5 m of textual records

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Biographical history

The Bigelow family was involved in shipbuilding in the Kings County region of Nova Scotia for five generations. Amasa Bigelow (1755-1799) arrived in Cornwallis c. 1762 with his New England Planter father and became a ship’s carpenter, later operating a sawmill on Deep Hollows Mountain. He married Roxana Cone in 1775. The eldest of their eleven children, Ebenezer (1776-1860), established a shipyard at Oak Point, Kingsport, where he designed, built and sailed a variety of small vessels. He was married in 1804 to Nancy Rand, with whom he had six children.

Ebenezer Jr. (1815-1899) followed in his father’s footsteps and in 1838 established his own shipyard in Canning, Nova Scotia. Over the next fifty years he was the master builder on 67 ships, from 12-tonne sloops to the 1164-tonne Arbela, designed by his son Gideon.

Ebenezer, Jr. married Waity Sanford in 1834 and had 10 children, three of whom (John, Gideon and Samuel) joined him in the Bigelow Shipyard, eventually taking it over after his death in 1889. They in turn were joined by Ebenezer, Jr.’s grandsons, Scott and Halle, whose vessels included 4 tern schooners and one steamship, the Brunswick (1909). The last ship built in the Bigelow Shipyard was the Cape Blomidon, which was launched in 1919.

Custodial history

The records were held by members of the Bigelow family until they were received by Dalhousie University Archives and Special Collections in a number of accessions, dating between 1985 and 1999. Donors included John Robert Bigelow, his sister Laurabel Taylor, and his daughter Mary Skerrett.

Scope and content

Fonds contains the personal and professional records of four generations of the Bigelow family of Nova Scotia. It includes correspondence, legal and financial documents, diaries and memoirs, and photographs that document primarily the family's shipbuilding activities as well as the genealogical interests of John Robert Bigelow.

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The fonds comprises six series, reflecting four generations of Bigelows:

Ebenezer Bigelow

Carrie Coalfleet

John Emerson Bigelow

Halle Bigelow

John Robert Bigelow


Some series are further divided into sub-series. Arrangements were created and applied by the archivists.

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  • English

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Restrictions on access

There are no access restrictions on these materials. All materials are open for research.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Materials do not circulate and must be used in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room. Materials may be under copyright. Contact departmental staff for guidance on reproduction.

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No further accruals expected.

General note

Preferred citation: [Identification of item], Bigelow family fonds, MS-4-92, Box [box number], Folder [folder number], Dalhousie University Archives and Special Collections, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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