Friday, 3 March 2017

David Jones Obituary

I normally write about Dartmouth history and archaeology. Today, I am mourning the death of my Grandad, David Jones, who made a great contribution to Dartmouth over the last 58 years, and, as a tribute to him, I have written the following obituary:

JONES, David Ignatius – David Ignatius Jones, Q.C., a loving and devoted father, husband and brother, died Thursday, March 2, 2017, in the Admiral Long Term Care facility, Dartmouth.

David Jones was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on January 3, 1928, to Alexander William Jones and Lillian (nee Lyons) Jones. David is survived by his beloved wife of 58 years, F. Marie (nee Martin) Jones, daughter of Frank and Minnie Martin; his son, Martin Jones (Ann); his daughter, Dr. Teresa Dykeman (Paul); his daughter Angela Jones-Rieksts (Mark); his daughter, Marie Moir (Matthew); and 14 grandchildren: David Jones, Catherine Jones, Dr. Jonathan Dykeman (Meghan), Cassandra Dykeman, Foster Wright, Marie Wright, Meaghan Wright, Markus Rieksts, Cecilia Riesksts, Anna Rieksts, David Rieksts, Joseph Rieksts, Paula Moir, James Moir and great-grandchild Gideon Dykeman.

He is survived by brother-in-law Gerald Martin and sisters-in-law Frances Giovannetti, Evelyn Fay and Anne Jones. David is also survived by many beloved cousins, nieces, nephews and their extended families. He was predeceased by his parents, Alexander William Jones, K.C., and Lillian Jones, and his parents-in-law Frank and Minnie Martin. David was the last to survive of his many brothers and sisters: Lilian Ann, Mary Patricia, Alexander Joseph, Madeleine Agatha, Humphrey Aloysius, Lilian Agatha, Elizabeth Ann, the Hon. Malachi Cornelius, Rose Marie and Mary Elizabeth. He was predeceased by two caring and beautiful children; son David Martin Jones and daughter Paula Jones-Wright (Doug).

Grandad was a graduate of Saint Mary’s University (B.A., 1951) and Dalhousie Law School (LL.B., 1956). He was admitted to the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society in 1957, and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1973. He was active in the practice of law for over 50 years, and retired as a partner, having worked with his son Martin, in the Dartmouth law firm Russell Piggott Jones, previously Anderson Huestis Jones.

David was Vice-Chairman of the Halifax Port Corporation from April 1994 to March 1999 and was an active member of the Provincial and Federal Liberal Associations.

Grandad served his community and profession in past years as a member of the Barristers’ Society’s Committee for Establishment of Nova Scotia Legal Aid; Chairman of the Dartmouth Regional Vocational School Board and a member of the Board of Governors of Saint Mary’s University. He was active in Credit Unions and Co-operatives and was a former President of Harbour City Credit Union.

“Big Dave” also served as an Executive Member of Banook Canoe Club, and was a founding Director of the Society for Canoe Championships. As a lawyer, he incorporated the East Preston Day Care Centre. He was the only lay Honourary Member of the Police Association of Nova Scotia. He was a member of Dartmouth Council 3133 of the Knights of Columbus for over 40 years and was also a director of the Dartmouth Seniors Service Centre for 5 years.

David was a former Chairman of Saint Peter Parish Council, Dartmouth, Choir Member, Cantor and Catechist.

Grandad grew up with his large family on the beautiful Bedford Basin in Rockingham, Nova Scotia. He was a proud direct descendant of Captain Jonathan Jones, first Loyalist settler of Baddeck, N.S. David and his wife, F. Marie (nee Martin) Jones, proudly resided in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia for the full length of their adoring marriage. Their children have all raised their own families in Dartmouth. Born a proud Rockinghammer, he died as an even prouder Dartmouthian!

In retirement, Mr. Jones could be found sitting on his Prince Albert Road porch, watching the comings and goings of picturesque Sullivan’s Pond. In 2014, a Google Street View camera captured a classic Dartmouth scene: David asleep in his outdoor chair!

Although noted for his selfless community contributions, Mr. Jones will be remembered most for his unwavering love for his wife, children and grandchildren. David enjoyed countless hours as a spectator at the hockey rink, canoe club, ball field, recital hall or gym. Mr. Jones, until the last few years of his life, was blessed with a remarkable memory. He could recall events and names, at the drop of a hat, from fifty years or seventy years earlier. His personality was magnetic and he loved to dance and listen to music, especially Elton John, Stevie Wonder and the Eagles. He could play any song on the chromatic harmonica and, even in recent years, could match note-for-note Stevie’s rendition of Isn’t She Lovely.

The highlight of David’s life was his fifty-eight year marriage to his “bride” Marie, a term he used until his passing. He loved his in-laws, Frank and Minnie Martin and they loved him as much as his bride. Marie’s devotion to him was unequalled, especially during the last two years as nursing home residents. They always reminisced about Mount Saint Vincent University days, the Martin camp at Burnside, summers with family on the beach at Pictou and Prince Edward Island, Sunday drives which could end up in Yarmouth, Amherst or Antigonish, and big family dinners and parties. They often laughed about his younger 5BX and jogging days, when the infamous geese of Sullivan’s Pond would chase him in his blue Adidas running suit.

During his last two years of declining health, his family appreciated the support and kindness of the staff at both Northwood and the Admiral.                        

Visitation will take place Monday from 2- 4 and 7-9 p.m. at the Dartmouth Funeral Home, 29 Queen Street. A funeral mass will be held in Saint Peter Church, 10 Maple Street, Dartmouth, on Tuesday at 12 noon, Father Jim Richards officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the David M. Jones Scholarship Fund at Dalhousie University Law School, which was created in memory of his late son David. If you can, take a few moments of your precious time and visit family or friends who face the challenges, and often loneliness, of long-term nursing home care.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Heritage Trust Lecture: Quaker House and Evergreen

Thursday, January 19th (7:30pm), David Jones, Dartmouth historian and founder of the Dartmouth History Blog, presented a free public lecture to the Heritage Trust; Lived-in History: The re-purposing of Downtown Dartmouth's Quaker House and Evergreen. The event, held in the auditorium of the Museum of Natural History, was filled to capacity and attended by people of all ages and representatives of the local archaeology, museum and built heritage communities.

Here is the description for David's talk, as advertised:

The extensive and significant material culture collection of the City of Dartmouth is currently out of public view in a Burnside storage facility. While waiting for a proper and permanent home, the Dartmouth Heritage Museum operates out of two historic buildings; Evergreen and Quaker House. 

2017 marks not only the 150th anniversary of Confederation but also of the construction of Judge Alexander James' Evergreen (famous as the home of folklorist Helen Creighton).Quaker House, notably, is the oldest known surviving building in Dartmouth (1786) and is an integral feature of a potential Downtown Dartmouth Heritage District.

Join David Jones, a strong advocate for cultural heritage, for an illustrated and lively discussion of the 'lived-in history' of these notable Dartmouth museum houses.

David Jones is an archaeologist and historian from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Dartmouth Heritage Museum Society.
David is the great grand nephew of Dr. John P. Martin, Town Historian of Dartmouth. Recently graduated from Saint Mary's University, David has conducted archaeological excavations and geophysical prospections on sites across Nova Scotia.

David discussed the history of two of Dartmouth's most well-known heritage homes and outlined his vision for a new, purpose-built history museum for Dartmouth and his idea, shared with many, for a Downtown Dartmouth Heritage District.

Quaker House, also known as the Quaker Whaler House, is the oldest known building in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. It was built in 1786 for William Ray, a cooper and sailor from Nantucket. The Quaker Whalers (approximately two dozen families belonging to the Society of Friends, as opposed to the oft cited forty) came to Dartmouth in 1785-1786 to establish a new base for their lucrative whaling industry post American Revolution. The British Government had recently imposed heavy tariffs on whale oil and the Quaker Whalers avoided these tariffs by setting up in British territory. Names of prominent Dartmouth Quaker families included Coleman, Starbuck and Folger.

Today's Canada Post office at the Corner of Queen and King Street in Downtown Dartmouth stands on the site of the original Quaker Meeting House which was torn down in the early 19th Century.
Twelve houses were built for the Quaker families. The last to survive, the Quaker House is located on Ochterloney Street (across from Battery Park and Two if by Sea) and is open to visitors in the summer (operated by the Dartmouth Heritage Museum).

Quaker Whaler House (1786), a crucial part of the Dartmouth Heritage Museum complex, anchors the historic character of Dartmouth's beautiful Ochterloney Street, It is open to visitors during the summer tourist season.
Evergreen was designed by famous Dartmouth architect Henry Elliott and finished in 1867 for Judge Alexander James. Built overlooking Dartmouth Cove and Halifax Harbour, Evergreen is a prominent Dartmouth landmark and the current home-base for the Dartmouth Heritage Museum. For decades, it was the residence of Dr. Helen Creighton, world famous recorder of Nova Scotian folklore. Evergreen is open year round, Monday to Saturday.

Evergreen house is the administrative base of the Dartmouth Heritage Museum Society and is open to the public for tours
If you are in Halifax, Nova Scotia, a ferry ride, from the Chebucto Landing terminal to the Alderney terminal in Downtown Dartmouth, is a lovely way to reach the city of Dartmouth. Upon arriving, you can walk up Ochterloney Street (via Alderney Drive) to visit Quaker House. On the way, you can grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants or coffee shops in the area. Alternatively, you could walk along the waterfront to reach Newcastle Street, home (at the corner of Albert Street) of Evergreen House.
Although interesting museums in their own right, Quaker House and Evergreen do not meet the needs of the vast and important material culture collection of the former City of Dartmouth. These thousands of artifacts currently reside in a less than ideal storage facility in Burnside, on the edge of Dartmouth. Our artifacts (and their stories) deserve a proper home on this, eastern, side of the harbour. Imagine the showcase exhibits at the new Dartmouth Museum:
  • The multi-faceted story (pre-contact artifacts, campsites such as Tufts Cove and Turtle Grove, place names, conflict/peace/racism, basket making, the first hockey sticks,birch-bark canoes and the rise of paddle sports, etc.) of the first people, the Mi'kmaq.
  • Starr Manufacturing and the Birthplace of Hockey
  • The legacy of the Dartmouth lakes (hockey, paddling, rowing, swimming, dragon boating, ecology, portage routes, ice industry, canal building, settlement patterns)
  • Local industry: ship-building, ice harvesting, skate manufacture, oil refinement, etc.
Also covered in the presentation: Downtown Dartmouth Heritage District designation. Lately, young families, professionals and hipsters have been flocking to the beautiful neighbourhoods of Downtown Dartmouth. This 'discovery' comes at a time when the lovely historic homes and precious archaeological sites are threatened by the bulldozer and wrecking ball. It is time that we protect our built heritage and underground heritage. Help turn the Downtown Dartmouth Heritage District into reality!
My grandmother taught me that you can change the world with one phone call. If you would like to help build Dartmouth's new museum, and create the Downtown Dartmouth Heritage District, please contact your local politicians!
Quaker House and Evergreen are represented by Councilor Sam Austin, MLA Marian Mancini and MP Darren Fisher.

Sam Austin contact info:

Marian Mancini, MLA contact info:

Darren Fisher, MP contact info:

Visit for more on Quaker House and Evergreen. 

Monday, 8 February 2016

Starr Manufacturing Turbine Demolished

As stated in an earlier Dartmouth History Blog post (Recent News Article Neglects Starr Manufacturing), "Starr Manufacturing, harnessing the waters of the defunct Shubenacadie Canal, produced millions of pairs of Starr skates which were the first modern skates in the world. This Dartmouth company was on the leading edge of innovation in hockey for decades and played a direct role in the creation of Canada's national winter sport. The Acme Club spring skate was invented by John Forbes who came to work for John Starr's nail factory in the 1860s."

Starr Manufacturing's key position in early hockey and skating history has been honoured as a National Historic Event (the only one in Dartmouth). Frustratingly, the Starr National Historic Event plaque is not on display. It should be prominently mounted on the Starr property (misleadingly referred to as the 'Canal Greenway' on current signage) alongside a fitting sculpture of a Starr skate.

Recently, I came across a troubling update, concerning the turbine that powered the Starr Factory, from the Shubenacadie Canal Commission (
In order to allow for the restoration of masonry work and flooring in the turbine chamber the Starr era turbine has been removed. As you can see it was in poor condition and the experts determined that because there are existing examples of this type of turbine, it would not be kept. There are plans to install a replica of the original canal era turbine.

Starr Turbine removed from the Starr Site and destroyed.

The  production of the Acme Spring Skate was made possible by the turbine housed below the Starr factory floor on Prince Albert Road. Unnecessarily, this impressive piece of machinery, a tangible and physical link to our past, has been broken up into pieces. It is sincerely hoped that the Starr turbine will re-appear (perhaps from a junkyard or warehouse) and be put on display for the general public. Our hockey history deserves better than to be thrown out with the trash.