Yarmouth Past and Present, A Book of Reminiscences - 1902. by J. Murray Lawson


Cat No.:   CA0160:

This slightly unusual history of Yarmouth Nova Scotia was compiled by J. Murray Lawson whose other claim to literary fame comes from his publications of the Records of Shipping of Yarmouth (see our Compendium of Yarmouth Shipping CA0158). Mr. Lawson was the son of Alexander Lawson the owner and proprietor of The Yarmouth Herald, and it is clear that much of the content of this book has been gleaned from the records of that newspaper. But it is exactly that fact which gives this book its unique and interesting slant on the history of the area. For one thing, news papers have always been more interested in people than things so there is a lot more of the activities of the inhabitants of Yarmouth than in a more conventional history which would tend to concentrate more on the things that people leave behind them.

The over 600 pages of this book are organized into various departments ranging from General through Fires, Lightning Storms and Accidents to Churches, Lands and Buildings to Incorporations, Societies Etc. Of course it is impossible to bypass the most important industry / activity of the area so there are also departments dedicated to Shipping, particularly to telling the tales of its loss, of the people who owned and sailed the ships and with the development of the steamer which was just beginning to take over from sail as this book was being compiled.

Many of the departments are subdivided into the years in which various occurrences are reported, but always the emphasis is on the people involved. For anyone interested in the political history of Yarmouth there is a whole section carrying the reports of almost every local election from the mid 1700's (although some of the details of the early ones are understandably sketchy.) Similarly there is a whole section devoted to the development of newspapers.

It's hard to believe that anyone with an interest in Yarmouth (Town or County) wouldn't find something of interest in this fascinating record of the area. The 66 illustrations, some of which are panoramas of early Yarmouth, should be fascinating for anyone who is familiar with Yarmouth's modern development.

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FastFind:  No;  ISBN No.:   1-897338-52-X;