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Benjamin Marston was a Harvard educated man, a Boston Loyalist who did not fight in the Revolution. Instead, he fled to Nova Scotia 1776 as soon as the war there turned against the British.

Marston came to Port Roseway (renamed Shelburne) as the chief surveyor at the beginning of its settlement. He was appointed to this position by then Governor John Parr. In late July 1783, Parr swore in Marston as a Justice of the Peace.

Because of his position, Benjamin Marston was very involved in the early settling of Shelburne. His strong opinions and disdain for the affectations of the Loyalists make him an unusually candid and valuable diarist. Marston's diary gives us an inside look at what was happening at Shelburne during its founding years.

Marston wrote in his diary about some of the early discrimination he saw in the distribution of land grants. He said that many people who were qualified for a grant were left out of the lottery; he felt it was because of influence from the Port Roseway Associates. Others received multiple grants or had young children entered into the draw.

Many of the grantees were unsatisfied with their plots. When the governor gave orders for the blacks to be placed on the North West Harbour, their leader Stephen Blucke was satisfied with the land. Marston spent some time laying out the lands allotted for the blacks, but his work was interrupted by a riot.

The disbanded soldiers of the community decided to drive the blacks out of town, the reason being that the blacks worked for cheaper wages than the soldiers. The soldiers then began pulling down the homes of the blacks, a total of twenty. Marston then got news that he was to be the next attacked, so he fled for the safety of Halifax.

Marston was then fired by Governor Parr, who suspected Marston of taking bribes and also needed a scapegoat for the riot. After serving as chief surveyor in the Miramichi region of New Brunswick, Marston traveled to England where he was involved in a long running legal dispute. Marston finally went to South Africa on a voyage as chief surveyor where he fell ill and died.

Surveyor Image
Marston was the chief surveyor at Shelburne and Birchtown

Story : Arrival






Marston's Journal

Letter Describing Shelburne

Annapolis Road