Tuesday, May 09, 2017


Nova Scotia's Lure to the Robinson's Durkees

Nadene Goldfoot                                    
Americans in Massachusetts were being coaxed into moving to Nova Scotia, Canada" in the early 1700s.  "Nova Scotia is one of eastern Canada's Maritime provinces on the Atlantic. Consisting of a peninsula and offshore islands, it's home to puffins and seals, and popular" today  "for water sports like kayaking. The Bay of Fundy, with its famously extreme tides, is a whale-watching destination. Halifax, the capital, dominated by the star-shaped Citadel, is known for its lively waterfront and Victorian-era Public Gardens."

The same thing happened later when the Civil War started in 1861.  Our ggrandfather, Abiathar Smith Robinson and his wife, Julia Ann Tuller, moved from the Royalton-Tunbridge, Vermont area to Canada during the Civil War.  The lure supposedly was land for farming.  They left immediately after the war was over and returned to the states, settling this time in Wenona, Marshall, Illinois.

It was 100 years earlier that Julia Ann's mother's family tried to live in Nova Scotia.  Julia's mother was Asenith Durkee, born in 1814 in Royalton, Windsor, Vermont.  Asenith's father was Heman Durkee, born in 1789 in Royalton.  Her mother was Rebeccah Hatch, daughter of Isaac Hatch and Mary Polly Shepherd  of Tolland Connecticut. 

Heman's 2nd cousin twice removed was Phineas Durkee b: 1730  who would move to Nova Scotia from Connecticut.  Phineas had married Phoebe Pearl, being married there in Windham.  They moved across the border into Brimfield, Massachusetts a few weeks after their wedding.  There, they must have heard about the good land in Nova Scotia and all the opportunities it had to offer over America at that time.  

The fact was that the French who had been on the land were expulsed in 1755 and by 1758, people in Halifax were trying to interest New England and Pennsylvania's population to settle there.  By June 9, 1761, 3 families moved to Nova Scotia from Connecticut but suffered greatly before Spring came.  

Phineas and Phebe Durkee arrived there in the 2nd summer in 1762.  No sooner than they settled in than Phebe gave birth to her 6th child, Phineas Jr.  The Durkees chose a coastal area called Chebogue and their homestead was called Durkee's Island.   Phineas's trade was that of a tanner of hides.  He was also going to farm.  The man was a go-getter.  He started the first saw-mill and shipping enterprises.  The position of first town clerk went to him.  It is said that people can read his careful records today.  You will find that he also served on many commiittees about the organization of the town and became Justice of the Peace in 1767.   This land became known as Yarmouth.  They were not the only Durkees to move there.  Andrew and Robert Durkee were also early settlers.  

Descendants of Phineas Sr. Durkee

1   Phineas Sr. Durkee b: September 16, 1730 in Prob. Connecticut
.. +Phoebe Pearl b: May 13, 1732 in Prob. Connecticut
. 2   [1] Lois Durkee b: September 26, 1752
..... +Solomon Lufkin b: 1747
. *2nd Husband of [1] Lois Durkee:
..... +Daniel Allen b: March 15, 1758
. 2   [2] Amasa Durkee b: July 06, 1754
..... +Ruth Robbins b: 1757
. *2nd Wife of [2] Amasa Durkee:
..... +Martha Shurtliffe b: 1759
. 2   Olive Durkee b: June 22, 1756 in Brimfield, Hampden, Massachusetts
..... +Samuel Trask b: 1751
. 2   [3] Eleanor Durkee b: May 11, 1758
..... +Thomas Dalton b: Abt. 1758
. *2nd Husband of [3] Eleanor Durkee:
..... +Nathaniel Ricker b: 1753
. 2   John Durkee b: November 01, 1760
..... +Lydia Lovitt Robbins b: Abt. 1760
. 2   Phineas Jr. Durkee b: June 19, 1762
. 2   [4] Robert Sr. Durkee b: February 22, 1765 in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia
..... +Abigail Rogers b: March 09, 1766 in Yarmouth, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia
. *2nd Wife of [4] Robert Sr. Durkee:
..... +Lydia Allen b: July 24, 1785 in Yarmouth, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia
. 2   Stephen Sr. Durkee b: September 22, 1766
..... +Lydia Lovitt b: 1771
. 2   [5] Pearl Durkee b: May 25, 1769
..... +Mary Hankey b: 1774
. *2nd Wife of [5] Pearl Durkee:
..... +Charlotte Rose b: 1774
. 2   Phoebe Durkee b: April 28, 1771
..... +Samuel Bancroft b: 1766
. 2   Elizabeth Durkee b: October 22, 1774
..... +John Hayes b: 1769
. 2   Hannah Durkee b: June 27, 1781

..... +Nathan Jr. Kinney b: December 25, 1778

Andrew and Robert, the other early settlers, were the brothers of Phineas.  
Descendants of Stephen Sr. Durkee.  
I highlighted Lydia Allen.  The Allens were to settle in Nova Scotia as well.  I have 30 Allens on our Robinson tree.  They married into the Robinsons as well.  
1   Stephen Sr. Durkee b: June 09, 1706 in Gloucester, Essex,  Massachusetts
.. +Lois Moulton b: April 03, 1706 in Salem, Massachusetts
. 2   Phineas Sr. Durkee b: September 16, 1730 in Prob. Connecticut
..... +Phoebe Pearl b: May 13, 1732 in Prob. Connecticut
. 2   Sybil Durkee b: January 10, 1730/31 in Prob. Connecticut
. 2   Robert Sr. Durkee b: November 26, 1733 in Prob. Connecticut
..... +Sarah b: August 23, 1739
. 2   Lydia Durkee b: August 03, 1735 in Prob. Connecticut
..... +Eleazer Butler b: 1730
. 2   [1] Andrew Durkee b: November 24, 1737 in Windham,  Windham, Connecticut
..... +Mary Benjamin b: June 25, 1739 in Preston, New London County,  Connecticut
. *2nd Wife of [1] Andrew Durkee:
..... +Johanna Southard Hunt b: 1742
. 2   [2] Lois Durkee b: March 01, 1739/40 in Prob. Connecticut
..... +Asa Hammond b: November 22, 1732 in Prob. Connecticut
. *2nd Husband of [2] Lois Durkee:
..... +Eleazer Butler b: 1732
. 2   Hannah Durkee b: May 02, 1742 in Prob. Connecticut
..... +Eleazer Hibbard b: 1737 in Prob. Connecticut
. 2   Stephen Jr. Durkee b: October 14, 1745 in Windham, Connecticut
..... +Jerusha Simmons b: November 02, 1747 in Windham, Connecticut

. 2   Amasa Durkee b: October 07, 1747 in Prob. Connecticut

Phineas's brothers decided not to stay after being there about a year.  They returned and wound up fighting in the American Revolution!  

Being they were on the sea, fishing became an occupation for some.  It was an important factor in shipping goods.  Many Durkees became ship-owners and builders, sea-men and Master Mariners.

Their descendants started returning to New England, especially to Essex county, Massachusetts and worked in the shoe industry.  

Lois, Phineas's daughter, wound up with a broken heart.  She fell in love with Solomon Lufkin at age 17 and they became engaged.  Banns were published on March 25, 1770, but there must have been some problems because the engagement was broken.  Solomon married 2 years later to Mary Foote, and poor Lois didn't find a husband for 10 years.  She finally married Daniel Allen.  

Daniel Allen and Lois Durkee had 5 children.
Descendants of Daniel Allen
1   Daniel Allen b: March 15, 1758
.. +Lois Durkee b: September 26, 1752
. 2   John Allen b: August 03, 1780
..... +Lydia Landers b: Abt. 1780
. 2   Phineas Allen b: October 30, 1782
..... +Bethis Strickland b: Abt. 1782
. 2   Samuel Allen b: January 08, 1785
..... +Sarah Perry b: Abt. 1785
. 2   Sally Allen b: c. April 08, 1787
. 2   Clarissa Allen b: May 02, 1793
..... +Simeon DeWolf b: Abt. 1793

"John R. Robinson (b.1799) is the earliest documented ancestor of the Robinson family of Kings County, Nova Scotia. He married Mary Elizabeth Miller and they were the parents of five children, including John Robinson who married Rachael Rebecca Dunham. They were the parents of five children. Charles H. Edward Robinson (1853-1934) was their eldest child. He was born in Kings County. In 1880 Charles married Eliza Shaffer and they settled in Lakeville, Kings County, Nova Scotia. They were the parents of ten children.
This is like the magic date: 1799.  Look who fits the bill:  
There was a John Robinson who lived with Julia Ann Tuller's parents in Royalton, Windsor, Vermont and was on their 1850 census.  There has been no way to identify him as he was not married then.  At the time, he was 51 years old and a farmer helping out Alonzo Charles Tuller and his wife, Asenith Durkee.  I thought perhaps he was Abiathar's father.  Two years later, I found Abiathar living in Tunbridge, Orange, Vermont where he married Julia Ann.  

Descendants of JOHN ROBINSON
1   JOHN ROBINSON b: 1799 in Vermont
.. +Unknown

Descendants of JOHN ROBINSON-A Possible Conclusion-by birthdate 1799
1   [2] JOHN ROBINSON b: 1799 in Vermont
.. +Unknown
. 2   [1] Abiathar Smith Robinson b: December 1829 in New York/  Tunbridge, Orange/ Jamaica, Windham, Vermont
..... +Julia Ann Tuller b: December 18, 1834 in Royalton, Windsor, Vermont
. *2nd Wife of [1] Abiathar Smith Robinson:
  ..... +Mary Jane Unknown Walters b: November 1832 in Ohio
*2nd Wife of [2] JOHN ROBINSON:
.. +Mary Elizabeth Miller b: Abt. 1815
. 2   Charles H. Edward ROBINSON b: 1853
..... +Eliza Schaffer
. 2   John ROBINSON b: Abt. 1854
..... +Rachel Rebecca Dunham b: Abt. 1831

. 2   [1] Abiathar Smith Robinson b: December 1829 in New York/  Tunbridge, Orange/ Jamaica, Windham, Vermont
..... +Julia Ann Tuller b: December 18, 1834 in Royalton, Windsor, Vermont
. *2nd Wife of [1] Abiathar Smith Robinson:
..... +Mary Jane Unknown Walters b: November 1832 in Ohio
Resource: The Durkee Family Newsletter-Spring 1983, Volume II #1, The Nova Scotia Durkees.

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