Lawrencetown, founded on May 19th, 1754, is a rural community, located approximately 10 miles east of Dartmouth on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia.
Long before European settlement, the Mi’kmaq people inhabited this area. The Mi’kmaq name for Lawrencetown was Taboolsimkek, meaning “two small branches flowing through the sand”. We are told that the Mi’kmaq came to these shores during the summer months to fish.
By the eighteenth century the Mi’kmaq were joined by a number of French Acadian settlers. The Acadians, living and farming along the coast, possessed a talent for reclaiming land from the sea. With much hard work and great ingenuity they built dykes to keep the water out.
Channels were cut in the salt marshes to reduce the amount of water at high tide. Dykes were built around the perimeters of the drained lands to keep saltwater out. The dyked marshes were then used to grow fodder. Farmers used the areas for cattle grazing.
Remnants of old Acadian dykes, indicating use of salt marshes, are visible from several areas of the Atlantic View Trail.
Following the Acadian Expulsion only a few of the French settlers remained in the Lawrencetown area.
Today, the neighbouring community of Chezzetcook has managed to maintain much of its Acadian heritage.
In 1754, Colonel Charles Lawrence, resettled the area with twenty protestant families. These settlers referred to the settlement as Lawrence’s town, which became Lawrencetown. By 1763 only three of these families remained. In time, however, more settlers of German, Swiss, Irish and Scottish descent arrived.
In the early days, most families fished or farmed for a living. As the population slowly increased, other occupations appeared: sawmills, forges, ship builders, gravel pits, small factories, and gold mines began to appear.