The Annapolis Valley Whitmans

By Charles B. Whitman



The following is the text of Charles B. Whitman's book.
Many thanks to Arthur Clayton, without whose help I could not have even begun to achieve this.
I have supplied it here as faithfully as possible.

Brian Whitman has graciously given me his permission to use this online copy of the book,
being as it is out of print and difficult to come by.
However this is a copyrighted work and we are using it with the permission of his nephew and heirs,
who own the copyright.
Considerable time and effort has gone into the faithful reproduction
of this work and we do not want to find it burned into a cd or sold in any list, book, newsletter, or other format,
or reprinted in any format online or otherwise. We do not grant you the permission.
This does NOT mean you may copy it.
It is not public domain.

P. D. Crowe, 2 June 2000


Brian Whitman

our dear friend,

passed away on September 26, 2001.

As many of you know, Brian was very active in genealogy . It was he who allowed me to use his uncle's book "The Annapolis Valley Whitmans" as a Whitmania exclusive. He wrote several essays for this site. Personally, he encouraged me to go on when I thought I could not.

It is with a heavy heart that we wave good bye to this talented, cheerful man and extend our heartfelt condolences to his family.

May he have everlasting peace and relief from the torments of this life as he rests in the arms of his Saviour.

Good bye my friend... you will be sorely missed.



The Whitman Family In Canada

The Cradle of English Canada

The Whitman Story

Are There Any Cattle Rustlers Among Your Ancestors?

Stories From The John Whitman Book

Walt Whitman's Ancestry

Canadians Should Know Who They Are

The Daughters of John Whitman


The Pages


"JOHN WHITMAN OF WEYMOUTH" was the title of a book published in 1889 by Charles H. Farnham of Yale University. The research necessary for the listing of the fifteen thousand descendants of John Whitman was apparently a project of the Genealogical Department of this University. In the days of limited transportation, few railways telephones or telegraph services, and no paved roads outside the cities, the services of many workers with horse and buggy or on horseback would be required. They had to cover the whole Eastern United States and Nova Scotia. The completion of such a listing was quite an achievement. There cannot be many other similar family records of thismagnitude. The choice of the Whitman family was probably due to the fact that one of Charles Farnham's ancestors was a Whitman, any other old family would probably have answered the purpose.

Three thousand of these descendants were in Nova Scotia, the descendants of Deacon John (4), a great grandson of the Ancestor, who moved to Nova Scotia in 1761.

According to Walt Whitman, the American poet who lived during the U.S. Civil War, his ancestor was Zacharia Whitman, a brother of John (1), and both were sons of Abijah Whitman of England. The descendants of Zachariah were not listed in the John Whitman book. After the American Revolution, American Loyalists including some of the name of Whitman, settled in Halifax and Guysborough Counties of Nova Scotia, as shown by the record of Nova Scotia land grants. There were also Whitmans who settled about the same time on the Richelieu River south of Montreal, where a Whitman Cemetery near the border beside the river is all that remains, and also some settled in Ridgetown, Ont. with a few descendants in that area yet. None of these Whitmans can be found in the John Whitman Book, and we may assume that they were the descendants of Zachariah.

If the descendants of Deacon John, alive in 1889 when the book was printed had multiplied at the same rate after that date as before, the total of descendants now would be rather fantastic. But the Canadian telephone books in 1968 showed only a little over two hundred Whitmans, so that what remain in Canada is just a remnant, the balance having no doubt moved to the states. There are also in Canada a number of Whitmans born in England which would indicate that the name survives there.

With the completion of this record the Annapolis Valley Whitmans will have their complete line back for over three hundred and thirty years, a period of twelve generations when a wilderness was transformed into one of the modern countries of the world. Charles Farnham says that it is good that we should show some regard to those but for whom we should not have been here.

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The New England "planters" who took over the farm lands left vacant by the dispersed Acadians in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia which they had cultivated for a hundred years were, I believe the first substantial settlers on the land of English speaking farmers in what has since become Canada. British presence up to that time had been mainly in the form of fur traders or military establishments. I think that we can safely say the Annapolis Valley is the cradle of English speaking Canada. It was not until twenty years later that the influx of American Loyalists, as they called themselves, made an English speaking Canada possible .If it were not for these two settlements it seems doubtful that these ever would have been an English speaking Canada.

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The Whitman story is just a cross section of the settlement of these early "planters" The other few hundred families in this settlement no doubt followed the same pattern. Because of the limited population there was much intermarrying. I would not be surprised if a large proportion of the people in the Annapolis Valley now do not have, somewhere back in their ancestry a bit of Whitman blood, as the Whitman descendants do of theirs. The Valley has produced some leading figures in Canadian life and even the Whitmans have contributed to some extent.

A Tupper was a Canadian Prime Minister, an Illsley was a Canadian finance minister, a Borden became an Ontario industrialists and another a Canadian Prime Minister. Abraham (5), youngest son of Deacon John (4), established what the Toronto Star once described as "the Whitman mercantile empire" in Canso, N.S., which lasted for a hundred years. A descendant became a partner in the third oldest company in North America, Robins, Jones, and Whitman. A descendant of Salome (5), daughter of Deacon John (4) Cyrus Eaton, born in Colorado but having his ancestral roots in Pugwash, N.S. became a prominent American industrialist and was long famous for his "Pugwash Conferences" in international affairs. The Whitmans did their share along with others in the settlement of the Canadian West. A George Whitman from Round Hill, N.S., fought in the second Reil Rebellion and helped drive the 'last spike' in the C.P.R.A.

Louis Whitman from Annapolis Royal, was professional engineer during the construction of Algoma Central Railway, and a Whitman Dam about thirty miles north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. was named after him. More recently, Air Marshall Clarence Dunlop, retired, was a son of Flora Leleah Whitman of Albany, N.S.

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Many people when considering tracing their ancestral history have this dread, they may discover something that they would rather not know. There does not seem to have been much of this kind of thing in the Whitman story. The John Whitman book does tell of a Whitman who fought for the Americans in the war of 1812 against the British in Canada. It appears that he deserted to the British and then again later, he deserted back to the Americans. He was captured by the British, recognized and whipped to death. Now the question is, was he an American hero, or was he just a two time loser?

There is a farmer of the western prairies named Whitman whose parents came from Pennsylvania. During the depression when conditions were very bad in the west, his father deserted his wife and a family of small children. He wants me to let him know if succeed in locating him. At least we have the consolation that he was not a Canadian Whitman.

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In the days of wooden sailing ships, some members of the Whitman family, along with other Maritimers, became more or less prosperous through the shipping business. Whitmans from Canso, Annapolis Royal and even from New York were involved in various aspects of the shipping trade. On page 711, Edward Whitman of the sixth generation is reported, in association with others, to have built a ship, obtained a crew and sailed for Antigua as Captain. Apparently he was not too careful in picking the crew. It appears that a Swede named Peterson was his sailing master. The ship and crew were never heard from again. A few years after Peterson was tried and executed at Baltimore after confessing the destruction of several vessels and their crews.

Missing page 5... Won't convert from PDF for some reason

I have a personal interest in Dimock, his oldest son was my grandfather. I understand that his second wife died from tuberculosis leaving seven children under fifteen years. He married a widow a year later who took Over the duty of looking after his motherless family. But first, I have an idea that she made a deal with Dimock. Dimock was a brickmaker, but had to tear down the old house and build a new one. It sure it must have pleased the widow because I have been through it, the only brick house in the district.

The first page of the John Whitman book is a colour print of the Whitman Coat of Arms. The authenticity of this crest does not appear to be well established. I have not heard that any additional proof has been obtained since the book was printed. However the fact that it exists is interesting and it will appeal to those who value this relic of the past.

The Town of Whitman, Mass., about fifty miles or so south of Boston, was named after a local boy who became a General in the American Civil war, by a majority of one vote. A few hundred yards from the Boston-Weymouth post office is a small lake known as Whitman's Pond. While taking the picture shown here I asked a young passerby the name of the lake or pond. He stated, "Whitman's Pond." I asked "Why do they call it Whitman's Pond?". He answered, "They have always called it Whitman's Pond." The John Whitman book states on page 16, that John (2), second son of the Ancestor, had his farm there and gave it his name. As he was married in 1662 it was probably around that date that the name originated.

I also visited Stowe, a small town about thirty miles or so north east of Boston, and found that the original name of the settlement had been Whitman's Corners. All that remains of the Whitman name now is a Whitman Street. The John Whitman book shows that Deacon John (4) was born in Stowe and subsequently in 1761 took his family to Nova Scotia. Walt Whitman gives the date as 1760 and this seems to be more likely as John was one of the first New England "planters" to make the move.

It was in 1960 that the Annapolis Valley celebrated the 200th anniversary of the landing of the "planters". The Whitman Cemetery at Lawrencetown is of course well known throughout 'The Valley'. There Edward, second son of Deacon John, is buried and many of his descendants. However there is another Whitman Cemetary in Canada. Valley motorists are often surprised to find south of Montreal on the west side of the Richelieu River, about fifteen miles from the U.S. border, right beside the road, a small fenced cemetery with a bronze plaque marked "Whitman Cemetery".

I found only one Whitman name in the area with a telephone and it belonged to the widow of the last Whitman in that part of Quebec. I was fortunate to hear from her daughter, Mrs. W.M. Spindler of Pittsburgh, Pa., and she provided me with a list of all the names on the tombstones there. None of these names can be found in the John Whitman book that correspond with the dates mentioned, but as the original settlement was around 1780 I presume that they were all Loyalist Whitmans. This was about the time that people with the name of Whitman also settled in Halifax and Guysborough Counties and they are considered to also be Loyalists, and they are also not to be located in the John Whitman book. It is assumed that they are the descendants of Zachariah, brother of John, who appear to be the first two Whitmans in North America.

The John Whitman book states that Zachariah landed in America with a small child, 2 1/2 years old, called Zacha. Walt Whitman gives his ancestor's name as Joseph, son of Zachariah. The John Whitman book makes no further mention of any children of Zachariah and goes on to state that he left the bulk of his estate to John's son, also Zachariah. Zacariah had no living children or was estranged from them. I think that we must assume that Walt Whitman was right, it seems hardly possible that he would make such a statement unless he was not reasonably sure. He was closer to the scene and was personally interested so that we can be reasonably safe in accepting his story.

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Through the courtesy of Karl E. Whitman of Windsor Forks, N.S. I have been supplied with a quotation from one of Walt Whitman's books, entitled "Specimen Days", and written about 1882. "My father's side, probably the fifth generation from the first English arrivals in New England, were at the same time farmers on their own land, two or three miles off, at West Hills, Suffolk County. The Whitman in the Eastern States, and so branching West and South, starts undoubtedly from one John Whitman, born in 1602 in Old England, where he grew up, married, and his eldest son was born in 1629. He came over in the "True Love" in 1640 to America to live in Weymouth, Mass., which place became the mother-hive of the New Englanders of the name: he died in 1692. His brother, Rev. Zachariah Whitman, also came over in the "True Love", either at the same time or soon after, and lived at Milford, Conn. A son of this Zachariah, named Joseph, migrated to Huntington, Long Island, and permanently settled there. Savage's "Genealogical Dictionary" (Vol. 1V, page 524) gets the Whitman firmly established at Huntington per this Joseph, before 1664. It is quite certain that from that beginning, and from Joseph, the West Hill Whitmans, and all others in Suffolk County, have since radiated, myself among the number. John and Zachariah both went to England divers times: they had large famalies and several of their children were born in the old country. We hear of the father of John and Zachariah, Abijah Whitman, who goes over into the 1500's, but we know little about him, except that he also was for some time in Ameri ca."

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In these days when everyone is busy looking ahead, few want to take the trouble to look back. However when the time comes that you realize that you are not going anywhere, you then are likely to become more interested in where you came from. So when you find younger members of the family completely uninterested in anything that happened before they appeared on the scene, all you have to do is wait. Their time will come when their interests will change. So in that case a family history is one of the best legacies that you can leave your family. This is particularly true when the family story covers such a long span of North American history, twelve generations in all, during a period when a wilderness was transformed into two of the leading countries of the world.

The Puritans or Pilgrim Fathers as the Americans call them, arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. Other Puritans, seeking religious freedom followed in the following years. As there is direct evidence, that John Whitman was made a citizen of Weymouth in 1638, it is possible that he arrived a few years earlier, possibly around 1635. It is sad to think that the Puritans, seeking religious freedom for themselves, denied it to others and expelled unbelievers from their Colony. However the Protestant Ethnic reached its perfection under the Puritans. Their philosophy of continuous hard work and study, their opposition to any frivolity, even fun, and to any waste of time or materials, set the temper for the whole Northern States and English Canada. Their values became the perfect base to build an industrial society. It was the sweat, blood and tears of those early generations that made possible what we now enjoy. Pierre Barton tells his fellow Canadians, "I am trying to show Canadians who they are.

A lot of people are going to psychiatrists because they are rootless and they don't know who they are, and this is true of nations also. That's why we Canadians have been lacking in confidence. The only way is to get back to our chilclhood, 1867 and beyond, and find out who we are". Even Chief Dan George in British Columbia tells his fellow tribesman, "You should know who you are". Charles H. Farnham, who directed the collecting and publishing of the John Whitman book tells us, "It is well that we give some thought for those but for whom we should not have been here".

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I have collected here records of the five sons of Deacon John, the first Nova Scotia Whitman, from 1889 until 1970, also a few records of one of his daughters, Salome.

As is shown by the John Whitman book, Deacon John had four daughters who left descendants. It is a much greater task to locate the descendants of Deacon John through his daughters, someone else will have to tackle that job, it isbeyond me at my present age and state of energy. Also it is apparent that only about a third of possible descendants are covered by tracing the male line.

The John Whitman book lists seven pages of descendants of the first John Whitman under the name of Whitman, and seventy three pages under other names. From this it is possible that there are twice as may descendants of Deacon John in Canada as I have listed. The John Whitman of Weymouth book lists the following:


The Daughters of Deacon John.

Dorcas (5) b. May 5, 1749, m.-1, Capt. Ebenezer Perry, New York. He died 1777
m.-2, Samuel McIntyre and moved to Upper Canada. No further details.
(Page 654 #8838)

Hannah (5) b. Aug. 12, 1751,
m. Wm. Ellery Tufts, Albany, N.S., c. -9
(Page 674 #9233)

Salome (5) b. March 29,1755,
m. - I, Major Ezekiel Cleveland,
m. - 2, Nathaniel Parker, Nictaux, N.S. c. - ]2 (Page 735 #10530)

Mercy (5) b. March 26, 1763,
m. Nelson Freeman, Milton, N.S., c. - 9
(Page 825 #12447)

The Whitman girls then married into the following families in the sixth to eighth generations:
Andrews, Armstrong,
Balcom, Banks, Barteaux, Beals, Berry, Best, Bigelow,
Bishop, Bogart, Brown, Brubage,
Chesley, Chute, Cleveland, Crisp, Currell,
Fales, Freeman,
Gates, Grant,
Hart, Hawkins, Healy,
Kent, Kniffin
Magie, Marshall, Merry, Millar, Morton,
McDormand, McGreger, McKeown, McNayr,
Parker, Phinney,
Rice, Roach,
Saunders, Schafner, Spinney, Steele, Stevens, Stoddard,
Wheelock, Wilson.


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The members of the Whitman Family have contributed most of the work in looking up their records and sending them along, all I have done is to put them in order. I have at the same time received many donations of money to help this project along, which I have in all cases returned with thanks.

Contributions worth special mention are the following -

J.F. Carman Wightman, Amheherst, N.S. who sent the list of the descendants of Elizabeth Myrtle Whitman and Rev. A. Wightman. ( Page 713,#10087).

Percival Whitman Farnsworth, Vancouver, for listing the descendants of Sarah Jane Whitman and Chalmers Woodbury, which was supplied courtesy of John Jacob Whitman of Paradise, N.S., (See page 730, #10436).

The late Clyde Oliver Whitman for the extensive records that he had collected.

Karl E. Whitman of Windsor Forks for the copies of the Nova Scotia Land Grants and for the quotation from the writings of Walt Whitman.

A clipping from the Toronto Star of the Whitman Mercantile Empire at Canso, 1812-1912.

Mr. J. H. LaBreton, President of the firm of Robin, Jones and Whitman, Paspebiac, Gaspe, Quebec, for the information on his company, and also Mr. P.L. Whitman, past president of this company.

Gerald C. Whitman of Annapolis Royal for data from the Fairview and the Whitman Cemeteries.

Murdo and Mary Fairn for details from the Round Hill Cemetery.

Calneck's History of Annapolis County for some details not shown in the John Whitman book.

J. F. Carman Wightman also supplied the photographs of the stone of Edward (5), second son of Deacon John at the Whitman Cemetery at Lawrencetown, and the house built by Dimock Whitmam at Round Hill.

Frank Whitman of Middleton, N.S., who helped identify clippings from the Middleton weekly paper, also Miss Celia Whitman, also of Middleton, for her he)p.

The bulk of the information was supplied by Whitman descendants from all over the continent.

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