The Celebrating America Cruise - Visiting Halifax, Nova Scotia

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
November 13, 2015

The second full day of the cruise began as we docked in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  National Chair Joy Cardinal had invited each state regent of the states we visited to write a short history of the state and its role in the Revolutionary War for our Celebrate 125! Cruise program.  Isabel Clark and her daughter, Carter, wrote about New Scotland, settled by Isabel’s maternal 12th Great Grandfather, William Alexander, First Earl of Stirling.  He was granted a royal charter to “New Scotland” in 1621 by King James I which encompassed territory from Port Royal all the way to New York. 

My husband, Steve, and I joined Isabel and Kay Alpaugh on a visit to Victoria Park in which a monument was placed to honor William Alexander.  The monument was built of stones from his family home, Menstrie Castle, in Scotland. Isabel and Carter had visited Menstrie Castle this past spring, and we all shared her joy as she saw the monument to her immigrant ancestor.

In a genealogical twist of fate, Isabel and Carter had also written about the earliest immigrants to New York.  Elizabeth Gardiner was the first baby born on Long Island as the land was settled by Isabel’s paternal 10th Great Grandfather, Lion Gardiner in 1641.  Ironically, he had to make a trade for the property with the Montaukett Indians as well as request a charter from William Alexander, Earl of Stirling.  It’s hard to imagine that 316 years before Isabel’s parents married, they were already connected in history.  For over 400 years Gardiner Island has been owned by the Gardiner family and it is the only American real estate still intact as part of an original royal grant from the English crown.

Eager to explore the beautiful scenery of coastal Halifax, we drove to Peggy’s Cove, a picturesque 19th century coastal village built around a 1914 lighthouse where we were greeted by a bagpiper.  A short distance away we enjoyed our first (and thankfully not our last) lobster.  We also visited the memorial to the 299 victims of the Swiss Air flight 111 which crashed there in 1998.

On our way back to the ship, we stopped at Fairview Cemetery in which 121 of the victims of the Titanic were buried.  I recently learned from Patricia Dinnert, Honorary State Regent of Michigan, that a number of DAR members were passengers on the Titanic, including Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, the sculptor of our Founders Memorial.   Mrs. Whitney also sculpted the Titanic Memorial in Washington, D.C. which is inscribed “To the brave men who perished in the wreck of the Titanic April 15, 1912.  They gave their lives that women and children might be saved.”

That evening Steve and I enjoyed visiting with some of our group and hearing of their vision for the growth of DAR as we lay the foundation for the next 125 years.

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