A little love story…

The love story of my great(5) grandparents is of cinematic proportions. Loyalist Captain Henry Barr of Nova Scotia left one day (probably mid1780’s) for Staten Island with a shipload of lumber for the wealthy Robert Bennett. Upon arrival Robert Bennett invited the Captain to his home, perhaps for tea and, to meet his wife and three daughters.

Apparently Henry fell in love with one of the daughters named Elizabeth and she agreed, against the wishes of her father, to marry Henry. I don’t imagine they fell in love with each other over tea. I’m sure Captain Henry must have stayed on Staten Island for short time… or at least a long enough time for Henry and Elizabeth to become committed to each other. It is said that she married him in secret and headed to Nova Scotia. She would have been used to servants and a life of luxury… things that most of Nova Scotia, fresh from the Revolutionary War, could not offer her.

A few years later Elizabeth’s father came to NS to try to convince her to return to Staten Island, but she refused. To ensure the trip was not a complete loss, Robert Bennett bought a piece of land in Lunenburg and headed home. He never returned to claim the land.

In 1812 a letter was received by Elizabeth on horseback. It had taken three months to arrive. Her father had passed away and she was asked to come to NY and claim her part of the property.

At the time Elizabeth’s health was not good so Henry went in her place. He returned with $1000 in a goatskin chest, some valuable furniture, silverware monogrammed with oak leaves and the letter B, placed in a seaman’s chest, a tea set with the handles made of ebony, and a family Bible with a goatskin cover. (Captain Henry Barr and his descendants, 1990).

Henry purchased land and had a ship built (likely in New Edinburgh, NS) with the money. The furniture and silverware were eventually distributed amongst the children upon Elizabeth’s death.

The Bible has been lost. A real shame considering it would have listed the Bennett family records… a valuable source since I can’t seem to find any information past Elizabeth’s father and nothing on her mother (except that she was of French/Spanish descent).

I don’t imagine this Bible will every be found. However, if anyone has ever seen silverware with the letter B framed by oak leaves… please let me know.  It would be the biggest treasure to me!

The reference above mentions that Elizabeth was, “a most determined woman, pretty, could be quick-tempered, dark snappy eyes  and loved her children most dearly.”

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Published in: on 24 March 2007 at 11:52 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I enjoy hearing our past…you make history come alive. And I like this new site…easier for OLD eyes to read.


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