Maps and Land Grants


Ambrose F. Church's Map, 1865

This map shows the location and owners of the houses in Prospect circa 1865. The original map was prepared by Ambrose F. Church, a nineteenth-century surveyor and cartographer, who was commissioned in 1864 by the Nova Scotia legislature to create a series of maps, one for each of Nova Scotia's 18 counties. The map for Halifax County was the first to appear and the series was completed in 1888. Each county map shows the locations of the towns and villages within the county, basic topographic features and the names of residents. Each map has smaller inset maps showing the details in certain village, of which Prospect is one. Each township inset has a "directory" which lists the occupations of officials and business persons. An article on the series entitled "Ambrose F. Church and his Maps: by Dr. C.B. Ferguson, former Provincial Archivist, appeared in the Journal of Education (June 1970). Although some of the names are misspelled, this unique set of maps is a valuable genealogical aid when used in conjunction with land-grant maps (see below) and other directories. (the above is pulled from T.M. Punch, Genealogical Research in Nova Scotia. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Nimbus Publishing, 1983, p. 89).

This coloured version of Church's map was prepared by Douglas Grant (Terracon Geoscience Int'l). Except for the addition of colour, the style and all the text and lifework is the same as on Church's map. Prints can be obtained from the author, but users may download and print the PDF file for their personal use.

Map of Prospect and Environs, 1931

This map was produced by Douglas Grant (Terracon Geoscience Int'l) based on a vertical air photo taken by the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1931 (scale: 1:15000 or 1 cm = 150 m). It is identified as A3891-61 in the public collection of the National Air Photo Library of Canada (NAPL) from which it, and other air photos of various scales and dates, may be studied and purchased (also see Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations). This is the first air photo of Prospect and one of the earliest in Canada. However, the original negative does not exist; a copy negative was used to make the air photo print; it is not of optimum quality. Buildings are not wholly visible, except by their shadows, so adjustments have been made using later air photos. Official place names are added. Thanks to K. Nixon (NAPL) for assistance, and to Ed Rogers for use of a print. (c) D. R. Grant 2000.

Map of Prospect and Environs, 1947

Map of Prospect and Environs, 1954

Crown Land Grants

Lands were granted to settlers by the British Crown following a petition process. Most of the grants were issued between 1750 and 1850. The outlines of the granted lands are compiled on base maps at various scales. A detailed unpublished map, known as Plan D-6-1, shows the grants of the Prospect Village area and is entitled: "Compiled Plan, PROSPECT AREA, Halifax County, N.S. Enlarged from Topographic Map and Air Photos. Scale 10 chains to one inch. Information from Grant Plans, Surveyors' Returns, and Old Plans for Halifax West Portfolio. Plotted by Harry Jackson, April 1945." There is notation in each grant showing reference to precise book and page of the master records which give the particulars about the property and the surveyor's plan.

Using mainly Plan D-6-1 plus other unpublished sources, the coloured maps below have been drawn by Douglas Grant (Terracon Geoscience Int'l) with research assistance by Ed Rogers. All line work and notations are reproduced exactly, but with the addition of colour. A table lists the book, page number, and area of each grant (this information is still being added from the source documents). No correction is made for errors in the base maps.

The larger grants are shown on a series of 140 regional maps covering most of Nova Scotia. Sheet 57 covers the area from Halifax to St. Margarets Bay. This map can be obtained by going to the website of the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources.

Five coloured grant maps are presented here:

The Prospect Road

Map of the Prospect Road by John Chamberlain, 1828

This map shows the original course of the "Prospect Road". It starts at some "Shaxs" on the Bedford "Bason" and goes through the "duch village" on the present day Joseph Howe Drive and then onto Dutch Village Road until it gets to the Rotary at the head of the North West Arm. From there it follows the Herring Cove Road through Spryfield, then down the Old Sambro road past the present day Emmanuel cemetery, across McIntoshes River (McIntosh Run) and to a present day 4-way stop. Then from there through the "water-shed" land then coming out at Goodwood just across from the old Goodwood school. Then it follows the present day Prospect Road to White's Lake (the head of Prospect Bay on the map).

The Prospect Road was first cut through the woods in 1812, or around then. From the memoirs of Francois Lambert Bourneuf he tells how he and other prisoners who were staying at Melville Island Prison cut the road (p. 52-53, Diary of a Frenchman: Francois Lambert Bourneuf's Adventures from France to Acadia, 1787-1871. J. Alphonse Deveau; Nimbus Publishing Ltd., 1990).

In 1812, I received permission to go out and work on the Prospect Road. Twenty or thirty of us were divided into teams of ten or twelve, and we worked under British overseers. Our food was brought from Melville Prison twice a week, and we slept in the overseers’ houses. I remained there for three months, earning one shilling, three pence, a day. On Sunday’s we visited each other. One week we visited our companions in their lodgings, and the next week, they visited us. Some Sundays, we went to see our fellow inmates at the prison; other weeks, we went to Mass at Prospect.

John Chamberlain's 1828 map of the original Old Prospect Road (reproduction and interpretive notes by Douglas Grant, Terracon Geoscience Int'l).