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This photograph is in the collections of the Old Church of St. Edward museum in Clementsport. There are numerous artifacts there donated by Mr. & Mrs. Robert L. Ditmars. Robert was Douwe's great grandson. The features of the man pictured compare well to those of his sons John and Gilbert. The image is a tintype, but it appears to be a copy photo of a daguerreotype. Douwe was 77 when he died in 1849. Daguerreotype photography was available in Halifax, NS, by 1841 and Yarmouth, NS, by 1842. Both photographers advertised in newspapers. There is no proof that this is Douwe, but it is very likely.


     Douwe was born in Jamaica, Long Island. His father died when he was 8 and his mother married her cousin Jan/John Vroom very soon after. About two years later the extended Ditmars family moved to Annapolis County, Nova Scotia.
     Douwe and his sister Sarah undoubtedly lived in John and Jane Vroom's household, which kept growing. He had seven half-siblings be the time he married. His wife Elizabeth Fowler was likely the orphan of a Granville man,(4) but she may have been taken into the home of a Clementsport family. It isn't yet known where Douwe lived after he married - maybe in the house he later owned under some sort of agreement with its owner at the time, John Burrell, who had bought the property from the heirs of Douwe's grandfather. The house in question, facing the Moose River in Clementsport, still stands. There are two licenses from 1808 and 1809 issued to Douwe "to keep a Tavern or Public House of Entertainment and to retail Spirituous liquors, Rum, Wine, Cyder Beer or other strong liquors of the like nature in his house where he now liveth."(1)



Douwe's house in Clementsport, NS, which was built perhaps in four parts. The oldest is apparently to the right, which he may have extended one bay to the left by 1808. This allowed for a large kitchen to the rear, a space that still retains much of its old appearance, where tavern patrons would likely have gathered. The part to the left was very likely built for his son Isaac about 1818, when he married, although his father retained ownership to his death in 1849. The next bay to the right was created maybe after Isaac died in 1827, creating the house as it now stands, with some modifications.



A post card showing a view about easterly in Clementsport. "Ditmars Long House," as Douwe Isaac's house became known, is foreground right. All other buildings in this view are gone. The two primary entrances on the front of the house had pedimented overhangs.


from "The Spirit of Nova Scotia"

This sign was found in the basement of the house and undoubtedly was used for the tavern. It was sold into the antiques market. This is a published, black & white photograph that was colored by Doug Sinclair (the sign was painted in color).



     Douwe's granddaughter Horatia (Ditmars) Cunningham recalled one of her grandfathers speaking mostly Dutch.(2) This was less likely to have been her grandfather Abraham Gesner. In either case, English would certainly have been spoken as well. Douwe's mother wrote her entries in her Bible in Dutch. Douwe is buried under a very simple stone in the Old St. Edward's churchyard. His will is dated 12 May 1846 and was probated on 18 June 1849. His probate file contains a lengthy and impressive inventory of his belongings. He had pews at the local Methodist and Anglican churches, as well as a shingle shop and grist mill by his house.(2)

In the name of God Amen

I Douwe Isaac Ditmars of the Township of Clements in the County of Annapolis in the Province of Nova Scotia being anxious that after my decease my heirs should live in quietness and peace exercising toward each other mutual kindness and love, and duly reflecting on the uncertainty of this mortal state do hereby in the manner following make my last will and testament, resigning my soul into the hand of him that gave it and trusting in the love of a crucified Redeemer, I commit my body to the dust in full hope of a resurrection to endless happiness here after, and of the worldly goods entrusted to my care I make the disposal of them as here following.

I give devise and bequeath to my son John Henry Ditmars the lot of land situate in the Township of Clements lying and being within the following boundaries viz. commencing at the South angle of John Henry Ditmars cow yard following the different courses of Division line run by Harris the fourth of May one thousand eight hundred and thirty eight, from the south corner before mentioned running south 32 deg. East according to present directions of compass one chain sixty five links to a large spruce tree, thence south 31 degrees East to a spruce tree six chains, thence south 87 degrees East two chains seventy links to south west angle of John Henry Ditmars orchard, thence south easterly along north easterly side of a cart road three chains ninety three links thence at right angles to said road forty six links to a small spruce bush, thence south 46 degrees East twelve chains thirty five links to a stake and stones, thence south 21 degrees forty five minutes East thirty five chains and forty links to a small birch tree near a large one with a large blaze, thence south 12 degrees East ten chains and fifty links to a stake and stones on the Waldeck Line excepting the road, thence running Northerly along rear of the lot untill it meets land at present owned by Enos Colllins then following different course of his line untill it strikes the Shaw Road so called thence along said road past John Henry Ditmars dwelling house including ground west thereof enclosed by a stone wall untill it strikes the largest plumb tree to westward of his house thence down to the brook to the upper corner of what was Jacob Jones shop reserving a watering place for cattle between this boundary and the old tan (fats?), thence up the brook and mill race including the mill pond and the ground westward of my barn and cowyard untill it strikes his garden then on north side of my cow yard to place of beginning, and also the grist mill and its site, always leaving a cart road through the same for the accomedation of going to my barn. I also give and bequeath to my son John Henry Ditmars five black windsor chairs, one looking glass gilt top, three silver table spoons one wash stand bowl and pitcher, one square birch table.

I give devise and bequeath to my son Gilbert Fowler Ditmars during his lifetime and to his heirs by Welthy his present wife forever the land situate lying and being within the following boundaries, beginning at westerly side my barn and cowyard including the barn and its site, thence running up the different courses up the brook untill it comes to land occupied at present by Henry Fleet, along westerly side of said lands untill it comes to old road formerly leading to Waldeck line, thence up said road to corner of said line, thence along ? line to meet the boundary surveyed by Harris May fourth one thousand eight hundred and thirty eight, as the division of John Henry Ditmars land then along said line untill it meets the place of beginning. Also I give devise and bequeath to my son Gilbert Fowler Ditmars during his life time and to his heirs by Welthy his present wife forever the one acre on which my dwelling house stands, the dwelling house itself the garden and marsh on the lower side of the present post road in front of said dwelling house according to boundaries mentioned in deed from Douwe Ditmars deceased to me and also the barn on lower side of post road and also the site on which it shall be hereafter placed adjoining the shingle shop. I give and bequeath to my son Gilbert Fowler Ditmars one large looking glass, my clock, my common desk, six yellow windsor chairs, one wash bowl and pitcher, farming utensils now in my possession, kitchen furniture, six rush bottom chairs, one bed bedding and bedstead, three silver table spoons, four silver tea spoons and also my gig and harness. It is also my will that a road for their mutual accommodation and convenience be reserved and kept by my two sons John Henry Ditmars and Gilbert Fowler Ditmars through the lands hereby given to each.

I give and bequeath to my daughter Jane Ditmars (now Peter Boice) three silver table spoons and four silver tea spoons. I give devise and bequeath to Vorheas Spur Ditmars the dwelling house built for Isaac Ditmars deceased the ground on which it stands, also a piece of ground across the brook commencing four feet from the shingle shop measuring forty feet to the post road and from the brook along the post road thirty six feet allowing a road between this ground and the stone wall mentioned above as John Henry Ditmars west boundary, up this road untill a line at right angle to it shall measure across to the place of beginning thirty six feet. Also I give and bequeath to Vorheas Spur Ditmars one feather bed bedding and bedstead and grant him the priveledge of the well and yard in rear of the house.

I give and bequeath to Henrietta Abigal Ditmars one feather bed bedding and bedstead, a work table and small box? by her grandmothers request. I give and bequeath to Elizabeth, eldest daughter of John Henry Ditmars beding for one bed, one bedstead, six silver tea spoons and five pounds in money. I give and bequeath to Horatia, second daughter of John Henry Ditmars five pounds in money.

I give and bequeath to William Henry Ditmars, eldest son of Gilbert Fowler Ditmars, one mahogany desk.

I give and bequeath to John Henry Ditmars and Gilbert Fowler Ditmars my wearing apparel to be eaquelly divided between them.

It is my will that the land occupied by Michael Burns and also that occupied by Henry Fleet be sold at publick or private sale as executor shall think best and the proceeds be disposed of in the manner hereafter mentioned. It is my will that my just debts and funeral expenses be paid, the remainder of my personal estate and household furniture not otherwise disposed of be sold at public or private sale as the executor shall think most advantageous and that all monies from whatever source arising wheather from book debts, notes of hand, landsales or furniture be all placed in one sum.

It is then my will that the whole property personal and real be eaquelly shared by my own children, John Henry Ditmars, Gilbert Fowler Ditmars, Jane Ditmars (now Peter Boice) and the children of Isaac Ditmars diseased reckoning as one, and receiving eaquelly the share of their father, therefore valuing the land hereby given and devised to John Henry Ditmars and Gilbert Fowler Ditmars as above, eaquelly to two hundred and fifty pounds paid to each of the whole property they are to receive a share of the remainder proportionately less. And as it is my will that the four children of Isaac Ditmars diseased namely Emeline Ditmars (now widow Burns), Vorhease Spur Ditmars, Henrietta Abigal Ditmars and Mary Emilia Ditmars (now Mrs. Henry C. Harris) be reconed as one receiving eaquelly their fathers share; and therefore if the house and land given and devised to Vorheas Spur Ditmars as above exceed in value the proportion of my property which falls to his sisters, he shall receive a share proportionately less or else shall divide the overplus value eaqually with them, and it is my will that if either of these children of Isaac Ditmars die without lawfull issue the share of such an one shall be eaquelly divided between Isaac Ditmars surviving children. It is also my will that my executors give Petery Berry a deed of land occupied by him when he pays the purchase money.

I hereby constitute and appoint William M. Godfrea, Peter Boice, John Henry Ditmars and Gilbert Fowler Ditmars my two sones as executors of this my last will and testament and I do hereby revoke make null and void all other former wills by me heretofore made and do declare this to be my last will and testament.

In witness whereof I do this twelfth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty six set my hand and seal to this my last will and testament containing four and half pages of writing.

Douwe Isaac Ditmars

signed sealed and published by the above named Douwe Isaac Ditmars as his last will and testament in presence of us who at his request and his presence have subscribed our names as witnesses hereunto.

William E. Ruggles
Thomas Jones
Joseph Jestings?

presented and accepted at Annapolis County Probate Court 18 June 1849

Inventory of the effects of the late Douwe I. Ditmars late of Clements in the County of Annapolis deceased - and the appraisment thereof by Moses Shaw and George Whitman

Real Estate

One farm at Moose River (homestead) 360
One do on the Waldeck Settlement 100
--------
460

Notes of Hand
[not yet transcribed]

Inventory & Appraisement continues

1 pew in Wesleyan Chapel 7 - -
[ - s- d; pounds, shillings, pence]
1 pews in St. Edward Church 2 - 5 -
1 birch table 30/ 1 table cover 2/ 1 - 12 -
1 large looking glass 20/ 1 hearth rug 5/ 1 - 5 -
5 black chairs 2/6 12/6 1 red & green carpet 17/6 1 - 10 -
12 large Liverpool plates 4/ 2 dauce dishes 2/6 0 - 6 -
2 pickle dishes 1/ 6 egg cups 1/ 1 deep dish 6d - 2 - 6
1 pitcher 1/ 1 tureen & ladle 2/6 - 3 - 6
2 blue covered dished 3/ 1 luster coffee pot 1/6 - 4 - 6
2 japaned waiters 1/3 4 rush bottome chairs 8/ - 9 - 3
6 red bottom chairs 12/ 5 yellow bottom chairs 7/6 - 19 - 6
1 large splint bottom chair 2/6 1 night chair 2/6 - 5 -
1 gilt edge looking glass 12/6 1 oval table 17/6 1 - 10 -
1 "Sam Slick" clock 20/ 1 pine writing desk 17/6 1 - 17 - 6
1 round stand (octagon pillar?) 2/6 1 tea tray 3/ - 5 - 6
1
[blu--?] luster pitcher 4d 9 silver table poons 90/ 4 - 10 - 4
14 silver tea spoons 2/10 1 - 19 - 8
2 do salt spoons 5/ 1 pair glass salts 1/ - 6 -
1 imperfect sett japaned casters - 2 - 6
1 pair and irons 6/ shovel & tongs 3/6 - 9 - 6
1 Dutch Bible & pray book 2/6 Fletchers work 1 vol 1/6 - 4 -
1 portrait of St. Paul 1/6 3 small books 9d - 2 - 3
1 Bunyan works 1/6 1 Bible 2/6 - 4 -
1 bundle reports & facts 2/ 1 turned? stand 6/3 - 8 - 3
1 birch bedstead & cord 10/ 1 feather bed 2.15.0 3 - 5 -
1 bolster & 2 pillows 12/6 1 sheet & 1 coverlid 6/6 - 19 -
[the last two lines grouped in brackets]
1 foot stove 1/3 2 flannel vests 5/ - 6 - 3
1 pair blue broad cloth pants 5/ 1 bk cloth vest 2/ -7-
1 suit bk broad cloth 60/ 2 pair flannel drawers 5/ 3 - 5 -
1 new homespun coat 20/ 1 old do do 4/ 1 - 4 -
10 blue breakfast plates 2/ 10 peserve? do 1/ - 3 -
1 bread basket 10d 1 large blue edge dish 1/6 - 2 - 4
1 pair plated sugar tongs 2/6 - 2 - 6
3 cloth coats 7/6 1 cotton jacket 3/ - 10 - 6
1 cloth overcoat 20/ 1 old bk cloth coat 5/ 1 - 5 -
1 pair bk cloth pants 3/ 4 do homespun do 20/1 - 3 -
1 new homespun vest 4/6 1 pair fustian pants 3/ - 7 - 6
1 under shirt 1/ 1 silk hat 2/6 8 pair wollen hose 12/ - 15 - 6
3 pair socks 2/ 2 pair mits 1/ 6 linen shirts 18/ 1 - 1 -
4 factory cotton shirts 8/ 1 light vest 3/ - 11 -
3 pair cotton socks 2/3 1 silk pocket kerchief 1/3 - 3 - 6
1 bk neckerchief 8d 1 do cotton 5d - 1 - 1
2 cotton night caps 6 1 large red chest 2/6 - 3 -
6 old bottles 1/6 1 sett scales & weights (money) - 2 -
1 spectacles case & spectacles shaving box & razor & goggles - 3 -
1 clothes brush 7d 1 mahogany bureau 1.15.0 1 - 15 - 7
1 birch bureau 20/ 4 green chairs 11/ 1- 11 -
6 yellow chairs 2/9 16/6 1 bk & red carpet 20/ 1 - 16 - 6
1 wash hand stand, pitcher & bowl - 7 - 6
1 high post bedstead & cord 15/ 1 sett curtains on do 10/ 1 - 5 -
1 feather bed 70/ 3 pillows & bolsters 15/ 4 - 5 -
1 straw bed 3/16 1 sheet 2/6 1 coverlid 3/6 - 6 -
1 set brass fire irons 10/ 5 cotton sheets 10/ 1 - -
3 linnen sheets 12/ 1 chintze coverlid 20/ 1 - 12 -
2 calico coverlids 7/ 4 plane
[or plan] blankets 20/1 - 7 -
3 twilled blankets 10/ 2 plaid blankets 6/ - 16 -
6 mill blankets 18/ 3 homespun coverlids 12/ 1 - 10 -
12 pair pillows 10/ 6 diaper towels 9/ - 19 -
6 diaper table cloths 24/ 11 pieces curtain furniture 11/ 1 - 15 -
1 old bed stead 3/6 - 3 - 6
1 bed stead, bed, straw tick boulster
2 pillows, coverlids & curtains blue
[the last two lines bracketed] 4 - 5 -
one do do do do do white 4 - 5 -
1 small mahogany looking glass - 4 -
1 wash stand, bowl & broken pitcher - 7 -
1 watering pot 1/3 1 black crock 2/6 15 gal keg 3/6 - 7 - 3
1 pair sheep shears 10d 1 oil jug 1/3 - 2 - 1
1 saddle bridle & spurs 30/ 1 pair boots 7/6 1 - 17 - 6
1 pair shoes 2/6 1 pr over shoes 2/6 - 5 -
1 pr wooden hames 1/3 1 Dutch collar 2/ - 3 - 3
1 strap & 4 bells 1/ 1 large chest (2 tills) 3/6 - 4 - 6
1 large chest 7/6 2 sickles 1/8 - 9 - 2
1 bedstead & cord (?) 3/ 1 grain box 2/6 - 5 - 6
1 old harnis 20/ 1 waggon 6 7 - -
1 gig 50/ 1 harnis for do 10/ 1 crow bar 2/6 3 - 2 - 6
1 pair wedges & 2 rings 3/ 1 Irish shovel 1/6 - 4 - 6
1 pr cart wheels 40/ 1 straw cutter 1/6 2 - 1 - 6
1 wooden pan 1/ 22
[?] teeth 4/ - 5 -
1 swivel tree 2/6 1 manure fork 1/6 - 4 -
2 hay forks 1/6 1 pr old cart wheels & outtree? 7/6 - 9 -
1 yoke of oxen 10 1 brindle cow 80/ 14 - -
1 horse 7.10.0 1 small birch table 7/6 7 - 17 - 6
11 sheep 4.8.0 7 lambs 2.2.0 6 - 10 -
1 boat & road & machinery 20/ 1 - -
1 half bushel measure 1/ 1 peck do 7 peck 6d - 2 - 1
4 old splint bottom chairs 5/ 4 benches 2/ - 7 -
1 pine table 4/6 1 6x7 looking glass 1/3 - 5 - 9
1 pr brass candlesticks 7/ 1 do do do flat 2/ - 9 -
1 iron do 10d 2 pr snuffers & 1 tray 1/3 - 2 - 1
shovel tongs & poker 3/6 - 3 - 6
2 smothing irons 2/6 6 crane hooks 1/6 - 4 -
1 pine cupboard 5/ 2 puter dishes 5/ - 10 -
1 tea canister 4d 1 drudgeing? box 4d - - 8
1 tin kittle 2/6 1 do reflector 2/6 - 5 -
1 toasting iron 1/ 1 sett candle moulds (6) 1/3 - 2 - 3
9 knives & forks & tray 7/6 1 tea canister japaned 2/6 - 10 -
1 small brass kettle 7/6 1 pr waffle irons 4d - 9 - 6
1 churn 1/ 1 furkin 4d 1 bread tray 3/6 - 4 - 10
2 oven pans 1/ 4 crocks 2/ 1 old chest 1/3 - 4 - 3
1 tin culander & frame 6d 1 chafing knife 1/3 - 1 - 9
1 large tea canster 1/6 2 furkins without
[?] 1/ - 2 - 6
1 griddle 2/ 1 bake kettke 3/ 1 clothes horse 2/6 - 7 - 6
2 earthen milk pans 6d 1 meat bbl 5/ - 5 - 6
1 frying pan 1/ 1 dinner pot 3/ - 4 -
1 large copper kettle 20/ 1 small ironpot 2/3 1 - 2 - 3
1 small tea kettle 3/ 1 brass skimmer 1/ - 4 -
1 large tin dipper 6d 1 spinning wheel 5/ - 5 - 6
1 clock reel & swifts 5/ 1 iron flesh fork 7 d - 5 - 7

total 1074 - 10 - 5

Moses Shaw
George Whitman
Clements August 28th 1849
appraisers

An account of sale of the personal property of the late Dowe I. Ditmars deceased by order of his executors at Moose River in Clements September 20th 1849

(not fully transcribed; the following items differ from the above inventory)

2 vegetable dishes
window curtains





children of Douwe Isaac and Elizabeth (Fowler) Ditmars:

i. Isaac bap. 30 July 1797, 1. Mary Spurr, 2. Elizabeth (Spurr) Ditmars
ii. John Henry
iii. Jane V(room?)m. Peter Boice
iii. Gilbert Fowler m. 1. Welthea Ann Ryerson, 2. Harriet Sophia Ruggles
iv. William m. Elizabeth Spurr



Douwe's mother's Bible (Church of St. Edward's Church Museum, Clementsport) gives his birth date (see photo below). The Jamaica Dutch Reformed Church records give his bap. date as January 1772. His marriage is in the records of Trinity Anglican Church, Digby. The Clementsport church hadn't yet been established, so there is no reason to assume either of the couple lived there. In fact, the marriage may have been performed in Clementsport. His death is recorded on his gravestone in the Old St. Edward's churchyard.



1. Old St. Edward's Church museum collections.
2. Virginia E. Carpenter made a note in her family files that there was a "jawbone and buttermilk" ancedote connected with this, but it wasn't noticed by Doug until after she died. 3. Annapolis County Probate Court, estate folio D47.
4. William Fowler of Granville. He may have been the Coronet William of Westchester Co., NY, who is on a Loyalist list dated Apr 1779 with Ens. Gilbert, Capt. William, Lieut. Caleb, Sgt. Jeremiah and Ens. John. Pub. Arch. of Nova Scotia & Maine Hist. Soc.

all text and photographs © 1998-2005 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted