Hijacked on the high seas!

In 1795, my Dean ancestors decided to emigrate from Northern Ireland to New York. Not surprisingly, it was the political situation that drove them to leave. The story goes that John Dean had brothers in New York, but the ship never made it to its destination!

In British waters, the American ship they were on was espied by a British naval ship. The captain hoisted a British flag in a failed attempt to fool his adversary, but the ship was boarded, the crew impressed and the passengers taken to Halifax where they were abandoned to their own resources.

The Deans had no means to get to the United States. It had taken all of their savings to pay for passage. What were they to do? The story says that they went 60 miles inland, up the Musquodoboit River to a settlement called Upper Musquodoboit. Why?

It is surmised that they knew someone there as the settlers were mainly from Ulster. However, among the mainly Irish settlers there were two brothers who had come directly from Scotland– Daniel and Alexander Henry. I surmise that it is these two Scots that they knew. My surmise is based on the evidence of Susan Kirke Dean’s baptism registration. It is the only one of their children’s birth records that has survived. The witnesses at her baptism in Ellon, Scotland in November, 1787 were Matthew and Lavinia Henry.

Obviously, the Henrys were good friends of the Deans and perhaps the Henry boys in Upper Musquodoboit were their sons.

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