Description John Oliver's Miscellany

John Oliver's Miscellany, New Glasgow, NS, March 10, 1881


John Oliver was born in Essenside, Roxboroughshire, Scotland in 1813. His family emigrated to Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1814, arriving in October of that year. Oliver was a man of diverse talents, having turned his hand to farming, iron work and ship carving (the latter involving carving wooden parts of full-size vessels, such as the figurehead).

In 1880, John Oliver created a manuscript which he titled Sketches and Recolections of the Past: Observations and Reflections, Fun and Frolic. This was in his later years, as a resident of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. But the text covers farming in New Annan and Middle River, working on the Shubenacadie Canal near Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and teaching Sunday School and fighting for temperance. He documents the death of his wife and the circumstances surrounding various mishaps and accidents he encountered during a very active life.

On March 10th, 1881, John created a companion volume, John Oliver's Miscellany, which covers home remedies, practical hints on home maintenance, various wild plants and their uses, and other helpful observations on daily life. When you read in his Sketches that the nearest doctor was hours away, that bleeding to death from a cut knee was a very real possibility, and that the settler built, repaired and maintained his own home, treatments for scarlett fever, recipes for chow chow, and what one should consider when visiting the sick were all important practical advice.

This collection is in somewhat random order, and an index has been created to help the reader.  Since Oliver did not number his pages, the pagination has been assigned and follows the layout of his text.

John Oliver had an interesting spelling system. For instance, he used "watter for "water," was inconsistent (usually "hapy" for "happy" but always "apply" with double p's). His spelling has been retained throughout.  Occasionally, his handwriting cannot be deciphered; in such instances, bracketed question marks '[????]" are used. Likewise, his text is largely unpunctuated, with a minimum of punctuation marks and capital letters. The transcription reflects John Oliver's writing style.

D. Vaisey, February 2017

File number: 2017-04-20d
Contributor:    Teresa MacKenzie | View all submissions
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Views: 718
Uploaded on: April 21, 2017
Source: George Allanson, great great grandson of John Oliver. Transcribed and indexed by Douglas Vaisey

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