Fort Edward - oldest remaining blockhouse
in North America (established during
Father Le Loutre's War)
Having migrated from Port Royal, Nova Scotia, the Acadians were the first to
settle in Pisiguit by the early 1680s. French census records dated 1686 list
well established farms utilizing dyked marshlands.
Queen Anne's War
Raid on Pisiquid (1704)
During Queen Anne's War, in response to the Wabanaki Confederacy of Acadia
military campaign against the New England frontier and the Canadian Raid on
Deerfield, Massachusetts, Benjamin Church (military officer) led the Raid on
Pisiguit (1704) and burned the village to the ground. In the Raid on Pisiquid,
Church burned 40 houses along with out-buildings, crops and cattle. There was
resistance and two Mi’kmaq were wounded.
Father Le Loutre's War
Despite the British Conquest of Acadia in 1710, Nova Scotia remained
primarily occupied by Catholic Acadians and Mi'kmaq. Father Le Loutre's War
began when Edward Cornwallis arrived to establish Halifax with 13 transports on
June 21, 1749. By unilaterally establishing Halifax the British were violating
earlier treaties with the Mi'kmaq (1726), which were signed after Dummer's War.
The British quickly began to build other settlements. To guard against Mi'kmaq,
Acadian and French attacks on the new Protestant settlements, British
fortifications were erected in Halifax (1749), Dartmouth (1750), Bedford (Fort
Sackville) (1751), Lunenburg (1753) and Lawrencetown (1754).
Within 18 months of establishing Halifax, the British also took firm control
of peninsula Nova Scotia by building fortifications in all the major Acadian
communities: present-day Windsor (Fort Edward); Grand Pre ( Fort Vieux Logis )
and Chignecto ( Fort Lawrence ). (A British fort already existed at the other
major Acadian centre of Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Cobequid remained without
a fort.) Many Acadians left this region in the Acadian Exodus, which preceded
the Expulsion of the Acadians.
French and Indian War
During the French and Indian War, Fort Edward and Windsor played a
significant role in the deportation, particularly the Bay of Fundy Campaign
(1755). Acadians were imprisoned in the fort as they were notified about the
expulsion. Acadians numbering in the thousands were deported from mainland Nova
Scotia. The deportees frequently were held onboard ships for several weeks
before being moved to their destinations, thus exacerbating unhealthy conditions
below decks and leading to the deaths of hundreds. Many hundreds more were lost
through ship sinkings and disease onboard ships while en route to ports in
Britain's American colonies, Britain, and France. The British also broke apart
families and sent them to different places. Their justification for this was to
more efficiently put people on the boats. This resulted in more loss of life as
families could not survive without essential members.
New England Planters
The Township of Windsor was founded in 1764 by New England Planters. The next
year, its first Agricultural Fair was held. This fair is still continued today,
and is the oldest and longest-running such fair in North America.
In the American Revolution, Windsor was an important British stronghold.
Fort Edward was the headquarters in Atlantic Canada for 84th Regiment of Foot
(Royal Highland Emigrants). A relief force was mustered at Windsor to crush the
American-led siege at the Battle of Fort Cumberland in 1776.
Following the American Revolution, Windsor was settled by United Empire
Windsor developed its gypsum deposits, usually selling it to American markets
at Passamaquoddy Bay. Often this trade was illegal; in 1820, an effort to stop
this smuggling trade resulted in the "Plaster War," in which local smugglers
resoundingly defeated the efforts of New Brunswick officials to bring the trade
under their control.
The University of King's College and its secondary school, King's Collegiate
School, were founded in 1788-1789 by United Empire Loyalists as Anglican
academic institutions. The college remained in the community until a disastrous
fire on February 3, 1920. In 1922 it moved to Halifax, with the assistance of
the Carnegie Foundation and continues to this day.
The King's Collegiate School continued operation on the campus and was joined
by a sister girls school, 'Edgehill School', in 1890. In 1976 both institutions
merged to form King's-Edgehill School, and remains the oldest independent (i.e.
private) school in the Commonwealth outside of the United Kingdom.
Ships, rail and roads
In 1878, Windsor was officially incorporated as a town. Its harbour made the
town a centre for shipping and shipbuilding during the age of sail. Notable
shipbuilders such as Bennett Smith built a large fleet of merchant vessels, one
of the last being the ship Black Watch. As the port of registry for the
massive wooden shipbuilding industry of the Minas Basin, Windsor was the
homeport of one of the largest fleet of sailing ships in Canada. Notable vessels
registered at Windsor included Hamburg, the largest three masted barque built in
Canada and Kings County , the largest four masted barque. Following the
completion of the Nova Scotia Railway 's line from Halifax in 1857, the town
became an important steamship connection giving Halifax access to the Bay of
Fundy shipping routes. The railway continued westward as the Windsor and
Annapolis Railway in 1870, eventually connecting to Yarmouth as the Dominion
Atlantic Railway in 1893. No longer the railhead, Windsor's steamship connection
diminished but the central location of Windsor on the railway fostered the
growth of numerous factories such as textile mills, fertilizer plants and
furniture factories. The home of one of the industrialist families of this era,
the Shands, is preserved today in Windsor as the Shand House Museum.
Over the course of its history, Windsor was victim to two disastrous fires,
on October 17, 1897, and January 6, 1924, both of which destroyed part of the
In 1970, the construction of a flood-control causeway carrying Highway 101
and the Dominion Atlantic Railway across the Avon River closed Windsor off from
shipping and has affected navigation in the Avon River downstream from the
causeway due to excessive siltation. Highway 101 is scheduled to be upgraded to
a 4-lane expressway in the future and there have been discussions about
replacing the causeway with railroad and highway bridges to improve water flow.
Today, the Avon River on the upstream side of the causeway which is obstructed
from freely flowing into the Bay of Fundy is called 'Lake Pisiquid'.