Windsor Family Powerhouse: Windsor streets and the families who named them

Windsor Family Powerhouse

Windsor streets and the families who named them

By Fadila Chater, Student Archivist, WHHS

FOR GENERATIONS, hoofs, feet and tires have tread on the, often pothole ridden, streets of Windsor, Nova Scotia. If you’ve lived here since birth, you know exactly where every short-cut is. You know that the driveway that cuts between the curling rink and the bottle depot saves you at least 4 minutes of walking time. And you can probably tell when you’re talking to someone who hails from Chester Road. But, what you may not know is how your street became a part of history.

Gerrish Street, Stannus Street, and Gray Street are geographically close in proximity, but are much closer in blood. Joseph and Benjamin Gerrish of Boston, Massachusetts arrived in Hants County in the 1750s. Benjamin, an “astute New Englander” (Brebner) was a commissary of Nova Scotia and a member of the Assembly from Liverpool. Joseph had ties in the Navy, was a store keeper and a member of the Executive Council.

Both brothers were given grants from the government. Benjamin was given a farm between Upper and Lower Falmouth. Joseph was given a grant of land spanning from Fort Edward to Curry’s Corner. Joseph married Mary Brenton and had 2 daughters, Mary and Susannah. They lived in Gerrish Hall, built on the hill of Fort Edward by Joseph himself. Mary Gerrish soon became Mary Gray, after marrying Joseph Gray, a Halifax merchant and her father’s business partner. Susannah Gerrish became Susannah Stannus after marrying Capt. Ephraim Stannus of the 64th Regiment of Foot.

After his death in 1774, Joseph Gerrish’s estate was divided between his two daughters. In 1834 the Stannus and Gray families divided and sold the land to settlers, forming much of what is now known as the Town of Windsor. The town was divided into streets. Gerrish Street, Stannus Street and Gray Street were named after Joseph Gerrish, Kandy Kitchen on Gerrish Street, c. 1915 Graham’s Grocery on corner of Water St. and Stannus St., c. 1865-1981 Susannah Stannus and Mary Gray.

The West Hants Historical Society is a non-profit organization based in Windsor, NS and serving the Avon area. The WHHS has been in operation since 1973, and operates a Museum, genealogy department and the national historic site of Fort Edward in Windsor, NS.