The Trenholm Connection

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John (Trenholm) Trinham and Elizabeth King in Caister

In the 1851 Census for Caister John and Elizabeth King are recorded as living at 44 East (Not Earl) Road. This is a tracing of a photocopy of the enumerators return using Corel Photo-Paint and is as close as the surviving detail would allow. It is from UK PRO film HO/107/1807 Folio 8, Page 9.


It shows the information that John was 70 in 1851 and thus born in 1781 in Winsor N Alifas America, or allowing for poor spelling on the part of the enumerator ‘Windsor Near Halifax America’. N probably translates to ‘near’ as it was common usage in Castor, which was then known as Caister Near Yarmouth. However it could be short for ‘North’ as Windsor is north of Halifax in Nova Scotia. It is the last record that I have of John and we are told by James Samuel Trinham that he died at ‘nearly eighty’ and therefore around 1860. He is not included in the 1861 Census. I have no record of his birth or his death.

John (Trenholm) Trinham’s Home in Windsor NS

There is only one recorded Trenholm family living in the Windsor area of Nova Scotia in the 1780s, that of Matthew Trenholm. I have not been able to find any record of birth or other historic document where the information was given that Matthew was the father of John. Record keeping in that period in Nova Scotia was not required, and many people did not register births, although some did. There is ample record of Matthew Trenholm, but it does not serve my purpose of finding a link for John to him. The Trenholm(e) family of the Yorkshire migration of the 1770s is well documented both in hard copy (which in this case means, ‘hard to come by’ copy), and on the Internet. Some of this Internet information is unreliable and should be verified. Internet authors copy from each other including the mistakes. A basic genealogy for Matthew Trenholm with topic significant notes is included and probably many mistakes. It is only my working paper, not a verified record.

Probate Record

The father of Matthew is mentioned in the probate record for Windsor 31-May-1779 Public Archive of NS RG48 Probate including Wills, Estates Acts and Administrators, Reels 424 & 561(I) mentions Matthew as his one of his administrators.

Nova Scotia Census 1838

Entry 1188 Matthew Trainholm, Farmer, Vol 499 159 p1 Township of Falmouth Count: 1 Female over 14, Total in family 2.

Entry 1043 Richard Trenholm Farmer, Vol 499 158 p8 Township of Windsor Hants. Count: 1 Male under 6, 1 Female under 6, 1 Male 6-14, 2 Males over 14, 1 Female over 14, Total in family 7.


Note: In these counts the head of the home may or may not be included in the total count


The Chignecto Isthmus and its First Settlers by Howard Trueman 1902

Extracted and summarised from the chapter on The Yorkshire Migration.


John Wesley, very soon after he began his life―work, found his way to Yorkshire, and nowhere had he more sincere or devoted followers, many of whom were among the first emigrants to Nova Scotia. Eighteenth century America must have presented great attraction, especially to the tenant―farmer and the day―labourer. A farmer in England could never hope to own his farm, and the wages of agricultural labourers were so small that it was only by strictest care and the best of health that he could hope to escape the workhouse in his old age. However in America land could be had for the asking, and was simply waiting for willing workers to make it their home. The Seven Years' War made the prospect just starting in life gloomier than ever, and many a father and mother who expected to end their days in the Old Land, decided, for the sake of their children, to face the dangers of the western ocean and the trials of pioneer life.

Charles Dixon, one of the first of the Yorkshire emigrants, wrote of England before he left: "I saw the troubles that were befalling my native country. Oppressions of every kind abounded, and it was very difficult to earn bread and keep a conscience void of offence." He and others decided to emigrate. At the invitation of the Duke of Rutland, Governor Franklin, went to Yorkshire in 1771, to seek emigrants for Nova Scotia, and found a many ready to try their fortunes in the new land.

The Duke of York, sailed from Liverpool for Nova Scotia on the 16th of March 1772 with immigrants from Yorkshire. The voyage lasted forty―six days, and the sixty―two passengers were all landed safely at Halifax. Charles Dixon, with his wife and four children, and his is the only record I have seen of this voyage. It is very concise indeed. "We had a rough passage. None of us having been to sea before, much sea―sickness prevailed. At Halifax we were received with much joy by the gentlemen in general, but were much discouraged by others, and the account given us of Cumberland was enough to make the stoutest give way." But, by the 8th of June he had made a purchase of 2,500 acres of land in Sackville, and moved his family there.

At Halifax, women and children going to Cumberland were put on board a schooner bound for Chignecto, and the younger men made the journey on foot via Fort Edward, Parrsboro', and River Hebert. At Minudie they found boats to Fort Cumberland, where they were given a Yorkshire welcome by their wives and children, who were there before them. They quickly began to look around for suitable locations.

Those by the name of Black, Freeze, Robinson, Lusby, Oxley and Forster bought farms at Amherst and Amherst Point.

The families of Keilor, Siddall, Wells, Lowerson, Trueman, Chapman, Donkin, Read, Carter, King, Trenholm, Dobson and Smith settled at Westmoreland Point, Point de Bute and Fort Lawrence.

Families called Dixon, Bowser, Atkinson, Anderson, Bulmer, Harper, Patterson, Fawcett, Richardson, Humphrey, Cornforth and Wry settled at Sackville

The Brown, Lodge, Ripley, Shepley, Pipes, Coates, Harrison, Fenwick and other familiess settled at Nappan, Maccan and River Hebert.

Hants and King's County, in Nova Scotia, absorbed a part of this immigration. Those who came to Cumberland were too late to secure any of the vacated Acadian farms before others had taken possession, these lands having been pre―empted by the New Englanders and the traders who followed the army. Those who had the means, however, seem to have found no difficulty in purchasing from the owners, and very quickly set to work to adjust themselves to the new conditions. So effectually did they do this, that almost every man of them succeeded in making a comfortable home for his family.

The Trenholm Family.

There were three Trenholm brothers in the Yorkshire contingent, Matthew, Edward, and John. Matthew settled at Windsor, Edward at River Francis, in the Upper Provinces, and John at Point de Bute on the Inverma Farm. This farm was probably confiscated to the Crown after Sheriff Allan left the country.

The Trenholm’s were quiet, industrious men, very neat about their work, and made successful farmers.


The district Trenholme lies in the Vale of Mowbray in the North Riding of Yorkshire, England. It is a broad 500-acre wedge of farmland in the bend of a brook, the Trenholme Stell. The Trenholmes, bearers of the name, were yeoman landholders in Trenholme since the reign of Henry VIII. The first known occupants, from whom the family line is derived, were called 'de Traneholm', meaning "of Trenholme".

The invaders and settlers, the Vikings, left many Old Norse place names in Yorkshire. Yorkshire had become a Danish kingdom in 867, and the name Trenholme is taken from the Old Norse "trani holmr" meaning crane field. The European crane is a great gray bird, esteemed for food, and the land surrounded by a stream would have been an appropriate spot for them to nest. After 900 AD, the Norwegian Vikings, from their settlements in Ireland, overran that area of Yorkshire and captured York in 915, and in 954 York came again under English rule.

The earliest reference to the name Trenholme appears in AD 861.

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