Having brought my sketch of the main island up to the beginning of the 19th, I will do the same with Mauger's Beach. This beach was at the time it was first granted, as now, separated from the mainland by a channel. A bridge now connects the two. The name of the beach on the oldest plan I have seen is "Dead Man's Shoal". It's present name, "Meagher's Beach" arose from the identical pronunciation of the names "Mauger" and "Meagher".
Merchant and distiller
Perhaps I cannot do better than give the biography of the man who has handed his name down to us as the name of the beach once his property. Joshua Mauger, was a merchant, distiller, etc, who had removed from Louisburg to Halifax with a stock of goods, at its restoration to France in 1749.
At Halifax he did an extensive business. He used to distil rum for the soldiers and followed the camp for several years. In 1750 Mauger applied for a water lot and liberty to build wharves on the beach. At first it was proposed to build a quay along the shore in front of the town; but, failing to get aid from England, several licenses to build wharves were granted; Mauger's among others. His wharf was at foot of Jacob Street.
In 1751 he was agent victualler to the navy at Halifax. In the same year he was charged with having the repository for Louisburg merchandise, brought up secretly, in defiance of law; and carrying on an illicit traffic, he being, as before mentioned, agent victualler to the Government at the time. Governor Cornwallis, upon information, caused Mr. Mauger's stores to be searched for contraband articles brought from Louisburg. Much discussion followed and the settlement was thrown into commotion.
In the next year, 20 July, he received the grant of Mauger's Beach. In the same year the following advertisement appeared in the Halifax Gazette:
- "To be sold by Joshua Mauger at Major Lockman's store in Halifax, several negro slaves as follows: a woman, aged 35 years, two boys, aged 12 and 13 respectively, two of 18; and a man aged 30”. I find mention of shops belonging to him at Pisiquid, Minas and other places."
Agent in London
In 1762 (23 April) a formal power was prepared and agreed to appointing Joshua Mauger, Esq of London, agent in behalf of this House (Nova Scotia House) and the people the members represent. He is thereby empowered to appear before the King, Privy Council, House of Commons, and Board of Trade, courts of law and equity or any of the public offices in London; employ counsel, etc according to such letters of instruction which shall from time to time be transmitted him by the speaker. He held a seat in the Imperial House of Commons.
13 November 1766 the House (NS) voted £50 for a piece of plate for Joshua Mauger, their agent as a testimonial of his services. In 1768 he resigned the agency. The House again voted thanks to him. From this time we lose sight of him.
Mauger's name survived him also in Maugerville, New Brunswick. Here he had a grant of 100,000 acres. He also had grants at Lunenburg, Pisiquid, Queens, Island of St John and many other places.
Having given the biography of the first grantee of the beach, I shall give a short sketch of the history of the beach itself. It was, as I mentioned before first granted to Joshua Mauger, 20 July 1752. He used it for curing fish, and had buildings erected on the beach for that purpose. On 20 October 1784 the beach was offered for sale. The following advertisement appeared in a Halifax paper at that time:
- "For Sale, all that land near the entrance of the harbor and opposite to Cornwallis Island called Mauger's Beach, containing by particular grant 5 acres according to the plan attached to the grant."
In 1814 work was begun on Sherbrooke Tower, a circular granite battery. The foundation of this building was strengthened by driving timber into the ground. Notwithstanding that, the building forced the foundation down by reason of its great pressure. A brass plate inside the tower tells us that the building was begun in 1814 and completed in 1828. The rails upon which the guns were mounted are still in place in the upper storey of the tower.
On 28 February 1826 the reports on lighthouses recommended a lighthouse for Mauger's Beach. It was soon afterwards decided to turn the tower to a more practical and peaceful purpose than that for which it was built. In 1828 a lighthouse top was put on the tower and on 1 April of that year its beacon light first gladdened the heart of the mariner.
On 1 August 1809 a munity took place on HMC Columbine of St Andrews. The boatswain, three seamen and two marines were found guilty. As it was war time the extreme penalty was ordered to be carried out. They were executed at Halifax and afterwards hung in chains on Meagher's Beach. Before ascending the scaffold they confessed their offense; it is recorded that on 20 January 1821, the ice extended to Meagher's Beach and was strong enough to bear sleighs.