Archibald Family of New Hampshire and Nova Scotia

Last update of page: 31 March 2012.

The Archibald family was originally from northern Ireland and came to the Truro area of Nova Scotia through New England. Three generations of Archibalds are recorded here:

David Archibald, b. 1717 (from Ireland to NH to Truro) --- m. --- Elizabeth Elliott (8 children)


Robert Archibald, b. 1745 (in Truro) --- m. --- Hannah Blair (9 children)


Elizabeth Archibald, b. 1768 (in Truro) --- m. --- Samuel Tupper (2 children)


William Creelman, b. 1787--- m. --- Hannah Tupper (8 children)


James Graham, b. 1808 --- m. --- Rachel Creelman (7 children)

A great deal of information is available on the early Archibalds in Nova Scotia (see Sources below). The seven Archibald siblings included four boys, listed chronologically below, and three daughters (birth dates unknown; considered after their brothers).

David Archibald, b. 1717, and Siblings

David Archibald and his six brothers and sisters were all born in Ireland. They all emigrated to New England from Londonderry, most in 1743, and perhaps with their parents, but nothing is recorded of the latter. At least one of the oldest children, David, was already married and came with his own wife and one child in 1743. The second oldest son, Samuel, did not leave Ireland until 1757. They all married in New Hampshire (except for David) and the seven families all moved together to Truro, Nova Scotia, arriving on 13 December 1762.

Many of the early inhabitants of Truro such as the Archibalds, and many of the other families that crop up repeatedly in this Family Reunion, were of Irish protestant families who had emigrated initially from Londonderry, Ireland. Some historical notes are provided in Miller's Colchester County book (2). On 26 March 1718 a petition was signed by 319 protestants of (primarily Catholic?) Londonderry, Ireland and addressed to Samuel Suitte, Governor of New England, asking him to protect them and their families. Sixteen families arrived that same year in the New World and founded the town of Londonderry, New Hampshire.

David Archibald and siblings arrived in 1743, several decades later. The Archibalds, and others, then moved again to Nova Scotia for unknown reasons, but obviously profiting from the opportunities created by the recent expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia. Some of the men had been involved in the military campaigns and became familiar firsthand with Nova Scotia.

1) David, was b. in Londonderry, Ireland on 20 Sept. 1717. He is my great-(6 times)-grandfather. On 19 May 1741, still in Ireland, he married Elizabeth Elliott, b. 10 June, 1720. In 1743 they emigrated to New Hampshire with one child and nineteen years later, with a then completed family of eight children, moved to Truro, Nova Scotia.

David Archibald was an important man in Truro. He was the first Justice of the Peace, the first to represent Truro Township in Parliament (he first took his seat on 5 June 1766) and his name stands first in the list of Grantees of Truro Township. On 13 Sept. 1770 his name headed a petition calling for a reverend (who was eventually to be the Rev. Daniel Cock) and he was also at the head of the list of Elders, chosen in 1770, of the Presbyterian Congregation. His lands were on the north side of the Salmon River and his house near Bible Hill.

He was certainly not a lenient man, as evidenced by the following story. A thief was brought before him for trial and the sentence he gave was: "that the thief should be tied to a cart and driven from the hill across the river, down round the Parade, and back to the hill again; and that the driver should use the whip more freely on the thief than on the horse".

His wife, Elizabeth Elliott, died 19 Oct. 1791, aged 71. Nothing is known about her or her family. David died in 1795, aged 78. Their eight children, including Robert Archibald, are discussed in a section below.

2) Samuel, b. 1719, m. in 1743 in Ireland to Eleanor Taylor, b. 1724. It is not clear whether or not Eleanor would have been related to her brother-in-law Samuel Taylor (but note that Samuel Taylor was born in 1727 in NH and married there whereas Eleanor supposedly married in Ireland). He apparently did not leave Ireland with all his siblings but did move to New England in 1757. By the time they moved to Truro in 1762, they had six sons and four daughters and they later added two more daughters. He was a Grantee of Truro Township and one of the first elders of the Presbyterian Church. He built his own house in Truro in which he lived for the rest of his life. He died on 15 July 1774 (confirmed by his gravestone; his age given as 55), the first Church member to do so. We found the graves of he and his wife in August 2005 (4), both in quite good condition. His wife's gravestone reads: "Here lies the body of Eloner [sic] Archibald wife to Samuel Archibald who departed this life on the first day of May 1781 aged 57 years".

Samuel and Eleanor had 12 children who are covered in some detail in Miller’s book. Of most interest is their eldest son, Matthew (1745-1820) who married Janet Fisher (1750-1843). Matthew was a very pious man and Bible Hill in Truro takes its name from him. He represented Truro in Parliament for 14 years from 1785 to 1799 and was also Justice of the Peace and Coroner of the District of Colchester for a number of years. When his wife Janet died in 1843, aged 93, she had 12 children, 100 grandchildren, 250 great-grandchildren, and 23 great-great-grandchildren (in total, about 385 descendants!). One of Mathew’s sons was Adams Archibald, b. 18 April 1777. Adams was a prominent Nova Scotian. He was very religious and apart from being involved in Church affairs he was a member of the Board of Commissioners of Schools for the Eastern District of Halifax County. He married his second cousin, Hannah Archibald (see below), daughter of Robert Archibald and Hannah Blair.

3) James, was married and had some children when he arrived in Truro. The name of his wife is unknown. He was one of the Grantees of Truro Township and his land was on the north side of the Salmon River. He was one of the first settlers of Middle Stewiacke where he later had 500 acres on the east side of Simeon Whidden's land. They had one son and six daughters.

4) Thomas, b. 1733. In 1757 he m. Janet Orr (1733-1784). After they moved to Nova Scotia, they settled on a farm on the north side of the Salmon River where he spent the rest of his days. They had 3 sons and 6 daughters. After Janet died in March, 1784, he remarried on 15 July 1785 to Elizabeth Long, widow of James Faulkner of the Lower Village of Truro. They had no children. He died 27 June 1796 and his widow died about 1822. In August 2005 we found the graves of Thomas and his first wife in the Truro Cemetery. The grave of Thomas is badly damaged and mostly unreadable. His wife's gravestone reads: "Here lies the body of Jennet [sic] Archibald wife to Thomas Archibald who died March 13 1784 in the 51st year of her age".

5) Elizabeth is the first of the three sisters of David Archibald; no birth dates are available for any of them and they are arbitrarily placed here after the boys. While in New Hampshire she married Matthew Taylor, Snr., b. 1727. Matthew was the second son of Matthew and Janet Taylor who had arrived at Londonderry, NH in 1722 (a daughter of Matthew and Janet, Sarah Taylor, married Deacon Samuel Fisher in 1747 in NH; their daughter Janet Fisher married Matthew Archibald, Elizabeth's nephew, as noted above). Matthew and Elizabeth moved to Truro with all her brothers where Matthew became one of the Grantees of Truro Township. He farmed there and raised a large family.

He died in 1796 while making a trip to Halifax. Elizabeth died in 1810. They had 8 sons and 2 daughters.

6) Eleanor, m. in Ireland to William Fisher in 1743. He was born in Londonderry in 1716. The year they were married, they moved to Londonderry, NH. This William Fisher is not known to be related to Janet Fisher who married Matthew Archibald, Eleanor's nephew (see above). However, Janet's father was Samuel Fisher and since he was a contemporary of William Fisher in Londonderry, NH, it is quite plausible that Samuel and William were brothers or at least related (Samuel however had arrived in New England three years before William). When Eleanor and William Fisher moved again to Truro in December 1762, he became one of the Grantees of Truro. He was the first Town Clerk of Truro after it was settled by the British, and was one of the original seven Elders of the Church which were elected in 1770. He also represented Truro in Parliament for five years from the time he first took his seat on 6 June 1770. He died at his house on the Salmon River on 6 June 1777. They had a large family of 12 children (6 sons and 6 daughters).

One son, Alexander McNutt Fisher, b. 1765, inherited a part of his father's farm but sold it and moved to Musquodoboit where he spent the rest of his life. In 1798 he m. his cousin's daughter, Janet Archibald, b. 1770, daughter of Robert Archibald and Hannah Blair. Janet was a widow of William Logan. Alexander and Janet had two sons and one daughter.

7) Martha, m. Samson Moore, was the last of David Archibald's sisters. Samson was born in Ireland in 1730. He emigrated to New England where he m. Martha in 1754 in New Hampshire. They came to Nova Scotia in 1762 with all the other Archibalds and he became one of the Grantees of Truro Township. They settled in the Lower Village. He was drowned in the bay near "Salter's Head" in 1782. They had seven children who again are all covered in detail in Miller’s book.

Robert Archibald, b. 1745, and Siblings

David Archibald and his wife Elizabeth Elliott had eight children. The first child was born in Londonderry, Ireland, and all the others would have been born in Londonderry, New Hampshire after they emigrated in 1743. The children were the following:

1) Samuel, b. in Ireland on 11 November 1742. He m. Rachel Duncan, b. 1743, of Londonderry (New Hampshire I presume), daughter of John Duncan and Rachel Todd. He came with his father to Truro in 1762, when he was aged 19. He and his wife settled at Little Dyke and remained there till 1769 when they moved to Truro. He was an original Grantee of the Township of Londonderry, Nova Scotia. Samuel was an important man in his community. He was Town Clerk of Truro from 1771 till his death and he twice represented Truro in the house of Assembly (from 12 June 1775 and from 1777).

Samuel was also a "sporting man". Once, when a number of men were dyking a marsh they took their noontime break for their "daily dram" and a little nap. While they were sleeping, Samuel took their shovels and pressed their hair into the ground, fastening them to the marsh. It is not recorded whether the men were amused or not...

In 1779 when he was preparing to go down to the West Indies with a cargo of boards and horses he stopped in an the shop of John Smith and said to him "Come, Smith, let us have a parting drop". At he last second he stopped the hapless Smith from drinking of his bottle of fish oil and rode off laughing at his good joke. In the West Indies he received "foul treatment" from a British officer and he died, leaving a widow and six children. Possibly he played one trick too many? His brother James later went down to the West Indies to reclaim the cargo (see below).

Samuel's widow Rachel remarried to Capt. John McKeen, had a son and died 20 January 1814. This is presumably the same John McKeen who was previously married to Martha Cargill and whose children married into various branches of the Archibald family. The seven children of Samuel Archibald, all born in Nova Scotia, are considered in Miller’s book.

Of note is their son, Samuel George William, b. 5 February 1777, who was brought up by his grandfather, David Archibald. He m. on 16 March 1802 to Elizabeth Dickson, b. 1786, yet another child of Charles Dickson. He must have known he was destined for other things as he was only a farmer for a short time, when he threw his tools down and took up the study of law. He soon became a member of the Bar, a Clerk of the Peace, and Judge of Probate. From 1806 to 1836 he represented the County of Halifax in the House of Assembly, in 1817 he was appointed King's Counsel, in 1825 he was unanimously chosen Speaker of the House of Assembly and in 1826 he was appointed Solicitor General of Nova Scotia. In 1830 his first wife died and he remarried to Mrs. Joanna Brodley in 1832. From 1836 to 1841 he represented the County of Colchester in the House of Assembly, in 1841 he was appointed to the Office of Master of the Rolls, and he was also Nova Scotia's Attorney General for a number of years. He died in Halifax in 1846 and his widow died in England. Despite such a busy career, he also managed to father 15 children. Several of his sons are worthy of note: Charles Dickson Archibald (1802-1868), m. the heiress of a large estate in Lancashire, England; Edward Mortimer, b. 1810, was British Consul in New York for several years; and Thomas Dickson, b. 1817, lived in England, practiced law, and in 1872 was appointed Baron of the Exchequer.

2) Robert, b. in Londonderry, New Hampshire on 22 January 1745. Robert's daughter Elizabeth became the wife of Samuel Tupper and grandmother of Rachel Creelman, who married James Graham. Robert and his elder brother were both Grantees of the Township of Londonderry, Nova Scotia but later they both exchanged their farms with others and moved to Truro. On 2 April 1767 he m. Hannah Blair, b. 1747, of Onslow, daughter of William Blair and Jane Barns. Robert and Hannah had nine children who are considered in the section below on Elizabeth Archibald and her siblings.

Robert's house in Truro was used for the town meetings. He was Town Clerk of Truro for a number of years and on 16 September 1780 he was appointed Justice of the Peace for Colchester and Pictou Counties. Robert was a Colonel of the Militia and a land surveyor. In this latter capacity he surveyed and divided a large part of Truro and all of the Township of Onslow. See the chapter for Joseph Scott for more background to the division of Onslow. He was also a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. In 1787 he moved to Musquodoboit but continued to travel to Onslow to attend court. He died at Musqudoboit in October 1812; his widow Hannah d. 4 November 1834 aged 87.

3) John, Snr., b. 18 August 1747, in Londonderry. He was one of the Grantees of Truro but he later moved to Musquodoboit. He was married on 2 June 1768 to Alice Moor, sister of Hugh Moor, Snr. of Truro. They had nine children. Of note are the following:

Hugh, b. 1 December 1773, went with his father and family to Musquodoboit where he lived the rest of his life. He was married in 1797 to his cousin, Margaret Price Archibald, daughter of Robert Archibald and Hannah Blair.

4) Margaret, b. 15 December 1749 in Londonderry. She m. John Savage. John had been married previously to Jane, who had d. 3 April 1767. Her gravestone is apparently the oldest in Truro. John Savage was an active and important citizen of Truro. He was a Grantee of Truro Township, and was one of the seven Elders of the Presbyterian Church. He was a surveyor and in that capacity he once agreed to subdivide the back lands of Truro, for which he was supposed to receive 12,000 acres extending east from the Shubenacadie River. He died before carrying out this lucrative deal. He and his wife both died soon after the birth of their first son. This son was David Savage who was brought up by his grandfather, David Archibald. He m. Elizabeth Brydon and they kept an inn. In 1800 they moved to the States.

5) Ann, b. 12 March 1752. On 3 October 1771 she m. William McKeen, b. 1745, son of John McKeen and Martha Cargill. He was a Grantee of Truro Township but in 1780 he sold his property in the Village and took over the local mills. He carried on the milling trade till 1815 when he moved to Musquodoboit at the age of 70. William died in 1826. Ann died at the house of her son Samuel in Mabou, Cape Breton, in 1836 at the age of 84. For at least 25 years prior to her death she had been blind. They had ten children who are covered in detail in Miller’s book.

Of note is William McKeen, b. 18 August, 1789. As a young man he went to Pictou, where, at that time, a small lumber boom was in progress. He late returned to Musquodoboit where he m. Elizabeth McDougall in July 1811. Soon after the marriage they went to Mabou, Cape Breton, where William was a merchant and a farmer. They had five sons and six daughters. Elizabeth d. on 18 December 1834 so he remarried to Christiann Smith in April 1835. They had five sons and seven daughters (a total of 23 children for William!). William was a member of the Legislative Council of Nova Scotia for a number of years. He d. 17 May 1865.

6) James, b. 19 April 1754. As already mentioned above, James went down to the West Indies in 1780 to reclaim his brother's cargo and perhaps to investigate the circumstances of his death. He never returned and was not heard from again. One might think at first that James had a fatal meeting with the same vindictive British Officer, but possibly there is another explanation, as evidenced by the following story from Miller's book. Some time in the mid-1800s, a sea captain named Archibald (not apparently related to the Archibalds here) sailed into a port in the West Indies. He struck up a conversation with the mulatto Customs officer who was of the same name and this officer told him that his grandfather was a white man who apparently resembled the Nova Scotian Archibalds. In regard to this man, Thomas Miller wrote that "his complexion was a little dark, but he was a smart man for business".

7) Thomas, b. 17 May 1756. He was a Grantee of Truro Township, being ten years old at the time. When he was 21 he left Truro and returned to New Hampshire. In 1783 he was among the graduates of Dartmouth College and on 11 November 1789 he was ordained over a Church of Congregationists in Acworth (location?). For some reason he was dismissed from this congregation on 14 June 1794.

8) David, b. 27 September 1758 in New Hampshire. He was known as either Clerk David or David Archibald the 3rd. On 29 January 1788 he m. his cousin's daughter, Sarah Archibald, b. 1769, daughter of Matthew and Janet Archibald. He built two houses, the second of which he sold in 1812. Later he built a third house in which he and his wife lived for three years. He and Sarah had one son and three daughters. He was a shipbuilder for a time but that was not very profitable. After his first wife d. in 1797 he remarried in 1799 to Hannah Blanchard, b. 1774, daughter of Col. Jotham and Elizabeth Blanchard. In July 1815 they moved to a tract of land on the St. Mary's River where the village of Sherbrooke now stands. There he carried on milling, lumbering, and farming. He and his second wife had eight children. She d. in 1830 and he d. in 1823. His children are all covered in Miller’s book. Of note among the children from his first marriage are:

William Thompson, b. 12 December 1788. He built a house on the north side of the Salmon River, but on the night on 12 November 1813 a hurricane struck the Truro area and his house, among many others, was blown down. Shortly after this he moved to St. Mary's where he married Janet McDonald on 20 December 1814. They had three sons and nine daughters. He d. on 9 January 1841.

In the small isolated towns of Nova Scotia of that period almost everybody was related to everybody else. One of the best examples of this inbreeding involves two daughters of William T. Archibald (see a complete family tree diagram in my original book). They married two brothers who were simultaneously their first cousins (through their mother as they were sons of William T.'s sister Janet) and their third cousins (through their father Isaac Archibald, himself married to his cousin Janet).

Elizabeth Archibald, b. 1768, and Siblings

Robert Archibald and Hannah Blair had nine children, all born while they lived in Truro, Nova Scotia except perhaps for the last child, who was born the same year Robert moved to Musquodoboit. Their second child was Elizabeth, the link to my family tree. She and her siblings were the following:

1) A first child, d. young and was buried with its cousin on the small island off Londonderry, Nova Scotia.

2) Elizabeth, b. 2 November 1768 in Truro. Virtually nothing is known of her. In 1786 at the age of 18 she m. Samuel Tupper, [planned link when that family is done] b. 1764, of Upper Stewiacke, son of Eliakim and Elizabeth Tupper. They had two daughters before Elizabeth d. in January 1789 aged only 21. One of the daughters was Hannah Tupper, who m. William Creelman and was the mother of Rachel Creelman, to become the wife of James Graham. The widowed Samuel Tupper later remarried and had another 13 children.

3) Janet, b. 29 October 1770, m. William Logan, b. 23 November 1764, son of John and Mary Logan. For a time they settled at Pembroke, in Upper Stewiacke, but later moved to Middle Musquodoboit. They had a son and a daughter. William died in October 1796, aged 32, before his second child was born. After he died, she remarried to her father's cousin, Alexander McNutt Fisher, b. 1765, son of William Fisher and Eleanor Archibald. They had two sons and one daughter

4) William, b. 18 October 1772. In 1786, aged 16, he drowned while salmon fishing in the Salmon River.

5) David, b. 2 April 1775, was known as Capt. David Archibald or as David Archibald, the 8th. He moved with his parents to Musquodoboit where he lived the rest of his life on his farm. He was m. to Elizabeth Kent on 25 February 1801. He d. in November 1843 and she d. in December 1841. They had eight children, who are covered in Miller’s book.

6) Margaret Price, b. 18 September 1777. In 1797 she m. her cousin, Hugh Archibald, b. 1 December 1773, son of John Archibald and Alice Moor. They lived in Musquodoboit. They had eight children.

7) Hannah, b. 2 February 1780. She m. on 22 January 1802 to her second cousin, Adams Archibald (see above), b. 18 April 1777, son of Matthew Archibald and Janet Fisher. They had two daughters. She d. on 10 June 1854 and he d. on 24 April 1857. One of them was Janet, b. 14 November 1804, m. on 2 March 1830 to John Tupper, b. 1804, son of Samuel Tupper [planned link when that family done]. They had three sons and one daughter. She d. 18 February 1843 and he d. 26 July 1844.

8) Sarah, b. 22 February 1785. She m. William Logan, b. 15 August 1773, son of William Logan and Janet Moor. They first lived in Truro but then sold out and moved to Middle Musquodoboit. Their seven children are covered in Miller’s book.

9) Susan, b. 17 February 1787. She m. William Guild, b. 1785, of Musquodoboit. She d. on 12 July 1854 and he d. 25 January 1862. They had at least one son, Robert A. Guild.


Detailed information is available from Miller's book (2) on the families of all seven of the original Archibalds (David and his siblings) and their numerous descendants. Their genealogical records occupy 74 pages in this book! Unless otherwise noted, all my information comes from this source.


(1) Israel Longworth's History of Colchester County, Nova Scotia (circa 1886). Edited by Sandra Creighton and privately printed in Truro, 1989. Consulted by me in Boston in July 1999; I have a photocopy of the Onslow chapter. It would be very interesting to check out the Truro chapter which I did not have time to do.
(2) Miller, Thomas. 1873. Historical and Genealogical Record of the First Settlers of Colchester County. Halifax, N.S. Halifax, A. & W. MacKinlay (facsimile edition by Mika Studio, Belleville, Ontario, 1972).
Composite Sprague Database of Dick Weber of Platteville, WI with some 110,000 individuals; consulted in Sept. 99. The database is quite carefully sourced and can be consulted for detailed information on sources. On-line in March 2012.
(4) Personal visit of myself and William and Margaret Graham to the Truro Cemetery on 22 August 2005. A few more detailed notes in my own records. This was not a systematic visit but rather just a few quick observations.

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