Balcoms in Nova Scotia:
Excerpt from " A Local History of Sheet Harbour"
Written by James E. Rutledge. Published 1954
One of the later of the early settlers on the West River was Jonas Balcom. His family originated in Balcombe in Sussex, England. The Balcoms came to Annapolis County from the New England States around 1760-1770 and settled in or around Paradise. (See Savory's "History of Annapolis County"). Jonas, son of Samuel, was born in 1770 in Nova Scotia and moved to Sheet Harbour in early manhood. He is said to have married Mary ("Polly") Chase of Halifax. Her father was said to have come to Halifax in 1749, but there is no Chase listed amongst Cornwallis' passengers. She may have been the daughter of Captain Chase, Master of the ship "Parr", a whaler, referred to by Dr. Akins in his, "History of Halifax", (p97) as having arrived in Halifax in July 1790, after a successful voyage with "480 sperm and 100 black oil" on board. No other Chase is mentioned by Akins.
Jonas Balcom had two sons, Henry, who first married Honore Farrell, then a Miss Quillan of Sheet Harbour and Samuel (born in Sheet Harbour) who married Nancy McCarthy of Taylor's Head, grandfather of Capt. William J. Balcom of Halifax, lately in command of the Government Arctic Ship, N.B. MacLean. No Balcom now reside in Sheet Harbour other than Capt. Stanley Balcom who has a summer home at Watt Section. He descends from Henry who located in Port Dufferin, became a ship builder and was at one time in the House of Assembly as one of the members from Halifax County. His son, Henry (Jr.) in his lifetime, a lobster packer, with a number of factories, was the father of Lieut.- Colonel Samuel R. Balcom, M.P., one of the members presently representing Halifax County at Ottawa. One of the daughters of Henry Balcom (Sr.) married Edward Donahoe of Halifax, a merchant, grandfather of Richard A. Donahoe, Q.C., the present Mayor of Halifax.
Samuel Balcom, who lived in Sheet Harbour, was a master mariner and was engaged in shipping and fishing all of his life. He made voyages to Labrador for birds' eggs, "egging", as it was called. His lands were at West River and included the present properties of John Coady, Mrs. William Fahie, a Mrs. Behie, a Mr. MacDonald, and the Consolidated School land eastwardly from the water to the United Church property. He is said to have donated the land for the main highway through his property. The old main road ran north of the Balcom lands to the William Hall lands.
Samuel had a large family of twelve children: six sons and six daughters. Four of the sons were master mariners. One of these sons, Jonas, kept a shop where the new school now stands, and he built several square rigged ships at Parsboro , NS. Jonas died abroad. Sprott Balcom, the noted seal hunter was a brother. He began with a brig, the "Nancy Butler", built in the Rutledge yards and sailed by Sprott Balcom in the West India trade for Hon. William Butler, a Halifax merchant. In 1981, he sailed the schooner "Dora Seaward" around the Horn to British Columbia and engaged in the seal business in the Behring Sea. Later as one of a company, he was in the South Atlantic seal business, landing catches in the Falkland Isles. Shortly after 1902, he obtained the whaling concession of the Province of British Columbia in company with Edward Donahoe and Henry Balcom. Sprott Balcom prospered in these ventures and died in Victoria, BC.
Capt. Rueben Balcom, another of the sons of Samuel, was also in the sealing business and died in Victoria, BC. Samuel (Jr.) was in the same trade as a ship's master. He moved to Halifax in 1890, and in his eighties, was still a master mariner sailing coastal waters. He was the father of William J. This Captain Samuel Balcom died a few years ago at the age of 92. In his eighties, he was shipwrecked in the Northumberland Strait in the fall of the year. He was in the cold water for a whole day in a northerly gale before being rescued.
Many were the adventures of these old sea captains, sufficient of them to make a book themselves. The Balcoms, without a doubt, became the main "sea dog" family of Sheet Harbour, sailing at least four of the Seven Seas.