A Blupete Biography Page

Richard Tremain

Tremain's life in Nova Scotia is closely allied to that of his partner, Lawrence Hartshorne. Tremain's father built up "a successful mercantile business" at New York City. To be successful in business at New York meant the family had to have solid royal connections; so, at the end of the American Revolution, like thousand of others, the Tremains fled, in their case, to Quebec.1 Three years after moving to Quebec, in 1786, Tremain moved to Halifax, there to go into business with Hartshorne.

Richard Tremain married Mary Boggs in 1801; they had seven daughters and five sons. During the war years, and especially when the Americans were back to fighting the British: "Much of his business involved the purchase of prize goods for later sale in the United States, a lucrative enterprise at the height of the War of 1812."2 By 1826, Tremain had sold his interests in his Dartmouth properties, and, thereafter, "withdrew from active business, his income apparently being that of a rentier." He built an estate in the southern suburbs of Halifax, Oakland. He continued with his community activities, which included: being, for a time, president of the Chamber of Commerce; churchwarden of St Paul's; chairman of the Halifax firewards; lieutenant-colonel in the local militia; commissioner of the house of correction (1825 to 1831); deputy chairman and treasurer of the poor-house commission (1826 to 1830).

Notwithstanding all of his public spirited activities, Tremain came under the gun of Joseph Howe who railed against the existing order during that time in Nova Scotia (the subject of a separate book), during the middle third of the 19th century, when the aristocracy ran out of power and the people claimed it for themselves through their elected representatives. After that, as Professor Sutherland observed in his brief biographical sketch of the man in the DCB, Tremain's "personal affairs appear to have suffered considerable decline. The bankruptcy of his brother John in the mid 1830s and the related loss of 800£ had undermined his financial security. Then, in 1848, his house at Oakland burned. Tremain's death six years later drew no more response than a two-line obituary notice in the Halifax Church Times."


1 DCB.

2 Richard had a younger brother, James. I have not been able to sort out their respective mercantile activities. This is the case also with the Hartshornes, there was a Robert and a Lawrence.


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Peter Landry
2012 (2020)