Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Troop Fleet

It has been a while since I profiled one of the artifacts owned by the Annapolis Heritage Society. I figured that I would venture into our Age of Sail in Annapolis County exhibit and see what caught my eye.

The Annapolis Royal region has historically had a very strong connection to the sea. Stories abound about the early Mi'kmaq who would canoe across the Bay of Fundy. The Acadians established and maintained trading relations with New England as well as Europe. None of this would have been possible without sailing vessels. In the nineteenth century, a period known as the golden age of sail, the economic lifeblood of this region was the water. Everyone from shipbuilders and fishermen to farmers and manufacturers relied on ships to get their products to market. As such, ships were very common along the Annapolis Royal waterfront.

At the end of the nineteenth century, the diamond T house flag of the Troop Fleet would have been known and respected in most of the world's major ports. In 1840 Granville Ferry native Jacob Valentine Troop (1809-1881) moved from his home in Nova Scotia to Saint John New Brunswick. When he arrived he quickly opened a general store on the North Market Wharf. Troop soon began to dabble in shipping. Like most merchants of the time he would send products like lumber and salt fish to the Caribbean and in return load his vessels with sugar and. Troop's next step took him from chartering ships to building and owning them. This was a highly profitable venture as there was a wave of economic prosperity in shipping at the end of the nineteenth century. By 1890, Troop and his sons had become the Maritimes most prominent family owned shipping company. At one point they had more than 100 vessels sailing under their flag.

The flag itself measures about 60cm X 90cm (2X3 feet). It is made from one piece of silk and the colours have been dyed directly onto it. This piece does require some minor conservation as it has some areas of loss and it could use rebacking as well as additional support.

The Crown Jewel, which is the other image featured in this post, was one of the Troop vessels. If you look carefully at the flag flying at the top of the main mast, it is the same style as the one at the top of this post. This painting is also located at the O'Dell House Museum.

All for now,

1 comment:

  1. I am descended from his sister and knew nothing of this. His father, Valentine Troop and mother Catherine Church were my 4 X Great Grandparents and the Wade's, Troops, and Bents have been intermarrying for over two centuries. Thank you for this.

    Fletcher R. Wade
    Comox, BC, and occasionally, Tupperville