N.S. couple finds old maps, newspapers while renovating 170-year-old home
A Yarmouth, N.S. couple has discovered some hidden gems dating back to the 1800s while renovating their 170-year-old home.
The couple moved into the home a few months ago after spending 12 years in Florida. They say they knew they wanted an older home from the beginning.
“The second house we looked at and we knew we had to have it,” says Christine Watkins.
Christine is expecting so she and her husband set to work, renovating the home to get ready for their new addition. That’s when they discovered some old maps and newspapers hidden beneath some old carpet.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes, I was pretty surprised,” says Gifford Watkins. "Kept tearing and we ended up with six maps, three of which were done by James Imray and his son, a company which is still in existence today.”
The maps range in size and geography, highlighting the English Channel, the Dutch coast and British America.
“You can see that there are large parts of Canada that are actually missing, so maybe these are unexplored regions of Canada,” says Gifford of one map.
The couple also found some old newspapers, including one that showed the return of John D. Rockefeller III from his honeymoon in Bermuda.
The house itself was built by the Cann family and has an interesting history too.
“The fellow that built the house was a ship owner and his sons were sea captains and from what we gather from these maps, they would have spent most of their time in the North American ocean,” says Gifford.
The Yarmouth County Museum has already expressed an interest in the maps, but the Watkins are still deciding what they would like to do with them.
“I thought maybe we could do an assessment or contact a few other people before we go ahead and let them go,” says Gifford.
So far, research indicates the maps could be worth up to $6,000. The Watkins say they would like to see them stay in the Maritimes.
“It’s so much fun. I’m a history buff anyway, so it just adds to the charm,” says Christine.
In the meantime, the couple says they are having a blast ripping up carpet in the hopes of finding more buried treasure.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell