Wednesday, January 17, 2018 — 7:30 p.m., Nova Scotia Archives
Ordinary People; Extraordinary Times: Minnie and Stewart Ross confront the aftermath of the Halifax Explosion
David A. Sutherland — retired professor, History Department, Dalhousie University
A working-class couple living in Halifax’s North End, Minnie and Stewart Ross were leading unremarkable lives as their city became embroiled in World War One. For them it appeared to be a “good war,” in the sense that while Stewart enlisted, he never went overseas, instead serving on board the Niobe, flag-ship of Canada’s east coast navy. That semi-derelict vessel remained in port throughout the hostilities, meaning that Stewart got home every evening, while earning steady promotion in the ranks. Then came disaster. The December 1917 explosion levelled the Ross home, killing all four of their children, seriously injuring Minnie and leaving Stewart prone to the onset of tuberculosis. This presentation follows the family through 1918 as they, in association with the Halifax Relief Commission, sought to rebuild their lives in the face of multi-faceted adversity.