The only monument in Nova Scotia for German settlers is located in a rural area of Annapolis County. Located a few kilometres east of Bear River is a cairn, which remembers the men of the Waldeck Regiment who fought in the American Revolution for the British. After the war, they came to Nova Scotia to settle.
The Waldeck Regiment was one of several regiments made up of men from six German principalities. The largest group were natives of the Hesse while others were from Anhalt-Zerbst, Brunswick, and Ansbach-Bayreuth. Over 30,000 Germans fought in the conflict although fewer than 1,500 were from Waldeck. As compensation, Britain paid the ruler of Waldeck for every man that joined the fight.
After fighting in the Revolutionary War, Sir Guy Carleton, the British Commander in New York, requested that Governor John Parr of Nova Scotia find lands for twenty-six soldiers of the 3rd Waldeck Regiment. A settlement block of 11,050 acres was authorized by Parr in the Township of Clements, Annapolis County, on the eastern side of the Bear River. The lots granted to the Waldeckers were generally 528 feet wide and one and a half miles in length.
On July 30, 1783, the Waldeckers departed New York for Annapolis County. On August 3, 1783, Captain Christian de Molitor, representing a group of approximately 100 privates and officers from various German regiments, requested passage to Annapolis Royal and permission to settle with the former soldiers of the Waldeck Regiment.
Some of the Waldeckers were listed in a Muster Roll from July 11th and 12th, 1784, which recorded sixty Germans in the Bear River area. The Waldeckers included Kaspar Bickell, Dr. Frederick L. Bohme, Jacob Buehler, George Duchscher, Michael Fitzer, Peter Hamm, Anton Hartman, Kaspar Klahold, Johannes Kuhn, George Krauss, Jacob Lange, Johann Muller, Casper Pickel, Phillip Rholing, Michael Schlauderbeck, Frederic Suh, Thomas Schneider, Johann Tuchscheer, John Turger, Nicholas Wagner, John Wiessenborn, Erdman Zenecke, and Franz Ziegler. According to a deed dated April 1, 1790, Jacob Lange was conveyed “one hundred acres of land situated and lying on Moose River called the Hessian Settlement” from Gottob Hartman. The consideration was eight pounds.
After the Waldeckers were settled, Carleton became aware that they were experiencing hardship and came to their aid. On October 28, 1783, writing to Brigadier-General Henry Fox, who commanded the British forces in Nova Scotia, Carleton noted:
Governor Parr mentions that twenty-three Waldeckers fixed near Annapolis are destitute of clothing; if you find them in distress, and likely to suffer from the severity of the winter, you will order a suit of provincial clothing to be given to each of them...I have directed that such corps as settle in a body should be considered as entitled to the same utensils and necessaries as the British American corps placed on the River St. John’s.
The Waldeck Settlement did not last very long. In 1789 Anthony G. Kysh, a German officer who served with the British, made an unsuccessful petition to the Nova Scotia house of Assembly to give support to the Waldeckers as well as the Hessians who had settled nearby. Within fifteen years of their arrival, most of the Waldeckers had left the area, likely because they were so isolated and their lands were not suitable for farming. Some left for Upper Canada, others the United States, and a few managed to find better quality land elsewhere in the region. One of the exceptions was Dr. Frederick L. Bohme who practiced medicine in the area for over thirty years. In his will he left a bell and silver service communion plates to the Old St. Edward’s Loyalist Church at Clementsport where he was buried.
The Waldeck Line cairn was erected as a community project. It sits in front of the building that was once the West Waldeck School and later the Waldeck Community Center. The building is now privately owned. The plaque mounted on the side of the cairn reads:
“The Waldeck Line”
Settled In 1783 By A Mercenary Regiment From Provincial Waldeck Germany, Engaged By Britain In The American Revolutionary War. Land Granted By Governor Parr Of Nova Scotia.