As Provincial Secretary from 1860 to 1863, Joseph Howe was in charge of Nova Scotia’s mineral development. Sent by Lieutenant-Governor, George Phipps, in July of 1860 to report on the frenzied activity at the Tangier field, Howe famously concluded that the Tangier diggings “are utterly valueless” and the Lieutenant Governor agreed. In Howe’s opinion, “the richest specimen …would scarcely fill a lady’s thimble.”
But all through 1860 and into 1861, the gold hysteria continued. In April 1861, the government intervened and declared Mooseland and nearby Tangier gold districts.
By 1960, the combined Tangier-Mooseland Districts had produced 29,887.633 ounces, and turned out to be one of Nova Scotia’s biggest producers of pure gold—proving the Honourable Joseph Howe quite wrong!