Map

Europeans had known about Sable Island since the 1500s. Their maps show the island as much larger than it really is. Early mapmakers relied on explorers' accounts. The size of the dreaded island may have over exaggerated because of the shipwrecks.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Sable Island Preservation Trust, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic,

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


In 1598, the Marquis de La Roche brought 50 convicts to the New World to start a colony. He left them on Sable while he searched for a good site. But storms drove him back to France, where political enemies had him thrown into prison.

Abandoned, the convicts sheltered in wrecked ships. Only 11 were still alive when a ship rescued them 5 years later.

In 1738, Reverend Andrew Le Mercier of Boston sent people and livestock to Sable (remember the horses?) but refused to pay the rent to Nova Scotia He was very angry when fisherman stole his cattle, and he tried to sell the island, which he did not own. No one bought it.
In 1598, the Marquis de La Roche brought 50 convicts to the New World to start a colony. He left them on Sable while he searched for a good site. But storms drove him back to France, where political enemies had him thrown into prison.

Abandoned, the convicts sheltered in wrecked ships. Only 11 were still alive when a ship rescued them 5 years later.

In 1738, Reverend Andrew Le Mercier of Boston sent people and livestock to Sable (remember the horses?) but refused to pay the rent to Nova Scotia He was very angry when fisherman stole his cattle, and he tried to sell the island, which he did not own. No one bought it.

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001. All Rights Reserved.

Abandoned convicts

Abandoned convicts.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001. All Rights Reserved.


Trixie's House in 1890

Trixie's House in 1890.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Trixie's House in 1967

Without constant maintenance, buildings are soon destroyed by the wind, sand and salt spray. Trixie went back to the island in 1967 and found her home deserted.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001. All Rights Reserved.


Trixie's House in 1987

By 1987 it was a ruin.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Sable Island Preservation Trust, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic,

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001. All Rights Reserved.


Wood pieces

These corroded and broken pieces were all that remained of the old main lifesaving station.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Sable Island Preservation Trust, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic,

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001. All Rights Reserved.


Precut and Numbered Wood

Notice the Roman numerals an the post and planks. Since there are no trees on Sable, all the timber for buildings had to be shipped from the mainland. The wood was precut and marked for easy assembly.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001. All Rights Reserved.


Some of Trixie's Artifacts

Top left to bottom right: Axe top, Plate, Cup handle, Spoon, Bottle, Pipe, Plate

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Sable Island Preservation Trust, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic,

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Identify the first inhabitants of Sable Island
  • Describe what has happened to the dwellings on Sable Island without maintenance

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