I have already written a fair bit about Nelson’s connections to Canada, particularly Atlantic Canada. For example, see last year’s blogs here and here, as well as this journal article and conference paper. In addition, I have an article coming out in next week’s edition of The Trident, the newspaper for Maritime Forces Atlantic and CFB Halifax, entitled “Trafalgar Days in Nova Scotia.” I will post it here once it has been published.
However, I would like to touch upon one theme relating to how Admiral Horatio Nelson was remembered in the nineteenth century. Historically, it was common for parents to name their children after celebrities and public figures – think President John F. Kennedy in the 1960s. The same thing happened during earlier times, and there was no greater celebrity in the British Empire than Nelson. Consider these British North American examples, which represent only a fraction of the total from my research files: “Horatio Nelson Brenton,” born in Williamsdale, Nova Scotia in 1864; “Horatio Nelson Yeo,” born in Mill Road, Prince Edward Island in 1874; “Horatio Nelson Hardenbrook,” who got married at Saint John, New Brunswick in 1827; “Horatio Nelson Ayles,” the son of a Carbonear merchant who married in St. John’s, Newfoundland in 1874; “Nelson W. Lord” of Prince Edward District, Ontario in 1891; and, according to the 1871 federal census, “Horatio Nelson,” born in Quebec. Perhaps forgetting the War of 1812, many American boys were also named after Nelson, particularly in New England around the turn of the twentieth century. Go figure!
Update (22 October 2014): For more on Newfoundland and Trafalgar Day, see Larry Dohey's blog Archival Moments.