John Parr was born in Dublin in 1725. He joined the army as an ensign in April 1745; his regiment was sent to suppress the Jacobite rebellion in Scotland where he was wounded at Culloden. He also fought in the Seven Years War and rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
Through the influence of his patron, the Earl of Shelburne who was Secretary of State for the Home Department, Parr was appointed Governor of Nova Scotia in July 1782. The new Governor was soon confronted with a problem of urgent and immense proportions. Approximately 35,000 Loyalists flooded into Nova Scotia following the American Revolution; the colony’s population almost doubled. The Governor encouraged the recent arrivals to settle in unoccupied areas of the colony including Port Roseway (renamed Shelburne in honour of his patron), Digby, Eastern Shore, Sydney, Saint John River Valley and Passamaquoddy Bay.
New Brunswick and Cape Breton Island became separate colonies in 1784 leaving only mainland Nova Scotia under Parr’s governorship. Two years later, Governor Parr was reduced in rank to Lieutenant-Governor when Guy Carleton, Lord Dorchester, became Governor General of British North America. Parr remained lieutenant-governor until his death in Halifax on 25 November 1791.
Format: photograph of silhouette
Photographer: Ernest Cooke, Plymouth [England]
Reference: NSARM Photo Collection: People: Parr, General, Governor of Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia Archives — https://archives.novascotia.ca/white/exhibit/
Crown copyright © 2020, Province of Nova Scotia.