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Museum Receives Gift of Surveying Instruments

SvN Principal John van Nostrand has donated his great-grandfather’s surveying instruments to the City of Belleville’s Glanmore National Historic Site. The donation consists of John James Haslett’s telescope, octant and theodolite. The instruments are British made and would have been brought to Canada with Haslett in 1842. Surveying equipment from this time period is very rare.

John James Haslett (1811-1878) was an Ontario Provincial Land Surveyor between 1843 and 1878. He was one of the first land surveyors in the Quinte Region. His instruments were handed down through Haslett’s descendants, and eventually to his great-grandson, John. John has gifted these historically significant artifacts to the Museum so that they may be preserved in the region where Haslett lived and worked.

Haslett was born and educated in Ireland. He was a member of the Royal Engineers and conducted land surveys in England and Ireland before coming to Canada and settling in Belleville in 1842-43.

Throughout the 1840s and 1850s Haslett worked for the government on many land surveying projects including surveying the Ottawa River, the Otonabee River, Monteagle Township, Peterborough, Belleville and many other towns in Hastings County and surrounding area.

In the 1850s he worked as an Engineer in the construction of the Kingston and Montreal highway, the Grand Trunk Railway, and the highway between Belleville and Trenton. In 1862 Haslett was one of many surveyors who worked on the Hastings Colonization Road which enabled settlement in the Northern part of Hastings County.

It was Haslett’s custom to travel by horseback through the rough terrain he was documenting. He was known to ride with the field telescope strapped on his back, the theodolite in front of him on the saddle, and the tripod and chain strapped to the sides of the horse.

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