History of the Inn

Aaron Flint Churchill was born in 1850 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia – a town on the southwestern tip of the province that was becoming increasingly prosperous due to ship building and shipping on the tall ships that sailed to exotic ports around the world, exporting fish and crops, and importing everything from teas to rum. Even tourists from the eastern seaboard of the United States began arriving in Nova Scotia in the 1890s on steamships, hoping to escape the hot and muggy summer temperatures of Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta.

At 16, he was first mate on his uncle George Washington Churchill’s sailing ship, the Research, which plied the Atlantic from Quebec to Scotland.  On November 26, 1866, a violent storm struck the Research, ripping its sails, damaging the deckhouses and unshipping the rudder, rendering it loose and useless. Aaron stood six feet tall and had considerable strength.  He volunteered to be lowered by rope into the freezing ocean, and after three hours in the raging storm, he secured the misbehaved rudder. During the next 60 days at sea, storms continued to batter the Research. Aaron repeated his efforts eight more times to secure the rudders fashioned from spare boards and materials from the wrecked wheelhouse. The Research finally reached Greenoch, Scotland after 88 days at sea - a voyage that was expected to take only 28 days.

The entire ordeal was christened “The Voyage of Many Rudders,” by Lloyds of London, who were underwriters of the cargo. Lloyds awarded Aaron a cash bonus that became the foundation for Aaron’s own company, “The Churchill Steamship Lines.” He was thereafter called Captain Aaron “Rudder” Churchill.

At age 24, he quit the sea and opened a stevedoring business in Savannah, Georgia. Later, he also gained a reputation as an inventor. Captain Churchill came to have several patents, including one that improved Eli Whitney’s cotton gin. He based himself in the southern USA, with frequent trips to New York. He had considerable real estate and banking interests, but he never forgot his boyhood hometown.

Now known as the Churchill Mansion Inn, Captain Churchill built the property in 1889 -90 when he was 50 years of age as a summer residence for him and his wife Lois, and other family members and servants. A refuge from the steamy Georgia summers, he named the house “Anchorage”.

By the early 1900s, he became one of the most prominent and widely known businessmen, and one of the wealthiest Canadians, in the United States. He counted among his friends and business acquaintances people like J.P. Morgan and Cornelius Vanderbilt.

He died on June 10, 1920, and his remains were brought back to Darlings Lake and buried in the local cemetery on a hill not far from his beloved "Anchorage".

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