Presented by the
Newfoundland's Grand Banks Site
to assist you in researching your Family History

Click on the graphic below to return to the NGB Home Page
Newfoundland's Grand Banks

To contribute to this site, see above menu item "About".

How to report a possible transcription error

These transcriptions may contain human errors.
As always, confirm these, as you would any other source material.


Diary of the Rev. M. P. O'Driscoll
For the Years
1874 - 1881

This Document covers the towns of Witless Bay,
Mobile, and Tors Cove and Vicinity

Part One 1874 to December 1878



(Newsclipping, undated)

Last week it was our melancholy duty to record the demise of an esteemed and much respected inhabitant of the Southern Shore, Mr. Michael Driscoll, of Mobile.  The deceased had attained his sixty-fifth year, but a hardy, if not robust constitution, had given promise of many  more years of a life precious to a large and estimable family and to a wide circle of friends.  On the day of the obsequies, the 19th inst, there was celebrated in the beautiful church of Witless Bay, the Sollmn High Mass for the dead, at which the Rev. N. Roach officiated as celebrant, Rev. J. Scott and Rev. J. Walsh (Renews) as Deacon and Subdeacon, and Rev. M. O’Driscoll, son of the deceased, as Master of  Ceremonies.

The funeral, which was very large and respectable, was attended by the clergy, at whose head was the venerable Dean of the diocese, very Rev. P. Cleary, P.P. of Witless Bay.

Diary, Witless Bay, January 1st, 1878.

Epitome of 1874

January 18th.   Sunday.

Feast of the Most Holy name.  I was ordained priest by Dr. Power, in the choir of the Presentation Convent.  Priests present – Dean Cleary and the Revds. N. Roche, W. Fitzpatrick and M. Morris.  Gave our Vespers that evening.  On the 29th Dec., I landed in St. John’s, after an absence of 3 ½ years, spent at All Hallows’ College, Dublin.  Sailed from  Queenstown pr. S. S. “Phoenecian” Dec. 17; a very stormy voyage, once in very great danger, the wheel chains having broken.

January 19th. Monday

Celebrated my First Mass in the Presentation Convent, assisted by Rev. M. J. Clarke. Feast of S. Conute, King.

January 23rd. Friday

Said Mass in Mobile for the first time, and on the following Sunday in Toads Cove- Uncle Sam’s “ nunc dimittus”.

January 29th. Thursday

Appointed C. C. to Rev. R. O’ Donnell, St. Mary’s. Arrived  there Saturday night at 11 ½ o’c.

Remarks:         The winter of ’74 was very mild; very little snow, a carriage might be used at almost anytime.

May- During this month I was in Mobile, unable to do my duty, my eye being sore. Went to Ferryland to see Margaret. Dr. Power at Witless Bay.

Aug. 1- Went as C. C. to Dean Cleary. In very delicate health at the time, able to do my duty only with difficulty.

Remarks:         Nuns of Witless Bay had a very successful Bazaar, realized over £200. Elections in Nov.; Messrs. Raftus and Conroy returned without opposition. The fishery pretty successful, good fall-fishing  ‘till Xmas. Nine masses in the parish on Xmas Day, 3 said by Dean. Rev. Jno. St. John  arrived, my successor at St. Mary’s; also Father McCullow, for some time on Scotchmission, a middle aged man, native of north Ireland. Annie White born.

Epitome of 1875

The winter of this year was most severe, hard frost and heavy snowfalls. Thomas Brismock was lost in a snowstorm between W. Bay and Mobile, his body not found till late in the following spring. A great many deaths in Mobile and Tors Cove. Uncle Sam died at the age of 73. Three old people died at Baleine scil. Mrs. Gatheral, my father’s godmother, aged 75; Wm. Gatheral, “the Patch”, 76; and Philip Keefe, “Brazil”, 83. This was the famous butcher of the parish for half a century. Sticks were procured by the people of Tors Cove for their new chapel. A splendid frame for the building was provided by them in a few days. A late spring. Fishery along-shore poor. A great quantity fish about “Green Island”, but could not be hauled owing to interference of “seine-cutters”. Messrs. Prowse and Carty sent to W. Bay to arrange matters. A meeting in the school-house, but little practcal benefit; the dispute was ended by the fish forsaking the disputed ground. Centenary of O’ Connell in August. Two Christian Brothers arrived in Sept. to make arrangements for establishing their schools in St. John’s. Jno. Walsh of St. Mary’s arrived from All Hallows; ordained by Dr. Groves. My sister Hannah married Thomas Greene on June 6th. Aunt Joce fell sick in August, very suddenly. A severe winter and late spring; heavy snowfall. A great deal of poverty in W. Bay and Tors Cove. Road grants spent by way of relief; gumpheads given in return; provisions brought by the poor from St. John’s when earned. The frame of Tors Cove Chapel dressed by the people, some clapboard also procured. Very bad fishery. David Doyle died.

May 20- Aunt Johannah Hynes died after a long painful illness, aged 54 years. High Mass and office in the Cathedral at 10 o’c, (presente cadavere) Bishop and a number of priests present; buried at Belvidere beside her dear friend Thomas Avery.

Dean said 2 Masses Xmas Day.

Aug. 15- My father died, aged 65 years. Though a long time very sick, his death was unexpected on the morning it occurred. High Mass and office in Witless Bay Chapel; present, Dean Cleary and Reods, N. Roche, J. Scott and Mr. Walsh. A large funeral attended his remains to their place in W. Bay graveyard- R. I. P.. Katie White born. Dr. Power spent the winter in Europe, returned in March, landed at Aquaforte; ice along-shore. Grand reception in this parish. Grand Bazaar in Renews, over £600 realized. My brother Thomas was married in January to Bessie White. Father Roche commenced his house at Bay Bulls. “Cod traps” first used in B. Bulls. Bridget Cary( Grandy) mourned in Mobile River. Rev. M. Fitzgerald of Waterford, a Deacon, arrived from All Hallows. Michael M. Greene born and died. Michael Driscoll born.

Epitome of 1877

A very fine winter, snow went during March. Great poverty in Witless Bay, relieved by employment given by Messers. Dryer and Saunders about the wreck of “ D. G. Chipman”. This vessel was run into W. Bay, in a sinking condition, in November and sank after anchoring, laden with Cop. And ore. New school-house of Mobile and Tors Cove built. New Chapel commenced at Tors Cove; Mr. Brien, the Carpenter, Michael Feely engaged at Chapel as 2nd Carpenter. Both Carpenters dismissed on Xmas Eve. Shingling continued by gangs working under Pat Fortune. The people of Tors Cove and adjacent localities gave their time most generously during this year about their Chapel, especially Pat Fortune who devoted months to it. A graveyard opened at Tors Cove, the gift of Cornelius, Daniel and William Driscoll ( Fratres), Nicholas Lampert, the first interred there. Father Thomas McGrath died, on a visit to Ireland, for his health. In January of this year, the parish of B. Bulls  was divided, F. Roche being appointed P. O. of that portion extending from “Holyrood Line” to “Big Pond”. Frs. Walsh and Clancy were appointed to the parishes of Renews and Ferryland. Worst fishery for years, on South & West Coasts. Relief brought to the parish in November. “ Polly” perished, cost £25. Bought “ Jack”(Horse) £26. Bell tower built at Mobile. S. S. Peter and Pauls day successful at Mobile and Tors Cove. Mr. Flood, a student, arrived, also Rojer Tierny, a Deacon from A. Hallows. Annie Green born.

January 1878-

January 1st. Tuesday

Heavy rain night and morning; cleared off a little in the afternoon. Wind N, snow all gone. Dean had an early Mass in the Convent. (Jan. 6) Anniversary of the great “Temperance Procession”.

January 2nd. Wednesday.

Rained heavily, but little wind.

January 3rd. Thursday.

A fine day, very mild. 57 men went to town for relief scil. ½ brl. Flour and 1 gal. Molasses, each family. N. B. The Government advanced $500 , for relief of the poor on Dec. 19 and arrangements were made with Messrs. P. & L. Tessier to supply flour and molasses at 30/- pr. Brl. And 2/9 pr. Pr. Gal. When soliciting the Executive on the matter, I put in a statement setting forth the condition of the people as follows:

At Witless Bay 40 families in present need, & 70 who would need.

At Mobile 10 families in present need, & 10 who would need.

At. Tors Cove 20 families in present need, & 40 who would need.

To this date relief granted by Government= $

As an equivalent, people are working on Roads at 3/-, and giving gumpheads at 2/7 each or 7 for 17/9. Only for the number at Betts Cove Mine, 70 men, who are assisting their friends, the distress would be dreadful. Priests managing the businesses thro’ the agencies of Michl. Cary, Thos. Driscoll and Lawrence Fortune.

January 4th. Friday.

Heavy wind from N. W. with some snow until 12 a. m., evening fine.

January 5th. Saturday.

Mild day. Wind N, evening close and foggy. Finished “Stations” of Mobile, Toad’s Cove and LaManche.

January 6th. Sunday. Epiphany. Fine day, wind N, snow all gone. Had 20 communicants at Toad’s Cove this morning. Spent the night at Lar. Fortune’s. A few cases of “Scarlatina” in Toad’s Cove.

January 7th. Monday.

Some snow fell, morning; evening fine.

January 8th. Tuesday.

Fine day. Good sleeping. Was in Bay Bulls and T. Cove. A man from Renewse passed on to town, sent by Fr. Walsh to seek “Relief”, reports 40 families getting relief at Renewse. Stephen commenced “ Caesar”. Great murmuring at Toad’s Cove about small quantity of relief given., and the difficulty of getting it from St. John’s. People most unreasonable and ungenerous towards each other. Laurence Fortune managing relief admirably, under a continual “ fire of abuse”.

January 9th. Wednesday.

Severe frost night and morning; coldest day to date. Bought a cow “ to kill” on shares with nuns, price £7.

January 10th. Thursday.

Mild day, a little snow. Dean and I went to Toad’s Cove. “ Haul of wood” today, a very good one. Nuns also had a good” haul”. Mr. White, Thomas, Pat and Steve called en route to Mobile at 9:00 P.M. Victor Emmanuel reported dead.

January 11th. Friday.

Morning foggy with thaw; evening, heavy rain.

January 12th. Saturday.

Great floods, ½ foot of water in Dean’s cellar. Yesterday evening was finished the shingling of the Main roof of Toad’s Cove Chapel. The two Carpenters were paid off on 23rd Dec., and since that Mr. Pat Fortune superintended the work- roughboarding and shingling. During the fall the Chapel has been advancing as if by magic, owing to the generous manner in which the people devoted their time to it. Since the middle of September there were from six to twenty-five men daily giving free labor. During all the time of the shingling there were over twenty men each day, working. The most time was given by Patrick Fortune, David Power, and the families of Laurence Fortune and Paul Ronayne. Pat Fortune gave 30 days in the spring at the laying of the “Sills”, and 40 days without intermission this fall. Only for him the Chapel would not be at all so far advanced as it now is. The Chapel is now all roughboarded and the main building shingled, and in this state it will remain for some time.

S. S. Peter and Pauls day yielded ??? Quintals.  Fish Worth??

Lady Day yielded ??? Quintals. Fish Worth ??

The fish was on the inferior quality.

January 13th. Sunday.

Fine day. Had some calls to cases of Scarletina at Toad’s Cove, not of a bad type. It was brought there by a girl serving in St. John’s.

January 14th. Monday.

Very mild. Fr. Roche went to town.

January 15th. Tuesday.

Heavy rain. Had to “ Call” to Bay Bulls at 6 ½ a.m. to Paddy Ryan. Noticed great improvement made during the fall on the “ Quays” road. Last night a “ Night School” was opened at Toad’s Cove, under the superintendance of Mr. John Molloy, the teacher of that place. 46 scholars were entered, from 13 to 40 years of age. “ Rule of Three” the most advanced rule, All able to read some. A “Night School” was also attempted at Mobile, but failed for the want of a teacher. Mr. Cunningham, who had engaged himself for the work, having refused to undertake it.

Remarks on Schools

Mobile School, conducted by Miss Caroline Molowny, is a very good ”infant school”, but no more.  It is necessarily very irregular owing to the teachers living at Witless Bay, especially so during the winter months. Toad’s Cove School, teacher, Mr. John Molloy, very fairly conducted. John’s education not very refined, but he teaches well. Caplin Cove School, Mr. James Whelan, well conducted, badly attended. Mr. Whelan is an Irishman, native of Kilkenny. Mr. Whelan is a professional architect. He came to this country after the great fire of '‘6, at the request of Dr. Fleming. A severe attack of paralysis compelled him to become school-master for a living. He planned Toad'’ Cove Chapel, also the new school-houses of Mobile and Toad’s Cove.

January 16th. Wednesday.

A delightful day; the weather, to this date, has been the mildest for the season for many years. The Dean celebrates Mass in the Convent, this morning, and most correctly. For the past year the Dean’s mind has been, at times, a little astray, but only on one one point, imagining himself from home; generally believing himself in St. John’s and then giving a great deal of trouble in his anxiety “ to go home” (as he says). Physically, he was never better than at present. He has no pain or complaint of any kind. His understanding is often clouded about current events, but his recollections of the past are most accurate.

January 17th. Thursday.

Cold day. Went to Toad’s Cove, and had a gang stowing away the Chapel board etc. for the winter. Spent an hour at the night-school, working well and well attended; some absentees through fear of Scarlatina.

January 18th. Friday.

Very cold day. Harry White at Mobile studying land surveying under Thomas.

January 19th. Saturday.

Still very cold. The Dean had Mass this morning, being his fifth Mass for the week. For the past month it has been found necessary to have a priest always in attendance at his Masses. Fr. Roche and Annie came from St. John’s- Report of a riot at Topsail between Catholics of that place and a Society of Orangemen who were walking in procession, displaying the Orange regalia. It resulted in the defeat of the Orange party though thirty to one. A gentleman name Mr. Martin of St. John’s, Orange leader, was badly injured. Several others also damaged. No reference to it in papers.

January 20th. Sunday.

Spoke to the people of Toad’s Cove in reference to getting pillars 33 ft. long, 4 ins. Top to form the “ butresses” of L.C. Chapel, other sticks also. Had benediction at Mobile. Choir sang very well, better than I had ever hoped for. The choir of Mobile Chapel was formed in August ’77. The Harmonium is played on by Kate FitzGerald. She was taught music at Witless Bay Convent. The Harmonium, £11, was purchased by the Altar Society of Mobile.

January 21. Monday.

I went to St. John’s accompanied by Pat.  Met Dr. Power at Kilbride and drove with him to town. Frs Walshe, Renewse, and St. John in St. John’s seeking relief for their poor people.

January 22. Tuesday

Saw the Attorney General, F. Carter. Got from him $100 for the poor. Government refuses any further advance until Assembly meets.

January 23.  Wednesday.

A May day; snow and ice all gone.

Janauary 24th. Thursday.

A heavy breeze, wind N. W.

January 25th.  Friday.

Fine day. Returned to Witless Bay in a carriage, accompanied by Harry White.

January 26th.  Saturday.

Unwell today with a heavy cold.  The new Bell hung at Mobile. This Bell was made to order by John Murphy of Thomas Street, Dublin.  It weighs Cwt. 7. 2.14-

 Cost 1/5 pr. lb.= £x60. 9.10 stg.

Shipping, freight and insurance= 4. 5. 0 Cy.

Mounting and hanging=           11.14.6 Cy.

X bell cost=    72.11.10 Cy

Total=£88.11.4 Cy

The S. S. Falcon, by which the bell came, was wrecked on the voyage and compelled to bear away for Fayal, to make repairs.  She was supposed lost for a time. The bell was mounted and hung by Furlong Bros. To whom I am much indebted for their great interest in the matter.

January 27th.  Sunday.

Unable to say Mass today.  Dean walked to Mobile.

January 28th.  Monday.

Weather continues unprecedentally fine. Frs. Walsh and Scott here.  High Mass and Office at the Cathedral for a member of the Hr. Grace “ Old Irish Society”.  Funeral rites refused him by the Bp. of Hr. Grace; some gentleman of St. John’s went over to attend funeral, employing a steamer across the bay for the purpose.  Fr. Walsh got relief- $400.

January 29th.  Tuesday.

Wet day.  Sent “Jack” to town with Fr. Scott.

January 30th.  Wednesday.

Fine.  The poor hauling rocks for S. side wharf.

January 31st.  Thursday.

Fine.  A great cry of distress in the Parish.

General remarks on this month

The weather was fine beyond precedent.  More rain than snow, not much of either.  No real stormy day.  No woods-work done.  Great poverty relieved by Government work; 700 gumpheads hauled out at W. Bay.  This month witnessed great success of Russians over Turks, especially in the fall of Plevna.

February 1st.  Friday

Chilly day.  Killed a cow, weight 406 lbs.

February 2nd.  Saturday.

Fine.  Had Mass and blessed candles at Mobile.

February 3rd.  Sunday.

Cold.  Pat and Mr. Furlong here.  John Furlong brought me a present of a very nice sleigh.

February 4th.  Monday.

Fine.  Dean and I to see Mrs. McKee.

February 5th.  Tuesday

Out-wind with a good deal of snow.  Blew hard at night with drift.

February 6th.  Wednesday.

Blowing a gale with heavy drift; by far the most boisterous day of season.  Wind N. W.

February 7th.  Thursday.

Still stormy.  Had a call to Tors Cove this morning at 3 o’ clock, walked all the way.  Arrived at Mobile 8 o’ clock and remained there.  On Wednesday the heaviest sea and highest tide known for years.  A man named Walsh swept away with his stage at Freshwater, B. Bulls; body not found.  Boats anchored at B. Bulls very much damaged by collisions with each other.  At Mobile, boats floated on the beach, some very much injured; stages also swept away.  At Toad’s Cove “ stage-head” of public wharf destroyed; the heaviest sea since the destruction of the “ Breakwater”. Glass down to 281/2 “ stormy”.

February 8th.  Friday.

Fine.  Bad travelling; drifted Bankss and gravel.

February 9th.  Saturday.

Fine.  Walked to Toad’s Cove.  Had 40 confessions.

February 10th.  Sunday.

Fine.  A report of Pope’s death, and fall of Constantinople.  Baptized “ John White O’ Driscoll”.  Great distress at Toad’s Cove and no means of relieving it.  Some of the good people of W. Bay stole 500 heads cabbage from Dean.

February 11th.  Monday.


February 12th.  Tuesday.

Fine.  Report of Pope’s death confirmed.  Fr. Roche went to town for relief.  Some cases of ulcerated throat at Witless Bay; one death.

February 13th.  Wednesday.

Fine.  Went to Toad’s Cove, visited night-school for an hour, found it working fairly.

February 14th.  Thursday.

Some snow.  Called to two cases of “ slowfever” at Witless Bay.

February 15th.  Friday.

Fine.  Received £120 for relief of poor.  Several seals swimming about Witless Bay yesterday; one shot.

February 16th.  Saturday.

Buried William Walsh of Freshwater who was picked up on the previous evening.

February 17th.  Sunday.

Fine.  Fr. Clancy here going for relief.  Seals run in all harbours from Toad’s Cove to B. Bulls on last Friday; very remarkable at this season.

February 18th.  Monday.

Fine.  Out-wind and snow evening.  “Plover” at Bay Bulls landing flour for relief of that place.  On Wednesday last High Mass and Office at Cathedral for Pope.  Dr. Power preached a most eloquent  panegyric; good congregation present, societies with bands marched to attend Mass; shops closed.

February 19th.  Tuesday.

Snow at night; rain morning; fine with frost evening; heavy sea.  Memento rei supernaturalis hora 8 ½ vesp.  Poor receiving; 1 brl. Flour and 2 gals. Molasses between three.

February 20th.  Wednesday.

Fine and cold.  Thermometer at zero; good sleighing.

February 21st.  Thursday.

Still very cold, little snow evening.  News received of election of a new Pope, Joachim Secci, Cardinal Priest, born 2 March, 1810, created Cardinal 19 Dec., 1853, assumed the title of XIII Leo.

February 22nd.  Friday.

Drift.  Received instructions from Bishop to proceed to Ferryland for Sunday, Fr. Clancy being in town.  Fr. White, Kate and Annie O’ Driscoll came from Ferryland yesterday.

February 23rd.  Saturday.

Fine.  Went to Cape Broyle; heavy travelling.  Found Bridget Cashin Jr. in evident consumption.

February 24th.  Sunday.

Said Mass at C. Broyle and Ferryland.  Fr. Walsh of Renewse spent evening and night with me.  Dunphy of Poor Office, St. John’s, investigating state of poor.  Sea on coast, “ Newfoundland” S. S. at Bay Bulls.  Mails sent overland.  Rev. Roger Tierny ordained.

February 25th. Monday.

Thawing.  Fr. Walsh returned to Renewse.

February 26th.  Tuesday.

Fine.  Returned to Witless Bay.

February 27th.  Wednesday.

Sea moved off, “ Newfoundland” passed up.

February 28th.  Thursday.

Called at 4: 00 A. M. to Mrs. Wm. Williams who died same day.

Remarks on this month

During February very little snow fell; only about a fortnight’s sleighing.  People awfully poor and the government very slow in giving assistance.  McCarthy, the lately liberated fenian, died suddenly of heart- disease; buried in Glasnevin.  Funeral attended by 2000 people and fifty bands.  Death caused by hard prison treatment.  The great event of this month was the death of Pius IX, a Pontiff who had, by seven years, exceeded the days of Peter, the first of 257 popes to falsify the hitherto established axiom-“ non videbis dies Petre”.  The reign of Pius was from its commencement a reign of determined firm principle in the midst of plots and revolutions raised to subvert all order and religion throughout Italy.  During his reign a robber- king, Victor Emmanuel, deprived the holy see of its states which it had enjoyed since the days of Pepin and Charlemagne.  This act of injustice was perpetrated in the name of “ liberty” while the princes of Europe looked on quietly.  Not a crowned head was found to vindicate the rights of the Holy See or protect the patrimony of St. Peter.

March 1st.  Friday.

Coldest day of winter.  Fr. Roche went to St. John’s seeking relief.

March 2nd.  Saturday.

Extreme cold; good sleighing.

March 3rd.  Sunday.

Still cold.  Dunphy of “ Poor Office” here to investigate state of poor.  Great number going to the ice from Witless Bay, say 50 men, also many from Toad’s Cove and Mobile.  Great many steamers going to Sealfishery, few sailing vessels.  Capt. Molony takes 20 men with him in “ Dawn”.

March 4th.  Monday.

Heavy rain and free- thaw.  Fr. Walsh here en route for relief.

March 5th.  Tuesday.

Still raining; snow all gone.

March 6th.  Wednesday.

Dies Cinerum- had  Mass at Mobile; evening prayers at Toad’s Cove.  Fr. Clancy passed on for relief.

March 7th.  Thursday.

Fine and mild.  Great many poor relieved by us today from our own resources; government refusing aid until return of Dunphy’s report.  People unquestionably in a state of starvation.  If people had been trusting to the government solely many must have long since starved.  Such destitution never before existed in this parish.

March 8th.  Friday.


March 9th.  Saturday.

Soft.  Fr. Walsh here from St. John’s.  He got 90 brls., half flour and meal; 120 gals. molasses for his poor.  Fr. Clancy 70 brls.

March 10th.  Sunday.


Mach11th.  Monday.

Heavy gale from N. W. with some snow.  Thomas went to St. John’s about relief.  William getting “ Brothers” ready to freight up relief.  People in a  sad state of destitution.

March 12th.  Tuesday.

Heavy gale still blowing.  12 brls. Flour arrived by ca?s from St. John’s for poor.

March 13th.  Wednesday.

Thomas returned.  25 brls. Landed at Witless Bay for poor “ a mite in a cheese-shop”.

March 14th.  Thursday.

Called at 2 ½ this morning to Thomas Fortune.  Poor old Tom is approaching the end of his honest career, 85 years age; 60 in this country.

March 15th.  Friday.


March 16th.  Saturday.

Confessions at Toad’s Cove- 35.

March 17th.  Sunday.

St. Patrick.  Very fine.  Heard of the death of Bridget Cashin, died yesterday at 7 A. M. ; also Dora Harris died yesterday at 11 A. M.  Both young, most religious and amiable young ladies, died of consumption-R. I. P.

March 18th.  Monday.

Fifty men from Witless Bay and Fifty from Toad’s Cove went to St. John’s to demand assistance from government.

March 19th.  Tuesday.

Gang returned, got ¼ bag Bread each and 1 with a promise of a brl. Flour; lb tea and gal. Molasses.

March 20th.  Wednesday

Government denies having made the above promise, and allows 25 brls. meal only.

March 21st.  Thursday.

Gang preparing to visit town again, prevented by misunderstanding and snow.

March 22nd.  Friday.

Good sleighing.

March 23rd.  Saturday.

Fine.  Reports from all parts of the northward of persons drowned thro’ pond-ice.

March 24th.  Sunday.

Thawing freely; heavy rain at night.

March 25th. Monday.

Annunciation.  Carriaging again.

March 26th. Tuesday.

Last night arrived Mr. Kavanagh from Board Works to superintend expenditure of 70 brls. relief on Holyrood line.  The latest muddle of a muddling executive.

March 27th.  Wednesday.

“ Meal” arrived; a seizure by the people feared, prevented by Fr. Roche.  Found impossible to work Holyrood Line; relief expanded on other public works.

March 28th.  Thursday.

Mr. Kavanagh and I visited Tors Cove. Some snow fell.

March 29th.  Friday.


March 30th. Saturday.


March 31st.  Sunday.

Wet.  My eye very sore.  First arrival from the Ice- Capt. A. Jackman, “ Falcon”, 25000 seals.

April 1st.  Monday.

My eye still sore.  From this date to until April 12th I was at Mobile.  A gale of E. N. E. wind all that time with rain.  Nothing remarkable.

April 13th.  Saturday.

Fine.  Sealers arriving very slowly.

April 14th.  Sunday.

Dom.  Palm.

April 15th.  Monday.

Holy week.  Very fine.  I officiated at W. Bay.  Fr. Roche at Bay Bulls.

April 22nd.  Monday.

Fr. Roche went to town yesterday.  Mrs. Howlett of T. Cove died, aged 88.  Mrs. D. McKee died, aged 84; also a Mrs. Ryan of B. Bulls and a child at Mobile; 4 wakes at same time.

April 25th. Thursday.

Arrived Rev. Mother Xavier and two sisters of the “ Good Shepard”, Ottawa.  They collected £10 here.

April 26th.  Friday.

Rev. Mother very sick.

April 27th.  Saturday.

Arrived here Mrs. M. Bernard and Ligouri to take care of M. Xavier.

April 28th.  Sunday.

Came Dr. Shea.

May 1st.  Wednesday.

Nuns left for St. John’s.  Dr. Power and Fr, Scott came and returned.  Very fine day.

May 2nd.  Thursday.

Out-wind and heavy rain.  “ Brothers” at Bay Bulls coming from St. John’s.

May 2nd.  Friday.

Fine.  Fr. Walsh here on his way to Renewse, account of fish hauled at Placentia.  No fish caught along shore yet.

May 4th.  Saturday.

Fine. The side buttress sticks of Toad’s Cove Chapel all erected. The work of Toad’s Cove Chapel was resumed on April 12th.  John Dwyer, carpenter engaged at 6 per day, “ to find himself”. Three free labourers assisting each day until this date.

May 5th.  Sunday.

Fine.  Fr. Clancy passed on his way to town.  A few fish caught at Toad’s Cove yesterday.

May 6th.  Monday.

Report of fish hauled at Placentia.

May 7th.  Tuesday.

Went on stations to Toad’s Cove.

May 8th.  Wednesday.

Stations had fence put around meadow at T. Cove.

May 9th.  Thursday.

First boats left Mobile and W. Bay for the Westward.

May 10th.  Friday.

Stations in Caplin Cove.  First boat left Toad’s Cove for Westward yesterday.  Rev. G. Battcock went on to Brigus, received a warm greeting at Toad’s Cove.

May 11th.  Saturday.

Wet.  A prevalence of Easterly winds all this month, not warm to this date.

May 12th.  Sunday.

Wind E. with fog.

May 13th.  Monday.

Still chilly.

May 14th.  Tuesday.

Very little sign of fish.

May 15th.  Wednesday.

First salmon caught yesterday by Wm. Fortune, T. Cove.

May 16th.  Thursday.

“Brothers” sailed for the Westward.

May 17th.  Friday.

Still cold, a great many icebergs on coast.  No drift ice this spring.  Last of the sealers returned on” 2nd trip”.  A very unsuccessful voyage-300,000 seals landed in Green Bay.

May 18th.  Saturday.

Fine.  Had a “call” to Baleine; heard 80 confessions at T. Cove.  Salmon plenty.

May 19th.  Sunday.

Wind still “out” and very chilly.  A report of fish being plenty about St. John’s.  A “Bankser”, Bernard Curtis, at Salmonier with 350 qtls.

May 20th.  Monday.

Called at 2:00 A. M. to Mrs. John Ronayne, Toad’s Cove- died at 8:00 A. M. Andrew Nowlan of Salmonier and his son here.

May 21st.  Tuesday.

Fine, wind out and chilly.

May 22nd.  Wednesday.

Boats at W. Bay had a qtl. Fish, some at Burn Cove 2 qtls.  Mrs. Ronayne interred.

May 23rd.  Thursday.

Wind still “out”.  Some fish catching.  Mr. White and Harry at Mobile.  Dr. Power and Rev. R. Turning went west per “ Curlew” on Monday.

May 24th.  Friday.

Fog, some rain.  Fish Scarce.  Dr. Power at Fortune Bay on visitation.

May 25th.  Saturday.

Wet, outwind.  50 confessions at Mobile.

May 26th.  Sunday.

Rain and fog.

May 27th.  Monday.

Fine.  Called to LaManche.  Fish scarce.  Salmon pretty plentiful today.  A man at W. Bay had 30, one at LaManche, 20.  A report of good catches fish at the Cape.

May 28th.  Tuesday.


May 29th.  Wednesday.

Boats at Mobile, 2 qtls. Fish; some nets a great many salmon.  Thos. Had 35 of a large size, a few weighing over 20 lbs.  Peter Heartwell caught 45 salmon at LaManche.

May 30th.  Thursday.

Ascension.  Fr. Battcock had Mass in Mobile.  Fr. T. O’ Donnell here.  Some fish going.

May 31st.  Friday.

Fr. Battcock went to St. John’s, received a Royal salute here departing.  Dr. Power returned to St. John’s, from the west yesterday.

General Remarks

The weather during May was remarkably chilly and disagreeable, wind all the time out, not an hour of a west wind for the month; a great quantity of rain and continual fog.  Very little fish caught; still “signs” said to be good, salmon very plentiful, selling in St. John’s for 2d pr. lb. A report of Banksfishery being good.  Bernard Curtis of Salmonier brought in 350.  Crops growing well.  Good reports of fish from the west.  A Dr. Fitzsimons, not “Billy”, settled down at Harbour Main, said to be a very learned man and skilled doctor.

June 1st.  Saturday.


June 2nd.  Sunday.

The warmest day to date.  A forest fire in the neighbourhood of Aquaforte.  James O’ Donnell here; he, Fr. T. O’ Donnell and Fr. Roche went to town.  Fr. Clancy arrived on his way to town.

June 3rd.  Monday

Fr. Walsh of Fermeuse here for a few days.  Weather very chilly, wind out.  Stephen commenced Virgil having read 3 bks of Caesar.

June 4th.  Tuesday.

Two wakes- Terence Morissy at B. Bulls; Ann Power at N. Bay.

June 5th.  Wednesday.

Wet morning;evening fine.  An Island vessel lost at LaManche yesterday morning; cargo potatoes; vessel named “Pathfinder”.

June 6th.  Thursday.

Heavy rain, night and morning.  Telegram received by Dr. Power announcing the visit of his Excellency Dr. Conroy.

June 7th.  Friday.

Fine.  Fr. Walsh left for Renews.

June 8th.  Saturday.

Had 70 Confessions at Toad’s Cove. 20 brls. seed potatoes sent by govnt. To T. Cove.  Very little fish catching.

June 9th.  Sunday.

Very fine.  An account of fish scarce at Westward.

June 10th.  Monday.

Fine.  Caplin at Cape Broyle since Friday.

June 11th.  Tuesday.

A skiff brought caplin from C. Broyle, not much fish on them.

June 12th.  Wednesday.

Salmon plentiful at Mobile.  Uncle Harry here.  Sowed some govnt. Seed potatoes that cost 35/-pr. brl., ¼ brl. Sown yesterday.  We had lettuce and radishes for the first time; crops growing well.  Marmaduke W. Clow, Telones. Prosecuting his “weighty” mission under difficulties.

June 13th.  Thursday.

First caplin hauled at “ Fortune Beach”.

June 14th.  Friday.

First fish hauled at Mobile. Mat Blackler-6 qtls., also some fish in traps at W. Bay.  Bultows fishing well on Caplin.  Salmon plentiful.  NB Bultow was a type of trawl with baited hooks.

June 15th.  Saturday.

End of a fine week.

June 16th.  Sunday.

Very fine.

June 17th.  Monday.

Some “Traps” had 10 qtls. Fish this morning.  Thomas hauled 25 qtls. Opposite his house.  Plenty of caplin; seines at Mobile all did well.  Not much fish for the hook.  Caplin in all the harbors along-shore.

June 18th.  Tuesday.

Very fine day.  Fish scarce.

June 19th.  Wednesday.

William home from Trepassey- 30 qtls., good deal fish catching and hauling; most fish hauled in Mobile.

June 20th.  Thursday.

Corpus Christi.  Very grand Procession at W. Bay.  A delightful day.  Ben Carew arrived from Westward loaded, gives a good report.

June 21st.  Friday.

A good  deal fish hauled from Witless Bay to LaManche.  Not much “catching’; traps doing well.

June 22nd.  Saturday.

Northerly wind.  No fish today.  “Earthed” our potatoes yesterday; “transplanted” early in week.

June 23rd.  Sunday.


June24th.  Monday.

Fr. Clancy passed on to town.  Most Western Boats home- trips ranging from 20 to 130 qtls.  “Traps” doing well.  Codseines pretty well- hook and line not much. “Brother”-80 qtls.

June 25th.  Tuesday

June 26th.  Wednesday.

Good accounts from Labrador, especially southern harbours.  At Battle Harbour 2 seines reported for 500 qtls; 2 handed boats-30 qtls.

June 27th.  Thursday.

Today Monsignor Conroy landed in St. John’s receiving a grant and most hearty receptions; all shops closed and business suspended.  He was met on board ship by Bishops Power and Carfognini with a number of Priests.  His business in this island is to investigate and terminate the differences existing between the Bishop of Hr. Grace and the Irish Society of that place.

June 28th.  Friday.

Fr. Clancy and Mr. M. Fenelon here.  Fish scare.

June 29th.  Saturday.

S. S. Peter and Paul; People fishing for church, not much procured.

At W. Bay       55 qtls.)           At B. Bulls all the catch not given to the church, about 50 qtls. Restrained by a few of the “notables”.

At B. Bulls      40 qtls.)

At T. Cove      59 qtls.)

At Mobile        12 qtls.)          

June 30th.  Sunday.

Very fine.  Fr. Roche went to town.


Shore fishery during this month better than at same date last year.  Western fishery also more successful.  Very litle rain; not very warm.

July 1st.  Monday.

Not much fish.  Fr. Walsh (Renewse) here.  On Saturday a boy, Thos. Keefe, drowned at Ferryland, a steamer having collided with the boat in which himself and father were fishing.  The returns of “S. S. Peter and Pauls Day” at Ferryland and Renewse even less than at the harbors of this parish.

July 2nd.  Tuesday.

Fish still scare.  North winds and clear water.  Caplin also scare.  Fifteen Banksers baited at B. Bulls yesterday, taking 500 brls.  Petty Harbour “baitskiffs” at W. Bay, consequently no caplin at B. Bulls today.

July 3rd.  Wednesday.

Fine day, water clear and cold.  Herring plentiful.  No fish or sign of it, people despondent; Western boats preparing to go away.

July 4th.  Thursday.

Wind N.  No fish.

July 5th.  Friday.

My eye very sore.

July 6th.  Saturday.


July 7th.  Sunday.

Very cold, with rain, N.E.  Unable to say Mass, propter oculum.

July 8th.  Monday.

Fine, warm day.  No fish.

July 9th.  Tuesday.

Fine,  warm day.  No fish.

July 10th.  Wednesday.

A good deal fish hauled today.  On all the shore from 20 to 60 qtls. Per seine generally, a fresh school caplin.

July 11th.  Thursday.

A very fine day.  Not much fish.  Had a call to LaManche; 5 cases”slow fever” there.  This fever was brought from the “ Betts Cove Mines”, and appears to be peculiar to that place.  A seine at Aquaforte hauled 150 qtls. Fish.

July 12th.  Friday.

Foggy day.  A great deal fish seen, but little hauled or caught.

July 13th.  Saturday.

Fish in nets today.  Conflicting accounts from westward.

July 14th.  Sunday.

Very fine. Fish plentiful N>B>  The Dean continues in excellent health, able to walk to and from Mobile; appetite good; mind wandering at times, generally in fact, on the old subject of “going home”; able to say Mass very correctly when assisted; hears some confessions.  Next spring the Dean will have been  fifty years a priest, all of which he spent in this country, being 48 years in this parish.

July 15th.  Monday.

Good fishing with nets.  Squids in.

July 16th.  Tuesday.

Went to St. John’s  The two Rinks burnt last night.  A woman accidently shot at Magotty Cove.  Dr. Conroy very unwell with inflamation of lungs.  Drs. Crowdy and Shea in attendance.

July 17th.  Wednesday.

Very Fine.

July 18th.  Thursday.

Returned to Witless Bay.  Dr. Conroy improving.

July 19th.  Friday.

Very wet.  S> E. wind with heavy sea.

July 20th.  Saturday.

Gale N. W. “ Brothers” from Westward with 20 qtls.  Bad reports from Trepassey and Trepassey boats average only 100.  No fish in Trinity Bay.  No fish with seines this week.  Nets successful; codseines landing.

July 21st.  Sunday.

Fine.  A sudden call to a woman in Toad’s Cove who died a few minutes after my arrival; her name, Mrs. Ed. Keefe-R.I.P.

July 22nd.  Monday.

Very wet evening, heavy breeze S. S. E. Fr. Walsh here on route to town.  Dan Fitzgerald hauled 15 qtls. Fish.  Fr. Walshe here going to town.

July23rd.  Tuesday.

Fish very plentiful for Bultows and nets; caplin, squids and herring.  Hannah and children came from St. John’s.

July 24th.  Wednesday.

Plenty fish hook and line and bultow; fish very large.  Western boats arriving with poor trips.  William and Mick walsh sailed for westward.  On last Sunday an "“anti-bultow-league” was formed at Toad’s Cove joined by all inhabitants of that place.  “Mobile” refused to subscribe.  Fr. Roche went to town.

July 25th.  Thursday.

Very fine.  Dean and I went to Toad’s Cove.  Fishing good.  Had new potatoes for dinner at Mobile.  The Papal delegate was dangerously unwell again on last Sunday, but now better again thank God.

July 26th.  Friday.

Exceedingly warm.  Fish still very plentiful.  Fr. Walsh here on his way home.  Delegate very unwell, dangerously so.

July 27th.  Saturday.

End of the good week’s fishing.  Good accounts also from the westward.

July 28th.  Sunday.

Very fine, and warm.

July 29th.  Monday.

Very fine, and warm.  Fr. Clancy to town.

July 30th.  Tuesday.

“Fish and Bait”.  Fr. Roche sent to Ferryland and Renewse convents.  “Extraordinary, the Delegate improving.

July 31st.  Wednesday.

Arrived Rev. P. O’ Donnell and two nuns from Conception Harbor.  Fish scarcer.

General Remarks on July

Fishery: The first weeks of this month altogether disappointed the hopes of a good voyage raised by the “signs” of success, which appeared in the latter days of June.  The Codseine fishery from Cape Spear to Cape Race very poor, average about 100 qtls.  Western boats with Codseines brought very poor trips.  During the last ten days of July the “ hook and lins” fishery greatly improved, boats catching from 3 to 7 qtls. Per day; fish being in deep water.  Caplin, squids and herring numerous.

Crops:  Crops of all kinds looking well.

Weather: Very fine; no excessive heat; very little west wind; no thunder or lightning .

The Delegate: The great event of this month was the arrival on our shores of Dr. George Conroy, Bishop of Ardagh and Delegate to Newfoundland and the Dominion of Canada.  His reception was the grandest and most enthusiastic event witnessed in this country, all creeds contributing towards its success.  His mission has been most successful in Canada, and it is sincerely hoped that success will also follow him on his mission of peace here.

August 1st.  Thursday.

Fish plentiful; herring most numerous in all  the harbors; also squids, some caplin.  Rev. R. O’ Donnell and Miss Bridget O’ Donnell arrived.  Fr. Roche returned from Renewse.

August 2nd.  Friday.

In this week a great deal property destroyed in a gale at Bonavista.

August 3rd.  Saturday.

End of a good week’s fishing.

August 4th.  Sunday.

Some boats from Westward with good trips, one with 140 qtls.

August 25th.  Monday.

A report reaches here of the sudden death of Dr, Conroy, the Ablegato.  Fr. Walsh, Renews, here en route to St. John’s.

August 6th.  Tuesday.

Dr. Conroy’s death confirmed.  It occurred on Sunday evening at 7:00. He had been ailing for 3 weeks with congestion of the lungs, was twice despaired of, but had so far recovered as to dispense with the doctor.  On the morning of the day of his death, at 6:00 P.M., a sudden change took place in him, and at 7:00 he expired.  His remians are to be taken to Ireland.  He was 45 years of age; both parents living.  He was educated in the Propaganda, 9 years a professor in All Hallows, 9 years professor at Clonliffe and private Secretary to Cardinal Cullen.  Then Bishop of Ardagh and finally Delegate to Canada.

August 7th.  Wednesday.

Fr. Patt and nuns came from Renewse.  Patrick Primroy commenced to work at Toad’s Cove Chapel at 12 o’ c today; wages of 6 pr. day to board and lodge himself.  Fish still plentiful.

August 8th.  Thursday.

Wet.  Got a call to Burn Cove.  William came from Westward; 50 qtls. For a fortnight.  Reports many others well fished.

August 9th.  Friday.

Last night at 12 o’c the body of Dr. Conroy, accompanied by Dr. Power and Rev. Wm. Clark, left for Ireland per “ Caspian”. The same ship that brought Dr. Conrpoy to this country also conveyed his body away.

August 10th.  Saturday.

Morning fine; evening very heavy, thunder and lightning; the first thunder heard at Witless Bay this summer.

August 11th.  Sunday.

Very fine.  Potatoes do not appear affected by the lightning.  Mick Walsh, “Brothers”, from Westward-90 qtls.

August 12th.  Monday.

Fish plentiful.

August 13th.  Tuesday.

Fr. P. O’ Donnell left.

August 14th.  Wednesday.

Very fine.  Had 70 confessions at Mobile.  Pat O’ Driscoll opened shop South Side of Witless Bay.

August 15th.  Thursday.

Assumption.  Fishing for the Church.  Fish not very plentiful.  The day being very calm, western boats unable to get to the ground.  Fish returns-viz. At W. Bay-Nil.  People made no effort. B. Bulls about 40 qtls. Mobile-15 qtls. T.Cove and c.-50 qtls.

In the harbors where the fish was caught, the people worked most faithfully. Several western boats home, well fished.

August 16th.  Friday.

Fine.  Not much fish; herring plentiful.

August 17th.  Saturday.

Shipped first fish for market at Ship Island.  Confessions at Tors Cove.

August 18th.  Sunday.

Raining.  No mass at Witless Bay in punishment for disobedience to the church on Lady Day.

August 19th.  Monday.

Foggy.  Heavy gale, east wind from 8 to 12 p.m.; lightning.

August 20th.  Tuesday.

Still foggy and close.  Some fish, bait scarce.  Brought Mrs. M. Theresa, Mrs. M. Philomena, and Miss O’ Donnell to see Tors Cove Chapel.

August 22nd.  Thursday.

Heavy rain morning, day dull.  A vessel, flour-laden, wrecked at the “Motion” on Monday night.

August 23rd.  Friday.

Dull with N. wind.  Some fish catching, bait scarce.  Some flour brought to N. Bay and B. Bulls from wreck, causing trouble as usual.

August 24th.  Saturday.

Fine.  Fr. Donnelly arrived.  William came from Westward-25 qtls. Fish. Accounts of an average voyage at Labrador.  Plenty fish to the west, bait scarce.

August 25th.  Sunday.

Very fine.  Mr. And Mrs..Fenelon here.

August 26th.  Monday.

Dull.  Fr. Donnelly and Conception Harbour nuns left for St. John’s.

August 27th.  Tuesday.

Morning wet, evening great heat, some thunder.  Squids and fish caught at Mobile and Tors Cove.

August 28th.. Wednesday.

Foggy.  Dean had Mass in Convent.

August 29th.. Thursday.

Morning fine, evening dull.  Landing our winter stock of coals.

August 30.  Friday.

Showry.  Fish spoiling everywhere, on flakes and inshore; some fish catching from 1 to 2 qtls. Pr. boat.

August 31st.  Saturday.

First fine day in 3 weeks- i.e. first “ fish day”.

September 1st.  Sunday.

Warm day.  Put remainder of S. S. Peter Paul’s fish on board Coaster ( Samuel Driscoll’s) yesterday.  A part of it had been put on board a fortnight previously.  William came home, reports no fish.

September 2nd.  Monday.

Dull, some rain.  Commencement of Dues.

September 3rd.  Tuesday.

Weather assuming appearance of autumn.  Potatoes blighted in some places.  The Dean very sick today and yesterday.

September 4th.  Wednesday.

Very fine, cold.  Hoarfrost this morning.  Bought a Bullock-125/-; one for nun’s-105; a mare for Dean, 6 years old, £20.00.  Month’s mind for Dr. Conroy.  Received an account of the death of Sister Mary Xavier Doutney at the Mercy Convent, St. John’s.

September 5th.  Thursday.

Had a “call” to Cape Broyle, Admiral’s Cove; returned same evening.  Frs. Roche and Ryan arrived.

September 6th.  Friday.

Yesterday evening “ Brothers” came home with 50 qtls. Round fish from “Banks”.

September 7th.  Saturday.

Fr. Ryan went to Ferryland.  A heavy gale from N. W. sprang up suddenly at 12 o’c last night.

September 8th.  Sunday.

Very fine.  Had a gang sawing at Tors Cove.

September 9th.  Monday.

Fr. Clancy here.  Fish and bait scarce.

September 10th.  Tuesday.

Dean and I drove to Tors Cove.  Afterwards called to “ Bread and Cheese”, and Irish town; home at 10 ¼ p.m.

September 11th.  Wednesday.

Dull.  Dr. Power arrived from Ireland.

September 12th. Thursday.

Very warm.  Frs. Roche and Ryan, and a nun came Renewse.  Thomas to St. John’s.  First fish.

September 13th.  Friday.

I accompanied Fr. Ryan and Sister Agnes Kitchen to Pondopolis.  William home, did pretty well.

September 14th.  Saturday.

Excessive heat.  Fish scarce alongshore.  Some fish caught on Cape Bollan and Banks.  Bait also very scarce.

September 15th.  Sunday.

Still very warm.  Shooting season opens.  A great many townsmen after the game today, from Bay Bulls to LaManche.

September 16th.  Monday.

Chilly, wind N.E. Bait scarce; some squids caught at Mobile.  Account of no herring at Labrador..

September 17th.  Tuesday.

Fine.  Thomas Carew commenced work on the Dean’s premises.

September 18th.  Wednesday.

Dull and cool.  Fr. T. O’ Donnell arrived.

September 19th.  Thursday.

Very fine.  No bait or fish.

September 20th.  Friday.


September 21st.  Saturday.

Hannah and children came.  Fine.  Mr. Conroy here.  William home-20 qtls.

September 22nd.  Sunday.

Wet.  Dr. Power and an Albanian Priest came.  Dr. Power preaches at Benedictia.  The Albanian is 32 years age; was imprisoned by the Turks last year, made his escape, went to the Propaganda, thence lent to assist Fr. Taers, Bay of Islands.

September 23rd.  Monday.

Morning wet and cold.  Dr. Power and Fr. T. O’ Donnell went to Renewse.

September  24th.  Tuesday.

Cold and showry.  My horse and gig fell over the wall opposite Laurence Fortune’s house.  I saved myself by jumping out.  The horse and gig escaped with a few scratches.  No bait.

September 25th.  Wednesday.


September 26th.  Thursday.

Very fine.  Boats everywhere loading with dry fish.  Dr. Power and Rev. M. Clancy went to town.  Put off dues etc. at Mobile, W. Bay and B. Bulls.  Thomas Greene came.

September 27th.  Friday.

Very fine.  Some squids and a good deal herring caught at Tors Cove; 4 boats caught from 1 to 2 qtls. Fish, principally on the squids.  A great many men going to the mines, from Witless Bay.

September 28th.  Saturday.

Out-wind and rain last night.  Heavy breeze of N.W. wind today.

September 29th.  Sunday.

Announced Messrs. Conroy and Greene as the chosen Candidates for this district in the coming general Election.  Frs. Walsh and O’ Donnell here from Renewse.

September 30th.  Monday.

Fine.  Mr. D. T. Greene, Mr. Conroy’s new colleague for the coming Election, arrived last evening.

September 31st.  Tuesday.

I went to St. John’s accompanied by Fr. T. O’ Donnell.  Commenced to dig potatoes.

General Remarks on this month

The weather was generally fine and cool; there were two very warm days.  Crops very good; very little blight.  Hay selling for £ 2 pr. ton.  Very little fish caught alongshore.  Some good catches made at the westward.  No bait anywhere.  The squid school short and deficient.  Herring uncertain and not very plentiful.  If there had been bait during the first weeks of the month, a great deal of fish would have been caught.  Fish selling at 22/6, 19/- and 17/-.  Provisions of all kinds very cheap- flour 22/6, port 50/-, butter 7.

October 2nd. Wednesday.


October 3rd.  Thursday.

I returned to Witless Bay.  A great many Western boats giving up the voyage.  A prevalence of north winds and a heavy sea, with strong tide.

October 4th.  Friday.

Dull.  Some fish caught at Tors Cove.

October 5th.  Saturday.

Foggy.  Finished potatoes, dug 70 brls.

October 6th.  Sunday.

Fine.  Preparing children for Confirmation.  A report of “ No work” at the mines/

October 7th.  Monday.


October 8th.  Tuesday.

Fine.  Spent the day at Tors Cove getting board brought from the wharf to the new chapel.

October 9th.  Wednesday.


October 10th.  Thursday.

Dr. Power and Rev. R. Tierny here, also Mr. T. Greene “ canvassing”.  Very wet evening.

October 11th.  Friday.

The Bishop and Fr. Tierny went to Renewse to Confirm there and at Ferryland.  Mr. Greene canvassed Mobile successfully.  Mr. Conroy arrived.

October 12th.  Saturday.

Messrs. Conroy and Greene started for Renewse.

October 13th.  Sunday.

Morning fine, evening wet; out wind and sea.  Addressed the people for Conroy and Greene at Mobile and Toad’s Cove.  Mr. Raftus canvassing B. Bulls.  He has no chance of being returned.

October 14th.  Monday.

Very fine.  Good sign of fish.  A heavy “ ground and sea”.  Some squids caught at Tors Cove on Saturday, herring also netted on the bottom.  Prepared children for Confirmation at Tors Cove.  Raftus said to have received a promise of 50 votes at B. Bulls.  A man named Harry Winsor from Ferryland, another candidate shouted out of Tors Cove.

October 15th.  Tuesday.

Fine.  A call to Tors Cove at 7:00 p.m.

October 16th.  Wednesday.

Dr. Power came to Tors Cove.  Fr. Roche met him at Cape Broyle, I at Brigus.  All arrived in Tors Cove at 2 ¼ o’c.  110 children Confirmed; 82 from T. Cove and 28 from Mobile.  Bishop got a warm reception, visited new chapel expressing his pleasure with the work and gave a donation £ 10.  Arrived at W. Bay 5 o’c.  Bishop went as far as Broad Cove. Confirmed at Renewse, Fermeuse, Ferryland, Caplin Bay, Cape Broyle and Brigus.

October 17th.  Thursday.

Very fine.  Bishop Confirmed 112 children at Witless Bay.  I was called to Caplin Cove at 7:00 p.m.

October 18th.  Friday.

A most delightful day. 90 children confirmed at Bay Bulls.  Dr. Power went home.  Messrs Conroy and Greene came from the south.

October 19th.  Saturday.

Messrs. Conroy and Greene canvassed T. Cove.  Opposed there by a few “Brats” led on by Piery Ronayne; received with applause at Mobile.

October 20th.  Sunday.

Addressed the people of Tors Cove relative to their conduct yesterday.  Received a promise of 87 votes for Conroy and Greene.  Heavy breeze, wind S. E. , and sea this morning.  No fish or bait.

October 21st.  Monday.

Conroy and Greene canvassing W. Bay most successfully.  Raftus gone “ to Brigus”.  Fr. Walsh, Renewse, here reports favorably of his parish.  Shingling Convent.

October 22nd.  Tuesday.

North Side N. Bay canvassed successfully by Conroy and Greene.  Western fishery given up.  Hauling up “ bummers” at Mobile.  Disgraceful conduct at B. Bulls on Sunday.  Mr. Conroy’s effigy burned there.  Wm. Mockler, “Orange Bill”, on “ Furl-the –green”, being the ringleader.  “ Bay Bulls portion”, Poverty, pride and no devotion”.  Fr. FitzGerald 60 years age.

October 23rd.  Wednesday.

Dull day.  Conroy and Greene canvassing B. Bulls; doing well.  Still a great many “ Mad-dogs” in that locality.

Mr. Conroy’s effigy burnt at Witless Bay on Tuesday night by Mr. Benedict Moloney and a few others.  As usual the “ Clan Molony” is opposed to the Church- now in favor of the man whhom they opposed in the Election of ’73.( Typed note said NOT TRUE)

October 24th.  Thursday.

Conroy and Greene  finished canvass of B. Bulls.  Ned Williams would not vote!  “ Star after star decays”!  Conroy and Greene and Fr. Roche went to St. John’s.  Wet and foggy.

October 25th. Friday.

Wet and cold.  Lar Lomergan’s funeral.  While Fr. Walsh was going home his horse ran away at Tors Cove, saved himself by leaping from the carriage; the horse found at “ Rowsell Hill”.  He had fallen and the carriage on him, not much injured.  Fr. Battcock here to Brigus.

October 26th.  Saturday.

Wet and foggy.  Dr. Power at Placentia.

October 27th.  Sunday.

Dull.  Prayed for Fr. McNamara, nine other priests and fifteen nuns who died of Yellow Fever at Memphis, Ten.  Poor Fr. Mac, was in All Hallows with me; 28 years of age.

October 28th.  Monday.

Still dull.  No bait.  The fishery generally given up.

October 29th.  Tuesday.

Very fine.  Had 13 men shingling the side-aisles of Tors Cove chapel.  Went to Caplin Cove.  Messrs. Conroy and Greene arrived.

October 30th.  Wednesday.

Fine.  Boats loading for town.  William loaded and went to St. John’s.  Conroy and Greene canvassed from Tors Cove to Baleine.  A row at “ Catherine’s-on-the-hill” that night, no harm done.  A fellow named Piery Ronayne is the prime mover of all disturbances at Tors Cove, in revenge of some imaginary insult from Mr. Conroy.

October 31st.  Thursday.

Conroy and Greene went “to Brigus”.  A letter received from Fr. Walshe, Renewse and one from Fr. Clancy assuring us that the Church party will have a sweeping majority in their parishes.  A telegram from Dublin announcing the death of Paul Cardinal Cullen, in his 74th year, and of Abp. Duponloup of Orleans.

Remarks on October ’78

The weather during this month was very disagreeable; wet and foggy, heavy wind and sea generally.  No possibility of following up the fishery, but plenty fish on the ground.  Most unfavorable weather for making fish.  Dr. Power administered the Sacrament of Confirmation in all Parishes from Bay Bulls to Renewse.  Candidates canvasing the Shore- Messrs. Conroy and Greene, the two supported by the church receiving some opposition, especially at Bay Bulls and Fermeuse.  The opposition at W. Bay formed by the Clan Molony and its clients; at B. Bulls the Williams family walking in the tracks of their fathers, with a few exceptions.  Mobile with the church to a man.  Some noisy opposition given at Tors Cove by a fellow called Piery Ronayne and a few “ brats of boys”.  The opposition at Fermeuse is on account of the nuns being removed from that place to Renewse.

November 1st.  Friday.

“ Fest. Om. Sanc.”  Special “ Gaudeamus Day” in the College of All Hallows, Dublin.  Very wet and stormy; a heavy sea.

November 2nd.  Saturday.

Good accounts of Conroy and Green’s canvas reach us from Cape Broyle.  Mr. Raftis passed on to Ferryland.

November 3rd.  Sunday.

Very fine.  Addressed the people finally in favor of Conroy and Greene.  I think I killed Winsor.

November 4th.  Monday.

Mist and fog.  A letter from Conroy stating that Raftis will not get a vote in the Parish of Ferryland.  Also an account of Hry. Winsor’s resignation.

November 5th.  Tuesday.

Dull.  Heard 60 confessions at Mobile.  Heavy rain from 6:00 P. M.

November 6th.  Wednesday.


November 7th.  Thursday.

A heavy gale S.E. from 4 to 10 A. M. Very heavy rain, evening fine.  Mr. Greene arrived from Fermeuse.  Reports favorably of all parts of the South except Fermeuse.

November 8th.  Friday.

Very wet.  Thomas Greene arrived at 10 ½ P. M.  Four carriages containing ten voters of Mobile and Tors Cove came from St. John’s  Also Mr. Michael Greene, brother of the candidate.  Two constables came from W. Bay and Tors Cove.

November 9th.  Saturday.

Foggy and wet.  “ Polling day”.  I spent the day at the Booth of Tors Cove; Fr. Roche at B. Bulls. W. Bay was left to the management of a Committee, Thomas Greene being checkclerk.  Al passed off quietly.  The following was the state of the Poll at the different booths--                                             Conroy Greene             Raftis

Bay Bulls                                            56                    64                    83

W. Bay

T. Cove including Mobile                   98                    92                    28

C. Broyle





It is remarkable that Mr. Conroy , against whom the greatest opposition was manifested, is at the head of the pole.  So much for the noisy portion of any people. It is universally admitted that this has been the hottest contest yet known on this shore.  The Church had to contend against a man who, tho a useless rowdy, was popular, and backed with an abundant supply of money from St. John’s.  Mr. Conroy was unpopular, but why?  It is difficult to understand.  Mr. Conroy did all the work of the district for the 4 years he represented it, while Mr. Raftis did nothing.  Again the people were disaffected towards the Church at B. Bulls and Fermeuse, while at W. Bay and T. Cove the people hoped that by returning Raftis they would have new Road Boards formed in the peace of the present unpopular tho’ best of  Commissioners, scil, Commissioners Roche of W. Bay, Driscoll of Mobile and Fortune, Driscoll( Fr.) of Tors Cove.  A hope that will be realized, the Commissioners mentioned having all resigned.  “ Nativeism” also formed a component part of the oppositional compound, especialy at B. Bulls.  If it be admitted that none but “Natives” are to fill offices in this country, one half the country will want officials and most of the other half be governed by incapables or knaves.  Are native priests numerous enough or competent to administer the spiritual wants of the people? Have we native judges to place on the bench without disgracing the ermine? Et sic de coeteris.  Black list of the Voters from B. Bulls to Lamanche—

Bay Bulls: Paddy Dea and Sons, William Mockler and Bros., Pat and Phil and Mr. Scott, Ned Williams!!, Mr. Williams, All  “Dandies” except Mick Martin and Henry Williams, The Molownys, Packs, and Hawls, Briens and Drews with few exceptions and many others.  The Driscoll’s, Mulcahys, and Lachlans were all right to a man.

Witless Bay:    All the Clan Molony without exception, Bill Kelly, James Poer”Hasset”, The Burkes, except William, The Lashes, except Thomas, Capt. James Greene the Lordsave us!, Leo Cary, Doyle, Martin and Jack Dunne, Mr. O’ C Molony & c. The Carys , Tobins, P. Smith, Shannahan, Vickers and Harringtons all right.

Tors Cove &c.:   Eno. Blackler, Piery and Wimmiam Ronayne, Nix, John and Dave Power-fraties, Nix. Martin and Dr. Howlett, Eno. Keefe and Kate Macassy, James Power-Trimiel”, Henry Hatfield and Thomas Power, Sam Gatheral and Mick Melvin, Mick and John Lee-William, Mick Doyle and Ned Thomson, Nix Conolly, John Driscoll( Hill) &c.

The Fortunes, Driscolls and LaVelles, Mick and Pat Power all right.

N>B> The standard bearers of the opposition at T. Cove , Polling Day, were Pat Quirk, Ed Ronayne of Ed., Piery Howlett, Jam Power of Pat., Sylvester Fortune, Pearce and Ed. Keefe of John.  Defuncti-1880.

November 10th.  Sunday.

Dull and foggy.  Thomas and Mr. D. Greene accompanied by Constable went to Ferryland with “ Pollbooks”.  M and T. Greene returned to St. John’s.

November 11th.  Monday.

Messrs. Conroy and Greene here, jubilant, received a hearty welcome.  Had a call to Baleine; very wet.  Mr. Raftis also on the borders.

November 12th.  Tuesday.

Fr. Roche and I accompanied Messrs. Conroy and Greene through B. Bulls.  Fr. Roche went to town with them, some cases of Diptheria here.  This disease prevalent at Ferryland.

November 13th.  Wednesday.

Heavy rain.  William from St. John’s.

November 14th.  Thursday.

Fine.  Frs. Roche and Tierny arrived from town.  Fr. Tierny going to Ferryland to relieve Fr. Clancy for a few days.

November 15th.  Friday.

Dull and chilly.  Had a survey taken of Tors Cove new graveyard.

November 16th.  Saturday.

Fine.  Confessions at Tors Cove.  A heavy sea this time past.  Whenever bait can be obtained fish is caught.  Pat Fortune went on “last trip”.

November 17th.  Sunday.

Very fine.  A short snowshower, the first to date.  Last year there was a heavy fall snow on October 26th.  Firewaorks at W. Bay for Conroy and Greene.

November 18th.  Monday.

Cold and fine.  Boats loading for St. John’s  Hauled out cabbage.  5 cases of Diptheria at Tors Cove.

November 19th.  Tuesday.

Very fine.  “ Brothers” sailed for St. John’s, last trip.  Fr. Roche went to town.  Some fish catching.  Potatoes decaying in the cellars; nun’s and ours sound.

November 20th.  Wednesday.

Heavy rain all day.  A still breeze S. E. since 8:00 P.M. yesterday.  Not a very great sea for such a breeze.

Nove 21st.  Thursday.

Still raining, with outwind.  A girl died of Diptheria, the fourth of the one family.  This disease was introduced by a boy sent from St. John’s home instead of to the hospital.  It is a most malignant type.  Sent a letter to town to have the mother removed.

November 22nd.  Friday.

Fine.  Dr. Shea sent by government to investigate about diptheria- result Nil.

November 23rd.  Saturday.

Raining.  Funeral of Betsy King.

November 24th.  Sunday.

Heavy rain.  Dr. Renouf died.

November 25th.  Monday.

Fine.  Called to Tors Cove at 12:00 A. M.

November 26th.  Tuesday.

Foggy.  Had 15 men clearing the new graveyard of Tors Cove.  Heavy rain in the evening.  No snow to date.

November 27th.  Wednesday.

Very fine.  Fr. Roche sent to Fr. Dunne, St. Isidore’s, for faculties for Beads &c.

November 28th.  Thursday.

Fine.  Fr. Walsh here going to town; reports Diptheria on the wane.

November 29th.  Friday.

Wet.  Called to Tors Cove at 1 ½ A. M.

November 30th.  Saturday.

Fine. John O’ Dwyr died.


The weather during this month was most disagreeable- rain and out-winds, no snow or frost.  A very unhealthy month.  Diptheria at Witless Bay, Bay Bulls, Tors Cove, Ferryland and Fermeuse, also some cases of Scarletina. Some people in W. Bay already in want.  War was declared between England and the Amur of Cabul, Afghanistan, first encounter on November 20th. A very fierce political campaign was carried out during the first days of this month in our own country.  The old tory government again in power owing to want of union amongst Catholics.  The general condition of our people better than last year.  No want in Mobile or B. Bulls.

December 1st.  Sunday.

Very fine.  Funeral of Miss Connolly.

December 2nd.  Monday.

Very fine.  Had a boat load wood brought from Tors Cove.  Clearing Graveyard.

December 3rd.  Tuesday.

Fine.  “ Brothers” from St. John’s.  Hear of Sr. Agnes Kitchen’s death.  Banquet in honor of Conroy and Greene at Mobile.  Fr. Clancy here.

December 4th.  Wednesday.

Fine.  Fast-Day, instead of Saturday as heretofore.  30 Mobile men working at graveyard, 12 Tors Cove men at Chapel.

December 5th.  Thursday.

S.E. wind and heavy rain.  Fr. Tierny here returning to St. John’s.  Johnny White down with Diptheria.

December 6th.  Friday.

A heavy breeze S. E. with rain since 8:00 last night.  Day fine, evening again wet; heavy sea.

December 7th.  Saturday.

Fine.  “ Christian Brothers” collection on last Sunday amounted to £ 293.

December 8th.  Sunday.

r. Concep. Called to Tors Cove at 5:00 a.m.  Dull day; very heavy sea.  Heard that Johnny White is better.  Nun’s collection today amounted to £11.1.0 A disturbance in B. Bulls chapel.

December 9th.  Tuesday.

Very fine and cold.  A slight scad of snow last night, thawed today.

December 10th.  Tuesday.

Fine.  In Tors Cove all day with a gang working at the graveyard.  Annie and Katie White have Diptheria,  Pat Fortune gave nuns 20/- towards shingling Convent.

December 11th.  Wednesday.

Dull.  Up-shore men working at Graveyard.  William G. William’s eldest son, aged 10, died of diptheria, without the priest.  Heard that Johnny, Annie and Katies are much better.  Wm. G. Williams requests Dr. Power by letter to send a priest to attend to his family.

December 12th.  Thursday.

Foggy.  Heavy sea, very mild.

December 13th.  Friday.

Dull.  Fr. Roche went to town.  I was called to LaManche at 2 P.M.

December 14th.  Saturday.

Dull.  Very heavy sea and high tide.

December 15th.  Sunday.

A delightful day.  The Rev. Mr. Ryan came delegated by the Bishop to reconcile the Church of Bay Bulls which was desecrated on last Sunday.  Father Roche dismissed the daughters of Paddy Dea from hi choir; one of them, Mrs. M. Williams (Agnes), refused to leave and when forcibly put out by E. R., returned again.  Some friends of her then took her out of the Chapel.  When a disturbance ensued, Jeremiah Lochlin was struck twice inside the Chapel door by Pat Dean, Jr., the priest being on the Altar.  All the Deas and a number of their sympathizers left the Chapel.  The Chapel was reconciled today at 3:00 by the Bishop’s delegate.  Rev. John Ryan, Fr. Roche and Fr. O’ Driscoll assisting.  Bay Bulls was at all times notorious for its oppositionto the Church and its ministers.  Dean Cleary appeared to dread the place, and only officiated there when circumstances compelled him.  The contempt of its people for religion now is alarming.

December 16th.  Monday.

Foggy.  Frs. Ryan and Roche  went to town.

December 17th.  Tuesday.

Fine.  Diptheria decreasing.

December 18th.  Wednesday.

Dull.  Got “Sandy” clipped.  Little snow.

December 19th.  Thursday.

Very fine.  Some snow last night, not enough for sleighing.  Thomas building an Ice House at Mobile.  Two cases(brothers) of “mine fever” in N. Bay.  Whooping cough prevalent.

December 20th.  Friday.

Fine.  Fr. Roche returned from town.

December 21st.  Saturday.

Cold and fine.  Uncle Harry at Mobile.  “Hauling up” “Brothers”, Pat Primroy paid off.

December 22nd.  Sunday.

Fine, very calm and rather cold.

December 23rd.  Monday.

Very fine, some rain last night.  Fr. Roche attended William G. William’s family; sick with diptheria.  The Princess Alice died of same disease.

December 24th.  Tuesday.

Xmas Eve.  Fine.  A fall of snow, first enough for sleighing.

December 25th.  Wednesday.

Xmas Day.  Very fine. Two Masses in Witless Bay, two Masses in Tors Cove, one Mass in Mobile and one Mass in Bay Bulls.  The Dean had Mass in the Convent at 5:00.

December 26th.  Thursday.

Fine.  Some Tors Cove men brought a skiff load of wood down.  Fair sleighing.

December 27th.  Friday.

Outwind and snow from 9:00 to 12:00 A. M., evening fine, wind N. W.

December 28th.  Saturday.

Fine.  Splendid sleighing.

December 29th.  Sunday.

Very fine.  Commenced Stations at Caplin Cove.  Heavy sea and high tide.

December 30th.  Monday.

Fine.  90 Confessions at C. Cove.

December 31st.  Tuesday.

Fine.  100 Confessions at Tors Cove, morning.  150 Confessions at Tors Cove, evening.  Finished Stations of Caplin Cove and Tors Cove.



Page transcribed by: Ray Curran ( 2001)
Page revised: August 2002 (Terry Piercey)

Recent Updates Contact Us

Search through the whole site
Hosted by
Chebucto Community Net

Your Community, Online!
JavaScript DHTML Menu Powered by Milonic
Newfoundland's Grand Banks is a non-profit endeavor.
No part of this project may be reproduced in any form for any purpose other than personal use.

© Newfoundland's Grand Banks (1999-2016)