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 Three Clippings from the Avocate for the year of 1878



(Clipping from The Advocate 1878, see original Diary.)

January 1st.  Wednesday.

High wind and drift until 11:00 A. M., evening fine.  Finished Stations of Tors Cove &c, 350 Confessions.

January 2nd.  Thursday.

Very fine.  Good sleighing.  Fr. Roche on Stations at B. Bulls.

January 3rd.  Friday.

Warm and fine.  Pat Fortune Sr. home.  Had a call at 3:00 A. M. at W. Bay.

January 4th.  Saturday.

Very mild.  Outwind with rain during part of the morning, evening fine; wind W.  Dr. Thomas Howley here on sick call.  John Furlong at Mobile.  The scarcity of grouse and rabbits is remarkable.

January 5th.  Sunday.

Fine.  80 Confessions at Mobile.

January 6th.  Monday.

Epiphany.  Went to St. John’s.

January 7th.  Tuesday.

Very fine.  A report of the Dean being dead; over St. John’s flags half mast.

January 8th.  Wednesday.

January 9th.  Thursday.

Fine.  Came from St. John’s; very good sleighing.

January 10th.  Friday.

Outwind and snow.

January 11th.  Saturday.

Drifting, wind N. W., very cold.

January 12th.  Sunday.

Coldest day to date.  Nine men each day during the past week working at the Chapel of Tors Cove.  Gave orders to the people of Mobile to commence cutting frame of their new Chapel.

January 13th.  Monday.

Very cold morning.  Good work doing about Tors Cove Chapel.

January 14th.  Tuesday.

Had a fine haul of wood, slide loads.  Evening stormy.  First sticks brought by Daniel FitzGerald and Sons for Mobile Chapel.  On Monday, night school was opened in Mobile, Tors Cove and Caplin Cove.  I visited schools  of Mobile and T. Cove today, and found them well attended; 40 pupils at Mobile, 45 at Tors Cove.  Mobile school in now conducted by Mr. Thomas Cunningham who took charge on January 1.

January 15th.  Wednesday.

Fine.  Evening very cold.

January 16th.  Thursday.

Intense frost, heavy gale N. W., with drift.  A call to Burnt Cove, attended by Fr. Roche.

January 17th.  Friday.

Still cold.  Another call to Burn Cove.  Thomas came from town.  Mrs. Joanna Burke of B. Cove died at 4 o’c P.M.

January 18th.  Saturday.

Very fine, milder.

January 19th.  Sunday.

Outwind and snow from 12:00 A. M.; at 8 ½ wind changed to N. W. blowing a gale with drift.  Read list of Dues &c at Mobile and Tors Cove.  Buried Mrs. Joanna Burke.  Ten men working at Pigeon House Quarry and four at Tors Cove Chapel during coming week.

January 20th.  Monday.

Outwind and snow until 4:00 P.M. then some hail and rain, very mild.

January 21st.  Tuesday.

On last night at 11 o’c, a gale commenced to blow from the S. W. increasing to a hurricane at 1 o’c and at that hour the new Chapel of Tors Cove was blown down.  It was probably lifted from the sills by a body of wind that entered the building from beneath.  “ Aneroid at 27 ½.

January 22 nd.  Wednesday.

Very fine.  Clearing away the wreck of the Chapel.

January 23rd.  Thursday.

Still fine.  A gang from W. Bay and Mobile assisting at Tors Cove Chapel.  Finished clearing away the stuff.  John Hearne of T. Cove died suddenly this morning.

January 24th.  Friday.

Snowing; wind heavy and variable.

January 25th.  Saturday.


January 26th.  Sunday.

Raining.  Heavy travelling.

January 27th.  Monday.

Very fine.  The Dean very well, he was in Mobile today.

January 28th.  Tuesday.

Still fine.  Visited nightschools of Mobile and Tors Cove; found them working well but badly attended.

January 29th.  Wednesday.


January 30th.  Thursday.

Soft and foggy.

January 31st.  Friday.

Snowing all day, some rain.

There were a great many heavy gales during this month, a great quantity of snow fell.  Sleighing generally good, but the woods almost impassable.  A number of wrecks on the English and Irish Coasts.  Heavy snow fell in Great Britain; in Ireland, the heaviest for half a century.  A few cases of Diptheria, Scarlatina and Typhoid fever in our parish.  Not much cry of poverty here yet.  A good deal work given to the people by the Dean at fencing materials, also by Pat Driscoll at “ Room stuff”.

February 1st.  Saturday.

Fine and mild.  Had 75 Confessions at Tors Cove.  Making arrangements for commencing Chapel again, on an altered plan.  Killed a cow 255 lbs, cost 110.

February 2nd.  Sunday

Fine.  Addressed congregation of T. Cove about Chapel, and called on them to provide sticks for frame.  All appear most anxious for the work.

February 3rd.  Monday.

Showry.  First sticks brought for re-creation of Tors Cove Chapel.  Two calls at T. Cove.

February 4th.  Tuesday.

Fine, not very cold.  Acall to T. Cove.  Pat went to town with 5 horses for provisions.  John Blackler of T. Cove died, aged 80 years.

February 5th.  Wednesday.

Very fine, another call to Tors Cove.  A great quantity of sticks out.  The people working well.

February 6th.  Thursday.

Mild.  House of Assembly opened.

February 7th.  Friday.

Fine.  John Blackler’s funeral.

February 8th.  Saturday.

Harry White in Mobile.

February 9th.  Sunday.

N. W. wind and drift, very cold.  Over 200 large sticks brought out for T. Cove Chapel during the week.  Fr. Clancy here going to town.

February 10th.  Monday.

Morning fine, a heavy snow storm commenced at 12 o’c; blowing a gale all night.

February 11th.  Tuesday.

Drifting; immense Bankss of snow.

February 12th.  Wednesday.

Heavy rain last night.

February 13th.  Thursday.

Fine.  Heavy wind N.W.

February 14th.  Friday.

Mild.  Heavy wind N. W.

February 15th.  Saturday.

Cold.  Heavy wind M. W.

February 16th.  Sunday.

Very cold.  Harry White went to town.

February 17th.  Monday.

Cold.  A good many cases of want in Witless Bay and Tors Cove. Three deer killed at W. Bay.

February 18th.  Tuesday.

Cold northeaster.  Hy. White and Annie came from town.

February 19th.  Wednesday.

Snowing a little all day.

February 20th.  Thursday.

Dull.  Prepared for death Mrs. Dillon who died 10 minutes afterwards.  Her’s is the fourth sudden death since Xmas in that portion of the parish.  Anniversary of election of Leo XIII.

February 21st.  Friday.

Heavy breeze S. E. Rain from 1 to 8 P.M.

February 22nd.  Saturday.

Mild.  A great number of people sick with a sort of slow fever, especially at Mobile.

February 23rd.  Sunday.

Very fine.  Buried Mrs. Dillon.  Married Samuel Devine and Mary Joseph Howlett at Tors Cove.  Philip Power and Annie Reily at Mobile.  Fr. Roche married Gregory Molony and Mary Joseph Neil at Witless Bay.

February 24th.  Monday.

Fine.  Thomas and William filling ice-house.

February 25th.  Tuesday.

Still fine.

February 26th.  Wednesday.

Dies cinerum.  Had Mass in Tors Cove.  People of W. Bay in great want.  Government refusing to relieve them.

February 27th.  Thursday.

Fr. Walsh here on his way to town for relief.

February 28th.  Friday.

Heavy rain, snow in the evening.

February 29th.  Saturday. ?????

Very fine.

February 30th.  Sunday.?????

Appointed 10 men per day to work at Tors Cove Chapel.


Very heavy winds and some heavy snow falls during this month.  A great deal of sickness at Mobile and Tors Cove, principally a very bad description of cold or Influenza.

March 1st.  Saturday.

Very fine.

March 2nd.  Sunday.

Appointed 10 men per day to chop sticks for Tors Cove Chapel.

March 3rd.  Monday.

Soft day.

March 4th.  Tuesday

Heavy wind N. W. with drifts.  Went to Tors Cove.  People working well at new Chapel.  Thirty two uprights chopped yesterday.

March 5th.  Wednesday.

Raining.  Called to Tors Cove at 6:00 P. M.  Peter Cashin here.

March 6th.  Thursday.

Called to T. Cove again this morning at 1 o’c.  Heavy wind and drift.  Fr. Walsh here; he got £20 relief for his poor.

March 7th.  Friday.

Very cold morning.  Thomas and Aidan went to Renewse to arrange business matters with Edward Leary.  A great many going to the Ice from this place, Mobile and Tors Cove.

March 8th.  Saturday.

Outwind with drift.  The worst day for three years.  A vessel fish-laden in great danger at Bay Bulls.  A horse smothered in the snow on the St. John’s road.

March 9th.  Sunday.

Heavy wind and rain.  I got as far as Mobile, never saw such Bankss of snow.

March 10th.  Monday.

Still soft.  A heavy gale N.E.

March 11th.  Tuesday.

Finer.  Called to T. Cove to Patrick Power who died same day.

March 12th.  Wednesday.

Very fine.  Thawing.

March 13th.  Thursday.

Soft.  Funeral of P. Power.

March 14th.  Friday.

Fine.  Thomas and Aidan came from Renewse; Mr. White from St. John’s.

March 15th.  Saturday.

Raining.  Called to T. Cove.  Heard 70 Confessions there.  Dunphy of Poor Office came investigating cases of destitution.  New Road Boards appointed lately viz. James Shannahan, Thomas Cary, Gregory Norris and Dennis Tobin Sr. for Witless Bay; Thomas Driscoll, Daniel FitzGerald, and Francis Dillon, Mobile; Cornelius Driscoll, Michael Power and Michael Colbert, T. Cove and James Murphy was appointed on the Witless Bay Board, but resigned.

March 16th.  Sunday.

Very fine.

March 17th.  Monday.

St. Patrick’s Day; a glorious day.  A call to T. Cove at 5 ½ A. M.

March 18th.  Tuesday.

Raining.  A call to Mobile.  No ice on coast to date.  Telegram from Tilt Cove report ice at Cape John, the Horse and Grois Islands.  No seals taken in White Bay to 13th.

March 19th.  Wednesday.

Dull and cold. Silver-thaw.

March 20th.  Thursday.

Dull and cold, freezing.

March 21st.  Friday.

Very fine.  Drove to Caplin Cove.  Had 4 calls; Scarlatina and Slow Fever.

March 22nd.  Saturday.

A heavy gale with snow from the East last night.  In the morning chopped off S. W. with rain, evening fine.

March 23rd.  Sunday.

Fine.  Bessie and sons, Annie and Aiden came from Ferryland.  A vessel laden with provisions lost at “ Mistaken Point”.

March 24th.  Monday.


March 25th.  Tuesday.

Chilly.  Eight Burn Cove men got relief from Government to amount of $200 each. Feel unwell this evening.

March 26th.  Wednesday.

Dull, some snow.  I am laid up with a heavy cold.

March 27th.  Thursday.

A delightful day.  Still sick.

March 28th.  Friday.

Very fine.  The first sealer arrived, the “Proteus” to J. and W. Stewart, Capt. Pike, with 11,000 Hoods.  Poor reports of the fleet.

March 29th.  Saturday.

Still fine.  A number of Tors Cove men in town for relief; got £15—James Shannahan on same errand, and unsuccessful.

March 30th.  Sunday.

Very wet.  I was unable to have mass today.

March 31st.  Monday.

Fine, thawing.  Dr. Howley M. D. here.


Very heavy gales during this month.  No ice on coast.  Notwithstanding the great cry of poverty, our people have got on without any government relief to this date i.e. at Witless Bay.  Sealing Steamers bringing in good trips, but the crews making no bills on account of the low price of fat.

April 1st.  Tuesday.

Heavy rain.  A gang employed to shovel snow to Mobile to open a track for the Dean’s carriage.

April 2nd.  Wednesday.

Raining.  Dean went to Mobile in a carriage – “Lion” S. S. in; full, good reports.

April 3rd.  Thursday.

Fine.  Still unwell.  A letter received from “ Col. Icey”. impowering Road Board to expend $100 on Public Wharf to relieve the poor.

April 4th.  Friday.

Dull day, some snow.  My eyes sore.  Four men went from Witless Bay to assist at Tors Cove Chapel.

April 5th.  Saturday.

Fine.  Fr. Roche went to Tors Cove to inspect chapel work.  Steamers arriving, all well fished.

April 6th.  Sunday.

Palm Sunday.  Very fine.  Unable to celebrate mass today.

April 7th.  Monday.

Fine.  Fr. Roche went to Tors Cove to have evening prayers and read list of men to work at the Chapel.  Six men from Witless Bay working at T. Cove Chapel today.

April 8th.  Tuesday.

Snowing.  Sent a punt with board and longers to Toad’s Cove.

April 9th.  Wednesday.

Spy Wednesday.  Slight snow showers.

April 10th.  Thursday.

Warm day Thursday.  Morning cold with heavy W. wind and some snow.  Evening fine.  Mass in Witless Bay only.

April 11th.  Good Friday.

Very fine morning, evening wet.  Two wakes in Witless Bay.

April 12th.  Easter Saturday.

Dull.  I went to Mobile first time since March 25th.  First corpse interred in the addition to the graveyard of W. Bay.  This piece of ground was given for the purpose by the late Thomas Avery, twenty two years ago.

April 13th.  Easter Sunday.

Had Mass in Mobile.  Announced Jubiless.  Very wet.  The Dean had Mass this morning in the parlor,  the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination.  The Dean is the first priest who spent fifty years on the Mission of this Country.  Others died here who had been priests for fifty years, having spent some years of their Ministry elsewhere.

April 14th.  Monday.

Very fine.  Fr. Roche went to St. John’s.  I was in Tors Cove; found the Chapel work advancing rapidly and well.  There are to work this week 6 men from W. Bay; 4 from Mobile and 10 from Tors Cove.  Uncle Harry in Mobile.

April 15th.  Tuesday.

Fine but cold.  A great many cases of Scarlatina in Tors Cove.

April 16th.  Wednesday.

Very fine.  Spent day at new Chapel.  Twenty five brls. flour landed for poor, W. Bay.

April 17th.  Thursday.

Fine.  Annointed five persons today from Bay Bulls to Mobile.

April 18th.  Friday.

Very fine.  Dr. Power accompanied by Fr. Roche arrived at 4 ¼ P. M.  Grand pyrotechnic display in honour of Dean’s Jubilee at 9:00 P.M.

April 19th.  Saturday.

Dr. Power left for St. John’s at 9 ½ A. M.  Some snow.

April 20th.  Sunday.

N.E. wind, and sleet.

April 21st.  Monday.

Fine.  “ Brothers” launched.

April 22nd.  Tuesday.

Fine.  Stations at Mobile.

April 23rd.  Wednesday.

Fine.  Stations at Mobile.  Fireworks at Mobile.

April 24th.  Thursday.

Fine.  Finished Mobile Stations.  “Brothers” sailed for St. John’s

April 25th.  Friday.

N.E. wind and rain.  Stations at Toad’s Cove.  One hundred and forty Confessions.  Herring plentiful.

April 26th.  Saturday.

Heavy rain, N. E.  Herring plentiful.  One hundred ninety Confessions.

April 27th.  Sunday.


April 28th.  Monday.

Fine.  Confessions at T. Cove.  Illuminations and fireworks at T. Cove for Dean’s Jubilee.

April 29th.  Tuesday.

Very warm.  Good work being done at the new Chapel.

April 30th.  Wednesday.

Stations at Caplin Cove.


The weather during April was for the most part pretty fine.  The frame of Toad’s Cove Chapel was put up and secured; a great deal of assistance was rendered by the people of W. Bay and Mobile.  The Dean’s Golden Jubilee was the great event of this month, its celebration was however rendered impossible by the state of his health.

May 1st.  Thursday.

Fine.  Finished Easter and Jubilee Stations from Mobile to LaManche.  “Brothers started for St. John’s.  Nuns have all their potatoes set.  Herring very plentiful.

May 2nd.  Friday.


May 3rd.  Saturday.

Wet.  First fish caught at T. Cove.

May 4th.  Sunday.

Wet and calm.

May 5th.  Monday.

Fine.  William Fortune’s boat went to the Westward with iced herring.  Fr. Walsh here going to St. John’s.  Last gang for season at T. Cove Chapel.

May 6th.  Tuesday.


“Brothers” came from St. John’s.  To this date there has been six men from Witless Bay and four from Mobile at T. Cove Chapel.  Finished potatoes.  Will Ronayne opens school at Mobile.

May 7th.  Wednesday.

Dull and foggy.  Very calm during the past six days.  Eighty Confessions at T. Cove.  Good reports from the Bankss.  Sealing steamers doing well on second trip.

May 8th.  Thursday.

Raining.  Evening fine.

May 9th.  Friday.

Fine.  Fr. Walsh here returning to Renewse.  Aidan and Ed Leary started business at Renewse.

May 10th.  Saturday.

Very fine.  Good reports from the Bankss.  Aidan went to Renewse.

May 11th.  Sunday.

Fine.  Johnny White came down.

May 12th.  Monday.

Fine.  Stowed away sticks for Mobile Chapel.  No sign of fish.

May 13th.  Tuesday.

Very fine.  Stowed away sticks etc. of Tors Cove Chapel.

May 14th.  Wednesday.

Fine.  Erecting a Belfry at Witless Bay.  No Salmon yet.  A A Bankser( Hafy) at Renewse- 250 qtls. = 120 dry.

May 15th.  Thursday.

Foggy morning.  Evening very fine.  Some fish caught at Tors Cove.

May 16th.  Friday.

Fine.  Fr. Roche came from town.

May 17th.  Saturday.

Some rain.

May 18th.  Sunday.

Very fine.  Messrs. Conroy, Berney, Wl. Tobin and James Phelin here.  A Bankser at Renewse( Walter Grieves) with 500 qtls. Dry.  Good reports from Bankss.  Married Pat Maher.

May 19th.  Monday.

FINe.  Fr. Forristal here en route to Renewse to receive Miss Manwarren.  Salmon caught at Tors Cove.  No fish, or rather no one looking for it.

May 20th.  Tuesday.

Fine.  Fr. Roche went to Cape Broyle with Fr. Forristal.  Hannah came.

May 21st.  Wednesday.

Foggy.  Remove Chapel( W. B. ) bell to new belfry.

May 22nd.  Ascension Thursday.

Very fine.  William sailed for Trepassey.

May 23rd.  Friday.

Foggy and wet.  Some salmon.  On yesterday Miss Manwarren was received in the Convent of Renewse.

May 24th.  Saturday.

Foggy.  Fr. Forristal here and went to St. John’s.  Some fish caught at Tors Cove.

May 25th.  Sunday.

Wet and foggy.  Fr. Clancy here.

May 26th.  Monday.

Wet and foggy. Sixty Confessions at T. Cove.

May 27th.  Tuesday.

Very wet morning.

May 28th.  Wednesday.

Fine.  Fr. Roche and Thomas went to town.  Thomas and Thomas Greene arrived here at 8 o’c P.M. to take Annie to St. John’s, a good opportunity having offered for sending her to Ireland.

May 29th.  Thursday.

Cloudy and some showers.  Some boats at Witless Bay had 2 cwt. Fish.  Fish caught all alongshore.

May 30th.  Friday.

Fine.  Annie sailed for Ireland yesterday per Austrian.

May 31st.  Saturday.

Very fine.  Heavy gale of West wind.  Dr. Power went west per Curlew.  Very sultry night; thunder and heavy lightning.  Corpse of Mary McGrath brought from St. John’s to be interred at Toad’s Cove.


The weather during May was remarkably chilly and disagreeable.  A great deal potatoes sown at Witless Bay, more than for the past 20 years.  Crops in general promising well.  No Icebergs on coast.  Herring very numerous.  Salmon scare.  Very little codfish caught.

June 1st.  Sunday.

Fine and very warm.  Mr. Fenelon, new School Inspector, arrived.

June 2nd.  Monday.

Fine.  Inspector visits schools at W. Bay and B. Bulls.  No fish.  Poor reports from westward.  Potatoes over ground.

June 3rd.  Tuesday.

Called to Caplin Cove 3 ½ A. M.  Inspector visits schools at Mobile, T. Cove and Caplin Cove.

June 4th.  Wednesday.

Chilly.  Fr. Roche and I hearing Confessions at Bay Bulls.

June 5th.  Thursday.

Still chilly.  Heavy rain evening, and thunder.  A Bankser at Bay Bulls, Thomas Williams, 200 qtls.  No fish alongshore.  Good reports from Cape St. Mary’s.

June 6th.  Friday.

Very fine.

June 7th.  Saturday.

Heavy rain.  Caplin hauled at Caplin Cove.  No fish on them.

June 8th.  Sunday.

Raining heavily all day and last night.  The Dean very unwell for awhile.

June 9th.  Monday.

Fine.  I went to St. John’s.

June 10th.  Tuesday.

Fine.  I returned to Witless Bay.  Some fish hauled at Tors Cove.

June 11th.  Wednesday.

A heavy gale of N. wind.   Agreat deal fish seen; not much hauled or caught.  John Furlong brought out my gig.

June 12th.  Thursday.

Corpus Christi.  Fine.  A grand procession at Witless Bay.

June 13th.  Friday.

Fine.  Caplin abundant.  Very little fish.  Pat’s seine had 5qtls.

June 14th.  Saturday.

Heavy gale E, morning; ditto W, evening.  Some fish in traps.

June 15th.  Sunday.

Fine.  Heavy gale W.  Banksers coming in, all well fished.

June 16th.  Monday.

Fine.  Wind N.  Load seal fish in traps.  Pat’s seine hauled 30 qtls;  William from Trepassey, 26 qtls.  Good reports from Westward.  Caplin most numerous, not so much so for years.  William reports having hauled caplin June 3rd.

June 17th.  Tuesday.

Wind NE.  No fish at W. Bay, Mobile or Tors Cove.  Thomas Handrican, Baleine, hauled 40 qtls. At Great Island.  No fish at Bay Bulls to this date.  Mogue Neil sent by government de proprus quae Moritus.

June 18th.  Wednesday.

Chilly, wind NE.  No fish.

June 19th.  Thursday.

Chilly, wind NE.  No fish.  Two western boats home to Mobile with poor trips.  Fr. Pat O’ Donnell here.  Received letters from Annie.

June 20th.  Friday.

Fine.  Heavy breeze W.  Western boats home to Bay Bulls well fished-60 to 100 qtls.  Michael Mulcahy of B. Bulls went fishing in the “ Gulf” this spring and caught there 60 qtls., 80 qtls at the Main Keyes; in all 140 qtls.  “Brothers” home, 70 qtls.

June 21st.  Saturday.

Fine.  Still blowing from the N.  A good deal fish in traps at W. Bay and B. Bulls; none caught or hauled.  Ambrose Ronayne from Trepassey-40 qtls.

June 22nd.  Sunday.

Very fine.  Heavy W. wind.  Water clear and cold.  Caplin abundant.

June 23rd.  Monday.

Heavy rain.  Daniel FitzGerald hauled 40 qtls. Fish.

June 24th.  Tuesday.

Fine.  No fish.  Fr. Clancy here.  A good deal fish catching about Renewse and hauling at Ferryland.

June 25th.  Wednesday.

Very fine.  Some fish hauling.

June 26th.  Thursday.

Dull and chilly.

June 27th.  Friday.

Dull and chilly.  No fish.

June 28th.  Saturday.

Some fish hauling; also in nets.  People becoming very despondent.

June 29th.  Sunday.

Very fine.

June 30th.  Monday.

Fine.  Some fish hauled in Mobile.


The signs of fish during this month are not considered good.  The crops advancing


July 1st.  Tuesday.

Wet.  Wind NE. No fish.

July 2nd.  Wednesday.

Foggy.  Wind NE.  No fish.

July 3rd.  Thursday.

Foggy. Wind NE.  No fish.

July 4th.  Friday.

Fine.  Wind E.  Some fish hauling and in nets.

July 5th.  Saturday.

Wind NE.  No fish.

Frs.  Jeremiah and Richard O’ Donnell sailed per Caspian…….to Witless Bay.

July 11th.  Friday.

Very fine.

July 12th.  Saturday.

Very fine.  A heavy sea.  Poor accounts from the West.

July 13th.  Sunday.

Fine, but foggy.

July 14th.  Monday.

Fine.  Some fish in traps and hauling.  Thomas had 25 qtls. In trap.

July 15th.  Tuesday.

Fine.  Some fish hauling.

July 16th.  Wednesday.


July 17th.  Thursday.

Morning fine;  evening heavy rain.  A great deal fish seen.  Thomas’ trap was full but broke while being overhauled.

July 18th  Friday.

Outwind and fog.  First squids caught at Witless Bay, not much fish on them.


Heavy E. wind last night and this morning, with rain.  Evening wind ENE.  Some fish in traps.  Fish plenty at Point and Shingle Head.  Food accounts from Aidan.

July 29th.  Tuesday.

Fine.  Strong breeze W.  William sailed for the westward.  Fr. Walsh here going to town.

July 30th.  Wednesday.

Fine.  Good sign of fish on squids.

July 31st.  Thursday.

Very fine.  Reid brought up our coal and lumber.


There was perhaps never in the history of the Southern Shore such a bad fishery as the present to this date, almost without an exception.  The crops are promising well, both hay and potatoes.  Turnips and cabbage are backward.  The Labrador fishery is the best (is said) for forty years.  The price of fish is much lower than last year, while provisions are a great deal in advance.

August 1st.  Friday.

Very fine.  John Dywer commenced work at Witless Bay Chapel.

August 2nd.  Saturday.

Fine.  Good deal fish catching.  Good accounts from the westward.

August 3rd.  Sunday.

Very warm.

August 4th.  Monday.

Fine.  Went to Killis Cove to see a strange fish captured in a trap.

August 5th.  Tuesday.

Fine.  Caplin still for hauling.  Some fish, herring plentiful, squids scarce.

August 6th.  Wednesday.

Very warm.  Commenced mowing.  Had new potatoes (scothch apples).

August 7th.  Thursday.

Heavy rain, with thunder.

August 8th.  Friday.

James Shannahan, Pat O’ Brien, Stephen and self spent the day trouting in “Gull Pond” &c.,  arriving home at 9 1/2P.M.

August 9th.  Saturday.

Fine.  No bait or fish.

August 10th.  Sunday.

Dean not well.

August 11th.  Monday.

Very warm.  F. Clancy went to town.

August 12th.  Tuesday.

Very warm.  Dean quite well again.

August 13th.  Wednesday.

Fine.  Squids and herring, not much fish.  Fr. Clancy and Dr. M. Howley here enroute to Renewse.

August 14th.  Thursday.

Very fine.

August 15th.  Friday.

Lady Day.  Fishing for church but no fish.  Races etc. at Renewse.

August 16th.  Saturday.

Fine.  William landed 4o qtls. Fish.

August 17th.  Sunday.

Very fine.  Mother and Pat went to Ferryland.

August 18th. Monday.

Very fine.  Fr. Clancy here , to town.

August 19th.  Tuesday.

Very fine.  Good deal fish today.

August 20th.  Wednesday.

Outwind and rain.

August 21st.  Thursday.

Dull.  Squids, herring and some fish.

August 22nd.  Friday.

Fine.  Visited schools of Mobile, Tors Cove and Caplin Cove; attendance good.  Mother, Aidan and Stephen came from Ferryland.

August 23rd.  Saturday.

Dull and Showry.

August 24th.  Sunday.

At 1:00 A. M. heavy rain with thunder and lightning commenced, continuing with few intervals during the day.

August 25th.  Monday.

Dull.  Squids plentiful.  Some good catches made on Cape Bollard Banks last week.


September 6th.  Saturday.

Heavy rain.  Nothing done on fishing grounds this week owing to rough weather.

September 7th.  Sunday.

Wet.  I was unwell today; had no Mass.

September 8th.  Monday.

Foggy.  Fr. Walsh here.

September 9th.  Tuesday.

First fine day for nearly three weeks.  Wind NE and weather dull all that time.  Evening wet.  Fr. Roche to town.

September 10th.  Wednesday.

Wet.  Heavy sea.  Bait and fish scarce.

September 11th.  Thursday.

Wet.  “Brothers” made 50 qtl. Catch.

September 12th.  Friday.

Wet.  William home,  10 qtls.

September 13th.  Saturday.

Wet.  Heard 50 Confessions, T. Cove.

September 14th.  Sunday.

Fine.  Fr. Walshe left for Renewse.

September 15th.  Monday.

Morning fine,  evening dull.

September 16th.  Tuesday..

Fr. Roche went to town.

September 17th.  Wednesday.

Dull.  Fr. O’Donnell arrived.

September 18th.  Thursday.

Pretty fine.  Heavy west wind.

September 19th.  Friday.

Very fine.

September 20th.  Saturday.


September 21st.  Sunday.

Very fine.  Frs. O’ Donnell and Roche, and James O’ Donnell went to town.  Mrs. Nowlan came.

September 22nd.  Monday.

Fine.  Commenced painting Witless Bay Chapel.  Dean unwell.

September 23rd.  Tuesday.

Very fine.  The Dean unwell.

September 24th.  Wednesday.

Very fine.  The Dean unwell.  Dr. T. Howley “sent” for, arrived at 1 o’c P.M.  The Dean better at 10 P.M.

September 25th.  Thursday.

Very fine.  Heavy gale SW.  The Dean quite well again.  Brothers home, 20 qtls.

September 26th.  Friday.

Fine.  Flour gone 7/6 pr. brl.

September 27th.  Saturday.

Fine.  Uncle Harry at Mobile.

September 28th.  Sunday.

Very fine.  Announced Dues collection.  Hannah and children arrived.

September 29th.  Monday.

Very fine.  Western boats all got herring at Tors Cove.  Some fish catching.

September 30th.  Tuesday.


October 1st.  Wednesday.

Dull.  Some good catches fish made on Cape Bollard Banks.  A great deal squids caught at Mobile.

October 2nd.  Thursday.

Fine.  Sister Agnes Hanrahan very unwell ( quo ad menteur).

October 3rd.  Friday.


October 4th.  Saturday.

Very fine.  Dues coming in slowly.

October 5th.  Sunday.

Very fine.

October 6th.  Monday.

Very fine.  Digging potatoes.  Fr. Walsh here.

October 7th.  Tuesday.


October 8th.  Wednesday.

Fine.  Heavy breeze NNE.

October 9th.  Thursday.

Fine.  Heavy breeze NNE.  I remained up last night with Sister Agnes.

October 10th.  Friday.

Fr. Clancy here.  Heavy wind NNE.

October 11th.  Saturday.

Fr. Clancy here.  Heavy wind NNE.  Sister Agnes died this morning at 8 o’c; her reason returned two days before she died.

October 12th.  Sunday.

Raining.  Heavy gale NNE still.  Kate Nowlan of Mobile died.

October 13th.  Monday.

The gale, which has been blowing without interruption since Wednesday, ceased this morning.  Sister Agnes was buried after Office and High Mass.  Her name in the world was Joanna Hanrahan, a native of Clonmel, she was 47 years of age, 17 in religion.

October 14th.  Tuesday.

Showry.  Boats all giving up the Western fishery.  A great many wrecks in last week’s gale.  A Bay Bulls boat lost at Trepassey.

October 15th.  Wednesday.

Fine.  Fr. Walsh, Mother Joseph and Miss Woodford (Postulante) arrived.

October 16th.  Thursday.

Cold and showry, wind N.

October 17th.  Friday.

Cold and showry, wind N.  Fr. Clancy here.

October 18th.  Saturday.

Fine.  Very little fish catching.  Erecting scaffolding to shingle W. Bay Chapel.

October 19th.  Sunday.


October 20th.  Monday.

Foggy.  Fr. Roche, Mother Joseph and Postulante (Miss Maria Woodford) left for Renewse.  Heavy rain at 12 P.M.  A breeze from W, evening.

October 21st.  Tuesday.

Heavy breeze W this morning and last night.  Fr. Roche returned.  A vessel lost at Tors Cove, C. Broyle last night.

October 22nd.  Wednesday.

Fine, soft day.  Some fish.

October 23rd.  Thursday.

Fine.  Dr. Power and Fr. Scott arrived at 12 o’c., left again at 4 ½.

October 24th.  Friday.

Dull.  A good deal fish caught yesterday, especially at LaManche.

October 25th.  Saturday.

Heavy rain and outwind last night.  Fine today.  Finished shingling of Witless Bay Chapel and Vestry.  The whole work done in four days.

October 26th.  Sunday.


October 27th.  Monday.

Fine.  William to St. John’s with fish.

October 28th.  Tuesday.

Fine.  I went to town.


October 31st.  Friday.

Returned to Witless Bay.  Heavy breeze from WSW yesterday.  Thunder and lightning on Thursday night with heavy rain.  James M. Loughnan returned M. P. for St. John’s west.  A hot and close contest between him and Mr. P. D. White.


The fishery now ending is the worst for years on this shore.  The heavy winds of October spoiled the fall western fishery.

November 1st.  Saturday.

Very fine.

November 2nd.  Sunday.

All Souls Day.

November 3rd.  Monday.

Fine, chilly.  Some herring in nets.

November 4th.  Tuesday.

Fine.  A gang working at Tors Cove graveyard.  William came home.

November 5th.  Wednesday.

Cold.  No snow to date.

November 6th.  Thursday.

Very fine.

November 7th.  Friday.

Matw. Dillon and family left Mobile to live in St. John’s.

November 8th.  Saturday.

Dull.  No bait or fish.

November 9th.  Sunday.

Very fine.  Harry White at Mobile.

November 10th.  Monday.

James Murphy and family left Mobile to live in St. John’s.

November 11th.  Tuesday.

Fine.  Gang working at Tors Cove graveyard.  Grand Bazaar opened in the Star of the Sea Hall for St. Patrick’s Church, River Head.

November 12th.  Wednesday.

Fine.  Finished ploughing.

November 13th.  Thursday.

Fine.  Putting shores against Mobile Belfry.  The following men gave a day each at it:  Stephen Sweeny, William Driscoll, Pierce Kearny, Peter Quirk and Batw. Hartwell Jr.

November 14th. Friday.

Very fine.  Pat Fortune went on last trip to St. John’s.  I was at Bay Bulls and Tors Cove.  A very large S. S. ship, the “ Arizona”, put into St. John’s, disabled by colliding with an iceberg on the Bankss 250 miles off.  The “Arizona” is said to be the third largest ship afloat.( NOTE Arizona was 5, 147 tons.  Hit iceberg on maiden on way from Cobh, Ireland to New York.)

November 15th.  Saturday.

Wet.  Called to Martin Quirk.

November 16th.  Sunday.

Dull.  Fr. R. O’ Donnell, James O’ Donnell, Thomas Walsh, Michael Tobin and ??? Elliot came to Witless Bay.  Married Phil Cary and Mary Maders in Mobile Chapel.  Read Dues’ list at Mobile.

November 17th.  Monday.

Fine.  “Brothers” loaded last trip.  Fr. Roche went to town.  Little bait and fish.

November 18th.  Tuesday.

Chilly.  Snow showers.  Baptized Annie Driscoll of Bessie. Resumed work of Tors Cove Chapel; a gang of six each day.

November 19th.  Wednesday.

 Heavy wind and snow.  Went in a sleigh to Tors Cove.  Large Bankss of snow in some places.  Buried Martin Quirk.  Very high tide.

November 20th.  Thursday.

Morning fine.  Thomas went to St. John’s on a sleigh.  A heavy gale from E blowing from 6 to 12 P.M.  The heaviest sea to date.  Snow all gone.

November 21st.  Friday.

Heavy rain.  William came from St. John’s.  He reports St. Patrick’s Bazaar a wonderful success.

November 22nd.  Saturday.

Fine.  Had Confessions at Tors Cove.  Fr. Roche returned from town,  carriaging again.

November 23rd.  Sunday.

Very fine.  Aidan at Mobile.  Pat Fortune came from St. John’s with a new “ Jack”.

November 24th.  Monday.

Outwind and heavy rain.  Fr. Clancy went to town.

November 25th.  Tuesday.

Very fine.  Good work doing at Tors Cove Chapel; 6 men per day.  The Dean fell on the stairs disfiguring his nose and eye, but seriously injured, thank God.

November 26th.  Wednesday.

Outwind and rain.  The painters finished work at W. Bay Chapel and Convent, having worked 9 weeks.  Preparing foundation for father’s cross. Note Witless Bay old graveyard.

November 27th.  Thursday.

Very fine.  Boats at W. Bay and Tors Cove loaded on “ last trip”.  Good work doing at Tors Cove Chapel.  Killed a bullock, the hind-quarters of which weighed 150 lbs,. And the fore quarters 125 lbs. Each. It cost £6.10.0.

November 28th.  Friday.

Dull.  Thomas came from St. John’s.  St. Patrick’s Bazaar realized £2,500 net profit.  Two Renewse men drowned at Betts Cove.

November 29th.  Saturday.

Fine.  “Brothers” came from St. John’s.  Married Edward Ronayne and Alice Howlett of Tors Cove.

November 30th.  Sunday.

Very mild.

December 1st.  Monday.

Fine and mild.  “Christian Brothers” collection yesterday amounted to £354.

December 2nd.  Tuesday.

Very fine.  Fr. Roche and Thomas went to Renewse.  Fr. Walsh arrived.

December 3rd.  Wednesday.

Fine.  Fr. Roche returned.

December 4th.  Thursday.

Building of a “Public Wharf” commenced at Mobile.  Evening wet.

December 5th.  Friday.

Mild.  Fr. Walsh from St. John’s  Made arrangements about Dr. Cary.  Dr. Cary arrived from Halifax last week and settled down at Ferryland.

December 6th.  Saturday.

Cold.  Boats all home from St. John’s.

December 7th.  Sunday.

Very fine.  Gang stowing away lumber at Tors Cove.

December 8th.  Monday.

Fine and mild.  Very heavy travelling.  Commenced shingling Tors Cove Chapel; 12 men.  Samuel Driscoll had 1 ½ brl. Herring in nets.

December 9th.  Tuesday.

Cold.  Thomas and Aidan came from town.  William went with “ Brothers” to Cape Broyle.

December 10th.  Wednesday.

Cold.  Commenced “ Stations” at Tors Cove &c.  Killed a cow, weighing-hind qrs., 145 lbs., cost ???, nuns took half; fore qrs., 90 lbs.

December 11th.  Thursday.

Fine.  Confessions at Caplin Cove and Tors Cove-170.

December 12th.  Friday.

Very mild.  Fifty men shingling Tors Cove Chapel.  Stations, 80 Confessions.

December 13th.  Saturday.

Fine.  Sixty men shingling.  Eighty Confessions.

December 14th.  Sunday.

Extreme cold.  Uncle Harry and John Furlong at Mobile.

December 15th.  Monday.

Outwind, some snow, heavy sea.  A man named Con Glyn of Bay Bulls went astray while trouting.

December 16th.  Tuesday.

Mild.  Con Glyn found.

December 17th.  Wednesday.

Fine.  Heard 90 Confessions at Tors Cove.  Fr. Roche commenced Stations at Bay Bulls.  Killed a pig.

December 18th.  Thursday.

Four inches snow fell last night; heavy NW wind and drift this morning.

December 19th.  Friday.

Fine and cold.  Dean complaining of severe cough.  Sent for Dr. T. Howley.

December 20th.  Saturday.

Intense frost.  Dean better.  Dr. H. did not come, but sent medicine.  Mr. White and Harry at Mobile.

December 21st.  Sunday.

Some snow last night.  Drifting and cold today.

December 22nd.  Monday.

Coldest night and morning ( ‘tis said) for years.  Therm. 4 below 0 in the shade at W. Bay.  Thomas Cary and Michael Kennedy went to St. John’s.  Benedict Molony and Bill Kelly called on us with a Petition signed by 70 men and boys to have James Shannahan removed from the school.  Envy the cause-“Kelly” and “Benedict” are ringleaders in every villainy.

December 23rd.  Tuesday.

Morning, outwind and heavy drift; evening heavy rain; night fine and frosty.  Thomas Cary returned from town.  Mrtn. Cashin here.

December 24th.  Wednesday.

Fine.  I was unwell, with a cold.  Fr. Roche went to Tors Cove to have Mass there tomorrow morning.

December 25th.  Thursday.

Christmas morning.  Outwind and drift; turned into rain at 11 o’c; wind W and freezing at 12 o’c  Fr. Roche had two masses at Tors Cove, one at Mobile; I, two at W. Bay and one at Bay Bulls; also attended a “call” at Bread and Cheese.  A very large congregation at 2nd Mass, W. Bay.

December 26th.  Friday.

Fine.  “Mummers” out in Tors Cove according to ancient custom.

December 27th.  Saturday.

Cold.  Dean quite strong again.

December 28th.  Sunday.

Fine, good sleighing.  Received account of death of Randal Greene.  The stone-built church of St. Kyran’s destroyed by fire on Xmas eve.

December 29th.  Monday.

Soft.  Rained at evening.  Thomas went to Randal Greene’s funeral.

December 30th.  Tuesday.

Mild.  Dr. Cary arrived from Ferryland.  His scale of fees for this portion of the district as follows: Special call to Tors Cove=30.1.

Special call to Mobile=35.1.

Special call to W. Bay=40.1.

Special call to B. Bulls= 45.1.

To those supplying horse, to each locality 10/-off.  Booked patients 20/- pr An. I.e. for attendance while the Dr. is on periodical visitation.  Booked patients also to pay 10/- less for special calls; in all cases Medicine to be an extra.  The Dr. to visit W. Bay &c. fortnightly in Summer; every 3rd week, Winter.  If called while on visitation, 5/-, called on 2/6.December 31st.  Wednesday.

Very cold.  Thermom. At 0.  Thomas came from St. John’s.  Fr. Roche at B. Bulls Stations.



Page transcribed by Ray Curran (2001)
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 (1999-2019)