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.




Cape St. George-St. George's Bay-Sulleon, an Indian, engaged as a guide- St. George's Inlet-Exploring Party to the Grand Pond or Lake-A Gale thereon-Beautiful Exhibition of Aurora Borealis - Coal Brook - Signs of a Coal-country-Discovery of Coal-Return of Party-Hardships undergone-Hare Hill - Ories Hill-Eligible Sites for new Settlements.

August 25th.-A light wind during the night from the west had brought us close up to Cape St. George, and we made a tack in order to weather it, when a gale sprang up from the southwest, and were obliged to take in our topsail, and failed in getting sufficiently to windward. We then hoisted the topsail and made another tack, the sea rising very rapidly, and barely succeeded in scraping round the point, which is both shoal and rocky. There was a short perpendicular wall of rock at the margin of the water, up which great seas were now jumping and dashing in a style that would have rendered our escape very problematical had we struck on anything, or had any of our gear given way at a critical moment. Once fairly round, we easily hauled off into the bay, and then squared the yards and sailed merrily before it. When we were about half-way up the bay we saw the Cleopatra, the frigate on the station, coming out, at which I was greatly annoyed, as I had hoped to have met with her, and had now been twice unsuccessful. St. George's is a very fine bay, rapidly narrowing towards the head, with two straight shores, each of which affords good anchorage. The only harbour, however, is just at the head, formed by the projection of a narrow spit of sand; and even that seems rapidly filling up with sand, as it is only near the entrance there is water enough for vessels, while the rest of the basin is nearly dry at low water, and is at no place deep enough for anything but a punt. On these low sandy shores at the head of the bay the tide, though not great, becomes very apparent, rising and falling from five to eight feet. The low spit of sand forming the harbour is in some places covered with a stunted vegetation of fir-trees. Just at the point, however, these are cleared away, and there is a collection of wooden houses scattered about as if they had been taken up from some town by a tornado, and settled here when it ceased. The population seemed to be about half French, and the rest English, Jerseymen, and a few Indians. There might be perhaps 500 or 600 people at this time, but these are mostly transitory inhabitants. The French all ave in November to return in May, and most of the others retire either to more distant settlements or to houses in the woods on the opposite shore during the winter. There were three or four schooners at anchor, and an old brig, waiting to take fish to St. Pierre.

It may perhaps not be generally known that the fishery along the whole western coast of Newfoundland, from Cape Ray round the north point to Cape John, belongs to the French, or at least that they claim and assert their exclusive right. The words of the treaty, I believe, admit of some dispute; but it is provided that, though the property of the land is vested in the British crown, neither nation shall make permanent settlements, and the French shall have the right of drying fish on any part of the coast they choose. The provision for non-settlement is practically disregarded by both parties, as the English settle for their own advantage, and the French connive at or encourage their doing so on condition that they take care of their stores and fishing establishments. They also allow the English settlers to fish within the bays. There is, however, no law nor authority, nor means of establishing any, along this coast, every man depending on his own strength to protect himself. A man of war of both nations goes round once a year to prevent great disturbances, but, to the honour of the settlers be it said, there are none to prevent. They all of all nations seem to live comfortably and peaceably together; and the only want I heard expressed was a wish for the establishment of schools in St. George's Bay.

August 26th and 27th.-As the Beaufort had made a deal of water lately, we put her ashore on the beach here, and at low water examined her bottom and caulked her a little, while I strolled about the neighbourhood to make acquaintance with the people, and get intelligence of the interior of the country. I met with an Indian at one of the wigwams, named Sulleon, a very decent fellow, with a good character. He told me that he had a boat on the great pond I had heard of, and that the nearest point of it was within twenty miles of the harbour, and that he knew all the country perfectly well. He said it would take a week to go and come back again, and he agreed to go with me as a guide, taking my four men to carry provisions.

August 28th.-I had got everything ready for a start this morning, but the weather was unfavourable, and I felt out of spirits, having got a touch of the influenza, which was very prevalent among the people in the harbour, some of the children having died of it. In the middle of the day there was a thunderstorm, by which the sultry closeness of the air was removed, and the aspect of things greatly renovated. Accordingly, at four PM we set out in the boat for the head of the inlet at the extremity of the bay, a distance of ten miles, where we intended to sleep, in order to set off early in the morning. The entrance to this inlet is narrow and shoal, and the tide runs in and out with great rapidity. We with difficulty scraped over the bar, then turned short on the starboard hand where there is a deep channel, the centre of the inlet being one great sandBanks. All the head of St. George's Bay seems to be undergoing the process of filling up. The south shores of the bay are composed chiefly of soft red sandstone, the debris of which is washed up the bay by the tide, and sometimes drifted no doubt by the heavy southwest gales. The sandBanks in the inlet extended from its mouth about two-thirds of its length; the upper part had deep water; it was therefore evidently not filled up by the washings of the brooks, but by that of the tide. In the middle of the sandBanks lay an old schooner, which had been wrecked outside and drifted in here. At the head of the inlet we found a brook coming in on its south side, nearly 100 yards across, but with a very shallow bed, and full of rocks and boulders. At the mouth of this was a little strand backed by a slight face of rock or little cliff about ten feet high. Against this face of rock some sticks were laid and covered with bark, the ends being closed by posts, with moss stuffed between them. Some stones reared at one end formed the fireplace, and a small square aperture at the other served for a door. The dimensions of this little cabin were about ten feet in length, six feet in width, and the roof sloped from about five feet high on one side down to the ground on the other. Here we cooked our supper, and, after drying some fir boughs for a bed, lay down to sleep, there being just room enough for six people lying "heads and points," as the men called it, meaning heads and feet alternately.

August 29th.-We were up with the dawn, and while the breakfast was cooking Sulleon went to get a shot at some geese, but returned unsuccessful. We then took the boat to the north side of the inlet to the mouth of a little brook, where we hauled her up and secured her to a tree, hiding the oars and mast in the woods. It took us then some time to divide and strap on our several loads. We took in a small sprit-sail for Sulleon's boat, and a few tools to make a mast and an oar, a bag of bread, a small bag of flour, some pieces of pork, tea, sugar, and molasses, a hatchet or two, a large boat's kettle and a tea-kettle, rope, and various other articles. Sulleon had a bundle of his own of things he was taking in for his family, as he intended to live at the pond during the winter, besides his gun and ammunition. I had a box-sextant, and prismatic compass, a knapsack, containing notebooks, and a lot of biscuit, tea, loaf-sugar, two or three pounds of raisins, powder, shot, and balls, a lump of ham, and various other articles, and strapped on the top of it a blanket and mackintosh cape and leggings, besides a hammer-bag and hammer, a shot-belt and a double-barrelled gun, a small telescope, and lots of things in the pockets of my shooting-coat. We thus had all pretty good loads. We struck, near the mouth of the brook, into a little path leading through the woods, which none but an Indian would have found, and in about half a mile came out on a marsh. This had a gentle upward slope for about a mile, when it inclined the other way down to a skirt of wood bordering a brook. Scrambling through this, and walking a little way up the bed of the brook, we got out on another long flat marsh, where we called a halt. I here divested myself of my hammer-bag, and also of my blanket and mackintosh, and distributed them among the men, as I found my load too heavy. After toiling for two miles across this weary marsh we came again to some skirts of wood and a brook, and made some rapid turns among under wood and small wet spots to avoid large masses of wood. We were still gradually rising, and at length got up a steep little ascent on to a high level of tract of marsh three or four miles across. The wind was fresh and cool, moderating a little the great heat of the sun; and from the place where we now stood the scenery was very beautiful, but the extreme toil of the journey took away all pleasure in looking at it. When we set out Sulleon declared the distance to be about fifteen miles, and we intended to sleep that night on the Bankss of the pond. It was now three o'clock in the afternoon, and he told us we were only half way. It seems ridiculous to talk of walking seven miles and a half in about as many hours, but I really do not think the distance was more, and yet such was the nature of the country that we all felt knocked up. We toiled on, however, two or three miles farther, shooting a brace of ptarmigan on our way, when I found it would De hopeless to accomplish the journey before night; and, as Sulleon said there was a tilt in a wood close by, we made for it and found a tolerable hut, with the exception of the roof, which had fallen in. Relieved from our loads, we soon had the roof put to rights and slept soundly, with the exception of my luckily waking in the middle of the night just as the moss of the walls near the were was catching from the flames, and thus saving the house from being burnt down over our heads.

August 30th.-We awoke rather late this morning, the sun having just risen. Before starting we left sufficient provisions for a meal in the tilt against our return, in case of accidents, as, notwithstanding our heavy loads, we seemed scarcely to have brought enough to last us a week. It was a lovely morning, with little or no wind. A beautiful valley on our left winded down to St. George's Bay, over whose expanse we could see blue hills sweeping round in the distance, while on our right rose wooded eminences with a park-like scenery on their slopes. But oh how unlike a park when we came to traverse it! What would I not have given for a few miles of the fine turf of old England, or even a heathery Scotch mountain; anything but the rough, uneven, scrubby, yet soft and wet spongy mass of moss we had to stumble through, with a step between walking and jumping! The Indian got on most easily, with his toes turned in, his back bent, and a light yet slouching kind of gait, dexterously avoiding both the high knobs and the deep holes, and keeping a steady pace over all impediments. After crossing the large marsh we were in, and two smaller ones, we came to a little circular pond, round which we went, and, passing through another small marsh, entered the skirt of woods bordering the grand pond. This wood where we crossed it was about three miles wide. The trees generally were by far the finest I had seen, and they stood wider apart, and were more open and easy to traverse, so that we could see easily twenty or thirty yards on each side of us. Many, however, had fallen across our path, which was by no means too free from obstruction About half way through the woods we crossed a brook, flowing east, and falling into the pond. We then ascended for some distance up a gentle slope, and at length from the brow of a small cliff caught our first sight of the Grand Pond. And a beautiful sight it was; a narrow strip of blue water, widening as it proceeded to about two miles, lay between bold rocky precipices covered with wood, and rising almost directly from the water to a height of 500 or 600 feet, having bare tops a little farther back at a still greater elevation. The pond stretched directly from us for the first six or seven miles towards the east-southeast, when it curved gradually round towards the north, enclosing the end of a lofty island, and the water passed out of sight between the hills. At the foot of the eminence on which we stood a considerable brook, thirty or forty yards across, but narrow and full of boulders, ran down through the woods towards the pond. Passing down this we came in about a quarter of a mile to Sulleon's boat, secure and in good condition, on the Banks. We here thankfully laid down our burthens, and after resting a little, I began to feel very unwell, with headache and the feverish symptoms of influenza; a little tea, however, revived me, and, leaving the men to get ready the boat and bring it down the brook, I walked on with Sulleon to the mouth of the river and the pond. Here we found some black duck, and shot several, which, all hot and perspiring as I was, I foolishly waded after. Sulleon saw one of these ducks on the wing a long way off, and, pulling me down with him into some bushes, he pinched his nose with his finger and thumb, and then quacked so naturally that the bird flew right over us, and I shot him as he passed. Any device which induces wild animals to come within shot is called "tolling" them. A little along the south shore of the lake we found a wigwam, in good repair, of which we took possession, and began putting the boat in order, making a mast and a couple of oars, as there were only two in the boat. We found, by the wigwam, a birch-bark canoe, very nicely made, and of an elegant shape, which we launched, and amused ourselves by paddling about in it. We did not think it worth while to take it with us, however, as it required a kind of management in which none of us but Sulleon was skilled. We had a grand soup-making this evening of black ducks, which are excellent eating.

August 31st.-Very unwell this morning, and the weather very bad; we put off, however, in heavy rain, and with the wind dead against us. We were obliged to keep close inshore, and the boat, being small and heavily laden, made but slow progress. Arrived opposite the end of the island, we found a very good wigwam, where we determined to shelter, and where I lay all day with a headache, toothache, backache, and all the disagreeables of a regular cold. At night there was a violent gale from the northeast, that we expected every minute either to blow down the wigwam or to bring some of the trees down upon it.

September 2nd.-Sailed across the pond to a small brook near its northeastern extremity, where Sulleon had been told by another Indian that he had seen a considerable bed of coal about three years ago. We traversed the woods along the bed of the brook for about half a mile, when we came on some small cliffs formed by the washing away of the Banks. Most of these were covered with gravel and rubbish from above so as to conceal the regular strata, which appeared to consist of alternations of yellow sandstone and dark shale or indurated clay. About a mile up the brook, however, we came to a small cliff clearly exposed, and there between thin beds of shale and soft sandstone we found a bed of coal six inches thick, consisting principally of good cannel coal. The bed seen by the Indian was said to be three feet thick, and I have no doubt was now concealed by the rubbish in one of the cliffs below. We went some distance farther up the brook, but could find no more beds, though Sulleon picked up a lump of good coal six inches thick, and apparently a part of a larger mass; and as the current of the brook is very rapid, and its bed rocky, it must necessarily have come from above. What I had seen, however, was sufficient to prove that all these clays and sandstones, extending through the flat country round the head of the pond, belonged to a coal formation containing no doubt good beds of workable coal. The flat country we had now arrived at was the same we had reached up the Humber River, the forking of that river near the rapids whence we turned back not being at a greater distance than about eight miles from us. This flat country was of very considerable extent towards the north, as from the point where we slept last night I had noticed two or three low blue hills rising out of it in the distance, which Sulleon said were close to the head of White Bay. The cliffs and hills around the southwest end of the pond were composed of gneiss, mica slate, and granite, the two former of which were the same as the rocks we had found in the lower part of the Humber River. The air in the woods was most close and stifling, and the mosquitoes annoying beyond all conception, forming by no means the least of the impediments to steady geologizing in this country. Arriving again at the beach, Sulleon and I walked along it, as it was clear and sandy, and sent the men in the boat to a point about two miles distant, and in the centre of the head of the lake. We here found a fine river coming in from the north, fifty or sixty yards wide and several feet deep. The wind had again risen from the southwest, and the men came in drenched with spray, having had some difficulty in getting the boat off the shore. We found near the mouth of the river a pretty comfortable wigwam, where we dined, after which, as I had now ascertained the fact of the existence of coal, I wished to return, as our provisions began to run short. The wind, however, was too strong to admit of our making way against it, so we set off up the river in hopes of getting some game. We went up the stream for about three miles, till it became gradually too shoal to admit of our easy progress, without finding anything but a solitary diver, which we shot.

Sulleon told me that the river, which is easily navigable by a canoe, came out of another pond about six miles off. This pond is eight miles long, but near its southern end the river is again found, and, proceeding up it, three more ponds are met with, each about six miles long, and the last of which is about sixteen miles from Hall's Bay. The Indians, carrying their canoes overland from this pond, come in about half a mile to another brook, down which they proceed to Hall's Bay. Returning to the grand pond, about three miles west of the mouth of the river, an equally large river, if it be not considered the same, runs out of the pond into the Humber River, being the branch of that river from which we last turned back in our former excursion. The distance along the winding of this branch he gave as eight or ten miles, but he said it was too full of rapids to admit of the passage of anything but a canoe, which could be lifted out occasionally and carried.

On going back to the wigwam we shot a couple of "twillecks," a grey long-legged bird, about the size and shape of a plover, that frequents the shores of the lakes and arms of the sea. These two, with the small duck or diver, served us as dinner and supper that night, and breakfast the next morning, with the addition of tea and a cake of bread each. This was not a very plentiful repast, but with their usual improvidence the men had wasted the provisions while they lasted, and now were likely to fare but poorly unless the wind moderated.

September 3rd.-At three o'clock this morning, the wind having moderated, and the moon being high and bright, we got our things into the boat and rowed off. It was dreadfully cold till after the sun rose, and then the wind freshened. We held on, however, hugging the western shore of the lake, and by eight o'clock we calculated we had made fifteen miles, when we landed to breakfast. The cliffs here consisted of red marls and sandstones, but upon nearing the island we came upon slaty rocks again. As soon as we opened the channel on the northwest side of the island, the wind met us with increased violence, so, hoisting the sail of the boat, we crossed over to the entrance of the opposite channel, where we were more sheltered. We here landed to examine some small ponds in the wood in hopes of finding geese, but were disappointed. We got, however, a quantity of berries, especially a kind the men called "squashberries," a bright red berry, the size of a currant, growing on a straggling bush six or eight feet high. They were pulpy, sharp, and juicy, and not unpleasant. I had brought a pointer with me called Bell, and as we had lately lived chiefly on water-birds, whose bones she refused, I had been obliged to share my biscuit with her. I taught her, however, now to eat berries. Soon after entering the channel between the island and the main we came to a narrow part where two sandy points stretched opposite to each other. This, Sulleon said, was a favourite place for deer to swim across, and as we found a good wigwam we camped here for the chance. We found on the sand abundance of the fresh tracks of these deer or caribou, one of which was actually not dry, the animal having, apparently, come out of the water and gone off at our approach. We waited in vain, however, for more, but luckily shot a couple of divers, which served us for supper. The men's bread was now all gone, and we had nothing but tea and our guns for support. I had, however, kept in my knapsack a private store of half a dozen biscuits and a piece of ham, against an emergency, as also a bunch or two of raisins, and we had still a little flour left in the bag, for thickening our soup.

September 4th.-We put off at daylight, and rowed some time against a head wind, the cliffs on each side getting gradually steeper and more lofty. At eight o'clock we found we had barely made three or four miles, the point we had left being still visible. We were now on the island side of the channel, and, coming to a little strand where there was a small wigwam, we landed to breakfast. It would evidently never do to go on at that rate, and, if the wind continued or increased, we might be three or four days in reaching the southwest extremity of the pond, where we had left some provisions. Sulleon said this island was a good place for deer; accordingly I produced the remaining stock of my provisions, and, sharing them equally among all hands, we determined, after having a tolerable breakfast, to hunt for a caribou. Leaving two men with the boat, the two others, Sulleon, and myself, set off with our guns. After a stiff and toilsome climb up the woody precipice we arrived at some open marshes at the top, sloping gently towards the centre ofthe island, where were several ponds, one about three miles long. There were plenty of deer-tracks, but no deer visible. Among some craggy rocks, however, we found an abundance of bilberries, with which, after walking some hours, we partly satisfied our appetites, and Bell learned soon to pick them for herself. We then separated; Sulleon went down to the pond, while I went up to some rocky eminences to try to find some ptarmigan, the utter absence of which rather surprised us. After hunting some time in vain, I heard a shot, and shortly after another. Running was out of the question, but I made what haste I could across the marsh to the knoll where I had left the two men stationed with my rifle. They had heard no shot, but on looking about we saw Sulleon sitting on a rock about half a mile off, and on our coming up to him he said, with all the unconcern in the world, "I had killed a fat buck." Following him down through a thicket into a little marsh, we found the fellow lying on his back, a great beast as big as a small heifer, and shot right through the heart. Sulleon had seen him swim across the pond in the centre of the island, watched where he landed, and stole down through the tangled woods, as none but an Indian can steal, till he came within thirty yards of the beast without disturbing him. We shortly had him shinned, embowelled, cleaned, and cut up. Sulleon being used to it doubled up one side for his load, which could not be less than a hundredweight, my two men took a quarter each, while I made a bundle of the lower jaw with the tongue, the heart, the liver, and a good portion of the tripe, &c., selected by Sulleon, and used by him for different purposes, all wrapped up in the skin. We were now three miles from the boat, the island being five miles across, and had a pretty stiff march across the marshes and barrens under a hot evening sun and our sufficiently heavy loads. We were, however, all in high spirits; and on reaching the precipitous wooded Banks of the lake we started on a kind of race to see which should be first to carry the news to the boat. We consequently all lost our way in the woods, all had tumbles, and my bundle fell from my back, and its contents got loose, by which means I arrived last at the camp. Great was the frying, roasting, boiling, frizzling, and stuffing of maws, Bell being by no means the least happy of the party, as venison liver and bones met with her decided approval. Great also was the talking and laughing; and when Sulleon told us in his quiet grave manner that, in coming down the woods, "I fell, my God, at least ten yards!" one would have thought it an excellent sally of wit by the peals of laughter with which it was echoed,-

For mountain lads can lof at turning of a straw.

Our only drawback was the want of bread and salt, but nothing in this life can be perfect. There was a fine aurora at night, but the rocks and woods above and opposite to us intercepted our view of it. Soon after there were some heavy showers of rain, but

After that fitful supper we slept well.

September 5th.-At dawn this morning we stowed our meat and baggage in the boat, covering it with the deer skin. The morning was perfectly calm, but foggy, with occasional showers. I noticed before we went off that a piece of wood which we threw into the water floated regularly alongshore in the direction we' were going, or towards the southwest end of the pond. Sulleon said there was often a tide in the pond after a high wind. This is no doubt caused by the Banksing up of the water at one end from the pressure of the wind. There is only one brook runs out of the pond,-namely, that at the northwest corner, which goes to join the Humber, whose stream is quite inconsiderable compared with the body of water in the lake, and therefore could produce no current either way. Sulleon told me this morning that he had spent two or three severe winters on the Bankss of the Grand Pond; and that while about fifteen miles of the northeast end of it was frozen over completely every winter, he had never seen the southern part near the island "set fast," or sufficiently frozen over to enable him to cross. This fact goes in corroboration of the statement of the enormous depth of the southwest end of the pond, where the water is narrow and the Bankss lofty, compared with the northwest end, where me lake is broader and the shores flat. The bottom of the lake at its southwest end must be 300 or 400 feet at least below the level of the sea. One is puzzled to understand the formation of such a deep narrow ravine among these hills, the height of the hills above the sea being by no means great. But, indeed, these narrow crevices are frequent in Newfoundland, and more frequent beneath the level of the sea than above it, as the number of narrow inlets eating into the coast will testify, they having often a length of ten or twenty miles, a breadth of one or two, and a depth of upwards of 100 fathoms, while the cliffs on each side of them are often not more than 100 feet in height. Two faults near together throwing down the intermediate piece might explain these clefts, but their course is often winding, while we should conceive that two parallel faults of that magnitude would almost necessarily be straight.

The morning continuing quite calm we rowed steadily on, and reached the southwest extremity of the lake between two and three o'clock. Sulleon then proceeded to cut some of the meat of the venison into long strips, which he hung up in the wigwam on sticks over the fire, and meant to leave it there till we came in with his family. The Indians dry the venison in the smoke in this way till it assumes the appearance of old leather, and then use it without cooking, carrying it with them in their hunting excursions. Sulleon told me that he himself had killed upwards of fifty deer during the last winter chiefly by watching them swim across the lake at particular points, and then chasing them in his canoe and stabbing them in the water with a short iron spear, which is always kept in the canoe for that purpose. The English settlers have a more cruel method, as when they catch a deer in the water they break his back with a hatchet. The animal can then still swim, and they drive it before them; but the moment it gets on shore it falls, when they dispatch it. This is simply to save themselves the trouble of hauling it into the boat or towing it after them, and I was glad to see Sulleon join me in expressing abhorrence of such unnecessary cruelty. When Sulleon had taken what meat he wanted we took the bones out of the remainder and packed it up to carry out. We then amused ourselves in firing at a mark and paddling the canoe. This canoe, made merely of birch bark sewed neatly over a light frame of thin wood, looks the frailest of all nutshells. It will live, however, they say, in a heavy sea merely from its lightness and buoyancy. It was about ten feet long and two feet broad, sharp at both ends and round-bottomed, and I have certainly no wish ever to experience its qualities in a heavy sea or a gale of wind. I was told that Indians had crossed in them from Cape North in the island of Cape Breton to Cape Ray in Newfoundland, a distance of sixty or seventy miles, part of it out of sight of land; but I should greatly doubt the truth of the statement.

September 6th.-In setting out this morning we were delayed a good deal by getting the boat aground at the mouth of the brook, and having to drag it up into a place of concealment. It was thus half-past seven o'clock before we had fairly got our loads on our shoulders and set off into the woods. The morning was heavy and dull, with a driving fog and an easterly wind, and just as we set off it began to rain. The first plunge into the bushes wetted us to the skin, and was like stepping into a cold bath. Every stick was so wet and slippery that it took us nearly four hours to get through the three miles of wood, being delayed, however, twenty minutes by one of the men dropping his bundle and losing his way. On getting out into the barrens and marshes we found the wind very cold and driving a deluge of rain upon our backs. With great care we managed to keep our guns dry for some time; and coming down on a little pond we shot a black duck. Presently after we came on a covey of ptarmigan, quite tame, and apparently unwilling to get up; of these we shot three brace. At one o'clock we reached the tilt in the woods where we had slept as we came in. We were now thoroughly drenched. Determined to make a bold push to get back to St. George's Harbour and our little vessel tonight, I only allowed one hour to cook and eat dinner and tea and start again. Accordingly, at two o'clock we were again on our way, and toiled vigorously over the soaked marshes, and through the cold wet woods. We saw abundance of ptarmigan and several flocks of wild geese, but by this time our guns were useless from the wet, and we had no time to spare had they been dry. Between four and five we made a simultaneous halt beside a small brook, and one and all declared we could go no farther without something to eat. We accordingly unpacked some cold venison; and I got out a lump of sugar I had left, and dissolving it in water made one of the most pleasant and refreshing draughts that can be taken on a hard march. Sulleon said venison was the weakest of all meat, meaning that one became sooner hungry again after eating it. Salt pork, he said, satisfied the appetite longer than anything else. In passing over the last two or three miles of march the men began to flag very much, as our bundles and clothes being saturated with wet increased our burdens somewhat. Sulleon also complained of a pain in his stomach from over-fatigue. We kept steadily on, however, and just as it was beginning to get dusk reached the last ridge and the skirt of the last half mile of wood. We had some difficulty in hitting on the little track among the bushes at the skirt of the wood, and had we missed it all our labour would have been in vain, and we must have passed the night where we were. Luckily, however, Sulleon smelt it out, and traversing the woods as rapidly as we could we reached our boat just as it got too dark to proceed any farther. Here we gladly threw down our bundles, hauled the boat into deep water, stepped the mast and bent the sail, and were soon rapidly drifting down the inlet before a strong east wind. For the first quarter of an hour we were in high spirits, but as the cold wind blew through our wet clothes the talking and laughing gradually died away, and we sat shivering in the boat in silence. Though wrapped in my blanket and cape, I think I never passed a more wretched time of two hours and a half than this, as, crouched in the stern of the boat, I in vain peered through the darkness to get a glimpse of some light on shore or the form of some land by which to mark our progress. At length we passed into the harbour, struck the side of our vessel, up which I could hardly climb for numbness, and astonished Gaden the skipper with our appearance at this time of night. A glass of brandy all round, however, prepared us for a supper of hot venison; and taking off my clothes for the first time for ten days, I soon slept off the fatigue between the blankets in my berth.

September 7th.-Very busy all day writing out notes, drawing maps, &c. Just by the southwest extremity of the Grand Pond is a large bare round-topped hill, plainly visible from St. George's Harbour, from which it bears due northeast, true bearings. This hill Sulleon called Hare Hill, from the abundance of hares upon it. It must be about 1000 feet in height. None of the land we passed over rose more than 400 or 500 feet above the sea, and a road might readily be constructed across it. If necessary at any time, by means of a few canoes, an easy communication might then be kept up by means of the ponds and rivers between St. George's Bay and Hall's Bay. A hill on the southeast side of the pond, about ten miles from its northeastern extremity, called by Sulleon Ories Hill, is a conspicuous object. The contrary winds and our shortness of provisions would not allow me to visit it, which I regretted greatly, as from its summit Sulleon said the Red Indian Pond might be seen a day's journey to the east, and a very lofty hill forty miles off (by his estimate) in the southeast, which may probably be the Mount Misery or Jamieson's Mountain of Mr. Cormack. Were the western side of the island settled, the Bankss of the Humber and the north end of the Grand Pond would be by far the most favourable spots for an inland population. The soil is richer, and the inland communication might be greatly extended by means of a few roads between the ponds and rivers.


Page contributed by: Bill Crant, February 22nd, 2000
Page revised: Sept 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)