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The Markland Experiment: The Victoria Connection

By Frank E. Clarke




In September of 1963 I was hired to teach at Markland No. 1. I had just finished a summer school teaching program and was given my first job. As was common those days I got a boarding house with and William and Anne Antle and settled in. Shortly after arriving there I began to hear stories that linked Victoria to Markland. I did not give it much thought at the time as I was busy teaching grades kindergarten to 8 in a single classroom. Eventually I moved to live with my Aunt Mabel and Uncle George who had been one of the first settlers at Markland and they told me a brief history of the place. My interest was aroused and over the years I have tried to find out as much as I could about how the place was settled and what people from Victoria moved there.

In 1934, with the Labrador fishery in its death throes, 28 families from Victoria took part in a land settlement scheme and moved to Markland. This community was founded as an experimental land settlement agricultural community in 1934. The "Markland Experiment" began in the spring of that year when a group of private citizens in St. John's approached the Commission of Government, offering to act as trustees for ten families of ex-servicemen who wished to farm as an alternative to collecting welfare. Beginning in 1934 Commissioners Thomas Lodge and John Hope Simpson began to promote an expansion of Markland as an experiment in "social regeneration." A manager was appointed for the settlement, Rudolph Cochius, and homes were provided for 120 families in six numbered "communities," as well as two sawmills, a store, two interdenominational "folk," schools (the writer taught at Markland #1 School in 1963-64) a furniture-making shop and a cottage hospital. Settlers were recruited from the areas hardest hit by the Depression-chiefly St. John's and Conception Bay (particularly Victoria). By the 1935 Census there were 635 residents.

An examination of census data and government documents reveals the following information with regards to those directly involved in the experiment. Those people who moved from Victoria to Markland are marked with an asterisk. In most cases they took their entire family with them and settled on land granted by the government.


Anderson, Geoffrey, Agriculturist
Ash, Charles, Superintendent at Vinland
Ash, Miss Sadie, Nurse
Badcock, A. C., Local Manager (Markland
Burry, Ross, Assistant to local Manager at Haricot
Carnell, Roy, Supervisor of Community No. 3
Chafe, George, Superintendent of Community No. 1
Clouston, Weldon, Agriculturist
Cochius, Miss Clara, Teacher in charge
Cochius, R H K, General Manager
Cullen, Stan, Assistant to Agriculturist
Dawson, John, Superintendent of Community No. 2
Drover, Jack, Surveyor
Fearn, Basil, Local Manager (Haricot)
Gent, William, Assistant to Construction Superintendent
Gill, Herbert, Investigation Officer				
Gillingham, Kitchener, Superintendent of Community No. 6
Martin, Miss Pauline, Teacher
Mews, Doris M., Steno-secretary
Molley, Miss Kitty, Teacher
Rowe, Ernest, Assistant to Investigating Officer
Stentaford, Alec, Superintendent of Communities No. 4 and 5
Thistle, Miss Beatrice, Teacher
Thistle, Roy, Architecture and Construction
Wylie, Victor, Road Construction

	People Who Took Part in the Experiment

Adams, Cecil, Accountant (Haricot)
Antle, Hedley, Farmer*
Antle, John, Farmer*
Antle, Joseph, Farmer*
Baldwin, Bert, Farmer*
Baldwin, Joseph, Farmer*
Baldwin, Nicholas, Farmer*
Baldwin, Walter, Farmer*
Bright, Edward, Farmer*
Burke, John, Farmer*
Butler, Charles, Store Assistant
Cardwell, Ernest, Store Assistant
Chambers, Malcolm, Truckman
Clarke, Charles, Farmer*
Clarke, Earl, Farmer*
Clarke, George, Farmer**
Clarke, Isaac, Farmer*
Clarke, Leonard, Farmer*
Clarke, Leonard, Farmer* (Not the same as above)
Clarke, Oscar, Farmer*
Clarke, William, Assistant Accountant*
Cole, Elias Jr., Farmer*
Cole, Elias, Sr., Farmer*
Cole, James, Farmer*
Cole, John, Farmer*
Cole, Murdock, Farmer*
Cole, Samuel, Farmer*
Comby, Ambrose, Farmer
Cox, Simon, Farmer
Crowley, William, Farmer
Davis, James, Store Assistant
Dean, Samuel, Farmer*
Dean, Walter, Farmer*
Deering, Arthur, Farmer*
Devereaux, Vincent, Farmer
Devoe, Raymond, Farmer
Didham, William, Cook
Dodd, George, Farmer
Erley, J, Farmer
Foley, Michael, Farmer
Frampton, W.J., Store Assistant*
Frampton, William, Farmer*
Gillingham, Isaac, Farmer
Gorman, J., Farmer
Griffin, John, Truckman
Hall, Thomas, Farmer
Hannaford, James, Expressman
Hogan, John, Farmer
Hunt, Paul, Farmer
Hurley, William, Farmer
Hussey, Stan, Farmer
Hutchings, George, Farmer
Hutchings, John, Farmer
Hutchings, Stanley, Farmer
Hynes, John, Farmer
Ivey, James, Farmer
Janes, Alexander, Farmer
Johnson, James, Farmer
Jones, Roy, Farmer
Kelloway, Mark, Farmer
Kennedy, Richard, Expressman
King, William, Farmer*
Lidstone, William, Farmer
Luffman, George, Farmer
Luffman, Harold, Farmer
Luffman, Ronald, Farmer
Luffman, Thomas, Farmer
Luffman, William, Farmer
McCarthy, Edward, Farmer
McCarthy, James, Farmer
McGory, David, Farmer
McGrath, P., Farmer
Madden, Luke, Farmer
Moore, Chesley, Farmer
Moore, Lloyd, Farmer
Moore, Wilson, Farmer
Morecombe, George, Farmer
Mulrooney, George, Farmer
Murphy, A., Farmer
Noseworthy, Thomas, Farmer
O'Reilly, William, Farmer
Parsons, Bernard, Farmer*
Parsons, Henry, Farmer*
Parsons, William, Farmer*
Penney, Harold, Farmer*
Penney, J. Penney*
Penney, John, Farmer*
Pomeroy, William, Farmer
Power, J., Farmer
Purcell, Richard, Farmer
Pynn, C. H., Farmer
Robinson, Ronald, Farmer
Ryan, Michael, Farmer
Sellars, William, Farmer
Sheppard, Max, Farmer
Slade, Ezekiel, Farmer
Smith, Arthur, Farmer
Snooks, Joseph, Farmer*
Snow, Charles, Farmer
Snow, Edward, Farmer
Snow, William, Farmer
Spencer, Frederick, Accountant 
Stevenson, Frederick, Farmer*
Stevenson, William, Farmer*
Sweetland, L, Farmer
Thorne, William, Store Assistant
Vaters, Robert, Farmer*
Warren, Frederick, Farmer
Warren, Patrick, Farmer
Warren, Thomas, Farmer
Warren, William, Farmer
White, Harold, Farmer*
Woolridge, Richard, Farmer
Yetman, Alex, Farmer
Yetman, Alexander, Farmer
Yetman, Llewelyn, Farmer
The great expectations that were held for the experiment did not materialize. It became clear that this form of land settlement could not cure Newfoundland's social and economic ills. Within three years many of the residents from Victoria, who had gone to Markland, had returned. Today few of the family names still found in Markland have roots in Victoria. Among those remaining are Antle, Parsons, and Baldwin.

** Uncle George and aunt Mabel stayed on. After the World War II ended he went to work at the Argentia. He continued to operate a small family garden for the remainder of his life. Together they had nine children: Ralph
None of them live at Markland today.




Page transcribed by:
Page revised: Oct. 2002 (Terry Piercey)

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