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Pack's Pond - Victoria

by
Frank E. Clarke

 

 

For numerous decades people form Victoria have been trouting at Pack's Ponds. These two ponds, which cover a large area on the Heart's Content barrens have been visited for generations but for the most part, few people have no idea how they got their name. Like many other communities in the area, Victoria was frequented by people from Carbonear. A resident of that town is believed to have named the ponds in honor of a very famous resident Robert Pack.. Robert Pack (1780-1860) was, according to The Dictionary of National Biography Volume VIII and The Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador Volume IV, a merchant and a politician who was born in Dorset, England, son of Stephen and Olivia (Horwood) Pack. He married Anna Ash around 1830. He was one of the first English merchant's to make his permanent home in Conception Bay. Pack came to the Island as an apprentice clerk in 1801. After several years with the Kemp firm he established his own fishery supply business in Carbonear.

In 1811 he entered into partnership with George Blacker of Dartmouth, Devon, but the partnership ended two years later. Pack then took another Dorset merchant, William Fryer, as a partner, and was later joined by John Gosse, Sr.(1767-1834) who had a growing trade in Carbonear with interests in the Labrador fishery. Pack who, at the time operated a business in Bay Robert's . Together with Gosse and Fryer they formed the firm of Gosse, Pack and Fryer. They had branches of their company in Spaniard's Bay, Brigus and Bay Robert's in addition to their main branch in Carbonear. In 1832 he was elected MHA for Conception Bay in the first election under the new system of representative government. After the results of the 1836 election were invalidated, he retired from politics, believing the Liberal party to be too closely associated with the Roman Catholic church and political radicalism. By the 1850s the firm of Pack, Gosse and Fryer was the largest in Carbonear. It ended in 1858 after the deaths of Fryer and Gosse and when Pack himself was 72. Pack was a founding member of the Carbonear Commercial Society, a governor of the Newfoundland Savings Banks and a Justice of the Peace for Carbonear. Pack's connection to Victoria was no doubt due to his involvement in the Labrador Fishery. A large number of residents of Victoria at the time were engaged in the Labrador fishery and no doubt came in contact with him. Being an avid out-door's man he frequently hunted and fished in the backwoods of Carbonear and Victoria.

Another link with Victoria came about when he developed the property known as the Rural Retreat, which we know today as Soper's Farm. According to The Compass the house was built in 1829. When he died in 1860 Pack's wife Ann managed the property until she died in 1862. The property then went to her son Samuel*1 who died in 1867. The property was later sold to John Langford Peach in late 1867. Following Peach's death in 1891, the farm was left to his son James who turned the property over to his youngest daughter Ida Grace. In 1933 she married George Edward Soper. George died in 1989 and Ida Grace passed away in 1990 and the farm went to the surviving children, Ida and Margaret. Over the years numerous people from Victoria have worked on the farm. As well many residents remember going out to the farm to buy milk and on many occasions held picnics there with their friends.

 

 

Page contributed by: Frank Clarke
Page revised: Oct. 2002 (Terry Piercey)

ERRATA
NAMEDESCRIPTION OF ERRORREPORTED BY
PACK, Samuel William*1 Our family records indicate that Samuel William Pack died in Sioux City, Iowa, USA, 24 December 1881. Brent Young - brymariner@yahoo.com
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