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Mr. Joseph Phillips came over to Newfoundland from Scotland, so I have been given to understand some time in the last half of the ninteenth century and settled at Twillingate in Notre Dame Bay.  Sometime later he moved to Gander Bay and started a large sawmill operation near the mouth of the Great Gander River and secured controll of large areas of rich timber limits around the Gander Lake.   He also had a similar outfit but on a much smaller scale, at New Bay in the Leading Tickles area.

He had a son whose name was George Leamington and he named his Gander Bay mill site Georges Point, and his New Bay  site Point Leamington.  Joseph Phillips died a Gander Bay and his body was laid to rest in the Church of England Cemetary on Salt Island, and island about one mile from the estuary of the Gander River. A tombstone was errected to his memory and still stands. If I ever go to the settlement again and I am planning to do so this coming summer, I must remember to read the inscription there on if it is still readable.  I believe it was at that time the only consecrated burying ground in the Bay.  That is about all I know about the original developer of that enterprize.

His son George L. married a Miss Eliza Jane Bursey of Change Islands, daughter of John Bursey who came to Gander Bay when the mill and woods operation began like many people did and lived in a house near the Phillips household location just across the mouth of the Barry River, a short distance from the mill site.  As far as I can remember there were two daughters and one son in the Bursey family.

[Note by Frances Bursey: Eliza Jane Bursey was Dads (Philip Bursey) 1st cousin][Note by D. Bursey: Thomas and Grace Bursey who lived in Gander Bay had a daughter Eliza Jane born in 1872. I think this is probably the same one who married George Phillips ___She was the daughter of Tom not John.]

They were: Mrs. Phillips, Agie or Agnes who married William Eastman and their brother Abe (or Abram or Abrem) who was the youngest of the family and as far as I know never married.  He was taking out a young woman, Victoria Gillingham, daughter I believe of Wm.. Gillingham of Clarkes Head on the North Side of the Bay. As I remember it they were skating across the Bay and she fell through the ice.  He rescued her and brought her to her home, she took a severe chill from the icy water which developed into some kind of fever and she passed away soon after.  Another relative of that family was Miss. Sussie Bursey who was a small, deformed person but a very religious and zealous one.  She was the supertendent of the Sunday School for many years. They were members of the Wesleyian Methodist Church.  Although I was an Anglican ( C of E ) them and still am I attended the Methodist day and Sunday School for a few years and for 2 or 3 years I even taught a class of boys on Sundays.  Sussie used to conduct a class meeting or revival class after the regular classes were over and she would pray fervently for all classes of men and woman, for sinners and backsliders and especially for our unconverted Sunday School class teacher.

The logging operations were carried on  on the South West and North West brooks flowing into the Gander Lake and the big pine logs towed by water wheel tugs down the lake to Glenwood and driven down the Gander River to Georges Point.  I can remember playing around some of these huge logs hide and seek.  Some of them 36 inches in diameter. Most of the sawn lumber was shipped to the South American market in large sailing ships.  In the years 1899-1900 the company got into financial difficulties and lost controll of all the holdings.  It was taken over by the Newfoundland Timber Estates about 1903 or 4.  That was when I started work in the sawmill area then office boy and store clerk and finally as tally master and shipping clerk.  After 3 years of operation the Timber Estates also got into financial difficulties and I believe went Banksrupt; and some of the timber land was taken over by the Reid Newfoundland Co. Ltd., operators of the Railway.

(This part repeats some of the last paragraph)

It was with the Timber Estates that I got my first job.  First summer in the sawmill, the next year in the supply store and office boy and the following summer as shipping clerk and tally master.

Lewis Miller was also operating at the time on the E?????  (Exploits)River and had lumber camps and saw mills around the Red Indian Lake and exported his lumber or most of it via rail to Lewisporte; hence the names Millertown and Lewisporte. My last job with that firm was the shipping of the last of the lumber assets, some to the South American market and the remainder to the local trade.  Several cargo to the Horwood Lumber Co. ???(St Johns) and others to places along the straight shores of Notre Dame  and Bonavista Bay by smaller schooners  whose owners took advantage of some good seasoned lumber to build homes and Churches and schools in the various communities at very low prices.

I well rember the last cargo shipped to the South American market by the large 4 masted sailing ship the Neptune of 1500 tons which carried 1500,000 Ft. Board measure all prime white pine A and B grades. The Georges Point outfit was a huge affair with wharves stretching for half a mile or more along the shore of the Bay.  There are perhaps some relics of its former greatness still there __ old steam boilers, peirs etc.  There is one man that I should have mentioned in this resume because he played and important roll in the whole venture from and including the Phillips operations to its final demise.  He was Mr. Charles T(or S) Rowland and his wife Sarah Colebourne, both of Twillingate. Mr. Rowland was chief accountant and office manager for the Phillips group and also for the Timber Estates and general manager when the movable assets were being disposed of.  He also kept a diary of the important events during his long tenor of office and the depth and tempertures of the waters around the premises.  I understand that the document was presented to the Newfoundland Government Archives before his death

Ken Payne


There were I think three children born to George L. Phillips marriage.

They were: Claude the eldest boy Joseph (Dubby) and a child born just prior to Mr. Phillips death or soon after and was taken by a relative to Canada. I can't remember if it was a boy or girl neither do I know what became of it.  The two boys moved with the mother to Grand Falls. They both worked with the ???(A N D or A R D)Co. Claude in the purchasing dept and Dubby was a blacksmith.


[note made by Frances Bursey: Aunt May Bursey (Uncle Geralds first wife) told me some years ago that this child was taken care of by a family by the name of Bingham and was known as Betty Bingham ]

[note by D. Bursey: According to Frances in a conversation on Jan. 26 2001 Eliza Jane BURSEY PHILLIPS married a DECKER after the death of George PHILLIPS.]

I talked to Frances Bursey on Jan. 26th 2001 and she told me that she met Ken Payne more that 13 years ago in St. Johns and that he was in his 90s then.  Ken was originally from Fogo Island and Frances is from Change Islands.  With that as a common background they began to talk and discovered that each of them knew Gander Bay and some of its residents.  He told her the story of the Phillips Company and then he went home and wrote it up for her.



Page transcribed by: Doreen Bursey (January 2001)
Page revised: Oct. 2002 (Terry Piercey)

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