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St. Thomas

 

 

History

St.Thomas,Newfoundland was called Horse Cove,before 1922, The name was changed by, an Act of the then Government of Newfoundland, upon a petition from the residents of then small fishing and farming settlement,situated on the eastern shore of Conception Bay.The name "Thomas" was selected , by the then , majority Catholic population, to honour the" patron saint name"of the first pioneer parish priest on this side of Conception Bay: "Archdeacon Thomas O'Connor,PP.", Vicar General of the then Diocese of St.John's ,and pastor of Holy Rosary Parish, Portugal Cove Conception Bay, Newfoundland. Rt.Rev.Thomas O'Connor,was a native of Ireland , served the area from Keligrews to Torbay, including Bell Island. It was through his constant effort that the Horse Cove Line, (now St.Thomas Line) was constructed by the then Colonial Government, therefore, opening up a vast area for settlement. He served the area for over forty years and is buried at Portugal Cove, C.B., Newfoundland.

St.Thomas was first permanently settled around 1810, near the mouth of the Horse Cove Brook, by the families of Michael Lowry, (now Laurie), from Loughteeog, Parish of Stradbally, Queen's County, (now Co. Leix), Ireland . And Elias Picco of Portugal Cove. NL. Both Lowry & Picco were brothers-in-law ; their wives Mary & Annabelle Jennings were both sisters ,daughters of Edward & Bridget (Nearin) Jennings, Beachy Cove, (Portugal Cove), NL.

Around 1813, another brother-in -law, William Stapleton & Emmaline Jennings moved to the area, along with John Clark and wife (daughter of John Jennings & first cousin to the other Jennings sisters). John Clark was a native of Scotland and being the sole member of the Kirk of Scotland,in the entire area, converted to his wife's religion, Church of England, (now Anglican).

Other Irish families later followed:James Whelan,Michael Brennan,Thomas Travers and his older brother Patrick Travers. Along with his own family Patick Travers married, widow, Hanora Miller Lawlor of Portugal Cove and he raised her orphaned sons Martin & Robert Lawlor. Patrick Travers gave his stepsons their first land in St.Thomas and helped establish the Lawlor family in the area.

In the middle of the 19th century , the Neary family, from Portugal Cove settled in St.Thomas. Also, in the 1890's ,along with the large influx of people that settled the area , from the Upper Island Cove, Conception Bay. The Whalen & Quilty families resettted to St.Thomas , from the western side of the bay.

St. Thomas was incorporated as a municipality,in 1977. The population was 763 , in 1991. One year later in 1992 St.Thomas was amalgamated ,along with other unincorporated areas with Paradise. Today, Paradise has a population well over 12,000 people. It is also the fastest growing town in Atlantic Canada. St.Thomas with the amalgamation is now the oldest settled part of the town of Paradise.

 

 

Page written & contributed by Philip (Lowry) Laurie (2006)

Page Last Modified: Wednesday March 06, 2013 (Craig Peterman)

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