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.