Presented by the
Newfoundland's Grand Banks Site
to assist you in researching your Family History

Click on the graphic below to return to the NGB Home Page
Newfoundland's Grand Banks

To contribute to this site, see above menu item "About".

These transcriptions may contain human errors.
As always, confirm these, as you would any other source material.

Western Star Archived Obits and Tid Bits
1941 to 1950



The Western Star, 1941
Summerside notes:

Mr. John HUNT visited by his 3 daughters: Mrs. Harrison BRAKE, Mrs. Ernest CORBIN and Mrs. O. SNELGROVE.
(transcriber's note: John Mills HUNT, 1862-1947, was the son of George Benjamin and Lucy HUNT.)

Wednesday, February 5, 1941
The death of Mr. George HUNT occurred at his home in Petries Crossing last Wednesday morning after a long illness. He's survived by his wife and three small children. Funeral took place at St Mary's Church Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday, March 19, 1941

  • Casualty List
    The Trade Commissioner for Newfoundland in London has informed the Director of Recruiting that the following are missing on war service:-
    O.S., M.C.KENNEDY, R.N., son of Mr. W. G. Kennedy, Kelligrews.
    O.S.,W. MERCER, R.N., son of Mrs. Alice Mercer, Upper Island Cove.
    O.S., D.D.SNOW, R.N., son of Mrs. Annie Snow, Bay Roberts.
    O.S., A. McKINNON, son of Mr. Angus McKinnon, McDougall's Gulch, St. Andrew's.

  • Sets a Record
    A schooner arrived at Twillingate from St. John's on 4th inst. She left St. John's on 26th February and made the trip north in six days. We believe this is the first time in history that a schooner has made that trip in mid-winter as at this time of year, comments the Twillingate Sun, on the north-east coast from Cape Freels north navigation is impossible owing to ice. It is within the memory of many when schooners seldom attempted the voyage from St. John's to Twillingate after Christmas.

  • Flower's Cove U.C. Church burned
    Word was received last week that the United Church at Flower's Cove had been destroyed by fire on Sunday, 9th March. The pulpit, organ and some pews were saved. But the loss of the building is a severe one to the congregation and to the place.

Excerpts from an article written by D.F.MEANEY and published in March 1941 in The Western Star.
The article was entitled:

Bay of Islands Old and New
Looking Back Over Sixty Years of Its History

"...The oldest settlers now amongst us place the time ( of the first settlers in Bay of Islands) around 1750....

...names of these pioneers...BRAKES and PARKS at Humbermouth then Riverhead, the LOADERS at Summerside first known as Loaders Cove, the BLANCHARDS some of whose descendants now live at Gilliams, DILLMANS at Dillmans Brook and HUGHES nearby at Hughes Brook, INGRAHAM at Ingraham's Point at the very entrance of the lower Humber River. The story goes that these were all English sailors whose years of service had elapsed whilst they were stationed here in British warships...

Some old timers have informed us that in their boyhood days they had heard their grandparents refer to the Jersey Settlement which as far as we can place was the present location of Christopher's Cove below Summerside; and that Indians had raided the settlement and massacred all the Jersey people who had settled there. It has not been possible to get any dependable data on this assertion. Many old people were inclined to the belief that the Jersey Settlement existed long before any of the English people had arrived here, although they too had been attacked by the Indians on several occasions and that DILLMAN and HUGHES had been killed by the Redmen....

...First Settlers In Corner Brook...One of the oldest inhabitants here some years ago told me the place was first known to him eighty years before as Chateau or "Shotto"....The first winter cabins he ever remembered seeing there were located about where Harvey & Company premises are now standing. One of the families were MOSHERS. There were two others all of whom came from Chateau Bay, Straits of Belle Isle. ...

..One of the first settlers over in the "Corner" (ie Corner Brook) was the grandfather or great-grandfather of the present older members of the GUSHUE family residing on Main Street....

..It was in that year (ie 1879) that BURNS and MURRAY of Halifax purchased the sawmill from a Mr. SILVER .....BURNS and MURRAY had bought a number of expert axe-men here from Nova Scotia and Baie de Chaleur, N.B. .... These young men remained here, amongst them were the late Henry McWHIRTER of Humbermouth, the late John HAYES of Petries...

.. After BURNS and MURRAY had purchased the mill from Mr. SILVER they appointed a Mr. TUPPER... as their agent here. The late Christopher FISHER arrived here about that time and became assistant to Mr. TUPPER. It was about that date also that the late John FARRELL, James STEWART and Duncan STEWART arrived here. The late Charles FARNELL arrived here in 1870 or 71 and erected a sawmill at Summerside which after operating for a while he sold to the late John PYNN who would probably be the grandfather of the present owners of the sawmill at Pynn's Brook, Summerside...

..In the fall of 1880 Mr. TUPPER left here for Halifax in the trading vessel the "James Dwyer". A storm started a day or so later and the vessel was never again heard from. Miss TUPPER a sister of the Manager left here the day previous to her brother in one of the coastal steamers either the "Plover" or "Curlew" and arrived in Halifax safely. This young lady was the first school teacher here....

..Two years later in 1882 the late Christopher FISHER purchased the sawmill...

..On April 4, 1900, the Editor of the Western Star was the late Walter S. MARCH, son of the former Magistrate at Curling, the late Levi MARCH...

..When the Railway reached Bay of Islands the business firms then existing here were: Thomas CARTER, Humbermouth who also carried on a fishing and supplying business at Summerside and Woods Island; FISHER'S Store, Corner Brook, located where the construction stores are at present; BAGG Brothers, Curling; M.E. BOLAND'S Store, Curling; RYAN'S Store, Curling; ANGWIN'S Store at Petries; BARTLETT'S Store also at Petries; Captain EVITTE'S Store at Benoit's Cove...

.Within a few years after the coming of the Railway, KNOWLINGS of St. John's had established a branch at Humbermouth and another at Petries; AYRE & Sons of St. John's a branch at Curling; J.H. BAGGS at Petries; A. JOSEPH at Humbermouth; T. BASHA at Curling; Eugene BAGGS at Curling. Just previous to the coming of the mill construction period the stores from Humbermouth to Petries were: Humbermouth - KNOWLINGS, ROSE, JOSEPH, FISHER'S and FARNELL'S; Corner Brook - FISHER'S, STEWARTS, GUSHUE: Curling - BAGG Bros., BAGGS Ltd., BASHA'S, WEBBER'S, AYRE & Sons, and PENNELL'S; at Petries - DUNPHY'S, BARTLETT'S, TURNER...

.One of the most successful fish buying establishments in the days prior to the coming of the Railway was owned by Captain EVITTE at Benoit's Cove. He was an American by birth and lived here many years...

All of the above articles for 1941 were contributed by Linda Elkins-Schmitt


June 10th, 1944
The Western Star Obituary
Mrs. Dorcas E. Porter

The death of Mrs. Porter, wife of Mr. H.T. Porter, occurred at their home at Petries Crossing, Thursday, June 1, at ten minutes to five, after an illness of several months. The late Mrs. Porter was formerly Miss Dorcas Ellen Miles, of Bonavista, but came to Bay of Islands after her marriage forty-three years ago. She lived at Mount Moriah and raised a family of two sons and five daughters. Eleven years ago the family took up residence at Petries Crossing. Mrs. Porter was 67 years of age, and is survived by her husband, two sons, Blandford of Mount Moriah and Herbert at Petries Crossing; four daughters, Mrs. Lester Allen, of Petries; Mrs. Ralph Ellsworth of Mount Moriah; Mrs. Frank L. Barrett of Huntingdon, P.Q., and Margaret at home, a number of grandchildren and other relatives. The funeral took place Sunday afternoon to St Mary's Church, and was conducted by Rev. H. Petley.
(Contributed by Linda Elkins-Schmitt)


Obits from Western Star, Bay of Islands, 1945

Jan 27th , 1945
Henry T. Porter

There passed away at his home in Petries on January 14, Henry T. Porter, aged 68. Mr. Porter was a former native of Elliston, Bonavista Bay, and came to Bay of Islands a number of years ago, since when he has been prominent in the herring packing business. He is survivied by two sons, Blandford and Herbert, at home; and four daughters, Mrs. R. Ellsworth, Mt. Moriah; Mrs Lester Allen, Petries; Mrs. Frank Barrett, Huntingdon, Que.; and Margaret at home. The funeral took place at St. Mary’s Church, Curling, on January 16th .

Jan 27th, 1945
Joseph Dennis

There passed away at his home at John’s Beach on January 11, Joseph Dennis, aged 77. He is survived by his wife, six sons: Leslie, Herbert, Joseph, and Augustus at home; Arthur at Deer Lake, and Albert at Toronto, Canada; and four daughters, Mrs. J. Darrigan, Mrs. P. Sweet, and May, living at Corner Brook; Mrs. John Musseau at Curling. Mr. and Mrs. Dennis would have celebrated their 53rd Wedding Anniversary on Friday of last week. The funeral took place at St. Andrews Church and interment at the Church of England Cemetery.

Jan 27th, 1945
Jack Seury

The death occurred at the City Hospital, Sydney, at an early hour on Friday, December 22, of Jack Seury. He had been ill for some months, and his death will be regretted by his many friends. Prior to his illness he was employed with the C.B. Co-Operative Dairymen on the Esplanade. Besides his widow, formerly Miss Ruby Brake of Meadows, he is survived by his mother, Mrs. Florence Cann, Sydney; on sister, Mrs Alfred Morrison, New Glasgow; and one brother, Fred, at home. The funeral service was held on Sunday afternoon from his late residence, 211 Rockdale Avenue, and was largely attended. After the short private service held at the home, the cortege then proceeded to Christ Church, where Rev F.R. Holbrow officiated at the funeral service. Pall bearers were members of the staff of the C.B. Co-Operative Dairy. A large number of mourners attended the service at the Church and the graveside in Hardwood Hill Cemetery, and the numerous floral offerings, telegrams, sympathy cards, and other expressions of sympathy showed the deep regret felt at the passing of Mr. Seury.

Jan 27th , 1945
Robert J Horward

There passed peacefully away at Corner Brook Hospital on Dec 3, after a very short illness, Robert J. Horward. Deceased was born at Cape Charles, Labrador, and was 55 years of age. He leaves to mourn, besides his widow, three daughters and one son, also two sisters: Mrs. A Stone, Henley Hr., Labrador, and Mrs. William Stone, Petries, and one brother, Hedley, residing at Mount Moriah, and a large number of other relatives and friends. The funeral took place at St. Mary's Church. Interment is St. Mary's cemetery.

Jan 27th, 1945
Mrs. Robert Howard
and family wish to thank all kind friends who helped in any way during the illness and at the death of their husband and father. Especially do they with to thank Drs. Connell and Dove and nurses of the Corner Brook Hospital, Rev. G. S. Templeton, Mr. and Mrs. E.H. Stone and family, Miss Hattie MacDonald; also Mrs. C. H. Ballam for rendering the music at the church; also all those who sent wreaths, letters, cards and messages of sympathy.

While reading editions of the Western Star from Sept 15, 1945 to Feb 1946 I noted the following death information. I did not transcribe the complete entry, just details of names and places in the hopes that they might be of help to someone.
Contributor: Linda Elkins-Schmitt

  • Aug 14, 1945 death of George PITTMAN, 78 years old, of Rocky Harbour, left wife, 3 daughters: Mrs John White, Deer Lake; Mrs W Richards, Boston; and Mrs Frank Foster, California; and 3 sons James, Paul and Benjamin.

  • Oct 12, 1945 George BAREFOOT of Valleyfield passed peacefully away at St John's on Sunday, Sept 30. He is survived by one daughter residing at Valleyfield, and one son residing at St John's. Funeral took place at Badger's Quay.

  • 19 Oct 1945: In Memory of John BRAKE who died at St John's 17 October 1944 by sister Mrs. Arch Penney, Humbermouth.

  • 12 Oct 1945 death of William H. PAYNE born Cow Head, settled in Curling, survived by widow, 5 sons and 2 daughters.

  • 13 Oct 1945 death of William MESSERVEY, Curling, son of late Captian William and Jane MESSERVEY, left widow, 1 son and 5 daughters.

  • Oct 1945 Mrs Jacob ATTWOOD died Valleyfield, daughter Margaret.

  • Nov 9, 1945 death in Safe Hr, Bonavista Bay of Mr. Abraham GILLINGHAM after a long illness.

  • 2 Nov 1945 in Memory of George Clifford MURLEY who died 30 Oct. 1940 by his mother and father, Mr. & Mrs. Leslie Murley, Stephenville.

All of the above artices for 1945 were contributed by Linda Elkins-Schmitt


The Western Star, Jan 25, 1946
"Reminiscent of Bygone Days" by A. J. BARRETT

This is not the complete article, just brief notes about some of the names mentioned therein.

  1. A drowning accident occurred at Rope Cove, Port-au-Port Bay, on July 30, 1890. The young man was JAMES PIKE, of Channel. He was one of the crew of the schooner "Golden City", Capt. RAKE.

  2. In 1891 a man named THOMAS O'GRADY lived in Cook's Brook, Bay of Islands. He was a bachelor and lived alone in a small shack. He was employed by RICHARD FURLONG. Thomas died March 13, 1891. As O'GRADY was without known relatives, his effects were passed over to D.J. GILKER, Relieving Officer, for distribution amongst the needy.

  3. While fishing off Bay of Islands on the 7 June, 1882, three crew members of the Belloram fishing vessel "Finance", Capt. GEORGE KEARLEY, lost their lives. They were GEORGE PETITES, of Mose Ambrose, JOHN GRANDY, of Belloram, and JAMES MURRAY, of St. Mary's. MURRAY managed to get on the bottom of the dory, where he was found by other shipmates. His body was interred in the Roman Catholic cemetery at Petries.

  4. After serving as police constable under Sergt.BARLETT, in Bay of Islands, for two and a half years, JAMES B. PEET was transferred to St. John's in the month of August 1892.

  5. December 1889 the schooner MARY E. POWER drove ashore at Pleasant Cv, Bay of Islands.

  6. December 1890 the schooners ANNIE ALLEN and MARY FLORENCE drifted from their anchors and went ashore at Ballentyne's Cv, near Mt. Moriah.
    (Transcriber's note: The 73 ton schooner ANNIE ALLEN, built in 1884, was originally owned by JOHN ALLEN SR. and his sons JOHN ALLEN JR, ROBERT ALLEN, and JAMES ALLEN.)

All of the above articles for 1946 were contributed by Linda Elkins-Schmitt


October 10, 1947, p.1.
New Town Council For Curling

After months of planning and organization, the Town Council of Curling received its charter this week, and the first Council, appointed by the Government, as is the custom, is as follows:

  • W.P. YOUNG, Chairman;
  • Kevin BARRY, LlB., Vice-Chairman;
  • George ALLEN, Bert BUTLER, James CANDOW and W.P. KENNEDY, Councillors.

Under the terms of the Town Councils Act, first councils are appointed by Government for a term of four years, while succeeding bodies will be chosen by free vote of the people.
The Western Star learns that the first problem to be tackled by the new council is control of private building, following which all resources will be directed toward the installation of an efficient water and sewage system for Curling
Contributor: John Paul Bradford


Western Star, August 18, 1948

BATTCOCK, Catherine
Mrs. Catherine Battcock

An aged and respected lady passed away on August 4, in the person of Mrs. Catherine BATTCOCK. Death came suddenly to Mrs. BATTCOCK but that was as she wished it. She was a devout Catholic and was comforted with the last rites of her church, and received many visits from her parish priest, Reverend Father Leo DRAKE. She was in her 81st year and had resided with her daughter, Mrs. John GUSHUE for the past eleven years when her husband, John BATTCOCK, died.
Mrs. BATTCOCK (nee CONWAY) was born in Curling in 1867, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas CONWAY. She was ever industrious throughout the years, gained many friends through her charity and kindness for the less fortunate. A life long member of Sacred Heart Church at Petries, she gave much time and attention to church affairs. She was a member of the altar society all during her life.
Mrs. BATTCOCK leaves five children to mourn her loss, one son, Thomas, with the Western Publishing Company, and four daughters, Mrs. John GUSHUE, Mrs. W.P. YOUNG and Anne all residing at Curling; and Mrs. John DUNPHY at St. John's. Also one sister, Mrs. Teresa WEBBER at Curling; and one sister Mrs. B. CHRISTOPHER living at Melrose, Mass. Also a number of grand Children to whom she was much attached. The funeral was from here daughter's home, Main St., Curling on August 5 after solemn High Requiem Mass, the celebrant being Reverend Father TOMPKINS while Fathers WOODROW and QUIGLEY acted as deacon and subdeacon. A large gathering of relatives and friends followed the remains to the church and grave side. The prayers at the grave side were recited by Father TOMPKINS.
May the Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on her soul.
Contributed by: John Paul Bradford


Friday, April 1, 1949

Paper Headline reads:
Newfoundland Joins the Dominion of Canada
New Canada! From Atlantic to Pacific!
Special Radio Broadcast to Mark Occasion

(transcriber's note: excepts from article)
Newfoundlanders are today Canadians. A realization of the dream of one of the world's greatest groups of statesmen-the Fathers of Confederation-the dream of thousands of Newfoundlanders who look to the great Dominion of Canada for a great future, a more secure position in the British Commonwealth of Nations. This afternoon, at one-thirty. the local radio stations will carry the "Confederation" programme speeches by the Prime Minister of Canada, Louis St. LAURENT, and others who will welcome the new province on behalf of the Canadian government and people......
To the people of Corner Brook and vacinity we extend welcome and our congratulations and best wishes on this, your day of Confederation with Canada. "This mesage to The Western Star is signed by four former Corner Brookers: Joyce (GREEN) WHEELER, Long Island, N.Y., Alma (WINSOR) SYGROVE, Sarnia, Ontario, Dora (WHALEN) BROOKS and Lelia (BUGDEN) STEWART, Galt, Ontario.

Pioneer Lady of Grand Falls Passes Away
There passed away at Grand Falls Saturday afternoon after an illness of three months, Mrs. Frederick SAMPSON of Third Avenue. A pioneer and a respected lady of the inland paper town, the late Mr. (sic) SAMPSON was formerly Ruth TAIT of Trouty, Trinity Bay, and came to Grand Falls in 1914. She was in her 63rd year and leaves to morn, her husband, two sons, Norman and Fred, and one daughter, Mabel at Grand Falls, and a sister, Kate, at Heart's Content. Mrs. George MERCER of High Street, Grand Falls is another relative. The late Mrs.SAMPSON was of kindly, understanding disposition and an untiring worker and her death came as a surprise to her many friend and relatives.

Veteran Supt. of Lighthouses is Retired
Thomas S. DEVINE, MBE for many years superintendent of lighthouses, has been retired on pension.

St. John's Lady Celebrates 99th Birthday
Mrs. Catherine BOLAND
, Burke's Square, celebrated her 99th birthday Tuesday of this week. Mrs. BOLAND is the mother of three daugthers and one son and grandmother of 45, with 15 great-grandchildren. She was present at the birthday party held Tuesday night in her honor and enjoyed the function immensely.

Classified Advertising

  • Wanted: A Maid for general housework in small family. Apply to Mrs. LODER, The Rectory, Corner Brook.
  • Wanted: Two waitresses and a dishwasher. Apply to KAWAJA's Ice Cream Parlour and Luncheonette, Corner Brook West.
  • For Sale: Number one Canadian hay at reasonable price. Also number one turnips at $1.50 per sack. Apply to J. GOSSE, Farm Road.
  • For Sale: Fishing boat built 1946, 26 ft keel, 35 ft overall. Boat used two summers; in perfect condition. Built by Harry SHEPPARD, Lark Harbour. For particulars apply Elias HYNES, Port aux Port.
  • For Sale: Two storey dwelling house 24' x 26' with seven rooms and approximately five acres of land. Ten minutes walk from Broadway. Apply George BURTON, Mount Batten Road or phone 573-5.
  • For Sale: A house, 4 rooms, pantry and hall. Land measuring 70 x 100. Also 1 boat and engine between 80 or 90 tubs. Apply to Gordon HULL, Humber Heights, Fudge's Road.
  • For Sale: 1 1947 Ford car in use only 9 months. Appy J.J. GRIFFIN, 119 Broadway.
  • For Sale: 1 half-ton Studebaker truck, 1947 model. Apply to R.G.H. PIKE, Carnell's Funeral Home, Corner Brook West.
  • For Sale: 1948 Plymouth. Milage 5400. Perfect condition. Inspection and a trial invited. Dr. Brian J. O'BRIEN, Searston.
  • For Sale: 1 1948 Hillman Minx Sedan. Privately driven, only 2,945 miles. Perfect condition. Apply Doris PARSONS. Ground Floor, Glynmill Inn, Corner Brook, Nfld. Phone 492.
  • For Sale: 1 horse, weight 1100 pounds, 7 years old. For particulars apply W.R. HOSKINS, Woods Island, Bay of Islands.
  • For Sale: Horse and harness, four years old, in good condition. Reason for selling: leaving country. For further particulars, apply Mrs. Annie GALPIN, Codroy, Newfoundland.
  • For Sale: One Mare, 1200 lbs. with harness. Fast walker and trotter; good in every way. For information see or write Gabriel CHAFFEY, St. David's.
  • Wanted: Two waitresses, room and board provided if necessary. Apply to Mrs. WILLIAMS, Silverdale Ice Cream Parlour, Humber Road.

Grand Falls Team Wins Exhibition Series
Defeats Corner Brook in Three Decisive but Keenly Contested Games

(transcriber's note: This is a long article, I have only transcribed the names in the line up)
Grand Falls: SHEPPARD (Goal), JANES (2nd goalie), Maurice POWER, Allan DWYER, Johnnie ANDERSON, Ray WHITE, Al FOLKES, Maxir THORNE, Les IRISH, Watts GOOBIE, Charlie SHALLOW, Dave GREEN, Don DEAN, Roger HOUSE, Eddie WALSH, Manager: C. I. POWER.
Corner Brook: Paul YOUNG (goal), Roy MURLEY (2nd goalie), Gerald MYRDEN, Ab McKAY, Basil POWER, Basil OXFORD, Roy OXFORD, Wilf HULL, Gerald DWYER, Bob DOUCETTE, Ed CALLAHAN, Lynman TUCKER, Ed ROCHE, Bill BISHOP, Cecil GODDEN, Coach: Norval OXFORD, Property: F.G.THISTLE, Sec CBAA, W.D.YATES, Vice President.
Referees: J. HANNAFORD of Bishop's Falls and Ed BROPHY of Gander

Hold Ice Carnival at Carbonear
A second Ice Carnival was held here recently at the Jubilee Rink. Although the number of contestants was rather disappointing, the rink was filled almost to capacity. The prize for most beautiful costume "The Carnival Girl" was won by Mrs. Guy EARLE, Misses Mary and Dorothy UDELL, presenting the "Toni Twins" won the prize for the most original. Prize for the most comical outfit went to Calvin POWELL who represented "Father" in the baby bonus.

Loses House Through Harbour Ice
A house which was being hauled from Pool's Island to Badger's Quay, has turned turtle in the Middle Tickle, and it is possible that it will be some time before it is safely landed. The house is the property of Stanley WINTER of Badger's Quay.

All of the above articles for 1949 were submitted by Linda Elkins-Schmitt


Western Star Tuesday April 4, 2000
Reprint of article from Tuesday April 4, 1950 by Elizabeth SMITH
(posted with permission from the Western Star
Contributor: Linda Elkins-Schmitt


Great Fire of 1899 Recalled-Summerside Once Chief Settlement

While the Avalon Peninsula and the east and north-east coasts of NF had long since been established, the inhabitants of the western section of the island a hundred or so years ago consisted of a struggling, persecuted, but persistent group of French, Acadian and English speaking peoples scattered along the shoreline and in the many beautiful bays from Cape Ray to Cape Bauld. These people had but one determined goal-to make life worthwhile in their adopted land, and today, just a century later, it is certainly safe to say that goal has been reached beyond even their fondest hopes and prayers.

Bay of Islands, like all her neighbours, was among those places where the French and English fought their battles - sometimes battles of words, of treaties and other regulations, but nevertheless battle which left their mark on the hundreds of settlements along what is known as the Treaty Shore. Those who suffered most through these battles were the pioneers who sought above all else to make homes for themselves and their families and to whom treaties and such like were more of a milestone about their necks rather than a help in their hours of need.


The story of the French Treaty Shore is intermingled with courage of those English-speaking and native French people who had carved out their homesteads along the coast, and who, despite the omnipresence of both French and British warships, neither of which seemed to be their friends, kept on at their daily toil to build homes out of the chaos, creatd mostly by the continual wars between those two great nations at the time.

Despite handicaps, the two main fishing industries-herring and lobster- bagan to fluorish and developed into two of the most promising and lucrative trades of the day of the whole North American continent. Agriculture took its proper place in the fertile lands near the Humber River and in the Codroy Valley. Even the tourist industry was a flourishing one and hundreds of American tourists spent their annual vacations along the banks of the streams of Newfoundland's west coast or hunting the caribou in the autumn and winter.


As far as is known, no precise history of th early days on this coast has ever been written. There have been many, however, who have thought it worth mentioning that living was most active in these parts, and it is from the pens of some of those people that we have been able to piece together this story, which, it is hoped, will give the reader an insight into the colourful and intriguing adventure which built our western section of the island into the beehives of activity witnessed today.

We are grateful to the late Rev Father BRONSON of Petries whose "Pioneer History of St. George's Diocese" has been the source of many highlights of this compilation of west coast facts.

Thankful too, are we for the "Reminiscences of My Life" by Rev.U.Z.RULE, who was the Anglican minister in the Bay of Islands mission at the turn of the present century; to John A. BARRETT, who came to Birchy Cove (Curling) at an early age and who has given much to enlighten the reader in his "Reminisceces of Bygone Days" which have been appearing in The Western Star for several years past. Added to these are the many "Letters to the Editor" written to the St. John's newpapers in the early days by residents of the Bay of Islands, as well as the news items, editorials and letter appearing in our Western Star since it was first published just fifty years ago. Many stories were also written by visitors to our shore for American, Canadian and English publications, and these give vivid discriptions of life here many years ago.


Some years ago, Thomas W. LEBLANC (WHITE) of St.George's compiled a series of articles on the Acadians-French speaking people of Nova Scotia-and their influence on the development of Western Newfoundland. From his writings we have taken the following: Mr. White, who still lives at St.George's, is a descendant of these early Acadian-Newfoudnlanders his French name being LeBlanc. With the LEBLANCS came the BENOITS, GAUDETS, BLANCHARDS, DOUCETTES, CORMIERS, TESSEAUS, DELANEYS, ALEXANDERS, YOUNGS - the later two names having been changed from PIERROT and LEJEUNE.

Of his own family name, Mr. WHITE states that Etienne and Celectine LEBLANC came from Margaree, Cape Breton, to Indian Creek -the name originally given to Stephenville- around the year 1840. Like other families, the LEBLANCS brought their animals, their seed grains, their farming instruments, their looms for weaving and other articles with them. They cleared farms, built houses and barns, and later, with the coming of ministers and priests to their settlements, they built churches, schools, convents and parish halls, and so forth. Their descendants, along with the grandchildren of the AUCOINS, DEVEAUS, LUEDEES, MUISES and the MADORES, still live in the Bay St. George, Humber River and adjacent areas, many of them still speaking French most fluently.


Father BROSNAN, in his book on the life of Monsignor Andrew SEARS, gives us a more romantic history of the origin of the Benoits in these parts. According to his story, a Henri L'OFFICIAL came to Quebec during the early part of the 18th century from his native France. There he met and subsequently married a French-Canadian lass whose name was Nanette. Shortly after their marriage the two sailed down the Gulf of St. Lawrence in a small craft made by Henri himself and headed for the Straits of Belle Isle. They met with adverse weather, however, and the frail boat was driven ashore some miles north of Bay St.George. After spending a cold and hungry winter there, the young couple made their way to Sandy Point the following summer and made their home with the residents of what was at that time the chief place in the Bay. Two daughters and one son came to the L'OFFICIALS. There is no trace of the son, but it is known that one of the daughters married in Cape Breton while the other formed an alliance with a Frenchman born on the passage from France. This man's name was BENOIT.

From this union sprang a long lineage. The name BENOIT is common in all parts of the St. George's Bay and Bay of Islands, either in its French or in its English translation- BENNETT.


It is believed that many of these Acadians who settled on Newfoundland's west coast were the direct descendants of those immortalized in Henry Wadsworths Longfellow's "Evangeline". After their expulsion from Nova Scotia by the English over 200 years ago, these French-speaking people wandered for many years to widespread parts of the North American continent, some going as far as Louisiana and to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. In later years, it is believed several families who had returned to Nova Scotia, migrated to the west coast of Newfoundland, especially to the St.George's- Port-au-Port - Bay of Islands areas, and it is from these that we have such family names in our midst today.


Although the popular belief today is that Curling was-before the advent of the huge newsprint mills at Corner Brook in 1925-the chief settlement in the Bay of Islands, this is definitely not according to the official records. Before the coming of the cross-country railroad in 1898 the most important place in the whole bay was Summerside, and here most of the business and industry of the bay was carried on.a Even branches of mainland business had been established at the thriving town of Summerside, which, by the way, was believed to have been called Sunnyside or Pleasant Cove many years ago.

A Lieutenant BROWN, chief naval officer in these waters in 1871, wrote many interesting articles on his visits while stationed here. Of the Bay of Islands he had this to say in an article written for the Journal of the Legislative Council of the Newfoundland Government for the year 1872: "There are numerous small settlements on the banks of the Humber River, the principal being Pleasant Cove or Petipas Cove on the left side going up, Birchy Cove nearly opposite it. We found good anchorage ground off Birchy Cove, nearly abreast of the Anglican Church. The settlers in the Humber River number about 200 families and are about equally divided between the Protestant and Roman Catholic religions, with a minister or priest of each denomination residing amongst them.

The people seem to be healthy, orderly and industrious, being moderately well-to-do. No cases of severe sickness came under our notice although we had numbers of applications for medical assistance. Doctors GABRIEL and TROUSDELL (aboard the warship) vaccinated about 50 children and adults."


Names mentioned in Lieutenant BROWN's report included those of RYAN, SHAW, SILVER, MCLEOD and BRAKE, while the following names of places are also spoken of: Spurn Point, Kiver's Point, The Farm, Mader's Point, Carrick Head, The Beech, Benois Cove, Cook's Brook and Murphy's Cove.

"A number of settlers on the Humber River," continued Lieutenant BROWN, "are turning their attention to farming. The soil is very good but the banks of the river are in most places too steep to render it easy to clear or cultivate them. However, when the ground is cleared, crops flourish. Hay is abundant and of good quality, and all sorts of vegetables grow freely.

The principal support of the people is the herring fishery, which commences in October and ends in May, broken only when the ice is forming and breaking up. It is reported that last year (1870) 60,000 barrels of herring, valued at nearly $150,000 were taken. At the head of the river are two families of the name of BRAKE who live entirely by the proceeds of the salmon fishery. The people also go out to the headlands to prosecute the codfishery and have taken this year (1871) sixty quintals per man.

Up the main river, towards Deer Lake, the timber is very fine. Spars 60 feet long and 30 inches in diameter, without a knot, have been cut there. A Mr SIVER has built a mill at Mill Brook (Corner Brook) and is cutting lumber there."

Continuing our quotations from the young naval officer's report to the Newfoundland Government in 1871 - which is probably one of the most enlighening of all historical data on the Bay of Islands - we see him observing the "marble quarries" up the Humber River containing "white, black and variegated marbles, but which are not worked at this time."


While at Lark Harbour, the naval offiver and some of his men made their way by land to Little Harbour, about one and a half miles away, where they found one English family by the name of PARKE.

Wrote the Lieutenant: "Mr PARKE has been at Little Harbour for forty years and occupies himself in the summer with fishing, taking about 100 quintals of cod each year. The remainder of the year he devotes to his farm which he cultivates with such success as to be able to supply the French, who, in May and June frequent this port to fish and cure their catch. Mr. PARKE also takes care of the Frenchmen's boats and whatever else they leave during the winter.

Mr. PARKE speaks very highly of the good conduct and kindness of the French, and at the time of our visit there are 20 small boats on the beach, also a wooden building with 32 bunks in it, and two small sheds for storing fish-all of which were roofless."


The most comprehensive history of the town of Birchy Cove-named Curling in 1903- is to be found in the prolific writings of John A. BARRETT. In those "jottings" the reader will learn of the growth of the town from its infancy, the great fire of 1899 which destroyed hundreds of buildings and left practically all the residents homeless, of the establishing of postal facilities in the Bay of Islands, of the opening up of the cross-country railway, and others. We will quote from several of Mr. BARRETT's articles which are part of the historical background of the bay.


"In 1877, after protracted negotiations and repeated applications to the Imperial Government, Commander William HOWORTH, Royal Navy, was appointed the first stipendiary magistrate on the west coast, with jurisdiction over 400 miles of coast extending from Cape Ray to Cape Norman. He was also wreck commissioner, relieving officer and customs official.

One of the stipulations made by the new Magistrate HOWORTH was that his headquarters be Bay of Islands. He arrived at Curling on December 16, 1877 and took up temporary residence at Pleasant Cove. During the following year he was invested with powers of a district judge to adjudicate on civil cases.

During the first year of Commander HOWORTH's tenure of office, court houses were erected at Curling, Bonne Bay and Flower's Cove, as well as the palatial residence for himself, which latter building was completed at Curling in the fall of 1878.


The west coast was divided into three magisterial districts upon the retirement of Commander HOWORTH, with Dr. Alexander MACKENZIE, a native of Scotland, appointed to the Bay of Islands section. After his death, in 1886, George R. LILLY, a native of St. John's was appointed and served in this district for seven years.


"Previous to the introduction of the railway," states John A. BARRETT in one of his articles, "the winter mail service on the west coast consisted of some three or four deliveries from the time navigation closed until it opened again. There was a fortnightly steam service between St. John's and Channel and between there and the northern towns mails had to be transported by couriers with dog teams, bridging numerous treacherous rivers and encountering the many blizzards of those "old fashioned" winters.

Even after the railway service was instituted, there were winters when the mails for the west coast had to be delivered by dog team either from Channel or over the Topsails. It is within our memory when John, George and Joshua GILLARD of Hall's Bay, used to convey the mails from Millertown Junction to Curling. They were strapping specimens of humanity and were possessed of great powers of endurance. Their outfit usually consisted of three 12-foot comatics drawn by some 30 well-trained husky dogs. The 198 miles from Millertown Junction fo Curling was usually covered by them in three or four days, the couriers having to wear snowshoes the entire journey.

When the mails came by way of Channel they were brought along the coast by relays of dog teams and couriers. One set of mailmen would bring the mails as far as Sandy Point, another from there to Bay of Islands, and a third would proceed to Woods Point, Bonne Bay. During "open" winters in Bay St.George, the mails would be loaded on a boat at Sandy Point and conveyed as far as Main Gut. From there the couriers would proceed over the marshes and along the banks of Harry's Brook to George's Lake, thence to Cook's Pond and Burnt Pond to Curling.


In Curling the arrival of a mail in winter would be denoted by the hoisting of a flag on a pole erected by or upon the building in which the post office was located. At some other places along the route the sounding or blasting from for-horns would announce the arrivals of mails, the nothern or southern mail being indicated by the number of blasts from the horn.

There were no such conveniences as letter boxes in the offices in those days, and very few of the offices were equipped with defacing or dating stamps. In some places the offices were more or less "open houses" where it was not unusual for those seeking mail matter to help themselves.


The first established post office at Curling was located in an upstairs corner of a building used as a retail store by BAGG Brothers. The late E.A.BAGG was postmaster at Curling for nearly 20 years. It was not until 1905 that arrangements were made for the erection of a building in which to carry on both postal and the telegraphic work in the community."


The 11th and 12th of June, 1899 will long remain vivid memories for many people in the Bay of Islands, particularly in the settlements of Georgetown, Mt. Moriah and in Petrie Valley. It was on those days that one of the most devastating fires ever known in this country raged through settlement after settlement, rendering many families homeless and destitute. Mr.BARRETT remembers the fire well, and tells the story like this:
"The fire was said to have been caused by sparks from a railway locomotive about four miles west of Mount Moriah. It happened when the countryside was in a dry state due to the absence of rain for several weeks, and as there was a strong southerly wind at the time, the fire quickly gained headway. It spread from the railway through to Georgetown and down the Petrie Valley, enveloping the whole section between there and the railroad at Mount Moriah.

Some of the men of that section of Bay of Islands had gone on their summer voyage to the fisheries and others were in readiness to leave. Those at home fought valiantly to stay the progress of the fire and by doing so had all their own property and effects licked up by the devouring element.

The stirring breeze carried buring embers across the Humber Arm to Meadows and the great stand of timber on that side of the bay was in danger of being destroyed.

The fire continued for two days and nights and spent itself when it reached the water's edge at the Humber. As a result of this conflagration some 47 (or 17)?? houses were destroyed and the families left destitute of all belongings. The loss was in the vacinity of $20,000.

The people of the area were undaunted by this great loss and it must remain ever a credit to their courage that by the following year witnessed the rebuilding of many of the homes and other buildings which had been destroyed. Before the next winter came all the burned-out families were comfortably settled in new frame houses."


Sufficient limestone to supply the need of the surrounding communities-including the large newsprint mill at Corner Brook are still being taken from the hills and mountains in the valley of the Humber River. The clean white limestone is taken from the quarry near Steady Brook while the gray limestone is quarried near Dormston Farm, east of Corner Brook.

Through her vast herring and lobster fishing in the late 80's and early 1900's, Bay of Islands did her own advertising as far as tourist trade was concerned. When we realize that there were as many as 80 American vessels in the bay during the fall herring fishery, it is not difficult to imagine that stories of the lakes teeming with trout, the number and size of salmon to be found in the rivers, and the game in the forests were told by the captains and crews upon their return to their Massachusetts homes.

All through the early issues of The Western Star are personal items about the arrivals here of countless numbers of American milllionaires, many of them spending the whole summer aboard their own yachts in the scenic Bay of Islands. It was not unusual, either, to read that Millionaire So-and-So, after spending two or three months salmon fishing on the Serpentine or Humber, decided to prolong his visit so that he could take in a little hunting when the season opened in the fall. Others would come to the Bay of Islands for the fishing season one year and return the following year for the caribou hunt.

Many pounds of good US gold-the currency of those days-found its way to the coffers of Newfoundland guides, hotel keepers and others. As far as tourism was concerned, the Bay of Islands had its full share in the early days. This can be seen when it is known that there were no less than a half dozen fairsized hotels or inns operated at various parts of the bay in 1900. Included among those were the Humber House at Summerside, the PETRIE House at Pleasant Point, Petries, CARTER's Hotel at Woods Islands, Victoria Place Hotel, GILKER's Hotel at Curling, and FARNELL's Hotel at Corner Brook.


And is there any wonder that the Bay of Islands and the surrounding country attracted many hundreds of people when articles like the following can be written about the scenery:
"In articles I have made passing reference to the coastal scenery of Bay of Islands and Bonne Bay, which is some of the most magnificent to be met with perhaps in North America. All tourists visiting this section speak in the most glowing terms of it. The towering mountains which rear their bare, brown-topped or snow-clad peaks to the skies, are scored by many deep gorges, the dense, dark foliage of those wooded slopes present a fine contrast. The fantastically sculptured cliffs facing the sea-board, indented by numerous coves and arms dotted with islands, all lend most striking and picturesque features of unsurpassed beauty and variety.

I have sailed both close inshore and further out into the Gulf from Cape Ray to the Straits of Belle Isle, and from personal observations, I came to the conclusion that in point of scenic beauty and variety, the West Coast certainly surpasses any other protion of Newfoundland. The low-lying shores and long stretches of sand beach characteristic of some parts of the bay of St.George and Port-au-Port, give way to towering, precipitous cliffs and rugged mountain ranges of Bay of Islands and Bonne Bay, to be succeeded further north by the low, flat limestone ledges of the Straits of Belle Isle."


One of the most conspicuous mountain ranges commences its rise near Broad Cove, on the eastern side of Port-au-Port Bay, about 14 miles north of the Gravels, or isthmus of Port-au-Port. Bluff Head, a very high promotory presenting a bold escarpment to the sea, may be considered the western end of the range. This Serpentine Range is generally termed the Lewis Hills, the extreme height of which is said to be 2,763 feet-the highest peak in the country. In the interval between the two forks of Bluff Head Brook is where a large deposit of chrome iron was discovered over half a century ago.

The Serpentine Range, on approaching the Serpentine River, sweep away easterly, leaving a wide, flat valley near the coast, and run in the direction of Serpentine Lake, where they terminate, being just about 16 miles in length. The Blomidon Mountains which rise immediately to the north of Serpentine River, though now separated from the Lewis Hills by the intervening low valley, were according to geologists, part of the same range which must have formed a continuous mountain chain from Bluff Head to the shores of the Bay of Islands.

There is another, or coast range, commencing at Bear Head, north of Serpentine River, and occupying the shore to South Head, Bay of Islands. This range consists of a confused mass of material said to be in a great part of pure volcanic origin. This igneous range rises in sheer, vertical, sometimes overhanging cliffs, to a considerable height between Bear Cove and South Head, especially in the vicinity of Little Port and Batteau Cove. Frenchman's Head, the most conspicuous point, attains an elevation of some 1500 ft. It was from this height that a member of a French fishing vessel leapt to his death, and since then, the promontory has been known as Frenchman's Head. This rugged coast range is entirely distinct from and independent of the Blomidon-Serpentine range. A wide,low valley separates them, extending from York Harbour, locally known as Broom's Bottom, to Serpentine River.

(sections of article not transcribed: Mining Prospects, Slate Deposits, Oil Wells and Parsons Pond Oil Wells)
Contributor: Linda Elkins-Schmitt



Page Contributed by various contributors

Page Revised by Ivy F. Benoit (Wednesday February 20, 2013 AST)

Newfoundland's Grand Banks is a non-profit endeavor.
No part of this project may be reproduced in any form
for any purpose other than personal use.

JavaScript DHTML Menu Powered by Milonic

© Newfoundland's Grand Banks (1999-2016)

Hosted by
Chebucto Community Net

Your Community, Online!

You can search the entire NGB site
by using the [Google] search below.

Search through the whole site
[Recent] [Contacts] [Home]