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Miscellaneous Deeds, Grants, Petitions & Wills
John Roach to Edward Roach


      Be it remembered that on the twenty ninth day of April A.D. 1859, John Roach, the Grantor named in a certain Indenture did duly acknowledge the execution thereof before me whereupon the same was duly registered as follows:-

Memorial of an Indenture made at St. John's in the Island of Newfoundland this thirty-first day of March A.D. 1858 between John Roach at present of Middle Cove in the Island aforesaid, Farmer of the one part, and Edward Roach of St. John's aforesaid, Yeoman of the other part -

Whereas the said John Roach stands possessed in fee simple of several pieces and parcels of land hereinafter mentioned and described, and whereas the said John Roach hath determined to assign the said several premises to the said Edward Roach in trust -

Now this Indenture witnesseth that the said John Roach in consideration of the natural love and affection which he hath and beareth to his wife Jane Roach, his sons, John Roach, Richard Roach and Patrick Roach and his daughters Jane Roach and Mary Ann Roach and also for and in consideration of the sum of ten shillings sterling money of Great Britain to him in hand well and truly paid by the said Edward Roach at or before the sealing and delivery of these presents the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged

Hath assigned, conveyed, transferred and set over unto the said Edward Roach, his Executors, Administrators and Assigns All that piece and parcel of land situate and being about a quarter of a mile westerly from the beach at Middle Cove and lying on the west side of a Public Road leading from Middle Cove to Torbay abutted and bordered as follows, that is to say on the North by a path through the woods and extending along the same twenty-two chains and sixty-two links more or less on the east side of the road to Torbay, seventeen chains and sixty links on the South and Southwest by a crossroad backing towards the said Cove and extending along the same from the said Torbay Westerly and Northwesterly twenty-three chains and fifty- one links more or less and thence running by the Magnet North sixteen degrees East six chains and fifty links more or less to the path above named containing twenty eight acres and one road more or less.

Also all that other piece of land adjacent to that before described being separate therefrom by the above-named crossroad abutted and bounded as follows that is to say on the North by the said crossroad twelve chains and eighty links on the East by land granted to Moses Power five chains and fifty links on the South by a space of ground twenty feet wide reserved along the margin of the Middle Cove River twelve chains and twenty-four links more or less and on the West by a line running from the said crossroad South six degrees fifteen minutes West six chains and eighty links more or less to the space of ground reserved as aforesaid containing seven acres and three roads more or less --- and also all that other piece and parcel of land situate and being on the South side of a Public Road leading towards the Main Road from Outer Cover to Middle Cove - abutted and bounded as follows on the Northward by land occupied by James McGrath four chains and thirty-eight links more or less on the East by a stream of water extending along the same ten chains and ten links more or less on the Southward by the Public Road four chains and eighty-four links more or less and on the Westward side by a crossroad following the winding of the same eleven chains and eleven links more or less containing two acres and three roads more or less and all houses, outhouses, buildings, ways, paths, passages, easements, water, watercourses, commodities and appurtenances to the same belonging or in any way appertaining and all the estate rights, title, interest, property claim and demand whatsoever both at Law and in Equity of him the said John Roach which do now and hath or can or may have in and by virtue of a certain Grant from the Crown of and in the said several pieces of land above mentioned and described from his Excellency Sir John Gaspard Le Marchant then Governor of the Island aforesaid bearing date the twenty sixth day of January A.D. 1848 reference thereto had will more fully appear.

To have and To hold the said several pieces and parcels of land and premises above mentioned and expressed with their and each of their appurtenances unto the said Edward Roach, his Executors, Administrators and assigns forever subject to the performance and conditions mentioned in the said Grant upon trust nevertheless for the purposes hereinafter declared of and concerning the same that is to say upon trust to apply and pay or cause to be applied and paid the rents, issues and profits from time to time that may arise, accrue or be received out and from the said several pieces and parcels of land and promises or any part thereof to the support and maintenance of my said wife Jane and education of the aforesaid children then in further trust that her portion be applied for the purposes of my children within named and survivor or survivors of them and also in case of the death of either of my aforesaid children and in he event of the death of my aforesaid wife Jane then and in such case his or her part to be applied for the benefit of the survivors of said children aforesaid and that the interest or profits arising from or out of said properties for the benefit of my said wife and children shall not at any time be mortgaged or in any wise disposed of by any or either of them without the consent first obtained in writing from the said Edward Roach Trustee as aforesaid his Executors and Administrators. It shall be lawful for said Edward Roach, his Executors and Administrators or Assigns immediately after the execution of two present or so soon as the said Trustee thinks fit and without further notice enter and take possession of the said premises and every part thereof for the purposes within expressed.

Covenants for peaceable possession. In witness whereof the parties to these present by their hands and seals have hereunto subscribed xxx at St. John's aforesaid the day and year first as written.
John Roach his mark (LS)
Edward Roach/a-.

Signed, Sealed and delivered in the presence of

(by hand) Martin H???,
(by hand) Rob't. R. Holden.

Note: This document preceded a Will (never found) dated 28 January 1861 - referenced in the reversal of the trusteeship from Edward Roach to Jane & the family in 1876. John died 8 February 1861, aged only 44 (This document is dated 31 March 1858 - implying that he may have known he was seriously ill).

It is fair to assume that John Roach must have been ill and known that he might soon die when he made the first Deed of Trust with Edward Roach. The property left is consistent with his original Land Grant. Although surrounded by Roachs in Middle Cove and nearby communities, plus others in the City where he worked, he chose Edward Roach to take responsibility for his family's welfare, given the unfairness of the laws of the day vis-a-vis women.

That John had such confidence and that Edward would assume such responsibility is suggestive of much more than friendship. The two worked together at Government House - as is explained on Jim Roache's website. Edward was Supervisor of Grounds (Gatekeeper) and John, the younger of the two men, Coachman and Groom - a good man with horses.

Knowing that Jane, and therefore the family, would enjoy no protection in law were John to die, they devised a plan to put John's property in Edward's care, using an Indenture or Deed of Trust to circumvent the lack of legal protection and equality afforded women.

An Indenture had the advantage of equivalent legal standing with a Will provided the second party was 100% trustworthy, and it could simply be reversed later without reference to some, as yet, unwritten law. An Indenture could return control to Jane - if Edward were to become incapacitated - or if the law were to change, recognizing women as competent adults.

This did not occur until  the Married Woman's Property Act was not enacted in l886. While Jane died in 1880, there was no need for her to make a Will, and it proved the wisdom of the Indenture. While the last of the three was completed to her specifications in 1877 by Edward Roach, it had full force and effect at the date registered, and no reference to the Woman's Property Act was required then or later. These men saved the family from the sometimes multi-generational nightmares faced by families in Newfoundland who sought alternate means. Many old Estates remain in contention today - such was never the case in this instance.

Similarly, John's son, Richard Roach, who moved to Topsail wrote a Will equally considered and fair to his daughter by a second marriage, Mary Frances Roache. In addition to minor considerations,  provision was made for her support and education; her two older half brothers were designated guardians, and, while not specified, I have every confidence that he negotiated protection and oversight by his friend, Archbishop Roche, former Parish Priest at Topsail. Thereafter, the Archbishop was in constant oversight of Mary's welfare, in consultation with her half brother Patrick - the only one to remain in Newfoundland. Richard was being as fair as anyone could ever be.

People should take note - Richard Roach made no mention the infamous Flannery Estate in his Will. Judge W.J. Browne, Mary's future husband (likely a marriage encouraged by the Archbishop), interpreted this to mean he had died "partially intestate".

Richard knew exactly what he was doing. He had no need nor desire for the Flannery property - nor that share of it he might have claimed as a result of his second marriage to Ellen Flannery. He knew much of it would go to Mary and remaining family members - if any - in any event. It did, and she willed her share to her own son in turn.

Somewhere, 67 year old Richard Roach's ghost is smiling at the "goings on" surrounding that estate over the years. Consistent with lessons learned from his father, his descendents need only have become involved by virtue of their own folly (a few did). By the time of his death, Richard Roach had acquired property aplenty for all in Topsail, without need for reference to the Flannery Estate or any other.



Page Contributed by Jim Roache

Page Revised by Ivy F. Benoit (February 27, 2007)

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