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 Post subject: 1846 Letter about the Great Fire, St John's, Newfoundland.
 Post Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:35 pm 
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This letter from my gggrand father John Brade Blackburn & Margaret (nee Meaney) from St John's Newfoundland.
July 15 received. St John’s June 22nd 1846

Dear Brother Timothy,
I take this favourable opportunity of writing you these few lines by the (Unicorn) Steamer on the Mail Packet plying between here and Halifax Nova Scotia.
I received your welcome letter dated April 29th on this day June 22nd and am very glad to hear that you and all our family and relations in Liverpool and Lancaster and likewise my Brother tradesmen John Charnley Edward Huntington and Robert Varley my old bench mate. I am glad to hear that Father is in good health and his little farm so prosperous and so well stocked with cattle for there is great changes taken place in the times and trade since I was home when Dolphinholme Mill was kept going day and night and now stopped and the village deserted. But in regard to this town there has a most dreadful Fire happened here on Tuesday morning about quarter past 8 o’clock on June 9th which I am sorry to say has destroyed more than two thirds of the town.
All the Merchant Stores and Dwelling houses except one that Messrs Newman & Co. with shops of every description Public Houses, the Parish Church, Custom House, Bank, Nunnery, Theatre besides a great many houses, Court House and Gaol and Wharves and even some of the Vessels rigging and provisions of every description fish and oil and oil vats, boards and planks, sails, shingles, coal scaling and in concluding the dry goods on board the vessels such as cloth, silk, linen, cotton and one vessel caught fire and they were obliged to sink her. The principal streets burned are Water St, Gower St, Queen St, Duckworth St, Princes St, Hogarth’s lane and all the Kings Road except about a dozen houses which ours by the blessing of God was one that escaped. The fire came so near to our house and about half the distance between Honey Bees and Berry’s Head Quarry we had all our furniture and beds and beside all my tools, doors off the hinges, windows out and all carried up in an open field where there was thousands beside ours, my house would have been a great loss had it been burned as it cost me a great deal of money as I built it myself upon a lease of 21 years. I pay £3.10 a year for it and garden. The way the fire commenced was owing to a Cabinet Maker boiling varnish and boiled over in to the fire. There was two Artillery soldiers hurt one of them died by blowing up a house intending to stop the progress of the fire but it is most likely that you will hear of it in the newspapers before you receive this.
I was working at Mr Bennett’s Mills at the time it commenced I wasn’t aware of it until near 11 o’clock it being on the outskirts of the town. There is a great deal of families living in tents in the fields, temporary sheds and every house with 2 and 3 families living in them. Fortunately none of the 3 Garrisons was burnt but the powder magazine on signal mile had the roof burnt off it but the fire did not get to the powder on account of a good brick arch vault with fire proof doors.
The money in the bank, notes etc was saved in another such place and the building over it burned to ashes after all provisions rate much as before since it was to happen it could not have happened at a better time of the year all the fishermen was after taking away their summer supplies and just at the time when arrivals are daily expected and another thing the weather being warm at this season. For those distressed for want of houses all that can be said is it is the Lords doing but in the midst of judgement he remembered mercy, blessed be his Holy name, we all join in our kind love to you hoping this will find you as well as it leaves us at present.
I remain your affectionate Brother,

John B Blackburn

p.s. Carpenters wages at present is 6S/6d per day but I can’t tell how long this will remain as it is all temporary jobs doing at present.

Please give my kind love to Father, Brother and Sister, Uncles Aunts and all enquiring friends and make yourselves quite easy about us for we fared very well. Thank God for it considering the awful judgement impending.

Addressed;
Mr Timothy Blackburn
Holleth near Lancaster
To be left at Galgate Station

Letter from John Brade Blackburn in St. John’s, Newfoundland to brother Timothy at Galgate Railway Station, Lancaster, Lancashire, England. In reply to Timothy’s letter sent 29th April 1846.

P.S.
John Brade Blackburn and Margaret had 6 children born in Newfoundland, from 1844 to 1854, most of the family moved to Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts in the late 1860's. He and his two daughter's returned to England. His wife Margaret Blackburn nee Meaney died Christmas Day 1857 at 87 Kings Road St John's Newfoundland.

One day would love to visit St John's, looks like a fantastic place, have google earth the house John built.


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 Post subject: Re: 1846 Letter about the Great Fire, St John's, Newfoundland.
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:16 pm 
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Wow, that is so interesting! What a treasure for you to have, thanks for sharing it with us.


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 Post subject: Re: 1846 Letter about the Great Fire, St John's, Newfoundland.
 Post Posted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:24 pm 
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Thanks Kathie,
It was this letter that started my twenty five years of interest in Geneaology and a eagerness to find out, as much information as possible about my Ancestors.
Regards. :D


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