Bell Island
     Conception Bay South, Newfoundland

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Beautiful Bell Island is steeped in history.  Bell Island is often ascribed to as "Wabana," meaning "where the sun first shines."

To this new land they had never seen
Where Erins' sons would be secure and free
And earn their living from the sea.

Still others from old England's shores
Opportunity had opened wide its' doors
To Build  a house, raise a family
And earn their living from the sea.

They came from Scotland's moors and dales
and from the dark coal fields of Wales
A few from France and from Jersey's Isle
To earn their living from the soil.

Though former enemies they soon became friends
For on each other they must depend
They lived together in harmony
And earned their living from the sea.

Their bodies rest long beneath the sod
Their souls we trust have gone to God
An heritage proud they left for you and me
For they earned their living from the soil and sea.

                        - John W. Hammond
                                                                                    from this book "The Beautiful Isles


Following are excerpts taken from "The Beautiful Isles"
 written by John W. Hammond

It would appear that many people settled on Bell Island during the early days of colonization.  Some names have been recorded and there is no doubt that many settlers who lived here for periods of time left without any permanent record of their stay.  It is said that Sir John Guy anchored off the north side of the island in 1610.  Bell Island listed as a fishing station is listed below.



Dartmouth 1 50 10
1676 Dartmouth 1 45 9
1677 Dartmouth 1 62 12
1681 Dartmouth 2 130 26


The earliest census for Newfoundland as found in the Gosling Memorial Library for the year 1675.

Harbour Names & Distances Master's Names Ships Names Where From Burden Men Boats Stages
From Bell Isle to Brigus by No. is 7 leagues The Edwards Charles Bristol 45 20 4 1
  John Dwyer Charles Dartmouth 30 7  


Names Wife Children Servants Kept Boats Sciffs Fish Taken
John Fancy 1 2 6 1 1 600
Honary Thistle 1 5 4 1 0 350
Wilb McThakan 1 0 4 1 0 340
Thomas Wooder 0 0 9 1 1 580
Sam Hammon 0 0 12 2 0 700
Will Pearrey 0 0 16 2 1 900
Thomas Burt 1 3 4 0 1 200
Robert Cook 1 3 4 0 1 350
Total 8 5 13 59 8 5 4020

A special thank you to Owen Kelly for providing this information



State and Condition of Belle Isle, September 1814 Colonial Records - Vol. 25





1 John, James & William Pitts 12 12 These men are natives and carry on the fishery in Lance Cove at the west end of the Island
2 Edward Cooper 15 15 This man is a native, and has his fishery in Lance Cove
3 George Reece 7 7 This man is a native, and has his fishery in Lance Cove
4 Hiscock and Kennedy 4 4 This man is a native, and has his fishery in Lance Cove
5 William Kent 4 4 This man is a native, and has his fishery in Lance Cove
6 Thomas Lahey 8 6 This man has no fishery, and resided with his family at a part called Scrape
7 James Sweeney 2 40 or 50 This man is not employed in the fishery, and has no family
8 Edward Harragan 3 4 This man fishes on the shores, and has a large family
9 Owen Kelly 1 10 or 12 This man fishes on the shores, and has no family
10 John Claharty 1 1 This man fishes on the shores and has no family
11 Michael Power 3 3 This man is aged and infirm and unfit for the fishery
12 Mary Power 2 2 This woman is a widow, and has no concern with the fishery
13 Hester Kelly 4 6 This woman is a widow, with children - no fishery
14 John Foreham 2 3 This man is old and infirm, and is unconnected with the fishery
15 Henry Normer 3 3 This man is a native, with a family and has a fishery
16 Robert Normer 3 3 This man is a native, with a family and has a fishery
17 James Kent 3 4 This man is a native, and has a fishery but no family
18 James King 3 5 This man has a family and fishery
19 James Oats 4 5 This man is a native, and has a family and fishery
20 Martin Dwyer 6 6 This man has a family and fishery, and is a peace officer
21 Benjamin Squire and
Sylvester Tapp
6 6 These men are natives, with families and fishery
22 Henry White and Martin Fardy 5 5 These men have families and fishery
23 Oliver Welsh 2 2 This man has a family and fishery
24 William Ryan 1 1 This man fishes on the shores, and has a family
25 William Stevens 3 3 This man is a servant, with a family
26 Peter Fitzgerald 7 7 This man has a family and fishery, and rents' five acres of the land he occupies from James Kehoe
27 Patrick Boland 2 2 This man is aged and infirm, and has not fishery
28 Patrick Mahaney 1 5 This man is a fisherman, and has no family
29 Peter Jackman 10 10 This man keeps a fishery, and has a family

James White
John Scanes

4 4 These men have families and are fisherman
31 Thomas Searle 3 3 This man has a fishery and a family
32 Thomas Phelan
John Dwyer
4 4 These men are fishermen without families and rent their farm from Richard Haynes for 12 pounds
33 Richard Squire 3 3 This man lives in Quidi Vidi, and has a fishery and family
34 Patrick Bowden 60 60 This man, who has a wife, has no fishery, rents his farm to Col. Skinner for 25 pounds.  The Colonel purchased one at the Sheriff's sale and the other half from James Keefe, who bought it from Robert Brine, who purchased the whole in lots from different people who originally cleared the land
35 Richard Tobin 1 100 This man is absent fishing, and has his projected estate at the east end of the island
36 Richard Tobin 10 10 This man, before described, who rents these 10 acres
37 Roger Kehoe 2 2 This man has a family and fishery
38 Gregory Norman 1 1 This man has a family and fishery in Portugal Cove, and is a native
39 James Kavanagh This man has a family, and fishes on the shores

NB:  The quantity of land set down in the above report is by Computation.  Signed, J. Bland, Sheriff


Memorandums from government records for November 21, 1814 are as follows:

William Kennedy of Lance Cove in the island of Belle Isle in Conception Bay, having applied to me for permission to erect a fishing room in an unoccupied space of ground in Scrape Cove in said island.  Permission was granted.   Signed - Governor R.G. Keats.

To: Martin Dwyer, Head Constable of Belle Isle - Memorandum regarding Martin Dwyer's application to erect a fishing room on the unoccupied space of ground at the western extremity of the Beach.  Permission granted.

1816 - there was a reference to George Hiscock and William Kennedy of Lance Cove as being fishing partners.

Royal Gazette - November 11, 1822
John Murphy's packet boat, plying between Portugal Cove and the north side of Conception Bay, lost this day with Skipper Murphy, Martin Casey, and several other passengers and crew.

Thomas Rees
In the possession of Mr. Thomas Rees is a beautifully carved powder horn which reads:

"John Stone
Big Bell Isle
Conception Bay, Newfoundlande
February 3, 1824"


November 1832 Belle Isle Petition to Sir Thomas John Cockrane,
 protesting the changing of electorial district of St. John's
 to the district of Conception Bay
John Dwyer James Kelly Edward Kennedy
Andrew Murphy John Fitzpatrick Terrence Kennedy
John Jackman Dennis Dwyer William Kennedy
James Jackman James Cosh John Kent
Richard Manning Thomas Whalen Peter Kent
John Morris Charles Whalen William Kent
Solomon Normore Matthew Kelly William Stoyles
Edward Normore William Pitts Michael Hammond
Peter Jackman James Cooper George Rees
Henry Normore Edward Cooper John Rees
Stephen Long William Clemens James Pitts
John Long George Hiscock James Oatta

Henry Bickford

Provincial Archives G/N2/2 - Transcribed by Vi Smith May 2000

Transcribed from "Across The Tickle"  April 1999 1st Edition Vol. 7



Ted and Matilda GUNN (nee Bickford)

Married Dec. 26, 1948 at St. Michael’s Parish on Bell Island, Nfld. Currently residing in Acton, Ont. Congratulations Mom and Dad. Best wishes and love from your children grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Wedding Anniversary Greetings go out to Mr. And Mrs. JACOB and Daisy PARSONS on their 50th on Feb. 22, 1999. Best wishes come from all your family and friends.



We wish to acknowledge receipt of an interesting magazine published in the United States from former Bell Islander John J. HUNT of Dedham, Massachusetts. Mr. HUNT informed us in a letter received recently, that he and another former Bell Islander, Mike DOBBIN, well remembered as a football start during the nineteen twenties, plant to visit the island next summer and renew old acquaintances.

Anniversary greetings are extended to pensioner Robert and Mrs. NUGENT of Kelligrews, who were fifty five years married on Jan. 6th. Also pensioner George and Mrs. WARREN, on the occasion of their thirty-seventh wedding anniversary on Jan. 31st.

The following employees and their wives also celebrated wedding anniversaries during the month of January : Ben SEARLE, No. 6 Slope, thirty-eight on the 5th; John CUMMINGS, General Surface Department, twenty-fourth on the 6th, Ernest H. HIGGINS, No. 3 Slope, thirty-sixth on the 14th, John GALWAY, No. 4 Slope, forth-eight on the 9th, George PITTS, No. 3 Slope, thirty-fifth on the 16th, Herbert HARNEY, No. 6 Slope, thirty-eight on the 18th, George RIDEOUT, No. 6 Slope, thirty-eight on the 18th, Thomas REES, Electrical Department, twenty-eight on the 18th, George RIDEOUT, No. 6 Slope, thirty-third on the 21st, Llewellyn MERCER, No. 4 Slope, twenty-first on the 22nd, Roy REES, Safety Department, twentieth on the 31st, and Edward SEARLE, thirty-eight, on the 31st.

We extend sincere sympathy to Mr. E.J. MURPHY, on the death of his mother, Mrs. Helen MURPHY, who passed away at Sydney, N.S. on Jan. 24th, in her seventy fifth year. Also to pensioner Charles and John PEDDLE, on the death of Mrs. Mary PEDDLE, who passed away at St. John’s on Jan. 10th, in her 54th year.

The many friends of Bob BENNETT, Survey Department, who had been confined to his home by illness, during the past five months, will be glad to know that Bob has recovered his health and is now feeling fine. Bob returned to work on January 24th.

Felicitions[sic] to the following pensioners on the occasion of their birthdays in January: William HEALEY, 73 on the 1st, Ambrose DROVER, 68 on the 3rd, Chris SAUNDERS, 70 on the 15th, Charles J. NORMORE, 70 on the 19th, Richard PARSONS, 86 on the 22nds, James COLE, 71 on the 26th, Alfred WHITE, 81 on the 31st, James FOWLER, 76 on the 31st , and Miss Nellie FORWARD, former Matron at the Staff House, who also celebrated her birthday in January.

The Stork visited the homes of the following employees during the month of January and presented: to the Joe McDONALDS, a son on the 7th, to the Harry CRANES, a daughter on the 15th, to the Stan HICKEYS, a daughter on the 15th, to the Sam BICKFORDS, a son on the 17th, to the Aiden POWERS, a daughter on the 25th, to the William JACKMANS, a son on the 29th, and the George CANTWELLS, a son on the 30th.

The last shipment of coal which arrived from Sydney by the S.S. "Arthur Cross" in December is being moved from Dominion Pier to the Company’s Coal Yard by trucks. Approximately twenty-one thousand tons of coal is consumed annually on Bell Island.

Alexander LAHEY, No. 3 Slope who had been on the sick list since Christmas holidays, returned to work on January 31st.

William CANTWELL, Traffic Department, also received treatment in the Grace Hospital, St. John’s last month. He has now returned home and is feeling much better.

Phillip LAHEY, No. 4 Slope, entered hospital in St. John’s for an operation. A late report indicates that he is doing as well as can be expected.

Ten year old Patricia, daughter of Bernard LAHEY, No. 6 Slope, entered hospital in January for an appendectomy operation.

John SKINNER of the Medical Department also entered the Grace Hospital for an operation last month.

Robin, the eight year old son of Vincent KENT, No. 3 slope, entered hospital for treatment last month

Marie, daughter of Dick TAILLON, Chief Purchasing Agent also entered hospital for treatment last month.

Donald GOSSE, Mechanical Department, was also in hospital in January and has since returned home.

Frank PENDEGAST, No. 3 Slope visited St. John’s for surgical treatment in January.

John REID, Scotia Pier employee, was married on January 5th. We extend congratulations to John and his Bride and wish them happiness throughout the years that lie ahead.

Two employees of the Mechanical Depart have enrolled with the International Correspondence Schools for courses. They are Stan CONNORS, who is taking a course in diesel-gas-motor-vehicle engines; and Gordon ROSE, a course in reading blueprints.


Thomas P. MURPHY, born September 27th 1882. Compressorman, 55 years service.

James RYAN, born June 24th, 1890. No. 6 Slope, 55 years service.

William G. PARSONS, born July 6th, 1887. Timber Foreman, 54 years service.

William F. PARSONS, born August 29th, 1889. No 3 Slope, 52 years service

Michael BURKE, born February 18th, 1881. No. 6 Slope, 52 years service.

William MURPHY, born October 27th, 1886. Compressorman, 50 years service

Michael McLEAN, born January 6th, 1886. No. 6 Slope, 50 years service

Jack SKANES, born February 21st, 1890. No. 4 Slope, 45 years service.

Nathaniel LODGE, born August 15th, 1889. Mechanical Department 45 years service.

William PURCELL, born March 3rd, 1889. Mechanical Department. 45 years service.

Arch ROSE, born December 10th, 1889. No. 6 Slope 43 years service.

Transcribed from "Across The Tickle"  April 1999 Issue


Did you know that in 1952 Bell Island had between 90 and 100 business establishments compared to some 25 to 30 today.





How many of these business of 1952 can you remember:





The Ideal Store (Benny CLICK)

Imperial Café

Service Store (West Mines) George BASHA

The Candy Store (Peter CHON)

Cyril MOAKLER Store

Leo PENNEY (Store) Hiram BROWN

John BASHA & son




Carbage's Fruit Store

T. Eaton & Co.

Lawerance[sic] HURLEY (Store)



Hollywood Café

Charley WING

Mrs. Sarah RALPH (Store)

LAWTONS Drug Store

GOSINES Variety (Sadie)

Patrick WALSH

Kirby HUNT

Cash & Carry Store (C. CASE)



John HUNT (Store)


Simon Levitz & Son

James HUNT(Store)

Addison BOWN (Store)

Wabana Shoe Store (C.J. O'NEIL)



Mrs. M.A. DWYER (Store)

Wabana Style Shoppe


Marjorie HEATH (Store)

Flowers All Occasions



Michael FITZGERALD(Store)

Tom LAHEY Supermarket

Wabana Motor Supply

Charles COHEN & Son

William KENT (Store)

Alonga PARSONS (Store)

Nathan COHEN & Son

A B C Grocery

Richard LAMSWOOD (Store)

Riv PARSONS (Store

Cousins Drycleaning (Mrs. Mary KENNEDY)


Mrs. E. T. PARSONS (Store)

Con POWER (Store)

Hedley FONG

Chester DAWE Ltd.

A.E. PIKE (Store)

Ships Store (H.W. BUTLER)

Bell Island Fruit Store (C. CHEW)

Sams Grocery

James POWER (Store)

Walter SQUIRE (Store)

New World Café

Service Store (The Green)

Dan STOYLES (Store)

REES Garage

Mrs. Joan SNOW (Store)

M.A. ROSE (West Mines Store)

John S. POWER (Meat Market)

BASHA's Hotel

M.A. ROSE (Scotia Ridge Store)

William POWER (Meat Market)

CLARKE's Meat Market

Brickside Hotel

Tom STOYLES (Meat Market)

James NORMORE (Meat Market)

Kentwood Inn


DOBBIN's Beauty Salon

St. Pat's Theatre

Bert RIDEOUT (Ambulance & Funeral)

Gus MURPHY (Tinsmith

Princes Theatre








There are probably more names that people can think of, but all these names were taken from a 1952 phone book.


Transcribed from "Across The Tickle" April 1999




Peter QUIGLEY was appointed a deputy surveyor of Crowns Lands on Dec. 26 1906

On Oct. 8 1907, W.K. MURPHY was appointed Postmaster at the Front. (The post office at the front was then located in the Court House).

 An office was also set up in the mining area, with the BURKE brothers in charge.

In Nov. 1907, Weston HUNT opened a blacksmith’s shop on the west road.

W.S. BOWDEN opened a watch making and jewellery store at the green in Feb. 1908. He also had the agency for Needham Organs

John BOWDRING was operating a billiard table at the mines and P.F. DOYLE had opened a photographic studio in 1908

John HUGHES purchased D.J. JACKMAN’s billiard table and opened a pool room at the mines on Apr. 12, 1909

The BURKE brothers enlarged their store which was located on the Main Street, now known as Town Square (1909)

A Road Board was appointed on June 29, 1909, for Bell Island Proper, Lance Cove, and Freshwater. The members were: Thomas PARSONS, William HAMMOND, Thomas REES, William REES, Michael CONNORS, Frank NORMORE, Owen KELLY, Patrick MURPHY, James NORMORE, Patrick FITZGERALD and Richard KENT

John and Catherine FAGAN opened up a bakery on the Island in Feb 1910

Eugene H. REES was appointed a department surveyor of crown lands on July 19, 1910

A store run by a man named "Cheap Joe" was consumed by fire on Nov. 25, 1910

The store and dwelling of CANNING and PINE were auctioned on Dec. 14, 1910, and sold to Mr. Abram COHEN

W.F. BILLINGSLEY resigned his position as branch manager of PARKER and MONROE in May 1911, and moved to Bell Island to open a boot and shoe store in the building previously occupied by Mr. CANTWELL, druggist.

Bell Island’s first periodical, "The Wabana Druggist", made its appearance in Nov. 1910. The editor was L.J. LAWTON, proprietor of the Wabana Drug Store. It was distributed free to all homes. It contained all the news items of the island and its editorials were mainly directed at securing local improvements, such as better roads, sanitary conditions, etc. not to mention the ferry service.

Construction of a range of houses at the Front was begun by the Scotia Co. in Sept. 1911. It was called Bridal Ave., because the houses were subsequently occupied by five newly-wedded couples. Rev. Fr. McGRATH installed an acetylene lighting plant in the fall of 1911 in St. Michael’s Church. J.B. MARTIN and J.C. STEWART also had them in their stores. These are the first recorded instances of domestic and commercial lighting by means other than Kerosene lamps


Transcribed from "Across The Tickle" April 1999




On Feb. 19, 1900, the government of Sir James WINTER was defeated on a vote of non confidence in the House of Assembly. Three members of his party, Messrs. CALLAHAN, WOODFORD and ST. JOHN, had crossed the House, and when Robert BOND, on behalf of the Opposition, brought forward a non confidence motion, which was seconded by E.P. MORRIS, a number of Government members abstained from voting and the Government went down to defeat. Sir Jas. WINTER tendered his resignation on March 6 and Hon. R. BOND (who later became Sir Robert BOND) was invited to form a new ministry. The leader of the opposition was Hon. A.B. MORINE.

BOND went to the country that Fall to obtain a mandate from the people to confirm his tenure of office. Only three years had elapsed since the previous General Election, due to the upset of the Winter regime before its term of office had expired. Ever since the introduction of Responsible Government in 1855, elections had followed a four-year course, with one exception. That was in 1861 when Hon. John KENT, who had been elected head of the government in 1859, was dismissed by Governor BANNERMAN. In the general election which followed in that year, Sir Hugh HOYLES had been returned to power, but the general tenor of elections every four years had prevailed since then until the interruption of 1900.

The result of the Bond party’s bid for power is to well known to require amplification. The election gave an overwhelming majority 32 to 4 to Hon. Robert BOND, St. John’s East, in 1897, had elected J.P. FOX, T.J. MURPHY, FURLONG and DWYER were again the Liberal candidates in that general election of 1900.

They were opposed by Thos. M. WHITE, mechanic, who had unsuccessfully run against John DWYER the previous year; John F. RYAN, planter, and Robert J. PARSONS, solicitor.

The polling booths on Bell Island were the same as in the 1899 by-election, one at Lance Cove, one at the Front, one at the East Mines and one at the West Mines.

Nomination day was on Oct. 29 and Polling Day was Nov. 8. John DWYER headed the poll and carried his colleagues with him. The result of the count was as follows:

DWYER 2538




RYAN 752



Mr. FURLONG was elected Speaker of the House when the Assembly was convened in 1901.

Resuming the Chronicle of local events in 1900, we find that the first steam shovel went into operation in August. Prior to that, ore cars had been loaded by hand. Michael NUGENT had his leg broken when the new shovel was being placed in position on Aug. 9. The ropes broke and part of the blocking gave away, pinning his leg.

An accident occurred at the pier on Aug. 11. The watchman, Alfred PIKE of Harbour Grace, was in the cage when it broke away and fell to the pier. He had both leg’s broken in the fall.

The new Presbyterian Hall in Kavanagh’s Lane was opened Aug. 16 and there was an excursion from St. John’s for the occasion, by train to Kelligrews and by launch to the Island, the round trip costing $1.

I.C. MORRIS was again on Bell Island in August. He crossed from Portugal Cove in the sailboat run by Matthew and William JACKMAN. The JACKMAN’s had been operating a mail and passenger boat across the Tickle for 60 years. The boat carried three sails. He crossed with 11 other passengers. The launch Wabana, owned by the Scotia Company was only used for their business.

Mr. MORRIS reported that the business places on the Island were being run by Newfoundlanders, Scotsmen and Syrians. There was a bakery under the management of Mr. BARTER, formerly of John B. was owned by J.B. MARTIN and was turning out 400 loaves a day.

The eastern pier formerly owned by the Nova Scotia Company, was now in the possession of the Dominion Company, who had constructed a new tramway leading to it (the west Tramway). Three quarters of a mile west of the original pier the Scotia Company had built a new pier and a new ore road to the mining area. Mr. MORRIS reported two such roads had been built since his visit in the previous year.

Curious to see the new pier, Mr. MORRIS walked along the main road (the first road built on the Island) until he came to the crossing of the Scotia Company’s new tramway (at Stewart’s Bridge). There he mounted one of the ore cars and rode down to the Scotia pier. Coming to the edge of the cliff, he walked down a series of stairways, seven in number, and counted a total of 309 steps on the way down, made up as follows: First flight 8 steps; second, 27; third, 77; fourth, 88; fifth, 15; sixth, 70; seventh, 24.

Reaching the pier, he found that sheds, forge and an engine room had been erected there. The engineer in charge was W.S. REYNOLDS. Mr. MORRIS returned to the top of the cliff by way of a long steep ladder which contained 200 rungs, and had to take man "a blow" in his climb.

That night he visited the store of J.B. MARTIN. Eight assistants were working there and were kept busy until a late hour.


During his visit to Bell Island in 1900, I.C. MORRIS walked to Lance cove. Another settlement lay farther west, Freshwater, which consisted then of a dozen families, but Mr. MORRIS did not visit it until some years later. He was greatly impressed by the beauty of Lance Cove, nestling in the midst of cleared fields in a green, sheltered valley between the hills and commanding a striking view of the Bay, with Little Bell Isle in the middle distance and the Topsail shore beyond.

One of the residents he talked with was Stephen REES whose Grandfather was one of the first to settle at Lance Cove. He was an Englishman hailing from Bristol, the port from which John Cabot sailed on his historic voyage of discovery, and as engaged in shipbuilding in the early part of the last century.

Mr. MORRIS stated that about 60 ships were built at Bell Island in those years. They were mostly of 100 and 200 tons burthen and were built expressly for the foreign trade. The Island had an abundance of witch-hazel and other good timber suitable for the building of ships. These vessels were built at Lance Cove and the sites of the Old Shipyards were pointed out to Mr. MORRIS, one at the eastern side of Lance Cove and the other on the Western side. The western one was owned by Mr. KENNEDY and the eastern one by Mr. PITTS. There is also a record of a brickyard having been operated by the PITTS family in the year 1848.

The old PITTS homestead was still intact at the time of Mr. MORRIS’ visit and was occupied then by Miss PITTS.

Other old names in the settlement mentioned by Mr. MORRIS were REES, CLEMENTS, KENT and COOPER. He visited the Church of England cemetery and saw there a monument to the memory of the Island’s first Anglican clergyman, Rev. Wm WEAVER, and one to James COOPER. The latter name has died out at Lance Cove.

Mr. MORRIS reported that the people of the settlement were traveling to the local mainland principally by the topsail route. There was a daily ferry service form the beach to Portugal Cove and a tri-weekly service from Lance cove. The settlement had a Church of England Church (the oldest on Bell Island) and a small schoolhouse.

Turning to the events on the Island in the fall of 1900, we find that the famous Wabana Ball was scheduled to take place in the first week of October. The newspapers of the day did not carry any report of that social event, probably because it ended in a fracas. The new court house and residence for a constable was being erected in September on the road at the Front which has been known ever since as Court House Hill On the 13th the first Magistrate’s Court session was held on Bell Island by Dr. FREEBAIRN, J.P., in the R.C. Schoolhouse. Seven civil cases were heard at that first session and "Court" was held every Thursday thereafter. Const. J. FITZGERALD was stationed on the Island that fall as the first police officer.

The schooner Elizabeth of Tilt cove, SAUNDERS master, drove ashore at the beach on Sept. 12 after parting her anchor chains in a violent storm. She had arrived from Green Bay with a cargo of lumber but was forced to leave the pier and anchor off. The tug Favorite which was towing logs from Kelligrews to the island had a hard time of it and had to run for shelter at the head of the Bay. A big ore boat had to leave the pier and go to Holyrood, 42 vessels were reported ashore between the Straits of Bell Isle and Englee in that storm, which must have been of unusual severity. The schooner Elizabeth was in an upright position on the Beach with her keel deeply imbedded in the sand.

A concert was held at Lance Cove on Sept. 19 by Rev. Fr. McGRATH. Those taking part were Mesdames ALLEN and PARSONS, Misses E. PARSONS, K. WHITE, B. KENNEDY, A. MAHER, M. POWER, and Mr. C.M. WHITE.

It was reported that the Dominion Iron & Steel Co. had spent $8,750,000 at Sydney to date on construction of the steel plant, of which three million was in wages. The amount of ore in sight at Wabana then was said to be 34 million tons.

Wm. FRY of Portugal Cove was reported missing at Bell Island on Sept. 20. His lantern was found at the foot of a cliff but a search party failed to find any trace of him. It was brought out in the magisterial enquiry before Dr. FREEBAIRN that he was believed to have fallen over a 200 foot cliff while searching for a $5 bill he had lost.

The government voted $200 to add a new block to the public wharf. The first Diamond Drill was operating on the Island in September under superintendent David GLAVINE. It was working on a donkey engine and bored down hundreds of feet bringing up a core one inch in diameter. The Whitney seam was struck at a depth of 96 feet and showed eight feet ore.

A collection was taken up in St. Michael’s Church on Sept. 30 in aid of the Catholic orphanages in St. John’s. The sum of $74 was realized and divided equally between Belvedere and Mt. Cashel.

Johanna NORMORE died at the General Hospital on Oct. 10, aged 43. Gordon GRAHAM, who for six years had been accountant with the Scotia Company at Wabana, left for head office on Oct. 18, having been promoted traveler for the company.

Eli BROWN, aged 65, who was employed as a mason at the construction of the Court House, was struck from behind by a loaded car while walking along the ore track, knocked down, and his right leg broken in two places. He was conveyed to the cove and thence by wagon to the General Hospital. The incident caused much unfavorable comment as the patient did not reach the Hospital until 12 hours after the accident. Dr. SHEA operated the next morning and amputated the limb below the knee. Mr. BROWN, who belonged to Harbour Grace, was in hospital until January, 1901.

The first mention of the need for a hospital on the Island – a subject that had come up again and again over the years since then – occurred after that accident. The newspaper account spoke of "the urgent necessity of a hospital on the island where accidents of a severe nature could be attended to without having patients sent all the distance to St. John’s over a long stretch of land and water.

Rev. Mr. GODFREY, Methodist Minister on the island, held his first social on Nov. 17, and it was quite successful. Rev. S. GREENLESS, Presbyterian Minister, and his daughter were among those present.

Laying of the first telegraph cable across the Tickle was complete that Fall, and the first message was sent from Bell Island to the local mainland on Nov. 18. Prior to that, messages had been brought over by boat from Kelligrews by Wm. Tilley.

That brings us to the end of 1900, and although this article is longer than usual it should be mentioned by way of recapitulation that 1900 was a year of many notable "firsts" in local history.


Transcribed from "Across The Tickle" April 1999


January 1, 1999

P. Myles MURPHY, at Crown Point, Indiana, USA, at the age of 59, formerly of Bell Island. Predeceased by his father, Michael MURPHY. Leaving to mourn, his wife Rita (MOORE) two sons, Peter and Dan, two grandchildren, his mother, Mrs. Ellen MURPHY; brothers, Mike, Dennis, Pat and Leonard, sisters, Sandra and Margaret.

January 6, 1999

Thomas KAVANAGH at Cambridge, Ont., in his 92nd year. Formerly of Bell Island.

January 7, 1999

Vincent MURPHY, in his 88th year. Predeceased by his wife Mae in 1986. Leaving to mourn are son Jack, daughters, Janet, Madonna, Lucina and Janie, two sisters, Jean HUNT and Marg WHELAN.

January 14, 1999

Mrs. Phyllis M. FITZGERALD, (nee FOSTER) formerly of Bell Island, in her 85th year. Predeceased by her husband Fred in 1974 and her son Paul in 1983. Left with fond memories are her sons; Fred and Keith, daughters, Patricia, Janet, Sharon and Heather.

January 17, 1999

Mrs. Annabell KAVANAGH (nee BENNETT), in her 87th year. Predeceased by her husband Ronald in 1981, and her son Ronald (Jr.) in 1980. She leaves to mourn one son Gerald, 3 daughters, Lillian, Yvonne, and Evelyn.

January 22, 1999

Melissa HAWCO, in her 14th year. Left with loving memories are her parents Wayne and Elizabeth; five sisters, Sherry, Charleen, Nicole, Krista and Kayla; grandmothers: Margaret HAWCO and Elizabeth LAHEY.

January, 1999

The Right Rev. Bishop W.G. LEGGE, former Minister of the Anglican Parish on Bell Island from 1944 until the early 1950’s, at the age of 86. He is survived by his wife, Hyacinth, daughter Lorraine and son John.

February 2, 1999

Mrs. Elizabeth, Betty O’NEILL (nee KELLY) Predeceased by her son Dougie. Left to mourn her absence are her husband Douglas, sons Edward, Rennie, daughters Beverly, Patricia, Christine, Theresa, Mary, Michelle, goldie and all her grandchildren.

February 7, 1999

John Joseph WARREN, at Cambridge, Ont., in his 71st year. The eldest son of Leander and Margaret WARREN (nee DWYER) of Bell Island. Dear brother of Gwendoly, Peter, James, Clayton, Lawrence and Daniel.

February 8, 1999

James (Jimmy) CURNEW, in his 77th year. Leaving to mourn are his wife Evelyn, son James Jr. and daughter Becky.

February 12, 1999

Richard WALSH, in his 92hd year. Left with fond and loving memories are Frank, Richard, Edward, George, Brian, Bernetta, Mary, Betty and Patricia. One brother Syl WALSH in St. John’s

February 24, 1999

Sidney SNOW, at Cambridge, Ont., formerly of Bell Island, in his 58th year. Brother of Gerald, Edward, Mary, Margaret, Theresa, and Gertrude.

February 28, 1999

Mrs. Annie WISEMAN, in her 85th year. Left with fond and loving memories are husband Edward; four daughters, Eileen, Madonna, Edna and Regina, seven sons; Ronald, Peter, Anthony, Raymond, Keith, Kevin and Paul.

February, 1999

Patrick James MURPHY, at Cambridge, Ont., age 72, formerly of Bell Island. Leaving to mourn are his four daughters; Mary, Ann Marie, Carmel and Jacki. Brothers; Dennis, Mike, Edward (Pepper)and only sister Rita CALLAHAN.

March 3, 1999

John PEDDLE, in his 74th year. Predeceased by son John. Left with loving memories, wife Doris; daughter Linda, sons Gerald and Bob. Brothers; George, Don, Fred and Alex; 1 sister Gladys HUSSEY.

March 19, 1999

Mrs. Nellie O’NEILL, at Halifax, formerly of Bell Island. She was the daughter of James and Elizabeth McCARTHY. Predeceased by husband Cyril J. Surviving are daughters; Catherine and Sheila, sons ?[light copy] Bernard and John.

March19, 1999

Kathleen LAWLOR (nee MOORE), of paradise, aged 88, formerly of Bell Island. Predeceased by husband Martin. Leaving to mourn two daughters; Mary and Patricia.

March 21, 1999

Edward (Dick) GORMAN, of Riverhead Hr. Grace, age 63, formerly of Bell Island. Predeceased by parents Edward and Irene GORMAN; brother Myles. Leaving to mourn one sister Betty.

March 25, 1999

Edward COLE, age 71 years. Leaving to mourn two daughters; Anna and Colleen. Six sons; Mike, Thomas, Gary, Billy, Paul and David.


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