The Foods We Ate

When we were children nearly all of the food that we ate was home made.  Very little was bought from the store and only if it was a necessity.

We bought butter (Good Luck) by the pound, Carnation milk by the 16 ounce tin, loose Red Rose tea in a silver foil package.  It was put into a teapot with boiling water and “steeped” on the stove.

Meat was bought at the store and some of it was bought in St. John’s.  I remember one time that there was a “meat man” who went through Flat Rock  on Saturdays selling meat from his truck.  He had a white  box on the truck where he kept the meat and very sharp knives to cut it.  He also had very large, white scales that he used to weigh the meat.  I don’t remember Mom ever buying meat from him.  His name was Jim Martin.  Jim and Mom were first cousins.

In later years when Nan did not want to bake bread she would buy sliced white bread from the store which she called “fluff” because it was so light when compared to home- made bread.

I think that our food and our meals took on a pattern.  Porridge or toast was the usual breakfast menu.  We didn’t have peanut butter and I never acquired a taste for it.  I still don’t like it.  Toast was made from home-made bread and the porridge was cooked on the stove in a saucepan.  We always had tea and, like our grandfather we drank it from the saucer.  Porridge was eaten with   two spoonsful of  sugar on it and Carnation milk mixed with cold water.

Sunday dinner was usually “Jiggs dinner”-salt meat cooked with potatoes, carrots, turnips and cabbage.  Along with tha,t Mom usually cooked a chicken or had a pork roast.   She would cook the pork roast before we went to church and we would have pork roast and toast for breakfast after Mass. I loved pork roast-the fat more so than the meat.

It was a treat to come home from mass knowing that Mom had cooked pork.  Of course, if meat was cooked there was gravy.  When the meat and vegetables were gone, we would dip bread in the gravy to soak it up.

After Sunday dinner, Mom would usually make salad for supper.  This was made from a tin of vegetable salad and mashed potatoes.  Meat would be Klik or Kam that came in a tin and bought at the store.  This was a treat and it spared the chicken or pork for Monday’s supper.

Sometimes, Mom would make jello for dessert, but not every week.  It was never made during the summer because it needed to be cooled and we did not have a refrigerator.  Sometimes, it would be put up in the cellar to cool.  I remember once that Mom had made custard to go with the jello and put it out in the back porch to cool.  Pat loved custard.  When Mom went to get the custard for supper, there was none left.  He had eaten it all.  I can hear Mom say, “Get me a gad!”

The leftovers from Sunday dinner were fried on the frying pan as “hash” for Monday.  I still love hash.  Again, there would be gravy.  After I was married, we went to Mom’s nearly every Sunday for supper. I still have the dish that Mom gave us to bring the hash home.  Mom cooked every single Sunday and she loved doing it-even on very hot summer days!

One of the other things that we had on a regular basis was fish-especially in the summer.  We had fish boiled with potatoes, fish fried  with potatoes or fish  baked with potatoes.  When the fishermen came in to shore with their catch Mom would send one of us down to ask the fishermen for a fish.  We never had to pay for a fish.  If it was a large fish, Mom would ask the fisherman to take out the backbone so that she could bake it.  That meant that it was stuffed like a turkey with dressing made with dried bread crumbs, onions, butter and savoury and baked in the oven.  Nothing ever tasted better than fresh baked codfish!   We always ate fish on Friday.  We were not allowed to eat meat on Friday, because we were Catholic .

In the fall and winter we had salted fish boiled and eaten with potatoes and covered with little pieces of fat called scrunchions   I loved the scrunchions and the taste of the fish.

Pea soup was a regular item as were white boiled  beans.  When Mom boiled beans she would make bread the same day.  She always had enough bread dough left over to make  a pan of buns.  The beans were delicious and the hot buns with butter was used to soak up the juice of the beans. Yum!!

We ate a lot of bologna (baloney) fried, cold, or on a sandwich.  Once I remember Mom cooking bologna and making gravy on it.  I think I ate it with gravy that day but never did again.

Mom made chicken wing soup which was delicious.  We ate a lot of potatoes and a lot of bread.  Homemade raisin buns were Mom’ specialty. My sister told me that she loved Mom’s raisins and used to eat them from the box in the cupboard.

For four years (1993-1997) when I was principal of St. Agnes school in Pouch Cove I would have a staff meeting once a month.  Mom always made buns for the teachers as a treat.

We never had fresh milk because we never had cows.  Sometimes, Mrs. Maggie Morey (Aunt Maggie) would give us skimmed milk in a bottle. She lived in the house at the bottom of the lane with her son Bern, his wife Theresa and their children.

I remember Aunt Maggie very well.  Will, my twin brother and I went to their house every morning on the way to school to get Bob and Brian (her grandsons). Brian, when he was in grade four, had to memorize a poem for school.  The poem began, “From far across the meadow I hear a mournful little quack…”   I don’t know the title but it’s interesting that I remember the words so well.

Aunt Maggie made a lot of mitts and the wool had been soaked in oil.  I can still remember (when I close my eyes), the smell of the oil and the wool. I also remember that   Aunt Maggie had her ears pierced and she said it improved her hearing!

I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have tea with Carnation milk and two spoonsful of sugar.  At Christmas time we had Purity syrup which was mixed with cold water and served with fruit cake.  I still love fruit cake.

Eggs were also a basic as there were lots of hens and we had a steady supply of eggs.  We usually had eggs boiled and when the top was cut off, butter was put on the top.  I liked eggs and still do but now I eat them without the butter.  The other difference was that our eggs were brown and the eggs at the supermarket today are white.

There were times when Mom would buy a can of “corned beef”.  She would boil and mash potatoes and mix the tin of corned beef in with it.  I loved the taste.

I don’t think that we ate especially nutritious meals, but we did eat what was cooked for us.  We appreciated the work that went into its preparation. Also, if we didn’t eat what was put on our plate, we had no option.  It was eat or be hungry.

The only time we were not allowed in the kitchen was when Mom was cooking her Christmas cake.  It was baked in a large cast-iron bake pot and it took hours to bake.  She was always afraid that we would run on the kitchen and the cake would “drop in the middle”.  We found other places to play, other than indoors when Mom baked her cake.

In the spring when the sealers came back from the seal hunt we would have fresh flippers.  These were the front paws of the seal and they were a delicacy.  They were baked and covered with pastry.  I never liked the pastry but I loved the flippers.

Thinking about all of these foods leaves me with a very pleasant memory.  I still like many of the foods that I did as I was growing up but I feel that I eat much healthier now.













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The Games We Played

 When we were children we did not have many toys at Christmas time.  Santa brought us toys but they did not seem to last long.  I can remember getting a sled for sliding in the winter, a cap gun with caps, and one Christmas Sheila and her-then boyfriend, Israel, gave us guns and holsters.  We were the best dressed cowboys on the beach!

There were not a lot of children around for us to play with.  Bob and Brian Morey lived at the bottom of the lane.  Brian was a year older and Bob was a year younger.  When we were about eight or nine they moved “inlong” and there were no children left there to play with.  Jimmy Mason lived over by the canal.  He was our age.  Frankie Waterman lived on Waterman’s lane but I think he was younger-the same age as Rita Wade (our cousin) who lived up on the back road.

We created our own games and copied the games we saw the older boys and girls play.  There were boys’ games and girls’ games and some games that everybody played together.

I will try to explain some of these games.  They were the games we played on the school yard before school, at recess time or at lunch time.  School did not start until 9:30 in the morning and so we had lots of time to play.  They were also the games we played at home after school in the evening and on the weekends.

I   will explain each game to you as if there were two children playing


The hopscotch would be traced on the ground in the dirt.  It had to be a level area.  In later years when the roads were paved, children used chalk, taken from school, to draw the hopscotch on the pavement.

Each player needed a stone as large as the palm of your hand and as flat as possible.

The first player hopped on one foot from number one to number seven.  Then he would turn around and hop all of the way back.

If he did not lose his balance and put his other foot down or if he didn’t walk on a line, he had a chance to make an initial-make a block his.  This was done by standing back-on to the hopscotch and throwing his stone over his shoulder.  If the stone landed on a numbered square, without touching a line, that block became his.  No one cold hop on that block except the person whose initials were on it.

The next player would repeat the pattern.  Whoever had the most initials at the end of the game was the winner.   As the game went on, it became more difficult.

For example, if I owned block 1 and the other player owned blocks 2, 3 and 4 I had to hop from block to block, without walking on a line or without putting the other foot down.

This game was lots of fun and we played it for hours.  It taught us balance and it kept us outdoors in the fresh air and the sunshine.

Some of the bigger boys and girls made their hopscotches bigger and added numbers up to 10.


Each player had a flat stone like the stone used for hopscotch.  The first player threw his stone onto square one.  The player then hopped onto the square and kicked the stone with the same foot to number two and number three and all around until he got to number eight.  When he got to number eight, he kicked the stone off.  As he was going around, the stone could not go onto a line or go into the FREE.  If it did, the player lost his turn and then the next player started.  If he got tired, he could rest in free with both feet on the ground.  Once   he started again, he could only hop on one foot.

Once a player got all the way around, he got a chance to get an initial-like in hopscotch.  He stood back on to number one and threw his stone over his shoulder.  Whichever block it landed on became his and he put his initials on it.  The strategy was to get the numbers 3, 5, 7 and 1 first.  This would make the game easier later on.

If a player got number 2 and had his initial on it, the other player could not let his rock land on it.  So, if the player threw his rock on number 1 and I owned number 2, he would have to kick over number 2 in order to get to 3.  The other difficult ones were 4 and 6.

The game went on until all of the blocks had a player’s initials on them.  The person who owned the most blocks ( initials) won the game.

If we started a game before school, we would continue it at recess time or at lunch time or after school.  Nobody would  take another person’s kick stone that they had drawn or their stone.

This was a great game of balance and we played it a lot.  This game, like hopscotch, could be played with as many as five or six people.

Mom used to complain that we played too much kickstone.  She said we scuffed the soles off our shoes!


Rounders was like baseball or softball.  We needed three bases and a home base.  We needed a place for the pitcher.  We didn’t have real bats or a real base/softball.  Someone would make a bat from a stick of wood and the bases were rocks. We used a sponge ball as the ball.

Whichever team was up at bat first tried to hit the ball as far away as possible   when it was pitch to them by the pitcher of the other team.  When the ball was hit, the hitter had to run and touch each of the three bases and get home before he was tagged by the ball or before the ball got home to first base.

We played in one of the meadows.  As we got older we were allowed to go inlong to play on a Saturday and there was a really big meadow where we played.  We often went in the morning and never came home until supper time.  We never got hungry and no one came to look for us.  There were no cell phones for anyone to call us.

I remember once when I was very young—probably eight or nine-we were playing rounders in Nell Dawe’s yard on a Sunday evening. Pat Kearsey was “down from town”.  He was a bigger boy and he could hit the ball really hard.

When it was his turn, he hit the ball very hard and the ball hit me in the head.  I cried for hours! It was a real baseball and it hurt a lot!!


Cobby was Rita’s game and we played it behind her house.  It wasn’t   a game we usually played but we did it when we had nothing else to do.  Rita had an area where she had a pretend house-with pretend rooms and pretend furniture and pretend dishes.  She would be the mother and we would be the children.

We pretended to eat meals and play in the house.  I have no idea where the name came from or what it really meant.  When it rained, we played “school” in a room in (Uncle Jim’s) barn.


We did this when we had nothing else to do in the summer time.  My grandfather had a long thick   piece of board which we put through a section of the fence.  One person would sit on either end of it and we would go up and down like you would today with a seesaw.

It was important that each person be about the same weight.

If not, the heavier one would sit on their end of the stick and keep the other person up in the air.  That was not fun for the person held up there!!  Adeleane told me that she and my sisters used to play this, too, for hours.


We usually played this at school where there were lots of people to play.

An area would be designated as a pound and a line would be drawn there.  There would be two teams.  The first team’s pig ran around and caught the members of the other team.   When caught, they were put into the pound.  There would be one or two guards whose job it was to keep the captured ones in.  The other team’s members could get them out by touching their hands and hoping that one of the guards would not be able to keep them from getting out.

We played this until the bell rang and it was time to go into school. When we came out again, we started a new game.


There were two teams.  One team had an “it” who ran and touched the other players.  Once touched, they were frozen and could not move unless they were touched by a member of their own team.

When all of one team was frozen, the other team was the winner and the game would start all over again.


Piddly had two teams and each team had as many players as they wanted.

The game had three parts and I will explain each part to you.  In order to play we needed two sticks- a long one and a short one. Old broom handles were best as they were nice and smooth.

Part One

The team that was up first (starting) had two rocks laid on the ground about 30cm apart and about 10 cm high.  A short stick was laid across the two rocks.  The person who started would hook the short stick with the longer stick and make it go as far as possible.  If the short stick was not caught while it was in the air it was picked up by someone on the other team.  The team that was “up” laid the long stick across the rocks where the short stick had been.  The person throwing the short stick tried to knock the long stick off the rocks.  If he succeeded, the person was “out” and the next player started to play.  If the thrower did not succeed, the game moved into part two.

Part Two

The player who started the game now held the short stick vertically in one hand.  In the other hand he held the long stick.  He tried to hit the short stick and drive it as far as possible.  If the stick was caught the player was “out”.  If it was not caught and it fell on the ground, the player who got it threw it in an attempt to hit one of the rocks.  If he did, the player was “out”.  If he did not hit one of the rocks, the player with the long stick counted the number of lengths from the short stick to one of the rocks.

Part Three

The player stood the short stick against one of the rocks.  He attempted to lift the short stick with the long stick in mid-air and drive it as far as possible.  If it was caught, the player was “out”.  If it was not caught the player who picked it up threw it in an attempt to hit one of the rocks.  It if hit, the player was “out”.  If it did not hit, the counting was the same as it was in part two.

The game continued until players got tired and decided to go home or it was lunch or supper time.

Players who had “good” piddly sticks were the envy of the others.  I can remember all of the boys at school playing piddly at the same time and everyone having fun.


We never had real (store-bought) skipping ropes but we did a lot of skipping.  We used rope that we found left-over from my grandfather’s   stable or from the fishermen.  There was always rope to be had.  Skipping was not so much of a game as it was a full time activity.  I think we skipped everywhere we went.  I think we were healthy because we were always so active.


We would stand around in a large circle with our arms spread out and our hands joined.  One person would be “it”.  Another would be the follower.  The follower had to catch the “it” who was running in and out under   the outstretched arms.

The game began when the “it” walked around outside the circle and tapped someone on the shoulder.  Then the running began. It continued until the person who had done the tapping was caught by the person who had been tapped.  The game continued when the person who had caught the first person now walked around the outside of the circle and tapped someone else on the shoulder.  We had lots of fun doing this!

Cowboys and Indians

This was a game we played a lot.  We played it with Jimmy Mason and Frankie Waterman and sometimes Jimmy Wade.  We had pretend horses but we had lots of wooded area to play in up on the back road.  The cowboys were the good guys and the Indians were the bad guys.  We usually took turns being one or the other.

When I was in grade three we sang a song on the concert called “The Red River Valley”.  We had to have red cowboy hats for the song.  I think that summer I was a cowboy every day-never an Indian because I had a “real” cowboy hat.

 Hide and Seek

We played hide and seek a lot.  We played it in the house, outdoors around the house, in the stable and in the woods.  You could play this game with a very few people.

One person would look for the others who had hidden. They were given an opportunity to hide and the person who was the seeker would call out loudly, “Here I come-ready or not” and then go to look for the hiders.  The last person found was the “seeker” the next time.

Sports Day Games

At the end of the school year we had a day set aside for Sports day.    Miss Lillian Power used to go to Red Head for that day and there were large fields where we could play.  I remember two of the games we used to play there.

Egg and Spoon Race

Each person would hold a spoon in their mouth between their teeth and a hard-boiled egg would be placed on the spoon.  The person who made it to the finish line without dropping the egg would be the winner.

Three-Legged Race

Two people would put one leg each in a brin  (burlap) bag .  The race would start and each person used their free leg to run.  Lots of people fell down and started over again.  This race was lots of fun.

These may not have been all of the games that we played but the ones I remember the most.  We loved being outdoors.  We had lots of games to play and lots of friends to play with.  We were really lucky to have had such good times.











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The Loss of the Marion Rogers -1938

The loss of the Marion Rogers took place on November 27/28, 1938.  The forty-one tonne vessel was owned by Robert Miller of New Bonaventure, on the north side of Trinity Bay.

The poem by William Dawe of Flat Rock was made public by Levi Butler of Port Rexton.

There are two other versions of the poem.  One is by James Ivany of Toronto and the other by James Yetman (lyrics) with David Blackmore doing the music in 2003.

 The schooner Marion Rogers,

she sailed from St. John’s town,

Deep laden with provisions

To the Nor’ad she was bound.


Seven good seamen formed her crew

So noble and so brave

And little did they ever think

They’d meet a watery grave.


Aye, little did they ever think,

Goin’ down the shore that night,

The hour of death and tragedy

Was the end of a silent flight.


The foaming seas were mountains high

The ocean foaming white,

When these brave seamen met their doom

Upon that fateful night.


The wind it blew most violently

As in the ship did go,

The land was not visible

Through heavy squalls of snow.


No one was left to tell the tale,

So mournful and so drear,

Of that most awful shipwreck

The worst one of the year.


But those that’s left to mourn for them,

I hope will understand,

That God is on the ocean

as well as on the land.


And let our noble fishermen

Intercede with one record,

By knowing they’re in Heaven,

And have gained a great reward.



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Vital Statistics 1916-1936 Flat Rock Record of Deaths

All of these persons are listed as being buried at Flat Rock.  Previous to this, they would have been buried at Torbay.

The unfortunate part of Vital Statistics as they relate to children is that the parents are not identified and so we have many children who died but we do not know to which family they belong.

For the adults, there is no spouse listed, and, so again, we are not sure of which family they belong.

Not all years are listed.  There are some years for which there is no data.

There are some causes of death which may not make sense.


Date of Death Cause of Death Name Age at Death Where Born Where Buried
August 14, 1916

Died in St. John’s

Tumor on brain Stamp, Martin 14 Flat Rock Flat Rock
September 13, 1916 Senility Dawe, Margaret 80 Flat Rock Flat Rock
May 11, 1917 Pneumonia Burke, Joseph ?? Flat Rock Flat Rock
July 8, 1917 Measles Stamp, Thomas 2 Flat Rock Flat Rock
July 20, 1917 Measles Houlahan, Bridget 10 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
July 31, 1917 Measles Parsons, Monica 16 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
September 29, 1917 Senility (Carcio?), Michael 84 Flat Rock Flat Rock
October 22, 1917 Influenza

General Hospital

Bulger, Margaret 30 Flat Rock Flat Rock
March 7, 1918 Consumption Everson, John 11 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
November 11, 1918 Pneumonia Martin, Catherine 2 ½ Flat Rock Flat Rock
December 15, 1918 Tuberculosis

General Hospital

Allan, Peter 21 Flat Rock Flat Rock
January 25, 1919 Tuberculosis Martin, Patrick 64 Flat Rock Flat Rock
March 4, 1919 Influenza Hogan, Annie 2 ½ Flat Rock Flat Rock
March 12, 1919 Tuberculosis Martin, Edward 15 Flat Rock Flat Rock
March 16, 1919 Influenza Wade, Alice Frances 8 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
April 6, 1919 Bronchitis Reddy, Richard 81 Flat Rock Flat Rock
May 1, 1919 Consumption Kavanagh, Gregory 24 Flat Rock Flat Rock
July 11, 1919 Premature birth Wade, John Minutes Flat Rock Flat Rock
July 11, 1919 Premature birth Wade, Catherine Minutes Flat Rock Flat Rock
July 30, 1919 Drowning Kavanagh James 18 Flat Rock Flat Rock
November 20, 1919 Convulsions Reddy, Louisa may 9 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
December 4, 1919 Exhaustion of MA?? Bolger, James 70 Flat Rock Flat Rock
December 13, 1919 Cancer Everson, Elizabeth 72 Flat Rock Flat Rock
December 13, 1919 Congenital Debility Maher, Joseph 2 days Flat Rock Flat Rock
January 1, 1920 Heart Failure King, Mary 44 Flat Rock Flat Rock
January 21, 1920 Tuberculosis Maher, Ellen 16 Flat Rock Flat Rock
May 25, 1920 Epilepsy Power, Catherine ?? St. John’s Flat Rock
July 3, 1920 Consumption Martin, Margaret 10 Flat Rock Flat Rock
September 18, 1920 Dysentry Everson, Jos. 4 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
September 20, 1920 Dysentry Hogan, John 2 Flat Rock Flat Rock
September 20, 1920 Convulsions Everson, Bernard 8 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
September 23, 1920 Consumption Grace, Pierce 67 Flat Rock Flat Rock
July 15, 1920 Old age Dooley, Patrick 94 Flat Rock Flat Rock
August 24, 1920 Bronchitis Dawe, John 3 Flat Rock Flat Rock
December 5, 1920 Anemia Dawe, Maria 40 Torbay Torbay
February 15, 1921 Old age Keough, Michael 79 Pouch Cove Flat Rock
May 1, 1921 Old age Reddy, Margaret 66 Flat Rock Flat Rock
February 4, 1922 Convulsions Wade, Arthur 7 months Flat Rock Pouch Cove
January 4, 1922 Convulsions Wade, Arthur 4 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
April 2, 1922 Pneumonia Martin, Loretta 8 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
April 10, 1922 Pneumonia Martin, John Joseph 6 Flat Rock Flat Rock
April 2, 1922 Suicide Stamp, Mary 41 Flat Rock Flat Rock
April 10, 1922 Pneumonia Martin, John Francis 8 Flat Rock Flat Rock
April 10, 1922 Pneumonia Mary Elizabeth 7 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
April 20, 1922 Pneumonia Carew, Mary 1 month Flat Rock Flat Rock
April 25, 1922 Convulsions Parsons, Gordon 2 Flat Rock Flat Rock
May 19, 1922 Stillbirth Wade, ____ Stillborn Flat Rock Flat Rock
May 18, 1922 Stillbirth Everson, ___ Stillborn Flat Rock Flat Rock
June 9, 1922 Intestinal Maher, Annie 32 Flat Rock Flat Rock
August 4, 1922 Old age Power, Walter 84 Flat Rock Flat Rock
September 24, 1922 Convulsions Power, Gerald F. 3 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
October 5, 1922 Convulsions Stamp, Richard J. 3 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
November 6, 1922 Stillbirth ____  _____ Stillborn Flat Rock Flat Rock
September 3, 1923 Old age Power, Catherine 85 Trepassey Flat Rock
November 20, 1923 Accidentally killed

St. John’s dry dock

Bulger, Michael 33 Flat Rock Flat Rock
June 2, 1923 Old age Parsons, John 85 Flat Rock Flat Rock
June 14, 1923

Insane Asylum

Parsons, John 85 Flat Rock Flat Rock  


January 15, 1923

James St.






Puddister, Margaret






Flat Rock



Mt. Carmel

February 19, 1923 Cancer Shea, Johannah 51 Flat Rock Pouch Cove
February 22, 1923 Convulsions King, Kathleen F. 1 week Flat Rock Flat Rock
February 22, 1923 Convulsions King, Bernard. J. 1 week Flat Rock Flat Rock
January 20, 1923 Stillbirth Morey, Baby Stillborn Flat Rock Flat Rock
January 20, 1923 Stillbirth Morey, baby Stillborn Flat Rock Flat Rock
July 5, 1924 Old age Parsons, Michael 87 Flat Rock Flat Rock
September 23, 1924 Stillbirth Everson, Baby Stillborn Flat Rock Flat Rock
September 11, 1924 Congenital debility Carew, Mary Catherine 10 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
September 28, 1924 Convulsions Morey, Elizabeth 1 week Flat Rock Flat Rock
September 15, 1924 Convulsions Everson, William ?? Flat Rock Flat Rock
February 17, 1925 Tuberculosis Maher, Norah 24 Flat Rock Flat Rock
February 17, 1925 Convulsions Maher, Catherine, Mary 8 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
February 12, 1925 Convulsions Stamp, Helen 7 weeks Flat Rock Flat Rock
April 13, 1925 Heart disease Parsons, Catherine 45 Flat Rock Flat Rock
April 19, 1925 Heart disease Hogan, John 55 Flat Rock Flat Rock
October 31, 1925 Intestinal Obstruction Dooley, Mary Ann 69 Flat Rock Flat Rock
December 23, 1925 Old age Burke, Ellen 87 Flat Rock Flat Rock
February 4, 1927 Paralysis Wade, Mrs. William 78 Flat Rock Flat Rock
February 4, 1927 Tuberculosis Martin, Fergus 14 Flat Rock Flat Rock
February 14, 1927 Old age Bulger, John 74 Flat Rock Flat Rock
March 3, 1927 Old age Martin, James 76 Flat Rock Flat Rock
April 1, 1927 Jaundice Grace, Edward 51 Flat Rock Flat Rock
April 10, 1927 Old age Keough, Mrs. Michael 83 Flat Rock Flat Rock
September 1, 1927 Old age Morey, Elizabeth 74 Flat Rock Flat Rock
January 09, 1928 Tuberculosis Martin, Winifred 12 Flat Rock Flat Rock
January 8, 1928 Convulsions Martin, Alice 14 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
April 17, 1928 Convulsions Wade, Theresa 4 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
July 22, 1928 Heart Trouble Everson, Mrs. Joseph 43 Flat Rock Flat Rock
October 6, 1928 Heart Trouble Kavanagh, James 72 Flat Rock Flat Rock
November 6, 1928 Old age Kavanagh, Ellen 87 Flat Rock Flat Rock
December 22, 1928 Consumption Reddy, Bridget 45 Flat Rock Flat Rock
January 20, 1929 Old age Kehoe, John 70 Pouch Cove Pouch Cove
February 15, 1929 Old age Burke, James 81 Flat Rock Flat Rock
February 25, 1929 Old age Parsons, Catherine 85 Flat Rock Flat Rock
September 30, 1929 Dropsy Waterman, William 59 Flat Rock Flat Rock
January 19, 1930 Cancer Martin, John 40 Flat Rock Flat Rock
February 18, 1930 Old age Burke, Timothy 82 Flat Rock Torbay
July 26, 1930 Heart Failure Everson, Mary 34 Flat Rock Flat Rock
September 30, 1930 ___ Wade, Josephine 3 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
December 25, 1930 _____ Waterman, Maurice G. 7 hours Flat Rock Flat Rock
December 15, 1932 Pulm. Tuberculosis Martin, Louisa 21 Flat Rock Flat Rock
July 15, 1933 ____ Martin, Frances 2 hours Flat Rock Flat Rock
February 15, 1931 ____ Hickey, Patrick J. 15 months Flat Rock Flat Rock

July 17, 1933




Power, Bernice




Flat Rock


Flat Rock


April 30, 1931




Barnes, Patrick J.


8 months


Flat Rock


Flat Rock

April 2, 1933 Pulmonary TB

St. John’s

Houlihan, Mary 45 Torbay Flat Rock
February 3, 1935 Influenza Hickey, Theresa 6 years Flat Rock Flat Rock
January 27, 1935 Influenza Parsons, Michael 7 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
February 18, 1935 Senile decay Martin, Martha 70 Flat Rock Flat Rock
March 1, 1935 Whooping Cough Barron, Mary 11 months Flat Rock Flat Rock
March 7, 1935 Pneumonia King, Johanna 56 Flat Rock Flat Rock
March 25, 1935 Senile decay Hickey, John 86 Flat Rock Flat Rock
March 27, 1935 Influenza

Grace Hospital, St. John’s

Hickey, Gerald 5 years Flat Rock Flat Rock
May 22, 1935 Genl TB

Grace Hospital

Hickey, Peter 4 Flat Rock Flat Rock
September 27, 1935 Senile decay Bulger, Mary Ann 84 Flat Rock Flat Rock
January 31, 1936 Convulsions Martin, Gerald Thomas 9 hours Flat Rock Flat Rock
March 2, 1936 Senile decay Hickey, Michael 74 Flat Rock Flat Rock
June 4, 1936 Prematurity(???) Dooley, Anne 66 Flat Rock Flat Rock
August 6, 1937 Tuberculosis


Martin, John 33 Flat Rock Flat Rock

























I transcribed these from the Vital Statistics records which had been transcribed from the originals by another person.

September 30, 2013

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Vital Statistics 1891-1916


Date of Death Cause of Death Name Age at Death Where Born Where Buried
May 4, 1891 Old age Phelan, Anthony 91

At Flat Rock

Ireland Torbay
July 2, 1891 La Grippe Martin, Elizabeth 34 Flat Rock Torbay
January 5, 1892 Diptheria Parsons, John 6 Flat Rock Torbay
January 31, 1892 Diptheria Parsons, Anne 3 Flat Rock Torbay
March 24, 1892 Inflammation Kavanagh, Any 4 months Flat Rock Torbay
March 13, 1892 La grippe Power, Anne 67 Flat Rock Torbay
April 1, 1892 Rheumatism


Power, Con 2 Flat Rock Torbay
October 19, 1892 Decline Heffernan, Mary 26 Flat Rock Torbay
December 20, 1892 Worm fever (Marline), Kate


6 years Flat Rock Torbay
January 27, 1892 Worm fever Hickey, Michael 18 months Flat Rock Torbay
March 6, 1893 Childbirth Grace, Mary 30 Flat Rock Torbay
July 2, 1893 Bronchitis Grace, John 2 Flat Rock Torbay
December 29, 1893 Rupture Heffernan, Michael 65 Torbay

Died at Flat Rock

February 22, 1894 Convulsions Grace, Robinson 6 months Flat Rock Torbay
February 4, 1894 Childbirth Burke, Catherine 38 Torbay

Living in Flat Rock

March 24, 1894 Genl. Debility Kehoe, Ellen 72 Flat Rock Torbay
March 25, 1894 Lost on the ice at Outer Cove Parsons, James 18 Flat Rock Torbay
March 25, 1894 Lost on the ice at Outer Cove Parsons, Richard 14 Flat Rock Torbay
May 27, 1894 Influenza Burke, Henry Joseph 6 months Flat Rock Torbay
June 14, 1894 Consumption Carey, Margaret 40 Flat Rock Torbay
July 6, 1894 Consumption Hogan, Maurice 12 Flat Rock Torbay
October 16, 1894 Consumption Hogan, Mary E. 21 Flat Rock Flat Rock
November , 1894 Influenza Watchmore, Thomas 1 ½ Flat Rock Torbay
November 20, 1894 Scarletina Waterman, Thomas 4 Flat Rock Torbay
November 29, 1894 Bronchitis Maher, William 7 months Flat Rock Torbay
February 11, 1895 General debility Martin, Ellen 79 Placentia

Lived in Flat Rock

April 16, 1895 Childbirth Grace, Catherine 29 Flat Rock Torbay
April 24, 1895 Old age Martin, Frances 78 Flat Rock Torbay
April 26, 1895 Asthma Grace, Mary Frances 16 days Flat Rock Torbay
May 18, 1895 Heart Disease Rogers, Patrick 68 Torbay

Lived in Flat Rock

September 18, 1895 Convulsions Power, Ellen 2 ½ Torbay

Lived in Flat Rock

September 15, 1895 Epilepsy Power, Edward 32 Pouch Cove Pouch Cove
July 7, 1896 Decline Carew, Thomas 54 Flat Rock Torbay
July 9, 1896 Heart Disease Maher, Bridget 22 Flat Rock Torbay
September 2, 1896 Decline Carew, Martin 17 Flat Rock Torbay
June 8, 1896 Pneumonia Martin, Peter 1 ½ Flat Rock Torbay
June 12, 1896 Decline Carew, Thomas 48 Flat Rock Torbay

June 18, 1897




Stamp, Martin




Flat Rock



February 12, 1897 Old age Waterman, Elizabeth 82 Unknown Torbay
November 6, 1897 General Debility Hickey, Patrick 87 Flat Rock Torbay
July 22, 1897 Liver complaint Hogan, Maurice 63 Flat Rock Torbay
January, 8, 1898 Convulsions Dooley, Bridget 56 Flat Rock Torbay
January 25, 1898 Decline Dooley, Matthew 30 Flat Rock Torbay
June 19, 1898 Interior trouble Everson, Edward 67 Norway Torbay
July 23, 1898 General decay Martin, Johannah 78 Ireland Torbay
August 14, 1898 Kidney disease Grace, James 7 Flat Rock Torbay
October 17, 1898 Decline Murrant, Ellen 57 Flat Rock Torbay
December 12, 1898 Convulsions Grace, John Joseph 8 days Flat Rock Torbay
December 27, 1898 General debility Manning, Dora 70 Flat Rock Flat Rock
October 2, 1900 General debility Power, Patrick 6 days Flat Rock Torbay
December 15, 1900 Phthisis Houlahan, Martin 18 Flat Rock Torbay
February 22, 1901 Cancer Stamp, Richard 73 Flat Rock Torbay
April 28, 1901 General debility Martin, Mary 5 months Flat Rock Torbay
August 17, 1901 La Grippe Bolger, Mary 14 years Flat Rock Torbay
September 25, 1901 Inflammation Perchard, Jane

Stephen St.

26 Flat Rock Mt. Carmel
December 29, 1901 General debility Kehoe, Annie 2 months Flat Rock Torbay
January 4, 1901 Consumption Martin, Catherine 36 Flat Rock Torbay
March 12, 1902 Old age McDonnell, Thos. 81 Flat Rock Torbay
June 13, 1902 Old age Stamp, Richard 75 Flat Rock Torbay
March 31, 1899 Decline  

Hickey, Catherine


28 Flat Rock Torbay
April 22, 1899 General Debility Martin, Michael 78 Flat Rock Torbay
May 2, 1899 Bronchitis Gough, Rebecca 56 Flat Rock Torbay
September 19, 1899 General debility Reddy, Ellen 84 Flat Rock Torbay
September 21, 1899 Cancer Martin, Samuel 78 Flat Rock Torbay
March 6, 1900 Asthma Barron, Johannah

St. John’s

51 Flat Rock Mt. Carmel
March 29, 1900 Mumps Stamp, Richard 2 ½ Flat Rock Torbay
June 3, 1900 Decline Grace, Oliver 39 Flat Rock Torbay
June 4, 1900 Old age Grace, Oliver 36 Flat Rock Torbay
June 17, 1900 Mumps Martin, Mary 3 Flat Rock Torbay
November 22, 1902 Spinal dis. Dawe, William 68 Flat Rock Torbay
December 6, 1902 Accident

Truro, NS

Kennedy, William 23 Flat Rock Torbay
September 24, 1902 Gen. Debility Stamp, Michael 5 weeks Flat Rock Torbay
January 17, 1903 Pneumonia Burke, William 19 Flat Rock Torbay
January 23, 1903 Old age Burke, Cath’n 87 Flat Rock Torbay
March 28, 1903 Consumption Maynard, Thomas 27 Flat Rock Torbay
January 27, 1905 Cancer Bindon, Cath’n

Quidi Vidi Rd.

61 Flat Rock Flat Rock
January 8, 1905 Stomach trouble Maher, John 56 Flat Rock Torbay
January 11, 1905 Old age Martin, Thomas 94 Flat Rock Torbay
January 17, 1905 Heart dis. Parsons, Rich’d 59 Flat Rock Flat Rock
April 28, 1905 Decline Kavanagh, Marg’t 19 Flat Rock Torbay
June 12, 1905 Den Debility Hickey, Thomas 3 weeks Flat Rock Torbay
April 5, 1905 Diabetes Cahill, Thomas

Brazil Sq.

59 Flat Rock Mt. Carmel
July 7, 1911 Consumption Bolger, James 19 Flat Rock Torbay
July 18, 1911 Diptheria Martin, John 12f Flat Rock Torbay
August 17, 1911 Convulsions Morey, Mary 22 days Flat Rock Torbay
April 12, 1906 Heart Failure Stamp, Bridget

Lime St.

66 Flat Rock Mt. Carmel
April 1, 1906 Knee trouble Parsons, Cath’n 63 Flat Rock Torbay
May 28, 1906 Old age Grace, Philip 84 Flat Rock Torbay
September 28, 1906 Rupture Waterman, Rich’d 65 Flat Rock Torbay
March 7, 1907 Gen. Debility Stamp, Mary 70 Flat Rock Torbay
March 14, 1907 Gen. Debility Grace, Catherine 6 months Flat Rock Torbay
June 13, 1907 Tuberculosis Power, Patrick 53 Pouch Cove Pouch Cove
September 15, 1907 Convulsions Maher, Joseph 2 days Flat Rock Torbay
December 22, 1907 Paralysis Martin, William 71 Flat Rock Torbay
September 5, 1908 Old age Kavanagh, Margaret 74 Flat Rock Torbay
September 22, 1908 Inft. Debility Martin, Louisa 2 months Flat Rock Torbay
October 2, 1908 Old age Kavanagh, Margaret 76 Flat Rock Torbay
December 3, 1908 Bronchitis Everson, Thomas

Flat Rock

3 Torbay Torbay
December 11, 1908 Tuberculosis Carew, Bridget 26 Pouch Cove Pouch Cove
December 31, 1908 Old age Putt, Mrs. Olivee 92 Flat Rock Goulds
February 27, 1909 Old age Houlihan, Michael 77 Flat Rock Mt. Carmel

January 12, 1909


Old age


Kehoe, John




Flat Rock



February 26, 1909 Tuberculosis Martin, Mary 46 Flat Rock Torbay
March 10, 1909 Tuberculosis Martin, Samuel 20 Flat Rock Torbay

March 11, 1910


Gen. Debility


Grace, Mary

Flat Rock







March 25, 1910 Tuberculosis Pomeroy, George 8 months St. John’s Torbay
_____, 1910 Diptheria Hickey, Alice 11 Flat Rock Torbay
_____, 1910 Diptheria Norman, William 9 months Flat Rock Torbay
_____, 1910 Diptheria Hickey, John 12 Flat Rock Torbay
August 4, 1910 Tuberculosis Parsons, Mary 19 Flat Rock Torbay
September 6, 1910 Convulsions Casey, Margaret 6 days Flat Rock Torbay
October 25, 1910 Paralysis Doyle, Margaret 83 Flat Rock Torbay
November 5, 1910 Heart Trouble Maynard, Mary 64 Flat Rock Torbay
February 16, 1911 Tuberculosis Maynard, Henry 67 Flat Rock Torbay
February 24, 1911 Brain Fever Kavanagh, Edward 2 ½ Flat Rock Torbay
February 22, 1911 Infant. Debility Grace, Catherine 5 days Flat Rock Torbay
March 21, 1911 Brain Fever Reddy, Michael 15 Flat Rock Torbay
April 27, 1911 Convulsions Ryan, Michael J. 1 month Flat Rock Torbay  
May 1, 1912 Inft. Debility Morey, James 2 months Flat Rock Torbay
May 5, 1912 Convulsions Morey, Elizabeth 10 months Flat Rock Torbay
October 20, 1912 Consumption Marshall, Lorenzo 15 Flat Rock Bell Island
July 15, 1912 Convulsions Morey, Elizabeth 3 days Flat Rock Torbay
August 24, 1912 Senile decay Stamp, Annie 81 Flat Rock Torbay
August 26, 1912 Heart Failure Hickey, Thomas 59 Flat Rock Torbay

October 23, 1912




Murphy, Mary

Flat Rock







October 31, 1912 Old age Martin, Ellen

Flat Rock

86 Torbay Torbay
November 4, 1912 LaGrippe Martin, Ellen 86 Torbay Torbay
November 24, 1912 Bronchitis Houlihan, Martin 2 months Flat Rock Torbay
November 25, 1912 La grippe Brien, Sarah 75 Flat Rock Torbay
April 10, 1913 Pneumonia Parsons, James 33 Flat Rock Torbay
June 12, 1913 Bronchitis Stamp, Martin 9 months Flat Rock Torbay
June 30, 1913 Pneumonia Everson, Amelia M.


1 ½ Flat Rock Torbay
January 30, 1913 LaGrippe Martin, William 9 months Flat Rock Torbay
February 4, 1913 W__ Fever Everson, Madeline 1 Flat Rock Torbay
February 24, 1913 Not given Carew, Thomas 19 Flat Rock Torbay
February 27, 1913 La grippe Martin, Patrick


17 Flat Rock Torbay
November 23, 1913 Consumption Reddy, Johanna 14 Flat Rock Torbay
September 4, 1913 Whooping Cough Everson, Marian 3 months Flat Rock Torbay
September 13, 1913 Dyspepsia Houlihan Anastasia 67 Flat Rock Torbay
October 24, 1913 LaGrippe Hickey, Alice 89 Flat Rock Torbay
September 2, 1914 Dyspepsia Power, John ?????? Flat Rock Torbay
October 25, 1914 Convulsions Parsons, James 2 ½ Flat Rock Flat Rock
November 8, 1914 Puerperal mania Parsons, Mary Jo 30 Flat Rock Torbay
December 24, 1914 Worm fever Power, Margaret 17 Flat Rock Torbay
February 19, 1914 Cephito(?) Spinal Martin, Mary 6 Flat Rock Torbay
April 20, 1914 Consumption Martin, Anastasia 24 Flat Rock Torbay
June 12, 1915 Consumption Gosse, Patrick 22 Flat Rock Torbay
June 27, 1915 Inft. Debility Martin, Mary F. 3 weeks Flat Rock Torbay
August 8, 1915 Old age Doyle, Bridget 70 Flat Rock Torbay
September 7, 1915 Not given Martin, Cath’n 30 Flat Rock Torbay
September 11, 1915 Bronchitis Power, Elizabeth


76 Flat Rock Torbay
November 9, 1915 LaGrippe Allan, William 90 Flat Rock Torbay
February 17, 1915 Chronic Dyspesia Kavanagh, Catherine 73 Flat Rock Torbay
March 13, 1915 Old age Allan, Ellen 82 Flat Rock Torbay
April 12, 1915 Dyspesia Martin, Patrick


41 Flat Rock Torbay
November 13, 1916 Dropsy Martin, Thomas ??? Flat Rock Torbay
December 20, 1916 Tuberculosis Grace, Catherine 16 Flat Rock Torbay




These have been copied –not from the originals but from copies of the originals.

You will note that they are not all in chronological order.

The cause of death in many of these is not understood by me.  For example, I am not sure what LaGrippe, Dyspesia, or Inft. Debility are.

Many of the names are shortened-Catherine-Cath’n, Margaret is Marg’t and Richard is Rich’d.

I am sure that not all of these have headstones in Torbay.  When I consider the old graveyard, I have to wonder how they could all have been buried there at all along with all of those who were from Torbay.

Unfortunately, the parents’ names of the children who died were not recorded.


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An Eastertide Tragedy

The Bravery of Richard Parsons


Late in March, 1894, the vast Arctic ice -floes were driven in on the east coast of Newfoundland, blocking the harbour of St. John’s.  These floes bear thousands of seals, a great prize with the Islanders.  No sooner was a secure footing assured, than parties of men started off over its surface to hunt the phocae.  From every cove and hamlet they went; even the labourers, tradesmen and shopkeepers of St. John’s ventured out in little groups, to have it to boast that they had “been to the ice”. Despite the warnings of the newspapers, sealmen and others who advised caution, the slaughter of the herds began, sending the hunters roving further afield, until they were four to six miles off.

For some days good sense was had, but on Easter Eve, March 24, the wind changed and canted the ice off the land.  An excited and panic-stricken mob then began a wild scramble for the shore.  They had ventured far afield in quest of such a rare and easily-reaped harvest, and many, blind to the risks which such a venture always includes, neglected to take the most necessary precautions for their own safety, and rushed off on the ice poorly provided with food or clothing.

Fifteen persons from Flat Rock, a hamlet some few miles from St. John’s, were too far off to reach the shore, though visible to their friends on the cliffs.  These castaways were in a cluster on a “pan” (a flat fragment of ice, of varying size), gazing longingly on the land, from which a wide stretch of water separated them, while their friends followed them along the shore as well as its ruggedness would permit, shouting words of encouragement in response to the appeals for help impossible to be rendered from local sources.

Then some villagers started for St. John’s with the direful news that rescue ships might be sent out.  The way was long and toilsome from the winter snows, and it was after midnight before they reached town, arousing Colonial Secretary Bond from his bed, who arranged for the prompt dispatch of a tug in quest of the missing men.  Meanwhile, beacons had been lighted on the hilltops, to guide and inspire the little party, and before midnight six of them, young, active men, seized the chance when the shifting currents carried the floe near a jutting sandbar, to work their way ashore on some fragments of ice, though at very great risk to themselves.

The remainder were unable to avail themselves of this opportunity, and the current bore off nine precious lives into the blackness and immensity of the ocean.   But baffling tides sent the floe, some hours later, in towards Outer Cove, and the ice packing somewhat tightly there, a last desperate struggle for life was made.   The little party consisted of Richard Parsons and his two sons, James, aged fifteen, and Richard, aged ten; Martin Kennedy and his son, William, aged fourteen; John Waterman and his nephews, Michael, aged sixteen, and Richard, aged fourteen; and William Wade.

About two o’clock, Easter Sunday morning, Patrick Hickey of Outer Cove was awakened to find six weary, gaunt, half-frozen persons at his door.  They entered, and told their story in a few words.  They were some of the Flat Rock party, and Richard Parsons and his two sons, the latter said to be dying, were still on the ice, and wanted help.  Hickey, a stalwart, big-hearted, dauntless specimen of the best type of fisherman, at once roused his neighbours, though he and they had only been in about an hour from a laborious day’s hunt on the ice for the seals.

John Fennessey, William Doran and Michael Doran cheerfully agreed to accompany him, and the Flat Rock men being too exhausted and footsore to return, the four started on their mission of mercy with no guide, and but an imperfect knowledge of the location.  They came upon Parsons and his only son only after a tedious search in the blackness of night.  The father was lying upon the inanimate body of the boy to impart warmth to it, and had stripped almost naked and wrapped the body in his garments for the same object.

Stimulants were given to him, and an attempt was made to revive the boy, but life was almost extinct.  Search was made for the other lad, while two of the rescuers stripped off their own warm shirts, and wrapped the former boy in them.  When the six who had escaped started for the land, Parsons refused to leave his son’s body, but bade the younger boy go with them, as the other lad had collapsed while the little chap was faintly fresh. But after going about a half-a-mile he too gave out, and they told him to turn back to his father and remain till they sent help each man had a boy to care for, and they feared that if they waited all might perish.

The poor little mite of ten tried to obey, but wandered from the track they had made, and despairing of help and his strength being exhausted lay down on the floe to die.  When the rescuers found him he was at his last gasp.  They carried the two bodies on their backs for nearly a mile, supporting the stricken father also, and then met a relief party with a sledge, sent on for such an emergency.  The boys were not dead when Hickey’s house was reached, but were too far gone to recover, and succumbed before daybreak.

The father was severely frostbitten through sacrificing his clothing for the older boy, and all the others were also scarred.  The lads who escaped were nearly dead, and one had a foot frozen, through his boot being torn off in a crevice, he having to toil along for some hours with a stocking as his only protection.  Kennedy gave hos boy all the bread he had brought for himself, and many other examples of self-sacrifice are recorded of this little band rescued from the jaws of death.

Two facts may be emphasized in this connexion-that in Newfoundland, children are early accustomed to horrors, and that the rescuers in this case risked the same fate as those they went on the ice in quest of, had the wind sent the floe out of the cove again.

(From The Leisure Hour, 1904)





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The Disappearance of John Wade

Monday, November 25, 1903

On Monday, November 12, 1903, a snow storm had apparently hit the area.  However, there is only one small reference to the weather in all of the newspaper accounts for that week.  If there were, in fact, a snowstorm, the details of this story would have been quite different.

John Wade was the son of Michael and Anne (Butler) Wade.  He lived on Wade’s Lane, Flat Rock.  His brothers and neighbours were his three brothers-William, James and Patrick.  His two sisters, Anne (Kennedy) and Catherine (Parsons) lived some distance away.  John was married (Catherine Burke) and they had a number of children who were grown up.  The newspaper noted that he had a daughter (Margaret Kenny), married to a car man living in St. John’s, and another daughter living in Boston.  He had two sons, Maurice and John Jr.

John had a comfortable home and he was a large property owner.  The newspaper noted that he was an industrious planter.  He apparently had a store and it seems that he was accustomed to doing business with Mr. Fennell on Duckworth St. in St. John’s as well as with Baine, Johnston and Company.

On the day in question, John had gone to St. John’s to do business.  He went to Mr. Fennell’s store at 5:00 and left there at 5:30 in the evening with his horse and cart to go home.  Before he left St. John’s he had been at the offices of Baine, Johnston and Company and it was reported that “…he was paid off with a big balance in cash in the amount of $500.”  However, Inspector-General McCowen denied this report saying that he might have had ten or twelve dollars.

What became of John Wade after he left St. John’s at 5:50 in the evening is unknown.  The newspaper of the day attempted to fill in some of the gaps in the story with no clear resolution.

There are a number of stories as to what transpired as he drove through Torbay on his way home.  At about 7:30, “those who saw him noticed that he had been taking liquor”.  Another story noted that at 7:30 :he was evidently intoxicated as residents who saw him say he was lying on his back on the car, the horse moving along at a regular pace, without being controlled by its driver.”  At this time he was passing the T.A.(Total Abstinence) Hall which was almost directly across the road from the convent.

Constable Wheeler gave a different version of what had transpired.  His account stated that when John got to Torbay, he went to the convent.  He was seen by one of the sisters who spoke to him as he drove the horse and cart into the yard. He left in a few minutes and “drove on the road that leads to the Torbay Road”.

He went some distance and “got to a field where the horse and cart were afterwards found.”  He crossed the field and went to Mrs. Dodd’s house.  She would not let him in as she did not know who he was, and there was no one in the house but her and her children.”  He went away after rapping several times.  This was about a half-hour after he had been seen at the convent by one of the sisters.

The newspaper account stated that at about nine o’clock, the horse, not being guided, lost its way, and broke out on the Bauline Line, near the residence of Thomas Fleming.  To get to this centre, the horse had to cross a large field, a considerable distance from the main road, and before reaching Fleming’s a longer fence intercepted the way.  Part of the fence had to be torn down to allow the horse and car to pass through; but whether it was removed by Wade, or trampled down by the horse remains a mystery.

The story goes that when John and the horse arrived at Fleming’s, several people were present in the house, one of them being a man named Power, a brother-in-law of Fleming.  Power came outside when he heard the horse come along, and after informing the residents who it was, he volunteered to pilot John to the main road.  The report goes on to say that Power asked him if he had not missed his way and Wade replied that he was “alright’ and that he would get to the road without assistance.  It was first stated that Power did accompany him to the road and later returned to Fleming’s house.  This was later proven to be untrue.

This was the last time that John Wade was seen.

By midnight, John’s family became anxious as to his whereabouts, because it was the first time that he was absent overnight.  Some time later, Catherine, (John’s wife) had a notice published in the newspaper saying that it “was absolutely false that her husband had been away from home for over two weeks about twelve years earlier, and that no one has ever known, to this day, his whereabouts at that time.  Her husband never absented himself from home for such a length of time, in fact, not for a single day even.  Such foolish and untruthful statements are a source of annoyance to the family who are most respectable people.”

At daylight on Tuesday a search was instituted.  Within a short time, one of the searchers found the horse and car about two and a half miles from Flat Rock near Whit-Rod Pond.  The harness, the cart and also the animal were intact, but there were no signs of the driver.  It was first assumed that he had remained in town and that the horse had wandered home. Then they  hoped to find that he had put up at one of the houses.  This however was soon given up as when it became known in the settlement that the animal had been found, the man’s friends were informed that he had passed through Torbay the evening previously.

Where the horse was found the road was level and there were no dangerous cliffs that he would be likely to fall over.  There were, however, a couple of dangerous ponds near the side-road, which, on a dark night, such as this was, he might wander into.  His friends went on to Torbay and enquired at all the houses, but could get no tidings.

They then went back to Flat Rock and told about finding only the horse.  The whole village then turned out and spent all day in a vain search.

On Tuesday night the messengers came up to town hoping that John might have returned to Mr. Fennell’s for a sack of oats that he was known to have bought there.

As bad news does, it spread rapidly and within a short time search parties were out.  The woods in the vicinity were scoured, the city was telephoned, and enquiries made in the East-end where he was well-known, but all to no purpose.  At one point, search parties composed of six hundred men from Torbay and Flat Rock were endeavouring to locate (dead or alive) John’s whereabouts.

The search was continued all day and up to eleven o’clock nothing further was ascertained.

Search parties were aided by officers Wheeler and Byrne.  Rev. Fr. Curran and all the residents of Pouch Cove made a complete search of the woods in that neighbourhood but found nothing to indicate John’s whereabouts.  The ponds and Tapper’s Cove had been dragged but nothing was found.

As John’s disappearance continued into December, various stories surfaced.  I had expected to see some of these explained at the Inquiry which was held on December 12th at the Clerk’s Room of the Central District Court.  Four witnesses were examined but no records were kept.

A reward of one hundred dollars was offered for the discovery of John’s body, but the reward was never claimed.

Up to the third of December, a number of his relatives and friends continued the search, but to no avail.

The Stories

A lad named Brown, of Torbay. It is reported, told his parents shortly after tea(six o’clock) on Tuesday night that he had seen a man like Mr. wade going towards Tapper’s Cove, muttering to himself in a threatening way as he passed along.  As a result of this report, John’s friends went out and dragged the cove as they feared he had been drowned there.

A lad named Whelan, now living in town, but formerly of Torbay, said A carpenter at Georgestown alleged that he saw John on Tuesday after he had been reported at Flat Rock as missing, and was quite clear that it was John that he saw.

A young lad, named Whelan, son of Mr. John Whelan, boarding house-keeper of Adelaide Street  and  messenger at Garland’s bookstore, belonging to Torbay, last evening(Tuesday)  alleged that he had seen Mr. Wade on Job’s Wharf at 4 o’clock on Tuesday evening, and that he noticed particularly that he had a whip under his arm.  He said that he knew John very well and that he could not possibly be mistaken.[It is possible, however, that he mistook the time and that it was Monday evening instead of Tuesday that he saw him].

He was quite accurate in his description of John except in perhaps, one particular item.  That was in stating that it was a cap he had on, whereas on Monday, John was known to have worn a hard felt hat, though he is accustomed quite often to wearing a cap.

Whelan was emphatic that it was John Wade he met on Job’s Wharf, that he (the lad) went down on Job’s Wharf on Tuesday with an order from Mr. Garland for a crate of straw-a statement corroborated by Mr. Garland, and that on coming up the wharf, and near the lower entrance to it, he passed so close to Mr. Wade that he had to stand aside and allow the man to pass on; the  lad even glanced back at him again and noticed that he went as if out on the wharf, that he held a cart whip under his right arm, and held the  lash of the whip in his left hand, that he wore a cap and a blue reefer like coat, and most accurately portrays his complexion, build and movement.

He met him in the open light, so that he was plainly visible to him, and had often seen him at his father’s restaurant; he expressed not a shadow of a doubt  as to the man he saw.

His statement apart from the cap, appeared to be absolutely convincing, and perplexed John’s friends, who could not in any manner account for his being in town on Tuesday evening, and seen only by these two people.

Possible Explanation

John did not go to Mr. Fennell’s on Tuesday.  Without a doubt he would have gone there had he been in town that day.

It was thought that another resident of Flat Rock, who was in town on Tuesday, and who bore a slight but not a striking resemblance to John, may have been, in a disinterested glance, mistaken for the latter.

There was also a city carman who was built somewhat resembling John who may have been passing hurriedly down on Job’s Wharf on business and have been mistaken by the boy.

The boy’s story only heightened the mystery.  A newspaper reporter wondered aloud if the man was insane and was wandering about but may yet turn up ok.

A Strange Story

It had been earlier reported that John Power had heard the horse and cart, went out and directed John to the road.  This story was later disputed.  An excerpt from the newspapers gave the following details.

After leaving Mrs. Dodd’s, he went across the meadow to Liddy’s place on the Bauline line.  He crossed the field to the main road and spoke to John Power, who was standing at the gate of his brother-in-law Mr. T. Fleming.

He asked him did he see a horse and cart. 

Fleming said, No.”

“I lost my horse on the Indian meal Road”.

 Fleming said, “This is the Bauline Road”. 

“Oh, then,” said, John, I made a mistake.  I knocked on the door over there and I thought it was Woolfries on the Indian Meal Road.”

He was asked in for tea but said he would go on.

Power, on horseback accompanied him half a mile along the Bauline Road till they came near Brown’s yard, leading from the Bauline Road to the Torbay Road.

John then said, “I’ll go down this way; it’s a short way to the Torbay Road.  When I get to the turn, I can follow the telephone poles.

Power told Constable Wheeler that he talked quite sensibly and even told him what was on his cart.  He did not appear to be the worse for liquor.

If Power’s story were true, he possibly did not turn to the left, but took another direction which led to the water, and that he probably fell over the cliff and was drowned.


As he was wont to do, John wade went to St. John’s on his horse and cart on Monday, November 24th, 1903.  He did his business and apparently left at 5:30 to go home to Flat Rock.

He had some small cargo on the cart as was noted by John Power but he had left a sack of oats behind him in town.

He apparently was seen by a number of people on Monday night as he was travelling through Torbay.  These included a group by the T.A. Hall, one of the sisters at the convent, Mrs. Dodd, John Power and the boy Brown.

By midnight he had not returned to his home and the alarm was raised.  A number of search parties went out at dawn but did not find him.  A number of ponds as well as Tapper’s Cove in Torbay were dragged, but all to no avail.

A reward of one hundred dollars was never claimed.

Some weeks later on December 12th, Mr. Fred Noseworthy was going to Bauline from pouch Cove before daybreak.  He heard a voice call out, “Come down, I have the kettle boiled.”  The day was just dawning as he passed by a place called the Jumper when he heard the voice.  He went in the direction of the sound but found no one.

As a result of this, all the men of Pouch Cove turned out and searched the locality but no sign was found of John Wade.


The possibility that John Wade was murdered for his money is a real possibility.  No one ever confessed to the murder or what might have been done to dispose of the body.

More than one hundred years later, the truth remains a mystery.

It was obvious from all of the reports that he actually travelled through Torbay.  Whether he was drunk or sober is unclear-but from the accounts it appears that he was drunk and that the horse and cart were on their own.

The story becomes unbelievable after John’s meeting on the Bauline Road.  It would have been easy to take the money from a drunk man and send him off in a direction never to be found again.  It would have been easy to ensure that the horse would be found.

However he died, it is hoped that he now rests in peace.









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