The Coming of Workers to Newfoundland

S.S. Carthaginian Left Liverpool August 08, 1908, to Glasgow, to St. Johns, arrived Halifax August 19, 1908

 

Manifest shows: George Johnston, Walter H. Dennison, Thos. McGivern, Wm. Armstrong, Joseph Brown, Wm. Irvine, John Baillie, Blanche H. Chappell, Janet Dougal, Rosetta (Nettie) Miller, Mary K. Wilson. (11)

 

In August 1908, twelve workers came from the old country, docking in the St. John's Harbour. Blanche Chappell was one of them and she used to tell how they climbed Signal Hill on Sunday where they had their little meeting. When the boat continued on its journey to Halifax, N.S. (arriving in Aug) it left George Johnson and Tom McGivern behind, and Blanche used to say that a lonely feeling it was to do this. The others went on to a convention in Dartmouth (possibly the first in N.S.). Tom became ill and soon had to return to the Old Country, leaving George alone. He found work on Nash's farm (older folk), Topsail Road (outside of Dodge City), until Jimmy Patrick came from N. S. to join him some time later. When Jimmy came they went to Random Island, at which time Joe and Sam Burridge professed. (Joe went to Boston, Mass., working as a building mover, going out in the work in 1911 and labouring all his days in the U.S.) While they were together, John Verge also professed, as well as John Adams. (father of Jack, (Moncton), and Roy, (Ont)

 

(The Paradise folk recall that when George visited Nfld. in 1970 he said he could remember having a cup of tea at the Woodstock (not called Inn then). This was one of the few remaining buildings that George could still recognize.)

 

After the convention Daisy Fee and Nettie (Rosetta) Miller arrived in Newfoundland. They found a summer home in Long Pond in which to have their meetings, and it seems George walked out to one of their meetings one Sunday. Gladys Butler recalls her father making benches for the girls at that time and the rest of the family being put out at him for doing so.

 

Susie Dawe "Aunt Susie Morgan" was 14 years old when the girls came. Her half sister, Laura, a young widow, had returned home at that time. She thought that by having Daisy and Nettie come to church with her one day, they would see it 'her way.' The sermon that morning was Matthew 10, and when Laura asked the girls what they thought of the service, they replied that they agreed perfectly with all that had been read. It was after this that Laura began to attend the meetings, and was the first to profess in Newfoundland. Lil Greenslade also professed in that mission. (The two churches around at that time were: Church of England and the Salvation Army, which was just getting its foothold.)

 

Gladys also recalls Nettie fixing up a hat for her sister, Susie, so she could attend Sunday school one day. Nettie had been a milliner in the Old Country. When Susie returned home the girls asked her how Sunday school went and she replied, "They told us not to be swept about with every wind of doctrine."  It was about 1925 that "Aunt Susie" professed, this being through Margaret Delamere and Agnes Harper. She recalls a convention at Seal Cove approx. 1912 at Ned Morgan's, where Geo. Walker was present.

 

The girls remained in Long Pond approximately 4 months, then came to Paradise where Jim and Mary Sharpe first took them in. The Sharpes lived across the road from where Melvin Sears now lives. It is told that Mary had unusual medical abilities. The meetings were held on the other side of the road from the Sharpes in their son Jim's home. The Sharpes never did profess but continued to remain church-going people.

 

Bill Coombs was the first to profess in Paradise, followed by his wife, Helen. They remained true in spite of much opposition. They had two daughters: Katherine "Kitty" and Rosetta "Nettie" (named after Nettie Miller). It is told that at one point Helen said to Bill, "What are we going to do? Shall we go back too?" and Bill quoted those words, "To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life." After the Coombs professed, the meetings were held in their home. (This would be the front yard area of Jack and Nettie's present-day home.)

 

Two years later when John Stone and Jimmy Patrick had meetings, Sarah Drover (daughter of Jim and Mary Sharpe), Sarah Lynch (nee Janes), Sarah Clarke (nee Lynch), and Mose and Elizabeth Gosse professed. Sarah Drover had been working in the hayfield one day when she became convinced this must be God's Way, and hers was wrong. She and "Aunt Sarah" Lynch were baptized in 1914 in Royals Pond by John and Jimmy. Sarah Drover was Phyllis' grandmother also an aunt to Winnie Hussey (nee Murphy).

 

George Johnson told about the first convention in Paradise being held in a pony stable at the Coombs. He, Sam Charlton, and Geo. Walker were present. This must have been about 1910, as Geo. left Nfld. after that.

 

Jack Lynch recalls Special Meetings being held in the home where Kitty and Leo Sears, Sr. now live. The home at that time was owned by Sam Burridge. There may have been a couple at the Coombs' home before this.

 

There was a convention in Paradise about 1914 (also 1915) back of Joe and Becky Clarke's. Nettie as a little girl remembers the water being brought to boil in big pots in a little cook-house put up by the workers.

 

The first to be buried in our "Paradise Cemetery" (approximately 1915) were a Burridge baby from Bell Island and "Aunt Sarah" Lynch's 4-month old baby girl. The ground had been given by Bill Coombs, and he buried them. This cemetery was enlarged in the 1960s and again in the 70s. (Bill Coombs passed away in 1939 and his wife, Helen, in 1963.)

 

Because schools in Nfld. were/are church-connected, the children of those who professed at that time were put out of the school. It was after this that Lillie and Julia Yetman each came to teach our friends' children for a year in Paradise. This was first done in a shed (the cook-house) behind Joe Clarke's, and later in the home where Kitty Sears now lives. George Whitefield, one of the workers, also taught for a month or so. Some of his art work is still on the wall, behind the panelling, in the Sears' home.

 

Davy Stewart recalls that in 1935 when he first came to Paradise, there were 8 people professing. Of these, 4 were Sarah's: Sarah Drover (Sr and Jr; Sarah Clarke and Sarah Lynch.) The others were: Bill and Helen Coombs and Mose and Elizabeth Gosse. It was during Davy's 3 years in Nfld. that Nath Hussey and others all professed.

 

Fellowship meetings in Paradise were first at the home of the Coombs. Other homes later were: the Mose Gosse's and Joe Lynch's. Meeting was also at Will Gosse's for awhile. From Mose G's, the meeting eventually went to Nath Hussey's, where it remained until 1982 when Nath was no longer able to remain in his own home. In November 1963, Sunday AM Meeting began in Leo and Beatrice Sears' home, with one being placed at Jack and Nettie Lynch's not long afterward. This brought the total to 3, until about 1973 or 1974 when another meeting began at Joe and Becky Clarke's. In the fall of 1976, following the deaths of Mark and Silvy Clarke in May (sons of Mark and Olive), two more meetings were started at Eli and Elizabeth Abbott's and Melvin and Jane Sears'. In 1982 when the meeting could no longer continue in the Hussey home, Joe and Marina Bussey (Foxtrap), Reg and Joan Chaytor, and Willie and Jeanette England each received a Sunday morning meeting in their home. This brought the next number of meetings right in Paradise to a total of seven.

 

It is possible that the next pair of sisters in Nfld. after Daisy and Nettie were: Annie Stanley and Anna Semple. Other workers who laboured in Nfld. in the early years were: Willie Kirk, Willie McAllister, Bobbie Buchanan, Jimmy Anderson, Willie Hillgrove, Albert Moore, Tom Law, Tom Fitzgibbon, Charlie Hughes, Agnes Dougal. Horace Cullwick came to Nflld. in 1945, also Mary Munroe at that time.