Harbour Grace Notebook: April


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1 Apr. 1888: St. Paul’s Hall opens on Harvey St, at the head of LeMarchant St. More info: Profile: Old St. Paul’s Hall

7 Apr. 1806: Dr. John Stirling dies at Harbour Grace, aged 32. Dr. William Archibald Stirling, possibly his cousin or brother, replaces him in 1808-10.

7 Apr. 1877: Harbor Grace Standard advertisement: “A large quantity of ice, in Arthur Thomey’s ice-house at Mosquito. Also, from this date until the end of September, bait of different kinds is easily obtainable at Mosquito. The opportunity is a good one for masters of Bankers, both of Newfoundland and American, to obtain a good supply of these two indispensable articles for successfully prosecuting the Bank fishery.”

7 Apr. 1913: SS Kyle completed in Newcastle, England.

Otterbury Schoolhouse

Moving Otterbury Schoolhouse to its new location, April 6, 2010

10 Apr. 2010: Otterbury Schoolhouse, in need of repairs, moves to its new location, near the Kearney Tourist Chalet and SS Kyle site.

12 Apr. 1908: First service at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Harbour Grace South. 

12 Apr. 1858:  A fire breaks out in Harbour Grace, often considered the second “great fire” in the town. The principal downtown trading quarter, between LeMarchant St and Victoria St, is reduced to ashes, and some 50 families are deprived of their trade or business, most of them being shopkeepers, tradesmen, or planters. Several persons have some small portion of their stock insured, but many are not able to pay their debts. More info: Toussaint’s Fire, 1858.

14 April 1858: Meeting held at the Temperance Hall to petition the House of Asssembly to aid the sufferers of the calamitous Toussaint’s Fire of April 1858. 

17 Apr. 1912: Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd and the Reid Newfoundland Company sign an agreement, which foresees the construction of the SS Kyle.

17 Apr. 1913: SS Kyle launches; leaves Newcastle.

22 Apr. 1770: Birth of Rev. Lewis Amadeus Anspach in Geneva, Switzerland, son of Jean-Louis Anspach and Jeanne-Marie Audibert. 

25 Apr. 1766: Laurence Coughlan is made deacon.

25 Apr. 1855: Sir Henry Pynn dies in London, England. A former man of property in Harbour Grace, Pynn fought in the 1798 Irish Rebellion with the South Devon Militia and afterwards in the Peninsular War (Napoleonic Wars). Pynn was present at the Battle of Roliça, the Battle of Vimeiro, the Battle of Buçaco, and the seige of Badajoz, where he held a Portuguese regiment under Lord Hill. Pynn also engaged in various battles in the Pyrenees, where he was wounded. He was knighted in 1815, the first native-born Newfoundlander to receive the honour. In later years he invested heavily in the railway on the European continent. 

Battle of Vimeiro

The Battle of Vimeiro (1808), by William Heath. Pynn distinguished himself in this battle and others during the Peninsular War.

26 Apr. 1766: Laurence Coughlan is “licensed to perform the ministerial office in the province of Newfoundland” under the auspices of the Society of the Propagation of the Gospel. 

27 Apr. 1766: Laurence Coughlan is ordained a priest. 

28 Apr. 1845: Ridley & Sons open a dry goods store on Water St. The store features a large stock of British manufactured goods.

29 Apr. 1834: Hundreds of sealers cut down Peter Downing (Downey) from Gibbet Hill, Harbour Grace. The men bring Downing’s remains to Dr. William Stirling, the local magistrate. A note is attached to the corpse:

Dr. S.  This  is your man you were the cause of bringing him here take and bury him or Look Out should you be the cause of allowing him to be put up again we will mark you for it, so do your duty and get him out of sight. 

Truly a friend,
Anonymous Carbonear

Stirling orders the body buried on the grounds of the courthouse. More info: Gibbet Hill: Unfinished Justice by Patrick J. Collins


An example of a gibbet, once used across the former British Empire to publicly display executed criminals.

29 Apr. 1918: Banquet held at Gordon Lodge by Ernest Simmons, in honour of one of his clerks, George Webber, who “recently enlisted” to fight in World War I. More info: “A unique and interesting event…”, Evening Telegram (May 2, 1918).

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