Harbour Grace Notebook: May


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May 1880: Harbour Grace Rifle Club purchases new weapons. They import Sharpe’s ‘Old Reliable,’ a breech-loading military rifle, from Bridgeport, USA. Some members of the St. John’s Club try the Sharpe sample, remarking on its superiority. The Committee at the Harbour Grace Club construct their own butts at the new rifle range.

1 May 1888: St. Paul’s Hall hosts its first grand concert. The press report that the entertainment greatly exceeded their lofty expectations. 500 people attend the show, and receipts total $131.00. Prof. and Miss Flynn perform together to much applause, the latter singing “Tell Me, O Bird of the Greenwood” solo. To close out the performance, Rev. J.M. Noel, the local rector, extends his thanks to everyone who contributed to the fine opening performance. More info: Profile: Old St. Paul’s Hall.

2 May 1857: Henry T. Moore, merchant of Harbour Grace, marries Maria Henley, daughter of late William C. Henley, merchant of London, at Bay Roberts.

2 May 1834: Merchant John Nuttall receives a letter advising him, “for his own good [to] drop the persecution of Michael Kief” (Keefe), and to allow him to assist his “starving Family Crying for Bread.” More info: “Collective Action in Outport Newfoundland,” by Linda Little.

4 May 1852: First gas pipes laid in Harbour Grace. 

5 May 1869: John Dalton dies at Harbour Grace. For years he was interred under the altar of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. A native of Tipperary, Dalton was the first bishop of the Harbour Grace Diocese. He is remembered for improving its educational facilities and commencing the construction of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Harbour Grace. More info: Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

6 May 1848: Bishop John Thomas Mullock arrives in Newfoundland. After succeeding Michael Anthony Fleming as bishop in 1850, he establishes the Harbour Grace Diocese, with John Dalton as its first bishop. More info: Dictionary of Canadian Biography

6 May 1834: Merchant John Nuttall finds an ominous note, attached to stone thrown in his yard: “You persicuting in solvent Scounderell…We will level your wifes propperty…We put up with you to long…We are watching your movements…We will Make You Suffer For it…” More info: “Collective Action in Outport Newfoundland,” by Linda Little

8 May 1834: A cooper employed by John Nuttall warns the merchant that someone has tried to burn down his premises. More info: “Collective Action in Outport Newfoundland,” by Linda Little

11 May 1829: High Sheriff David Buchan asks for tenders to build new courthouse in Harbour Grace. More info: Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

12 May 1813: Samuel Gordon, owner of Gordon Lodge in Bears Cove, born. 

12 May 1820: Yacht HM Forte arrives at Harbour Grace. Capt. Morice. and Hon. Judge Molloy are on board.

12 May 1884: HMS Tenedos stations in Harbour Grace due to sectarian tensions after the Affray. More info: Dr. Willeen Keough on the Harbour Grace Affray (Video).


13 May 1820: Judge Molloy leaves the HM Forte under a salute of 13 guns onto wharf of Hugh Danson and is welcomed warmly at Harbour Grace’s first courthouse, a wooden structure. 

13 May 1840: Herman Lott assaulted on Saddle Hill. 

13 May 1996: Harbour Grace Historical Society maintains custody of the Harbour Grace Railway Station. More info: Harbour Grace Railway Station.

13 May 1932: Liberty aircraft (Lou Reichers) arrives in Harbour Grace; departs for Bal-Dominal, Ireland, the same day. Flight rescued by SS President Roosevelt in Atlantic Ocean. More info: Liberty or Death: Lou Reichers’s Atlantic Attempt, 1932.

17 May 1864: William Azariah Munn born in Harbour Grace. More info: Fish Oil & Water: The Life of William Azariah Munn.

17 May 1965: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada designate Rev. Laurence Coughlan a “National Historic Person.” More info: Parks Canada.

17 May 1907: W.B. Grieve lays cornerstone for St. Peter’s Church. More info: Profile: St. Peter’s Church.

18 May 1854: Moderator to the members of The Free Presbytery of Halifax reads a letter from John Munn. In the letter, Mr. Munn gave “an account of a public meeting held by the Presbyterians of that place, at which they resolved to form themselves into a congregation in connection with the Free Church and under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery.”

18 May 1916: First Post Office in Riverhead officially opens to serve the community. More info: Profile: Old Post Office, Riverhead, 1916-1968. 

19 May 1835: Five men assault Henry Winton, editor of the Public Ledger and Newfoundland General Advertiser, on Saddle Hill; his ears are severed with a clasp knife and stuffed with mud and dirt. According to Governor Henry Prescott, the event was “a matter of open triumph and rejoicing to the Catholics of low degree, [with] even female servants and children expressing the greatest satisfaction.” More info: Dictionary of Canadian Biography

19 May 1932: Amelia Earhart, Bernt Balchen, and Ed Gorski leave Teterboro, New Jersey, heading for Saint John, New Brunswick, before coming to Harbour Grace. More info: Transatlanticism: Amelia Earhart in Harbour Grace.

20 May 1855: St. Andrew’s Presbyterian (“The Kirk,” or the “Free Presbyterian Church”) opens on Harvey St, Harbour Grace. Constructed by Alexander Ross, “The Kirk” was built on land donated by John Munn, Conception Bay’s most powerful merchant.


20 May 1913: SS Kyle arrives in Harbour Grace for coastal service. 

20 May 1932: Amelia Earhart arrives in Harbour Grace with mechanic Ed Gorski  aviator Bernt Balchen; she leaves the Harbour Grace airstrip solo in her Lockheed Vega at 7:20 p.m. Aiming to match Charles Lindbergh’s famous flight, Earhart sets her sights on landing in Paris, France. More info: Transatlanticism: Amelia Earhart in Harbour Grace.

21 May 1932: Amelia Earhart lands in Culmore, near Londonderry, Northern Ireland, becoming first female (and second person) to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. More info: Transatlanticism: Amelia Earhart in Harbour Grace

21 May 1604: Robert Hayman marries Grace Spicer at Exeter. More info: Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

22 May 1870: Enrico Carfagnini consecrated a bishop of Harbour Grace in Rome. More info: Dictionary of Canadian Biography

22 May 1919: First test flight of the Handley Page Atlantic in Harbour Grace

25 May 1897: Sons of England Benefit (Benevolent) Society instituted in Harbour Grace. More info: Artifact Profile No. 01: Sons of England Benefit (Benevolent) Society Ceremonial Altar, 1918.

26 May 1869: Death of editor and proprietor of the Harbour Grace Standard, William Squarey. His son R.J. Squarey takes over operations. 

27 May 1862: Robert Stewart Munn marries Elizabeth Munden in Brigus. More info: Dictionary of Canadian Biography

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