Harbour Grace Notebook: December


Follow the Harbour Grace Notebook series with the hashtag #hgnotebook on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

2 Dec. 1779: Rev. James Balfour, Anglican minister at Harbour Grace, writes to Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG): “A raging Famine, Nakedness, & Sickness in these parts. None can experience the heartfelt woe of Women & Children mourning for want of Food.” More info: Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

2 Dec. 1904: Enrico Carafagnini dies in his hometown of Aversa, Italy, while visiting his nephew. More info: Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

4 Dec. 1931: An early morning fire of alarming proportions rages in Harbour Grace. Fire totally destroys the store of William Babb and Sons, formerly owned by Andrew Rutherford, and the stone house of Timothy Hayden, in which a Mrs. Woods and her family live. More info: “The Forgotten Fire,” by Gord Pike.

7 Dec. 1852: Rutherfords open a spacious new shop.

8 Dec. 1868: Immaculate Conception Cathedral dedicated.

Immaculate Conception Church

Immaculate Conception Church, ca. 1940. Photo courtesy Jane Lynch.

16 Dec. 1868: British Hall on Victoria St opened.

17 Dec. 1890: Slating of the new Immaculate Conception Cathedral completed.

17 Dec. 1894: Robert Stewart Munn dies at Harbour Grace. The death of Robert S. Munn marked the end of an era in the Newfoundland fishery. His estate was declared insolvent and John Munn and Co. went bankrupt in short order. In spring 1895, the firm’s sealing fleet was sold to pay off his creditors, ending the Conception Bay seal hunt. More info: Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

19 Dec. 1766: Laurence Coughlan appears before the SPG and presents a petition from the people of Harbour Grace and vicinity, asking that he be appointed the Society’s missionary and given an annual stipend. By that date he had already resided “some time” among the people as “their Minister.” More info: Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

22 Dec. 1858: The Annual Examination of the Harbour Grace Grammar School takes place. The following prizes are awarded: “For general Excellence Throughout the past year: First Prize to Douglas BROWN; Second prize to T.G. RODDICK; Third prize to Michael DWYER. For Writing: First prize to Douglas BROWN; Second prize to James FOLEY; Third prize to Philip BROWN; Fourth prize to Selby DOW. For Regular Attendance: First prize to Robt. LAWRENCE; Second prize to Michael DWYER; Third prize to William BADCOCK.” More info: Profile: Harbour Grace Grammar School 1845-1902.

26 Dec. 1883: A sectarian riot occurs between Orangemen of Courages Beach and the Roman Catholics of Riverhead. This riot later became known as “The Harbour Grace Affray.”

31 Dec. 1841: A meeting is held at Harbour Grace with John Munn as Chairman, making a strong effort to establish a Steamboat Packet between Harbour Grace and Carbonear, to make daily trips to Portugal Cove.

Photo of the Day: Greyhurst, ca. 1910


Pictured: The Greyhurst property, ca. 1910. The home of Dr. William Allan, the Greyhurst was located just directly east of Doctors Lane, a small route connecting Water St and Harvey St, next to the Aero Tennis Club – Newfoundland’s oldest. The lane was presumably named for its proximity to Allan’s home (or, alternatively, to the nearby property of Dr. William Archibald Stirling).

The Soper family purchased the home in the 1954, constructing a service station on Harvey St, directly behind the property. The house was torn down in 1955.

Photo courtesy MUN’s Digital Archives Initiative – Geography Collection.

Photo of the Day: Constructing Coughlan United, 1949


Pictured: The construction of Coughlan United Church on Water St East, Harbour Grace, 1949.  On August 17, 1944, its predecessor burned during the third ‘Great Fire’ of Harbour Grace. This new church would be the fifth Methodist institution in the town’s history. Rev. Walter H. Macabe opened and dedicated the present-day Coughlan United Church on August 29, 1950. More than 1,000 people, including visitors from St. John’s, attended the opening service.

The cemetery in the foreground holds the grave of Rev. William Ellis, the first British Methodist missionary to be buried in Newfoundland. The community of Elliston (formerly Bird Island Cove) takes its name from the Reverend. Nearby, rumours have it Easton buried men killed during a Basque raid in an unmarked mass grave.

Photo courtesy MUN Digitial Archives Initiative / Canada United Church.

Harbour Grace Notebook: November


Follow the Harbour Grace Notebook series with the hashtag #hgnotebook on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

1 Nov. 1836: Harbour Grace hit with election violence.

2 Nov. 1870: Thomas Harrison Ridley states in the Harbour Grace Court House to his creditors that he has lost three hundred thousand dollars during the past few years in general trade. A compromise is arranged and strong efforts are made to keep the business going.

4 Nov. 2018: Ceremonial farewell to Immaculate Conception Cathedral.

6 Nov. 1764: Edward Langman writes to Society of the Propagation of the Gospel: “It was my decision, on my return from Trinity, to have paid a visit to Harbour Grace. By reason, the Inhabitants of that place and Carbonear a neighbouring place, and some other Inhabitants of Conception Bay, have later raised a Subscription for Erecting a new Church at Harbour Grace…the Inhabitants, Merchants and Employers of Harbour Grace, Carbonear, Et cet: are very desirous of having a resident of the Missionary to perform Divine Service in, if the worthy Society Shall think proper to Send one among them. I am told there is now a Subscription on foot amongst the people there, for the Support of a Minister, beside what the Society Sh/d allow yearly, in case the Society Sh/d Send one to them.”

8 Nov. 1889: Second Immaculate Conception Cathedral dedicated.

8 Nov. 1997: Gordon G. Pike Railway Museum & Heritage Park opened in Harbour Grace.

13 Nov. 1822: Advertisement in The Newfoundland Patriot: “The Packet boat Lively sails twice a week from Portugal Cove to Harbor Grace. Fare: Ladies & Gentlemen: 5 shillings each; Tradesmen & Laborers: 4 shillings each; Hire of boat: 30 shillings; Letters: 9 pence.”

13 Nov. 1886: St. Joseph’s Church opens in Riverhead.

15 Nov. 1836: Violence against Joseph Pippy in Mosquito, related to assault of Thomas Ridley.

16 Nov. 1859: Harbour Grace Standard first published in Harbour Grace.

16 Nov. 1886: Cornerstone of the former St. Paul’s Hall on Harvey St laid.

19 Nov. 1846: Enrico Carafagnini ordained a Roman Catholic priest.

20 Nov. 1883: The Bonnie Lass, a Harbour Grace schooner, sinks near Pouch Cove. Captain D. Hogan, mate John Leary, and steward M. Lahey drown.

21 Nov. 1837: Harbour Grace Island lighthouse first exhibited. Austin Oke is its first light keeper.

Harbour Grace Lighthouse

Harbour Grace Island Lighthouse (Source: Maritime History Archive)

22 Nov. 1765: People of Harbour Grace and Carbonear authorize merchant George Davis to obtain a Protestant clergyman for the area; that priest would be Laurence Coughlan.

22 Nov. 1884: First train runs over the branch line from St. John’s to Harbour Grace.

24 Nov. 1851: Frederick N. Gisborne, engineer of Manchester, England, completes telegraph line from St. John’s to Harbour Grace.

26 Nov. 1612: After successful lobbying by Sir Richard Whitbourne, King James I grants a second pardon to Peter Easton. The pardon never reaches the pirate.

27 Nov. 1921: First telephone connection made between St. John’s and Harbour Grace.