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Historical Information

Conception Bay North

Harbour Grace Affray


It was customary in the latter half of the last century, and up until very recent times, for the different societies in Harbour Grace to have a big parade at least once a year in which they were joined by their brethren from Carbonear, Bay Roberts, Spaniard's Bay and other places nearby. Protestant societies, such as the Loyal Orange Association and the Conception Bay British Society, would parade on their day, while the Benevolent Irish Society and its affiliates would parade on St. Patrick's Day.

And so it was on Wednesday, the 26th day of December, 1883 the members of the Loyal Orange Association, numbering between 400 and 500, of Harbour Grace and nearby towns formed up at the British Hall, attended Divine Service in the Methodist Church on Water Street (each year the service was held in one of the Protestant churches), and then proceeded to parade around the town before returning to their hall. When near Pippy's Lane, situated in the west end, they were stopped by a body of from 100 to 150 men from the River Head whose objective, it was said, was to prevent them from passing through the lane from Harvey Street to Water Street, as they felt the Orangemen were encroaching on their territory. Tempers were aroused, shots were fired and the serious disturbance which followed resulted in the death of five people and injuries to seventeen, as follows:

The Victims:

William Jeans, aged 21 years of Carbonear, an Orangemen.
William French, aged 40 years of Courage's Beach, Harbour Grace, an Orangeman.
Patrick Callahan, aged 56 years of Southside Harbour Grace, a Catholic.
John Bray, an aged man of Courage's Beach, Harbour Grace, a bystander.
Thomas Nicholas, of Otterbury, an Orangeman.

The Wounded:

John Webber and William Henry Anthony, both of Death Hill, Harbour Grace; William Brown and Moses Nicholas, both of Mayne's Brook, Harbour Grace; Solomon Martin, Martin's Brook, Harbour Grace; Reuben Courage and James Bray, both of Courage's Beach, Harbour Grace; Thomas Luffman, Noad Street, Harbour Grace; Patrick Dormady, Edward Callahan, Thomas Walsh, all of Riverhead, Harbour Grace; William George, Southside, Harbour Grace; Robert Lilly, The Marsh, Harbour Grace; William Best, Harvey Street, Harbour Grace; Henry Noseworthy, Bryant's Cove; William Cleary and Philip Vatcher, both of Carbonear.

The Accused (all were later acquitted):

Arrested for the "wilful murder" of Patrick Callahan were: Edward Doyle, Head Constable; Josiah Bray; Edmund Butt; Edward Ash; Ambrose Williams; James Courage; and Charles French. Arrested for the murders of William Jeans and others were: Michael Coady; James Quirk; John Walsh; Patrick Harper; Richard MacKay; Nicholas Shannahan; William Russell; Thomas Duggan; Thomas Bradbury; Jeremiah Lee; Robert Donnelly; Patrick Smallcombe; Pierce Wade; Thomas Morrisey; Patrick Walsh; John McCarthy; John Flemming; Richard Flemming; and Nicholas Bradbury.


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