Conception Bay North - Adam's Cove
William Ellis Missionary Letter to England, 1814
genealogy researchers: This letter was written by a Wesleyan (Methodist)
missionary to Conception Bay. It was addressed to church officials in
England. Of the many such surviving letters , in which the early
missionaries report their work and status, this one is of special interest
because it contains a reference to the tragic death of an “Adam MULLEY.”
My personal suspicion is that he may be the Adam MULLEY from Mulley’s Cove
who is listed in the 1805 Plantation Book, but I do not know this for
I have transcribed this letter from a photocopy of microfilm. It is intended for personal research only. The microfilm is part of the collection of Methodist correspondence at the United Church Archives in Toronto. The letter is number 76 on roll #1, cataloged as 78.12C MIC D.8.1 1. Where the text could not be deciphered, I have so indicated. In some places I have also marked uncertain words with a “?.” In other cases, misspelled words or grammatical errors are copied as they appear in the letter, and are indicated using the standard qualifier, “sic.”
Frederick M. Swed, Jr.
| Adams Cove, Dec. 20, 1814
Honored Father and Brethren,
Enclosed is a letter directed to the Rev’d James Wood of the Missionary Committee in which I give them a true statement of what God hath wrought among the inhabitants of Bonavista, the last year. And this is to inform you of some particulars respecting this Bay, St. Johns, and my self in particular. And as to my self I have great cause to be thankful to the Lord, not only for former, but for recent mercies allso [sic] which I have received from him. Twice, since the departure of my dear Br McDowell [?] from this island, have I been rescued from the jaws of a watery grave. The first time was in the month of September, while coming from Bonavista to the place in a large boat. We were overtaken by a violent gale of wind in Trinity Bay, in the dead of night, all our sails were torn and one poor man washed overboard whom we saw no more. During the storm I felt peace with God, and salvation from the fear of death. And thanks to the Lord, of wind and seas, when I asked him to rebuke the madness of the tempest, he almost instantly gave me the petition which I asked of him.
The last was on the 12 of the last month. I was sent for from Carbonear to [words indecipherable] thither [?] to preach a funeral sermon for a man who had died and was to be interred the next day. At the place where we went into the boat there was a considerable swell. Five men got in with safety, but just as I got into the boat she struck upon a rock, by which she was upset, and all on board were plunged into the briny deep. None of [sic] in all probability, would have been saved, only that a Mr. King had left about 20 yards of a rope there in the fall of the year, he did not know why) [sic] and a man that was on the rock, from whence we went into the boat jumped on the bottom of the boat, and threw the rope to us, and another man held the end of it in his hands as he stood on the same place. But alas! the poor man who thus ventured his life to save ours was drowned himself in spite of all the efforts made to save him, as was another also, and the rest were saved allmost [sic] by miracal [sic]. Mr. Adam Mulley, (for this was the name of the poor man who thus lost his life in indeavoring [sic] to save ours) had been a member of a class four years, and I believe was taken from the evil [two words indecipherable]. He has left a disconsolate widow, and five mournful children to deplore his loss. I preached his funeral sermon last Lord’s day to a deeply afflicted congregation, and hope that his death will be the means of good to many souls. The other poor young man had been but a short time married, and has left a weeping wife, father, mother and other relatives to shed for him the unavailing tear. I was in the water, as were four others, then or twelve minutes, and was nearly dead when we were taken out; I got my [word indecipherable] much hurt by being beaten against the rocks by the sea, and my side badely [sic] hurt by the same means but O what a mercy that I was not dashed into the eternity in an instant. I lost about £26 , which I was taking with me, to pay for my board and other expenses. But my life was spared. May it be spent in the service of its preserver – All the time I was in the water I felt saved from the fear of death, and, thanks to my great deliverer, since my deliverance my soul hath felt the goodness of God daily. A day or two ago I had letters from St. Johns. Our friends there are getting on with their house with spirit, and I hope in the Spring we shall have the frame ready to put up. But there is great opposition from almost every quarter; [word indecipherable] is on our [word indecipherable] therefore we hope to prosper. At Port de Grave (the place where Mr. Pickavant is stationed for the winter) the prospect is good, and I doubt not but good will be done. At Carbonear where Mr. Busby is for the winter, things have a pleasing appearance. And in this place the Lord is saving sinners by the blood of Jesus. I opened our new chapel last Sunday week, and found it to be a time [?] of love. In Western Bay, two miles from this [sic], the inhabitants have built a neat chapel in which I preach every other Lord’s day. And in Island Cove (where Mr. Lewis is stationed for the winter) the inhabitants are erecting a new house for the worship of God. So that upon the whole things wear a pleasing prospect. But in consequence of the number of new places of worship, which we are building, and for other considerations it is likely that we will be oblidged [sic] to draw on the Committee for some money, but you may depend on it that nothing but stern necessity shall induce us to do it. In consequence of the loss which I sustained [word or words missing or indecipherable] to above, I shall not be able to pay my debt this fall [two words indecipherable] not the friendship of the people will enable me to settel [sic] my business without drawing upon the Committee at [?] present; and perhaps in another season things will be better.
I live in the house with an old desiple [sic], who has known the Lord more than 45 years, and who has been a widdow [sic] about 40 [?]; with her lived [?] her Godly son and daughter, I often talk of the God of love and his goodness to the sons of men. Our meetings for Welyeans [sic] worship are well attended, and we find them the [?] times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. My head is still porely [?][sic] but the comforts of the Lord delight my soul.
If a preacher does not come this fall, have the goodness to send two as early in the spring as possable [sic] ; as one is wanted for St. Johns and one for Bonavista. As this island has no connection with British America, perhaps it would be best to form it into a separate district; but I only suggest this and hope it will not give offence, as it remains with your selves [sic] who are adequate to judge in the matter.
Have the goodness to present my respects to all the friends of Jesus, and believe me [word or symbol indecipherable] fathers and brethren to be [word indecipherable] Jesus.
© 1999 Frederick M. Swed, Jr. & NL GenWeb