Conception Bay North Region - Harbour Grace District
The Harbour Grace Affray
This was a conflict between the Irish Catholics of Riverhead and the Southside of Harbour Grace and the Orangemen who came from Harbour Grace, Carbonear and other towns.
There were between 400 and 500
people gathered for the Orangemen and between 100 and 150 people for the
When they were near Pippy's Lane, they were stopped by the Irish Catholics from Riverhead whose objective was to prevent the Orangemen from passing through a 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.
Twenty-seven people were arrested for the deaths of those that died at the scene in which all were later acquitted.
A court case was held at Supreme Court in St. John's. All transcriptions were placed in a book by Mildred Howard which is available to view at the Queen Elizabeth II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland Studies section. Mildred Howard's grandfather, Charles Taylor, gave sworn testimony at the court case for what he saw on December 26th.
"An accident, which terminated
fatally during the course of the present week, occurred at Caplin Cove
on St. Stephen's Day. It seems that a man named William Webber of the above
place was engaged in firing a few du joie as the Orange procession was
passing along the neighborhood. Having fired several rounds, he was in
the act of reloading when a charge, which was partly down the barrel exploded
owing to the gun having become heated from too frequent use. The thumb,
with some of the sinews of the right hand, were badly lacerated. We hear
that the wound was progressing favorably, but that the unfortunate man
incautiously ventured out of doors and caught a severe cold. Lockjaw speedily
ensued, followed on Wednesday last by his death. The deceased leaves a
wife and two children to mourn his sad and untimely end."
William Janes (Jeans); Patrick Callahan and William French, took place Saturday. The whole proceedings on the occasion were conducted in the most orderly manner. (The Newfoundlander, 1 Jan. 1884)
Arrested and Charged
with the "willful murder" of Patrick Callahan (of the River Head Party), were Constable Edward Doyle, Josiah Bray, Edmund Butt, Edward Ash, Ambrose Williams, James Courage and Charles French. The Solicitor General, Hon. J.S. Winter (who was also Grand Master of the Orange Society at that time), appeared for the Crown and Messrs G.H. Emerson and P.J. Scott appeared for the defense, while Mr. W.O. Wood held a watching brief on behalf of Doyle. The Magisterial inquiry was held before Judge Bennett at Harbour Grace, and the prisoners were later acquitted. Doyle was arrested on January 7th and the other defendants on the 8th by a detachment of Mounted Police under Head Constable John Sullivan. Head Constable Doyle was suspended from the Force because of his alleged involvement in the shooting of Callahan. He was reinstated 21 May, 1885."
© Bill Taylor, Al O'Neill, and NL GenWeb