Notre Dame Bay Region
Extracts from "A Century of Methodism in Twillingate and Notre Dame Bay"Rev. William Henry Edgar Mercer
published by Twillingate Sun, 1932
Transcriber's note: The spelling of certain names varies throughout the book and I have preserved these variations. I have concentrated throughout on local names, rather than the names and experiences of appointed ministers. Local ministers have been included. Typographical errors in the original are preserved, and are indicated by [sic].
[From a section on a series of centennial services] On the evening of November 22nd the Inauguration Service was held, which attracted an immense congregation to the South Side Church—the Mother Church of Methodism. This large Church was filled to its utmost capacity, with additional seats placed in the aisles and every available space, to accommodate the large audience, and many were turned away. At this service a Roll of Honour of the men of the United Church who served in the World War was unveiled. The service was a very impressive and inspiring one and will long be remembered. The Roll of Honour was artistically painted and printed by the talented Central School Principal, Mr. B. H. Butt….After the dedication and the sermon the large congregation assembled at the Belfry, and the Pastor called upon Frank Roberts, Esq., Stipendiary Magistrate for Twillingate, to unveil the Memorial Bell. The Bell and the Belfry, with an appropriate Tablet, will serve as a monument to perpetuate the memory of the fallen heroes of the World War 1914-1918, and to commemorate the Centenary of Methodism and the Jubilee of the Methodist Church.
CIRCUIT RECORDING STEWARDS.
[p. 2] Peter Samways,
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF METHODISM AND ITS MAKERS IN TWILLINGATE.
[p. 5] Prowse's "History of Newfoundland” gives Captain Vanbrugh's (Governor of Newfoundland in 1738) account of Twillingate as follows: --"Fishing ships 2; sack ships 3; passengers 50; boats of fishing ships 8; boats of inhabitants 16, bye-boat men 130; quintals of fish 12, 000; seal oil, value £ 440; furs, value £100; families 16; inhabitants 184; remained last winter 152.”
At this time there were British settlements sparsely scattered all around Green Bay and along the coast from Cape Bonavista to Cape John, therefore the first inhabitants who occupied Twillingate were English fishermen. These fishermen met with great success and were very prosperous. John Slade, an Englishman who carried on business in this town early in the eighteenth century, died in 1792, leaving a fortune computed at £70,000 sterling, made out of the fishing trade.
[p. 7] One hundred years have now passed since a few people met in certain homes in the vicinity of Twillingate and organized Twillingate Methodist Church.
In the year 1831 a few Wesleyans met in the home of a Bro. Moores, Back Harbour; Bro. Roberts, Bluff Head; Bro. S Wheeler, Twillingate Harbour; and Bro. Dowland, Little Hr., [p. 8] and held cottage or class meetings. In those days "the new Society,” as the members called themselves, had to worship secretly, as it was the days of persecution for the Word's sake….
[p. 9] There is an entry in the records which reads—"Robert Roberts of Bluff Head Cove was the first to open his house to Marshall for preaching in Bluff Head Cove. Converted to God under Rev. Marshall. Died at the age of 80—'a shock of corn fully ripe for the end.' He was first entertained by one Moores at Back Harbour, June, 1842.”
[From a section on the minister William Marshall] His first recorded marriage ceremony was performed at Change Islands, October 9th, 1842, A. D. His first marriage ceremony performed at Twillingate was John Budgell of New Bay, to [p. 10] Susan Rice of Little Harbour, in Mrs. Miriam Wheeler's home, October 24th, 1842. His first baptism in Twillingate was a [sic] Little Harbour, where he baptized John Dowland, August 7th, 1842.
[p. 14] Rev. John Brewster followed Mr. Peach on this Circuit, and was known to be a hard worker and faithful pastor. During his pastorate the Mission House or Parsonage was renovated and furnished. He was the first minister to organize a Trustee Board at Twillingate, consisting of James Moores, George Philips, James Stuckless, John Roberts, Simon Jacobs, Jacob Wheeler and Robert Roberts.…
[The following is from a section on a tea meeting held at Twillingate in a store March, 1860. The meeting was convened in the interests of education for this town. The store was the Duder premises, now owned by Ashbournes Ltd. Rev. Thomas Harris wrote some verses to commemorate the occasion, which mention local people:]
[p. 16] I quite appreciate the decision,
Fogo, Sunday 12th, August—An Indian and a Spaniard were in the congregation. Text, "All things are yours.” 13th, at Change Island we had crossed and were entering a narrow tickle when our boat ran upon a rock. The tide was running swiftly and our position was extremely dangerous. Being unable to get on to Twillingate preached that night.
On August 21st his infant daughter Bessie died. The funeral service the following Wednesday was conducted by the lay reader, Mr Samways, and Rev. Mr Duke.
September 14th.—This day committed to the grave at the same time, the bodies of three infants from three different families.
Sunday 23rd.—Left home at 8 a.m. but did not reach Moreton's Harbour until 1 p.m. where I preached at 3 p.m. and then walked to Tizzard's Harbour. The following Sunday 30th was spent at Exploits for the Lord's Supper. On Monday at Black Island and Tuesday Twillingate. On Thursday, 11th October, buried at one time five corpses, three from one family.
On Wednesday, October 17th, observed a day of fasting. Friday, 2nd November. "To-day I learn with great grief that a fellow worker, Thomas Gaetz, (entered the work 1855) has departed. I understand his last words were, 'Glory to Jesus'.”
Wednesday, 5th December, "Concluded the previous Sabbath afternoon's subject, 'Life renewed.' Had a large attendance. Thursday, 6th. Fell through a bridge on the way home from little Harbour [sic]. Was unhurt. Praise the Lord. 12th, crossed to Tizzard's Harbour in a snow storm. Service each night. 15th, Walked to Moreton's Harbour with William Osmond. 17th. Met George Minty's class (Twillingate) and 18th Mrs. Hodder's class in the afternoon and prayer meeting at Mr Mitchard's at night.
Christmas Day—The parsonage party consisted of Mrs. Hannah Clarke, Mrs Verge, Mrs Bound, Mrs Brushfield, Mr and Mrs Jas. Moon, Mr and Mrs Hall, Mrs Wheeler, P Samways, John Moyles, James Traverse. News came of the death of Henry Blake. There were a large number of communicants.
On January 1st, 36 spoke at the Love Feast. On 2nd, went with John Duder to visit R. Haines, very ill but exceedingly happy. On the 6th at the covenant service, a seeker found peace. On the 8th at R. Youngs two young men followed. On the 10th, lectured on "The Bible a Revelation from God.” Was one and a half hours reading to a large audience. The other lectures of the series were by Mr. Harris. The Prophecies of the Bible and their fulfilment and Life a Pilgrimage by Mr Duder.
On Tuesday, 21st January, decided upon a public tea during February in aid of the British and Foreign Bible Society. On Wednesday coming the Chapel caught fire during service but was soon extinguished. Saturday, February 2nd, part of the pews in the new building were chosen this day.
On Sunday, February 3rd, the altar was filled and many rejoiced. February 15th, walked to Tizzard's Harbour via Trump Island.
The Bible Society meeting was held February 25th, William Owen presided, John Duder and Mr. Harris spoke. 300 were present. On February 21st, a subscription was opened at the S. S. Anniversary for the Chapel Building Fund and Ninety Point was subscribed.
On Wednesday, 13th March, 1861, visited Merritt's Harbour. Preached at Mr. Keats [sic] and baptised two children.
On Monday 18th, Moreton's Harbour, decided to build a new Chapel. Twelve Pounds was at once subscribed. Monday, 15th May, Moreton's Harbour asked for a young minister and guaranteed his claims.
June 16th, sailed for St John's and District meeting with Bro. Duke, on [p 19] the Garabaldi. At the District meeting he noted specially a sermon in the C. of E. Cathedral by Mr Phillips on "The Trinity,” and one in Gower Street by Mr Brettle on "Ministerial Solicitude for the Church.”
Sunday, August 4th, 1861, Mr. Harris wrote—"To me it is a great trouble to part from this endeared Society among whom I have enjoyed so many glorious seasons. In this place I have witnessed such revival of religion as I never before did.” By steamer "Victoria” his successor, Mr. Comben arrived and he departed for Brigus.
[End of diary entry]
The Church Records of 1860 show that the deaths referred to were Mr. Harris' infant daughter, Elizabeth Parker Harris, aged 9 ½ months, buried August 30th.
The three infants, from three different families were, Ellen Roberts, Maria Jane Young and Philip Jacobs of Twillingate.
The five corpses buried on Thursday, October 11th, were William Linfield of Twillingate; Esther Hallett aged 29 years, (with a note that she died in the Lord), and two Hallett children; all three of Little Harbour and an Anstey child of Purcell's Hr.
Henry Blake –"This faithful Christian died on Christmas Day.”
Robert Haines visited by Mr. Harris and John Duder January 2nd, died January 10th, aged 45, "in the full triumph of faith. His death was astonishingly blessed.”
In 1868, after a fire destroyed the Mission House and Church [p 20-21], local people subscribed towards the timber for the frame of another Church.
[p. 21] Parties subscribing for the frame:
[p. 23] From the section on Rev. John Reay: It is worth relating, that the first meeting of the Wesleyan Board of Education appointed by the Governor in Council for the Educational District of Twillingate, was held during his term, July 29th, 1875. The Board consisted of Rev. John Reay, Messrs. Peter Samways, William Hodder, Isaac Moors, Elias Roberts and John Minty.
[p. 25] From the section on Rev. Jeremiah Embree: "The year 1883 marked the beginning of a new era for the Methodist Church in Little Harbour. The first Church had served its day and Mr Embree saw the need for a new Sanctuary. Accordingly he formed a Building Committee comprised of Jasper Dowland, John Anstey, Thomas Anstey, Uriah Stuckless, Joseph Marsh, James Pardy, Mark Warr, John Rice, Abram Keefe, James Warr, secured plans, and worked nobly with his Committee and people, until his objective was reached, and the second building now occupied by the congregation was opened for Divine Worship.
[p. 27] Mr. Hill spent 31 out of 38 years of active service in the [p. 28] Newfoundland Conference. He was President and Delegate to General Conference in 1902. In 1904 he became a member of Hamilton Conference, Canada, and after seven years of active work retired an [sic] account of impaired eyesight. He returned to Twillingate in 1916 where he died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. William Ashbourne, November 23rd, 1916, at the age of 63 years. His body lies at rest besides the sainted Marshall and Frazer in the Minister's plot of God's acre, near the South Side Church, [sic]
Mr Hill's simple, genuine Christian life and constant and abiding interest in the wider extension of the Kingdom of God, left an impress upon this Circuit and community that fully sustains Methodism's ancient traditions.
[p. 30] These pastors [Rev H C Hatcher, Rev R W Bell, and Rev E P Ward] are remembered by their 20th century thanksgiving gatherings in the various churches of this Circuit. The programmes adopted are outstanding in the minds of some of the worshippers of this day. The speakers on this special occasion were: South Side –Brethren Samways, Minty, Kendell, and Anstey. North Side—Brethren LeDrew, Roberts and White. Little Harbour—Brethren A. Roberts and E. Kendell. The Superintendent and colleague were at each service.
[p. 33] [From a section on the Organ Committee] "The fife, etc., of Mr Goodison's time had seen service and had been succeeded by a small organ. But the latter was now out of date, and an Organ Committee was appointed namely, Revs. Charles Howse, F. E. Boothroyd, Messrs. William Ashbourne, J. P., James Gillett, William Snow, Edgar Hawkins, David Wheeler, Charles White, Solomon Skinner, and Miss Laura J. Ashbourne. This Committee raised funds, purchased and had installed a new pipe organ—the splendid organ in use to-day.
[p. 34] [From a section on John K. Curtis's term as Pastor] During his term the present Parsonage was erected, the Building Committee being Rev. J. K. Curtis, Chairman, Messrs. G. Roberts, M.H.A., J. Horwood, S. Minty, Edward Smith, Charles White, Secretary, W. Ashbourne, Treasurer.
[Note on page 34] Rev. John Hurst, who married a Twillingate lady, Miss Wheeler, has also done well in Canada, and is in charge of the United Church at Manotick, Ontario.
[p. 37] In 1924 the Circuit invited Rev. J. W. Winsor of Western Bay to succeed Mr. Wilkinson, and Mr. Winsor was the first Minister to remain for a term of five years. He had no assistant, and worked hard with the help of the Local Preachers. After the erection of the Notre Dame Bay Memorial Hospital, special work [p. 38] and services were added, and this with Circuit work taxed all the energies of his splendid physique. The work was maintained under his capable superintendency, and in his fourth year, the South Side Church was favoured with a Revival, which helped greatly in the upbuilding of Christ's Kingdom.
Mr. Winsor has filled the office of Chairman of Presbytery, and has been Secretary of Conference for the past two years.
[p. 39]: A list of Junior Ministers connected with the Circuit:
1847 BOARDS, OFFICIALS AND SUNDAY SCHOOLS.
[p 43] The Boards of 1847-1868 –The account and membership book beginning July 1847 and ending May, 1868, furnishes the names of those who composed the Trustee and Quarterly Boards, viz; Messrs James Moors, Robert Roberts, Jacob Wheeler, George Phillips, Simon Jacobs, John Roberts, John Young, James Stuckless, Thomas Pooke, Joseph Minty, George Minty, South Side; Peter Samways, North; Jasper Dowland, Little Harbour.
George Minty was a member of the Quarterly Board from some time previous to 1847, as he was a class leader during Mr. Marshall's ministry and possibly before. He was one of the oldest and most respected members of the church, and a class leader [p. 44] for about forty years. The same applies to Peter Samways, North, and Jasper Dowland, Little Harbour.
We notice a name worthy of special remembrance, and from the Quarterly Board minutes of 1918 we have copied the following:
'A resolution was read and adopted and ordered to be sent our aged Bro. Andrew Roberts who has attained the good old age of 86 years.
Resolved—Whereas, the Great Head of the Church has in the wisdom of His Divine Providence, spared our aged brother to pass the 86 milestone of his earthly pilgrimage.
And, whereas in the early days of Methodism in this Bay our brother heard the call of the Gospel, and being led by the Holy Spirit surrendered his life to the Christ of Calvary.
And, whereas for over half a century our aged brother has unceasingly and uncompromisingly continued to follow in the footsteps of his Divine Lord and Master; rendering the Church of his choice his official services and giving unsparingly of his substance that the cause he had espoused may run and be glorified.
Therefore, be it resolved, that this Board place on record, our sincere and grateful appreciation for the invaluable service that our aged and revered brother has rendered to the cause of his Master, and the Methodist Church in particular; and pray that in his declining years he may ever have the abiding and continued presence of the Spirit of all truth, and the voice which says, 'Fear not I am with thee,' be his continued Friend and Comforter until the end of his earthly pilgrimage.'
Other names worthy of special mention are Messrs. William Roberts, John Minty, David White, and James Broomley, class leaders, and exhorters for a number of years. Everybody who knew them regarded them as sincere Christians. Their prayers and exhortations at the prayer meetings are not forgotten yet. David White perished at the ice fields and his body was picked up and buried at Seldom-Come-By.
The late Francis Roberts exhorter, and class leader of 'The Harbour', must not be passed without a tribute being paid to his noble example and abundant works. His good wife Elizabeth, reached the remarkable age of 101 years, and previous to her death the aged centenarian enjoyed fairly good health. [p. 45] Both always took a general interest in all Church work, and were 'faithful servants of God.'
This record would be incomplete, without referring to the succession of noble women who have devoted their best services to the furthering of the interests of our Church, the greater number of whom have passed over to the silent majority. In early times there were Mrs. Rachel Minty, Mrs. Elizabeth Hull, Mrs. Ann Young, Mrs. Phoebe Pooke, Mrs. Elizabeth Cook, Mrs. Ruth Brushfield, Mrs. Ruth Rideout, Mrs. Susan Linfield, Mrs. Charlotte Loveridge, Mrs. Martha Oxford, Mrs. Ann Minty, Mrs. Ann Samways, Mrs. Mary Grant, Mrs. Mary Ann Hodder. Later, Mrs. Lydia Burton, Mrs Elizabeth Bourden, Mrs. Susan Wheeler, Mrs. Elizabeth Minty, Mrs. Eliza Ann Pond, Mrs. Emily Stuckless, Mrs. Malina Bourden, Mrs. Ann Dove, Mrs. Maria Minty, Miss Rachel Young. These all were the earnest Class Leaders. These, with many others whom we cannot name, rendered most efficient service to the Church and through it to society.
Many have removed to other fields of labour from this [p. 46] Circuit, and are giving their services unstintingly to the Church they love in other parts of God's vineyard.
The worthy women who have worked in Ladies' Aids and Women's Associations are too many to name. The results of their labour can be seen in the connexional property, accumulated all over the Circuit.
Of the men who have ceased to work here or gone to other fields of labour we have space to name but a very few. Mr. Solomon Skinner, who for a number of years so successfully filled the offices of Exhorter and Trustee Steward; Capt. William Snow, who liberally supported the Church throughout his lifetime while living here, and even since his absence. He has recently contributed $25.00 towards the Memorial Bell in memory of his son Hardy, who was killed in the World War; Mr. Thomas Jacobs, who was ready for any service, and was one time the Circuit Recording Steward, and Allan Preston and George Phillips—but time would fail to name all who though absent are ever remembered.
It is not difficult to eulogize the dead or the absent, but when we single out or praise a few out of a numerous band of earnest workers the task seems serious.
There are four names deserving of special notice for their more abundant labours. Messrs. John Elliott, Edward Smith, T. G. W. Ashbourne and Theodore Jenkins, who, in addition to a general interest in all departments of Church work, conduct services from time to time with a great measure of success. Also we cannot omit the names of Messrs. Edgar Dove and Bennett Anstey of Little Harbour. These six brethren do the work on Sundays, and in the week if the need arises, that for years was done by a Junior Minister.
Other names that must not be omitted in this connection of those who have, and are rendering valuable services to the Church and Sabbath schools, are Messrs. James Horwood and Edgar G. Roberts, South Side, and William Guy and John Mills, Crow Head. Mr. Mills is a great favourite with the young men of his school. Mr. Edgar Hawkins, nineteen years Treasurer of the South Side Trustee Board, and Mr. Elias Young, its Secretary, must also be remembered. All of these have given up much of their time to this particular work, besides taking a general interest in all Church work.
[From a section on the Sunday schools, p. 47] Our earliest records have been lost, but at the bottom of the late Marshall's records of 1847, we find "number in school 76,” from which it is reasonable to suppose that the Sunday School was organized in that year, if not before. It would appear that the late William Marshall and Peter Samways were two of the earliest Superintendents of this Circuits' Sunday School. The records extant give the following list of Superintendents for the years indicated: --1842-1882, the Ministers. Previous to the erection of the North Side Church, 1880, the officers and teachers of the Sabbath School were—Rev. Thomas W. Atkinson, Superintendent, John Minty, Assistant; W. T. Roberts, Librarian; J. H. Tavener, Secretary.
Boys Classes—R. C. Russell, W. J. Scott, J. N. Percy, Samuel Minty, Elijah Kendell, Titus Linfield, Joseph Minty.
Girls Classes—Mrs. Caroline Jacobs, Mrs. Mary Ann Hodder, Mrs Elizabeth Minty, Mrs. Susan M. Wheeler, Mrs. Phoebe Kendell, Mrs. A. Minty, Mrs. E. Hicks, Miss E. Hawkins, Miss Lunnen, Miss M. Phillips.
When the North Side church was opened an additional [p. 48] Sunday School was organized, with Mr. W. J. Scott as Superintendent. The records of 1894 show—
The South Side Sunday School Superintendents included—1842-1882, The Ministers and Peter Samways; 1882-1900, John Minty; 1900-1914, Samuel Minty; 1914-1927, Charles White; 1927-1928, Andrew Maidment; 1928-1932, James Horwood.
The North Side Sunday School 1882-1932, George Roberts, W. J. Scott, A. W. N. Burt, John Elliott.
The Crow Head Sunday School 1882-1932, Robert Dove, William Guy. Mr Guy has served as Superintendent for 34 years.
The Little Harbour Sunday School 1852-1932, Jasper Dowland, Andrew Anstey, Peter Anstey, Bennett Anstey, Edgar Dove. The old Superintendents of these schools, who have passed on, are tenderly remembered.
[p. 49] The late John Minty, for many years a teacher in the Sabbath School, while the Ministers of the Circuit were the Superintendents, also a member of the Quarterly Board, is still held in remembrance by many of those whom he taught in the old school. He was appointed Assistant Superintendent to Rev. T. W. Atkinson, afterwards Superintendent till his death in 1901.
The late Elijah Kendell, who died at Fogo 1920, at the age of 72 years, was for fifty-two years conscious of Christ as his personal Saviour. He was a Class-leader on the Circuit for more than thirty years, and on Sunday afternoon often conducted prayer services in the South Side Church.
The late William Ashbourne, in his capacity as Trustee Steward, rendered valuable help to the Church for a number of years, and was one of its large financial supporters. It took this Circuit and community some years to recover from the effects of the loss when William Ashbourne passed through the gateway of death, into eternal life, when only in middle life. We did not know Mr. William Ashbourne personally, but we were well acquainted with his brother Mr. Arthur G. and from him we drew our conclusions of Mr. William. Mr. Arthur died suddenly while we were writing this item on his brother, and of the debt this town owes him we are not competent to write. He was found in every good cause, and yet that which was himself was the greatest gift he gave his community.
He was warm-hearted, kindly, and imparted something of his qualities to those who met him, therefore we must refer to the loss suffered by this town and (although not a member of our communion) by our congregation.
[p 50] The late George Roberts, S. M., filled the office of Recording Steward of the Circuit and never failed to give tangible evidence of his interest in the prosperity of its work in Sunday School and Church.
The late Charles White, J. P., also filled the offices of Recording Steward, Trustee Steward, Sabbath School Superintendent, with acceptance. We were very intimate with Mr. White during our first months in Twillingate previous to his severe illness, and it was very noticeable that at almost every service we held North or South he was present. It was a great sorrow to us when we had to let Charles White go from us, a sorrow made infinitely greater by the fact that we had to officiate at his funeral. We wanted to be with the mourners, for we loved him as if he were our father.
The late W. J. Scott, S. M., filled the offices of Steward, Exhorter, and Superintendent of Sunday School and was so regular in attendance, that his absence for one Sabbath was noticeable to all. He died while praying in the North Side Church.
The late Captain James Gillett, another official loved by all, was regarded as a model Christian, which is the highest eulogy of any man that can be written.
The late Benjamin Roberts was a respected member for many years. He was a Steward, Class Leader and Exhorter, and a staunch supporter of the work carried on by the Church he loved.
There are many other names we would like to comment upon viz. : the late Joseph Minty, George Gillett, Martin Phillips, Robert Hayward, Robert Dove, J. C. Duder, Thomas Mitchard, Joseph Stuckless, Samuel Moors, John Andrews, F. Linfield, George Phillips, Thomas Pooke, Jacob Wheeler, but we cannot obtain any details only that they were members of the Boards, and filled a large place in the Church and liberally supported the cause.
We are reminded of the late Peter Samways by the Bible Class in the South Side Sabbath School, organized in his memory, and the large tombstone monument in the old Cemetery by the Church. It is with much pleasure folks refer to the services so freely rendered by this man of God. He was organist, local preacher, class leader, S. S. Superintendent and teacher. He was [p. 51] regarded in his day as the model Bible Class teacher. His lengthy service to the Church is worthy of more than a passing notice, for he was identified with Church and Sunday School as far back as Mr. Marshall's day. In 1850 he contributed 10 shillings to Missions. At that date Dr. Stirling also gave 10 shillings as a missionary contribution.
The late Elias Wheeler, Amelia Hull, the veteran John Keefe and Frederick Verge, all who died during our ministry at Twillingate, must not be forgotten, as they gave valuable information in the compilation of this book. Mr. Paul Moores, who passed on to us books, etc., held in custody by the late Charles White, Mr. Stewart Roberts, Editor of the Twillingate Sun, who helped us considerably, and our forever obliging Recording Steward, Mr. T. G. W. Ashbourne, Manager of Ashbournes, Ltd., who gave valuable time and information.
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