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Notre Dame Bay ~ Exploits District

Diary of Leander Rowsell

The information was transcribed by BEVERLEY WARFORD, January 2000. While I have endeavored to be as correct as humanly possible, there could be some typographical errors.

Leander served as a teacher and layreader in Labrador from 1914-1918 following his training at Queenís College in St. Johnís, Newfoundland.

Born Culls Island, Leading Tickles
Son of Esther and Benjamin Rowsell
Leander Rowsell

I landed at Battle Harbor September, 1914. Went from thence to Henley Harbor September 5th by S.S. Meigle. Opened school at Henley Harbor September 7th . Teached school for a fortnight, closed school September 18th . Took the S.S. Meigle again September 19th . Went to Battle Harbor. Too much sea and would not land and put off at Cape Charles the 20th . Being Sunday, held divine service in the school chapel. Left Cape Charles Sunday evening in Mr. ? Croucherís motor and arrived at Battle Harbor in time to hold divine service in the church there at half past six.

Opened school at Battle Harbor September 21st . Went to Fox Harbor 1st October and buried Mr. Wakam, an old English man. Kept at Fox Harbor eight days by wind and weather. Returned Battle Harbor 10th of October and opened the school there again on the 12th and teached until the 19th of October and closed school for Lewis Bay.

Went to Fox Harbor on September 19th on my way for Lewis Bay. Kept over there for several days, arriving at River Head, Kings Square at 1 oíclock in the night in open trap boat with showers of snow. Opened school there in Mr. Strangemoreís house for a while. Got the people under way at Kings Square and dry away the snow and built a log house to teach school and to hold divine services in.

Closed school at Lewis Bay December 24th and packed my traps again once more for Porcupine Bay, a distance of one hundred miles.

Left Kings Square January 5th for Porcupine Bay. Arrived at Fox Harbor that evening and held service to Mr. George Holleyís that night. Went to Deep Water Creek next morning. Abiding at the Creek all day and all night. Could not get a dog team for love nor money to take me along being the last night of Christmas. We held a Christmas toll at Mr. John C___ls and a had a jolly time. Held service the 7th ________ to Mr. ______ and back to Fox Harbor that night and held evensong again to Mr. George Holleyís. Got Mr. Rumbolt and Mr. William Toms to take me to Georgeís Cove. Next day had a lovely time it being mild. Could not get any dogs there, they were all gone. Had to stay over until Monday.

Went back to Williamís Harbor Saturday night and kept prayers there Sunday morning and back to Georgeís Cove for the evening service. Returned to Williamís Harbor Sunday night. Ready to start north Monday morning. Left Williamís Harbor Monday morning at 5 oíclock; two hours before day, for Gilbertís Neck. Very frosty. Arriving in Gilbertís Neck in good time and when the women was preparing a lunch, I baptised a child for Mrs. Bunden. Had our lunch and drove on for north arriving at Hawkís Harbor at 3:30 pm. Held service there that night in the companyís house at the whale factory. Started again the next morning for still further north. Had a lunch up at William Hopkins. Leaving Pond and drove on for Open Bay. Had a mug up there and arrived at Porcupine at 4 oíclock, the end of my destination, very glad to get there it being the 2nd of January.

Sent a man to Cartwright for things for the school. Opened school there at Porcupine the 14th January. Had a long stay there. Teached for nearly 3 school months. The last of March packed my traps again for Spotted Island, fifteen miles out due east from Porcupine Bay and taught school there for another month.

Closed school at Spotted Islands the 7th of May and packed my baggage again for Boisterís Rock. Crossed Domino Run 10th of May to Batteau. On my way south the weather got so mild, could not proceed by komatic and dogs, had to wait for the waters to come to get along in boat. When lying up waiting taught school at Batteau in a bunk house. Found eight children there all in A.B.C. and primmer.

The ice moved off and on the 24th of May, I got from Batteau to Seal Islands in boat and on the 25th , I arrived safely at Bolsterís Rock. Hung her up there for the summer months. The 31st of August, I closed school at Bolsterís Rock. That finished my twelve months in Cartwright and Battle Harbor Mission of the Labrador.

L. Rowsell


I again take notes of my second yearís travelling in the Battle Harbor Mission on the Coast of Labrador. It is a great pleasure to me to be able to state that I am fortunate enough to have to work in one mission during this year commencing at Bolsterís Rock on July 5th , 1915. Taught school here for a period of two months. Completed eighty-two sessions. Rev. W. K. Pitcher ordered me to close down school here (at Bolsterís Rock) and to proceed to Williamís Harbor for a month, saying that his school funds was getting so low that he would not be able to employ me the coming winter. So I made up my mind for to go home to Newfoundland and wrote the Superintendent of Education to that effect asking him for a school in Newfoundland the coming winter. Will I proceeded to Williamís Harbor according to orders, and opened school there (in an old house) on September 4th with eleven pupils. On the 22nd of October, I closed down school there and fortunately I received the good news from Rev. W.K. Pitcher of Battle Harbor Mission asking me to stay in the coast all winter. After considering over salary and terms, I made up my mind to stay another winter in the cold, cold north. My first school for the winter was Georgeís Cove. A nice little school chapel, had a fine lot of scholars here. Twenty one in the register. Taught school here from October 25th to January 7th , 1916. Closed down school then and went north as far as Long Pond, taking up the duty of church work for a fortnight to help out our esteemed clergy, the Rev. W. K. Pitcher. Visiting Otter Bay and held three services there. From thence went to Hawkís Harbor, held two more services, went to Long Pond and held services there. Next proceeded to Caplin Bay. Held two more services there at that place. Worked back again to Georgeís Cove and packed my traps for St. Lewis Bay. Held services at the following places going west viz. Barneís Cove, Fox Harbor and Deep Water Creek.

Arrived at Kingís Square River Head of St. Lewis Bay the last of January and taught school there until 17th of April. Then proceeded to Trap Cove via Battle Harbor. Opened school there Wednesday, 26th of April, 1916. Taught school at Trap Cove from April 26th to August 4th . Received a wireless from the Rev. W.K. Pitcher saying on to Bolsterís Rock the first chance. Doctor Grenfell called at Battle Harbor on his way to Northern Labrador in the S.S. Strathcona and he kindly offered me a passage. Well I packed my traps once more for Bolsterís Rock and got aboard of the Strathcona. Left Battle Harbor on a Saturday morning, called at Killimanís Harbor, had a look at Mr. Drimanesque, the Church of England Teacher at that place. Proceeded on to Georgeís Cove. Saw old friends there and went on the Square Islands where night overtook us. Being up at that place to spend Sunday. Monday morning, the 7th of August, the S.S. Sagona overtook us at Square Islands and I got aboard of her and arrived at Bolsterís Rock before dinner. On my arrival there found no place ready to teach school in. Mr. Twinbull kindly lent me the underpart of a little store and during the week fixed it up to teach school and hold services in. Opened school at Bolsters Rock on August 14, 1916. This is my second time at this place. Closed school at Bolsters Rock 13th October and proceeded to Venison Islands for Otter Bay. On arriving at Otter Bay had to have a log house built to teach school in and to hold church services. Taught school at Otter Bay until end of the year 1916. I am now packing my traps for Caplin Bay.

Arrived at Caplin Bay by komatik and dogs January 8, 1917. Started up the people here to complete the new school. Opened school here January 15, 1917 and completed 100 sessions here at Caplin Bay. Packed my traps for Georgeís Cove. William and Samuel Clark took me along to Georgeís Cove April the 7th , 1917 a distance of about forty miles. Here I am now at Georgeís Cove teaching school. All well.

Left Georgeís Cove the first mail boat and proceeded to Bolsterís Rock once more. Taught school there for one month. Had a few holidays and went to Venison Islands the 4th of August. This is my first time teaching here at this place since I have been on the coast. I have been North since I have been here and have performed two weddings. One at Seal Islands and another at Bolsterís Rock. I suppose I will soon be leaving this again now going south for the fall.

Venison Islands
September 11, 1917
Leander Rowsell

September 22, 1917

Arrived at Francis Harbor on my way to Williamís Harbor. Went to Williamís Harbor. The next day being Sunday held services there twice. Opened school there Monday morning at 9:30. Nine pupils in attendance. Closed school at Williamís Harbor October 26th and arrived at Georgeís October 27th . Opened school at Georgeís Cove October 29th with the exception of fourteen pupils, more children to come along later.

Taught school at Georgeís Cove until 17th January 1918. Left and travelled south doing church work. Visiting the following places: viz. Kingís Square, Adderís Cove, Shipís Harbor, Fox Harbor and Deep Water Creek. After arriving at Georgeís Cove went North as far as Long Pond. Visiting the following places: Otter Bay, Hawkeís Harbor, Long Pond, Caplin Bay and Hawkeís Bay. Married a young couple at Caplin Bay (Robert Clarke & Alamenda Elson). Came back to Georgeís Cove and packed my traps for Battle Harbor. Arrived at Trap Cove the 28th February 1918. Started school here, sorry to say after a few days had to go all the way back to Williamís Harbor to bury James Williams. Left and got back to Fox Harbor and staying there for the following Sunday. Came back to Trap Cove the following Tuesday. Reopened school again. Had to go to Fox Harbor again the following Monday to bury Zachariah Toms. Kept over there by stormy weather until the following Friday. Arrived to Trap Cove again and reopened school the following Monday. The next ?start to ? Dives Head April 2nd . Arrived up there that day. All well. April the 4th married Charles Clarke and Martha Sansom. Also John Sansom and Annie Toms the same day. Got back to Trap Cove again which ended that week. Reopened school again Monday and very thankful to get in 10 sessions this week. All well.

Friday, April 12th , 1918
Leander Rowsell

Taught school at Trap Cove, Battle Harbor until 10 of June. Packed my traps for Bolsterís Rock. Went on to Seal Islands. Held divine service there three times on the following Sunday. Came back from Seal Islands and had the next at Bolsterís. Started in to work at the new school there. Clapboarded the walls thereof and had to stop for want of inch lumber for covering.

Went to Venison Islands and held Divine Service there twice the following Sunday.

Opened school here at Bolsterís Rock (in a store).

July 1, 1918

Codfish very scarce. All well.

Leander Rowsell

Taught school here at Bolsterís for a month and a half. I then received a wireless from the Superintendent telling me to proceed to Coney Arm, White Bay, Newfoundland. Packed my luggage for S.S. Sagona, returning south and she landed me at St. Anthony. Took the S.S. Susu for Jacksonís Arm. Arrived at Coney Arm and opened school at that place September 2nd. Closed school at Coney Arm in December and packed my traps again for Williamsport. Opened school here December 20th and closed again for the people to fix up the school chapel to make it warm for the winter. Taught school here for the end of the year, ending June 30th , 1919.

Leander Rowsell

© Beverley Warford and NL GenWeb
Exploits District