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Historical Information

Notre Dame Bay ~ Exploits

Biographies of Prominent Women in the Bay of Exploits area

By: Calvin D. Evans

Author of the book: For Love of a Woman; a Perspective on Shipbuilding in Newfoundland

Compiled July to October 2005
Formatted by Beverly Warford

Please Note: If you would like to get in touch with Calvin, please email Beverly Warford and she will pass along the message to him

MARY WINSOR (Mrs. James J. Winsor)

Mary was married to James Jennings Winsor, merchant of St. John’s and Exploits, Burnt Islands, with roots in Aquaforte. In 1869 James Winsor and Frederick Vallance built a large steam sawmill at Dominion Point (modern day Peterview), near the mouth of the Exploits River to harvest the abundant Newfoundland pine for local building and export. The Mill was operated until 1892, when it was supplanted at nearby Ship Cove (modern day Botwood) by the large Mill of Gooday & Benson, called the Exploits Lumber Company, of Montreal.

Mary would have lived in the “New House” built on site in 1869; from all accounts it was a stylish house over which she presided. She also seems to have acted as the “banker” for the operation since she was frequently given cheques to cover purchases in St. John’s or to deliver to the Company’s creditors, which means that she would have traveled regularly on the Company’s schooners, one of which was called the Mary.

When her husband died about 1889, Mary became a co-partner with David Lewis in the operation of the Mill. Lewis was an experienced “Lumberer” and had moved in the mid-1880s from Prince Edward Island to replace Frederick Vallance who had died. Mary was classified in the records as “Widow and Executrix”. Though their debts were not substantial, the Mill was facing stiff competition from the new Exploits Lumber Company, and Mary Winsor and David Lewis arranged a joint mortgage with Knowling and Goodridge, St. John’s merchants, and offered their timber lands and properties at Dominion Point as security. Alas, it was a lost cause, and their Mill closed down in 1892, after 23 years of good business. Mary Winsor retired to St. John’s.


“Molly” Wentzell was born Emma Mary Seabright at Exploits, Burnt Islands, in 1868. James Seabright was married to Jane Gill and for a time they lived at Waldron’s Cove in the Bay of Exploits. The Seabright family must have moved to the Peterview area early since the name “Mrs Sabrite” appears in the ledgers of the Winsor & Vallance Saw Mill at Dominion Point in the first Ledger of 1869-1870. Aram Downton paid “Mrs Sabrite” for unspecified labour. There is no mention of Mr. Seabright as being an employee of the mill.

By 1887, James Seabright’s three sons - Elias, Frederick and George - were regular employees at the renamed Winsor & Lewis Saw Mill (presumably James had died) and Mrs. Seabright’s name continues to occur in the Ledgers. So does the name of Emma Seabright who by then was 19 years old. She was a regular shopper for the family at the Company Store and she worked on the Farm, making hay, for which she was paid. She was also a witness at several weddings and she signed her name in an unusually neat script. There had been a School House on site from the earliest days and it appears that she was well schooled. Her brother Elias once bought her a jacket for $4.00, which appears to have been somewhat of an extravagance at that time. Perhaps it was a wedding gift, since by 1889 her name disappears from the Ledgers and reappears as Mrs. Wentzell. She had married James Wentzell, an employee of the Saw Mill.

Wentzell had been born in Lockport, Nova Scotia, in 1863 and had immigrated to Newfoundland probably in 1883 to work in the J. W. Phillips’ Mill at South West Arm (now Point Leamington). By 1886 or 1887 he had transferred to the Winsor & Lewis Saw Mill at Dominion Point (now Peterview). Wentzell was the very last employee of the Winsor & Lewis Mill and terminated work there in 1892. He continued to live at Dominion Point but became the Chief Sawyer with the Gooday & Benson Mill (which came to be called the Exploits Lumber Co.) at Ship Cove (later Botwoodville).

Wentzell later moved to Botwoodville and built two stores, a Lower Store on the waterfront, and another on what later came to be called Wentzell’s Road; this store was operated by his wife “Molly”. She went regularly to St. John’s on annual Spring buying trips to stock the store. On one of these buying trips in 1906 she collected $72 from friends in the city for arching the roof of the Botwoodville Methodist Church with metal ceiling; in 1907 she collected $104 to buy a new organ for the Church; and in 1908 she collected $50 to buy a new pulpit for the Church. The Botwoodville Correspondent to the Free Press added, “When finished we shall have one of the most beautiful churches in Newfoundland at Botwoodville .... And we desire to thank Mrs. Wentzell and the friends in St. John’s for the generous amounts received”. Presumably this trend continued.

The Wentzells continued as prominent members of the Methodist Church in Botwood, and James laid the cornerstone of the new church which was officially opened as the United Church of Canada in 1926.

James Wentzell died on April 21, 1941 at age 78; Emma Wentzell died on February 25, 1948 at age 80.

ELIZABETH (BUTT) MANUEL (Mrs. Josiah Manuel)

Elizabeth was born at Exploits, Burnt Islands, in the early 1830s and had 12 children for Josiah Manuel; their 5th. and 12th. children, Jabez and Chesley, became very successful merchants in their father’s mold, and their 10th. child, Mitchie Anne, became the wife of Sir John Crosbie. Mitchie Anne duplicated her mother’s feat of bearing 12 children.

Josiah Manuel had been the most prominent shipbuilder in the history of Newfoundland and had conducted business in Green Bay, on the French Shore, in the Straits, and in Labrador for over 40 years up to the time of his death in 1907. Such was his stature that on the occasion of his untimely death from pneumonia at the house of his son-in-law in St. John’s, the coastal boat made a special trip to Exploits, Burnt Islands, to pick up Elizabeth Manuel, her daughter Janet, her son Chesley, and several prominent business persons, and convey them to Lewisporte where they took a special train to St. John’s for the funeral. The newspaper Free Press said of Josiah, “This is the passing of no ordinary man .... much of the prosperity of northern Newfoundland is due to him”. It could equally be said of his wife, Elizabeth, that this was no ordinary woman.

Michael Harris, author of Rare Ambition; the Crosbies of Newfoundland, wrote of Elizabeth: “Josiah’s wife, Elizabeth Butt, exemplified Captain Abraham Bartlett’s comment on Newfoundland’s apparently patriarchal society. ‘I command the ship’, he said, ‘ but my wife commands when I come off the ship’. The mother of twelve children, only five of whom reached the age of majority, Elizabeth was always first up in the morning, making sure that the men, maids and gardener were at their chores. Mitchie Anne would later subject the Crosbie household to the same spartan regimen ...”

MITCHIE ANNE (MANUEL) CROSBIE (Mrs. John Chalker Crosbie)

She is probably being written up as a St. John’s woman, but it needs to be said that she was the daughter of prominent Exploits parents and that she spent the first 20 or so years of her life at Exploits, Burnt Islands


Effie Violet Lacey was born at Surgeon’s Cove, Exploits, Burnt Islands, on December 21, 1899. She was the first of her family to move to Grand Falls, finding a job in the Drug Store/ Candy Store on what is now High Street, possibly as early as 1916, and living with her Uncle Solomon LeDrew. She soon found employment in the A.N.D. Co.’s Mill as a Telephone Operator. Determined to persuade her family to move to Grand Falls, she found a job for her father as a carpenter in the Mill and the Lacey family made the move in 1919. She married Ted Cobb, manager of the Co-op Store’s grocery department, about 1924 and they had two children, Joan and Ruth. In the late 1920s, they moved to Botwood and rented Jimmy Inder’s building on Mill Road and operated a General Store. They also bought a large house on Church Road from Abe Antle, and Effie hired a “companion” to care for her children, and she became a partner with her husband in the operation of the General Store. The house on Church Road burned to the ground shortly after it was purchased, and Effie bought another house and moved it on to the property. Effie’s brother Garland, later to become “The Reverend”, expanded on the Church Road building as a summer project, and Effie was soon running a hotel and restaurant and catering to dances, with most of her clientele coming by evening train from Grand Falls for a “pork and cabbage supper” which preceded each dance. Over the years she had as many as 12 or 14 boarders in the Hotel at any given time. A picture taken in the early 1930s carries the name “E. V. Cobb. Restaurant & Groceteria”.

Effie was characterized as a very precise lady. Everything she planned came our right. “She was ahead of you all the time”, someone remarked.

The “companion” who was hired in 1929 to care for the children, which now included young Roger, was Doris Waterman, aged 15. She stayed with Mrs. Cobb for 7 years, and besides looking after the children, also helped to cook the restaurant fare, and served ice cream and “sweets” to the public during the day. Throughout these early years Effie was invited regularly to Grand Falls to decorate halls for dances, parties and special occasions; this was just one more of her special talents.

The Hotel was auspiciously placed as it turned out, for it was practically next door to the three buildings erected by Pan-American Airways, British Airways (B.O.A.C.), and American Export Airlines in 1937 when transatlantic flights were inaugurated, with Botwood as a fueling stopover. At this point the Hotel was renovated, expanded and “spruced up” (reports say there were 26 rooms in the building) and renamed the Transatlantic Inn, though some wit later dubbed it the “Dip and Dive”, undoubtedly because of its connection with air flights. Pictures of the period show the name “TRANSATLANTIC INN” with the name “E. V. COBB” displayed prominently above it. During this time Effie employed four maids for washing, cleaning and cooking and had part-time help besides. Her sister, Blanche Lacey (still living at age 98 in September 2005) was one of these occasional workers. Some employees of the three Airlines stayed for long periods at the Inn, e.g. A. H. “Bert” Dupe, an Englishman and chief mechanic for B.O.A.C. lived in the Inn for a considerable time. He hired Effie’s daughter, Ruth, to work at the Airline for one summer, checking in passengers. She would obtain and record the number of each passenger as they disembarked and as they returned to the plane. Staff of the three Airlines regularly took their meals in the Inn’s dining room, and passengers from the planes were served meals at the Inn as well, walking with escort the 300 yards from the dock to the Inn. Between 80 and 100 passengers would regularly be served either a hot breakfast or a noon meal in the dining room of the Inn. Effie’s daughter, Ruth, would play guitar and piano to entertain the guests during their meal. The Inn attracted a high-class clientele, including Hollywood actors and actresses, and celebrities of various kinds, on their way to and from overseas to entertain the troops. Some of those who visited were: Jean Raymond, Jeanette McDonald’s husband (not Nelson Eddy), Douglas Fairbanks (he actually went around the building and entered through the back door!), Merle Oberon, Bob Hope, Frances Langford, Gracie Fields and her husband Monty Banks, Edward G. Robinson, Tony Romano, Jack Pepper, Kay Stammers, a British Wimbledon tennis player, Edgar Bergen with “Charlie McCarthy”, Prince Bernard of the Netherlands (he was extremely congenial and played Ruth’s guitar and sang), Prince John of the Netherlands, Lord Halifax, the Duke and Charlotte, the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Sir Anthony Eden, Lord Mountbatten, and Winston Churchill.

Churchill visited in November 1942 and again in 1943. Effie’s daughters reported that when he arrived for the first visit he flashed the “V for Victory” sign and was taken immediately to the Officers Mess. He stayed through the afternoon and overnight. Bob Hope and Frances Langford were storm-stayed and put on an evening show for the local troops. Merle Oberon and Frances Langford requested to be taken on a fishing trip and spent some time jigging codfish in Botwood Harbour. Gary Cooper did not get off the plane during a brief stopover. Many of the guests would write postcards to family and friends back home and request that Effie’s daughters post them after they had left.

The Canadian military were stationed in Botwood at the beginning of World War II, and a large area opposite Killick Island was cordoned off for the troops, with 8 ft. high wire fence and three parallel strands of barbed wire on top and guards stationed 24/7 at every entrance. The Transatlantic Inn was within a few feet of this fence, and the “changing of the guard” took place underneath Effie’s daughters’ bedroom window. One could only enter the Base with an authorized pass, and Effie held one of these passes for the duration of the War.

When a plane belonging to the American Export Airlines Inc. crashed at Botwood in 1942, several injured passengers were accommodated at the Inn. The man who brought the hostess and a female passenger ashore from the wreck was kept for several days in a bed which was continuously heated with hot bricks. Officials of the Airline visited from New York to thank Effie for her service to their passengers and staff, arranged a dinner in her honor, and presented her with an official letter of thanks and a pink gold English watch set in rubies. The letter was signed by J. S. Slater, Executive Vice-President of the Airlines, and read:

“Dear Mrs. Cobb:

We are indeed pleased to present to you this token of esteem, to mark in grateful memory the unselfish service which you rendered to the passengers, officers and crew of our Transatlantic Flying Ace at Botwood, October 3, 1942.

Your friendly aid and comfort, administered to strangers in distress, is a service that words cannot adequately express, yet something that we, as individuals, and as a company, cannot soon forget”.

During World War II, the Inn became a social centre for the military and for invited guests from the community. In addition to the dining room, there was a living room, a Dance Hall; and a “Grenfell Mission Booth” was strategically placed near the main entrance. The families of some military personnel boarded here for extended periods of time.

In 1943 some of the Anti-Aircraft buildings “in the valley” (off what is now Commonwealth Ave.) were handed over to B.O.A.C. to provide accommodations and a restaurant for passengers and crew on their one and a half hour stopover on the transatlantic flights. This area was then named “Caledonia Camp” after the Imperial Airways flying boat that had made the first experimental Atlantic crossing in 1937. Mr. Dupe of B.O.A.C. who had boarded at the Transatlantic Inn for several years then arranged for Effie Cobb to manage the V.I.P. House, or Cabot Inn, as it was also known, which was part of Caledonia Camp. There were some who characterized the V.I.P. House as “the little blue and white cabin on the hill”, though it was a far more impressive building than that description implies. It was here that Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt and many other important personages had stayed during their visits to Botwood. The daughters claimed that for two years they were “living in luxury” in the V. I. P. House. During this time, Effie combined management of the Transatlantic Inn with management of the V.I.P. House. After the War she continued to live in the V.I.P. House for a few winters.

During the 1950s the V.I.P. House was known familiarly as “Churchill’s Home”, due undoubtedly to the fact that Sir Winston Churchill stayed there overnight in November 1942.

Sometime in the early 1950s, Effie moved to St. John’s where she bought a house at 50 Cashin Avenue. The move was precipitated both by a desire to put her past behind her and by the desire to have her son, Roger, close to professional facilities to assist him with health matters and learning disabilities. Effie’s daughters had married two men who worked at the Military Weather Office on the Causeway to Killick Island in Botwood, Ruth marrying Austin Mills in 1946 and Joan marrying Gordon Irish in 1947.They were both transferred to the Gander Weather Office in 1951. During the St. John’s period, Effie became an Avon salesperson and pursued this occupation for many years. She returned to Botwood in 1954 and sold the Transatlantic Inn to a Jewer family; it was subsequently sold to Roy Adams and operated by Greta Adams for several years. Presided over by Effie Cobb, a very special lady, for more than 20 years, the Inn had been a silent witness to secret, unique and curious events.

Effie died in St. John’s when she was about 80, i.e. about 1979. She had invited her friends in for an afternoon of Bridge, had just finished serving them lunch, and sat down at the Bridge table when she gently slumped over the table and quietly passed away. She left money in her will for the continued care of her son.


These three women were Mi’kmaq and resided in the Wigwam Point area, at the mouth of the Exploits River. They undoubtedly regularly traversed the country with several Paul men between the Bay D’Espoir area and Wigwam Point. These trails were identified and well known up until the recent present.

Ellen’s name appears in the Winsor & Vallance Sawmill records at Dominion Point (modern day Peterview) as early as 1869. Though at least one of the men had a supplying Company (referred to in the Ledgers as B. Paul & Co.), several men and the three women appear to have operated as independent suppliers of various goods - furs, wild meat, berries, etc. Ellen Paul was paid for unspecified labor at the Mill site, probably domestic work, washing, cleaning and shopping for several of the lumbermen. Curiously, she was once paid 4 shillings for 8 ft. of “funneling”. She acted as a supplier up until 1890. Fanny Paul was the only Mi’kmaq woman to have a separate account at the Mill Company’s Store and regularly supplied goods for credit on this account through the1880s. Mary Paul did not have a separate account and may have supplied goods through B. Paul & Co. She apparently was a much younger woman and primarily did shopping for, and supplying on behalf of Ben Paul and his Company. She may indeed have been Ben Paul’s daughter. According to the family territorial system, Ben Paul held rights to the resources of Deer Lake through Grand Lake to Lloyd’s Pond, and shared territorial rights at the Exploits River with Abraham and Noel Paul. It may, therefore, be assumed that the three women hunted with the men in these two areas that they “belonged to”.

Several of the Mi’kmaq men, but none of these women, are mentioned in Doug Jackson’s book, On the Country; the Micmac of Newfoundland.


Hanna Eliza (Humphries) Evans was married to Edward Evans, Jr. She was a “Class Leader” of women in the Methodist Church at Northern Arm for many years. The Wesleyan/ Methodist Church trained women in spiritual leadership roles and appointed them heads of classes, and sometimes men were members of their classes; this rigorous training resulted in women developing skills that were used in various community activities. For several years, Hannah Eliza operated a branch store for George J. Carter, a St. John’s merchant with headquarters at Herring Neck. It used to be said that Edward, her husband, operated the store, but that isn’t so; he didn’t have sufficient schooling, but Hannah Eliza did.

Naomi (Sheppard) Evans (wife of Captain William Evans) and Selina (Langdon) Evans (wife of Captain Henry Evans) were the mothers of very talented daughters who regularly received great acclaim for their musical and oratorical skills through the Botwood columnist for the St. John’s newspaper, the Free Press. Beatrice Evans, daughter of Naomi, and Minnie, daughter of Selina, and others of the clan were regularly courted by Lodges and other community organizations through the early 1900s for their singing and organ playing, and for their dramatic presentations. They were either brought to Botwood for these occasions and occupied the stage with the likes of Harry Crowe and Dr. C. Alfred Ames, or the organizations went to Northern Arm to delight in this special talent. Here is an excerpt from the Free Press for 1908: “Perhaps there is not another settlement of its size and importance where we have so much musical talent as at Northern Arm. The concert was pure and good in character and the various rounds consisting of songs, choruses, recitations, dialogues and drills, were very pleasingly rendered. Misses Beatrice and Minnie Evans presided at the organ”. Beatrice later married John Anstey and moved to Toronto. Minnie Evans married Edgar Manuel, a local merchant. It is said that she “could make music out of anything”. She would, for example, slightly dampen her fingers and play tunes by caressing the inside of a large porcelain wash basin, or play tunes on a vibrating hand-saw. She died all-too-young.

MINNIE G. (WATERMAN) LOCKE ( Mrs. A. Gordon Locke)

Minnie Waterman was born in 1906 at Durrell, Twillingate, daughter of William and Sophie (Jenkins) Waterman. Her father was Captain of one of Ashbourne’s schooners and was accidentally shot and killed at age 45 while sealing. Minnie taught for several years in the Twillingate area. She then married Gordon Locke of Tizzard’s Harbour, son of a well-known shipbuilder in the area, Alexander Locke. Alexander was the first child born in Tilt Cove when the copper mine began operating there.

Minnie was the mother of ten children, two of them dying in infancy and one in childhood. As a young mother she enrolled in a correspondence course with the Chicago School of Nursing and completed the 53 Lessons of 1937 which still exist today in a book that is fully 3 inches thick. On completion of the course she received a cap, pin and certificate. She thus became a resource person for many women in the community of Botwood, and there were women who would not allow the resident doctor to perform procedures on them unless Minnie was present. Dr. O. V. Smith, a long-time resident doctor, came to respect her skills and her rapport with his patients. Minnie nursed her husband’s two young brothers in her home until they both died, and cared for her husband’s father at her home until his death. She was amongst the first group of women in Botwood to be awarded a certificate and pin for Volunteer Nursing Service by the Canadian Red Cross after completing a requisite course of instruction and supervised practice which fully qualified her to act as a nursing assistant without remuneration.

Minnie played the organ and gave music lessons to many children during her years at Botwood. In the mid-1950s when one of her daughters enrolled in secretarial training at Grand Falls, Minnie learned shorthand and other secretarial skills along with her daughter and excelled in shorthand skills especially. She was involved in the Women’s Missionary Society and the United Church Women at the provincial and national levels, and was an active member of the Orange Lodge for many years.

She moved to Grand Falls in 1960 and died there in 2002 at age 96. Her husband had died in 2000 at age 99.


Blanche was born at Surgeon’s Cove, Exploits, Burnt Islands, in 1907, daughter of Richard and Delphie (LeDrew) Lacey, and moved with her family to Grand Falls in 1919. Her grandparents were William and Mary (Manuel) Lacey. One of her sisters was Effie Cobb, manager of the Transcontinental Inn at Botwood, and Blanche worked occasionally for her sister at the Inn. Her brother was the Reverend Garland Lacey, who became a candidate for the ministry from the Grand Falls Methodist Church, turned the sod for the first Memorial United Church, and donated the cornerstone for that church. He later had a very distinguished ministry in Newfoundland, Saskatchewan and the United States.

At age 15 Blanche went to work at the Tailor Shop in Grand Falls where she worked for several years, even bringing home unfinished work to complete on her own time, since they were paid by the finished garment. She was later offered a job at the Co-Op in charge of the Dry Goods Department which she did for 5 years. Then she was hired by Riff’s Ltd. as Department Head and Buyer for Ladies’ and Children’s Wear. She traveled to Montreal and Toronto many times during her twelve years at Riff’s to buy new lines of clothing for the main store and all branch stores; these annual trips would sometimes last for five weeks. She retired from Riff’s in 1967 at age 60 in order to continue caring for her sick and aging parents who died at age 88 and 93.

Blanche has a positive and optimistic attitude to life that is genuine and infectious. Her attitude is summed up in her own words: “”You can do almost anything if you’ve got the will to do it”. She has traveled widely over the years and was driving her car well into her 80s when an accident resulted in the breaking of her arm, two legs, pelvis, ribs and nose. She was, in fact, a passenger on the Pan-American Airways seaplane from Botwood to New York on the very day that World War II ended, and “ticker-tape” was evident all over New York when she arrived there with her young niece, Joan Irish. From New York they took a train trip to Toronto and then returned to New York for the flight home to Botwood.

At age 97 she moved somewhat reluctantly into the Carmelite House and celebrated her 98th. birthday there on March 10, 2005. (This was written in August 2005)

ETHEL JANE (EDDY) ANDREWS (Mrs. Sedrick Andrews)

Ethel Jane Eddy was born in North Harbour, Placentia Bay, August 11, 1911, the eldest of 8 children of Elihu and Louise (Janes) Eddy. Her second name, Jane, derived from her mother’s surname, Janes. Her father operated a general store and canning factory. Ethel started school at age 5 and graduated when she was 16, being required to write final examinations at Sound Island, some distance away. Her home was also the boarding house for the teacher, the Telegraph Operator, and the minister when he visited every two weeks.

In her final year in school she learned Telegraphy from Miss Sadie Reynolds at the Postal and Telegraph Office. She graduated from high school and was packed and ready to go to St. John’s to study nursing when the Telegraph Operator decided to leave North Harbour, and Ethel was asked to take over the operation. After three years, in 1930, she was asked by the Superintendent at St. John’s if she would transfer to Point Leamington to take over the Postal and Telegraph Office there. Her father took her to Goobies where she boarded the train to Lewisporte and then the coastal boat to Cottrell’s Cove, where she was picked up by William Baggs in his boat and conveyed to Point Leamington. Boarding with an elderly couple was lonely for Ethel after leaving a houseful of children and boarders. Mr. Vitch, the Telegraph Inspector, wondered if Ethel was “homesick or lovesick”. Then her father came to visit and offered to take her home. At the same time she heard that the outgoing Telegraph Operator suggested that Ethel was feigning loneliness and her real problem was that she couldn’t do the work. That provided Ethel with all the motivation she needed, and she sent her father home and opined that she would prove her worth in that Office. She did, but to combat the loneliness she moved into a new boarding house with Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Roberts and their three small children.

In those days, if a man wanted a bottle of liquor he would telegraph the Board of Liquor Control in St. John’s and the liquor would be delivered by coastal boat. One of her first customers for liquor was a young man by the name of Sedrick Andrews, ordering spirits on behalf of his two buddies, and Ethel characterized the three of them as “laddios”. She did her duty with mild reservations since she had come from a home where liquor was never used, and her mother was in the process of compiling a record of 52 years as a layreader and Sunday School Superintendent in the local church. Ethel resolved the problem by marrying Sedrick after she completed one and a half years at the Postal and Telegraph Office in Point Leamington. They were married at Wesley Church in St. John’s on October 9, 1931 so that her parents could be present. Ethel and Sedrick had eleven children. When her first child was born at Grand Falls in 1932 she had to spend three weeks at the hospital because the road to Point Leamington was impassable due to winter weather conditions. As each child was born Ethel would hire a girl for $5.00 a month to do housework so she could devote full time to her children. Following her mother’s naming pattern she used her own surname for one of her sons, Eddy.

Ethel has spent an active life in her community, involved in church and community work, in Fun and Fitness for seniors, and has served as a role model for younger women. She is still living at age 94 in October 2005.


Effie Stoddard was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and came to Botwood in 1919 with her husband, William Taylor, a veteran of World War I. They had one child, also named Effie, whom Effie Sr. always called “Wee Effie”. Effie Sr. was always known as “Mrs. E. V. Taylor”, or familiarly as “Ma Taylor”.

William Taylor had worked with the A. N .D. Co. in Botwood before going overseas and when he returned after the War he was appointed engineer on the Botwood-Grand Falls Railway and was in charge of No. 10 locomotive. An accident with a spark resulted in the loss of sight in one eye; he was laid off with a cash settlement. He then rented a store from Joe Brown near their house on Wireless Road and sold Royal Enfield motorcycles and bicycles until he died unexpectedly and suddenly on November 19, 1945. After William died, the family moved down to Wentzell’s Road.

Mrs. Taylor was a community-minded person. She formed the Girl Guide movement in Botwood and supervised Brownie and Guide camps at Peter’s River with the enthusiastic assistance of people like Edith Manuel, a teacher at Botwood. She was always heavily involved in the Poppy and Forget-Me-Not campaigns. She was a trained stenographer before she came to Botwood and went to work at the switchboard in the office of the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company when they moved into their new building (the present Town Office) in 1941. She had been preceded in this job in the old office by Kit Fogwill and Bride Griffen but they came from Grand Falls to work only in the summers. The job of stenographer had become necessary because of all the paper work involved with the shipment of ore from the Buchans Mines. Mrs. Taylor became the first pensioned female from the A. N .D. Co. when she retired in 1959. Her co-workers held a party for her and presented her with a floor lamp as a retirement present.

Mrs. Taylor’s unmarried sister, Miss Stoddard, came from Scotland and lived with the Taylors for many years. She died in Botwood with breast cancer. Mrs. Taylor was for several years a Correspondent for the newspaper Western Star, and may have written for other newspapers as well.

Over the years she and her daughter Effie took in about 50 foster children and cared for them. Mrs. Taylor also taught typing and shorthand to many young women and to several young men being trained for office work with the Company after they graduated from high school in Botwood. She was also employed for many years by the United Church School Board to type examination papers for the Botwood schools.

She died in Botwood on February 12, 1964.


There were undoubtedly several other women in the area who are noteworthy such as Mrs. Tilly Ball of Northern Arm and Mrs. Peckford of Botwood who were midwives for many years.

Others who are worthy of note are:

Winnifred Evans, who had a long nursing career in the United States and retired at home in Northern Arm in the 1940s..

Miss Lily Martin, clerk with James Jackman Esq. at Tilt Cove who was sent to Baie Verte in 1903 to carry on his branch of the business there. W. J. Martin Esq. had controlled that business since 1902 but he had recently accepted an office with the Terra Nova Company.

Cindy Parmiter of Point Leamington who went sealing with her father, Capt. Wes Parmiter, for many years.

Miss Minnie Harding, manager of the firm of Samuel Harris Esq. at Grand Bank in 1907.

Miss Herbert of Pilley’s Island who was appointed stenographer of the Newlands Lumber Company at Norris Arm in 1907 when Mr. Walter Hopkins was promoted to Timekeeper.

Miss Tilly, Telegraph Operator at Botwood, in 1908.

Miss Cunningham of Tilt Cove had been appointed late in 1908 as Postmistress and Telegraph Operator at Botwood.

Miss I. Calpin of Bay Roberts, typist, and Miss R. Taylor of Harbour Grace, saleslady, with the firm of Josiah Manuel Esq. at Exploits, Burnt Islands in 1909. They came from so far to work in this prominent firm.

Miss Iler, a nurse at Exploits, Burnt Islands, in 1909.

Miss Allen, a “trained nurse”, who worked in Twillingate in 1909 with the “Deep Sea Mission”.

Miss Bethune, the Telegraph Operator in Grand Falls in 1909.

Mildred (Dean) Adams [AKA Milliewho was the bookkeeper with the Wilansky firm and World Products Distributors in Botwood for many years.  She died on August 16, 1999, one day after her 90th birthday.

And many, many more!

There were the female land speculators who purchased land at and near Botwood in the early 1900s when the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company set up operations.

Marjorie M. Boeton (probably a mis-spelling. Wife of Aubrey Beeton?)

Ann Gillingham

Mary V. Jones (wife of Sir Vincent Jones?)

Minnie Strong

Elizabeth J. White

Susie Beason (of Grand Falls) (Probably Beson?)

Helen Dean Falkenberg

There were also the thirty (30) women shipowners from 1675 to 1975 for the Notre Dame Bay area:
Boyd’s Cove Gertrude Newman

Change Islands Susie Rebekah Peckford

Cobb’s Arm Irene May Saunders

Exploits Nina Osmond

Fogo Elizabeth F. Scott
Ethel Constance Earle

Fortune Harbour Mary Ann Quirk

Harry’s Harbour Laura Simmons

Herring Neck Frances Miles

Joe Batt’s Arm Elizabeth Freake

Lewisporte Bessie Wilhelmina Savory
Helen Louise Pollock

Little Bay Martha Benson

Little Bay Islands Mamie Weir

Moreton’s Harbour Jane Osmond
Kate Osmond

Pilley’s Island Lillian Warr
Catherine Guy

Rattling Brook Jane Bartlett

Scissor’s Cove (now Brown’s Arm) Emma Jane Chalk

Springdale Mabel Roberts

Twillingate Eliza Ann Tobin
Louisa Owen
Eleanor Roberts
Lucy Roberts
Maggie Anstey
Dorcas Phillips
Mary A. T. Roberts
Emily Young
I have information on these women and about 470 others for Newfoundland which I am hoping one day to write
about in a book tentatively entitled Women and Their Ships. -
Calvin Evans

© Calvin Evans, Bev Warford and NL GenWeb