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Historical Information

Northern Peninsula Region ~ St. Barbe North District


Attached is a transcript of a talk given by Rev. Canon J. T. Richards, to the Newfoundland Historical Society entitled "The First Settlers on the French Shore".
This document was transcribed by NGAIRE GENGE, March 2001. While I have endeavored to be as correct as humanly possible, there may be typographical errors.

By Rev. Canon J. T. Richards, O.B.E.

The march of the people of the world westward from the cradle of the human race was irresistible. For a while it was held up by the Atlantic Ocean. At last, the faith and perseverance of Columbus and the Cabots established the fact that a great new world awaited the westward trending pioneers. Although there are indications that Newfoundland was visited by daring adventurers - Basques and Jerseymen - as early as 1450, its real and undoubted discovery is attributed to John Cabot in 1497. West country merchantmen found in its waters, alive with fish, a source of great profit and naturally wished to reserve the Newfound Isle as a fishing post only.

For the next two hundred years, therefore, the English settlers of the south and east coast found it difficult to establish and retain their foothold. The French, too, were strong competitors for ownership, and we must give them credit for their daring and tireless efforts to gain fishery rights in Newfoundland waters. Those rights became recognized to such an extent that the coastline from Cape Bonavista to Point Rich, was known as the French Shore. Afterwards, the limits were changed and the French Shore included all the coast from Cape St. John to Cape Ray - nearly half of Nfld. - which now became a bone of contention between would-be English settlers and the French. In order to administer justice between the French fishermen and English settlers, who also wanted to fish and live, England sent a warship each year, and so did France.

There was a tendency, however, to favour the French fishermen to the detriment of the struggling English settlers, and we can safely say that, except for the Red Indians and the few Esquimaux who crossed the Strait of Belle Isle, not a single settler was to be found on that long dreary coast from Cape St. John to Cape Ray for about two hundred and forty years after Cabot. This, then, attempts to give the history of the settlement of that part of the French Shore which was the scene of my own labours for over forty years.


The history of a country is the history of its people. So we ask, who were the first English settlers on the French Shore? I am convinced that one named Robert Bartlett was the very first, and that Anchor Point in St. Barbe Bay was the first place permanently settled. Thomas Genge, born at Anchor Point in 1827, who died in 1914, gave me the story.

As Bartlett was his father’s great-uncle, if we allow only twenty-five years for each of the three generations, we can be safe in assuming that he settled at Anchor Point, St. Barbe’s Bay, not later than 1750. As a matter of fact, Genge placed the date at 1740. Here is Thomas Genge’s story:

"Robert Bartlett, on board a fishing vessel on the north side of White Bay, went ashore with a companion to get wood. They rambled a distance from the shore and were captured by a company of Red Indians, who compelled them to carry their loads all day. {See note 1.} At night they formed a ring around a campfire with Bartlett and his companion in the ring, and fell into a deep sleep. The two prisoners, who were not tied, crept out of the ring and escaped. They travelled as fast as they could until the sun arose, and hearing the Indians in pursuit, they hid in the thick underwood all day. When night came, they went on again. After a few days, they came to the salt water in what proved to be St. Barbe’s Bay, and saw the spars of a schooner over the low land to the northwest. On travelling out around the shore, they landed at an ideal little harbour about one hundred yards deep and twenty yards wide, sheltered from the wind and sea by a long, low point extending a half mile to the westward.

Here, snugly moored, was an American fishing vessel, the crew of which were making their fish. In the fall, Bartlett’s companion sailed away in this ship, but Bartlett, himself having obtained provisions from a vessel of America, decided to stay all alone. By his companion, he sent a letter to a nephew, Robert Genge, of England in which he described the coast as abounding with fish (cod), salmon, seals, geese, and all kinds of game, while wild fruit in profusion grew around the shore. Next year, his nephew, Robert, arrived, and there they were, a pair of Englishmen, first settler on that historic portion of Newfoundland known as the French Shore.

How long they lived there alone is unknown, but it must have been several years. One spring day, the younger man ran in with a cry, “Uncle Bob, there are sheep bleating out there on the ice!” The old man jumped up with a cry, “Seals, Bob, seals!” They went out and took all they wanted. Bartlett and his nephew hunted along the shore as far as St. John’s Bay, where Bartlett’s Harbour is named after him, and also a large lake named Bartlett’s Pond. He also hunted on Doctor’s Hills, where his splendid hunting dog saved his life. Once, in a fierce blizzard, when he was walking over a cliff his dog got in front of him and jumped upon him, turning him back. On another occasion, the dog pulled him out of the water by the collar, and saved him from drowning. The dog was kept at Anchor Point until he became blind and died.

Bartleet sent to Yeovil in Somerset for another nephew, Abram, who became the leader of the little band. He alloted to each the section of the coast he wished him to hunt. Thus, Abram Genge grew very rich as American vessels would take away furs and fish products paying him a good price.

Robert Bartlett, an old man with plenty of means, returned to England where he died. Robert Genge was a great furrier, and stayed on as head man on Anchor Point room until he died of old age. Bartlett never married, nor did his nephews. In fact, there was no woman on the coast for anyone to marry. At this point, there appeared on the scene one family, by name, Watts, having two sons and two daughters. The father seems to have been employed by Abram Genge in a section of the coast near Boat Harbour, four miles west of Cape Norman, and gave his name to a river in the vicinity now called Watt’s River.

About this time, William Buckle with his son William came to Anchor Point, and Abram Genge sent them to St. Margaret’s Bay. The following winter the father died, and the son William went back to Labrador where Slade and Co. asked him if he would go on Belle Isle to see if there were any furs there. They had reason to believe that foxes, especially the White Arctic fox were plentiful on the island. Buckle consented to go, and found that foxes and also caribou abounded there. It was quite natural that through the years, these animals, adrift on the Arctic flow, should find sanctuary on the lonely isle.

After some years living a Robinson Crusoe life on Belle Isle, Buckle went to Lanse au Clair, and lived with Peter St. Claire, a Frenchman, the first settler in the place. Then he went to Forteau, and was the first settler there. Forteau River had been fished in the summer time by a man named Hawkins. Before him, a Frenchman had fished the river. In those days, it was the river that had the value, not so much the land on its bank, and the rivers were bought and sold as any other property. When the Newfoundland government began to enforce the law for the preservation of salmon, great hardships were experienced by men who considered themselves as exclusive owners of rivers.

In the case of the beautiful Pinware River, the transfer of which to an Englishman named Elsworthy, was legally executed by Stabb, Row and Holmwood, where his right to fish the river was taken away, his son, William Elsworthy was ruined and for a while lost his reason.

Buckle had not forgotten St. Margaret’s Bay where his father had died, and went back to Anchor Point to see his old friends and his employer, Abram Genge. Here, too, he met one of the two daughters of the Watt’s family - the only marriageable girls on the coast - and married her. They were the ancestors of all the Buckles on the Labrador.

Buckle fished Forteau River in the summer, and when his boys grew up went to Buckle’s Point, called after his father, in St. Margaret’s Bay for the winter. Here, a few miles in from the slender Ferolle Point, on the northwest coast of Newfoundland, was a great abundance of most excellent timber to improve their room across the Strait in Forteau.


About the time that Buckle married one of the Watt’s sisters, a Scotsman lieutenant on board the British warship patrolling the coast happened to land at Anchor Point, and saw the other sister. It was a case of love at first sight, and do what he would to smother the sentiment, he was haunted by the beauty and charm of this lonely maiden of the long lone strand. Embracing every opportunity to see her, he became so enamoured that he resolved upon the dangerous step of deserting his ship and settling on the coast. For many years, Duncan was a hunted man, and when the time came around for the warship to come back, he had to exercise the utmost vigilance to escape capture. At one time, as master of a vessel of Genge’s, he was in St. John’s, and in some way happened to be in the harbour, and it was reported that Duncan had been seen in the city. A careful search was made, and he barely escaped by hiding under one of the city wharves.

The marriage of Alexander Duncan and Mary Watts about 1795 or 1800 resulted in the birth of three sons and no less than fourteen children, who grew into beautiful girls. This seems to have been ordered by providence, for by now, more and more English and Scottish youngsters were trickling into the coast, and these girls, half Scottish and half English, became their wives.


Abram Genge, now an old man, sent to Yeovil, England, for a brother’s son, and William Genge came and settled at Anchor Point. A sister’s son, Absalom Robbins, also came out. He was a great favourite with the settlers, and was called Rabby. He never married. William Genge met a daughter of William Buckle, whose family came to Buckle’s Point in St. Margaret’s Bay every winter. They were married and became the ancestors of all the Genges in the Strait of Belle Isle. When Bishop Field made his first episcopal voyage to Labrador in 1843, he visited Anchor Point, and was loud in his praise of Mrs. Genge, who have been there for thirty years without seeing a clergyman. She had brought up a large family of modest, well-behaved children, and almost wept for joy when the bishop, with two other clergymen, landed and came to her house. One of the clergymen was Dr. Harvey, who afterwards worked in the parish of Port de Grave for thirty-seven years, and was my own childhood parson.

She was the mother of Thomas Genge, who gave me the history of the first settlers on the French Shore. On this visit, Bishop Field consecrated at Anchor Point the first cemetery to be used in northern Newfoundland.


The first settler in St. John’s Bay was a giant of a Highland Scotsman named William Griffiths. [Griffis] He was always called Big William. In the employ of the North West Company, he fell out with another big Scotsman. A challenge was given and nothing could induce those two men of kindred blood, away from home in the wilds of Labrador, to shake hands and forget their quarrel. In the fight that followed, Big William gave the knock-out blow to his fellow countryman, and, to the surprise of all onlookers, he failed to come back.

It was found that the knock-out blow had been fatal, and Big William, really a kind-hearted man, was stricken with grief over what he had done. That night he disappeared, and was never seen in those parts again. He made his way south, crossed the Strait of Belle Isle, and visited Anchor Point. From there he went to the bottom of St. John’s Bay and settled at Castor River, where he lived alone for many years.

He was employed by Genge to fish one half of the river. French fishermen fished the other half. When the French warship came, Big William went to him requesting that he be allowed to fish the whole river. The result was that the French captain took the whole river for the Frenchmen and sent Uriah Eastman to fish it. Big William met Eastman carrying his bed up to his camp.

An altercation took place, and he [Big William] gave him a tap under the chin and knocked him unconscious. Afterwards, when recounting the episode, Genge said to him, “What did you intend to do with him, William?” He replied, “I wanted him to straighten up so I could put my left hand under his ribs and land him, bed and all, out in the river!”

Mr. Genge says, “Big William was a great fiddler and we children would be delighted to see him come. He was a great sport, and loved children.” He head was so big that no hat could fit him, until the captain of the British warship took the size of his head, and got a hat made to order in England.” Big William, when he grew old, went back to Jersey, where William Genge procured for him admission to an infirmary where he was comfortable until he died.

In illustration of the extraordinary strength of Big William, the following episode was related by Thomas Genge.

“At Buckle’s Point in St. Margaret’s Bay, William buckle and his sons had built a large boat, and in launching her, the keel went off the ways into the mud. The four men used prises and exerted all the power they could get to pull her out of the mud, but all in vain. At last, one of them said, ‘Send for Big William.’ At that time, he was not feeling well, and thought he would not be of much help.

He came, however, and sizing up the situation, he stopped and put his back under the quarter of the boat, and not waiting for the others to help, he threw her bodily out of the mud, so that the launching was effected without further delay.

One of the men remarked, “Big William is sick. If he were well, what would he do?’”

Big William was succeeded in Castor River by an Englishman, Jesse Humber, two of whose sons, William and Andrew, were living there when I first visited it in 1904. The other son, called after the father, Jesse, went up the coast, and there are descendants of his at Bonne Bay.

The following is the conclusion of an address delivered to the Newfoundland Historical Society on Friday, June 26, 1953, by Rev. Canon J. T. Richards.


William Dredge and George Coombs were the first settlers at Black Duck Cove on the west side of St. Barbe Bay. They married two sisters, daughters of Lieutenenant Alexander Duncan, who deserted his ship to marry Mary Watts. He had adopted his mother’s surname “Gould” n his desertion, so that all his descendants were called Gould.

All the Dredges at Black Duck Cove are descendants of William Dredge, and are of a very knd disposition. George Coombs moved a little farther west to St. Manuel’s Bay, where he was joined by a nephew from England, whose descendants were among the first settlers of Shoal Cove West, New Ferolle.

The first settler on Current Island was William Toope, followed shortly after by James Williams and his brother William; then John Gibbons, a sturdy Englishman of most sterling and capable qualities. As an illustration of their mettle, the eldest son, John, went to Hamilton, Ontario, about 1900. He could neither read nor write, but secured work as a common hand in the Hamilton Steel Works. In about ten years after entering the mill he had attained the highest post, and became the manager with a secretary to do his writing. He retained this position until his death.

The first settler on Forrester’s Point was Bill Williams, a desperate character, one of the brothers mentioned above. He married a full-blooded Esquimaux, and many are the stories told of the vicissitudes of this union. On one occasion, Bill decided to get rid of his wife Hannah. He took her out in a boat, and was putting her overboard to drown her when another boat came to rescue her. The occupants of the other boat, before interfering to save Hannah, called out, “What are you doing with your wife, Bill?” “Be gobs, Jack, I’m going to get rid of her, boy. She’s got me drove crazy.” “But who’s going to cook for you, and mend your socks and wash your clothes?” “Be gobs, Jack. I did not think of that,” said Bill, and forthwith pulled her into the boat again. Both the old Williams had died before I went to the Straits in 1903. Old Hannah still survived and was regarded by the next generation with a certain amount of awe. Uncanny powers of witchcraft were attributed to her, and the younger folk dared not incur her displeasure.

From Anchor Point, newcomers gradually dribbled out along the shore. Invariably, these young fellows skipped to Abram Genge at first, but soon established homesteads of their own.


James Chambers was a splendid type of Scotsman. He married Jane Buckle, daughter of the old William Buckle, and settled in Bear Cove. In summer, he went out to Seal Island, which was also called French Island, because it had been a favourite resort of the French fishermen. What is now called Flowers Cove was once called French Island Harbour. The Island was a lovely spot in summer , and was separated from the low flat mainland by a tickle not more than twenty-five yards wide. Through this tickle every spring, great numbers of old harps and bedlamers passed on their migration eastward through the Strait of Belle Isle.

An odd seal would be shot, but the vast majority passed unmolested. At Anchor Point, too, thousand of old harps , after traversing St. Barbe’s Bay would round the point and pass on.. This so aggravated the old Genges that they resolved on a plan of securing some of the eastward bound herd. The strongest hemp twine was procured, and netted large enough to entangle the old harp. The seal frame was thus invented. This trap, consisting of sufficient linnet to extend hundreds of fathoms was fastened to the shore, and formed a huge netted box into which the unsuspecting seal would go. From the end of this enclosure a barrier of twine was carried to the shore, and weighed with lead to sink it to the bottom. To this barrier a line was fastened to a powerful capstan, where a man kept a keen watch for passing seals. These usually run in schools numbering anywhere up to hundreds. A school may be seen in a quarter of a mile away., to dive, and perhaps not be seen anymore. The skilled watchman will wait until the school has passed over the sunken barrier into the frame. He then runs to the capstan, heaves up the barrier, and hope for good results.

Often he has to wait in uncertainty for many minutes, as the old harp is no fool, although unable to cope with his mortal enemy. At length, compelled to come to the surface to breathe, a heap pops up here, another there, and the watchman counts ten, fifteen, sometimes fifty at one time. Now the barbarous battle begins; and a boat with men and guns goes into the frame, and, when the seals appear, the men riddle them with bullets. The object is to force them to mesh. This, the poor, doomed seal is too intelligent to do until, frightened by the noise, or wounded by bullets, he makes a last desperate dash for his life, and is caught in the net, where, unable to come to the surface, he drowns.

The first settlers had peculiar ideas. Just as the old hunters wanted a vast territory for their own hunting grounds, so with the seal frame, each crew monopolized a large portion of the coast west of his frame.

As late as 1906, I knew a case where a lawsuit was required because a frame crew went across a bay two or three miles wide, and took up seal nets belonging to a neighbour who was trying to catch a few seals for his use. Of course, the law decided in favour of the net man and the old monopolies died out.

Geroge Gaulton, first settler in Savage Cove, married one of Duncan’s daughters. White and Coles, English youngsters, each married one the same sisters, and were the first permanent settlers of Sandy cove. Thomas Mitchellmore’s first wife was a Duncan. She died young, and he married a daughter of the first settler of French Island Harbour – Whalen – by whom he had five sons. He was the first settler of Green Island Cove. Philip Coates, first settler of Eddies Cove East, married Sarah Duncan - Aunt Sally Coates - and had many children and grandchildren. Joseph Woodward, another English youngster who married a Whalen, and was the first permanent settler of Boat Harbour, six miles west of Cape Norman.

James Dempster came over from England as a clerk on Bird’s Room, Labrador. He came of a well-to-do family, and was engaged to marry an English girl who left him to marry another. He then resolved to run away from home, and came to Labrador in a Jersey vessel. He said he would marry the ugliest squaw on the coast, and sure enough, married an Esquimaux widow and had one son named John. He died comparatively young and was buried in Doury’s Cove near Hawk’s Harbour.

John Dempster came across the Strait of Belle Isle and was the first settler at Flower’s Cove, one mile east of French Island Harbour, which became the port of call for the mail boat. Flowers Cove now includes both harbours.

Other English settlers were George Caines, first settler at Shoal Cove East; Charles Godfrey ***, who settled at Bear Cove and was the maternal grandfather of the merchant brothers Angus, Charles, and Isaac Genge; John Pittman, first settler of Seal Cove, and great-grandfather of the Pittmans now living at Blue Cove, Barby’s Tickle. Blue Cove was originally called “Blue Guts Cove,” but when Dr. W. W. Blackall first visited it, he advised the “Guts” be omitted from the name, and it has been called Blue Cove ever since.

*** The Charles Godfrey to whom Canon Richards refers, was actually the brother of Margaret Godfrey Genge (the mother of Angus, Charles and Isaac Genge), making him a maternal uncle, not a grandfather.  Charles and Margaret Godfrey's father was James Godfrey from Sommerset, England.  James married Sophia Duncan in 1858. - L. Elkins-Schmitt, 2007


After the Englishmen, a few settlers from the south of Newfoundland came along. The first of these was from Brigus, named Henry Whalen, in the year 1850. He was the first settler in French Island Harbour – now Flowers Cove.

Henry Whalen was a brother of the great seal killer, Captain William Whalen, who never missed the seals. Skipper Henry was a great codfish man, but could make no hand of seal fishing. On the sealing voyages, he noticed the land on the Newfoundland side of the Strait of Belle Isle, and head that its waters abounded in cold. So he made up his mind to leave Brigus and take his family in the vessel, and make a new home near the fishing grounds. He persuaded John Carnell of Catlina to follow him in his schooner. So, in the spring of 1850, instead of following the thousands of fishermen to Labrador, the two schooners rounded Cape Bauld and sailed into the Straits.

Elizabeth Whalen, a little girl of twelve, accompanied her father and could read. Her father could neither read nor write. Before she died in 1928, at the age of ninety, she related to me as follows:

“My brother John and I could read, and my father had the American Coast Pilot. We crossed Pistolet Bay to Cape Norman, and ran up the shore by Boat Harbour, Big Brook, Eddies Cove, and Green Island Cove until we came to Savage Cove, and I was reading the Pilot Book. So, I said to father: ‘There is an island off Savage Cove.’

We ran past the island, and then the father said; ‘I think we will go on.’ So, we ran back and went in. There were no French vessels in the harbour, as it was spring, and Port Aux Choix was their first fishing place. After fishing at Port aux Choix they would follow the fish to Ferolle Point, then on to Flowers Cove and Savage Cove, and then across the Strait to Labrador. After we anchored and went ashore, father said, ‘This seems like a fine harbour. I think we will settle here.’

Shortly after this old George Gaulton came around the harbour where we were. He was the first and only settler in Savage Cove at the time, and lived in the extreme southwest corner. Father said to him, ‘I think we will settle here, Mr. Gaulton.’ The old man got very angry, and said, ‘No, you won’t settle here. There is no room, no room.’ Savage Cove is a good mile around, and he was not in the real harbour at all. Then father walked to Flowers Cove, and went on a mile farther to French Island Harbour. When he came back, he said, ‘We will go to French Island Harbour.’

Although Mr. Gaulton would not give consent for us to settle in Savage Cove, he was very glad to avail of the service of a mid-wife, Mrs. Noseworthy, who formed one of my party. That night a twin of boys was born to Mrs. Gaulton.”

They were still living when I was there in 1904, and were called Billy and Micky Gaulton. Neither of them ever married. In the same year, 1850, Rev. Algernon Gifford, the first missionary of the Church of England in Labrador, who settled at Forteau across the Strait, left in a whale boat to visit Anchor Point. Wind and a strong current carried him eight or ten miles to leeward, and he was glad to make Savage Cove. In a letter to Bishop Field, [Feild], dated June 13, 1850, he wrote:

“On May 25, the ice having opened in the Straits, I launched my boat under the pilotage of one of Mr. David’s men, and set out for Anchor Point; but the tide being against us, we reached no nearer than Savage Cove, ten miles east of my intended destination. But I had reason to be thankful in the issue for touching at this place. There is here a family of sixteen persons, two of whom are infants, there is not one of this large family who knows a letter of the alphabet.”

Betty Whalen’s narrative continued:

“We left Savage Cove, followed by Carnell, and entered French Island Harbour. We went in first, and father and Richard Peroy and my small brother John, landed right where Whalen’s wharf is now. There was a skeleton of a whale there, and they struck up a rib to mark the place.

Carnell followed and struck up another rib where his wharf is now. My mother could not come in the spring as she was about to be confined. During the Summer, Sarah was born. She was the youngest child of our family , and when she grew up, married Matthew Coles. In the fall, father went back to Brigus for mother and the baby.”

The Carnell’s left Flowers Cove again and went farther west. After a few years wandering about, they returned and settled down. I remember the next year the harbour filled up with French brigs, and the French warship was there. The captain came to father and said, “Don’t you know that you are catching our fish? You are breaking the law.” The next day, father did not go fishing and the French Captain said, “Why are you not out today, huh?” and father replied, “You will not let me fish.” The captain was a very kind man, and said: “You had better go on fishing, and I will take care to be below when you come in, so that I shall not see you.”

“In the summer of 1853, a beautiful, large, three-masted vessel named the ‘Millicent’ ran ashore at Flowers Ledges. She was loaded with pine and oak bulk. The same summer a Scot vessel named the ‘Orkney’ ran on the island of French Island Cove. This island is now called Scotland. After throwing a lot of her cargo away, she got off again.”

I have always been interested in the fact that the land is gradually rising out of the sea in Labrador and north Newfoundland and by close observation over the last fifty years, I have been trying to ascertain the rate of rising. Aunt Betty Coombs, who gave me the above facts when she was ninety, told me that she had seen a French brig go into Flowers Cove between the harbour rock and the north side of the harbour. When I left Flowers Cove in 1945, there were barely enough water for a large trap boat to go in and out there. The ship’s passage in on the south side of the harbour rock. When I went to Flowers Cove in 1903, the Flowers Cove Ledges, which extend from the lighthouse nearly a mile to the westward, were continually breaking, but the rocks would never be seen completely out of the water. Now, at low tide, they form quite an island, and I have come to the conclusion that the land on both sides of the Strait of Belle Island is rising about one foot in twenty-five or thirty years. This agrees with the rate at which the coast of Norway is rising.

In 1814, when a lad of nine, my father took me to Indian Tickle, Labrador. During the first year, or two, I did very little but ramble along the shore and over the hills. The sea shore had a peculiar fascination for me, and I remember distinctly a shoal that came out of the water about a foot or so at the very lowest spring tide. Between this shoal and the shore the channel was just dry at lowest tide. If I could return and examine that channel today, over sixty-nine years, I could tell exactly how much it has risen in that time, and so establish pretty correctly the annual rise of the coast of Labrador.

Biographical Information: RICHARDS, John Thomas (1875 – 1958)

Clergyman. Born Bareneed, son of John and Elizabeth RICHARDS. Educated Central Training School; Queen’s College. Married Dora OAKE, daughter of Josiah and Annie OAKE of Change Islands. RICHARDS’ fascination with the north began when at the age of nine he spent the summer with his father in Indian Tickle, Labrador. After his father’s death he fished with his brothers, and in 1892 saw Dr. Wilfred GRENFELL qv on his first trip north. This meeting, and several encounters with Dr. William ASPLAND inspired RICHARDS to return to school and led to his entering the Church of England ministry. After matriculating from the Central Training School in 1900 he taught at Leading Tickles. He entered Queen’s College in 1902, and was made a deacon in 1904 and s priest in 1905.

RICHARDS was appointed to the Flower’s Cove qv mission in 1904, and was made rural dean for the Strait of Belle Isle in 1914. RICHARDS’ mission covered large areas on both sides of the Strait of Belle Isle. On his extensive travels, by boat, dog-team or on foot, he often encountered Dr. GRENFELL, with whom he became a close friend. A collection of his writings, Snapshots of Grenfell, was published in 1989. During his four decades at Flower’s Cove he was more interested in the building the church as the people of God than in erecting church buildings; the school/chapel remained the educational, social and worship – centre – with one exception, a “parish church” in Flower’s Cove. Like Dr. GRENFELL, he spent much of his energy on the social and economic problems of the area, always working closely with the Grenfell Mission. Along with this demanding work RICHARDS pursued several hobbies from the study of flora and fauna to astronomy and mathematics. The Church honoured his outstanding service with the conferring of a canonry in 1938, and in 1949 he was awarded an O.B.E. The high school in Flower’s Cove is named in his honour. In 1945, in ill health, RICHARDS was appointed to the less demanding parish of Port de Grave. Retiring from active parish work in 1952, he lived at Bareneed until his death in 1958.

Copied from Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, volume 4, pages 594, 595

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St. Barbe North District