NL GenWeb

Newfoundland Geological Survey 1868 (Partial)
James P. Howley
Black River-Piper's Hole Watershed

The following is a partial extract of the 1868 Newfoundland Geological Survey of Black River-Piper's Hole watershed areas excerpted from the James Patrick Howley Field Books (1868), containing the original handwritten notes of this survey, transcribed in ink in a small paperback journal or book. This journal or fieldbook outlining the details of the geological survey for this area, under the direction of two prominent Newfoundland Mi'kmaw guides, notably Joseph Bernard (b. 1812, Bay St. Georges) & John Barrington (b. 1825, Conne River, FB), covers the time period Saturday July 11th to 1868 to Friday August 4th. The excerpt attempts to faithfully reproduce in exact detail both form and content of the original mansuscript, which due to reproduction restrictions can not be scanned for publication. This is done to preserve as much as possible the originality and authenticity of this rare manuscript, which some day hopefully may be scanned for public access. The intention is to capture a glimpse of the physical description of both Joseph (Joe) Bernard (Pekitualuet "Long Beard") and John Barrington, a relative of the former, for which photographs have not survived, so as to transpose the reader in time and place, to literally see through the eyes of J. P. Howley. This manuscript preserves the first known detailed physical description given by a geologist and explorer of Newfoundland Mi'kmaq physiognomy or physical features for this time period, and attests to the detail of attention and meticulous note-taking characteristic of the acute observation and analytical abilities of James Patrick Howley. Such attention to detail also attests to the respect and admiration that Howley conferred to his Native guides, in recognition of their unsurpassable knowledge of the local landscape and geology, acquired through generations of inherited knowledge and expertise in hunting, trapping, fishing guiding, and long-distance trekking of the ancient interior waterways and trails. Without their expertise and experience as professional guides the success of such geological surveys would not have been possible. Submitted by an anonymous researcher.



Saturday 25th [July, 1868]

The two Indians who were encamped about a
mile out in the woods came as soon as
they heard we were come. Joe Bernard the eldest
of them is man about 35 years old. Broad
shouldered, thick set & very dark, about
5 ft. 8 in. high. Has thick Black hair, large
beard & moustache, also black, broad features
swarthy & brown is a through bred Indian in
every respect. John Barrington the other is
a tall thin wiry fellow about 24 years old
nearly 6ft. high, has jet
[page break]


black hair but no
hair whatever about his face, is not near
so dark featured as Joe, has long slightly
aquiline nose and the whole is not bad looking.
They are both very friendly and in fact like
any white man except when vexed, then they
are to be left alone I guess. They have been
here some time waiting for us & were afraid
we were not coming at all. Mr. Murray gave
them a tent, and some provisions for a few days.


Geological Survey of Newfoundland Fieldbooks: 1868
Howley Family Papers Collection 262 Archives and Manuscript Collections
QE II (Queen Elizabeth II) Library
Memorial University of Newfoundland

Transcriber Notes:

1 This version contrast slightly with that given in Howley (1997:19). The published version based on the original field notebooks, appears to have undergone some revision, deletion and/or addition from the original text. For a comparison and/or contrast the reader is directed to the published public-access sources below:

Source: Howley, James P. 1997. Reminscences of James P. Howley: Selected Years. Kirwin, W. J. et al (eds.). Toronto: Champlain Society.

Upper Placentia Bay