NL GenWeb Place Information

West Coast - Codroy District

St. Andrew's

St. Andrew's was once known as Little River. One may assume that the settlement was renamed after Monsignor Andrew Sears, who was stationed in the Valley from the first decade of the 1900's to his death in 1944.

The first store in St. Andrew's was located in front of the present residence of Mr. Frank Wall. The area where it was located is still clearly marked by a rise in the ground. The post office, chapel and school were all located in one building which was about half a mile down the tracks. The railroad station and graveyard site in St. Andrew's is said to be the area where the first chapel or meeting house was built. This was next to the site of the post office and a school/chapel building which were erected later. In 1912, the first school in St. Andrew's was built. Margaret Collins was the first teacher, Elizabeth O'Quinn the second, Sister Teresina Bruce the third. Mary Gale then taught there for 11 years and her sister, Mrs. Frank Wall then taught there from 1935-1946. Marg Elwood, Regina McDonald and a Mrs. Hogan, whose husband was a surveyor, also taught there. This school burnt on February 4, 1956. The replacement, a four room school, was opened on July 16, 1956. In 1967 this school was closed and the pupils were bussed to Upper Ferry.

The Roman Catholic church in St. Andrew's was constructed by Monsignor Andrew Sears, in 1913. The church is called The Church of the Precious Blood. The little tower to the right of the church, when facing the church, is the bell tower. The bell is still in it, but is no longer rung, " as the priests now come on time. " Originally, there were two towers and these towers were shaped like chalices.

Fox farms came to the area about 45 years ago and they lasted about 12 years. In St. Andrew's, Jim Tompkins, John Wall (now 84 years old) and John Luedee kept farms. Pelts, especially the silver fox, then received good prices: as high as $500.00 a pelt. The early houses in the area were built close to the river. People always had to depend on the river for transportation, as the first roads were merely wagon roads. When the first cars came in 1921, the roads became wider.

Just about the entire rugged coastline of Newfoundland has been the scene of many unusual sea dramas throughout this country's long and eventful marine history. The west coast of Newfoundland had its share of sea disasters. Take for instance, the one I am about to relate. It's somewhat grisly. But sometimes fact is more terrible than anything fictionally invented. The story is about the wreck of the schooner Three Brothers, which occurred at Little Codroy River 102 years ago -- in 1873. Details of it reached St. John's from a narrative sent to the newspapers by " M.F. Howley, Clergyman." This was the byline he used. He said that "on Sunday forenoon September 14, some of the inhabitants of Little Codroy River discovered the hull of a vessel laboring in the through of the waves about three of four miles seaward from Nor-west Cove."

He went on to relate that some of the inhabitants set out in five boats towards the wreck. The day was fine but the sea high. They boarded the wreck before sunset and discovered it to be a schooner of over 50 tons. Her registration, afterward found, showed her to be 60 tons. On her stern in white letters was printed the name Three Brothers out of Petite Rivier, Nova Scotia. She was laden with " green fish " and supplied with all the materials necessary for the prosecution of the cod fishery. The Howley narrative continued: " The inhabitants towed the vessel ashore and after three days and nights of continuous labor, never letting her go all that time, pumped her dry."

The workmen then made a horrifying discovery. They found in the fore-castle the bodies of five men in an advanced state of decomposition. The lifeless men were dressed in their oil clothes, and evidently prepared for heavy weather. They had been dead for about three weeks. Clergyman Howley stated: " The unfortunate seamen had doubtless met their fate in the terrible storm of August 5 [1873]. The bodies were placed in coffins and buried with all decency and respect in the vicinity of the English cemetery at Little Codroy River. Several articles of clothing, etc. were discovered which can be had by relatives of the deceased from Mr. John McIsaac, Little Codroy River. Among the articles discovered was a small sum of money consisting of $5.25 which was expended in burying the bodies. In another trunk was found the sum of 22 shillings, a handkerchief and stockings marked M.M.11, a boat, a fish jack marked J.V., a book of Protestant hymns on the flyleaf of which was written James L. Risey, Petite Riviere. The book was badly damaged by the water. An English Protestant Bible was found on which was written in several places " Milford Fralick, A.D. 1852 maney beblong" (?) [Howley's question mark]. Also on the back cover of the same book "David Abbott, born in the year 1825." This book is not altogether destroyed. Some boots and clothes of smaller sizes, evidently belonging to a boy, were also found, but no body corresponding to them was discovered. The schooner was registered at Lunenburg, N.S., and belongs to, I believe Perry and sons."

The clergyman ended his story with these words: " In the hope that these particulars may tend to dispel the anxiety, and allay the grief of the relatives of these unfortunate men, and assist them in recovering some of the objects as momentos of the departed. I beg the insertion of these particulars in your journal and remain Yours Truly M.F. Howley, R.C. Clergyman."

It would be interesting to know if Mr. Howley's report in the St. John's Courier had any results. I would appreciate hearing from any of my readers who could add to this unusual sea story.

FOOTNOTE: About the clergyman himself ; Rt. Rev. M.F. Howley was born in St. John's September 25, 1843. He was ordained in Rome where he also received the degree of D.D. in 1868. He returned to Newfoundland with Bishop Power in 1870; appointed Prefect Apostolic of St. George's June, 1885, and Vicar Apostolic of the same section in 1892. He succeeded Dr. Power as Bishop of St. John's in 1904 and elevated to the Archiepiscopate in 1904; invested with the Pallium June 23, 1905. He was the author of numerous pamphlets on Newfoundland and of the ecclesiastical history of the country. He died October 15, 1914.

The above data was written by unknown high school students from a school in the Stephenville area in 1978, transcribed by Brenda Janes and posted to the Internet in July 1999 by Stephen Baker.

© Brenda Janes & NL GenWeb

Codroy District