Up Random and Down the Sound

Reprinted from The Evening Telegram, October 27, 1923, by W.J.L.

Trinity

Taking advantage of glorious October weather of last week, Magistrate Somerton arranged with the owner of a motor boat to take him to Heart’s Ease in Random Sound, (twenty miles from Trinity) for the purpose of holding court there. I accepted his kind invitation to accompany him, and thus, l am indebted to him for two of the most enjoyable days of my life. With Mr. George Bartlett as Sheriff and Captain, and Peter Coleridge as engineer, we left Trinity at six o’clock on Monday morning. Every man had his own stock of lunch requirements, and the captain had a two-gallons water and pork and potatoes, enough dinner for all hands.

As we passed Bonaventure Head we saw a lone fisherman in the offing. We changed our course and brought our boat along-side of his. As he recognized the magistrate, the sheriff, and the parson on board, his face took a puzzled and serious expression. Whatever had he done! When, however he found that we were only looking for a fish for dinner, he responded with a smile that indicated a whole ? pleasure and, before we could ? him he had thrown three fine fish on board. He was still smiling as we left him.

Our first stop was at Ryder’s Hr. for dinner. Running in through the narrowest of entrances we found ourselves in a good size, well-protected harbor, and as it was my first visit to it I was deeply interested. There is not a dwelling house in the Hr.; but two or three shacks where some fishermen live for a few weeks during the year. Whilst Mr. Somerton and the Captain were preparing for dinner, and the engineer was arranging for the fire, I made friends with three boys in a boat from Ireland’s Eye, who were there looking up some sheep. In response to my enquiries re a headstone that I had heard of, they said, “Yes, Sir, we know where it is,” and they rowed me across to the other side. We found the stone, or rather all that is left of it in sight. The stone has been broken for some time past, and the lower half could not be found. Probably it is covered with earth somewhere near by.

The upper half of the stone is standing. On it is carved a figure of a boat-shaped lamp, with a flame issuing from the middle of it, indicative of life; and underneath the lamp is the symbol of the Christian Faith — , the Cross of Christ. I hoped to be able to copy the inscription, but I had not the time at my disposal to search for the missing part. I then thanked the boy for taking me to the I spot, and asked him if he knew of any other headstone in the harbor. He said, “No Sir, but we saw two skulls yesterday over at Sullivan’s Island.” The boys were only too glad to take me to the place, and there, partly covered with some turf that the boys had put on them, were the two skulls — bleached and washed by the sun and rain of years of exposure. Upon examination I found that one of the skulls was that of a child, and the other – was that of a man or a woman I placed them side by side, covered them with earth; built a cairn of stones upon them; marked the mound with a cross of wood; took off my hat and said a prayer; and then sat down on a boulder close by, and thought, and thought and thought.

I tried to visualize the scene of a hundred and fifty years ago, when some twenty families lived there, and when it was an active fishing village. Here Jeremiah Quinn (known as Darby Quinn) married, and lived for years; from 1780. Here Patrick Malone carried on a small business in 1760. Of the place, the following entries of joy and sorrow appear in the old Church of England Registers at Trinity:

“1766 — Interred, John Green of Kilkenny, in Ireland, servant to Mr. Malone. He was murdered by his fellow servant.”

1803 — Married, James Sullivan, of Yonghall, Ireland, and Eleanor, the daughter of Darby and Sarah Quinn.

1807 — Baptized, a son to James and Eleanor Sullivan, named John. (The father of the late Inspector General of Police).

1774 — Interred, Patrick Malone, Planter of Ryder’s Harbor, of Kilkenny, Ireland.

1792 — Interred, Peter Welsh, Planter of Ryder’s Harbor.

1804 — Interred, Honour Dawley of Ryder’s Harbor.

1817—Baptized, Catherine, child of James and Mary Connel, Ryder’s Hr.

In addition to those names in the history of Ryder’s Harbor, I find that of Cooper; and a widow of that name, – (whose husband died in Ryder’s Hr.) is living at St. John’s to-day.

1807 — Baptized, a daughter of Moses and Sweet Sevior, named Mildred.

1807 — Married, John Foster of Ryder’s Harbor, and Sarah Baker, of Heart’s Ease.

Here about 1844, John .Sullivan (in after life became Inspector General – of the Polite Force in Newfoundland) was born.

Here in 1857 lived Thos. and Mary Langar, probably one of the last family names in the history of Ryder’s Harbor.

There, in the distance, was the lonely grave, marked by the broken headstone. There, at my feet were the two skulls under the mound. They represent the unknown dead of Ryder’s Harbor. May they rest in peace.

Then my reverie was broken by a call to dinner. I had had no breakfast, and I was correspondingly, hungry. I never more fully enjoyed a meal than I did the one thus prepared and partaken of. Dinner over we passed out of the Harbor, with a feeling akin to sadness, as we realized the many changes that had come to the place. I wrote the word Ichabod on a rock at the Harbor entrance, and there came to me the words: “Change and decay in all around I see.” Within a few hours we were at our journey’s end — Little Heart’s Ease — and enjoying the kindest and most generous hospitality at the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Martin.

(If the Editor does not throw those – personal rambling thoughts into the waste-paper basket, I shall continue them next week.)

Memo

Baptized, a son to John and Mary Baker of Heart’s Ease, named Henry.

Richard Sevier of Ryder’s Harbour, married Eleanor Delaney of Heart’s Ease, April 21st, 1823; Witnesses, Henry Hiscock and Sarah Stone.

W.J.L

 

Reprinted from The Evening Telegram, 3 November 1923, by W.J.L.

(Continued from last week)

Whilst waiting for the court to open in the morning. I strolled leisurely around the village of Little Heart’s Ease. The view from the hill on the Western side of the harbor is decidedly picturesque; though much of its natural beauty was destroyed when the forest fire swept the woods for miles around. One fails to understand how the people managed to save their houses during the onrush of the flames. This destruction of lumber was a serious loss to the people there; depending largely as they did upon it, to supply raw material for mill operations.

Religiously, the people there are 75 per cent Methodist and 25 per cent Roman Catholics. A little Methodist Church shows signs of exterior decay, and no efforts are made to improve it as a larger building of superior architecture is in course of erection on the hill.

On the crest of the hill is a well built Orange Hall, and in this building the Magistrate held his court. A few yards from this building is a monument erected in memory of George Stringer, R.N.R. (a member of the L.0.A.) who gave his life for God, for King, and Country, in the Great War.

Below the hill is a cemetery in which are laid the bodies of those whom God has called to rest. It is protected by a neat, fence in good condition. Some twenty headstones indicate the names, and perpetuate the memory of some of those who are buried there,—those names are largely Stringer, Drodge and Martin. The surface of the cemetery is not so tidy as I should like to see it. Any neglect of this kind, however, in any community, is a result of want of thought, rather than want of heart; and a few hours spent in cleaning up the surface of the ground, putting the headstones upright, etc. would result in a pleasing change to several cemeteries that I have seen.

On the Southern side of the harbor is a little chapel and school house, belonging to the Roman Catholic members of the settlement, who are ministered to by Rev. Fr. Tarahan of Trinity. The settlement is connected with the outside world by telephone to a central telegraph office. This is a great convenience, and tends in no small measure to destroy the feelings of isolation that are so apt to come over one in a place like this.

After the Magistrate had disposed of the cases brought before him, we went back to Mr. Martin’s for dinner, and then left for Trinity, via Loreburn and Southport.

Head Constable Ryan joined us at Little Heart’s Ease, and by means of a couple of longers that he got permission to take from a man’s flake at Loreburn, and a canvass awning that we had on board, he constructed such a sail, that not only increased our speed, but also gave our peacefully disposed expedition the appearance of a Chinese pirate-junk on a business trip.

About a mile from Southport (once Fox Harbor) is Heart’s Ease. This place has had the same sad experience as Ryder’s Harbor: and a once prosperous and active settlement, is now deserted — not a family living there. It is, however, an historic spot, for there, a fierce battle was fought — say 200 years ago — between the Spaniards on one side, and the French and Indians on the other side.

A long trench where the dead were buried after the battle may still be traced down to the waterside; and during tides and storms, many of the bones have been unearthed and washed ashore. Swords, pipes, bows and arrows have been found in the vicinity, but unfortunately none of them has been preserved.

The deepest interests, however, have been centered in a little pond in the village. It is still an interesting spot; as tradition has it, that when the Spaniards occupied the place, they used the water of this pond to conceal something in. To this something at the bottom of the pond, a chain was attached, and to the upper end of the chain there was a buoy floating on the water, to indicate the position of what has since been supposed to be money, or some other treasure. Many years ago some of the men, (of whom “Governor” Soward was one) decided to bring the treasure to the surface and to decide once and for all what it was.

They had succeeded in getting it nearly to the surface of the water, when the chain broke, and it went back to the bottom where it still remains, waiting for some person or persons to drain the pond and claim it.

This would not be a difficult undertaking when the water in the pond is at its lowest.

As we came away from Southport I thought I could hear a voice calling: “There’s treasure in the pond beyond the hills, come and find me.”

It was too late, however, for Head Constable Ryan had hoisted his sail, and we were scudding before the wind and “bound for the Rio Grande,” which in this case was Trinity.

Our bow gunner wasted a couple of cartridges on some yary divers; though he did hit one of a school of potheads that undertook to race us off Bonaventure Head, and to take liberties with our safety. The hit resulted in Mr. Pothead and his company disappearing in double quick time.

We saluted Mr. James Toop on Ragged Island as we passed; but I don’t think he heard it. Within an hour and a half we were back again to Trinity; and:

“I never was on the dull tame shore, But I loved the great sea more and more.” (PROCTOR).

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Whilst, as I have previously pointed out, that the old Church clerk often added personal observations (creditable and otherwise) to the entries he made in the Registers, it was an unusual thing for a clergyman to do it; and I can find only two entries where Mr. Bullock did so. Those additions such as I give below) are the respective ages of bride and groom. The disparity of those ages was so great, and so unusual, that he yielded to the suggestion to mark them, as a warning to future generations:

1822 — Married. James Hobbs (age 19) and Sarah Phillips (age 31).

This was offset the next year by the following:

1823 — Married, Samuel Morris, of Salisbury, England (age 74) and Ann Taylor, of Bonavista, (age 30).

Memoranra

1825 — Married, (in the Church at Scillv Cove) John Husson, of Devon, England, and Mary Pelly of Scilly Cove.

1828 — Married. Charles Granger, of Somerset, England, and Jane Green of Trinity

1788 — Buried. James Pinson of Heart’s Ease.

1807 — Buried. John Baker (Planter) of Heart’s Ease.

1812 — Married, Charles Pitcher, Jr. and Mary, widow of John Baker, of Heart’s Ease.

1814 — Married. William Hull, of Heart’s Content, and Mary Baker of Heart’s Ease.

1814 – Buried. Catherine, wife of Thomas Delaney, Heart’s Ease.

1809 — Married. Thos. Verge of Trinity and Elizabeth Pitcher, of Heart’s Ease.

On a headstone in Little Heart’s Ease I found the Christian name of a woman —KESCENDA. I had not seen; the name before.

 

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Transcribed by Wanda Garrett, November 2014

These transcriptions may contain human errors. As always, confirm these as you would any other source material.

W.J.L