Portraits – Edgar and Emma Spurrell

by Kathy Gosse
Reprinted with permission from The Packet, November 21, 1994

November 21-94-A_0021

Congratulations to Edgar and Emma Spurrell, Gooseberry Cove, who celebrate their 70th anniversary Nov 20th from the family and friends. All are welcome to visit them Saturday November 19 from 2:00-5:00 pm at their daughter’s Nina house in Gooseberry Cove.

Edgar Spurrell, 92, and his wife Emma, 93, celebrate their 70th wedding Anniversary yesterday.

The couple were married in St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Hodge’s Cove in 1924 by the Reverend Waye.

The couple have been living with their daughter, Nina Smith, and her husband Joe in Gooseberry Cove, Southwest Arm, for the past nine years. They have seven children in all, three boys and four girls ??? were both born in Caplin Cove.

Prior to getting married, Emma had worked five years of in-service in St. John’s and for two summers cooked on a schooner owned by Barfett’s, cooking for a crew of nine men.

“In those days you went to school long enough to learn how to read and write and that was about it,” she said.

After their marriage, Edgar went wherever he could to find work. Sometimes he had to leave home for months at a time.

“Edgar fished, worked in lumber, went to Labrador and the Southern Shore,” says Emma. “You went where the work was, in those days and more often than not it was away from home.”

“Getting married in those days was nothing like it is today,” says Mrs. Spurrell. “There was no big celebrations.”

“When we got married, we walked from Caplin Cove to Hodge’s Cove, a distance of five miles to the church. There was no roads, just a few paths to guide you. The minister married us and we walked the five miles back to Caplin Cove. The most you had back then was to have a few people in for a cup of tea and tea buns. There was no big time like they have today,” she says. While Edgar was away working, she would take care of the household and the children.

“We always grew our own vegetables, we never bought anything like that. And we always had plenty of ducks, hens, and goats and sheep. So we had plenty of milk and eggs,” she said.

Mrs. Spurrell says people made money the best they could in those days.

“We’d dry fish,” she says. “We’d get a couple of dollars a quintal (approximately 220 pounds) which was good money then. We’d also pick berries and get probably ten cents a gallon. I picked my share of the berries in those days.”

In the fall of the year, Mr Spurrell would make a trip to St. John’s to pick up supplies like kerosene, flour and other staples to get them through the winter.

“The trip would take about 24 hours by sail,” said Mr. Spurrell, “but that all depended on the weather. If it got too calm they would start up the motor.”

“Life in those days was what you made it,” said Mrs. Spurrell.

And they have no complaints.

“We had a good life,” she said. “My mother always said that you could never hurt yourself if you worked in the right way. So I guess we must have worked in the right way.”

These days the couple take each day as it comes. Mrs. Spurrell doesn’t do much work these days, helping with the dishes is what she can manage at her age. But the couple are quite content where they are now. Mr. Spurrell enjoys smoking his pipe, a habit he picked up when he was 12 years old.

They both agree that having their family living nearby is comforting.


Transcribed by Lester Green, July 2015

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