NL GenWeb - Land Clearances performed in 1887 under the auspices of the Agricultural Act.

NL GenWeb

Land Clearances performed in 1887 under the auspices of the Agricultural Act.

The Act, signed into law under Thorburn's government, promoted the clearance of waste lands for agriculture production.
Province Wide

Transcribed from The (Daily) Colonist by Allen Costello February 2020. This document is heavily focused on Conception Bay, but includes parcels from as far afield as the Codroy Valley. Although accuracy is always intended there may be errors, compare with original documents when possible.


RULES AND REGULATIONS (as appearing in The Colonist 1886-10-13 Pg.1)
For carrying into effect, the Provisions of Sec. 16 of the Act 49 Vic., Cap. 3.

I – Every person desirous of obtaining the bonus for clearing Waste Lands, provided by Sec. 16 of the Act 49 Vic., Cap. 3, shall first make an application to the Governor in Council, setting forth the name, occupation, and residence of the applicant, the situation, boundaries, and description of the land proposed to be cleared for cultivation, the title or claim thereto of the party applying, and the fact that the applicant intends bona fide to cultivate and continue to cultivate the said land.

II – The application shall be presented at the Crown Lands’ Office.

III – Upon receipt of the application, the Surveyor General shall direct a Deputy Surveyor of Crown Lands, or, where the services of such a Deputy Surveyor are not available, some other qualified person to visit and inspect the land so proposed to be cleared. The Deputy Surveyor o, or other person, shall direct that the land shall be defined and marked off, and shall report upon the said application to the Surveyor General. Upon a satisfactory report that the facts are as stated in the application, and if there shall appear to be no valid objection to the granting of the bonus applied for, the Governor in Council, through the Surveyor General, shall grant a license or permission to the applicant to proceed with the clearing of the land.

IV – The Governor in Council may, in any case where there shall appear to be sufficient reason whether from defect or irregularity of title, the unsuitable character or situation of the land, or other cause, withhold the granting of such license or permission, or postpone the same until the objection is removed.

V – When the land shall have been fully cleared and ready for cultivation, the applicant shall present a further application, in writing, signed by him, and attested, stating that he has actually and bona fide cleared, or caused to be cleared, the piece or parcel of land described in the former application. The said application shall be accompanied by the report or certificate of the Deputy Surveyor, or other person employed under Rule 3, and one other credible person, to the effect that the land in question has been cleared since the date of the license or permission, and is therefore ready for cultivation, whereupon the bonus shall become payable.

VI – In any case in which it shall appear that since the passing of the Act, and before the issue of these Regulations, any person shall have bona fide and under the belief that he was entitled to claim the same bonus, actually cleared waste land, and that he was induced to do so by the bona fide expectation of receiving the said bonus. The Governor in Council may, upon satisfactory proof of the facts, and being further satisfied that there is no other sufficient objection, order the payment of said bonus, or of so much as shall appear to be just and reasonable.
~  Colonial Secretary’s Office, 5th Oct., 1886. Oct13,2iw,3w.

Colonist Editorial piece on the benefits of the Act for "poorer classes". From The Colonist, 1886-10-26 Pg 4
On the 13th of the present month, we published in these columns an advertisement from the Colonial Secretary's office, setting forth in six clauses the conditions upon which the bounty is payable for land clearances under the Agricultural Bill of last session. We desire at this time, to refer to the advertisement, and to draw the attention of the public generally to its contents. A great number of our poorer class of people in the outports had been looking forward for a long time to the publication of this notice, by reason of clearances made by them. We are glad, also, to be in a position to state that all those poor people, who in bona fide expectation of the bonus made during the present summer clearances, will, upon satisfactory proof of the fact, receive the compensation allowed by the Act. We, in referring to the practical operation of this Act a short time ago, pointed out to the Government the wisdom of that mode of dealing with those poor people. It might be well to place the chief features of this Bill before our outport readers, so that they would be in a position to inform all the poor people living around there of its advantages. Twenty dollars an acre will be paid by the Government to each settler who had made no land clearances, or did not possess any land before the Act was passed. He will receive this for the first five acres he clears. For the next five he will receive ten dollars bounty per acre. For every acre after ten the settler will receive four dollars per acre. This five dollars is payable to every man, who cleared an acre of land since the passing of the Act. The bounties in all cases will be paid upon making an application to the Surveyor General's Office. Upon receipt of this application a Deputy Surveyor will be sent, or some local man appointed, to view the applicant’s land. It will be his duty to inquire and report thereon, and grant the settler a certificate. Each clergyman, school-teacher, and influential resident in the outports, should consider it a duty to bring to bring every man’s knowledge the advantages of this Act. There are many parts of the Island of Newfoundland where the soil is of such a nature that an acre of it could be cleared sufficiently for a first crop in between twenty-five and thirty days; and at the bounty of $20 per acre, would give the settler 80 cents per day for his work. The young men of the country should, by all means possible, be induced to go upon land. One acre of land cleared is of more value to a working man than a Labrador schooner, for the one property endures forever, while the other is perishable. The land, as an adjunct to the fisheries, would, in such periods of depression as we are now experiencing, mitigate, to a wonderful extent, the burdens borne by our operative population.
~  Daily Colonist TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 1888.

The following is a database of names of approximately 980 successful applicants who cleared land in 1887. Community and amounts cleared are given in acres, roods (4 per acre), and perches (40 per rood). The surnames are in random order and cover many regions of Newfoundland.

Part 1  /   Part 2 


© 2022 Allen Costello and NL GenWeb
Province wide research