NL GenWeb - Early Newfoundland Missionary Correspondence

NL GenWeb

Notre Dame Bay Regions ~ Fogo / Twillingate District & Notre Dame Bay West / Exploits

Early Newfoundland Missionary Correspondence. Nov, 1711 - Oct, 1730

Transcribed and contributed by David Anstey, May, 2019. While I have endeavored to be as correct as humanly possible, there may be errors.

Research Notes:
1. Just a few nominal names, baptisms, & burials, from The Fulham Papers, The Lambeth Palace Library, London.
2. Details of John Moors of Christchurch, Hampshire; early Lay Reader at Trinity Bay, 1720’s/1730’s. 3. Some early Notre Dame Bay settlement details.

It is noted that Copyright applies to the extracted brief lines from the Fulham Papers, as below here. The early Newfoundland Missionary/Layman correspondence letters and papers, are cited, transcribed, and posted here below; with the “kind” permission of the Lambeth Palace Library, London. In light of an era in Newfoundland history, of no parochial framework. In a time when the English Crown, and British Parliament, prevented settlement to a large degree. In a Newfoundland era of no surviving Parish Registers, Chests, Vestries, etc. The Lambeth Palace Library, on behalf of the Church of England; has hereby extended goodwill, to Newfoundland genealogy. Such gestures need not go, unobserved. *Information detail from other sources are interlined. *Further collateral info, specific to the above transcriptions, can be found in the Lambeth Palace Libraries online Archives and Manuscripts catalogue. By searching “FP I”. Their online catalogue descriptions, of original documents. *FP I is the equivalent of: “Fulham Papers – Volume one: General Correspondence. 1708 – 1786.”. *From 1633, the Bishop of London was held to have responsibility for Anglican Parishes overseas, where no local bishop had been appointed.

FP 1, 1 - 2.

In a Nov 6, 1711 letter to Bishop Compton of London, the Reverend Jacob Rice states that on his arrival at St. John's he found the church in a state of disrepair. Not above 20 books sent over by the Society, remained at St. John's. Mr. Keen, brother to the young man who had waited upon the Bishop of London for Orders [ at some English sea port ], had taken a chest full of the books to New England. Rev. Rice would endeavor to get the books back.


*The SPG supported Rev. John Jackson's salary for 3 years only, at St. Johns Town, Newfoundland. The Bishop of London supported Rev. Jacob Rice and Rev. Charles Davis' salaries at St. Johns. Their salary support did not come from the SPG, although prayer books, etc., were sent.


*Alumni oxoniensis: the members of the University of Oxford, 1500 ..., Volume 1. By University of Oxford.

The Members of The University of Oxford, 1500-1714: Their Parentage, Birthplace, And Year of Birth, With A Record Of Their Degrees. Being The Matriculation Register Of The University. London, 1891.

Page 378. Charles Davis, son of Charles, of Newfoundland, Independent, Gentleman. Matriculated at Pembroke College on Feb 25, 1705/6, aged 18 years.

Charles Davis Clerk, Carbonera. May 12, 1713. Rev Charles Davis served St. John's Church, 1713 – 1719.

FP 1, 9 - 10.

Rev. Charles Davis, employed "Chaplain on shore" at St. John's Town, 1713, by Permission of the Bishop of London. As Chaplain to the Forts and Garrisons, and Constituted Parochial Minister in the Chapel. Rev. Charles Davis succeeded the Rev. Jacob Rice who had been there in 1712, by appointment of the Bishop of London. Jacob Rice was Chaplain in 1712 at St. John's, but then ordered to the Garrison at Placentia, as Chaplain there. From 1725 Jacob Rice was Rector of North Cray, Kent, England. Some of his St. Johns Town, Newfoundland Chaplain Sermons 1704 - 1706, are held at the Bodleian Library at Oxford, England. Rev Charles Davis had been upon the mission for 4 years, per a letter of Oct 11, 1716, to Bishop Robinson, of London. He succeeded Jacob Rice at St. John's in 1713.

Rev. Charles writes that Cattle was scarce and very expensive to keep, grass being scarce. A winter's store's quantity of necessaries for a family of 4 or 5 persons cost a minimum of 30 Lbs. Sterling. Which was the number of persons his family consisted of. By local Custom, 3 quintals annually of good merchantable fish per Fishing Room were taxed, for the support of the Missionary at St. John's. One quintal for the Room, one for ye Boat, and one by the Boat's crew.


( Cod fish was handlined. Ie: stockfish split to the tail and heavy salt bulk/dried; corefish split to the tail and pickled green, and mudfish/rounders split to the navel and pickled green.

The Cod was caught utilizing 10 to 20 thread St. Peters cod lines, or some other similar era manufacture of manila hemp line. Similar to early mackerel lines, squid lines, etc. Later era trawls, seines, & especially nets, having less threading. These 16th Century era fishing lines, preceding the modern catgut/polymer monofilament fishing lines and nets. Barking of such earlier era hemp lines, seines & trawls, often occurred, as a means of preserving them. Black Spruce buds being utilized during the boiling process. Barking pots being a utensil of enough importance, they sometimes were passed to heirs, via last will and testaments in early Newfoundland. Barrelling of the salted cod, more often occurred. Being necessary to prevent spoilage during the long Atlantic and Mediterranean journeys to market. Early Newfoundlanders had to be astute enough, not to permit spoilage of the cod harvested, even when the weather was not agreeable to the curing process. When the most strenuous efforts could not produce a quality product, culling became necessary. Out of which came grades of # 1 Merchantable/Mercantile, # 2 Madeira, and # 3 Refuse. ) *The time honoured nomenclature of St. Peter's Lines, from St. Peter's fish in the Bible, Matthew, chapter 17, verse 27.


FP 1, 11 - 12.

Per a letter of Oct 1, 1717 to Bishop Robinson, Rev. Charles Davis writes that Mr. Edward Roberts, Vicar of Queensberry, and Chaplain of HMS "Newcastle", now in St. John's Harbour; is giving him competition in his ministerial function. At the constituted parochial geography of St. John's Town, and defrauding him of his financial dues. ( In the chapel at Quidi Vidi, which always was attached to St. John's Town. ) *His Majesty's vessels "out to Newfoundland" normally carried Chaplains, as part of the ships company.

*Rev Thomas Phillips and Rev. Richard Cox had served at Placentia Garrison. In 1719, Rev. Phillips moved to St. John's Town.


Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church, 1951.

When Rev. Charles Davis left for England in 1719, his post was filled by the Rev. Thomas Phillips.


FP 1, 19 - 20.

Rev. Henry Jones arrived at Bonavista during the middle of May, 1725. An extract of a letter he writes to Bishop Gibson in London, from Bonavista; on Nov 6, 1725.

Bonavista, Nov 6, 1725.

"...I beg leave by you to lay before them an account of my proceedings. I received at my arrival ( in ye month of May ) a very kind Reception from ye Inhabitants of this place who as a token of their Respect for ye Publick Worship of God have resolved upon rebuilding & enlarging the church next Spring ( to boat owners share and subscriptions are already collected for 20 Lbs. Sterling ) besides yet we have an addition of one Isle in which one Hundred people may comfortably fit now built this Summer by some particular Persons, Yet wanted seats.

I have very much at heart ye planting a Charity School amongst us for ye instructing poor children in reading & in ye Knowledge & practice of their Duty as Christians which is very much wanted thru ye Poverty or Ignorance & vice of their parents. …several Persons promised to send one Child each at Spring of ye year & to pay for in Teaching. We have fixed on a Woman who is very willing to make ye teaching them her intric [ whole, entire ] business, if it can be made a sufficient Maintenance for her.

It has been a Custom in this Place for Persons to be married in the [ neighbour ] Hood without publishing ye Banns & we have here no Licenses. I humbly beg your Lordship's Commands in this Respect.

I beg a leave at Spring to be left with my Brother Richard Jones at ye Golden Artichoake in Henrietta Street, Golden Covent, London. By whom you may Convey anything you please to send."


FP 1, 29.

Certificate of Aug 12, 1729; from Trinity Bay Planter inhabitants. Stating they have requested John Moors' lay reading, marrying, baptizing and burying; for the last ten years.

Trinity. Aug 12, 1729.

Be it known By this present: to any person or persons that shall or may Examine: John Moors By what authority he the said Moors hath spoken the word of God in this harbor for this ten years past & also at Hants Harbour; Old Perlican; and English Harbour: Where the people: the inhabitants of Each place: hath desired it: & also to Marry: & Baptize: & Bury: & this is to Certify that the Reproofs: & instructions as we have heard from the Said Moors hath been grounded on Reason: and Confirmed By the Law & Gospel: to the Best of our knowledge: & we planters of this Harbour of Trinity in Newfoundland: did Desire: & Require the said John Moors to do: as he have Done as above: as where unto we have set our hands: Phillip Brock, Nicholas Culle [ Cole/Cool ], Phineas Melmoth, Thomas Hurd, Robert Archer, William Martin, Christopher Redman, Ye mark of Thomas Mores, Richard Waterman, Phillip Le Sweet, Elizabeth Tight/Tite, Ye mark of Henry Jefery/Jeffrey, Jonah Newell, Thomas Waterman, Richard Gillet.

*Thomas Hurd_?Hoard? *William Martin, & Phillip Sweet, at Trinity Harbour; 1708 Census.

*Was William Martin a member of the Poole, Dorset; Society of Friends?


FP 1, 30 - 31.

Bonavista, Dec, 1, 1729. ( Extract of Rev. Henry Jones’ letter to Bishop Gibson, London. )

"Upwards of a Hundred People being removed hence for ye Winter to two particular places at 40 Leagues to ye Northward. I have endeavored to put them in a Method of Duly Keeping ye Sabbath Days, by appointing ye most proper persons to officiate as Readers to ye People & for that Purpose have Bibles, Common Prayers… Upon my Proposals & Encouragement upward of a Hundred & Thirty Pounds are raised by subscription for ye building our Church here; & Glass Ironwork etc., being sent for to England twill be finished, I presume next summer. An ill Custom having bitterly prevailed of Peoples being Married without Publishing ye Banns in ye Congregation ( from their being always at such liberty heretofore ) makes it needful for me to request yet your Lordship would be pleased to provide me some Licenses for Marriages or give me an Express Order not to Marry without ye Banns being Performed, by which means I shall yet have easily Suppress this ill Custom which hath given me much uneasiness & some Trouble; & should have discontinued before now, could I have easily accomplished it.”

*40 Leagues = 120 land miles = 193 Kilometers.

Rev Jones' Dec, 1729; reference to migration Northwards to two hamlets 40 Leagues North of Bonavista, mandates geography somewhere in the vicinity of Hamilton Sound and Fogo Island. Unlikely the two particular places were salmon fisheries stations, on the rivers. 85 or 95 people ( up towards a hundred people ) consisted of more bodies than the Notre Dame Bay salmon fisheries would have employed in 1729. New inhabitants settling at localities like Fogo and Joe Batt's Arm? Where they had some degree of safety from the red indians. Where also they could simultaneously prosecute the earlier established Gander Bay Salmonry, including the Dog Bay, and Ragged Harbour Salmonries, the Fogo Island Cod fisheries; and also procure furs and skins ( Beaver, Martin, Seals, etc. ) Confiscate any furs/skins from the Beothuck? “In 1727 English ships from Poole, were busy on the new fisheries at Fogo.” Less men overwintering at Bonavista resulted in less necessaries being required from the merchant's storehouses/warehouses there. A merchant’s stores were less likely to be looted, by needy riotous inhabitants. Inhabitant folk sent northwards into Notre Dame Bay, would have been induced to be constantly employed in sealing, trapping, improving the salmon rivers, etc. Whereby the merchant's vessels departing the next summer for Poole, Dorset; or other market, could maximize the cargo value. The “system was programmed to go all in”, to lessen the risk/improve the profits of the merchant adventurer’s voyage. Bonavista being so long settled, it was inevitable that English/British merchants would effect inhabitants to advance northwards in prospects of new trade. Increase the merchant adventurer’s business, the cargo tonnage and value, the number of his ships, and the frequency of his voyages. Bonavista inhabitants and or merchants were mainly involved in the cod fisheries, circa the era of 1700. Though in 1705 Greenspond had a sizeable salmon fishery. Men like George Skiffington ( a Cooper from Ringwood, Hampshire? ), Samuel Shambler of Ringwood, William Kittier of Ringwood, William Keen, William Knight, Joseph White of Poole, Thomas Hart, Joseph Randall, including other English/British Western Adventurer merchants, captains, and planters, realized the advent of "new British traffic and trade". They saw that the Gander River was much larger than the Indian Bay "salmon" River, situate south of Greenspond. Upon seeing/realizing the bounty of the Gander River, and the quantity of bait, codfish and seals, around Fogo Island; such men effected expanding trade and new English settlement in Notre Dame Bay, at Fogo and Twillingate Islands. In still later decades, further settlement occurred on the French Shore. The geographical island security of Fogo and Twillingate from the Beothuck, being akin to settlement stepping stones. Migration further into Notre Dame Bay and northwards, occurred from these two early settlements. Exploit's Islands later played a similar role. In earlier era, vessels voyaging from England, had immediately upon their arrival in the spring, sent their crews into the woods to cut timber for flakes, stages, boats, etc. North of Bonavista, circa 1729; inhabitants would have employed themselves during the winter season, preparing to improve the yield of the next years fisheries, sealing, & trapping. Constructing their lodgings, boatbuilding, barrel making, seine making, trapping for skins and furs for market, clearing salmon rivers of obstructions, building wharfs, etc. It was an era where normality saw fishermen and trappers constantly employed. To maximize the trade returns to Poole, Dorset; in vessels belonging to and business partnered by the merchants named above, among others. Thomas Nickleson, John Carter & Co., Moses Hooper and Thomas Tizzard. Later era John Slade, Jeremiah Coughlan, Robert Cox, Charles Childs, Edward & Netlam Tory, Thomas Clarke & William Handcock, etc. Reverend Henry Jones' migration line in his Dec. 1st, 1729, letter; together with other sources, reveals detail respecting the infancy of Notre Dame Bay settlement within the early English Crown's Newfoundland Fishery. The expansion of new trade. Return the value of Newfoundland cod and salmon sold at the market, to England/Britain. The basic economy of the English Crown's Fishery, in early era Newfoundland. High risk accompanying possibility for large profits.

*Shambler's from Ringwood. So long as there comes no women. Handcock. 1989. Page 204.

*Samuel Shambler at Green Island, Bonavista, 1708.

*Skiffington had sold his Hamilton Sound salmonry in 1729, to an extended partnership.

*Kean & Skiffington at the Salmon Fishery.

Samuel Shambler partnered with William Knight, and owned a Poole, Dorset trans-Atlantic vessel in the 1720's. Samuel Shambler also partnered with Quaker Joseph White, and Joseph Randall of Poole.

*Thomas Nickleson, Poole, Dorset, Merchant and Society of Friends member. Keeper of the Society's Records. Fluent writing style. In one generation, Thomas Nickleson wed the sister of Joseph White.

*Bonavista Court Records. Joe Batts Arm from Joseph Batt of Bonavista? Merchant Kean had Joseph Batt Jr.? whipped at Bonavista? Fined in lieu? Inciting, encouraging, or lack of effort to prevent a riot?

*Charles Childs of Gosport, Hampshire. Sold his Halls Bay Salmonry in 1772, to his Servant, Rousell.

Consider a search of Rowsell/Rosewell/Russell at Holy Trinity, Gosport; Saint Thomas, Portsmouth; Landport, Portsea Island; and in the Parish of Alverstoke. *Gosport – a chapelry in the Parish of Alverstoke.


FP 1, 48.

Robert Kilpatrick appointed Missionary to Trinity, Newfoundland; on April 10, 1730, at 30 Lbs. per annum from the inhabitants, besides servants,? merchants, and captains givings. In a letter from Missionary Robert Kilpatrick to John Moors of Oct?, 1731, the Reverend requests Moors to collect? his promised inhabitant merchant and Captain subscriptions, towards his 30 Lb. Salary. In the letter Robert Kilpatrick state’s he has:


3 children of George Morley, 1 child of John Sulley; 1 child of James Pottle of English Harbour; 1 child of Richard Waterman, Esq.; 3 children of Mr. Taverner, 2 of them grown persons; 2 children of Edward Goldsworthy & Edward Collier of Salmon Cove, 2 children of Edward Wise, 1 child of Edward Fisher, 1 child of Thomas Floid/Floyd, Esq.; & 1 child of Francis Squibb, Esq.; 2 children of Robert Archer; 2 children of Mr. Newell, one of them a grown person; 1 child of Thomas Waterman; & 1 child of David Langer; & 1 child of Robert Bown.


3 Servants. One each of Mr. Morley, Mr. Thomas Waterman, and Captain Alexander Smith.

*Alexander Smith, Society of Friends?, Poole, Dorset; merchant. *Surname Bown/Bound.



14 "THY REAL FRIEND GEORGE SKEFFINGTON"" collection was recommended for Quaker missionary activities at the annual meeting in Skipton, which listed Newfoundland among the


The Colonial Office 194 Series


Newfoundland : Rogers, John Davenport ... - Internet Archive

A Historical Geography of the British Colonies. Vol. V-Part IV. Chapter VI. Newfoundland. 1911. By J. D. Rogers.

*****All references in this chapter were taken from Manuscript Records in the Record Office, 1696 to 1757. Formerly entitled Vols iii to xv inclusive, of the Board of Trade, Newfoundland. But the titles are now changed. The Calendar of State Papers has not been continued beyond 1700.

Page 122.

The north coast of Bonavista Bay inhabited as early as 1698.

1708 - 1720, Skeffington spent 12 years improving the Salmon Fishery north of Cape Bonavista.

1718_George Skeffington's proposal to improve the Salmonry at Gander Bay, Dog Bay and Ragged Bay. Captain Scott granted a protection order in 1719.

In 1720 Skeffington received profits from this Salmonry. In 1724 one of Skeffington's men was killed by the Beothick. In 1725 the Convoy Commodore Captain and temporary Governor, Robert Bouler/Bowler whipped two Englishmen working for Joseph Randall of Poole, Dorset. Whom had disturbed Skeffington's Fishery.

In 1729 Skeffington sold his business to an extended partnership.

*The Randall family held business at Bonavista, during the early 1700's.

The Islands of Fogo and Twillingate figured in the statistical reports of 1733 for the first time. Per the "Dispatch of Lord Muskery”, Sept. 29, 1733.

page 126/7.

In 1727 English ships from Poole, were busy on the new fisheries at Fogo.

page 141.

In 1762 there were salmon catchers and settlers at the mouth of the Exploit's River, and some Beothics, while on their annual pilgrimage to the seashore, met the settlers, embraced and slew them.

page 156/7.

Was Newfoundland a Colony? "In June 1765 a learned legal opinion was given."

*Captain Robert Bouler (Bowler) was Commodore of the Convoy and temporary Governor to Newfoundland, circa 1724-1727. In the "Argyle", a fifty gun, fourth rate warship, 1727.

1725. "a complaint by George Skiffington that certain individuals had interfered with his salmon fisheries...".

*R. Bouler. Answers to Heads of Inquiry, PRO CO 194/7, 37. ( NAC Reel B-210 ).


A History of Newfoundland from the English, Colonial, and Foreign Records. 1895. By Daniel Woodley Prowse.

Page 274. 1723. Grant of the Salmon Fishery to Skiffington, between Cape Bonavista and Cape John.


The British Empire in America. Containing The History of the Discovery, Settlement, Progress and present State of all the British Colonies on the Continent and Islands of America.

In Two Volumes. London. 1708. Subsection: The History of Newfoundland.

Page 9.

The English had no Settlement for many years farther than Bonavista; but 10 Years ago, they sat down at Greenspond Island. ( Ie: 1698. )


THE HEADS OF A SERMON. Spoken at the Funeral of Mr. Thomas Newell in Newfoundland, Trinity on the 30th Day of June, in 1724. By John Moor's of Christ-Church, a Newfoundland Trader or Merchant.

GOSPORT: Printed for F. Moor's.


*Captain/Layman John Moors of early to mid - 1700’s Trinity Bay, has not yet been placed in a family. Family Moors was an extended one at Christchurch, Hampshire; by AD 1700.

*Twillingate’s John Moors descended from Hinton, Beckley, Ossemsley local area. Baptism at Milton.

?Possible stat detail for the early Trinity Bay, John Moors?

1. Marriage in the Church of England, Parish Church of Poole, Dorset.

Jun 16, 1707. John Moors of Christchurch, County of Southampton; wed Elizabeth Waterman of Christchurch, County of Southampton; by License.

2. Extract of the PCC Will of John Moors – A Seafaring man of Christchurch, Hampshire.

Will made on March 7, 1729/30, Proved at London on May 28, 1739 by widow Susannah Moors.

- sister Mary ( wife of Charles Seamor/Seymour )

- friend Mr. William Blake & his wife

- willed the dissenting minister at Christchurch, ½ Guinea to Preach from St. John Chapter 17 and 3rd Verse, on Dec 27.

- wife Susannah Moors

- son John Moors and daughter Susannah Moors

Witnesses: John Blake, John Oake, Joseph Scott.

Name in Record Description of Error My Name

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