The Last Duel in Newfoundland and Labrador

Dueling pistols held in the collection at The Rooms they were used in the last duel to cause a death in Newfoundland, in 1826.


The last duel in St. John’s took place 25 September 1873.  The choice of weapons was pistols. A young  fellow named Din Dooley  had come to town from Heart’s Content and was soon attempting  to win the heart of a prominent city lass  (Miss White)  who was already spoken for by one Augustus Healey.

The matter could only be settled by a duel.

Satisfaction was to be obtained in Fort Townsend hollow, a small glen located behind what is now the site of The Rooms on Merrymeeting Road, St. John’s.

At the exchange of the shots Dooley fainted while Healy stood firm.  Unknown to the love sick protagonist, their seconds, Fred Burnham and Thomas Allan, had loaded the pistols with blanks, turning the tragedy into farce.  Their friends  (seconds) were sitting back and saying, ‘This is really crazy. They’ve been friends their whole lifetime; why are they allowing this woman to come between them?

After Din came to the combatants, as well as their seconds, and the crowd went to Casey’s field close by where they settled the score with fisticuffs. Not surprisingly Healey won the fight.

Though Healey won the fisticuffs, neither swain won fair lady. It is reported that she married a man far less belligerent, and certainly less romantic.

In true Newfoundland fashion a song was written about the duel.

On Friday last at half past two,
Two love-stricken chaps,
Up in Fort Townshend Hollow met
For satisfaction’s raps.

One of them, Gus Healey was,
The other Dooley Din,
Come over here from Heart’s Content,
Miss White’s green heart to win.

Sergt Sullivan the gallant cop,
Brought six Policemen out,
And turned the pistolizing crowd
Around to the right about.

With pistols hugged beneath their arms,
They went to Casey’s Farm,
Where Dooley Din got well oiled-off,
Behind John Casey’s barn.

More information on this duel is posted here:

Source: The Oldest City, The Story of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Paul O’Neill, Press Porcepic, 1975.