Author Archives: Larry Dohey

Dream about your Valentine

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

FEBRUARY 13

“BAY LEAVES UNDER YOUR PILLOW”

Bay Leaf Heart

Bay Leaf Heart

Many traditions have evolved around St. Valentine’s Day.  One that is particular to the Eve of St. Valentine involves the bay leaf.

Bay leaves have been used to help determine ones future mate.

The practice has been to place a few bay leaves inside of a small cotton bag, preferably red in color. Place this herb bag under your pillow on Valentine’s Day Eve.

Part of the tradition requires that a love charm be recited prior to going to bed for the evening:

“Good Valentine, be kind to me, in dreams let me my true love see.”

Performing this love spell is supposed to cause you to dream about the person that you will eventually marry.

The bay leaf was held in such high esteem that victors of battle, sport and study were crowned with garlands of laurel, as a symbol of their success. This is where the term “baccalaureate” originates from and it is now referred to when students have successfully completed their schooling years. The word “baccalaureate,” alludes to the bay wreathes worn by poets and scholars when they received academic honors in ancient Greece.

Just check the spice rack to see if you have any bay leaves in the house.

Sleep well.

 “Good Valentine, be kind to me, in dreams let me – my true love see.” 

Great day for hauling stone

Archival Moment 

February 7, 1864

St. Patrick's Church, St. John's.

St. Patrick’s Church, St. John’s.

On February 7, 1864, work officially began on St. Patrick’s Church, Patrick Street, St. John’s with the hauling of the stone taken from the Southside Hills (at Cudahy’s (also Cuddihy) Quarry) in St. John’s.  The first sleigh of stone was delivered to the site  by the Cathedral (now Basilica)  Fire Brigade.

Typically, in the construction of stone buildings, the stone was hauled during the winter, when the road surfaces were packed with snow allowing the horses to pull the very heavy loads.

It is estimated that 600 tonnes of stone was hauled from Cudahy’s Quarry  by volunteer labor for the construction of the new church.

Construction continued as funds and materials permitted.

Twenty five years later, St. Patrick’s Church was consecrated on August 28, 1881.

The hauling of the stone on sleighs from the South Side Hills to the site of the future St. Patrick’s Church resulted in the death of one child. Children would grab onto the huge mounds of stone on the sleighs as they traveled through the streets. One child was crushed when a stone slab slid from the sleigh as the child tried to grab on for a joy ride.

Most Reverend John Hughes, Archbishop of New York and Bishop John Thomas Mullock of St. John’s laid the cornerstone of St. Patrick’s Church on September 10, 1855.  The church was designed in the late Gothic Revival, also termed Neo-Gothic, style by J.J. McCarthy, a prominent Irish architect, and was built by T. O’Brien, local architect and mason.

Recommended Archival Collection: At the Rooms Provincial Archives: [Collection MG 956] Provincial Archives Special Items collection. Item consists of an address from the parishioners of St. Patrick’s, St. John’s, to their pastor for services rendered over twenty five years. 39 x 53 cm; watercolour floral border and illustration of St. Patrick’s church at bottom centre; main text hand-lettered with watercolour.

Recommended Reading: J.J.McCarthy and the Gothic Revival in Ireland by Jeanne Sheehy., June 1977. Ulster Architectural Heritage Society.

The Sale of Obscene Pencils in Chance Cove

Mr. Samuel ROWE, the Justice of the Peace for Chance Cove, Trinity Bay, was a very unhappy man; it was March 1953 and he had just discovered that the depraved ways of the world had found there way to his home town.

He had discovered that the proprietor of the local shop Levi John SMITH had sold and had in stock several pencils which contained the model figure of a woman in the nude. To add insult to injury the offending pencils were being passed around the Salvation Army School.

The pencils were Eversharp pencils officially known as the Hidden Nude Figure Mechanical Pencil.

Mr. Rowe felt that matter was so serious that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) would have to be called. Within days the RCMP officers from “B” Division, Whitbourne detachment was on the case.

Their first stop was at the business premises of Levi John Smith where they discovered eleven of the Eversharp pencils had been purchased. Eight had been sold, the three that did not sell were immediately confiscated, and the search began for the missing pencils.

They were next to visit the Salvation Army School where they were informed that two of the pencils had been purchased by Garland and Maxwell Brace the children of Gordon and Elizabeth BRACE.

Garland was nowhere to be found but Maxwell met with the officer explaining in his statement on Friday 20th March 1953 “I went to Levi John Smith’s shop and while I was there noticed some Eversharp Pencils he had for sale I paid $1.25. These pencils contained a fluid and in this fluid as was a model of a woman in the nude …”

With the pencils and evidence in hand Levi John Smith was charged under section 207 (2) (a) of the criminal code with knowingly, without jurisdiction or excuse selling an obscene model pencil.

Levi John Smith’ s case made it before a magistrate where he was convicted and fined $50.00 or in default to serve 30 days in Her Majesty’s Penitentiary. He was also ordered to pay costs of the prosecution amount to $62.25 or in default to serve an additional 14 days.

The Eversharp pencils taken from the boys and retained as exhibits were destroyed on 12 October 1953 upon instruction from the presiding Magistrate.

A search for Philip AUBERBACH the travelling salesman who had initially sold the pencils to the shopkeeper in Chance Cove was declared liable to be charged if and when located in Newfoundland. He was never found.

Love to have one of these pens in our collection.

Recommended Archival Collection: The Rooms; Department of Justice GN 13/1/B Box 183 File #60

If Candlemas Day be sunny and bright …

ARCHIVAL MOMENT 

February 2, 1871 

Febryary 2 is Candlemas Day - Blessing of the candles that are used during he year.

February 2 is Candlemas Day – Blessing of the candles that are used during the year.

 

Some of the best insights into the history of families and communities in this province can be garnered from the pages of the hundreds of diaries that have been deposited into archives in the province. In the diaries of Edward Morris, Mr. Morris observed on February 2, 1871.

Fine morning, light frost, wind from the north, north west. Streets frozen again but no cold such as we have had. The day fine enough but the walking very rough.  Attended at the Cathedral in the morning at the ceremonies of Candlemas Day ….”

February 2 is “Candlemas”  Day.

The ceremony of Candlemas Day, a ritual celebrated throughout the Christian world that Mr. Morris observed was the blessing of the annual supply of the Church’s candles.  Beeswax candles were blessed by being sprinkled with holy water and having incense swung around them, and then the candles distributed to everyone in the church. Then there was a procession in which people carried lighted candles while the choir sang. The procession represents the entry of Jesus as light of the world into the temple.

In Newfoundland there is an established tradition that on this day a blessed candle would be lit and the mother of the household would bless the children in the home with the candle.  The wax was allowed to drip on the head (hat) and shoulders and on the shoes of the children.

Every fishing boat would also have a blessed candle. These candles would be taken out and lit during a gale or storm.

WINTER IS HALF OVER

This day also used to have great significance on the calendar, because the date lies half way between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, so it marks the day upon which winter is half over!  As Candlemas traditions evolved, many people embraced the legend that if the sun shone on the second day of February, an animal would see its shadow and there would be at least six more weeks of winter.

You may know the rhyme:

If Candlemas day be sunny and bright,Winter again will show its might. If Candlemas day be cloudy and grey, Winter soon will pass away. (Fox version)

If Candlemas day be fair and bright, Winter will have another flight. If Candlemas day be shower and rain, Winter is gone and will not come again. (Traditional)

In Branch, St. Mary’s Bay an expression that is particular to Candlemas Day was the expression:

Half your prog and half your hay,
Eat your supper by the light of the day.

The expression calls on families, now that we are half way through winter, to take stock of their (prog)  food supplies in their root cellars and feed for the animals (hay).  Just to insure  that there is enough to get you through the winter.

It is amusing that our issues back on February 2, 1871 are much the same.  Morris when writing in his diary about Candlemas –  he  also wrote:  “The day fine enough but the walking very rough.”  

To this very day people still comment that walking about St. John’s is very rough.

Recommended Archival Collection:   Edward Morris Diaries 1851-1887. Edward Morris was a businessman, politician, and office-holder; born in 1813 at Waterford (Republic of Ireland). He moved to St John’s, Newfoundland in 1832.  On January 1, 1851 he began to keep a daily diary that he continued until his death on 3 April 1887.

“Behind Barb Wire – Newfoundland POW’s in the Great War”

POW Camp

An estimated 8 million men became prisoners during the Great War. Jessie Chisholm, historian, researcher and archivist recently retired from The Rooms Provincial Archives Division, and Dan Duda, a map librarian with the Queen Elizabeth II Library at Memorial University, are working together to shine some light on this chapter of Newfoundland’s First World War history, as well as share it with a wider audience.

This presentation explores the international legal status of POWs under The Hague Conventions while focusing on the experiences of the 170 Newfoundland POWs, revealed through first-person narratives, family letters, photographs and post-war claims for pensions and reparations. Themes include “reprisal camps“; the diverse experiences of the officers and other ranks (ORs); cultural and linguistic isolation; near-starvation, inadequate medical care, and harsh labour conditions.

Matthew Taylor of Rose Blanche was one of some 170 Nfld POW’s

POWs frequently suffered life-long physical disabilities and emotional trauma (“barbed wire disease“). By incorporating statistical analysis, mapping, and archival sources, hopefully this collaborative work and subsequent discussion will provide new insights into the Great War.

For more information:
Date: Thursday, January 25, 2018
Time: 7:30
Location: Hampton Hall, Marine Institute, Ridge Road
Admission: FREE
(709) 722-3191
nlhistsociety@gmail.com
www.nlhistory.ca

Ode To Newfoundland

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

August 17, 1979

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives MG 956.110 Item consists of sheet music, lyrics, and illustrated cover for patriotic composition, Newfoundland. On left side a seal fisherman in oilskins holding Newfoundland pink, white and green with seal at his feet on right side a uniformed Royal Naval Reserve member, holding Union Jack, with Newfoundland dog.

On August 17, 1979, Royal Assent was given to legislation adopting the Ode to Newfoundland as the official provincial anthem of the province of Newfoundland.

The  song  the “Newfoundland”  now known as the “Ode To Newfoundland” was sung for the very first time on January 21, 1902 at the Casino Theatre in St. John’s.  The local St. John’s newspaper, The Daily News, reported that  the new song was greeted enthusiastically.

The newspaper article reads:

 “Miss Frances Daisy Foster rendered with exquisite feeling a new song entitled “Newfoundland.” It proved a pleasant surprise and the general appreciation of it was marked by the audience joining spontaneously in the chorus.”

The “Ode to Newfoundland” was composed by Governor, Sir Cavendish Boyle, the original score was set to the music of E.R. Krippner, a German bandmaster living in St. John’s but Boyle desired a more dignified score. It was then set to the music of British composer Sir Hubert Parry, a personal friend of Boyle, who composed two settings.

The Daily News reporter knew that he had heard something special  when he heard the ‘Newfoundland’  being sung for the first time , he  wrote:   “he  (Boyle) has given us a poem which may be chosen as the Colony’s own anthem.”

On  June 21,1902  it was “resolved by the Committee of Council that the Ode “Newfoundland”, written by His Excellency Sir Cavendish Boyle, K.C.M.G., Governor of Newfoundland, with the musical setting by Professor E.R. Krippner, be approved, and officially recognized  as the Colonial Anthem.”  

That should have been it, all was required was the signature of the Governor.  The Governor however refused to sign. Arthur Mews, The Deputy Colonial Secretary of the day wrote:

“His Excellency (Governor Boyle) from motives of delicacy, did not formally approve the same at that time.”

The “delicacy’ was that  Governor Boyle was  both author of the Ode and Governor, it simply did not look proper that he sign off on his own Ode.

The Premier of the day, Sir Robert Bond, determined  that the Ode  become the official anthem suggested that given the hesitation of  Governor Boyle  that approval be  given by the Hon. W.H. Horwood, C.J. , Administrator of the Government.  But it was not to happen.

By 1904, the ‘Newfoundland’  had become firmly established, in the minds  of most people,  as the “official anthem”  of the Dominion of Newfoundland,  there was no Government function without the ‘Newfoundland’, it was sung at most public gatherings, in parish halls and concert halls.   It was so firmly established  that in the 1909 General Election, Robert Bond proposed that if elected he would be certain  to  make it the “official”  anthem of the country.

Bond lost the election.

Nothing was said of the official status of the Ode until 1972.   Frank Graham in his book  “We Love Thee Newfoundland” Biography of Sir Cavendish Boyle, wrote:

“At an event in St. John’s it was observed that a certain military group failed to observe protocol and the proprieties by coming to attention and showing the proper respect during the playing of Newfoundland’s anthem. The commanding officer was called on the carpet to explain the unseemly conduct of his men.  The officer defended himself and his group  by explaining that there was noting on the statue books to confirm the fact that the Ode  was Newfoundland’s Provincial anthem.  It transpired that he was right.”

In 1974  their was a resurgence of interest in making the Ode official, (driven by Lieutenant Governor, Gordon A. Winter,)  that resulted in the introduction  of the Provincial Anthem Act  for the Province of Newfoundland.  On May 2, 1975 the legislation  became official. It reads:

“The poem commonly called the Ode to Newfoundland, composed by Sir Cavendish Boyle, Governor of Newfoundland  from 1901 -1904, as it appears in the schedule is adopted as the provincial anthem of the Province of Newfoundland and shall be officially known and recognized as the Ode to Newfoundland.”

The Ode  to Newfoundland

When sun rays crown thy pine clad hills,
And summer spreads her hand,
When silvern voices tune thy rills,
We love thee, smiling land.

Refrain
We love thee, we love thee,
We love thee, smiling land.

When spreads thy cloak of shimmering white

at winter’s stern command

Through shortened days and

starlit nights we love thee frozen land

We love thee, we love thee, we love thee frozen land.

Refrain
We love thee, we love thee,
We love thee, frozen land.

When blinding storm gusts fret thy shores

and wild waves wash their strands,

Through spindrift swirls and tempest roars

we love thee windswept land,

We love thee, we love thee, we love thee

windswept land.

 Refrain
We love thee, we love thee,
We love thee, windswept land.

As loved our fathers, so we love,
Where once they stood, we stand;
Their prayer we raise to Heaven above,
God guard thee, Newfoundland

Refrain
God guard thee, God guard thee,
God guard thee, Newfoundland

Recommended Archival Collection: Take some time to look at  MG 956.110 at the Rooms;  this cover illustration featuring the Ode to Newfoundland depicts some of the iconic symbols and images of Newfoundland and Labrador. https://www.therooms.ca/collections-research/our-collections

Recommended Book: “We Love Thee Newfoundland” Biography of Sir Cavendish Boyle, K.C.M.G. Governor of Newfoundland 1901 -1904 by Frank W. Graham.  Creative Printers, St. John’s, 1979.

Recommended Reading:  Geoff Butler, Ode to Newfoundland. Lyrics by Sir Cavendish Boyle. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2003.

 

“Fish and Brewis is the dish that Newfoundlanders yearn …”

January 18, 1917

Archival Moment

Fish and Brewis served to the Newfoundland Regiment in the trenches of France.

Fish and Brewis served to the Newfoundland Regiment in the trenches of France.

“Fish and Brewis” has long been one of the most common meals served in Newfoundland and Labrador and during the First World War (1914 -1918) Newfoundlanders were determined to see the meal served to the ‘boys’ of the Newfoundland Regiment. The people of the Dominion of Newfoundland were so resolute that this Newfoundland delicacy be available to their ‘soldiers boys’ in the trenches of France that a “Fish and Brewis” Fund was established to purchase and send overseas the two main ingredients, dried cod fish and ship’s biscuits.

Like most people in a foreign land, the men of the Newfoundland Regiment missed the comfort foods of home. One historian reported, Fish and Brewis is the dish that all Newfoundlanders yearn when away from home.”

Fish and Brewis (pronounced “brews”) is a combination of salt cod and hard bread, which is a small, compact cake, made with flour and water and sometimes called “hard tack.” The dish is frequently sprinkled with “scruncheons,” which are crisp fried bits of salt fat-back pork, and the scruncheons are sometimes fried with onions.

In a letter dated January 18, 1917, Charles P. Ayre, the Honorable Secretary, of the Fish an Brewis Committee, in St. John’s received a note from Captain (Rev.) Thomas Nangle expressing the thanks of the Ist Battalion, Newfoundland Regiment in France for the feed of the “Fish and Brewis.” He wrote:

“it would be hard to find in the whole British Army a more contented unit than the boys from “Newfoundland” on that Sunday morning we had Fish and Brewis for breakfast. The men enjoyed the meal to such an extent that even in the line … arrangements for them to have this ration once a week while it lasts.”

Nangle gave much of the credit for the meal to the Newfoundland cooks who cooked the “home produce” the dried fish and hard tack. He wrote:

“That it was cooked properly let it suffice to say that our cooks are Newfoundland cooks, know their business, and did it properly.”

The military historian Gerald W.L. Nicholson author of The Fighting Newfoundlander noted that there was one ingredient was missing. He wrote:

“The shipment did not include fat pork, which when fried into ‘schruncheons” added the crowning touch to the fish and brewis. The battalion’s cooks substituted with bacon, and produced a treat which evoked from every true Newfoundlander expressions of deepest satisfaction…. “

The Newfoundlanders were all very contented with their breakfast but an Essex Officer, not familiar with the delicacy was heard to say “What the hell is that?”

A young soldier of the Newfoundland Regiment writing to his mother on January 25, 1917 wrote:

“ I have been informed that the good people in dear old St John’s have gotten up what they called a “Fish and Brewis Committee”to gather funds to buy some bread and fish to send to “Our|boys to make a treat of Fish and Brewis for them. I am sure they will enjoy and appreciate it because the fish you sent me in one of the parcels was simply grand. I cannot find words to describe to you how delighted I was to get it.”

Recommended Exhibit: The First World War had a profound impact on Newfoundland and Labrador. It involved thousands of our people in world-changing events overseas and dramatically altered life at home. Our “Great War” happened in the trenches and on the ocean, in the legislature and in the shops, by firesides and bedsides. This exhibition shares the thoughts, hopes, fears, and sacrifices of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who experienced those tumultuous years – through their treasured mementoes, their writings and their memories. – – See more at: https://www.therooms.ca/exhibits/always/beaumont-hamel-and-the-trail-of-the-caribou#sthash.HNEnynnP.dpuf

Recommended Cook Book: Edward A. Jones spent decades sampling and lovingly collecting salt cod recipes from around the world. The result is Salt Cod Cuisine: The International Table, 2013 a remarkable collection of 250 step-by-step salt cod recipes that celebrates salt cod and its place in world history and culture.