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Authority record
William Fitzhugh

William (Bill) Fitzhugh was born February 1, 1943, in New York City, New York, U.S.A. He received his post secondary education at Dartmouth College and Harvard University, where he studied anthropology. He presently works with the Smithsonian Institution as the Director of the Arctic Studies Center in Washington.

O'Mara family
Family · 1835-1925

John O'Mara (1806-1867), merchant, office holder, was born in Waterford, Ireland, in 1806 and settled in Newfoundland. On 3 November 1831, he married Mary Allen (1813-1854), daughter of Mary (Shannon) and Michael Allen, who owned the St. John's farm known as Allen Dale. The O'Maras had twelve children. He died on 28 July 1867, and was buried in Belvedere cemetery.

O'Mara's business interests were diverse, and included general merchandise, shipping and the seal fishery. O'Mara was active in the Liberal party, and held several offices, including commissioner of roads for St. John's (1847), health warden (1847), and Roman Catholic Central Board of Education trustee(1853). O'Mara was also active in the Benevolent Irish Society (BIS).

David William O'Mara (1846-1884), magistrate, was born in St. John's in July 1846, son of Mary (Allen) and John O'Mara. He married Mary Elizabeth Geddes in 1875; they had seven children. He died at Ferryland on 31 August 1884.

After completing his education in St. John's, O'Mara studied law in Dublin, Ireland. He was appointed justice of the peace for Ferryland District in 1873, and served as justice and stipendiary magistrate for Ferryland, where he resided until his death. O'Mara also served as the returning officer for the 1878 general election.

John Thomas O'Mara (1851-1893), pharmacist, was born in St. John's, son of Mary (Allen) and John O'Mara. He married Mary Josephine Murphy (1808-1879); they had eleven children. John O'Mara died on 26 May 1893.

O'Mara apprenticed under the Scottish pharmacist, Thomas McMurdo. In 1874, he established his own pharmacy on east Water Street, St. John's, reportedly the first pharmacy opened by a native Newfoundlander. The pharmacy was lost in the Great Fire of 1892. O'Mara immediately reopened his business in his wholesale warehouse on King's Road; he later relocated to Rawlin's Cross. O'Mara was active in the BIS and was the first native Newfoundlander to be elected president of the Society.

Peter Alban O'Mara (1881-1964), pharmacist, was born in St. John's, son of Mary Elizabeth (Geddes) and David William O'Mara. He married Margaret Feehan Cooney; they had ten children. He died on 30 December 1964.

In 1906, O'Mara acquired the West End Drugstore, located on Water Street West, St. John's, and expanded the premises in 1908. The building is now a pharmacy museum, Apothecary Hall, which also houses the Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Association Archives. O'Mara was a member of the Rotary Club, Knights of Columbus, City Club and BIS.

Johnson (family)
Family · 1853-1973

The Johnson family was a prominent Newfoundland professional and polictical family. Members of the family represented in the fonds include George Macness Johnson (1853-1935), and daughters Sybil Johnson Dunfield (1887-1973), Estelle (Jill) Johnson Toplis, and Dorothy Johnson.

George Macness Johnson (1853-1935), lawyer, politician, judge, was born in St. John's, Newfoundland on 11 August 1853, son of the Rev. George M. Johnson (1824-1905) and Frances (Carrington) Johnson. He married Anne Elizabeth Bown of Sydney, Nova Scotia. They had three daughters, Sybil, Estelle, and Dorothy, and one son, Macness. Johnson died in St. John's on 17 December 1935.

Johnson was educated at the Church of England Academy, St. John's and at St. John's College, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, England. After completing his education, he returned to Newfoundland in August 1870, and joined the law firm of William Whiteway. In 1878, Johnson and Whiteway established the partnership of Whiteway & Johnson. For nearly two decades, Johnson carried on the law practice while Whiteway pursued his political career.

Johnson entered politics in a 1894 by-election, running as a Liberal in the three-member district of Trinity. Along with two other Whiteway supporters, he won his seat by a narrow margin. In the October 1897 general election, Johnson and his Liberal colleagues lost to three Conservative candidates. Johnson again contested the Trinity district in the November 1900 general election, securing victory.

In 1902 Johnson was named an Associate Judge of the Newfoundland Supreme Court. He remained on the bench until 1926 when he retired to England. He returned to Newfoundland in 1935 shortly before his death.

Johnson organized a branch of the Society for the Protection of Animals (SPCA) in St. John's, based on the English organization. From 1875 he was a member of the Masonic Order. He was also a keen sportsman and instituted the Johnson Shield Sports which organized games among boys under twelve years of age who attended the St. John's school colleges.

Sybil Johnson Dunfield (1887-1973), was born 19 November 1887, the eldest daughter of George and Elizabeth Johnson. On 8 August 1918, she married Brian Dunfield (1888-1968), a St. John's lawyer who received a knighthood in 1949. They had one daughter, Dorothy Helen, and two sons, John Brian Macness and Anthony Henry. Sybil, Lady Dunfield, died in St. John's 14 December 1973 at the age of 86 years.

Sybil Johnson attended Bishop Spencer School and Spencer Lodge in St. John's before going to Europe to finish her education (1902). She attended Cheltenham Girls School, England (1902-4) and later studied music, violin and voice in Leipzig, Germany. She remained in Leipzig until September 1909 when she returned to Newfoundland.

Little is known of Sybil Johnson's life after her return to St. John's. Two years after the outbreak of World War I, she joined the war effort, and, in 1916, enrolled in the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD). She left St. John's in December 1916 and journeyed to New York and then to England via the USMS St. Louis. She trained as a VAD at Queen Mary's Hostel for Nurses, London, before being assigned to the 1st Western General Military Hospital, Fozakerley, near Liverpool, in January 1917. She remained there until July 1918 when she returned to Newfoundland via New York.

Following her marriage, Sybil Johnson resided at "Arcady" located at 173 Waterford Bridge Road, St. John's. She was involved in various social activities, often providing violin music at charitable events.

Estelle (Jill) Johnson Toplis and Dorothy Johnson were Sybil's younger sisters but little information is available on them. Like Sybil, they received formal education in Europe; during 1908-9 school year, all three sisters were at school at Leipzig. Estelle (Jill) eventually married a Mr. Toplis; Dorothy did not marry. Both women were still alive when Sybil died in 1973.

Saunders-Sweetman (family)
Family · 1744-

Saunders & Sweetman, an Irish-based mercantile company, was involved primarily in the Newfoundland fish trade, with headquarters in Poole, Waterford, and Placentia, Newfoundland. Like many businesses of its time, the corporate ties in the Saunders & Sweetman firm were reflected in marriages between heirs.

Saunders & Sweetman originated in a business established at Placentia, Newfoundland circa 1753 by Richard Welsh, New Ross, Ireland. William Saunders (17? -1788), a resident of Bideford, Devon, became involved with the Newfoundland trade as a clerk in the employ of Welsh. By 1744 Saunders was living in Newfoundland, where he leased pasture at Point Verde. Saunders eventually became managing agent for Welsh's firm at Placentia. Saunders also married one of Welsh's daughters.

Following the death of Welsh and his son, Saunders, as son-in-law, received a partial inheritance. By 1772, he had established his own firm, William Saunders and Co., with premises at Poole and Placentia. By 1786, William Saunders and Co. had become one of the most prosperous businesses in the Newfoundland trade and the leading mercantile house in Poole, with several ocean-going vessels, a presence in a dozen southern European fish markets, and Newfoundland premises at Great and Little Placentia, Point Verde, Paradise, and Marticott Island. Saunders also had a farm at Brule. The firm traded for provisions with Qu‚bec merchants and with New England merchants via Marmaduke Hart, St. John's.

After William Saunders' death (1788), his younger brother Thomas entered into partnership with Pierce Sweetman (fl. 1770-1841), formerly employed by William Saunders as agent at Placentia. Pierce Sweetman, a Catholic, was the son of Roger Sweetman, who had married one of Richard Welsh's three daughters. The firm became known as Saunders and Sweetman. The business expanded its connections to the markets of southern Europe, especially Bilboa and Oporto, facilitated by the close cultural and religious links between Catholic Iberia and Ireland. The company hired hundreds of men yearly from southeastern Irish ports to work in the Newfoundland fishery. Many families living in the Placentia area today attribute their presence to the firm's recruitment activities.

When Thomas Saunders died (1808), the business dissolved and the firm's holdings were advertised for sale. The Sweetmans acquired the property and continued operations on their own. By now, Pierce's brother Michael was in charge at Placentia. Pierce Sweetman settled in Waterford, but continued to direct company affairs from there. In 1813, Pierce sent his son Roger to Placentia to revitalize operations.

In the 1820s, Pierce Sweetman began outfitting vessels for the annual seal hunt, an enterprise hitherto prosecuted mostly by St. John's concerns and firms on the northeast coast in closer proximity to the seal herds. In 1841, Pierce Sweetman died and the business passed to son Roger.

Roger Sweetman continued the trade, despite increasing competition from local firms. The firm remained a major mercantile presence on the south coast and parts of the southern Avalon peninsula, although the migratory fishery was replaced by the resident fishery and few servants from Ireland were required at Placentia. The firm finally terminated operations in 1862, with the death of Roger F. Sweetman.

The Saunders and Sweetman family were an extremely successful family business, outlasting most of their English and Irish contemporaries in the trade. Their activities also illustrated a religious cooperation unusual among interest groups involved in the Newfoundland trade, as the Sweetmans were prominent Catholics and the Saunders, respected Anglicans.

Rennie family
Family · 1812-

William Frederick Rennie (1812-1902), miller and civil servant, was born in Scotland in 1812, son of David Stuart Rennie, merchant and senior partner with Rennie, Stuart & Co. (located at St. John's). Rennie was the stepbrother of William Epps Cormack (1796-1868), who made the first journey across Newfoundland. He married Caroline Broom Williams (d. Circa 1840) in 1835; they had three children: David, Mary, Caroline; he married Catherine Thorburn McNab in 1842; they had eleven children: Helen (1843-1922), Frederick W. (1845-1932), James Gower (b. 1847), Emma Hoyles (b.1850), Jean Catherine (b. 1852), Archibald McNab (d. 1920), Robert John (b. 1856), Jessie McNab (b. 1858), John Bowring (b. 1861), Hugh William Hoyles (1863-1932), Andrew Bogle (b. 1865). Rennie died at St. John's 5 February 1902.

Rennie was educated at Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities. In 1832, Rennie, along with his brother James, relocated to Newfoundland and established a flour mill on Rennie's River, St. John's. In 1848, the mill was leased to a local Scottish farmer, and Rennie entered the civil service.

Family · 1923-1984

Bruce Stacey was born in the Goulds in 1923. He spent a large part of his career as a Marine Aids Technician with the Canadian Coast and for many years carried out maintenance on their Lighthouses. In the mid 1980s Stacey was instrumental in starting a museum at the Coast Guard facilities on the South Side, St. John's in which he displayed the many artifacts he had collected while working there.

Stacey began his 57 year tenure with the scouting movement when he began as a Cub with the 6th St. John's Troop in the 1940s. As a scouter and member of the Provincial council he became involved in camps, training sessions, cuborees, jamborees etc. Bruce Stacey died in 1994.

Aileen (Mickey) Stacey was born in New York. Like her husband Bruce she was devoted to the scouting movement in Newfoundland. In 1972 she was appointed Assistant Provincial Commissioner for Beavers and was instrumental in the organization of the program in the province. She participated in many other scouting events and was involved in many jamborees both Provincially, Nationally and also attended a World jamboree in 1984. Mickey Stacey died in 1984.