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John Rorke and Sons

  • Collectivité
  • 1839-1980

John Rorke & Sons Limited (1839-1980) was a family mercantile firm, located in Carbonear, Newfoundland, which engaged in the Labrador fisheries and the import-export trade of the Colony, later expanding into the retail trade.

The company was founded by John Rorke (1807-1896). Rorke emigrated to Newfoundland (1824) from Athlone, Ireland, as a clerk in the fishery supply and general trade firm of Bennett and Ridley, Harbour Grace. By 1830, Rorke had married Mary Tocque (Carbonear), daughter of prominent local merchant and had become a planter-trader in the fishery at Adam's Cove, just north of Carbonear. In 1839 Rorke purchased the former Slade & Elson mercantile premises in Carbonear. Rorke opened two Labrador branches at St. Francis Harbour and Venison Island to conduct trade with the numerous migratory summer fishermen-floaters (fishermen in schooners) and stationers (crews that fished from shore stations) that went to the Labrador coast each year from Newfoundland; Rorke also became involved in politics, and he was elected as the member for the Carbonear district six times (1863-78). He was a member of Frederick B.T. Carter's pro-confederate slate (1869) and served in the Whiteway administration (1878). Rorke was appointed to the Executive Council in 1879 and remained there until his death in 1896.

Throughout its history, the business remained a family enterprise. Rorke's sons, John and James, joined the firm in 1880, assuming control of the business following the death of their father (1896). By 1920 James Rorke's sons, John and James (grandsons of John Rorke Sr.) had also entered the company. In 1929 the firm was incorporated as John Rorke and Sons Limited.

Although the company remained a family business, its operations changed over the decades. Until 1919, the firm was primarily involved in operating and supplying vessels in the Newfoundland seal hunt and in the Labrador cod fishery although it also engaged in the import-export trade of the island. Between 1839 and 1920, the firm registered 48 vessels in Newfoundland, ranging from 50 to 150 tons. In 1919 the firm began to purchase its supplies ans to sell its fish and other export staples though St. John's mercantile firms. In 1929 the Rorkes established a separate operation known as the Rorke Fish and Coal Company Ltd., which specialized in marketing Labrador cured codfish and fresh and pickled salmon, and selling coal for domestic use. The company also operated a retail general store on Water Street in Carbonear.

In 1980 the company ceased operations and its assets were liquidated in the following year (1981). The Rorke premises, considered among the best preserved examples of mercantile establishments in the province, were donated to the town of Carbonear by the family. In Febraury 1988 the Rorke Stores became Registered Heritage Structures.

Great Britain. Colonial Office

  • Collectivité
  • 1854-1966

The Colonial Office was the administrative office of the British Secretary of State for the Colonies, the cabinet minister designated with the responsibility for the administration of the colonies in the British Empire. Although formally established in 1854 as a separate office, the Colonial Office was preceded by several government agencies which supervised colonial affairs, dating back to the mid-seventeenth century.

Although England acquired colonies (or plantations) early in the seventeenth century, there was no formal organization which dealt specifically with colonial administration until 1660. In 1660 a Committee of the Privy Council for the Plantations (1660-75) was formed (later the Council for Foreign Plantations). The council reviewed colonial laws and provided instructions to the governors. Although there was a brief amalgamation with the Council of Trade, a privy council committee responsible for British commerce, as the Council for Trade and Plantations (1672-74), the Council for Foreign Plantations functioned until 1675 when it was replaced by the Lords of Trade and Plantations, commonly called the Board of Trade.

The Board of Trade (1696-1782), established by William III, consisted of ministers of state, under a president. Its mandate was to advise the crown on issues relating to plantations, trade and poor law. In practice, it focused on the administration of the colonies, especially instructions to the governors, colonial legislation, administration of justice, and colonial appointments. The Board of Trade was officially subordinate to the secretaries of state; the latter, however, relied on the board for direction on colonial issues. In 1768, a Secretary of State for the American Department was established in a vain effort to avert conflict in the American colonies.

Following the loss of the American colonies, both the Secretary of State for the American Department and the Board of Trade were eliminated (1782) although the board was briefly revived in 1784 and 1794 respectively. The Board of Trade was replaced by the Plantations Branch in the Home Office.

During the Napoleonic wars, the office of the third secretary of state was created to supervise the conduct of the war. In 1801 the British government established a War and Colonial Department under a single secretary of state and responsibility for colonial affairs was transferred from the Home Office to the newly-created department. Following the end of the French wars (1815), colonial administration became the primary role for the new department. From 1822 the Colonial Office was organized into four geographical departments, one of which was North America (including Bermuda).

In 1854 the commencement of the Crimean War and reforms in the British civil service prompted the division of the War and Colonial Department. A separate Colonial Office, under a secretary of state for the colonies, was established. During the imperialist expansion into Africa, Asia and India, the Secretary of State and the Colonial Office became one of the most significant ministries in the British government.

The Secretary of State for the Colonies was usually an influential politician; five of the twelve British prime ministers had been responsible for the ministry. In the nineteenth century, the administration of the Colonial Office became increasingly professionalized, with emphasis on diligent civil servants, and careful records-keeping. In the 1820s, the Blue Books were instituted, requiring colonies to return annual reports (on pre-printed blue forms) on population, trade, revenue, officials and salaries, public institutions and local government. In 1837, the Colonial Office ordered the bi-annual submissions of colonial gazettes which published ordinances, legislation, government and professional regulations, land and mine grants, official appointments, and liquidations. The office also introduced a registry system for all correspondence, with multiple, interlinking entry books.

The emergence of self-governing colonies in British North America, New Zealand and Australia challenged the administrative structure of the Colonial Office. In 1907, following the Imperial Conference, the Colonial Office was divided: the Crown Colonies Division for dependencies and the Dominions Division for self-governing colonies. In 1925, a separate Dominions Office was created, with responsibilities for self-governing colonies.

With the creation of the Dominions Office, the Colonial Office declined in importance, although it retained general responsibility for the colonies. In 1966 the Colonial Office merged with the Commonwealth Relations Office to form the Commonwealth Office.

St. Patrick's Parish (Tilting, N.L. : Catholic)

  • Collectivité
  • 1840

St. Patrick's Parish, located on Fogo island off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, was established in 1840. In the 1830s and 1840s, Irish Roman Catholic families, originally from Waterford, migrated from the Conception Bay area to Fogo, settling in Tilting. In 1785 there was a priest in Tilting by the name of Reverend Thomas Londregan. In 1834 the community had its first parish priest, an Irishman named Reverend Martin Joseph Bergan. He supervised the construction of a church which was completed in 1838. Reverend Patrick Ward became the first resident parish priest after St. Patrick's Parish was officially established. In 1974 a new St. Patrick's Church was consecrated in Tilting. An uncertain number of chapels and churches have existed in the area prior to this one.

Currently, St. Patrick's Parish consists of four communities: Tilting (St. Patrick's Church), Island Harbour (St. Pius X Church), Fogo (Our Lady Of The Snows Church), and Joe Batt's Arm (Mary, Queen of the World Church).

Pastors that have served St. Patrick's Parish since its establishment include: Patrick Ward (1840-1865); James Brown (1865-1885); Richard Walker (1886-1892); William P. Finn (1892-1910); Edward O'Brien (1910-1914); Michael J. Kinsella (1944-1948); Joseph O'Brien (1948-1955); Gregory Pumphery (1955-1964); Brendan J. McCarthy (1964-1967); Kevin Barker (1967-1976); William Hearn (1976-1979); Edward Brophy (1979-1984); Michael Hynes (1984-1986); David Heale (1986); Wayne Cummings (1986-1990); Francis Aylward (1990-1994); Tony/Anthony Hageman (1994-1997); Thomas Duffenais (1998-).

St. John Bosco (St. John's, N.L. : Catholic)

  • Collectivité
  • 1934-

St. John Bosco initially was established as a mission of St. Patrick's Parish (St. John's) in 1934, when a school-chapel was constructed to attend to the needs of the Catholic population of Blackhead Road, an area situated on a plateau to the southwest of St. John's Harbour (more popularly known as "The Brow"). Mass was first celebrated in the new school-chapel 25 June 1934. This structure served the mission until 1960, when a new building containing more classroom space and a larger chapel was constructed. Patrick J. Skinner, Archbishop of St. John's, blessed the new school-chapel complex and held the first mass there 24 September 1961. Members of the Presentation of the Most Blessed Virgin Congregation (Presentation Sisters) residing in St. Patrick's Convent administered the new school.

Archbishop Skinner raised St. John Bosco to the status of a parish 4 April 1964. Shortly thereafter, responsibility for St. Joseph's Mission in Blackhead (as distinct from Blackhead Road) was transferred to St. John Bosco Parish from St. Joseph's Parish (Petty Harbour).

In 1972, Blackhead Road was renamed Shea Heights in honour of Rev. Leo G. Shea, first parish priest of St. John Bosco, for his efforts in initiating improvements in the area. In 1986, Shea Heights officially became part of the city of St. John's.

Pastors who have served the St. John Bosco Parish since its establishment in 1964 include: Leo G. Shea (1964-1970); Francis Slattery (1970-1974); John Maddigan (1974-1976); John O'Deady (1976-1979); Joseph D. Barton (1979-1982); David Butler (1982-1986?); and John Corrigan (1986-1988?). The parish has been served by clergy from St. Patrick's Parish (St. John's) since 1988.

St. John Bosco's parochial affairs are administered by a Parish Pastoral Council and several committees, including Finance, Liturgy, Community Life and Social Action, and Youth committees. In addition, the Catholic Women's League is active within the parish.

United Church of Canada. Epworth Pastoral Charge

  • Collectivité
  • 1894-

Epworth (Spoon Cove) became a mission of the Methodist Church of Canada, Newfoundland Conference, in 1894. Its first pastor was Rev. C. Howse. The Epworth Mission was geographically small, covering an area of less than 20 miles, with congregations in Epworth, Burin Bay Arm, Lanse'eau, Lewin's Cove, and Creston. It had a population of 1200, of which one-half were Methodist.

Originally, Epworth had been part of the Burin Mission. By 1840, Epworth had a chapel and school house. In 1890, a new church was dedicated there. By 1899, the exterior of a new church at Lewin's Cove had been completed and a new school house was under construction to serve the congregations in Lewin's Cove, Mud Cove, and Epworth.

Today the pastoral charge is comprised of congregations in Epworth, Lewin's Cove, and Winterland (which became part of the charge in 1981).

Pauline M. Laracy Library and Archives (Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador)

  • Collectivité
  • 1968-[20-]

The Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador (ARNNL) library was established September 1968 in the first ARNN House, 67 LeMarchant Road, St. John's. In 1977, nurse and historian Joyce Nevitt suggested to ARNN's Executive Secretary, Phyllis Barrett, that ARNN establish an archives of nursing.

At an ARNN general assembly on 25 February 1977, a motion was passed to "start a collection of pictures and historical artifacts concerning nursing in Newfoundland" and members were asked "to donate anything that might be of historical value to [the] Association."

On 16 September 1981, the new ARNN House at 55 Military Road was opened. The library and archives was also moved to the new quarters. It was officially opened on 2 June 1986. In honour of the first Executive Secretary of ARNN, it was named the Pauline M. Laracy Library and Archives. During her years as Executive Secretary, Pauline Laracy had carefully preserved the ARNN records and these records formed the core of the ARNN fonds.

John Munn and Co.

  • Collectivité
  • 1833-

John Munn and Co. was involved in the Newfoundland fishery supply trade, especially the inshore and Labrador fisheries, and was one of the most successful firms in Conception Bay in the nineteenth century. The sealing industry was equally important in the firm's operations, and the company was one of the first in Conception Bay to invest in steam vessels for this purpose. During the 1870s and 1880s, the firm was the leading supplier of sealing vessels in Conception Bay and was able to compete with Water Street mercantile houses of St. John's.

The firm was established in 1833 as Punton & Munn by Captain William Punton (d.1845) and John Munn (1807-1879), a native of Port Bannatyne, Scotland. The principals had been in the employ of Baine, Johnston & Co. at St. John's. When Punton died, John Munn became sole principal of the company. Munn continued with the assistance of his relatives: son William Punton Munn, and nephews Archibald Munn (1814-1877) and Robert Stewart Munn (1829-1894). The firm flourished and, in 1872, became John Munn and Co., with John remaining as principal and William P. Munn and Robert S. Munn admitted as partners. When Thomas Ridley and Sons, a prominent competitor in Conception Bay, was declared insolvent in 1873, John Munn and Co. purchased that firm's Harbour Grace premises and several of its fishing rooms in Labrador. It also assumed the role of supplier for many of Ridley's former clients. In 1873, John Munn (or John Munn and Co.) also acquired the Harbour Grace Standard, the local newspaper, with nephew Archibald Munn as the publisher.

John Munn had married Naomi Munden of Brigus in 1838 and the couple had three daughters, Isabella, Elizabeth Naomi, and Susannah in addition to their son, William. He was elected to the Newfoundland House of Assembly as the Conservative member for Conception Bay in 1842 and retained his seat until 1848. Before the granting of Responsible Government in 1855, he was appointed to the Legislative Council. He represented Harbour Grace in 1869 and held his seat until 1873, when he retired from politics. In addition to his business interests, he was a strict follower and member of the Presbyterian church. He was made a justice of the peace for Harbour Grace in 1843. John Munn retired to England in 1878, and died 28 September 1879 at Southport, Lancashire, near Liverpool.

In 1882, William P. Munn died, leaving his cousin Robert Munn as the sole principal of the firm. The firm encountered financial difficulties during the 1890s, culminating in the bank crash of 1894. Both Robert Munn and John Munn had been directors of the Union Bank, and the firm had financed much of its operation through that institution. The collapse of the Union Bank plunged the firm into bankruptcy from which it did not recover.

Western Union Telegraph Company (Heart's Content, N.L.)

  • Collectivité
  • 1899-1965

The Western Union Telegraph Company was responsible for the operation of the Heart's Content Cable Station from 1899 to 1965, having acquired all the assets of its predecessor, the Anglo-American Telegraph Company. In 1904, the monopoly of the company expired, but Western Union still maintained the original telegraph systems, including the cable station at Heart's Content. The company remained in control of the station until 1965, when it closed its Newfoundland operation.

United States. Consulate

  • Collectivité

The United States consuls and vice-consuls were mandated to provide assistance to American citizens in foreign countries. They assisted individual Americans with various issues, including visas, passports, and legal entanglements. They provided advice to American companies on investment opportunities. Consuls aided American sailors and fishermen, who were injured, ill-treated or separated from vessels, return to their home ports.

Thomas Oates & Son

  • Collectivité
  • 1853-1868

Thomas Oates was a planter at Carbonear, Newfoundland. From 1820 to 1850, Oates always operated one or two vessels and was involved in the fishery, coastal trade, seal fishery, and probably the Labrador fishery. By 1853, he was operating a small trading business from his premises on the south side of Carbonear. His customers purchased small amounts of dry goods and provisions, and large amounts of rum from his store, which also served as a tavern. They settled accounts from their shares of sealing voyages, or with fish, cod oil, timber, or labour.

In 1820, Thomas Oates registered the Swift, a 59-ton coasting and fishing vessel, built in 1812. Two years later, in partnership with William Thistle, Oates registered the Little Belt, and the owners alternated as captain of the vessel. In 1826, Oates was also captain of the Joseph, an 80-ton brigantine owned by George Forward. In 1828, he purchased the Thirteen Brothers and Sisters, a 97-ton schooner that he used as a sealer, a fish collection boat, and a coastal trading vessel.

In 1852, Oates purchased the 150-ton brigantine Belle in partnership with his son, Thomas Jr. This vessel was the centre of the Oates's operation during the 1850s. The vessel was used in the annual seal hunt and, in the summer months, provided passage for people and goods to Labrador, returning with fish. The Belle was registered de novo in 1861 to Thomas Oates Jr. and prominent Carbonear merchant John Rorke. By then, Thomas Oates Sr. was no longer involved in the business. In 1868, the Belle was lost at sea. Members of the Oates family probably continued to operate as small traders, but they did not appear again on the Newfoundland vessel register.

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