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Burry, Dr. Lester

  • CA NL0003 001
  • Personne
  • 1898-1977

Lester Leland Burry was born on July 12, 1898 at Safe Harbour, Bonavista Bay to Stephen and Marie (Bourne) Burry. He attended school at Safe Harbour and Greenspond. In 1923, he graduated from Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick with a degree in Arts and Theology. He returned to Newfoundland and was ordained as a Methodist minister at Gower St. United Church on June 30, 1924.
Rev. Burry served in St. Anthony as his first pastoral charge, remaining for 4 years. While in St. Anthony he met and married on Sept 4 , 1928 a teacher - Amelia Marie Penney of St. Anthony. After their marriage the Burrys were transferred to the pastoral charge of Curling for one year and then to Little Bay Islands for a further three years. While in Little Bay Islands, Rev. Burry was asked to serve the Hamilton Inlet Mission in Labrador for a period of three years. Dr. Burry and his wife moved to Northwest River, the base for the mission, and remained there for 26 years. In 1931 the Hamilton Inlet Mission was one of the largest geographically in Canada, comprising the 100 mile Inlet area and extended along the coast for another 200 miles. In this setting, Dr. Burry had to deal with the vastness, the sparse, spread-out population and the weather. In summer, travel was by Mission Boat - the “Glad Tidings II” (which he designed) - and in winter by dog team and in the last 8 years of his work in Labrador by snowmachine. Extended pastoral visits took 7 weeks twice a year for Rev. Burry to reach all the members of his pastoral charge, and in between there were shorter visits to other communities not as far-flung.
Dr. Burry recognized the isolation of the trappers who often were dozens of miles away from their families for many months of the year. He built crystal radio sets and earphones for the trappers and obtained a surplus radio transmitter from the American air base. On Sunday evenings the trappers were able to hear the church broadcast. On Tuesday evenings the women could talk with their husbands and friends on the trap lines. One resident commented that this was the best thing that could happen to Labrador. This service was expanded to include fishing schooners, fishing communities on the coast, light house keepers, traders and clerks at Hudson Bay outposts, and Sunday School classes.
Rev. Burry represented Labrador at the Newfoundland National Convention 1946-48 and was one of seven delegates to the meetings which worked out the Terms of Union of Newfoundland with Canada. He attended the official opening of the Churchill Falls Hydroelectric Development and saw the beginnings of iron ore mining in Labrador.
After the end of his mission work in Labrador (1957), the Burrys served the pastoral charge of Clark’s Beach for 2 years, then moved to St. John’s where Rev. Burry became chaplain to hospitals and institutions for the United Church for 4 years. He became Minister Emeritus of Cochrane St. United Church at this time, served on this church’s Board of Sessions, was chairman of St. John’s Presbytery of United Church of Canada (1958-59), and President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Conference of United Church of Canada (1959-60). Rev. Burry retired from active ministry in 1963.
In addition to his church work, Rev. Burry was involved in education, and was a strong advocate of interdenominational education. He was an avid gardener, photographer, amateur radio operator, and supporter of the John Howard Society (and served as its President for a time).
Rev Burry was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Theology from Pine Hill Theological College in 1950 and was made a Member of the Order of Canada in December, 1969. In 1975, the town of Happy Valley, Labrador named one of its streets “Burry Crescent” in honour of his contribution to Labrador.
Rev. Burry died on August 31, 1977 in St. John’s.

Dillon Wallace

  • Dillon Wallace
  • Personne
  • 1863-1939

Dillon Wallace II (1863-1939) was born in Craigsville, New York, to Dillon Wallace and Rachel Ann Ferguson. His early education and work experience was in New York and in 1896 he graduated from the New York Law School with a Bachelor of Laws degree. He then went to work with the firm McLaughlin and Stern. He married Jennie E. Currie in April 1897, who died three years later of "consumption". He is the author of Lure of the Labrador Wild (1905), an account of a 1903 expedition to the Labrador interior with Leonidas Hubbard Jr., editor of the magazine, OUTING, and their native guide, George Elson. They had intended to travel the Naskaupi River to Lake Michikamau and then northwards to the George River and Indian House Lake to witness the annual Naskaupi caribou hunt. They started on their exploration route late in the summer season and soon lost their way. The trio entered the uncharted interior of Labrador without sufficient supplies and knowledge of the area. Consequently Hubbard died of starvation, and Wallace and Elson were near death when rescued by fur trappers. Wallace made two more journeys into the Labrador interior in 1905 and 1913. The 1905 trip turned into a race between he and Mina Hubbard, Leonidas Hubbard's widow, through the Labrador interior. Wallace's wilderness experiences launched him into a literary career. He authored twenty-eight books, and several serialized publications. In 1917, Wallace married Leila Greenwood Hinman of Cleveland, Ohio. They had two children: Leila Ann and Dillon III. Wallace retired from his law practice in 1918 and concentrated on his writing and volunteer activities including the Boy Scout movement. Dillon Wallace died on September 28, 1939 at the age of seventy-six in Beacon, New York.

Sir Percival Willoughby

  • Sir Percival Willoughby fonds
  • Personne
  • fl.1606-1643

Percival Willoughby (fl.1606-1643), settlement promoter, council member of the Newfoundland Company, member of parliament, was born into the Kentish branch of the house of Willoughby d'Eresby in the latter sixteenth century. He married his kinswoman, Bridget (also spelled Bridgett) heiress of Francis Willoughby of Wollaton, Nottingham, and acquired substantial property in both Kent and Nottingham. They had at least three sons, one of whom, Thomas, was also involved in the Newfoundland ventures. Willoughby died in England in 1643.
The Nottingham estate was riddled with debt, and by 1606, Willoughby was threatened by the prospect of debtors' prison. Lured by the promise of iron, copper, and silver profits in North America, he became a subscriber and council member of the Newfoundland Company, probably influenced by a major creditor, John Slany, the company's treasurer. But like other members, he was also genuinely interested in establishing a self-sufficient colony on the island and developing its fishing, agricultural, potash, and mineral potential. Two years later, he also became subscriber to the Virginia Company, but the focus of his interest remained the Newfoundland venture.
Willoughby's anticipated allotment lay between Conception and Trinity Bays, north of a line drawn between Carbonear and Heart's Content. In 1612, he sent his wayward third son, Thomas, with his agent Henry Crout and six apprentices, to the company's colony at Cuper's Cove (Cupids). He also sent a surveyor named Oliney to survey his lot and Bartholomew Pearson from the Wollaton estate to assess its agricultural capacity. Few of the party were impressed. Only Crout expressed any hope of the land's potential in mineral wealth. Faced with disappointing prospects, the hostility of migratory fishermen, and the coastal raiding of pirate Peter Easton, Thomas returned home in 1613, only to incur his father's wrath for lack of commitment. Sir Percival relented in 1615, intending to transfer the title of his Newfoundland lot to Thomas and another son, Edward. In 1616, he sent Thomas back to Newfoundland. But Thomas' name was written out of the family pedigree by 1631, suggesting that his father finally disowned him.
Before this estrangement, Thomas advised his father: "If efver you looke for your monney agayne in this country you must send fisher men." (1616). Unfortunately, Sir Percival did not heed his son's counsel. Although his lot included the rich fishing grounds off Baccalieu Island, Willoughby continued to pursue his hopes of mineral wealth. He was not successful in persuading the company to grant him the rich iron ores of Bell Island. During 1616-17, Willoughby also purchased a half share in the company for his son Edward from John Browne, and then tried to inveigle the company into granting the valuable St. John's lot to Browne without mentioning that his son was Browne's partner. This effort was also unsuccessful. When Willoughby officially accepted his allotment in 1617, it was for the original, more northerly portion.
In 1618, Willoughby entered into a partnership with William Hannam and Thomas Rowley, transferring to them his share of land in Trinity Bay for a nominal rent and their commitment to explore the potential of farming, mineral deposits, and trade with the Aboriginals. Constant squabbling and Willoughby's distrustful nature drove the partners apart within a few years. By 1626, Willoughby was in danger of losing the Trinity Bay portion of his lot because he had not managed to find colonists, thus defaulting on one of the conditions set by the company. His creditor John Slany managed to maintain the company on Willoughby's behalf, but with very little thanks from Willoughby, who claimed that his investment, so far from turning a profit, had actually cost him about oe500.
By 1631, Willoughby was negotiating with Nicholas Guy to settle on his land. Guy had been on the island since 1612 and had already moved from Cuper's Cove to Carbonear, where he was fishing and farming profitably in 1631. No further evidence of Willoughby's involvement in Newfoundland exists beyond Guy's letter to him of 1 September 1631. Despite various setbacks, Willoughby's interest in Newfoundland had lasted for at least twenty-one years, making him one of the island's most tenacious, if not most successful, promoters of settlement.

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