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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.
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St. John's Art Club was founded in 1940, under the name Art Students Club, by Mrs. A.C. (Muriel) Hunter. Its mandate was to promote local artists and their art. Activities included exhibitions of local and imported art, sketching and art discussion groups, sponsorship of local art students, the maintenance of a member-borrowing library of art books, and illustrated lectures. One exhibition featured 73 painting by U.S. servicemen stationed in Newfoundland.
The Club's name was changed in 1945 to St. John's Art Club. In 1950, the group presented recommendations to a Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences (Massey Commission). The last general meeting was held in 1973; in 1976, the Executive voted to close the Club bank account and donate the balance to the A.C. Hunter scholarship.
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St. Francis of Assisi Parish, forming part of the Diocese of St. John's and encompassing the settlements of Outer Cove, Middle Cove, and Logy Bay (amalgamated as the Town of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove in 1986), was erected by Archbishop Edward P. Roche in 1917. Prior to the establishment of the parish, Outer Cove and Middle Cove formed part of Holy Trinity Parish (Torbay) while Logy Bay fell within the jurisdiction of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Parish (St. John's). All three communities were served by visiting clergy.
Daniel O'Callaghan, first parish priest, oversaw the development of St. Francis of Assisi's infrastructure. The cornerstone for the first parish church, still in operation today, was laid in 1918 and the first mass was held in the new structure on 24 December 1919. During his tenure, Rev. O'Callaghan also supervised the construction of a parish school and presbytery.
Permission was granted from the Archdiocesan Building Projects Committee, in 1966, to begin construction on a new elementary school to replace the original school building. By this time, high school students generally attended Holy Heart and Gonzaga schools in St. John's. Today, St. Francis of Assisi School is no longer under church control as a result of denominational education reforms passed by the Provincial Government in 1997.
In 1989, the Recluse Sisters (Les Recluses Missionaires) established the Monastery of Mary, Mother of the Church in St. Francis of Assisi's original presbytery at the invitation of Archbishop Alphonsus L. Penney. The monastery was closed in 2001 because of a lack of vocations to the order. The Recluse Sisters were Newfoundland's first contemplative congregation and regularly made guest rooms available for private retreats in their monastery.; A Parish Council was established during the 1970s to aid the parish priest in the administration of his responsibilities and the parish's affairs. Committees reporting to the Parish Council have included Finance, Liturgy, Social Action, Men's, Women's, Youth, Religious Activities, and Cemetery.
Pastors who have served St. Francis of Assisi Parish since its inception in 1917 include: Daniel O'Callaghan (1917-1948); Robert A. St. John (1948-1968); Eric R. Lawlor, Parish Priest and later Administrator (1969-1970); David P. Morrissey (1970-1977); William K. Lawton (1977-1987); Francis Coady (1987-1993); J. Kevin McKenna (1993-1994); and John D. Hanton (1994- ).
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St. Patrick's Parish, located in Plate Cove on the Bonavista Peninsula, was established in July 1966. The community was first settled in the early 1800s, largely by Irish Roman Catholics from Bonavista and King's Cove. Settlement occurred on both sides of a cove, with the areas known as Plate Cove East and Plate Cove West. The communities were initially missions of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, King's Cove.
In 1857, although there was a small Catholic school in Plate Cove East, the residents continued to rely on the church and school at nearby Open Hall or at the parish centre at King's Cove. Following the establishment of Plate Cove as a parish, Reverend Michael Hynes was appointed the first resident priest. In 1984 St. Patrick's Church was completely destroyed by fire. A new church was built in a more central location between Plate Cove East and Plate Cove West.
From 1990 to the present, St. Patrick's Parish in Plate Cove has been ministered to by assistants of the parish priest at nearby King's Cove.
Pastors that have served St. Patrick's parish since its inception include: Michael Hynes (1966-1979); Aloysius Antle (1979-1982); Gregory Pumphery (1983); William Hearn (1983); Larry/Lawrence George (1984-1989); Michael Hynes (1990-1992 parish priest of King's Cove; Sister Alice Dower PBVM assisted); William Houlahan (1993-1997 parish priest of King's Cove; Sister Sarah Moore, Sister Amelia Mooney and Sister Elizabeth Whelan assisted); Sebastian and Brian Colbert (1998-1999 parish priests of King's Cove; Sister Elizabeth Whelan assisted); Brian Dunn (1999- parish priest of King's Cove; Sister Elizabeth Whelan assisting as Administrator of Plate Cove).
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The first reference to the Curling Pastoral Charge appears in the United Church yearbook of 1928. In 1929, other preaching stations within the ministry included Humbermouth, Spruce Brook, and Summerside; Prior to its formation as a charge, Curling had been the head of the Bay of Islands Mission. That mission had formally been established in 1903; however, Methodism in the area can trace its history back to the formation of the Fortune Bay Mission in 1816, with headquarters in Grand Bank. As Methodist missionaries spread westward from Grand Bank, new missions were formed along the south coast and, later, the west coast: in 1839, the Western Shore Mission; in 1851, the Channel Mission; in 1873, the Bonne Bay Mission; and in 1883, the St. George's Mission. The St. George's Mission extended into Bay of Islands and, from 1889 to 1903, shared its title with Bay of Islands. Its appointments included Curling, Lark Harbour, Summerside, Wood's Island, Humbermouth, Corner Brook, Petries, Georgestown, Middle Arm, and Goose Arm. Deer Lake was added by 1915.
The first Methodist church/school in Curling was built in 1890. The first separate church was dedicated in the late 1890s. It burned in the early 1940s and was replaced in 1944 by the Curling Memorial Church. The construction of the Corner Brook Paper Mill began in 1923 and resulted in an influx of hundreds of people into the area. The increased demands on the church facilities in the Corner Brook area eventually led to the formation of new congregations and pastoral charges in Corner Brook. In 1948, the Humbermouth congregation also became a separate pastoral charge.
Currently, the pastoral charge is composed of congregations in Curling (Memorial) and Summerside (Bethany).
The Lester-Garland family, an English-based merchant family, was involved in the Newfoundland fish trade in the second half of the eighteenth century, with primary headquarters in Poole (England) and Trinity (Newfoundland). Like many businesses of the time, the Lester-Garland familial ties were reflected in the Lester-Garland enterprises. The principals in the Lester-Garland family were Benjamin Lester (1724-1802), brother Isaac Garland (1718-1778), son John Lester (d. 1805), son-in-law George Garland (1753-1825), grandsons Benjamin Garland (later Benjamin Lester, died), George Garland Jr. (d.) and John Bingley Garland (1791-1875).
Benjamin Lester (1724-1802) was born in Poole, Dorset, the son of Rachael (Taverner) and Francis Lester. His mother, Rachel, was the daughter of William Tavernor, Bay de Verde (Newfoundland) and his father, a former mayor of Poole, was involved in the Newfoundland trade. Lester married his cousin Susannah, daughter of Jacob Taverner (Trinity). He had six children, including one son, John, who survived him.
Following the death of his father (1737), Benjamin Lester relocated to Newfoundland where he was employed by his uncle, John Masters, a Poole-Newfoundland merchant, and Irish partner Michael Ballard. Lester became an agent for Masters at Trinity. By 1748, he was himself a leading planter and merchant, having received the substantial Trinity fishing premises, "Taverners" from his father-in-law. By the early 1760s, Lester and his brother Isaac were in partnership: Benjamin purchased Newfoundland codfish from planters and fishermen whom he also supplied with fishing gear and provisions; Isaac managed the Poole end of the enterprise by securing vessels, shipping supplies and fishing servants to Newfoundland and marketing incoming cargoes of Newfoundland fish, oil and pelts.
Benjamin Lester returned to Poole in 1767, but he continued to visit Trinity regularly to direct the company's Newfoundland operations. By the early 1770s, the Lesters owned an ocean-going fleet of 12 vessels and established mercantile premises at Trinity, Bonavista, Greenspond, and Tilting. They constructed vessels at Trinity and New Harbour, Trinity Bay, and became involved in the offshore fishery on the Grand Banks as well as the salmon fishery and the cod fishery along the French Shore and the Labrador coast. They also employed large numbers of men in cutting wood, trapping furs, and sealing.
After the death of Isaac Lester in 1778, Benjamin Lester continued the Poole-Newfoundland operations. By 1793, he owned 20 ships, the largest fleet operated by an English-Newfoundland merchant in the eighteenth century. He also accumulated substantial property in Poole, including Mansion House, Stone Cottage and two country estates.
One of the major concerns of Benjamin Lester was the continuation of his company as a family business under the Garland name. Son John had little interest in the Newfoundland trade and no male heirs. Daughter Amy married George Garland (1753-1825), who was employed as Lester's counting-house manager in Poole. As Lester became increasingly involved in British politics in the 1780s and 1790s, Garland assumed more direct responsibility for the trade. By his will, Benjamin Lester left the Newfoundland trade in half shares to his only son John Lester and to George Garland, to be operated as Benjamin Lester and Company. He also arranged that much of his Poole property should go to his eldest grandson, Benjamin Lester Garland (1779-1839), on condition that he would take the Lester surname. Benjamin Lester Garland changed his surname to Lester and received his inheritance, but took no interest in the Newfoundland trade. The firm Benjamin Lester & Company continued until the death of John Lester in 1805 when George Garland assumed control. In 1819, Benjamin Lester was replaced in the firm by his brothers, George Jr. and John Bingley Garland (1791-1875), first Speaker for the Newfoundland House of Assembly.
Sons George Garland Jr. and John Bingley Garland were sent to Trinity to manage the company's Newfoundland assets. In 1821 John returned to Poole where he managed the Poole headquarters until his return to Newfoundland in 1832. Following the retirement of his father (1822) and the departure of George Jr. from the family business (1830) and his death without heir, John Bingley Garland became sole proprietor. He established a partnership with St. John's merchants George R. Robinson and Thomas Brooking. He returned again to Poole following a brief political career, and dissolved his partnership with Robinson and Brooking. The Garland premises at Trinity operated under a variety of names until 1906 when it was purchased by Ryan Brothers (Bonavista).
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The Health Sciences Library (HSL), originally called the Faculty of Medicine Library, was an integral component of the medical school at Memorial University of Newfoundland. It was set up initially in a small room in the Temporary Buildings on the Memorial University of Newfoundland campus. June Leath Huntley, consultant in residence, and Dr. K. B. Roberts, associate dean of medicine and head of physiology, were instrumental in the development of the library, ensuring that it met standards that led to its official recognition as a medical library in 1969. In 1971 the library was renamed Medical Library and moved to a space between Temporary Buildings 7 and 9.
There were several developments in the Medical Library in 1972. Richard Fredericksen was appointed as its first medical librarian. In January, the library published the first issue of the Faculty of Medicine Library Newsletter. Also in that month, the library began sending unbound journals to the bindery. The library was remodeled, and staffing increased to three professional and seven technical support staff positions.
In 1973, the Library Affairs Committee and the Faculty Council approved the medical librarian’s recommendation to change from the Library of Congress classification system to the National Library of Medicine system, which provided more categories, had a more logical arrangement, and was revised more frequently. In August, the library announced the establishment of MEDLINE (a computerized bibliographic retrieval system providing on-line access to citations contained in more than 1000 of the world’s biomedical serial titles), which had just become operational in mid June.
The library experienced a monumental change in 1975 when it moved from the main campus into its present location on the ground floor of the newly constructed Health Sciences Centre. The move took place during the week of February 3 and by Monday, February 10, the library opened in its new setting. The library originally had seating for 180 patrons and stacking for 60,000 volumes, which eventually expanded to accommodation for 395 patrons and 135,000 volumes. The library also acquired a core collection of dental material to support dentists practising in the province. On a less positive note the library also experienced its first flood on April 17 of that year and required 87 man hours to restore order to the chaos that ensued. By June 1975 the library’s collection had grown from 14,000 volumes to approximately 20,000. The staff had increased to one position in Administration, seven positions in Public Services, eleven positions in Technical Services, and 21 part-time staff.
The Medical Library increased its mandate when it assumed responsibility for library services to Memorial University School of Nursing in 1977. That summer, books and journals relating to nursing were moved from the main university library (named Henrietta Harvey Library in 1970, renamed Queen Elizabeth II Library in 1982), to the Medical Library. The Medical Library’s collection increased again that year when the General Hospital Medical Library moved its holdings to the library. Shortly after these changes the title Medical Library was replaced with Health Sciences Library in recognition of the library’s expanded role in providing library services to a broad range of health sciences disciplines. In keeping with the new library name, Mr. Fredericksen’s title was changed from medical librarian to health sciences librarian.
Meanwhile, Dr. K. B. Roberts had resigned as assistant dean of Basic Medical Sciences in 1974 in order to concentrate on the acquisition of a special history of medicine collection for the Faculty of Medicine. In October 1978, he was appointed the first John Clinch History of Medicine Professor. On Sept. 15, 1979, the Historical Collection Room of the Health Sciences Library was officially opened. The collection contained over 100 books and items about the history of medical science and practice, nursing and community health with special emphasis placed on the history of medicine in this province. In 1986, Shelagh Wotherspoon, head, Public Services, Health Sciences Library, and Isabel Hunter (former health sciences librarian), published, “A Bibliography of Health Care in Newfoundland,” Occasional Papers in Medical History: number six, editor: Dr. K. B. Roberts.
The position of head librarian has been filled by a number of librarians since 1972. The first head librarian, Mr. Fredericksen, resigned from his position as health sciences librarian on June 30, 1978. The position was temporarily filled by Ms. Catherine Sheehan until she was succeeded by Ms. Isabel Hunter in January 1979. Ms. Hunter spent five years as head of the Health Sciences Library before resigning on March 31, 1984. Ms. Shelagh Wotherspoon was appointed acting head of the library, effective April 1, 1984, while a search ensued to fill the position on a permanent basis. Ms. Catherine Quinlan was appointed as the new health sciences librarian on Jan. 15, 1985 and served for five years before she resigned on Aug. 31, 1990. At that time Ms. Linda Barnett was appointed Acting Health Sciences Librarian until Aug. 1, 1991, when the present head, Mr. George Beckett was appointed as the new health sciences librarian. Mr. Beckett has led the library though enormous changes over the past 16 years.
Under the guidance of its respective head librarians the library continued to expand and implement technology wherever it was beneficial. When the School of Pharmacy opened at Memorial in the Fall of 1986, the pharmacy programme of the College of Trades and Technology was phased out and its library pharmacy collection was transferred to the Health Sciences Library.
The years 1988-1989 encompassed great changes in renovations and computerization of the catalogue. On March 20, 1989, the library moved forward with its on-line catalogue allowing patrons to search the library’s entire holdings at micro workstations in the library. Ten years later, the Faculty of Medicine Founders’ Archive was established as a division of the library and was officially opened in 2000.
Today, the Health Sciences Library collection includes material on medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry and allied health. In the health and allied disciplines, there are approximately 40,000 books (paper format); 20,000 electronic texts; 8,000 electronic journals; 350 current journals (paper format); and 1,800 audio-visual items. The library also provides access to approximately 30,000 non-health electronic journals and 220,000 electronic texts that are accessible through general Memorial University agreements. Currently, the library has a complement of seven librarians, a secretary, an administrative staff specialist II, a computer support person, an archivist, ten library assistants and one archival assistant (levels LA III to LA VIII), contractual employees, student assistants and MUCEP students.
In addition to students, staff and faculty in the Memorial University health sciences disciplines of medicine, nursing and pharmacy, the Health Sciences Library also acts as a resource centre for Eastern Health (Health Sciences Centre). The library also serves all health practitioners in the province with electronic resources provided through the Newfoundland and Labrador Health Knowledge Information Network (NLHKIN). The library is now preparing for a major change as the majority of its information resources are converted from paper to electronic format.
Located on the first floor of the Health Sciences Centre, the library provides services for many groups. They include: Faculty of Medicine, School of Nursing and School of Pharmacy (Memorial University of Newfoundland); General Hospital, Janeway Children’s Centre and Rehabilitation Centre (Health Care Corporation of St. John’s); Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Centre (Newfoundland Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation); and in addition, the library is a resource centre for all health practitioners in Newfoundland and Labrador.
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The firm of C. & A. Dawe of Bay Roberts, Newfoundland, was formed circa 1877 by Captain Charles Dawe (1845-1908) and his brother, Azariah Dawe. It was a typical outport fish merchant operation in that goods were imported and sold to fishermen in exchange for their produce, which was then shipped to foreign markets. C. & A. Dawe may have imported and exported goods and produce on its own account since it was a large firm and probably not dependent on a St. John's supplier.
Captain Charles Dawe was a well-known schooner and steamer master in both the Labrador cod fishery and the sealing industry. Dawe was also active in politics, first sitting as a Conservative MHA for the district of Harbour Grace from 1878 to 1889, and later as representative for Port de Grave from 1893 to 1900. He sat on the Executive Council in the administrations of A. J. Goodridge (1894) and James Winter (1897-1900) and served briefly as leader of the opposition after the resignation of A. B. Morine in 1906.
Before his death in 1908, Charles Dawe wrote a will in which he stipulated that the business be wound up within five years of his death. While evidence exists that the business was wound up by the executors circa 1911, a 1923-1925 ledger confirms that the business was re-formed, either by Azariah, his son Robert, or some other family member.
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The Newfoundland Associated Fish Exporters Limited (NAFEL), incorporated in 1947, was a marketing, or brokerage, organization established by the Newfoundland government, with the exclusive right to market all salt codfish produced for export in Newfoundland. The organization maintained its headquarters in St. John's and its first general manager was F.A.J. Lawes. The structure of NAFEL was based partly upon that of the salt codfish exporting agencies (such as the Portugal Exporters Group and the Spanish Exporters Associations, which preceded it), and partly upon that of other marketing agencies in Canada and the United States.
Any person, firm or corporation included in the production and/or export of salt codfish was eligible for membership in NAFEL, subject to approval by the Board of Directors and compliance with four conditions: payment of a $10,000 fee; agreement to all rules and regulations; signature to a contractual agreement; and the provision of personal, corporate or bank guarantees, if required. The majority of the Board (5-10) were from outport areas.
In addition to the membership fee, each member of NAFEL paid an assessment on fish exports. The rate was determined by the Directors and the funds raised were used to finance NAFEL's administration and operation.; NAFEL operated until 1970 when the federal government established the Canadian Salt Fish Corporation.