A young man begins a new life in a new community.

Chapter One

The Newcomer

George Harvey arrived in Simpson one fine day in early April of 1847. He had come there as a servant to one John Manning, one of the more prosperous fishermen in the place, if any fisherman could be called that, in a day when everyone in the colony was to some extent, dependant on the local merchant. George was a young man, just 27 years old, and determined to have a fishing boat of his own the following year. He had grown up in Hermitage Bay, in a small cove called Little Valley, near Gaultois. He found it simplest to tell his new friends that he was from Gaultois, a name that most recognized as one of the larger communities along that part of the coast. The young women in the community, except for the merchant’s daughter, Eliza, who was dating the minister’s son, looked with interest at this new and marriageable man in their midst. George was a good worker and very much at home in both the fishing boat, and in the stage where the fish was “put away”, which meant headed and gutted, before being split and salted. Both women and men worked in the stage and later on the flakes, where the fish were spread to dry in the sun.

With the encouragement of John Manning, George built himself a dory the following winter, and in March, M.T. Crew, the local merchant, agreed to extend him credit for the fishing season. That winter too, he started dating Fanny Reid, one of the local girls who was thirteen years his junior. Most of Fanny’s girlfriends were already married and some, expecting their first baby. The fishing season was a good one for the times and George did as well as most of the other dory fishermen who fished alone, or as it was often called singlehandedly. He and Fanny married that Fall, and were still living with her parents, when their first son, Henry was born in December of 1851. Three weeks later, the family gathered at St. Paul’s church where Henry was baptized and became a member of the Church of England in Newfoundland.

George attended the annual church meeting in January with the other men of the community, though like the majority, he could neither read nor write, and left most of the decision making to those who could. Rev. Kingwell chaired the meeting, Mr. Crew, the merchant and church treasurer sat next to him, and Mr. Antle, the schoolteacher acted as secretary. There were four others present who had some formal education, Sam Bottom, a clerk in Mr. Crew’s store, John Hann, who owned a small shop in the Northeast of the harbour and two of the fishermen, James Drake and Issac Haynes. Since most of the fishermen had little if any money, their contribution to the church was in fish. Although a few had given Rev. Kingwell a quintal of fish as their church ‘dues’, the majority, including George, could only manage half that amount. The clergyman also reminded those present that under Newfoundland’s Representative Government, there would be an election in the spring, and all men 21 and over, were eligible to vote and he encouraged all to do so. The minister and the merchant were neighbours and as they walked home that night, both knew that in the upcoming election, many of the fishermen would be depending on one of them to tell him how to vote. Since one was a staunch Conservative and the other, a devout Liberal, politics was a subject that they never discussed.

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Liked it
  • Lee Ingram on Nov 3, 2011

    Awesome job as usual

  • rajaryanme on Nov 4, 2011

    Good story explained pretty well.

  • multiplenews on Nov 5, 2011

    A good write up.

  • Ruby Hawk on Nov 6, 2011

    I wonder what they told the people. You must finish the story,Moses. I am in suspense.

  • PR Mace on Nov 7, 2011

    I’m with Ruby, I must know the ending.

  • juliachild on Nov 8, 2011

    Interesting

  • FX777222999 on Nov 8, 2011

    Excellent start of a story indeed. The continuation I hope to be excellent too.

  • lonelyplanet on Nov 9, 2011

    A very touching story.

  • realityspeaks on Nov 10, 2011

    Heartfelt

  • juliachild on Nov 14, 2011

    Interesting……

  • girishpuri on Dec 23, 2011

    good one

  • Eiddwen on Apr 30, 2012

    Brilliant Moses !!!

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