Tag Archives: MUN

Gander Bay NL

decks-awash-1983-v12-no6-coverDecks Awash, in 1983, published an issue about Gander Bay and Hamilton Sound. Below are the pages about Charles Francis of Clarke’s Head in Gander Bay. He was a Mi’kmaw from Pictou Landing, Nova Scotia. In 1821, when he was maybe 12 years old, he settled at Clarke’s Head, where the Gander River meets the bay.

Click or tap the images to enlarge them. You can see the entire magazine online at the MUN Digital Archives.

Gander Bay area

gander bay intro…For the most part this 10-mile-wide bay, which was once part of the French Shore was overlooked by settlers until the early 1800s. This is perhaps because Newfoundland was valuable as a base for the fishing industry, and Gander Bay is shallow and too far from the fishing grounds of Hamilton Sound to have been seen as a suitable area for settlement…

The first settler was a Micmac Indian, originally from Nova Scotia. The first white settlers arrived via Fogo and Change Islands in search of farm land and timber, and by all accounts lived in harmony with the Micmac settler. In fact, intermarriage occurred and many residents of Clarke’s Head and other communities in the vicinity are of Micmac descent…

Clarke’s Head, Gander Bay

decks-awash-1983-clarkes-head-p-10Sometime in the late 1700s a Micmac Indian and his mother arrived in what is now Clarke’s Head by way of Conne River. Near the mouth of the Gander River he cleared a plot of land and set about trapping furs to earn a living. He also fished for salmon on the river to provide variety in his diet. His name was Charles Francis.

But his solitude did not last long. A few years later John Bussey came from Fogo in search of land suitable for farming. Being an industrious sort, he cleared an entire point and called it, not surprisingly, Bussey’s Point. He planted vegetables and raised livestock, and like his Micmac neighbor fished for salmon. His attempt at immortality did not succeed, however, for the area later became known as Tibbey’s Point and today it is no longer distinguished form Clarke’s Head at all.

Gradually, more settlers came, and by 1838 there were eight houses at Clarke’s Head with a population of 68. Somewhere along the way Charles married into the white community, taking a Gillingham woman from Greenspond for his wife. Their only problem was that he was Roman Catholic and she was a member of the Church of England. They brought that situation to a happy conclusion by agreeing to raise half their children in her faith and the other half in his. It is possible, however that Charles’ mother was none too pleased with the arrangement for she returned to Nova Scotia.

decks-awash-1983-clarkes-head-11As time went on Clarke’s Head became known for its lumbering. A shipbuilder named Saunders from Blackpool, England, came to Clarke’s Head in the 1890s and set up business premises. He invested in the fishery including the Labrador and operated a large sawmill which exported rough lumber. The operation of the mill continued until the 1950s. At about the same time a George Phillips obtained leases for 270 thousand acres of virgin timberland on the banks of the Gander River and began to operate mills at Botwood, Glenwood, Norris Arm and Campbellton. In the winter he employed between 200 and 300 men in his woods’ operation near Clarke’s Head. But the operation literally died with him in 1905, just ten years after it began. It was purchased by the Newfoundland Timber Estates which closed it down soon afterwards. Perhaps because of the importance of the woods’ operations, the fishery in Clarke’s Head began to die.

Clarke’s Head has the distinction of being the site of the first church in Gander Bay. In 1905 an Anglican Church was finished to provide a place of worship for the community’s 221 members of the Church of England. The Roman Catholic Church maintained its presence of 36 members which grew to 42 over the next 30 years. There were also 13 Methodists in the community.

Clarke’s Head is the place where the first moose was landed in Newfoundland. In 1875 the HMS Eclipse landed a buck and a doe to see if the animals could survive in the area. The following year the fisheries officer aboard the HMS Bullfinch arrived to find that the buck was dead and the doe had wandered off. At this point the oral tradition surrounding the story becomes interesting. One version has it that a man traveling by horse and sled to Clarke’s Head struck the buck and injured it so badly that there was nothing to be done but put the poor animal out of its misery. A more plausible version claims that the unnamed gentleman killed the moose intentionally for the supper table perhaps starting the tradition of setting out in winter to hunt for moose in the woods around Gander Bay. It was not until several years later that more moose were landed in the area.

It is also said that there was a great fire in Clarke’s Head in the 1890s which wiped out all the houses in the community. The fire is said to have cut a path a mile wide for a distance of five miles to an area known as Charles Cove.

One final note of distinction at Clarke’s Head is the development of the Gander Bay river boat. In appearance it is remarkably like an Indian canoe with a few modifications. it is designed to withstand rough waters and, since it does not sit very deep in the water is ideal for use in the shallow waters of Gander Bay and the Gander River. Today, the boats are made by Gander Bay Woodcrafts at Clarke’s Head operated by the local Indian Band Council.

Some definite opportunities

decks-awash-1983-calvin-francis-41decks-awash-1983-calvin-francis-42

Calvin Francis, above, is the great grandson of Charles William Francis, eldest son of Charles Francis and Caroline Gillingham. He represents Gander Bay on the Qalipu First Nation council.

Children of Charles and Caroline Francis

Charlie and Caroline had seven children, all born in Clarke’s Head. They are:

  • Charles William Francis, born about 1855. He married Rachel Wadden, born about 1862 in Change Islands. They had three sons and one daughter: Herbert, Simon, Edgar and Althea.
  • Peter Francis, born about 1856 and died 1922. He married Dorcas Gillingham, born 1866 and died 1950. They had seven children: Theodore, Angus, Katie, Ida, Beatrice, Florence and Elijah.
  • Fanny Francis, born about 1859 and died soon after her marriage to Azariah Snow, born about 1858 in Hare Bay, Fogo Island.
  • Thomas Francis, born about 1862. He married Julia Peckford, born 1865 in Change Islands. They had nine children: Caroline, Lewis Aquilla, Frederick Pierce, Alberta, Laura Bridget, Chesley, Winifred, Thomas Riley and Sidney Ralph.
  • Mary Ann Francis, born late 1860s. She married Levi Stuckey, born about 1860 in Herring Neck, New World Island in Notre Dame Bay. They had three daughters: Maud, Lillian and Daisy.
  • Andrew Francis, born about 1869. He married Isabelle Pinsent, born about 1885 in Pilley’s Island, Notre Dame Bay. They had three daughters: Henrietta, Amanda Matilda and Evelyn.
  • Edward (Ned) Francis, born 1869 and died 1948. He married Sarah Anne Taylor, born about 1875 in Carbonear. They had 4 children: Helena, Peter Alphonsus, Melvin and Veronica.

Dr. George Park 1925-2015

George Park Oct 2012Today, Dr. George Park died at the age of 90. He was a retired professor of Anthropology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He was my thesis advisor and he and his late wife Alice were my “St. John’s parents”. Below is an excerpt from the introductory chapter of a manuscript that he was working on. It tells us something about his life and his way of thinking. 

Kinga and the Knowledge Wars

My US schooling between the two World Wars was an excellent preparation for university, but left one pretty much in the nineteenth century. I was twenty and a Marine Corps fighter pilot waiting in the South Pacific for the planned invasion of Japan—when the war over there quite suddenly ended…

I didn’t discover the beauties of the social sciences until I was in graduate school. I’d gone back to university after trying journalism because it finally came to me that my colleagues in the profession had picked up almost nothing useful in ‘journalism’ classes about what a writer might do for the world – what the great journalists had done – only learned the ropes. After graduating in literature and philosophy I was finding out how little I understood of what my eyes were observing of the ‘real world’. Three years of graduate work covering all the social sciences led to one intensive year in anthropology. By then we (man & wife & two boys then) had to decide which way to go for earning our bread: ‘high journalism’ and ‘social scientist’ were my options. We decided I should teach for a year, and with one thing and another it turned into something more like a decade.

The Chicago School

Sociologists today know the university where I did my graduate work as home of ‘the Chicago school’, an early teaching which linked the social sciences to direct observation and thereby to a ‘high journalistic‘ style of qualitative sociology–something contrasting to ‘quantitative‘ studies which ‘measure’ social systems without necessarily becoming directly acquainted with them… Most sociology falls between the two contrasting poles. I started my teaching career as a sociologist but moved toward the ‘qualitative‘ pole as best I could. The first step was a two year field study in northern Norway (for the doctorate degree in anthropology. Later I was able to get a post-doctorate year at Cambridge (UK) in ‘British social anthropology’ and consequently the fieldwork in Tanzania.

In the meantime, pretty much behind my back, the social sciences were flourishing in the US. That break from tradition came rather later on the British side. Social anthropology had developed without much sociological foundation there, though London in its classes brought European ‘sociological philosophy’ (not much observational basis) to bear and to good effect.

Social Structure

The more doctrinaire notions at ‘Ox-bridge’ about social structure had helped their fieldworkers start with the politically important features of social organization but had prevented their going much beyond. They sniffed at the ‘American’ notion of an anthropology centered in ‘culture’ and the descriptive analysis of prevailing ‘sentiments’ or ‘psychological’ premises implicit in the style of a people’s communal life. British social anthropologists kept to the end their notion of a ‘system in equilibrium’ as the subject one should study in the field. UK’s only really popular star in the profession was copiously descriptive in style and drifted in the end to New England. This was Bronislaw Malinowski, Polish-born author of an always engaging shelf of books on the South Pacific’s Trobriand Islanders…

Knowledge Wars

So it is to my British tutors I owe my own special interest in social structure, but to fellow North American academics I owe my interest in direct observation (out in the public arena, in the study of a profession or a functioning institution, a community) using facework as a scientific tool. I also owe to North Americans the long years of stress which have led me to an understanding of the useless ‘knowledge wars’ I want to address in this book. The problem, you will see, is the very purposefulness of the narrow mindedness social scientists are expected to show in the pursuit of wisdom in Academia americanensis.

The history of knowledge is older and more lush than the Garden of Academe, but the tales intimately intertwine from the start of the 20th century, when universities undertook the management of public moneys for the advancement of science. Until that point, a university was a center for educating a lumpen elite, the live storage of books, and the meeting of scholarly minds. The introduction of Science, with its increasing needs for equipment, new buildings, salaries for research, and en masse professional training left the poor classical scholar up a tree dreaming of a Saintly re-established Equilibrium. Still, those were stirring times. By the time I had done my apprenticeship, the signs of a shrinking world were burgeoning everywhere.

Paperbacks

The great knowledge revolution had taken hold, and knowledge of any sort, ‘practical’ or not, had begun to seem worth pursuing. The first phase in the democratization of knowledge began slowly with commodification of books in the English language: paperbacks, pocket size. The French had them earlier but in fuller size: ergo no sudden revolution. The US version got publishers putting scarce ‘library books’ in cheap versions, ‘mass produced’ with catchy covers.

Reading a monograph on an African pedestrian culture community had meant, throughout my time teaching sociology before Cambridge and Africa, at least a week getting hold of the book and writing long notes and citations without marring the library’s copy. A short generation later, by the sixties, you could assign such a monograph for a class and expect the students to buy it. Today, I suppose, that first phase of democratizing ‘college-level’ books was segueing into a further phase of ‘instant availability’ by courtesy of digital devices.

Technology had been democratizing knowledge but, for magnifying the knowledge base of social anthropology, the time was short. Research grants were painfully hard to get, and our ‘science’ hardly matured before the ‘field’ for ethnographic observation had virtually disappeared. Yet it is a premise of these pages that the immersion studies actually accomplished – in the too-short window of time a world in turmoil allowed – are a priceless inheritance, unique in its implications for basic research on what we almost casually used to call the ‘human condition’.

Pebbles of Fieldwork

I won’t try making a monument of pebbles, but bits of insight will begin to yield knowledge when you have got them properly laid out. The result can’t be seamless, and it could never be final. The very final chapter in the story of mankind will still be full of new stuff lying unsorted. That is one philosophical point I want to make, and I want to make it by showing off and sorting the pebbles I brought back, as a much younger social anthropologist, from Africa.

I was lucky enough to have, with my feisty, long treasured Alice and our four children, two years in East Africa just as colonial governments were secretly coming to an end. My research dealt with the Kinga people still thriving then in the Livingstone mountains of southwestern Tanganyika, (now Tanzania)…

Fieldwork in the early 1960s came to be focused on reconstructing the precolonial experience of ‘pure Kinga’ communities. What I knew about them when I arrived in their District was only that Kinga were ‘conservative’ in the meaning of their British governors. They hadn’t sold out or lost their way, they had kept continuity with their past as an independent people. This good news and a climate suitable for children had attracted me, and over the next six months as I reconnoitred and my family got settled in a luxurious mud hut (three rooms, tin roof) there was more good news. Guesswork had found me precisely the kind of people I stood to learn most from.

Kinga Trilogy by Dr. George Park

George Park and daughter Oct 2012His Kinga trilogy is available at Scribd to read online or download:

2001 Twin Shadows: Moral strategies of the Kinga of southwest Tanzania

2002 The Four Realms: Religion and politics in the making of an African protostate

2002 A Politics of Fear, a Religion of Blame: A comparative study of Kinga, Pangwa & Nyakyusa peoples in southwest Tanzania