• Pool’s Island, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • From Wikipedia,
  • Not to be confused with Pooles Island.
  • Pool’s Island is an incorporated community of Badger’s Quay-Valleyfield-Pool’s Island in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It is now part of the town of New-Wes-Valley.
  • History[edit]
  • Pool’s Island was named Fool’s Island up until the 1850s. It was visited in the late 18th century by migratory fishermen but permanent settlement did not begin until about 1800 by seal fishermen and inshore cod fishermen. The first known resident was Anne Jeans, recorded in 1815. By 1821, a sealing captain from Greenspond, William Knee, was living on Pool’s Island, and in 1823, a Jacob Preston was there. Other family names that came to Pool’s Island were Kean, Ayles, Pope, Dalton, and Davis; many of these settlers came from Flowers Island. There was a rapid increase in population between 1845 and 1869 when the population grew from 177 to 524, mainly because of the Labrador seal hunt and Pool’s Island was in the path of the harp seal migration route. The growth of Pool’s Island eventually led to the growth of communities surrounding it, such as Valleyfield and Badger’s Quay.[1]
  • Church history[edit]
  • In 1836, nine people out of the 112 on Pool’s Island were Roman Catholic, the rest were Church of England. By 1845 there was a Roman Catholic school and church on the island. There was no resident minister in Pool’s Island so Missionaries from other communities would visit Pool’s Island for services, baptisms, burials, and marriages. In 1865 the St. James Anglican Church was built on Pool’s Island and was consecrated on September 24, 1865 by Bishop Edward Feild.[2]
  • Education[edit]
  • As early as 1830 children were being educated on Pool’s Island, a building on the island was used as a school until the first school was built in 1862. In 1841 there were 30 students under John Spurrell, and in 1848 there were 48 students. The next teacher was William Murch from England who taught from 1858 to 1873. A new school room was built on Pool’s Island in 1883.[3] In 1895 C.W. Prowse wrote in his history of Newfoundland that the branch school at Pool’s Island was established in 1829 and was being run by a branch teacher with 20 pupils in day school and 27 in Sunday school.[4]
  • Seal fishery[edit]
  • The seal fishery played an enormous role in the permanent settlemen and growth of Pool’s Island. Because of its prime location for the seal fishery many captains and steamers operated out of Pool’s Island. Chafe’s Sealing Book lists several steamers from Pool’s Island that were a part of the St. John’s steam sealing fleet from 1863 to 1894. These ships, their master, and the supplier are as follows:
    Wolf William Kean Walter Grieve & Co.
    Greenland B. Kean Nicholas Stabb
    Kite W. Knee Bowring Brothers
    MicMac S. Bartlett Baine Johston & Co.
    Nimrod B. Crocker Job Brothers & Co.
    Wolf II 2nd A. Kean Newfoundland S.S. & W.F. Co.
  • Chafe’s book also lists a ship that sailed from Pool’s Island that was a part of the Harbour Grace steam sealing fleet and that was the Mastiff mastered by Isaac Mercer, and supplied by John Munn & Co.[5]
  • Naboth Winsor’s Stalwart Men and Sturdy Ships provides ample detail about the seal fishery in Bonavista Bay North, which includes Pool’s Island. In one of Winsor’s charts, Pool’s Island is listed as having 38 seal nets in 1845, 57 in 1857, and 18 in 1869. Also, in 1857 Pool’s Island had 9 large boats suitable for the seal fishery.[6]
  • Census information[edit]
  • 1836 1845 1857 1869 1874
    population 112 177 311 524 506
    inhabited houses 13 16 30 66 67
    families 51 83 80
    Church of England 103 162 306 476 442
    Roman Catholic 9 15
    Wesleyan/Methodists 5 48 64
    can read/write 169 206
    # of students 39 39 37
    merchants/traders 1 1
    people catching/curing fish 240 147 256
    seamen/fishermen 78  ? 85
    total fishing boats 12 14 32 8 23
    boats built 2
    nets/seines 45 48 66 195
    cod fish cured (qtls) 5010 6606
    herring cured (Bls) 150
    vessels in seal fishery 6 18 14
    men on board 119 131 216
    tonnage in fishery 352 716 672
    seals caught 8725
    seal nets 38 57 18
    fishing rooms in use 23 22 30
    stores/barns/outhouses 28 23 41
    Oil (tuns) 1614 3884
    tons of hay 4 2
    barrels potatoes produced 766.5 260 406 1172 2048
    barrels of turnip 49 47 45
    hogs 6
    cows 3
    sheep 2 7 15
    swine/goats 19 61 167


– Hutchinson’s Directory for 1864-65 lists some residents of Pool’s Island:[7]

  • George Dyke, Planter and Shipowner
  • Samuel Dyke, Planter and Shipowner
  • William Keane, Planter and Shipowner
  • John Knee, Sr., Planter
  • Phillip Knee, Planter and Shipowner
  • John Spurrell, Planter and Shipowner

– Lovell’s Directory for 1871 describes Pool’s Island as an island on the north side of Bonavista Bay with a good harbour, distant from Greenspond 3 miles by boat with a population of 524. The names listed are:[8]

  • Abbot, John – Fisherman
  • Abbot, Stephen – Fisherman
  • Atwood, Thomas – Planter
  • Ayles, Charles – Fisherman
  • Barefoot, George – Fisherman
  • Barefoot, William – Fisherman
  • Brown, Robert – Fisherman
  • Brown, Samuel – Fisherman
  • Brown, Thomas – Planter
  • Brown, William – Fisherman
  • Dalton, John – Fisherman
  • Dalton, William – Fisherman
  • Davis, Isaac – Fisherman
  • Davis, Job – Planter
  • Dick, Samuel – Fisherman
  • Dick, Edward – Fisherman
  • Dick, George – Planter
  • Feltham, William – Fisherman
  • Gillingham, Thomas – Fisherman
  • Hallett, Reuben – Fisherman
  • Hallett, William – Fisherman
  • Haskins, George – Fisherman
  • Helleway, Charles – Planter
  • House, Peter – Merchant
  • Howell, Henry – Fisherman
  • Howell, James – Fisherman
  • James, James – Planter
  • Jeans, George – Fisherman
  • Jeans, Henry – Fisherman
  • Jeans, Robert – Planter
  • Jeans, Thomas – Fisherman
  • Jeans, William – Fisherman
  • Kents, Job – Fisherman
  • Keane, Benjamin – Fisherman
  • Keane, William – Merchant
  • King, George – Planter
  • Knee, Benjamin – Fisherman
  • Knee, George – Planter
  • Knee, James – Fisherman
  • Knee, John, jr – Fisherman
  • Knee, John, sr – Planter
  • Knee, Peter – Fisherman
  • Knee, Philip – Fisherman
  • Knee, Philip, sr – Fisherman
  • Knee, William – Planter
  • Parsons, William – Fisherman
  • Pope, John – Fisherman
  • Preston, Jacob – Fisherman
  • Rogers, James – Fisherman
  • Scott, William – Planter
  • Sheppard, James – Fisherman
  • Sheppard, John – Fisherman
  • Sheppard, William – Fisherman
  • Spurrell, John – Fisherman
  • Spurrell, Robert – Planter
  • Spurrell, Samuel – Fisherman
  • Spurrell, William – Planter
  • Stoke, Francis – Fisherman
  • White, George – Fisherman
  • Winter, David – Fisherman
  • Winter, James, jr. – Fisherman
  • Winter, James, sr.
  • Winter, John – Fisherman


  • 1880s outport road board commissioners for Pool’s Island were House, Knee, Davis, and King
  • The way officer for Pool’s Island in the 1880s was Peter House
  • Philip Knee was the ferryman in Pool’s Island in the 1890s[9]
  • Sealing steamer captain Benjamin Kean was born on Pool’s Island, some of his steamers were the Greenland in 1877, and Hector in 1889.[10]
  • Pool’s Island lost five men in the Greenland Disaster of 1898 under Captain George Barbour. They were: Benjamin Browne, James Howell, William Kelloway, Joseph Osmond, and Thomas White.[6]


  1. Jump up^ Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador
  2. Jump up^ Naboth Winsor, The Church Between the Tickles: a history of St. James Anglican Church, Pool’s Island, Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland, 1988.
  3. Jump up^ Naboth Winsor, The Church Between the Tickles, 1988.
  4. Jump up^ C.W. Prowse, A History of Newfoundland, 1895.
  5. Jump up^ Levi Chafe, Chafe’s Sealing Books a statistical record of the Newfoundland steamer seal fishery, 1863–1941, edited by Shannon Ryan, 1989.
  6. Jump up to:a b Naboth Winsor, Stalwart Men and Sturdy Ships, 1985.
  7. Jump up^ Thomas Hutchinson, Hutchinson’s Newfoundland Directory, 1864.
  8. Jump up^ J. Lovell, Lovell’s Newfoundland Directory, 1871.
  9. Jump up^ Newfoundland Almanac
  10. Jump up^ Shannon Ryan, Ice Hunters, 1994.

From the web – my thanks to the author(s) of this history

St. Alban’s Church History .

Badger’s Quay was first described in  a 1891 census as Badger’s Key, with a population of 87 people. Historians say that Badger’s Quay was settled because Pool’s Island could no longer accommodate it’s growing population.

One of our  senior parishioners tells a story of how sixty people met one evening on Pool’s Island to discuss a community problem. There was no more space upon which to build homes, sheds; no place for new gardens ,and such as was needed to provide hearth and home.

Names were drawn from a hat to decide who would move “across the Tickle.”

Thus began one of Newfoundland’s first resettlements.

The cornerstone of St. Alban’s Church was laid by The Revd. T.W. Upward on Dec. 28 1905.

The first service was held on Sunday January 17th 1909.  The following is a quotation from the inside  of St. Alban’s first Service Register, (Vestry Book) written by the hand of The Revd. T.W. Upward in 1909:

The Foundation Stone of St. Alban’s Church Badger’s Quay was laid by The Revd. T.W. Upward on the 28th day of December 1905, and the building was opened for divine service on Sunday , the 17th day of January , 1909.

The Rev. Henry Earle.M.A. Incumbent of Greenspond mission , was the preacher in the morning and the rector preached in the afternoon and evening.. Mr. E.H. Humphries, L.R. read the first evening lesson and Mr. Walter Bugden the second. Messers G. Parsons and Ernest Lush Lay Readers were also present in the choir.

The processional before the Holy Eucharist was “The Church’s One Foundation”, The recessional “Pleasant Are Thy Courts Above.” In the Evening the processional was “Onward Christian Soldiers”; the Recessional “Through the Night of Doubt and Sorrow”. The Psalms sung at the evening service were cxxii & cxxxii. Mr E.H. Humphries carried the Processional Cross. Mr. Walter Bugden drew the plan of the building and Messers Aaron & Geo.Gillingham were the builders. The building committee were messrs John Spurrell, Robert Green, Robert Spurrell, Charles Dyke, Jesse Spurrell,Joseph Knee, S.R. Winsor,William Spurrell,Abner Spurrell, and Frederick Hoskins.

Approximately one year after St. Alban’s had opened, a church bell was presented by the C.E.W.A. (Church of England Women’s Association)

There is not a lot known about the bell but it may have been made by the Menelly and Company. This company is the oldest bell maker in the United States and around the early 1900′s, they produced thousands of them for Churches and Schools all over the country. At that time a thirty inch bell (about the size of St.Alban’s bell) would cost $167.00 and weighed in at 557 lbs. The first sexton to ring the bell was Mr. Nathaniel Dyke, followed by Benjamin Janes and Noah Knee or uncle Nor as he was known. After a few years being used, the bell had developed a crack and had to be sent to Menelly and Company to be recast.

The inscription on the church bell reads as follows: Menelly & CompanyWatervliet, NY. 1923

To the glory of God

Presented by the C.E.W.A. 1910 Recast 1923

On Feb. 25 1929 it was decided to extend the Church building in order to accommodate  a rapidly growing congregation. The interior of St. Alban’s is finished with varnished Georgian Pine, and containsmany family commemorative touches that make this beautiful building well worth a visit. Other….. May 19th. 1939 – St. Alban’s  Bell tower was struck by lightning.October 31, 1981 extensive fire damage.

Over the past years we have replaced the old furnace with two energy efficient units, and reshingled the roof. We soon hope to replace many of our windows, many of which are showing the adverse weathering effects of  many years past.

From the Minute Book of St. Alban’s:   The first meeting of St. Alban’s Congregation was held in the school room on the 29th of January 1909, the Rector presiding. Robert Green was appointed the

Clergyman’s Warden, and Robert Spurrell was elected people’s warden. Nathaniel Dyke was elected sexton at a salary of $25.00 per annum.  John Spurrell sr. Samuel R. Winsor, Charles Dyke, William Spurrell, Joseph Knee, Abner Spurrell, Frederick Hoskins and Jesse Spurrell were elected vestrymen. The Ch. wardens and vestry were were appointed to the General Parish Committee with two additional members – William Sturge, and Walter Burry. It was agreed that the Church expenses should be provided for by levying a tax of 20 cents per setting on the holders of Pews, and in addition to that, a monthly collection should be made for the same purposes. The meeting closed with the Doxology and the Blessing.

……………………………………………………………………. …………………………………….

ST. JAMES CHURCH – POOL’S ISLAND Pool’s Island was first visited in the 1700′s . Settled around 1800 by English Seal and Cod Fishermen, and was called “Fools” Island until 1850.

Pool’s Island became the “Congregating Place” for schooners bound for the Labrador from the early 1700′s to the early 1900′s. At a set time every year, ships were sent off with a special “Sealing Service” held in St. James every year. Hence the name The Sealer’s Church. By 1845 there was a School and Church Operating on Pool’s Island. According to the Census of 1857, The Church was Roman Catholic! The First St. James Church was  built at British Island (Brown’s Island) and Consecrated in 1840. Some of the materials from this Church were usedin the building of the present St. James.

Stephen White and Son Thomas of Greenspond were commissioned to build the Church. Begun in the late fall of 1862, opened for use in the late winter of 1865. FIRST HYMN SUNG AT ST. JAMES Was : From Greenlands Icy Mountains. The Title of the Sermon: “I was Glad When They Said Unto Me, Let us Go Into the House Of The Lord.”On Sept 15, 1865, the Church was Consecrated at the 11:00 a.m. Service by Bishop Field.

Because the congregation was growing rapidly, it was decided in 1896 to increase the length of the church building by 18 feet on the East End, and to enlarge the Chancel. The Bell used to call the faithful to worship today was purchased  in 1884 from J.Waines and Sons England. For another Historic event… The year 2001 marks the time when St. James Congregation first held a Westward celebration of the eucharist.

St. James Church The Mother Church The Following writings are  from a note book belonging to Mr. Abner Kean of Pools Island. Please Note the references to the age of the Church…….and remember –   these excerpts were written around 1960. The form of Writing and Syntax is that of Mr. Kean a man remembered well on Pool’s Island. St. James Church Pool’s Island so far as can be learnt, was put down about 1862.

t took three years to build and was consecrated on September 15, 1865 by Bishop Field.The timber for foundation and framing was pulled out of the woods by hand on wood slides.  All the framing was chopped or hewn by hand all done with free labour.  Two carpenters from Greenspond was selected to build the church, Stephen White and son.  Stephen was the master builder.  After the church was built awhile, it was found to be not large enough, so it had to be made longer by ten feet on the east end.  1897.  As time went on it was found necessary to make the Chancel of the church longer, again this was done by free labour.  Records show it to be February 1901 at a cost of $33.16 for material. In the early days of the church, a lamp post was placed at the church gate on the church rock and on the Queens Wharf.  The lanterns would light the wharf for people coming over for services in the night from the outside islands.

The bell was casted  by J. Waines and sons London and marked:

St. James Church Pool’s Island 1884

During the building of St. James church, Capt. William Kean loaned a certain amount of  after a while he seen it was not going to be paid back.  So  he spoke to the Lord Bishop about it . During the conversation the bishop told him he would have to grin and bear with it.  Capt. Kean replied “That’s damn poor payment for my bill, my Lord.” Before 1869: Pools Island had a congregation of 697 people, in 1884 according to census figuresof that year.  In 1911 there was a population of 420, in 1979 there were 216 Dykes occupying Pouch cove Island but later moved to Pools Island and Greenspond according to Slade and Co.  Account books given to me by Mr. James Dewey, telegraph operator at Greenspond in 1912, but now resides in Topsail. So you see the call to service before the bell was by the means of a flag for 19 years.  The fount so far as can be learnt have been in the church for 81 years. The cover house on the fount was made by Walter Budgen while here as a teacher and presented about 1909. The pulpit is of English make and came from England.  So did the windows and doors.  The chandeliers has hung in the church for 65 years.  They were put up in August 1895 with ropes, so as they could be lighted for the Bishops visit.  But during the night one of the ropes gave out causing one of the chandeliers to swing to one side tipping two of its lamps down on the floor broken. You can see that two of the lamps are different from the others.  Cost 100 dollars for chandeliers.  The organ now in use has done service for 60 years.  The only one the church has owned.  The first organ was loaned to the church by Mrs. Capt. Job Knee who was the organist.  The first bible used in church was presented to St. James church Pools Island by the Society Promoting Christian Knowledge – Whitsuntide.  1851. Anne Janes was born March third 1815 at Big Pools Island as taken from the records of births and deaths of William Kean.  Married June 27 1833. this book must have been presented to the first St. James church built on British Island now called Browns Island.  The book used at communion service has printed across its cover, presented by the society promoting Christian knowledge.  This book must have came from the old church.  1842.  Under the center pillar supporting the gallery is 50 cents put there by Frederick Thomas Kean about 1863 or 64. The stained glass window in the east end of the chancel was put there in August 1903 cost being #35.05.  The windows in the tower was cut down to how they are at present, 1911. The old spire tower was taken off and replaced by a bell tower in 1956.  The vestry was taken from the outside of the church in January 1956 making it larger and more comfortable.  The processional cross, collection plates and flag was presented to St. James church in June 1957 in memory of the Kean and Knee families.

Note opening service: The first hymn sung at the opening of St. James church ( so I have been told) was from Greenlands Icy  Mountains.  The first text was,” I was glad when they said unto to me, we will go into the house of the Lord.” This must have been in the winter or early  spring of 1865,  because people from Greenspond traveled over the ice to be present at the opening.  The first person carried in church for burial service was Simon Spurrell who passed away July 12, 1865.  He was the first person buried in the old cemetery.  65 years later his son Cornealius Spurrell was buried, the last person buried before the cemetery was closed, 1930. The altar, reading desks, lectern and communion rail was made by Walter Bugden.   The first prayer book that there is any record of, was presented to St. James church 1890, by Capt. Job Knee.  The two prayer books now in use was presented by the C.E.W.A 1950.  The bible for use in the pulpit presented by Mrs. Abner Kean 1945.  The bible used on the reading desk presented by Miss May Winter 1957.   Two hymn books used on the organ presented by C.E.W.A, 1950, second by Mrs Esther Barefoot 1959.  Chant and psalm book used on the organ presented byC.E.W.A 1927.  Chair and cushion for organ use presented by Mrs. Frank Kelloway 1959.  Hymn board on north side of church presented by Fredrick Hoyles 1959, hymn board on south side of church presented by Fredrick Wicks 1959.   Two small vases on the altar presented by Mr. and Mrs. Peter Humphries 1938, teacher.  Cross on altar presented by C.E.W.A 1923.  Electric lights was put in the church in January 1949.  This gives us eleven years using electric light and 84 years using kerosene lamps.  St. James church has been 61 years burning wood to give her the necessary heat and 34 years burning coal.

(NOTE THE DATE) During the early 1900 St. James church began to loose its members as the people moved from the outside islands into the main land known as Badger’s Quay, by 1909 St. Albans church was opened for worship.  Before later date St. James congregation moved its pulpit from the south side to the north side of the church which brings to my mind the following composed by one of our local poets

( I quote):

The ugliest site my eyes did see , is the new church on Badger’s Quay,I would rather see the old one I do declare, with the pulpit on the wrong side for forty three year.

Despite our small congregation our people have done all in their power to keep her on her feet and in good condition, but as said in one of our hymns, the future all unknown.

During some Sunday evening service by the Rev. Mr. Howe, when he was about to start his sermon, he saw smoke coming from a man in his pew.

He called out,  George White you are on fire, Which kinda scared him at that moment, saying “damned if I don’t think so Parson.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s