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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Freshwater Family, Freshwater Cemetery and Sunday Dinner

Remember how the residents of Argentia had to to leave and most of them moved to Freshwater?  That included the bell from their church which is on display in front of Holy Rosary.

"McShane Bell Foundry, Baltimore, MD 1901"

The backside is in Latin, decipher it if you feel the urge, I was too lazy.

Also transferred from Argentia to Freshwater were the deceased.  It required considerable work which was done in the summer of 1942, utilizing a combination of mechanical and hand tools.

Freshwater cemetery overlooking Placentia Bay

The Argentia section is easy to spot

A total of 625 bodies from 3 cemeteries at Argentia were disinterred and reinterred by the Americans, however only 175 were identified as some of the remains dated back to 1772.  All bodies were interred in a large T-shaped excavation with care taken to try to keep family members per request together where possible.

Carrying on in the Newfie tradition of taking pictures of graves it seems, I took a picture of Margaret Griffin's grave plot which she shares with her husband who died before the Americans came.  She must have requested he be buried not with the others but in their own private plot at the time which some folks did.  Remember how he died young leaving her with all those children who had to go to the orphanage?

Thankfully things are different now, and our families all get prompt health care and most live long lives.  I have memories of the only funeral I attended at this very cemetery for my great-grandfather John Whittle whose grave I also visited.  His daughter Annie is alive and well at 89, still able to cook me a tasty Sunday dinner with carrots from her son's nearby garden while we listen to traditional music.

Also living in Freshwater besides my "Nan" is 6 her children, plus some of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  They can get their own Sunday dinner, we ate most of it immediately, especially those carrots and rutabaga fresh from the ground.

Two of her children live in neighboring towns, 2 elsewhere on the island, 1 in Ontario and 2 of them in the United States for a grand total of 13 children!  While home I spent at least a few minutes with 6 of those children of hers and their spouses, plus 3 of my adult cousins.  And that doesn't even count Wayne's family.  It makes your head spin!

Wayne's sister Mary holds down the fort

Speaking of Wayne's family, one of his sisters married someone from Freshwater and they run Healey's General Store right down on the main road.  Stop in for a bottle of drinks or some much needed groceries or household items, but don't expect things to go at the fast pace you might be used to back home.  Everyone takes their time here, so get your ice cream treat out of the cooler as you're rung up if you don't want to chance it melting!

Suzanne hard at work

Their daughter Suzanne married my cousin Jeff, so now my niece by marriage is also my cousin-in-law.  This is not uncommon in such a small place, to have someone in your family marry into your in-law family.  At least one other cousin of mine dated a nephew of his, the dating pool is small for young people on the island and many of them tend to leave now for St. John's or the Mainland eventually.  

So, when I went to the cemetery I wandered out the fence and onto the backside of my Nan's yard, though I didn't realize at the time that the fencing was recently put in by that carrot growing uncle of mine to keep the sheep in that he tends for someone else.

My trusty Gorillapod packed in my suitcase easily and weighs next to nothing so that's how I got that shot of myself without an assistant!

Though a selfie with the iPhone will do the trick too!  The weather was so mild I almost laid down on the hillside and took a nap but I knew my Nan would worry if I was gone too long.  When my uncle and I went back there a few days later it was a different story altogether!


  1. They move churchyars over here in th eeuk as well when a church closes and the land is wanted for somthing else. Never the same though

  2. How wonderful to have so many family in such a beautiful spot. Love the selfie with the gorgeous background.