BENJAMIN BARBOUR HOME  |  ALPHAEUS BARBOUR HOME
GREENSPOND COURTHOUSE  |  THE BARBOUR FAMILY  |  LESTER'S LETTERS
FORTY-EIGHT DAYS ADRIFT

BENJAMIN BARBOUR HOME
Barbour Living Heritage Village
Newtown, Newfoundland and Labrador

The Benjamin Barbour Home is one of two heritage homes at the Barbour Living Heritage Village, Newtown. It was built by the Barbour family, one of the most prominent sealing families in Newfoundland.

The house was originally build for Captain Benjamin Barbour and his family of nine sons and two daughters. Benjamin settled in Newtown from Cobbler's Island in 1873. Prior to moving into the new home in 1875, the family lived in a "log cabin" nearby.
Fourteen of Benjamin's descendants became captains and ten of those were sealing captains. The Barbours were also involved in trades outside the sealing industry. Most were involved in the fishery, especially the Labrador fishery. They also established and maintained a business in Newtown until the 1960's, as well as in the St. John's, the capital city. These business ventures made the Barbours vital to the economic well-being of the small community of less than 600 residents.

The Benjamin Barbour Home is typical of the larger merchant houses built in many Newfoundland communities in the latter part of the 18th century. The gabled roof, symmetrical facade, end chimneys, and general proportions made it almost identical to many of the merchant houses in Brigus, which also produced its share of great sealing captains. The house has two storeys and is mainly constructed of pine.
This house is unique in that it was originally intended to be a semi-detached dwelling housing two families. There are two front doors, but inside there is no wall dividing the two sections of the house. There are twin staircases leading to the second floor and its twelve bedrooms and parlour. In all, there are thirty-two rooms in the house including two kitchens and two dining rooms.

The house became a Registered Heritage Structure in 1986 and was presented with the Southcott Award for heritage preservation and restoration in 1998. Today it is a major part of the Barbour Living Heritage Village with guided tours provided during the tourist season.

ALPHAEUS BARBOUR HOME
Barbour Living Heritage Village
Newtown, Newfoundland and Labrador

The Alphaeus Barbour Home is one of two heritage homes at the Barbour Living Heritage Village, Newtown, It was built by the Barbours, one of the most prominent sealing families in Newfoundland.

The house was originally built for Captain Alphaeus Barbour, one of Benjamin Barbour's grandsons. Construction was started in 1904 and did not finish until 1907. In 1925, the house was sold to Samuel Barbour and eventually passed to Samuel's son, Edward. The house remained in the Barbour family until 1993, when it was purchased by the Cape Freels Heritage Trust, Inc.
Fourteen of the descendants of Benjamin Barbour became captains and ten of those were sealing captains. The Barbours were also involved in trades outside the sealing industry. Most were involved in the fishery, especially the Labrador fishery. They also established and maintained a business in Newtown until the 1960's, as well as in St. John's, the capital city. During the Barbours' peak business era, the shoreline near the house was completely developed with storehouses, fishing stages, wharves, liver factory, and a general store. These business ventures made the Barbours vital to the economic well-being of the small community of less than 600 residents.

The Alphaeus Barbour House is a three-storeyed wooden house in a Queen Anne Revival style that was popular with the Newfoundland merchant at that time, especially in St. John's. The house is a timber-framed structure built mainly of pine. It has bay windows, floral glass works and a tower on a corner section. One of the most intricately-designed houses on the north side of Bonavista Bay, it has been the subject of paintings by famed Newfoundland painter, David Blackwood.
The house became a Registered Heritage Structure in 1986 and was presented with the Southcott Award for heritage preservation and restoration in 1998. Today it is a major part of the Barbour Living Heritage Village with guided tours provided during the tourist season.

GREENSPOND COURTHOUSE
Greenspond, Newfoundland and Labrador

Designed by the Superintendent of Public Buildings, William Henry Churchill, in 1900/01, the Greenspond Courthouse is one in a series of courthouses built on a standard plan, and it remains an important example of this period of courthouse design in Newfoundland. It has a dome, jailrooms, and upstairs living quarters, which are features unique to the property.
Greenspond was once known as the "Capital of Bonavista Bay" and has a history dating back to the late 1600's. It had a customs office and its own courthouse, where many cases were tried. At the peak of its settlement, it had a population of 1,800, but has less than 400 residents now.
Both the courthouse and the Barbour Living Heritage Village, Newtown, are supported by a wealth of scholarly books, anecdotal accounts, letters, photographs, and original art. Also available for viewing is a multitude of artifacts relating to the seal and cod fishery, related business activity, and courtroom cases, which demonstrate the extraordinary qualities of courage, ingenuity, and tenacity of the rural Newfoundlander.

The Courthouse is open to the public during the tourist season. Crafts, souvenirs, and gifts are available in this historic building. While visiting Greenspond, a stroll along the walking trail around the coastal area of the island is a must.

THE BARBOUR FAMILY
Benjamin Barbour (1809 to March 21, 1891) of Pinchard's Island, Bonavista Bay married October 23rd, 1841 to Rebecca Green (Sept 18th, 1820 to June 3rd, 1906) of Bennett Island, Bonavista Bay. This table lists their 11 children.
CHILDREN SPOUSE(S) # OF CHILDREN
Joseph Ann Parsons 8
Benjamin Mary Jane Wicks 6
Mary Ann Elijah Burry 1
Thomas Caroline Blackmore 10
John Margaret Hanock 11
William Eliza Hann 8
Keziah Hedley Blackmore 4
George Lucretia Oakley 4
James
(Married Twice)
Annie Tiller (Died at the age of 38)
Frances Barrow
9
3
Edward Mary Jane Kean 9
Samuel
(Married Twice)
Martha Winsor (Died at the age of 27)
Alice Templeman
3
5

LESTER'S LETTERS


Story of Lester Barbour:
who died during World War I


Lester Barbour wrote approximately 70 letters to his family during World War I. The letters document the life of Lester, a soldier, from training in Scotland to the trenches in Europe.

These letters have been brought to life in the form of live theatre performed at the Neptune 2 Theatre. The original letters have been donated to the Center for Newfoundland Studies, Memorial University. Copies of the letters are on site.
Lester was the eldest son of Edward and Mary Jane and he served in the First World War as part of the 1st Newfoundland Regiment. He left Newtown for Europe in May 1917. He died 10 months later, at the age of 23, in battle on March 10th, 1918 in the German counter-offensive at Paschendale Ridge, Belgium. He is buried at Oxford Cemetery, near the community of Ypres, Belgium.

After Mary Jane heard the news of his death, she would not let anyone use his bedroom for many years, despite the big number of children in the home. Edward had died, at the age of 50, on June 8th, 1912 of complications of pneumonia. Lester's death was more than just a personal loss as he was groomed to take his father's place in the family business of E&S Barbour.

On the table in the upstairs parlor of Benjamin Barbour's house, there is some soil that was taken from Lester's grave by his brother, Captain Job Barbour when he visited Europe in 1930.

FORTY-EIGHT DAYS ADRIFT

 

Story of Captain Job Barbour:
who survived an unplanned Atlantic adventure


Captain Job Barbour was born in Newtown in 1898. He began sailing as a boy and at the age of twenty-one he first became master of a vessel. For many years he sailed the treacherous waters of Newfoundland's Northeast coast, carrying provisions from St. John's to the outports. In 1929, while on one of these voyages in his three masted schooner, Neptune II, he was driven off course by several storms – way off course.  He was about to cross the Atlantic Ocean.


Just as his brother, Lester, had provided a written record of his World War I experience, Captain Job Barbour also committed his story to paper.  In 1932, "Forty-Eight Days Adrift," was published in London, England.  Many years later, Newfoundland's-own Breakwater Books revived the story and published it in 1981 as part of its Canada's Atlantic Folklore/Folklife Series.  Breakwater was able to include a foreword by Sir Wilfred Grenfell that was intended for the 1932 edition, but it was not used at that time.  Breakwater released a second edition in 1983 and a reprinting in 2001.  "Forty-Eight Days Adrift" remains a very popular book at our gift shop and has been dramatized at our theatre. 

Here are excerpts from the book:

Like living demons hungry for our lives the seas rushed over our bulwarks and swept the deck fore and aft.  They fascinated you almost as they approached.  The water seemed to be all colours of the rainbow when coming on in its mad and crested cumulus.  I never thought till then that seas could run so high.  They looked like huge icebergs that had suddenly been liquefied and driven by some demon of the sea to rush on and crush us to death.

...after some of the big seas swept in, they would act as if searching for us, seeing there was no one on deck.  They would gush into the forecastle, ignoring doors and barriers and, not satisfied with flooding the floor knee-deep and drenching the crew, would rush on as if seeking our lady passenger.

...I could see the look of anguish that covered Mrs. Humphries’ face.  No doubt she thought that it would be her last moment of life.  She then would say, “Are we sinking?” and someone would reply “No, Mrs. Humphries, nothing can sink this vessel.”  We thought it best to cheer her up in this way, though we were all full of doubt.   ...read more


Read part of a 1978 interview with Capt. Barbour, click HERE.




       
  BARBOUR LIVING
  HERITAGE VILLAGE

  P.O. Box 135
  Newtown, NL, A0G 3L0
  PH: 709-536-3220
www.Barbour-Site.com
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