Twin Towns History - Growth of Channel

Rev. Clayton
Rev. Clayton Billard
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Further development of Channel and Port aux Basques at this stage of the mid-to-late 1800s was primarily seen in Channel. The Newfoundland settlement had grown into a typical outport fishing village of industrious people.

The pace of life in Channel was slow and methodical under the constraints of isolation and the limited social life in the settlement centered round the Church and school. There is no evidence of anything happening in Port aux Basques.

On the political scene the southwest corner's courtship with politics continued in the general election of 1861. Although no other immediate benefits for the district were received, except for the Post Office, the House of Assembly representative elected for the Burgeo-LaPoile district was another man from the capital city. Outgoing incumbent, Robert Prowse, was followed by his famous brother who was a Judge, an historian and an author. The Honorable Daniel W. Prowse from St. John's served the district for eight years.

On the school scene another teacher was added for a few years. Mr. Galton, the schoolmaster, was assisted by Mr. John Jordan who came from Burgeo. Mr. Jordan returned to Burgeo to teach and served as a Lay Reader in the Church. He later became the magistrate in Burgeo.

On the church scene the Wesleyan Methodist congregation would be served with a new building. The second Church was constructed in Channel under the leadership of the resident minister at the time, the Rev.Thomas D. Hart, and completed in 1862. This writer believes that the new Church was built on a land lot granted to the Wesleyan Church in 1858. This is supported by the Church records and Mr. Harold W.Forsey's letter written to the Western Star newspaper in 1987 in which he writes that some of his ancestors were among those who built the Church down at the lower end of Channel alongside Captain Poole's house and Evan's Point.

These two land grants (Poole and Evans) bordered the new Church lot. All three lots were located on the east side of a deep gully through which water flowed from Long Pond (now filled in for a ball field) and a smaller pond a bit further north of it. Later on a large wooden bridge would be built across this gully and become known locally as Channel's "Big Bridge". The Church lot was a little south east of the bridge location. The Rev.T. D. Hart, was made responsible for the newly formed Channel Circuit which came with the completion of their new Church building.

The first wedding in the Church was that of William Bartlett and Mary Taylor on September 15,1862. The first baptism was Emmiline Irene Hickman, daughter of William and Maria (Bragg) Hickman on November 19,1862. The last baptism in this Church was Ellen Florence Feltham, daughter of George and Harriet Feltham conducted on September 16, 1899, after which a third Wesleyan Church was built on another location.

A short distance north of this site, on the same side of the gully, and close to the small ponds, there was another land lot recorded under the name of the "Wesleyan burying ground". This land was used as their cemetery and is located near several homesteads built later on by families with the surname "Currie". The area was later known locally as "Currietown".

 

Organizations: Wesleyan Church

Geographic location: Burgeo, Western Star, Long Pond

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