The Journal of James Yonge, Plymouth Surgeon [1647-1721]

Transcribed and Edited by F. N. L. Poynter, Longman’s, 1965

Although legend has it that there were migratory fishermen from England working in Newfoundland waters alongside of their peers from the Basque Region, Spain, Portugal, France and perhaps the Netherlands long before the “New Found Land” was claimed by Sir Humphrey Gilbert for the British Crown in 1578, and possibly even before the “discovery” of the island by John Cabot in 1497, the reality is that settlement of the land was much slower to come about.

As all Newfoundland history junkies know, the first serious attempt at settlement was that of John Guy at Cupids (Cuper’s Cove) in 1610. But it was soon followed by George Calvert’s (later the first Lord Baltimore) Colony of Avalon in 1623 at what is now Ferryland.

However, little documentary evidence of the settlements on the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland exists from those earliest days, and that which does exist was penned by what would today be known as “promoters” of these efforts who were not inclined to write objectively about the successes and failures of these settlement attempts.

One of the first unbiased reporters on the settlements and fishing activities on the Atlantic Coast of the Avalon Peninsula from Torbay to Trepassey was James Yonge, a young apprentice surgeon on board vessels coming out of Portsmouth to take part in the seasonal fisheries in that area. He travelled there four times from 1663 to 1670 and wrote meticulous notes on the voyages back and forth to Newfoundland and on the activities and major players in that part of Newfoundland at that time.

His original journal was known by Newfoundland historians many years ago, but it was not transcribed and published for easier access by researchers and the general public until 1965. That book soon went out of print and is not easily available now, except through antiquarian book dealers and libraries. I obtained a copy in November 2022 from such a book dealer in England and copied out all the important sections that pertain to these four voyages. I have shared this information as individual page images in JPG format with other interested Newfoundlanders and Newfoundland researchers on Facebook, and now present it here for access as a single PDF file. Click on the link below to view/download the PDF file.

Journal of James Yonge Newfoundland Voyages.

The Lost Matthew Morry Collection of Shakespeare’s Collected Works (1790)

Dad Morry told of the sad situation that unfolded when “Miss Lizzie” Morry, Elizabeth Morry, the daughter of Matthew Morry III and Elizabeth Coulman, and the last Morry resident of Athlone in Caplin Bay/Calvert, passed away on Sept. 29, 1930. She was a spinster and her only living relative, her brother Henry, was off in BC, and he too was childless. Thus, due to a late will written only weeks before her death, her house and all of its contents and the surrounding lands and waterside premises were left to the family that looked after her in her declining years, Leonard and Marcella Canning. Dad Morry visited them and attempted to persuade them to let him have Morry heirlooms from the house but they refused his request. He tells that amongst those heirlooms was a complete set of the collected works of William Shakespeare that had been in the family at that time for generations. Nothing more was heard of these books until a chance discovery by me at the Centre for Newfoundland Studies on June 29th 2018.

In a Biography series of folders there is one that bears the name “Morry Family”. and in that folder there are only two articles. One is a newspaper article about Bill and Pat Morry and Peter and Jo Morry and their family. The other was a photocopy of a note from Nimshi Crewe attached to the frontispiece page of the 1790 Collected Works of William Shakespeare compiled and edited by Edmund Malone. In his note, Nimshi told of having purchased these books in Calvert, though he does not say when or for whom, but he clearly recognised the names of the original owners, mentioning Matthew Morry Jr. 3rd and his grandmother Ann [Carter] Morry, since their signatures appeared on what he thought was about four of the volumes.

From these notations and the file number for relocating the books (PR 2752 M3 1790) I was able to request a viewing from the Archives and Rare Books desk at the CNS and within minutes I was holding what turned out to be 11 Volumes all but two of which contained the signatures of our ancestors. Not only do they contain the name of Miss Lizzie’s father, written as “Matthew Morry Jr. 3rd”, but two contain the dedication “From Ann Morry Sr. to Matthew Morry 3rd” indicating the provenance of the books. That said, it is impossible to know for sure whether these books belonged originally to Ann Carter (then Ann Sweetland) before she married Matthew Morry I, our immigrant ancestor, or whether they were originally the property of Matthew Morry I himself. The date of the volumes is 1790 and they were not married until sometime in the 1800s (no one knows exactly when or where). But upon close examination of some of the signatures in these volumes I found that some are written simply as “Matthew Morry”, some as “Matthew Morry Jr.” and some as “Matthew Morry Jr. 3rd”. And the handwriting is different for all three. So I have concluded that they did indeed at one time belong to each of the first three Matthew Morrys in our family.

Here are PDFs of select pages from each of the eleven volumes so that you can see for yourself the signatures and other interesting inclusions.

Volume 1, Part 1

Note the date and initials in the flyleaf. I belief that this is Nimshi Crewe (NC) indicating that he purchased these volumes on January 21st, 1965 (21/1/65)

Also, note the signature of Matthew Morry Jr. There is no “3rd” at the end of this signature and as you will see, the writing differs from the later signatures which are given as Matthew Morry Jr. 3rd. Therefore I believe that this is the signature of Matthew Morry II, my 3rd great grandfather. He was evidently a custodian of at least some of these books for a period of time.

Volume 1, Part 2

Of particular note in this volume is the signature of Matthew Morry Jr. 3rd in quite a different hand than the signature on Volume 1 Part 1.

Volume 2

This Volume has a signature and a dedication on separate pages. The signature looks to me to be identical to that which appears in Volume 1, Part 1, and hence would indicate possession by Matthew Morry II (Matthew Morry Jr.). There is a smudge at the end of the signature that could have been “3rd” but I don’t think so because the handwriting is definitely different from that found in the signature in Volume 1 Part 2. But the subsequent dedication reads quite clearly “Mrs. Ann Morry Snr. to Matthew Morry 3rd”. Hence we now have a copy of Ann [Carter] Morry’s handwriting but also know that at least this one volume was gifted by her to Matthew Morry III, her step-grandson. Matthew Morry II’s own mother was also named Anne (Saunders) but she would not have been referring to herself as Ann Morry Sr. All three Matthews and their spouses were alive at this time and it was important for them to distinguish between one another. Thus the immigrant ancestor, Matthew Morry I was known as Matthew Morry Sr. (and his wife as Ann Morry Sr.), his son, Matthew II was known as Matthew Morry Jr. (and his wife as Anne Morry Jr.), and his grandson was known as Matthew Morry 3rd, or in his handwriting Matthew Morry Jr. 3rd.

Between the pages 318 and 319 of “Love’s Labour Lost” I found a single three leaf clover acting as a page marker. One wonders what the significance, if any, may have been for choosing that plant and that Play.

Volume 3

This is a very interesting Volume because of a number of differences from the previous ones. First of all, in the flyleaf we see a Latin quotation with its English interpretation, though the significance is unclear. What is clear however, is that the possessor of this book was educated. And who was the original possessor? On the page opposite he signs his name: “Matthew Morry .-. December 9th”. Frustratingly no year is given, but the handwriting is clearly different from the previous two specimens and there is no Jr. or 3rd attached. I believe that this is the actual signature of Matthew Morry I, our immigrant ancestor, and the original owner of all of these Volumes.

Only later, on the second title page, do we see the now familiar signature “Matthew Morry Jr. 3rd” indicating that this volume (and almost certainly all of them) had passed on to him in due course.

And then, to make matters even more interesting, on the first page of the first play in this book, “Twelfth-Night or What You Will”, there is another signature — “Matthew Morry Jr.” Thus I believe that in this one volume we have the signatures of all three Matthews, Father, son and grandson.

Then, the icing on the cake, as if to make the final connection for us, on the first page of the “Merchant of Venice” we once again see the dedication “Mrs. Ann Morry Snr. To Matthew Morry 3rd”.

Finally, between pages 348 and 349 of “Taming of the Shrew” I found a slip of paper being used as a page marker on which some nebulous phrases were written, though I cannot immediately make out the handwriting. But I believe that it may have been that of the final Morry owner, Miss Lizzie Morry.

You couldn’t ask for a better family heirloom than this!

Volume 4

In the inside cover of this book a note had been written and was badly scrubbed out with only a few letters still recognizable. The only signature that appears in this Volume is that of Matthew Morry Jr. (without the 3rd). But it doesn’t seem that there is any reason to believe that the entire collection did not pass down to Matthew Morry Jr. 3rd or they would not have been available to Nimshi Crewe to buy as a complete set in 1965.

Volume 5

This volume also has writing inside the cover, in this case the word “onyx” written twice as if the person who wrote it was trying to assure himself of the correct spelling of this word. And again, the signature is that of Matthew Morry Jr. with the 3rd attached.

I also included an interesting fold out picture of a group of Morris Dancers which I found amusing.

Volume 6

The inscription in this volume is interesting because it not only indicates with exactitude who the possessor was but when he was in possession of the Volume. The inscription reads: “M Morry Jr. 3rd 1834”. All three of the Matthews were alive in this year but there can be no doubt whatever that the book, and most probably the full set, had already been transferred to the youngest of them by this time.

Volume 7

There are a few interesting things to observe about this volume. First of all there are two different signatures once again. The first is written “Matthew Morry Jr. 450 Athlone October”. The number 450 is a complete mystery. But the address, Athlone, is not. This is the site of the only known first residence of the Morry family in Caplin Bay, though there would have been several others around the bay. But what is interesting about this specific identification is that it appears to be Matthew Morry II associating himself with Athlone. Up until this time it was always my impression that Matthew Morry III was the first owner of Athlone but this inscription seems to indicate that his father was the original owner or at least lived there for part of his life.

The second inscription is the now more familiar “M Morry Jr. 3rd 1834” exactly as written in Volume 6.

I have also included a photograph of pages 138-39 in “King Henry VIII” solely to show you a defunct 180 year old blackfly! Take my word for it. I examined it under magnification to be sure of my identification.

Volume 8

This is one of two volumes found which has no signature and no dedication, but there can be no doubt that formed a part of the same collection owned by the Morry family and sold by the Cannings to Nimshi Crewe in 1965. One wonders what he paid them. This same set in this condition today is worth over $2000 US on eBay!

Volume 9

The last of the signed volumes. If you have very sharp eyes you will be able to make out a column of figures at the top of the title page. I do not think that this was intentional. I suspect it was carried over from a loose page on which these numbers were being written with the volume of Shakespeare simply serving as a backing while writing it out.

The signature on this volume is once again that of “Matthew Morry Jr. 3rd”

Volume 10

The final volume in the collected works and sadly there is no signature. But I have included a copy of the title page which provides an image of the Earl of Southampton, Henry Wriothesley, for your amusement. Also, there are smudges that may have once been a flower between pages 336 and 337 of “Passionate Pilgrim”, possibly placed there once again by Miss Lizzie. Though she was a lifelong spinster, she was known to have had many suitors in her early years. Perhaps a remembrance of one of them?

Excerpts from — Prideaux: A Westcountry Clan, by R. M. Prideaux

During the course of my research on the many court cases between Matthew Morry (and his grandson, John Luke Morry) and Matthew’s business partner, Walter Prideaux, a solicitor and barrister, a partner in various banks in the South Hams region, and interestingly a Quaker by faith, it came to my attention that there was a monograph on the subject of the Prideaux clan that might shed some light on Matthew’s business partner and his family. The book, published in small numbers, evidently, in 1989, was long since out of print and World Cat only indicated copies were available on interlibrary loan in the US and UK. However, staff at the Ottawa Library were able to locate a copy at the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto. Despite their ridiculously expensive interlibrary loan fee ($35 plus shipping for a book originally sold for £20), I ordered the book to see if it would broaden and deepen the understanding that I had of this family, who are not shown in a very favourable light in these court cases. I discovered that the book was monumental in scope, covering many branches of the Prideaux clan going back to the early 1200s but really only dealt with the line of interest to me in a part of one chapter. Nevertheless it did add dimension to the narrow scope of understanding afforded by the court documents so I have excerpted and commented on the relevant parts of the text in the enclosed file. [Click on the image of the cover below].

When The Great Red Dawn Is Shining

by Christopher John A. Morry

Shortly after Remembrance Day, November 11, 2015, my book based upon Dad Morry’s memoirs, especially those focussed on his time overseas during WWI in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, was published and released by Breakwater Books of Newfoundland. This was a labour of love as one can well imagine and I am thrilled that Dad Morry’s memoirs have finally been made publicly available and am proud of the part that I played in making it so. Those who wish to obtain a copy can order it from Breakwater directly ( ) or from a number of online booksellers including ( ). In St. John’s copies are available at several bookstores.

On August 1, 2015, Robin McGrath published a very insightful review of this book in the Telegram, St. John’s. To read her review follow this link:

Robin McGrath’s Review:  A Soldier’s Story

Review of “When The Great Red Dawn Is Shining” in the Gallipolian, Autumn 2015

In the Autumn Edition of The Gallipolian (No. 138), the Journal of the Gallipoli Association, there appeared the following review of the book (click on image of cover below). The editor, Foster Sommerson, dealt with the text fairly and found fault only with the fact that both Dad Morry in his memoirs and I in my notations to the memoirs tended to focus more on the ANZACs in Gallipoli in particular, to the neglect of the contributions made by others including the British. While this is a valid comment, there is an explanation. It isn’t that we are blind to the contributions, much greater in proportion in terms of human life and suffering, of the British, French, Indian and other allied soldiers. It just so happens that the Newfoundlanders met up with the ANZACs in Egypt, found in them kindred “colonial” free spirits, especially in their disdain for military protocol such as blind obeisance to officers, and tended to chum around with them more in the field given the chance because of that. However, I would say that was more true of Gallipoli and less of the western front where the Essex were always on the right of the Newfoundlanders and they relied upon each other for their lives. Also, the Newfoundlanders had a strong affinity for any Scottish regiment with whom they served because of the hero’s welcome they received in Edinburgh and Ayr. Maybe that did not come out clearly in the book.

When The Great Red Dawn Is Shining Vignette by James Langer, Editor

When The Great Red Dawn Is Shining Vignette by James Langer, Editor

In January 2016, James Langer, Editor of When the Great Red Dawn is Shining for Breakwater Books, prepared the following very touching vignette using photographs and words of Dad Morry from the book and the original recording of the song “When the Great Red Dawn is Shining” by Stanley Kirkby.

March 2016 Article in the Legion Magazine – How I survived at the Somme

In early 2016, I was approached by Eric Harris, the Editor of the Legion Magazine, who was preparing a special edition of the magazine on the role of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in the Battle of the Somme. He asked if it would be possible for the two of us to prepare an article comprised largely of Dad Morry’s memoirs, as recounted in When the Great Red Dawn is Shining. I immediately agreed and prepared a short introduction for the article. On March 1, 2016, the article appeared on the Legion Magazine website in advance of the magazine itself hitting the news stands. The article is presented here in its entirety, since it will likely only remain on the Legion website for a brief period.

Over The Fence – Stories from Outport Newfoundland

by Laura Morry Williams

In 2013, Laura Morry Williams published the above captioned book of anecdotes about growing up in Ferryland. Three of the chapters borrowed material from Dad Morry’s diaries and that caused some tension, as she had not asked permission of the family and perhaps therefore did not know that I was 90% finished a draft of those memoirs for publication by Breakwater Books in the Fall of 2014. Regardless, the three chapters do add dimension to the series of anecdotes, as do the five chapters borrowed from the biography and memoirs of Dr. Lou Giovannetti. These eight chapters are excerpted here as they are relevant to the family.

An excerpt from “Known Unto God: In Honour of Newfoundland’s Missing During The Great War”

by Frank Gogos and Morgan MacDonald

Another recent retelling of the events of WWI in which Dad Morry’s memoirs were quoted was the recently published book entitled “Known Unto God: In Honour of Newfoundland’s Missing During The Great War” by Frank Gogos and Morgan MacDonald. In the excerpt below Dad Morry tells of the carnage in the fateful Battle of Beaumont Hamel.


Gallipolian article:  A Newfoundland Fisherman Remembers Gallipoli

by Dr. Philip E. L. Smith

Dr. Smith is an expatriate Newfoundlander and a retired professor of Middle Eastern Archeology. He has an abiding interest in the history of Newfoundland with a special focus on the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. He is also affiliated with the Gallipoli Association  based in Britain and  has written four articles on Gallipoli which focus on the role played by Newfoundland in that campaign. His concern is that few know that Newfoundland fought in this infamous defeat for the allied forces. While the fact is not completely forgotten in Newfoundland, it is virtually unheard of in the rest of Canada, even among historians, and completely unknown of in the rest of the world. Dr. Smith is among many individual Newfoundlanders and former Newfoundlanders attempting to force greater recognition of this singular event on governments so that it is no longer the obscure fact that it is today and the men who fought there, and most especially those who died there, are properly recognised and remembered.


Newfoundland Quarterly Article: Reveille – Howard Leopold Morry (1885-1972) 

 by Bert Riggs

Bert Riggs. an archivist at the Centre for Newfoundland Studies at Memorial University, has been publishing a series of articles in the Newfoundland Quarterly entitled Reveille on individual soldiers of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in WWI. In Volume 104 No. 4, Spring 2012, the subject of his article was Dad Morry. He quoted extensively from the version of Dad Morry’s diaries that has been copied over to the Newfoundland’s Grand Banks website but also took excerpts from the published version of Dad Morry’s memoirs and other information on his life from this website. To read the article, click on the hotlink above.


Term Paper by Bob Ryan following Interviews with Bill and Pat Morry and Based on Dad Morry’s WWI Memoirs

In 1994, Bob Ryan, a student in Dr. Facey-Crowther’s History 3807 class at Memorial University, prepared a paper that drew heavily upon Dad Morry’s 1957 diary recounting his memories of WWI. He entitled his paper: “The Great War: A Southern Shore Soldier’s Tale”. It is obvious that this memoir touched him deeply and he hoped that others reading his paper would also be deeply affected by it. I have digitised a copy of the original paper using OCR software and reproduce it here as close to the original format as possible. Note that spelling, including that of people and places,  is as found in the original paper and may be in error in some instances.


Forget-Me-Not  Fallen Boy Soldiers Royal Newfoundland Regiment World War One

by Gary F. Browne

Click on image above

 In April of 2010 I was approached by Gary Browne to provide information with which to inform the theme of his latest book then in preparation, on the boy soldiers who fought and died as a part of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in WWI. He had read Dad Morry’s memoirs on my website and saw that several of the passages in those memoirs would be useful in accentuating certain points that he wished to make in his examination of this sad, but at the same time strangely uplifting tale of these gallant, brave, foolhardy and at times terrified young boys who were cast into the midst of the dirtiest war of all time.

I did not hesitate to offer the use of this material on behalf of the family and I felt sure that Dad Morry would have been proud to support this decision. Although he was open to telling the story of his experiences in WWI, sometimes in graphic detail, unlike many of his fellow soldiers in arms, who only wished to put these awful memories behind them, Dad Morry told his story as a cautionary tale – lest we forget. He did not glorify warfare; far from it. Dad Morry’s story is at times hard to read because it is too real and too horrible.

When I finally got my hands on a copy of Gary’s book after it was published late in 2010, I knew that my decision to share this material with him was justified. He too has told a cautionary tale, with none of the awful truth glossed over. But it was a story that had to be told and it is in fact a wonder that it took almost 90 years for it to be told.

The excerpts represent Gary’s acknowledgement of the source material taken from Dad Morry’s memoirs in the context of the story of the boy soldiers that fought and, in far too many cases, died alongside of him.

As Gary Browne indicated in his reference to Dad Morry’s time at the front, it wasn’t many months after this that he himself fell victim to the health conditions in the trenches that killed more men than enemy bullets and shells. He was invalided out to England and never returned to the front. There is some mercy and justice in this world.


In the Wake of the Setting Sun

by James Carter

Sheriff James Carter of Ferryland was somewhat of a world traveller in his later years and recorded his observations on his travels in a number of books which were published and enjoyed sufficient public interest to be reprinted at least once. In his book, In the Wake of the Setting Sun, he recorded a ’round the world trip from Newfoundland to the far east, to England and back when he was 77. Toward the end of his journey he visited places in Devon near the end of his journey that had great significance to him personally and to the Carter family. A brief excerpt of that account is included below.

In The Wake of the Setting Sun

Click on image above


The Treasury of Newfoundland Stories

L. W. Janes, ed.

This collection of some 56 stories, mostly a page or two in length, was published in 1961 by Maple Leaf Mills Limited and edited by local historian L. W. Janes. That being said, the stories are far from historically precise. In most cases, they were prepared by local people whose grasp of the facts was varied and who, for the most part, were not even credited with the chapters that they submitted so that the veracity of their submission might be judged. An annex lists scores of contributors, only some of whom were actually the authors of the stories that were eventually published in the anthology. One brief account – Chapter 40 entitled “Ferryland” – is reproduced below verbatim, partially because the subject is relevant and partially because it references Dad Morry as a source of some of the information that it contains. Suffice it to say, however, that not all the facts cited are accurate or historically correct. For example, it is implied that the Holdsworth house was formerly the home of the Calverts (Lord Baltimore). This is not so. As is now well known, Lord Baltimore’s house was on the Pool across the harbour on the south side of Ferryland. Let the reader beware. The book itself was a present to me from Dad Morry for Christmas in 1963.

The Treasury of Newfoundland Stories

Click on image above


Sea Stories from Newfoundland

by Michael Harrington

Click on the image of the book below to read Michael Harrington’s story about the wreck of the Sigrid off Ferryland in 1903 and the bravery of the Ferryland men who risked their lives to retrieve the bodies of the crew in order to give them a decent burial. Among those mentioned in the story are William Costello, the lightkeeper who discovered first evidence of the ship wreck and his son John William Costello who, along with James Keefe (or O’Keefe)  and James Keough, led the first mission to recover the body of the captain, N. Petersen from Denmark, and later other crew members.

John Will Costello

Subsequent recoveries of bodies were made through the heroic efforts of Thomas Sullivan, Daniel and Robert Keefe, James Kavanagh, James Reid, Peter Barnable, Robert Shannahan and William Carter. Most of these valiant men were related to the Morrys directly or by marriage. Many people who visit the old Non-Denominational Cemetery that overlooks Ferryland Harbour wonder about the story behind the well maintained grave of a Danish sea captain named N. Petersen. To my knowledge this stirring story has never been published anywhere else and we owe a debt of gratitude of Michael Harrington for having done so. A side note – the book was given to me as a Christmas present in 1962 by my cousin, Dr. Peter Morry.

Sea Stories of Newfoundland by Michael Harrington

From: Sea Stories from Newfoundland, by Michael Harrington, Chapter 12, Pages 106-114. Published by The Ryerson Press, Toronto. 1958.



by Harold Horwood

Click on the image below to read Harold Horwood’s observations on Ferryland and Aquaforte in his 1969 book Newfoundland. Harold employs his legendary imagination and freedom to modify the truth or ignore it all together when it gets in the way of a good yarn. But his accounts of stories about the Morrys and Carters in Ferryland based on what he was told by Bill and Howard Morry are as accurate as their own telling of these stories. The version presented here is reflective of Dad Morry’s own memoirs on these subjects. Harold also mentions briefly the Windsors of Aquaforte, especially Peppery Pete, though for some reason he misses the opportunity to mention his colourful nickname.

Newfoundland by Harold Horwood

From: Newfoundland, by Harold Horwood, Chapters 15-16, Pages 116-122. Published by Macmillan of Canada, 70 Bond St., Toronto, ON M5B 1X3. ISBN 0-7705-1614-9. 1969.



by Thomas Graham Morry III

Thomas Graham Morry III (Private No. 714) joined the Provisional Battalion of Infantry (PBI) of the Active Militia of Canada in Montréal on November 12, 1872. What compelled him to do so was not a sense of adventure so much as the practical possibility of acquiring a land warrant for 160 acres of prime Canadian farmland as his reward for service. As it turns out, he was done out of his rightful reward by an already stultified and uncaring federal bureaucracy. But then, if it hadn’t worked out that way he may never have returned to Newfoundland to raise his family and none of us would be Newfoundlanders!

Montreal to Fort Garry by Thomas Graham Morry

TGM III recorded the story of the trip from Montréal to Fort Garry in a book he auto-published in 1874 in Fort Garry before returning home. Click here to view the story. Montreal to Fort Garry


The Battle of Quidi Vidi – the Final Battle with the French for Possession of Newfoundland

Surprisingly little is published on one of the most decisive battles in the history of the struggle between France and England for control of the New World. In 1762, the French took St. John’s. This was nothing new – many parts of Newfoundland had traded hands between the English and French repeatedly over the years. But as it turned out, the relatively bloodless battle that ensued to recapture St. John’s was to be the final gambit in this game. After this battle, ownership of all territories in the New World was decided in the Treaty of Paris in 1763 more or less spelled the end of this chapter in history. Though there were some skirmishes over the years subsequently, St. John’s was never retaken by the French.

Two accounts of the so-called Battle of Quidi Vidi (named thus because the British forces approached St. John’s from Torbay, via Quidi Vidi), were recorded by the commanding officers responsible, General William Amherst and Alexander Lord Colville. Their meticulous notes and dispatches were gathered together and published in edited version respectively by John Clarence Webster (self published in 1928) and C. H. Little (in an occasional paper of the Maritime Museum of Canada). Transcripts are provided below. These documents are not copyrighted but, if referenced, should be credited to the authors nonetheless.

What, you may be asking, does all of this have to do with the Morry’s? Precisely nothing! I carried out this research in an effort to determine if there was any historical evidence to support a long-held belief in the Wheeler family that an ancestor of theirs led the British troops from Torbay to Quidi Vidi. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to this effect in either account. I am publishing the two documents here solely for the sake of interest and because there is so little published on this important milestone in Newfoundland history.

Recapture of St. John’s Newfoundland 1762 – Journal of Lieut. Col. William Amherst

The Recapture of St. John’s, Newfoundland – Dispatches of Rear-Admiral, Lord Colville 1761-1762



Gerald Pocius’ Account of Matthew Morry’s Grant in Caplin Bay

Here is an interesting account of how Matthew Morry obtained his land grant in Caplin Bay (Calvert). It was written by Gerald L. Pocius and published in his book “A Place to Belong – Community Order and Everyday Space in Calvert, Newfoundland“. Though an academic treatise, this book makes an excellent read for anyone interested in the early settlement of Newfoundland. NOTE: This excerpt is copied here with the author’s permission. Please do not copy it without referencing the original source.

Ken Peacock’s Account of his Meetings with Howard Morry

Ken Peacock was a folklorist who made it his life’s work to collect the little known folk songs of Canada, and especially Newfoundland, before they disappeared forever. In 1984 he published a collection of the songs he recorded in the 1950s and 1960s in Newfoundland and in the liner notes praised Dad Morry for the assistance and inspiration he had offered him.


The words of the songs he recorded are provided here.

One which was sung by my father, Tom Morry (The Sealers’ Ball), he picked up on salmon and trout fishing trips on the West Coast.

The second song (The Loss of the Eliza) was sung for Ken by Pat Rossiter of Ferryland. It too concerned sealing, though in the harsh light of reality, as opposed to the comic verse of the Sealer’s Ball.

To hear these original recordings, click here.

Farley Mowat on meeting Dad Morry, Bill Morry and Family

Here is how Farley Mowat described his meeting with Dad Morry, Uncle Bill, Aunt Pat, Peter and Paula in The New Founde Land Chapter – Come From Away


Stuart McLean on meeting Bill and Pat Morry

Here is how Stuart McLean described his encounter with Bill and Pat Morry in Welcome Home:  Travels in Smalltown Canada, pages 436-445. In addition to reminiscences by Bill and Pat, he quotes from Dad Morry’s memoirs as well.


Term Papers by Joan Mary Wheeler following Interviews with Dad Morry

Joan Wheeler, a first cousin on the Wheeler side of the family, undertook to interview Dad Morry in 1970 while completing her B.A. at Memorial University of Newfoundland. The three articles which follow are: an explanatory not by Joan on how the interviews were conducted; a paper on the reminiscences of times gone by in Ferryland; and an account of the shipwrecks that had taken place over the years in the vicinity of Ferryland.

Introduction of Folklore Papers Two and Three

Reminiscences from the Youth and Early Manhood of a Resident of Ferryland Dating from the 1890s

Shipwrecks off the Newfoundland Southern Shore Coast:  Recollections by a Resident of Ferryland


Term Paper by William Brian Fanning and Leo Joseph Buckle following Interviews with Bill and Pat Morry

In 1976, two Memorial University students, William Brian Fanning and Leo Joseph Buckle, submitted a term paper in the Folklore 3420 course given by L. G. Small. The title of the paper was Mr. Howard Morry:  Acknowledged as one of the greatest storytellers of Ferryland; the southeast coast of the Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland.” I became aware of the existence of this paper while searching the holdings of the Folklore and Language Archive at MUN. I was then assisted by Ms. Patricia Fulton, archivist, who managed to track down one of the authors (Leo Buckle) and secure from him permission to reproduce this article. The paper was largely based on interviews with Bill and Pat Morry and recordings of CBC radio programmes that had featured Dad Morry. Although the subject matter is therefore not new, it is interesting to see the interpretation placed upon these stories by younger people who had not grown up in the kind of place and times where these events took place. The paper has been transcribed and is offered here in PDF form (95 kb). Regrettably the tape recording that was meant to accompany the text has been lost or destroyed.


An Excerpt from Peter Cashin – My Fight for Canada, edited by Edward Roberts

An amusing, if biased, view of why Dad Morry despised Peter Cashin, from the perspective of the man himself. Click on the image of the book below.

Find Us

4-160D Edwards St.
Rockland, ON, K4K 1H9

Site Information

You are visiting the website of the Morry family of Newfoundland, ex Devon

Our Purpose

We hope that this site will serve as a link and a gathering place for the scattered remnants of the Morry Family, whose ancestor, Matthew Morry, came from Stoke Gabriel via Dartmouth Devon, England, to Newfoundland to make a living in the fishing trade some time before Sept. 1784. At that time we know he was granted land for a fishing room in Caplin Bay (now Calvert) near Ferryland, a tiny fishing village on Newfoundland’s Southern Shore that we, his descendants, think of as our family seat.

All information on this website is © Christopher Morry 2003-2023

Where to find me

Click to open a larger map