Morry Papers

 Morry Papers

People often refer to the “Morry Papers” as if they were a single comprehensive collection of historical documents. In fact there are several collections of papers.

The collection most often referred to as the “Morry Papers” is that which has resided at the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador in the Colonial Building in St. John’s since it was apparently donated on behalf of Dad Morry after his death. Note accession number is 164 76 meaning it was accessed into the collection of the Provincial Archives in 1976. Dad Morry died in 1972 but it is entirely possible, given the length of time that it normally takes for the staff at the Provincial Archives to process and access new material into their collection, that this collection was donated by Dad Morry himself before he died. This is not a criticism of the staff at the Provincial Archives. They are and always have been a dedicated group of people. It is just that there is not enough of them to do the job off accessing new donations in a timely manner. The same holds as true today as it did back then, possibly more so, since more people are donating collections such as this than ever before.

There are also less comprehensive collections at the A. C. Hunter Library Newfoundland Collection at the Arts and Culture Centre, at the Newfoundland Museum, at the Memorial Library Newfoundland Collection (Centre for Newfoundland Studies and the affiliated Archives and Special Collections section) and at the Maritime History Archive (also on the Memorial Campus). There may also be some “Morry Papers” at the Ferryland Museum, though that has as yet to be confirmed.

For the most part, only the documents at the Provincial Archives are the original papers (at least in part). The rest are photocopies, and much of this material is duplicated from collection to collection. One notable exception is the he formerly lost Matthew Morry Collection of Shakespeare’s Collected Works (1790), which is housed with the Archives and Special Collections group at the Queen Elizabeth II Library at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador (see page on Books). There are also many original copies of deeds, wills and indentures that involved the Morry family which are found at the Registry of Deeds, and some grants that are found at the Registry of Crown Titles, both of which are covered in separate pages on this website.

I have personally seen most of this material and have obtained copies of the most important items that are amenable to being photocopied, but several of the documents at the Provincial Archives are too old and frail or too large and cumbersome to be photocopied and will eventually have to be transcribed manually.

Eventually it is hoped that the entire collection will reside in one location in the new Provincial Archives in “The Rooms”, but it seems unlikely due to internecine rivalry amongst the various archives in Newfoundland. It is also hoped, at least, that those family members holding original materials of historical importance will eventually donate them to this new central collection for the benefit of their protection for future generations of the Morry family and their use by other researchers. In the meantime, as I obtain copies and transcribe them, digitise them or photograph them, as appropriate, they will all be recorded here for easier access by more people. For now, many articles are simply listed until time permits to transcribe or digitise them.

Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (The Rooms)


Morry Papers (PANL MG 237 — Matthew Morry)

The description of this fonds is taken directly from the website of the Provincial Archives Division at The Rooms and has not been corrected by me:


Matthew Morry family fonds

Fonds MG 237
1784-1862; 1939

Level of description
164 76
14   folders   textual records
1   photograph


Consists of
  • [Item B 17-53] Duke and Duchess of Windsor
  • [File MG 237.12] Copy of last will and testament of Matthew Morry (planter), Caplin Bay, 25 Apr. 1856, with attached affidavit by Thomas Morry
  • [File MG 237.8] Bill of sale of Thomson’s fishing room (Cape Broyle) & plantation by Charles Hutchings (Dartmouth) to Wm. [William] Pendergast (Cape Broyle)
  • [File MG 237.4] Power of attorney given by Matthew Morry (Dartmouth) to his son Matthew Morry (Capelin [sic] Bay): estate and interests in Nfld.
  • [File MG 237.10] Letter to Peter LeMessurier, St. John’s, from Robert Morry, Caplin Bay
  • [File MG 237.9] Bill of sale of Nash’s plantation by Arthur W.O. Holdsworth (Dartmouth) to Matthew Morry (Caplin Bay)
  • [File MG 237.1] Petition for & grant of land to Matthew Morry (Caplin Bay) for use in the fishery, by Gov. John Campbell
  • [File MG 237.5] Bill of Sale of property in [Caplin Bay ?] by Patrick Clancy to Wm. Sweetland and Co.
  • [File MG 237.6] Deed of loan to Matthew Morry & Co. (Dartmouth/Caplin Bay) by John Morry (Dartmouth)
  • [File MG 237.13] Receipt of probate papers in the estate of Matthew Morry
  • [File MG 237.11] Probate of the will of Matthew Morry, Caplin Cove
  • [File MG 237.2] Petition for and grant of land to Matthew Morry (Caplin Bay) for use in the fishery, by Gov. John Campbell
  • [File MG 237.3] Receipts for conversion of annuities
  • [File MG 237.14] Precise description of property boundaries of Matthew Morry’s land, [Timber Cove ?] and description of buildings thereon
  • [File MG 237.7] Last will and testamony [sic] of Rose Steer, Caplin Bay
Record type
Non-Government Records
Scope and content

Fonds consists of legal documents relating to the settlement of the estates of Matthew Morry Sr. and Matthew Morry Jr., including the chain of ownership of properties at Caplin Bay, Cape Broyle and Ferryland. (1784-1860).

Also includes one photo of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (1939).

Variations in title
Matthew Morry, Caplin Bay (Calvert) Cape Broyle collection


Source of title
Title based on the contents of the fonds


Copyright expired


Provenance access point
  • Matthew Morry (family: Caplin Cove and Ferryland, N.L.) – 

Matthew Morry (family: Caplin Cove [sic] and Ferryland, N.L.)

Biographical sketch

The Matthew Morry family, an Anglican, West Country household, had commercial ties with Caplin Bay and Ferryland, Newfoundland, from the late eighteenth century. The principals in the family represented in the fonds were Matthew Morry (1750-1836), Matthew Morry (1791-1856), and Matthew Morry (1813-1854).

Matthew Morry (1750-1836) was born in Dartmouth, Devon, England, in March 1750. He married Mary Graham in 1773; they had a large family, all of whom were born and raised in Dartmouth. Following the death of his wife (1796), Matthew remarried circa 1813. His wife, Anne Carter, was the daughter of Ann (Wyley) and Robert Carter and twice-widowed; her previous husbands were Samuel Hill and Henry Sweetland (Devon/Ferryland). Through this marriage, Morry acquired extensive property on the Ferryland Downs.

Supported by the influential Carter family at Ferryland, Morry petitioned Governor Campbell in 1782 for property at the head of Caplin Bay, on Newfoundland’s Southern Shore. The request was not formally granted until 1790 and land occupancy was restricted to the [employment of] “space for the advantage of the fishery.” In the interim, however, Morry left a winter agent, Thomas Head, to secure the land and employed a carpenter, John Brazell, to construct a “shoreman’s house” (1786). In 1799, Morry is listed as a seasonal inhabitant in the Ferryland District, who was normally resident in Dartmouth and reliant on a winter agent (Carter to Pole).

Morry probably relocated to Newfoundland following his second marriage (1813), accompanied by at least three of his sons: Matthew, William, and John. Based on a court case in London and reported in the St. John’s Mercantile Journal (2 Sept. 1819), Morry had established a partnership with a Dartmouth merchant, Prideaux (formerly of Prideaux & LeMessurier, Guesney) prior to 1819 and had created his own firm in Newfoundland, Matthew Morry & Co., with headquarters southwest of Keough’s Cove. Morry senior also held government appointments, including that of justice of the peace.

Eldest son Matthew Morry (1791-1856) was born in Dartmouth, where he resided until he moved to Caplin Cove circa 1813. He married Anne Saunders; they had 14 children. He was given power of attorney for all Morry interests in Newfoundland and continued the operation of the family firm, although several of his sons established their own enterprises. Some of the family property was dispersed, including land at Brigus South which was sold to the Gregory and Battcock families. Matthew Morry Jr. held several government offices, including surveyor of highways (1835) and member of the commission for roads and bridges from Bay Bulls to Cape Broyle.

Grandson Matthew Morry (1813-1854) moved his fishing premises to the north shore of Caplin Bay, where he built a house, Athlone Cottage. His brother, John Henry Morry established a partnership with brother-in-law Peter Paint LeMessurier and acquired the Holdsworth plantation on the north side of Ferryland. He was later joined by two brothers in the mid-1850s and later by other Morry family members as business declined at Caplin Bay.

The Morry family business continued at Ferryland for several generations. The last Morry to manage the family firm was William (Bill) Morry, a veteran of World War II.


Box 1

File 1:  Receipt of Probate Papers in the estate of Matthew Morry 31 May 1862 Transcript

Probate was granted to Thomas Graham Morry, Merchant, and Peter Paint Le Messurier, Accountant (see below). This Thomas Graham Morry would be the son of the deceased, who is Matthew Morry Junior (II). Peter Paint Le Messurier was at one time the business partner of John Henry Morry, another son of Matthew Morry II. He was also the son-in-law of the deceased, having married his daughter, Mary, who was by this time also deceased.

File 2: Probate of the Will of Matthew Morry of Caplin Bay Nfld. 12 July 1860 Transcript

It is interesting that the probate document refers to the deceased as a Stipendiary Magistrate. While this is true, his primary occupation was as a merchant in the salt cod fishery.

File 3: Copy of Last Will and Testament of Matthew Morry (Planter) of Caplin
Bay 25 April 1856 with attached affidavit by Thomas Morry 29 May 1862 . Transcript

Matthew Morry Jr. (II) wrote out his Will being ill and close to the end of his life, knowing the end was near. He died two months later. He left everything he owned to his wife, who survived him by eleven years. He also left instructions (whether observed or not we cannot say, since his wife, Ann, did not leave a Will) that upon her death everything would then be left to their youngest daughter, Priscilla Ann, who was unmarried at the time this Will was written, but married two years later. Their three other daughters and two sons had already died and it must be assumed that he felt his surviving sons could look after themselves. No doubt that was true for the most part, though Robert, the youngest, did fall on hard times later and went bankrupt.

Unfortunately, the Will itself is not itemised and the Probate documents give no more clarity as to the property of which he was possessed at the time of his death. From other documents he appears to have owned property in several parts of Caplin Bay but also quite probably in Brigus South (Timber Cove; see below) and possibly elsewhere. It would have been very useful to have a careful listing of these properties giving their precise location because we can only guess at where they were located.

This is only a legal copy of the Will without actual signatures on it. The original is in the possession of Karen [Funkhouser] Chapman, having been given to her mother, Aunt Jean, the family historian of her generation, for safekeeping by Dad Morry.

File 4: Bill of sale of Thomson’s Fishing Room ( Cape Broyle ) & Plantation by Charles Hutchings ( Dartmouth ) to Wm. Pendergast ( Cape Broyle ) 9 Nov. 1831 Transcript

The reason for this document appearing in the Morry Papers is ambiguous since no Morry takes part in the purchase or sale of this property in Cape Broyle. It only becomes clear when one discovers that the same property is again “sold” in 1836 by the purchaser in this document, William Pendergast, to William Sweetland. The sale was more or less in trust for the benefit of William Pendergast’s wife, Margaret. But failing the reimbursement of the £15 paid by William Sweetland for the property, it is possible that the property wound up actually being owned by him. The Sweetlands and Morrys were business partners and it seems likely that after William left Ferryland his partner, Matthew Morry II became the owner, or at least the lease holder/mortgagor of the property.

See: SDC Vol 1 Fol 443 William Pendergast to William Sweetland 14-05-1836

and SDC Vol 3 Fol 10-13 William Sweetland to Margaret Pendergast 11-11-1836 on the same page

File 5: Power of Attorney given by Matthew Morry (Dartmouth) to his son Matthew Morry (Capelin Bay) Re: his estate and interests in Nfld. 6 Nov., 1813 Transcript

This Power of Attorney was given by Matthew Morry Senior (I) to his son Matthew Morry Junior (II) to ensure that the essential business affairs of Matthew Morry and Company were maintained during what turned out to be a lengthy and difficult series of court cases related to the dissolution of the partnership with Walter Prideaux which kept Matthew Senior in Dartmouth for much of the next three years or more.

Interestingly, things had not yet soured between Matthew Senior and his partner and he specifically made provisions that Prideaux’s interests be looked after should he die or be taken by the enemy (at this time the the Americans and their allies, the French). Within months, such consideration for the interests of one another would be a thing of the past.

File 6: Letter to Mr. Peter Le Messurier St. John’s from N. P. [sic] Morry ( Caplin Bay ) Sept. 28, 1856 [Editor’s Note:  N. P. Morry should be Robert Morry; the title of the article at PANL contains an error] Transcript

For the longest time I had no idea what this letter between Robert Morry and Peter Paint Le Messurier was all about. Surely it pertains to the sale by the Morry interests of a fishing room in Brigus South to some member of the Badcock family (Christian name not given). But other than that it was a mystery.

Only today (May 13, 2019) did I finally twig to the fact that this letter and the description of a property in Timber Cove (see below) refer to the same transaction. The date is the giveaway. This transaction is taking place shortly after the death of Matthew Morry II. And Peter Paint Le Messurier and Thomas Graham Morry, referred to in the letter, were his Executors. So it seems that Matthew did own property in Brigus South and his Executors were selling a portion of it (“Badcock’s part has 1 stage 1 Large Flake 1 dwelling house and store under the same roof, cook room and Fishermen’s House”) to the unnamed Badcock man.

This is probably actually William Battcock, not Badcock, who was already established in business in Brigus South. Indeed, in 1839 there was another document involving William Battcock and Matthew Morry that is found in the Southern District Court documents on this website: SDC Vol 3 Fol 103-104 William Batcock [sic] to Michael Battcock 01-10-1839. In that instance it is shown that William Battcock and Matthew Morry had adjoining properties in Brigus South and that Battcock was “selling” that portion of his property occupied by Matthew Morry at that time in trust for his son Michael. This could very well be the same piece of property now being dealt back to the Battcock family, either father or son.

The selling price was apparently £22 currency. If it is the same property, Matthew had paid £5 for it in 1839.

As a side-note, this letter was addressed to Peter Paint Le Messurier c/o E. Stabb, Esq. implying that Peter was then in the employ of Ewen Stabb.

File 7: Bill of Sale of Nash’s Plantation by Arthur W. O. Holdsworth (Dartmouth) to Matthew Morry (Caplin Bay) 14 Dec. 1855. Transcript.

Nash’s Plantation was an apparently ungranted claim to a part of of the shore on the South-side of Caplin Bay that Arthur William Olive Holdsworth claimed to have ownership rights over, quoting the description from the “Record Book in the Registrar’s Office at Ferryland in the Southern District of this Island”. The only problem with that claim is that there is no such Record Book and probably never was. Thus, however Holdsworth came into the possession of Nash’s Plantation (Thomas Nash being the original claimant, who also probably had not grant or title to the property), he managed to persuade Matthew Morry II, who was then occupying that property, most likely by paying rent to Holdsworth’s agent, that he had title free and clear and therefore was entitled to sell the property to Morry for sixty pounds in two instalments of £30 each, one on June 1, 1847 and the other on December 30, 1848. The Bill of Sale was actually made out on December 14, 1855, shortly before Matthew died, so it would appear that there had been some counterclaim or doubt as to his possession and ownership of the property and this Bill of Sale was requested by Matthew so that his Executors would be able to clear up the matter.

Note that Nash’s Plantation was beside another plantation sold by Walter Shelley to Benjamin Sweetland on December 5, 1828 according to a Southern District Court indenture that does exist and that was transcribed by Kevin Reddigan on his Family Names of Calvert website. Note also that this Holdsworth was the same man who had sold the Holdsworth premises in Ferryland to Matthew’s son John and his partner Peter Paint Le Messurier in 1844. The Holdsworths were divesting themselves of all of their interests in Newfoundland at this time, having made their fortunes from the salt-cod fishery in Newfoundland since before the year 1600 when the first Arthur Holdsworth started coming to Newfoundland from Dartmouth.

File 8: Petition for Grant of land to Matthew Morry (Caplin Bay) for use in the fishery, 8 Sept. 1784 by Gov. John Campbell. Transcript.


Several copies of this original petition by Matthew Morry I and the ensuing land grant by Governor John Campbell exist. I know of at least two in the family as well as the one at The Rooms. But, near as I can tell, none of them are the original. They all appear to be transcribed quite a while later as there is a watermark on the paper that dates them to the mid-19th Century. Still, this implies that an original did at one time exist in one set of government records or another, but where that original is now, if it has survived the ravages of time and countless fires that destroyed Newfoundland’s written heritage over the years is presently unknown.

A clue to its whereabouts recently came to light when I noticed that the cover of the copy of the grant at The Rooms, shown above, bore a different notation than the one that I now hold, having been generously given to me in 2008 by my cousin Karen Funkhouser Chapman, from the collection of her mother, Aunt Jean Morry Funkhouser. The text in that copy of the grant is the same as the one at The Rooms with minor exceptions. But the note shown above on the cover does not appear on the copy in my possession. Instead it has these two references:
No. 57455
” 11317

These numbers clearly refer to the original documents, that is, Matthew’s Application and the page containing Robert Carter’s advice to the Governor and the Governor’s positive response to Matthew. My guess is that these documents are therefore to be found amongst the Colonial Papers, either in St. John’s or more likely in London. A quick examination of what is available online shows that the most likely repository is the Colonial Secretary’s Letterbook, which is available on microfilm at least at The Rooms.

As an aside, there are a number of other minor differences between the two copies, including one that is in the description of the property. In the one at Rooms, the second measurement is given as “eighty yards north east in breadth”, while the one that Aunt Jean had says “eighty yards north west in breadth”. It hardly matters though because these old descriptions always lacked a starting point and are therefore useless in terms of locating the property precisely.

Box 2

File 9: Grant to Matthew Morry of land for the fishery in Caplin Bay by Jacob Waller (H.M.S. ROSE) 13 Sept. 1790 Transcript

Despite the fact that the above grant application was later determined to be a copy rather than the original, this grant, obtained six years later but in juxtaposition with the first, is quite clearly the original document, complete with wax seal and the original signature of Capt. Jacob Waller on behalf of the Governor. Matthew’s business had grown in the intervening years and he required additional space for his shore operations. But he himself was still a resident of Dartmouth and only travelled to Newfoundland seasonally to run the fishing business of Matthew Morry & Company.

File 10: Two receipts for purchase of consolidated £3 Percent Annuities 24 Mar 1807 and 8 Jan 1805

It is fascinating that these two historical documents were preserved in the family all these years because they form the focus of a long and acrimonious legal battle waged by Matthew’s ward and grandson, John  Foale Morry, against his grandfather and the other partner in Matthew Morry and Company, Walter Prideaux, a Solicitor and Banker from Kingsbridge and Dartmouth, Devon. At the heart of the matter was how these two partners wound up essentially depriving John of the inheritance left to him by his parents, who both died in 1807 when he was only seven years old. Matthew was his court-appointed guardian and, along with another Dartmouth lawyer, William Cholwich Hunt, was charged by the court with protecting his young wards inheritance, much of which was tied up in these Consolidated £3 perCent Annuities sold by the Government of England. Instead, he conspired with Prideaux to sell off these ironclad assets and used the funds to pay off personal and Company debts on the pretext that he would look after John Jr. with Company funds until he reached the age of maturity. This left John with no inheritance. After many years before the High Court of Chancery, a judgement was found against Matthew and Prideaux, but it is not known what portion of John’s inheritance was restored to him afterwards. The fact that Matthew or John held onto this evidence from the trial is quite bizarre really.

File 11: Precise description of property boundaries of Matthew Morry’s land at Timber Cove ?? Description of buildings thereon undated unsigned

See File 6 above for a complete explanation of the matter to which this property description relates. In brief, a portion of the late Matthew Morry II’s property in Timber Cove, Brigus South, is being sold by his executors to a man named Badcock whose Christian name is not given either in the covering letter or the description. This is probably actually William Battcock, not Badcock, who was already established in business in Brigus South and owned the property beside this one. The date of the transaction, or at least the letter recording it, was Sept. 28, 1856, a few months after Matthew Morry II’s death.

File 12: Last Will & Testament Rose Steer?? (Dartmouth, Caplin Bay) 20 June 1825

Rose Steer (her married name; she was a widow) was originally from Dartmouth but was living in Caplin Bay when she made out this will. It was witnessed by William Sweetland and Matthew Morry Junior. As far as I can tell, all the heirs named as well as the two executors lived in Dartmouth. Other than these coincident facts, I do not believe that there was any connection between her and the Morrys, so I am curious as to why her original will, bearing an actual seal and real signatures, would have been retained and passed down over the generations in the Morry family. All a bit of a mystery.

There is no evidence of the existence of this person to be found on the Newfoundland’s Grand Banks website, the very best source for information on anyone living in Newfoundland over the years. So her presence there left a very light mark, other than this Will.

File 13: Deed of Loan to Matthew Morry & Co. (Dartmouth/Caplin Bay) by John Morry (Dartmouth) 20 Aug 1816 Transcript by Kevin Reddigan


This is an extremely important document in terms of understanding the many court cases that involved John Foale Morry, his grandfather, Matthew Morry, and Matthew’s business partner, Walter Prideaux. With this deed of loan, Matthew, who was still at this time his grandsons guardian, takes the unprecedented step of “borrowing” £659 from his grandson, John. This money is, in effect, the residue of John’s inheritance, or that portion of it that Matthew retained after his partner Prideaux absconded with the remainder. Putting the best face on things, with this document Matthew is apparently legitimizing the use of these funds for his own purposes, a questionable action, considering his legal role as John’s guardian and the Trustee of his inheritance.

However, I am led to believe that all was made right and John was somehow “made whole” before the expiry of this indenture because otherwise he would have become the de facto owner of all of Matthew’s property, including his fishing rooms at the head of Caplin Bay. Or perhaps that transfer of ownership did indeed take place, since John was later a fish merchant working out of Caplin Bay in his own right and independent of the interests of Matthew Morry and Company.

There is another possibility. This may have been an end run by Matthew to transfer ownership of this property to John before it could be seized by his business partner Prideaux at the termination of their partnership, an action that was in fact attempted by a legal and banking partner of Prideaux’s, John Square, two years later.


File 14: Bill of sale of property in Caplin Bay?? By Patrick Clancy to Wm. & Benj. Sweetland and Co., 27 Nov 1817.  Transcript by Kevin Reddigan


This sale of property and fishing equipment is between Patrick Clancy and William and Benjamin Sweetland who were brothers and business partners in the firm of William and Benjamin Sweetland and Company.To understand why this document is even found amongst the Morry papers, even though there is no mention of anyone from that family in the text, it must be understood that William Sweetland was not only a sometime business partner of Matthew Morry Jr. but also the husband of his sister, Priscilla Ann. Moreover, Ann [Carter] Hill-Sweetland-Morry was his mother and the second wife of Matthew Morry Senior. So there were many connections. Even so, it is somewhat surprising that this Bill of Sale did not remain with William when he moved to Bonavista to take up his position as Stipendiary Magistrate.

Many times, such Bills of Sale are not what they seem on the surface. They are more the offering of property for security on a loan needed to carry on work in the fishery. But in this instance it does appear to be a true sale of premises, lands and equipment, but with the proviso that, for a token amount of money (2 Shillings and 6 pence per annum) Clancy could continue to occupy his residence on these lands. I suspect that Clancy had been selling his fish to William and Benjamin Sweetland and Company but that he was too old or weak now to continue in this arrangement with them and they were effectively paying him £92 toward his retirement for his property but allowing him to stay on in his existing house.

MG 955 – 1000-2000 Series of unrelated documents

Letter from Robert Morry to Thomas Graham Morry, dated Sept. 22, 1871 concerning possible sale of former Sweetland house and lands


In July 2015 whilst going through an eclectic group of files at The Rooms which are referred to as the 1000-2000 series, and which are put together in boxes in an effort to do a preliminary sorting of materials that have yet to be properly accessed into the permanent Manuscript series, I came upon another Morry document that really ought to be included in the above collection. It is filed as 1000-2000 Series files, Box 26 in the Series 2015, File 14. It was indexed as a letter pertaining to Sweetland property in Cape Broyle/Caplin Bay and indeed that is what it was but what the index did not say was that it was in fact a letter from my 2nd great granduncle Robert Morry to his brother, Thomas Graham Morry, concerning these lands, which at the time were in his possession, presumably as the agent for the Sweetland family, the Sweetlands long since having vacated the southern shore for central Newfoundland and the US. I have asked that this letter be relocated to MG 237.

A. C. Hunter Newfoundland Collection

There are only three documents in this collection.

The first was donated by Dad Morry (date?) but is actually a transcript of a report on early history of Newfoundland by an unidentified Miss Morry. This could be a number of the maiden ladies in the family whom Dad Morry consulted for family history and the general history of the area. But I only just realised (May 17, 2019) when I checked the bibliographic references which I just copied below that it was in fact attributed to one of Dad Morry’s daughters. This could only be Jean, the family historian of that generation.

The other two documents were also donated by Dad Morry in 1963 and 1965 respectively. They are his recollection of the words of two songs which he indicates were popular before the turn of the twentieth century. The second one, The Flying Cloud, is most interesting, both because it retells the story of a couple of individuals from Ferryland, but also because it describes in some graphic detail the despicable practice of slaving as it was still being carried out in presumably the early to mid-1800s

File 1 – 971.8 M83 — Morry, Miss and Howard Morry

Digital Image Glimpses of the Early History of Ferryland by Miss Morry

Transcript Ferryland History

Glimpses of the early history of Ferryland / compiled by Miss Morry from material supplied by her father, Howard Morry of Ferryland.
by Morry, Miss
Subjects: Ferryland (N.L.) — History.
Additional Author: Morry, Howard.
Description: 2 leaves.
Notes: Typescript.
Bib #: 78264
Call No.: 971.8 M83

File 2 – 782.43 L88 4 cop. — Morry, Howard

Digital Image Lord Bateman by Howard Morry

Transcript Lord Bateman

Lord Bateman : [a ballad / written from memory by Howard Morry]. — 1963.
Subjects: Ballads, Canadian — Newfoundland and Labrador.
Folk songs, English — Newfoundland and Labrador.
Additional Author: Morry, Howard.
Description: 4] p.
Notes: Author unknown. Ms., signed (transcript, typewritten and carbon copies), Ferryland, Nov. 26, 1963.
Bib #: 117579
Call No.: 782.43 L88

Note that Dad Morry also contributed the song “Lord Bateman” to Kenneth Peacock when he was collecting old Newfoundland folk songs in the 1950s and 1960s. The words in that version may be slightly different than those Dad Morry gave to the A. C. Hunter Library.

Here is a transcript: Lord Bateman from Kenneth Peacock, with his detailed notes on provenance.

File 3 – 782.43 F67 4 cop. — Morry, Howard

Digital Image The Flying Cloud by Howard Morry

 The Flying Cloud 

The Flying Cloud : [a ballad / written from memory by Howard Morry]. — [1965?]
Subjects: Ballads, Canadian — Newfoundland and Labrador.
Folk songs, English — Newfoundland and Labrador.
Additional Author: Morry, Howard.
Description: [10] leaves.
Notes: Author unknown. Ms., signed (transcript, typewritten and carbon copies), Ferryland, Oct. 1965.
Bib #: 117578
Call No.: 782.43 F67

Similarly, Dad Morry also contributed a version of “The Flying Cloud” to Kenneth Peacock.

Here is the transcript: The Flying Cloud from Kenneth Peacock, with his detailed notes on provenance.

Fredi Caines Collection 2003

During the course of my search for old documents pertaining to the Morrys, cousin Fredris Mercer Caines came upon a remarkable discovery. Before her death in 1995, her mother, Aunt Phyl, had put away a suitcase full of old papers, some belonging to Aunt Phyl and others which had previously been in the possession of Dad Morry. Fredi found these and we spent some time going through the collection in the summer of 2003 and sorting them into sub-sets that were merely of sentimental interest, documents belonging to other living (at the time) members of the family and those that could legitimately be described as being of archival value. I photocopied all of the latter and have now digitised them (in some cases, they were found to be worth transcribing) to make them available here. Some of these documents are duplicates of the same material found elsewhere, but most has never been seen before and does not exist in any public archive.

I believe it is Fredi’s intention to donate these to the Provincial Archives when they are properly set up to deal with them.

Papers of Archival Value Held by Fredi Caines 2003

Large Format documents (Originals and/or Certified Copies):


Doc. 1 – Grant to James W. McCullock, Landed situate between Caplin Bay & Ferryland, Registered Vol. 65A, Folio 26, 3 January 1906. Legible and scanable.

Two versions of this Grant were found, both certified copies of the original, which differ only slightly, but were issued at different times. Grant to James McCullock Vol 65A Fol 26 Jan 3 1906 Ver 1 is dated February 24th 1910. Grant to James McCullock Vol 65A Fol 26 Jan 3 1906 Ver 2 is dated October 18th 1923. In the meantime the ruling monarch has changed from George V to Edward VII and hence the form of the grant had to be altered to reflect this change. Also the wording of the description of the property has been altered. But in all substantive respects the Grant itself is one and the same.

The grant is for a piece of property totaling in area 15 acres 3 roods and 10 perches on the south side of Caplin Bay adjacent to the lands there which were previously granted to Matthew Morey [sic] Jr. The latter grant, or at least the sketch of its location, is found below as document #11 and was issued to Matthew Morry Jr. on January 28th 1851. It totals in area 8 acres 0 roods and 30 perches. That Grant has been known in the family as the “Lower Grove”.

I am not clear as to why the McCullock Grant was found amongst Dad Morry’s papers. I know that Miss Lizzie Morry, the last Morry to live in Calvert at Athlone, and her brother, Henry, then in BC, did eventually sell the Lower Grove property to Dr. McCullock. It is possible that these copies of the McCullock grant were found at Athlone after her death and Dad Morry retrieved them but it seems unlikely. She would have had no need for these papers in order to sell Dr. McCullock her piece of adjacent land.

I have tried to find any evidence that the two McCullock properties, the 1906 grant in his name plus the land sold to him by Miss Lizzie and her brother Henry, were eventually resold to either Dad Morry or his father, Thomas Graham Morry. There is no mention of the land in the Will of Thomas Graham Morry but it is willed to Uncle Bill and Uncle Howard in common by Dad Morry.

Although I have not been successful in finding any documentation to the effect that he actually owned that land, it is a fact that this land was claimed by him and that it subsequently was willed to Uncle Howard and Uncle Bill. Bill sold his share and the part belonging  to Howard went to his son Howie. Dr. McCullock made out his Will in 1908 leaving his estate to his brother and sisters, implying he had no wife and children at that time. He died and was buried in the General Protestant Cemetery on September 9, 1908. It would seem, though documentation is lacking, that Dad Morry did not reacquire these lands until 1923 when the second legal copy of the grant was issued.

              Dr. J. W. McCullock’s Grant and Matthew Morry Jr’s adjacent Grant, later sold to McCullock

Doc. 2 – Grant to Thomas G. Morry, land at Morris Marsh Road, Ferryland, Registered Vol. 41, Folio 55, 29 August 1890 . Legible.

Grant to T G Morry – Morris Marsh Rd Vol 41 Fol 55 Aug 29 1890

This is the property that everyone knows now as the “Morry Farm”. It is a substantial piece of property – 22 acres. After the death of Thomas Graham Morry (whom I refer to as T. G. Morry III, because he was the third person of that name in so many generations), it was divided two ways between Dad Morry and his brother John. Had their brother, Thomas Graham Morry IV, returned from Boston to Newfoundland, according to their father’s will, he would have received the wooded portion of the property (7 or 8 acres), as well as his house and the surrounding property and waterside premises in Ferryland. They were instead given to John in a codicil to that Will written shortly before he died.

Note that it has been pointed out by Kevin Reddigan that there is an error in this grant. The proper name for the road on which this property is found is actually Morrison’s Marsh Rd., not Morris Marsh Rd. But I suspect that was the way it was known locally at the time that T.G. Morry III made his application.

Grant Plan T G Morry – Morris Marsh Rd Vol 41 Fol 55 Aug 29 1890

Doc. 3 – Assignment in Trust (Indenture), Thomas G. Morry to Alexr J. W. McNeily, lands and premises situate at Ferryland , Newfoundland , May 1, 1892 . Legible.

Trust from T G Morry to A J McNeily May 1 1892

As most people who follow my research findings already know, my great grandfather, Thomas Graham Morry was the last of the descendants of Matthew Morry, the immigrant ancestor, to have a substantial holding in the fish business until the time of his grandson, Bill. The reason was quite common in his day — he lost his entire fortune in 1894 due to the general bank failure in Newfoundland of that year on December 10, afterwards referred to as “Black Monday”. Many merchants, large and small, went bankrupt or lost their fortunes that day and T. G. Morry was one of them.That makes this particular Trust Deed very interesting. Upon reading it, one cannot help but realise that it was put in place to protect against creditors the personal property of T. G. Morry by putting it in trust in the name of his wife Catherine (Kate) Frances [White] Morry.

Many businessmen in those days took this precaution when they suspected that a downturn in their business affairs might leave their personal property in jeopardy. But the interesting thing about this particular Trust Deed is that it was initially made out in 1892, two years before the banks collapsed, but was not signed or actioned at that time. Instead it was signed and came into force only on May 1, 1895, five months after the bank collapse. This suggests that old Tom saw the writing on the wall well in advance, predicted that there were going to be bad times ahead, but did not take the necessary action to protect his personal property until there was a very real danger of it being seized by the courts to cover his debts.

It is also interesting that the Trust Deed had to be worded in such a way to hearken back to an earlier Deed by which Ann [Coulman] Winsor (the grandmother of T. G. Morry) passed back to him the title to the property which she had essentially purchased from Tom’s father, John Henry Morry and his business partner and brother-in-law Peter Paint Le Messurier by paying off the debt remaining on the purchase of the property from Arthur William Olive Holdsworth. A condition of that earlier Deed from Ann Morry, dated the 29th of November, 1881, was that the property was being conveyed to Tom with a proviso that the house be left available to his maiden sisters, Flossy, Fanny and Jane until they married. Only the latter married, so there was still an obligation to protect the house for the potential use of Flossy and Fanny, though neither ever chose to avail of that opportunity. Ann, instead, has now urged Tom to protect the property for the benefit of his own wife, Kate. Ann was a feminist before the word even existed!


Doc. 4 – Indenture (Unsigned; draft of above?), Thomas G. Morry to Isaac R. McNeily, lands and premises situate at Ferryland, Newfoundland, Undated 1891. Half Legible.

Indenture T G Morry to I R McNeily ca 1891

This document is very similar in design, content and purpose to the previous one but differs in a number of respects. First of all it is written as an Indenture rather than a Trust Deed. The strict legal meaning of these terms is unknown to me, so I will not speculate further on this aspect. Secondly, the trustee in question is Isaac R. McNeily rather than Alexander J. W. McNeily. They were brothers. Finally, the Indenture is not dated or signed, but was made out in 1891. That was the year that Isaac Robert McNeily died.So what this tells us is that Thomas Graham Morry was suspecting an imminent failure of his business a year earlier than in the first draft of the Trust Deed above, which was made out in 1892 but only signed and registered in 1895. There can be little doubt therefore that he did not have this legal document drawn up because he was anticipating a possible bank collapse, unless he was clairvoyant, but rather it was his personal business that was on shaky ground already before the bank collapse even occurred.


Doc. 5 – Bargain and Sale of Certain Messuages, Lands and Premises situate at Ferryland from John Morry and Peter Paint LeMessurier to Ann Winsor, Consideration £400 Currency. May 16, 1853 . Legible.

Indenture John Morry and P P Le Messurier to Ann Winsor May 16 1853

This is the document referred to above whereby Ann [Coulman] Winsor became the “de facto” owner of the Holdsworth premises because her son in law, John Henry Morry, and his brother-in-law and business partner, Peter Paint Le Messurier, were unable to make the second and final payment on the purchase from Arthur William Olive Holdsworth. The copy in Fredi’s collection is an “original” in as much as any document which replicates a formal court document but without the actual signatures and seals attached can be referred to as an original. In other words, it is a legal copy of the original.

We will see in a subsequent document that Ann returned this property, in trust, to her grandson, Thomas Graham Morry.



Legal or Letter size documents (Some Originals but mostly Photocopies):


Doc. 6 – Last Will and Testament (Photocopy) without subsequent Codicil, Thomas Graham Morry, June 13, 1930 . Poor quality photocopy – Text legible but marginal notes not.

T G Morry Will – No Codicil From Photocopy

A much more complete and more legible copy of the will, its codicil and all related probate papers is found below. I am including this poor quality photocopy here because it is quite probably a copy made of the original received following the death of Thomas Graham Morry in Victoria, B.C. and then turned over to the executor to be used for probate purposes.


Doc. 7 – Petition for and Grant of land to Matthew Morry ( Caplin Bay ) for use in the fishery 8 Sept. 1784 by Gov. John Campbell. Includes letter of support from Robert Carter. (Same as PANL MG237 Box 1 File 8). Poor quality photocopy.

Matthew Morry 1784 Grant From Photocopy

This is a particularly bad photocopy of an important document that exists in numerous versions as “originals” (i.e. legal copies) and photocopies. It is the application and approval of Matthew Morry’s first grant in Caplin Bay in 1784. A much better copy (one of the several legal copies in various collections) is found above as Box 1, File 8 in the Morry Papers (MG 237) at The Rooms.


Doc. 8 – Survey of Beach Property in Capeland Bay From Photocopy. Poor quality photocopy.

Survey of Beach Property in Capeland [sic] Bay From Photocopy

This is an attempt to “legally” survey a fishing room in Caplin Bay. But whose fishing room? I have always concluded that it was Matthew Morry’s.

But the original of this frail document has wound up being filed in the Holdsworth Papers as file MG 32.1 at The Rooms, which implies that it originally belonged to the Holdsworth enterprises. But why then is this copy found amongst Dad Morry’s papers?

There is also a transcription of the document apparently made by Helena Morry Le Messurier which found its way into MG 281, the Nimshi Crewe collection:

MG281 Crewe typescript Survey of Beach Capeland Bay H Morry Le Messurier

It also appears that she was the donor of the original, although it is filed in the Holdsworth collection. So it is all a bit of a mystery. My guess is that this fishing room did originally belong to the Holdsworth family but that when they lost interest in their Newfoundland fishing enterprises, Matthew Morry applied for and received a grant for the same fishing room, on condition that it continue to be used exclusively for the betterment of the fishery.

It is, however, equally possible that it was simply misfiled by the Archives staff and should actually be a part of the Morry Papers. This was certainly the case with regard to the photograph of John Henry Morry and his daughters and niece, Helena Morry, on the front doorstep of the Holdsworth house which, though it had been donated by Helena’s daughter, Vic Le Messurier Badcock, a Morry descendant, wound up being filed in the Holdsworth collection simply because the house was originally owned by the Holdsworth family.


Doc. 9 – Receipt for Sale of Land in Ferryland by Howard L. Morry to Minister of Agriculture and Mines for Trepassey Branch Railway, June 1919. Includes plan. Original. Legible and scanable.

Receipt for sale of ROW for Trepassey Railway From Original

When the branch line of the Newfoundland Railway was being constructed from St. John’s to Trepassey between 1911 and 1917 a survey was drawn up showing how the railway right of way would impinge on properties already in the possession of a large number of individuals and institutions, such as the various church lands. Dad Morry was one of the many landowners in Caplin Bay and Ferryland affected according to maps drawn up by the Railway at the time. But there was no consultation or debate. The railway was going in one way or the other. It was a government priority, championed by the local Member at the time, Sir Michael Patrick Cashin. Coincidentally, this worthy gentleman had recently acquired a large number of properties along the route of the branch line that was eventually chosen and was handsomely compensated for his loss of the use of small parts of these parcels of land. Like most government priorities, it was politically motivated and ill-conceived. The branch line operated at a loss to the Crown from day one until it was finally abandoned in 1931. The owners and operators, the Reid enterprises, were completely indemnified from any loss.

Landowners, in the meantime, were eventually offered compensation for having this Right of Way dividing their properties. In June, 1919, Dad Morry was offered the princely sum of $26 for his loss of land. But the receipt shown here is neither signed nor is there a cheque number given where indicated, so I suspect that he may have refused this compensation in hopes of getting more later. If so, he was probably disappointed and got nothing at all.

There is another curious element to this story which relates to another document shown above, the sale, by Miss Lizzie Morry and her brother Henry, of Matthew Morry II’s grant on the South side of Calvert Harbour to Dr. James McCullock in 1900. It turns out that the lands on which Dad Morry was supposed to received compensation for the right of way impingement in 1919 was this same piece of property. But there is no evidence that Dad Morry ever reacquired the property from Dr. McCullock, who died in 1908, or from his Executors. I suspect that, after Dr. McCullock died, his Executors were not even aware that he owned this land. It is not mentioned in his brief Will. If so, Dad Morry’s re-acquisition of former Morry property may have been by squatter’s rights. If so, that would have direct bearing on the validity of the title held to this property today.


Plans of property granted to Matthew Morry II then sold by Miss Lizzie and Henry Morry and then claimed by Howard Morry


Doc. 10 – Last Will and Testament (Photocopy of Signed Original), Howard Leopold Morry, Dec. 19, 1963. Poor quality photocopy – text legible.

Last Will and Testament of Howard Morry Dec 19 1963 From Photocopy

There are a number of copies of Dad Morry’s Will in the possession of various family members, though none seems to be on file at the Supreme Court where such things were normally filed. This one is a true copy (it shows the actual signatures of Dad Morry and the witnesses) but not a legal copy (not marked by the court or registry as such).

From my family’s perspective, the point of greatest interest in this Will is that Dad Morry failed to remember when he was having the Will made out that he was not the owner of the land on which the “Wee Hoose” stood. That land was Willed to our father by his grandfather and never belonged to either Dad Morry or to Uncle Bill, who took over the remainder of Dad Morry’s property when he agreed to take on the responsibility of running the fish business for him after the war. This misunderstanding was immediately recognised by both Uncle Howard and Dad after the Will was distributed, and an agreement in handwriting between the two of them was made out to swap another piece of land belonging to Uncle Howard for the “Three Corner Meadow” on which the “Wee Hoose” stood. This swap never took place during Dad’s lifetime but Uncle Howard and I agreed to a deal in 2016 and I am now the legal owner of an equivalent sized piece of land across the middle lane from the “Wee Hoose”.

Original agreement between Howard George and Thomas Graham Morry and Survey of property traded for 3 Corner Meadow

Doc. 11 – Record of Receipt for Pay for Pvt. Howard Leopold Morry, August 17, 1915 Oct. 1, 1916 . Original. Legible.

Receipt for Pay for Pte. H Morry From Original

This is nothing more than one page taken from the military file of Dad Morry. This page is a record of the money that he allocated to be sent to his father rather than him because he had little need for his daily pay while overseas, but his wife was now in Ferryland and pregnant with their first child and was under the care of Dad Morry’s parents. From the amounts sent home, it would appear that he kept virtually nothing for himself most months.

Doc. 12 – Cablegram from Fredris Minty Morry to Howard Leopold Morry, Sept. 1915. Original. Torn and deteriorating condition.

Cablegram Fredris to Howard Morry Sept 1915 From Original

As the title indicates, this is a photocopy of the cablegram sent to Dad Morry by Mom Morry to let him know that she had arrived safely in Ferryland. They had parted in Scotland several months earlier with the departure of the Regiment to Egypt and Mom Morry’s departure for Canada en route to Newfoundland. The date of the cablegram is unclear but appears to be 4 Sept. 1915.

Doc. 13 – Letter from Howard Leopold Morry to father, Thomas Graham Morry, June 22, 1915 . Original. Legible.

Letter from H Morry to father June 22 1915 From Original

Something struck me as rather odd when I found this letter purporting to be the one that Dad Morry sent to his father from England or Scotland in 1915 before departing for Egypt en route to Gallipoli. Then it struck me: this is NOT the original; that was a postal card. This is a transcript made and signed by Dad Morry years later. He was such a consummate historian that he must have felt it necessary to make a clearer transcript of the postcard for future generations.

Here is the original postcard:


Doc. 14 – A Plan of Property of Mrs. Holdsworth at Ferryland late in the Possession of Mr. Ewen Stabb but now…Taken by John Preston, Surveyor, April 1830. Copied By Frederick R. Page, Land Surveyor, February 1859. 2 Badly photocopied pages. Barely legible.

Plan of Property of Mrs Holdsworth Recently Occupied by Ewen Stabb April 1830 From Photocopy

If you look at the old maps of Ferryland North side it shows that most of the area between the road and Cold East Point belonged to two brothers, Arthur and Robert Holdsworth. We know that the property that belonged to Arthur was sold to John Henry Morry and Peter Paint Le Messurier, as shown above. Robert passed away and the land that he had title to (by grant, or other means we do not know) was transferred to his widow. The plan shown here was originally surveyed in 1830, most likely when Robert died, but was then re-certified in 1859.

My guess is that it was at this time that the Morrys somehow acquired title to this property as well, though no indenture of transfer of deed has ever been found. One clue may be in a notation on the plan that states that when the survey was originally carried out, the property was then in the possession of Ewen Stabb., presumably by rental agreement with Mrs. Holdsworth’s agent.

All that we know for sure is that, by the time Thomas Graham Morry III made out his will it included the property of both of the original Holdsworths and that one part of this, essentially the part that had belonged to Arthur Holdsworth, went to Dad Morry, while the other part, seaward of the back lane, went to his brother John.

After John’s death, his property was divided into small parcels for each of his children. It is possible that a proper title search was done at that time and that the document conveying Mrs. Holdsworth’s share to either John Henry Morry or his son, Thomas Graham Morry, was found at that time. But I have never seen a copy of it if it was.

One interesting fact came to light recently when I was exploring various files and collections at The Rooms which I had never looked into previously. I discovered that the original Indenture by which Robert Holdsworth purchased this property from the original grant holder, John Robins, on August 13, 1765 is “temporarily” file in MG 956 – Special Items Collection. This collection of unrelated documents exists as a means to holding onto important old documents until they can be properly assessed and filed appropriately in the collections of The Rooms. I do not know who contributed this document or how long it has been in this limbo. Unfortunately, far too many important historical documents find themselves in this situation as a result of a lack of staff resources at the Provincial Archives Division. For the sake of giving this important document better exposure I am making a copy available here and also on Indentures page of this website.

Doc. 15 – Last Will and Testament of John Henry Morry of Ferryland, August 24, 1897 . Photocopy of Certified Correct Copy. Mainly Legible.

Last Will and Testament of John Morry Aug 24 1897 From Photocopy

The most remarkable thing about the will of John Henry Morry, my second great grandfather, is that his bequests to his son, Thomas Graham Morry III, were for property that was already in the possession of the latter and that John Henry had not owned since he had to essentially sell if to his mother-in-law, Ann [Coulman] Winsor, in 1853, forty-four years previous to the writing of his Will [see indenture above]. It is possible he had forgotten that the house and lands were no longer his to bequeath, but I doubt it. I suspect this was his way of trying to save face. I suspect that there were some hard feelings between John and his mother-in-law over the fact that he never repaid her the money that he owed her and that she therefore never returned legal custody of the property to him even though he lived in the Holdsworth House most of his life, raised a family there and made his living from the lands and waterside premises.

John also bequeathed a small amount of land and waterside premises to his three unmarried daughters (Jane later married), but this was very small indeed and later letters from his Aunt Flossy to Dad Morry indicate that even the meager rent they were asking from local fishermen for the use of this property was hard to obtain. it isn’t entirely clear whether this too was part of the lands from the Holdsworth purchase and therefore not his to bequeath or whether it was land he had bought separately afterwards.


Doc. 16 – Map or Plan of “Lower Grove Calvert”, January 28, 1851 . Shows same piece of land that adjoins Land grant mentioned in 1 above. Fairly Legible

Map or Plan Lower Grove Caplin Bay Jan 28 1851 From Photocopy

I have already shown this plan above in reference to the adjacent property which was granted by the government to Dr. James McCullock, as well as the Matthew Morry II grant acquired by Dr. J. W. McCullock from Miss Lizzie Morry and her brother, Henry Morry, then in BC which appears below. Later, both properties seemingly were repurchased from Dr. McCullock or his estate by the Morrys, or at least they were claimed by Dad Morry at the time that the Trepassey Branch Line was being built and a map of affected land holdings was drawn. Some of this land still remains in the hands of Howie Morry, having inherited it from his father at his death.

Doc. 17 – Letter to Matthew Morry in Harbour Grace from his brother William in St. John’s , Nov. 20, 1841 . Original. Legible.

Letter from William to Matthew Morry Nov 20 1841 From Original

This is one of several letters written to Matthew Morry III, the grandson of the immigrant ancestor of the same name, from his siblings. Collectively they tell the story of a bit of a hard ticket who seems to have taken the opportunity to travel around the island and down to Labrador ostensibly to manage the Morry fishing activities going on in these locations, but in reality in order to get away from the cloistered existence at home and enjoy his freedom to drink and carouse.

Matthew was not married at the time. in 1838 he had in fact married Elizabeth Chafe of Petty Harbour, but this was more an act of kindness than a real marriage, as she was on her death bed at the time and said that she would die happy if only Matthew would marry her. She died several days later, buried in her wedding dress. He did not remarry until three years after this letter was written and evidently was taking the opportunity to live the life of the gay bachelor for several years before settling down in Caplin Bay at Athlone.

Something that concerns me is that this one letter was found amongst Aunt Phyl’s papers and a number of other ones of a similar nature were passed to me by my father. This tells me that Dad Morry did with these old family letters what he did with his own diaries, that is to say, he distributed them amongst his children to ensure that at least some of them would be preserved. Unfortunately, this has the impact of being  a bit like splitting up a collection of an early edition of the complete works of Shakespeare amongst half a dozen people, never to be reunited. it diminishes their value since many are now lost or at least have never been shared with other members of the family by the person or persons who may not even be aware that they exist amongst the papers they inherited from their parent or grandparent to whom they were originally given.


Doc. 18 – Indenture and extension of lease for fishing room and premises to William Devereaux from Florence Morry and Emily Francis Victoria Morry of Ferryland, January 1, 1937. Original. Legible.

Lease From Fanny & Flossy Morry to Michael & Wm Devereaux Jan 1 1937 From Original

This Indenture is a 15 year extension of an existing lease of waterside premises to Michael and William Devereaux from Emily Frances Victoria [Fanny] Morry and her sister Florence [Flossy] Morry. This lease was to gain a small annual of rent ($17) on property that had been preserved for their use under the conditions of the transfer back to their brother, Thomas Graham Morry III, of the Holdsworth properties which their father had been forced to sell to their grandmother, Ann [Coulman] Winsor in order to make the final payment owed to the Holdsworths and avoid defaulting on his purchase agreement. They were entitled to do this also under the conditions of the Will of their father, as shown above. But really that had no legal standing as the property was not his to determine use of, having sold it to Ann Coulman and never having repaid that loan.

They were also entitled to use the Holdsworth House as a condition of the earlier Indenture between Ann Coulman and Thomas Graham Morry III but never availed of the opportunity, choosing instead to live in St. John’s, with the inevitable result that the house fell into ruins and had to be taken down by Dad Morry after returning from WWI.

Doc. 19 – Bill of Sale for Land on road from Caplin Bay to Ferryland from Elizabeth Morry and Henry Morry to James Walker McCullock, March, 1900. Original, Legible.

Sale of Land from Henry & Elizabeth Morry to J W McCullock March 1900 From Original

This would appear to be the land adjacent to that acquired in 1906 by grant to Dr. McCullock in Document 1 above. While I note that the document in Aunt Phyl’s collection is “original”, I assume that it was also registered at the Registry of Deeds, though I do not know this to be a fact.

This is the land that was once granted to Matthew Morry II and that later wound up being claimed by Dad Morry as his property at the time that the land assembly was taking place for the Trepassey Branch Line through Calvert. There is no documentation to indicate that he actually bought back the land after Dr. McCullock died in 1908 and I think he may just have taken advantage of the fact that the doctor had no wife and children surviving him who would challenge his claim to the property. The part below the present road right of way is still claimed by Uncle Howard’s heirs as “the lower grove”.


Doc. 20 – Agreement between Diocesan Synod of Nfld. and Howard Morry, conveying right to use land formerly occupied by Anglican Church in Ferryland, May 1, 1948. Original. Legible.


Anglican Synod to Howard Morry Permission to Use Land May 1 1948 From Original

For reasons that are not clear, Dad Morry applied for and received permission from the Anglican Synod to make use of the lands where once stood St. Luke’s Church. It was probably taken down only a short while before this agreement was written in 1948. Dad Morry did have some sheep he had to find grazing for and it was getting to be unwelcome, if not outright illegal, to allow them to wander at their will. Since this agreement stipulates that he keep up the fences, it would seem likely that this was his plan.

My memory does not go back far enough to put a date on it but I can say for a certainty that this property was not fenced in the recent decades and I suspect that Dad Morry only utilised the lands until the existing fences fell down from lack of repair and then abandoned the property. Certainly this agreement would have no standing anymore since this basic requirement was not followed.


Doc. 21 – Trust Deed, Ann Morey Winsor To Thomas G. Morey [sic], for the “Holdsworth lands”, Dec. 15, 1881. Original. Fragile and taped together but relatively legible.

Trust Deed Ann Winsor to T G Morry Dec 15 1881 From Original

Here we have the famous trust deed whereby Ann Windsor stepped over the head of John Henry Morry and returned his Holdsworth property to his son rather than to him for the proverbial one dollar. Her name is mistakenly given as “Ann Morey [sic]” on the cover but correctly given as Ann Winsor in the document itself (Winsor/Windsor spelling was optional in that family). Thomas’s surname is incorrectly given as “Morey” wherever it appears, but that too was not uncommon in those days.

This is undoubtedly the only true copy and is in seriously deteriorating condition with ill-conceived attempts to repair it over the years with cellulose tape. A copy exists in the old books of the Southern District Court at the Registry of Deeds: SDC Vol 6 Fol 59-60 Indenture Ann Winser to Thomas Graham Morry 15-12-1881. Here is a transcript that combines the two versions:

SDC Vol 6 Fol 59-60 Indenture Ann Winser to Thomas Graham Morry 15-12-1881

As I have noted elsewhere when discussing this document, the legal clerk who made it out was lazy and essentially copied verbatim the original Indenture between Arthur William Olive Holdsworth on the one part and John Henry Morry and Peter Paint Le Messurier on the other part, accidentally including the names of John Henry Morry and Peter Paint Le Messurier where they should have been substituted with the name of Thomas Morry in the new agreement.

One thing that is particularly interesting is that this cagey elderly lady who owned much land and was quite wealthy was illiterate and signed the deed with an “X”.


Doc. 22 – Deed of Conveyance, John White to Catherine White and Richard H. White, Property at Ferryland. Dec. 14, 1883. Very poor-quality photocopy almost illegible.


Conveyance John White to Catherine & Richard White Dec 14 1883 From Photocopy

This is an example of one of those documents designed to sidestep a Will and impose conditions on a bequest before the person dies that are theoretically supposed to govern the future transfer of that gift through multiple generations. Whether this would be legally binding and enforceable in a court of law is dubious.

What John William White does by this indenture is convey a piece of property to his wife, Catherine (O’Sullivan) White for the duration of her life. What of course he could not know at the time was that he wound up outliving her so this part of the conveyance was of no matter. The document then proposed that the property be transferred to their eldest son, Richard Henry White. But one would assume that since John was still alive when his wife died this transfer was held in abeyance until his demise.

But he doesn’t stop there and presumes to order that once Richard dies the property should go his unborn grandchildren and after they die to his unborn great grandchildren. One has to wonder why he stopped there! A vain attempt at immortality I think.

The document reveals that the plantation in question was only acquired recently (1871) from Arthur Howe Holdsworth by his agent Nicholas Stabb and that it was then occupied by John Saunders. No word on what became of him when the land was sold from under him.

This document, like the one above transferring property from Ann Winsor to her grandson, Thomas Graham Morry was also registered in the Southern District Court, though again there is no notation on this copy to indicate its reference numbers there.

Here is a digital image and transcript of that document:

Image – SDC Vol 6 Fol 185-186 John White to Catherine White 14-12-1883

Transcript – SDC Vol 6 Fol 185-186 John White to Catherine White 14-12-1883


Doc. 23 – Legal Survey of 3 Parcels of land Ferryland North Side, in the name of William Morry, Dec. 7, 1987. Original. Legible and scanable.

Legal Survey Morry Fishery Property Dec 7 1987 From Original

This document was evidently made in preparation for the sale of the Morry fish business – the end of a 200 year legacy. The fishing premises were never again used for that purpose, though they changed hands at least twice with the new owners having that intention in mind. The property, or at least the main building, is evidently presently owned by the Yellow Belly Microbrewery and their intention is to eventually build an expanded brewery and attached restaurant-pub overlooking the waters of Ferryland Harbour, though this plan may also fall through.


Doc. 24 – Indenture, House and Lands in Ferryland, including survey, Between William Morry and Mary Morry, No day or month 1996, Certified Legal Copy. Legible and scanable.


Indenture Property from William to Mary Morry 1996 From Certified Legal Copy

Another part of the original Holdsworth property which came down through multiple generations of Morry descendants wound up being a part of the settlement between Bill Morry and his wife “Pat” (Mary Sutherland Morry) when they divorced. This was in fact the land on which the Holdsworth stone house once stood and where Dad Morry then built his house when he returned from WWI. After Aunt Pat died, the house and the land on which it stands was sold to Fredi and Stan Caines by pat’s son Peter Morry at Aunt Pat’s express request before she passed away. The same legal survey attached to this Indenture was used for that sale.


Doc. 25 Last Will and Testament (Photocopy of Unsigned Copy), Howard Leopold Morry, Dec. 19, 1963. Photocopy. Legible.

Last Will and Testament of Howard Morry Dec 19 1963 From Photocopy Unsigned

An unsigned draft of this Will as seen above (Doc. 10) with signature affixed. Whether this was a copy made for probate purposes or rather a draft made before Dad Morry signed it is not known.


Doc. 26 Memories by Howard L. Morry, July 12, 1957. Photocopy. Legible

Memories July 12 1957 Howard L Morry Photocopy of Typescript

This is a 16-page typed typed version of a part of one of Dad Morry’s many diaries, many of which have been completely transcribed. This particular typescript appears to be one that resulted from a request that he made to a librarian at the Newfoundland Provincial Library to assist him in making his diaries publicly available, However notes on file indicate that she fell ill and never completed the text. However a note at the bottom of the first page in Dad Morry’s handwriting indicates that he did distribute copies of this part at least within the family.

The first two pages, “Memories”, are the first pages of a diary now held by Howie Morry that begins on July 12, 1957 and which includes a full account of Dad Morry’s experiences overseas. But then the transcript leaves off and does not include the next couple of pages on which Dad Morry transcribed the Petition from the Residents of Isle au Bois in 1709, which he repeatedly copied in various forms in other places. Nor does it include the military memoirs which have been transcribed by a number of family members and comprise the remainder of this book.

The transcript instead resumes with his daily diary of weather, fishing, and local events in Ferryland which begins on July 14, 1957. Near as I can tell, this comes from a different memoir book (scribbler) that is now lost. It is possible that it was never returned to Dad Morry by the person who made the transcript for him. Karen Funkhouser Chapman has a carbon copy of the same transcript that is found in Fredi’s collection, but not the original diary from which it was made. No one else in the family seems to have it either. Just one more part of Dad Morry’s attempt to record history lost or destroyed over the years.


Doc. 27 – The Great War: A Southern Shore, Soldier’s Tale, by Bob Ryan, July 22, 1994. 15 pp plus 1 page Introduction and 1 page Bibliography. Quotes extensively from “My service in the World War 1914-1917″ by H. L. Morry, August 1957 (see below). Photocopied. Legible and scanable.

The Great War – A Southern Shore Soldier’s Tale – Bob Ryan Jul 22 1994 From Photocopy

This was a term paper prepared by a History student at Memorial University for his professor, David Facey-Crowther. Dad Morry gave interviews to many students over the years to help them prepare term papers such as these. I have two others on file. None of these were ever published, however.


Doc. 28 – Memories of Howard Morry Feb. 18, 1965. Transcript for his diaries up to that year. The person doing the transcription is not identified, nor is the date on which it was transcribed. 22 Page Photocopy. Legible but not scanable.

Memories of Howard Morry 1965 From Typescript

Again one of many of Dad Morry’s diaries which may now only exist in typescript form.

All of his existing diaries have been photocopied and scanned and many of them have been transcribed. But many of the transcriptions have not been included on this website because unscrupulous authors and film producers have taken and used them without permission, acknowledgement or accreditation.

This 22 page section of memoirs is apparently taken from an original diary book which no longer exists, just as was the case for a good portion of Document 26 above.


Doc. 29 – My Service in the World War 1914-1917, by Howard L. Morry.  Transcript of Diary commencing August 3, 1957. The person doing the transcription is not identified, nor is the date on which it was transcribed. 29 Page Photocopy. Very poor copy, almost illegible in places. This is the same diary transcribed and annotated by Glen and Chris Morry in 2003.

My Service in the World War 1914-1917 H Morry Photocopy of Typescript

My feeling is that this and Documents 26, 28 and 29 above were transcribed and typed at the same time by the same person. The material on which they were based was different however. They do not come from the same diary book. Doc. 26 includes fourteen pages from a diary book that has never been found.

This typescript covers pages that are known to exist and that have been transcribed by a number of family members over the years. This text formed an important part of the raw material for my book, “When the Great Red Dawn is Shining” about Dad Morry’s experiences overseas in WWI.


Jean and Karen Funkhouser Collection 2008

In 2008, Karen [Funkhouser] Chapman very kindly and generously agreed to share with me a large collection of photographs, letters, documents and other articles of both historical and family history value. This material had been accumulated by her mother, Jean [Morry] Funkhouser, during the course of her lengthy family history research. What I presently hold, once properly catalogued and copied will be offered to The Rooms for their accession into the Morry Papers (see above). This may take some time, however, because there is an immense amount of material to go through. Not only that, but this is only a small part of Aunt Jean’s collection, most of which is still retained by Karen.

As I complete the digitising and/or transcription of these documents, copies will be placed on this website and elsewhere online that I have information pertaining to the Morry family history so that it will be accessible to anyone who is interested.

One document that stood out immediately from this collection sent to me by Karen was a document that appeared to be an original of the petition for a grant of land by Matthew Morry, the immigrant, to John Campbell, Governor of Newfoundland, in 1784. See File 8, Box 1, in the Morry Papers at PANL above. On closer inspection however it appears that this may be a copy made half a century later or more.

Here, for now, is a digital copy.

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Rockland, ON, K4K 1H9

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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.

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