Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Old Irish Roman Catholic Cemetery

Old Irish Roman Catholic Cemetery - Harbour Main District [1]
Photographed and Copyrighted by Craig Peterman (2007)

I have to laugh, as a young girl I did not enjoy the trips my mom and her sisters would take ( bringing me along ) to the cemetery in Harbour Main and now I can't wait to get there.

With the help of the Internet and the Newfoundland Grand Banks Genealogy Site, I have searched surrounding area cemeteries without stepping a foot on these properties, I find this amazing!

Some of these sites have photos of the cemetery along with some photos of headstones. During my search, I came across the Old Irish Roman Catholic Cemetery, which is located behind the residence of Joseph Woodford and across from the Gorman's Fish Plant in Harbour Main. This is located at the Cross in Harbour Main ( Intersection of the Conception Bay Highway and Harbor Road in Hr Main) This cemetery has not been used in years. [2]

Reviewing this cemetery, some graves date back to 1776, siting those who came from Ireland, some familiar names are listed like Woodford, Kennedy and Hawco, early settlers of the area. At the bottom of the listing, is a photo of an unknown grave with a wooden cross marking it, RIP written down the center, it looks like it is a replacment  gravemarker. A note states, " There are some 40 of these wooden crosses marking unknown graves and at least a dozen similar slate markers of unknown graves." [3]

Unknown Grave - Old Irish RC Cemetery - Hr Main
Photographed and Copyrighted by Don Tate (2007)

 I wonder if Daniel Dunlae ( Elizabeth Flynn's Father), my 3rd Great Grandfather, who it is believed to have first settled in Harbour Main in the early 1800's is buried in this cemetery. Or possibly my Flynn Ancesters are buried here. This cemetery corresponds to the time period in which they lived and died. This may be the closest I get to finding their graves. I difenitely plan to stop at this cemetery during my visit.

[1]  Old Irish R C Cemetery - Newfoundland's Grand Banks Genealogical and Historical Data

[2]  History of Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Parish Church - Harbour Main
                  Newfoundland's Grand Banks Genealogical Data

[3]  Ibid [1]

Friday, April 20, 2012

Start with What you Know

Grandparents - Stephen Flynn Jr and Ellen Mary Tobin Flynn
 When trying to solve any mystery, I have found it is best, to start with what you know. In regards to the mystery of where my 2nd Great Grandfather Michael Flynn is buried, what I know for sure, is that my Grandparents, Great Grandparents and 2nd Great Grandmother are buried in the St. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Harbour Main, Newfoundland.  But where is my 2nd Great Grandfather Michael Flynn buried?        
Great Grandparents - Stephen Flynn Sr and Mary Ann Tubrett
Aunt Rose and Aunt Agnes

The St Peter and Paul Cemetery was established in 1857.  I believe Michael died before 1884, the answer to this mystery could be simple, possible he is right there in an unmarked grave. Years ago, when a family did not have the means to erect a gravestone with the deceased person's information, a wooden cross was placed on their grave site. As time goes by, environmental elements take it's toll on these humble loving memorials.  Aunt Agnes shared with me, that they would assist their father when he was making the wooden crosses, holding the wood in place as he attached them together.  My mother often spoke of how her father tended to these grave sites.

Above, is a cross my grandfather made to mark the grave of his 1st born son Michael, who died at 7 months old.   When Uncle George erected a headstone to represent  his brother Micheal, his great grandmother Elizabeth and his Uncle Thomas,  the three grave sites were now represented by one headstone.  Aunt Agnes sent a photo to my mother of Micheal's grave in which she planted some flowers where his cross had been. ( Upper mid-right )    As I look around the graveyard, I see many of the grave sites have husband and wife buried in the same plot, it is possible that Michael is right there with Elizabeth. I wonder if the Church has records of when the plots were purchused, that may provide more information.  My mother had sent a request to the church back in 1994, they had checked with a second cousin of hers Gloria Flynn Brazil, who inturn asked her father William Flynn if he knew where Michael Flynn was buried and he thought that it was in the St Peter and Paul Graveyard, although there's no marker there for him. In the reply letter, the Parish Secretary stated, if  my mother were ever in the area, she would  certainly be welcome to come and look through their registers. When I go to Newfoundland, I will certainly take her up on her offer. Although I know, some mysteries may never be solved.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Story of this Photo?

As my mother slips deeper into the last stage of Alzheimers, I find there are so many questions I wish I could ask her.  Take this photo for example, I never heard the story of when this was, or what the occassion was as to why it was taken. 

There is no information written on the back.                                

From my own conclusions, I try to fill in the missing information and will probably only get a portion of it correct. I would say, by the way my mother was dressed, it was an important occassion and that she was leaving on a trip or starting a new chapter in her life.  Possibly, she was moving to Argentia for her new secretarial job on the US Navy Base.  Or possibly, she was heading to New York City to live with her Aunt Agnes.  She looks young, maybe late teens, or in her early twenties. Looking at the background, I would say it was taken at her home in Harbour Main.  Behind her, looks like Third Pond, which was across the street from her house, and yes, the fence looks familar too. As for  the time of  year, it is cloudy and seems cool since she is wearing a long wool jacket.  I know she left for New York in October of 1950.

Whatever the story is, this photo leaves an impression on my mind and in my heart.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

US Naval Air Station - Argentia Newfoundland

Naval Air Station Argentia

Naval Station Argentia, Newfoundland is a former base of the United States Navy, that operated from 1941-1994.  It was established in the community of Argentia in what was then the Dominion of Newfoundland, which later became the tenth Canadian Province.

Established under the British-U.S. lend-lease program, the base was first occupied on January 25th, 1941 following the expropriation of the flat headland formed by a small natural bay called Little Placentia Sound and the western end facing Placentia Bay by the Newfoundland government; over 400 families were displaced. [1]

U.S. Ships and aircraft in Little Placentia Sound, 1942

The United States Naval Station Argentia play an significant role in my family's livelihood,  beginning with my grandfather Stephen Flynn Jr. According to his notes and letters of accommodation, he worked at the US Naval Station from 1942 - 1949, his speciality was plumbing and pipe fitting.  During these years he was often called on to perform work as  Boiler Maker and Repairman, and as Engine man, Hoist and Power, which included running a forty-ton Derrick.

 I was told by Uncle Ray that while his father was working on the base he learned of a position that became available for a secretary in the Administration office.  My mother had just completed a Commercial Course in Harbour Main for secretarial skills and applied for this job, I believe this was around 1948, she would of been around 18-19 years old. ( Harbour Main is about 90 minutes from Argentia Naval Base, taking this position meant moving to Argentia)

My father, LeRoy Dollen joined the United States Navy in 1948 at the age of 16 years old, he had been stationed in Argentia around 1949, this was when my parents met for the first time. They met again after my mother had moved to Brooklyn New York in the early 1950's, they were married in 1953.  My father served the in US Navy for 22 years and often requested to be stationed  in Argentia, so my mother could be near her family, this occurred in 1955, 1958 and 1965-1969.  ( I will write more about those times in future posts)

On August 7, 1941 the heavy cruiser USS Augusta carrying U.S President Franklin D Roosevelt arrived in the anchorage at Little Placentia Sound off the base.  Roosevelt inspected the base construction progress and did some fishing from the Augusta over the next two days.  Augusta was joined by the British warship HMS Prince of Wales carrying British Prime Minister Winston Churchill on Aug 9th 1941.  While in the Argentia anchorage from August 9 - 12, the chiefs of staff of Britain and U.S met to discuss was strategies and logistics once the U.S. joined the war.                                                                                
WORLD WAR II operations - On August 28th, 1941 Naval Air Station Argentia was commissioned.  NAS Argentia was built on the plateau atop the triangular peninsula adjacent to Naval Station Argentia's anchorage and shore facilities.  The air station was used to base convoy protection, coastal patrol and anti-submarine aircraft, both land-based aircraft and seaplanes.  While NAS Argentia was nominally an independent facility from Naval Station Argentia, both facilities are largely viewed as one. In 1944, Argentia served as one of the two stopover bases for the refueling, maintenance, and crew changes of the six United States Navy (USN) K-ships (blimps) that made the first transatlantic crossings of non-rigid airships.

COLD WAR operations - Following the war in August 1945. the first dependents of naval personal were permitted to move to Argentia to live in permanent quarters on base.  In 1949, Newfoundland joined Canadian Confederation as the 10th province.  During the Cold War, Argentia Naval Station became a key "node" in the Northwest Atlantic SOSUS network, helping to detect Soviet nuclear submarines.  The base was the target of several espionage attempts between the 1940s-1990s as a result.  In 1973, NAS Argentia was decommissioned and the land transferred in 1975 to the Government of Canada.  Until 1994, the runways of the former airfield were utilized by the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. [2]
The History of the United States Naval Air Station-Argentia is an integral part of my Family History, I always knew it was a segment of my story but did not understand it's depth and importance until I put thought into writing this post.

        Naval Station Argentia  - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,