Richard George first comes on the scene when we find him mentioned in his father’s will of January 17th, 1853 in which the elder John Marshall names John, his grandson, as the son of Richard. At his father’s death in December of 1853, Richard would have been about 34 years of age, already married and himself the father of five children.
Richard married Mary Anne Penney at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Burin on April 18th, 1842. Richard’s brother, Matthew was married to a Frances Penney, so it is possible that two brothers may have married two sisters. The witnesses to this marriage were Mary Marshall (this is possibly Richard’s sister) and Andrew DuBourdieu. Andrew, from information we received from his descendant, Cyril DuBourdieu, was swept overboard into the Atlantic in 1859. Andrew had married a Mary Marshall in Burin in 1855 and we believe that Mary was the daughter of Matthew Marshall and Frances Penney (Mary would have been the niece of Richard George Marshall and Mary Anne Penney).
Richard and Mary Anne had a large family and there were eight known children. The dates listed are baptismal dates from St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Burin, birthdates are not known. According to a grandson of Richard, he remembers hearing that Richard had 24 children – 13 by Mary Anne Penney and 11 by his second wife, Mary Hardstone. However, we have not found evidence of children other than those listed.
13 May 1842 - John
31 Dec. 1843 – Richard
29 Sep. 1847 – Matthew
03 Sep. 1849 - Isabella
31 May 1852 – Ambrose
12 Aug. 1854 – Alfred
21 Nov. 1856 - Charles
19 June 1859 – Clement
Mary Anne died sometime between the birth of Clement and Richard’s second marriage in 1871. It’s possible that she may have died during childbirth. She probably had many brothers and sisters as there are many Penney’s throughout Burin and in other parts of Newfoundland. With her death, Richard would have been left with several young children.
When Richard’s father, John, died in December 1853, he left him the schooner the Nautilus and some of his cash assets. John’s property was divided between his two grandsons, Thomas (son of Matthew) and John (son of Richard). It appears that John had considerable business assets when he died, and it might have been with these inherited assets that Matthew and Richard built a large icehouse. It is not known when this structure was built but in Matthew’s will he devoted time to laying out what should happen to it if he should die. He also referred to the M & R Marshall firm (Matthew & Richard’s business venture together) so we believe that they had a thriving business at this time. Matthew wrote his Will in March 1857 when he was only in his mid-forties. He may have been experiencing health problems to have written the Will at this young age, and indeed he died shortly after this while walking up the Church steps.
This must have been an exceedingly difficult period in Richard’s life; he had lost his father and his brother within a span of three years and was now responsible for the family business which was a considerable undertaking. We are not sure when his wife, Mary Anne died, but it was most likely only a few years later and he was left with several children. Reportedly the business declined.
Two other tragic events occurred that must have had an enormous effect on Richard. His eldest son, John, died in 1862, at the age of 20, after a lingering illness. We are not sure what this malady was, but many young people died of tuberculosis during this time period. Also, the Nautilus, which he now owned, sank off Petty Harbour on January 1, 1865. (Burin, 1977, p.141) Captain Butler and his son, and three other crew members were lost.
Hutchison’s Directory of 1864/5 indicated that a Richard Marshall was Justice of the Peace for the Southern Judicial District. This area is now known as the South coast, which runs from Harbour Breton to Port au Basque, as opposed to the southern Shore, which is south from St. John’s to Cape Race, to Burin and Fortune Bay.
In 1871, on February 3rd, at the age of 52, Richard married Mary Hardstone in the same Catholic Church as he had married Mary Anne. The marriage was witnessed by Janet Barry and Alice Power. It appears that Mary was probably much younger than Richard as they also had many children. It is very difficult to find the name Hardstone in Burin or Newfoundland. We only know this name because of the spelling the priest used in the marriage record. There is a “John Hartstone” mentioned in the 1871 Burin Directory, so it is possible that this is an alternate spelling. Also, there is also the name Hartson in records during that time and recent DNA testing appears to show some linkage to this name. Hopefully, more DNA analysis and discovery of other records will help to solve the mystery of what family Mary Hardstone was born into.
It’s curious that Richard and Mary Hardstone named three of their children (John, Charles and Isabella) the same names as Richard’s children with Mary Anne Penney. Does this indicate that these children had died earlier? Again, the listed dates are baptismal dates.
27 June 1872 – Josephine
20 Aug. 1875 – Caroline
01 July 1879 – John
24 May 1881 – Charles
07 Aug. 1883 – Roseanne
15 May 1885 – George James (father of the author, and grandfather of Patricia Balkcom)
14 Aug. 1877 – Margaret Mary
04 Sep. 1887 – Isabelle
01 June 1892 – Elizabeth
In June of 1874, a Dr. Smith came to Burin and leased the Richard Marshall House for 20 pounds sterling ($100) annually (Burin, 1977, p. 82). That the house was suitable for a doctor may say something of Richard’s prosperity. However, it leaves the question as to where was Richard and his very large family living? Did he have an “extra” house to lease out?
According to the Lighthouse Explorer website, Richard became the lighthouse keeper at Dodding Head around 1892. This lighthouse is just south of Burin at the entrance to Burin Bay. It is not very large but for the seamen of Burin it was the first welcome thing they saw as they headed home from the sea. Richard would have been about 74 years old then. In fact, his last child, Elizabeth, was born around May of that same year, which indicates to me that Mary Hardstone, his wife, must have been at least 30 years younger than him. Tragedy struck Richard again though, as little Elizabeth died when she was only 10 months old. The Burial record states she died of liver disease and that she died at Dodding Head on April 5th, 1893. If young Elizabeth died there, it seems to indicate that the family was living on the grounds of the lighthouse in the 1890s. Madeline, the daughter of Isabelle, (the child who was born before Elizabeth,) has said that Mary Hardstone, her mother, died when Isabelle was 5 years old. If this is accurate, then Mary must have died in the same year as Elizabeth.
After losing his youngest child and his wife, Richard must have stayed on at the lighthouse as family lore has it that he died while tending the lighthouse. Despite our best efforts, we have not found gravestones in the local churchyards for Richard, Mary, or Elizabeth. Either they never had gravestones or they have disappeared or possibly they were buried in unmarked graves on the lighthouse property.
First Family of Richard George
Very little is known of the children of Richard and Mary Anne Penney. As stated above, we know that their eldest child, John, died at age 20. It may be significant to note that Mary Anne was not mentioned in this obituary, she might have already passed away.
In Richard George’s will, he states that he is leaving land to his granddaughter, Beatrice and he identifies her as the daughter of his son, Richard. Beatrice and her father, Richard, are found living in the English Harbour area in Fortune Bay in later years. A death record for Richard states he died of heart disease on November 2, 1896 in English Harbour East at the age of 52 and that he is buried there. Beatrice marries a young man there named James Bindon in 1906 and one of the witnesses to the marriage is Richard Marshall, so it is possible that he is Beatrice’s brother. Sadly, Beatrice died of tuberculosis at the age of 32. We are not sure as to the identity of her mother (Richard George’s wife). Reportedly, there is a baptism for a Alice Mary in 1884, an indentured servant, being adopted by a Richard Marshall and an Elizabeth Emberly, so it is possible that Elizabeth was Richard’s wife and Beatrice’s mother.
The only record we have of Matthew is that he is mentioned in Richard George’s Will in 1897.
No records have been found regarding Isabella and since there is a child named Isabelle during Richard George’s second marriage, it is possible this child died young.
Ambrose married Mary Farrell in St. Patrick’s Church on the 26th of November 1873 and they had a son, John, baptized in the same church on the 12th of October 1874. By 1886, they were living in St. John’s and the following children were baptized there: Charles, bap. Dec. 8, 1886; died Oct. 10, 1890; Ambrose, bap. April 10, 1889; Sarah aMary, bap. Feb. 10, 1891; and Isabella, bap. Jan. 4, 1896. I am sure there were other children born between 1875 and 1885 but I have not found those records yet. Like his younger brothers before him, Ambrose died early. He was only 44 when he died of a hemorrhage on March 12, 1897 obviously leaving Mary with a large family. He is buried in St. John’s in Mt. Carmel Cemetery.
Alfred , Charles and Clement seem to disappear from the records after their baptisms. Did they also die young?
Second Family of Richard George
The eldest child of Richard Marshall and Mary Hardstone, Josephine, married William Murray Hunt in St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Burin on August 7th, 1887. She would have just turned 15. Baptismal records have been found for four of their children: Margaret (1891), Richard (1893), Mary Gertrude (1896), and Florence (1897). Some time later they must have left Burin for the wilds of Western Canada. They homesteaded near Wareman, north of Saskatoon and the author recalls his father telling him they first lived in a house of cedar logs, mud walls and a sod roof, typical of homesteaders’ first dwellings. That they didn’t go until about the turn of the century is likely as George’s father told him that he remembers their going and that it was on the basis of correspondence with Josephine that he first went West in 1906 and eventually took his bride there in 1922. The Hunts eventually all left Saskatchewan and moved to North Sydney on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Marriage records for all four of their children and gravestones for some of them, including that of William Hunt, are in Holy Cross Cemetery. A death or burial record has not been found for Josephine at this time. Since she doesn’t seem to be in the plot with her husband, I wonder if she died in Saskatchewan.
Caroline, born 1875, married on Oct. 20th, 1898, Isaac Penney, likely of Burin and apparently moved to Sydney, Nova Scotia. She died in North Sydney on Archibald Ave., age 37, on April 5, 1912. She left 2 daughters, Martha (age 12) and Rita (age 5) and 1 son, Joseph (age 2). Another daughter, Margaret, had died about 4 years earlier, around the age of 5. At some time after her death, Isaac moved with the children to Worcester, Massachusetts, a community that welcomed a fair number of Newfoundlanders as we shall see. Martha eventually married William Hanam and they had 13 children and died in Worcester on May 29, 1978. This information comes to us through a connection with Russell Hanam who lives in Tuscon, Arizona, a grandson of Caroline and Isaac. Rita, at the age of 16, married Exeos Larocque in Worcester in 1923 and they had three known daughters, Viola, Evelyn and Estelle. Rita died in Worcester at 72 years of age on February 6, 1980. Nothing is known about Martha and Rita’s, brother, Joseph Puis Penney.
Margaret Mary married John Michael (known as Jack) Paul also from Burin on February 4, 1902 in Burin. Shortly after their marriage they moved to Sydney, Nova Scotia where they had three children: Maude, James, and Genevieve. Later they moved to Hamilton, Ontario where Jack was Superintendent of the Rod Mill at the Steel Company of Canada, a position in which he was succeeded by his son, Jim. Margaret and Jack, when George (the author) knew them in the 1940’s, lived in an apartment on the north side of King Street, just west of Stirton. Jim had been in the R.C.A.F. and unmarried at the time and so it must have been about 1946. George remembers Margaret as being a heavy-set woman, very amiable, and visited her brother, George Sr. on occasion, with whom they went to Saturday evening dances at nearby Robert’s Restaurant. Maude, lived in a lovely house on Maple Ave., just east of London St. in Hamilton, and Genevieve lived on Cluny St. near Barton and Ottawa Sts. Genevieve worked at Robinson’s Department Store on James St. South. Jack Paul and his son Jim were big, dark men. Jack may have been a son or nephew of a John Paul who is recorded as having emigrated from England and was a fisherman and trader in Placentia Bay. He brought his nephews over from England to succeed him when he retired to the old country. Jack died in Hamilton in 1963 and although we don’t have a date of death for Margaret Mary, Jack’s obituary states that she predeceased him.
John J. (Jack) Marshall, born 1879, married Katherine Penney in Burin on November 16th, 1903. They had 5 children: Madge (Margaret) b. 1904, Matthew b. 1907, Adolphus b. 1910, George b. 1913, and Alphonse b. 1916, the latter two children dying in infancy. John and Katherine left Newfoundland in 1924 to settle in Worcester, Mass. John is believed to have spent a little time in Hamilton, perhaps with Margaret and Jack Paul prior to 1924. The story was told that Jack had a work prospect at the Cooksville Brick Works (now Highways #5 & 10) and walked there from Hamilton to secure the job. Matthew in Worcester, told me in 1996 that his father was friendly with Alfie Pike, also of Burin who had gone to Worcester in 1922/23 and who had corresponded with Jack in Hamilton telling him that prospects were good in the States which may have encouraged Jack to return to Burin, pack up Katherine and the children and set off for Worcester. Katherine died in 1950, at which time John went to live with Madge and her husband, John Hult, in a lovely home on Courtland St. in Worcester. John was a very friendly man, tall and slim and of no pretense at all. George had the pleasure of visiting with Matthew for a few days in 1996, he died in Worcester on September 1, 2004 at the age of 97, having been predeceased by his daughter Mary Lynch in 2002 and leaving a son, John. Madge and John Hult had no children.
We know very little of Charles. It has always been said that he died in Bellevue Hospital in New York City many years ago.
Roseanne, apparently known as Rose, married Dennis Boudreau on the 12th of Nov. 1903. They had four known children, Alice Teresa, born 27 May 1904; Dennis R., born 27 March 1906; and Helen Bernadette, born 14 Nov. 1909 and Ronald, born in 1914. All, except for Alice, died as infants. Alice married Carl Taylor in 1920. Dennis Boudreau married again in 1922 and it is believed that the marriage with Rose ended in divorce. We have not been able to find a death record for Rose. There are some voter lists in Cape Breton as recent as 1945 listing a Mrs. Rose Boudreau but it is not known at this time if this is “our” Rose.
Information, about George James, will be presented in a separate biography.
Isabelle, born 1889, married Ernest Moignard in St. Patrick’s at Burin on February 5th, 1905. Ernest we believe was from Sydney, Nova Scotia and possibly could have met through her sister Caroline who was living there by then. Isabelle and Ernest had two daughters, Madeline (born 1908 in Halifax) and Doris (born 1915, also in Halifax). Madeline married William Sansoucy and nothing is known of him. Madeline is buried with her parents in Fairview Cemetery in Halifax, she died in 1984. Doris was married to Charles Francis Longley, a Halifax lawyer. They had one child, a son, named Charles, born about 1935. Doris passed away in 1972 in Halifax and Charles Longley, died in 1994 and their son, Charles died in 2012. The Longleys lived in a big house opposite Point Pleasant Park in Halifax and George remembers them coming to visit the his parent’s house on Barnesdale Ave. in Hamilton.
Until this past year we had not heard of a last child, Elizabeth, baptized June 1st, 1892. The record from St. Patrick’s in Burin did not include this last child, but the baptism is shown in the Provincial Archives. It indicates that Elizabeth was baptized at Dodding Head, which is the location of the lighthouse being tended by Richard George at his death. As said earlier, it appears that the family might have been living at the lighthouse which was a common occurrence for lighthouse keepers – a house was provided so they could be available 24 hours a day. Elizabeth died of liver disease when she was 10 months old. She died at Dodding Head on April 5, 1893. According to family lore that Mary, her mother, died when Isabelle was 5 years old, it would appear that she also died this same year.
Written by George James Marshall, Jr., 1997
Updated by Patricia Balkcom, 2015