Showing posts with label whiteway. Show all posts
Showing posts with label whiteway. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Burgess Property Plaque Unveiling and Open House

On Sunday, July 17th, Heritage NL presented several historic plaques to the Burgess Property in Whiteway, which was followed by an open house of the property.

Several Burgess Property Outbuildings

The Burgess Property was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by Heritage NL in 2020 due to its historic and aesthetic value, and for its connection to the Burgess family, who were the first permanent settlers in Whiteway (then Witless Bay, Trinity Bay). Following the recent restoration of the Burgess Property structures, Heritage NL was proud to present them with a historic plaque.

Burgess Root Cellar with historic tools

The new plaque reads: “Burgess Property is a collection of structures built and operated by the Burgess family over six generations. The arrangement of the property’s component buildings speaks to settlement patterns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, while the structures themselves are good examples of the diversity of residential and working buildings of the period.

Charles (1818-1898) and Sarah (1828-1894) Burgess arrived in Whiteway (then Witless Bay, Trinity Bay) from Carbonear with their three children in 1862. By 1871 the Burgess family comprised eight of the community’s twelve inhabitants. Though early Burgess men were recorded as fishermen, the family was active in several lines of business including sail-making, sawing lumber, boat-building, and barrel-making. Naomi Burgess (1850-1934), daughter-in-law to Charles and Sarah, was a midwife who practiced from the property.

Historical barrel-making artifacts
were on display at the open house.

The Burgess buildings are located between Jimmy Rowe’s Pond and Trinity Bay, the former a source of fresh water and ice and the latter a source of income. The cluster of related buildings speaks to the diverse functions of outport family premises and the sources of income they often drew on. The structures are largely utilitarian with no decorative trim. The house is differentiated from the outbuildings by the use of clapboard rather than wood shingles. The form of each speaks to its function and evolution over time. The large door of the mill indicates use for loading material while the store addition to the stable has a lower roof slope and different roofing material. The present house was built circa 1902 for Naomi and Henry Charles (1852-1915) Burgess after the previous house was destroyed by fire, though exact dates of construction for the outbuildings are unknown.”

New Burgess Property Plaque

Each building of the Burgess Property is also being presented with an individual plaque include the stable and store (built by 1897), the root cellar (built during late 1800’s), the fishing stage (built circa 1900), the house (built 1902-1903), and the saw mill (built 1916-1919). 

Burgess Stable

The event was opened with a speech by the chair of Heritage NL's board, Dr. Lisa Daly and a ribbon cutting completed by the youngest generation of the Burgess family.

Dr. Lisa Daly 

Numerous members of the Burgess family were present to answer questions and historic artifacts associated with the property and community of Whiteway were on display.

Heritage NL like to extend a special thanks to the Burgess family for allowing the public a chance to explore the outbuildings of the Burgess Property.

Learn more about the Burgess Property here and here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Visiting the Burgess Property, Whiteway, Trinity Bay.

Burgess Fishing Stage

The Burgess Property is a collection of 6 buildings in Whiteway, NL, dating to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2020. Built and operated by an unbroken line of Burgess family members over six generations, the cluster of closely spaced buildings are part of a single family enterprise. Their continuity helps to imbue a sense of how the property was inhabited and operated for more than 100 years, and the diversity of buildings speaks to the variety of functions and income sources of outport family premises.

We visited the site yesterday, and are working with the Burgess family to document and better understand the history of the premises. Stay tuned for more info and photos on this group of structures in the weeks to come!

Burgess Dwelling House

Burgess Stable/Store (left) and sawmill (right)

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Researching the Burgess Registered Heritage Property, Whiteway

The Burgess Property in Whiteway, Trinity Bay, is a registered heritage property which has been passed down through 6 generations of the Burgess family. The property consists of 6 buildings each with buildings used their own distinct purpose. The diversity of the buildings used by the Burgess family speak to the diversified functions of outport life throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and the different sources of income families accessed to make a living.

The Burgess family history certainly reflects a diversity of trades undertaken on the property. While many of the Burgess men were listed simply as fishermen in early censuses, there is strong evidence suggesting that Charles Burgess initially came over to Whiteway as a sailmaker, and later evidence suggests that the family was involved in shipbuilding at a nearby dockyard in addition to fishing and logging. Notably, the women of the Burgess family also played important and diverse economic roles in the family. Naomi Burgess, for example, was an active midwife and Jane Mave Burgess participated in the Labrador fishery in the early 1900s, and continued to impress young boys with her cod-splitting skills well into her '70s.

Research into the Burgess Property is currently being conducted by HeritageNL as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Project, and is currently seeking community and family participants to share stories and memories about the Burgess Property in Whiteway. 

Elizabeth Burgess carrying water from Jimmy Rowe’s Pond, courtesy Burgess family.

If you have a memory of the Burgess family or property, comment below or email

Monday, November 23, 2020

Whiteway - What's in a name?

"Whiteway resident nibbles at his lunch." - Decks Awash photo collection

If you try searching for the early history of the town of Whiteway, in South Trinity Bay on the Baccalieu Trail, you might be hard-pressed to find anything prior to the 20th century about the town. Instead, you’re more likely to come across information on Witless Bay, or a great deal of information on Sir William Vallance Whiteway (1828-1908) who was a member of Parliament for Trinity and Prime Minister of Newfoundland from 1873 to 1885, and again from 1889 to 1894. 

This is because prior to the turn of the century Whiteway was actually known as Witless Bay, Trinity Bay - and prior to that, it was known as Witler’s Bay. How and when exactly Witler’s Bay turned into Witless Bay isn’t clear, but in saying the words aloud its easy to see they sound very similar, so it isn’t hard to see how they eventually got mixed up. 

Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections (Coll - 026), Queen Elizabeth II Library,
Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL.

By the early 1900s, confusion between Witless Bay, Trinity Bay, and the present-day Witless Bay just south of St.John’s became an issue. Whiteway was renamed after the former Prime Minister, the longstanding representative for Trinity Bay and a notable historic figure, around the time of his death in 1908.