The Hounsells

The Hounsells of Safe Harbour can be traced back to Bridgeport, England.
Job Hounsell (1736-1810), was our earliest recorded ancestor. He married a girl by the name of Sarah Ward.  Their son Richard Hounsell (1764- 1815), was next in line. He was married to Sarah Way and they had a son named Richard.

This second Richard Hounsell (1795-1872) left England and sailed to Pinchard’s Island, Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland.  There he settled and married Grace Perry (1805-?). Their fifth child, whose linage we claim, was named William. William Hounsell (1833- 1910), was wedded to Louise Ann Way (1838-1905).  As far as we know they spent all their lives on Pinchard’s Island, where William was a fisherman.

Enoch Hounsell (1864-1935), the son of William and Louise Ann, was next in line. Enoch married Lucy Jane Lush (1867-1944).  Lucy came from Fair Island, Bonavista Bay. They were married at Pinchard’s Island  on July 2, 1888.

On July 2, 1884 Rosanna Hounsell, who was a sister to Enoch, married Robert Attwood, a resident of Safe Harbour. In the year 1886 Robert Attwood and his friend Robert Elkins received a joint, government land grant for 10 acres of land at Safe Harbour, in the area then known as Little Safe Harbour – now commonly called The Gut.  On this site Robert and Rosanna built their home alongside their neighbours, Robert and Rebecca Elkins.

Some time later, perhaps before 1889, Robert was lost at sea, leaving Rosanna widowed and childless. It seems that he and another person were returning from a birding trip to the Funk Islands, some 40 miles from Safe Harbour, when a tragedy befell them and they were both drowned.

Shortly after this tragic accident, and perhaps because of it, Enoch Hounsell and his wife Lucy Lush, moved from Pinchard’s Island to Safe Harbour to live with Rosanna. Eventually Rosanna married George Dyke and moved to his house on Dyke’s Point in Safe Harbour.   Then in 1913 she sold her 5 acres of land (part of the original 10 acre grant) to her brother Enoch Hounsell, for $1.50

Enoch fished for a living.  He was a dedicated Christian, and the Sexton of the Methodist Church  which, after a denominational merger in 1925, became the United Church of Canada.

Enoch and Lucy Hounsell had seven children:  Emanuel, Robert, Flora, Charles, Daisy, Clara  and Elizabeth; all born between 1888 and 1902.

Emanuel, the first born, went to Nova Scotia when he was a young man, there he married and raised a family.

Elizabeth died on July 14, 1894 at the age of 2 years and 7 months. She was playing on a nearby hill when she fell off the cliff into the harbour and was drowned

Clara had planned to be married but she came down with diphtheria, and instead she was buried in her wedding dress at age 24, in the year 1921.

Robert married Annie Porter of Porterville and built a house next door to his father, Enoch.  They had no children.  Around 1940 they moved to St. John’s and eventually went to live in Ontario.

Flora married Wilfred Osmond.  Their children were Pearce, Daisy, Charles, Nita, and Sophie were all born at Safe Harbour. Around 1940 they moved to Corner Brook where Wilfred had found steady  work in the paper mill. Uncle Wilf, a man much beloved by all who knew him, lived to be 103 years old and passed away in 2002.

My father, Charles, married Frances Attwood, daughter of William Kean and Mariah (Spurrell) Attwood.  They lived in Safe Harbour with his father and mother, Enoch and Lucy (Lush) Hounsell.  Charles was a fisherman- lumber jack – sailor – carpenter. Like his father before him he was a Christian man and a Lay Reader in the church.  He and Frances  had three children: Wallace, Robert, and Clara.  In 1942 the family moved to St. John’s where Charles pursued his carpentry trade.

When work in the construction industry became scarce the whole family moved to Toronto in 1950.

After he retired from the carpentry trade Charles tried his hand at painting scenery. This was actually the idea of his wife Frances, but he took great interest in this hobby and produced over 40 oil paintings. During the warm summer months he loved to set up his easel out on the balcony of his fourth floor Toronto apartment and paint from memory the scenes of his beloved Newfoundland.

Charles died on May 23, 1988.  Frances died at Grimsby, Ontario on November 1, 1997 they were buried in Mount Pleasant cemetery in Toronto. This article is contributed by son of Charles and Frances, Wallace Hounsell of Valleyfield, NL