Town Crest created by Kenny Elms in 2000
Town Of Reidville
Newfoundland Labrador, Canada

History - Before Reidville

Johnny White's Field
Just west of the Gulch were forest of timber that attracted loggers and farmers alike. During the late 1920's and early 1930's several families settled in this area. This included Joseph (Joe) Young, Johnny Young, Issiac Stuckless, Mark Stuckless and their families.

Janes's Field
About two kilometres down river from the Steadman's Field settled several other families. Sometimes referred to as Janes's Field were Harry Janes, George Janes, Roll Janes, Garfield Rumbolt and Cyril Goosney. Harry owned a store and people from the other small communities along the river found some of their goods here. When Harry didn't have the necessary products they would walk inland to the Junction Brook road which led to Deer Lake and other larger stores.

Cache Rapids
The Cache Rapids is the first set of white water rapids that make water transportation in boat or tug impassable after leaving Deer Lake. Around the mid 1920's Chesley (Chess) Cross and Norman (Norn) Moss settled on the left bank heading upstream at Cache Rapids. Chess constructed a sawmill and cut logs in the area. The lumber was used for personal use or sold to the NP&P company for construction, Newfoundland Railway as railway ties, poles to the Telephone company or local jobbers for home construction. The area had a tremendous supply of white pine, fir and spruce trees that made the mill a success. Chess, Norm and their families provided for themselves by raising their own animals, growing vegetables, hunting wild game, and fishing the river. However, like the other workers living along the river they would canoe down river to Janes's store or Deer Lake to buy goods that they could not acquire otherwise.

Old Bonne Bay Road
When moving upstream on the left side of the Humber River from Nicholsville there are several major tributaries that are encountered before reaching the Cache Rapids. These include Rocky Brook, Cool (Meadow) Brook, Trout Brook, and The Gulch, respectively. The old Bonne Bay Road met the Humber River immediately east of Rocky Brook. Originally, it was a trail used to travel by horse or oxen from Deer Lake to Lomond. A small barge on the river served to transport people and goods from one side to the other. (Today the Humber River Bridge next to the Newfoundland Insectarium is located very near where the barge operated. On the opposite side of the river the Junction Brook road would intersect the Old Bonne Bay road as it led to Deer Lake.

Nicholsville

Nicholsville was the first settlement established on the Upper Humber River. It is located at the mouth of the Humber River as it empties into Deer Lake. George Aaron Nichols first settled there during the spring of 1868 . Harriet (Widdon) Nichols and he had nine children; George Aaron Jr., John, William, Norman, Edward, Freddy, Bertha, Lydia and Emma.
Barr's Beach
Further west along the river bank several other families set up homesteads at Barr's Beach. These included Harold Young, Noah Rogers, and Fred Barr.

Tramway
Trout Brook and The Gulch are both extremely deep ravines and was a major obstacle to transportation on land during the early 1900's. When the IP&P company wished to log the Aides Lakes / White River area they constructed a tramway from the Humber River to Aides Lake. This railway line began just east of Trout Brook and continued inland through the interior of what is now Cormack and on to Aides Lake. The paper companies Tug boat would steam from Humbermouth, Corner Brook, up the Lower Humber past Shelbird island, Marble Mountain and Little Rapids to Deer Lake. After travelling the entire lake it would enter the mouth of the Upper Humber near Nicholsville and continue to steam on past Rocky Brook until it reached the Tramway. There it would unload goods, and sometimes loggers that would then travel to their respective camps for work. Some people settled in camps along the Tramway as they found work with the pulp and paper company. The stretch of land between the two ravines, Trout Brook and The Gulch, was not settled until the early 1930's and became known as Reidville, after William Thomas Reid settled there.

Deer Lake
In 1985 Gordon Clarke researched the history of education in Deer Lake. He stated;

"In 1915, during the second administration of Prime Minister Edward Morris, the Newfoundland Products Corporation Limited, originally a subsidiary of Reid Newfoundland Company, did a survey of the Humber Valley with the idea of establishing a chemical mill in the area. However, plans were deferred because of World War I. After the war, during the first administration of Prime Minister Richard Squires, the development of the hydro-electric and timber resources of the Humber Valley became of vital importance to Newfoundland's depressed economy. As a result, in 1922 the Newfoundland Power and Paper Company Limited, as the company was now called, under the control of the British engineering firm of Armstrong-Whitworth Company Limited, again sent survey crews to the area. A hydro-electric station and a paper mill were to be constructed at Deer Lake. Paper was to be shipped thirty miles by rail to Corner Brook for export. However, a last minute change was made to take advances in the transmission of electricity over long distances. The paper mill would now be constructed at Corner Brook, and the hydro-electric plant would be built at Deer Lake. The electricity produced at Deer Lake would be sent to the mill in Corner Brook by means of transmission lines to be constructed between the two centers.

Preliminary work continued through the winter of 1922-1923, and by July of 1923, while actual construction of the power project got started, Deer Lake was a beehive of industrial activity. Hundreds of men were working in the area, and some workers had already brought their families."

The full report may be viewed on the Elwood High School Web site. People came to Deer Lake and surrounding communities from many outports around the Newfoundland coast. People came from Bonne Bay and the Northern Peninsula, from White Bay, and beyond. To get there, families had to walk miles with their belongings to reach either the Newfoundland Railway or the community they would settle at. In many cases this involved movement with a horse, an oxen, or a dog team and any other domestic animals the family could transport - hens, sheep, goats, pigs and pets (usually dogs or cats). In addition, tools would have to be carried so that a new home could be constructed upon arrival. Generally these tools would include an axe, a buck saw, possibly a hand saw, wooden block plane, hand chisels, spoke shave, drawknife, hammer, boxwood or ivory rule, bit brace, wood auger, and possibly an agricultural plow or furrow. Upon arrival to Deer Lake or the Humber River newcomers usually boarded with another family until they were able to build lodging of their own. Quite often the first shelter was a small log cabin or a "tar paper shack" crudely constructed to house the family. Later a new home may be built or, in many cases, pieces would be built onto an existing structure to accommodate the family.

Steadman's Field

Around 1922 Steadman Reid left Neddy (Neddies) Harbour, Bonne Bay, travelled to Nicholsville and found work with Norman Nichols, son of George Aaron Sr. Steadman helped cut huge pine to sell at the sawmill in Corner Brook, guided tourists on hunting and fishing excursions, and cut right-of-way for telephone lines He met Francis Cook / (Chayter) from Grand Falls and they were married around 1926-7. Steadman received a contract to cut pulpwood along the river east of Junction Brook. They settled on this strip of land, cleared it, built their homestead and had a family of six children - Douglas Phillip(b.1927), Annie Florence(b.1928), Muriel Stella(b.1929), Arthur Garland(b.1936), Irene Hilda(b.1946), and Pearl Gladys Lillian(b.1953). During the early 1930's Steadman worked for the IP&P company to maintain its four water gauges. These stretched across the Humber River at various locations from Seal Pond to Birchy Bottom Forks. Once a month he would make his way up river by canoe in summer or by dog team in winter to check the water conditions.

Reidville and the surrounding communities in the 1930's.
Stedman and Francis at home on Stedman's Field (1930's)
Son, Douglas and daughter Irene near Steadman's barn on the field.
Early dwellings in Deer Lake, 1920-30's
Susanna and William Harding with their children Florence and Joel at Junction Brook in the 1920's

Junction Brook

Junction Brook is the only major tributary encountered before reaching the Cache Rapids when moving upstream on the right side of the Humber River. It is approximately 8 kilometres from Deer Lake. During the early 1920's several families from around the province settled at Junction Brook. The 1935 Census displayed on the Newfoundland's Grand Banks (NGB) Genealogy Site list the following families living there at that time. Issac and Gertrude Stuckless with 7 children; Samuel Feltham; Nathaniel and Hazel King; Collins; William and Margaret Parsons and 5 children; Will Daniel Feltham; Violet Feltham; Charles and Anne Collins; William and Susanna Harding and 2 children; Emma Collins; Florence is Elms; Garland Burt; Maxwell Burt; Abraham and Beatrice Feltham and 2 children. Later Edward Hounsell settled at Junction Brook, married Mamie Feltham and they had 5 children. Fred Osmond also lived here for a period of time.

This page last modified on Monday, February 09, 2015

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