Lester Barbour Collection

The Barbour family of Newtown, Bonavista Bay, were very prominent in Newfoundland history. Members of the family are found in many walks of life including master mariners, sealing captains, school teachers, clergy, sailors, lawyers, politicians, and soldiers.

According to family history, the first Barbour to come to Newfoundland from England was Captain George Barbour arrived in Greenspond, Bonavista Bay, in the early part of the 19th century. He had one son, Benjamin Barbour, (1809-1891). Around 1824 Benjamin Barbour moved to Pinchard's Island and in 1843 he settled at Cobbler's Island, a small island southwest of Cape Freels. In 1841, Benjamin Barbour married Rebecca Green of Greenspond (1820-1906) and they had eleven children: Joseph, William, Thomas, George, James, John, Benjamin, Samuel, Edward, Mary and Keziah. The first five sons were well-known sealing captains. Benjamin, Samuel and Edward were engaged in the fishery but later, Edward and Samuel went into business forming a partnership known as "E.& S. Barbour" in Newtown with a branch in St. John's.

Edward Barbour was born August 2, 1862 at Cobbler's Island and died June 8, 1912 at the age of 50. He married Mary Jane Kean of Brookfield, Bonavista Bay, who was born July 2, 1866 at Flower's Island and died July 4, 1941 at the age of 75. Edward and Mary Jane Barbour had nine children: Clarissa, Sybil, Lester, Job Kean, Elsie, Clifton (died in infancy), Wilhelmina, Clarence (died in infancy), and Carlson.

In 1917 Lester Densmore Barbour, eldest son of the Edward and Mary Jane Barbour, enlisted with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. He died on March 10, 1918, of wounds that were sustained during the Battle of Paschendale Ridge. While overseas, in England and in France, Lester Barbour wrote home regularly to his mother and sisters.

This collection consists of the Lester Barbour correspondence.

For further information about the Barbour family see The Exploits and Anecdotes of the Barbours of Bonavista Bay by Carl Barbour, 1973.


Memorial University - Archives and Special Collections