Short Paper Prepared by Garland G. Lacey"
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THE MANUELS OF EXPLOITS, NEWFOUNDLAND
- by Garland G. Lacey
The Family of
--- 9 brothers and 7 sisters, and their descendants ---
Photo shows (standing) Percival, George, Thomas, & Jonathan; (seated) Luke, Josiah, & Simon. It is calculated that this picture was taken around the year 1878 when Percy, the youngest, was about 20 years of age. Not shown were David, Edgar, Martha, Mary, Jane, Selina, Ann, Jane(2), and Pricilla.
When this remarkable and prolific family was growing up, the fishing village of Exploits in Notre Dame Bay was a thriving and bustling settlement. The church record shows that in the year 1842 a Methodist Church was being erected, and in 1866 it had 200 families on its membership rolls, with a total constituency of 1,200--presumably the total population of the village at that time. The Manuel families were deeply involved in the life and program of that church and at least five of their descendants have been ordained to the Christian ministry.
The historical record shows that in the early seventeen hundreds a John Manuel of England owned a fleet of sailing vessels that traversed the Atlantic to and from Newfoundland to carry on the fishing industry. This John Manuel had three sons who came to Newfoundland in the year 1785. They were Joseph, Samuel, and William. Joseph's son, also named Joseph, married Elizabeth Milley (her dates are 1809-1876) and they became the parents of the nine brothers and seven sisters who are referred to in this paper.
I have before me a paper written some time ago by Mr. Albert Perlin, whose wife is a granddaughter of Josiah, the leading merchant of that area for many decades. I take the liberty of quoting some excerpts from that paper as follows. "Each of these seven brothers owned his own schooner and they all happened to be in the City of St. John's at the same time. Someone with imagination realized what a magnificent photograph they would make if they could all be gathered together to face the ordeal of picture-taking at the same time. Here they are, sturdy and handsome men all, most of them with young faces hiding behind bushy beards, dressed in their Sunday best and displaying their success in the heavy gold watch chains strung across their vests. They reflect the vigor and strength of character that helped to make succeeding generations of Newfoundlanders a proud and resourceful people."
As a boy I well remember three of the brothers -- Thomas, Jonathan, and Simon, and know them to have been among the most wonderful personalities I have ever met: kind, neighborly, deeply spiritual, and staunch pillars of the church they deeply loved. Their sister Mary, my grandmother on my father's side, lived with us when I was growing up, and she was a lady of loveliness and charm. A granddaughter of Percival, Mrs. Ruth Berkley, has written to say that he, her grandfather, was "a kind, generous, considerate, good Christian gentleman -- the very salt of the earth, and that all of us who are the descendants of this wonderful family should feel very proud of them and their way of life." ---Garland G. Lacey (date unknown)