Kingwell: My Hometown

Kingwell By Kingwell, 14th Feb 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3rx8kvtl/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Culture

I describe growing up in a small coastal settlement in Newfoundland in the 1940s and early 1950s.

Community Re-Named

The community of Kingwell is situated on Long Island in Placentia Bay in the Canadian Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Kingwell holds the distinction of being the only community or village to bear that name. It is also my hometown into which I was born on Oct.22,1939. Originally known as Mussel Harbour Arm, it was renamed sometime between 1911 and 1921 in honour of The Rev. John Kingwell, an Anglican Priest who ministered to those of that faith throughout Placentia Bay from 1861 until his death in 1891. It is not clear when the community was first settled but a census taken in 1857 showed a population of ten people! Forty-one years later in 1898, there were 28 families but no actual population figures are given. There is no census for 1939, but in 1945 the population is given as 327.

Two-Room Schoolhouse.

Growing up in Kingwell was probably little different from that of any of the hundreds of other small “outports”, as we called them, that dotted the coastline of Newfoundland and Labrador. When I started school in 1946, there was a two room all grade school with two teachers. Children today can only imagine what it was like to attend such a school, yet there were those who persevered and managed to complete high school. I had a great interest in reading and was fascinated by the stories in the English Readers used in Newfoundland schools at the time. The prescribed text was The Treasury Reader series, and I have not been able to find a single copy in circulation today. The books contained many of the old fairy tales that had been around for generations, and held little that would be consistent with twentieth century living.

A simple Life

There was one other community on Long Island that was assessable by road and aside from that all travel was by water. Life was simple and I’m sure that other children like myself felt that this was the way that people lived everywhere. While I cannot remember being hungry, by today’s standards, we lived far below the poverty line. There was little entertainment, but there was a freedom which most children can only dream about today. There was no TV or video games, in fact I was more then ten years old when our family got it’s first radio, a contraption that few kids would recognize today

Resettlement.

During the summer we spent our free time outside and wandered the hills, valleys and woods for hours. There were no wild animals to threaten our safety and of course no traffic. Winter meant building snowmen, sliding and later skating. Young men played Soccer, which we called football as it was called in Britain and other parts of Europe. Although we were part of North America, our ties seemed to be more with Britain than with Canada or the US. All this would change shortly and the residents of Kingwell along with those of other such communities, would be resettled to larger towns, but this was not to happen until I was grown and had already taken leave of my boyhood home.

Tags

Anglican Priest, Boyhood Home, Census, English Football, Kingwell, Old Fairy Tales, Radio, The Treasury Reader, Twentieth Century, Two-Room School

Meet the author

author avatar Kingwell
I am 75 years old and retired.I like writing short stories, poetry as well other articles of interest.

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Comments

author avatar spirited
29th Nov 2015 (#)

It's a pity how a lot of these small communities are dying our with the huge increase in population growth everywhere,

My mother's home town is unrecognizable now, with new builds going on all over the place,

interesting read Kingwell.

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author avatar Kingwell
30th Nov 2015 (#)

Thanks spirited and I agree.The big change in my area happened almost fifty years ago and it was very difficult for many people but most of those have passed on now. Blessings.

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author avatar Carol Roach
29th Nov 2015 (#)

yes I agree with spirited, it is a pity. They gave color to the Canadian mosaic.

I began publishing my book again, I hope you will continue reading Angels Watching Over Me.

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author avatar Kingwell
30th Nov 2015 (#)

Thanks Carol and you are right, they did give color. I fully intent to get back to reading your posts again. I have a lot of catching up to do with many friends. Blessings.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
29th Nov 2015 (#)

Beautiful read Kingwell, nice work as always you have a blessed Thanksgiving!

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author avatar Kingwell
30th Nov 2015 (#)

Thank you Fern. Blessings.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
29th Nov 2015 (#)

Nostalgic recollection Kingwell. Childhood was what it was meant to be - not being rushed into adulthood like now.

I remember wandering without a care for few months after high school while awaiting exam results. Still living up to others' expectations was a dampener.

Now In Asia it is endless competition from cradle to grave; we complete a race without enjoying the scenes, sadly - siva

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author avatar Kingwell
30th Nov 2015 (#)

Thank you Siva. We call it progress but is it really? It is said that the old look back and remember only the good times but the children are competing too much today. We simply enjoyed being children. Blessings.

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author avatar Retired
29th Nov 2015 (#)

That is very interesting. The town I grew up in - Poole on the south coast of England - owed its growth in Medieval times to trading with Newfoundland, so there is a connection between us there!

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author avatar Kingwell
30th Nov 2015 (#)

Hi John, Very interesting! I have read in Newfoundland history about the fish merchants from Poole who set up businesses here on the island. The town of Trinity is one of the oldest in Newfoundland and boasted of several of such businesses. Cupids is the oldest settlement in the province and that area too was known for the Poole merchants as were others. It's nice to know that we have something in common. Blessings.

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author avatar Shamarie
29th Nov 2015 (#)

This is a wonderful and interesting post, Kingwell! The two-room schoolhouse really caught my attention!!!

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author avatar Kingwell
30th Nov 2015 (#)

Thank you Shamarie. There were once many such communities with just a one room school. In fact Kingwell once had just one teacher but it was before I started school. Believe it or not, some of our greatest scholars began their education in one and two room schools. Blessings.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
29th Nov 2015 (#)

i love the way you write dear Kingwell...a road that leads me on and on in delight...it would be lovely to visit Kingwell!!! blessings...

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author avatar Kingwell
30th Nov 2015 (#)

Hi Carolina, thank you for commenting. Actually, next year, 2016, there are celebrations in our area marking the fiftieth anniversary of what was known as resettlement. There will be boats travelling to such places as Kingwell. Several families now have Summer home there. Blessings. .

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author avatar brendamarie
29th Nov 2015 (#)

Kingswell, what a great article I love reading about small town as they all seem to be gone.

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author avatar Kingwell
30th Nov 2015 (#)

Hi brendamarie, you are right, such small towns are disappearing fast. Thank you for your comment. Blessings.

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author avatar Retired
1st Dec 2015 (#)

Sorry I missed this before! This was probably one of the best pieces you ever wrote. I love it.

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author avatar Kingwell
2nd Dec 2015 (#)

So happy that you enjoyed it my friend. Blessings.

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author avatar SaigonDeManila
8th Dec 2015 (#)

Aww..i can feel every sentence of this article having experienced the same thing some years back. Great read kingswell!

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author avatar Kingwell
8th Dec 2015 (#)

Thank you SaigonDeManila. Blessings.

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author avatar Kingwell
8th Dec 2015 (#)

Thank you SaigonDeManila. Blessings.

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