The View From Fogo Island

Benson Hewitt
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A snowstorm

My father hauled a lot of firewood, and one of the landmarks I often heard him refer to was ‘the half-way house.’ 

As I remember it, it was situated on a marsh just outside Birchy Pond, and perhaps six or seven miles inland from Barr’d Islands. I understood it to have been built by the government in case someone got lost or astray during a snowstorm. My memory of it was when it was in a state of disrepair, and no longer kept up, if it ever was. I had no idea when it might have been built. But let me now change scenarios. 

During a winter storm in 1924, the Methodist minister, Reverend Mercer perished en route to Fogo from Seldom-Come-Bye. In reading about this only a few years ago I became aware of the fact that he didn’t (most likely ‘couldn’t’) take advantage of the ‘half way house’ that was situated half way between Seldom-Come-Bye and Fogo. So, at least, there were two of them. My question now is why and when were they built, and the answer to that may well be available in some archives in St. John’s.  I’ll get back to where this is leading later.

Organizations: Police Office

Geographic location: Fogo Island, Birchy Pond, Back Cove Venezuela

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