The Crews of Fishermen Series: Post 3 of 3 - A Tribute 


This is a brief visual caption of Merasheen people and their time from the early 1900’s up to pre-resettlement, a joint effort by John Pitcher and Ernie Walsh was prepared over many chats and scheduled meetings in 2021. All photos and their related captions are those taken or provided by Ernie while some text and poems are arranged and added by John to provide additional related special effects.  The information is subjective but as factual as possible and we hope that it draws added information and discussion. We hope you enjoy the posts!

NOTE: All post material remains the property of the authors and therefore duplication of the original information, poems, photos, and videos must be credited to the owners.

On The Eve of Change

There were the usual pressures and changes forced upon us but there still seemed to be plenty of hope, hustle and bustle in Merasheen from the late 50’s to the early 60’s.  New stages were built and repaired; two new gigantic breakwater/wharves are built in Little Mearsheen where a Herring Factory had also been built to process herring from the deep waters in the harbour inlets of Placentia Bay.  The bustling Fishery Products plant appears, then a floating plant arrives as well, and some extra workers arrived from around the Bay to work.  A community council was formed, the roads were constructed and light poles start popping up and power generated by a new power station located on Soldier’s Point.  Now the residents were buying TVs and everyone expects telephone wire to be installed in the near future.  Children try to jump on cars, truck, and jeeps to have a welcomed joy ride.  Over the past years there were always families and people leaving Merasheen and to some extent this did not indicate that the community would not survive.  Most people chose to stay and life went on but some would be off to other larger cities and towns to find work and some youths looked forward to continuing their formal education elsewhere. 

We did not seem to be collectively aware of the global conditions or the environment as we do today.  Merasheen was now in the grips of a new post-war era whereby the mechanization of fishing industry and new technology allowed more and larger plants and trawlers to maximize fish harvesting and processing. Salt fish processing was lose much of its grandeur and fresh fish processing was taking over.  There was more money to be made on the fishing trawlers off-shore. It will be well into the early 1990’s before we witness the destruction of the fishery due to overfishing the cod stocks and the ultimately closure of most of the industry.  In Merasheen, life went on as we approached the late 50s and the little harbour inlets of Placentia Bay pretty much carried on as their forefathers did in the early 19th century with the faith that there would always be a sustainable inshore fishery.


The skiff Mary Maureena pulling the schooner Marie Stone away from Paddy Hann’s wharf. You can also see the trap rope moorings strung over Din Pat’s stage roof.  The flake is full of dried fish. You may also see the old cod liver oil factory on Soldier’s Point to the left. “For many, many years it was a very busy harbour inlet.”



The Cooperator II at Joe and Paddy Hann’s Wharf while loading salt fish for shipments to Lunenburg, NS in1957.  Note: Two men on the gang plank have just dumped fish off the barrow and into the ship’s hold storage.



The schooner Marie Stone pulling out from Paddy Jim Hann’s wharf in August 1957.  To the left is Din Pat Walsh’s skiff, Sheena and to the right is Paddy Jim’s passenger boat “Guerney” - named after the guerney stove.



The busy Merasheen fish plant wharf in 1961.  Freddy Best, with a crate of fish. Din Pat Walsh splitting on the left, Aiden Best cutting, Angus Pitcher heading and gutting.  Way in the back-right is Lar Pitcher who may well be working in the Cod Oil Factory at that time but, come hell or high water, he’ll be fishing soon with son Angus and Martin Connors jr. will team up with him as well.  Lar said that Martin was one of the best hard working fishermen that he ever seen. 



The schooner Caroline Rose in Oderin in June 1962.  Skipper Din Pat Walsh was skipper on that schooner owned by Herbert E. Senior, Port Elizabeth in 1955.



In December 1962 the Little Merasheen Breakwater is newly decked off and Mike Ennis will soon be building his fishing stage on the inside cliff.  The construction of the wharf provided a nice bit of work for residents at that time.  There is a chilled calm icy-scum now on the inner waters and the Fish Rock in the center being swallowed up by the rising tide.  This photo looks peaceful but also portrays an eerie foreshadowing of events yet to come.



It must have been a bitter cold winter in Placentia Bay in 1963.  This is Jim Connors cutting out his boat from the ice in Big Merasheen harbour in March of 1963.



Jack Ennis’s new house and Mr. Jack’s old house is now one-storey.  Paddy Ennis’s new house is also newly built and the light poles are visible in 1964.  The Post Office is at the centre right. Kids are off to Mrs. Cis Houlihan’s to buy a coke, a bag of chips, and some Jaw Breakers for a total of 25 cents. 


The Big Merasheen Fish Plant, wharf and Cod Liver Oil Factory in 1965.  My father Lar Pitcher worked for a time at the factory and he always offered me a little ladle full of warm cod oil when I went to visit.  He told me of his voyages North with a crew of Norwegian whalers when he was only in his early teens and worked in the whale factory rendering out whale oil in Battle Harbour in 1930.  He continued fishing in Merasheen long after the re-settlement because he loved fishing.  He retired from fishing at 68 years of age and died a few days just before his 79th birthday (RIP).  Note: The Pomroy’s famous skiff at the wharf and it is well known in Merasheen and was displayed on a set of Merasheen laminated place mats.  The skiff is also etched in stone on the Memorial Plaque /Monument at the Cross Roads in Merasheen.


00 Cover front

The front and back of a Reunion Place Mat prepared by the Merasheen Committee.  Photo credits: Marion Pomroy

99 Cover back


The Rolling Fisherman by John Pitcher 2022

To the White Sail he took me
To become a helping-hand
I hauled the floats
He hauled the leads
That rolling fisherman.

He cursed the whales that lingered
While the net was on the grounds
In a fog-bound squall
He let out a bawl
Until we heard no wailing sounds.

That be done, real work begun
Great bounty we did unfold
Three fleets we hauled
In the southern squall
‘Till we loaded up the hold.

The old Eight-Acadia engine
Giving trouble once again
An oil coat and
A strip cut out
A custom strap for the tripper spring.

Tiller northeast and compass set
To the little harbour we were bound
In the evening haze
Up to the wharf
We head-pronged every pound.

Hopes of a wage in the stage
Quite a day for a green young boy
I gutted alone
He split out sound bone
We piled the salt bulk high.

Hopes of a wage in the stage
Quite a day for a green young boy
I gutted alone
He split the sound bone
We piled the salt bulk high.

The winter passed into the spring
They were hungry mouths indeed
As we knew - the merchant too
Plenty o’more now yet to feed.



The Merasheen Lighthouse taken by Ernie Walsh in 1978 on the Westard Head.  Donald Pittman and Roy Tuck (a visitor) are on the knob below.  Loyola Pomroy is in a dory just out of camera sight.  Mr. Pat Pomroy maintained the lighthouse in the 40's, 50's & 60's with the help of his sons Vince, Rod, Gabe and Gerard/Carter.  All required equipment would be brought to site by boat or dory and lugged up over steep rock cliffs and paths.  In the 50's the light house was painted red.  Paddy and Ray Hann painted it on a more recent occasion and they likely knew that it was not just about a face lift – there is much more beneath the painted surface of this landmark.  The lighthouse can be seen as a symbol of hope, a light amidst the dark of the stormy seas as it helps to guide those in need of sanctuary back to their homes. It tells us that that we may find ourselves in scary, rough and unknown sorrows and bad experiences but, there is a light, a symbolic beacon of hope at the end of this venture call life. Perhaps one day we hope it will shine again.


Edward Murphy

June, 1993, captures a freight and delivery boat the Edward P. Murphy, 50 feet long, 28 tons, owned by W.W. Wareham & Sons, Harbour Buffet. Somewhere in the echoes of our minds we remember the coined-government call: “Haul up your boats me’ byes, there will be plenty of work for everyone.” Here rests a boat once in her floating days is now left to rot. The location is Marine Haulout outside Southern Harbour owned by Edward P. Murphy.

Here are some equipment, tools, and items left behind by Merasheen fishermen, boat builders, schooner crewmen, and coastal boat and wharf workers: Bless them mariner’s all!

Acadia engine

An Eight Acadia boat engine

items 1

A bronze handle, engine primer, and spout.

items 2

An old improvised drum faucet.


A compass for measuring multiple distances on charting maps.

items 4

A common essential tackle block utilized for rigging, pulling, and loading.

items 5

A folding carpenter’s measuring tape.

items 6

An old barometer an instrument measuring atmospheric pressure, used especially in forecasting the weather and determining altitude.

What is there about Merasheen?

 People ask me all the time, “What is there about Merasheen?”, as if they want to be part of its mystique. I am asking myself the same question at this moment. Why do we talk and sometimes rave about their island home. Is there is a tough, independent spirt and pride that islanders share all over the world like Ireland for example. Are we sort of like the Canada goose, inherently traveling out and returning to our place of birth? Could it be that we are like the sad looking bluebells that grow on the cliffs - difficult to remove and cannot grow properly or contently anywhere else? Is it mere instinct or is it something more about us?  Our feeling for home may have much to do with the nature of our community such as having to live off the land and sea. I suppose our finite recalls of community gatherings in the church, schools, and the community hall were very memorable as were the songs we sang together, the skating and swimming in Roche’s Pond and the games we played. It could have been our unique family ties; in fact it almost seemed that we were one large family who helped each other in times of hardships. Was it the sunset over a calm harbour under the lush ripe red and black berries on the hills? Was it the freedom that we felt when we were young - to awaken each day and roam the hills? Was there some loss of our dreams, being cut short by forced separated from someone or something we loved? Could it have been a hand we held or the first glance into someone’s eyes? It was not only the good things that haunt us but it was perhaps some or all of the hard work, loss and sorrow too. These elements could have very much cemented our soul to love and care and allowing us to find solace in nature and the people who understand our woes. Well I guess we realize now that it perhaps all of that and more and that all human perceptions are not identical either. Today Merasheen is a growing summer seasonal settlement of mostly former resident who want to get something back that they perhaps lost for a time and while doing so, they also want to give something back to their children. (John Pitcher-Jan. 2022). To iterate some of the thoughts, perceptions and questions above, see Memories by John Walsh  reproduced here in the Reunion 2000 booklet “A Collection of Merasheen Memories – I Minds ‘Da Time”.

Resettlement Woes by John Pitcher 2022

Seagulls on high, guide me home
To what is a heart-felt need 
For I left without fair farewell
And in a forceful way indeed.

Over cliffs of snow and ice
That memory left alone like stone 
Windows barred with empty faces
With lingering memories of home.

Marble stones face down
On hills above the cliffs
Yarded bows of marigolds
Ribs of hardy rotting skiffs.

Rugged spruce like skeletons  
Maundering seagulls over coves
Touching down on sacred ground
Like the gentle bluebell’s pose .

Angry coves of frothing shores
Spirits’ whisper with the sea
To find the cause of why it was
That the living had to leave.

Saddened to have seen these woes
And hear the government’s disputes
While growing free on hills of glee
They hauled up all our roots.

Special Note: There seems to be an inherently deeper need for younger persons wanting to know more about their ancestry. Perhaps they simply feel the need to explore their true identity of which they can feel proud and have that sense of belonging as well. It is surely promising and gratifying to see some of the new and senior generations of residents coming on Facebook and asking about their relatives. Please help them if you can and also you can direct them to the  site to view the many photos, information and literature about Merasheen, its culture, and its people. Consider presenting and/or posting related songs, stories, photos, and information to the site so that it can perhaps be recorded for generations to come.

A Closing Tribute -

The Fisherman –by John Pitcher (1987) ®Jpitcher1987

Up before the dawn, peacefully he sits,
Sipping tea near crackling splits
He dims the lamp and puffs it out
And heads down towards his motorboat.

He moves the moorings, in a hurried pace,
With poise, eagerness, and grace
He putters through the foggy mist,
Then leans his tiller to the west.

Lines grey upon his brow
His youth is spent, he knows that now
The little punt, his tiny frame,
Through fog, wind, pelting rain.

Welted hands, hardened sores
Grapplings, lines, kellicks, oars
Master Mariner, Engineer
Black oil clothes, to knees in gear.

The punt is home, she’s gunnels deep
In dusk he splits while chicken's sleep
Regret nor sorrow, he awaits the dawn
And wonders where the day has gone.