The Involvement of the Orange Order

In the Harbour Grace Affray

The Orange Association has had a long and distinguished history in Newfoundland. The riot that took place at Harbour Grace in 1883 was to be the most contentious issue affecting the nineteenth century life of the province. It was not only to have lasting repercussions on the Protestant – Roman Catholic relations, but was also responsible for the downfall of the government of the time and causing a deep schism within the Orange Association itself. The Orange Association had been introduced to the island in 1863 by Dr. Thomas Leeming the Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Prince Edward Island. Leeming was a surgeon who was serving on a naval survey ship, the ‘Margetta Stevenson” and he formed the island’s first Orange Lodge in St. John’s.

The charter members of this lodge, “Royal Oak” were Hector Fraser, the first master of the lodge, Richard Rankin, William Hewardine, Mark Chaplin, Thomas Woods, Frederick Stagman, David Smallwood (grandfather of future premier Joseph Smallwood), John Brown, John Hughes, and W. Thompson. By 1870 there were six lodges on the island – ‘Royal Oak’, ‘Leeming’, and ‘Royal Alfred’ in the city of St John’s, ‘Royal Standard’ in Brigus, ‘Derry’ at Portugal Cove, and ‘Boyne’ at Carbonear. In 1870 these six lodges formed the Grand Orange Lodge of Newfoundland, with one of the charter members of ‘Royal Oak’, Richard Rankin, as the first Grand Master. The Orange Association quickly found a small but solid base of support among the Protestant majority of the population. It was a rallying point for those Protestant Newfoundlanders who wished to maintain their close connections with Great Britain and the monarchy. It also offered a bulwark against not only republicanism but of a strong faction in the colony which wanted annexation with the United States.

It was the election campaign of 1873 that was to shove the Orange Order in Newfoundland into the political spotlight. This campaign’s main issue was Confederation. The anti-Confederation forces were led by Premier Charles Bennett and had the support of the majority of the island’s Roman Catholics. The majority of Orangemen, especially in St. John’s supported Confederation and this was to remain a theme of the majority of the island’s Orangemen until it became an accomplished fact in 1949. Premier Bennett was an uncompromising opponent of the Orange Order and attacked them during the election campaign, calling for the dissolution of the Association and in so doing he unwittingly became an agent for their success. Bennett had the following to say about the Orange Association in a letter that he wrote on September 18, 1873: “Let me tell you that Protestant Societies are the curse of Ireland, and of every country where they exist. That they are opposed to the laws of England and our excellent Queen Victoria has punished many of their offending members….I hope this will be the last we shall hear of the unfurling of the Orange Flag in Newfoundland. Whether it will be so will depend upon those who can exercise a salutary influence over the more ignorant of the population….All British subjects will rally round the British Ensign and discountenance the factious and aggressive Orange flag.”

By attacking them in the 1873 election campaign he sent out strong alarm signals to the Protestant population that he was a supporter and defender of the Roman Catholics of the colony, while being opposed to a Protestant association. The election results were a justification of the Orange Association’s right to exist on the island, with Bennett being swept from office. From that time on the Orange Association became a political force to be reckoned with. By the time of the Harbour Grace Affray the island had twenty-one Orange lodges and just five years later it had increased its total to fifty-four. The Orange Association has had a long history of strongly increasing its membership whenever it has come under attack.

As was the custom in many Newfoundland towns local Orangemen in Harbour Grace were in the habit of parading in full regalia on St. Stephen’s day (December 26). This custom had its origins in the fact that many Newfoundland Orangemen were at sea, working in the fishing industry during the month of July and so had chosen a time when most members were at home in order to hold an annual celebration. In 1882 there had been some local outbursts of violence in Harbor Grace following their parade and as the date of the 1883 parade drew near there were threats made that “the next appearance of the Orangemen as a distinctive society in public would be the occasion of a severe scrimmage.” The local constabulary was well aware of these threats, however the Chief Constable, John Doyle, stated that he gave little credence to threats of violence, believing “nothing would come of it, as he had heard similar threats before in reference to the British Society.”

One member of the constabulary, Sergeant George Winslow, was ordered to accompany the Orangemen and ensure a peaceful procession, and he later stated under oath that he fully expected a confrontation between the Orangemen of Harbour Grace and the Roman Catholics from Riverhead, but he had never suspected that either side would be armed.

On the day of the parade the Orangemen began their day of celebration by attending a church service at the Methodist Church on Water Street. After the service approximately three hundred and fifty Orangemen set out on parade. They marched to Shipshead and from there to Pipetrack Lane where they were met by a crowd of similar size, composed of Roman Catholics from the predominantly Roman Catholic area of Riverhead. They had marched from Riverhead behind the leadership of Michael Coady, who told them that “he had come there to die or turn the Society down the Lane.” Marching behind a green flag, they were armed with fence posts and guns.

The parade marshal for the Orangemen was Hugh Hawkins and he led them straight on a course for the men from Riverhead. A third group of men, and one which it was later testified to as the ones who helped to start the riot were the local supporters of the Orangemen. Some of them were also armed with guns and all three groups converged with one another at Pipetrack Lane. Seeing the impending trouble, Chief Constable Doyle ordered the Orangemen to halt and he then began to try and convince both sides to go quietly about their own business. While he was trying to convince the opposing sides of the wisdom of avoiding trouble he was struck in the head with a club and knocked senseless. As he was being taken to safety shots rang out and the first person killed was William Janes, an Orangeman from Carbonear. Two men from Harbour Grace were the next to fall, William French, an Orangeman, and Patrick Callahan, a Roman Catholic from Riverhead.

Hugh Hawkins later testified that he ducked down to avoid gun fire but the man next to him was slow in reacting and was killed. Within five minutes five men where dead and dozens were wounded. A free for all then took place among the combatants with dozens more being injured, including three constables who were severely beaten. Following the riot the magistrate of Harbour Grace, Thomas Bennett, sent a telegram to the Government Administrator, F. B. T. Carter, warning him that “very disturbed feelings prevail.” The next day an emergency meeting of the Executive Council of the colony was held to plan a course of action and to effect some sort of damage control. Premier William Whiteway ordered Inspector Carty of the St. John’s constabulary and twenty-five of his constables to Harbour Grace to prevent any further outbreaks of violence. A discovery hearing was ordered to be conducted by Magistrate T. Bennett, Inspector Carry, and Solicitor General James S. Winter, who was also the Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Newfoundland. Carter reported to the Colonial Office that “so far as I can learn a procession of Orangemen of Harbour Grace and neighbourhood was going on in a peaceable manner, unarmed, when the members were fired on by some Roman Catholics….there was a Roman Catholic shot dead, but I am not sufficiently informed to state whether he was shot by one of the Orange Society or by one of his own party in mistake.”

The following five men were killed during the Harbour Grace Affray; William Janes of Carbonear, an Orangeman; Thomas Nicholas of Otterbury, an Orangeman; William French of Courage’s Beach, an Orangeman; Patrick Callahan of Harbour Grace; John Bray of Courage’s Beach.

The following men were wounded: William Cleary, Philip Vatcher, Edward Callahan, Robert Lilly, Henry Noseworthy, William Best, William George, John Webber, Moses Nicholas, William Henry Anthony, Patrick Dormody, John Bray, Thomas Luffman, William Brown, Solomon Martin, Reuben Courage, James Bray, Thomas Walsh.

In the capital of St. John’s, the local press quickly chose sides and attempted to influence the public to one side or the other. The Evening Telegram took the side of the Roman Catholics, probably not because of sectarian feeling but rather it saw a golden opportunity to embarrass the government of Whiteway. It had supported the opponents of Whiteway in the previous election and quickly attempted to put the blame for the whole affair on Whiteway’s party. The Evening Mercury took the side of the Orangemen as was to be expected, being a pro-government paper and also the fact that it was owned and edited by an Orangeman. The Telegram, in their edition of December 29, 1883, claimed that “it could hardly be expected that Sir William Whiteway, the founder of Orangeism in Newfoundland, and Sir Ambrose Shea, the Premier’s coadjutor, who was glad enough to throw himself into the arms of the Orangemen of Conception Bay in 1874, and who, to our certain knowledge, presented himself before them in the British Hall at Harbour Grace and offered himself as their man, inside the Assembly and out – we say, it could hardly be expected that Sir William Whiteway and Sir Ambrose Shea could now turn their backs upon the men to whom they are so much indebted.”

The above statement was nothing more than fiction presented as fact in order to practice political opportunism on the part of ‘The Telegram’. Whiteway, who was a former member of the Orange Association, was not a member at the time of the Harbour Grace riot and had never openly sided with them in politics, preferring to steer a middle course between Orangemen and Roman Catholics. Sir Ambrose Shea was not only a Roman Catholic, but the leader of the elected members of the House of Assembly of that faith. It was nothing short of ridiculous to suggest that he was in collusion with Orangemen.

While the St. John’s newspapers fought it out, tensions were running high in Harbour Grace itself. ‘The Harbour Grace Standard’, which was a pro-Orange newspaper reported in its edition of January 5, 1884 that “some mischief-monger was spreading false impressions respecting the character of the sermon preached to the Orangemen of Harbour Grace on St. Stephen’s Day at the Methodist Church.” The paper then published the supposedly offending sermon in its entirety to prove that it contained nothing which could be considered provocative to anyone.

On January 8, 1884, Head Constable Doyle was arrested and charged with the murder of Patrick Callahan. The Orangemen of Harbour Grace were furious over this act and were convinced that it was nothing more than an attempt by the Roman Catholics to plant suspicion in the minds of the public as to who really did the shooting. The government administrator, F. Carter stated that Doyle “was arrested for having fired from a revolver and killed one man from the Catholic party, whilst others have testified and he has asserted that he had no firearms”. It became obvious that there was no substance to the charges made against Doyle and he was not only later released but was reinstated in his position as Chief Constable.

Conditions in Harbour Grace were described by local constable Israel McNeil in the following statement: “Our main streets were constantly filled with large groups of excited men, many of them strangers from the shore and Heart’s Content, all sorts of wild rumours having spread to those places. It was a time of great anxiety to myself and many others as there was danger of some hundreds of men going armed to Harbour Grace.” Things were considered serious enough that Carter asked the British Admiralty to have a warship anchored in the harbor in case of further outbreaks of trouble.

The Grand Jury called to delve into the facts of the Harbour Grace riot was composed of both Protestants and Roman Catholics, however the trial jury which actually heard the case was composed entirely of Roman Catholics. The first trial of the nineteen Roman Catholics charged in the affair got underway on May 12, 1884 and feelings were running so high that a British warship, ‘H.M.S. Tenedos’, was stationed in the harbor throughout the trial. Hawkins, Doyle and Winslow all testified that the Orangemen had no guns with them, but that they had seen firearms among the Orange sympathizers who had appeared to watch the parade. Winslow told the court that he had counted seven guns, five among the Roman Catholics of Riverhead, and two among the Orange sympathizers. In his address to the jury, the Solicitor General James Winter stated:

“The circumstances under which these men were killed were of a revolting character. The man, Janes, was shot with two loads, and the oakum found in his body. The man French, was shot while standing there as an innocent spectator. Nicholas was shot in the back after having turned to run away. The man, Bray, was killed in the heat of the affray, but afterwards his brains were beaten out in the most foul and brutal manner. Then there is the case of Callahan’s death. The Crown alleges from the excitement and frenzy of the moment, on the part of his own friends, he met with death at their hands.”

The defense lawyer for the accused was John Kent, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, and a Roman Catholic. He stated to the jury that “the Orangemen conceived the idea of attacking and murdering the Riverhead men; that they prepared themselves with guns and weapons and marched right up to the Riverhead men at whom they fired….then in the heat and frenzy of excitement, they shot down their own side.” One of the witnesses for the Crown, William Anthony who was an Orangeman, testified that he had seen a man named Thomas Duggan assemble with the Riverhead crowd on the day of the riots. When asked to identify the man in court, he then walked over to where Duggan was sitting and slapped him on the head. The next man that he identified was Patrick Walsh. This time Attorney General Whiteway took no chances. He told Anthony to go down and point the man out….quietly!

There was so much evidence presented by both sides that was contradictory that by the end of June, after forty-seven days of trial the jury found it necessary to acquit the nineteen accused men on the charge of murder although fourteen of them were found guilty of riotous assembly and assault. This acquittal infuriated Orangemen who saw it as evidence that Protestants were easy targets for Roman Catholics to attack with impunity. A new trial was ordered, which began in November of 1884 and during this trial the Orangemen of Harbour Grace made ready to mark the anniversary of the Harbour Grace killings with another parade. The Governor of the colony, Glover, had the warship ‘Tenedos’ anchored in the harbor and sent fifty constables to preserve law and order. As it was, the parade went off quietly and Glover sent the following report to the Colonial Office: “St. Stephen’s Day, the anniversary of last year’s riots at Harbour Grace, has passed off most satisfactorily and without any disturbance at all….knowing that the Orange party intended to march again I took the precaution of sending H.M.S. Tenedos to that place….The Orange Party turned out in procession, about eight hundred strong, and took their usual route through town; the Roman Catholic party also collected, numbering about four hundred but there was no attempt to interfere with the Orange Party.”

The second trial lasted until the end of January, 1885, with the same result as the first trial. Winters, in his role as Orange Grand Master, condemned the verdict and called upon all Orangemen to have ‘no amalgamation with the Liberals – Roman Catholics.’ Winters was forced to release the prisoners in 1885 and in doing so he found himself caught in the middle between Roman Catholics who regarded him as their enemy because of his membership in the Orange Lodge and Orangemen who regarded his having released the prisoners as an act of betrayal to the precepts of Orangeism. He was in a no win situation.

Newfoundland Orange Lodges immediately held meetings throughout the province to protest the verdict of the trial. The Harbour Grace Orangemen stated that: “there had been wholesale perjury by the witnesses and certain parties gave evidence for the defence who were as deeply implicated as the parties on trial” and that” the present jury system has proved utterly powerless to secure conviction of the guilty, as far as the Protestant population are concerned.” Carbonear Orangemen, who were led by John Rorke, a former member of the Newfoundland House of Assembly, passed the following resolution: “The Protestants of Carbonear view with horror, amazement, and indignation the outrageous miscarriage of Justice last June.” They also stated that the jury had “acquitted the prisoners in the face of the most palpable evidence of the Crown and patent perjury on the part of the defence.”

‘The Evening Mercury’s’ edition of January 27, 1885, contained the following editorial regarding the trial verdict. “There is a conviction in the heart of every Protestant that justice will not be done in St. John’s when sectarian feelings are involved. In plain words, the Protestant people of Newfoundland now know that if a Roman Catholic kills a Protestant under circumstances in the least involving sectarian issues, he will be acquitted by any Roman Catholic jury obtainable in St. John’s.”

During this time Newfoundland Orangemen were busy stirring up their membership. A. J. McNeily, a Past Grand Master, gave a report on the Harbour Grace riot to Royal Oak Orange lodge in St. John’s on January2, 1884 and within the month they met again to listen to the Newfoundland Grand Secretary, Donald Morrison. Later that year they were to be visited by Orangemen from Scotland and England who were on a promotional tour to promote Orangeism in the colony. These visits added fuel to an already explosive atmosphere and the Governor of the Colony and the Colonia Office watched the proceedings with increasing alarm.

It was under these conditions of extreme tension that the Newfoundland House of Assembly opened its spring session in February, 1885. The reply to the Speech from the Throne centered on the Harbour Grace Affray, of which it said: “….we are deeply grieved at the continuance of the disturbed feelings arising out of the deplorable events which occurred in Harbour Grace at the close of the year 1883. We reciprocate the anxiety evinced by Your Excellency that every effort be exerted and every influence used amongst ourselves to soothe and allay angry passions, and to inculcate and re-establish the harmony and goodwill which were, heretofore, a marked characteristic of our people.”

This reply was unacceptable to the Orange militants in the House of Assembly, and on February 23, the member for Carbonear, Alfred Penney, put forward an amendment. In the preamble to his amendment Penney used language that was sure to incite the Roman Catholic members of the House with the following: “those who have been taken red-handed in the awful crime of murder are declared to be innocent and unoffending men, thus ruthlessly sweeping away the only safeguard society has against such base and atrocious deeds.”

Penney then put forward the following amendment which was seconded by fellow Orangeman Captain Dawe: “In common with Your Excellency we are deeply aggrieved at the continuance of the disturbed feelings arising out of the unjustifiable outrage which occurred at Harbour Grace at the close of the year 1883. We are of the opinion that the continuance of these feelings may be attributed in a great measure, to the disgraceful failure of justice at the recent trials of the parties concerned in the said outrage. We reciprocate the anxiety evinced by your Excellency, that every possible effort be exerted and every influence used amongst ourselves to soothe and allay angry passions, and to inculcate and re-establish the harmony and goodwill which were, heretofore, a marked characteristic of our people. But we feel that these exertions will not be crowned with success so long as the requirements of justice remain unsatisfied. We thankfully appreciate the evidence of solicitude for our well being and the preservation of peace exhibited by Her Majesty’s Government in acceding to the request of His Excellency that a ship of war be stationed in our waters during the winter.”

Premier Whiteway and several members of his government were in shock over this amendment by one of their own party. They had no prior knowledge that Penney was going to introduce such a statement which was potentially explosive to their party. Several members not only from Whiteway’s party but from the opposition rose to give their support to Penney’s amendment. James Winter was placed in a difficult position. He was a cabinet minister and pressure was put on him to support the government and vote against the amendment. He was also however, the Orange Grand Master, and realized that he would lose much of his political power base if he attacked Penney. He tried to steer a middle, moderate course and was fairly successful in doing so.

He stated in the House of Assembly that “as to whether there has been a failure of justice or not at the recent trials, there can be one clear, intelligent and honest opinion. There is no room for a second. A consensus of opinion condemns the verdict.” He had thus given his personal opinion on the outcome of the trial and hoped to satisfy his membership, while he also gave support to the government and voted against the amendment. Whiteway was again in a no win situation. He realized that Penney’s amendment was unacceptable to the twelve Roman Catholic members of the government, but that to attack Penney would isolate him from the support of his members who were Orangemen. He tried an unheard of political ploy of putting forth an amendment to the Reply to the Speech from the Throne which had been made by his own government. He told the House “that a crime of fearful magnitude had been committed on the 26th of December, 1883, and notwithstanding two long trials, the guilty persons were still unpunished.”

He asked Penney to accept this amendment whose only difference to his was that it did not offend Roman Catholics. Winters supported the Premier but it was only a matter of time until the government fell over this issue. The Roman Catholic members of Whiteway’s party saw no difference in his amendment and that of Penney’s. Sir Ambrose Shea, the leader of the Roman Catholic wing of the party stated that if these amendments were carried they would give to the House of Assembly the power to influence the decisions of the Supreme Court. When Penney’s amendment was voted on it was defeated by a vote of nineteen to eleven. Premier Whiteway’s amendment was then voted on and was carried by receiving the support of opposition members, not Whiteway’s own party. The next day, Sir Ambrose Shea led the Roman Catholic members of Whiteway’s government to the opposition side of the house.

Things were now in a turmoil. There were three very separate groups sitting in the House of Assembly; the Protestant members of Whiteway’s party – the official opposition – and a new and distinct group, Roman Catholics who had deserted Whiteway. No party had enough support to form a government. The government now had thirteen members, the official opposition had five, and the Roman Catholics had thirteen. The government was dissolved and an election campaign that would become very bitter at times was waged. James Winter now broke openly with Whiteway and allied himself with those Orangemen who had joined with the official opposition of the Reform Party.

The Grand Orange Lodge of Newfoundland entered the election fray by openly urging its members to support the Reform Party. They accused Whiteway of attacking the Orange Association by introducing a bill to prohibit Orange parades and asked Orangemen to help defeat his party. These attacks on Whiteway were well received by St. John’s Orangemen but were received with only lukewarm support by Orangemen in the outports. The Reform Party took as its slogan – “No Amalgamation with the Roman Catholics.” The Reformers chose Sir Robert Thorburn as its new leader. He had been a member of the Legislative Council for fifteen years and he proved to be a wise choice. A native of Scotland, he was a moderate who was acceptable to not only the original Reformers, but to the Orangemen who had deserted Whiteway’s party.

In the election, Whiteway’s party was all but wiped out. Only four members managed to retain their seats and the Roman Catholics under Shea became the official opposition. Richard Rankin, who had been the first Newfoundland Orange Grand Master, was a candidate at Trinity Bay, however he stepped aside in order to allow Robert Thorburn a sure win in his role as leader of the Reform Party. Orangemen were to play a leading role in the election. The Grand Secretary, Donald Morrison, campaigned on behalf of the Reformers. Sir James Winter and Captain Dawe were the candidates in Harbour Grace, while the following Orangemen were also candidates: Alfred Penney – Carbonear; J. P. Peters and H. LeMessurier – Burin; A. J. McNeily – Bay de Verde; G. Hutchings – Port de Grave.

In the Bonavista riding two Orangemen opposed each other. Captain Abram Kean stood for the Reform Party against A. B. Morine who ran as an independent. Kean stated that he was told by the party that “you will meet Morine in Greenspond soon. Tell the people to reject him as a traitor, an enemy, and a spy.” In Twillingate, Jacob Thompson, the editor of ‘The Twillingate Sun’ stood for the Whiteway party and ran against fellow Orangeman, Michael Kight, a Reformer. The election results were an overwhelming victory for the Orange Association and its supporters. The results in Harbour Grace, the scene of the troubles were especially satisfying. This area had traditionally returned two Protestants and one Roman Catholic. This time not only were three Protestants returned – but they were all Orangemen, James Winter, Captain Dawe and J. Godden. In all, eleven Orangemen were elected to the new House of Assembly and they thus provided half of the members of Thorburn’s twenty-two member Reform Party. The Orangemen now controlled the balance of power in the colon. The official opposition was composed of the Roman Catholics, led by Sir Ambrose Shea, who elected fourteen members. Orange members were quickly rewarded for their support.

Winters was appointed as Attorney-General, A. J. McNeily was Solicitor General, and Michael Knight was Financial Secretary, with Alfred Penney appointed as Surveyor General. If the Orangemen in the House could have remained united they would have perhaps changed the shape of political life in the province for generations to come. This was not to happen for the individuality of the Orange members began to assert themselves. The Orange membership in Newfoundland could be excused for being confused as to just where the Orange Association stood on many issues as they watched Orange members of the House of Assembly argue among themselves.

The Harbour Grace Affray created the most serious sectarian violence ever seen on the island, it brought down the government of the day, and showed that while the Orange Association could flex its political muscle when it had to, that it was far from a unified voice. There were to be further outbreaks of violence between Orangemen and Roman Catholics in Newfoundland, most notably in Bay Roberts in the year following Harbour Grace, but never again did it get out of hand and result in what amounted to open warfare. Sir James Winters survived the crisis and indeed was to become the Premier of the province in 1897, serving until 1900. He died in the city of Toronto on October 6, 1911.

The following five men were killed during the Harbour Grace Affray; William Janes of Carbonear, an Orangeman; Thomas Nicholas of Otterbury, an Orangeman; William French of Courage’s Beach, an Orangeman; Patrick Callahan of Harbour Grace; John Bray of Courage’s Beach.

The following men were wounded: William Cleary, Philip Vatcher, Edward Callahan, Robert Lilly, Henry Noseworthy, William Best, William George, John Webber, Moses Nicholas, William Henry Anthony, Patrick Dormody, John Bray, Thomas Luffman, William Brown, Solomon Martin, Reuben Courage, James Bray, Thomas Walsh.


Song composed on the Harbour Grace Riot December 26 - 1883

Come all you loyal Orangemen, Attention to me pay,
And I will tell you what occurred, Upon St. Stephen’s Day.
Four hundred brave young Orangemen, With neither fear nor dread,
Walked in procession to the Church, And up to Riverhead.

When a mob of Riverhead men stood, In rows across the street,
With guns and pickets in their hands, The Orangemen to meet.
And "No Surrender" was their cry, But go right straight ahead,
They fired upon the unarmed men, And shot two of them dead.

One Orangeman was picking up, A brother that was dead,
When he who was his murderer , Stood aiming at his head.
And turning to the murderer, To him he there did tell,
Mind if you shoot me Harper, Be sure and do it well.

A double barrel gun he took, And with an oath he cried,
One load he put into his arm, The other in his side.
Some more of our young Orangemen , That were shot in the head,
The Fenians slugs found in them, Were made of brass and lead.

Since we are few in number, They try to crush us down,
Because we’re true to England’s King, And to the British Crown.
But like the true son Gideon, We’ll never bow the knee,
To Papist, Priest or Cardinal, To Pope or Popery.

When we to Church that morning went, As Christian brothers do,
We little thought foul murderers, Would our peaceful steps pursue.
Those faithless Fenian ruffians, In hundreds did prepare,
To murder all the Orange boys, Returning from the Square.

When Brothers Brown and Hawkins, Did nobly interpose,
To save their brothers from assault, The cry for blood arose.
And then those Fenian murderers, For Orange blood did roar,
They beastly murdered William Janes, And left him in his gore.

Some thirty shot had William French, When like a soldier true,
He marched up to the Fenian crowd, To see what he could do.
At length a bullet brought him down, For it had pierced his brain,
And in a second poor William French, Was numbered with the slain.

Soon spread the news from East to West, As lightning quick sees fly,
And soon proud Orange spread her voice, With Vengeance in her cry.
And hundreds of her gallant men, With arms were soon prepared,
To aid the men of Harbour Grace, No time nor money spared.

Oh, had you seen those Fenians, As we marched bravely on,
With banners flying in the air, With courage soon was strong.
When foot to foot the Orange stood, All ready for the fight,
No Riverhead men could be seen, They ran away with fright.

May a curse attend a Fenian, Wherever he may go,
For firing on the Orangemen, And murdering of them so.
And now my song is ended, I have no more to say,
Whenever there’s an Orangeman, He’ll think of that affray.


Come brothers gather round me and listen to what I say
The truth I will unfold to you before I pass away.

It is concerning of the man that cowardly shot me
I’ve often seen his features and his name is Jerry Lee.

Although I’m lying here in pain and soon will have to die
I would not wish to see him hung upon the gallows high.

But if he had his just reward it’s there he ought to be
Or banished from his Native Land out of his own country.

He gave to me a lingering death but don’t give him the same
If I thought that you would not it would ease me of my pain.

Oh brothers forgive him as God has done for me
I pray you now have mercy on my murderer, Jerry Lee.

Dear brothers I am dying, my work on earth is o’er
But I’m going to dwell with Jesus where sorrows are no more.

Where all is joy and gladness, and Jesus reigns supreme
And saints and angels join in one in glory to the lamb.

Where I shall meet my Saviour that friend whom I adore
Whose waiting to receive me on Canaan’s peaceful shore.

Where many a brother Orangeman shall meet me face to face
And shout here is our brother, a sinner saved by grace.

I know you’ll find it hard to part with one you loved so dear
But Jesus calls and I must go, so brothers now farewell.

It’s there I shall be happy with a crown upon my head
And to wear a sash of righteousness that will never never fade.

So now its to my loving wife I now shall have to turn
Who I shall have to leave behind my absence for to mourn.

But do not mourn when I am gone, for Jesus bids me come
And angels now are waiting to bear my spirit home.

Dear Mother now draw near me, to you I will impart
One word of dying sympathy to an almost broken heart.

If you are asked to give account of what you heard me say
Don’t be afraid to speak the truth about St. Stephen’s Day.

My dying words to you all - my murderer is Lee
And I will soon be going to a long eternity.