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Grieve & Bremner

A Biographical Profile of 18th & 19th Century
Merchant Families & Entrepreneurs in Trinity. 
Written & Researched by Dr. Gordon Hancock

Lesterís Newfoundland Shipwrights

            William Masters, James Warren, William Cool, Wm. Hookey, Thomas Newell, William Newman, Charles Newhook, William Newhook, William Pittman, Samuel Finch, Richard Gleed.

Sea-Captains employed by the Lesterís included:-

            Anstey, Thomas; Akerman, John; Andrews (from Devon); Ash; Barter, Wm; Bartlett, John; Barnes; Barry, John; Besant, John; Best; Blake; Bloomfield; Blundon; Bignile, J.; Bishop, Thomas; Brixey, Wm; Brinson; Cashin (Irish); Fitzherbert; Forbuck, Ceo; Fisher; Frederickson (dismissed for theft); Frampton (George, Oliver and John); Galton, Thos; Gaylor, Thos; Gregory, John; Goff (died on a passage 1801); Grey; Hall; Honeybun; Hosier; Hunter; Hussey; Jenkins; James; Jones; Keates, Thos; Larag; Lake; Lander; Lemon, John; Linthorne; Larcombe; Lundridge, Joseph; Masters, Wm; March (fired for drinking); Mugford (from Devon); Miller (Joseph, Thomas); Martin; Morely; Moore, Geo; Northover; Newman, Wm; Parmiter; Palmer (Pamer); Penney; Pearce, Charles; Pile; Pimer; Pittman, Wm; Pudner; Ryder, Geo; Roberts, James; Sabbin, John (from Devon); Salter (from Devon); Sampson; Simpkins; Spencer; Sparke; Spicer; Stephens; Taverner (Joseph and Andrew); Tanner (from Devon); Thompson, Benjamin; Thomas; Thombes; Tite; Tucker (from Devon); Vivian (from Devon); Warren (John and James); Way, James; Wanhill (from Devon); Waterman; Whitewood, Wm; Whittle, Geo; White; Wise, Thomas; Wooland (George and Caleb, Devonshiremen); Williams, Henry.

            The importance of shipping to an overseas trade such as the Lesterís developed and sustained during the second half of the 18th century is illustrated by the large numbers of sea-captains they employed.  In various documents, mainly the Lester diaries, some 110 different masters of ships can be identified, and associated with over 60 different ships which the Lesterís owned (see list below).  Many of the captains were bred to the sea and the Newfoundland fishery from Poole; others came from Christchurch, Lymington, Ringwood and Fordingbridge in Hampshire, from Bridport and Sturminster and other places in Dorset, and these generally rose from the ranks of raw recruits engaged as fishermen and sailors.  A significant proportion of captains, however, came from Devonshire and was recruited mainly to take command of vessels that fished on the Grand Banks.  A smaller proportion were Irishmen and these also almost invariably were men whose initial apprenticeship and later sea experience was gained in the Newfoundland fishery.  Some captains during the fishing season served as agents and boatmasters.  During the late 18th century, many of Lesterís captains established their main domiciles in places such as Trinity, Bonavista and Greenspond, and began to include voyages to the spring seal hunt as part of the yearly round of activities.  Many were inclined in their latter years to become resident boatkeepers and schooner owners and established their patrilines in Newfoundland.  Among these were Anstey, Akerman, Ash, Barnes, Best, Blake, Bloomfield, Blundon, Cheater, Collins, Cheeseman, Gaylor, Goff, Hall, Hosier, Hunter, Jenkins, Jones, Keates, Lander, Miller, March, Martin, Pearce, Pittman, Ryder, Tucker, Vivian, Way, Waterman, Whittle, and Whites-names that from the late 18th-early 19th century were established either in Trinity, Bonavista or Notre Dame Bays.  The list of surnames that were associated with the Lesterís first as sailors and fishing servants and later with residents on the Notre East coast is considerable more extensive for the Lester family was probably responsible for employing, transporting and trading with over half of the families who settled in Trinity and Bonavista Bay in the period from 1750 to 1800. 

            Most of the vessels owned by the Lesterís been in the 100 to 200 ton class, and were built by the firm in Trinity.  In the 1750s Lesterís operated 4-5 ships but they added new vessels to their fleet year by year and by the early 1770s the firm was annually fitting out 10-12 vessels large enough to making trans-Atlantic voyages.

 Names of Ships Owned by Lesterís 1753-1801

Amy (several)                                                                           Joseph and Francis (100 tons)
Betsey (several)                                                                        Labrador
Benjamin                                                                                  Lester
Beaver                                                                                     Little Benjamin (107 tons)
Bonavista                                                                                 Lord North (229 tons)
Bingley                                                                                     Lukey
Brittania                                                                                    Maria
Brothers                                                                                   Mercury (172 tons)
Bonavista                                                                                 Minerva
Cabot                                                                                       Ocean
Catherine                                                                                  Polly
Ceres (167 tons)                                                                      Pond
Charmont (173 tons)                                                                Providence
Caractacus                                                                               Rachael
Columbus                                                                                 Reliance
Earl Selkirk                                                                               Resolution (105 tons)
Elizabeth and Ann                                                                     Rowland
Fame                                                                                        Sally (several)
Fly                                                                                           Susan (166 tons)
Fogo                                                                                        Thomas
Halifax                                                                                      Thomas and Betsey
Henry (152 tons)                                                                      Triton
Harriet                                                                                      Tupper
Hope (200 tons)                                                                       Two Brothers
Horse and Shoe Club                                                               Two Sisters
Industrious Bee (at least three)                                                  Victory
Industry                                                                                    William (several)
John (several (173 tons)

Source: Trinity Historical Society

Slade & Kelson

The Newhook's

The Lester's

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