Shea Marriages & Baptisms

Shea (1850s) and Murphy at the Halfway House, Salmonier Line.

I haven’t made much headway with my Shea research. The name isn’t a common one in either Holyrood or Harbour Main, although it is found in Collier’s and further east of there. My Shea connection is Mary, born about 1850 in St John’s, and married to Lawrence Murphy of the Halfway House on the Salmonier Line. She died Oct 20 1912 and is buried in the South Side Graveyard in Holyrood.

Cyril Shea also lived at the Halfway House but I’m not sure how he was related to Mary. The 1921 census (NL Grand Banks) for Newtown, on the Salmonier Line shows him living with Maud Murphy Walsh and her husband Will, at the Halfway House. Maud was a daughter of Lawrence Murphy and Mary Shea and they had taken over the running of the place after her parents retired. At that time Cyril Shea was listed as Maud’s cousin, born Sept 1891 in St John’s. The 1935 census (NL GenWeb) for Newtown shows him still living at the Halfway House, this time as a lodger, with Annie Tobin Walsh (Will’s second wife); 43 years (1892) , warden. His headstone, which is in the South Side Graveyard has this to say : “In loving memory of Cyril Shea, born Sept. 15, 1878, died Sept. 17, 1978. Lovingly remembered by Annie Walsh.” Go figure . . .

Henry Shea living with Joseph Penney and his family in Holyrood 1861

In May of 1861 a Select Committee was formed to investigate the ‘election riots’ that had occurred in the Harbour Main District in the previous year. George Furey was shot dead in Cat’s Cove, and two other men wounded; men were threatened and bullied by mobs at a number of the Poll Booths and it was alleged that men who didn’t ‘have the vote’ had voted nonetheless. The story is a long and complicated one and I only introduce it here to explain the source of a tiny item I discovered in the Assembly Journal of 1861 related to Henry Shea who was living in Holryood at the time. The entire transcript of the hearings can be found online at –

In the Appendix, on page A-109, PATRICK STRAPP, the Returning Officer for the Harbour Main District, as part of a much larger testimony, made the following statement:

. . . . . I know **HENRY SHEA at Holyrood**–I do not think he has a right to vote–he lives in another man’s house–he lives in the house with **JOSEPH PENNEY**. Joseph Penney has a family–Shea has none–he is an old man–he boards with him–that’s all. There is only one Henry Shea there. . . .

Later, on page A-111 he adds:

. . . I have known Henry Shea fifty-one years–he is about seventy–he lives in Penney’s house. . . .

In fact, it appears that Patrick Strapp knew Henry Shea very well. On Oct 13 1817, when Strapp married Alice Deady at Harbour Grace, the witnesses were Henry SHEA & Mrs. KENNEDY. Alice Deady Strapp’s obit (90 years 1882) (NF Grand Banks) says that she was from Kilmacow, County Kilkenny. Her husband Patrick (73 years 1866) was a native of county Tipperary.

Harbour Grace Standard January 11, 1865 (Wednesday) (Source: T Hynes)
Died. At Chapel Cove, in the 80th year of his age, Mr. Henry Shea, a native of the parish of Kilmacow, County Kilkenny, Ireland..

Richard Shea of Port de Grave, married Bridget Kennedy of Harbour Main 1803.

Doctor Richard Shea is listed in the 1794-95 St John’s census , in the Third Division – and somewhere between John Noble’s Cove and The Engine House. He and five other men occupied a room owned by the ‘Ex of R Bully’.

# 207 – John Scott, Shopkeeper, 11 years ; married with 1 daughter ; 4 male servants ; all 7 were Roman Catholic.
# 208 – John Cox, Publican, 30 years ; married with 2 sons and 5 daughters ; 2 male and 2 female servants ; 12 Protestants and 1 Catholic.
# 209 – Denis Reardon, Barber, 16 years ; married with 1 son ; 1 male servant ; all 4 RC.
# 210 – Richard Shea was listed as Doctor, his length of time in the country was unrecorded ; he was single, with one male servant ; both RC.
# 211 – Garrett Keating, Taylor, 25 years ; married with 5 daughters ; all 7 RC.
# 212 – William Welch, Carpenter, 20 years ; married 1 son, 1 daughter ; 1 male & 1 female servant ; all 6 RC.
There were 138 families in the Third Division – beginning at #125 and ending with #262.

I don’t know how the Fishing Room system worked in this situation. None of the above men were listed as fishermen and it might seem that they were employees of ‘Ex of R Bully’ – but it might also be possible that they rented their premises. In all, there were 39 people listed – did they live on the Fishing Room property or elsewhere?

At any rate, on Dec 6 1803, Richard Shea married Bridget, a daughter of John and Mary Kennedy of Harbour Main, at the Basilica of St John The Baptist in St John’s ; the witnesses were John Kenedy and Mary McDanil. St John’s was listed as his place of residence, although many of the records for the period generally listed the home parish, which was often in Ireland.

John Kennedy was a prosperous merchant in Harbour Main who died intestate in 1816. His widow, Mary Kennedy, registered Articles of Agreement at St John’s on July 2nd 1817 to clarify her dead husband’s wishes for the dispersement of his Estate. This document states that his four daughters – including Bridget, who married Richard Shea – were given £300 each ‘as and for their respective marriage portions.’ Richard Shea was also made Guardian of Margaret, the youngest daughter – who would receive £600 ‘upon her attaining the age of 21 yrs or marriage which shall first happen.’

It seems likely that either Mary Kennedy or a daughter-in-law, was one of the witnesses, along with Henry Shea, at the marriage of Patrick Strapp and Alice Deady in 1817.

There was only one Shea listed in the Plantation Records for Conception Bay North – Richard Shea at Port de Grave.

455 – Doctor Richard Shea, 210 yds. back from H.W.M. 100 yards from E. to W. bounded on the E. by the Church on the W. by the woods 39 yds. from S. to N. bounded S. by the Mugford’s on the N. by the woods ; 1 House 1 Garden ; Port de Grave ; owned and occupied by Richd. Shea Purchased from Chas. Morgan for £10. ; No buildings ; 1805 ; Rd. Shea for £10.

472 – He was subletting a plantation in Back Cove, Port de Grave from Samual Batton Leased for 21 years at £16 per annum. 2 Houses 3 Gardens 1 Meadow.

473 He was occupying another leased Plantation, also from Samual Batton, for the same terms, . 1 Stage 3 Flakes 2 Houses 2 Gardens 1 Meadow.

I haven’t been able to find any other information on Richard Shea.

3 Responses to Shea Marriages & Baptisms

  1. Peter Shea says:

    Hi Eileen:

    Thought I’d pass along a few interesting pieces about Dr. Richard Shea that I’ve stumbled upon over the years. I started researching my own family tree about 35 years ago and, at that time I was not a good researcher – I did not keep good records about my sources – so I can’t tell you where I gleaned this information from, but here it is, just the same:

    Dr. Shea is buried in Port-de-Grave Roman Catholic cemetery and the inscription on his headstone reads:
    “Richard Shea Esq. Surgeon of Port-De-Grave Apr.4, 1826 age 46, placed by wife Bridget”

    Here are some notes I’ve made over the years:

    Shea, Dr. Richard Listed in census of 1794 as resident of St. John’s. He was a single man with a man servant; 1794.
    Shea, Dr. Richard Leased larger piece of land; 1800.
    Shea, Dr. Richard Married a Kennedy from Harbour Main; 1803.
    Shea, Dr. Richard Bought Plantation in Port De Grave from John Morgan (CO 199/18); 1805.
    Shea, Dr. Richard Sued by man for balance owed; 1810.
    Shea, Dr. Richard Executor of John Kennedys Will; 1817.
    Shea, Dr. Richard Sued John O’Brien for rent Due (21 lbs.); 1817.
    Shea, Dr. Richard Sued Doherty; 1817 11.
    Shea, Dr. Richard Sued John Hunt; 1818.
    Shea, Dr. Richard Was witness at the public flogging of a criminal; 1820.
    Shea, Dr. Richard Sued James Hackett; 1823.
    Shea, Dr. Richard Sued John Scaket (?); 1824.
    Shea, Dr. Richard Sued another man; 1825.
    Shea, Dr. Richard seconded the nomination of Sir William Carson.

    Finally, here’s an anecdote I came upon related to a court-ordered flogging of a James Lundrigan:
    “The prisoner was tied to a flake and flogged by the boatswain of H.M.S. Grasshopper. After fourteen lashes Landergan fainted, and Dr. Richard Shea, the surgeon at Port de Grave, asked that the flogging be stopped. Landergan agreed to hand over his property without any further trouble and the court rescinded the remaining lashes.

    I’m not related to Dr. Shea, by the way – my Shea family is from the Marysvale area – but I’d thought I’d share these with you, in case you might find them of some passing interest.

    I really enjoyed exploring your website – you’ve done a fabulous job!


    Pete Shea

  2. Sheila Cole says:

    Hello I came across you site as I was searching for information on The Halfway House where my mother had lived her name was Mary Walsh and she was the daughter of William Walsh and Maude Murphy. In the information I recieved from my mothers first cousin she said Cyril was the son of either David or Edmund Shea. Cyril had a severe case of measles as a child and developed fluid on the brain -the swelling caused permanent brain damage. They sent him to the Half-way house to his aunt Mary (grand mother Murphy to recover and he stayed there until he died. I don’t have much information on the half way house or my mothers relatives especially on her mothers side. I am looking for any photos
    of the Halfway House or the John Murphy family. The only reference I have is that Laurence Murphy married Mary Shea. They had three daughters Isabelle (Roubillard) Josephine (Gough) and Maude (Walsh) Maude and Josephine ran the Halfway House.
    Mary Shea was the daughter of John Shea and Mary Connors-Shea from County Waterford Ireland. Hope this helps

    • Patricia (Fardy) Trites says:

      Hi, your info is fascinating but you are missing some information. There was a fourth daughter, Mary, sister of Isabelle (Aunt Belle Robillard), Josephine and Maud who died of ? Pneumonia. Mary worked for a time in Boston (as a milliner I think) then returned to Nfld and married by grandfather James Fardy. Granny Fardy used to regale me with stories of growing up at the Halfway House and her cousin Cyril Shea used to visit her occassionally. He always spoke in a whisper and Granny said that he had been taken by the fairies as a child and that when he was found he could only speak in a whisper. ( Your explanation of a severe case of measles is certainly less fanciful.). I currently live in Ottawa, Ontario and would love to communicate with you when I return there in the autumn – currently at the cottage in New Brunswick from whence my husband hails.
      Pat (Fardy) Trites

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