Newfoundout was a real treat to visit. As we drove down the lonely road that was lined with fencing from it’s originators you could almost hear the horse and buggies. There are only skeletal remains of a once inhabited place. The houses remain to weather and fall in on themselves as nature slowly over takes each one. Since the families departure in 1948 nobody has built anything you can call home. To imagine what each house looked like when it was loved by each family was very entertaining and enlightening at the same time.
One of the original settlers of Newfoundout was Narcisse Gervais born in 1882. He, his wife and nine children lived halfway up Newfoundout Rd and were a farming family. Unfortunately the Gervais family was just one of many casualties of governments “Public Lands Act”. This Act was designed to lure immigrants into the province under false pretences with the real reason being that the government wanted land cleared for the logging industries. This was a tragedy for many families as they believed they were moving to a prosperous new frontier. The Reeve of the government that handled and procured these land deals was T.P. French.
The disgusting land deals included a promise from the government of 100 acres of supposed fertile farm land. In exchange the settlers would build an 18 x 20 dwelling and agree to clear and cultivate at least 12 acres of land over a four year period. The tragedy of all of this was that the government knew full well the land was rocky, containing only acidic soil and totally unsuitable for sustainable farming. This was exploitation of the highest calibre and something not well known about Newfoundout.
Newfoundout was never considered a true village or town as it had no stores, schools or churches. The children had to walk the winding trails down the mountain to attend school……..very dangerous and impractical. Farmers in Newfoundout did their best by bartering with fellow residents to support their meagre existence. In 1914 they built a Post Office known as Donohue Post Office.
The people of Newfoundout were people of “True Grit” and “Perseverance”. They suffered for many years making valiant efforts to farm the land. By the mid 1940’s most of Newfoundouts residents had given up and moved away. In 1948 the settlement of Newfoundout was officially decared abandoned. The land it rests on is owned by a private cattle farmer and some of the ruins can be explored to this day.
Chris and Michelle Savage