Family of Clara Andrews


This Web Page reviews the available information on my grandmother Clara Newell nee Andrews of Ship Cove, Port de Grave and her family; it supplements information on my DNA research into the Andrews family in the page on my Paternal Ancestors.  My grandmother Clara Andrews (wife of Albert Newell) was born in Port de Grave, Newfoundland on Feb 7, 1878;

Feb 7, 1878 Port de Grave ANDREWS George & Mary Jane Clara F W.C. Shears Mar 3, 1878 C of E Fisherman

she was the daughter of George Andrews of Port de Grave (b. 1848) and Mary Jane Anthony (1856-1951) of Clarke’s Beach.

Albert Newell and Clara Newell nee Andrews

George and Mary Jane were married Dec 2, 1877.  Clara’s siblings were:

  • Robert 1882-1954 (moved to Brewer, Penobscot, Maine c. 1905 and married Elizabeth Strang in 1906),
  • John b. 1886 (twin),
  • George b. 1886 (twin),
  • Harris b. 1890,
  • Arthur Edwin b. 1894 (references in fathers Will below),
  • Marion b. 1898.

Photo of Clara’s brother Robert Andrews of Brewer, Penobscot, Maine.

Photo Mary Jane Andrews nee Anthony and her son George

Clara’s mother Mary Jane moved to Maine in 1920 to live with her son Robert, she died in 1951! Clara’s father George Andrews died at Ship Cove PDG on Sept 4 1916  age 68 (born c. 1848). His Will was probated in 1917:

Will of George Andrews, from Newfoundland will books volume 10 page 487 probate year 1917

In the name of God Amen.  I George Andrews of Ship Cove in the District of Port de Grave hereby declare this to be my last will and testament and all former wills and deeds by me made I declare as void .  I give and bequeath all my property and everything owned by me to my wife Mary Jane Andrews until her death after which it becomes the property of my son Arthur Andrews his heirs and assigns for ever.    I hereby appoint my son-in-law Albert Newell as executor to this my will.    In witness whereof I hereunto affix my signature this fifth day of August one thousand nine hundred and sixteen.    George his X mark Andrews     Signed by said testator Geo. Andrews and declared by him to be his last will and testament this fifth day of August one thousand nine hundred and sixteen in the presence of us who in his presence and at his request and in the presence of each other hereunto subscribe our names as witnesses    James H. Tucker.     Harold Andrews

My grandfather, Albert Newell was executor of the Will so I still have some documents related to the estate. These include an indenture dated 13 Nov  1917  between Mary Jane Andrews , Arthur Edwine Andrews,  owners of the estate of the late George Andrews of Ship Cove, Port de Grave, planter and Harold Andrews. This indenture relates to the sale to Harold Andrews of a piece of land that George Andrews (my great grandfather) leased to Harold for the sun of $140.00.

There is also another handwritten document (may be draft, date not clear) related to an indenture between Albert Newell executor of estate of George Andrews and Isaac Andrews related to exchange of a parcel of land in  Ship Cove bounded on the east by Isaac Andrews, on south by Tucker property, on west by brook, on north by Issac Andrews in exchanged for land owned by Isaac bounded on the south by property of George Andrews, on north by brook on east by Harold Andrews and Nathaniel Dawe.

The following drawing from 1841 shows a view of the Port de Grave peninsula with the village of Port de Grave (B) in the foreground with  Ship Cove (A) and  ‘Blow me Down’ (C) immediately to the east; Bell Island (D) is in the background.

The following photo shows the harbour of Ship Cove.

The following map shows the location of the Andrews Rooms in Ship Cove c 1805 (after map in Gerald W. Andrews book The story of Port de Grave). The shoreline of the Andrews property is between the Wharf and headland in the previous photo.

Based on the descriptions in the documents associated with George Andrews estate it appears that his land was in the vicinity of  Ship Cove Pond (top of map) and ‘Blow me Down’ near the top of the map. I vaguely remember my father indicating that George’s property was in this area and that that was the location of Harold Andrews store (see below). If anyone has any information on this topic please let me know.

At this point the trail starts to get confusing since the various Andrews families of Port de Grave seem to have a limited set of given names to select from. In McAlpine’s 1894-97 Directory there were 16 Andrews households in the Port de Grave area with 3 George Andrews in Ship Cove and 2 more in Port de Grave. McAlpine’s 1904 Directory provides some additional information on the father of each George in Ship Cove, listing them as Geo, of Robt;  Geo, of Wm; and Geo Henry.  The loss of Port de Grave church records for the years 1841-1861 makes it difficult to determine who fathered whom.  The core of my information on George’s parents and siblings comes from a copy of a letter dated 1997 from Mona Petten of PDG to Cindy Andrews dated 1997 that my sister Shirley had. Mona appears to have researched the available records and further indicates that she was related to the Andrews family:

In comparing her information with the available records I did not find any problems with her data. Based on this, George’s parents (my gg grandparents) were Robert Andrews of Ship Cove, Port de Grave & Fanny Daw (Dawe) of Ship Cove.   Robert and Fanny (Frances) were married on Dec 7, 1837 at Port de Grave (source: PDG church records cited in Daw family records and newspaper notice below).

Robert and Fanny had the following children:

  • Elizabeth b. 1838,
  • Samuel b. 1838-1974 (dates from Mona Petten letter),
  • William b. 1840 (may be William who married Sarah Jane Collier in 1865),
  • Robert b. 1844,
  • Ann ? (may be Ann Andrews who married Thomas Hussey at PDG in 1869),
  • George b. 1848-1916 (gravestone St. Luke’s PDG).
  • Emily ?

Note: the Robert (b. 1844) and William (b. 1840) above may have been the witnesses to the wedding of George Daw at at Bareneed in 1861 (below).

Dec. 24, 1861 George DAW Bachelor Ship Cove, P.D.G. Emma BATTEN Spinster Bareneed Jas. C. Harvey Jane HUSSEY, Fanny DAW, Mary J. BUTLER, John BATTEN, Robert ANDREWS, William ANDREWS

To further confuse the situation there is a family tree posted for the family of Harold Andrews of Port de Grave (the Harold referenced earlier). This posting list Harold’s parents as George (1839-1903) and Ester Daw and his grandparents as Robert Andrews (1812-1848) and Mary Ann Daw [they were married in Jan 1833]. While not a direct conflict having two George Andrews from Ship Cove ( with overlapping timelines) both sons of a Robert who married a Daw does not make life easier (see Gerald W. Andrews book for more information on Harold Andrews). The single George son of Robert in the 1904 Directory was likely my George since Harold’s father reportedly died in 1903.

Mona Petten gives my Robert’s DOB as c. 1817  and indicates that he was the son of William Andrews; she also list his siblings as her ggg grandfather Henry (b. 1812) and another brother John born 1801. Harbour Grace Church records (Ang.) have a Robert son of William and Francis born 12 Nov. 1815 (listed under 1822, the date of his Baptism).

12 Nov 1815 Ship Cove ANDREWS William & Frances Robert M John Burt 11 Sept 1822

Unfortunately, we have no records of when Robert died. In  McAlpine’s  Directory of 1894/97 for Ship Cove there was a Robert and Robert H. The latter is likely  Robert Heartland who died in 1925 at age 64 so he was born c 1861 and so would only show up in Directories after 1880.  Lovell’s  Directory for 1871 only lists two Andrews,  George and William, so either they missed a Robert or the other 1894/97 Robert was Robert J. Andrews born 1872.  Since the majority of early Andrews were Church of England the records of donations to the Newfoundland Church Society provide a useful data source for the years 1847-1855.  While not all church members did contribute it does give a snapshot of people who donated. In from 1847-1855 there was only one Robert recorded but from 1850-53 there was also a Mrs. Robert (poss widow of Robert who died 1848). The Robert Andrews whose estate was settled in 1851 is also likely the Robert of 1848.  While not conclusive evidence this suggest that my Robert Andrews may have died sometime between 1855 and 1871.

Investigating William, father of Robert, leads to two different William Andrews from Ship Cove. One who had his Will probated in 1841 and another who had his Will probated in 1844. These two Wills, especially the one for 1844, give us a snapshot of several families of Andrews in Ship cove around this time period (I reference the Wills by their probate dates but be aware that this is not the date the Will was written and may not be the date of death). The following diagram attempts to summarize this information. The information in blue is from the 1844 will and the information in yellow is from the 1841 Will.


At this point we move from relatively solid facts to the realm of conjecture. Based on the names of the sons it appears that the William from the 1841 Will was the father of my my Robert. The Robert who was a nephew of  William of 1844 cannot be Robert son of William of 1841 since this would make William and William brothers (unlikely). The one question is whether the William of 1841 might be the William who was a neighbour of William of 1844. The 1844 Will states:

I give and bequeath to my nephew Robert Andrews and to his heirs that portion of ground extending eastward as far back as his house, bounded on the north west by William Andrews (John’s son) measuring twenty seven feet front age of waterside, also the meadow at the north west of his house bounded on the North west by William Andrews (John’s son) and on the south by the public path and Pond. 

The land in question seems to be in the right general location (near George’s land in 1917) but the question is whether William of 1841 was dead when William of 1844 wrote his Will and if so whether William of 1844 would still reference the land as belonging to him (possible). The Wills were probated in 1841 and 1844 but the 1841 Will was written in August 1840 and the 1844 Will was written in May 1841, so less than a year apart. The actual dates of death are unknown but William of 1841 may not have been dead by May 1841 (time to Probate can vary) and it is unlikely that William would change his Will for a minor detail.  Basically, it is possible that William of the Will probated in 1841 could be the neighbour William in the 1844 Will. The fact that William of 1841 had a son John (Mona Petten indicates that John was the eldest son b. 1801) provides additional support for this.

The Daw/Dawe family records show a  Wm Andrews Ship Cove marrying a Sarah Daw Ship Cove on Dec 7, 1830.  This is unlikely to be either the 1841 or 1844 William but could be William son of the 1844 William.  In his book The story of Port de Grave,  Gerald W. Andrews discusses the activities of William Andrews Sr. and Jr. who owned sealing ships in the 1830s and 40s (see his Table 5.2).

To further confuse matters there is a Port de Grave death record for a William Andrews Junr. from Ship Cove who died in 1828.

July 1828 death William ANDREWS Junr., Ship Cove. s.pox

There was a John Andrews  of Ship Cove, who was a schooner owner in 1864, who might be a candidate for  Robert’s brother John (see below).


Hutchinson’s Newfoundland Directory, 1864-1865

Another John Andrews buried in St. Luke’s cemetery Port de Grave in 1894,  born c 1816,  might have been a candidate for Robert’s brother John, even though his birth date does not agree with Mona Petten’s estimate; however, his Will of 1897 indicates that he was from Harbour Grace.

The 1817 Census of Port de Grave region (Brigus, Cupids, Bareneed and Port de Grave) list 2 Andrews in Bareneed (note: Bareneed includes Salmon Cove, Clarke’s Beach and North River) and 3 in Port de Grave:

  • #66, Bareneed (poss Salmon Cove), John Andrews Junr ,  unmarried and no children, Well Off;
  • # 78, Bareneed, (poss Salmon Cove) John Andrews Sen, married with one child,  Distressed;
  • # 108, Port de Grave, Wm Andrews Jo [John’s] Son [I Son on] , married with 8 children, Well Off;
  • # 109, Port de Grave, Garland Andrews [Gordon on] , married with 8 children, Well Off;
  • # 110, Port de Grave,  Wm Andrews [Son ?], married with 7 children, Well Off.


The Port de Grave information is somewhat confusing (issue with duplicate names again) but one  or  both of these 1817 Williams may be the Williams who died in the early 1840s (~25 years later).   In 1817 there was no reference to Robert who was cited as the father of  William of the 1844 Will (unless the ending for entry #110 is son Rob) and the only Johns in 1817 were in Bareneed (likely Salmon Cove).  It is possible that the John and Robert who were the fathers references in the 1844 Will had died by 1817 or they may have lived elsewhere; for example,  John father of William may have been John Sr. from Bareneed (Salmon Cove).

Originally, in my Newell family of Bareneed tree (on Ancestry) I had William (1841 Will) as the father of my gg-grandfather Robert (b. 1815) and John Andrews (1755-1805) as the father of  William. However, after reviewing my DNA connections I have tentatively made William (c. 1780-1841) a child of Henry (1755-1811). Doing this gives a better  fit to the historical data and DNA matches.

The only solid evidence we have for Henry is a record of his death published in the Royal Newfoundland Gazette in October, 1811:

HENRY ANDREWS, of Port de Grave, Newfoundland, but late of St. John’s, Shipwright, deceased. ALL Persons having just demands against the Estate of HENRY ANDREWS, of Port de Grave, Newfoundland, but late of St. John’s, Shipwright, deceased, apply to John MASTERS or John FRY. 

It is significant that John Fry was married to Mary Andrews baptized at Harbour Grace in 1782 (see my Newell Family of Bareneed Tree). Mary was listed as the daughter of Henry and Mary Andrews. It is also significant that Henry had a connection to both Port de Grave and St. John’s since my great grandfather also had connections to St. John’s. There is also evidence that some members of the Andrews families of Port de Grave were members of the Congregational Church in St. John’s circa 1800  (see my Web Page on William Freeman of St. John’s).

The  Keith Matthews Name Files at Memorial University have the following references to a Henry Andrews:

These demonstrate that Henry was living in Port de Grave in 1802 and conducting business in St. John’s.

At this point we have clearly entered into the area of conjecture regarding Clara’s ancestors. What we do know for certain is that the Andrews family of Port de Grave and the Andrews family of Harbour Grace (likely related) were established in Newfoundland by the mid 1700s.  Various notes in different historical documents also suggest that the family may have had roots in south Devon or Dorset, England and there is a possibility of a link to Colonial Massachusetts.