Coveduck - Coveyduck Coveyduc, Families

Family Profile



Selina Coveyduc And Reubin Mesher

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© Eldred Mesher, Selina Bertha (Coveyduck) Mesher, Samuel Mesher, and Reuben Absalom Mesher. Eldred and Samuel are sons of Reuben and (Photos: Courtesy Bernie Heard)

John Coveduck born 1825 married Francis Anne (Wells), their children were Emily Coveduck 1856, Mary Olivia Coverduck 1859, Eliza Jane Coverduck 1860 , Selina Bertha Coveyduc 1864 and James Coveyduc 1866.  ( DPHW 34 Archives of Newfoundland note the variation of the surname )John & Francis Coveduck lived in Newfoundland, and fished in Labrador in the summer months.

John’s daughter Selina and her husband Rueben Mesher with some of their children went to Lunenberg, Nova Scotia in 1900 and then returned back to Labrador in 1903.

The earliest recorded Coveyduc I have found in Nova Scotia is Selina’s brother James Coveyduc born September 27, 1866 he married Emily Hussey and may be the reason Reuben & Selina went to Nova Scotia.

Coveyduc: A Newfoundland variant apparently not recorded elsewhere of the surname Coveduck of England Cobbledick, Cobledick, associated with the surname Cobbold, from the old England personal. name (Cuthbeald) which contains the elements (Famous and Bold).... (Bardsley, Reaney)



by MARION SAUNDERS THARP 1981 Xenia, Ohio  

The history of the MESHERS, GOODENOUGHS, HAMELS, etc. as given to Marion Saunders Thorp by her mothey Frances Esther Mesher Saunders Mueller (Aunt Fan) as recalled from stories told by her aunt, Esther Mesher Goodenough. Others contributing to to this account (family tree) are Harvey Mesher, Mary Saunders, Priscilla Hamel, Levinia Mesher, Una and Doris Sounders.

Here is my mothey'a account of her family MARION THARP

My father married Selina Coveyduc, or Coveydeux, of Salmon Cove, Conception Bay Newfoundland. She had come to the Labrador coast as a cook for a Newfoundland man at Cape North, Labrador in the summer of 1881. She remained In Labrador all winter to work in the home of my grandfather, Robert Mesher. Grandfather's son Reuben had been adopted at seven months by Grandfather's sister, Esther, and her husband, William Goodenough, they being childless.

© Reuben & Selina (Coveduck) Mesher Family (Photos: Courtesy Them Days)

On June 17, 1882, my mother, Selina Coveyduc married Reuben Mesher. The following March 19, 1882 their first child, William Goodenough Mesher was born. On Sept. 13, 1884 I put In an appearance, Frances Esther. almost two years later, on Sept. 6, 1886, came Robert John, named for his two grandfathers. On December 9, 1888 Samuel, James was born, named for Mother's brother, James and Father's brother, Samuel, Samuel was born on an unusually cold Sunday morning. Aunt Rosie Pardy, Father's aunt by marriage, brought Samuel into the world, a perfect Coveyduc. Next came baby Stanley, who lived only one month. A big, fat, ten-pound baby girl was next, born on Oct. 04. 1893 in Sandwich Bay, off Long- stretch in Father's schooner 'Royal Arch'. She was named Lily Mae Jane. Next came Stanley Edward, on Sept. 30, 1895, named for the baby who died and for Father's brother Edward on Sept. 30, 1895. The family was delighted when on March 11, 1898 a tiny girl was born. This delicate little flower was named Ellza for Grand-mother Mesher and Myrtle, a favourite name. She lived two months and is buried in the Paradise River Point graveyard. Eldred Evan came to the family on March 16, 1901, another Coveyduc. I had spent the years 1900-1903 in Lunenburg, N.S. and never saw my blue-eyed baby brother until he was almost two years old. Mother was then expecting Karl Rupert Chesley, who came on Sept. 21, 1903, a real Mesher. Mother had not been strong after Karl's birth, but she became pregnant again and in December, 1905, the last child came, a tiny, fragile, little Coveyduc, Douglas DeWitt. Mother nearly died, but with excellent care she recovered. The little baby, always a little skeleton, clung to life and grew to be four years old, but too weak to overcome a case of scarlet fever, he died after withering away for ten days.

Mother had another brother, mentioned in another account, he uas Victor Grenfell Mesher, born Oct. 1, 1899 and died in 1808, I have been able to get some information from Mother's diaries. She kept a diary for thirty-one years. Grandmother Selina had a huge, old, family Bible when I stayed with her and Uncle Stanley in 1928. I had very little to read that winter, although the school did send us books saved from the fire*. I used to read the old Bible. Some of Mother's diary for 1955 reads:

© Reuben & Selina (Coveduck) Mesher Family (Children) L to R: Robert John Mesher , Frances Esther (Fan)(Mesher) Mueller, LilyMay Jane (Mesher) Lethbridge, Stanley Mesher, and William Goodenough Mesher, (Photos: Courtesy Bernie Heard)

JAN. 18, 1953;- Aunt Goodenough's birthday, was 120 years old today

FEB. 12, 1953:- Fay died l.:00am 35 years ago today.

MAR. II, 1953;- My baby sister Myrtle was- born 56 years ago

APRIL 21, 1953: - Holman's birthday. Holman is 44 years old today (also Queen Elizabeth's birthday). Stanley Mesher c1942

Ann: Where did you grow up?

Harvey:- I growed up in Sandwich Bay, Paradise River.

A:- Where's Pack's Harbour?

H:   Pack's Harbour is the headland of the ocean sea entrance to Sandwich Bay, and it's two islands laying about northeast by southwest. The ships' channel is between Pack's Harbour and Horsechops. It would be around 30 miles east of Paradise village, or northeast, whatever you mind to call it. It's the headland of the sea entrance of Sandwich Bay, but it's not a deep water channel. It's not navigable for ships over 20 tons. The deep water channel going into Sandwich Bay, is Cartwright Run. You come in south from Grady then turn about southwest and come up through this Run, that's deep water here, track in to what they call Black Head. The Flagstaff Hill overlooks this, and this is the deep water channel, ships' road, steamers and everything comes through here.

A:- So you spent all your life, pretty well, in Sandwich Bay didn't you? And how did you make your living?

H'- Trappin', fishin',. and salmon fishin'. Separation Point was where we moved last in Sandwich Bay.

© 1998 Lily Mesher , (Photos: Courtesy Bernie Heard)

Mother had an account of Wm Goodenough, who came from an English seacoaet town to Labrador about fhe first decade of the nineteenth century. He worked for a trading ccmpany until he had served the allotted time due to the company, and then he lived alone in Labrador. About 1825 a Newfoundland fishing Captain brought a young girl, Jane Chafe, from Petty Harbour, Newfoundlandf to Labrador as a sook on his schooner, Jim Goodenough persuaded her to remain in Labrador and marry him. The summer following their marriage, Jim and Jane lived on Dumplin Island at the mouth of Sandwich Bay, where Jim worked for the Hunt & Henley Company. This was the most important settlement in the bay, except for Cartwright, at the time, and it was there that Jim's three children were born: William on June 8, 1829, Sara Jane on May I5, 1831 and James on April 22, 1833. Most of the Settlers moved into the bays in the fall to escape the winter storms on the unsheltered headlands and to be nearer the fur paths. After his marriage, Jim Goodenough moved to Paradise Arm in the fall. where a few other European Settlers had settled previously.

James Goodenough died at seventeen of tuberculosis and is buried at North River. Jane married Andrew Pardy, had a daughter Charlotte and died, William Goodenough married a young girli Esther Mesher whose native blood was mixed with that of two Englishmen, James Messier and Ambrose Brooks. Esther's mother was Hannah Brooks, second daughter of Ambrose Brooks.

William and Esther Goodenough reared Grandfather Reuben, Robert Mesher uas about thirty and Eliza Hamel about fifteen when they married, and Elisa had several children when very young. Since Aunt and Uncle Goodenough had no shildreni they persuaded Elza to give them their next baby to rear, and when Reuben was seven months old Eliza kept her promise. Mother said her Grandmother Eliza told her that for weeks she walked the floor in tears at night before she could bring herself to give her baby, her third son, to her sister-in-lau.(Note Joseph Broomfiel married a Coveyduc Dartmouth England)

© Selina (Coveduck) Mesher  (Photos: Courtesy Bernie Heard)

James Saunders, a little illegitimate son of a Hudson Bey Company cook and a young eighteen or nineteen years old young man named Saunders. The young girt was Sally Earl (among her decendents uas Billy Earlt the one we knew as Muddy Bay). Aunt and Uncle had given James their name Goodenough when he came to them at four years of age, but as he was standing during his marriage ceremony he gave the name Saunders as the name he wanted to be married by, and so we have the Saunders of Labrador.

Elisa's one condition in giving up Reuben ws that he must carry his family name, Mesher. He had been Absalom, and Aunt called him Reuben because Reuben had saved his brother Joseph. Reuben named his first son, William Goodenough, after the name who reared him.

Mother had titled this story 'My brother William: The years rolled by and at last William Goodenough Mesher came to a marriageable age. The only family In the bay with Goodenough blood was 'the James Davis family, for he had married Charlotte, the only daughter of Sara Jane Goodenough and Andrew Pardy. James and Charlotte Davis had seven children, one of whom was Elizabeth. Much to the delight of William and Esther Goodenough, William Goodenough Mesher married Elizabeth Davis, so when at last the old people passed on it was with the knowledge that both Mesher and Goodenough strains would be carried on by this union.

Mother urote of her sister'in-law Betty Davis Mesher: She told me when she fell in love with Will. She went to a house where my parents were visiting and saw a little blue-eyed boy and heard him singing, "Had I the wings of a dove, I would fly far, far away. Far away where not a cloud ever darkens the sky. Far, far away. Far away." Mother often said that Betty, uho was several years older than Will, remembered seeing him in his cradle as a beautiful little baby and loving him a little even then, I think this is a great story, and what breaks my heart is that Mother's manuscript was full of pages and pages of this sort of information. I should have had her save me my hand written notes as she narrated them to me. I had stressed so often that I wanted the old Labrador stories preserved that it never entered my mind that Mother would discard them. '


A Story by Harvey A. Mesher



© Selina Bertha (Coveduck) Mesher and Millie Learner: (Photos: Courtesy Harvey Mesher)

History is the story of places and people woven from the fabric of past events on the universal loom. For the benefit of present and future generations and as a direct descendant of a family dating back, in Labrador, to the golden age of the birch bark canoe, I have decided to do my best to preserve some of our history. 

My story begins with my great-grandfather, Robert John Mesher, trapper, who' died in 1909 at the age of eighty-one, and of whom I have but a vague memory. Indeed) it would seem that the name Mesher was firmly established at Sandwich Bay during the P.F. Little administration, who from 1855-1858 governed England's oldest colony as Newfoundland's first Prime Minister. Is it any wonder that I am proud to be a Mesher? Great-grand-father's wife was Miss Eliza Hamel, born during the reign of King Edward VII, who held the throne of England from 1901 to 1910.

I am the son of William and Elizabeth Mesher. My mother was the daughter of James Davis. I am the oldest in a family of six boys and two girls. My mental reality takes me back In time by just over three score years. Situated at Mesher's Cove, in the little trapping village of Paradise River, was the family-size log cabin where I was born. Adjacent to this typical, 19th century residential dwell-ing was the spic and span, two storey, clap board, frame building of my grandparents,Reuben and Selina (Coveyduc of Spainard's Bay, Newfoundland). Grandmother was short-tempered, but a darling old soul never the less, of average height with eyes as blue as the sky over Labrador on a cloudless mid-summer day.

My memory brings me back to a spring morning, typical of a fair weather day in mid-April, night frost with temperature well above freezing during the day. My uncle, Samuel James Mesher, a member of the Royal Navy Reserve Forces during the reign of Edward VII of Great Britain, had his dog team bridled and ready. He stood there, sealskin dog whip in hand, to make sure his dogs stayed put until he was ready to hit the trail, and on this occasion I was to be his sole passenger on a journey to Cartwright, some twenty-one miles away. While my mother tucked me into the coachbox, I simply relaxed, content that I was about to take my first dogteam ride across Sandwich Bay. I had been invited by my great-aunt and uncle, Esther and William Goodenough. Typical of the Labrador huskies, when Uncle Sam gave his team the order to 'mush', the team took off at a jog trot which increased as we put the miles behind us.  

I recall we were well out on Sandwich Bay, the dogs going at a brisk trot, about seven miles an hour which is the normal pace for even the most spirited of dogs, when suddenly they burst into a full gallop I remember Uncle Sam reaching for his chain drag which served a brake. I was completely unconcerned as too why the dogs automatically increased their speed to a mad gallop. Dogs were dogs in my carefree world and that was that. I can remember black objects at various distances and directions, visible from the komatik. When Uncle Sam brought the komatik to a halt, I had no idea why and as for the Labrador bay seal, I was completely oblivious to their existence. Indeed, it wasn't until Uncle Sam grabbed his rifle and proceeded to move cautiously in their direction that I noticed the nature of those objects, they were not only alive but were equipped with two tails. I have since learned that what I actually saw was bay seals exercising with their rear flippers. In any event, when Uncle Sam eventually tested his skill as a hunter, within a second after the report of the gun the mammal disappeared. Uncle had made a clear miss The dogs, alerted by the noise of the gun, covered the distant at a full scaled gallop, as though the chain drag was but a loop of sail twine, such is the strength of the Labrador husky, who seems to have a reserve of energy out of proportion to his weight, which rarely exceeds one hundred pounds. Falling in his attempt to get the seal. Uncle Sam set his dogs back on course for Cartwright

© William Mesher and Betty Mesher

About sixteen miles out Sandwich Bay, on the route to Cartwright, is Muddy Bay Narrows, which, due to its deep water and swift current, under normal winter temperatures remains ice free all winter for a distance not exceeding two miles. During wlnter travel the komatik route was a blazed trail overland, referred to in the language of Sandwich Bay men as Muddy Bay Portage. The season was too far advanced for us to use the portage, and the ribbon of water was not only longer but also wider. In fact, it had increased in width to the extent that the ice ledge, clinging to the granite shore, in some places was scarcely wider than the komatik. Uncle Sam somehow managed to keep the komatik in control by skillfully maneuvering it along. When I suddenly saw the sea weed on the bottom through the crystal clear salt water I experienced genuine fear for the first time in my seven young years, which Is probably why, after more than sixty years later, I have such vivid memories of that experience. However, young as I was, I bore my fear In silence and Uncle Sam, when he died in 1913, was unaware of my fear that day.

Uncle Sam lost his life by drowning on September 13, 1913 he wa» at Paradise Arm, enroute for a load of firewood, when a gale force wind capsized his boat. His next door neighbour, the late William Heard Sr., who happened to be travelling the shoreline on foot to the berry banks at Black Head,was an eyewitness to the accident. Mr. Heard saw the boat capsize .He knew that Uncle Sam could not swim and must succumb to the elements in a matter of minutes, but he was powerless to do anything. He must have felt really bad, because I have been told that he saw Uncle Sam wave his arm as though he was bidding farewell to the world. It was days later that the search party found the death boat, still drifting bottom-up, sails intact, some seven miles out in Sandwich Bay. Uncle Sam had been married but a few months when the accident occurred.  His widow, a young Newfoundland girl, returned to her home by coastal boat when she was satisfied that his body would never be recovered.  I have been told this by my Aunt Gertrude. 

Meanwhile, getting back to my story. Arriving at Cartwright, I.was met by the two old people each of whom showed every day of their advanced years .Uncle William Goodenough was a slightly stooped man with a snow-white beard and fully alert mentally. Aunt Esther was a white haired old lady of medium height. Both were lovingly concerned about me. Aunt Esther quickly removed the blankets from me and took me to her kitchen by way of a door leading through the back porch.  Having satisfied herself that I was suffering no discomfort, Aunt Esther set the table and I was given a lunch with Uncle Sam. Then Uncle Sam seems to fade from the picture, I guess he must have returned home immediately after we had eaten, undoubtedly I was his sole reason for being there. Perhaps the reason I have such vivid memories of that lunch with Uncle Sam is because I became stomach sick moments after eating. I must have been too long without eating and then overloaded my stomach. As I recall our lunch included lots of raisin bread and black tea loaded with molasses.

I can't remember that I missed home at any time for, if kindness could keep me happy, these two dear old people made sure I was treated as though I were their very own. The house was mine as far as they were concerned. I would help the old gentleman fill the woodbox, but mostly I remember playing the accordian. That's right, Uncle Goodenough had an accordian which he could play very well by air, as could Aunt Esther. I'd been able to carry a tune even before I could walk, or so I've been told by an aunt of mine, in any event, I enjoyed making a noise with this well-worn accordian.

One day Uncle William Goodenough took me shopping with him. As I recall, the Hudson Bay Company General store was housed In the top floor of a two-storey, clap-board, frame building situated parallel with the shoreline overlooking Cartwright Harbour about midway between the present H.B.C. store and the cold storage. Significant of the shop was that the public entrance was by way of a sturdy plank ladder, complete with hand rail grounded on a plank walkway, which led up to a gallery where one entered a door situated in the gable roof end, which, incident ly, was a direct entrance to the merchandising department. Here for the first time In my life I came face to face with an agent of the Hudson Bay Company practising his trade. I vividly remember that among Uncle's purchases were some molasses kisses and some ginger snaps.

During his productive years. Uncle Goodenough had been a commercial salmon fisherman. Although long retired and despite his advanced age, he still fished a trout net and as a result he was completely self-sufficient for his fresh fish during the normal netting season, which 'began around early June and terminated around late August. There were no restrictions then beyond those that nature demanded, so as soon as the harbour was free of ice. Uncle Goodenough, his flat-bottomed, hand-build, row boat prepared for the water with a fresh coat of coal tar from bottom to top sides, would begin his summer by setting his trout net. I recall that I would accompany the old gentleman on his once-a-day visits to his net, which was located at a large boulder which stood high above the water level at low tide, and hence the name Goodenough *s Rock, a term still popular to those of my generation over half a century after the old gentleman passed away. This rock was situated about a hundred yards off from his dwelling house, which occupied a plot of land immediately adjacent to the premises of the now defunct S.B. Fequet and Son. It was really an ideal place for the old gentleman to choose as his trout net berth.

I guess salt water trout must have been as plentiful then as now, because I recall morning after morning I'd sit in the stern of the flat and watch while Uncle picked the slimey fish from his net by the dozens. However, if Uncle Goodenough proved himself capable as a fisherman, at an age when present day senior citizens become wards of the state, Aunt Esther was equally active as a participator of her husband's marine chores. She'd meet us at the landing and load up her kneading pan. Evidently she was still a strong woman for, In those days, a family kneading pan was a large container made of heavy tin, yet I recall Aunt Esther would carry that container, filled to the overflow, with comparative ease. I often wonder what those old people did with all that fresh trout, after all there was no such thing as a domestic freezer, indeed, it was at least a generation later that freezers came Into being.

L yo R Henry Mesher, Esther Goodenough, Harvey Mesher (behind) Gertrude Mesher, Betty Mesher holding Grace Mesher and Selins (Coveduck) Mesher holding Holeman (Photos: Courtesy Harvey Mesher)

It Is worthy to note that, while the old couple. Aunt and Uncle Goodenough, spent their summers at Cartwright, they spent their winters at our home in Paradise Village. Dad and Mother did their best to make them as comfortable as possible and we children enjoyed having the old people around. We were taught to respect our elderly relatives at all times so, when in 1912 my Great Uncle Goodenough took i11, I listened with deep concern as the old gentleman warned me against drinking and smoking. It didn't matter ..that I was only eight years old, this old white haired man was relating to me the vices he knew I would have to contend with, thus over a half century later I remember his warnings as vividly as though it happened yesterday, even to his taking my puny hand in his. This fine old man was to put a lifetime barrier between me and the barroom. Uncle Goodenough passed quietly away about a month later at the age of four score and two years. Aunt Esther followed Uncle Goodenough in April of 1913, having reached the exact age of her God-fearing husband, eighty-two.

In looking back over the years, I can see why my Aunt and Uncle Goodenough became wards of my parents In their declining years. There was no such thing as state social security in England's oldest colony, at least if there was it was non-existant in Labrador)so when age rendered people powerless to make a living It was the Labrador way for the next of kin to take over. Indeed, it would be a disgrace to refuse to accept the responsibility. Indeed, with the deaths of Aunt Esther and Uncle William Goodenough I lost two of most important people in my life.


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