Gros Morne History: The Army Catches Fire in Shoal Brook

Lt Col Blanche Read

The Salvation Army came first to Bonne Bay just before the start of the 20th century. Records indicate that by 1901 the Army had enlisted about 40% of the people in Trout River and Stanleyville, together with 24% of those in Rocky Harbour. Thirty years later, it was still growing, as indicated in a short news item in the Army’s official newspaper entitled “An Isolated Outpost Catches the Fire: People Flock to Meetings and Seventeen Souls Find Christ”

“The Campaign spirit is still in operation on this side of the Island, which at this time in the year is isolated from trains and steamship service. Recently a visit was paid to Shoal Brook where a number of revival services were conducted by the Officers  (Captain Reid and Lieutenant Rideout), assisted by Captain Brooks from Trout River. Cottage meetings were held in different homes and hundreds of men and women travelled miles through sleet to attend the meetings conducted in the Orange Hall, kindly loaned free of charge for the occasion, the building having filled to capacity. Captain Brooks gave the Bible address and during the Prayer meeting, twelve souls sought Salvation. One cottage meeting was arranged in the home of Brother Young, a warm friend of The Army, and was attended by eighty men and women. Captain Wheeler gave the address. Five souls knelt at the Cross. When leaving, the people’s parting words were “We cannot do without The Army.”


Here is the cover of the War Cry for May 3, 1930, in which this report was printed.

Lead image: Mrs. Blanche Read came to Newfoundland with her husband to head The Army in 1892. She was later raised to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in recognition of her staunch social work across Canada. (See her biography “The Lady with the Other Lamp”, by Mary Morgan Dean, 1919)

Antony Berger

Antony Berger is the author of The Good and Beautiful Bay: A History of Bonne Bay (to Confederation and a Little Beyond).