Jacob Noseworthy

The following is a revised and enlarged version of an article which I wrote for the fourth volume of the Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1993.

NOSEWORTHY, JACOB (1878-1955). Pentecostal layman. Born St. John’s. Married Marie Hudson of St. John’s. As a young man, Noseworthy emigrated to the United States. After working for several years with the Green Shipyards as an engineer, he returned to St. John’s, where he worked until retirement with Harvey and Company. A Methodist, he experienced religious conversion during an evangelistic campaign Victoria Booth-Clibborn Demarest (1889-1982), granddaughter of Salvation Army cofounders William and Catherine Mumford Booth, conducted in St. John’s in Gower Street Methodist Church in 1919. Sometime before 1925, Noseworthy joined Bethesda Mission, the first Pentecostal meeting place in Newfoundland, located on Gower Street in the capital city. On 19 November 1925, fifteen years after it began in Newfoundland, the Pentecostal movement was granted denominational status by the government. Noseworthy, along with farmer James Stanley and jeweller Robert C. English (1888-1942), who later became overseer of the denomination, helped to frame the Memorandum of Association, and was one of the signatories on 8 December. Jennie E. Green (letter, 9 January 1983).

The spiritual side of Don Cherry

CherryI must admit that when I watch Don Cherry on Coach’s Corner, I don’t immediately think of his spiritual side. But perhaps I’ve been overlooking a little-known aspect of his life.

Quitting school in grade 10, he remembers the day he was laid off as a construction worker, “The jackhammer was my speciality. Strong back, weak mind.” He was embarrassed and humiliated to have to tell his wife Rose and their children that he couldn’t find a job.

Eventually he found a job painting at $2 an hour. He even tried being a car salesman. “I established myself as the worst car salesman in the world,” he later joked.

“I couldn’t seem to do anything right,” he says. As far as he was concerned, he was “a failure at 36 years old. Nothing to look forward to in life.” It was one of his bleakest times.

“One afternoon,” he explains, “I lay down in bed staring at the ceiling, thinking of the mess I’d made of my life. Suddenly something seemed to tell me to get on my knees and ask the Lord to help, which I did. I prayed, ‘Lord, is this it? What am I going to do? I can’t get a job. My life is just one big failure. I am embarrassed to look my wife and kids in the eye.’ ”

He gets a tad mystical at this point, saying, “A light or something came in the room and somehow I knew exactly what I was going to do. A voice or something came into my mind: ‘a comeback in hockey.’ ”

The reality was, he hadn’t played in two years. “It would be tough sledding,” he acknowledged.

He called, then visited, the general manager of the Rochester American Hockey Club, Doug Adam.

“I’m going to make this club or die,” Cherry later told Rose.

But he “couldn’t get the feel of the game back. I was doing okay, but it wasn’t there.”

Whenever he was discouraged, he would hear an inner voice, “Keep going.”

“I was back feeling great, playing super, getting picked as a star of the game, top of the world. But black days were coming.” He was understandably heartbroken when he was benched.

Long story short, after a fan attacked Adam, Cherry was made coach, something he knew how to do. “I was born to coach,” he says. The team played terrific, but unfortunately missed the playoffs by a single point. Cherry was fired.

One day, Cherry received a call from one of the nine businessmen who had bought the Rochester Americans, Bob Clarke, asking him to coach.

Without batting an eyelash, Cherry accepted, then offered to be general manager, as well, for the same money, all of $15,000.

“We packed the arena with fans,” Cherry recalls. “The players I had were players nobody wanted, just like me. It was us against the world.” The team won and, he says, “just kept winning. In fact, we were first overall in the league and I was rated Coach of the Year.”

When Cherry was contacted by the Boston Bruins Hockey Club of the NHL and asked to be coach, he jumped at the opportunity.

“I remember my first game behind the Boston bench,” he recalls. “As I looked around at the crowd and out on the ice to see Bobby Orr and all the great Bruins who I was coaching, I thought back to my room in Rochester where I couldn’t get a job sweeping floors and how I asked the Lord for help and to show me the way. I remembered how black and despondent and embarrassed I was. In only three years He pointed the way and I was back on top of the world. In just three years, and they say there is no God. The Lord rescued me in my darkest hour.”

Can’t judge a book by its cover, I suppose.

A collection of children’s books

I am now an exceptionally proud first-time grandfather! Leighton Eric Janes, in this photo in daycare, is the joy of our lives. Which got me thinking about children’s books…again. Sherry and I made sure that our children, Krista and Christopher, had a wide variety of books ever at the ready. We have squirreled many of them away, and we have already passed some of them on to our grandson.

I grew up with books, but most have disappeared with the passage of years. However, while recently rifling through a keepsakes folder, I found a booklet from days of yore, Ol’ Swayback, written by Craig Massey. The publishers commissioned the Kids’ Adventure Series “because of the recognized death of wholesome, action-filled fiction for youngsters in the pre-teen age group.”

Ol' SwaybackAs I flip through Ol’ Swayback, I see this notation in my childish handwriting: “Burton Janes. I got it from Karen Janes. She sold it to me.” I asked sister Karen about this. “I guess I needed the money!” she quipped.

Anyway, publishers, ever desirous of reviews, are wont to send me print review copies of their new books as they appear. I appreciate their largesse. In recent times, I have accumulated a pile of children’s books. I recently read all of them in one sitting – it took less than an hour. I now have something to say about them.

On Poppy's BeachNewfoundlander Susan Pynn Taylor appears to be a popular writer. I have two of her works, both illustrated by David Sturge of St. John’s, On Poppy’s Beach (2013) and At Nanny’s House (2015).

Lisa Dalrymple is no less popular, with three of her books being part of my collection, Bubbly Troubly Polar Bear (2013), A Moose Goes a-Mummering (2014) and Double Trouble at The Rooms (2016). David Sturge illustrated Bubblyone; Elizabeth Pratt (later Pratt-Wheeler) illustrated the other two.

Yaffle'sNancy Keating wrote and helped to illustrate Yaffle’s Journey (2013), the other illustrator being her daughter Laurel.

PicnicNancy Keating has now illustrated another book, A Picnic at the Lighthouse (2016), written by Rebecca North, who lives in St. John’s.

All seven books are published by Tuckamore books.

Wow WowGeorge Murray, who lives in St. John’s, has written his first work for children, Wow Wow and Haw Haw (2014), illustrated by Corner Brook native Michael Pittman and published by Breakwater.

BulletDwayne LaFitte, who currently resides in Mount Pearl, is the author of Bullet the New Steam Engine (2016). Illustrated by Therese Cilia, who currently lives in Belleville, ON, it is published by Pennywell Books.

Dawn Baker is no stranger to children’s literature, having written seven books since 1992. Her most recent is The Puffin Patrol (2017), also published by Pennywell Books. I have never seen puffins in person and, until I do, I will satisfy my curiosity about them by rereading Dawn’s captivating work.

Alice Walsh grew up in Newfoundland but currently lives in Nova Scotia. She teamed up with Erin Bennett Banks, a New York A change of heartnative with Canadian roots, to produce A Change of Heart (2016), which is published by Nimbus of Nova Scotia.

This I KnowFinally, This I Know (2015) is Michael Pendergast’s contribution to children’s literature. His book is illustrated by Joanne Snook-Hann. It is published by Acorn Press of Prince Edward Island.

The curiosities and beauties of a rural Newfoundland beach… A girl’s visit to her grandparents’ home in a traditional Newfoundland outport… An incident that happened on Bring Your Kids to Work Day involving a polar bear… A Christmas mummering story… What happens to a polar bear when there seems to be no space for him anywhere… The tale of a seagull and his ambitious plan… A fox wants to get rid of his fleas before a crow laughs herself silly… A pre-Confederation Newfoundland Railway story… A life forever changed in Newfoundland… A verse about dying… The story of a young boy and his father who spend a fun-filled day together at a lighthouse… Gary and his family experience an unforgettable holiday on the island of Newfoundland… Adventures in bird rescue.

The next time we visit Leighton in Halifax, I plan to tote along with us another selection of children’s books from my personal library.

The brick doll

Uncle Ches and daughter

Uncle Ches and Cousin Edie

One Sunday afternoon, my Uncle Chesley, who was a year and a half older than my father, decided to go for a walk through their village, Hant’s Harbour. It was in the years of the Great Depression, which meant hard times in Newfoundland and elsewhere. Consequently, the brothers had no clothes fit to wear to church. There were a total of eight children in the Janes family – five girls and three boys.

Sunday was a dreary day to them, so a little walk around the waterfront and beach was a break.

Suddenly, Uncle Ches, as we called him, hit on an idea. He took their dilapidated baby carriage, bearing the marks of many generations, and in a rough condition.

Due to the poverty-stricken times, their sisters had no dolls, or at least Uncle Ches could not find one to place in the carriage for their afternoon trek. So he picked up an old brick and a piece of ragged cloth, and placed his lifeless “doll” in the ancient, worn-out carriage which had seen many summers.

Then off they went, chanting one of Wordsworth’s poems that was then current in their low-key school.

Very soon, Uncle Ches got tired of the dummy baby in the squeaky carriage. When they drew near the beach, with its whispering, silver waves seeming to arouse his interest, he took the brick doll from its resting place and deposited it in the depths of the sea.

With all their reserved energy, they took off full speed, making the quiet of that Sunday afternoon ring with the sound of broken springs, mingled with their footsteps.

Today Uncle Ches’ daughter, Cousin Clara, says, “Sounds like a typical thing a boy would do. I know it is only boys having fun in bad times.”

The day Bay Roberts saw the light

electricityMonday, 11 May 1914, was a red-letter day in the history of Bay Roberts. That evening, electric lights were turned on for the first time. Charles Edward Russell (1877-1937), the proprietor of the local newspaper, The Guardian, remarked that it was “another step in the forward march of Bay Roberts.”

Officials with the United Towns Electrical Company Limited threw the switch to the electric current, giving light to sections of yet another Conception Bay community.

Formed in 1902, the Company had installed an 80-horsepower hydro unit on the Victoria River, near Carbonear. As the company expanded its sphere of influence, it extended service into other areas on the southern side of the Avalon Peninsula, Bell Island and Marystown.

The inauguration of the service at Bay Roberts was witnessed by a group of townspeople, along with Mr. Murphy and Mr. Duff, directors of the United Towns Electrical Company.

The first three venues to be enlightened were the Reid Newfoundland Company’s railway station, two streetlights located at Crossroads, and the staff house of the Western Union Telegraph Company. In 1913 and 1915 respectively, the latter business diverted its 1881 and 1882 Penzance cables to Bay Roberts, in the process greatly improving the speed of telegraph transmission.

During the week of 11-15 May, other places – the shops belonging to D. G. Fraser and William Parsons – were lit by electricity.

The editor of The Guardian, Charles Russell, enthused: “The street lights were very bright, and the lights in the staff house, shining brilliantly from so many windows, looked very well, indeed.”

The newspaperman had been the first person to publicly express delight and pleasure with the service.

“In spite of the conservatism and the carping attitude of some people,” he added, “Bay Roberts is making progress.”

Indeed, since the first issue of The Guardian had rolled off the press on Friday, 9 July 1909, the newspaper had gone on record as advocating local improvements. Nor would it cease its crusade.

“We believe,” editor Russell declared, “the time is ripe for an advance all along the line.” Unable to avoid inserting a pun, he added, “Now that our people are getting more ‘light’ on the matter, they should measure up to their light and walk accordingly.”

Residents had been assured by the United Towns Electrical Company that the rates for lights would be identical to those being charged in the Conception Bay communities of Harbour Grace and Carbonear. This being the case, Russell suggested, the following weeks would undoubtedly see a marked increase in the number of houses and shops being wired for electricity.

The editor added a concluding matter to engage the attention of his readers: “the securing of an annual grant from the Government out of the general revenue for street lightings purposes.” The capital city, St. John’s, was receiving such a subsidy. “Why not Bay Roberts?” he asked rhetorically.

My awful moment

RoyalsOf late, I’ve been reading Oops! Or, Life’s Awful Moments, written by the late Art Linkletter. It’s bringing a smile to my face.

The publisher describes the book as “a funny, down-to-earth sampling of those unexpected situations we all suffer and somehow manage to survive.” A few examples will suffice.

A man sneezes during a badminton game and his false teeth sail across the net like a birdie. A girl does a jackknife into a pool while her bathing suit does a swan in another direction, leaving her blushing all over. A little boy in a crowded church hears the chimes for Mass and shouts “Avon calling!”

Linkletter interviews a young girl who says she would like “a plain old man” for a husband. “Give us an example,” he prods her. “You!” she exclaims.

“Why does your mommy like your daddy’s job as policeman?” he asks another child. The answer is a classic: “’Cause he brings home wrist watches, earrings and lots of jewelry.”

“What do you want to be?” Linkletter asks a boy. “A fireman.” “Why pick that?” “Because my dad says I’m dumb enough to be one.” “What does your dad do?” “He’s a fireman.”

Linkletter asks perceptively in his introduction: “Have you ever tried to put your best foot forward and found it wedged firmly in your mouth?

Been there done that.

Linkletter continues: “The road of life is strewn with the banana peels of embarrassment.”

My awful moment is, as they say, one for the books.

A decade ago, I wrote a book chronicling the history of a certain church in the Province. Let’s say it was in the town of Bumblebee Bight. No sooner did the book appear in print when I received a phone call from an irate reader. To protect the identity of the guilty, let’s call him Wilson.

“How do you think the Princess and Prince got down in Bumblebee Bight?” Wilson asked.

A heated conversation then ensued.

Later I went to my book and reread what I had written. There it is in black and white: “The visit of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip in November 1951 was quite a community event. They walked through the Community School. The three denominations – Pentecostal, Salvation Army and United Church – cooperated in activities throughout the day, including a parade and an ecumenical meeting at night in the United Church.”

I also checked out my research notes. The transcription of my interview with Wilson reveals the following: “You had free access to the school. Any time there was a special occasion, you’d go up and go in and have a little talk to the students and so on. There was still a feeling that it was a Community School, so you were kind of restricted in what you could do spiritually…. For instance, when Queen Elizabeth was here, that was quite a community thing and they went through both schools, too.”

After all, Wilson had used the word “here.” Didn’t that mean Bumblebee Bight? I thought so, but apparently not.

When quoting Wilson for my book, obviously I had taken leave of my senses when I wrote that the Royals had actually made a trip to outport Bumblebee Bight.

In retrospect, I know what happened. Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, made their first visit to Newfoundland in 1951, on behalf of her ailing father. During their Royal Visit to St. John’s on 11 and 12 November, they were involved in ceremonies at the St. John’s waterfront, the St. John’s War Memorial, the Church of England Cathedral, Feildian Grounds and Government House.

But apparently not Bumblebee Bight.

It was, I must admit, my awful moment.

Later I wrote Wilson a letter of apology, for having quoted him out of context. My concluding paragraph reads: “My only consolation is that this incident shows in stark colour that I’m far from infallible! I suspect that all books…contain an error or two. This is unfortunate, and I feel badly about it. Please accept my apology. It will serve to make me more observant and careful that similar errors do not creep into any books I write in the future.”

And, as far as I know, such blatant errors have never since snuck into my more recent writing.

Perhaps Linkletter should have the final word: “Life leaves us all looking a little ridiculous at times, so we might as well relax and enjoy it when the laugh is on is.”

A funny thing happened…

Matchbox0003A funny thing happened on my way to the counter to pay for my purchase.

For some weeks, I had been eying a certain item at a local flea market…a large glass jar that was chockablock with what looked to be hundreds of matchbox covers.

According to the online Collectors Weekly, “Matchbooks have been around since 1892, when Joshua Pusey patented the idea of paper matches, whose tips were dipped in a solution of sulphur and phosphorus and then stapled to a piece of cardboard.”

Phillumenists, as they are known, usually collect just the match cover. They ” ‘shuck’ matchbooks by carefully prying open the staple to remove the matches from the cover. The matches are discarded and the covers are stored flat.”

As an inveterate collector, I was determined to have that jar. When it was finally offered at what I considered to be a half-decent price, I picked it up and began lugging it to the counter.

Another customer, coming towards me and seeing the object in my arms, joked, “Ol’ man, I could’ve given you a light if I knew you wanted one!”

When I got home, I dumped the jar’s contents on my livingroom floor. It was, to say the least, a mixed bag: a collection of lighters, a selection of wine bottle corks, a few rocks taken from only God knows where, three discs for the game called Pogs, and a few coins.

A score or so of “fortunes” from fortune cookies included the following tidbits of wisdom: “You will soon be crossing the great waters,” “A close friend will soon need you,” and “A cheerful letter or message is on its way to you.” Considering what I had paid for the jar, I was especially pleased to read this fortune: “You will soon be rich.”

Obviously the original owner of the jar was, like the undersigned, a generalist collector.

By far, the objects that piqued my attention were the 400-500 matchbox covers. A scan of one of them accompanies this article.

My one disappointment is that none of them are Newfoundland and Labrador related.

The day Bob Hope golfed in Botwood

Hope, BobThe legendary entertainer, Bob Hope, died in 2003, two months after his one hundredth birthday. Thirteen years earlier, he had written: “People ask me why I don’t retire and go fishing. I have one stock answer that sums it up.

“Fish don’t applaud.”

The world was Hope’s vaudeville circuit. And, Newfoundland applauded him on several occasions, including one memorable time in Botwood.

From 1919 to 1945, the seaport town enjoyed a lively and, at times, intense love affair with aviation. During those years, Botwood hosted a variety of visiting dignitaries and celebrities. Bob Hope and his troupe were stormbound there in 1943. His subsequent memories of his Newfoundland excursion are vintage Hope.

In the summer of 1943, Hope signed up to play the European Theatre of Operations for the new United Service Organizations. He recruited an old friend, Jack Pepper. They joined Frances Langford and Tony Romano on the first overseas trip of the Hope Gypsies. They were booked to open for American troops in England and North Africa.

They spent six anxious days in New York, awaiting word to leave. One clear, moonlit night, their Pan American Clipper was finally ready for takeoff.

The Clipper rose from Long Island Sound, circled eastward and passed over the Statue of Liberty.

Between seven and eight the next morning, their aerial bus made a breakfast stop in Nova Scotia.

It looks like a good time, Hope thought, to get some of that Nova Scotia salmon for breakfast.

Back in the air, he occupied himself by playing gin rummy.

They landed at Botwood to refuel. They were asked to do a show for 700 or 800 of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Coastal Command stationed in the town.

“Brave bunch of kids,” Hope wrote years later. “Great audience.”

As soon as their show was finished, they prepared to leave. But they remained immobile.

“The days up there are so short,” Hope wrote, “it turns dark faster than one of those new pennies. And the weather had closed in so badly it wasn’t safe to take off. So we played golf that afternoon. I found out that wasn’t safe either.”

In recounting his Botwood experience, Hope asked a rhetorical question, “Has anybody ever played golf at Botwood, Newfoundland?” The implied answer is “No.”

Golfing in Botwood“Then let me tell you about it,” Hope continued. “The wind is so tough you’ve got to keep ducking your own drives. I played 18 holes and wound up about half a mile behind where I teed off.”

Carl Rose, the illustrator of Hope’s book, I Never Left Home, depicted the author’s Botwood golfing experience. The gallant golfer, facing into the wind, has just driven the ball from the teeing ground. The ball suddenly does an about turn, in response to the wind, and zooms like a boomerang back down the course to the surprised golfer.

The next morning, there was a brief delay in takeoff. Dashing over to the military hospital, Hope’s troupe put on a quick show, before leaving for the plane. It was a beautiful day as the craft lifted off.

“The wind that had whipped my golf ball all over the Northeast the day before,” Hope wrote, “turned out to have other and greater strength.”

The Clipper was only out over the Atlantic about an hour, when suddenly it seemed to be turning in a wide arc.

Hope called to a steward, “Hey, O’Toole, what’s cookin’?”

“We’re going back,” he answered.

“Going back. What makes you think so?”

“We’re turning around.”


“I was so busy making you a sandwich the Captain didn’t want to disturb me to explain.”

Hope asked the captain why they were returning to Newfoundland.

“The wind’s against us,” he responded tersely.

Hope informed the captain that the wind had been against him while he was playing golf at Botwood, but that didn’t cause him to give up.

Six more shows and a day or so later, the Clipper lifted off for Ireland.

The Hope Gypsies went on to fulfil their mission, in the next 11 days covering 1,306 miles and playing 48 American bases.

The Newfoundland incident was a brief episode in Hope’s life. But for some people in Botwood, the visit by the Hope troupe held special significance. According to one correspondent, it was “the first time we’d ever had live entertainment on the base.”

The septuagenarian who volunteered as Chaplain

ShearsWilliam Charles Shears (1839-1928) was a Trinity boy who became a Church of England clergyman. He served as parish priest at Bay Roberts, starting in 1868. Around 1900, the community of Spaniard’s Bay Pond in his parish was renamed Shearstown in his honour. Leaving Bay Roberts in 1903, he relocated to Boston, MA.

On 21 September 1914, Shears wrote The Honourable Walter E. Davidson (1859-1923), Governor of Newfoundland.

“I have just learned from the Newfoundland papers,” he began, “that you are raising a Regiment of Newfoundland boys for active service in the big war now being waged in Europe.”

He had been prompted to inquire if the Governor needed a chaplain to minister to the spiritual needs of the troops. If so, then Shears was the man–he was volunteering his services.

The minister was “of British birth,” his father being “a West Country Devonshire Viking,” and his mother, a Healey, once “removed from the old sod; so,” he declared, “I am half English, half Irish, the best mixture of blood in the world.”

Admittedly, Shears was no longer young in years–he was 75–but he was “young in constitution, health, strength and activity.” He also boasted of soundness of “wind and limb.” During his more than four decades of missionary labour in Newfoundland and Labrador, he had gone “through the rough training which would fit me for the exposure and hardships of campaigning.”

He had been debarred by his “calling from shouldering the rifle or drawing the sword.” Therefore, acceptance “for the service of the land of my fathers” as a chaplain would make him “truly glad and supremely happy.”

He enclosed “a small bill,” to be given “to any Fund being raised for the Regiment.”

Apparently such an offer was in keeping with Shears’ makeup. The editor of the Bay Roberts newspaper The Guardian, Charles E. Russell (1877-1937), referred to the minister’s self-sacrifice and faithfulness.

“For him,” Shears’ obituary reads, “work and life were synonyms. His life was work, and work was his life.” In Newfoundland, he was reputed to be a minister of “fidelity and zeal.” He was “a man mighty in good works, and constant in the service of his Master, and of his fellow-men.”

Russell added an editorial note that Governor Davidson had informed The Rev. Shears “that no chaplain would be sent with the Regiment.”

Graham E. Noble

The following is a revised version of an entry which I wrote for the fourth volume of the Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1993.

Noble, Graham E.NOBLE, GRAHAM EDMUND (1922-2003). Clergyman. Born Springdale. Son of Jonas and Ida (née Holmes) Noble. Educated Springdale; Eastern Pentecostal Bible College (EPBC), Peterborough, ON. Married Mildred Jean Spencer of Cottrell’s Cove in 1951. After working for nine years with the Royal Air Force transport command in Gander and with British Overseas Airways in Iceland, Noble became a partner in his father’s lumber mill at Springdale, Jonas Noble and Son. Experiencing a religious conversion in 1954, the Nobles entered EPBC in 1956, graduating in 1959. After conducting meetings in Ontario and Newfoundland, they established a church at Howley. In 1962 they were called as pastors to Elim Pentecostal Tabernacle in St. John’s. In addition to his other duties, Noble became the speaker on “The Old, Old Story,” the longest-running locally produced religious radio program in the province, airing for the first time on 10 February 1952 over VOCM. In 1982 he was appointed Chaplain for Institutions (St. John’s) for the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland (PAON), a position he held for 10 years. He served on the school trustees for the denomination. He was a member of the general executive committee and also assistant general superintendent. In 1990 the Nobles spent six weeks in Sri Lanka teaching national pastors. He retired in 1996. In March 2003 he was honoured with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal.