MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada

Trepassey

Nestled in Trepassey Bay on the southern tip of the eastern Avalon Peninsula is the town of Trepassey.    Etymological research suggests that Trepassey is derived from the 13th century French word "trépas" meaning "the death of a man".   It may have been named to reflect the lives that were lost in the many shipwrecks that occurred along its busy coast.   Other sources relate the name to Baie des Trapasses in Brittany, France.

Trepassey was first used in the 1500s as a migrant fishing station by the Spanish, Portuguese and French.   However by the late 1600s, it was jointly occupied by French and English planters and fishermen, who worked the rich fishing grounds off the southern tip of the Avalon Peninsula.

Despite its economic importance, the community was abandoned in the late 1600s during the Anglo-French wars.   In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht gave control of Trepassey to England and shortly thereafter it became one of the major centres of the English migratory and bank fisheries that thrived in Newfoundland during the 18th and 19th centuries.

During the 1950s the fishery was still the economic mainstay of the region, employing both fishermen and fish processors.   During his time there, Leach collected songs from the following people:

  • Mrs. Bulger
  • John Bulger
  • Theresa Butler
  • George Carew
  • John M. Curtis
  • Harry Curtis
  • Mr. Curtis
  • Pat Curtis
  • Betty Devereaux
  • Michael Devereaux
  • Mrs. Michael Devereaux
  • Leo Halleran
  • John James
  • Pat Wm. Kennedy
  • Leo Martin
  • Michael Murphy
  • Bobby O’Brien
  • Cyril O’Brien
  • Francis O’Brien
  • Patrick Pennell
  • Ralph Pennell
  • Richard Pennell
  • Tom Pennell
  • Alphonse Sutton
  • F. Sutton
  • Will Sutton
  • Wm. Sutton
  • Gordon Walters

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