MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Monica Rossiter (at right) with a friend in St. John's, in the 1930s. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Hawkins.

Monica Rossiter (at right) with a friend in St. John's, in the 1930s.Photo courtesy of Carolyn Hawkins.

Monica Rossiter of Cape Broyle

Monica (Mon) Rossiter was born July 22, 1913 to James and Matilda Rice. As a young girl, Mon worked around Cape Broyle "at housework." In the mid-1930s she went to St. John's to work "as a housemaid for a woman named Mrs. Vaughn." During her young adult years she lost her brother, two sisters, and her first two sons. Following these tragedies, she spent two years battling tuberculosis at the sanitarium in St. John's. Mon and her husband Matthew, whom she married in 1937, went on to raise seven other children: Bridget, Raymond, Dorothy, Matilda, Muriel, Marion, and Patrick.

Mon was a strong, spirited outport lady, who went from enduring great hardship to living life to the fullest possible extent. She had a lilting, clear voice and a great love for Newfoundland culture, especially its humour and music. Of course, while growing up on the Southern Shore, Monica was also influenced by traditional Irish music. She sang constantly at home, at house parties and in local concerts. "Songs," she said,"she had learned from her mother and father." When Mon was in the company of others she was expected to sing. And sing she did: loudly, proudly, and without hesitiation.

Monica Rossiter died March 16, 2004. (Biography by Carolyn Hawkins, Monica's granddaughter.)

Monica recorded eight songs for Leach: "The Mountains of Mourne," "Grandmere," "The Dying Soldier," "The Farmer's Daughter," "Daniel Monroe," "Banks of the Silver Tide," "The Prisoner of Newfoundland," and an unidentified song with the first line: "Come all you bad companions and listen unto me."

Monica was the neice of Ned Rice.

A Jim Rossiter, possibly brother to Matthew, was responsible for "The Best Thing in Life."

Monica and Matthew Rossiter on their 61st wedding anniversary. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Hawkins.

Monica and Matthew Rossiter on their 61st wedding anniversary. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Hawkins.