Thomas Oates and Son ledger, 1852-1858
2.5 centimetres of textual records
Thomas Oates was a planter of Carbonear. In 1820, he registered the
Swift, a 59 ton coasting and fishing vessel, built in 1812. Two
years later, in partnership with William Thistle, he registered the Little
Belt. The owners alternated as captain of the vessel and, in 1826,
Thomas Oates was also captain of the Joseph, an 80 ton brigantine
owned by George Forward. In 1828, he purchased the Thirteen Brothers
and Sisters, a 97 ton schooner which he used as a sealer, a fish collection
boat, and a coastal trading vessel. From 1820 to 1850, Thomas Oates always
had one or two vessels and was probably involved in the Labrador fishery.
By 1852, he had amassed sufficient capital to purchase the 150 ton brigantine
Belle, which he owned in partnership with his son Thomas Jr. In
1853, he was operating a small trading business from his premises on the
South side of Carbonear. His customers purchased small amounts of dry goods
and provisions, and large amounts of rum from his store, which also served
as a tavern, settling their accounts from their share of the sealing voyages,
or with fish, cod oil, timber or labour.
The brigantine Belle was the centre of the Oates' operation during
the 1850s. The vessel was used in the annual seal hunt and in the summer
months provided passage for people and goods to Labrador, returning with
fish. The Belle was registered de novo in 1861 to Thomas Oates Jr.
and prominent Carbonear merchant John Rorke. Thomas Oates Sr. was no longer
involved in the business. In 1868, the Belle was lost at sea. Members
of the Oates family probably continued to operate as small traders, but
they did not appear again on the Newfoundland vessel register.
Sources: Ships and Seafarers of Atlantic Canada,
CD-ROM, Maritime History Archive, 1998
Scope and content
This is a photocopy of a ledger, 1853-1858, which contains accounts
of individuals who dealt with Thomas Oates and Son. The ledger also includes:
a list of the crew of the brigantine Belle for the year 1853, under
Thomas Oates, Sr., master; sealing agreements, 1856 and 1858; and some
copies of legal documents and correspondence, 1852.
Copyright is held by the creator or his/her heirs.
Location: MF-0159, Maritime History Archive
John Munn and Co. (Harbour Grace)fonds, 1770-1918, Maritime History
Archive, finding aid 75, R95-23/23A