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Graveyard Point
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The cross marks the location of Graveyard Point (map from "Our Footprints Are Everywhere") (larger version)
Graveyard Point

Graveyard Point is located in Makkovik Bay, near Boat's Cove, about a half-hour boat ride from Makkovik. It is the site where members of the Thomas family are buried. They were the first permanent settlers in Makkovik Bay.
The first European settler in Makkovik Bay was Samuel James Thomas (1800-1860) born in Blackford, Somersetshire, England. He came to Labrador in the early 1820's. He lived in Snook's Harbour, (Fox Brook), Groswater Bay, where he manned an outpost for the Hunt Company of Cartwright1. Here he was a fisher/hunter and trader, providing a supply line and market for the captains of summer fishing vessels. It was during his many trips to Rigolet for supplies that he met 'the pride of Rigolet', a beautiful Inuit girl called Mary Broomfield.2 When her fiancé, a French Canadian, was home on holiday at Quebec, Mary married Samuel Thomas. They could not stay in Rigolet so they packed their belongings and enough supplies to last for the winter aboard a ten ton boat called a Bullie, which Samuel had built, and headed north in about 1828. After travelling a few days they anchored for the night in a sheltered bay. In the morning they saw that they were in a beautiful bay with a large river at the head. Another discovery they were soon to realize was that they had arrived at high tide and now the tide had gone out and their boat was aground. Perhaps it was this event that helped them decide that this was the place for them as it seemed ideal for earning a living with its abundant natural resources. The place where they settled is now known as the Head of Makkovik Bay.

Oral history maintains that Mary had not wanted to marry Samuel Thomas initially, partly because of his big head. However, after his death Mary paid to have a pamphlet published in his memory3, called "Thomas the Good", so she must have loved him after all. They went back to Rigolet after marriage from time to time to trade or get supplies, and Mary would bring Inuit dolls that she had made for sale.

In Makkovik Bay, Samuel continued his life as a trader. Oral history maintains that ships came from England to pick up barrels of pickled salmon and pickled trout, along with furs. Jim Andersen (1919-) remembers going up to the old homestead when he was about ten years old, and seeing the old puncheons that may have been used for shipping the goods. He also went into the abandoned house, and upstairs there was a pipe organ, about half the size of the one in Makkovik Moravian Church4. Jim thinks it must have been put there before the house was finished, because they would never have gotten it up the narrow stairway. The organ had been made in England. Ted Andersen(1932- ) learned from Leonard McNeill( 1919- that it came from Battle Harbour.

Samuel Thomas was visited by Alphaeus Packard in summer 1860, and in his book "The Labrador Coast" (published 1891) he wrote: "The crew went on a trading trip to Thomas' house. [Earlier mentioned Thomas's Bay/Maggovik Bay... two same names] The wind being dead we rowed all the way up, nearly 30 miles, and back, reaching the vessel at one in the night. We took a late supper at Mr. Thomas's hospitable house, and enjoyed a cup of tea with goat's milk and good bread. The house was comfortably situated near some quite sizable spruce trees, with a flourishing garden nearby. Mr. Thomas is a trader in furs, of which he has three hundred dollars' worth on hand, and he professed to have more than he wanted to live on."
 
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Samuel James Thomas (larger version)
One of three headstones at Graveyard Point is that of Samuel Thomas. It is a large one, with a long inscription, which indicates a well-to-do family. The inscription reads:
In Memory
of
James Thomas
A Native of Somersetshire
Blackford
Who departed this life in
Macovich [sic.] Labrador
Feby 17, 1860
Aged 60 years
Believer shrink not from thy body's doom
For Christ thy saviour slumbered in the
Tomb Take courage and faith shall
Comfort give. Sure as [the] Lord died, so
thy soul shall live.

Through months and years in pain and tears
through troubled paths I trod
My Saviour's voice bid me rejoice
And call'd my soul to God

AMcKim St. John's NFLD
A great grandchild, Ted McNeill born in 1884, spent time with his great-grandmother up the Bay. James Thomas would have been the man of the house at that time. Ted learned Welsh hymns that were brought to Labrador by Samuel Thomas who had a Welsh background.

Mary Thomas, then a widow, was visited by the Moravian missionary Heinrich Ritter in 1881, and he wrote this in his travel journal: "In February 1881 he went south again. Here he was especially impressed by "the old Mother Thomas, who is now entirely blind. Prepared by her daughter, Mrs. Andersen, she asked me urgently since she could no longer attend church to take the Lord's Supper at her house. Thus, in the presence of two communicant and some confirmed members she was next confirmed after a pastoral conversation and then received the Lord's Supper." While preparing herself for death, "she wanted to make herself as useful as possible by having her grandchild, who had learned the alphabet, to spell and in this way teach him to read. Now he can already read to his grandmother from the Bible." (245)

Ritter celebrated the Lord's Supper at the Andersens and speaks highly of Torsten and his family: "He is a faithful Christian and a good example for his family. We owe it to a great extent to his influence that the distant Southlanders now desire to become closely connected with us." (245)5

The name Jigger Tickle, south of Makkovik, supposedly comes from the fact that Mary Thomas used to jig for cod there.6
 
Children of Samuel James Thomas and Mary (Broomfield)
Samuel and Mary Thomas had five children:
1. Eliza, 1829 -1845 (headstone at Graveyard Point, see text below)
2. Samuel, 1831-1844 (headstone at Graveyard Point, see text below)
3. Susan, circa 1832 or 1833 (married John Walker, USA)
4. Mary Ann, 1837-1920 (married Torsten Kverna Andersen, and became the founding family of Makkovik)
5. James, born Dec. 17, 1839, married twice
 
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Headstone for two of the Thomas family (larger version)
Eliza and Samuel share a headstone at Graveyard Point, with this inscription:
Sacred
to
The Memory of
Samuel Thomas the
eldest son of Samuel &
Mary Thomas of Blackford
Somerset, who departed this life
the 3rd day of November 1844
Aged 12 years § 9 months.
Also Eliza Thomas Daughter
of the above who departed
this life the 9th day of September
1845 Aged 15 years & 11 months

Fen were the years we sojourned here
In this lonesome wilderness in heaven
There are two angels more, our Mother
has two lefs [sic.].
Susan married an American named John Walker, who was living in Nisbet Harbour (so named by the Moravian Erhardt) but today known as Ford's Bight. Here he was making a stab at living off the land. He became friends with the Thomas family, and eventually married their elder daughter in the late 1840's. John had strong confederate ties and left with Susan for the United States where in 1861 he joined the Confederates during the Civil War. Oral history has it that Susan died soon after they left Labrador and John was killed during the war, but in a letter that Torsten Andersen wrote to his family in Norway in 1901, he mentions the fact that they still hear annually from their relatives in the United States.7
Mary Ann married Torsten Kverna Andersen, originally from Norway. He worked with the Hudson's Bay Company, first at Rigolet and later at Kippokak Bay. When the Post closed there, he decided to marry Mary and stay in the area (1859). They were the first settlers in Flounder('s) Bight8, now Makkovik. They had ten children, and were the only family living in Makkovik when Rev. Jannasch arrived in search of a southern site for a new Moravian Mission complex (1896).
 
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Susannah Thomas (larger version)
James first married Susannah Broomfield (1849-1879), a cousin. They had three children, Elizabeth (born 1866 and died unmarried), William James Thomas (born June 6, 1871) but must have died young, since he is only known through a church record, and Sampson9 (born Feb. 21, 1874)10. Susannah died young, and her headstone is at Graveyard Point. Its inscription reads....

To the Memory of
Susannah Thomas.
Who died
April 27th 1874
Aged 25 years

The hour of my departure's come
I hear the voice that calls me home
At last o Lord let trouble cease
And let thy servant die in peace

The race appointed I have run;
The combat's o'er the prize is won;
And now my witness is on high;
And now my records in the sky.

Not in mine innocence I trust:
I bow before thee in the dust
And through my saviours [unreadable] alone
I look for mercy at thy throne.
James remarried, and his second wife was Sarah Edmunds, but he died and she remarried. They had one daughter together; Ellen Rosina born March 6, 1881. She married William Andersen and had no children and in later years she married Charlie Goudie. Ellen was supposed to be the final inheritor of the homestead in Makkovik Bay. She and Charlie had no children. So the only Thomas descendants are through Mary or possibly through Susan but that is not known.
 
A Letter Written by Mary Thomas, 1876
(Source: Dr. Hans Rollmann found these amongst the Moravian Mission archives)

Macovick Bay March the 13th 1876

Rev. Sir,

As i promis to write a few lines to you to let you know how I was getting on thank God i have enjoyed peace of mind ever since we saw you here but of late i took cold warshing
I am very weak in my eye sight and weak in my senses but I have no cause to murmur tho i thus speak. I have more cause to be thankful and to use humble submission to our heavenly Father's loving correction blessed be His rich mercies towards us at all times. He knows what is best for us
If it is the Lord's will i will try to go to Hoppedal at Easter
Please give my love to Mr. and Mrs. Elsner please to except the same you and yours
Pray excuse all faults and correct my errors
i remain yours sincerely in the Lord
Mary Thomas
 
End Notes
1. Them Days Vol. 8#2, pp 9-11.
2. Referred to as Mary Makko based on research done by Cheryl Broomfield for "A case study of the Andersen family and the origin and development of the community of Makkovik". The information that follows in that same paragraph was taken from this case study.
3. Report of the English Missionary J. O'Hara, "Labouring on the coast of Labrador to the Mission Board at Berthelsdorf," manuscript, Unity Archives, Herrnhut; R.15.K.a.7a3.
4. The pipe organ in the Moravian Church in Makkovik was moved there from Okak in 1926. The community of Okak was depopulated by the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. The Makkovik church was destroyed by fire in 1948.
5. "Labrador," Missionsblatt 45.12 (December): pp 245
6. "Labrador" in Missions-Blatt aus der Brüdergemeine 35.5 (May 1891): 143-155
Manuscript "Bericht des Br[uders] Asboe von seiner Reise zu den Ansiedlern," (Report of Brother Asboe of his Travel to the Settlers), R.15.Ka.10.a.20, 557-583; Unity Archives, Herrnhut. (Translated into English by Dr. Hans RollmannMemorial University of Newfoundland)
7. Broomfield, Cheryl. A case study of the Andersen family and the origin and development of the community of Makkovik. Pages 2-3.
8. Ted Andersen (1932- ) remembers Aunt Bertha Andersen (1872-1950) telling someone very emphatically that Flounder's Bight referred to the area above Trap Point (now referred to as the Hebron end), and not Makkovik harbour.
9. Patty Way's research has found that Sampson Thomas's second wife was Ulrika Karpik married Feb 15, 1910, who was later widowed, but remarried Oct. 25, 1914 in Hopedale to Jeremiah Siksigak.
10. The Hopedale Moravian Church has this death record: William Andrew Thomas son of Samson Thomas arrived here from Makkovik on the HARMONY on Aug 29 1914 and died early on Sept. 1, 1914. Buried Sept 2 by Rev. Perrett. Bronchitis was cause of death.
 

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