709-923-2221    info@makkovik.ca
Ellen's Barren
ELLEN'S BARREN PARK – Named after Ellen Andersen

Ellen Andersen (1864-1940) was born to the founding family of Makkovik. Her father was Torsten Kverna Andersen from Norway, and her mother was Mary Thomas from the head of Makkovik Bay.

Her parents(1) settled in Makkovik around 1860, and were the only family here when the Moravian Mission constructed the church and mission house in 1896-97. However, Ellen married in 1891 and had moved to Kaipokok Bay by then. While living in Makkovik, or Flounder's Bight(2), as it was called at that time, Ellen sometimes set fox traps on the barrens that were on top of the hill behind their family home. It has since been referred to by local residents as Ellen's Barren. There was a wood path leading from Ranger Bight to Makkovik Harbour, and you had to come along by Ellen's Barren on the way. The park was so named in 1996.

Here is an excerpt, reprinted from Them Days, Vol. 3, No. 4, pages 60 -62, AUNT ELLEN MORGAN, by Thorwald Perrault.

...My Aunt Ellen married a man when she was eighteen. He was Solomon Broomfield... Aunt Ellen told me that when she first met Solomon, he had killed some deer and brought them to the mission where she worked at the time. She said his face was all frozen badly, and she thought he was the ugliest young man she ever saw in her life, later on she married him. She had a very hard time, because he developed T. B. And she couldn't get to Island Harbour, which was seventeen miles from where they lived. It was neither ice nor water. She stayed there with her dying husband and as soon as the ice became strong enough she put him on the komatik, and she drove to Island Harbour, where her sister Susan was living. I suppose what she had gone through all the fall was too much for her, just as she reached the place, she dropped on the snow by the komatik. She was beat out.

Abram Morgan came from Clarke's Beach. He came out fishing with a man by the name of Rose. Morgan and my aunt meet, she was still no more than twenty-two or twenty-three(3), having been widowed very young. They must have fell in love that summer. Abe Morgan went home, and when he came out the following summer, he told me, he packed his trunk. After the fishing season was over, and Rose was going back to Newfoundland, he took his trunk and went ashore to my grandfather's home. He married Aunt Ellen shortly after and never went back to Newfoundland again.
Aunt Ellen never had any children, but they adopted Aunt Mary Jacque when she was a little girl. She was a Pardy, her father Jim Pardy had accidentally shot his arm off. [Dan (Andersen) Morgan 1911-1965, and Caroline (Andersen) Jacque 1912-2008, were two others.]

Aunt Ellen was a good old soul. She wasn't too old when I remember her first, probably in her forties. She could be awful rough, sometimes, too. She was a hunter, she hunted rabbits, partridges. She was a good shot. She had one of these muzzle-loading guns called a musket.

One day Uncle Abe was off hunting and he never came home that night. There was a lot of wolves around because the deer was out close to the salt water. She was very uneasy about her husband because the wolves was plenty. She couldn't do anything about it, just stay home alone and wait and hope that he was all right. Sometime that night she heard a fight, and she thought it must have been her brother's dogs. Her brother lived not too far away and sometimes his dog team would run down to their place. When she opened the door she saw it was wolves. A wolf's eyes in the dark is very fiery and bright looking . She shut the door, took her old gun off the rack, opened the door again and had a shot. They already had two of her dogs killed. She knew she had killed one wolf. She loaded her gun again; it took some time with those old guns, she had another shot and that was two wolves dead. She fired at another wolf as they were running off, and she saw one fall down. She finished off the crippled dogs and shut the door.

She told me this story herself. She said she told herself that no old wolf was going to keep her from sleeping that night.

Next morning she went out and there was a wolf tumbling about on the bank. She said she told the wolf, "You're not worth wasting a load on," so she finished him off with the axe. She looked over the bank on the ice and saw another wolf getting up and falling down and taking the axe she went and finished that one off. She counted sixteen tracks, so there must have been twenty wolves and some of those were bleeding.

The next day Uncle Abe got back home, what had delayed him was that he had crippled a silver fox, chased him but never got him, so he decided to stay out all night and wait until daylight. He got his fox the next day and went home.

Years later, after they shifted out to Kaipokok Bay(4), where Postville is situated, her husband and a young Inuk who lived with them decided to go to Micmac Mountain. I been on that mountain many times. I would say you could walk to it from Postville in a day with good snowshoe walking, but from where Aunt Ellen lived, farther in the bay, it wouldn't be quite so far.

Aunt Ellen didn't take a gun, instead she took some sewing. She told me that they had eleven husky dogs. They always had big black dogs, and they were always a little vicious, a little, I don't know what it was, but they were always a little vicious. However, she was in the tent sewing and the men were on the mountain hunting, when she heard her dogs making a fuss. She looked out and saw a deer standing at bay, tired out. He'd been chased by wolves, four wolves. He could not go any further. One of the wolves was cutting the tendon on the back of the deer's leg. That's what wolves do when the deer is tired out, they cut the tendons so they can't walk. Another wolf, nearest Aunt Ellen, was tearing the deer's ear down. The other two was on the other side. Aunt Ellen grabbed the axe and went to the wolf that was tearing at the deer's ear. And instead of chopping him on the neck or head to kill him, she chopped him in the middle of his back. Then she ran to the one at the deer's leg and got him in the same place. She ran around to the third one, she had the axe in that one when she heard Uncle Abe say, "Hellen!" He used to use the "H". "Hellen, get the hell out of that!" A rifle shot was fired and the fourth wolf went down.

Then he asked her, "Why did you chop the wolves in the back? Why didn't you chop them in the neck or head and kill them out dead?"

She said she didn't care what she done as long as she put them out of commission.
 
Endnotes
1 Dr. Hans Rollmann, Memorial University of Newfoundland, supplied this information from a report by Moravian missionary O'Hara.....
In March of 1869, the missionary O'Hara visited the Andersens in Makkovik Bay. Mary was somewhat depressed and needed spiritual support according to O'Hara. Thorsten was congenial, and his children impressed the missionary. Thorsten took O'Hara to Nisbet Harbour and showed him the place of the first mission house of the Moravians in Labrador. At the time there was too much snow to see anything, but Thorsten checked the fox traps he had put up in the area. Andersen took O'Hara to Ailik, the Hudson's Bay Company trading store, where he found six families.

In January 1873, the missionary Rinderknecht, together with the native Moravian Daniel, visited the Andersens and were cordially received. Thorsten's English was fluent according to Rinderknecht. The missionary was impressed by the knowledge the children have, whom the Andersens have schooled at home. Especially Samuel, the oldest son, is an eager learner. Rinderknecht writes "that he knew well the biblical story. In addition he was able to recite verbatim from the manual all answers and sayings, and even when he was asked in random order... he never missed an answer. Also in writing, math and spelling he has advanced beyond others in the same level." "At the same time," the missionary writes, "he still has a soft and receptive heart when one talks with him about the salvation of his soul." Rinderknecht finds also the younger children "well advanced in reading and not unfamiliar with the biblical story. Even though the family is quite numerous, these people don't have any help. But despite this, the children are always clean and nicely dressed and the entire house is in good order."

2 Ted Andersen (1932- ) remembers Aunt Bertha Andersen (1872-1950) emphatically telling someone that Flounder's Bight referred to the area above Trap Point (now called the Hebron end), and not Makkovik harbour.

3 Dr. Hans Rollmann, Memorial University of Newfoundland, supplied this information from a report by the Moravian missionary Asboe:
"On the 12th of February 1891, the missionary Asboe visits the Andersens in Flounder Bight. Thorsten is at that time called a chapel servant. The missionary meets him "with a bandaged arm. While cutting trees, he was almost crushed. A tree got tangled up in the branches of another tree when it fell. Some branches broke off and because of this it fell into another direction and upon Brother Andersen's shoulder. It pushed him into the soft snow and broke his collar bone in two places. But our Brother Andersen had still the presence of spirit to work himself out of the snow as fast as possible and to walk to his tent, where he met up with his two sons. He sent James, his son, home after the dogs. And still the same day, in the evening, Andersen was brought to his family, who had not yet been informed properly about the event." When Asboe arrived, Andersen "was on the way to recovery and was already able to use his arm." The missionary held a meeting and had a good and candid conversation with Brother Andersen who also informed him of the settlers to the south and how to get to them. On this trip, Asboe also meets a Newfoundlander with the name of Morgan at the Andersens. He had requested of Thorsten to stay with them that winter since he now wanted to make his fortune in Labrador. Thorsten agreed but had him buy his winter supplies right there and then so he would not become a burden. There was more to the story, however, as the missionary found out. Morgan had a keen interest in Andersen's daughter "Margarethe". "Later in the evening," Asboe writes, "I was asked by Brother and Sister Andersen if I would marry the two. I made closer inquiries regarding Mr. Morgan, and when I was told that he was a Christian man and I received the same impression after a personal conversation with him, I could not refuse their request to marry them." He then married the two after talking to both of them individually.

4 Abe (1867-1929) and Ellen Morgan lived at Rapid Point, now called Three Rapids, about 3 miles from Postville. This is also where Ellen lived with her first husband, Solomon Broomfield.
 

This page: 17,614 visits since June 05, 2011

Webmaster Login