The Haddock Family
While history records many tragic events, the saddest story in the history of Fortune is most likely that of the Haddock family.
Joseph Griffin Haddock, of Welsh descent, was born c1836, somewhere in Placentia Bay, Nfld. Nothing is known of his parents or his childhood years, except the fact that he was obviously educated. A physician and Methodist teacher, he eventually settled at Burin, where he met his wife. Amelia Omstre Mulholland Birkett, born c1840 in Jamaica, was the daughter of Thomas and Emily Bishop Birkett. The pair was married at Burin on 20 October 1857 by the Church of England minister, Reverand John A.C. Gathercole. No one could have foreseen at that time, what the future held for the young doctor and his 17-year-old bride.
The Haddocks apparently remained at Burin for the next six years. An entry in the diary of William Harding of Burin, dated 14 July 1863, states that Dr. Haddock and Rev. Phinney accompanied him (Harding) on a 'fish collecting grip' that day. In those days clergymen were sometimes paid with fish. It is also recorded that G. Haddock and Wm. Harding witnessed two marriages at Flat Islands on 13 November 1863, performed by L.T. Teed . Records do show that the first of their large family were born at Burin. It is also where the first of their many troubles occurred, with the death of twins. One infant lived just two hours, the other four hours.
When H.J. Haddon resigned his teaching post at Fortune in August 1863, Mr. Haddock was appointed as his replacement. Records show that he taught school here from 1864-1866, indicating that he moved his young family to Fortune in late 1863 or early 1864. This same source also states that Haddock 'was later to practice medicine.' This gives the impression that he did not practice medicine prior to moving to Fortune, but he was recognized as a medical doctor.
Records show that Haddock's employment history also included such occupations as: postmaster, farmer, merchant (Fortune, 1871); Preventative Officer (Fortune & Grand Bank, 1871); Surveyor of Shipping (1871); Commissioner of Wrecked Property (Point May to Garnish, 1871, 1875); and Way Officer (Fortune, 1871).
Exactly when Haddock's teaching position began is not certain, for school sessions were often adjusted to accommodate fishing schedules when most children were helping their parents. In any event, the Annual Report of the Auxiliary Missionary Society of the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Eastern British America, for June 1864 to June 1865, lists Dr. and Mrs. Haddock of Fortune among the contributors, as well as son Thomas and daughter Mary. These two children were born at Burin.
McAlpine's 'Nfld. Directory' for 1864-65 tells us that J.G. Haddock, M.D. had a 'way office' in Fortune. Meanwhile, other sources say that the first doctor's office in the community was located in the home of H.J. Haddon. It appears, therefore, that Dr. Haddock was probably the town's first resident physician and quite likely the only one as the town was served by doctors stationed at Grand bank in later years. In August 1873, Captain D. Miller, fisheries inspector, reported a doctor in residence. Other written accounts show that Haddock was here in 1876. All of this supports the theory that Dr. Haddock and his family lived in Fortune for a number of years.
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