The Haddock Family
Since Dr. Haddock taught school here from 1864-66, it seems that his medical practice was not a full-time occupation at first. It may be that he was asked to take the teaching position because no teacher was available at the time. Then again, it could have been a means of a supplementary income to help support his large family.
Haddock was granted land at Fortune on three separate occasions: two acres on 27 October 1866; a second plot on 09 November 1866; and ten acres on 07 July 1881. According to stories handed down by word of mouth, the Haddock home was a large, two-storey structure, located approximately in the vicinity of what is now #46 Haddock Road. Four (?) children were born at Burin and eight more at Fortune. Church records show that five of the children died of diphtheria in 1876 and another daughter in 1889 (no cause given). Also, a son was reportedly lost at sea, which means, including the twins, that nine out of the eleven known children born to Joseph and Amelia Haddock were taken from them early in life. (List of children follows the story.)
The one surviving daughter, Hilda, was born several years after the diphtheria epidemic. She taught school at Fortune in the years 1898 and 1900-1904, during the tenure of James N. Haddon. Some sources say she also gave private music lessons. Hilda married John Hedley Forsey, son of Philip and Hannah. How many children they had -if any- is not known. However, when John Penny's wife, Nancy (Hickman), died Hilda took in their young son Sidney, at the father's request. Some time following the death of her mother, Hilda and her family left Newfoundland, reportedly going to Calgary. Nothing is known of Hilda's children, but in 1931 William Snook of Fortune met up with Sidney Penny who was then practicing law in Vancouver.
The diphtheria outbreak hurt many families in 1876m\, although none seem to have been more devastated than the Haddocks. When a potentially fatal, highly contagious disease is combined with fairly primitive sanitation methods and the absence of effective drugs, this is not surprising. (Diphtheria antitoxin was not available in Newfoundland until 1893.)
In any event, stories handed down by older citizens voiced harsh criticism of Dr. Haddock's treatment of diphtheria. Some claimed that he used the same throat swab on successive patients. Whether this was actually done, or whether it was done due to a shortage of supplies caused by a sudden dramatic increase in patient numbers, is not known. It may have been a misunderstanding, or perhaps even a rumor.
Written accounts state that when Rev. William Kendall contracted the disease, he refused Dr. Haddock's treatment. The reason for his refusal was not given but it leads to the conclusion that the treatment offered was of a somewhat questionable nature, regardless of the reasons behind it.
Dr. Haddock continued his medical practice at Fortune until 1882. The story passed down from generation to generation of former residents of Brunette Island, tells of the doctor's death while on the way to visit patients at Brunette (renamed Mercer's Cove in 1935). It leads us to believe that, in order to be where he was in those circumstances, he was dedicated to his profession.
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