FOMOWA Fishing Club fonds
Scope and Content:
Fonds is contained in one album. It includes 323 black and white photographs and 25 pages of text, covering the years from 1914 to 1937 of the FOMOWA Fishing Club on the Grand Codroy River on the west coast of Newfoundland. Each year the 'recorder' for the club documented the members' catches in detail on a single page - date, name of fisherman, type of fish, weight in lbs., where caught, type of fly used, fly number, time (of day) of the catch, wind and weather conditions, certification [by president] and the name of the guide. That page was followed by 2 pages of photographs usually containing anywhere from 10 to 15 images.
Although the album itself has been damaged and is warped the contents are in good condition. The entire album has been scanned for preservation purposes.
Date(s) of Creation: 1914 - 1937.
Physical Description: 1 photograph album containing 323 black and white photos accompanied by 25 pages of text.
Admin hist./ bio. Sketch:
In the spring of 1914 a group of prominent St. John's merchants and politicians purchased from John Cormier a house and land at the Forks Pool on the Grand River, Codroy, Newfoundland. There they established the "FOMOWA" Fishing Club - the club name was coined by taking the first two letters of the location and the names of its members - Forks (Pool on the river) and Foote (Samuel J.), Monroe (Walter S.) and Morey (J.), and Watson (Hon. Robert) and Warren (William. Robertson.). Each year the members traveled across the island, most likely by train, to the Grand River and for several weeks from late June to mid-July fished for salmon, trout, grilse and other species. When they weren't fishing they played golf, tennis and cricket on their property, and from time to time shared a few games of cards.
In June of 1915 Robert Watson dissolved his share and was replaced by Samuel F. Milley.
The member who caught the largest salmon in any one year was designated 'president', a post he would hold only until replaced by another member who landed a larger catch. All catches were recorded in detail by S. Milley ("The Recorder") - date, name of fisherman, type of fish, weight in lbs., where caught, type of fly used, fly number, time (of day) of the catch, wind and weather conditions, certification [by president] and the name of the guide. The salmon were cured at the club with liquid smoke and transported back to St. John's when the year's fishing trip ended.
The club had its own letterhead which included a small photo of the clubhouse with two of its members sitting on the veranda. The club's address was written as "FOMOWA Camp", South Branch P.O., Newfoundland.
Over the years FOMOWA hosted many prominent visitors including Sir Patrick Ashley Cooper, Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company; Ward W. Adair, an American author and editor of a New York magazine Railroad Men; Governor and Mrs. Davidson; T. Williamson of the St. Lawrence Flour Mills Co. Ltd. of Montreal; Bertie Charles Gardner, Manager of the Bank of Montreal.
Annual visits were recorded until the summer of 1938. No further information on the club is available after that date.
Biographical sketches of members:
Samuel J. Foote (1873 - 1936):
Lawyer and politician of St. John's and founding member of the FOMOWA Fishing Club. He was admitted to the bar in 1899, went into practice with Sir James Winter and was appointed KC in 1919. First entered politics in 1904. Elected as the MHA for Burin from 1919 to 1924, and was a supporter of the Squires Liberal Reform Party. After the Squires administration was defeated Foote served in the cabinet of William R. Warren's government as Minister without Portfolio. When he was not included in Warren's second cabinet he returned to his law practice. He returned to politics in 1928 under the Alderdice administration and served as Minister of Finance and Customs where he was defeated later that year. He was returned to the district of Burin again in the 1932 election and served in the last House of Assembly in Newfoundland before the Commission of Government. He was the first Government Director of the Newfoundland Power and Paper Company and was involved in the development of the pulp and paper mill project in Corner Brook. He was one of the founders of the Bell Island Tramways and served as a director of that company and also of the United Nail and Foundry. He died 8 December 1936 near Buffalo, New York.
Samuel F. Milley (1867-1939):
Politician and dry goods merchant of St. John's. Became a member of the FOMOWA Fishing Club in 1915. Milley was a supporter of Robert Bond and the Liberal Party. He was appointed to the Legislative Council in 1901 and sat as a member until it was abolished in 1934. From 1932 to1934 he was chairman of the Newfoundland Savings Bank and after he 1925 served on the Highroads Commission.. He died in Montreal on February 12, 1939.
Walter Stanley Monroe (1871-1952):
Politician and businessman of St. John's and founding member of the FOMOWA Fishing Club. Owner of Bishop and Monroe Company (circa 1895-1909) and later the Monroe Export Company, president of the Imperial Tobacco Company, director of Newfoundland Light and Power Company and the Colonial Cordage Company. Monroe entered politics in 1923 as a supporter of the Liberal-Labour -Progressive Party, serving as the MHA for Bonavista from 1924 to1928. During that time he was elected as leader of the newly formed Liberal-Conservative party, the first true Tory party in Newfoundland. He served as Prime Minister until 1928 and after his defeat he returned to his business interests. He served as a member of the Legislative Council from 1933 to1934. He died on October 6, 1952.
Andrew H. Murray (1877-1965 ):
Merchant of St. John's. Educated in Edinburgh and returned to St. John's after his father's business was destroyed in the fire of 1892 to work for Bowring Brothers as an office boy. When he was twenty-one, he formed his own company. In 1924 Andrew Murray married Janet M. Ayre (nee Miller), the widow of Captain Eric S. Ayre who was killed at Beaumont Hamel on July 1st, 1916. As Janet M. Miller, she was the first woman to read law in Newfoundland. Their only daughter, Gertrude, born in 1925, married Alexander Harris (Bill) Crosbie (1919-1981), youngest son of Sir John Crosbie.
After Murray's death, Bill Crosbie became the managing director of A.H. Murray and Company Limited and continued the business. Andrew Murray died on August 10, 1965 at the age of eighty-eight.
William Robertson Warren (1879-1927):
Lawyer and Prime Minister of Newfoundland of St. John's and founding member of the FOMOWA Fishing Club. Admitted to the bar in 1902, appointed KC in 1910. Entered politics in 1903 as a conservative candidate for Trinity and was defeated a year later. Served as the MHA for Port de Grave from 1908 to 1913, and for Fortune from 1919 to1926. He also served as Speaker for the House of Assembly from 1909 to 1913 and was Minister of Justice and Attorney General with the Squires administration from 1919 to 1924. In 1923 Warren was one of four Squires cabinet ministers to demand that the prime minister dismiss Dr. Alexander Campbell from the cabinet for misuse of funds. (He was supported in this motion by his FOMOMA colleague, Samuel J. Foote). Squires resigned and Warren was called on to form a government. He served as Prime Minister from 1923 to 1924 and after his government was defeated he was appointed Supreme Court justice from 1926 to 1927. He died in St. John's 31 December, 1927.
Robert Watson (1863-1930):
Politician, civil servant and founding member of the FOMOWA Fishing Club. Elected as MHA for Trinity, 1897-1900, 1902-1904 and 1908-1913. Minister of Posts and Telegraphs from 1897 to 1900, Colonial Secretary in the Morris government from 1909 to1913, Acting Prime Minister for a time in 1910 and in 1911 served as a delegate to the Imperial Conference. He left politics in 1913 and was appointed Manager of the Newfoundland Savings Bank from 1913 to 1916. He was then named private secretary to the governor and to four successive governors from 1916 to 1930. He was a director of Bishop Feild College (1897) and of the Grenfell Association. He died at St. John's 4 May, 1930.
Listed as a founding member on documentation in the album. No biographical information available.
Memorial University - Maritime History Archive