Case File No. 2

James Rouse [also Rows] v. Catharine Clements

To John Campbell Esqr. Governor
and Commander in Chief in and over the Island
of Newfoundland

The Humble Petition of James Rows of Renews in the District of Ferryland.

That his Father William Rows an Inhabitant of Renews having a spot of Ground Granted hum by Captain Thomas Smith of His Majestys Ship Durrely Galley in the year Seventeen hundred and thirty two which my Father built thereon, Stages, Houses and Fish Flakes and carried on the Fishing Business for many years unmolested; he dying left a Wife with seven children, the said Fishing Premises went to Decay; My Mother Died in the Month of March last left the said fishing Premises to me; I had cut some Timber and put it on the said Fishing Premises; to build a Stage &c. Mrs Clemins a Widow living in the Harbour of Renews, whose fishing Premises Joined the spot of Ground granted my Father by the said Captain Smith, as the Grant will make appear, the said Mrs Clemins servants, Arthur Jackman and Stephen Power have molested and hindred me from Building my Stage and Trespassed upon the Flake foresaid [and] threatened and abused me.

Soon after the Fishing Admirals Arrival in Renews I presented a Petition setting forth the Trespasses &c. and prayed for Redress (got none) I then applied to Justice Carter of Ferryland who advised me to remain silent and lay the state before your Excellency in which I might rely upon your Excellency would do me Justice.

Whereas your humble Petitioner have received much hurt and Abuse ~ and sustained a considerable loss, being hinder'd Building my stage by Stephen Poor Master of Voyage for Mrs Clemins and by Arthur Jackman her Son in Law the 22nd and 31st July.

I pray that your Excellency will be so well pleased to Order him a Quiet and Peaceable Possession of the said Premises as a Restitution of the Damages I have sustained and your Petitioner as in Duty bound will Ever pray.

To which was Annexed the following Certificate

These are to certify that I know the said fishing premises, as the said William Rows in the Harbour of Renews situated on the North side of the said Harbour whereon the said William Rows carried on the Boat Fishery for Ten or Twelve Years and that I carried on a Boat Fishery next Room to him for Twelve years during which time there was no molestation or Disturbance by the said Rows a perfect harmony subsisted and that to the best of my knowledge no person or persons have any Claim or Demand upon the said Premises and that the said James Rows is the real Proprietor of the said Premises and his fair and honest in his Dealings and behaves very Orderly. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my Hand in Ferryland 14th August 1774

Robert Carter, Justice of the
Peace in Feryland
St Johns, Newfoundland 27th. August 1774


You will please to enquire particularly into this matter and if it appears that Mrs Clemins does not Occupy the premises as Fishing Rooms according to the Act of Parliament [Newfoundland Act, 1699] I desire you will put the Petitioner into possession of the whole provided he means to build Stages and Flakes thereon or of such part thereof as he Actually intends Occupying for the use of the Fishery agreeable to the said Act

Captain Edgar
of His Majestys Ship

I amspacer
Your most Obedient
humble servant
Jno. Campbellspacer

31 August 1785
Before Alexander Edgar, President, and Robert Carter and Henry Sweetland, JPs

[Unidentified deponent]

Says he is a very old inhabitant at Renewse and that he knew very well the ground where James Rouse built on and says it was not occupied in the Fishery when said Rouse built thereon says that about Twenty years ago there was two Stages on it that he remembers those Stages being taken down but never remembers it being occupied since says he does not know who the owners were of these stages
Asked if he knew whose ground the Stages stood on says he cannot say whose ground it was but that they were not on Pottersby said Plantation (now Mrs Clements but separate from it) says that he believes the ground in dispute does not belong to either Clements or Rouse but he has been formerly been [sic] acquainted it belongs to a person in Bristol and that he himself once intended to have applied to the Person in Bristol for the said Ground to build on it himself having been told he might get it for about five Pounds says he does not know the persons name in Bristol -

Chris Pulman ~

Says he has seen and knows the Ground in dispute where Rouse built on and that it has been occupied as a beach for that last summer Mrs Clements dried fish on it ~ Asked if he thought the Beach was formed by Nature or if Mr Clements had made it ~ Says that he believes it was formed by Nature but that the sea breaks some times over it and that Mr Clements he believes kept it in repair he further sayeth that said James Rouse did build a flake on said Ground in dispute and that said Mrs Clements did pull it down by order of the Fishing Admiral at Renewse

Michl Carol
(Sworn) ~

Asked by the Court if he ever saw the Flake Rouse built and how far it was from Mrs Clements Stage says he has seen it and that it is 30 or 40 feet from Mrs Clements premises says that he carried fish to wash last summer and that there was room enough for the ramshorn with-out molesting either party there being a vacant place for the purpose of washing Fish in the Landwash exclusive of the spot Rouse claims ~ Asked if ever Rouse hindered him from washing fish in that vacant spot between Mrs Clements and the Ground alloted to Rouse says no he never asked him any liberty ~ Asked if Rouse ever hindered him from washing fish in the ramshorn says not but that he hindered him from washing under his Rouses flake ~ Asked if he had ever been ordered by Mrs Clements to pull down Rouses Flake says not but that he was told by one of his fellow servants that it was ordered to be pulled down by Mr Rd. Bulley the Fishing Admiral and that he did assist in pulling it down ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

William Tubrett

Asked if he assisted in pulling down said Rouses Flake says he did by order of Mr Richd. Bully the Fishing admiral says that Mrs Clements did not order him ~ Asked who was present when said Flake was pulled down says Mr Chris Pulman Mrs Catherine Clements Mr Richd Bully and Michl Byrne ~

Michl Byrne

Says he did not help or assist in pulling down said Flake he says he saw it pulled down and that he helped to carry it away says he does not know who gave orders to pull it down ~

James Rouse

Asked if he can bring any person to prove the spot of ground in dispute was ever in possession of his Father ~

Justice Carter

Says he knew the spot of Ground in dispute Twenty or Thirty years in his fathers possession says he once sold Potsburys Plantation now Mrs Clements to John and David Miland and they sold it to Long & Co London who afterwards became insolvent and their assignees sold it to Henry Wall by Publick Auction and Wall since sold it to Mr Clements says it is about ten years since he sold it says he well knows the spot and that he never remembers and can safely [attest] there was never any buildings on it ~ before Rouse built thereon

Catherine Clements

Asked if she ever spread any fish on the spot of Ground in dispute where Rouse built his Flake ~ says Mr. Pullman knows ~. Asked how many boats she keeps answers Two and a skiff.

Mr. Justice Carter

Asked how many boats room Mr Clements premises was formerly ~ Answer four Boats Asked if the four Boats rooms is exclusive of the Beach in dispute answers Yes ~

Mr. Justice Sweetland

Confirmed Mr. Justice Carters answers as above he once resided at Renewse and knows the situation of Mrs Clements premises ~

Catherine Clements

Says said Rouse hindered her from Washing her Fish in the Land Wash ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

James Rouse called

Asked if Mrs Clements charge was true answers no he never refused her and that he left a space of 21 feet for the ramshorn agreeable to Justice Carters order ~ asked if he ever made known to Mrs Clements the Justices order says he believes it was made known to her ~ ~ ~


The decree of the Fishing admiral at Renewse who last fall enquired into this affair by order of Mr. Justice Carter and by whose order they were to have put Rouse in possession say it is their opinion the said Beech is neither of said Clements right but as that said Clements had dried her fish there before they had given it her she being last in possession.

Mrs Clements

Says she did not claim said Beach but from ye above Decree


This is to certify whom it may concern That I John Drew an employer twenty years in this Harbor of Renewse do testify that the part of the beach whereon James Rouse has this season began to build a Flake has been occupied in carrying and making of fish by the former proprietors of Pottburys Plantation twenty three years past now in possession of Widow Clements ~

Renewse 31st August 1785 ~ as witness my hand
John Drew ~

Given by Mr Christ Pullman (on Oath that the above is John Drews hand writing and that he believes him a man of veracity ~
Note the above Certificate was delivered in Court by Mrs. Catherine Clements ~

Graham Little v. James Bryan
11 April 1791
[Before Robert Carter, Henry Sweetland, and Nicholas Brand?]

James Bryan appeard, to the suit of Graham Little, who complained [that] the sd Bryan woud not pay him his Balance the Acct. was attested by the Court & Bryan orderd, to pay Little the Balance which was £2.16s.3½d, and an Order on Mrs Catherine Clements was taken for the amount. ~

Fort Townshend 1st. Octr. 1806


James Rowse having presented to me certain Documents in support of his claim to a Fishing Room in Renewse, which he complains has been unjustly witheld from him by a person named Clements, I transmit you herewith the papers relating to this affair, and desire you will please to investigate it fully, and give the said Prowse such redress as you may judge him entitled to, but if any doubt should remain on your mind respecting his title to the said room, you will refer the whole of the evidence on both sides to the Governor for the time being, stating whether Rowse ever deserted or neglected the Room previous to its being occupied by another person.

I am,spacer
Your most Obedient humble servant
E. Gowerspacer

William Carter Esqr.

Sources: PANL, GN 2/1/A, vol. 10, 49-51, Petition of James Rows, ca. 14 August 1784, together with Affidavit of Robert Carter, JP, Ferryland, 14 August 1784, and Order, Governor Campbell, 27 August 1784; PRL 340.9 N45, Ferryland, James Rouse v. Catherine Clements, 31 August 1785; PANL, GN 2/1/A, vol. 19, 75, Governor Erasmus Gower to William Carter, Surrogate, Ferryland, 1 October 1806; and PANL, GN 5/4/C/1, Ferryland, box 1, Graham Little v. James Bryan, 11 April 1791.