This property is special to me and my family.
In the early 1900’s western Newfoundland was on the verge of becoming a great source of future for many. Rich in natural, renewable resources this area offered sustainability, hope and the ability to provide for ones self. The ground is rich in nutrients for growing many types of root crops. The logging industry was flourishing and was putting western Newfoundland on the map. The pulp and paper mill in Corner Brook Was beginning to produce news print for many parts of the world. The humber river provided natural route for wood to travel to the bay of islands where the mill is located still today. With these things in mind Chelsey Cross moves his family to this very place. Cache Rapids. Plentiful salmon stocks nutrient rich soil and large forests allowed Chelsey to set up his little saw mill and farm to help him earn a living and provide a future for his growing family. by 1943 he and His wife Blanch had grown their family to 9 healthy children. The oldest 13 and the youngest only 1. winters Here can be harsh and cold. Large amounts of snow and temperatures well below zero degrees celcius daily from December to April made living here harder during this time of year. Houses were heated with wood and insulated with saw dust from the mill. On a cold night January 4, 1943 Chelsey and Blanch put there childern to bed. The early morning hours of January 5 spelled tragedy for this family. Lighting the fire to warm the house an explosion happened and engulfed the house in flames. A neighbor heard the explosion and rushed to the house to find it nearly gone. He braved the flames and managed to get 3 of the 11 people inside out. Sadly that morning 8 people perished in the fire and later 1 more. The only 2 survivors were my great uncle Melvin Cross who was 3 at that time and my late grand mother, Verna Hope Anstey (nee Cross) Who was 13. They lost their whole family. A very sad time for them and the people around them. Ironically my grandmothers middle name was Hope. She went on to marry my grandfather William Anstey, just 3 years later. They had 5 children. She became the “hope“ in my family. Without her surviving my family would not be here. I think if you studied your own history there‘s likely a time when your future was nearly snuffed out. Some of us can tell the story some of us can’t.
My great uncle Melvin is now 80 years old and is the last of Chesley Cross‘ family. He lives in Deer Lake with his lovely wife Wavey. He had 3 children. Uncle Melv lived and continues to live a full life dispite such a great loss.
God bless you all.