& LABRADOR CANADA
St. Paul's Anglican
Burial Records -Harbour Grace -(1775 - 1889)
Burial date Given name(s) Surname/ Title
10 May1829 Mary Higgens
23 Dec 1832 Stephen Higgens
16 Jun 1846 Ann Higgins
14 Jan 1882 Ann Caroline Higgins
13 May 1816 Elizabeth Higgins
24 Nov 1829 Elizabeth Higgins
23 Aug 1849 Frances Higgins
28 Nov 1825 George Higgins
14 Jan 1842 George Higgins
24 Sep 1858 Harriet Higgins
8 Feb 1869 Helen Higgins
1 Dec 1819 Henry Higgins
15 Jul 1840 James Higgins
6 Dec 1877 James Higgins
26 Sep 1873 James Higgins
17 Aug 1862 James Henry Higgins
28 Nov 1852 Jane Higgins
25 Feb 1843 John Higgins
12 May 1851 John Higgins
30 Jan 1783 Mary Higgins
30 Mar 1845 Mary-Ann Higgins
[13?] Jun 1837 Nathaniel Higgins
7 Sep 1823 Robert Higgins
28 Aug 1851 Thomas Higgins
27 Nov 1869 Thomas Higgins
20 Nov 1829 William Higgins
6 Jul 1850 William Higgins
19 Jul 1805 Wm Higgins
. . . . . .
Jack Higgins: Newfoundlander Through and Through
From the files of The Gazette July 9, 1998.
It is indeed an ironic twist of fate that Senator John
G. Higgins died on Canada Day, July 1, 1963. As a
veteran of the First World War, he would have said he
died on Memorial Day, the day Newfoundlanders
commemorate the massacre of the Newfoundland Regiment
at Beaumont Hamel. It was just as ironic that Jack
Higgins was even a member of the Canadian Senate; he
had fought long and hard to keep Newfoundland out of
Canadian Confederation in the late 1940s. But such
ironies were an integral part of the life of this
John Gilbert Higgins was born in St. John's on May 7,
1891, the son of John Joseph Higgins and Hannah
O'Grady. His father died when he was a small child,
and his mother supported him and his older sister,
May, through her dressmaking business. His mother and
her housekeeper, Mamie Hyde, were very stable and
caring influences in Jack's early life.
Higgins began school at the age of five at St.
Bonaventure's College, where he excelled in academic,
athletic and extra-curricular endeavors, winning many
scholarships. Shortly after his graduation he was
selected as the 1909 Rhodes Scholar for Newfoundland
and spent the next three years at Merton College,
Oxford, where he read law, and captained the
seven-member Oxford-Canadian Ice Hockey Team, which
also included Newfoundland 1910 Rhodes Scholar, Robert
Tait. This team, which toured Europe, was undefeated
in the 17 matches it played, outscoring the opposition
204 goals to 17.
In 1913 Higgins was called to the Bar of England and
the Bar of Newfoundland, and set up law practice in
St. John's. He took a leave from his practice in 1916
when he joined the St. Francis Xavier Hospital Unit of
the Canadian Army, serving in England and France
during the remainder of the war.
Once back in Newfoundland in 1919, Higgins entered
into a law partnership with Harry Winter, which lasted
until Winter was appointed as Commissioner for Home
Affairs and Education in 1941. He then joined the firm
of Fox, Higgins, Knight, Phelan and Hawkins, but left
that partnership in the early 1950s to practice law
with his cousin, James D. Higgins, under the name
Higgins & Higgins.
Higgins built a solid reputation as a hardworking and
diligent lawyer, who enjoyed the trust and respect of
his clients. During the Second World War he
represented the British Admiralty and the Canadian
Department of National Defense, negotiating claims
arising out of land requisitioned for defense
Despite his connections with Canada in both world
wars, Higgins lined up on the opposite side when the
National Convention began debating Joseph R.
Smallwood's resolution that confederation with Canada
be a ballot choice for Newfoundlanders in a proposed
referendum on the future forms of government to
replace the Commission.
Higgins became one of the leading members of the
Responsible Government League, firm in his belief that
Newfoundland should return to self-government before
any negotiations should be begun with Canada. He
participated in both referenda campaigns, contributing
his speaking and writing talents and financial
support. Never one to take defeat lightly, on March
31, 1949, he hung black crepe, a symbol of mourning,
over the door of his house.
There had been no elected House of Assembly in
Newfoundland during the 15 years of the Commission of
Government. An election was scheduled to elect a new
House on May 27, 1949. Higgins, never before a
candidate for elected office, was returned by the
voters of St. John's East as a member of the
Progressive Conservative Party. As party leader H. G.
R. Mews had been defeated in the election, Higgins
became the leader of the opposition, the first in
post-confederate Newfoundland. His term in the house
was short-lived, however, as he was not a candidate in
the next election in 1951, preferring the logic of the
law courts to the fractious debate of the House of
His political career was not over. On January 15,
1959, Prime Minister John Diefenbaker appointed
Higgins as the first Progressive Conservative Senator
The record of Higgins's contribution to Newfoundland
society would fill volumes. He was a life-long member
of the Knights of Columbus, rising through the ranks
to become State Deputy and Grand Knight. He was a
founding member of the Fish and Game Protection
Association, serving for many years as its president.
He helped organize and served as secretary of the
South Coast Disaster Fund, established to assist
victims of the 1929 tidal wave in rebuilding their
lives. For 25 years he was secretary of the Rhodes
Scholarship Selection Committee. He was president of
the Great War Veterans' Association, Treasurer of the
Newfoundland Law Society, Vice-president for
Newfoundland of the Canadian Bar Association, served
on the Playground and Recreation Association of St.
John's and the Newfoundland Adult Education
Association. Many other organizations benefited from
his talents, energy and financial resources.
Higgins married Alice Casey of Harbour Grace on August
13, 1925. They had three children, Gilbert, Mary
Margaret and John. He was made King's Counsel in 1932.
He was also a fine poet, who published in local
magazines such as the Newfoundland Quarterly on a
regular basis. Much of his poetry remains unpublished.
Jack Higgins was an ardent Newfoundlander. He was a
lover of books from childhood and began collecting
Newfoundland books at an early age. He purchased many
rare and valuable documents, mainly from England,
After his death, Memorial University Library acquired
many of his books, and his papers. The papers include
extensive correspondence with family, friends and
colleagues, records of his involvement with the many
organizations in which he served, documents relating
to his practice of law and his political involvement.
There are photographs, scrapbooks, and other
memorabilia documenting the many facets of his life.
It is a very comprehensive body of material from a man
who threw away nothing that might have some potential value.
Images of Mr. Higgins available at:
Gordon Francis Higgins
Born St. John's 1905, Roman Catholic
Gordon Francis Higgins, a member of the Ottawa Delegation.
Courtesy of Hunter, G./National Archives of
Canada/PA-128075. Detail of larger image, PA-128075.
Higgins attended St. Bonaventure's College in St.
John's (Newfoundland), and then joined his father's law firm. He was
called to the bar in 1931. While practising law he
involved himself in many public service organizations
such as the Benevolent Irish Association, the St.
John's Regatta Committee and Newfoundland Tuberculosis
Association. He also initiated a program to improve
housing as part of the St. John's Housing Corporation.
His father and other members of his family had been
elected to the House of Assembly, but with the
beginning of the Commission of Government in 1934, no
career in elected politics was open to him. Higgins
favoured a return to responsible government, and
became a member of the Newfoundland National
Association in the early 1940s. This association
favoured a return to responsible government.
His spirit of public service may have prompted him to
run for election to the National Convention in 1946.
He had been the lawyer for the Newfoundland Seaman's
Association and was elected as a member of trade union
affiliated, St. John's District Labour Party. Despite his pro-responsible government credentials, he
seconded Joseph Smallwood's motion to send a
delegation to Ottawa to discuss confederation. He may
have felt that the Convention had a duty to
investigate all options - even those he personally did
not favour. Higgins served on the Ottawa delegation,
but remained opposed to confederation. He drafted the
motion to recommend that the ballot offer "responsible
government as it existed in 1933" and voted against
the recommendation to place confederation on the
ballot. After the convention ended, he became an active member of the Responsible Government League.
After confederation, Higgins became a member of the
Progressive Conservative Party and served as a member
of the Canadian House of Commons.
the last to become a province of Canada]
It is now known as the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
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information compiled by Michael James
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