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   Updated: 27 Mar 2006 HomeCanada  

 27 Mar 2006  
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 

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 28 Apr 2005  

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
unheralded Newfoundlander

John Gilbert Higgins was born in St. John's on May 7,
1891, the son of John Joseph Higgins and Hannah
. 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 purposes.

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
from Newfoundland.

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
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,
concerning Newfoundland.

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.

November, 2000.

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.

[Newfoundland was the last  to become a province of Canada]
It is now known as the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

 see Home Page for other Canadian Links.

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Related Canadian Pages:

             Canada Immigration 
             Western Land Grants 
                  1901 AB Census 
             BRITISH COLUMBIA 
                 1901 BC Census 
                 1901 MB Census  
             NEW BRUNSWICK 
                 1901 NB Census 
             NOVA SCOTIA 
                1901 NS Census 
                 1901 ON Census
  (6 parts) 
                1901 PEI Census 
             1901 Canada Census 

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   This information compiled by Michael James Higgins
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