Seeking Harriet Hiscock

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In April 2001, Maggie Silver began what turned out to be a very long search for the ancestor so many of us share, by putting a notice on a Newfoundland message board on the internet asking if anyone had any information.

To begin with, she got very little in the way of response but she persisted  and thanks to her untiring efforts, and those of the friendly and generous Newfoundland  genealogists she met on the way, we now know the story of Harriet Hiscock who later became Harriet Stentiford, wife of Owen Stentiford, sixth child and third son of Robert and Elizabeth of Torquay. That research, in turn, opened the door that took us back two further generations on this side of our family!

In the two previous Issues, we told how the family of Robert and Elizabeth, like so many others in Devon, was broken apart by the great wave of emigration which took place in the middle of the 19th century. However, the story of Owen  has major differences to the stories of his siblings. He went out to Newfoundland and settled there as a young, single man; the woman he met and married was the daughter of one of the very first settlers in Newfoundland; unlike the other sons and daughters of Robert and Elizabeth Stentiford , Owen and Harriet made the journey back across the Atlantic with their large family to start again in England - to Torquay, in fact - the very place Owen had left behind all those years ago.

The story begins many years before Harriet joined the Stentiford family and has been pieced together from dozens of tiny scraps of information accumulated over a period of years from many sources.


Lance Cove lies at the western end of an island that has had many names in the past. Wabana is now its chief town. The island was called "Bell Island" because of a distinctive rock formation off its coast. In the Old Cemetery on the island  is the grave of Mary Clarke who was the wife of George Hiscock - they were Harriet's parents. Mary died when Harriet was 6.


Pilot cutters lying at anchor in the 19th century

A corner of the Old Cemetery on Bell Island

Mary Hiscock  and many of the original settlers are buried here.

Lloyd C. Rees


Sacred to the Memory of Mary wife of George Hiscock
 Aug 9th 1825 Age 40 Years.

Great God on what a slender thread hangs everlasting things
Eternal state of all the dead lies upon feeble strings
Waken O Lord our drowsy souls, to walk this dangerous road
And if our souls are hurried hence
May they be found with God.


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