The recitation “Squire Leamon’s House-warming” first appeared in a Newfoundland newspaper, the Harbour Grace Standard, in 1841. It tells the story of a house-hauling party that followed the move of “Squire” John Leamon’s house from Cottage Pond to the town of Brigus. The move was instigated by John’s wife, Susannah Norman Leamon, who wanted her children to live close to a school.
John Leamon (1804–66) was the great-grandfather of Captain Bob Bartlett on his mother’s side. Arctic explorer Captain Bob Bartlett never met John Leamon; his great-grandfather died nine years before Bob was born.
Today we know this house as Hawthorne Cottage, a National Historic Site, and the home of the Arctic Room fashioned by Bartlett’s mother, Mary Jemima Bartlett, in her son’s honor.
More of the once-famous recitation appears in the forthcoming book Unchained Man: The Arctic Life and Times of Captain Robert Abram Bartlett but here is the very lovely first verse.
Squire Leamon’s Housewarming
Squire Leamon has his pretty cottage removed,
By the advice of his friend and her whom he loved,
Three miles is the distance, perhaps it is more,
Such a great undertaking was not known before.
The building was finished, and all was complete,
The bedrooms and parlour and kitchen were neat;
He said to his partner, his dear loving wife,
Come see the sweet residence intended for life.