Squire Leamon’s House-warming


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.


5 thoughts on “Squire Leamon’s House-warming

  1. Nice post, Maura! I like the poem because it combines so many features of Newfoundland life. Moving houses, recitations, and of course Hawthorne Cottage and the Bartlett family.
    One small note – the Bartlett s were idiosyncratic spellers and the display room at the Cottage was the “Artic” Room. One c was missing, unlike in Captain Bob’s life, who went from sea to sea to sea!
    I always enjoyed finding words that were spelled differently. Even Hawthorne sometimes had the last e but sometimes did not. ..


    • Thanks for your terrific comments, Catherine, and for your efforts to preserving history and heritage. You’re right: the ‘e’ was added by Bartlett’s parents, probably in the late 1880s. I had forgotten about the missing ‘c’. That’s how I used to spell Arctic when I was a kid, though.


  2. I remember visiting my uncle Rupert Bartlett at his house in Brigus, and being told that the the glasses we were drinking from were bought for the house warming of Hawthorn(e). I started holding mine with both hands. I also remember visiting Hawthorne as a really young child, while Eleanor still lived there in the summer. My main memory of the Artic room was that the polar bear rug was really soft to roll around on, and the music box sounded glorious !


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