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Male 1691 - 1755  (64 years)

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  • Name MASTERS, John  
    Birth 1691  Scilly Cove, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Occupation c1735  Newfoundland, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Mainly fish from Newfoundland but also provisions from New England and sugar, rum and molasses from the West Indies
    Occupation 1748  Poole, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mayor of Poole 
    Occupation 1752  Poole, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mayor of Poole 
    Burial 1755  Poole, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Death 20 Jun 1755  Philpot Lane, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1

    • Letter written by an unknown person after 1755 Re: Dorset

      John Masters

      John Masters was born at Scilly Cove in Newfoundland in 1687 or 1688. His father was John Masters a Newfoundland planter - about Michael Mass 1697 brought his Wife, son John and 4 daughters the youngest Mary about 8 months old to Poole and bought a low old house the upped End of High Street and setled his wife and children there - Mary the youngest child was baptised after they came to Poole on Feb 7 1698 vide the Register - John Masters the Father returned to Silly Cove in Newfoundland again in the Spring 1698 and was murthered there by the Indian* in 1699 - but whilst he was at Poole he put his son John to Wimborne School which was in the Summer 1698 - he was then about 10 years old. _ Mirs. Masters to support the expence of Life set up an Ale house the sign of the red cow n a low mwan way - when her son was turned of 13 years old she put him prentice to William Taverner of Poole a master of a ship in the Newfoundland Trade who was a remarkable man. - at the End of his time he went mate and after that Newfoundland planter and about the year 1715 got to be Master of a small snow out of Bristoll about 60 Tons called the Froome - he used the fishing Trade at St. John in Newfoundland - I was there in 1716 he was then at St. Johns Master of the Froome - he was a fine figure of a man - only wanted polishing - I was frequently in his Company - he was then very Industrious split all his shore fish and I thought worked rather too much - he suceeded in Trade and fishing and got wealth but as I left voyaging in 1720 I never saw J. Masters till the Autum 1733 - when he came home passinger in a small sloop of mine of 40 Tons only from St. Johns in Newfoundland to London - for which favor he waited on me and returned me thanks and renewed our former Acquaintance - I had always a young look - says Mr. Masters to me you look as young now as you did when I first saw you that is 17 years since. I said I was born in 1698 and was 18 years old then - he replied I thought you had been oldeer I was born the Revolution year at Silly Cove so I was a fisherman and a Wigg and I was put to school in 1698 at Wimborne. - he returned to Newoundland in the spring 1734 and continued to carry trade at St. Johns - shipped of great quantities of fishh on Commission and his own Account - In or about the year 1740 he married his Master Taverners daughter Sarah - a well behaved woman - took a house at Greenwich and wholly resided there - he took a partner one Michael Ballard who carried the business in Newfoundlandd in the Winter .1740. Mr. William Taverner called on me and said his son in law John Masters was groan Rich and had some thoughts of offering himself a Candidate for Poole at the next Election - and said he had heard I had some thoughts of the Borrough - I knew Taverner did not want for Cunning whatever he stood in need of so I was on my guard - only said Mr. Masters must make hos way to Sir. R. W. which I thought he might easily do as he knew all the Commodores etc. - no sais Taverner that Interest wont do. I have tryed it - for my son and Mr. Keen are not on good Terms. they have had many disputes and Keen is cunning enough to keep in with the Commodores - Taverner wrote J. White as Mr. White told me but all would not do so it was dropped till 1747. - but Mr. Masters rebuilt the old red Cow- - his Mother formerly lived in in High Street - about 1745 -the latter End of 1746 it was finished and remove from Greenwich thither after buying a Second hand Chariot of Woodstock the stablekeeper at Greenwich - the house he told me should only cost L600 - hw owned afterwards it cost him L1500. in the Spring 1747 I met Mr. Masters at Change and after at Lloyds Coffee House - and I told him if he thought of a seat in Parliament and I told Mr. Missing had no thoughts of standing again. His answer wasthis that he would never attempt such a thing for he had no Landed Estate and had no thoughts of purchasing - and to borrow a qualification he did not approve of and said if you have any thoughts that way I will do you all the service I can and I make no doubt but youl succeed - I frankly declared I had no such thoughts or intentions - soon after not more than 10 days he weent to Poole and so soon as it was kown the Parliament was to be disssolved at the End of the 6th session then sitting. He ws prevailed on to offer Himself a Candidate for Poole and wrote me a letter ( a copy of which incert here) which I did not think proper answer as it contradicted what he had so very lately - he tryed every Burgess and spent some L6 or L700 I think much more - but he was convinced no such step would do without a Ministerial Interest which he could not come at. Then byway of resentment he got an interest with the Burgesses and was chosen Mayor in 1748 - before he had served the Junior Offices According to an Ancient Custom - he and his party made upwards of 60 Burgesses to support his Interest - but the Major part of the Aldmen would not bring on Aaron Durell on the Nomination for Mayor - so another outrage was Committed and on Durells saying in the Hall he offered himself a Candidate for Mayor Masters and his picked Burgesses voted him into that office and Masters swore him in accordingly - which ilegal proceeding Occassioned a Law suit and made much Ill-nature - In 1754 was another choice but he then fell in with the Ministry dropped all Opposition and aimed to be the head of the Ministerial party - and voted for Sir. R. Lyttleton he died at Nr. Cracrafts an Attorney in Philpot Lane London June 20 1755? - and was brought to Poole and buied

      *[TC Note - These were Abenaki Indians, not the Beothucks]
    • See

      John Masters (1691 - 1754) - Fisticuffs in the Council chamber.

      Masters was the only Mayor ever to come from Newfoundland. He was born about 1691 at Silly Cove (now Winterton) in Trinity Bay, Newfoundland.

      His father, John, came from Langton in Dorset and was an early planter in Newfoundland. John Masters Sr. suffered greatly from French attacks and on one occasion was taken prisoner in a French raid. He escaped from the French and in 1697 carried his wife, son and four daughters to Poole, where he bought a "low old house at the upper end of High Street" and left his family to return to Trinity Bay to continue fishing. Shortly after he was captured and murdered by Indians the French had brought to Newfoundland to assist in their raids on English settlers.

      His widow set up an Ale house known as the Old Cow in Poole and young John Masters was sent to school in Wimborne Minster, When he was 13 his mother apprenticed him to William Taverner, captain of a Newfoundland ship. Masters rose to be a ship's mate, spent a few years as a planter in Newfoundland and by 1715 was in command of a small ship, the Frome, fishing mainly in St. John's.

      Sir Peter Thompson of Poole, who as a young man was in St. John's in 1716, recalls meeting Masters there and noted that "he was very industrious, split all his shore fish and I thought worked rather too much".

      Hard work and drive brought him prosperity. He acquired valuable salmon fishing rights and by the 1730s he was exporting large amounts of fish, mainly from St. Johns. He also began importing provisions from New England and sugar, rum and molasses from the West Indies.

      About 1740 he formed a partnership with an Irishman, Michael Ballard, who became the Newfoundland agent for the firm. Masters retired to England, married Sarah Taverner, daughter of his former master, and tried his hand at English politics.

      Masters first settled in Greenwich and in 1741 tried to become an MP. Unfortunately, however, he did not muster the support within Government then needed for an individual to get elected to Parliament. He had fallen into disfavour with the British Government by opposing the increase of formal authority in Newfoundland.

      In Poole Masters is remembered mainly for his turbulent political career. Failing to get elected in London he returned to Poole to try his luck.

      He rebuilt the "Old Red Cow" alehouse in Fish Street into a mansion at the cost of ú1,500 and took up residence there. He took up the cause of Poole merchants in the Newfoundland trade and tried to get support as candidate for the 1747 General Election. Despite the support of the White family and considerable expenditure on his campaign, others resented his bullying manner and he failed.

      However, in 1748 Masters managed to get himself elected Mayor of Poole but in a most unorthodox manner. According to tradition one could only become Mayor by serving junior offices in the Corporation and because Masters had not qualified himself in this way, his opponents tried to dislodge him by starting a lawsuit but were unsuccessful.

      Until his death Masters exercised considerable control over local politics in Poole. He held office again in 1752 and the following year tried to nominate as his successor Aaron Durell a shipbuilder. His opponents supported George Hyde, who had been nominated by the Aldermen.

      There followed one of the most scandalous events in Poole's civic history with fighting in the chamber as both candidates struggled to take the Mayoral chair. In the end Masters' candidate prevailed and Durell served his term in 1753.

      Masters himself again failed to get the nomination for Parliament in 1754. He died the next year on a visit to London but was returned to Poole for burial.
    • Letter from Prowses History of Newfoundland

      To Mr. Samuel Merrett. Sept. 21, 1702 from Pool. This serves to advice you that yesterday Mr. Thos. Wadham in the Hopewell of this place arrived here in three weeks from Trinity Harbour; he brings the bad news that about a week before he left 40 or 50 armed Frenchman came over by land from Placentia to Sillicove (TC Note- now Winterton), surprised the inhabitants killing 3 or 4 and took Mr. John Masters out of his bed rifled his house, and carried him and his goods aboard a Jersey ship laden with fish and sailed northward with the ship and 1,000 qtls. of fish but took no fish from the rocks; they much doubt their being gone to Bonavista where is only Captain Weston. A French man of war hath been off St. John's all the summer and hath taken seven ships in sight of that harbour. The Convoys were not arrived when he came away.

      This letter was not signed nor do I know the writer.
    • From the Wikipedia entry for Bay de Verde, Newfoundland and Labrador

      The main road in Bay de Verde is Masters Road named after John Masters an apprenticed to William Taverner about 1700 to 1701. The Taverner family of Poole and Bay de Verde, a moderately well-off group which divided its time between Poole and Newfoundland.
    Person ID I0080  Pearce
    Last Modified 21 Jul 2014 

    Father MASTERS, John,   b. 1667   d. 1698, Scilly Cove, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 31 years) 
    Marriage 1686 
    Family ID F022  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family TAVERNER, Sarah 
    Marriage Yes, date unknown 
    +1. MASTERS, John,   b. 1732, Poole, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location
    Family ID F021  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 1691 - Scilly Cove, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Merchant - c1735 - Newfoundland, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Mayor of Poole - 1748 - Poole, Dorset, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Mayor of Poole - 1752 - Poole, Dorset, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBurial - 1755 - Poole, Dorset, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 20 Jun 1755 - Philpot Lane, London, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Sources 
    1. Poole Web site.