The Little Bay, Twillingate Ansteys

by Gary. M. Ansteychief researcher of the Anstey story project.

Overview of the Little Bay, Twillingate Ansteys

The Little Bay, Twillingate Ansteys are a sub-division of the Twillingate Ansteys of Newfoundland, Canada, consisting of the Twillingate Anstey families that lived in Little Bay Islands, Twillingate [see Google map] before or in the 1921 Newfoundland Census.

We include Little Bay Island; Macks Island; Goat Island; Harbour Island; Boatswain Tickle Island; Sulian’s Cove (Suley Ann Cove); Caplin Cove; and North Harbour in this analysis. For nearby Springdale, see the Springdale, Twillingate Anstey page.

Today there is an Anstey’s Cove in Little Bay Islands, surely named after William Anstey. A brief history of the early settlers in Little Bay Islands, can be found here – clearly William Anstey was one of Little Bay Islands’ ‘founding members’ in the mid-1800s.

Little Bay Ansteys in McAlpine’s Newfoundland Directory

Little Bay Ansteys in 1921 Newfoundland Census

  • Alexander Anstey (b 1878 – head)
    • Effie Anstey (b 1884 – wife)
    • Joseph Anstey (b 1905 – son)
    • Avice Anstey (b 1912 – daughter)
    • Elmo Anstey (b 1918 – son)
    • Oscar Anstey (b 1921 – son)
  • Richard Anstey (b 1857 – head)
    • Selina Anstey (b 1855 – wife)
    • Nelson Anstey (b 1884 – son)
    • Fanny Anstey (b 1895 – daughter)

William Anstey (b 1817 Twillingate)

William Anstey was born in 1817 in Twillingate to father Thomas Anstey. He was a fisherman who married Hannah Wiseman (b 1823 Tizzard’s Harbour) in 1840 in Twillingate and they had “either 13 or 14 children” in firstly Purcell’s Harbour and later Little Bay Islands, where they moved in c1851:

  • Abel Anstey? (b 1840);
  • Virtue Anstey (b 1842, married Thomas Jones in 1860 in Little Bay Islands “Oct 29 1860 Thomas Jones, fisherman, LBI & Virtue Anstey, LBI. At LBI, Methodist. Witnesses: William Strong, Francis Oxford“. One of her sons, George Jones, represented Twillingate in the Newfoundland House of Assembly from 1919 to 1924. Virtue died in 1926);
  • George Anstey (b 1844 Bluff Head Cove, married Maria Jones in Little Bay Islands in 1867 and had children in Little Bay Islands Ann Anstey (b 1870); Thomas Anstey (b 1871, died 1891); Samuel Anstey (b 1873, died 1890); Dorcas Anstey (b 1875); Alexander Anstey (b 1877 – see below); and Fanny Anstey (b 1879, died 1890). George Anstey died in 1917 in Little Bay Island);
  • Esther Anstey (b 1847 Purcell’s Harbour, married John Jones);
  • Lydia Anstey (b 1850 Purcell’s Harbour, married first Mark Stuckless in 1873 in Little Bay Islands and later Charles Wellman in 1906 in Newfoundland);
  • Priscilla Anstey (b 1852 Little Bay Islands, married James Tuffin in 1873 in Little Bay Islands, where she died in 1898);
  • Susannah Anstey (b 1855 Little Bay Islands);
  • Richard Anstey (b 1857 – see below);
  • Henry Anstey (b 1860 Little Bay Islands, died young?);
  • Peter Anstey (b 29 November 1862 Little Bay Islands, he married Mary Taylor (b 1861) in March 1884 in Little Bay Islands and they had a daughter Hannah Anstey (b 1885). However Peter Anstey died before his daughter was born, in September 1884);
  • Thomas Anstey (b 1864 Little Bay Islands); and
  • Henry Charles Anstey (b 1866 Little Bay Islands – see below).

According to ‘Betting against the Wind‘ by Calvin Hollett “Since at least 1852, when a large migration to [Little Bay Island] was beginning, they had a local class leader whom John Brewster, missionary at Twillingate, appointed. This person, William Anstey, who had moved from Twillingate, led [Methodist] services on Sunday and soon formed a class of 20“.

A Century of Methodism in Twillingate and Notre Dame Bay‘ adds “LITTLE BAY ISLANDS Another appointment of the old Green Bay Circuit was Little Bay Islands. In 1856 its membership was sixteen, an increase followed, and in 1859 the Society Class shows twenty-two members at Little Bay Islands, and two at Triton: — William Anstey (Leader), Isaac Warr, Philip Wiseman, Hannah Anstey, Catherine Wiseman…

William Anstey died on 11 January 1910 of “old age, aged 92” at Little Bay Island – his trade had been “fisherman“.

Richard Anstey (b 1857 Little Bay Islands)

Richard Anstey was born on 20 January 1857 (some sources say 1855) in Little Bay Islands to parents William Anstey and Hannah Wiseman. He married Selina Campbell (b 1852 Little Bay Islands – daughter of John Campbell, one of the very first Little Bay Island settlers) in Little Bay Islands in 1878 and they had children:

  • Edwin Anstey (b 1880, died 1892);
  • John Nelson Anstey (b 1884, known as Nelson, a fisherman in Little Bay islands in 1921);
  • Ella Elizabeth Anstey (b 1886, died 1892);
  • Etta Anstey (b 1890, died 1892);
  • Lucy Anstey (b 1892, died an infant); and​​
  • Fanny Anstey (b 1894, living with the family in 1921)

The family were living in Little Bay Islands in the 1921 Census, ditto the 1935 Census.
In the ‘1925 Mercantile Navy List‘, the ship ‘E. D. Jones‘ built in Little Bay Islands in 1918, was owned by “Richard Anstey of Little Bay Islands“.

Richard Anstey died in 1939 in Little Bay Islands.

Henry Charles Anstey (b 1866 Little Bay Islands)

Henry Charles Anstey was born on 23 June 1866 in Little Bay Islands, Green Bay to parents William Anstey and Hannah Wiseman. He married Mary Taylor (b 1869 Cupids) in 1889 in Boot Harbour and they had a large family being:

  • Blanche Anstey (b 1890 Little Bay Islands);
  • Hannah Florence? Anstey (b 1892, at which time Henry was a “shopkeeper“. She married Manoah Spurrel in 1919 in Pilley’s Island (as ‘Anna Y. Anstey‘) – her sister Victoria Anstey was witness);
  • Richard Haggett (b 1894, an adopted son, living in Pilley’s Island in 1921 with the family);
  • Herman John Anstey (b 1894 Little Bay islands, a fisherman who married Eleanor Isabelle Guy in 1917 in Pilley’s Island and had a daughter Madeline Victoria Anstey (b 1917, died 1918). Herman died of Tuberculosis in January 1919 in Pilley’s Island);
  • Joseph W. Anstey (b 1898 Little Bay Islands – an Anstey Hero, see below);
  • Olive Alfreda Anstey (b 1897, died 1913);
  • Victoria Anstey (b 1900 Little Bay Islands, living at 4 Winthrop Street, West Newton, Massachusetts, America in 1923 when her brother Joseph Anstey visited);
  • Norman Wheatly Anstey (b 1902);
  • Lillian Anstey (b 1908 Seal Bay);
  • Mamie Anstey (b 1911 Seal Bay);
  • Ralph William Anstey (b 1912 Seal Bay); and
  • Gladys Amelia Anstey (b 1913, died 1915)

By the 1921 Census the family were living in Pilley’s Island, Twillingate when Henry was a fisherman. He died in 1936.

Alexander Anstey (b 1877 Little Bay Islands)

Alexander Anstey, known as Alex, was born in 1877 in Little Bay Islands to parents George Anstey and Maria Jones. He married Effie May Marsh in Little Bay Islands in 1902 and they had children:

  • Joseph Reginald Anstey (b 18 July 1905, in May 1926 he crossed into Vermont from Canada, headed to see Sidney M. Thistle in Detroit, Michigan, America – on his immigration card he confirmed his father was Alex Anstey and his place of birth was Little Bay. Joseph was naturalised as an American citizen in Michigan in February 1932, having declared his intention to become a citizen in May 1926, whilst living at 120 Seward, Detroit, Michigan. By the 1940 Census he was an accountant married to Josephine living in Wayne, Michigan);
  • Maria Avice Anstey (b 1912, known as Avice);
  • Elmo George Anstey (b 1918);
  • Thomas Oscar Anstey (b 1920, known as Oscar); and​
  • Audrey Joan Anstey (b 1923).

In the 1921 Census the family were at Little Bay Islands where Alexander was a fisherman. In the ‘1913 Mercantile Navy List‘, the ship ‘Reginald Anstey‘ built in Little Bay Islands in 1909, was owned by “Alexander Anstey of Little Bay Island” – he still owned it in 1925. The family were still in Little Bay Islands in the 1935 Census);

Joseph W. Anstey (b 1898 Little Bay Islands)

Joseph W. Anstey was born in 1898 (some sources say May 1896) in Little Bay Islands to parents Henry Charles Anstey and Mary Taylor. He grew up in Little Bay Islands and then moved with his family to Pilley’s Island. At some point during World War One he must have signed up for active service with the Royal Navy Reserve because on 19 April 1918 he was aboard the trawler ‘Crucis‘ which was part of a convoy accompanying the ship ‘SS Lord Charlemont‘ in the Mediterranean when the ‘SS Lord Charlemont‘ was torpedoed and sunk 22 miles north of Alboron Island Morocco by a German Submarine ‘U34’, whilst on a voyage from Spezia to Gibraltar. Fortunately, we have two reports which fill in the extent of Joseph‘s involvement in the subsequent rescue operation.

Firstly the ‘Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer‘ on 4 September 1919 reported “SEAMEN REWARDED FOR GALLANTRY: The King has been pleased, on the recommendation of the President of the Board of Trade, to award the Silver Medal for Gallantry in saving life at sea to Alfred Elsome DSM RNR second hand of His Majesty’s trawler Crucis, and the bronze medal to Joseph Anstey, Newfoundland RNR, leading seaman, and Harry Curman RNR deckhand of the Crucis. On April 19 1918 the Lord Charlemont of Belfast was torpedoed in the Mediterranean. The Crucis launched a boat under the command of Elsome and manned by Anstey and Curman and rescued the crew. It became impossible to return to the trawler and it was decided to make for the Spanish coast. Elsome remained at the tiller while Anstey and Curman rowed for 27 hours without a break until San Jose was reached. The master of the Lord Charlemont had been severely burned and Elsome and the two others were unremitting in their attention to him and others who were injured

Secondly, the ‘Evening Telegram‘ newspaper on 31 January 1922 fills in more details via a letter, which states:

Royal Humane Society Medal Presented: Editor Evening Telegram – Please permit me space in your much read paper to give a short account of a splendid entertainment which took place in the town of Badger Brook on January 21st, the object of which being to give special honour to Joseph Anesty of Pilley’s Island, who so highly distinguished himself on the 19th of April, 1918. While in convoy the S.S. Lord Charlemont of Belfast was torpedoed and sunk in the Mediterranean Sea. On observing that the vessel had been struck the Crucis, which formed part of the escort, at once bore down and launched a boat. Joseph Anesty and two others promptly responded to a call for volunteers to rescue the victims of the sinking ship, and they succeeded in picking up the master and four Chinese members of the Lord Charlemont’s crew. The boat was being driven by the rising wind and sea and it became impossible to return to the trawlers; it was accordingly decided to make for the Spanish coast. The boat ultimately reached San Jose on the morning of April 20th, two of the Chinamen having died on the passage. A special feature of the evening’s programme was the presentation of the Life Saving Medal by Captain H. H. W. Cole. There was a large gathering of people assembled when Joseph Anesty entered the hall, where dancing, etc., had already commenced. He was immediately conducted to the platform and introduced by J. M. Dooley, Esq., J.P.; whereupon Capt. Cole, having spoken in eloquent terms of our hero’s gallant action, presented him with the Medal awarded by His Majesty King George. A succession of loud cheers proposed by J. P. Cormier, Esq., were then followed by the strains of “And He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.” Dancing was again resumed, while the promoters of the entertainment, viz: Mesdames Cole, Dooley, Porter and Miss M. Coleman served a most delicious repast. In closing the writer extends to Mr. Anesty hearty congratulations on his receiving so high a distinction, and wishes him many years to enjoy his L.S.M. Thanking you for space, I remain, – Yours truly, M. D. Badger Jan. 23, 1922.

After this magnificent act of heroism, Joseph returned to Pilley’s Island where he was unmarried and living with his family in the 1921 Census – he was by then both a fisherman at a fishery and a lumberman.

On 26 October 1923 Joseph crossed into America on the ship ‘Kyle‘ to visit his sister Victoria at 4 Winthrop Street, West Newton, Massachusetts. On his arrival card he confirmed his place of birth as Little Bay Islands; his residence as Pilley’s Island; his trade now being a carpenter; and his nearest relative was his father Henry.

Joseph again crossed into Newton, Massachusetts from St John in June 1924, this time remaining there. In the 1930 Census he was boarding at Watertown, a couple of miles from Newton, still single but by now a house painter (in this Census he indicated that he first entered America in 1911). After this we lose track of him.

Further Details on the Little Bay, Twillingate Ansteys

#1. There is a report in the ‘Twillingate Sun‘ on 6 April 1889 which reads “A Sad Event: On Tuesday 26th a company of men went out from Little Bay to get seals carcasses from off the ice. It was a very stormy day and owing to fatigue and lack of food, one poor man Samuel Anstey died on the ice. His son was with him and only just managed to get to a house. One or two men almost met a similar fate. Anstey leaves a wife and a large family. He was buried Friday at Sandy Cove Island at which place he was brought in” – we cannot yet connect this clue though Samuel was likely a son of William Anstey (b 1817). Possibly connected is the unsourced clue “Little Bay 1888 – Birth of Naomi Susan to Anstey, Sam & Emily (VT)” as well as the sourced clues “James Charles Anstey born 7 February 1870 Kings Cove Green Bay Twillingate to parents Samuel Anstey (fisherman) and Emily King, baptised in Leading Tickles on 10 February 1870” and “Elizabeth King died 27 August 1895 Tilt Cove, Kings Cove of consumption aged 24 NOTES: nee Elizabeth Mary ANSTEY, d/o Samuel Anstey & Emily King; married Abner King 1891.

#2. There is a report in the ‘Evening Telegram‘ on 5 July 1912 “ACCIDENTALLY SHOT TO DEATH:From the officers of the SS Prospero we learn of a serious gunning accident, bring fatal results which happened at Little Bay Islands on Monday last, the victim being a young married man named William Anstey. Anstey left his house with gun loaded to go bird shooting. While getting into his boat he left the firearm on the stage head. The trigger suddenly snapped and the contents of the gun entered Anstey’s breast. Men who were on the fishing grounds heard the noise and rushed to the scene, finding the prone form in a pool of blood in the boat. All possible was done for the poor fellow, who never regained consciousness. He was taken to Little Bay to be treated by a doctor and while en route died. The sad affair has cast a gloom over the settlement” – we cannot yet connect this clue though William was likely a grandson of William Anstey (b 1817). Possibly connected is the unsourced clue “Little Bay 1880 – Birth of Elsie Jane Hull to Anstey, William (fisherman) & Sophie (VT)

We are actively on the lookout for Little Bay, Twillingate Anstey experts alive today who are willing to add their findings and knowledge to this project. We are particularly interested in research regarding Little Bay, Twillingate Ansteys who fought in World War One, preferably with personal souvenirs such as letters sent by the soldiers or military photos etc. 

Anybody who has such expertise and inclination, please contact us at

We have already uploaded bits of information and documentation about the Little Bay, Twillingate Ansteys, and continue to upload more all the time (see Project Updates), however it is spread over various segments of the website.

The best way to find said information is to enter ‘Little Bay’ in the search box at the bottom of this page and a list of relevant pages will appear.

Anybody who finds any mistakes on this page, please contact us at and we will correct it.

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