Biographies and Obituaries of Darius Blandford Jr.(1847 - 1917)
Samuel's younger brother, Darius Jr., was born in Greenspond in 1843.(I believe this should be 1847, BPT) He too joined the family business, and for many years ran the blacksmithy. In 1893 he succeeded his brother as MHA for Bonavista, but as a Conservative supporter. He was re-elected in 1897, and in 1900 was one of only four Conservatives to survive the Sir Robert Bond's Liberal tide. Darius was also a seagoing captain, and at one time was master of the Southern Cross, which was later lost with its crew of 173 men off the south coast of the island in March 914, while returning from the seal hunt in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Darius Blandford, Jr., died on May 30, 1917. The town of Port Blandford is named in his honour.
(The Telegram Aug 10, 1999, Bert Riggs, archivist)
BIOGRAPHY: MHA for Bonavista 1893 - 1904.
A Greenspond blacksmith, Darius succeed his brother Samuel as MHA Bonavista, siting as a Conservative although his brother had represented the district as a Liberal. In 1899 he took command of the costal steamer Dundee and also became a noted sealing capitan as master of the Southern Cross. Darius founded the community of Port Blandford at the bottom of Bonavista Bay.
OBITUARY: PASSING OF CAPT. D. BLANDFORD
Hon. S. D. Blandford, Minister of Agriculture and Mines, received a message this morning from Greenspond informing him of the death of his uncle, Capt. Darius Blandford, of Port Blandford, who only a few weeks ago was forced to leave his steamer at Greenspond owing to being stricken by a severe illness, which yesterday terminated in his death. Capt. Darius Blandford was a brother of Hon. Capt. Samuel Blandford, and a son of Darius Blandford, one of the first of that family to settle in Bonavista Bay, making his home in Greenspond. In his early days Capt. Darius was a blacksmith by trade, but was always a Prominent figure in movements involving the betterment of his hometown.
In 1897 he successfully contested the District of Bonavista as a colleague of Messrs. Morine and Morison, and was known as one of the most practical members of the House of Assembly in the Morine Government. During the winter of the awful famine in Bonavista Bay Darius Blandford showed his worth and his adaptability as a representative of the people by rising to an occasion where the guidance of a strong and practical man was absolutely necessary and under his direction his constituents successfully overcame the hardships and difficulties which confronted them. In the year 1898 Capt. Darius first took charge of a sealing steamer, entering the firm of Messrs. Baine Johnston & Co. It was on his own application and strongly backed by the recommendation of his brother, Capt. Samuel, that he was appointed to the command of the Iceland. At the time many sealing critics adversely commented on appointment of a blacksmith to a sealing command, but the firm were greatly influenced in their action by the manner in which Capt. Blandford had dealt with various situations previously, and knowing the stamp of a man which he was, felt that his own confidence in his ability to successfully undertake the work was sufficient assurance that he would prove worthy of the trust placed in him. How well he justified his appointment is well known, for on his first spring out he brought in 22,040 seals and in two succeeding years he brought in respectively 13,071 and 20,288 in the same ship. In 1901 he was appointed to the Southern Cross which had the winter before been purchased by Messrs. Baine Johnston & Co. and established a record which has never been surpassed or even equaled. Sailing on March 10th for the icefields he arrived at Greenspond on the 19th with 26,563 seals on board. Many will remember, that the Southern Cross had then only one hatch and that the superfluous coal should be removed and the load of seals stowed down under these conditions and in the brief space of 9 days, placed Capt. Blandford on the top notch mongst the hustlers of the sealing fleet commanders. For the next three springs he again went in the Southern Cross and altho on two of these occasions there were poor fisheries he always secured his share of the fat, ranking amongst highest. In 1905 he took the Bloodhound, but the fishery that year was a poor one. The next spring, however, he was first in, the ship arriving at Hr. Grace on March 27th in a. disabled condition with 18,756 seals on board. In 1907 he went in the Vanguard in which he continued till 1909 when she was lost with several other ships on April 12th, the crew being brought in by the Algerine. The success attending Capt. Blandford in the prosecution of the seal fishery was due as much to good judgment as to good luck and early in his career in this Industry his splendid qualities influenced the Reid Nfld. Co. to secure his services as captain of the Dundee when she was first placed on the Bonavista Bay route, and it was perhaps in this work that he gained his greatest popularity. By his devotion to duty, his never ceasing courtesy to passengers and his consideration for those under him, he made his name a household word in Bonavista and those who at any time travelled on the Dundee were favoured with the personal solicitude of the captain for their comfort while on board the ship. Above all his other qualities Capt. Blandford was a hardy seaman and conditions had to be bad indeed when he could not contend with them. That he should die in harness was characteristic of the man, and tho he had reached the great age of 74 few who knew him, so active was he, ever thought him to be so old. He leaves many relatives to mourn him, amongst whom are a widow and three sons, Messrs. Samuel, Darius and Herbert, a daughter Miss Frances Blandford, a brother, Capt. James Blandford of Wesleyville, and three sisters, Mesdames, Ruxton and Skiffington of this city, and Mrs. Morell of Jersey, England, to all of whom the HERALD extends sympathy.
CAPT DARIUS BLANDFORD
We record to day the passing of a well known figure in the person of Capt. Darius Blandford, whose death occurred at Greenspond late last night. The deceased was taken seriously ill a short while ago while performing his duties as commander of the S. S. Dundee, and on reaching Greenspond, the place of his birth, he was taken to the home of his son, Capt. Darius Blandford, Jr., but despite the best medical attendance available he passed away at the time mentioned. The late Captain Blandford was 74 years of age and was a brother of the late Hon. Samuel Blandford, M.L.C., a famous seal killer, and uncle of Hon. S. D. Blandford present Minister of Agriculture and Mines. Born at Greenspond, B.B., the son of a blacksmith, in his younger days he assisted his father at his work, also taking a hand at the fishery. From early manhood he prosecuted the seal fishery, being for many years one of our most successful sealing masters, enjoying the distinction of making the quickest trip on record, which he performed in the ill-fated Southern Cross about 15 years ago. The voyage lasted nine days from the date of sailing to his arrival at Harbour Grace hailing for 26,000 prime young harps. Capt. Blandford also commanded the sealer Iceland and several other ships, in all of which he secured good trips. He entered the Reid Nfld. Co.'s service in 1899 and was the first and only commander of the S. S. Dundee, which ship performed the mail service on Bonavista Bay. Some years ago he moved his home from Greenspond to Port Blandford. the home port for his ship during the season. In the death of Darius Blandford the Reid Nfld. Co., loses a valuable and trusted official, the growing settlements of Greenspond and Port Blandford a kindly and sympathetic friend and the country at large a wise counsellor and patriotic gentleman. To the sorrowing relatives the Telegram offers deep sympathy. In commemoration of a trusted official the flag of the Reid Nfld. Co. flies half-mast at the Railway Station today.
IN MEMORIAM: CAPTIAN DARIUS BLANDFORD
Sad is the news that has reached us today,
Over the wires in the morning it flew;
Dear Bonavista, a son of you Bay By the cold hand of death has been taken from you.
His smile now no more shall your presence illume,
For his spirit has fled to the mansions above,
Where hearts who like his there shall ever find room,
Who trust on the mercy of God and his love.
It's said that he was the son of a blacksmith and that, as well as being a blacksmith, he
captained sealing vessels as did his sons James, Darius junior and Samuel. It also says
that his tombstone bore the inscription:
My sledge and anvil I'll decline,
My bellows too have lost their wind
My fire extinct, my forge decayed,
And in the dust my vice is laid.
My coals consumed, my iron is gone,
My nails are driven, my work is done.
The same source, incidentally, says that in those days Greenspond was known as the Sodom of the North on account of the swearing, drinking and sabbath-breaking that went on there. ( R.J. Saunders, The Greenspond Saga in History. Song & Story. Provincial Resource Library, St. John's (a compendium of Saunders' articles about Greenspond).