Sunday Snaps: Skipper Alex

Alexander Perry

Alexander Perry, or Skipper Alex (aka Alec) as he was called by many, was my husband’s grandfather. For those that don’t already know, our home on Perry’s Point for the past ten years is the same home in which Alexander and his wife Mary Jane lived and raised their large family.

Alexander worked as a skipper  on a number of fishing schooners. He made many trips to Labrador to fish for cod, which he brought back to Newtown to be cured before it was carried by ship from St. John’s to England and sometimes Jamaica.

Although I never met the man, I’ve heard many good things about him.  Skipper Alex was widely admired for his seafaring abilities, his pleasant disposition and gentle spirit, and his flair for storytelling. Locals loved to visit with him—or he with them—to be regaled with colourful tales of his experiences. Of course, having a love of stories myself, I wish I could have known him back in the day.

Below is a letter from Pompano Beach, Florida that Paul found in a box in the attic when we renovated our house. It was written by John Maxwell Barbour, known as Max, the eldest son of Captain Alphaeus Barbour. I imagine the letter meant something to Alex for him to hold onto it like that. He would have been 81 when he received it, and Max, 69. I typed the letter out for easier reading.

Jan. 22, 1969

Dear Skipper Alex,

This carries to you and to your good wife my warm congratulations on your 56th wedding anniversary.

Seeing your excellent picture brought back many memories of my boyhood days in Newtown and of our many contacts, all of which were pleasant and helpful in shaping me for the years ahead. To put it quite plainly, during that period you were one of my favourite adults and without question your personality made a good impression on me.

To my mind’s ear the sound of the guns fired at your wedding still comes thru. I recall the happy occasion well altho I was not old enough then to be a guest.

My wife joins me in sending you and your wife best wishes for continued health and happiness.

Very sincerely,
Max Barbour.

Many thanks to Lester Barbour for giving me some background on Max.
Photo credits: James Maine

“Granda” Perry on the Point – b. 1888 – d. 1977

36 thoughts on “Sunday Snaps: Skipper Alex

  1. Hi! I read this on my phone yesterday and responded, but for some reason it didn’t “go through.” I really enjoyed reading about your grandfather-in-law. It’s people like Skipper – men like Skipper – that we need more of in this world!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jennifer – I really enjoyed reading about Alex. I was struck by the words in that letter and how nice it was that Max Barbour made the effort to write to your husband’s grandfather. Such a wonderful show of respect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pleased to hear you enjoyed it, Barbara. I think it struck a chord with quite a few people. The post is being shared on Facebook a lot by Paul’s relatives and my stats have exploded. I found the letter very touching. Unfortunately old-fashioned letter writing seems to have fallen by the wayside.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. So is mine! My mother, Frances, has a beautiful handwriting because she came from a time when cursing writing was practiced. So you and I are in the same boat, so to speak. You know your handwriting is atrocious when only your mother can read your writing!!! Have a great week ahead.

          Liked by 1 person

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