Willie George Bussey,
Source: Robert Batten of Foxtrap, July 1998
"Willie George" was my grandfather's uncle.This story was given to me by Robert Batten, no direct relation, who also has Busseys in his family tree. The Charlie Batten he refers to is now deceased and was the father of Charlie Batten junior (former teacher) currently living in Foxtrap. A photo of Willie George can be viewed via the
Bussey Family photograph link on the Genealogy page of this site.
William George Bussey - He was the son of Joseph Bussey who was my great-grandfather’s brother. He was a bachelor and he worked in the mines on Bell Island. I don’t know if he worked underground or on the surface. Willie George, as he was locally known, was a very strong and powerful man. In consultation with Charlie Batten, he related to me a couple of incidents that Willie George did.
He would take two 56 lb. weights, one in each hand and smack them together three times over his head. He was known to have taken a deck of cards and tore them in two. He then placed the halves together and and tore them in two again. Willie George was a great friend of Joe Butler, Joe Poker, locally known, because he played a lot of poker. This Joe Butler said he seen Willie Joe tearing the deck of cards.
One incident at the “Beach” on Bell Island, there was a rowing or skulling contest. Anyhow, Willie George was a participant. At the beginning of the race he broke his oar. He called out to a friend on the beach or wharf to throw him out another oar. In the meantime, the other contestants had moved well ahead of him. By the time he retrieved the oar, he was considered by many to be out of the race. Because of his strength, he overcame his opponents and won the contest.
He was a very quiet man and of good character. However, like many Newfoundlanders, he liked a drink. At this particular time on Bell Island, and under the influence of alcohol, he was causing a disturbance. Somehow, the policemen managed to hand-cuff his hands behind his back. The policemen said they were going to take him to the jail. At that moment, he broke the hand-cuffs and warned the policemen by saying, “if you don’t have a wagon to bring me in, there is not enough policemen here to take me.” For years after, the scars of the cuts that were caused by the hand-cuffs could be seen on his wrists. It was rumoured that he let the policemen hand-cuff him. When he broke the hand-cuffs, the policemen realized Willie George meant what he said. He was double-jointed and this made him very difficult to be restrained. He was very agile, especially with his feet. Perhaps the policemen, knowing who he was, was just trying to test out Willie George’s ability.
In 1910, Willie George was killed when he fell from the train around Mount Pearl or Donovan’s area. It was rumoured that he was pushed off the train.
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