Edgar Butt was born in Glovertown in 1926. Son of Joseph and Patience (nee Greening), Edgar was the last of their children and the only to be born in Glovertown. His parents moved their family from Flat Island to Glovertown in 1921, with the promise of work with the pulp and paper mill that was scheduled to open the following year.
At the age of fourteen, Edgar began working at a wood working factory owned by Arthur J. House. He worked with House for number of years in Glovertown, St. John’s, and briefly in Corner Brook, before returning to Glovertown with his wife Patricia to raise their family.
His first boat was a 31’ motor boat, built by order for a soldier returning from overseas. Edgar was nineteen at the time. “I used timbers for that one,” he says.
Edgar spent 26 years as the foreman in the carpentry shop at Terra Nova National Park, where he oversaw the construction of the Shanawdithit in 1962, named for the last known Beothuk woman in Newfoundland. Used as tour boat for the park, she was was 42 feet long and built from plans that were ordered from Nova Scotia. Her ribs were Nova Scotia grey oak and she was planked with local spruce, “cut up on Terra Nova Road,” Edgar recalls.
“We’d go up near the station four miles in and go alongside of the ponds. Usually by the side of a pond the trees would grow out this way,” indicating a curved shaped. “You’d know what shape you wanted… I used to go out in the winter, with a slide, cut the timber, slab it down – cut it on both sides to make it lighter – and put it on a hand cat. No skidoos, no dogs, no nothing.”