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David Kirke was born in 1597 and was active in the Newfoundland fishery from an early age. In 1629 Kirke and his brothers captured Quebec and Nova Scotia from the French and held both for the English crown until being forced to return them as part of the terms of the Peace of St. Germain in 1632. Newfoundland acted as a base of operations for Kirke's conquest of French Canada and it may be during this campaign that he first became familiar with Ferryland. In 1637 a syndicate headed by Kirke was granted the island of Newfoundland and the next year Kirke took up residence as governor at Ferryland. Kirke took Charles I side during the English Civil War and after the defeat of the Royalists he was forced to return to England to answer for his actions. He died there in prison in 1654.