Sara Kirke

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Lady Sara Kirke was the wife of Sir David Kirke (1597–1654),[1] the governor of Newfoundland between 1638 and 1651. She is considered to be North America's "first and foremost entrepreneur".[2]


Lady Sara Kirke arrived at the Province of Avalon, in what is now the area surrounding Ferryland, Newfoundland and Labrador in 1638, with her husband, Sir David Kirke, following his appointment as Proprietary Governor.[1] When David Kirke was recalled to England in 1651, under a cloud of allegations of financial impropriety,[1] Lady Kirke continued to reside in Avalon, conducting the family businesses.[2]

Upon the death of Sir David in 1654, allegedly while imprisoned in England,[1] Lady Sara inherited a third of her husband's estate, based on dower rights. This protection from creditors and personal wealth allowed her to become one of North America's earliest and most successful entrepreneurs. Lady Sara ran the largest plantation that existed at that time, the Pool Plantation of Ferryland. According to the 1660 census, she was the largest planter in Newfoundland and owned more stages, boats, and train (cod liver oil) vats than any other planter.

The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance) presents a Sara Kirke Award for Woman Entrepreneurship in memory of Lady Kirke, awarded annually to Canada's leading female high tech entrepreneur.


  1. ^ a b c d See David Kirke.
  2. ^ a b Cybernalia, "But who is Sara Kirke?". Interview with John Reid, CATA President, Ottawa Citizen, January 23, 2003: E6.

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