A history of the first settlers of Western Bay, (North)

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Western Bay (North), Newfoundland, settlers led
by Nicholas Perry, from Jersey


Baie de Verde in 1910

Written by Robert Penney in the early 20th century and passed to his son Hedley

Northern Bay 1900

Fishing expeditions

During the middle and last half of the 18th century, many people having heard of the abundance of cod, herring, salmon, caplin, lobster, etc, emigrated from Jersey, England and Ireland to Newfoundland, and every year saw hundreds of men coming to Newfoundland for the sole purpose of fishing.

As well as other parts of the island, many of them went to Conception Bay as far north as Carbonear, there being no harbour to the north of that which would offer any degree of safety to shipping in a storm.

Carbonear became, as one would expect, pretty much overcrowded for what available fishing ground there was to accommodate its ever-increasing population; and, as a consequence of this, fishermen would take on food supplies sufficient to last three of four days, in the event of their not being able to reach home through wind storms and other hazards which might be involved, and proceed farther down the shore in their little craft, each manned by two and three fishermen where, in nearly all cases, their efforts and daring met with remarkable success, each fishing skipper having his favorite fishing haunts.

This practice went on for some years and, realizing the advantage of proximity, it led to the removal of a number of fishermen from Carbonear - and from places farther up the bay, as far south as Holyrood - to places all along the North Shore, as far north as Bay-de-Verde.

Nicholas Perry

Having made the fishing grounds of Western Bay his chief fishing haunts during previous fishing seasons, one Nicholas Perry, originally from Jersey, was the first settler to establish himself at Western Bay (North).

On coming to shore for the purpose of securing caplin bait, as he had hitherto been doing, he landed at the beach on the north side of Western Bay and with axe in hand blazed his bounds through what was at that time a massive forest of timber. He began at the top of the slope which leads from the cove - which, incidentally, bears his name to this day, and went east along the waterfront for approximately 800 yards; then backtracking to the top of the slope again, he went west for about 80 yards (approximately) and from here at a right angle he went north for about 400 yards; then again at a right angle he went east for 800 yards and then south to his bounds at the water front and, I might add, these measurements are approximate.

To take a sufficient amount of water frontage, and with little doubt, a view of blocking rival settlers, he then crossed what is known to this day as "Perry's Cove Droke" and went in a southerly direction and blazed along for about 20 yards to the rear of the cliff until he came to what is know as "Red Land".

Before we go further with this narrative, we shall pause here and give a brief description of Western Bay. It is situated eleven miles (approximately) to the north of Carbonear; is about one mile in width and is at one point about two miles in length. It is a formidable forbidding place as a shelter for shipping, especially when a storm arises from the north, northeast, east or south-east. It really cannot be classed as a harbour, and to this end is more or less a 'bay', as its name implies. Although being under one school board, one road board and one pastoral charge, it is comprised of three separate communities - first, North Side; secondly, Riverhead, comprising that part between Northern Brook on the north to Southern Brook on the south; and third, South Side, including Bradley's Cove - and here, I might add, that this document is confined exclusively to that of the North Side.

Northern Bay 1910

Jersey Nick

Nicholas Perry was better known as 'Jersey Nick'. He had two daughters, Adelaide and Matilda, and four sons, Noah, Philip, William and John. They fished with their father during the summer, and at the conclusion of the voyage, being an industrious and aggressive family, they would till the soil with a view to raising vegetables for their consumption during the ensuing year. The piles of rock which serve as part enclosure of the estate and which were built into walls are mute testimony as monuments to the memory of these energetic pioneers.

During the winter their efforts were directed to the building of fishing boats - a trade at which they were very adept - and in the spring it was not surprising to see them with three and four fishing boats ready to be taken to Harbour Grace to sell to Ridley, their merchant, which proceeds, in turn, would be placed to their credit at the office as part payment for the coming summer's fishing supplies.

With the passing of time, the South Side of Western Bay became pioneered as well as the North with immigrants coming, no doubt, from farther up the Bay, among whom was one Matthew Dalton or "Matty" as he was better known. He was well built, fair and attractive and in his early twenties. He met Jersey Nick's daughter and, as time went on, they became very much affiliated, so much so that, ultimately, their marriage was evident, but not until her father would deed Matty the amount of his land estate which he so desired, and thereupon Nicholas, with great reluctance, concurred to his demand and this compromise meant nearly half of his land estate.

Family split

Matty Dalton was now a joint partner in the fishing rights as well. His son, Philip, disgruntled over his father's action in the Dalton deal, severed his ties with his father, refused to accept any of his father's estate, went out on the back of what is known as Tuff's Hill, blazed his claim to the rear of William Tuff and William Whiteway where he built his home, married and raised his family. For this action in breaking family ties, he was forever after branded by his parents as the 'Crook of the Family'.

Having no water frontage connected with his new environment, the McDonalds, being sympathetic to his predicament, had him come to their fishing premises and use it as if it were his own, which he did without cost or obligation to himself, until he retired from fishing. He, meanwhile, came in from the outside and to the rear of on Jeremiah Ford and adjacent to one John Jenkins blazed his boundaries for a plantation - as others were doing - for the purpose of raising vegetables for the support of the family. He had five daughters and three sons and, having raised them to man and womanhood, they all married and settled in their own homes. Nicholas married a girl from Harbour Grace and made his home there. William pulled up stakes and removed himself to Indian Islands, Notre Dame Bay. John, the youngest, built his home on his father's plantation. Philip sold his home to his brother Noah's son - William (Fred Perry's grandfather).

With the passing of the years, Jersey Nick's passing came also, but not before he had given equal portions of his estate to his three sons, Noah, William and John, and Matty Dalton. With his passing the four of them took over the direction of affairs and in subsequent years a commercial business, a while their fishing efforts met with repeated success from one season to another, it is only natural to predict that through bad fisheries, which also meant bad debts, failure and adversity lurked around in the not too distant future, and one year after another they fell deeper in debt to Ridley - their merchant at Harbour Grace.

In a supreme effort to pay off the large debt, they took upon themselves a venture to build a "brig" for the prosecution of the seal fishery - which at that time was just coming into its own - and the energy and zeal with which they began to accomplish this feat has seldom been equalled. They were successful in building this ship and the launching of same when completed, but this venture from one year to another still added to their debt, which had already risen to major proportions, and Ridley refused to extend to them any further credit.

Property sold

He at once placed a lien against their property to offset the debt into which they so deeply had fallen. Ridley's next move was to dispose of the property to anyone who might be found financially capable of buying it. There were two young men who worked in Ridley's employ as sailors on his ship plying between Newfoundland and England - one John Fitzgerald and one James Bouzan - who were ready buyers. They had saved some money from one year to another and had left it to their credit at the Ridley firm - there being no banks at that time in Newfoundland for safety deposit. John Fitzgerald bought the part belonging to Noah, and James bought that of Matty Dalton, who afterwards removed with his family to the north at a place called Muddy-hole which, in later years, was renamed Musgrave Harbour. William's part and that of John being still up for grabs, Robert Penney, Oliver Penney's son, and William O'Reilly, respectively, bought those remaining two parts.

After Jersey Nick's having become established here, another potential settler came on the scene - a friend of long standing - and possibly their friendship might have been brought about by ties of relationship. He crossed the droke and blazed his claim west of the trail - which later became an along-shore road - which separated his claim from that of Jersey Nick's. This newcomer was one Thomas Pennell, and his wife, Patience. Having no water frontage, Nick gave him of his claim any fishing rights to the waterfront that he might so desire. As time passed by, he fished at Perry's Cover until, at last, through old age, he became senile and could no longer work. He hereupon made a compromise with the elder of Noah's two sons, George, to live with them and support and care for them until their deaths in return for the whole of his estate.

George, having married Philip Perry's daughter, Elizabeth (his first cousin), talked the matter over with his wife and, realizing the location of the land estate, the proximity of the waterfront and the home - though humble - it offered an opportunity which they could not afford to pass up, so they seized it and the legal documentary procedure was signed and sealed to this effect.

Ochre Pit Cove 1910

William Walsh

Another arrival to establish himself was a young man and native of Ireland in the person of one William Walsh. It is not known whether or not he brought a wife with him. He went to the west of Nicholas Perry to what is known "Red Land" and took as his claim all the waterfront which terminates at what is known as Northern Beach; then at a right angle he went north for about 500 yards. This section of waterfront, however, is not what one would covet - the shore line being precipitous and, to add to this disadvantage, there is a hazard of shallow water extending for a quarter mile off shore.

Those two disadvantages had very little to offer as inducement for a fishing stand as the least on-shore wind would stir up such a commotion in the sea as would render fishing operations next to impossible. He was a typical Irishman, as was characterized by the extreme fondness he had for potatoes, and his yearly crop of this vegetable was large and varied. He had two daughters, Margaret and Anastasia, and four sons, Thomas, Maurice, Patrick and Richard. He gave to Thomas and Maurice equal portions of his land estate on which to settle and build their homes while Richard, being the youngest, inherited that of his father's estate. Patrick, a school teacher, died while quite a young man.

Richard had four daughters and two sons, and except for one son William, and one daughter, Laura, they made their homes in the United States. After the death of their brother, William, and their mother, the sister, Mrs Mary Freman, came from the USA and gave to the United Church as a deed of gift the whole of the land estate and the four-story dwelling which was erected thereon. The estate bears the name of "Jackson-Walsh Memorial" to the memory of the Walsh family who were the owners of the property and the Rev Oliver Jackson - a United Church clergyman who was accidentally drowned while on duty at a charge in Notre Dame Bay. It was on this estate that the Regional High School was built in 1960 and 1961.

Later settlers

All the water frontage having been claimed, the settlers who came later had to take their claims to the rear of the first arrivals. Among the later arrivals was one Thomas Sullivan and, not having any water frontage, it appears that a compromise was reached between Sullivan and William Walsh in connection with a land claim. Being an Irishman and a possible friend of Billy Walsh, the assumption is that he acquired a part of Billy Walsh's estate from the waterfront back to the north to a line with that of Billy Walsh's boundaries. This is purely hypothetical, and there is nothing on record to authenticate its validity, but the fact remains that his claim - approximately 200 yards wide - runs parallel on both sides with that of Billy Walsh's estate.

He had three sons, John, James and William, and two daughters. John and James though being men of giant size, so to speak, died while very young men and William, being of ordinary build, was married three times and lived with his father till his death and inherited his father's estate.

Another settler was a William Lundrigan, who took his claim next to the "eastern boundary" of Nicholas Perry and to the water front. Very little is known of his history as a settler, but it appears that as a fisherman he was not as successful as his counterparts. He contracted a debt one year after another through bad fishing failures with one David Bransfield - a sub-merchant from the south side of Western Bay - and to take another chance of supplying him for another fishing season, Bransfield refused to unless he would give him a mortgage on his land estate. Lundrigan, seeing no alternative, acceded to his proposal and signed an agreement to this end.

At the conclusion of the season, however, Lundrigan found himself deeper in debt and unable to meet his financial obligations. Bransfield therefore had a lien placed upon his estate. James McDonald bought half of the estate and Oliver Penney bought the other half. Where he went after leaving Western Bay is not known, but it is fairly safe to assume that he went north and followed in the same trail as that of his unsuccessful counterparts. His spouse was a midwife and she was always known as "Grannie" Lundrigan.

Bay de Verde 1910

Oliver Penney

Oliver Penney, who came from the south side of Carbonear, was next to arrive as a settler. He took his claim next to William Lundrigan. The object of each settler was to get a slice of the waterfront for the purpose of fishing and also as significant evidence to prove "who was here before whom". Oliver Penney had in addition to his two sons, James and Robert, a nephew, Mathias Howell, whom he took and raised to manhood subsequent to the death of his sister and her husband of Carbonear.

After the death of their father, on 8 January 1818, Robert and Mathias both carried on at the fishery as usual, but in joint partnership and off-season they both undertook the building of a schooner - the capacity of which was about 25 tons - for the purpose and prosecution of the herring fishery - an up-and-coming industry being carried on at wide magnitude on the south and west coasts of the Island during the fall and winter months. Having completed the building of their schooner, they both decided that they would go to the seal hunt with a view to earning money enough to offset the purchase of a suite of sails, chains and anchors for their ship; they also decided that they would not go in the same ship, but take alternate chances in two vessels.

In just under one month Mathias and the ship in which he sailed were back again in Harbour Grace with a full load of seal pelts; and the ship and crew which Robert had sailed were never heard of again. The loss of Robert placed his widow in a very precarious and complex situation with two small children, Elizabeth Ann (Betsy Ann) and John B. But with the sale of their schooner, which they successfully completed, it could keep them for a while at least. Finally she married John Perry, Philip's son, who proved himself a father to her two children and raised them to manhood and womanhood.

John Perry

James, the elder of Oliver's two sons, occupied and lived on his father's estate - and being twenty years older than Robert - carried on at the fishery as he hitherto had done. John Perry, guardian and step-father of the deceased Robert's two children, began at once through legal channels the complete appraisal of the whole of the late Oliver Penney's estate. The whole of the estate, now being shared to the most minute detail and each allotted to its rightful heir, John Perry took over and occupied the children's part until they became of age, at which time John B Penney married Sarah Halfyard of Ochre Pit Cove, took over his ancestral possessions and built his home upon his allotted half and raised his family of 13 children.

Those raised to man and womanhood are as follows: Robert (writer of this document), Richard H, George T, William H, Elizabeth Ann (Betsy Ann), Susanna, Abram B, Mark Embury, , and John; the four others having died prematurely.

James, the elder of Oliver's two sons and a brother of Robert, had two sons, Oliver and William, and to distinguish Oliver from the original Oliver (or first settler) we shall call him Oliver G (or grandson, to be precise) and when Oliver G, the elder of James' sons, reached manhood, his father bought the estate belonging to William Tuff and gave it to him, at which time he married a Mary Halfyard of Ochre Pit Cove and lived there until his death while still a young man. His widow was left with four children, James, Samuel, Susanna and Albert. She subsequently married Thomas White of Ochre Pit Cove.

William, the younger of the two brothers, acquired through inheritance that half of the old estate belonging to his father. He married a girl from Catalina, Trinity Bay, and the issue of this union was one daughter, Jessie, who on reaching the status of womanhood, her mother died and her father was left a widower. William later married the widow of Pearce Handrigan, an Irish schoolteacher, and having left his own estate to live with his wife, Anastasia, sold his own property to his cousin John's son, George T. This Penney account given here is the direct lineage or progeny of Oliver - the first settler.

Oliver Penney, who came here from the south side of Carbonear and established himself, had two nephews living at Carbonear who would come to Western Bay at the beginning of each fishing season to fish with Oliver, their uncle. Their names were Oliver and John and they, with himself, would form his crew until his own sons, James and Robert, and Mathias Howell were matured sufficiently to carry on the work with him. The nephews, being quite accustomed to Western Bay and its people, took upon themselves wives and their attention was now directed to building homes and a site upon which to build them. Oliver gave his nephew, Oliver N ( meaning nephew), a building lot to the rear of his own estate where he built his home. To John and Oliver N he gave equal portions of his plantation, upon which John built his home: the remaining part he kept for himself, half of which the writer of this document is living on at the present time. To Mathias Howell he gave half of that which he bought from the Lundrigan estate and the other half he gave to his nephew.

A map of Carbonear

Seal hunt

At this time the seal hunt was becoming a fast-growing industry and there was a great demand at the merchants at Harbour Grace for sealing punts and sealing punt oars and the building of these punts and oars meant extra earning for the people all along the shore. Oliver N was not slow in taking advantage of this avenue of extra income. He built a sealing punt to take to Harbour Grace for sale and John O'Reilly and Timothy Fahey, having a punt-load of those oars, seized the opportunity for the transportation of same to Harbour Grace, loaded them on board Oliver N's punt and left one morning in early February for Harbour Grace. Having left with his punt laden with oars, a furious storm of wind and snow came on and all three of them were never heard of again.

Oliver N had four sons, William, John, Oliver, and Robert. John, the younger of the two nephew brothers being nicknamed the "Puckawn", built his home on the land site which Oliver, his uncle, gave him of that which he had enclosed for his plantation. He had three daughters, one of whom married a King of Broad Cove, another married a Samuel English of Ochre Pit Cove and the third one married William Dwyer of the south side of Western Bay. He had two sons, Oliver and Solomon. (It is noted here that both John and Oliver the two nephew brothers, had sons named Oliver, they being first cousins. Oliver Penney, the first settler, was their great-uncle.

Oliver the elder son of John, married Philip Perry's daughter, Mary. He, in turn, built his home on a site given to him by his father - a part of which his father acquired from Oliver, his uncle. His family consisted of two daughters, Helen and Jane, and two sons, John and George. Solomon married as his second wife Mary Jane Foot - Michael Foot's daughter - his first wife having died just a little over a year after their marriage. His family consisted of four daughters Sarah - by the first marriage - Emily, Elizabeth and Annie. His sons were John, Nicholas, William, Thomas, Michael, Oliver and Solomon, who died of tuberculosis in April 1912, in his 24th year.

James McDonald

Another settler was James McDonald, who took his claim next to that of Oliver Penney. He was a tailor by trade and served with his Majesty's Navy ere he settled here. He had two sons, James and William, who carried on the fishery with him. At the early part of the 19th century communication was uppermost in everybody's mind, and an attempt was made for the first time to establish an overland clearing from Carbonear down on the shore; even though not up to modern standards, at least it was a beginning and the settlers were enabled to go on foot to Carbonear and Harbour Grace in summer and by dog team in winter. With the clearing for a highway along the shore, the settlers began to move from the waterfront to as near the highway clearing as their land claim to the rear would permit, and James was no exception in this move. He was a successful fisherman, as were also his two sons, James and William - Bud Perry's grandfather.

Next to James McDonald to take a claim was William Fitzgerald. He had two sons, John and Maurice. John, the elder of the two sons, while returning from a solo trip to the fishing grounds in a windstorm under reefed canvas and on entering anchorage a short distance from his fishing stage, accidentally fell overboard and was drowned. Maurice carried on at the fishery with his father and, having reached manhood, married Billy Walsh's daughter, Margaret, and from this union they had two daughters, Ann, who married a Cavanah from South River, Conception Bay, and Margaret, who married John Howell, Mathias' son, and had four sons, William, Maurice, Michael and Edward. Maurice was a noted violinist and at every entertainment, the musical entertainer, filling every request he was called on from time to time to perform. He died at middle age, his wife having predeceased him some years previously.

William Whiteway came next as a settler and, not being the greedy type of man, took as his claim just barely enough for his fishing convenience and his house. He had three sons, William, Nicholas and Mark, and five daughters. He removed himself subsequently to the rear of Thomas and Patience Pennell.

William Tuff was next to arrive as a settler and the claim which he had taken surrounded William Whiteway on all sides. He was a blacksmith by trade and, fishing being the order of the day, he considered his work from his trade as just a sideline. He became established here and if one is to judge from the size of the rocks and the walls into which they are built, one would concede to him at a glance the possession of superhuman ability. The cove from which he fished and the hill west of his estate overlooking the sea and the community bears his name to this day. It is not known where he went when he left here, but there is little doubt that opportunity from greener fields beckoned him as a tradesman and the impulse to meet this challenge might have hastened his departure.

Newfoundland fishermen's huts

Lawrence Doyle

In the next settler we may picture a young man, intrepid, daring and full of adventure. He arrived in late fall at a place called Gusse's Cove - approximately three miles to the south of Western Bay - and lived there with friends who had arrived there more recently. He is Lawrence Doyle. The following spring he left Gusse's Cove and walked farther down the shore, inspecting each place carefully with a view to taking a claim with some water frontage. Having reached the North Side of Western Bay, he took his claim next to that of William Whiteway - the measurements of which were approximately 500 by 1,000 yards.

We may picture him now after a short while, through mere perseverance, persistence and strenuous toil, living with his wife and baby son, Richard, in their own home until time and fortune would permit a more elaborate one. His next move was to construct a fishing stage at the eastern bounds of his claim at the west entrance of what was known as "Larry's Gulch". This construction, however, was only transient as the fall and winter storms and accompanying heavy seas soon dashed it to the elements of the wide ocean. To avoid a repetition of similar destruction to his fishing property, however, he would at the conclusion of the fishing season remove it to higher ground where he would be spared the work of securing timber and material for his stage for the coming season.

After the completion of the fishing season, he would direct his time and efforts to the cultivation of his land as a means for at least half of his livelihood. He was fairly successful at this, too, as the soil was very fertile and each succeeding year saw him with a couple of pigs, a milch cow, a couple of heads of beef cattle and a number of ducks and hens. In addition to this, he would raise potatoes, turnip, cabbage, parsnip, carrots, peas and beans sufficient to take care of his needs until the time came when the next crop would be harvested again. He had three daughters, Margaret, Johanna and Ann, and two sons, Richard and John. Richard, the elder of the two sons, having reached his late teens, secured a berth to the sealing hunt which later proved fatal and he, as well as the remainder of the crew were never heard of again.

Next to Larry Doyle were two Power brothers who built homes no what is known as the "Head" with Bartholomew (Bat) McCarthy. His stay, however, was even shorter than that of the Power brothers. He left one night in winter and visited Larry Doyle. A furious snowstorm came on, so bad that it was impossible to see more than three or four feet ahead. Between Doyle's and his own home there is a gulch running inland approximately 200 yards in length and about 30 or 40 yards in width and in the course of his homeward trek, he fell over this cliff, which from sea level rises to a height of 60 feet, and was killed. This gulch soon changed its name from Larry's to Bat's Gulch, by which it is known till this day.

Patrick O'Reilly

On the back and to the north of the Perry estate came another Irishman in the person of one Patrick O'Reilly. He had one daughter, Alice, and two sons, John and William. John, as mentioned earlier in this document, was drowned on his way to Harbour Grace with a puntload of sealing punt oars. In subsequent years Mathias Howell married Pat's daughter, Alice, and with this union Mathias also changed his religious concept, too, for that of his wife's for which her father, Pat, reimbursed them liberally with a goodly chunk of his land estate on which to build their home paralleling that and to the east of his own. William (Jack and Jim O'Reilly's granddad) inherited his father's estate.

Next and adjacent to Patrick O'Reilly comes Manuel Fudge. It is not known if he had any more children other than one son, John, and having reached manhood, he married and had three daughters and one son, William, and after his parents deceased, he moved to the north of the Island where he lived with his family until his death in 1902 or 1903.

Another newcomer to settle here is Jeremiah Ford, who took his claim to the rear of Oliver Penny's plantation. He built his home and later married one of William Whiteway's daughters. He had from this union two daughters and four sons, John, Thomas, Edward and Daniel.

As a consequence of Perry's Cove Beach having become a public landing place, there is little doubt but that this incentive prompted and induced Daniel Sellars (who is believed to have originated from England) to become a settler to the rear of this predecessors. He took his claim to the rear of James McDonald there he built his home. He, too, married another of William Whiteway's daughters. Their family consisted of two daughters and three sons Nicholas, Jonathan and Stephen.

Next to settle here and to the rear of Manuel Fudge is John Jenkins, but, in reality, his name was John Milford. He was serving with His Majesty's Navy and the ship to which he was assigned was ordered to Newfoundland on patrol duty, and it is possible that the opportunity which he may have been looking for came his way - he deserted his ship and came to Western Bay and, to avoid identity to the legal authorities, changed his name to that of his mother's maiden name, Jenkins. Hence, he and his descendents are known as Jenkins till this day. He built a home on his claim and married another of William Whiteway's daughters. They had one daughter, Ann, and four sons, William, Samuel, Eliot, and John.

Adjacent to John Jenkins and to the rear of Patrick O'Reilly, the next to take a claim was Benjamin Elsworth. He built a home and he, too, married another of William Whiteway's daughters. They had one daughter, Fanny, and three sons, Henry, James and Joseph, and when they reached manhood they went to the north of the island and settled in some of the bays.

To the rear of Benjamin Elsworth came one Samuel Wilcox and having taken his claim he built his home and married. They had two daughters, Mary Ann and Amelia, and two sons, William and Solomon.

Richard McCarthy

Another arrival to settle here was Richard McCarthy, who took his claim to the north of William Walsh and adjacent to Thomas Sullivan - the present boundaries of which are as follows; on the north that which later became a highroad clearing; and to the south also of William Walsh's estate directly opposite the Regional High School. He later removed from there to the northerly part of his claim approximately 800 or 1,000 yards due north and built his home there. The railway which came down on the shore in 1913 cut through the northerly part of his claim.

The economy, through bad fishing failures having become so strained and perverted which resulted in the times becoming lean and stringent, he subsequently was forced to sell to William Walsh - a sub-merchant - the land on which he built his first home for the meager "sum total" of one pound of tea. He had a bachelor brother, Bartholomew (Bat), mentioned earlier in this script, who settled on what is know as the "Head" near the Power brothers. Richard had three daughters and one son, Charlie, who on reaching manhood, being utterly tired and discouraged over bad fishing failures, seized the opportunity of trying his luck at Bay-de-Verde with another fisherman as a shareman.

This was a lucky move for Charlie as the cod would come to its shores every season in abundance and Charlie, being one of a "sixman" cod seine crew, soon distinguished himself as a codfish splitter and his practical skill and dexterity in this art soon made him a very important man as a fisherman. Many fishing skippers vied for his services, which meant that he could set a price on just what he wanted as a shareman for the coming summer's voyage, no matter how exorbitant it may be.

During all those summers, it was not without its romantic side of events. He met Mary Riggs from Bay-de-Verde and, having become very much affiliated in their romance, decided that they would get married during the forthcoming Christmas. James Riggs, brother of the bride, acted as bridesboy for Charlie, and Charlie's sister acted as bridesmaid for Mary and in just under one year the bridal attendants were also married to each other. Charlie had four sons, Jeremiah, James, Richard and John.

Richard McCarthy gave James Riggs, his son-in-law, part of his land estate on which to settle and build his home. The issue of this union was one daughter, Elizabeth, and two sons, James and Thomas. James, being retarded from birth, was a man of giant size, so to speak, and exceeded well over six feet in height. Thomas married Solomon Wilcox's daughter by his first marriage - they had a large family and having reached man and womanhood, they all emigrated to the United States and the Canadian mainland.

Michael Walsh

The next to settle here was another Walsh from Harbour Grace, but was not related in any way to William Walsh mentioned earlier in this document. His name was Michael and to distinguish him from the other William Walsh family, Michael and his family were known by the nickname of the "Tatter Walshes". He married another daughter of Richard McCarthy, who gave him a liberal amount of his land estate on which to settle and build his home. It is not know how many sons or daughters he had, if any, other than one son, John, who on reaching manhood, married one Margaret Brown from Harbour Grace and they had from this union three sons, Michael, Patrick and Richard.

Another settler to arrive is William Greene, who came from Rhode (or Road?) Island, England. He took his claim to the rear of Richard McCarthy in a northerly direction to a tilt, which bears his name to this day. He had one daughter, who married William Jenkins, and two sons, John and William, and like all the other settlers he fished and farmed, the greater emphasis being on the latter. His farm products were abundant and varied, such as potatoes, turnip, cabbage, parsnip, carrot, peas, beans and barley, and his livestock consisted of a horse, a couple of milch cows, a couple of pigs and a number of hens, ducks and geese. John, the elder of the two sons, on reaching manhood, emigrated to the United States where he worked in a coal mine and in an accident while working there was killed instantly. William lived on the old estate until his death.

It is quite clear that William Short was one of the last settlers to arrive here, as is clearly evidenced by the fact of the distance he had to go to the rear of those who came earlier. Having become established here, he married Fanny, the daughter of Benjamin Elsworth. Two daughters were born to them, Sarah Ann and Susanna, and one son John. It is evident that Thomas Hauley arrived at the same time as Short, as he took his claim paralleling that of William Short. He married and had one daughter, Mary (Poll), and two sons, Thomas and John, who in later years, as others did, sold their possessions here and went to the north of the Island in search of greener fields.

Another who came late was William Plucknutt. He took his claim to the north of Tinker's Marsh. He built a home and lived there as a bachelor for the greater part of his life and, after the death of Daniel Sellars, he married Daniel's widow where they lived together till he retired. On reaching retirement, Daniel's son, Nicholas, cared for them until their deaths in return for his estate.

William Curtis, having arrived later and there being no water frontage, took his claim to the west of Patrick O'Reilly and to the rear of the Roman Catholic church and cemetery. Having established himself here, he took a wife. This union resulted in one son and one daughter. The son, while crossing a pond, returning from the forest with a load of firewood, fell through the ice and was drowned. His daughter married Robert Penney, youngest son of Oliver N Penney, and cared for her parents until their deaths and eventually acquired the estate.

William Chidley

William Chidley was a tinker by trade and having taken a claim to the rear of Larry Doyle and to the east of a marsh, which to this day bears his trade-name, he and his wife established themselves. His trade as a tinker in the manufacture of the cod liver oil lamps was now paying off. In those days, there being no kerosene - here on the north shore at least - and most certainly no electric lighting facilities, the cod liver oil lamp was the standard rule. Chidley was now doing a brisk business filling orders from up and down the shore - and the whole north shore of Conception Bay - in the production of those lamps. They had no descendants.

Among other late arrivals were two Fitzgerald brothers, Edward and James. They took their claim to the rear and east of Larry Doyle. James was better known as "Foxy Jim - the Fiddler" who proved himself in this art with marked proficiency, and married the fifth of William Whiteway's daughters. James had three sons, William, Thomas and John Patrick - the latter being nicknamed "Larity". Edward had one son, John.

Another latecomer was one Michael Foote. All the land to the rear of the first settlers being claimed and having married Noah Perry's daughter, Amelia, and their having been very closely related to the Parry's, he acquired a building [lot] from John Perry, Philip's son, just sufficient on which to build his home. He had two daughters, Mary Jane and Abigail, and one son, Thomas, who in later years went to the north and made his home in a harbour called Snooks Arm on Cape John.

Michael McGuire, a stonemason, of outstanding ability, was also among the late arrivals and came here from Ireland. The later generations of the former settlers, as well as the first settlers, were now concentrating on the building of more elaborate and modern homes and this is where Michael McGuire came into the spotlight and his services now were in constant demand in the art of masonry. To build a stone chimney in a two-story dwelling was not to be taken lightly, by an amateur at least, but to Michael this was no headache and every year saw him employed out of the neighbourhood, as well as in, at this work. He took a claim to the rear and west of the Fitzgerald brothers. Here he built his home and raised his family. He had two daughters, Elizabeth who married James, William McDonald's son, and Katherine who married John Wodfine (nicknamed "Cashue") of Northern Bay. James, the elder of the two sons, emigrated to the United States. Thomas lived with his parents until their deaths and it goes without saying that some of Michael's skill rubbed off on his son, Thomas, as was clearly reflected to a remarkable degree in this art with equal proficiency.

Another latecomer was Charlie Taylor who came from South Hampton, England and landed at Freshwater, Carbonear. He was serving with a fisherman (as sharemen) who fished at Labrador. During the summer he met John (Melford) Jenkins' daughter, Ann, and after arriving home in the fall, they were married. Having had no place of his own at Freshwater, John Jenkins gave him sufficient land on which to build his home. From this union they had one son, James.

Around the middle of the Nineteenth Century the later generations, realizing the necessity of education and culture, built a school for the present and up-and-coming generations. They sent over to Ireland and had a schoolteacher come out in the person of one Pearce Handrihan. Having arrived here, he took a claim to the rear of Jeremiah Ford where he built a home, taught school in winter and farmed in summer. He married William Walsh's daughter, Anastasia. They had one son, James, who on reaching manhood, married. They, in turn, had two daughters and while still a young man, he contracted a chill which later developed into pneumonia and he died.


The origin of the account contained in this document is based mainly on tradition and there is little on record to vouch for its authenticity, and is written with the hope that it may be retained and preserved for posterity's sake. My father, Robert Penney, having had a wide aptitude for history in all its phases, especially ancestral history, acquired all this information from Mathias Howell and George and William, sons of Noah Perry, and he, in turn, passed it along to the undersigned more than 50 years ago.

Hedley Penney
January 1964

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Descendants of Jean Perree (1490)

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