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Avalon South Region - Conception Bay South District

Bell Island - Misc. Historical Tidbits
The information was transcribed by VI SMITH. Beautiful Bell Island is steeped in history. Bell Island is often ascribed to as Wabana, "where the sun first shines"

             OUR ISLAND HERITAGE

They came here from their Isle of Green
To this new land they had never seen
Where Erins' sons would be secure and free
And earn their living from the sea.

Still others from old England's shores
Opportunity had opened wide its' doors
To Build a house, raise a family
And earn their living from the sea.

They came from Scotland's moors and dales
and from the dark coal fields of Wales
A few from France and from Jersey's Isle
To earn their living from the soil.

Though former enemies they soon became friends
For on each other they must depend
They lived together in harmony
And earned their living from the sea.

Their bodies rest long beneath the sod
Their souls we trust have gone to God
An heritage proud they left for you and me
For they earned their living from the soil and sea.

- John W. Hammond: The Beautiful Isles


Following are excerpts taken from The Beautiful Isles"  by John W. Hammond

It would appear that many people settled on Bell Island during the early days of colonization.  Some names have been recorded and there is no doubt that many settlers who lived here for periods of time left without any permanent record of their stay. It is said that Sir John Guy anchored off the north side of the island in 1610   Bell Island listed as a fishing station is listed below.

YEAR

WHERE FROM

SHIPS

MEN

BOATS

1675 Dartmouth 1 50 10
1676 Dartmouth 1 45 9
1677 Dartmouth 1 62 12
1681 Dartmouth 2 130 26

1706

GREAT BELL ISLE 1706

Names

Wife

Children

Servants

Kept Boats

Sciffs

Fish Taken

John Fancy 1 2 6 1 1 600
Honary Thistle 1 5 4 1 0 350
Wilb McThakan 1 0 4 1 0 340
Thomas Wooder 0 0 9 1 1 580
Sam Hammon 0 0 12 2 0 700
Will Pearrey 0 0 16 2 1 900
Thomas Burt 1 3 4 0 1 200
Robert Cook 1 3 4 0 1 350
Total 8 5 13 59 8 5 4020

A special thank you to Owen Kelly for providing this information

1814

State and Condition of Belle Isle, September 1814 Colonial Records - Vol. 25

NO.

OCCUPIED

ACRES CULTIVATED

ACRES ENCLOSED

REMARKS

1 John, James & William Pitts 12 12 These men are natives and carry on the fishery in Lance Cove at the west end of the Island
2 Edward Cooper 15 15 This man is a native, and has his fishery in Lance Cove
3 George Reece 7 7 This man is a native, and has his fishery in Lance Cove
4 Hiscock and Kennedy 4 4 This man is a native, and has his fishery in Lance Cove
5 William Kent 4 4 This man is a native, and has his fishery in Lance Cove
6 Thomas Lahey 8 6 This man has no fishery, and resided with his family at a part called Scrape
7 James Sweeney 2 40 or 50 This man is not employed in the fishery, and has no family
8 Edward Harragan 3 4 This man fishes on the shores, and has a large family
9 Owen Kelly 1 10 or 12 This man fishes on the shores, and has no family
10 John Claharty 1 1 This man fishes on the shores and has no family
11 Michael Power 3 3 This man is aged and infirm and unfit for the fishery
12 Mary Power 2 2 This woman is a widow, and has no concern with the fishery
13 Hester Kelly 4 6 This woman is a widow, with children - no fishery
14 John Foreham 2 3 This man is old and infirm, and is unconnected with the fishery
15 Henry Normer 3 3 This man is a native, with a family and has a fishery
16 Robert Normer 3 3 This man is a native, with a family and has a fishery
17 James Kent 3 4 This man is a native, and has a fishery but no family
18 James King 3 5 This man has a family and fishery
19 James Oats 4 5 This man is a native, and has a family and fishery
20 Martin Dwyer 6 6 This man has a family and fishery, and is a peace officer
21 Benjamin Squire and
Sylvester Tapp
6 6 These men are natives, with families and fishery
22 Henry White and Martin Fardy 5 5 These men have families and fishery
23 Oliver Welsh 2 2 This man has a family and fishery
24 William Ryan 1 1 This man fishes on the shores, and has a family
25 William Stevens 3 3 This man is a servant, with a family
26 Peter Fitzgerald 7 7 This man has a family and fishery, and rents' five acres of the land he occupies from James Kehoe
27 Patrick Boland 2 2 This man is aged and infirm, and has not fishery
28 Patrick Mahaney 1 5 This man is a fisherman, and has no family
29 Peter Jackman 10 10 This man keeps a fishery, and has a family
30

James White
and
John Scanes

4 4 These men have families and are fisherman
31 Thomas Searle 3 3 This man has a fishery and a family
32 Thomas Phelan
and
John Dwyer
4 4 These men are fishermen without families and rent their farm from Richard Haynes for 12 pounds
33 Richard Squire 3 3 This man lives in Quidi Vidi, and has a fishery and family
34 Patrick Bowden 60 60 This man, who has a wife, has no fishery, rents his farm to Col. Skinner for 25 pounds.  The Colonel purchased one at the Sheriff's sale and the other half from James Keefe, who bought it from Robert Brine, who purchased the whole in lots from different people who originally cleared the land
35 Richard Tobin 1 100 This man is absent fishing, and has his projected estate at the east end of the island
36 Richard Tobin 10 10 This man, before described, who rents these 10 acres
37 Roger Kehoe 2 2 This man has a family and fishery
38 Gregory Norman 1 1 This man has a family and fishery in Portugal Cove, and is a native
39 James Kavanagh 1 1 This man has a family, and fishes on the shores

NB:  The quantity of land set down in the above report is by Computation.  Signed, J. Bland, Sheriff


Memorandums from government records for November 21, 1814 are as follows:

William Kennedy of Lance Cove in the island of Belle Isle in Conception Bay, having applied to me for permission to erect a fishing room in an unoccupied space of ground in Scrape Cove in said island.  Permission was granted.   Signed - Governor R.G. Keats.

To: Martin Dwyer, Head Constable of Belle Isle - Memorandum regarding Martin Dwyer's application to erect a fishing room on the unoccupied space of ground at the western extremity of the Beach.  Permission granted.

1816 - There was a reference to George Hiscock and William Kennedy of Lance Cove as being fishing partners.

Royal Gazette - November 11, 1822
John Murphy's packet boat, plying between Portugal Cove and the north side of Conception Bay, lost this day with Skipper Murphy, Martin Casey, and several other passengers and crew.

Thomas Rees
In the possession of Mr. Thomas Rees is a beautifully carved powder horn which reads:

"John Stone
Big Bell Isle
Conception Bay, Newfoundlande
February 3, 1824"

1832

November 1832 Belle Isle Petition to Sir Thomas John Cockrane, protesting the changing of electorial district of St. John's to the district of Conception Bay
John Dwyer James Kelly Edward Kennedy
Andrew Murphy John Fitzpatrick Terrence Kennedy
John Jackman Dennis Dwyer William Kennedy
James Jackman James Cosh John Kent
Richard Manning Thomas Whalen Peter Kent
John Morris Charles Whalen William Kent
Solomon Normore Matthew Kelly William Stoyles
Edward Normore William Pitts Michael Hammond
Peter Jackman James Cooper George Rees
Henry Normore Edward Cooper John Rees
Stephen Long William Clemens James Pitts
John Long George Hiscock James Oatta

Henry Bickford

Provincial Archives G/N2/2 - Transcribed by Vi Smith May 2000

© Vi Smith and NL GenWeb