Arnold's Cove is a community situated on the eastern side of Placentia Bay. Elders tell us that the community was named after Captain Arnold who settled here in the early 1800s. Much of our early history is passed on on through folklore and there is no reason to disbelieve how the cove got its name. Arnold is a common English first name as wall as a surname.
It is very difficult to pinpoint when the first European settlers first came to Arnold's Cove but it may be much earlier than many believe. We do know that French migrant fishermen were active in Placentia Bay in the late 1600s and had established in Placentia, Port Verde and Oderin. The French became very active in the Come By Chance area by the late 1600s as well, and had established a farm at Bordeaux which they named after Bordeaux in France. Records indicate that an English settler, Michael Power, requested permission to improve a room and enclose ground for cultivation at Bordeaux.
The first complete census of Arnold's Cove was taken in 1835 which included Bordeaux and Come By Chance and had a total population of 42.
By the time the second census was taken in 1845, Arnold’s Cove was listed separately having a total population of 23.
There were five dwellings belonging to John Boutcher, Ambrose Guy, Philip Hollett, William Hollett and Richard Hollett.
Ambrose Guy settled inside Guy’s Head in 1836, claiming land from the Head to the church cemetery and back a fair distance from the high water mark.
John Boutcher came around the same time, staking his claim to the land from (and including) the old church cemetery to the present day Foodland reaching across the peninsula from “from sea to sea”.
Philip, William and Richard Hollett took land on the eastern border of John Boutcher’s.
The five men set up their fishing premises and, for the next two decades, that remained basically the structure of Arnold’s Cove.
Ambrose Guy was an Englishman, born 1800 in Marnhull, North Dorset. He came to Newfoundland around 1820, settling first in Burgeo. At that time Burgeo, population 50, was a small fishing settlement on the west side of Placentia Bay, 13 miles by boat from Placentia. Ambrose worked his way from Burgeo to Arnold’s Cove via Sound Island and Bordeaux. Somewhere along the way he found a wife.
In 1831, Ambrose and his wife, Elizabeth, were living and working at Bordeaux and on September 25th, they brought their infant, Ann, to Sound Island for baptism. The following day, September 26, they brought three older children to be baptized. Before Elizabeth died on October 28, 1838, she and Ambrose welcomed two more children into the world. The youngest, named for her mother, was born December 23, 1835 and was baptized at Bordeaux on October 19, 1836.
It was the lure of work at Bordeaux that brought the first settlers to Arnold’s Cove. An Englishman named Thomas Adams arrived in Newfoundland in 1817 and established a plantation at Come by Chance. Adams was a farmer and quickly sought out all the arable land in the area to expand his plantation. He discovered land at Bordeaux already cleared and positioned close enough to Come by Chance to make it a feasible part of his holdings. He needed labourers, both male and female, and found them amongst people who had emigrated from his own part of England. Ambrose Guy was one of these men whose place of birth in Dorset was just three miles distant from that of Thomas Adams. It was likely that the families were acquainted with each other in England.
While Adams needed workers, it was seasonal work and the people who toiled on the land there were required to establish their own homesteads outside the Bordeaux property. Ambrose Guy chose the closest point by boat and settled in the shelter of Guy’s Head in Arnold’s Cove. Before the death of his wife in 1838, Ambrose and his family comprised eight of the tiny population of Arnold’s Cove.
John (Jonathan Sr.) Boutcher had moved around the area from Sound Island to Bordeaux to Mussel Harbour Arm (Kingwell) before settling in Arnold’s Cove. His son, Jonathan, was born at Bordeaux. Jonathan Jr. would later become known as the Father of Arnold’s Cove in that he was mainly responsible for the establishment of community infrastructure, school, church and cemetery. But that didn’t happen until more than thirty years later. By 1848, Johathan Sr. had moved to Spencer’s Cove.
Where Johnathan Boutcher’s family came from has been difficult to pinpoint. The name has been abrogated over the centuries from Boutcher to Butcher to Bulcher and back to Boutcher. A great great grandson, now living in the US, claims to have a family bible in which it is written that Jonathan Sr, was born on a ship (Blue Cloud or Blue Clyde) crossing the English Channel as his family emigrated from France to Britain. Whatever the story, it is fairly certain that the family lived in the Dorset area of Britain within a 10 km radius of Poole.
The Holletts also came from the Dorset region of Britain, probably Beaminster, their name being previously “Hallett”. Once arriving in Newfoundland, the first Hollett followed basically the same route along the coast as Guy and Boutcher. However, the family quickly spread out to various areas around the Bay, including Burin, Buffett, Spencer’s Cove, Sound Island and Arnold’s Cove. While Philip and his sons, William and Richard, settled in Arnold’s Cove, Richard soon moved on to make his home in Rantem, Trinity Bay.
For nearly a decade, from 1848 to 1857, these three families were the only inhabitants of Arnold’s Cove. They built up their waterfront properties and each had a “tilt” further inland toward the present day Trans Canada Highway where they spent their winter months. The men found seasonal work at Bordeaux and at the newly established La Manche mine. They fished in their “spare time” and left the salting, curing and drying to the womenfolk.
Somewhere between 1848 and 1857, a new family arrived. Mark Chick was also an Englishman who first settled in Oderin. He was married with one son, Albert. Chick claimed property on the eastern side of Philip Hollett, land that would later cause quite a squabble . Mark’s son, Albert, had no heirs and died in 1935. When his wife died in 1939, his land was apparently up for grabs. But 1939 is ages away yet....
By 1857, Ambrose Guy's surviving children by his first marriage had reached adulthood having been born between 1822 and 1835. Ambrose had two male offspring, James and John, born 1825 and 1827 respectively. Of the girls, little is known, as the early Church Society Reports and Census lists only males.
It is fairly certain that Ambrose Guy married a second time after moving to Arnold's Cove and had several more children. Two of his daughters lured new male blood to the Cove between the years 1866 and 1871. Elizabeth married Henry William Peach of Spencer's Cove and Jane married George Warren of Ragged Islands. Henry settled permanently while George remained a year or two before taking his bride back to Ragged Island to the rear of her father's homestead and a tiny piece of waterfront (enough for a stage and flake) with a right -of-way from her house to the stage. This established a secondary road (grandiose name for a path) which is now called Peach Avenue.
George Warren would later return to this area and establish a homestead at Wild Cove.
Sometime during the latter half of the 1850's Jonathan Boutcher captured the heart of a Sound Island lass by the name of Matilda Beck and between 1858 and 1877 they filled their home (which was located where Foodland is today) with nine children.
Mark Chick added a daughter to his family in 1868.
After 1872, Phillip Hollett's name disappears from the Church Society Reports. It is not known if he died or relocated. William Hollett, however, remained in Arnold's Cove and by 1894, three of his sons (Solomon, William Jr. and Emanuel) had married and established homesteads on the Hollett property.
For the first half century of habitation Arnold's Cove had no church or school or official burying ground. Children were taken to Sound Island or Bordeaux to be baptized. it wasn't until the 1880's that Johnathan Boutcher gave a portion of his land for the public good. A schoolhouse was constructed on the site where the War Memorial now sits with a church and cemetery adjacent to it bordering the Guy land. By this time, Ambrose's grandsons from his first marriage, as well as his sons from his second marriage were establishing homesteads and starting families. The village was teeming with little Guy's.
By 1894, Benjamin and Stephen Hynes had established themselves in Arnold's Cove. Where they came from or why they came here is unknown. Local legends abound. Some say they came here by the Burgeo Islands following their sister Rachel's marriage to Ambrose Guy's grandson. Others say the Hynes' brothers left the Burgeo Islands to work at the La Manche mine and when the mine closed, they floated, or hauled over the ice, one of the houses there to Arnold's Cove. Two other homes were floated or hauled from LaManche to Arnold's Cove around the same time by Solomon Hollett and Mark Chick's son, Albert. These homes created quite a stir as they stood in stark contrast to the existing log huts with dirt floors.
These three fine dwellings were located on what is now Main Road. Benjamin and Stephen Hynes' house were east of the Chick land.
Just before the turn of the century, a widower by the name of Benjamin Branstone (Brinston) relocated from Sound Island with his family of three sons and two daughters. Benjamin worked for Jonathan Boutcher and Boutcher gave him some of his land between the little schoolhouse and his own dwelling (which today is marked by the War Memorial and Foodland).
At this time (1898) the population of Arnold's Cove had grown to 160 with these seven families - Guy, Boutcher, Peach, Chick, Hollett, Hynes, and Brinston.
Although the village provided a connection to the Newfoundland Railway, people on the Islands chose to use it as a gateway to the "outside world" rather than relocate here. So for the next sixty years, until the Resettlement era, Arnold's Cove saw lots of traffic but its population remained much the same.
The first recorded businessman in Arnold's Cove was Jonathan Boutcher, a trader, who moved from Kingwell ca. 1850. He slowly built up a mercantile business that included a large wharf which had a general store on one side and fishing premises on the other. He carried on a trade with the local fishermen and maintained schooners and a mill.
The next business was established in the early 1900s when a family of Becks from Sound Island established a saltfish business along with a general store in the cove. The store was later operated by Herbert Eddy and in 1932 Alice (Adams) Guy and her brother Nelson bought the premises.
Benjamin Guy had a small mercantile business in Arnold's Cove from where he sold supplies and bought saltfish.
In the 1930s a Co-operative was started in Arnold's Cove. This was the same system developed by Commission of Government. The facility was run by George Guy until the late 1940s. Ernest Hollett then became manager and ran it until it burned down in 1964. The Co-operative operated a general store only. The saltfish trade was now being handled by the firm of Alberto Wareham of Spencer's Cove.
In the late 1940s a general store was opened in Arnold's Cove by George Guy. He also opened a Taxi service, carried the mail, and ran the Post Office and Telegraph Office.
Len and Amy Quinton set up a gas station, small restaurant, and campgrounds at the bottom of Arnold's Cove in the early 1950s. They used old buses for cabins and many people can remember the gas pump because of the tank that was elevated high off the ground. The gas had to be manually pumped into the glass tank to the level required and was then delivered by gravity feed. This business was later sold to Alex Lockyer who started a motel/lounge on the site.
Early health care in Placentia Bay was carried out mainly by the women of the communities who administered a blend of old English and Irish traditions, together with any new home remedies learned from association with aboriginals.
It appears that the first trained nurse in our area was Mrs. Shorter, the wife of Rev. Shorter, the Anglican Minister for the Parish of Harbour Buffett who came there in 1896.
The first medical doctor to come to the area was Dr. Neil McKendrick who was born in New Brunswick and came to Placentia Bay in 1889. This was at the time of a diphtheria epidemic. After travelling extensively, he eventually set up practice in Placentia and became the District Durgeon in 1899. For the next thirty years he was the only medical doctor in the eastern side of the bay. Although Dr. McKendrick did not visit the outports after he set up practice in 1899, the population now had a place to get medical help in times of need.
Early in the twentieth century, Dr. Arch Chisholm set up a medical practice in Whitbourne. He conducted visits to communities in the bottom of the bay via railway and boat.
Midwives were usually the only source of maternity care for most communities. These women were often sought as community nurses as well. In Arnold's Cove one of the first midwives was Mary Ann (Hull) Guy. Later Amelia Hynes also became a midwife. Mrs. Alice Guy remembers the midwife coming to live with the family a week or so before the baby was due. She would then take over the woman's chores of running the household and live with teh family until after the baby was born. This tradition continued until a cottage hospital was constructed at Come By Chance.
In the 1930s the Commission of Government began constructing cottage hospitals in rural Newfoundland. In 1935, a cottage hospital was constructed in Whitbourne, and in 1936 construction was started on a cottage hospital at Come By Chance. Walwyn Cottage Hospital opened in 1936. Its first doctor was Dr. Mel Coxon and under his direction the hospital served over forty communities in Placentia and Trinity Bays. In the first year of operation over 455 patients were treated.
Arnold's Cove was very fortunate to be situated directly on the railway line between the two local hospitals. These hospitals provided a sense of security that the isolated communities on the islands would never see.
Walwyn Cottage Hopsital in Come By Chance
In 1901 there were eleven lobster factories operating in Arnold's Cove. In addition to canning lobsters, the fishermen of Arnold's Cove fished for salmon in nearby Come By Chance, which added a new dimension to their canning business.
By 1900 the fishermen of Arnold's Cove and the area were participating in the herring fishery in a big way. There was a huge market for herring in America, and an American Company set up a business on Sound Island to purchase and "Scotch cure" herring. In 1902 D.H. Murray also began a herring business on Sound Island. These operations ensured a good market for the herring fishermen of the area. The fishery continued to be the mainstay for many families of Arnold's Cove over the years. Not only did the fishermen partake in the fishery close to home, many went to Cape St. Mary's and other places farther out the bay. Gradually the old merchants in the covew retired from the salt fish industry and the fish was collected by Alberto Wareham Ltd. and other companies in the bay.
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There is no recorded history of Bordeaux prior to the early 1800's although several stories indicate that it was inhabited for many years:
1. Maritime Archaic People lived and hunted there
2. The Basque used the site as a whaling station and the site was named "Bordeaux" by the Basque
3. The French in Placentia and pirates used the site as a rest stop on their forays into Trinity Bay via an overland route across the Isthmus. Legends abound about a "treasure" that is buried on Bordeaux. A well atop Adam's Head was actually called Frenchman's Well.
Thomas Adams was born in Sturminster Newton, Dorset, England in 1795. He came to Newfoundland in 1817 brimming with ambition to build a good life in a new land since the opportunity to do so in England was taken from him by the introduction of the Enclosure Act. He was 22 years of age. His background was in farming and animal husbandry.
Thomas purchased a small tract of land that was already under cultivation near the mouth of the Come By Chance river. He set up a homestead with cows, sheep and poultry. He searched out possible sites nearby where he could expand his pastures and growing fields. He found land that had been previously cleared but currently uninhabited at Bordeaux, a couple of miles distant from Come By Chance. While this increased his changes of expanding his farming enterprise, he quickly came to the realization that there was little arable land in the bottom of Placentia Bay and that in order to prosper, he would have to adapt somewhat to the main industry of the day which was fishing.
Thomas married a woman whose first name was Mary and soon had a family of five. Mary was a capable person who managed the day to day work of the farm while Thomas was away to Cape St. Mary's fishing. As well as making butter, cheese, shearing sheep, tending and weeding he crops, she set salmon nets in the Come By Chance river, salted and cured the salmon which contributed greatly to the family income. Within a couple of years, Thomas we\as ready to build a proper "English home" at Bordeaux and moved his family there. He leased his land at Come By Chance to his manservant, William Gaylord, for a portion of the annual yield of oats, rye, barley and hay.
On Bordeaux, besides building a comfortable home, Thomas erected elaborate fishing premises in the lee of Adam's Head. He created a breakwater reinforced with rock and wood, a wharf and a fishing stage. On that beach, facing Arnold's Cove, he erected a two story building. The ground floor, he used for knitting nets, making sails, and storing his fishing equipment during he winter. The top floor was a general store where his farm production was kept until it was sold. People from around the bay would sail to Bordeaux to purchase fresh, salted or dried beef, eggs, cheese, milk, butter and some vegetables.
Thomas employed a workforce of twenty or more both male and females. Some of these workers were involved with his fishing operation, others with the farm. The female workers did the dairy work under Mary's supervision. They also fed the workforce, did the cleaning, and tended the fish flakes. During winter, most of the male workers returned to their families while the female workers were kept on to hook mats, sew and knit clothing for the family and also to knit socks, mittens, and men's underwear to be sold in the general store.
Unfortunately, Mary died in childbirth shortly after the move to Bordeaux. She is buried along with their twin infants, on a grassy knoll out back at the Gut. Mary was a local woman whom Thomas taught how to operate a dairy since this practice was unknown to the people of Placentia Bay. Her death meant that Thomas would have to find another woman willing and able to learn the business. Within a short time, he married Elizabeth Dicks of Harbour Buffett and brought her to Bordeaux.
Thomas was very skilled in animal husbandry. He taught his workers who to cut a slaughtered animal so as to use every part of the carcass. He taught the dairy workers the importance of cleanliness inside and outside the dairy house and the proper handling of the products which were produced there. When his son James, brought a wife to Bordeaux, he found her to be an avid and willing student of the dairy operation. She learnt from a master and soon became competent in running the dairy and supervising the workers. Emily loved the agricultural part of the farm as well and absorbed everything she was taught about growing vegetables from Thomas.
The manservant, Gaylord, who was working the Come By Chance operation, gave way to Thomas's eldest son, Stephen, but Gaylord continued to work for Thomas both at Come By Chance and Bordeaux. Gaylord lived at Bordeaux on the Back Beach and the meadow behind the beach became known as "Daniel's meadow" for Gaylord's son who grew up there.
Thomas was baptized into the Mormon faith as an adult before he left England. He was very strict in his religion and demanded the same of his family and workers. Family prayers were held in the kitchen every morning and on Sundays, when the animals were fed, all the workers gathered in the big kitchen which ran the full length of the house for spiritual advisement. The only work permitted on Bordeaux on Sunday was feeding the animals. Swearing or other uncouth language was forbidden at all times as were activities such as drinking alcohol, playing cards or dancing. There was a strict moral code concerning mingling of the sexes and any "man talk" occurred well away from the house or anywhere females were working.
Thomas was literate and taught his wives and children to read and write as well as teaching them rudimentary mathematics. He insisted on good manners, proper speech and diction, and enforced all the British rules for dignified behavior he had learnt as a boy. In fact, when one of his daughters married a local man against his wishes, she was banished forever from Bordeaux when the only objection he had against the man was that "he lacked refinement".
Bordeaux was a world onto itself, there was no church, school or other social establishments. Work, eat, rest was the routine within the monotony interrupted occasionally by visitors from boats passing by or a clergyman from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel making his annual round for christening and marriage ceremonies.
Bishop Edward Field, travelling from Harbour Buffett to Woody Island in the church ship "Hawk", wrote on Thursday, October 5, 1848: "At seven o'clock we sailed for Woody Island at the head of Placentia Bay. The wind was so light, that we made about eight miles in five hours. At one o'clock we landed at a little settlement called Bordeaux, to apprise the inhabitants of my intention of holding a Confirmation tomorrow at Woody Island. This was formerly a French settlement and the land has been cleared by the French. The present occupier is an Englishman from Sturminster, who has brought a considerable quantity of land under cultivation, and grows wheat, barley, and oats. The wheat has ripened well this year and has been reaped. His turnips and other vegetables are remarkably fine. We received a large supply of carrots, parsnips, turnips, and cabbage with a bottle of milk. He keeps also many head of cattle and supplies several places in the bay with meat. The farm is exceedingly picturesque, as well as fruitful. Just before the house is a saltwater lake, which rises and falls with the tide, though its connection with the sea is not visible."
Once a year Thomas sailed to St. John's to pick up provisions and to do banking. If there was money to spare, there would be a yard or two of fancy material for his wife and small treats for the children.
Thomas had his land surveyed and granted in the mid 1850. Around that time he also made his will. He was now into his 60's and had sons capable of running his operations. To his eldest daughter, Margaret, who married Thomas Eddy of Sound Island, he gave a small house and garden at the end of Bordeaux Pond. Maggie was childless but raised her sisters' child after her sister died in childbirth at Merasheen. Aunt Maggie and Uncle Tom lived at Bordeaux until 1930 until they became too feeble to care for themselves. They moved back to Sound Island with a relative of Uncle Tom's and died there.
Thomas's son James and his wife, Emily, took over the Bordeaux operation from Thomas. Thomas's eldest son, Stephen and his family, farmed and fished at Come By Chance, later establishing a logging and sawmill operation at Glenview, some distance up the Come By Chance River.
As James and Emily's family grew to adulthood, Bordeaux prospered even more that it did under the eagle eye of Thomas. New opportunities for business arose for the sale of their farm products when a lead and zinc mine opened at nearby La Manche. Bordeaux supplied the mining company with fresh meat, vegetables and dairy products. As well, the miners purchased homemade clothing in the form of boots, underwear and outerwear, socks, caps, and mittens all handmade by the staff at Bordeaux.
With thirty-one acres of land in possession of which twenty were in cultivation, the farm produce thirty barrels of potatoes fifty bushels of oats and other grains and seven tones of hay. The farm grew to have nineteen meat cattle, twelve milk cows, and eighty sheep. They processed twenty quintals of cod and twelve of salmon, and produced 600 lbs. of butter.
By 1880, nearby Arnold's Cove had a school and church. Teachers were hard to acquire for isolated outports so although the school was ready and waiting, there was not always a teacher available. But when there was a teacher in residence, James sent his younger children to Arnold's Cove to be educated. Emily's parents lived there and the children were brought from Bordeaux by boat on Sunday afternoon and stayed with the grandparents until Friday evening. Sometimes they walked around the short and other times, if the men weren't too busy and the weather cooperated, the children were transported by sailboat, dory, or dinghy. Arnold's Cove, by this time, had a population of 40 to 50, all fisher people. It was quite a change for the Bordeaux children to live in Arnold's Cove during the week and the adjustment was sometimes difficult.
By the end of the century, the Newfoundland Railway was in operation. The transportation of goods and movement of people was much easier. This provided Bordeaux with competition for its products. Store bought clothing became more common as well as some food items such as canned milk and packaged margarines, salt beef and pork and some canned goods. But it also opened new opportunities for Bordeaux. James and his sons built a factory for canning salmon and lobster and shipped the finished product by train for sale to the St. John's merchants. There was more hard cash in circulation. Emily was able to visit St. John's once or twice a year. She took the younger children with her and stayed with the families of merchants that her husband was dealing with. This exposure to the outside world and the city gave the children a different perspective of life and created in them dreams of living and working in a city when they became adults.
In 1900 a great new house was built at Bordeaux boasting a concrete cellar and indoor plumbing. Emily and James had their own suite of rooms, each with its own fireplace. Their summer bedroom was on the southeast side and with the coming of autumn, they moved to their winter bedroom facing northwest. Their youngest child was one year old and had a full time nanny. Emily ran the home and servants as she was taught by Thomas, preserving his work ethic, customs and rules for refined behavior. James was more tolerant and easy going, well liked and respected by his family and his workers.
James died suddenly in 1912. Although his sons were grown and his eldest son had established his own farm at nearby Lakewood, the "heart" stopped at Bordeaux. His widow, Emily, always authoritarian and in full command, found that her sons had ideas of their own which they were determined to pursue. When the Great War broke out two years later, her two sons and her grandson enlisted in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and were shipped overseas. Emily was left with her two younger daughters and a few female workers. The only man on Bordeaux was Uncle Tom Eddy and he was too far advanced in years to do much other than cut firewood for himself. The fishing portion of the enterprise was halted except for the annual caplin scull when their one remaining small horse hauled one hundred barrels of caplin from the beach to the fertilizer pit across the meadow. Emily, with the help of her two daughters, maintained a vegetable garden adequate to supply the family with crops to see them through the winter. They also cut and cured hay for the animals, cut firewood, sheared sheep, spun the wool and knit it into clothing. They mucked along.....somehow. Her money for other necessities came from the war allotment, provided to the next of kin, from her two sons and grandson.
After the four long years of the war, her sons Nelson and Sandy returned to Bordeaux. Her grandson, Willie, did not. He was killed at Monchy le Pruix in the early years of the war. Nelson did not see eye to eye with his mother on many things. In particular, he had fallen in love with Isabel, his first cousin. The matriarch would have none of that. Never would he be allowed to marry his cousin and bring her to Bordeaux. So Nelson spent little time at Bordeaux. He went his own way, working at carpentry in New York, a migrant field worker on the Canadian Prairies, a boat builder and store keeper in Arnold's Cove. He eventually married Isabel but not until ten years after his mother died.
Sandy was more biddable to his mother's direction. When he came back from overseas, he took over the running of the farm and the care of the animals. But not the fishing. He slaughtered the animals, cut the meat, took it to his boat and sold it around to the island communities along with the eggs, butter, cheese, and milk from the dairy. But when he married and brought his wife to Bordeaux, Caroline was not content to play second fiddle to Emily. She soon took charge and ran the household her way. Emily's daughters also disliked this new order and soon decided to move on. They went to Montreal, trained as nurses and pursued their careers in the United States. Bordeaux was now reduced to a population of three.
Within a few years, Sandy's wife came to despise the isolation of Bordeaux so they moved to Arnold's Cove where Sandy set up a chicken farm. Emily was now alone at Bordeaux and getting well along in years. She had no means of support other than help from her family, now scattered far and wide. In 1927, her daughter Ethel, who was living in New York, contracted tuberculosis. After spending a year in hospital there, she was sent home to die. Alice, her sister, brought her back to Bordeaux and cared for her until she died some months later.
While Alice's heart was at Bordeaux, her bread and butter was not. After Ethel died, she returned to her job in the United States and Emily, once again, was alone at Bordeaux. She stayed there until 1940, now in her late 70's she was unable to live on her own.
Nelson moved back to Bordeaux after his mother left. But he was neither a farmer or a fisherman. He was a carpenter. He wanted to build boats. He did build one large schooner and sold it to a fishing merchant in Notre Dame Bay. But the business was not lucrative enough to earn him a living. He built a house in Arnold
s Cove and commuted by boat to Bordeaux on weekends to tend his garden and catch enough cod and lobster for his own use. He continued this practice until his health failed twenty years later.
By this time, Arnold's Cove had become a resettlement center and its population had exploded from less than two hundred to over a thousand. With no one living at Bordeaux on a permanent basis, the place was being vandalized.. So Nelson took down the great house, board by board, leaving only the dairy house which he used as a cottage on weekends.
No one has lived at Bordeaux since the 1960's. Many descendants have visited there to reminisce and visit the sites where their ancestors lived, worked and died. The descendants of Thomas Adams are scattered far and wide. Wherever they are in the world, Thomas and his legacy is strong in their minds and hearts. The ashes of his great-grandson were brought from Montreal to Bordeaux for internment and a plaque bearing his name commemorates the site where his ashes are buried.
Thomas's grandchildren are the caretakers of Bordeaux now and for the future. It is their wish that the area be placed in a Heritage Trust and preserved as an open green space or park in memory of the young man who crossed an ocean in 1817 and prospered in farming in a barren land.
Hike the end of the Bordeaux trail to read our storyboards, see the foundations of some of the buildings, and sit on Alice's memorial bench overlook Bordeaux pond to take in the beauty of this tranquil place!
Hike the Bordeaux Trail to see the foundations of some of the old buildings.
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