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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In 1845 Bordeaux had a population of eight, all of whom were Protestants, one house, and 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 had two horses, ten cattle and forty sheep.
Thomas Adams from Sturminister, England, took over the farm in the early 1800s.
In 1857 Bordeaux had one family of nine living there. It had two fishing rooms, four stores, barns, and outhouses, nineteen meat cattle, twelve milk cows, eighty sheep. They processed twenty quintals of cod and twleve of salmon, and produced 600 lbs of butter.
By 1870 the farm was supplying nearby Lamanche mine with meat, vegetables and milk. The farm also included a store which sold produce and wollen products made by servant girls in the off season.
The Adams family remained in Bordeaux and ran the farm until the 1940s. Nelson Adams came back after WWII and lived at Bordeaux maintaining the farm during the summer.
Hike the end of the Bordeaux trail to see the foundations of some of the buildings!
Hike the Bordeaux Trail to see the foundations of some of the old buildings.
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