Inter-Community Family Relationships
Broomclose and Sailors Island
Families of Salvage including Bishops Harbour and Dark Cove were very closely
intertwined through marriage and migration with those in nearby places especially
Broomclose Harbour, Sailors Island, Barrow Harbour, Little Harbour and Wild Cove.
In many respects the combined populations of these named localities formed one
community. The former settlements of Broomclose Harbour and Sailors Island may be
used as to illustrate inter-community family relationships and migrations.
||The Headland of the Eastport Peninsula at Salvage, September 19, 1986.
An aerial view of the headland of the Eastport Peninsula at Salvage
showing the low lying Sailors Island, Wild Cove, Dark Cove and
Photo by Gordon Handcock, ©1986. Reproduced by permission of
Broomclose [or Broom Close] is a long and narrow rectangularly shaped harbour.
It has a two-mile indraft but averages only about 300 yards in width. It bites
deep into the headland just southward of Salvage. Although one of the more
remarkable natural features on the Eastport Peninsula, it is generally not well
known except to Salvage fishers. Shoals, rocks and surging seas at its mouth do
not make it an easy harbour to enter. Inside, its shoreline is characterized mainly
by precipitous and beetling cliffs that admit only a few places where boats could
land with any safety or convenience, or where fishing premises could be built.
Despite its forbidding qualities, a few families favoured it and managed to make a
living in the fishery.
After the 1820s, several spots in Broomclose Harbour (named Hapgoods Cove,
Hefferns Cove and Babstocks) were inhabited by family units surnamed
Abgood/Hapgood, Knapper/Napper (Napier),
Babstock, Price, Barnes,
Heffern/Hefferen/Heffernan and also briefly Barron
and Quinton. The earliest recorded families were Joseph and
Susanna Knapper (Napper/Napier), formerly of Bonavista, and Jacob and Joanna
Abgood/Hapgood of Keels (Hapgood originally from Wimborne Minster, Dorsetshire).
Both couples resided in Broomclose in 1831 according to baptismal records of
Greenspond. The Broomclose families later relocated to surrounding communities -
the Babstocks to Salvage, Sailors Island, Salvage Bay and Happy Adventure, Napier
to Sailors Island, Salvage Bay and eventually to Sandy Cove, and the Hefferns and
Hapgoods to Salvage. Occasionally the Babstock and Heffern families at Broomclose
were included with the census returns and directories of nearby Barrow Harbour. It
seems rather they dwelt in Broomclose but also fished out of Barrow Harbour Run at
Little Barrow Harbour.
In 1836 the census records Broomclose with two families and a population of
seven persons. By 1857 the population had risen to 25 persons in three households.
This would have probably included the families of William Babstock and Ann (nee
Price); Robert Barnes and Ann (nee Babstock) and William Heffernen and Susannah
(nee Lush). The Bonavista Methodist register records the marriage of William
Heffern of St. John's and Susannah Lush at Bonavista in 1846. Meanwhile, a family
tradition suggest an Irish origin for the Heffern name. In 1901 Broomclose reached
its largest censused population ever with 55 persons. A directory compiled from
that census identified 12 families, six of them surnamed Heffernen under the
headships of John, William, Henry, Frederick, Alex and James. The other six were
Hapgoods headed by Richard, John, George, Abram, Andrew and Richard T. By 1911
most of these families had moved away and the census records only three persons.
According to a burial record, Ellen Moss, daughter of John Moss and his wife
Elizabeth Brown, was born on Sailors Island in 1836. This may be an error since
the next dated event on this small low lying island off Salvage is the baptism of
Edward Moss a son of John and Elizabeth Moss in 1858. Parish registers establish
the primacy of John and Elizabeth Moss as the pioneer family on Sailors Island and
record other early family units by the dates of children baptised as follows:
Henry Moss and Sarah Oldford (a daughter Mary
Jane 1859); Thomas Moss and Ann Hanlan (a son James 1858, also George 1856 and
Henry 1858); Henry Moss and Catherine Gould (son Frederick 1860); Samuel Napper
and Jane Poor/Power (son Joseph 1858, daughter Elizabeth 1859); James Lane and (1)
Ann Oldford (son Kenneth 1859); and (2) Ann Babstock (son Arthur 1863); Henry Lane
and Anne Gould (son Frederick 1860); Joseph Lane and Hannah Elliott (son Charles
1860); Benjamin Oldford and Elizabeth Ralph (daughter Susannah 1865); James Lane
and Ann Moss (son Joseph 1869); John Babstock and Jane Burden (daughter Amelia Ann
1870); and Thomas Babstock and Sarah Burden (son George 1873).
While most families on the peninsula can trace an ancestry through Salvage,
Barrow Harbour, Broomclose, Sailors Island and Little Harbour (Hancocks), other
families came into the area from other quarters. As indicated the peopling of Happy
Adventure involved an amalgamation or blending of initial families (Hayward, Powell
and Wells) from Barrow Harbour with Babstocks from Broomclose as well as Mosses and
Turners from Keels, Browns and Hancocks from Kings Cove and Elliotts from Longs
Island (but formerly of Keels).
|Turner dwellings, 1986.
Turner dwellings in Lower Cove, Happy Adventure.
Photo by Gordon Handcock, ©1986. Reproduced by permission of
The Moss family is one of the most extended
patrilines in central and southern Bonavista Bay. Moss families were among the
earliest settlers in most communities on the Eastport Peninsula and have retained a
presence in them ever since. The surname denotes male descendants of John and
William Moss who were settled at Keels in the 1780s or earlier. Their reputed
English origin, by family tradition, was the famed town of Corfe Castle in
Lovell's directory (1871) based on the Newfoundland census of 1869 records
a population on Sailors Island of 52 persons in six household units:
Babstock George, fisherman
Lane James, fisherman
Moss Henry, jun., fisherman
Moss Henry, sen., fisherman
Moss John, fisherman
Oldford Benjamin, fisherman
George Babstock formerly resided at Broomclose and was the son of Thomas
Babstock, a native of Oborne, Dorsetshire, England and Sarah Stockley of
Barrow Harbour. James Lane and all other Lanes in and around Salvage most
likely descended from Joseph Lane and Mary Stockley of Barrow Harbour.
In its prime in the latter part of the 19th century, Sailors Island had over
twenty families and a population of about 80. A school-chapel was opened in the
1870s but by this time some families had begun to relocate up the bay. In 1901
family names represented on Sailors Island were Babstock (James, William and John);
Lane (Wm. of Joseph, Wm. of James, Levi and Reuben); Moss (Wm. of John, Allan,
Stephen, Robert, Frederick, Wm. of Henry, Edward, Abraham and Thomas) and Ralph
(Stephen, Charles, Thomas and Moses). The Ralph family, formerly of Flat Island
and Port de Grave, came to Sailors Island with Stephen Ralph and his spouse
Elizabeth Bright. Evidently Stephen Ralph had winter quarters in Troy Town
(Traytown) and was one of the pioneers of that community. Sailors Island was
gradually depopulated early in the 20th century. The census of 1921 records only
31 persons. Sailors Island is not included in any subsequent census. A few of the
last residents moved their dwelling houses across Sailors Harbour to reside at
Dark Cove. Several of these homes are still inhabited.
||Lane's house, Dark Cove, 2000.
Lane's house was built on Sailor's Island but relocated to Dark Cove in the 1930s.
Photo by Gordon Handcock, ©2000. Reproduced by permission of
Some Sailors Island families
moved to reside in other communities on the peninsula (Salvage, Eastport, Sandy
Cove and St. Chad's) but others migrated to urban and industrial centres
© 2002, Gordon Handcock