GenWeb de la Basse Côte-Nord

Quebec Lower North Shore GenWeb


Le GenWeb de la Basse Côte-Nord est une composante du GenWeb du Québec et du Canada GenWeb.

The Lower North Shore GenWeb is part of the Quebec GenWeb and the Canada GenWeb Projects.


Where We Came From and Who We Are

By Sharon Chubbs-Ransom

Some one hundred and thirty-five years ago people from many parts of Newfoundland migrated to the Coast (Canadian Labrador) to fish. For generations children have heard the stories of the schooners completely blocking places like Yankee Harbour. The different areas of the coast were fished at different times of the season. Thus after arriving off Natashquan the boats often moved along the coast following the great sculls of cod fish.

On the South West Coast of Newfoundland there was a winter fishing season. The land falls away abruptly to the water with huge cliffs towering above the water’s surface. There is little protection for small boats along that coast. Most families were familiar with having their young men not return from the days fishing.

This hardship led many people to leave seeking a better fishery and a better life. The late Uncle Fred Chislett asked “old Uncle Joe Remo one time why he came to Harrington. Uncle Joe did not hesitate in his answer and it was interesting and very thought provoking. He said, “me son, to get the part of the Lard’s (sic) prayer that I never got in Newfoundland, me daily bread”!

Around 1870 some families had decided to remain on the coast of Quebec rather then return to Newfoundland. There are many names familiar to Newfoundland. There are Collier, Willcott and Organ from St. Albans. There are Vatcher, Buffitt, and Bobbitt from Burgeo and then there are Anderson, Cox, Chislett, Mitchell, Simms, Ransome, Strickland, and Osborne. These people did not all arrive together. In Harrington Harbour the earliest settlers were from West Point, La Poile Bay. In 1870 John Chislett, Benjamin Simms, John B. Cox and Tommy McDonald arrived with their families. Edward Ransom better known as “Teddy” was the foster son of Tommy MacDonald and Frances Anderson. There were also later arriving families like the Rowsell and Waye. The Rowsell family came from Pushthrough and the Waye family from Flower’s Cove.

The Anderson family had migrated from Burgeo to West Point some fifty years earlier. They were known to be the first settlers at Burgeo They were of Scotch descent and were known to be in Burgeo as early as 1796. They lost their land on St. Pierre with the succession of St. Pierre to France in 1763. The McDonalds had migrated to Gaultois Newfoundland from Scotland. They had been involved in the great “Battle of Culloden” in 1746 between Scotland and England. There was a great slaughter of the Scots following which the MacDonalds along with many others who had stood with Bruce fled.

Edward Ransom was nearly twenty years old when he moved to Harrington in 1870. His mother Eleanor had died giving birth to him in 1851. He was a “sickly” child and was taken and raised by his Aunt Frances and her husband Tommy MacDonald who had no children. His father Charles Ransome had arrived in Burgeo with the Jersey Room from Devonshire, England. He was a lad of 15 years when he came in 1847. By 1866 he was established with his third wife and family at West Point, La Poile Bay. Edward married Susannah Elizabeth Simms one of the three daughters of Benjamin and Martha Simms. Edward and Susannah had 12 children.

The Chislett family had been long time settlers in La Poile Bay. They were already will established there when Jukes explored in the 1820s.

The Cox family was in Newfoundland as early as 1675, note Seary’s “Family Names of The Island of Newfoundland”. The Harrington Cox family first went to Burgeo from St. John’s, Newfoundland in 1835. John Benjamin Cox Sr. was a merchant there while his brothers Samuel and George traded along the coast. John Benjamin later moved to Prince Edward Island while Samuel moved to West Point, La Poile Bay. It was Samuel’s son John Benjamin Jr. who arrived with his wife Esther Anderson in Harrington Harbour in 1870.

West Point was a small fishing village about 30 miles from Burgeo in Newfoundland. Many families left it with a decline in the fishing in the late 1800s. In the 1960s under the Smallwood regime it was resettled. Today there are only a few summer cottages and the long over grown imprints of the foundations to whisper the stories of the past. Even the cemetery was washed away some years ago leaving little trace of the once thriving community.

Entered on the Web: 13 March 2005


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Thank you to the previous coordinators, Sharon Ransom and Marc-André Gosselin, for their excellent work !
We are looking forward to reading your suggestions and comments. / Il nous fera plaisir de lire vos suggestions et commentaires.

Dernière mise à jour: 13/10/2016

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Suzette Leclair, Provincial Coordinator, Quebec GenWeb Project