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Blackhead, Newfoundland

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This article was taken from the Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador[1]. It needs to be edited.

Currently amalgamated with Small Point and Adam's Cove[2]



This municipality is made up of several contiguous fishing communities on the North Shore of Conception Bay, between Kingston (formerly Upper Small Point) and Western Bay. This 5 km stretch of coast is generally steep-to, with a succession of small coves that provide a landing place for small boats, but with no sheltered harbour. Consequently, as the population of the North Shore boomed in the nineteenth century, settlers built their homes and gardens on the banks above the sea, and the various communities soon "ran together".

In the twentieth century the population of the area from Small Point to Adam's Cove has generally declined, from a high of about 1600 people in 1911. With the decline of the local shore fishery the community has continued to "retreat" from the ocean, so that by the 1970s most homes were located along the highway. The most northerly village is Adam's Cove, while southward are Blackhead, Broad Cove and Small Point. Blackhead offers the best landing place, and was probably the first settled: Joseph Parsons and Thomas Moores were recorded as inhabitants in 1708- 09. The other coves were all probably settled in the mid to late 1700s, by crews who had earlier come to Newfoundland in the employ of English firms with headquarters at Carbonear or Harbour Grace.

Early settlers at Adam's Cove included James Adams, Robert Evans and George Hudson. Small Point (so named because it was small in comparison with nearby Sugarloaf Head) was home to John King and Michael Hurley by 1793. By about 1765 Lawrence Coughlan was making regular visits to the North Shore from Harbour Grace.

The first Methodist church in Newfoundland was built at Blackhead in 1769. Blackhead was created a Methodist circuit, with two ministers, in 1816, and a religious revival in 1830-1831 converted many people in the surrounding area to the faith. By the first Census, in 1836, there were approximately 1000 people in the Small Point-Adam's Cove area, the majority of whom were Methodists. There was at least one school for the children of the area. Adam's Cove had a population of 264 in 1836, while Broad Cove and Blackhead first appeared separately in the Census of 1845 with 580 and 257 inhabitants respectively. Small Point is first noted in 1857 (as Lower Small Point), with a population of 79. In that year there were schools in both Blackhead and Adam's Cove.

All four settlements grew in the mid-1800s from communities relying exclusively on the local shore fishery to areas where a number of merchants, traders and planters had established themselves. Jabez Pipe traded from Blackhead, and John Dumond from Adam's Cove. William Baggs and John and Levi Hudson were planters in Adam's Cove in 1871, and merchant Timothy O'Leary established premises in both Upper and Lower Small Point. By 1894 the LeGrow family had become the most important dealers and planters in Broad Cove, while the Moores and Hudsons were well known "fish-killers" in Blackhead. In Adam's Cove, James Evans was a general dealer while Robert and George Hudson and Charles Moores were planters.

The North Shore of Conception Bay was becoming overfished by the mid-1800s and all useable shore space was densely occupied. As the planters of the area looked further afield, one of the first areas to be exploited was the opposite side of Conception Bay, where there were lucrative fishing grounds around Cape St. Francis. Such communities as Bauline and Pouch Cove were established as summer fishing stations, but soon were settled by people from Adam's Cove and Blackhead in particular. Thereafter, the major migratory fishery from the North Shore was to the Labrador; by 1884 more than 200 fishermen from the area were engaged in that fishery.

At the turn of the century, the four communities had grown as follows: Lower Small Point to 256 people, Broad Cove South to 381, Broad Cove North to 186: Blackhead to 268 and Adam's Cove to 459. A number of men from the area found work as miners on Bell Island or in the lumber industry in the early 1900s. But increasingly families chose to leave their communities, many of them ending up in Massachusetts and New York, and this exodus intensified in the 1920s and 1930s, as the decline ofthe shore fishery followed the collapse of the Labrador fishery.

In 1994 common family names in Adam's Cove included Baggs, Hollett and Hudson. The name Bennett was the most common in Blackhead while Bishop, Delaney, Legrow and O'Leary persisted in Broad Cove. In Small Point, Doyle, Kennell, Peach and Trickett were familiar names. Grant Head (1976), Charles Lench (1912), E.R. Seary (1977), Lovell's Newfoundland Di¬ rectory (1871), McAlpine's Newfoundland Directory (1894), Census (1836-1991), Centre for Newfoundland Studies (Blackhead; Broad Cove).

Early Families


What links to this page.


  1. Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, volume 5 p. 206-207, Poole, Cyril F. Cuff, Robert. Published 1994. Accessed 2018.
  2. Wikipedia entry for Small Point-Adam's Cove-Blackhead-Broad Cove. Accessed 2018.

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