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Furby's Cove, Newfoundland

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Location: Furby's Cove, Hermitage Bay, Newfoundlandmap
Surnames/tags: Newfoundland Hermitage_Bay Fortune_Bay
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The following text - to be edited and condensed later - is from the Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador.[1]

"FURBY'S COVE (pop. 1971, 38). A resettled fishing community, Furby's Cove was located northeast of Hermitage, Hermitage Bay, in a shallow, small-boat harbour which indents the northern shore of the Connaigre Peninsula. The settlement was possibly named for a migratory fisherman named Furby who was attached to an English West Country or Jersey sack ship or fishing ship which were known to frequent Hermitage Bay in the eighteenth century. It was not mapped by Captain James Cook when he surveyed the coast in 1765 although he marked one fishing stage at Hermitage at that time. Furby's Cove, which existed as a settlement for approximately 160 years, was situated at the head of the cove of the same name which itself was marked by two smaller coves. Herring Cove and Eastern Cove. These indentations lay close within the western and eastern entrance points to Furby's Cove proper."

"European settlement, primarily English in origin, occurred in the early 1800s. The earliest known settlers in Furby's Cove were Simon Hardy (1827), George Hatcher (1835), Henry Neals (1835), James MacDonald (1835) and a John Kendall who, according to family tradition, settled at Furby's Cove from Westmoreland, England in the early nineteenth century. A John Kendall was listed at Hermitage Cove in 1834 and Elizabeth Kendall was reported to be a resident of Furby's Cove in 1835. Other early settlers included Henry Northcote (reported to be a resident in 1841) and John Nash (1851). Later family names associated with Furby's Cove, most of them from the Hermitage, Gaultois and Rencontre East areas, were Dominey, Green, Goods, Harris, House, Mullins, MacDonald, Mead and Tuffin."

"When Archdeacon Edward Wix visited Furby's Cove in 1835 he held a service for sixty inhabitants and baptized fifteen children. Wix observed that "The people of this neighbourhood are very warmly attached to the church of their fathers, and when asked respecting their creed, say, they belong to 'the good old English religion'." Wix found most settlements on this bleak coast to be "spiritually destitute." While he did not find Furby's Cove to be destitute, "removed as they are from all social means of edification, some of them really adorn their good profession;" nevertheless he lamented "the too general prevalence of spirit-drinking even among the females."

"The settlement was first reported in the Census, in 1836, with sixty-six people, almost half of whom were Roman Catholic. It was not until 1884 that Furby's Cove was reported to be exclusively Protestant. William Marshall visited the settlement in 1839 and preached to "about 90 Protestants in this Harbour." In 1844 the school, which had been established in 1840, was inspected for the first time. It was reported that Furby's Cove had "a rather tolerable Harbor .... Here are some sixteen or seventeen houses, and a considerable number of inhabitants. There are only three Catholic families here. The school is at present kept at the less populous side, being held at the Teacher's house [Mrs. Hardy], which is the most remote in the harbor; but the people are about erecting a school-house in a very good and central location at the opposite side." The Rev. J.G. Mountain was able "to place a very worthy old schoolmaster [at Furby's Cove, which he called Furly's Cove], quite sui generis, self taught, and whose life would be well worth writing and reading. He is maintained by friends in England, some of whom are ladies working with their own hands for the object. This old man himself built the chief part of a very neat school-room at Furly Cove (the people willingly assisting with materials and work) and a small adjoining compartment where he lived."

"This schoolhouse was "used for Divine Service," as were its successors, which in¬ cluded a school built in the 1930s, which was destroyed by fire in 1961. A new school was built that year which was called "the Happy Blackbird School" serving Grades One to Eight. High school was attended in larger communities. The first church was erected in 1969 and was served, as the schoolhouse before it had been, by clergymen based in Hermitage. Early residents also attended St. Saviour's Church (Anglican) in Hermitage (built in 1854)."

"The economy of Furby's Cove was based mainly on the small-boat, inshore cod fishery, with the catch being dried and sold to Gaultois and Hermitage merchants. Cod oil was manufactured until the 1960s, when the industry was abandoned because of poor prices. In the 1930s and 1940s schooner fishing was undertaken out of Gaultois, Hermitage and Seal Cove, and the catch was disposed of through Garlands, the Gaultois merchant firm. After 1951 fish was sold to the fish plant at Gaultois, and, in the 1970s, to the fish plant at Hermitage, which also processed salmon, lobster and herring. In the nineteenth century salmon was an important secondary fishery, as was lobster, which grew in importance in the early 1900s as a number of small, family-owned lobster processing factories began operating in Furby's Cove. Lobster fishing was reported in the settlement until its resettlement in 1974, and lobster pots were still set on the Furby's Cove grounds in 1978. Herring, a non-commercial species before 1921, was later sold to the bait depot established at Hermitage, and in the 1970s was sold to the fish plant at that community."

"The history of Furby's Cove shows close social, religious and economic ties with the larger settlements of Hermitage Bay, especially Hermitage. The population of Furby's Cove had never exceeded 100 people, but by 1951 it had dipped to a low of eighteen. Out-migration to Hermitage occurred steadily, and the fishing facilities of the latter community compelled Furby's Cove fishermen to abandon their small-boat harbour in favour of Hermitage's larger harbour. Between 1967 and 1970 four households numbering eighteen members moved to Hermitage. All moves were undertaken with government assistance. Resettled fishermen continued to fish the Furby's Cove grounds and "leave their lobster traps and other equipment on the shore in Furby's Cove where they can pick it up when they go by."

Early Residents


  • William Good, fisherman
  • John Hardy, fisherman
  • Henry McDonald, Sr., planter
  • Henry McDonald, Jr., fisherman
  • John McDonald, Sr., fisherman
  • John McDonald, Jr., planter
  • Henry Mead, fisherman
  • Thomas Neal, fisherman
  • Henry Norcott, planter


  • John Goode, fisherman
  • Richard Goode, fisherman
  • William Goode, fisherman
  • Thomas Greene, fisherman
  • George Hardy, fisherman
  • Simon Hardy, fisherman
  • Henry McDonald, fisherman
  • James McDonald, Sr., fisherman
  • James (of John) McDonald, fisherman
  • John McDonald, fisherman
  • Thomas McDonald, fisherman
  • Henry Meade, fisherman
  • James Meade, fisherman
  • John Nash, fisherman
  • Benjamin (of Henry) Northcotte, fisherman
  • Benjamin (of John) Northcotte, fisherman
  • Jacob Northcotte, fisherman
  • John Northcotte, fisherman
  • Peter Northcotte, fisherman
  • Thomas Northcotte, fisherman
  • William Northcotte, fisherman
  • John Taffin, fisherman

1921 Census, heads of household:[4]

NameBirth dateBirth Location
Bennett, John1889 AprFurby's Cove
Green, Thomas1862 AprBurgeo
Hardy, Richard1861 JunFurby's Cove
Northcote, Edward Benjamin1879 OctFurby's Cove
Northcote, Jacob1876 MayFurby's Cove
Northcote, Peter1850 (1860?) DecFurby's Cove
Northcote, Thomas1846 AugHardy's Cove
McDonald, George1886 AugFurby's Cove
McDonald, Henry1866 SepFurby's Cove
McDonald, Henry1886 DecFurby's Cove
McDonald, John1855 JunFurby's Cove
McDonald, John W.1884 MarFurby's Cove
Mead, James1868 JunFurby's Cove
Nash, John1876 FebFurby's Cove
Rose, John1877 JanFrenchman's Cove
Tuffin, John1865 OctFurby's Cove


What links to this page.


  1. Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, Volume 2 pp. 443-444.
  2. Lovell's Province of Newfoundland Directory, 1871., pp. 252-253.
  3. McAlpine's Newfoundland Directory, 1904, p. xxx.
  4. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9FW-G3SM?i=751&cc=2226517 Newfoundland Census, 1921 - Fortune Bay District.:], pp. 276-278.

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