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Bluff Head Cove - Part 3

James Ivany

(from The Fisherman's Advocate, February 12, 1965)



I ended part 2 of this story something like this: "To what other colonies did they come was the next question to which I had to find an answer."

But this was a puzzling question indeed. For I was reminded by history of this statement made by the secretary of state in Great Britain in 1789: "Newfoundland is in no respect a British Colony and is never so considered in our British laws."

I was reminded, to, that many settlements in Newfoundland at that time, and long before (even from the time of Sir Humphrey Gilbert's landing at St. John's, on August 5, 1583), were referred to sometimes as plantations and sometimes as colonies.

However, on the same information list that accompanied the "Cooper Coat of Arms" there was a book entitled "The Cooper Family" and, naturally, I hoped that this might give me the answer to my tiresome yet interesting problem. But where could I find it?

I hope I will be forgiven for cutting in here with a subject that as nothing to do with this story, but the kind of mind I have - especially when I am studying the makings of a story - goes all over the place. Sometimes it even leaves me altogether and comes back again in two or three days. But this time it went all the way back to my school days and I seemed to hear the re-echo of an old adage: "Where there's a will, there's a way." Perhaps the reason it went that way was that I had to stay in after school one day and write the sentence 100 times. The penalty was not only for putting an emmet (ant) down inside a girl's dress, but also for neglecting to draw a map of Newfoundland as an afternoon instruction or lesson with the excuse "I don't know how." But after my mind came back to where it should be, this is the course I took.

The John W. Ward & Co. of South Carolina, U.S.A., is not a seller of books. But I wrote another note of inquiry and asked if they could tell me where the book on the Cooper family could be found? In a few days I received a reply telling me the price of the book and that it could be bought at a certain book shop in Boston, Massachusetts.

I don't know what went wrong, but it took about six weeks before the book was delivered to me and then I was off again on a merry-go-round man hunt that proved to be move interesting every hour.

By the way, that was the evidence I referred to in a writing of mine called "Our Christmas Day" that had just come in and needed special study.

However, in the big interval of time I had to spare while waiting for the book to arrive, I examined every detail I had gathered during the summer, just to make sure I had not missed any helpful clue in my yet unfinished search, and also to make notes on items which I thought would be of interest in my story when the time came for me to settle down and write.

And so for a brief moment I studied the birth dates of Thomas and William Cooper again and recognized that there was a wide gap of 32 years between the two. Thinking then that this would make a bit unusual for them to be brothers - unless their father was married twice - I banished further thought and gave my mind a deserved rest.

In a little while we shall see what's in the book. But first I would like to impress further upon the reader that, as I have said before, the surname "Cooper" owes its derivation to a man, or men, who used to make barrels. Therefore a man in Norway whose name is Cooper can be no relation to a man in England under the same name. Or, to come nearer home, a man in Trinity Bay by the name of Cooper can be no relation to a man in Conception Bay whose name is Cooper also, and therefore again, to distinguish one family line from another, they are called "clans".

On opening the book my hope was shaken a little to find that its writer had trailed a certain clan the first of which who founded Cooper's Town, in New York State, in 1786 and afterwards spread in myriad numbers over South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia to 1931.

But I decided to follow the author's trail and along the way I picked up again the scent of Thomas and William Cooper and regained my half lost hope to find that they were indeed half brothers. Their father was married twice. His first wife was only two years his junior, and his second 15 years. I followed their ancestry as far back as 1621 to a common English home in Warrick on the Bankss of the Severn River.

But, in the next issue just in case one may grow weary of this writing and condemn it as too much falderal, I shall take a short cut back to the coming of Absalom Cooper - the king of "Bluff Head Cove".

(To Be Continued)

Return to Bluff Head Cove Index

Page Transcribed by: James Butler 1998
Page Revised: July 2002 (Terry Piercey)


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