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Bluff Head Cove - Part 5

James Ivany

(from The Fisherman's Advocate, February 26, 1965)



In preceding chapters I hope I haven't misled anyone to think that Absalom Cooper of Bluff Head Cove was born in England. Because, according to his grand-descendants, who should know, he was born in Lower Island Cove, Conception Bay, in 1832.

About nine generations before that, however, one of his early ancestors lived in Stratford - a fair town in the district of Warwickshire. (Of no more importance here than a passing sentence - the long Avon River that splits England in half, from northeast to southwest, touches in to wash the southeast side of Stratford and hence the hyphenated name - Stratford-on-Avon.) Also two generations back from that, another earlier ancestor lived at Worcester, another thriving town on the Bankss of the Severn River which is a tributary to the mighty Avon.

I really didn't have to go back so far to confirm the original nationality of Absalom Cooper's ancestors, or to put it another way, I didn't have to dig up his family tree by the roots. Because I could have easily turned back when I got to his great grandfather whose name was Peter, and born in 1732 at Stratford-on-Avon, England. However, having the information in my possession, it was only natural that I should read it.

But in my long search along and to the end of the Cooper family trail, the one peculiar thing that marked the way was that I could find only one more Absalom Cooper besides the one who is the principal person in this story.

Perhaps for this there is no special or particular reason. But for the first Absalom there is a reason which dates back to 1611 when the bible was translated in English and known as the King James Version. That story, though, is so intricate or so full of twists and turns that I imagine it would be hard to understand, even if I took special time to write it. Therefore I must leave it as it is and hasten back to Absalom Cooper the second and his lonesome sojourn in Bluff Head Cove.

In 1792, Absalom's grandfather, Charlie, who was only 20 years old landed in St. John's. What his intentions were, or what he wanted to be, is not disclosed. But it is said he was full of ambition and the roving spirit. How long he remained in St. John's is not given either, but eventually he went to Harbour Grace and married.

Again, for this event, there is no date given; neither is the name of the girl he married. But in 1802 a son was born to whom they gave the name of William A. Cooper, and he in turn became the father of Absalom in 1832.

But it seems that the Coopers could find no rest for the soles of their feet, for while the family was slowly growing (before Absalom's birth) they moved first from Harbour Grace to Carbonear and then to Lower Island Cove, where Absalom was born.

For a men to have chosen a place like Lower Island Cove, Conception Bay, in which to live, one would assume that he was a fisherman, and no doubt William A. Cooper was. But what of Absalom?

Unfortunately for me in trying to piece together this story, the written history of the Cooper family ended at Carbonear when they departed for Lower Island Cove, about 20 miles down the bay. And so for what happened in the life of Absalom Cooper, who, in mid-life, came to settle in Bluff Head Cove, I have to depend on what information I could glean from his grandsons and granddaughters, for only they are alive to tell the tale. And yet, even they couldn't tell me all I wanted to know. However, I shall write in the following lines only as much as they wrote to me.

When Absalom reached the nubile age, he married a girl from Grates Cove, whose maiden name was Ann Burridge. He must have made a new home in Englewood, Trinity Bay immediately, for it was there his first four children were born. Englewood, in the northwest arm of Random, was at that time - and is now - a duplicate picture of Bluff Head Cove, and nothing can be truer than that Absalom only moved from isolation to isolation.

What he did in Englewood - I mean for a livelihood - is one of the things I wanted to know, but that information is hidden or, at least, that's how it seems. But what he did in Bluff Head Cove I can pretty well figure out on my own and shall tell it the best way I can in the next and last installment of my story.

(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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