Presented by the
Newfoundland's Grand Banks Site
to assist you in researching your Family History

Click on the graphic below to return to the NGB Home Page
Newfoundland's Grand Banks

To contribute to this site, see above menu item "About".

How to report a possible transcription error

These transcriptions may contain human errors.
As always, confirm these, as you would any other source material.


(Author - James Joseph O'Brien called "Jim Joe" who was one of the local Historians at Cape Broyle. He was born in 1888 and died in 1985. He was unmarried.)



Cape Broyle is not as old as Ferryland or Renews as being permanently settled but being used as a port or harbour, Cape Broyle is even older.  The first known record of Cape Broyle is when Sir William Vaughan formed a seat of a colony at Cape Broyle in the year 1618.  Sir William Vaughan being a Welsh man of French descent he named the Harbour “Cambroil” now Cape Broyle.  Sir William Vaughan had the headquarters of his colony at Trepassey in the year 1617 but having acquired or obtained a grant of land from John Guy and Company in the north (including Cape Broyle)  he took Cape Broyle as the north part of his colony.  Sir William Vaughan remained in Newfoundland from the year 1617 until the year 1623 and finding that he was making no progress and had no protection in those troubled times, Sir William Vaughan and all his company went back to England.  Before returning to England Sir William Vaughan sold the Northern part of his grant of land including Cape Broye to Lord Baltimore - so for many years afterwards Cape Broyle was known as Baltimore Harbour.  Lord Baltimore sent some of his boats and men from Ferryland to fish in Cape Broyle Harbour in the year 1627-1628.

Very little is know about Cape Broyle for many years after Lord Baltimore’s departure from Ferryland in the year 1629.  History says that there were 12 families living at Cape Broyle and 6 families living in Brigus South in the year 1715.  Those people who were living in Cape Broyle in 1715 must have left it as the people that came to Cape Broyle, ie, the permanent settlers, whose descendants are now living at Cape Broyle, they reported that there were no families at Cape Broyle in 1780, when they came.  The first of the permanent families  names were Kelly, Aylward, Grant, Walsh and Fitzgerald.  All these families settled in Cape Broyle in 1780.  The O’Brien’s came in 1791.  The Kent’s came to Brigus around the year 1800.

The Walsh Family

John and Ellen Walsh [her maiden name was Nellie Lyons] were married a few months before coming to Nfld in 1784.  John  and Ellen Walsh came from County Wexford.  When they arrived  on the Newfoundland coast in the late spring 1784 the Arctic ice drove their vessel into Petty Harbour near St. John’s.  John Walsh hauled or towed his wife ashore in Petty Harbour where they were welcomed by the people from home.  Around 100 years ago nearly all the people in Cape Broyle were in someway related to John and Ellen Walsh. 

When John and Ellen Walsh came to Cape Broyle in the year 1785, they had one child, a boy, named Michael.  They had a family of 5 sons and one daughter.  Michael Walsh, born at Petty Harbour married  Catherine Grant, a daughter of the first Grant family to come to Cape Broyle.  They were married in the year 1810.  John Walsh (son of Ellen and John Walsh)  was married to Catherine O’Brien in the 1820s.  Thomas and Richard Walsh (two sons of John & Ellen Walsh) were lost at the seal fishery in the spring of 1818.  The vessel left Aquaforte in charge of Captain Morey, she was never heard of after leaving Aquaforte.  William Walsh, another son, was not married.

Mary Walsh (the only daughter of John and Ellen Walsh) was born in 1796 and died 1890 in her 94th year.  She married John Cashin in 1814 just before her 18th birthday.  John Cashin came to Cape Broyle from County Wexford  to Caplin Bay, now named Calvert, in 1812.  He came to live in Cape Broyle in 1814 when he married Mary Walsh.   John and Mary (Walsh) Cashin  had a large family of five sons and six daughters.  John Cashin died in 1861.

John Cashin was the grandfather of Michael Cashin after “Sir Michael P Cashin”. Michael Cashin was a merchant for many years at Cape Broyle and the Southern Shore.  He also represented Ferryland district in the House of Assembly from 1893 to 1923 when he retired owing to ill health.  He died in 1926 at the age of 62 years.

Mary Walsh, daughter of John and Ellen (Lyons) Walsh, who came from County Wexford  to Cape Broyle in 1785 was born in 1796, married  John Cashin, a native of County Wexford, in 1814 and died in 1890.  She was my  great-grandmother - James Joseph O’Brien


The only work at Cape Broyle in the olden days  was the fishery.  The fishery was carried-on for many years in small boats, 5 or 6 quintals.  After many years the whale boat for fishing came into use.  The whale boat was planked clap-board style with no counter only 2 sterns.  They could carry from 15-29 quintals of sound fish.  Some of the whale boats could sail and could beat Cape Broyle bay in a 30-35 mile west wind.  The time would be about 1 1/2 and 1/2 hour from the fishing ground we will say Horse Rocks.  Three quarters of a mile east of Cape Broyle Head to the Head of Cape Broyle harbour.

‘As I gaze with pride and joy upon the sea

As I watch her float the white sail boat

Close hauled or running free’

Fishing with the cod seine came in the late 1850s.  The first of cod seines came to Cape Broyle from Manchester, England.  A crew for a cod seine was six or eight men.  In the 1870s the cod seine was converted to a cod trap as it was better and easier work.  The western boat was a larger boat, 25-30 tons.  The western boat period was from 1860 - 1885.  The western boat would make a trip or two from Cape Broyle to St. Mary’s each spring, leaving Cape Broyle in the early spring before the shore fishery started.  Any man who owned a western boat in those days had no trouble to get fishery supplies as the saying goes “St. Mary’s will pay for all...”

The first of the American fishing vessels or Banksers as they were named came to Cape Broyle in the 1870s and soon afterwards came the Nova Scotia vessels for bait and supplies.  It was said that in 1890 there were 60 vessels in the harbour in one day.  The American vessels were not allowed to take bait in Newfoundland after the year 1904.  Soon after 1904 the Nova Scotia  Banksers  increased in number .  Their trade was a great help to the economy of Cape Broyle.  The sale of ice to these vessels was, at first, 200 tons, but rose to 1200 tons in 1900s.  A great picture was lost to history - for to see those great vessels, some of them new, with their whole sails beating in Cape Broyle harbour against a west or North-west, 35 to 40 miles with their 10,000 sq ft of canvas filled of wind.  The great racer The Blue Nose  built in 1921 often-times came to Cape Broyle for bait.  Her racing canvas was 10,000 square feet.  From the arrival of the first of the Americans and Nova Scotia vessels until departure.  They began to fall off in the 1940s and 1950 saw  the last Lunenburg Bankser after over 70 years visiting Cape Broyle.  The only sad event that happened occurred on the American Bankser Helen F. Whitten when her Captain, Frank Willard, shot and killed one of his crew, John Yetman, from St. Mary’s Bay.  It was the 4th July 1905 celebrating the American Independence which caused the tragedy.  

Cape Broyle had also built and operated a whale factory for a few years.  The building of the whale factory started on the 8th day of September 1902 and on St. Patrick’s day 1903 the first whale was landed, 90 ft in length, a swloher back whale.  The first year of  the whale factory operating was a good one, 1903 they caught over 300 whales.  The next year, 1904, over 200 whales and the 3rd year, 1905, got only 80 whales, not enough to pay expenses, so the factory closed until 1910, then closed again until 1918.


NOTE: Below are the comments by Enid O'Brien, a local Genealogist and Historian.

Document 1.


According to the 1800 Census the founding members of the Walsh family were “Richard” and  Ellen Walsh. 


According to Fred Walsh Walsh they had “6” sons and one dgt.


Document 2


I have no comment on this document  It is basically the same as the handwritten copy.


Document 3

I have no comments on this document.   It wasn’t included in the copy I  have with his original copy.


Document 4

I have no comments on this document.  It is as written in the original handwriting of Jim Joe O’Brien/


Document 5

Other than correct the name of the boat to John and “Maria” the only comment I have is the Courier reported at the time that there was a crew of  “26” and 24 were drown.


Document 6

This account is not given in the original documents that I have.


Document 7

According to another folklore account (Fred Walsh b. 1892)  Re Walsh family there was another Walsh son named Martin.


The Grant family. 

He gives the founder of this family as being George Grant whereas the 1800 census gives the father and mother aa  Richard and Margaret Grant.   They had a son George and a grandson George.  According to Angela  (Kuffe) Dempsey (born in late 1800s) whose grandmother was  Elizabeth Grant (Kueffe, later changed to O’Keefe)  George was an English soldier and his wife was  Mary Murphy, dgt of an Irish school teacher.  This account is confusing.  I believe he knows what  he is talking about but is not expressed well as  there are so many identical names care must be taken as to the generations.   It leaves you with the impression that the Grants had no descendants which is not true.  Thomas Grant married Mary Cashin.  They left Cape Broyle and went to live in St. John’s.  He had a large family some of which died young but he had two sons when he died.


The Coady family

This account differs from the account given by my mother (whose mother was Johannah Coady).  James Coady (born in 1840 was my mother’s grandfather).  She related that her family were descending from James Coady and a girl Ellis from Ferryland.  I could confirm this in the records.  Also, on the Voter’s list for Cape Broyle in 1840  there is only one James Coady.  As her grandfather was born in 1840 it couldn’t possibly be him.  Also, I have in my possession  a land grant when James Coady bought land next to Kearsey’s on the Southside of  Cape Broyle.  This couldn’t be James born in 1840 as he would be only 8 years old??  I believe there was  an Edward married to a Ryan because they were definitely related but Edward was the brother of  James (father of James married to Bridget Boland).



Page transcribed by Enid O'Brien (2001)
Page revised: August 2002 (Terry Piercey)

Recent Updates Contact Us

Search through the whole site
Hosted by
Chebucto Community Net

Your Community, Online!
JavaScript DHTML Menu Powered by Milonic
Newfoundland's Grand Banks is a non-profit endeavor.
No part of this project may be reproduced in any form for any purpose other than personal use.

© Newfoundland's Grand Banks (1999-2019)